Friday, May 29, 2009

Obama back on top of net neutrality

Oh ye of little faith! LA Times reports:
"Let me also be clear about what we will not do. Our pursuit of cyber-security will not -- I repeat, will not include -- monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic. We will preserve and protect the personal privacy and civil liberties that we cherish as Americans. Indeed, I remain firmly committed to net neutrality so we can keep the Internet as it should be -- open and free."

Doctorow on not returning to dial-up

Very interesting piece by Cory in the Guardian recently - read it as I've no time to detail it, but a very important point on ISPs attempting to throttle heavy users is that if this continues we may soon be obliged to check our usage every time we log on, and mid-session, to ensure we don't get penalised for downloading a heavy Facebook page - don't believe me, try using a 3G dongle with a 3GB monthly cap!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book, book, book

Apologies for the diminishing number of posts but I am writing the book of the blog and the prevarication just takes any case, the FCC and EC are being nice and quiet at just the right time for me to get some work done...on the zettaflood.
Repeat: kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The deal is not done - Conciliation Committee

407-57 it finished - thanks to the French insistence that they could still impose 3 strikes without a judge, only allowing an appeal to a court after disconnection.

The Commissioner will be very upset - her term is likely to finish without the new Package being finalised. Now it goes to the Council, and unless they cave, on to Conciliation.

She has advised them to cave in - after all, its a single amendment pushed by the Brits and French that could bring down the entire package. She stated:
"For many, it is of very high symbolic and political value. I call on the Council of Ministers to assess the situation very carefully, also in the light of the importance of the telecoms reform for the sector and for the recovery of our European economy."

EC law on net neutrality: not the end but the end of the beginning?

The deal is done!

9. Towards a more open and more "neutral" net for the consumer: The new telecoms rules will ensure that European consumers have an ever greater choice of competing broadband service providers available to them. Internet service providers have powerful tools at their disposal that allow them to differentiate between the various data transmissions on the internet, such as voice or 'peer-to-peer' communication. Even though traffic management can allow premium high-quality services (such as IPTV) to develop and can help ensure secure communications, the same techniques may also be used to degrade the quality of other services to unacceptably low levels. That is why, under the new EU rules, national telecoms authorities will have the powers to set minimum quality levels for network transmission services so as to promote "net neutrality" and "net freedoms" for European citizens.

In addition, thanks to the new transparency requirements, consumers will be informed – even before signing a contract – about the nature of the service to which they are subscribing, including traffic management techniques and their impact on service quality, as well as any other limitations (such as bandwidth caps or available connection speed).

10. Recognition of the right to internet access: The new telecoms rules recognise explicitly that internet access is part of fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression and the freedom to access information. The rules therefore provide that any measures taken regarding access to or use of services and applications through electronic communications networks must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, including in relation to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information and education, as well as due process. The new rules also clarify that the final word on this important matter of internet access must be with an independent and impartial tribunal established by law and acting in accordance with Article 6 of the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

I wonder how many of the 27 will police this rigorously? The devil remains in the detail!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Freiden: AT&T will allow Skype on WiFi not 3G

Very interesting comment by Rob Freiden on wireless net neutrality-not. AT&T has decided that it will allow Skype calling if you use your iPhone for WiFi but not on its own network - so hobbling users where it has network congestion but not where they use an open network. He comments on the amount of powe this gives the wireless operators - will Julius Genachowski be happy with their exercising this level of fine-grained control, or is the WiFi concession enough to assuage the regulator?

The European deal needs 'rubber stamping' - Czech Presidency

It appears that Trautman and Harbour, rapporteurs for the European Parliament, have made their deal with the Council and Commission. The Czech Presidency stated that:
„We managed to find a balanced solution that respects the Member States‘ legal systems and is fully in line with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, while at the same time taking into account the Parliament’s concern about safeguarding people’s right of access to information.“ 
Details on what that actually means for net neutrality (or not) will emerge in the vote now scheduled for Wednesday 6th May.