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FCC Chief: AT&T Can Limit Net Bandwidth

FCC Chief Kevin Martin yesterday gave his support to AT&T and other telcos who want to be able to limit bandwidth to sites like Google, unless those sites pay extortion fees. Martin made it clear in a speech yesterday that he supports such a a "tiered" Internet.
Martin told attendees at the TelecomNext show that telcos should be allowed to charge web sites whatever they want if those sites want adequate bandwidth.

He threw in his lot with AT&T, Verizon, and the other telcos, who are no doubt salivating at the prospect at charging whatever the market can bear.

He did throw a bone to those who favor so-called "net neutrality" -- the idea that telcos and other ISPs should not be allowed to limit services or bandwidth, or charge sites extra fees. He said that the FCC "has the authority necessary" to enforce network neutrality violations. He added that it had done so already, when it stepped in to stop an ISP from blocking Vonage VoIP service.

But Martin's interpretation of "net neutrality" is far too narrow, and almost besides the point. By siding with telcos who want to be able to offer adequate bandwidth to sites that pay up, and to limit bandwidth to sites that don't, he'll help kill off new sites that can't afford to fork over the money.

That could help end Internet and network innovation, and we simply can't afford that.