Network neutrality, the idea that an ISP can’t discriminate against the traffic traveling over its network, is an enshrined legal right in some areas and a hotly contested regulatory fight in others. post over at TechDirt that says the International Telecommunications Union is trying to dictate terms that will affect how traffic flows on the Internet.
Earlier this month some of the proposed rules submitted by the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO) surfaced on a blog. The article says ETNO wants to gut network neutrality. Glyn Moody at TechDirt has read those documents and clips the relevant segments to argue that these proposals would effectively make network neutrality illegal. As he writes at TechDirt:
“That may sound innocuous enough, but “supporting innovation to provide a value-added service” is a coded way of saying that the telcos should be allowed to abandon net neutrality, something confirmed in one of the accompanying proposals… “
The author says the key sentence in this proposal is “Nothing shall preclude commercial agreements with differentiated quality of service delivery to develop.”
GigaOm says that here in the US Comcast (CMCSA) has created a value-added service with its decision to exempt Xfinity traffic delivered via the Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox from its 250 GBPS/month broadband cap. The U.S. version of network neutrality regulations allows Comcast to exempt that traffic because it doesn’t travel over the public Internet, and because the FCC didn’t want to deal with the concept of value-added services on an ISP’s network when it made its network neutrality regulations.
GigaOm calls on the UN and the ITU to open up its process. Maybe then UN member countries will think twice about the types of rules they want to enshrine. Or maybe they’ll keep listening to the people who run the networks instead of the people who use them and depend on them for their businesses.
- European ISPs Lobby ITU Against Net Neutrality (techweekeurope.co.uk)
- ITU denies plans for global internet power-grab (go.theregister.com)