The happenin' place to be today in San Jose

The Media Access Project’s Innovation ’08 Forum on Content and Control. Be there or b x b.


  1. someone needs to expand on a critical loophole in h.r. 5994, the latest bill on net neutrality which backfires on itself per the language below, picked up by George Ou as “forced bundling”, at:

    “If a broadband network provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, it must prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type (regardless of the origin or ownership of such data) without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.”

    Ou is correct about the bundling – but it’s not forced, nor does it prevent higher prices for higher quality service as claimed in error by Ou via the prohibition of a surcharge (which applies within, not across differences in service quality)

    the problem is that “prioritized service” can be tied to “data type” and qualify as “neutrally” available to anyone via identical price and tos, while in practice barring entry to many smaller, independent content producers via prohibitive entry cost – exactly what MPAA, RIAA and Hulu would like to see

    the loophole opens the door to creating prioritized “fast lanes” with high, expensive minimums of bandwith and GBs tied to “data type” -albeit “neutral” – then withdrawing either the same bandwidth/GBs unbundled from the “data type” or lesser units of bandwidth/GBs for smaller content providers of the same data type – except at substantially lower levels, in order to force them into the “slow bus lane”

    the bill is already questionable via reliance on an FTC hostile to net neutrality, and this language raises the question of phony opposition to it via a stealth pr charade actually maneuvering for its passage – maybe Ou is right for wrong reason and it should not be passed as written

  2. Barry, you’re making the assumption that being able to pay for “express delivery” hurts the little guys when it fact it can help them. A premium service is exactly the sort of niche market which affords opportunities for new entrants. For example, if I wanted to compete with Netflix (which uses Media Mail), I might well offer a service that was more expensive but featured delivery by First Class Mail. Why not?

    In any event, HR 5994 is an abomination that would double or triple consumers’ broadband prices. Among other things, it would mandate that every user get a public, static IP address. That’s an extra $10 per month in expense right there! And it would mandate that ISPs allow bandwidth-hogging programs like BitTorrent. This would slow service for everyone and drive costs through the roof. This horrible bill shows what happens when Congress, pushed by lobbyists, passes legislation on topics it does not understand.

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