Net neutrality organization set up

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Microsoft, Intel and Google have teamed up with ISPs and others to create a broadband technical group advising on net neutrality and other issues.

The Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG or TAG) will be headed by Dale Hatfield, adjunct professor of the University of Colorado at Boulder and a former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chief technologist.

The group will provide advice and guidance on broadband network management practices for policy makers. The advice will be purely technical, though it will be aimed at minimizing policy disputes.

Specific targets include promoting outreach within the internet technical community, identifying best practices by broadband providers and others and interpreting 'safe harbor' practices.

It will also issue advice to the pulic and policy makers, as well as giving advice on any technical issues underlying disputes.

"The TAG will function as a neutral, expert technical forum and promote a greater consensus around technical practices within the
internet community," said Hatfield. 

"The TAG would consider a number of factors in looking at technical practices, including whether a practice is used by others in the industry; whether alternative technical approaches are available; the impact of a technical practice on other entities; and whether a technical practice is aimed at specific content, applications or companies."

The group's formation was welcomed by the Internet Society. 

"This joint effort by industry leaders provides an exciting opportunity to address key operational challenges facing the internet
user experience," said Leslie Daigle, chief internet technical officer. 

"The Internet Society believes this activity is an important contribution to the ongoing global, open technical dialog and looks forward to seeing its output appropriately integrated with the work of existing Internet standards activities."

Participants include AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, Dish Network, EchoStar,  Level 3 Communications, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.