Coming soon could be a wireless broadband world in which consumers get to pick any smartphone or other device and load any software on it — and not have to take what the wireless carrier wants to sell. That’s the goal of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin, who will propose sweeping new rules for wireless airwaves the government is auctioning early next year. The 700 MHz spectrum, being vacated by TV stations as they go digital, is coveted for its ability to penetrate walls and other obstacles. Under Martin’s proposal, to be circulated in the agency as early as today, mobile services in these airwaves would have to allow consumer choice. “Whoever wins this spectrum has to provide … truly open broadband network — one that will open the door to a lot of innovative services for consumers,” Martin said in an interview Monday…..The FCC chairman said he has grown increasingly concerned that the current practices “hamper innovations” dreamed up by outside developers. One example: mobile devices that also can use Wi-Fi, such as a home network or airport “hot spot,” for Internet access. “Internationally, Wi-Fi handsets have been available for some time,” Martin noted. “But they are just beginning to roll out here.”
Read this item from the USA Today
ISPs currently operate on incredibly tight margins in order to offer cheap broadband deals to the public. One way of creating a new revenue stream would be to supply faster, prioritised access to a select group of websites willing to pay. “ISPs are not getting much revenue from broadband but they can generate revenue from other services or by charging websites for better access. Charging at both ends could be very appealing to them,” said Mr Fogg.
Read this item from the BBC
It took the FTC a mere 169 pages to arrive at that result in its new report on the topic, probably one of the most exhaustive treatments of Net neutrality to date. It concludes: “We recommend that policy makers proceed with caution in evaluating proposals to enact regulation in the area of broadband Internet access.”…”Net neutrality is a meaningless term, lacking a rationale or analytical basis to impose new regulations on the Internet,” Muris said. “Some government actions, while seeking to help consumers, harm them instead. As the FTC report today detailed, robust competition and dynamic business models pervade the Internet.”
Read this item from C|Net
Contribute to the understanding of “Net Neutrality” at the Whats New Media wiki.
Too bad those of us on the side of net neutrality were so naïve. I looked in the RFCs and saw that the Internet was defined as a “best effort” network, which seemed to embody the principles of net neutrality. So, like most other people, I assumed that the de facto state of things was that all packets were being treated equally and what the ISPs were looking for was a change in the status quo.
What turns out to be the case is that some ISPs have all along given priorities to different packet types. What AT&T, Comcast and the others were trying to do was to find a way to be PAID for priority access — priority access that had long existed but hadn’t yet been converted into a revenue stream.
Read We Don’t Need No Stinking Best Effort by PBS’ Robert I Cringely. Contribute your knowledge of “Net Neutrality” and the concept of a “Best Effort Internet” to the Whats New Media Wiki
Rare authors commment: Ok, normally I quote interesting sections of at least semi-interesting articles relating to new media, but I’d like to suggest that all students, faculty, and people just generally interested in the subject, give a listen to WIRED’s Bruce Sterling at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW).
Included in Sterling’s “rant” (really, rant connotes a lack of focus, which Sterling rarely seems to have):
– A discrediting of the term “convergence”
– Why broadband “eats everything”
– How Digital Rights Management (DRM) will play out…maybe
– “Commons based peer production”
– Net neutrality
– People to who say interesting and relevant things: Lev Manovich and Yochai Benkler
– al-qaeda as a perfect example of Benkler’s wealth of networks
– The “verbing” of Google and Wikipedia (and why that’s significant)
– Blogs: The least potent of mediums and probably a passing fad
– Why spectrum auctioning is the most important thing you’re not paying attention to
– Computers are great tools of expression, but bad appliances
If any of this sounds interesting to you, give a listen (mp3 file on the page) and follow some commentary on it at MetaFilter.
Also, for those in the know, please add to the “Bruce Sterling” article in the Whats New Media Wiki.
Most Americans believe that if you play fair and work hard, you’ll get ahead. But this notion is threatened by legislation passed Thursday night by the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow Internet service providers to play favorites among different Web sites…Right now, the Internet is a level playing field for everyone. The wonky term for this is “Net neutrality.” When the Internet is neutral, everyone can use it, just like everyone can use public roads or airwaves. All businesses on the Internet get an equal shot at success.
Read Craigslist founder Craig Newmark’s thoughts on Net Neutrality from CNN. Explore “Network Neutrality” and contribute your knowledge of it to the Whats New Media Wiki.
The FCC Thursday declared that wireless broadband service is free of access requirements just like broadband delivered by cable, telephone, and over power lines….The decision gives wireless internet access the same deregulatory status as its broadband competition, a status upheld by the Supreme Court in the Brand X decision. It is also a status that prompted the network neutrality debate by those concerned that network providers will use that deregulatory freedom to create online toll booths and gated communities.
Read this item from Broadcasting & Cable