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January 05, 2007


Steve PMX

SNL generally sucks these days, but that Dick in a Box sketch was pretty good. Believe there might have been a theme song as well...

Kenzo ( /

"the deal included net neutrality protections for (only) 2 years"

What I've read has indicated that the net neutrality provisions it included weren't meaningful anyway, but were just a bit of trickery if you read the fine print:

Mike Masnick at Techdirt wrote:

from the fooled-ya dept:
A few hours ago, we wrote about the
concessions AT&T agreed to in order to get their merger with
BellSouth approved -- possibly today. It was a little strange to see
the concession letter come out late Thursday night before New Years,
but the concessions seemed genuine enough, and many of the consumer
groups fighting the deal accepted the terms and agreed that it looked
like AT&T had agreed to live up to network neutrality rules. Of
course, the fine print may actually tell a different story.

Dave Burstein, who knows more about DSL than probably just about
anyone, lets us know that the fine print in the deal actually may
negate the network neutrality premise. The wording is a little
tricky, but while they agree not to remove network neutrality from
their standard network, hidden in the middle of a later paragraph is
this sentence: "This commitment also does not apply to AT&T/ BellSouth's Internet Protocol television (IPTV) service." At first
that might seem innocuous, but Burstein has pointed out that AT&T's
always planned on using the IPTV network as that high-speed toll lane
it wants Google, Vonage and others to pay extra for. Burstein notes
that AT&T isn't even set up to put quality of service on their
existing network -- so the agreement not to violate network
neutrality on that network is effectively meaningless. It is, he
claims, a sleight of hand that successfully fooled a bunch of people
into supporting the deal, and will probably help it get approval.
AT&T promises not to violate network neutrality on a network they
never intended to use that way, and carves out permission to use it
on their new network, where they had planned all along to set up
additional tollbooths.

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