US Open Internet access hotly debated before FCC

Experts debate net neutrality before US Federal Communications Commission

Fighting insomnia one night, all Robert Topolski wanted to do was send digital recordings of 19th-century barbershop quartet music to some friends.

His attempts were blocked by leading Internet service provider Comcast and that ignited a national firestorm around digital peer-to-peer file sharing and "net neutrality" and lead Thursday to Topolski, a software quality engineer from Oregon, testifying before the Federal Communications Commission at Stanford University before a vocal crowd of several hundred people.

During the eight-hour hearing, the second time the FCC has listened to testimony about net neutrality this year, 17 experts from songwriters and independent filmmakers to economists and engineers along with dozens of members of the public argued about the practice by some big ISPs to control, and sometimes prevent, legal data from moving on their networks. All top 12 ISPs declined the FCC's invitation to testify Thursday.

However, L. Brett Glass, founder of the small wireless ISP of Laramie, Wyoming, testified as one of the more than 4,000 wireless ISPs (WISPs) in the US, which he described as dependent on being able to mitigate peer to peer file transfers, prioritize data traffic, and cache files to manage rural networks without charging higher prices to offset the expense of Internet backbone access.

"Should the FCC mandate that small, independent, or rural ISPs cease to employ these and similar technological measures to ensure the quality of their service, many or most small, local operators would have to raise prices dramatically or quit business," Glass said.

While Glass described network management practices such as prioritizing Voice over IP packets over other data so calls go through quickly, most testimony looked at the larger picture of open access,free speech, and the lack of transparency by ISPs to customers about how they manage files flowing on networks.

Throughout the hearing witnesses criticized recent actions by Comcast of misrepresenting to the FCC its practice of continuing to block legal file sharing and its public relations moves this week to set up a consumer bill of rights with Pando Networks, a New York City start-up that offers free P2P software, without inviting consumer advocacy groups and other companies on the P2P Workgroup to participation its development.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mary A.C. Fallon

DOS Resource Guide,
Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?