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Integrity of Internet Is Crux of Global Conference

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At the recent World Conference on International Telecommunications, representatives from more than 190 governments, telecommunications companies, and Internet groups met to update a global treaty on technical standards and discuss political and commercial control of the Internet. "This is a very important moment in the history of the Internet, because this conference may introduce practices that are inimical to its continued growth and openness," says Google vice president and ACM president Vinton G. Cerf.

Although critics fear the meeting could be a precursor to the United Nations trying to take over control of the Internet, analysts say the conference's only goal is to discuss business. "The far bigger issue — largely obscured by this discussion — are proposals that are more likely to succeed that envision changing the way we pay for Internet services," says University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist.

For example, the European Telecommunications Network Operator's Association proposed that network operators be permitted to assess charges for content providers that use a lot of bandwidth. However, in the U.S., most telecommunications companies have been allowed to maintain local monopolies in broadband, keeping prices higher. Analysts say this could explain why U.S. telecommunications companies have not joined the European call for a new business model.

From The New York Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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