FCC Moves Toward Net Neutrality Rules

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Bob26003, Dec 31, 2009.

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  1. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, in taking the first step toward creating net neutrality rules earlier this year, has reignited a contentious debate about government regulation of the Internet.

    Opponents of new net neutrality rules argue that an FCC proposal released in October would create intrusive new rules for the Internet and would mark a major shift in the U.S. government's generally hands-off approach to Web regulation. The FCC's proposed net neutrality rules would, among other things, require Internet service providers to "treat lawful content, applications, and services in a nondiscriminatory manner."

    New rules aren't needed, because there have been few examples of broadband providers blocking or slowing Web content and applications, critics said. "Where's the beef?" Barbara Esbin, a senior fellow with the free-market think tank Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), wrote in a paper published this month. "There is little or no evidence that broadband ISPs are plotting to alter the fundamental attributes of the Internet in such nefarious ways or of actual consumer harms from today's broadband network management practices."

    The PFF and other critics say net neutrality rules will hamper broadband providers' investment in their networks, by creating rules on how they can use those investments. The net neutrality rules could prohibit innovative, new business models focused on tiered pricing or specialized networks, critics have said.

    Backers of net neutrality rules say the FCC's proposal would simply reinstate old rules, relaxed by the FCC in 2005, that required traditional telecom carriers to share their networks. Rules are needed because there have already been examples of ISPs blocking or slowing Web content, they say, including Comcast's attempts in 2007 and 2008 to slow BitTorrent peer-to-peer traffic in the name of fighting network congestion.

    "Please keep the Internet business neutral, I am tired of hearing A&T and other businesses saying they are being hurt by net neutrality," Internet user Hawk Bailey of New Baltimore, Michigan, wrote in comments filed with the FCC. "Instead, they want to earn extra money and power by allowing companies to pay for priority access and requiring individuals and small businesses to do the same to compete."

    The debate over whether the FCC or U.S. Congress should create net neutrality rules has been simmering in Washington, D.C., for the better part of the decade. In 2005, the FCC ended requirements that traditional telecom carriers share their networks with competitors, and net neutrality advocates renewed their arguments that net neutrality rules were needed to protect consumers in a broadband market without many competitors.

    But Democrats in Congress were unable to push through a net neutrality law, and the Republican-controlled FCC was unwilling to act. But President Barack Obama said during 2008's presidential campaign that net neutrality rules were one of his top tech priorities, and Obama-appointed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski pushed forward with a net neutrality rulemaking proceeding this year.

    While activists on the far sides of the net neutrality debate have continued their rhetorical battles in recent weeks, some of the major companies involved in the issue have seemed to soften their stances. In October, the chief executives of Google, a major net neutrality advocate, and broadband provider Verizon Wireless co-authored a statement on finding common ground in the net neutrality debate.

    "It's essential that the Internet remains an unrestricted and open platform," both companies said.

    And AT&T, one of the most vocal opponents of net neutrality rules, said this month that "preserving the open character of the Internet is critically important to ensuring that all consumers have the opportunity to be creators of content and innovators from their homes or their garages."

    Net neutrality supporters, however, suggested AT&T's position hadn't changed that much, with the company still suggested the FCC shouldn't prohibit broadband providers from entering into commercial agreements in which they provide "value-added" broadband services to some Internet companies

    Some opponents suggested now isn't the time for the FCC to create net neutrality rules as the agency is also preparing a national broadband plan focused on getting more U.S. residents access to broadband service. Congress required the FCC to create the national broadband plan in a huge economic stimulus package passed early in 2009.

    Net neutrality rules seem at odds with expanding broadband access to more U.S. residents, argued Esbin and other critics.

    "The primary question that one should ask before embarking on a new regulatory regime is, 'will this help achieve the consensus goal of bringing affordable broadband service to all the people of America?'" she wrote. "Surely the goal will be made harder by imposing new regulatory constraints on the ability of broadband ISPs to provide service, manage their networks, and develop new business models as the needs of end users and Internet content, applications, and service providers change over time."

    Many older U.S. residents are concerned about net neutrality rules, added Bruce Yampolsky, president of the Missouri Silver Haired Legislature, a seniors advocacy group. "The FCC's actions relating to net neutrality could have a profound impact on our constituency's ability to access and adopt broadband Internet, creating yet another barrier for us to overcome," he wrote in a filing with the FCC. "We feel that your actions regarding net neutrality are misplaced given the state of broadband access and affordability in the United States."

    Net neutrality rules could create "onerous burdens" on ISPs even as the elderly and other groups of U.S. residents have low broadband adoption rates, Yampolsky wrote.

    Others argue that new net neutrality rules will give consumers control of their own broadband experiences and allow freedom of speech.

    "Net neutrality is what our country needs," Sheldon Peck, an Internet user from Newton, Massachusetts, wrote in a filing to the FCC. "Please DO NOT listen to special interest groups ... who are paid off by industry. Let's finally take back the airwaves for the citizens. It will re-empower this great, free country."

  2. nos nomed

    nos nomed Well-Known Member

    Thats kinda hard to actually understand the goals there are they attempting to restrict capitalist gain by forcing companies to share their empires with other companies or is it the government trying to slap comcast on the wrist for for the banning of high bandwidth users like they are known to do.

    Didn't Obama want a killswitch for internet in the U.S. for the supposed prevention of leaking of privledged information.
  3. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as communication that is not unreasonably degraded by other traffic.[1][2][3]

    The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for a given level of access, that the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access.

    Though the term did not enter popular use until several years later, since the early 2000s advocates of net neutrality and associated rules have raised concerns about the ability of broadband providers to use their last mile infrastructure to block Internet applications and content (e.g. websites, services, protocols), particularly those of competitors. In the US particularly, but elsewhere as well, the possibility of regulations designed to mandate the neutrality of the Internet has been subject to fierce debate.

    Neutrality proponents claim that telecom companies seek to impose a tiered service model in order to control the pipeline and thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity, and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise uncompetitive services. Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms.[4] Vinton Cerf, considered as a "father of the Internet" and co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the web, and many others have spoken out in favor of network neutrality. Bob Kahn, (also considered as a father of the Internet), has spoken against it.[5]

    Opponents of net neutrality characterize its regulations as "a solution in search of a problem", arguing that broadband service providers have no plans to block content or degrade network performance.[6] In spite of this claim, certain Internet service providers (such as Comcast) have intentionally slowed peer-to-peer (P2P) communications.[7] Still, other companies have acted in contrast to these assertions of hands-off behavior and have begun to use deep packet inspection to discriminate against P2P, FTP and online games, instituting a cell-phone style billing system of overages, free-to-telecom "value added" services, and bundling.[8] Critics of net neutrality also argue that data discrimination of some kinds, particularly to guarantee quality of service, is not problematic, but is actually highly desirable. Bob Kahn has called the term net neutrality a "slogan" and states that he opposes establishing it.[9]


    Proponents of net neutrality include consumer advocates, online companies and some technology companies.[23] Many major Internet application companies are advocates of neutrality, including Google, Yahoo!, Vonage,[24] Ebay, Amazon,[25] IAC/InterActiveCorp. Software giant Microsoft, along with many other companies, has also taken a stance in support of neutrality regulation.[26] Cogent Communications, an international Internet service provider, has made an announcement in favor of certain net neutrality policies.[27] According to Google:
    Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet. The Internet has operated according to this neutrality principle since its earliest days... Fundamentally, net neutrality is about equal access to the Internet. In our view, the broadband carriers should not be permitted to use their market power to discriminate against competing applications or content. Just as telephone companies are not permitted to tell consumers who they can call or what they can say, broadband carriers should not be allowed to use their market power to control activity online.
    —Guide to Net Neutrality for Google Users[3]

    Individuals who support net neutrality include Tim Berners-Lee,[28] Vinton Cerf,[29][30] Lawrence Lessig, Robert W. McChesney,[4] Steve Wozniak, Susan P. Crawford, and David Reed,[31] and President Barack Obama.[32][33]

    A number of net neutrality interest groups have emerged, including SaveTheInternet.com which frames net neutrality as follows:
    Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.
    —SaveTheInternet.com FAQ[34]

  4. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success.
    —Vinton Cerf in testimony before Congress February 7, 2006

    Without net neutrality, the Internet would start to look like cable TV. A handful of massive companies would control access and distribution of content, deciding what you get to see and how much it costs. Major industries such as health care, finance, retailing and gambling would face huge tariffs for fast, secure Internet use ... Most of the great innovators in the history of the Internet started out in their garages with great ideas and little capital. This is no accident. Network neutrality protections minimized control by the network owners, maximized competition and invited outsiders in to innovate. Net neutrality guaranteed a free and competitive market for Internet content.
    —Lawrence Lessig & Robert W. McChesney[4]

    Net neutrality means simply that all like Internet content must be treated alike and move at the same speed over the network. The owners of the Internet's wires cannot discriminate. This is the simple but brilliant "end-to-end" design of the Internet that has made it such a powerful force for economic and social good.
    —Lawrence Lessig & Robert W. McChesney:[4]
  5. nos nomed

    nos nomed Well-Known Member

    Cool thanks for the explanation I got it now. Kinda like trust busting of internet companies for penalizing users. Hope it actually goes then it pisses me off when I try to run limewire I can instantly tell comcast slows my connection.
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