– A consortium of broadband providers and technology firms has created a voluntary
Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG), which aims to develop
consensus on Net Neutrality issues like network management practices. The group
— whose members include AT&T (NYSE:  T), Comcast (NASD:  CMCSA), Google (NASD:  GOOG) and Microsoft (NASD:  MSFT) — was created
in the wake of a court ruling saying the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) lacked authority to implement Net Neutrality principles on ISPs.

will be facilitated by Prof. Dale Hatfield of the Univ.
of Colorado at Boulder, a former FCC chief technologist.

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

"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."

"While there
is nothing wrong with industry attempting to identify broadband network management
practices that do not harm users, this or any other voluntary effort is not a
substitute for the government setting basic rules of the road for the
Internet," said M. Chris Riley, policy council at advocacy group Free

"There must be a separate FCC rulemaking process, which can take
the recommendations of this or any other voluntary advisory group into account,
but rubber-stamping those recommendations would ignore the agency’s mandate to
create public policy in the public interest."


Related Links:
(Free Press statement)
(DMW previous coverage)