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Congress tries again to keep the Internet a fair playing field; telcos oppose

The topic of Internet neutrality continues to boil in Congress this week as congressional members debate over a new bill called the Internet Freedom Preservation Act. The new bill is a refined version of last year's mostly failed petition that did not gain majority house support due to Verizon and AT&T lobbying the stance that net neutrality is a non-issue. Content providers like Google feel differently, saying that a law must be passed to prevent network access providers from charging for prioritized network speeds and access. In fact, Google has taken its stance very strongly, previously announcing that it would take any network provider to court for anti-net-neutrality practices.

The new Internet Freedom Preservation Act proposes the same laws that many members of Congress feel American consumers want: no prioritized access to specific content providers and that all content providers should be treated equally. The new bill takes a step further and requires that network access providers allow purchasing of network services without requiring the purchase of other services.

Despite its incarnation as a new bill, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act faces the same challenges as its predecessors. Network service providers have begun lobbying against the act, claiming that Congress is wasting time fighting a problem that does not exist. Verizon for example, determined through a corporate funded survey that most Americans do not even know what net-neutrality is, nor are they concerned with it. Most people indicated on Verizon's survey that they were more interested in getting better programming for TV.

In an interview, Senator Bryon L. Dorgan said that he supports net-neutrality to the fullest and believes that without such a law, consumers would be hurt. "The success of the Internet has been its openness and the ability of anyone anywhere in this country to go on the Internet and reach the world. If the big interests who control the pipes become gatekeepers who erect tolls, it will have a significant impact on the Internet as we know it," said Dorgan.

Most service providers disagreed with Dorgan's statement, indicating that without corporate ability to charge for different tiers of network access or speed, it would impede and discourage network upgrading. This in turn would harm consumers in the end.

Despite the ongoing battle, a non-partisan group called Free Press is working to increase public awareness of net-neutrality and is also trying to involve public influence in law and policy making in Congress. Ben Scott, policy director at Free Press, told press reporters that he fully supports the Internet Freedom Preservation Act. "The American public has an overwhelming interest in seeing this bill pass into law, ensuring that the online marketplace of ideas remains open and vibrant," said Scott.


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The debate is on all over the world.......
By crystal clear on 1/16/2007 6:16:19 AM , Rating: 2
This article gives trends in Europe & Asia-good to know what goes on that side,can help the US to decide.

The future of 'telcos' may be 'comminfotainment'

(portions)

*Within five years or so, the familiar land-line "telco" and even the mobile operator will disappear, in his view. Instead, broadband service providers will replace them, selling packages, bundles or channels of communications, information and entertainment.

"Deutsche Telekom is already an infotainment company," Baujard said during a recent interview. "Telecom Italia — they woke up one day and decided they were going to be a media company. Asian phone companies are already content providers. I just don't believe there will be phone companies anymore."

*Another critical difference will be that these companies will focus on marketing a package of products, not a technology, he said.............

"Even today, you don't know whether it's UMTS, FTTH, GPON," Baujard said, tossing out a few obscure telecommunications acronyms. "Instead, it's 'X number of channels' for Internet TV, or 'X megabits per second' for browsing, or 'free calls from home.' This will be the core of their marketing campaigns for years to come."..........

Even better, we will be able to balance and customize our package ourselves, he said. In other words, we can tell the provider that getting smooth video on demand is more important to us than fast Web surfing, or that crystal-clear phone calls over our broadband connections should get the highest priority.

"You can use your bandwidth however you want," he said...............


*The challenge of this "comminfotainment" world of the future, he said, will be for policy makers to decide two critical issues: how to balance the interests of the consumers in getting access to content for a reasonable price against the interests of businesses in getting a reasonable return on their infrastructure investments — and how to guarantee a minimum quality ...............

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/20/business/pt...




By typo101 on 1/16/2007 6:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even better, we will be able to balance and customize our package ourselves, he said. In other words, we can tell the provider that getting smooth video on demand is more important to us than fast Web surfing, or that crystal-clear phone calls over our broadband connections should get the highest priority.


Does this mean you are against the current "net-neutrality" act? Or is that just one side of the debate?

Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't quite see how most of this comminfotainment fits into the issue being discussed.


RE: The debate is on all over the world.......
By Ringold on 1/16/2007 10:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
I think history has proved well enough that what ever business practice Europe engages in the smart money is on doing the polar opposite.

Beyond that, just crack open a text book regarding any type of modern economics or the history of economics in actions and find a time when government intervention the market has ever created noticeably positive results. There might have been an anti-trust case or something (though apparently not Ma Bell, since the market forces have deemed fit for the band to get back together again), but the idea that market manipulation flies in the face of economic theory by not creating deadweight loss but actually IMPROVES the market seems like precisely the sort of pipe dreams and fairy tales that has Europe staring low growth and high unemployment in the face.


By Christopher1 on 1/18/2007 6:37:02 AM , Rating: 2
The problem isn't that the market in Britain is overregulated. The problem is exactly the OPPOSITE, in that the United States and other countries are under-regulated.

Britain has the right idea: centralized health care (just like Canada), centralized transportation (buses, subways, etc.), and a bunch of other things.

The reason that Britain and other EU countries has problems is that everytime they get a good idea, they implement it too fast for the rest of the world to keep up, therefore they get socked when companies realize "Hmm...... I can go to the United States or another country, and I don't have to follow this STRICT laws on fair competition and other things..... I think I'll move here!"

The EU has to start mandating that newer ideas don't come into effect until 50% or more of the world mandates those policies, and start putting pressure on the United States and other countries to get them to fall in line and do what is best for the world.


RE: The debate is on all over the world.......
By Christopher1 on 1/18/2007 6:37:02 AM , Rating: 2
The problem isn't that the market in Britain is overregulated. The problem is exactly the OPPOSITE, in that the United States and other countries are under-regulated.

Britain has the right idea: centralized health care (just like Canada), centralized transportation (buses, subways, etc.), and a bunch of other things.

The reason that Britain and other EU countries has problems is that everytime they get a good idea, they implement it too fast for the rest of the world to keep up, therefore they get socked when companies realize "Hmm...... I can go to the United States or another country, and I don't have to follow this STRICT laws on fair competition and other things..... I think I'll move here!"

The EU has to start mandating that newer ideas don't come into effect until 50% or more of the world mandates those policies, and start putting pressure on the United States and other countries to get them to fall in line and do what is best for the world.


By Christopher1 on 1/18/2007 6:38:06 AM , Rating: 2
What in the world? I pressed the button once, and it posted twice? Strange.


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