US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) this week filed legislation she calls the "Internet Freedom Act" to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's new network neutrality rules.
The FCC's neutrality rules prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling Internet traffic, prohibit prioritization of traffic in exchange for payment, and require the ISPs to disclose network management practices.
These rules "shall have no force or effect, and the Commission may not reissue such rule in substantially the same form, or issue a new rule that is substantially the same as such rule, unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act," the Internet Freedom Act states.
Le régulateur américain des télécoms (FCC) a adopté ce 27 février une nouvelle réglementation. Cette dernière interdit aux opérateurs de prioriser ou filtrer le trafic qu'ils transportent.
C'est une décision majeure en termes de neutralité du Net : Internet est maintenant considéré comme un "bien public", au même titre que le téléphone ou le réseau d'eau. Celui qui transporte est soumis à une obligation d'acheminement, et n'a aucun droit sur les données qui transitent par lui.
Les opérateurs sont très combatifs sur cette question pour une raison simple : « ils sont en position de faire du racket », explique Benjamin Bayart , président de la Fédération. En effet, ce n'est pas Youtube qui émet des données, mais l'utilisateur qui demande à voir des vidéos. Et ce dernier paye ! C'est l'abonnement qu'il a pris avec l'opérateur qui finance l'acheminement des vidéos jusque chez lui. Sauf que ça arrange bien l'opérateur de pouvoir aussi demander des sous à Netflix ou Youtube, parce qu'ils fournissent les vidéos que leurs abonnés regardent...
Et pour ce faire, ils pouvaient jusqu'ici volontairement ralentir le trafic vers ces derniers pour leur forcer la main pendant les négociations.
C'est ce type de pratiques qui sont maintenant encadrées par la nouvelle régulation de la FCC, que nous saluons à la Fédération FDN. Nous pensions voir venir une telle décision d'Europe, qui était, depuis 2009, bien avancée sur le sujet. Un texte protégeant la neutralité du Net a été discuté au Parlement Européen et est pour l'instant en attente au Conseil de l'Europe. La décision américaine aura peut-être, espérons-le, un impact politique, ce qui encouragerait l'Union Européenne à lui emboîter le pas.
The Drudge Report headline said it all: “NEW RULES: FCC Chair Unveils ‘Net Neutrality.'” That’s a pretty apt description of how the world sees FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s announcement today that he wants to change the way the nation’s telecommunications regulator views the internet.
The problem is that it’s not entirely accurate. To be sure, the FCC made a remarkable announcement—one that many pundits viewed as impossible a year ago—but it’s also easy to get caught up in the rhetoric and miss what’s really going on here.
You'll of course recall that the FCC's original 2010 net neutrality rules didn't do much of anything and exempted wireless networks completely, in large part because they were written by Verizon and Google. As such, companies like AT&T and Comcast actually really liked the rules, because, from their perspective, they effectively "settled the conversation," but in the process didn't even cover the biggest emerging technology in the history of the Internet (wireless), and generally allowed all manner of shenanigans provided ISPs were just clever enough with the presentation (or blamed the network congestion bogeyman).
Having covered conflicts in distant lands, we now turn our attention to our own native homeland, the Internet; where the battle for the hypersphere has reached new heights, as netizens take up arms against Telcoms and the FCC, to preserve the fundamental ethos that made the Internet what it is today: Net Neutrality. What is Net Neutrality, and why is it so important to the future of the Internet? Find out by joining Robert Foster as he takes a whimsical trip into the World Wide Web, with its founder Tim Berners-Lee. Let's just hope no shady mega-corporatist, elite oligarchic malefactors pop up to mess with us on the way...
ISPs block and discriminate against applications and websites even in countries that require disclosure of the violations and even in countries with far more competition among ISPs than the U.S. A recent Oxford dissertation on the topic explores the wide-scale blocking and discrimination in the United Kingdom, a market with both considerable competition among ISPs and robust disclosure laws.
http://www.alissacooper.com/phd-thesis/ (How Regulation and Competition Influence Discrimination in Broadband Traffic Management: A Comparative Study of Net Neutrality in the United States and the United Kingdom)
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The advocacy group Free Press, along with a broad coalition of organizations, has delivered the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a petition with a million signatures asking to restore the federal protections for net neutrality that were struck down in court two weeks ago.
The petition shows there is public support for net neutrality, the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally. Providers should not be allowed to, say, charge different prices for using the internet to access different services, because it would restrict the way people use the internet to the benefit of corporations.
Netflix is worried, writing in a letter to shareholders yesterday, "In principle, a domestic ISP now can legally impede the video streams that members request from Netflix, degrading the experience we jointly provide."
Would ISPs really do this? It's too early to know just how they will use their newfound regulatory breathing room. But a report today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) details a couple of incidents from overseas that show how ISPs can make online video deteriorate in quality or simply disappear altogether. If these experiences are indicative of our net neutrality-less future, Netflix has good reason to be worried
Un rapport [PDF] sur le nouveau règlement européen relatif aux Télécom (Internet et téléphonie) a été présenté lundi 9 décembre devant la commission de l’industrie à Strasbourg. Il fait suite à une proposition portée par la commissaire européenne chargée de la société numérique, Neelie Kroes.
Cette proposition touchait notamment la neutralité du Net, principe fondateur :
les opérateurs (Orange, Free...) transmettent les données sans en examiner le contenu ;
les opérateurs ne sont pas autorisés à modifier ou censurer les données qu’ils font transiter ;
les opérateurs doivent assurer une transmission égale, quelle que soit la source (le site internet, le service) ou le destinataire (les internautes).
As long-suffering readers of this column will know, I've been following for a while the winding road leading to the European Commission's proposals regarding net neutrality in Europe. Along the way, there have been many twists and turns, with hints of first one direction, then another. But today, the Commission has finally released its plans - not just for this area, but for the whole telecoms market in Europe:
The Commission today adopted major regulatory proposals to complete the telecoms single market and deliver a Connected Continent. The overarching aim is to build a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries; making life better by ensuring consumers can enjoy the digital devices and services they love; and making it easier for European businesses & entrepreneurs to create the jobs of the future
Sous le feu de nombreuses critiques, formulées aussi bien à l'intérieur qu'à l'extérieur de la Commission européenne, Neelie Kroes a fait le choix de précipiter l'adoption de sa législation sur les télécommunications et ses mesures anti-neutralité du Net très controversées. La commissaire, après avoir nié l'urgente nécessité de légiférer sur ce sujet tout au long de la législature, tente à présent de passer en force un texte dicté par les lobbies, dans le plus grand mépris des citoyens européens. À quelques mois des élections, la balle est maintenant dans le camp du Parlement européen.
A new draft law on net neutrality and mobile roaming in Europe has caused conflict between European Union commissioners. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes was due to announce the so-called Telecoms Package on Wednesday, but other commissioners debating the proposed new rules on Tuesday raised concerns, particularly with regard to net neutrality. A leaked document from the justice department shows that Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is highly critical of the proposal.
For the past 3 years, a consortium led by Alcatel-Lucent has been working on technical, business and legal aspects of a plan that would effectively put an end to the free and open Internet we enjoy today. Under the guise of protecting Net neutrality, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes is about to give these big telecom companies a EU-wide legal shield to achieve their power-grab on the Internet economy, as confirmed by a new leaked EU Commission document. Such a shocking instance of corporate policy capture would have disastrous effects for freedom and innovation online.
The Network Neutrality Squad (NNSquad) is an open-membership, open-source effort, enlisting the Internet's users to help keep the Internet's operations fair and unhindered from unreasonable restrictions.
The net-neutrality rules now in place reinforce the Internet’s original design principle: that all traffic is carried equally and without any special charges beyond those of transmission. Among other things, the rules are a pricing truce for the Internet; without them, we can expect a fight that will serve no one’s interests and will ultimately stick consumers with Internet bills that rise with the same speed as cable television’s. [...]
Think of it this way: net neutrality, which sets all these prices at zero, is effectively a grand truce between the big app firms and the infrastructure providers. It eliminates an unnecessary middleman: consumers deal directly with content vendors and app firms. That’s a much healthier market dynamic than one driven by hidden, passed-on costs. If cable TV isn’t a good enough example, consider the dysfunction of the health-care industry, where consumers never see what they are paying for. That’s what the present rule avoids.
Finally, and most importantly for the public, the net-neutrality rule continues to provide a kind of subsidy to smaller speakers and startups, from bloggers to Quora and Wikipedia. The Internet would look a lot different if these kinds of players had to pay cable before reaching their customers. It would start to look a lot more like cable TV, and few things could really be worse than that.
Wheeler and the other members of the Federal Communications Commission will be very tempted to try and avoid and ignore net neutrality during Obama’s second term. If, magically, the rules aren’t struck down, they will have that luxury. But if the rules are struck down, avoiding the problem may lead to a replication of the horrors of the cable-television market. There’s trouble brewing; facing it is both the Commission’s responsibility and its destiny.
Tim Wu, @superwuster on Twitter, is a professor at Columbia Law School and the author of “The Master Switch.”
A repetitive theme in the media and at conferences in these "everyone is always online" times is how the growth in traffic on the Internet should be managed. The type of charging model that should apply is an equally obvious part of the debate. Net neutrality is often put forward as an important element in these discussions. So, what does the "Norwegian model" actually say about net neutrality when considering these issues?