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Bad news. According to Ars Technica, the FTC has issued a guideline report (a non-binding report that is given to advise lawmakers and policy makers) critical of net neutrality.

In a statement, 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."

...And wait, the FTC argues that because the net neutrality debate has gotten press attention (albeit, very little) there is no need to actually bring regulation:

"As a byproduct of the ongoing debate over network neutrality regulation, the agencies have a heightened awareness of the potential consumer harms from certain conduct by, and business arrangements involving, broadband providers," the report states. "Perhaps equally important, many consumers are now aware of such issues. Consumers - particularly online consumers - have a powerful collective voice. In the area of broadband Internet access, they have revealed a strong preference for the current open access to Internet content and applications."

Further down the Ars article, the FTC report states that no further action should be taken unless the cable and telecom companies are actually shown to be abusing their positions. However, as I have stated, this is already happening. ISP's are now acting as deputies for the NSA or RIAA (AT&T), or they are artificially slowing people's connections (Time Warner).

Originally posted to Progressive Moderate on Wed Jun 27, 2007 at 06:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not only that, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but what would happen if some ISPs decided that they'd block certain technologies from even being used?

    P2P technologies like Bittorrent(which uses up a substantial amount of total bandwidth), which are widely used for legally and illegally sharing files, are being targetted by an ISP in Canada called Rogers. Rogers does this not by looking at the data being sent, not by looking at the packet headers or anything of the kind, but rather it analyzes your connection pattern and uses some sort of algorithm to determine if you're using the verboten technology. If you're guilty, Rogers will flood your ports, effectively making it hard to upload beyond a few kB/sec.

    It will happen in the states too, eventually, but in such a broader sense. They might want to establish a tier system, in which 1st tier sites go fast and the rest go slower, or ISPs might slow down connections from overseas or from competitors or from...who can say?

    •  It's bullshit (6+ / 0-)

      This is why I'm hoping that the like of FiOS and possible wireless broadband using the 700 MHz spectrum, begin to supplant cable and DSL. This will take away their bandwidth scarcity argument. Still, if I sign up for x number of Mbps for my service, I should not be deliberately be prevented from utilizing it. Also, what about iTunes? Just because it's not p2p doesn't mean that it doesn't take awhile to download movies from their site. And VoIP too. P2P may be the biggest bandwidth hog, but it is by no means the only one. Oh...and what will ISP's do once HD movies can be downloaded? An uncompressed HD movie will be gigabytes in size (a single Blu-Ray disk or a single HD-DVD is big enough to fit thousands of lossless songs and 3-4 regular-quality movies on)

      •  Totally. (5+ / 0-)

        I'm of the opinion that the internet should be provided  as is, unhindered by artificial caps, and unmediated by corporate interests. I even think that the government ought to make it freely available to everyone.

        And this is where wireless broadband comes in - much cheaper infrastructure needs to be in place when compared to having nodes on every block with lines running into every house. It's more easily scalable and more easily upgradeable...

      •  They aren't just trying to limit Bitorrent (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Progressive Moderate

        AT&T wants to make content providers pay a premium to ride fast on their 'tubes' or be pushed down to the slower toll roads, or languish into the digital ditch.  

        They think it's outrageous that Google is making so much money riding on their magic carpet 'for free' and they don't get a cut of it, and also don't like Microsoft for how much traffic it's MSN and other related sites generate.  Sort of forgetting the ISP's primary job is to provide the fast pipe that the customer wants with no fuss, no muss.

        AT&T is paid for their digital services.  Google pays heftily for it's side of the ISP services as well, as does Microsoft.  We don't need AT&T or Time Warner or Verizon deciding which web sites get to ride fast, slow, or not at all to us.

        AT&T would want DailyKos to pony up extra dollars to reach it's readers, or force it to take or add on it's advertising as the price of riding it's tubes.  Some ISPs are already experimenting with wrapping your browsing experience with their special wrapper and advertisements.  The battle to monetize anything digital that rides on the internet is just begun.  

        It is very important we keep on the government to keep net 'neutrality' where all information flows the same and freely.  This keeps the net democratic, evolving, and growing.  Trying to control it and stratify it will make it stagnate...end up like Fox News except it will be the totally Foxed Up Internet.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Wed Jun 27, 2007 at 09:05:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My own series of tubes is quite (0+ / 0-)

    narrow. But your marvelous tag came through. Thanks.

  •  Load of BS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Progressive Moderate

    The FTC is now a wholly owned subsidiary of mega corporations.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I am shocked, SHOCKED, that I have yet to read about this at any of the other news sites I hit up.

  •  A quick Google of Deborah Platt Majoras reveals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Deborah Platt Majoras was appointed May 11, 2004, by President George W. Bush to be Chairman and Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. Majoras was to fill the vacancy created by Timothy J. Muris, who announced May 11, 2004, that he would step down to return to academia. [1]

    According to Majoras' FTC profile, she was sworn in August 16, 2004, and President Bush had announced his intention to appoint her to the position on July 30, 2004.

    "The Federal Trade Commission chairwoman is the FTC's point person on its gasoline price gouging inquiry in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, in her prior life at the Jones Day law firm she was also the point person for ChevronTexaco and Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. In 2004, Senator Ron Wyden opposed her nomination for her refusal to outline the steps she would take to investigate and fight gas price gouging." --PERRspectives Blog, September 26, 2005.

    I'm telling you, every single Federal Commission is screwed... and screwing US.

    I hope Lincoln's ghost kicks Nixon's ghost around the Oval Office at night. Petition to impeach Gonzo -

    by feduphoosier on Wed Jun 27, 2007 at 08:19:02 PM PDT

  •  This is a more important issue than many realize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Take a look at the ftc report itself (PDF)

    Starting at chapter 3 (page 51), they present the arguments in favor of net neutrality legislation. I guess there are enough reasonable people there that they couldn't leave them out. In my opinion, they make a pretty compelling case against their own recommendation.

    Then they present the arguments against, ranging from halfway reasonable sounding to downright ridiculous. My favorite:

    Critics further observe that network operators have preferential partnerships with
    Internet "portal" sites to provide users with greeting homepages when they log on,
    as well as customized and exclusive content and applications. Similarly, they note
    that portals, search engines, and other content providers often give premium placement
    to advertisers based on their willingness to pay. In their view, these practices all
    constitute additional indicia of existing nonneutrality.

    English translation: They're already screwing us, so there's no need to forbid them screwing us more.

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