TriCom Technical Services

The Fate of Net Neutrality

In IT news on August 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Earlier this week the New York Times published Google and Verizon Near Deal on Web Pay Tiers, reporting the two giant corporations were in talks to “speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.” In this new agreement, content creators would be charged to essentially guarantee its content to receive priority over other internet content as it made its way to consumers.

Since the word has spread, media outlets have been in a frenzy over the agreement, citing it could be the very foundation to the end of net neutrality.

“Such an agreement could overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy known as net neutrality, in which no form of content is favored over another,” says Edward Wyatt of The New York Times. “In its place, consumers could soon see a new, tiered system, which, like cable television, imposes higher costs for premium levels of service.”

Are you interested in paying an even higher phone bill than what you currently bear for content-creator and service-provider determined “premium levels of service”?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Thankfully, the NY Times today reported a response in opposition of the possible agreement from the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

“‘Any outcome, any deal that doesn’t preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs will be unacceptable,'” said Julius Genachowski, F.C.C. chairman.

The F.C.C. is exploring options to reclassify broadband service under the Communications Act, allowing the agency to apply stricter regulations to, and therefore obtain more control of broadband service.

Edward Lazarus, the F.C.C. Chief of Staff who is assembling the meetings, stated the endeavor ‘”has been productive on several fronts, but has not generated a robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet, one that drives innovation, investment, free speech and consumer choice.”‘

According to Lazarus, at this time ‘”all options remain on the table as we continue to seek broad input on this vital issue.'”

Godspeed Mr. Lazarus.

[UPDATE 8/9/10] via ZDNet

Google, Verizon unveil proposal – not agreement – to help FCC with Net Neutrality policy

“Google and Verizon today unveiled a proposed compromise on how the Federal Communications Commission should frame legislature around the Internet, while preserving Net Neutrality.”

  • Make the FCC’s current wireline broadband openness principles fully enforceable at the FCC. Those principles ensure that consumers have access to all legal content on the Internet and can use any application, service or devices of their choosing. The Comcast court decision called the enforcement of those principles into question, the companies said.
  • New enforceable prohibition against discriminatory practices would prohibit wireline broadband providers from discriminating against or prioritizing content, applications or services that cause harm to users or competition. The principle includes a presumption against prioritization of Internet traffic – including paid prioritization.
  • Allow broadband providers to offer additional, differentiated online services, in addition to the Internet access and video services offered today. The companies note that it’s too soon to predict how these new services will develop, but examples might include health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options. The proposal includes safeguards to ensure that such online services are distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services and are not designed to circumvent the rules.
  • Different rules for wireless – for now. The still-nascent mobile landscape is changing rapidly. Under the proposal, most of the wireline principles would not apply to wireless, except for the transparency requirement. Also, the Government Accountability Office would be required to report to Congress annually on developments in the wireless broadband marketplace.

To read all seven elements of the proposal, visit ZDNet.com

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