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Regulation

Light Readers Favor QOS Fees

Initial results of a new Light Reading poll show that readers are sympathetic to the RBOCs' views on the issue of "net neutrality." (See Net Neutrality.)

The RBOCs may soon be charging VOIP, video, and gaming companies for the right of pole position on their broadband networks. According to poll results so far, Light Readers are okay with the practice, and they don’t believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should regulate against it. (See Net Neutrality Goes to Washington.)

BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) revved up the debate last week when it said it may ask a “QOS fee” of Internet content providers like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) that want their content to flow quickly and unharmed over RBOC broadband networks. (See Video Lights Google's Fiber.)

The Voice On the Net (VON) Coalition responded to the idea by calling it a “sin tax.” (See QOS Fees Could Change Everything .)

Our poll went live Wednesday, and by close of business Thursday 88 readers had weighed in on net neutrality.

To the question “Do you think RBOCs will degrade VOIP services that compete with their own VOIP and landline voice services?,” 64 replied “Yes” and 36 percent replied “No.”

But our poll takers, so far at least, seem open to the QOS fee idea: 61 percent gave it the thumbs up, while 39 percent objected to it.

Only 31 percent of the poll takes believe the FCC should take action against the practice. Most observers believe the commission isn’t eager to get involved unless the telcos and Internet players can’t come to an agreement on QOS fees among themselves.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin recently said publicly that while the commission would never allow a network operator to block a given Internet service, “limiting” or reducing the speed of the service was quite another thing.

The Net Neutrality poll will be up for another three business days, so please share your opinion here. The monkey’s waiting.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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