This is shaping up to be quite the bipartisan week for an Internet policy that will take a close look at how much control over the network the telephone and cable companies should have.
Earlier today (Tues.), the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin announced that the FCC will hold a field hearing in two weeks in Cambridge, Mass., on the network management practices of broadband service providers. That hearing should provide some good examples of exactly what the cable and telephone networks are doing to throttle applications like BitTorrent that they don’t like. We’ve already seen the deceptive use of “reset” packets to fool users’ computers into thinking a peer-to-peer connection should be broken.
Not coincidentally, tomorrow (Feb. 13) is the deadline for comments at the FCC in the proceeding filed by Free Press, Public Knowledge and others that asks the Commission to determine whether the FCC’s principles of Net Neutrality will be eclipsed by “network management” techniques used by the carriers.
Last, but by no means least, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Telecom Subcommittee, and Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS), last night introduced the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act.” The bill would set out that it’s the policy of the country that the Internet should be used “without unreasonable interference or discrimination by network operators” and that the “open and interconnected nature” of broadband networks should be preserved.
The bill would also require the FCC to start a proceeding on broadband services and consumer rights. It’s a great step forward.