Reuters reports that U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) will introduce a "compromise" Net Neutrality bill this week that would also create a complaint process through the FCC if consumers believe their access rights to Internet content were violated . The FCC would be empowered to hear complaints and assess penaltiesand the agency would be authorized to adjudicate complaints with penalties, according to the draft.
However, the FCC would be barred from issuing any regulations under the new law that would add to the obligations on Internet service providers.
This bill does nothing to ensure Net Neutrality. All it does is say in effect to consumers, well, if you think your ISP is slowing down your Google, well you have the right to complain to the FCC.
The same FCC that could, at least in theory, assess penalties to any ISPs that do this.
But the same FCC that won't be empowered by any new laws to assess any new penalties.
Now let me get this straight. Let's just say I am a Comcast subscriber in Seattle. I click on streaming multimedia content from Comcast content partners, and it looks beautiful. I try Comcast Digital Voice, and we're all clear. But then maybe I try Vonage, and I hear static. Or I click on a video stream from a small digital film production house, and through no fault of their own, the stream constantly buffers and pixellates.
Then I call my lawyer, and he calls a few of his colleagues, and we all combine resources to write a formal complaint to that protector of the digital citizenry, this FCC.
And within days, this FCC strikes fear into the hearts of Comcast- from CEO Brian Roberts on down. Cease this non-neutrality or we'll fine you an amount so high your institutional investors will run fearfully based on the effect these fines will have on your bottom line.
Because you cannot play favorites, Comcast.
If you believe that, I don't only have to ask what planet are you on, but what solar system you live in.
My fellow ZDNet blogger Mitch Radcliffe has this one down pat.
"Here is the simple explanation what net neutrality is: Any data packet will be equal to every other data packet, regardless of what kind of data it carries or where it came from," Mitch writes.
Ted Stevens' bill doesn't seem to recognize that fact.