In 2005, Madison River (rural local exchange carrier) tried blocking VoIP calls, prompting an FCC investigation of whether the company had violated its Sec. 201(b) duties as a common carrier. The FCC settled with Madison River after the company agreed to pay a fine and not to block VoIP services. Shortly thereafter, othercable companies said that they would not engage in such blocking.
"SHOULD THE ADMINISTRATION SEEK TOREGULATE BROADBAND PROVIDERS ASCOMMON CARRIERS, OR SHOULD THEINTERNET BE LEFT TO MARKET FORCES?" By Gowthaman Karunanidhi School of Information Studies Information Management Syracuse University
IntroductionWhat is Net Neutrality? It is the concept where the online web content must be treated equally The Internet speed must be the same over the networkWhat is throttling? It is a practice of slowing down specific types of data. ISPs have engaged in throttling that targets file sharing protocol. ISPs say that they do this kind of practise to keep their internet speeds fast, but it is basically a discriminatory practice that runs contrary to the principle of Net Neutrality, NN says all data should be treated equally with no preferences placed on them by providers The concept of Net Neutrality “doesn‟t allow the common broadband carriers to discriminate by using their market power” (Lawrence Lessig & Robert W. McChesney)
Background Information ISPs took their advantage in controlling internet activities (i.e. they tried to regulate the internet with their market forces) ISPs want to make more money by charging companies like Vonage, or websites like Facebook to make bits of information travelling on the internet faster for their clients, slower for competitors, or even block the bits travelling Example: Comcast tried to control internet activity among its customers by slowing down the access to BitTorrent (p2p application) Madison River Communications blocked ports used for VoIP applications Hence, due to these discrimination on the internet, the concept of „Network Neutrality‟ came into picture which was enforced by the Federal Communication Commission 47 U.S.C. 202: “It shall be unlawful for any common carrier to make any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, or services by any means or device, or to subject any person to any unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage”
FCC Rules Transparency: Fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services (how effectively the law will be) No blocking: Fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services No unreasonable discrimination: Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.
Bills H.R. 3458 (Internet Freedom Preservation Act) This Net Neutrality Bill was introduced in 2009 to: Amend the Communications Act of 1934 Establish a National Broadband policy Safeguard Consumer Rights Spur investment and innovation and for related purposes The bill was introduced to stop ISPs and their parent corporations from treating some web traffic unfairly They wanted all web traffic to be treated equally regardless of where it comes from or going This bill would allow the government to put into certain “regulations” which would ensure that all views and opinions on the internet are viewed in “equal” amounts It also affects the access providers in terms of money where they need to comply in accordance with the new policy with the existing infrastructure. Currently they are using the tiered service which I will be explaining later
The purpose of the whole bill is to set a new national broadband policy of net neutrality that is different from the current law and policy. This bill would force the telecom or cable industries to completely retrofit their networks/business models to net neutrality. Net Neutrality regulation would only stifle future investment in broadband networks and limit the ability of creators to protect their rights online. Also two bills where passed to protest FCC from regulating or ruling the internet (H.R. 3924 and S. 1836)
Tiered Pricing These types of net neutrality concerns brought in changes in available technology and demand have caused ISPs to consider providing “tiered service” business models. This service basically charges all the users different rates depending on their data-transmission needs and bandwidth usage Even though it has many disadvantages, this model improves the overall quality of serviceHow it affects an organization or individual? With tiered pricing, network operators will provide better service for people who pay more and the people who are not able to pay will receive a degraded service It also affects small startup organizations (websites) that will not primarily have funds to pay network operators to make sure that users can connect to their sites with high speed
Barack Obama’s Statement on Net Neutrality Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet This principle will ensure that the new competitors, especially small or non-profit organization have the same opportunity to bring on innovation on the internet and to reach large audiences “Barack Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others”
Stakeholders Neutrality generally supported by: Consumer organization Education and library community Content providers Net Neutrality generally opposed by: Hardware companies Telecom/cable industries Major institution