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Net neutrality – Who really benefits?

Posted by EtherSpeak on February 3, 2011

Contributed by: Bill Alessi, EtherSpeak Communications

As defined by Wikipedia, Network Neutrality (AKA net neutrality and internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for users’ access to networks participating in the Internet. The principle advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and the modes of communication.

About a month or so ago the FCC, approved in a 3-2 vote, to bar broadband companies from managing their networks in ways that unfairly discriminate against competitors.

Basically, the big names like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have been trying to put restrictions and limitations on internet users who are using the services of other providers such as NetFlix. IP based voice providers, such as EtherSpeak, have also been affected by this a bit as the “big guys” have been blocking or de-prioritizing voice traffic from competing service providers.

Consumers have been increasingly using their internet connections to watch their favorite TV shows and movies at a fraction of the cost of what the cable companies are charging, and using the services of Voice over IP providers such as Vonage and Skype to dramatically decrease their phone bills.

The regulations imposed by the FCC, approved in a 3-2 vote, would bar broadband companies from managing their networks in ways that unfairly discriminate against competitors. Infractions would be considered on a case-by-case basis but would probably include degrading the quality of rival video sites or charging a per site or per application extra fees for faster delivery over a broadband network.

The “big guys” would also have to disclose how they are managing traffic over their networks. According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, this would help to head off bad behavior.

So, what will this mean to the consumer? Sure, you can keep your Netflix, Vonage, Skype, etc. service, but your ISP is going to charge you a premium?!?

The “big guys” love this. Sure they won’t be able to block or degrade service from competitors (well they can, but might get a slap on the wrist or a bit of a fine), but they will get more revenue by letting their customers use services from competing service providers.

Hmmm. President Obama appointed Mr. Genachowski as FCC Chairman, knowing full well that his background was from SBC, which acquired AT&T. Some say this is a conflict of interest, some say not.

So, the question is, will the Regulations from the FCC regarding Net Neutrality be of benefit to the end user, or really to the “big guys”?

Bill Alessi
EtherSpeak Communications, LLC
SIP Trunk Provider
www.ietherspeak.com

 

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4 Responses to “Net neutrality – Who really benefits?”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SteveTaff, Neil Darling. Neil Darling said: Net neutrality – Who really benefits?: http://wp.me/pFCT7-3o [...]

  2. [...] Contributed by: Bill Alessi, EtherSpeak Communications As defined by Wikipedia, Network Neutrality (AKA net neutrality and internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for users’ access to networks participating in the Internet. The principle advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and the modes of communication. About a month or so ago the … Read More [...]

  3. Randy Wear said

    your post is unclear. on the one hand, multiple places you say that the FCC voted to bar the carriers from discriminating. Then you talk about how the consumer could pay a premium. So you are implying that the carrier would have to carry the traffic but could charge extra for it? If so, how is that not discrimination? How would you think this legislation wouldn’t benefit the consumer?

    • Bill Alessi said

      Hi Randy. Thanks very much for your response. To clarify, I don’t believe that the rules are quite clear enough. Yes, the rules are there in order to bar the carriers from discriminating but not specific enough. If a carrier shuts off a consumer for using a third party application/service they can get in trouble by the FCC, but the rules don’t really state that they can’t charge the customer some extra $ for using the application/service. So I guess my issue is, will these new rules really benefit the end user?
      -Bill

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