TODAY, on Straits Times, Dr Wright, a specialist in network economics and competition policy, discussed about the threats facing the Internet. He painted a dark picture - Possibilities of Net neutrality violations.
E.g. ISPs that charge content providers for access to subscribers; and content providers who pay ISPs to speed up their sites or even block the sites of competitors. or ISPs block users to gain access to certain websites.
Here are the higlights:
"In recent months, Net neutrality has become a major issue among policymakers in the United States, as a result of actual violations by companies such as Comcast, a major ISP in the US. Comcast sought to block user access to file sharing network BitTorrent by creating fake online responses to discourage people from consuming excessive bandwidth on the site.
The threat of regulation in the US is the only barrier to ISPs looking to cash in on the fact that they control the content that gets to users' computer screens, Dr Wright said.
StarHub said it believed in the importance of Net neutrality.
SingTel would only say that it 'does not have a practice of releasing any customer information to content providers to protect customer confidentiality'.
Most content providers, most notably Google, are currently strong supporters of Net neutrality. Google's website states that the company is concerned about how potential restrictions on Net neutrality will 'alter the openness of the Internet'. However, Dr Wright believes that large companies like Google will find themselves with significant bargaining power if legislators decide to legalise exclusive deals between content providers and ISPs.
'Cable TV in Singapore is a good example of what can go wrong when one allows exclusive deals, in that it moves the bargaining power to the content providers. For example, the English Premier League, which can play one pay-TV operator off the other to extract more money. The end-result is consumers in Singapore are paying more,' he said.
The Net neutrality forum was organised by the Singapore Centre for Applied and Policy Economics, which is a part of the Department of Economics at NUS."
Say yes to Online neutrality, today! We don't want our kids to be in the world of isolated informations that can be only access by certain privileged group. Contents is meant to be shared openly. I still can't quite figure it out, how exclusive contents deals can benefits Singapore Infocomm industry?