Thursday, February 22, 2007

Congressional Digest has major issue on Network Neutrality Debate

The February 2007 issue of the upscale Congressional Digest, expensive but available in public libraries, carries on the debate over proposed network neutrality legislation. The libertarian side insists that telecommunications providers have no intention of discriminating against small users and providers, and that a competitive environment would prevnet them. The "liberals" still insist that legislated neutrality is necessary so that ordinary bloggers can compete witn CNN and MSNBC. The relevant bills are now HR 5252 and S 2682 / S2683. Contributors include Sen Ron Wyden (D, OR), Rep Joe Barton (R TX), Ed Markey (D MA, who has his own amendment to the bill regarding bandwidth charges), Walter B. McCormick of the U. S. Telecomm Association, and Vinton G. Cerf of Google, who discusses "neural networks."

Links: Netcompetition
Google's own arguments

I still haven't decided much about this one.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Network neutrality debate in blogs will influence 08

Charles Babington has a story in The Washington Post Feb 20, 2007, "Network Neutrality ont he Net Gets High 08 Profile," at this location. Bloggers are pressuring political candidates to take positions on this deceptive issue.

Grassroots activists, however, have made bedfollows. Both on the Christian right and progressive left, bloggers fear that access to their political sites will be compromised if telecommunications companies can charge more for specialized commercial access. On the other hand, new higher quality information pipes with "turnpike tolls" would be important in many areas, like medicine, and could conceivably help control costs in some areas (like health care).

An earlier story on Feb 14, 2007 is by Christopher S. Rugaber, "FTC Urged to Boost Internet Oversight," The Washington Post, here. The story quotes Gigi Sohn, president of Public Law, as saying that the FTC should require cable and telecommunications companies to disclose the access speeds that they intend to sell.

Bloggers feel that access to conventional low-cost sites could even disappear. I think that is unlikely, and one factor that affects speed of access is site complexity. My static "simple HTML" sites (especially generally load very fast, whereas my blogs from tend to load much slower now because of their relative technical complexity.