Groups push alternate net neutrality proposals
A U.S. Senate committee plans to take up the issue on Thursday
IDG News Service - In an effort to advance the net neutrality debate in the U.S. Congress, two groups have offered their own proposals to prohibit broadband providers from discriminating against competing Internet content, while allowing providers to separate parts of their networks for specialized products.
The civil liberties advocacy group Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and New Yorkers for Fair Use, whose members include business people and technology advocates, both released net neutrality proposals today, two days before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is set to debate the issue as part of a hearing to amend a wide-ranging communications bill.
The proposals differ in their approaches, but both would allow broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. to separate part of their broadband pipes for services they or their partners offer. But on the public Internet, broadband providers would be required to treat all content equally.
The CDT wants a "narrowly tailored" set of net neutrality rules, even though large broadband providers have questioned the need for new regulations, said Leslie Harris, CDT's executive director. Broadband providers have said new rules aren't needed because there's no evidence of them blocking or impairing competing content, but a lack of broadband competition makes for a "significant risk" of that happening, Harris said.
If Congress fails now to pass a net neutrality law, it will be difficult to later force broadband providers to retroactively change their business plans if problems do occur, she said. "In our view, the Internet is too important -- the openness of the Internet, the democratic platform it creates, the economic engine it creates -- to take that level of risk," Harris added.
The CDT proposal, available online (download PDF), would require broadband providers to treat all Internet content and services equally. At the same time, the providers could experiment with private network services where they could make exclusive agreements with services such as broadband video, a practice that some net neutrality advocates object to.
The CDT plan would allow Congress to monitor the Internet for evidence of discriminatory treatment.
The second proposal, authored by Seth Johnson, a member of New Yorkers for Fair Use, would also allow providers to offer tiered services, but they would not be able to classify them as Internet services if they discriminate against competing content.
Broadband services that divide content being sent over the Internet would destroy the standards that are the foundation of the current Internet, Johnson said. If broadband providers can set their own transport standards, the Internet would stop being a public medium, he said.
Among those endorsing the Johnson proposal are David P. Reed, a contributor to the original Internet Protocol design; Miles R. Fidelman, president of The Center for Civic Networking; and Peter D. Junger, law professor emeritus at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Congress needs to clarify the meaning of Internet connectivity, the Johnson group said in an e-mail.
"In effect, under the present circumstances, the system of developing specifications, which involves the writing and review of formal documents known as RFCs, which has held since the beginning of the Internet, would be tossed out by a few large providers and equipment manufacturers and replaced by corporate fiat," the group said. "IP-layer neutrality is not a property of the Internet. It is the Internet."
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Gov't Legislation/Regulation White Papers | Webcasts