Cisco: Playing fair with streamed 'net content will crush EU hopes for decent broadband

Europe already has decent broadband and far more regulation than the U.S. What's the disconnect

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That rationale is unique to Europe because corporate lobbying has steadily eroded consumer privacy protections in the U.S. to the point that, with just one or two new regulatory tweaks, consumers will have to pay extra to keep their Social Security numbers unlisted in giant private-data directories.

"I think that there's components of net neutrality that work, but I think you've also got to allow service providers to make investment," Dedicoat said during a Q&A after his speech. "Broadband isn't DSL; broadband is fiber, and if we're going to be able to create more efficiency in health services, we need bandwidth from the home as well as bandwidth to the home."

He does have a point; the same one Verizon, Comcast and other U.S.-based carriers have been making with such force the FCC basically caved in to the carrier version of net neutrality – adding it to the regulations, but allowing carriers tremendous leeway to "manage traffic" on their networks in whatever way they want – including throttling.

Republican Senators tried to enact a rule eliminating any justification for the FCC to regulate the Internet at all. They were voted down, 52 to 46, but may raise the issue again.

In the U.S. the main thrust is that if carriers can't mistreat customers, overcharge for services they never quite deliver and throttle the traffic of potential competitors, they'll never be able to make enough money to build out broadband nets all those abused consumers will love (as long as they don't expect to get to watch what they want).

Carriers are already under fire in the U.S. from private interests.

A professor at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society filed a complaint with the FCC after Verizon blocked Google's Wallet service from its new Internet phones. The issue, and the article she wrote about it, focus on wireless, but FCC rulings on net neutrality tend to cover both the wireline and wireless worlds.

The main point of the complaint was that violations of net neutrality hurt customers.

The main point of the Cisco complaint is that net neutrality hurts the ability of corporations to make even higher profits.

Given the imbalance between consumers and giant telcos, networking companies and ISPs in wealth, power, knowledge and access to regulators or lawmakers, I'd say the fair decision would have to lean toward the consumers.

Photo Credit: 

Reuters

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