ethernet cableOh no, the government might make you treat all information that same? That’s a good reason to turn down stimulus money!

The other day we wrote how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was questioning ISPs about what moves they had made to deliver broadband to all of the citizens of the country.  The next stage is for the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to submit their requests for portions of the $4.7 billion in grants earmarked to help them expand their infrastructure by August 20th, but some of the bigger companies are saying. “no thanks.”

According to The Washington Post (free subscription required) people close to companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are saying that the ISPs will pass on the funds due to Net Neutrality requirements attached to the money.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Net Neutrality refers to the concept that all ISPs must treat all data that crosses their network equally, no matter what type of information it is.  In other words, if you are making what the ISP would consider excessive Voice 0ver Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls, they could throttle down your connection to downgrade your connectivity, but under Net Neutrality they would not be allowed to do this.

The FCC does have some rules already in place in regards to this, but they are well-known to be weak and lacking in teeth.  The new rules will be more stringent, and that is causing the larger companies to pass on the funds.  They say it is also partially because the providers are currently flush with cash of their own, but it is also well known that companies would rather avoid Net Neutrality at all costs so that they can continue to turn down your speed when they feel like you are transferring too much data.

Luckily this won’t kill the project, but it is certainly disappointing to those of us who support the concept of Net Neutrality.  If it’s illegal, fine, but you don’t know that until it’s downloaded.  Up until then it is just packets of information and it should all be treated equally, but it’s good for the consumers, so of course the companies want to avoid it.

Hopefully this will all get sorted out soon and the companies will get past their pride, but I won’t be holding my breath for that to happen any time soon.

Categories: Internet   
 

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