Bandwidth Gatekeeper’s Jockey For Position

The bounty from the aggregation of all information globally, and global access to networks (the Internet), alongside the genius of search, the ability to syndicate and store, are some of the reasons why the world works so differently today. The freedoms these communications bestow have changed, relatively, global living more dramatically than the wheel or the capture of fire. Most people recognized that bounty as soon as they witnessed their first search to find something important or just from watching what comes across their desktop. Yet many of us have been waiting for that other shoe to drop every day. Yesterday was definitely a game changer for many of us. The "Comcast" battle, ostensibly ‘settled’ in this recent decision by the Federal Appeals guys, ought to be on the minds of everyone with cable, or an Internet connection, and anyone who cares what their family watches on the silicon screens we own. It surely will affect what your business pays for Internet.

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Justifying IT Security: Managing Risk & Keeping Your Network Secure
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Here’s what happened according to: Open Internet Coalition Calls for FCC Proceeding to Clarify Authority to Protect Broadband Internet. The Open Internet Coalition represents consumers, grassroots organizations, and businesses working in pursuit of a shared goal: keeping the Internet fast, open and accessible to all Americans.

“Today’s DC Circuit decision in Comcast creates a dangerous situation, one where the health and openness of broadband Internet is being held hostage by the behavior of the major telco and cable providers. The Court has taken an aggressive position, rejecting the FCC’s legal authority to implement broadband Internet policy under Title I of the Communications Act.”

"The Court’s sweeping decision eliminates the Agency’s power to either enforce the Internet Policy Statement or possibly to promulgate new open Internet rules to protect consumers and small businesses under Title I. As a result, the FCC is now unable to police broadband networks against anti-competitive and anti-consumer behavior by broadband providers, and may not be able to implement many of the elements of the National Broadband Plan, including comprehensive Universal Service Fund (USF) reform.

"The court recognized this issue and appeared to invite the Commission to proceed against Comcast and other broadband Internet access providers under Title II. Establishing limited Title II authority with restraint and forbearance over broadband Internet access will remedy the Agency’s own now-discredited attempt to cobble together ancillary authority under Title I. That effort, undertaken by the previous Administration, was based on numerous incorrect legal, technological, and market assumptions. By contrast, Title II authority rests on sound factual and legal grounds, and will serve as a strong foundational basis for the FCC to protect access connections for consumers and small businesses."

Here’s what happened according to Bloomberg:

"In a decision yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the Federal Communications Commission didn’t have authority to regulate Internet management practices by Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable company.

“Backed by companies including Google, FCC officials have pushed for rules that bar network owners such as Comcast and AT&T Inc. from limiting Web traffic. Regulators now will have to redouble efforts to assert control over the Internet, said Christopher Libertelli, director of North America government and regulatory affairs for Skype, a provider of calling via the Web.

"We’re trying to set up a framework so that the government has the tools to intervene should they find conduct that harms consumers,” Libertelli said. The decision puts “the Internet, a critical part of American business, into a no-man’s land.”

“Comcast’s victory may intensify debate over the role network owners can play in managing information flow over the Web. Companies such as Comcast have said regulators shouldn’t burden them with more rules and that competition will ensure an open Internet. Advocates of so-called net neutrality, including Google, Skype and Inc., say Web service providers can’t be left to favor some kinds of traffic over others.

“In the action voided by the court yesterday, the FCC had censured Comcast for blocking subscribers using peer-to-peer software often used to view videos. The FCC decision had been hailed by consumer groups as a step toward keeping Web traffic free of obstruction from corporations."

Now we think a lot more people than this have a stake in this sordid tale, but it’s hard getting folks attention with the complicated back-and-forth that has gone on with this argument for the last dozen years. Let us know what resources and stories you all have on this and we’ll try to point you to the right spots.


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