Archive for the 'Net Neutrality' Category

"Issue Brief: FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules and Implications for Research Libraries"

Posted in Internet Regulation, Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality, Research Libraries on January 26th, 2011 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Association of Research Libraries has released "Issue Brief: FCC's Net Neutrality Rules and Implications for Research Libraries."

Here's an excerpt:

FCC Votes to Enact "Net Neutrality" Rules: After years of debate and consideration, on December 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") voted 3-2 in favor of enacting a narrow set of net neutrality rules to regulate the practices of broadband providers. "Net neutrality" is the principle that Internet users should have the right to access and provide content and use services via the Internet as they wish, and that network operators should not be allowed to "discriminate"—slow, block, or charge fees—for Internet traffic based on the source or content of its message. . . .

The wording of the net neutrality rules, advanced by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, appears to reflect an attempt at a compromise between network operators and advocates for strong net neutrality protections—including ARL, ALA, and EDUCAUSE. Ultimately, however, the limited scope of protection in the rules has not fully satisfied the concerns voiced by parties on both sides of the issue and thus has set the stage for further debate over regulation in the courts and in Congress.

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ALA, ARL, and EDUCAUSE File Comments Supporting FCC’s "Third Way" Net Neutrality Proposal

Posted in Net Neutrality on July 18th, 2010 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and EDUCAUSE have filed comments with the FCC supporting the FCC's "Third Way" proposal.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The American Library Association (ALA) filed comments(pdf) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the commission’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on the Framework for Broadband Internet Service, commonly referred to as the "Third Way." The ALA has a strong track record of advocating for an open, or neutral, Internet. The ALA sees the Third Way as the most appropriate level of oversight as it provides the flexibility needed by the Internet community and also provides key protections to guarantee the public has equal access to the wide variety of online content readily available today.

The NOI proposes the FCC use a set of six provisions from Title II, two of which are particularly important to the library community. The ALA comments bring attention to the significance of Section 202, nondiscrimination, and Section 254, universal service. Including these sections is paramount to ensuring that libraries can continue to provide quintessential services to their patrons.

The ALA has long supported the concept of nondiscrimination which treats all Internet content equally. Libraries across the country provide the public with access to high quality educational and recreational online content – at no fee to the patron. In fact, 75 percent of libraries offer access to online databases that include business journals, full-text news articles, and job certification exams. Libraries provide patrons with downloadable and streaming audio and video content, as well as E-books. The ALA cautions that without Section 202 on nondiscrimination, this educational and other content could be relegated to the Internet slow lane by service providers in favor of content from the private sector.


EDUCAUSE: 7 Things You Should Know About Net Neutrality

Posted in Net Neutrality on June 27th, 2010 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

EDUCAUSE has released 7 Things You Should Know About Net Neutrality.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

Net neutrality is the principle that broadband Internet providers will handle all network traffic in a nondiscriminatory manner. The Internet was conceived as an "open" service that would operate under "common carrier" regulations, which requires providers to serve any customers who seek their services and to do so "indifferently." The principle was conceived to protect consumers from transportation providers that had a monopoly on transport facilities such as roads or canals and, later, wirelines. In 2005, common carrier requirements for broadband providers were lifted, opening the door to the possibility that providers could discriminate against certain users and certain content. Entities including higher education, public interest groups, and content companies are calling for federal authorities to guarantee net neutrality; many broadband providers oppose new regulations.


Net Neutrality: U.S. Court of Appeals for DC Rules FCC Lacks Authority to Regulate Comcast's BitTorrent Throttling

Posted in Internet Regulation, Net Neutrality on April 7th, 2010 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled in Comcast v. FCC that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require Comcast to stop throttling BitTorrent traffic.

Here's an excerpt:

Although the Commission once enjoyed broader authority over cable rates, see id. § 543(c)(4), its current authority is limited to setting standards for and overseeing local regulation of rates for "basic tier" service on certain cable systems. See id. § 543(b). In the Order, the Commission does not assert ancillary authority based on this narrow grant of regulatory power. Instead, the Order rests on the premise that section 1 gives the Commission ancillary authority to ensure reasonable rates for all communication services, including those, like video-ondemand, over which it has no express regulatory authority. . . .

It is true that "Congress gave the [Commission] broad and adaptable jurisdiction so that it can keep pace with rapidly evolving communications technologies." Resp't's Br. 19. It is also true that "[t]he Internet is such a technology," id., indeed, "arguably the most important innovation in communications in a generation," id. at 30. Yet notwithstanding the "difficult regulatory problem of rapid technological change" posed by the communications industry, "the allowance of wide latitude in the exercise of delegated powers is not the equivalent of untrammeled freedom to regulate activities over which the statute fails to confer . . . Commission authority." NARUC II, 533 F.2d at 618 (internal quotation marks and footnote omitted). Because the Commission has failed to tie its assertion of ancillary authority over Comcast's Internet service to any "statutorily mandated responsibility," Am. Library, 406 F.3d at 692, we grant the petition for review and vacate the Order.

The FCC issued the following statement about the ruling:

The FCC is firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans. It will rest these policies—all of which will be designed to foster innovation and investment while protecting and empowering consumers—on a solid legal foundation.

Today's court decision invalidated the prior Commission’s approach to preserving an open Internet. But the Court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end.

Read more about it at "Comcast 1, FCC 0: What to Look For in the Inevitable Rematch"; "Court Rejects FCC Authority Over the Internet"; "Is Net Neutrality Dead? (FAQ)"; and "Public Knowledge Explains: The Comcast-BitTorrent Decision."


ARL, EDUCAUSE, and Others Submit Net Neutrality Comments to FCC

Posted in ARL Libraries, Net Neutrality on January 18th, 2010 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Association of Research Libraries, EDUCAUSE, Internet2, NYSERNet, and ACUTA have submitted comments to the FCC on preserving open internet broadband industry practices.

Here's an excerpt:

In sum, the availability of low-cost, high-speed, nondiscriminatory Internet services is absolutely essential for colleges, universities, research institutions, and research libraries to achieve their missions in the 21st Century. The adoption of enforceable net neutrality principles will ensure equal access for non-profit voices, encourage competition in the online content and services markets, and preserve the cultural benefits that flow from the Internet’s open, democratic nature. By keeping broadband providers from discriminating against educational content and research, by barring broadband providers from raising artificial price barriers to competition, and by preserving open discourse and debate, net neutrality will preserve the principles that have made the Internet successful and transformative. We urge the Commission to adopt the six principles proposed in the NPRM [Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking] and to adopt meaningful enforcement procedures to ensure that they are implemented.


Bills Introduced in House and Senate to Block FCC Net Neutrality Regulations

Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality on November 2nd, 2009 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Senator John McCain has introduced the "The Internet Freedom Act of 2009" in the U.S. Senate and Rep. Marsha Blackburn has introduced the "Real Stimulus Act of 2009" in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both bills are aimed at preventing the FCC from imposing net neutrality regulations, saying: "The Federal Communications Commission shall not propose, promulgate, or issue any regulations regarding the Internet or IP-enabled services."

Read more about it at "House Bill Would Ban FCC Net Neutrality Rules" and "House, Senate Get Separate Bills to Kill Net Neutrality."


"Preserving a Free and Open Internet: A Platform for Innovation, Opportunity, and Prosperity"

Posted in Net Neutrality on September 21st, 2009 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The FCC has released the text and a digital video of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's "Preserving a Free and Open Internet: A Platform for Innovation, Opportunity, and Prosperity" speech at the Brookings Institution.

Here's an excerpt:

The rise of serious challenges to the free and open Internet puts us at a crossroads. We could see the Internet’s doors shut to entrepreneurs, the spirit of innovation stifled, a full and free flow of information compromised. Or we could take steps to preserve Internet openness, helping ensure a future of opportunity, innovation, and a vibrant marketplace of ideas.

I understand the Internet is a dynamic network and that technology continues to grow and evolve. I recognize that if we were to create unduly detailed rules that attempted to address every possible assault on openness, such rules would become outdated quickly. But the fact that the Internet is evolving rapidly does not mean we can, or should, abandon the underlying values fostered by an open network, or the important goal of setting rules of the road to protect the free and open Internet.

Saying nothing—and doing nothing—would impose its own form of unacceptable cost. It would deprive innovators and investors of confidence that the free and open Internet we depend upon today will still be here tomorrow. It would deny the benefits of predictable rules of the road to all players in the Internet ecosystem. And it would be a dangerous retreat from the core principle of openness—the freedom to innovate without permission—that has been a hallmark of the Internet since its inception, and has made it so stunningly successful as a platform for innovation, opportunity, and prosperity.

In view of these challenges and opportunities, and because it is vital that the Internet continue to be an engine of innovation, economic growth, competition and democratic engagement, I believe the FCC must be a smart cop on the beat preserving a free and open Internet.

The FCC also launched a new website: Open Internet.Gov.


Analysis of The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009

Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality on August 13th, 2009 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

In "Close Reading: The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009," Public Knowledge Policy Analyst Mehan Jayasuriya analyzes the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.

Here's an excerpt:

All in all, the Internet Freedom Protection Act of 2009 seems like a great first step toward the goal of enshrining net neutrality in U.S. law. It finally extends Carterfone rules to broadband providers, addresses the long-standing questions surrounding reasonable network management and ensures a number of much-needed protections for consumers. What remains to be seen is how the language of the bill will change as it works its way through Congress, how the FCC will choose to implement and enforce the provisions of the bill and whether or not the bill will be taken up by Congress at all. Only one thing is certain: those few, powerful opponents of net neutrality are not going to let this bill through without a fight.


Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009

Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality on August 2nd, 2009 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) have introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"The Internet is a success today because it was open to everyone with an idea," said Rep. Markey. "That openness and freedom has been at risk since the Supreme Court decision in Brand X. This bill will protect consumers and content providers because it will restore the guarantee that one does not have to ask permission to innovate."

"The Internet has thrived and revolutionized business and the economy precisely because it started as an open technology," Rep. Eshoo said. "This bill will ensure that the non-discriminatory framework that allows the Internet to thrive and competition on the Web to flourish is preserved at a time when our economy needs it the most."

H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, is designed to assess and promote Internet freedom for consumers and content providers. The bill will also require the FCC to examine whether carriers are blocking access to lawful content, applications, or services. The legislation calls for the FCC to conduct eight public broadband summits around the country no less than a year after the bill is enacted. These summits will be used to gather input from consumers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders on Internet freedom and U.S. broadband policies affecting consumer protection, competition, and consumer choice.

Here's an excerpt from the "Public Knowledge Hails Internet Freedom Preservation Act":

[Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge] "The requirements in the bill are very straightforward. In essence, the bill would return non-discrimination to communications law, preventing Internet service providers (ISPs), such as telephone and cable companies, from interfering in that end-to-end relationship. The requirements would curb the ability of ISPs from using the claim of network management to impose their own priorities on data traffic, based on financial arrangements or other considerations."


Bill Would Prohibit Internet Use Caps: Congressman Eric Massa to Introduce “Broadband Internet Fairness Act”

Posted in Internet Regulation, Net Neutrality on April 14th, 2009 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) has announced that he will introduce the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act," which would prohibit Internet use caps.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The Massa Broadband Internet Fairness Act would prohibit unfair tiered price structures from internet providers. The bill will also address the importance of helping broadband providers create jobs and increase their bandwidth while increasing competition in areas currently served by only one provider.

"I am taking a leadership position on this issue because of all the phone calls, emails and faxes I've received from my district and all over the country," said Congressman Eric Massa. "Time Warner has announced an ill-conceived plan to charge residential and business broadband fees based on the amount of data they download. They have yet to explain how increased internet usage increases their costs." . . .

In the past week, there has been a significant uproar in the Rochester, NY area regarding Time Warner's announcement that they will "test market" a plan to charge customers based on how much they download. The initial proposal was to introduce a 5, 10, 20, or 40 gb/month downloading cap. If customers went over the cap, they would start mounting additional fees.

Then today Time Warner announced a new tiered plan similar to the previous one. However, for a consumer to receive the same unlimited internet that they currently do for around $40 per month, they would be billed $150 per month under the new plan.

Read more about it at "Congressman: There Should Be a Law against Internet Caps!" and "Time Warner Faces Backlash on Broadband Caps."


What is Deep Packet Inspection? A Collection of Essays from Industry Experts

Posted in Digital Copyright Wars, Net Neutrality on April 7th, 2009 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released What is Deep Packet Inspection? A Collection of Essays from Industry Experts.

Read more about it at "Privacy Commissioner Puts Spotlight on Internet Monitoring Technology."


Net Neutrality: The Federal Communications Commission's Authority to Enforce its Network Management Principles

Posted in Net Neutrality on March 9th, 2009 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Congressional Research Service has released Net Neutrality: The Federal Communications Commission's Authority to Enforce its Network Management Principles. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Here's an excerpt:

In 2007, through various experiments by the media, most notably the Associated Press, it became clear that Comcast was intermittently blocking the use of an application called BitTorrent and, possibly, other peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs on its network. Comcast eventually admitted to the practice and agreed to cease blocking the use of the P2P applications on its network. However, Comcast maintains that its actions were reasonable network management and not in violation of the Federal Communications Commission's ("FCC" or "Commission") policy.

In response to a petition from Free Press for a declaratory ruling that Comcast's blocking of P2P applications was not "reasonable network management," the FCC conducted an investigation into Comcast's network management practices. The FCC determined that Comcast had violated the agency's Internet Policy Statement when it blocked certain applications on its network and that the practice at issue in this case was not "reasonable network management." The FCC declined to fine Comcast, because its Internet Policy Statement had never previously been the basis for enforcement forfeitures.

Comcast has appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as have other public interest groups. Comcast argues that the FCC does not have the authority to enforce its Network Management Principles and the Commission's order was invalid for that reason. The Commission argues that it has ancillary authority under Title I of the Communications Act to implement the broad statutory goals for an open, user-controlled Internet laid out by Congress. If the court finds that the FCC does not have the authority to adjudicate based on its Internet Policy Statement, Congress may face the question whether to act to give the FCC such authority in order to prevent anticompetitive conduct by broadband access providers. If the court finds that the FCC acted properly, the agency may continue to enforce these broad principles on a case-by-case basis.


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