What you lost in FCC's net neutrality ruling

Carriers got the right to throttle; you lost the right to pay more to avoid it

By  

The new Internet traffic rules the FCC announced yesterday include two that each sound fair on their own. Combined, they give carriers and ISPs the ability to throttle traffic they don't want on their networks and remove the ability of business or consumers to pay extra to get the performance they need.

The "no unreasonable discrimination" rule requires that carriers and ISPs not completely block traffic from any legal source, or even "unreasonably discriminate" in transmitting those packets across their networks, except for "reasonable network management."

Sounds good, except this is the FCC's definition of "reasonable:"

Legitimate network management purposes include: ensuring network security and integrity, including by addressing traffic that is harmful to the network; addressing traffic that is unwanted by users (including by premise operators), such as by providing services or capabilities consistent with a user's choices regarding parental controls or security capabilities; and by reducing or mitigating the effects of congestion on the network.

That caveat gives carriers and ISPs free rein to discriminate exactly as much as they want and favor whatever traffic they -- not you -- prefer.

FCC rules would allow carriers to:

  • limit how many Netflix movies you can stream to your house;
  • limit how much interoffice video you can run;
  • throttle the bandwidth and quality of your VoIP systems during heavy traffic periods;
  • reduce your ability to use video, audio or applications on Web sites aimed at customers;
  • limit the responsiveness and functional speed of SAAS or cloud-based applications that require a lot of bandwidth and are not tolerant of jitter or latency.

The normal solution would be for providers of video, SAAS, cloud and other resource-intensive networked service to pay extra to make sure their apps performed up to spec.

Businesses and consumers would pay more -- which is also a big problem -- but at least it would be possible to get the performance they need.

Pay for priority creates discrimination and violates the tradition of Internet backbone and edge-network providers allowing all types of traffic at no extra cost based on type, the FCC argues.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Ask a Question