Items tagged with Net Neutrality

If I were standing in front of an auditorium full of people and posed the question, "How many of you are in favor of Internet fast lanes?", I'd have to imagine that not a single hand would be raised. Well, unless someone who stands to profit from such mechanics is present, of course. Most people (rightly) believe that the Internet should be open. One website shouldn't be slower than another just because its owner can't afford (or didn't want to pay) a premium fee de-clog the lanes that people use to access their site or service. The mere thought of that is absurd, at least to me, but there's been the potential of it becoming a reality, and very few people are pleased. (Credit: j-o-n-o) You can... Read more...
This past Wednesday, several Republican senators argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the topic of Net Neutrality and the Federal Communications Commission. While a large amount of companies are asking that the FCC classify the internet as a utility, Republicans are arguing such a move would give the FCC too much power which would stifle innovation and have said that the FCC shouldn’t get involved at all. To that end, Senator Ted Cruz (Republican, Texas) said, “The FCC's latest adventure in net neutrality in my view would only serve to stifle innovation and would potentially subject the internet to nanny state regulation from Washington.” Cruz then said that net neutrality... Read more...
If you have been following the battle between cable companies and major online companies, you won’t be surprised when you notice a “Loading…” icon or banner on some of your favorite websites today. Proponents of the existing net neutrality rules have been encouraging everyone from individuals to major companies to express their opposition to any changes in net neutrality rules that might give cable companies an opening charge heavy data users (like Netflix) more. You might be greeted by a banner like this one when you visit websites today. The organization behind today’s “Internet Slowdown,” as it’s being called, is BattleForTheNet. It encourages... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission has been considering the implementation of new neutrality rules in an attempt to determine how internet service providers should manage web traffic on their networks. The outcry against the FCC and the concept of “fast lanes,” in addition to treating IPSs more like public utility companies, continues to grow with many network companies and equipment manufacturers going so far as to tell U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker how these policies could hurt the internet and U.S. economy. The latest group to join the protests and outcry are 33 companies that include Intel Corp, Cisco Systems Inc, and IBM. These companies, along with services such... Read more...
On September 10th, several of the popular websites you visit may appear to have trouble loading content, but that won't really be the case. All those slow loading animations are actually widgets, banners, and animated images provided by BattleForTheNet, a coalition of companies, organizations, and people who have come together to oppose changes to net neutrality rules and show what the web might look like if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows cable companies to charge for Internet fast lanes. Sites like Mozilla, Kickstarter, Reddit, Etsy, Foursquare, Vimeo, iFixIt, Tumblr, and many others will have widgets and other images posted on the designated "Go Slow" day in protest of net... Read more...
The battle for net neutrality is starting to feel like a never-ending one, but for the sake of having a truly fair Web, it's a battle of utmost importance. It's also a battle that you can help win, as the Federal Trade Commission seeks comments from the public on the proposed net neutrality rules. Originally, the FCC was going to cease receiving comments on July 15th, but a flood of last-minute comments poured in and ended up taking down the website that accepted them. The deadline was then extended until July 18th, but given the amount of attention this is receiving, the agency has once again extended the date, this time until September 15th. John Oliver explains, in layman's terms, why net... Read more...
For years, Verizon and the other telcos have imposed limits on supposedly "Unlimited" data plans and justified those limits with dubious appeals to network quality of service. While throttling data usage makes a great deal of sense in certain contexts (downtown rush hour being an excellent example), most companies don't throttle based on time of day or local conditions. Verizon's latest attempt to slice off a bit more profit for itself may have been a bridge too far, however, as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has gotten involved with investigating the company's practices. As we covered earlier this week, Verizon recently announced that it would "extend its network optimization policy to the data users... Read more...
From the beginning, the anti-net neutrality argument has been built on a single premise: Give companies free rein to charge more money for services, and they'll respond by improving the customer experience, rolling out service to more people, and aggressively adopting faster technology. Over the past few months, Netflix has served as an unofficial test drive for this theory -- the company has begun paying both Comcast and Verizon directly to improve Netflix performance. The result?  Comcast, at least, has improved dramatically. Verizon, on the other hand, continues to crater -- its FiOS service fell two spots to 12th place.   Verizon, naturally enough, has attempted to blame Netflix... Read more...
Ever since Tom Wheeler unveiled a plan last month that would allow Internet Service Providers to charge for paid content prioritization, accusations have flown thick and fast that the proposed rules would effectively kill net neutrality. On the side of "Scrap Wheeler's net neutrality plan" you have more than 100 corporations including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter. On the side of "Allowed paid prioritization" you have... well, the ISPs who see it as a marvelous way to increase profits without improving the quality of their product. Now, a pair of Democrats -- Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and Doris Matsui (D-Cali) have introduced a bill to the House and Senate that would require the FCC to enforce... Read more...
The FCC has confirmed that it will hold a May 15 vote on a new set of policies governing net neutrality and ISP behavior -- but according to the Wall Street Journal, the commission's proposed regulation will effectively kill the idea of a level playing field. The Wall Street Journal reports that the proposed rules would prevent ISPs from blocking specific websites, but would allow them to charge services like Netflix an additional fee for better access to end users. The paper claims that all "commercially reasonable" agreements would be permitted, with deals investigated on a case-by-case basis to ascertain whether the terms are reasonable. This is the opposite of what the FCC attempted to do... Read more...
Last month, Comcast and Netflix announced a controversial deal in which Netflix would pay Comcast directly for improved service. The reason this deal is controversial in many quarters is that it's seen as triple-dipping by Comcast -- the company is already paid by companies like Level 3, which provide Internet back-haul across the country, and it collects fees from subscribers too. Nonetheless, in the wake of the court case gutting net neutrality, the deal went ahead. That deal has paid off, at least in the short term -- Comcast subscribers are now seeing vastly improved performance with an average stream speed of 2.5Mbps, up from a miserable 1.15Mbps in February. Loaded with perverse incentives... Read more...
Proving once again that there are two sides to every story, a senior executive for AT&T fired back in contentious fashion at a blog post written by Netflix chief Reed Hastings calling for net neutrality. AT&T's Jim Cicconi called Hastings' plea "self righteous" and "arrogant," to use a couple of choice terms sprinkled throughout his rebuttal. Hastings on Thursday explained all the reasons why ISPs like Comcast and AT&T shouldn't charge third-party services like Netflix an "arbitrary" interconnection fee. His blog post was prompted in large part by a multi-year deal Netflix struck with Comcast to ensure that its streaming traffic would reach Comcast subscribers with less buffering... Read more...
After reading through the latest rhetoric by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, you get the feeling that he views his company's recent deal with Comcast as essentially sleeping with the enemy. The multi-year agreement ensures that Comcast subscribers will enjoy higher quality Netflix streams and less buffering, but Hastings warns that if left unchecked, ISPs will be free to charge increasingly higher interconnection fees to third-party services. From the vantage point of where Hastings is sitting, these types of fees are nothing more than an "arbitrary tax" imposed by companies that are free to levy them because of their position in the market place. This puts companies like Netflix in an awkward position... Read more...
Proponents of net neutrality were dealt a major blow last month when Verizon challenged and defeated the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the U.S. Court of Appeals over what ISPS are and are not allowed to do. Other than some transparency rules, it was ruled that broadband providers need not bother themselves with net neutrality, effectively stripping the FCC of its power to enforce rules set in place. Put more simply, ISPs are now allowed to throttle Internet traffic as they see fit, and there's evidence to suggest that power is already being abused. A blog post by David Rapheal, director of engineering for iScan Online, a security scanning company located in the Dallas area, details... Read more...
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