Posted June 28, 2007 3:25 pm by with 3 comments

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Yesterday, Ars Technica (man, I love cool Latin blog names!) covered a report on Net Neutrality by the Federal Trade Commission’s Internet Access Task Force. The report, “Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy,” minimizes the debate, noting that there are few current problems in the area.

In a statement, FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said:

This report recommends that policy makers proceed with caution in the evolving, dynamic industry of broadband Internet access, which generally is moving toward more – not less – competition. In the absence of significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm, policy makers should be particularly hesitant to enact new regulation in this area.

Despite the official auspices of the report and statement, this marks only a recommendation to legislators, not law or official policy. The FTC also notes that the FCC and the Department of Justice could also claim jurisdiction over the issue. Because, you know, there just isn’t enough red tape out there already.

  • This is a very touchy subject. Should the government regulate bandwidth or not? There are definately pro’s and con’s to each side of the story.

  • David V.

    It’s touchy and complicated. The biggest problem with all of this is the duopoly (in some cases monopoly) on the public right of way last mile.

    Google just commented in their public policy blog about all this, referring to the public right of way last mile as the “on ramp” to the Internet.

    Excessively regulating private businesses in and of itself (IMO) is not something Congress should do, but when the nation’s access to the Internet is exclusively in the hands of a few companies the issue becomes a bit more complicated.

    A quick solution would be to require cable and telco companies to allow third party Internet providers access to the last mile (third party providers could operate their own networks from that point). This is something that has already been done in Europe and has helped accelerate access to broadband, access to faster speeds, and greater diversity in service offerings.

    It’s no wonder the US falls below Estonia in broadband penetration.

    More competition would let the market decide if deep packet inspection and service / site based network limiting is a superior approach to Internet access services.

    As it is now there are only two Internet providers in most markets and hence no real competition.

    The only reason net neutrality is even a debate is because just a few companies dictate access to the Internet for the entire country. Take away the duopoly and take away the problem.

    Net Neutrality is just a hack (all be it a necessary hack) for a non competitive Internet access market.

  • The above 2 gentlemen have evidntly been listening to the ISP’s position on this issue and thus have been deceived into thinking this issue is about ISP’s limiting bandwidth. It’s not, ISP can do that freely (and do).
    The ISP’s are wanting tom set up 2 internet classes. A fast lane and a slow lane that will get slower and slower with every month.
    The ISP wish to charge web site owners a new class of fees (we already have to pay for our bandwidth, the more files we serve the more it costs us) and charge them whatever they want to gewt into the fast lane. Everyone else gets the slow lane.
    Sounds a little dirty but still mostly innocent right?
    Guess what they really are wanting: The right to deny any competition or unfavorable opinions from that fast lane.
    Imagine an ISP (like comcast) that also sells video on demand. What do you think they will do with Netflix web site if they get this legislation? Since they can set the price to access this fast lane to anything they want they will simply price it out of reach of netflix (“The cost for that is 150% of your yearly gross sir…”). Bam instantly they have no competition.

    They also have shown a key desire to stifle opinions that conflict with their own, blocking pro-union web sites during a strike for instance.

    What do you think they would to to Clinton and Obama’s web sites?

    Texxs’s last blog post..Back into the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) Program