Friday, September 03, 2010

The Wrangling on Net Neutrality Continues This Week

The debate on net neutrality rages on this week with AT&T checking with their position on the topic.  Not only did they effectively state their case for differentiated services, they also addressed the inaccuracies in the positions of the political opposition groups.  Mr. Hultquist noted, in his blog post, that the position of net neutrality groups like the Church of Extreme Net Neutrality (CoENN) will make the Internet a “dumb network.”  I applaud AT&T for coming out in support of differentiated services and backhandedly supporting the Verizon/Google principles.  Their article took the direct approach to dispel the myths of political opposition groups.

Declan McCullagh of CNET wrote a rather objective piece on AT&T’s announcement covering the basis for AT&T’s position.  In the article he presented an opposing views from groups like Free Press.  Mr. McCullagh shows the astute reader that AT&T’s position is based in technical facts while the Free Press’ position is based on opinion with no historical or factual basis.   I hope that CNET and the rest of the press will continue to provide objective reporting on the topic and continue to produce well researched articles like this one.

The FCC took some action this week requesting more data from Google and Verizon as reported by ARS Technia.  Anti-differentiated services proponents chastise the FCC for dragging its feet, but I think that it is giving industry time to align itself and reach an agreement.  I am sure that they will not public admit to this strategy, but their passive role and quiet support of differentiated services in their Broadband Performance report seems to support my supposition.  The FCC is treading lightly because it knows that net neutrality is a political hot potato, and if they take no action, then the political opposition groups will utilize the President to put pressure on the FCC.  They realize that their legal authority to implement net neutrality is weak so they will drive the industry through their inquiry process.  If they push the industry to address wireless networks as well then they can claim credit for being an active participant. 

Companies continue to come forth in support of differentiated services.  Hopefully in the coming weeks more content companies will release statements.  I would like to see a content provider like Vonage, Netflix, or Disney chide in the debate.  If these companies realize how differentiated services can allow them to compete and create new content delivery models, then the political opposition groups will not have much ground to stand on.