Google and Microsoft Agree: This is Serious

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You know things are bad when a coalition includes Google and Microsoft agreeing on something:

The Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition Europe was launched in December 2007 by seven leading Internet communications and technology companies, on the cutting edge – iBasis, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Rebtel, Skype and Voxbone – to create an authoritative voice for the Internet-enabled communications industry.

And what are they agreeing on?

The VON Coalition Europe urges the European decision-makers to adopt principles to allow consumers to access the services, applications and content of their choice on any public network, regardless of the provider that offers them.

What they are worried about is this:

On Tuesday, the European Parliament voted on part of the Telecoms Package, one of the cornerstones in the Regulation of the Electronic Communications Sector. Many provisions adopted by the Committee leading on Universal service open the door to the blocking or degrading of content, services or applications by access operators for motives that extend beyond efficient traffic management. At the same time, T-Mobile, the largest German mobile network operator, has announced that it would block Skype on iPhones in Germany for reason of “efficient management” of its network, reasons that do not seem to affect the capacity of many other mobile networks to run Skype over their network! A typical Skype call normally uses 8 to 20 kbit/s, which can be compared to the download of an average web page and is considered as a low-bandwidth application.

In other words, they fear for the health of net neutrality in Europe. As well they might.

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