It seems as if FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is the champion of the US citizen today at the FCC Forum as he seems genuinely concerned that there is discrimination taking place on the internet. Moreover he seems concerned about the problem of traffic slowing without disclosure.
This is exactly the issue I brought up last night and I agree 100% that Chairman Martin needs to ensure service providers are more forthcoming with what they do behind the scenes.
These providers are in a position of great power and I am all for them making money… I just want to ensure that there is full disclosure when they do things that alter our broadband access behind the scenes.
Here is what I said last night:
For example, I do not have an answer to the issue of service providers slowing down certain applications. If indeed this is done for the good of all users on the network, then is it so bad?
But then again, perhaps the biggest issue is that of transparency. If a service provider decides to take liberties such as slowing a customer’s internet connection, shouldn’t customers be informed along the way?
Likewise, some service providers will boot subscribers off their networks or put limits on their future browsing speeds if they exceed certain limits.
While it is nice for service providers to protect the integrity of their networks, who are they to arbitrarily do these things without telling their customers.
If service providers will engage in practices such as shutting off customers who go over certain limits it is incumbent upon the FCC in my opinion to force these providers to set up a web dashboard where users can see how close they are to going over their allotted download amounts.
Perhaps a three strikes and you’re out policy makes sense here.
In other words, service providers have a power over customers which seems awfully arbitrary and customers have shown they are not fans of this sort of behavior. I suggest the FCC spend some time discussing these issues with service providers if they want to act in the best interests of US citizens.
Here is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article which summed up Kevin Martin’s concerns:
From his remarks, Martin’s primary concern appeared to be around the extent to which Comcast told its customers the level of network management it was engaging in. He asked several witnesses about this particular aspect of the issue, noting his concern about the alleged lack of disclosure that occurred by the company.
So I have to say thanks Chairman Martin for being on the same page with the needs of US citizens. There are many factors of importance to consider in these deliberations but perhaps one of the most important issues of all is that of service provider transparency.