Surprises

by Mike Masnick




Net Neutrality Back On The Table... In A Reasonable Way?

from the could-it-be? dept

Just a week ago, it looked like the telcos were going to get everything they wished for, when a new telecom bill showed up, with all the previously discussed language on net neutrality missing. On Monday, even former FCC chair Michael Powell told net neutrality supporters to give up on that lost cause, suggesting (bizarrely) that the government couldn't do anything because it's "broke." However, it appears that the loud protests, many of which came from big tech companies, have made some politicians realize that there are other corporate donors out there besides the telcos. Rep. Joe Barton, who just last week said there was no need for net neutrality seems to have changed his tune, now saying that a new version of the bill will have some net neutrality provisions included. Basically, the bill punts the issue to the FCC, but gives them the ability to deal with net neutrality complaints -- even (surprisingly) demanding that they respond to such complaints within 90 days. Another amendment being considered would basically require fairness in any tiers the telcos put together. In other words, if they offer a high speed/high QoS tier for their own voice or video offering, they would have to offer that same tier to other voice and video services. While there's still plenty of time to have this mucked up, this may be a reasonable compromise at this point. Even recognizing that Kevin Martin's FCC has been known to give the telcos everything they want, giving the FCC the power to deal with any violations makes a lot more sense than trying to write all potential issues into the law (which would most likely be disastrous).

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  • identicon
    Agonizing Fury, 5 Apr 2006 @ 6:55am

    if they offer a high speed/high QoS tier for their own voice or video offering, they would have to offer that same tier to other voice and video services

    This would not be hard to get around. All the telco would have to do is charge an extra $10 to all customers who want VoIP QoS (including their own VoIP customers) and then give customers a "Bundled Service" discount of $10 for getting their VoIP and internet trhough them

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  • identicon
    Paulaner01, 5 Apr 2006 @ 5:08pm

    Much ado...

    I hope you guys agree with me when I say that we need as little government as possible - preferably none! - when it comes to Internet access. Legislation is not going to solve problems, it will simply create more. More lawsuits, more disputes, more lobbying, more bureaucracy. I trust the consumer to be the most effective watchdog for any shenanigans.

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  • identicon
    oldhats, 6 Apr 2006 @ 3:32am

    I certainly agree, Paulaner...as far as I'm concerned, government regulation tends to stymie innovation and since (as you said) consumers are the best watchdogs, I think we should keep Congress out of the equation!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 6 Apr 2006 @ 2:13pm

    The idea that government is the source of all things bad and the private industry that is demanding a tiered, toll road on limited bandwidth is somehow the wellspring of innovation hasn't learned from the actual history of the internet. Damn near all of the "innovation" and certainly all of the basic design was academic and government funded--part, in fact, of the national defense effort. Had Bell had its way you'd have never been able to attach a modem to "their" network. The phone companies are by far the most profound enemies of innovation in this realm.

    The fantasy that leads to defending the landline phone monopolists over cable and municipal competitors on the basis of either "innovation" or "competition" is purely ideological based and has no relationship to the facts on the ground.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    oldhats, 8 Apr 2006 @ 7:03am

    John, I'd agree that the government is not the source of all evil. They do plenty of good things and there is a time and place for Congressional regulation. Having said that, I don't agree that the "landline phone monopolists" are the source of all evil either. First of all, as I said earlier, they are not, in fact, monopolists. The vast majority of consumers in this country have a choice of more than 2 ISPs. Moreover, funding the internet at its inception and regulating the internet are two differnet beasts. The internet and, I would argue, its innovative spirit have come a long way since the days of the national defense effort...and they've gotten there with a free market and with a lack of government regulation. I'm just not willing to roll the dice with Congress. It's just too slippery a slope. Is an internet tax next?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    pkp646, 9 Apr 2006 @ 10:49pm

    Keep 'em out of it

    When it comes to the government I always prefer a hands off approach. They've done a swell job with the railroads (I personally am not amused with the annual billion dollar bailouts of Amtrak). Besides, where is there a problem? I don't know of one. Is net neutrality being abandoned somewhere? I think not, I only here hypotheticals by doomsayers.

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  • identicon
    oldhats, 10 Apr 2006 @ 12:31pm

    I think you make a valid point, pkp. I think the outcry is premature at best. I've just not seen a problem that needs to be solved with regs or with legislation. And until there's a problem, I don't think we should set our sights on solving it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    freeinternet, 10 Apr 2006 @ 7:15pm

    Government involvement

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that government has no role in regulating inudstry. I have serious questions about allowing the government to be allowed to regulate the Internet. What if the government decides they want government sites to get preferred treatment? What if the government gets to control what sites we view? You might say, in response, that this is a hypothetical problem. Well, so is the problem of blocking Internet sites. If I had to flip a coin, I'll take the free market over governmental regulation any day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SayWhat, 25 Apr 2006 @ 10:00pm

    Internet super highway

    Would you "hands off" people do away with speed limits? Would you perhaps do away with air traffic controllers?

    Why do you want to allow the government to enforce laws relative to your daily commute but let a select few control the information superhighway? That's whacked.

    Incrementally you are going to wind up with an internet that looks less like the internet and more like cable Television. And it will happen one degree at a time so that (like the frog) you won't realize the hot water you are in.

    Call you Congressman and tell them hands off the internet - enforce nuetrality.

    SW

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    sagecast, 21 May 2006 @ 6:30am

    Readers of this comment thread should know that oldhats and pkp646 are part of a tag-team of industry shills who invade blog comments on net neutrality to argue against any government regulation of the telephone companies. Other names who run with this crowd are John Rice, lessgov, AJ Carey and Paulaner01. (Google any of these names in combination and you'll see how their game works).

    By tag-teaming the blogs, this small handful of individuals gives the false impression of broad popular support for an industry-friendly position.

    What they fail to point out is that Net Neutrality has been the rule that has governed access to the Internet since its inception. It's the reason that the Internet has become such a dynamic force for new ideas, economic innovation and free speech. What they really want is for Congress to radically re-write our telecommunications laws so that companies like AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth can swoop in and become gatekeepers to Internet content -- in a way that benefits no one except the largest ISPs.

    I'd like these people to tell us how it is that they appear together (usually one after the other) spouting identical industry talking points.

    What gives fellas? Are you being paid to do this? And by whom?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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