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Net Neutrality Wins Small Victory in AT&T/Bell South Deal

The FCC has approved the $86 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Bell South, after AT&T agreed to a number of concessions, including an important one on the issue of net neutrality.

One of the most important concessions is AT&T’s commitment to a basic set of principles that establish a practical implementation of Net neutrality. Specifically, it agreed “not to provide or to sell to Internet content, application, or service providers, including those affiliated with AT&T/BellSouth, any service that privileges, degrades or prioritizes any packet transmitted over AT&T/BellSouth’s wireline broadband Internet access service based on its source, ownership or destination.”

This is not the end of the whole net neutrality battle, but AT&T’s concession is certainly a small battle won for the likes of Google, Yahoo et al.

  • David

    All is not as it seems. Here is a response to this very article written by a close associate of mine who is very involved in Net Neutrality from the legislative side….

    at&t’s Net neutrality “concessions” are meaningless.

    The wording is a little tricky, but while they agree not to remove
    network neutrality from their standard network, hidden in the middle of
    a later paragraph is this sentence:

    “This commitment also does not apply to AT&T/BellSouth’s Internet
    Protocol television (IPTV) service.”

    At first that might seem innocuous, but at&t has always planned on using
    the IPTV network as that high-speed toll lane it wants Google, Vonage,
    FedEx.com, LexisNexis etc. to pay extra for.

    at&t isn’t even set up to put quality of service on their existing
    network — so the agreement not to violate network neutrality on that
    network is effectively meaningless. It is a sleight of hand that
    successfully fooled a bunch of people into supporting the deal.

    at&t promises not to violate network neutrality on a network they never
    intended to use that way, and carves out permission to use it on their
    new network, where they had planned all along to set up additional
    tollbooths. This loophole is a real noose around the neck of
    E-Commerce.