Tech Industry Analysts Declare Net Neutrality Dead in Congress

The Hill
ITIF Senior Analyst Richard Bennett discusses the prospects for Net Neutrality legislation now that the dynamic in Congress had changed.

Further Inquiry into Two Under-Developed Issues in the Open Internet Proceeding

November 2, 2010
| Testimony and Filings

ITIF has filed reply comments with the FCC in the “Two Questions Inquiry” on managed services and wireless net neutrality. This reply addresses criticism of our previous comments by Skype. Skype argued that our assertion that their video conferencing service uses a large amount of bandwidth is “unfounded,” but they confuse the requirements of their free person-to-person video calling product with those of their for-fee group video conferencing service. Our reply cites information from Skype’s web site that supports our previous claim.

We also suggest that the confusion between Skype’s historical service and its emerging one illustrates a pitfall of premature regulation. The regulations that the FCC contemplates for managed services and wireless networks must not only accommodate the needs of historical applications such as person-to-person video calling, they must accommodate the needs of new and emerging applications such as high-quality group video conferencing. Many of the comments filed in these dockets have tended to over-emphasize historical applications to the detriment of new and emerging ones, and regulations adopted by the FCC must support ongoing innovation.

ITIF Comments to the FCC on the Regulatory Status of Managed Services and Mobile Broadband

October 12, 2010
| Testimony and Filings

ITIF has filed comments with the FCC on the agency’s “Further Inquiry into Two Under-Developed Issues in the Open Internet Proceeding.” The comments advise the FCC to adopt a broadly permissive approach to “Specialized Services” in order to allow a market for high-bandwidth, communication-oriented applications such as Telepresence to develop on the Consensus Internet. ITIF also advises that price scrutiny is more appropriate than blanket technical restrictions against such services. The Internet is currently a content-oriented system that is beginning to transition toward a system that supports a mix of content- and communication-oriented uses, and technical changes will be necessary to effect the transition.

ITIF also cautions the FCC against adopting overly-prescriptive regulations on cellular mobile broadband networks. Cellular networks are predominately communication-oriented today, but with the advent of 3G and 4G technology, they are transitioning to a mixed use model as well. Until LTE is fully deployed, mixed use cellular will be challenging, so the appropriate policy for the time being emphasizes disclosure over prejudgment of the technology’s most appropriate means of management.

The Internet is currently undergoing its most exciting transition since it was opened to the general public in the mid-90s. The potential for a pervasive, mixed use Internet to effectuate economic progress and bring about improved quality of life is considerable, and regulators have an important role in ensuring that rapid progress continues. This role is best served by encouraging the development of high-functioning, efficient networks with transparent terms of use and freedom from discriminatory pricing.

Internet Wars: A Who’s Who Guide

October 7, 2010
| Blogs & Op-eds

Back in the day, there were no protesters outside corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley and no one had a position on net neutrality because no one knew what is was.  But ten or 15 years in the life of the Internet is a long time, and today a person trying to follow the heated debate might need a field guide to sort through the wide array of groups and their philosophical or economic orientations.  In the recent report Who's Who in Internet Politics: A Taxonomy of Information Technology Policy, ITIF enlightens the debate with just such a guide, laying out eight categories of interest groups and explaining the complicated relationships between them.

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