How BitTorrent’s New Browser Could Change The Way Internet Works

Read original story on: The Next Web

In light of the national debate of net neutrality, BitTorrent has launched a revolutionary browser that aims to keep the Internet open and neutral while ensuring privacy for all users. The browser, dubbed “Project Maelstrom”, uses its peer-to-peer distribution technology to make the Internet more open by giving control back to users, as it requires the crowd to work together to host content so no central servers are necessary. The project is still its early days of alpha test, but we are very interested to see where it is going.

Netflix Petitioning Against Comcast-TWC Merger

As the debate over net neutrality continues to heat up, Netflix is stepping up by filing a 256-page official petition to the FCC to argue against the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The OTT video industry, spearheaded by Netflix, has been one of the most vocal proponents in this ongoing debate. It is within reason for them to oppose the merger between two of largest Internet service providers in US for fear of constricted bandwidth and regional monopoly. Netflix may be doing well enough to afford paying ISPs access fee for better interconnection at the moment, but the merger, if approved, would restraint the growth of smaller companies and upset the current equilibrium.

Netflix Reports Record-High 50 Million Users Worldwide

In its second quarter report released today, Netflix notes it has crossed the milestone of 50 million members, with 36.24 million domestic subscribers and 13.8 million international ones. In comparison, Time Warner claims 127 million HBO subscribers, while Amazon coyly admits that it has just over 20 million Prime subscribers. The company also reported 1.34 billion in revenue, doubling the profit it had last year.

As Netflix expands around the globe and heaping up the profits, the company also seems to have become the major force advocating for Net Neutrality, which it once again, unsurprisingly, asserts its support for in the report. Its battle with big cable and ISP companies over this issue will most likely intensify as Netflix continues to gain strength from the fast-growing OtT market.

Ruling: FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Don’t Apply To ISPs

A US appeals court today ruled that the FCC’s net neutrality rules don’t apply to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which might set a precedent for prioritization of Internet traffic. The ruling might seem pedantic and not that important for advertisers, but it means that ISPs can, without fear of punishment, strike deals with websites to prioritize web traffic. The net neutrality laws are based on the same principle as the “common carrier” terms, which mean that certain types of telephone calls aren’t prioritized over others, so that the phone lines are always open to everybody, all the time. If the same laws don’t apply to the Internet, ISPs can do deals with large companies to ensure that their services have more bandwidth, taking bandwidth away from smaller websites or projects. So if you have a digital UX/UI experience, campaign, or project that isn’t in on one of these deals, it could be de-prioritized and fall on its head because of a lack of bandwidth. Or, in the words of the ruling, “it might degrade the quality of the connection to a search website like Bing if a competitor like Google paid for prioritized access.” The FCC is currently in the process of appealing the ruling, so this might not stand for long, but until it is actually overturned it’s an important development to keep a close eye on. 

Net Neutrality and media: Why you should care.

I’m often asked: “What exactly is Net Neutrality?” Boiled down, it’s the philosophy that, however we personally use the Internet, it carries no restrictions or tariffs based on the content we access. Essentially is it the principle that carriers (ISPs) are precluded from restricting or prioritizing access to data based on the content that the data comprises.

Think of it as the postal system. The government is not allowed to open and read your mail to see if one letter is more important than another.  As long as the postage is correct for the weight of the envelope, your letter gets delivered.  Priority Mail would be analogous to upgrading your bandwidth.  Like going from Dial-up to Broadband.  But at no point is the content of the envelope considered in how your mail gets sorted or delivered by your mail carrier. Continue reading “Net Neutrality and media: Why you should care.”

A temporary setback for net neutrality

FCC Proponents of net neutrality were dealt a harsh blow last week when a U.S. appeals court ruled that the FCC could not stop Comcast from slowing service on peer-to-peer file sharing site BitTorrent. The unanimous written decision from the judges never rebukes net neutrality philosophically, but claims the FCC overstepped its powers in the realm of broadband regulation.

In all likelihood, Comcast’s victory will be the catalyst for a larger showdown that could play out in one of two ways. In the first scenario, the FCC will push back by redefining broadband as a Title II service and reassert it’s right to enforce net neutrality. Doing so would require the FCC to make a compelling argument for the switch and could be met by a challenge from the Telecommunications and Cable industries that would take the issue back to the courts — possibly to the Supreme Court eventually. A second scenario, and perhaps the more appropriate solution, is that Congress directly defines the FCC’s authority (or lack there of) in the realm of broadband regulation. Continue reading “A temporary setback for net neutrality”

Will net neutrality kill cloud gaming?

Will net neutrality kill cloud gaming? (Microsoft Xbox)Column originally featured on MediaPost

The title of this post is “Will net neutrality kill cloud gaming?” — and no, that’s not the wrong way around. While a handful of game developers just advised the FCC on the importance of net neutrality for the future of online gaming, and to an extent correctly so, there are cause-and-effects in play that also pose significant threats.

Let’s get some definitions out of the way. First off, for the purposes of this post, “cloud gaming” refers to games that are rendered in the cloud (i.e. on servers). In essence, this is the promise of services like OnLive, a gaming offering that portends high-quality gaming on the simplest of devices by centralizing the heavy lifting in the cloud. It’s not there yet, but the intent has many gamers’ hopes up for a day in the future when they can leave the hardware arms race behind. Read more.

The battle over wireless networks begins

The battle for net neutrality begins (iStock)The FCC has thrown down the gauntlet about network neutrality. While there is a case to be made both for and against a government mandated network neutrality, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is strongly making the case for it. He’s working to have the FCC’s current governing principals turned into hard-coded rules, and to increase the four to six, adding in a principal regarding network non-discrimination (aka neutrality) and one on transparency and openness.
Those are some fighting words.

The FCC has so far skirted around the issues of network neutrality, ruling in ways that indicated their support of the concept, but not calling it out specifically. This latest move is going to cause ripples. Continue reading “The battle over wireless networks begins”