Posts Tagged net neutrality
It’s Monday morning here in the U.S., and so it’s perhaps a little early in the week (to say nothing about being early in the day) for politics. But net neutrality is that important. And besides, John Oliver is British. Which means … something.
In an open letter to the Federal Communications Commission, major Internet and technology companies are united in their fight to keep the Internet free and open. Companies that include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix among others, are standing together to fight the FCC’s plans to split the Internet into faster and slower speed lanes as part of a new upcoming vote.
Vector is Mobile Nations’ cross-platform, cross-site analysis show where we take on the most important stories in tech with the smartest people in the industry, from the big picture to granular details, current events to future implications. On today’s episode Rene Ritchie and Neal Gompa dive deep into the technology and policies that make net neutrality so complicated in North America, common carriers and local loop unbundling, the crippling of DSL, Sprint, the insanity that is 700 MHz and Band 12, Qualcomm’s royalty rate, and more. Subscribe and listen along!
Tell the FCC to enforce net neutrality
We tend not to branch out into the political discussion here at Mobile Nations all that often. Politics has little bearing on the day-to-day use of mobile devices. But on occasion, things from the political world cross into our little world of smartphones and tablets. Take SOPA back in 2012, for example. Meant to address the real problem of content piracy, SOPA overreached and the reaction of the American people was enough to kill the bill while still in committee.
We’re facing another intersection of politics and technology today, and it’s time that we the people made our voices heard. Net neutrality is the issue of the day, and the way that governments move on this issue will have far-reaching consequences for decades to come.
Taking your favorite Android phone on a tour around Europe is set to get a whole lot more affordable, with the European Parliament giving initial approval to legislation limiting roaming fees for voice, SMS, and data across the EU. The vote on the draft also includes a nod to net neutrality, with lawmakers voting to include rules that would prevent internet providers from blocking or slowing Skype or other VoIP services.
ISPs would “still be able to offer specialized services of higher quality” the EU clarifies, including video-on-demand and “business-critical data-intensive ‘cloud’ (data storage) applications.” However, providing those services would not be allowed to have a knock-on slowing affect on others.
In fact, despite that flexibility, ISPs would have even fewer reasons to limit connection speed under the modified rules, which saw ministers pare back some from the “OK” list. In effect, deliberate slowing or blocking would only be allowed in order to enforce a court order, to preserve network security, or to prevent temporary network congestion.
“MEPs underline that internet access should be provided in accordance with the principle of “net neutrality”, which means that all internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender, recipient, type, content, device, service or application”
As for roaming charges, the EU wants any extra fees for placing a call, sending a text message, or accessing the internet to be done away with as of December 15th, 2015. That would apply to any cellphone account used in another European member state (though not, of course, to a device with North American service taken to Europe).
Capped charges could still be leveled if roaming services “are abused” it’s suggested, but only in exceptional circumstances.
The draft “telecoms package” and roaming fee abolishment will now go forward to the next Parliament, with a new batch of MEPs expected to be elected in May 2014.
Cross-European parity on tech equipment and services has been a key push by the EC over the past years, also affecting how smartphones and cellphones are charged. Last month, the Parliament backed a universal charger connecting, opting for microUSB.
Plans to watch both the AFC and NFC Championship games this weekend? We have your pre-show right here. On the Droid Life Show episode 46 from Wednesday, we talked Google adding free agent Nest to its roster, an appeals court giving the FCC a stiff arm over net neutrality, asked if anyone would change their warm-up music to Beats Music, and gushed over Dennis Woodside’s fandom of DL. We also talked apps and games, T-Mobile’s ETF program, and why on Earth we need a Moto G Google Play Edition.
It was another fantastic show with all of your favorite team members. And for those who missed last week’s CES recap, this wasn’t a bad start to our first official show of 2014.
We regularly gather on Wednesday nights at 6PM Pacific (9PM Eastern) to record the DL Show live. If you can’t make Wednesdays, we have all sorts of ways for you to subscribe below.
In a US Appeals Court, the FCC lost their case regardning net neutrality. The court has essentially deemed that all ISP’s are not created equally, and shouldn’t be treated that way, either. It’s a poignant step backwards in the FCC’s efforts to have the web on common ground, but probably not the end of the journey.
The court essentially deemed that ISPs are not like older telecommunications providers, which are classified as “common carriers”. Via the ruling, ISPs don’t have to service information equally, and can instead push certain information to you faster, or disable it entirely. The FCC’s Net Neutrality rules were aimed at having all providers treat all information equally. Sadly, at least for now, that isn’t going to be the case.
The ruling was in the case of Verizon v. FCC, which was challenging rules put in place in 2010. That case essentially held the aforementioned criteria, save for the fact that an ISP would have to notify you when they were pushing information faster, or disabling it. To our mind, the clearest example could be found with AT&T’s new sponsored data program, in which certain information is free of charge to you. With this ruling, that nfo could also be fed to you faster, due to AT&T’s ability to choose which data is pushed where — and how fast, or slow.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to the ruling by saying “I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment.” He went on to say they’ll consider an appeal, further pursuing their vision of an open Internet. With so many nuances and wrinkles to both sides of the argument, it’s hard to say if there is a right choice. An even playing field, however, is the best place to start, and that’s what the FCC is really trying to accomplish.
On Tuesday, AT&T announced their Sponsored Data program. It allows companies to pay for your data use when using their services; therefore, it will not count against your data limit. But many are taking issue with the program’s potential violation of the FCC’s Net neutrality rules. These people believe that it will raise costs for companies, thus costing consumers more as well. Also, it puts the control into the content creator’s hands.
AT&T executive Jim Cicconi said that “it allows any company who wishes to pay our customers’ costs for accessing that company’s content to do so. This is purely voluntary and non-exclusive. It is an offering by that company, not by AT&T.” Despite companies being able to pay for data with their services, it will not change consumers’ monthly bills. AT&T has customers on tiered plans, meaning the bill can only go up (if they go over their data limit). There is no way for them to be refunded the data that is not used.
This is likely not the last time we will here about this kind of program. Verizon has reportedly talked with ESPN about creating a similar model. ESPN’s WatchESPN and ESPN3 services garner more than 400 million minutes of viewing each month. Having ESPN covering some data use for consumers would be huge since streaming is one of the biggest contributors to consumers going over their data limit.
People also believe that AT&T is essentially choosing what consumers do on their network instead of just connecting them. Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge says “the FCC needs to protect consumers and creators from Internet service providers (ISPs) who want to pick winners and losers online.” For now, it seems like it is the FCC’s move to make in order to protect consumers.
Come comment on this article: AT&T says “Sponsored Data” does not violate FCC Net neutrality rules
The rumors were on the mark — as part of a larger telecom plan, the European Commission’s Neelie Kroes has proposed regulation that would largely scrap roaming fees. The measure would ban all charges for incoming calls within the EU after July 1st next year, and give carriers incentives to drop many other roaming fees altogether. Companies would either have to let customers use “roam like at home” plans in EU countries or offer a choice of roaming providers with cheap rates. Outbound, mobile-to-mobile calls within member states would cost no more than €0.19 per minute.
The strategy also includes rules for enforcing net neutrality across the EU. The proposal bans internet providers from blocking and throttling content. Firms could offer priority services like IPTV only as long as these features don’t slow down other subscribers, who could walk away from contracts if they don’t get their advertised speeds. There’s no guarantee that the European Parliament will vote in favor of the new measures, but it’s already clear that the Commission is far from happy with the telecom status quo.
[Image credit: The Council of the European Union]
Source: European Union
Telia raised hackles in March when it proposed charging Swedish subscribers extra if they wanted to use voice over IP. On top of the net neutrality issues, the proposed price premium would have been a slap in the face to Skype, the country’s homegrown VoIP pioneer. While Telia’s Spanish subsidiary Yoigo has no problems with such a split, Telia itself must have had a change of heart: as of now, all regular plans will continue to treat internet telephony as just another set of data packets. Only a new, ultra-basic Telia Flex Bas plan excises the option. Unfortunately, most everyone will have to pay the price for equality — new subscriptions will have their data plans “adjusted” to compensate for increasing data use, and those paying daily will see their maximum rates jump from 9 SEK ($1.40) to 19 SEK ($2.90). As painful as the price hike might sound, however, we’d still endure it to avoid carving the mobile internet into pieces.
Telia scraps plans to charge extra for mobile VoIP in Sweden, hikes overall rates in compensation originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Sep 2012 02:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Net Neutrality has far reaching implications considering that the internet has an influence on almost every gadget released these days. The deal is far from being settled, it’s going to be a few years before we get an understanding of what can be censored on the web and what can’t, but right now, Verizon thinks the [...]
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AT&T stockholders took to the ballot box today at their annual meeting and voted not only to reelect the entire board of directors, but also on a number of measures concerning how the company should conduct business. Chief amongst them was a provision that would have required the carrier to operate its network according to the tenets of net neutrality. Unfortunately for you (unless you’re an AT&T exec), the proposal was voted down by a pretty stunning margin. 94.1 percent of shareholders opposed, with only 5.9 casting their voice in favor of true network neutrality. For more info check out the PR after the break.
AT&T stockholders vote down net neutrality proposal originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 27 Apr 2012 16:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Michael Diamond may be best known as Mike D of the Beastie Boys, but he’s also an AT&T shareholder, and he’s now played a central role in forcing a shareholder vote on net neutrality. He, along with his wife Tamra Davis and John P. Silva of Silva Artist Management previously submitted a proposal to AT&T arguing that shareholders should be allowed to vote a resolution that recommended the company “publicly commit to operate its wireless broadband network consistent with network neutrality principles.” AT&T unsurprisingly rejected that proposal, stating that it would “directly interfere with its network management practices,” but the SEC has now stepped in and said that net neutrality has become a “significant policy consideration,” and that it can no longer be excluded from shareholder ballots. As Bloomberg Businessweek notes, companies can challenge the SEC’s findings in court, although it remains to be seen if AT&T or other carriers will take that step. No further word from Mike D on the matter, so we’ll take this opportunity to share another important message of his after the break.
[Image credit: Fabio Venni / Wikimedia Commons]
SEC sides with Beastie Boys’ Mike D, says AT&T must allow shareholder vote on net neutrality originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Bill In US Senate Wants To Force Carriers To Say Just How Fast And Expansive Their "4G" Is, Carriers Respond Predictably
4G. The acronym is probably the most abused term in tech industry since "HD." And if you spend as much time reading up on mobile phone news as us (we hope you don’t, that’s what we’re for!), you probably have come to the same conclusion: it’s almost without meaning, constantly misrepresented, and defined on a completely subjective basis. We don’t like any of this.
Neither do some of the members of congress, apparently. Today, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would require carriers to disclose the following information to consumers about their supposed "4G" services:
Official Android Police t-shirts are now on sale, with over 25 designs to call yours.
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Bill In US Senate Wants To Force Carriers To Say Just How Fast And Expansive Their "4G" Is, Carriers Respond Predictably was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
The FCC has filed a motion to dismiss Verizon’s lawsuit against the FCC’s net neutrality order. We told you guys a few days ago how Verizon was simply “not having it” with the guidlines set in the FCC’s “Open Internet” rules going into effect on November 20th. According to Verizon, the FCC has overstepped its bounds and is “deeply concerned” over the FCC’s new regulation of the internet and broadband networks. Verizon believes that their suit is valid because the FCC modified its radio licenses.
Of course, the FCC doesn’t quite see it that way. They stated that statutes exist that give it (the FCC) the authority to create and enforce such rules. The FCC further went on to explain,
“Verizon’s theory of jurisdiction is that the FCC modified its radio licenses within [certain statutes] because the Open Internet Order cited the agency’s authority to modify licenses, among numerous other statutory bases of authority.”
“Notice of Appeal, however, applies only when this Court is asked to review an FCC order that modifies specific individual licenses. It does not apply to review of generally applicable commission orders that, like the Open Internet Order, regulate a broad camp of licensees as a class. Jurisdiction over the Open Internet Order thus lies only under [a specific section] and Verizon’s notice of appeal in Case 11-1355 should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction."
Check and mate. Can’t say I ever wanted the government to have to step in like this but let’s hope this shuts up Big Red (at least for a little while).
If you’ve been watching the blogosphere over the last few days, you might have seen an article or two about a "complaint" filed with the FCC over Verizon’s block on tethering applications in the Android Market.
The complainant’s argument goes something like this: Verizon purchased the 700MHz spectrum ("block C" of the spectrum) back in 2007, and that spectrum is now used by Verizon for its 4G LTE service. That purchase, ala Google and other net neutrality lobbyists, came with one seemingly large caveat: Verizon (or AT&T, or anyone who bought in that spectrum) could not "deny, limit, or…
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- T-Mobile Unveils Official Tethering Plan, Charges $15 For Something Root Users Have Been Enjoying For Free All Along
- Updated: Verizon Confirms What It Has Been Saying For A Year: Unlimited Data Is Going Away, Say Hello To Tiers
- PSA: Take It Easy, AT&T Isn’t Targeting Unauthorized Android Tethering (And May Never)
- PSA: Using An Unapproved Tether App On Your Verizon Device? Expect To Have Your Data Session Cut Off With An Upsale
- Tiered Data Coming To Verizon This Summer As Planned, Says CFO – And Family Data Plans?
Editorial: That Verizon Tethering FCC Complaint? It’s Not Going To Do Anything, Here’s Why was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Verizon and MetroPCS objections to FCC net neutrality rules dismissed in case of premature litigation
The FCC wants to put new rules in place ensuring access to the web is, like justice, blind to where a person is coming from and indifferent to where on the web he is going to. Verizon’s first reaction to these new directives was to publicly decry them as overreaching, and its second was to file a lawsuit, one that was swiftly echoed by MetroPCS. Only problem with their plans? The rules haven’t yet been published in the Federal Register, which renders the legal challenges from the two eager mobile carriers “incurably” premature. Such was the determination of the US Court of Appeals, which refused to make a substantive ruling and just threw the cases out due to the technicality. Verizon isn’t discouraged, however, and promises to bide its time until all the dominoes have fallen into place before launching another legal attack. Hey, whatever keeps those lawyers in their fancy suits.
Verizon and MetroPCS objections to FCC net neutrality rules dismissed in case of premature litigation originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 04 Apr 2011 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.