Monday, September 21, 2009

"The Open Internet: Preserving the Freedom to Innovate"

I believe we must choose to safeguard the openness that has made the Internet a stunning success. That is why today, I delivered a speech announcing that the FCC will be the smart cop on the beat when it comes to preserving a free and open Internet.

In particular, I proposed that the FCC adopt two new rules to help achieve this.

The first says broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications. The second says broadband providers must be transparent about their network management practices.

Given how out of touch and backwards government usually is on the Internet, this is a very welcome shock.


John Allen said...

Not a fan of Net Neutrality. If company x just hates 15 year old boys downloading/exchanging terabytes of data on their networks, the networks they built and maintain, they should have the right to not allow such activities. I am wary of any government involvement in the management of private networks except for national security reasons.

Matthew Woodward said...

But that concern can be handled in a bunch of different ways without the provider monitoring traffic, or worse, modifying packets before they're delivered to me, which some providers have started doing without telling anyone they're doing it.Some providers block bittorrent across the board. That's stupid. There's nothing wrong with bittorrent as a technology, but the RIAA and MPAA have done a great job of making bittorrent and "stealing stuff" synonymous, so when I was on Comcast, for example, I got a nasty email from them when I used bittorrent to download a Linux distro.Skype's another biggie. I'm buying a pipe from my ISP. If I choose to use Skype over that pipe, they shouldn't be able to tell me I can't because the ISP also sells phone service and is afraid I won't buy their phone service if I use Skype.If it's people eating up bandwidth that's the concern, then sure, put bandwidth caps in place. I don't have a problem with that. But when the provider of the pipe can dictate whether or not I can use bittorrent, or Skype, or they can have some company pay them a lot of money to inject ads in my traffic based on my demographic data and they don't tell me they're doing that and allow me to opt-in only if I so choose, that's wrong.Yes, the ISPs spend a lot of money on infrastructure. They also charge a lot for their services. And me using their pipe doesn't give them full reign over everything I do on it.

John Allen said...

I couldn't agree more that a service provider should NOT, NEVER, EVER modify packets. I also understand the argument of a provider not being a honest broker for competing companies/technologies that use the provider as their life blood, Skype is an excellent example.But, I also believe, eventually, we will have more and more providers which will let customers vote with their pocket books if a provider is being stupid or overly restrictive with there bandwidth/level of service.What I fear is that the FCC will jump the gun and regulate a little to quickly before we have a little more understanding of the unintended consequences.Customers should scream bloody murder if providers start to hassle them about using their networks for legitimate reasons, Comcast sent you an email about geeking out and downloading bitttorrent of an open source os? GRRRR.... I'm locked into Comcast at the moment and that would irk me.Regulation is necessary, regulation is sometimes extremely beneficial, but I feel that this experiment called the internet, is just a little to young to have broad, and I might say vague, rules applied to it just now. Although, I'm also a total hypocrite. I do believe that the government SHOULD start taking internet infrastructure a more seriously, and thus will lead to some regulation.