Friday, January 07, 2011

USA - Net neutrality rules fro the FCC are widely opposed and will be challenged in court and in congress

[boston herald] The so-called “net neutrality” Internet rules promulgated by a divided Federal Communications Commission last week are an undesirable, unworkable, almost unmitigated hash of do-gooder dreams that should not survive court challenges and the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.

A federal appeals court in April ruled that the commission had no authority to enforce its views on what constituted an infringement of neutrality. The incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), said he and his colleagues would “explore every option” to overturn the new rules.

The stated purpose of the rules is to prevent broadband operators from blocking legal transmissions for any reason. Which has happened only once, as far as is known. Several years ago Comcast said the peer-to-peer service BitTorrent, whose users swap movies and other large files, was a road hog and delayed its transmissions. The two companies made a deal, which should have ended the matter, but the FCC admonished Comcast. That led to the April ruling.

Surprisingly, the FCC noted network operators could charge more to heavy users. This bit of rationality is the only mitigation we see, and it has upset the something-for-nothing crowd.

The biggest spud in this hash is that most of the rules don’t apply to wireless networks. Your desktop PC can download movies all day long, but the provider of movies to your whiz-bang smartphone could impose its own limits. There is no good reason for the distinction.

Some left-wingers cannot abide the running of any industry - be it food carts, toys in restaurants or broadband networks - free of government controls. They may fail to impose them here - and that would be good news all around.

Making hash of Net rules

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