There should be no question about how little I cared for Andrew Keen’s last book. I found much of what he presented to be flawed, small-minded and grouchy. I also expressed the wisdom of crowds to select and correct content worth following. Let’s call that the power of the curator. So, I am especially happy to see that Keen has come around to a more enlightened (if not exactly Utopian) view, wherein not everyone with browser access is an idiot. He seems, now, to believe the common man is capable of discerning tripe from truffle, and having the good sense of choosing and following talent.
Tag: net neutrality
The internet has been a great unifier of people, companies and online networks. Powerful forces are threatening to balkanise it.
To some, Google has been looking a bit sallow lately. The stock is down. Where once everything seemed to go the company's way, along came Apple's iPhone, launching a new wave of Web growth on a platform that largely bypassed the browser and Google's search box. The "app" revolution was going to spell an end to Google's dominance of Web advertising. But that's all so six-months-ago. When a group of Journal editors sat down with Eric Schmidt on a recent Friday, Google's CEO sounded nothing like a man whose company was facing a midlife crisis, let alone intimations of mortality.
Most business executives likely have never come across the concept. Yet despite its limited reach to a small audience of policy wonks, President Obama made it a campaign issue in 2008, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is determined to make it the law, and industry analysts are concerned that its passage would undermine investment by Internet service providers (ISPs). A recent pact on the subject between Google and Verizon — the largest representatives on both sides of the debate — made the covers of the nation's major newspapers this week. What's the fuss over this thing called "net neutrality"?
The Internet is a medium that is evolving at breakneck speed. It’s a wild organism of sweeping cultural change — one that leaves the carcasses of dead media forms in its sizeable wake. It’s transformative: it has transformed the vast globe into a ‘global village’ and it has drawn human communication away from print-based media and into a post-Gutenberg digital era. Right now, its perils are equal to its potential. The debate over ‘net neutrality’ is at a fever pitch. There is a tug-of-war going on between an ‘open web’ and a more governed form of the web (like the Apple-approved apps on the iPad/iPhone) that has more security but less freedom.
In an emerging battle over regulating Internet access, companies are taking sides. Facebook, one of the companies that has flourished on the open Internet, indicated Wednesday that it did not support a proposal by Google and Verizon that critics say could let providers of Internet access chip away at that openness. Meanwhile an executive of AT&T, one of the companies that stands to profit from looser regulations, called the proposal a “reasonable framework.” Most media companies have stayed mute on the subject, but in an interview this week, the media mogul Barry Diller called the proposal a sham. And outside of technology circles, most people have not yet figured out what is at stake. The debate revolves around net neutrality, which in the broadest sense holds that Internet users should have equal access to all types of information online, and that companies offering Internet service should not be able to give priority to some sources or types of content.
Google and Verizon announced a joint proposal on Monday that would allow ISPs to offer premium content bundles over an unspecified global network — an unexpected gambit that would seem to call for separate and unequal internets. The two companies say the guidelines would ensure that no internet traffic of any kind is prioritized over any other kind (with the exception of viruses, spam and the like).
Google and Verizon on Monday introduced a proposal for how Internet service should be regulated — and were immediately criticized by groups that favor keeping the network as open as possible. The proposal includes exceptions for wireless Internet access and for potential new services that broadband providers could offer, including things like “advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.” The announcement is the latest move in a high-stakes battle over a principle known as net neutrality. The debate is over whether Internet users should be able to access all types of online information on an equal basis, or whether Internet service providers should be able to charge content companies for faster transmission.
Silicon Valley folks have a tendency to frame industry lobbying campaigns as morality crusades--instead of recognizing them for the self-interest they are. The latest of these causes, "net neutrality," calls for Internet Service Providers to be legally forced to treat every bit sent over the Internet the same as every other bit--i.e., be prevented from offering "premium" tiers in which some folks can pay to have their bits delivered faster than other bits. The Silicon Valley champion, Google, has long stumped for this concept. And Google is now being savaged for apparently betraying that stance and becoming "evil" by discussing a premium-tier deal with Verizon.
Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege. The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube, owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation’s leading Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority as it made its way to consumers. The agreement could eventually lead to higher charges for Internet users.
According to a number of anonymous sources in today's Washington Post, the Federal Communications Commission is expected not to pursue a change in the regulatory classification of broadband Internet service. This is basically good news—even more so because the reported reasoning behind Genachowski's decision is, in fact, fairly sound.
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission exceeded its authority when it sanctioned Comcast Corp. in 2008 for deliberately slowing Internet traffic for some users. The unanimous decision is a blow to the FCC, which argued it had authority to police Internet providers and prevent them from blocking or slowing subscribers' Internet traffic. The victory is likely to spark efforts by the FCC and Congress to impose new rules on Comcast and other Internet providers. Major Internet providers will likely oppose such moves, particularly any effort by the FCC to apply rules to their Web services that were originally enacted to promote more competition in the land-line phone industry.
Fed up with a barrage of letters that arrived at the FCC last week from net-neutrality opponents (or lawmakers urging a cautious approach toward the new rules), a coalition of Internet companies are urging the FCC chairman to hold steady. “We believe a process that results in common sense baseline rules is critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation and global competitiveness,” a group of 24 CEOs and Internet company founders wrote in a letter to be delivered to the FCC Monday in support of the proposed net-neutrality rules.
FCC Chaiman Julius Genachowski outlined a number of new principles today that will guide the commission's rulemaking with regards to net neutrality. As Genachowski points out, openness was a key factor that made the Internet the success it has become. While the FCC never adopted any formal rules with regards to net neutrality, the commission adopted a set of four policy principles in 2005. Today, Genachowski announced that the FCC will begin the rulemaking process to formalize these principles and also announced two additional principles that should guide this process: non-discrimination and transparency. In addition, the FCC also announced the launch of OpenInternet.gov, a site that will track the progress of this undertaking.
It wasn’t that long ago when Net Neutrality was the hottest topic on the web. It’s the principle that says that broadband and Internet service providers should treat all Internet traffic the same, regardless of its source. The debate is controversial and complicated. The Federal Communications Commission has been in the middle of it, as it has outlined loose net neutrality guidelines in the past. But according to The Wall Street Journal, the FCC is about to propose definitive rules that could have major repercussions for the entire web.
A growing chorus claims that Apple’s questionable approval policy for its iPhone application store raises issues with net neutrality. Free Press, a group that advocates the idea of an open internet — that is, one in which consumers have the right to browse the web and run internet applications without restrictions — is the latest of several organizations to call out Apple for its inconsistencies.
If telecoms are to get $4 billion in stimulus funds for broadband that enables Facebook for farmers and netbooks for mountain men, then the feds must require the new networks to be open and nondiscriminatory, public interest groups told federal bureaucrats Monday.
Net neutrality has for several years been touted as a sort of desperate stand by the internet's independent content providers to fight telecoms from charging for the right to use bandwidth. Its proponents have warned that if unchecked, telecoms may create fast lanes, essentially destroying smaller sites that cannot pay, and crippling internet entrepreneurship. Now the tables have turned on the ISPs in what may be a growing new trend. ESPN is leading a push for internet content providers to charge ISPs for the right to use their sites.
Google announced today that it will give end users the tools to figure out whether internet service providers are interfering with their broadband connections by blocking or “throttling” certain applications. In a move that will undoubtedly ignite the issue of network neutrality, the company has partnered with the New America Foundation and Planet Labs to further develop Measurement Labs, an open-source platform that researchers can use to find out information about broadband connections.
Google Inc. has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google has traditionally been one of the loudest advocates of equal network access for all content providers.