Net neutrality is dead, but it probably doesn’t matter

 

powellLast week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia shot holes in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s version of net neutrality saying the Commission was wrong not in trying to regulate Internet Service Providers but in trying to regulate them as Common Carriers, that is as telephone utilities. The FCC can’t have it both ways, said the Court, and so the Feds get to try all over again. Or will they? I think events are moving so quickly that by the time this particular argument is worked out all the players will have changed and the whole argument may be moot.

If you read the court’s near-unanimous decision they leave the […]

2011 prediction #4: Bufferbloat may be terrible, but your cable ISP won't fix it

As explained ad nauseam in prediction #1, bufferbloat is going to be a growing problem this year as Windows XP machines are replaced and more people are downloading Internet video. But terrible latency, jitter, and dropouts may not be all bad if you are a cable ISP. That’s because cable ISPs are first and foremost cable television providers and the main victims of bufferbloat are video services like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube that have become the natural enemies of cable TV. Cable video-on-demand services, while also digital, use separately-provisioned bandwidth and sometimes even different signaling technology, so the ISP’s competitor to Netflix isn’t bothered by bufferbloat at all.

Bufferbloat also affects BitTorrent, which ISPs hate, though they’d hate it a lot less if they’d eliminate […]

By |January 4th, 2011|2011|29 Comments

Brett Versus Bob: Taking Net Neutrality Personally

brettbob

Brett Glass (on the left) runs Lariat, a small wired and wireless Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the prairie in Laramie, Wyoming.  Bob Frankston (right) programmed VisiCalc, the first personal computer spreadsheet and for several years worked on home networking issues for Microsoft, somehow without having to move from his beloved Newton, Massachusetts.  Two nerds, a decade apart in age yet both vastly experienced, they have completely different views on Net Neutrality. Bob loves it. Brett hates it. Yet coming to understand each man’s position helps us better understand the whole Net Neutrality issue and what really matters.

Net Neutrality discussions usually come […]

By |November 3rd, 2009|2009|123 Comments

Neutrality Begins at Home

netneutralityThis week the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) releases its proposed new rules for Internet Service Provider (ISP) network neutrality.  I have written many times about Network Neutrality and once I have a look at the FCC proposal I am sure I’ll have comments to make here.  In general I’m in favor of rules that allow me, as a consumer, more digital freedom. It would be great to run Skype over my iPhone, for example, just as I can already run it over the cellular connection on my notebook. But right now I’m talking about a different kind of network neutrality, the kind I’m struggling to achieve in my own home.

I live in Charleston, South […]

By |September 21st, 2009|Uncategorized|79 Comments