TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Network Neutrality

Re: Network Neutrality

Larry Farmer (
Fri, 21 Apr 2006 12:23:39 -0400

The fundamental issue now that internet and web have become important
to our daily lives and the economy, how do we ensure its availability
and preserve access to it? If we draw parallels to telephony, the
internet is nearing its version of the 1934 Telecommunications Act.
The resource has become too valuable for things like spam or
peer-to-peer networks dominate the resource. Controls will need to be
enacted. Those controls will need to be enforced. Government
fees/taxes/what-not will be imposed. It's coming, it's inevitable.

The big challenge with the internet/web, with respect enforcing rules,
is time and place are largely irrelevant. How can a rule enacted by
one government be enforced on a violator in another country? As a
simple example, suppose I put some pictures from my summer vacation on
my personal website. A perfectly normal, legal thing to do in the US.
Well, what if posting pictures of such scantily clad people is illegal
in some other country? What is to be done? Arrest me? Fine me?
Blocking my website can be done, but how do you *find* my website so
you can block it? And what happens when I take the pictures down, as
I probably would at some point? How do you go back and unblock my

I think Move On is totally off the mark on this one. I haven't seen
what AT&T and Verizon are asking, specifically, but I'm not overly
worried about them "controlling" the internet. I think market forces
will make it abundantly clear to them that "control" is not what the
market wants. Certainly AOL's efforts are about *protecting* equal
access, not inhibiting it. When more than 50% of email traffic can be
labeling "spam", the ability of you, me or Move On to be heard above
the noise is less likely. Besides, reducing spam helps keep the cost
of internet access down.


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Fifty percent of all email is spam you
say? Hellfire, eighty to ninety percent is more like it. It has not
been 'as little as' fifty percent for several years. I have very mixed
feelings on this; the idea of having the telcos running the net -- for
a fee, of course -- is rather repulsive, but you know, I am sure, that
AT&T or MCI won't permit spam/scam to run as rampant as those things
do now. If they cannot technically get rid of it, then they can price
it out of business as AOL has suggested. Will there be some
'collateral damage' (as President Dubya's associates would phrase it
in the ill-gotten Iraq situation)? Yes, there may well be ... but if
MoveOn (or TELECOM Digest and other decent publications) cannot be
heard very well (1) above the noise level of spam/scam or (2) because
of the cost of paying 'postage', etc then what's the difference? I
trust the spam/scam enablers are pleased with the results which are
slowly creeping up on us. PAT]

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