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[fccboston08] FCC hearing: Panel 1 part b – Comcast and Verizon

Representative Dan Bosley talks about the need for broadband in western Mass., where he lives, because lack of it hurts the local economy. He compares stifling competition on the Net to stifling competition in grocery stores. He says aspects of the violation of NN remind him of slotting fees at groceries.

He says it’s about capacity, not content. Yes, there’s a lot of traffic. Competition will bring about capacity. Plus, we could use a national broadband plan, he says.

David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation, tells us that Comcast is committed to giving its customers superior Internet access. 60M households get broadband. What is the secret of this remarkable “success” [Mission accomplished!]? The lack of regulation enables competition. we’ve risked huge amounts of money to Users can use whatever VOIP they want, use Vuze and BitTorrent.

ut we do manage our network to maximize the experience. Every network is managed. Our customers want us to fight spam and viruses, and they want us to fight network congestion.

Bandwidth consumption is a real concern. We manage minimally, barely noticeable. This has a huge benefit for our users. We use the least intrsuvie methods.

We inform our users. We have recently clarified our policy on our Web site.

Networks discriminate. A Harvard medical network does in order to ensure the delivery of important data. [But that’s the point: If we had competition, we’d have ISPs with different offers and the market could decide.]

Tom Tauke, Executive Vice President – Public Affairs Policy and Communications, Verizon Communications talks about short codes, which I think are SMS’s. He sees to be justifying why they blocked pro-choice text messages. He says they were spam. They’ve also blocked messages that advertised wallpaper with “inappropriate” content and ring tones with inappropriate, um, tones. [Wow. So much for freedom of speech. I think this guy is screwing his own pooch…a turn of phrase that probably wouldn’t make it past Verizon’s censors.] He acknowledges that blocking the pro-choice message was a mistake that Verizon connected.

He recommends “industry action” — self-policing — to get over these little censorship problems.

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