Just as I was saying copyright was soon to replace Net Neutrality as the big tech issue of the moment, circumstances prove me wrong. Instead, regardless of the results of the December FCC meeting and the future of that whole Net Neutrality debate (more later), the coming issue now is going to be peering.
Some will play word games and say it's all covered under the blanket issue of Net Neutrality, but be careful. Net Neutrality as promoted and sold by Free Press, the FCC, Google, Verizon, and others has been all about the so-called last mile from the Internet to your home or business, including wired and wireless access. That's what the FCC is talking about regulating as Net Neutrality, that's been the focus of the scare stories calling the need for Net Neutrality a Crisis™, and we cannot now let them do a bait and switch.
So in your mind, I suggest separating the Comcast/Level 3/Netflix issue from the Free Press/Net Neutrality issue. The former deals with the back end of the Internet, from the user's perspective, while the latter deals with the front end that we directly pay for and use.
They're both important though, so here's my explanation and view of the Comcast/Level 3 Peering controversy broken out as a separate post because it got so long. To sum it up, Comcast did the right thing, because Netflix and Level 3 were being unfair and trying to take advantage of sharing deals made in good faith.
This companion piece on the Comcast/Level 3/Netflix flap started out as a lengthy entry in tonight's Tech at Night, so much so that we're now approaching sunrise on the east coast. So I broke it out as a separate article but would urge you to read it anyway if this issue worries you, or if you'd like to know why Comcast is the good guy here.
Meanwhile on the Net Neutrality front, the FCC gears continue to turn. As I hinted on Tuesday, given the necessary consequences of the 2008 election the best we can hope for out of the FCC is a mild deal that regulates the Internet a bit more than we'd like, but leaves the radical left alternately sobbing in disappointment and shrieking in anger at their failure to get a total Internet takeover. Sure enough, Free Press President Josh Silver is outraged, calling the FCC's proposal "Fake Net Neutrality."
Of course, Republicans aren't happy, not entirely. Not that we should be: the ideal situation here is for the FCC to leave well enough alone. Further, the best way to keep the FCC in line is to make them fear what the House just might do with the power of the purse. I have here a letter sent to the FCC by Reps. Joe Barton and Cliff Stearns asking the FCC to explain why it has the authority to do what it's doing in light of the FCC's loss in the Comcast case. Good on them.
For the record, I've been told that contrary to my earlier post, Verizon had not yet seen what the FCC may do and is not making any specific push, whether for a sunset or anything else. So good on them, because I think a sunset would be as bad for Verizon as it is for the rest of America.