Monday, May 23, 2011

FCC Net Neutrality doesn't Allow Application Surcharge

Recently we have seen several initiatives by mobile operators to impose usage fees for the use of certain applications, mainly those competing with their core services (VoIP, messaging and video streaming). See the case of KPN (here), TeliaSonera (here) and a recent win by Allot (here).

While US mobile services were exempted from some of the FCC suggested Net Neutrality rules (here), Karl Bode reports to that Mark Wigfield, media relations for the FCC said that "Our rules do prohibit this kind of behavior ..See paragraph 99*, which pertains to mobile, and prohibits blocking applications that compete with the providers primary service offering -- voice and video telephony -- and you can make a strong case that text also competes with voice and so blocking SMS applications would be barred .. Also, paragraph 67** prohibits charging a fee in order to block"

See "FCC Tells Us Their Neutrality Rules Prevent Pay-Per App But ISPs Will Simply Argue They're Pricing Creatively..." - here.

See also:
  • FCC: VoIP Replaces Regular Phone Service with Annual Growth of 21% - here
  • FCC: We Need "Apps" to Monitor Naughty Service Providers - here
  • FCC: Usage-Based Pricing is Important - here 
 *Paragraph 99:

Source: Allot Communications
 A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network management.

**Paragraph 67:

67. Some concerns have been expressed that broadband providers may seek to charge edge providers simply for delivering traffic to or carrying traffic from the broadband provider’s end-user customers. To the extent that a content, application, or service provider could avoid being blocked only by paying a fee, charging such a fee would not be permissible under these rules.

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