In a move that we and every other content provider will strongly applaud, FCC chief Julius Genachowski will propose a series of network neutrality rules that will require content providers to treat all internet traffic equally, regardless of content. While no official announcement has been made, a public announcement is expected Monday.
Network neutrality is a contentious subject. In a way, everyone has an understanding that ISPs will provide an uninhibited flow from content providers to the end users without purposely affecting traffic. Companies that provide internet connections, like Comcast and Verizon, often discuss their displeasure in the fact that content providers, like Google and Amazon, make their profits using the infrastructure that the ISPs have set up, without having to pay for any of it.
In theory, ISPs could choose which traffic is allowed to travel over their pipes, blocking entire domains if they wanted to. While this has never officially happened in the US, there exist no rules to actually bar ISPs from doing so. While blocking domains is a rather draconian measure that would likely never occur, Comcast has been known to throttle BitTorrent traffic, giving other data priority over the file-sharing platform.
Comcast got a scolding from the FCC, but BitTorent wasn’t a company out to make a living, so there weren’t really any damages — other than the dishonesty over its actions to Comcast’s customers. Nevertheless, it’s easy to see how an ISP could throttle one company’s traffic over another’s, resulting in damages to a business.
The FCC panel is made up of Chairman Genachowski, two democrats, and two republicans. The panel previously voted 3-2 to favor net neutrality rules, so this could be an indication of how they will vote in the future to formally codify these rules.
Allowing careers to decide what services they will allow on their networks creates a fragmented experience. While the argument is that its their network the problem is that all networks are interconnected. Comcast customers at some point must use a rival carriers network. If bandwidth is a problem for Internet providers the can always raise prices on consumers. I think that would be the best way to go for service. To focus website providers for “fast lanes” to be would be anti-competitive. We all talk about free market but in areas where their are “duplication of services” the free market philosophy doesn’t apply. At that point it should be determined by what’s best for society.
there is a very easy solution to this. ISP’s and wireless companies should be able to provide just that, airtime or access to the internet via their cable. They should not be allowed to offer devices, that should be left up to the market. Just as anyone that wants to build an application that runs on MS Windows, a company should be able to build a device that can talk on anyone’s network. I as a consumer buys whatever i want. Then whatever service provider works best in an area i buy minutes. I can buy minutes at a grocery store, 7-11 whatever, then i scratch off the code and enter it into my device. How about my Nikon camera able to attach to a wireless network and send a pic i just took to someone. Just think of all the possibilities of devices that would come out of a million companies, shops and garages. Let the revolution begin