Dave in India on neutrality facts

Verizon in an article in India’s Economic Times disputes a report that they throttle their service based on the application. A far as I know, today they don’t, and neither do the other large U.S. telcos and cablecos. The big issue today is throttling at the peering point, where companies like Verizon refused ordinary connections without payment. Verizon claims that has nothing to do with neutrality and obfuscates. I asked Tim Wu, who coined the phrase, whether edge throttling was a neutrality violation. It is. 

Verizon is accurate that they do not throttle applications such as VOIP, I believe. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t violating neutrality.

So I commented at ET:

Facts would help on the Net Neutrality debate. Verizon & Comcast throttling is a serious breach of neutrality, according to the definition used by Columbia Professor Tim Wu, who coined the phrase. They do not throttle by application as far as anyone knows. They block certain companies, especially YouTube and Netflix, by limiting the connection where they peer and refuse to upgrade as is normal peering practice.

I’m a tech reporter based in New York who has been reporting this including interviewing over the years most of the key people. One reason the debate is confusing is that both sides in the U.S. have very articulate lawyers. For example, Verizon and other opponents of NN put forth an alternate definition of neutrality. .They specifically eliminate issues at the peering points, claiming that’s a separate business deal rather than standard Internet practice. That’s why I can report here that the guy who coined the term, as well as nearly all the advocates of neutrality, see what Verizon is doing as a problem. I asked them for quotes.. 

While the U.S. was earliest in discussing this, there is a great deal of wisdom in India and other parts of the world. Ideas need to be shared in both directions. India, for example, has more effective competition policy; Kenya has the best spectrum policy if capacity is key.  

Anyone active in policy who needs data, please reach out to me. 

Dave Burstein

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top