Net Neutrality Politics

The point is … to try to examine and digest all the perspectives on Network Neutrality (NN) and provide a baseline review of the sound bites and talking points and hopefully learn what is happening.  Cnet’s Marguerite Reardon, who writes the CNET column “Ask Maggie,” did a public radio chat with “All Things Considered,” an amazing show hosted by Robert Siegel and typically heard on NPR, and Maggie said, “the rules just adopted by the FCC are preventative. They have no effect on consumers today, but they protect them from hypothetical scenarios that could take place in the future. “  She went on to summarize, “In a nutshell, the purpose of the rules is to make sure fixed-broadband and wireless-broadband service providers do not favor their own traffic and services over a competitors’ traffic and services.”

She goes on to describe a 194 page document draft as complex and seems to think the inconsistencies between broadband and wireless apps- and how they are treated- will confuse an already bewildered public sector.  The article demonstrates some of the foul play and usual suspects as the AT&T’s are out there attempting to muscle their way back on to your desktops and mobil phones.  Once again, Skype takes a hit and continues to dangle any potential for an IPO at the whim of the Bell companies, or worse the regulators.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are lots of perspectives who don’t see this so much to favor consumers.  Over at Bruce A. Dixon, the managing editor, when asked how Obama was doing on NN and other communications’ issues, had some harsh words for President Obama’s performance the last two years regarding NN and a few other things:  “But it looks like the president lied to us about what those views were.”

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The “highway” metaphor has always served to describe the Internet well, so it is interesting to see how these new rules will affect the way we get around once again.  It reminds me a little of “toll roads” which were supposed to be paid by taxpayer monies, but when construction problems, or thieving politicians and contractors, stole the money, they needed to charge you twice for the damn road.  Toll roads may be the ultimate scam on taxpayers, and those handy little gadgets they now sell us so they can take our money from our banks, make it an elegant thievery.

Instead of making access to the Internet super easy and competitive, the entire U.S.A. has been put behind the 8 ball because our politicians can’t keep their hands out of telcom’s dirty pockets.  Dixon reminds us, and we all need this reminder, that those air waves, and the money to exploit them, were given to the giant telecoms for the greater good.  Now, according to Dixon, the conservative court, ala the previous administration, could care less about an open and free Internet.  They’re most keen on giving all the power and money to the big guys, since most of these judges will no doubt be getting their son or daughter a job lobbying for one of them.

Dixon questions the wisdom of an actual “declaration” by Obama or any administration,  “a presidential and FCC declaration might bring on what the telecoms and their allies fear most: an open public debate on telecommunications, cable, internet and media policies.”

Dixon admits that Obama’s politicking, and broken promises, aside, that the stakes are huge, “By owning the media, and managing broadcast airwaves, cable, telephone and internet networks as their private property, telecommunications companies have become the literal owners of our public and even our private conversation. Communities have no right to hear their own voices if some telecom executives can’t reap a profit.”

The 800 lb gorilla, as Dixon dubs the ComCast/NBC merger will forge an immovable corporate wall:  “Comcast is raining money on members of Congress, and black and Latino advocacy groups such as LULAC, the Urban League and the NAACP.”  In other words, you can forget any resistance to monopolistic frenzies throughout the remaining years of Obama’s tenure.  Dixon claims he can sit tight till the new year and blame in on the tea baggers.

If you want to see how NN and the new rules will affect software and the enterprise and security, consider DPI.  Deep Packet Inspection, the next generation of routers basically, will be soon previewed by a university near you as network control perspectives add layers to the wedding cake.  The day the new rules were announced these stocks rallied.  Companies like Allot Communications and Procera Networks which tout themselves as the next generation of traffic cops, were hot as Giant’s pitching in September.

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