The FCC's Net Neutrality Announcement: The Good, The Bad

Postby RaharuAharu » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:47 pm

http://gizmodo.com/5703253/fccs-big-net-neutrality-speech-the-good-the-bad-and-what-it-means-for-you


The FCC's Net Neutrality Announcement: The Good, The Bad, and What It Means for You
[img]http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2010/12/fccseal2.jpg
[/img]




Today, the FCC's chairman will deliver a speech essentially outlining the agency's stance on net neutrality—and making an exciting push in its favor. The news isn't entirely positive though—net neutrality might be preserved, but it'll be expensive.

FCC chief Julius Genachowski plans to back new government rules that would prohibit your ISP from blocking legal content. That means that Comcast, for example, couldn't block Netflix, in an attempt to bolster its own streaming video offerings. The Washington Post is also reporting that Genachowski's proposal would block Comcast from even slowing down Netflix. So, basically, these are the prime tenants of net neutrality. So this is good news! No anti-competitive behavior from ISPs.

But.

In what appears to be a pretty major concession to the companies carrying your data, Genachowski's speech will give the thumbs up to tiered internet service, establishing cheap-o plans for those leaning most on email and other data-light activities—and potentially gouging bandwidth-hungry users. Under this rule, ISPs would be able to restructure their business along the lines of cell carriers—buy more to get more.

Interestingly (and to some, disappointingly), the FCC has chosen not to throw down and impose its sole authority to regulate the internet by reclassifying its legal status as something similar to telephone lines. It's a weaker approach—surely one easier to swallow for the ISPs—and one that'll open up the push to attacks from courts and an anti-regulatory lawmakers.

As well, Genachowski will support separate, non-public internet channels—what many feared would become "second internets"—but says they must be justified to the FCC and shown to not undermine the real internet.

For wireless broadband—the frontier of the speedy net—things are a bit murkier. Genachowski says there are "differences between fixed and mobile broadband," and will "address anticompetitive or anticonsumer behavior as appropriate." Whatever "differences" and "as appropriate" means remains to be seen, although he's still promising a basic ban against wireless broadband providers blocking rival content entirely. But weasel terms in policy making are never good news.

At any rate, the speech is—for today—just a speech. Just a stance. The FCC won't vote on anything until December 21st. But it shows that the FCC still isn't giving up on net neutrality, even if it's going to have to compromise along the way. [NYT and Washington Post]

Send an email to the author of this post at sbiddle@gizmodo.com.
Hello! *~( ! !)>
Alien Parachronism
Image
User avatar
RaharuAharu
1000 Post Forum Master!

  Offline
 
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:09 am

Re: The FCC's Net Neutrality Announcement: The Good, The Bad

Postby Coda » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:24 pm

Tiered access plans to users doesn't violate the principles of net neutrality. Net neutrality is all about the backbone of the Internet and the companies that own the physical hardware. Neutrality would prohibit companies that have shares in the backbone from providing unequal access to other backbone providers.

Comparing it to cellular access isn't appropriate. If you want to make a parallel to cell phones, it would be like saying that people with AT&T phones in Detroit calling people with AT&T phones in Atlanta can only get high-quality sound if their call gets routed through New York (with lines owned by, say, Verizon, who AT&T paid money to), and if the call gets routed through Memphis (with lines owned by, say, Sprint, who might have had a big squabble last week with AT&T) instead they're going to be choppy and staticky. The customer isn't going to have a bloody clue how their call is getting routed, but they're losing quality of service due to corporate politics that they have no hope of influencing.
User avatar
Coda
Magickal Melon 666

  Offline
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:19 pm
Location: Holy crap, Coda set an avatar

Re: The FCC's Net Neutrality Announcement: The Good, The Bad

Postby Coda » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:11 pm

And speaking of Net Neutrality, I made an interesting comparison the other day.

Net Neutrality is simply environmentalism for the Internet. It's all about protecting shared resources. The same arguments and emotional appeals apply. And companies love to look like they support it (especially when it saves them money) but will quietly ignore it when it becomes inconvenient.
User avatar
Coda
Magickal Melon 666

  Offline
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:19 pm
Location: Holy crap, Coda set an avatar


Return to The Political Arena

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests