Major players in the Internet and telecommunication industries, including Google, AT&T and Verizon, are forming an advisory group on network management practices for online services.
The forum will be overseen by Dale Hatfield, a well-respected former FCC Chief Technologist and current director of the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Government staffers are welcome to observe the group’s works.
The Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group intend to study and educate lawmakers on broadband network management practices and could help the industry form a consensus on these network management practices as the FCC examines net neutrality regulations that could affect network operators’ ability to control Web-based applications and content running on their networks. That’s a fancy way of saying that the forum allows engineers to seek consensus on proper network management practices in a less adversarial forum than FCC rulemaking. The Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) is still in its infancy and an organizational structure will be announced in the coming weeks.
The new group would work to “inform federal agencies in their industry oversight functions.” This after many complaints about Comcast’s ISP side blocking and throttling of certain ports and services. The worry now is whether BITAG is an attempt to undermine the FCC and replace “public interest” regulation with corporate-focused rules. The Advisory Group is still incubating. Operational and organizational structure is under development, as are specific functions such as outreach, identification of best practices safe harbor issues online. You can also check out more about this and more on a variety to technical and online newsgroups that are following and discussing the story.