Has the War on Net Neutrality Begun?

14 Dec ’05

From BroadbandReports.com:

According to the Boston Globe, AT&T and BellSouth are furiously lobbying Capitol Hill for the right to create a two-tiered Internet, where a telco’s own traffic (and those who pay) would travel faster than competitor traffic.

The push would impact not only websites and VoIP, but also IPTV, the Globe reporting that “rival firms’ online video offerings would be transmitted at lower speed and with poorer image quality.” The telco justification is that since they’re paying so much for upgrades, their traffic should clearly have higher priority in a two-tiered system.

And again:

There is no need for the FCC to adopt rules protecting consumers’ ability to use whatever IP services they see fit, FCC chief Kevin Martin said today. “I’m hesitant to adopt rules that would prevent anti-competitive behavior where there hasn’t been significant evidence of a problem,” says Martin, just one day after the Boston Globe reported AT&T and BellSouth wanted to de-prioritize the traffic of websites, VoIP providers, and any other content carriers and competitors who didn’t pay them.

This is an issue I’ve written about extensively on this blog, as have many others. If the war has now begun, this is going to be significant. The oligipolistic utilities that have laid the pipe now appear to be attempting to lay down gates and toll booths.

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