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Neutered Net Neutrality Is Worse than Worthless 2010/12/22

Posted by nydawg in Archives, Digital Archives, Information Technology (IT), Intellectual Property.
Tags: , , , ,

For the last few months [or years] some of us have been following developments related to today’s long-awaited [mislabeled?] announcement that  “FCC Acts to Preserve Internet Freedom and Openness” also known as “Net Neutrality.”

This is a very complex issue, but there’s some good articles that provide essential background.  As I understand it, one important part of the issue is whether the Internet (or associated broadband ISPs or carriers) are classified as “telecommunications services” or “information services”.  [Of course, there’s also some nitpicking going on about reclassifying and regulating wired services but not regulating wireless services (e.g. mobile broadband) (and still referring to both as broadband providers. . . . as per an agreement (proposal) from Google-Verizon a few months back).

So here’s the announcement from the FCC:

  • “The record and the economic analysis demonstrate, however, that the openness of the Internet cannot be taken for granted, and that it faces real threats. Broadband providers have taken actions that endanger the Internet’s openness by blocking or degrading disfavored content and applications without disclosing their practices to consumers. Finally, broadband providers may have financial interests in services that may compete with online content and services.”


And here’s an interesting article, “Net Neutrality Is a Ruse” with some typos:

“First, in classifying cable modem services as information services rather than as telecommunications services the FCC attempts to ignore the behavior of the cable companies. The decision ignores the fact that companies like Comcast are common carriers because Comcast is acting like a telecommunications company rather than an information service. Comcast owns the lines, and is agnostic about the content it carries. Or at least it was until it realized that it could favor it’s own content.

Second, just because the FCC bestows a service with the classification of an information service dosen’t necessarily mean that it is.”


So to put this in context, some people who are unfortunate (or unwitting) subscribers to Comcast’s monopoly have been caught in a battle between Comcast & Level 3 (partner of NetFlix) and the war front is online:


So when Comcast completes its deal for NBC Universal, you will understand why they have an incentive to provide better (faster) service for their Hulu videos and not such good service for NetFlix subscribers.

Some like Sen Al Franken (D-MN) are outraged and arguethis is the important free speech issue of our time and the FCC’s plan for a tiered system (w/ paid prioritization) is “worse than nothing.”

And here’s an article from earlier this year that quotes two pro-network neutrality academics

Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney [who] argue that . . . without net neutrality protecting the equality of Internet traffic, “the Internet would start to look like cable TV,” which would mean that a “handful of cable and telephone companies” could impose
“tollbooths at every on-ramp and exit on the information superhighway.” of the http://www.dgaquarterly.org/BACKISSUES/Winter2010/ThePiracyProblemNet…

And here’s a link to the “No Tolls on the Highway” Op-Ed by Lessig & McChesney from June 2006.




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