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Summary:

The Federal Communications Commission has received 23,137 filings and more than 100,000 comments on its proposed net neutrality rules, that would prohibit both wired and wireless Internet service providers from discriminating against the content flowing across their respective pipes. We take a look at some excerpts.

The Federal Communications Commission has received 23,137 filings and more than 100,000 comments on its proposed net neutrality rules, which would prohibit both wired and wireless Internet service providers from discriminating against the content flowing across their respective pipes. They range from “form filings” that were solicited by the Free Press’ Save The Internet campaign, to a 255-page tome submitted by AT&T.

Free Press has done a nice job of excerpting out sections from filings that meet the pro-net neutrality stance of its organization, and Om has profiled what Skype has to say, so I thought it might be worthwhile to offer our readers a feel for what else has been submitted on the topic.

Over the next few days I’ll dig through more comments, assimilate information and come up with more articles, but for now here’s a quick snapshot. I’m acutely disappointed that what was supposed to be a “data-driven” process has produced so little data, and instead churned out hundred of pages of philosophical and legal arguments.

From AT&T:

The NPRM proposes all this new regulation, moreover, without any credible data-driven evidence of any market failure amid this robust competition. Instead, it bases its hyper- regulatory proposals solely on the basis of speculation that a market failure might arise someday in the future. This speculation rests on three deeply flawed premises: (1) that the Internet has always been a collection of “dumb pipes” that cannot distinguish among packets based on their associated applications or content; (2) that “[a]s a platform for commerce,” the Internet therefore “does not distinguish between a budding entrepreneur in a dorm room and a Fortune 500 company”; and (3) that only recently have new “[t]ools” emerged “that enable network operators to prioritize” particular data and that somehow threaten the Internet’s historic openness and “neutrality.” This threat, the NPRM posits, demands immediate, preemptive intervention.

From the National Cable and Telecommunications Association:

To minimize the damage to the continued growth and potential of the Internet, the Commission should limit any enforceable obligations to the four principles set forth in the Policy Statement, along with the proviso that permits reasonable network management – a proviso that, as proposed in the Notice, should be construed much less restrictively than in the Comcast decision. The addition of enforceable nondiscrimination and transparency principles would, unless very carefully tailored, seriously impair consumer welfare in the development of Internet services.

From Comcast:

First, if the Commission decides to adopt formal Internet regulations, it should limit such regulation to the first three principles of the Internet Policy Statement. This would address all of the hypothetical concerns that have been raised by various proponents of regulation, [ed. note: I find it awesome that Comcast is calling these threats hypothetical after it blocked P2P filings] with minimal disruption of the status quo. The Commission, however, should not adopt the fourth principle as a rule. It is a laudable goal to state that a broadband ISP “may not deprive . . . users of the user’s entitlement to competition among network providers, application providers, service providers, and content providers,” but the concept is too vague and is ill-suited as an enforceable regulatory standard. Rather, this principle should be retained as an overarching, aspirational policy goal for the entire Internet ecosystem.

From Google:

While regulatory oversight targeted to last-mile broadband providers is consistent with regulatory precedent and the Commission’s statutory mandates, the FCC’s authority does not extend to most web overlay applications and services. These software-derived offerings are not associated with either the network provider’s transmission functions or the source of potential FCC concerns, i.e., affecting the facilities of communications by wire or radio. 254 The FCC has broad authority to regulate communications in the public interest, but the Supreme Court has made clear that its jurisdiction is not unlimited.

From the Free Press:

In markets where technological change is relatively swift and competition is healthy, firms have a strong incentive to invest in order to keep up with or get ahead of their competitors. The current high-speed ISP market is characterized by swift technological change, but the overall level of competition is sub-optimal. The latter factor means that regulators must be vigilant to ensure that the lack of competition and presence of market power do not spill over from the ISP market into the adjacent content and applications markets. If ISPs are allowed to discriminate against content and applications, it will create incentives for them to profit from artificial scarcity by delaying or avoiding network investments — and it will reduce investment in the content and applications sector.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Let Ideas Compete

  1. Blah blah blah legal mumbo jumbo from all sides. So predictable. Makes you almost miss Ed Whitacre and the clarity of his “not on my pipes!” rant.

    Maybe it’s Friday but I think a mud-wrestling match between the telco/cable/google lawyers would be more entertaining, no? Last lobbyist standing?

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  2. regulate the people you happen to buy bandwidth from.

    tel

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  3. “Maybe it’s Friday but I think a mud-wrestling match between the telco/cable/google lawyers would be more entertaining, no? Last lobbyist standing?”

    I will pay for that, Paul. I don’t know, perhaps with tigers?

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  4. I’d pay to see Karl’s movie & software pirates fight it out with Skype for control of the last mile after the ISPs are forbidden from mediating the tussle.

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    1. And Richard, if the ISPs win you would have no choice but to pay to see such great content.

      Karl, you think tigers would be enough? I think Kyle McSlarrow can kill large felines with his bare hands.

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      1. Paul: Yes, folks would have to pay for an Internet connection to get on the Internet. After all, we ISPs are evil for asking to be paid for our services, because bandwidth just grows on trees.

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  5. [...] l’occasione, GigaOm fa sapere che Free Press s’è presa la briga di estrarre dei sunti, dei punti salienti da tutta la [...]

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  6. [...] l’occasione, GigaOm fa sapere che Free Press s’è presa la briga di estrarre dei sunti, dei punti salienti da tutta la [...]

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  7. [...] at the current debate in the US, we see that even if the authorities decide to protect net neutrality, as the Obama administration [...]

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  8. Among the filings I found most interesting were:

    1. Verizon/Google’s joint comment on their areas of agreement.
    2. Amazon’s change of heart.
    3. MIT guys Dave Clark, Bill Lehr, and Steve Bauer
    4. Farber and Faulhaber on the premises and implications of the proposed rules.

    The ISPs, predictably, suggested that the FCC has no more authority to regulate them than they do to regulate the rest of the Internet, and the content and services folks said “regulate the ISPs if you must, but leave us alone.” Internet2 said “we prioritize the heck out of our campus networks, but don’t let the ISPs do as we do.”

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  9. [...] at the current debate in the US, we see that even if the authorities decide to protect net neutrality, as the Obama administration [...]

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  10. [...] their common ground on network neutrality in January. However, a close reading of Google’s comments on network neutrality from the same time suggested that their work was a meeting of minds, not a [...]

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  11. [...] ano, uma consulta pública com o objetivo de criar algum tipo de regulação neste sentido recebeu dezenas de milhares de comentários, e entre os especialistas não há consenso sobre o real valor da ingerência de governos no [...]

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