updated 03:00 pm EDT, Mon September 21, 2009
CTIA worried neutrality hurts business
The CTIA industry advocacy group today reacted harshly to the FCC's suggested net neutrality rules. A statement from the carrier-backed group attempted to foster worries that there might be "unintended consequences" to forcing carriers not to discriminate against certain app types. The claim also suggested that all cellular devices might "be the same" if the rules took effect, as it would theoretically force device makers to allow a level playing field.
"How do the rules apply to the single-purpose Amazon Kindle?" the CTIA asked, referring to its use of Sprint 3G for downloads. "How about the efforts from Apple and Android, Blackberry and Nokia, Firefly and others to differentiate the products and services [they make]?"
In the statement, the organization also argued that the FCC had conducted a bait-and-switch by mandating net neutrality in its 700MHz wireless auction for only two blocks of spectrum but now suggesting that it would mandate similar rules for everyone. The change in policy has mostly been prompted by the change in government administration and FCC chairmain Julius Genachowski, a net neutrality advocate, replacing the less aggressive Kevin Martin.
Critics have previously challenged approaches like those of the CTIA and have argued that they're normally used to exclude software that the carriers deem too competitive with their own services or which consume a large amount of bandwidth, such as Internet calling and video streaming apps. Net neutrality has been less of an issue on landline networks, where bandwidth and open platforms have been more commonplace, but the proposed new rules would mark the first time that neutrality would be consciously applied to the cellular industry.