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AT&T stockholders vote down net neutrality measure by overwhelming margin

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AT&T has voted down a measure that would require it to operate its wireless network under the principles of net neutrality, which prohibit favoring or discriminating against certain types of traffic (usually those of competitors or partners.)

Gallery Photo: Samsung Galaxy Note for AT&T hands-on photos
Gallery Photo: Samsung Galaxy Note for AT&T hands-on photos

It looks like AT&T didn't have anything to worry about when Beastie Boys member Mike D and other stockholders proposed that the company commit to operating its wireless division under the principles of net neutrality. At a recent stockholder annual meeting, the proposal was defeated overwhelmingly: 94.1 percent of those voting came out against the measure, which asked that "AT&T commit to operating its wireless network without the ability to privilege, degrade or prioritize any traffic."

AT&T's vote came only after the SEC forced it and other companies to allow net neutrality-related proposals, overruling AT&T's claim that they would interfere with "ordinary business operations." This margin is certainly high, but we would have been surprised by a favorable outcome for the proposal. Besides personal conviction, there's not a really compelling reason for stockholders to make a business tactic off-limits, and with the FCC unlikely to make rules for wireless networks in the same way it has wired ones, there's little incentive to self-regulate. Verizon will examine a similar measure in May, so we'll see whether its stockholders agree with those of its competitor.