DON'T LET TIME-WARNER, AT&T AND OTHER CABLE OPERATORS USE LAST MILE BOTTLENECKS TO CONTROL THE INTERNET. THE FCC NEEDS A POLICY NOW TO PROTECT OPEN ACCESS RULES FOR NON-DISCRIMINATORY ACCESS FOR INTERNET CONTENT PROVIDERS.
For residential consumers, the next generation of Internet will be different from what we have today. It will be faster, with higher bandwidth connections that make it possible to download files faster, and receive higher quality multimedia services. But there will also likely be changes in the network architecture that will change the way the Internet works. AT&T, Time-Warner and other companies are building new differentiated levels of service for Internet content. This includes technology from firms like Cisco Systems. In its 1999 White paper, "Controlling Your Network - A Must for Cable Operators," Cisco tells cable operators to build a "New World network," to replace "the Internet" as it exists today.
The ability to prioritize and control traffic levels is a distinguishing factor and critical difference between New World networks employing Internet Technologies, and "the Internet."
. . . traffic-type identification allows you to isolate different traffic types in your IP network. Through Cisco QoS, you can identify each traffic type - Web, e-mail, voice, video. Tools such as type-of-service (ToS) bits identification allow you to isolate network traffic by the type of application, even down to specific brands, by the interface used, by the user type and individual user identification, or by the site address.
. . . [cable companies] can optimize service profits by marketing "express" services to premium customers
. . . QoS can also propel you forward by giving you the information you need to offer advanced differentiated services at a profit. For example, time-and usage-based billing via NetFlow measurements
[companies can slow down service to rivals, and] promote and offer your own or partner's services with full-speed features to encourage adoption of your services
With a plethora of new tools and mechanism to identify, control and discriminate the levels of quality for Internet content, cable companies can do to Internet data traffic what they have done for years to video content -- pick winners and losers, charge different content providers different rates for access and exclude rivals.
There have been repeated attempts to get the F.C.C. interested in these issues, dating back at least five years. FCC Chairman William Kennard has been an outspoken opponent of FCC rules for open access, at one point announcing in a press release he trusted the CEO of AT&T to do the right thing, and referring to various open access proposals as "forced access," or even a "pain in the access."
If the FCC fails to act now on the policy issues of open and non-discriminatory access to different levels of services, the cable companies will later claim to have invested billions with the expectation of bottleneck controls, and the telephone companies will continue to press for de-regulatory parity for DSL services (another area where the FCC has failed to curb anticompetitive conduct) -- leading to a potential duopoly run by giant cable and telephone phone companies who will have the power to decide which Internet traffic gets on the fast pipe, and which Internet traffic moves at a crawl.
To learn more about this issue, contact
phone: 202-387-8030 fax: 202-234-5176
or the CPT website on open access: http://www.cptech.org/ecom/openaccess