Martin in favour of Net Neutrality?

by alec on February 26, 2008

From here it looks as if the FCC is in favour of Net Neutrality.  At hearings held yesterday at the Harvard Law School, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin had pointed questions for the cable industry, and opined that any traffic shaping based on content must be "conducted in an open and transparent way".  Commissioner Michael J. Copps noted that cable policies had been decided "in a black box that the American public could not peak into".

This must make execs at BitTorrent, and Vuze hopeful.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Todd Spraggins February 26, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Transparency was definitely the keyword I picked up listening to the second panel, which would be a good step in the right direction. BTW, who is this Richard Bennett character – self proclaimed network architect and shill for the telcos – that was on the panel

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Prokofy Neva February 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I'm not getting this particular turn — and the entire issue leaves as you and the NYT present it leaves me unpersuaded.

It seems to me it isn't about "net neutrality," because the content isn't important. It's about "net behaviour". If someone is a resource hog and clogs up the bandwidth available by downloading an entire movie (probably a copyrighted movie at that), or game patch (BitTorrent is used for lots of game software for MMORPGs), then why is it that a 14-year-old kid can use all the resources of the system like that, and not have to pay extra, and slow down all the adults?

I absolutely fail to grasp this sense of entitlement. Bandwidth is a finite resource, a company will have to portion it out in some reasonable manner.

Why do you believe BitTorrent users have more rights to bandwidth than everyone else? They don't pay more.

Reply

Alec February 27, 2008 at 4:06 am

I don't think you're thinking through the issue carefully enough, Prokofy.

As a user, I want the carrier to provide me with a pipe. If my carrier also chooses to disadvantage certain kinds of content because it's to their commercial benefit, then at minimum I have a right to know before I purchase their service.

Carriers argue they should have the right to shape traffic in order to make better use of scarce resources. Users argue they've paid for the right to use the resource and accuse the carriers of manipulating the terms of the contract to advantage their own content.

The only solution is transparency. Tell me what content you're disadvantaging so I can make an informed decision about whether I want to buy from you.

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