FCC announces net-neutrality competition winners

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday announced the winners of a contest to perform research or develop applications that protect the principle of net neutrality.

The three winning teams were the University of Michigan and Microsoft Research; School of Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology; and the International Computer Science Institute Netalyzr Project.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski noted that the competition was first announced around the same time that the FCC adopted its net neutrality rules in December. The rules aim to prevent Internet service providers from discriminating between two similar content providers by slowing down or speeding up access to their sites.

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Genachowski said the net neutrality rules have brought "increased certainty and predictability to a long fraught issue."

Critics argue the FCC's net-neutrality rules amount to regulating the Internet. House Republicans voted to repeal the rules earlier this year, but the repeal effort has not made headway in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The winning teams will help spur investment and innovation by "shining a light on network management practices," Genachowski said. "They'll help deter improper conduct, helping to ensure that consumers and the marketplace pick winners and losers online, and that websites or applications aren't improperly blocked or slowed."

The University of Michigan and Microsoft Research team won the competition for the best application. They developed, MobiPerf, an application that allows smartphone users to learn information about their network's connection and policies.

The team from the Georgia Institute of Technology performed research on ways to detect whether an Internet service provider is slowing a customer's traffic.

The International Computer Science Institute presented research on Netalyzr, a network measurement and debugging service.