Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Life for Net Neutrality? Wait and See

There is an article in the New York Times today called "Congress to Take Up Net's Future." Seems as if the concessions made by AT&T in order to complete its purchase of SBC has lit a fire underneath the new Democratic Congress. They see an opportunity to bring the issues of net neutrality to the forefront again.

Naturally, the Internet portals and content providers of the world are happy, and the telecommunications and cable companies are not. But since there are so few telecommunications and cable companies remaining, the idea of net neutrality takes on new meaning. AT&T is slowly putting itself back together into the behemoth it was under the Bell name, along with additions like Cingular so it keeps a foothold in the cellular arena. When you put it all together AT&T offers cable, telephone, Internet and wireless service, all avenues for content delivery. No doubt they would prefer to have control over the content delivered through their various channels, and be able to charge more for it.

Which, of course, is the source of much debate that swirls around net neutrality. There still seems to be something missing, however, on both sides. The debate is more philosophical than one based on hard evidence, in support of or against net neutrality.

So maybe the "two-year moratorium on offering any service that 'privileges, degrades or prioritizes any packet' transmitted over its broadband service" will provide some hard evidence, a means by which to see if AT&T can still improve itself network while people like you and me can still publish content on the Internet without incurring an extra cost.

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