Harold Feld (and then the MSM) notes that AT&T has agreed to a series of new conditions in order to obtain approval for its proposed merger with BellSouth. Of greatest interest is the fact that the conditions include some very explicit net neutrality conditions:
AT&T/BellSouth also commits that it will maintain a neutral network and neutral routing in its wireline broadband Internet access service. This commitment shall be satisfied by AT&T/BellSouth's agreement not to provide or to sell to Internet content, application, or service providers, including those affiliated with AT&T/BellSouth, any service that privileges, degrates or prioritizes any packet transmitted over AT&T/BellSouth's wirelines broadband Internet access service based on its source, ownership or destination.
The commitment is good for two years from the effective date of the AT&T/BellSouth merger or the effective date of any net neutrality legislation that addresses the same issues. Seeing this put into place is reminiscent of the Sony rootkit case, where Sony agreed to many of the conditions on its use of DRM that advocates believe should be enshrined in law. From a Canadian perspective, the question is simple – notwithstanding the absence of a regulatory sword, will the major telcos and cable co's pledge to adopt the same conditions?