Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 6:28am
FCC PROBE: NET NEUTRALITY GOOSE CHASE?
[SOURCE: BusinessWeek, AUTHOR: Catherine Holahan]
After months of vehement debate over the needâ€”or lack thereofâ€”for legislation to preserve competition on the Web, the Federal Communications Commission has decided to investigate whether broadband providers are doing anything to stifle it. As well intentioned as the fact-finding mission may be, the FCC isn't likely to turn up much, say both sides of the debate. Broadband providers have consistently stated that they do not give preferential treatment to some services, nor do they plan to block competing services. Comcast's Vice-President of External Affairs, Joseph Waz Jr., summed up the position at the Broadband Policy Summit in May, 2006, when he said calls for legislation barring preferential pricing were "a solution in search of a problem." Without Net Neutrality, advocates argue, a broadband provider will reserve fastest passage for its own services or those willing to pay a premium for such access, and relegating competing services or small Internet startups to relatively slow connections. The result would be to put those companies at a disadvantage, potentially stifling innovation
* Why is FCC quiet on AT&Tâ€™s Call-Blocking?
Is AT&Tâ€™s decision to block some of its customersâ€™ wireless calls a violation of the so-called net neutrality principles? If it is, the FCC isn't saying so yet, at least not publicly. While both sides of the â€œfree-callingâ€ debate expect the commission to weigh in at some point, neither has filed a formal statement there, which may in some part have to do with the FCCâ€™s silence on the matter so far.
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