Entries with tag net neutrality.

US Regulator Announces AT&T Probe

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is investigating AT&T after the telecommunications giant announced that plans for its high-speed fiber network are on hold until net neutrality rules are finalized. The FCC wants more information about AT&T’s plans for its fiber network, which was originally announced in April 2014. AT&T was planning to introduce the service in 21 major US metropolitan areas, covering some 100 cities. The company says it can’t make such a huge investment without knowing how the services will be governed, particularly if net neutrality is adopted. The FCC wants to know specifically how AT&T reached the conclusion that the company would lose money by expanding its fiber network. AT&T made the decision in response to US President Barak Obama’s public support of net neutrality, in which he calls for US broadband services to be regulated like other utilities. (Techspot)(Fierce Telecom)

US Hardware Makers Say Added Net-Neutrality Regulation Could Hurt Internet, Economy

The latest salvo in the ongoing US Net neutrality debate is a letter from 33 hardware manufacturers in which they say that regulating ISPs like public utility companies could hurt the Internet and the US economy. The letter to US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, published by various media outlets and released 9 September 2014 by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, was signed by Cisco Systems, Intel, IBM, Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson, Panasonic Corp of North America, and other members of the Telecommunications Industry Association and/or the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. The US Federal Communications Commission is taking public comment on Net neutrality, a policy the FCC adopted in the FCC Open Internet Order 2010 that says carriers should provide the same level of service to all Internet traffic, regardless of source, content, or other factors. Supporters say this could let providers sell faster services to richer content providers, putting other providers at a disadvantage. Carriers say they should be able to run their networks as they see fit. A recent court decision said the FCC doesn’t classify Internet access as a telecommunications utility which exempts carriers from regulations such as Net neutrality. The commission is now considering reclassifying Internet access. The recent letter’s signatories say such a step would threaten growth and investment, including new deployments and network upgrades, ultimately affecting jobs and the US economy by creating “unnecessary obstacles.” Rather than devoting resources to building and improving infrastructure, they contend, businesses would be forced to move those resources to insure regulatory compliance. (Reuters)(PC World)(The Hill)

US Internet Companies Plan Net Neutrality Protest

As the public comment period on the US Federal Communications Commission’s controversial Net neutrality proposal draws to its 15 September close, major US Internet companies have organized a protest designed to increase public awareness of the plan. Companies such as Reddit, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Namecheap, and Vimeo, along with 35 advocacy groups, designated 10 September as Battle for the Net day. They posted graphic notices showing what a slower Internet would look like, saying this is what would happen without Net neutrality. Net neutrality, a policy the FCC adopted in 2010 that says carriers should provide the same level of service to all Internet traffic, regardless of source, content, or other factors. Without this, supporters say, providers could sell faster services to richer content providers, putting other providers and consumers at a disadvantage. Carriers say they should be able to run their networks as they see fit. A recent court decision said the FCC doesn’t classify Internet access as a telecommunications utility which exempts carriers from regulations such as Net neutrality. The commission is now considering reclassifying Internet access to enable Net neutrality. Battle for the Net day backers agree. The Sunlight Foundation—a nonprofit organization whose goal is to increase transparency and accountability in all levels of government in the US >— analyzed about 800,000 comments submitted to the FCC on Net neutrality so far and says it found less than 1 percent were clearly opposed to it. (The Verge)(Boing Boing)(Ars Technica)(Fight for the Future)(Battle for the Net)

YouTube Grades ISPs on their Video Services

Google’s YouTube now offers consumers the ability to see a grade for their ISP’s video-playback quality. A link that YouTube provides on its pages when a video experiences delays, asks, “Experiencing interruptions? Find out why.” Clicking on “find out why” takes users to the Google webpage at www.google.com/get/videoqualityreport, which displays a video-playback quality report card for their ISPs. Netflix recently offered similar messages when its video playback on Verizon systems slowed, saying “The Verizon network is crowded right now.” Verizon threatened legal action, and Netflix stopped the practice. All this appears to be the latest salvo in the US’s ongoing Net-neutrality debate. Net neutrality calls for ISPs to provide exactly the same level of service to all content, regardless of source, volume, or other factors. ISPs say they should be able to charge more for faster or higher-volume services that place more demand on their networks. Opponents say this would create a multitiered system in which only richer companies that can afford to pay ISPs will be able to offer better service. They say this would hinder competition and reduce the quality of service many people receive. A US judge recently ruled that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could not impose its existing Net neutrality rules because of the ways its policies were written. The FCC is considering new policies that would enable it to enforce some form of Net neutrality. (SlashDot)(Quartz)(re/Code)(Google)

Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

Cisco Systems has weighed in on the Net neutrality debate by saying that increased network activity requires some types of traffic to receive priority over other types. Net neutrality holds that service providers should treat all Internet traffic equally. The subject has been controversial, as service providers say that they should be able to handle their networks as they see fit. They also say content providers that provide large amounts of traffic—such as Netflix—should pay more for the higher volumes they create and higher speeds at which they want their material delivered. Opponents say this creates a two-tiered system in which only big, rich companies can afford to pay to have their traffic delivered at higher speeds, which would put other firms at a disadvantage. —Cisco says Web-based video services, home health monitoring, and public-safety applications are among the types of traffic needing priority access, while other types, such as email, could be delayed. “Different bits do matter differently,” stated Jeff Campbell, the company’s vice president for government and community relations. “We need to ensure that we have a system that allows this to occur.” Cisco continues to petition the US Federal Communications Commission for rules that allow broadband providers to manage their own traffic. “It's going to be more and more important to manage the traffic on the network in a way that does not treat all bits the same,” Campbell said. “That means using the intelligence of the network to ensure that those bits receive the quality of service they need.” A US court recently ruled that FCC rules don’t allow the agency to enforce the Net neutrality rules it adopted in 2010. The FCC is considering rule changes that would enable it to do so. (SlashDot)(Computerworld)(Reuters)

Proposed US Net Neutrality Rules Draw Fire

The latest attempts by the US Federal Communication Commission to draft Net neutrality rules has already met with backlash from open-Internet advocates who say the proposed rules will endanger the Internet. FCC chair Tom Wheeler said the detractors are wrong and that the new policy is consistent with the agency’s policy that “behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.” In 2010, the FCC adopted Net neutrality policies, which say that ISPs and governments should treat all Internet traffic equally, without blocking or charging more for certain types of content. In January, however, a US circuit court decided that the FCC didn’t have the authority under current law to impose such rules. The agency is now trying to develop new Net neutrality policies that will pass legal muster. The revised rules require ISPs to be transparent about network activity, particularly their network policies; and bar the discriminatory blocking of traffic based on content or the application or service, such as video streaming, used. However, they would let ISPs sell higher-data-rate services to content providers, subject to FCC review, rather than treat all traffic equally. Numerous organizations and individuals responded by saying that this introduces inequality into Internet services and thereby violates Net neutrality. They also say the policy would violate a 2007 promise by then presidential candidate Barack Obama to support Net neutrality. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposed rules on 15 May 2014, following a public-comment period and further review. (The Los Angeles Times)(The New Yorker)(PC Mag)(Businessweek)(The Associated Press)

States Probe Comcast-Time Warner Merger

Several states, including Florida and Indiana, are reviewing how the planned merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable might affect their residents. And several are joining the US Department of Justice to determine whether the transaction is legal under US antitrust law. A Comcast-Time Warner merger would control a third of the US pay-television video and high-speed Internet markets. US Senator Al Franken of Minnesota has petitioned the Justice Department, to protect the Internet as it evaluates the merger, writing, “I am concerned that Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable could compromise the open nature of the Internet.” “I am very concerned that Comcast could use its clout in the broadband market to dictate the content consumers receive and the prices they pay, and these concerns are only intensified by Comcast’s proposal to acquire Time Warner Cable,” he added. (The Hill)(Ars Technica)(Sen. Al Franken Website)(Reuters)

US Ends Administrative Control of Internet

The US will end its longtime administrative control of the Internet as it plans to transfer control to an international group whose operations will be determined during the next year or so. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will end its 15-year formal relationship with ICANN on 30 September 2015, when its contract with the organization expires. To prepare for the future, ICANN is developing a new Internet governance model that will include the public and private sectors, and, according to the NTIA, “maintain the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System.” ICANN has invited government agencies, companies, Internet organization and others to discuss the model at a meeting later this month in Singapore.


ICANN coordinates the Internet’s system of addresses and other identifiers. Many groups outside the US have argued for a decade that no single country should control an international resource like the Internet and have thus praised the US government’s decision. This push increased after recent revelations about US agencies using the Net to gather data on online communications. Many business leaders say this new approach will cause chaos in the management of the Internet, which they depend on for e-commerce and many other purposes. US officials say they have always planned to cede control of Internet administration to international control and have just been waiting for the right time to do so.
(BBC)(InfoWorld)(The United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration)

Net Neutrality Takes a Hit in Court

The US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC sent controversial US Federal Communications Commission rules related to Net neutrality back to the FCC for revision. The FCC said it may appeal the decision. The rules, which the commission adopted in 2011, say ISPs should treat all traffic the same, regardless of user, source, content, or platform. The concern has been that ISPs could block certain traffic to, for example, stymie competition. Verizon Wireless challenged the rules, saying it does not have the authority to regulate broadband providers. The Court of Appeals, in its 2-1 decision, said the FCC has a right to regulate broadband access but “overreached” by stopping broadband providers from determining how they manage Internet traffic on their networks. This means ISPs could charge companies distributing streaming media, such as Netflix, more for providing faster, more reliable service than other content providers receive. Telecommunications attorney Marvin Ammori said ISPs could do this for different customers for any reason, including whim, envy, ignorance, competition, or revenge. (Bloomberg)(eWeek)(The Los Angeles Times)(CNET)

Berners-Lee: Internet Must Remain Neutral, Free

The Internet is being threatened by “people who want to control it on the sly” via legislation and various actions by large businesses, according to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium. His comments were made in light of recent investigative news reports that the US National Security Agency had been collecting reams of personal information from social-networking sites and Internet firms. Berners-Lee said users must make Internet privacy paramount and asked governments to protect its neutrality and independence. Companies and governments all over the world trying to take control of the Internet in different ways, he said, is a bigger threat than a single corporation having an online monopoly. Berners-Lee delivered his comments at the recent Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year competition in Monte Carlo and also issued a statement to the Financial Times that has been widely reprinted. (The Telegraph)(CNET UK)(Reason)(WIRED UK)

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