Wednesday, April 16, 2008 11:30 AM PT Posted by Kajsa Linnarsson FCC to Hold Public Hearing on Net Neutrality
The debate around network neutrality remains a hot topic of discussion among telecom companies and service providers.
Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission will hold its second public hearing on broadband network management practices at Stanford University.
Federal regulators say they are considering taking steps to prevent cable and telephone companies from delaying the downloads and uploads of heavy Internet users. [...]
This is an important hearing. Should internet service providers (ISPs) be able to block access to products that compete with their own? How do you feel about your BitTorrent being throttled?
Right now, your broadband provider is probably a regional monopoly. Very few of us live where we can freely choose our broadband ISP. I have a choice between Cox (the cable company regional monopoly) or Qwest (the telephone regional monopoly).
Monopoly or no, keeping bits and bytes flowing smoothly and quickly takes money. Throttling high bandwidth users makes sense so that there is more bandwidth available for others... however, certain programs, like Skype, could be throttled too, giving favorable bandwidth to your local provider's competing product. What if Microsoft became an ISP? They could throttle query results from Google and thus provide more speed for MSN, for example. That is the essence of net neutrality: all users get fair usage. That is what the big row is over.