November 15, 2012 | Ronda Jambe

Will the Internet become a Piggy Bank?

Not for you, of course. And not for your enterprise. What is intended, should the proposal for the expansion of control of the Internet by the International Telecommunications Union proceed, is a set of binding obligations on content providers that will make the Internet more costly for everyone. Hardest hit would be smaller content and application providers, particularly in less developed countries.

It would be naive, however, to think they won’t come for you, via your favourite content providers (hey! that could be OLO!)

A group called European Telecommunications Network Operators (ETNO, hardly a household acronym) is proposing:

  • fees for peering arrangements
  • discouragement of high-end content, such as video, and
  • prioritisation of certain traffic, the so-called end to end quality of service.

See: Radical Proposal Now on the Table at the ITU, at the Centre for Democracy and Technology. They argue that this would, among other things:

  • Disproportionately impact not-for-profit entities, individual speakers, and new forms of non-commercial and collaborative endeavors
  • Fundamentally undermine principles of Internet neutrality

A flurry of civil society groups is trying to halt these proposals from passing at the December  World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT)

Often I have signed an online petition before I’ve had my second cup of coffee. Today it was this mob:

ITU proposals threaten Internet freedom and access

Those who follow Internet governance issue will know that it has long annoyed the powerful interests that the Internet has escaped their control and become the wild, anarchic, freedom-promoting beast that we know and love.

As a scholar of technology and democracy, I also know that the telecom regulatory framework in the US, the Federal Communications Commission, was largely set up to reign in radio earlier last century. That was how the commercial model for radio emerged.

But it’s not over yet, and it would be interesting to know if our fine federal government intends to roll over on this one.



Posted by Ronda Jambe at 8:03 am | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Uncategorized

1 Comment

  1. I see no real prospect of this proposal actually proceeding or succeeding!
    We used to have call centres, now they are operated almost exclusively, from offshore locations.
    Thank you very much, Telecommunications union officials?
    The Brits used to have a manufacturing industry, until unrealistic union activity strangled it.
    95% of our own manufacturing industry, is now head-quartered offshore!
    Now once again, we see unrealistic posturing, and, I believe, power hungry union officials, trying on thoroughly tested and already spectacularly unsuccessful intellectual concepts, that their members, will no doubt, ultimately curse them for!
    And they wonder why union membership, is at an all time low and still shrinking!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — November 21, 2012 @ 9:38 am

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