Tuesday, April 06, 2010

FCC loses first round in Net Neutrality

We all lost some ground today with the court ruling that the FCC under current laws can't enforce Net Neutrality rules on the phone and cable companies. At issue was Comcast and their war against Bit Torrent. That means that the FCC will have to go back to the drawing board to find a way around this decision or the phone and cable companies will be able to slow, block, or other wise keep certain services and programs from their systems.

You can bet that Google and Skype have their eyes on that scary thought. What will Google's Youtube service do if  the cable and phone companies start limiting bandwidth for their videos. And you know that neither the phone companies nor the cable companies want Skype cutting in on their lucrative phone businesses.  It could make it very hard for Google to expand or improve videos since they don't control the fiber. And of course Skype could become a memory if they lost the right to reach less than all the country. Worse still is what it means for net TV broadcast services. You just know that the cable companies aren't going to pass up the chance to kill that as quickly as they can. Hula and other services are just starting to become a threat that could be stopped dead in it's tracks.

But the FCC says that they will find away to keep these networks open. The question is how will they do it and how long will it take? It would take forever to get a bill through Congress right now and an appeal wouldn't be much faster and has an uncertain outcome. Plus the FCC has a lot on its agenda with  all the bandwidth issues to handle arising from the frequency auctions that will shape the future of wireless networks  across this country.

So what's the best guess? Most figure that the FCC will just try to make cable and phone companies data services come under the more strict rules that govern voice phone services. They have been open for a very long time now. In some ways that would be worse for the cable and phone companies than what they have currently. The one thing we know for sure is that only time will tell how it comes out. All parties have much to gain or lose in this fight and we as consumers will be in the middle.

I just hope that all parties see that it's in everyone's best interest not to turn this into a war that drags on and on. Anyway next time your trying to download that video file, or sharing a large Bit Torrent file and it seems that it's just not happening you maybe right.

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