FCC to decide on Net Neutrality rules – Who plays internet COP ?

by Jeff Wiener on September 21, 2009

copAccording to a recent Associated Press article, it looks like the head of the FCC, Julius Genachowski, will make an announcement on Monday which will propose prohibiting ISP’s from throttling, blocking, and “policing” the internet traffic going through their networks. This is part of a pre-election pledge that Barak Obama made promising net neutrality with laws prohibiting the carriers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from blocking traffic going through their networks.

Of course the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) and major carriers want the unencumbered right to decide what traverses their networks, and to some extent, rightly so. There are of course many issues which need to be addressed with regards to net neutrality, but, the carriers should have some control over what, and how much travels across their networks.

Federal and state highways have the right to decide how much of a toll charge they charge cars that travel across their highways. In the same manner, it does seems reasonable that a carrier should have some control over the bandwidth, quantity, and speed they provide to their clients. Those customers needing more bandwidth, speed, and less intervention pay more of a toll charge, and those customers needing less pay less. As applications become more bandwidth intensive, the carriers need to spend massive infrastructure dollars upgrading their networks, and equipment, capacity … all of which costs money. Unless the US Federal Government wants to subsidize these infrastructure upgrade fees, they should allow the carriers, to some extent, decide how much, and what fees should be charged for anything crossing their networks.

On the other hand, what I have objection to is the carriers selectively choosing certain applications, specifically the ones which compete with their own services, as the ones which need to be throttled. Voice over IP, and Internet TV is specifically sited as the traffic the carriers would like to throttle. VoIP services, like Skype, cost the carriers long distance revenue, and Internet TV cost the carriers lost cable revenue. For them to selectively decide to throttle that specific bandwidth is anti-competitive and the government should step in. They should treat all bandwidth equally, and charge network usage on a fair basis, not based on kind of traffic.

I have a problem with the carrier controlling the pipeline and the content on that pipeline and selectively choosing which services to throttle based on anti-competitive measures. I don’t have a problem with the carrier publishing rates for usage and speed. Let’s see what happens at Monday’s FCC’s commission hearing.

Written by: Jeff Wiener. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Identi.ca, or Friendfeed

{ 1 comment }

John Lye September 21, 2009 at 11:32 am

The carrier has no business controlling network bandwitdh, QoS, throttling. I would suggest under ANY circumstances.

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