New FCC Chairman Distinguishes Between "No Blocking" and "Quality of Service," It Seems

One clear difference of opinion about U.S. Internet policy is whether content delivery networks are an impermissible violation of the rule that users must be able to access and use all lawful applications on the Internet.

Content delivery networks are standard on the back end of the access market, allowing application owners to pay other firms to minimize latency. 

The issue has been whether it also is permissible to allow firms or end users to take similar measures to minimize latency and improve end user experience.

Blocking is not the issue. Methods of providing enhanced user experience, without any blocking, are the issues. 

Anti-competitive behavior is a potential problem, as if an ISP minimized latency for its own services, but would not allow it for competing services.

But the FCC seems keenly aware of such dangers, as does the Department of Justice. 

Also, business users already can buy services that support latency reduction. The issue is whether consumers can receive any similar quality of service support. 

New F.C.C. Chairman Tom Wheeler seems to affirm both the "Open Internet" rules, which forbid Internet service providers from favoring their own content or paid content when allowing data to flow through their system, as well as quality assurance mechanisms, though.

Wheeler said variable pricing and service plans represented the effects of competition. “We might see a two-sided market,” where a company like Netflix might pay an Internet service provider to guarantee that Netflix customers get the best available transmission speeds.

It's more than a nuance. At the moment, it is among the key dividing lines between supporters and opponents of such latency-reducing measures. 

Strand Consult has analyzed this debate and its stakeholders and presents the 30 arguments that net neutrality supporters will likely use to further their position. The 30 arguments are:

  1. Neutrality (or “openness”) is an original, deliberate, and essential feature of the internet.
  2. The end to end principle is responsible for internet innovation.
  3. Zero is a fair price for content delivery, and it was established early in the development of the commercial internet.
  4. The internet needs regulation to keep it neutral and to preserve its many fine features.
  5. Net neutrality is common carriage.
  6. Net neutrality is free speech.
  7. Without net neutrality there will be no innovation
  8. Without net neutrality there will be no democracy
  9. Operators' networks consist of smart edges and a dumb core. The operator's job is to deliver the bits.
  10. The internet is a human right.
  11. The internet is a public good and therefore should be regulated like a utility. Internet service should be free, meaning subsidized by the government.
  12. All content is equal or a bit is a bit is a bit.
  13. Consumers value all content the same, and more content is better.
  14. There should be the same internet available on every device.
  15. Applications don’t create traffic; users create traffic.
  16. The leaders of the net neutrality movement have good and right on their side.
  17. Consumers care about net neutrality, and the net neutrality activists are their voice.
  18. Net neutrality is needed because of vertical integration in the market for content and internet access.
  19. There is a lot of evidence proving that network management practices harm customers.
  20. Operators want to harm their customers, and only preventive measures will keep them in check.
  21. Operators want to block or throttle competing services.
  22. Operators want to use price discriminate to exploit their customers.
  23. Operators want to make agreements to preference certain content on the web.
  24. Operators will use pricing to create fast lanes and dirt roads for internet access.
  25. Operators will use deep packet inspection to exploit their customers.
  26. Operators only invest because of the growth in applications and content.
  27. Operators should just build infrastructure, and more infrastructure is better.
  28. Operators have always invested in infrastructure, and they always will
  29. All broadband providers, whether cable or telco, should be classified as common carriers and their obligations increased.
  30. Net neutrality is a human rights issue, not an economic issue.
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