Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality / Recently Commented

Interconnection Disputes Are Network Neutrality Issues (of Netflix, Comcast, and the FCC)

A lot of people have been talking about the "interconnection" deal between Comcast and Netflix and whether that deal is related to network neutrality. (It is.) This question comes partly because the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order (also known as the network neutrality order) was recently struck down. So network neutrality lands back at the FCC, with a new Open Internet proceeding, at the same time Netflix starts working so poorly on Comcast that Netflix had to cut a special deal with Comcast. more»

Netflix Has Buyer's Remorse Over Its Paid Peering Deal With Comcast

Soon after capitulating to Comcast's surcharge demand for improved treatment of its traffic, Netflix got better downstream delivery speeds. Apparently Comcast did not have to undertake a major bandwidth expansion program. Much to the immediate relief of Netflix, Comcast merely needed to allocate more ports for Netflix traffic. So with a reallocation of available bandwidth, Comcast solved Netflix's quality of service dilemma apparently without degrading service to anyone else, upstream or downstream. more»

Comcast-TWC: Why Compete and Innovate When You Can Buy Market Share?

Expect a charm offensive as Comcast and scores of sponsored researchers explain how acquiring Time Warner Cable will promote competition and enhance consumer welfare. You might not hear too much about two traditional concerns remedied by actual facilities-based competition: incentives to innovate and reduce prices. Comcast will frame its acquisition as necessary to achieve even greater scale to compete with other sources of video content and maybe to compete with the limited other sources of broadband access. more»

Plumbing Neutrality

I've been having arguments about Network Neutrality with a lawyer. My position is that you can't adequately regulate ISPs to be neutral, because there's no agreement what "neutral" means in practice. He points out that the courts aren't interested in technical details like what packets are dropped, it's that all traffic has to be treated the same, and ISPs should just figure out how to do that. So I contemplated a city with Plumbing Neutrality with the simple rule that all people must be treated the same... more»

Internet Governance Outlook 2013: "Cold Internet War" or "Peaceful Internet Coexistence"?

Anyone who expected that with the end of the Dubai ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in December 2012, the heated debate on the future regulation of the Internet will slow down should remember to fairytale of the battle of the knight with the seven-headed dragon. Hardly a head is cut off, another is growing. In 2013 the discussion on Internet freedom will likely gain in sharpness. more»

It's Not Paranoia if They Are Really After You!

In the latest development from the World Conference on International Telecommunications, a new "compromise proposal" has been leaked to wcitleaks.org. This proposal is certainly no compromise, as it not only is a bald faced power grab by the sponsors (Russia, UAE, China, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan at this point), but shows a stunning lack of comprehension of how the Internet works and how it is currently governed. It also shows that the coalition of Civil Society groups and private sector organisations that have focused on WCIT have been correct all along.  more»

On Search Neutrality

In recent months there's been a robust and apparently well-funded debate about the legal status of search engine results, in particular Google's search results. On Tuesday, Tim Wu, a well-known law professor at Columbia weighed in with an op-ed in the New York Times, arguing that it's silly to claim that computer software has free speech rights. Back in April, equally famous UCLA professor Eugene Volokh published a paper, funded by Google, that came to the opposite conclusion... more»

"Toll Free" Broadband Service: Double Billing Ripoff Or Better Than Best Efforts Premium Option?

Representatives of both AT&T and Verizon have stated that their companies will soon offer "toll free" broadband services. So far they have not provided much detail, but the prospect for customer and content provider surcharges should trigger concern, even outside the context of the network neutrality debate. First let's consider the frame the carrier reps use: "Toll Free." This is an old school "Bellhead" reference... more»

Paid Peering: Issues and Misunderstandings

Recently I was asked for my opinion on Google paying France Telecom (FT) to deliver traffic into FT's network, i.e. Google paying to peer with FT. I wasn't aware Google pays FT. I don't even know if it's true. But I do know this is a topic fraught with misunderstandings. Also, if there is a "problem" here, the problem is one of competition (or lack thereof) in portions of the French broadband access market. It is not a problem that can be or should be fixed by "network neutrality" regulations or legislation. more»

New, Old and Forgotten Frames in the Network Neutrality Debate

One key reason for confusion about Network Neutrality lies in the many different and inconsistent frames used to shape the debate. The Tea Party has entered the fray by characterizing the matter primarily in terms of freedom. Republicans decry the "job killing" impact of the FCC's rules. Network Neutrality advocates appear ambivalent whether the FCC has capitulated to special interests, or shaped a pragmatic compromise. more»

Has the FCC Created a Stone Too Heavy for It to Lift?

After five years of bickering, the FCC passed an Open Internet Report & Order on a partisan 3-2 vote this week. The order is meant to guarantee that the Internet of the future will be just as free and open as the Internet of the past. Its success depends on how fast the Commission can transform itself from an old school telecom regulator wired to resist change into an innovation stimulator embracing opportunity. One thing we can be sure about is that the order hasn't tamped down the hyperbole that's fueled the fight to control the Internet's constituent parts for all these years. more»

How to Discredit Net Neutrality

On Tuesday (November 30) Internet backbone provider Level3 publicly accused cable-based ISP Comcast of trying to thwart competing video services delivered through the internet. Comcast was, according to Level3, suddenly choosing to charge it more because of its carriage of Netflix traffic. The accusation was consciously framed to raise net neutrality alarms. It appeared as if a cable TV giant was using its control of internet access to make access to a competing, over the top video service more expensive... Then the full story came out. more»

Bad Timing: Comcast, Netflix, NN, Cable Modems, and NBCU

Comcast, the largest broadband provider, largest pay-TV company, and third-largest telephone company in the country, distributes communications services to more than a third of the country. Today Comcast's existing overwhelming market power was on display in major public battles with (1) Level 3 and (2) cable modem manufacturer Zoom. The takeaway from today: No market forces are constraining Comcast -- or any of the other major cable distributors, none of which compete with each other. more»

UK's Largest ISPs OK with Giving Priority to Apps, Internet Services

Barry Collins reporting in PCPro: "The UK's two biggest ISPs have openly admitted they'd give priority to certain internet apps or services if companies paid them to do so. Speaking at a Westminster eForum on net neutrality, senior executives from BT and TalkTalk said they would be happy to put selected apps into the fast lane, at the expense of their rivals." more»

Network Neutrality in the Wireless Space

There's been a tremendous amount written about the Google-Verizon joint proposal for network neutrality regulation. Our commentary at the EFF offers some legal analysis of the good and bad in this proposal. A lot of commentary has put a big focus on the exemption for wireless networks, since many feel wireless is the real "where it's gonna be," if not the "where it's at" for the internet. more»