Net Neutrality

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Call for Telecom Industry Wake-Up

As many of you know, I'm launching the Emerging Communications (eComm) conference -- taking place next month in Silicon Valley, at the Computer History Museum. Communications innovation has been stagnant, in my opinion, for nearly a decade. Telecommunications and Internet communications both seem to be at somewhat of an impasse. The communications industry needs a forum to help break through the stagnancy and highlight the huge opportunity space that is emerging. The stagnancy has been strikingly more so in telecommunications... more

CircleID’s Top 10 Posts of 2017

It is once again time for our annual review of posts that received the most attention on CircleID during the past year. Congratulations to all the 2017 participants for sharing their thoughts and making a difference in the industry. 2017 marked CircleID's 15th year of operation as a medium dedicated to all critical matters related to the Internet infrastructure and services. We are in the midst of historic times, facing rapid technological developments and there is a lot to look forward to in 2018. more

Purpose vs Discovery and the Internet as a Dynamic

I'm writing this in response to the myriad discussions about how to make sure that the Internet continues to "work" despite P2P or whatever the current threat seems to be. Behind much of the discussion is the presumption that the Internet has a purpose in the sense of making some applications like video games and VoIP work. Yesterday we feared modems, today we fear P2P. more

Monetizing the Internet

What would duopoly providers of internet access really like to have? They'd really like to be paid for providing non-commodity services. They'd really like to be rewarded for running the network, top to bottom. "But that's not possible," you say. No provider can tell one packet from another. Providers can only block the ports used by applications they don't like, and that's a clumsy, unwinnable arms race. The applications can always switch to common and useful ports, and no provider wants to alienate its subscriber base. But what if providers could inspect the contents of packets, without using too much computational power, and discriminate among applications? "Naah," you say. "They can't possibly do that."... more

Exploring the Roots of Wireless Spectrum Controversy (eComm Panel)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the The Emerging Communications (eComm) 2009 conference in San Francisco which was packed with 3 days of fascinating conversations about the future of communications. I absolutely enjoyed talking to various speakers and attendees giving me a deep level of appreciation and perspective on technical, commercial and political issues at hand -- and what is likely to come in the next few years. And speaking of politics, Lee Dryburgh, who founded eComm in early 2008, has generously allowed us to share with you a fascinating panel discussion which took place on day 3 of the conference called "Spectrum 2.0 - What's really happening?" more

Obama’s Missed Opportunity

According to National Journal, Susan Crawford is joining the Obama administration in a significant new role... This does not make me happy. Crawford is not a technologist, and the job that's been created for her needs to be filled by a person with deep knowledge of technology, the technology business, and the dynamics in research and business that promote innovation... more

Australia’s Open National Broadband Network Sets the Benchmark for the USA

As someone closely involved with the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) and many other fibre plans around the globe, I would like to provide an inside picture of the revolutionary developments that are taking place in the Australian broadband market. Australia's national broadband network will be an FttH-based open wholesale network -- a network that will connect (not pass) 90% of all Australians to fibre, with the remaining 10% of the population being linked to that network through technologies that are capable of delivering equivalent services. more

Verizon OPEN Wireless

Very surprising and welcome announcement from Verizon Wireless yesterday announcing that "it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008..." And Verizon Wireless is right to open up. There's plenty of room to be cynical about this; after all, Verizon Wireless is trying to STOP the FCC from putting an openness requirement on the 700Mhz spectrum to be auctioned... more

Comcast v. FCC - “Ancillary Jurisdiction” Has to Be Ancillary to Something

Big news today - Judge Tatel has written the D.C. Circuit's opinion in Comcast v. FCC, and Comcast wins. Bottom line: The FCC didn't have regulatory authority over Comcast's unreasonable network management practices because it failed to tie that authority to any express statutory delegation by Congress... more

In Praise of Relatively Dumb Pipes

Comcast's furtive and undisclosed traffic manipulation reminds me of a curious, red herring asserted by some incumbent carriers and their sponsored researchers: that without complete freedom to vertically and horizontally integrate the carriers would lose synergies, efficiencies and be relegated to operating "dumb pipes."... Constructing and operating the pipes instead of creating the stuff that traverses them gets a bad rap. It may not be sexy, but it probably has less risk. But of course with less risk comes less reward, and suddenly no one in the telecommunications business is content with that. So incumbent carriers assert that convergence and competitive necessity requires them to add "value" to the pipes. more

The Great Internet Transformation? A First Stab

Is it just a coincidence that some of the leading Internet-based application companies are pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content? Or are we witnessing the end of the Internet as we know it? Think back to the online world fifteen years ago. There was AOL, there was Compuserve, there was Prodigy, and there was Apple's eWorld. Sure, there were researchers and students posting to Usenet newsgroups and navigating through Gopher sites, but the Internet was a sideshow for individuals and business users. ...the online world of those days was fragmented and small. Every online service was an island. Are we going back to those days? more

Another Wrong-Headed WSJ Editorial

Those wacky editorial writers at the Wall Street Journal just cannot seem to get the facts straight about network neutrality and what the FCC has done or can do on this matter. In the July 30, 2008 edition (Review and Outlook A14), the Journal vilifies FCC Chairman Kevin Martin for starting along the slippery slope of regulating Internet content. The Journal writers just seem to love hyperbole, and are not beyond ignoring the facts when they do not support a party line. Here are a few examples from the editorial... more

Google Voice Dispute Highlights an Opportunity for Mobile Network Operators

The recent row between Google, Apple and AT&T concerning the removal of Google Voice from the Apple iPhone store highlights the friction existing between network operators and so-called over the top (OTT) application providers. Most observers believe that AT&T initiated the blockade because Google Voice (which offers free or highly discounted calling rates) is a direct threat to AT&Ts call revenue (Google Voice users need only pay AT&T for access to the Internet). more

700 MHz Update: Will VZ Comply with the Rules?

Last Friday (HT: IPDemocracy), Google filed a petition [PDF] asking that the Commission ensure that Verizon understands what those "open platform" requirements for the C Block really mean. Verizon has taken the position in the past that its own devices won't be subject to the "open applications" and "open handsets" requirements of the C Block rules, and Google says it is concerned that Verizon doesn't plan to follow those requirements in the future. This is big. Here's the background... more

The Future of the Internet Economy: Chapter 2

The OECD held a "high-level" meeting in June 2011 that was intended to build upon the OECD Ministerial on The Future of the Internet Economy held in Seoul, Korea in June 2008. I was invited to attend this meeting as part of the delegation from the Internet Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC), and here I'd like to share my impressions of this meeting. This 2 day meeting, "The Internet Economy: Generating Innovation and Growth", had the objective of exploring a number of current issues in the public policy space... more