Print 59 comment(s) - last by Mithan.. on Jan 20 at 10:23 AM

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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RE: No s**t
By jak3676 on 1/16/2007 11:22:58 AM , Rating: 1
quote: telemetry data for a remote medical operation...

The problem is that people like this won't be paying for better servic, there's more money to be made in spamming I'm sure.

RE: No s**t
By masher2 on 1/16/2007 12:23:19 PM , Rating: 3
> "The problem is that people like this won't be paying for better servic, there's more money to be made in spamming I'm sure..."

Are you seriously suggesting that spammers will pay big bucks to send their billions of emails a fraction of a second faster? But that a remote medical operation costing say $300,000 wouldn't spend a few extra dollars to ensure a good connection, when it might mean the difference between life and death?

Do people not think anymore?

RE: No s**t
By jak3676 on 1/17/2007 11:56:38 AM , Rating: 2
Just saying the internet isn't always run by mainstream business. If you look at the companies that are pushing the technological edge with the internet it’s the pr0n industry, black-market & pirated DVD's.

Yes, there are plenty of better uses for this type of technology. But look at some of the packet counting programs out there and you'll see that they report more P2P and torrent activity than anything else. That is followed by other media sites (youtube, itunes, etc.) There is actually relatively low http/https type traffic. Other types of traffic are a really low %.

If/When this type of technology is released it will be used by those with the most $ to profit from it. That's not going to be university research, medical practices, or some other benevolent activity.

Do some research before replying - it may not be what you want to hear, but it’s the truth.

RE: No s**t
By masher2 on 1/17/2007 2:09:55 PM , Rating: 2
> " look at some of the packet counting programs out there and you'll see that they report more P2P and torrent activity than anything else...."

Of course. However, you've forgotten why people use those P2P programs. To get free stuff. Do you honestly think someone is going to pay a stiff per-byte charge to download a ripped CD or DVD, when it winds up costing them ten times what buying the original would? And the only benefit is slightly lower latency, that barely affects the overall download time?

> "Do some research before replying..."

Do some thinking before replying. No one is going to pay $200 to download the latest Britney Spears album. Advanced QOS services will be used by those who have a real need for them. At first, that means video conferencing, remote medical imaging, and other similar services.

RE: No s**t
By Mithan on 1/20/2007 10:15:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote: telemetry data for a remote medical operation...

They can already pay extra to get this over dedicated lines.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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