From: Justin Nealis <justingn@gmail.com>
To: <DNSTransition@ntia.doc.gov>
Date: Mon, Jul 3, 2006 1:34 AM
Subject: Net Neutrality, and how the Internet /should/ be run

To whom it may concern,

When the internet was first made widely available to the public in
the mid-nineties, the world never thought it would become the
importance it is today. Everything from real time Global Exchanges
to simple VoIP phone calls are done through the same lines, and has
helped the world progress faster than ever before. However, we are
at a point where small, individual organizations are no longer able
to help keep the internet neat, tidy, and "clean", per se. ICANN and
IANA have done well, but it is now time for either the government, or
an independent, Not-for-profit company to come in and take control of
the internet's future. Recently, there has been much debate over an
issue called Net Neutrality, with the Telco's saying that it's a load
of bull and calling for segregation of traffic, while consumers and
big name internet companies such as eBay and Google saying that Net
Neutrality is important to the internet's future.
The problem is, not only are both right for their own reasons, but
that government officials and politicians are unable to grasp the
situation as completely as the younger generation, through no fault
of their own. Let's face it, but society standards, most members of
congress are "old", and represent the same demographic that I
frequently repair computers for. No offense to them, but leaving the
internet in their hands is an unwise decision. On the flip side,
however, are the Telco's and even the FCC. The Telco's want to
segregate internet traffic for varying reasons, though they all boil
down to profit. For instance, in my community, Charter
Communications filters Voice over IP, or VoIP traffic, from other
providers such as Vonage and Skype, while giving higher priority to
their own VoIP traffic. This creates static and interference on
Vonage and/or Skype and other services, which isn't fair
competition. This essentially forces consumers to switch to
Charter's service, or deal with subpar service. This is the internet
major telco's envision.
I think we need to take a lesson from Japan. In Japan, their
internet speeds are usually 10x faster than our highest end
connection, and that's something the Japanese are only paying less
than $20 a month for. How is this acceptable? This is where the
government needs to step in, and essentially say, "Hey, upgrade the
lines, or we'll fine you. Pull any stunts, and we'll take over your
entire network, clear?" This is a major reason why Japanese Internet
speeds are so fast (though the Telco's use the common "the US is
bigger" excuse, which is bull), and why ours are so slow. We keep
giving slack to major ISP's and telco's, never really forcing them to
do anything in the long run while they rake in cash for overpriced,
subpar service.
Let me point out an example of where we're heading now. Take a look
at South Africa's internet situation. The ONLY ISP there, Telcom,
places a cap on how much users can download on a monthly basis,
combined with the fact they charge more than we do for the same
internet speeds. If the Telco's are allowed to win in congress and
take control of the internet, this is the future we can expect to
see. This future will stifle economical growth and education for
everyone, and will eventually affect the entire world. WE are the
backbone to the internet, and WE need to act in the best interest of
not only ourselves, but the world at large.
My proposal is this. We need an independent organization, not
driven by profit or influenced by the government nor the telco's, but
have a limited amount of power over each, control and manage the
internet. This group would regulate operation of the internet here
in the USA, and would focus on three specific goals:
1) Research and Deployment of new and faster internet technologies
for the end consumer
2) Regulation of Internet Service Providers, including business
practices and internet filtering/throttling technologies.
3) Pursuit of fair pricing and deployment of ALL internet services.
This organization would, in short, be responsible for ensuring that
ISP's create a fair competition environment for all internet-based
and internet-related businesses and data, and that they do not
prioritize any form of traffic over another, for any reason. This
organization would also force ISP's to upgrade their infrastructure
on a regular basis, including "final mile" infrastructure to the
consumer's home, with a goal of having our internet speeds and
pricing on par with Japan's and Korea's by 2010 for 60% of the US
population, including 100% coverage in all US major metropolitan
areas and state capitols. This is a very reasonable goal as most of
the infrastructure has been deployed, but not "turned on" but the
ISP's until congress forces them to. The organization would also
ensure that fair competition is not only enforced over the internet,
but between ISP's and Cable companies as well, thus giving consumers
a choice and encouraging fair pricing of services. If ISP's refuse
to cooperate, this organization would be allowed to take complete and
total control of the Telco's entire network and infrastructure, and
auctioning it off or donating it to other ISP's in the areas served.
This would prevent any dirty tricks from the Telco's.
However, with an organization having such power, checks and balances
must be ensured. Other Not-For-Profit organizations such as the
Electronic Frontier Foundation would help police the actions of this
new organization, and be allowed to bring issues up to the Supreme
Court and/or Congress directly if actions taken by the organization
go against the founding principles or do not benefit the end
consumers. The organization would also be forced to submit a yearly
report to congress on actions taken against/with ISP's and other
businesses, as well as outline goals for the following year. This
report is to be made available for free to all consumers as well,
unaltered.
This is a crucial time for the future of the internet, and we need
to make sure that it grows in the right direction for the entire
world. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Justin G. Nealis