Last night, AT&T submitted a 20-page letter with new concessions. Unlike the previous letter, this one fully acknowledges network neutrality and implements a fairly serious definition.
How serious? It extends from the “last mile” connection to the residential subscriber up to the Tier 1 backbone peering point. No degredation or prioritization of packets based on source, ownership or destination. In other words, I can't prioritize just based on who sent it, where it's going to, or whether or not AT&T owns a piece of it.
Bonus round: AT&T includes in its definition of “residential last mile” any WiMax fixed point-to-point offering. This marks an important milestone. Until now, net neutrality has not applied to wireless services. Now, net neutrality has broken the wireless barrier!
We did not get everything we wanted. For example, my employer Media Access Project, on behalf of the Center for Digital Democracy, had urged the Commission to apply network neutrality to Cingular's mobile internet offerings. That won't happen. But, with the wireless barrier broken, we are a step closer to making it happen in the future.
None of this eliminates the need for network neutrality legislation. The conditions apply only to AT&T/BS, and they last only 30 months. But given the low point we started from in April, when it looked like the cable cos and telcos would get the right to degrade content wrtten into law, it seems to me we have a right to party hearty this New Year's Eve. So long as we sober up and get back on the job when Congress reconvenes next Wed.