Regulators Reshape the Internet

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
Rich Tehrani
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Regulators Reshape the Internet

It is pretty amazing to see how many separate issues are surfacing that could affect the future of the internet. The FCC and government have their plates full deciding what to do with telcos and their potentially anti-competitive practices.

The first issue at hand is net neutrality. Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the  “Internet Freedom Law” this week.

Rather than detailing specific regulations, the new Markey bill calls on the FCC to conduct a “thorough inquiry” to determine “broadband policies that will promote openness, competition, innovation, and affordable, ubiquitous broadband service for all.”
 
Part of the commission’s task is to conduct an “Internet freedom assessment” to determine whether or not service providers are adhering to “the Commission’s Broadband Policy Statement of August, 2005,” which prohibits actions that might interfere with users’ ability to access or use lawful content and services over the Internet and to attach any legal device that does not harm the network.

Next up is the case of BitTorrent and specifically, the fact that Comcast has been caught throttling traffic from this peer to peer file sharing network often used to send and receive videos. Comcast says they are within their rights to throttle bandwidth as needed to ensure things like voice get the proper quality of service while others are concerned that throttling bandwidth relating to applications violates the concept of net neutrality.

Finally, the issue of short codes has surfaced once again as Verizon has denied the use of these codes to Rebtel, a competitive service provider and others.

This month could be looked back upon as a pivotal one in the world of Internet freedom and the shaping of the world's net policies. One hopes that the proper balance is struck between service providers and web users allowing each to benefit while giving users freedom of choice and access to the best service at the best price.

See Charlotte Wolter's article titled Net Neutrality in the Spotlight Again for more on these topics.


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