AT&T writes FCC in favor of paid prioritization

Customers who benefit from paid prioritization are not limited to " 'deep-pocketed Internet giants' as Free Press claims they would be," it continues, noting that the majority consist of small and medium-sized businesses.

The letter disputes several arguments against paid prioritization as inaccurate, saying such claims are made by "the proponents of the most radical forms of net neutrality."

AT&T points to two letters from the activist group Free Press and argues that "Free Press’s grossly inaccurate statements about paid prioritization highlight what [FCC Julius Genachowski] has aptly described as the 'danger of dogma.' "

Free Press is considered to use among the most extreme rhetoric in the net-neutrality debate. Parties much more moderate than Free Press have also expressed concerns about an Internet dominated by paid prioritization, however — they worry that it would provide too much of a competitive leg-up for big companies who could pay so that their traffic is delivered the quickest.

In releasing a net-neutrality proposal with Google last month, Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg made a point of stressing that the framework does not bless paid prioritization.

"As far as we're concerned, there would be no paid prioritization of any traffic over the Internet," he said.

Free Press is a small activist organization with assets valued at about $4 million last year. AT&T's assets were valued at about $268 billion the end of last year.