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Good Article Explains ‘Net Neutrality’ and the FCC: The Growing Bruhaha About How Cable Operators and Phone Companies Connect Consumers to the Internet

Sep 23, 2009  •  Post A Comment

This piece we suggest you read is a little geeky, but stick with it. The issue is an important one and affects companies in the the TV/video space; primarily cable operators and phone companies.

A large part of what’s going on has to do with the question of how high-speed Internet providers will provide video moving forward. Video generally takes up a lot of bandwidth, and it’s going to become more and more of an issue as consumers get want to get more and more of their video over the Internet. 

For all intents and purposes you know you’re reading about this subject when an article says it’s about "net neutrality."

Besides giving a good overview of this issue, the article outlines a multi-prong approach that the Federal Communications Commission seems to be taking to address the issue.

Here’s the article, from the website of Wired magazine–please click here.

–Chuck Ross

6 Comments

  1. The biggest thing you’ll see if this is allowed to happen is that ISPs will cease updating their networks.
    How can you offer VOD or VOIP if your network can be brought to its knees by the teens in your neighborhood downloading seasons of TV shows from some site in the Ukraine and your ISP can’t do a thing about it?
    Want to send an email? Sorry, you’ve got to get in line behind Johnny’s download of Spider-Man 4 a week before it hits theaters…

  2. Really? Long entrenched companies will suddenly refuse to try and stay competitive with encroaching ISPs (e.g. AT&T) entering their market? Not likely.
    Have you really ever had your email throttled by a slow network? I’ve never experienced that, and I stream video from Netflix constantly. I’ve also never had a problem with my VOIP because of strain on the network, and I’m a Time Warner customer. It’s the devil I know.
    What’s important is that ISPs be restricted from raising the rates on high speed internet access unless they can show they are actively upgrading the system, not just “planning on upgrading.”

  3. There’s actually a great piece in the WSJ arguing that Google isn’t exactly an innocent bystander in this whole net neutrality debate which segues into a few things; notably that while Google pretends to be against internet gate keeping, it does some questionable gate keeping of its own:
    1. Google picks winners and losers online through a search algorithm that no one can see and that constantly changes,
    2. Google discriminates in favor of corporate partners (through sponsored search results) and their own value-add services (by making YouTube videos, Google Maps results and other products prevalent in its search results), and
    3. Google discriminates against protected political speech (countless examples here and abroad).
    So the FCC has an important question to ask: as it considers revamping the rules of the online road, should it look at anticompetitve behavior among dominant Internet firms? The DOJ certainly seems to think so. And if the FCC believes antitrust law is sufficient to protect against misbehaving content/applications providers, is it not sufficient to curb bad behavior from ISPs?

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