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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ofcom consultation: nothing to see here

Ofcom has issued its 'do-nothing' consultation on net neutrality - they're not big fans, though a bit more consumer transparency is accepted and there's some analysis of discrimination and market power, which isn't terribly relevant to the n-sided market concern that there is simply no incentive for ISPs to support P2P applications. Rather cunningly, this consultation (deadline 9 September) was launched just as 800,000 concurrent iPlayer streams had all but overwhelmed ISP networks yesterday as In-gur-land proceeded erratically to their date with ze Germans.
As you would expect of Ofcom, its well written and argued, and beautifully produced - check out the 'garrotting' continuum on page6! Below that lovely diagram is the ugly assertion: "it is widely accepted that the blocking of illegal content (such as images of child abuse) is necessary and that steps taken to address issues such as online copyright infringement would be viewed as acceptable traffic management." Really? Aren't both forms of censorship that do nothing to solve the problem - i.e. removing the actual kiddie porn from source, and reforming copyright business models while actively prosecuting commercial filesharing frauds? Ah well....
More later. It really is a good read. Unfortunately it won't deal with wider issues: "questions of fundamental rights and industrial and public service policies are beyond the scope of this discussion document as they are matters for Government." [pp7-8]. It begs the question as to why BIS has not yet consulted directly on this issue.

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