Feds May Let Big Telecom Hijack The Internet

The feds are holding hearings today on a bill that could essentially allow big Telcos to hijack the Internet. The law would regulate Internet Protocol and broadband services, and it would let the big providers block services and net access,...

November 9, 2005

2 Min Read
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The feds are holding hearings today on a bill that could essentially allow big Telcos to hijack the Internet. The law would regulate Internet Protocol and broadband services, and it would let the big providers block services and net access, and possibly worse as well. The proposal before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Telecommunications is rather arcane, and I'll cover it in a bit of detail in future blogs. But the gist is clear: It would end the era of Internet openness, and give Big Telecom a big financial windfall.

Don't believe me? Then maybe you'll believe the person who to a great extens invented the Internet, Vincent Cerf.

In written testimony to the committee, Cerf warns: "This bill would do great damage to the Internet as we know it. Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of online activity."

He goes on to say, "Allowing broadband providers to segment their IP offerings and reserve huge amounts of bandwidth for their own services will not give consumers the broadband Internet our country and economy need. Many people will have little or no choice among broadband operators for the foreseeable future, implying that such operators will have the power to exercise a great deal of control over any applications placed on the network."

You can read his full testimony on the Google blog.Ironically, today Cerf is going to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with Robert Kahn, for designing the open protocols that underly the Internet. If anyone knows about the implications of this bill, it's Cerf --- and the law could go a long way to harm the world-changing network he helped create.

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