Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What's next for net neutrality?

Over 29,000 comments were submitted to the FCC since they opened their inquiry into net neutrality in March. About 670 additional comments were filed by groups and individual Internet users yesterday, the deadline for responding.

IT World has a summary of some of the comments received, including this one:
Bonnie Bennett of California seemed to take a more individual approach in her e-mail to the FCC. "Free, unlimited access to the Internet is the modern-day version of how to educate the citizenry of a well-functioning democracy," she wrote. "Big companies and global corporations care a lot about profits and stockholders but not much about educating citizens."

Even Google and Microsoft have been advocating through the Computer & Communications Industry Association for a net neutrality rule to address the lack of competition among broadband providers:

Broadband providers "insult the commission's expertise by summarily proclaiming
the broadband access market competitive without any specific evidence of
competition," the group said.

The other side of the issue was represented in comments by Hands Off the Internet, an advocacy group representing AT&T Inc., Alcatel-Lucent SA, the American Conservative Union and other organizations:

"There is no current or anticipated content discrimination or service degradation justifying new regulations by the commission," wrote Christopher Wolf, co-chairman of Hands Off the Internet. "Moreover, regulation could well thwart Internet growth and make consumer access unfairly expensive."

Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web in 1989 at CERN weighed in on the side of regulation in an interview in IT World:

I think it's very important to keep an open Internet for whoever you are. This is called Net neutrality. It's very important to preserve Net neutrality for the future.

So, what’s next? Will government regulation be introduced or will the free market be allowed to determine this issue? Based on what I’ve read in the past month or so, I have a feeling that the FCC will advocate the hands-off approach supported by the recent FTC report, which cited existing anti-trust laws and a complaints procedure to protect consumers. Stay tuned….

Related posts:

Time is running out for net neutrality
Federal Trade Commission report on net neutrality
Net neutrality: 21 days left to save the Internet


Mimi Lenox said...

I've placed a Save the Internet icon in my sidebar. Thanks for the information!

One Eyed View said...

The results of this campaign seem to be leaning in the positive direction. I sure hope the "hands off" approach is taken.

Sharon E. Herbert said...

Thanks for spreading the word through your blog, Mimi!

Sharon E. Herbert said...

I would actually prefer to see some regulation introduced, at least in Canada to ensure that telcoms don't abuse their power. Telus, a major Canadian ISP for example, blocked customer access to a number of union web sites that were critical of the company during a labour dispute. Consumers shouldn't have to go through a lengthy dispute process every time an ISP decides to block or slow access.

Theresa111 said...


I received a letter from my Maryland senator. I posted it on BC discussion. "Save The Internet."

"Sleeping Kitten - Dancing Dog!"

Snoopy said...

Hi Sharon. What do you think about that ?