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back to article FTC sides against Net Neutrality

The Federal Trade Commission has cautioned against regulations that would ensure telecom providers treat all internet traffic the same way. In a report released late Wednesday, the FTC's Internet Access Task Force accepted arguments posed by cable and phone companies that government intervention in Net Neutrality is unnecessary …

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Well, yeah, but there's a reason!

"In unrelated news - wink, wink, nudge, nudge - union group Communication Workers of America released a state-by-state report Monday that showed US internet connection speeds are far behind other industrialized nations."

There's a good reason for that: it's called our government has not put any initiatives forward to wire the country up and promote broadband usage. Hell, in Japan, a 10Mb line is about the equivalent of mediocre-fast dialup here. Know why? Because the government paid to wire the country and give everyone these benefits!

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Packet shaping

In other news, AT&T announced that they would provide IPTV. And that they would throttle the service from other providers.

But that wouldn't hurt consumers. Not in the least.

Oh yeah, RoadRunner (TWC) said they might just be throttling certain services, too.

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The US is behind on broadband...

It should surprise no one that the US is behind in broadband compared to the rest of the industrialised world. However, to say that this is obviously due to policy issues or whatever ignores the fact that the US has by far the lowest population density of such countries, making ubiquitous broadband connections more difficult to construct, outside of urban and suburban regions.

Even in rural areas, Europe has the advantage. European rural areas tend to have a cluster of houses as a town, and fields surrounding them. American rural areas have individual homesteads separated often by several miles. Such a population distribution is much harder to wire up.

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Anonymous Coward

The best way to implement net neutrality...

is to encrypt all traffic. The ISPs have no business with access to specifics about your traffic anyway, and we know at least AT&T will violate the law in regards to this if the right government asks. "Net Neutrality" should be avoided because it doesn't really "fix" the real problem with ISP access to your traffic information. Universally encrypted traffic will require the ISPs to be "content neutral." Only those who want to distract people away from universal encryption should have any interest in "Net Neutrality."

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Re: The best way to implement net neutrality...

> is to encrypt all traffic. The ISPs have no business with access to specifics about

In and of itself, this will not work. Simple encryption between nodes is wide open to heuristic analysis to determine content type, if not the actual message contents. That is, VoIP, TVoIP, P2P, etc., all have their own distinct network patterns that stand out like sore thumbs to anyone who is looking hard enough, and simply encrypting the data is not going to disguise that.

-d

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Not much competition

Unfortunately, "competition" in the USA is more of an illusion than a reality, and it's non-existent in Canada. The telecoms cartel has effectively divided up the continent into pseudo "non-compete" zones, with only an illusion of anything resembling real competition.

So this is basically showing us that the FTC isn't so much a watchdog as a lapdog to the telecoms interests. So business as usual then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: The best way to implement net neutrality...

<<Simple encryption between nodes is wide open to heuristic analysis to determine content type, if not the actual message contents. That is, VoIP, TVoIP, P2P, etc., all have their own distinct network patterns that stand out like sore thumbs to anyone who is looking hard enough, and simply encrypting the data is not going to disguise that.>>

That's true for the moment-- however, if the carriers attempt to use that information to characterize traffic, they'll soon find that the behaviours will change-- it's not too hard to spoof some of these to look like others-- all traffic will begin to produce the characteristics of whatever is the cheapest. If altering the traffic pattern can affect the costs of transmission, traffic patterns will get altered. Ultimately, the carriers will find out that using traffic analysis in this manner will be more trouble than it's worth.

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Do you Brits know what the FTC is?

Seriously. As an American that gets most of his news from Britian (New Scientist, Economist, El Reg), I constantly see articles written from an American POV. I would think it would be weird to read as a resident of another country. I think few Americans would know about what the NHS is for example.

Is it confusing? Frustrating? Normal?

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Re: Do you Brits know what the FTC is?

Brent,

Yeah, we pretty much do. At least, the kind of Brits that read the Register do because it has some relevance our jobs or interests.

For example, you know what the NHS is.

Most British people wouldn't have a clue what the FTC is, but this is a self-selecting group.

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Of course we know what the FTC is

It's the Federal Trade Commission, as established by the 4th word of the article.

I would suspect that upon being told that NHS stood for National Health Service, Americans could have a darn good guess as to what it did. It's not like there aren't often analogues to various national institutions.

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Silver badge

Err...

"the FTC's Internet Access Task Force accepted arguments posed by cable and phone companies that government intervention in Net Neutrality is unnecessary, as competition would prevent internet providers from taking advantage of customers.

“[...] chairman Deborah Majoras said. "In the absence of significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm, policy makers should be particularly hesitant to enact new regulation in this area.”

So they *don't* want to pass legislation that *would* stop internet providers from "taking advantage of customers"?

Presumably, then, restrictive practices, cartels, oligarchies, price fixing and so on, all of which have turned up in other such industries and which represent "significant market failure" and "consumer harm" and which have required regulation to stop, somehow won't happen in this case and should not be pre-empted?

Err, yeah, right...

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D

Re: Do you Brits know what the FTC is?

To: Brent Gardner

It's not completely clear what the tone of your post is but I think you have nailed a common truth, namely that many Brits take an interest in and are quite aware of the inner workings of other nations, particularly the US, while many (dare I say most by far) Americans know very little about the workings of other nations. I'm not trying to be inflamatory; I think it's just how things are.

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Anonymous Coward

Common Carrier

As a favorite web comic reminds, wouldn't service level discrimination take away common carrier status? If they can tell what traffic goes through their networks, are they not suddenly responsible for content?

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20060909

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US not the lowest density

Canada has a much lower population density than the US, so if the US is behind their northern neighbor in terms of broadband deployment, you can't blame it all on lack of density.

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