Items tagged with Net Neutrality

Two events in the telecommunications and cable world this week have highlighted why, exactly, we need net neutrality and stronger protections for consumer rights. First, on the cable side of the business, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Eagle Communications, and Comcast have collectively introduced a bill into the Kansas legislature that prevents any city from rolling out any broadband infrastructure unless said area is completely cut off from the grid. Critically, the bill also claims that a municipality is "providing a video, telecommunications or broadband service" if it works through intermediaries, partnerships, on contract, or through resale. It would bar the use of eminent domain for the purpose... Read more...
Over the past few weeks, net neutrality has seen serious challenges from the likes of Verizon and AT&T. Verizon won a court case in which the FCC's rules on net neutrality were effectively gutted, while AT&T introduced a new pricing plan for content providers called Sponsored Data, which pushes companies like Netflix to pay an additional per-user fee to have video streams not count against that users' bandwidth. Everyone has been curious about how Netflix might respond to this, and now the company's CEO has tendered his answer in a letter to shareholders. CEO Reed Hastings has challenged the decision to strike down net neutrality in strong terms, writing: In principle, a domestic ISP... Read more...
As hard as it is to believe that such a fight could even exist, it looks like the courts are beginning to side with the likes of Verizon in the belief that ISPs should have the right to discriminate against websites. Net neutrality, a simple principle that states that the Internet should be "open" is at risk of becoming a moot point, nothing more than a pipe dream. On Monday, two out of the three judges on the panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals believe that the Federal Communications Commission, a major backer of net neutrality, lacks the ability to tell ISPs like Verizon that they can't pick and choose which sites are allowed to be delivered, or be unable to charge premiums to certain... Read more...
Well, it’s official: According to Reuters, the FCC’s Net neutrality rules have been published in the Federal Register. They'll finally go into effect on November 20th. We knew this was coming and discussed it last week, but the Federal Register publication was the last official step toward launching the new rules. Net neutrality has been endlessly debated and hotly contested, to say the least, and the war will not end when the rules go into effect. In fact, now that the rules are official, those opposed to them can now launch their respective legal challenges. Not only are ISPs such as Verizon going to raise a ruckus, Republicans are expected to mount a challenge, as well. (The FCC’s... Read more...
The U.S. government has never been accused of moving too quickly on anything, and the Net neutrality rules that the FCC released late in 2010 are no exception. According to Reuters, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget has finally signed off on the rules, which clears the way for implementation in the coming months. In a nutshell, Net neutrality concerns whether or not the government should regulate ISPs, and if so, to what extent. The new rules are, predictably, a compromise; if you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details, you can read the FCC’s document for yourself. To say that Net neutrality has been a contentious issue would be an understatement; even the... Read more...
For Comcast customer Andre Vrignaud, the internet is an important part of everyday life. Vrignaud, a 39-year-old gaming consultant in Seattle and a former Microsoft technology evangelist for Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE, has a lot of data: he has a 12TB basement server that he uses to store all of his music, which is ripped into lossless FLAC format and amounts to about a gig per CD. He saves all of his photos in RAW format, which can run over 10MB per picture. He uses the Carbonite online backup system, he uploads his music to the Amazon cloud music service, and he even does a little bittorrenting. All of this, on top of a roommate who is quite fond of multimedia... Read more...
The Canadian ISP, Rogers Communications, admitted yesterday that it throttles games like World of Warcraft in its bid to maintain QoS for all customers. The issue came to light when a Rogers subscriber filed a complaint against the company in February. The author details why she believes Rogers is filtering WoW via deep packet inspection , noting, for example, that running a VPN (Virtual Private Network) prevents players from being kicked out of game randomly. The complaint then discusses the available evidence that points back to improper throttling on Roger's part. Rogers employees on their own forums have been stating that these games use P2P to run, which is why they're being throttled, and... Read more...
Here's a surprise: Verizon isn't too fond of the FCC's Net Neutrality order. Actually, that isn't too much of a surprise. Many ISPs, cellphone carriers and other operators in this space are very hesitant to jump onboard the FCC's latest train, as any additional regulation and oversight into their industry could mean less control for how they conduct their own business. Verizon is in a very interesting position, though. Unlike many other carriers, Verizon has ties to a home-based Internet service (FiOS) as well as 3G and 4G wireless networks through Verizon Wireless. So the Net Neutrality order definitely touches nearly every major aspect of this company. This week, Verizon actually went so far... Read more...
Yesterday, a sharply divided FCC voted to 3 to 2 to approve new Net Neutrality rules. The vote went down as expected with Democrats voting in favor of rules intended to prevent broadband service providers from blocking content, and Republicans opposed, claiming that such rules are an unjustifiable (and potentially illegal) power grab by the FCC. The rules were not the hard-and-fast protection of content and Internet access that Net Neutrality advocates wanted to see, but a compromise. They include vaguely-worded wiggle room for broadband pipe owners and sidestepped rules for mobile broadband (3G and 4G). The word "reasonable" is the problem, i.e. the FCC rule regarding blocking content states,... Read more...
A big battle is happening over Internet service so, naturally, people have added large dollops of fear and misinformation and are shouting about it on Facebook. On December 21, the FCC will finally vote on adopting net neutrality rules. This may (or may not) have been caused by Comcast's spat with Level 3 now that Level 3 won a big contract to handle Netflix's video streaming. Grind it all together, output it to Facebook and you get this campaign: "Save the Internet: Stop Comcast from Blocking Netflix. Without strong net neutrality rules, companies like Comcast can demand fees from innovative companies like Netflix in an attempt to choke consumer freedom and coerce users to adopt its own video... Read more...
Last week, the New York Times showcased a story which implied Google and Verizon were coming to an agreement that would end net neutrality. Both Verizon and Google denied that claim, although indicating they were working on something. On Monday, the two corporations revealed the fruits of their labor: a joint proposal for how the FCC should handle net neutrality. Indeed, it was not the dissolving of the concept of net neutrality that the two firms were working on, but rather the fostering of it, exactly the opposite of what was feared. Net neutrality has been the guiding principle of the Internet until now, meaning that all content, regardless of its source, has the same "priority" as any other... Read more...
Net Neutrality has always been a hot button topic, just like anything else involving politics. What really pushed the discussion over the edge was Comcast's decision to throttle some users in hopes of providing a "better experience" for others; you can probably imagine why this made some people glad and some people upset. But the question always lingered: could Comcast really do that? As the Internet becomes more of an asset and a bigger factor in the global economy, we knew the American government would step in at some point to have their say. And now, the FCC is doing just that. Over the course of this week, the agency has been looking into how to best add some oversight to an Internet that... Read more...
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski has been much in the news over the past six months. As we've covered in the past, Genachowski has aggressively stumped for a national broadband policy, traveled the country, and under his direction the FCC has solicited comments from corporations and citizens alike. Last fall, the chairman took a stance in favor of net neutrality. With roughly a month to go until the FCC reveals its policy recommendations, Genachowski is trying to clarify what he believes the role of the FCC should and shouldn't be in the years ahead."I don’t see any circumstances where we’d take steps to regulate the Internet itself," Genachowski said... Read more...
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been a busy beaver as of late; we've previously discussed his thoughts on the importance of the Internet and the FCC's request for comments on how its Internet development funds should be allocated and used. The FCC chair spoke at the Brookings Institute in Washington today; his speech emphasized the FCC's support for network neutrality.If you aren't familiar with the arguments, or haven't paid attention, the question of net neutrality has been percolating for years, at a steadily increasing rate. The question at the heart of the debate is simple—should all Internet traffic be treated equally? Telcos and ISPs generally argue that it shouldn't; Comcast has particularly... Read more...
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