Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Aug 2012 08:29 UTC
Apple "AT&T is defending its decision to limit the use of Apple's video chat feature, FaceTime, to its Mobile Share data plans by saying that the limitation does not violate the FCC's net neutrality rules. The company wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that some groups had 'another knee-jerk reaction' to AT&T's limitation, but the company argues that its decision meets all FCC requirements." You can expect Verizon to follow suit soon. Carriers don't do things like this unless they know the competition will tag along. This also happens to explain why Apple probably can't do much about it; if both Verizon and AT&T give FaceTime the boot like this, there's little Apple can do. For what it's worth - I'm happy The Netherlands (and Chile!) has unconditional net neutrality. This would not fly here, further illustrating the need for net neutrality.
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RE: net neutrality isn't neutral...
by ricegf on Thu 23rd Aug 2012 11:27 UTC in reply to "net neutrality isn't neutral..."
Member since:

I don't think this isn't legally true in the US - AT&T would be considered a "common carrier" (please google, IANAL), while OS News is an over-achieving blog site.

From wikipedia, a common carrier is "a company that transports goods or people for any person or company, [and] ... offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body. ... In the United States the term may also refer to telecommunications service providers".

From, "A common carrier is legally bound to carry all passengers or freight as long as there is enough space, the fee is paid, and no reasonable grounds to refuse to do so exist."

For better or worse (and in spite of my stubborn Libertarianesque leanings), in the USA AT&T arguably can't discriminate against telecommunications traffic unless it can demonstrate to Big Brother that it has reasonable grounds to do so. I suspect that Internet neutrality could be implemented at the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen, though congress makes period runs at autoscribing.

Reply Parent Score: 4

tanzam75 Member since:

A couple of sections down in the same Wikipedia article that you quoted (emphasis mine):

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 made extensive revisions to the "Title II" provisions regarding common carriers and repealed the judicial 1982 AT&T consent decree ... The Act gives telephone companies the option of providing video programming on a common carrier basis or as a conventional cable television operator. ...

Computer networks (for example, the Internet) that are built on top of telecommunications networks are Information Services or Enhanced Services, and are generally regulated under title I of the Communications Act ... Internet Service Providers have argued against being classified as a "common carrier" and, so far, have managed to do so ...

Because ISPs are no longer prohibited from discriminating among different types of content under common carrier law, Internet providers may charge additional fees for certain kinds of services, such as Virtual Private Networks. Some network neutrality supporters advocate reclassifying all ISPs as common carriers in order to prevent content discrimination.

In this case, FaceTime would operate over a packet-switched data network. It would thus be considered an ISP for regulatory purposes, and not be subject to common-carrier requirements.

But note that even circuit-switched telephone voice connections are subject to fewer regulatory requirements when a mobile carrier is involved. For example, landline ILECs are required to sell their networks to CLECs at wholesale. Cellular providers are not. Most of them provide wholesale access to MVNOs anyway, but this is strictly a business decision -- they are not legally required to do so.

Reply Parent Score: 3