The Net Neutrality Nightmare

With the recent court decision throwing out the FCC net neutrality rules, there’s a legitimate fear out there that the Internet as we know it could be destroyed by greedy telecom companies that creat a pay-to-play system that benefits large web companies and screws everyone else. The prospects for destroying innovation on the web seem real, and articles like this detail the potential threat.

On the other hand, some who have studied the decision see some positives as well.

The real issue will be whether in the future there will be viable Internet access options that permit the free-wheeling web we’ve known for years. These huge telecom companies have these rights under rules permitted by the government. It seems to me that there’s a huge opportunity for politicans to push for net neutrality and the notion of non-discrimination on the Internet. There’s also an opportunity for ISPs who will market neutral online packages.

Let’s see how this plays out.

The battle for the tubes

As video downloads become more and more popular with services like Netflix, we’re going to see plenty of battles like this.

Level 3 Communications Inc., an Internet backbone company that supports Netflix Inc.’s increasingly popular movie streaming service, complained Monday that cable giant Comcast Corp. is charging it an unfair fee for the right to send data to its subscribers.

Comcast replied it is being swamped by a flood of data and needs to be paid.

Level 3 said it agreed to pay under protest, but that the fee violates the principles of an “open Internet.” It also goes against the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed rules preventing broadband Internet providers from favoring certain types of traffic, it said.

“Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content,” said Level 3′s chief legal officer, Thomas Stortz, in a statement.

Comcast called Level 3′s position “duplicitous” and said a previous deal for the companies to handle traffic for each other had become unbalanced in Level 3′s favor.

Stay tuned . . .

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