Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings has posted a long write up on net neutrality on the company's blog today, discussing recent peering agreements and saying "a stronger form of net neutrality is required." This follows a peering agreement the company entered into with Comcast to improve its service for customers.
The FCC has outlined its reworked plan to achieve net neutrality, following its defeat in the federal courts last month, including the possibility of reclassifying ISPs altogether so as to force through rules. The Federal Communications Commission was told it did not have the authority to stop broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from prioritizing select internet traffic or, conversely, slowing other traffic, but the court pointed out that it may already have the power in other ways under existing telecoms laws. Now, FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler says he will "accept that invitation" from the court.
The internet as we know it is in peril. Verizon's victory in the court of appeal this week, seeing the FCC's attempts to regulate broadband providers in the name of Net Neutrality defeated, has the potential to change how we access the internet and web services like Netflix, Hulu, and others more fundamentally than 2013's SOPA threatened to. In question isn't whether internet access should be a free-for-all, but what it is fundamentally, legally classified as, and who therefore has control over what gets shuttled through: Verizon and the broadband providers, in control of the "pipes", or the FCC as protector of infrastructure that uses public rights of way. For all both sides are claiming some degree of victory this week, we're still no closer to settling that fundamental question.
President Obama won't take the appeal court striking down the FCC's net neutrality rules lying down, with a White House statement saying that the commander in chief is still "committed to an open internet." The surprise decision earlier today that US broadband providers could charge content companies to deliver at higher speeds has prompted renewed fears of a multi-tier internet where the best service is available only to those with the deepest pockets. Now, Obama has waded in with his renewed support for the principle of net neutrality.
This morning a court has struck down the FCC's ability to enforce certain key "Net Neutrality Rules" on companies that would favor certain kinds of web traffic over others. That's what Net Neutrality protects the public against, after all: with a "neutral" law in place, all web data is treated equally. Without these rules in place, companies that provide web connectivity are able to legally place restrictions on some content while making other content run faster - whichever they do so choose.
The seemingly endless saga over the regulation of the Internet in the US will be starting a major chapter this week as Verizon and the FCC head off to the US Court of Appeals over issues regarding Net Neutrality. At stake is not only the regulation of the Internet as a basic modern commodity but as well as the commission's ability to regulate it at all.
With the introduction of iOS 6 for the iPhone and iPad came the awesome announcement of Facetime video chat over 3G. Quickly after that appeared news dropped regarding AT&T charging additional fees for such usage. While they denied it initially, the end result is clear. Today a trio of public interest groups have filed a formal complaint with the FCC over AT&T's fees.
Net neutrality might be a bit of a touchy subject in the United States, but progress is being made in Europe. The Netherlands has become the first country to enact net neutrality laws, preventing ISPs from blocking or slowing down different types of internet traffic. It also stops ISPs from charging extra to access specific websites or services. The legislation was first put forward in June 2011, but just passed into law on Tuesday.
Comcast has already taken some heat over its Xfinity streaming media service, which offers up movies and TV shows to Xbox 360 users without eating into the ISP’s 250GB data cap. At the time, Comcast say that they weren’t violating any net neutrality rules, claiming that the Xbox 360 streaming didn’t travel over the public internet. CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, doesn’t think too highly of Comcast’s move, and has criticized the ISP over the issue.