Net Neutrality

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Overloading the Internet? Recent Media Reports Based on Dangerous Misinformation

The London Times article (and a similar one in the Guardian) are based on dangerous misinformation. The net isn't slowing down, and nearly no technical experts believe major "overload" problems likely on the backhaul, core, or decent local loop... Net traffic per user, as documented by Odlyzko and Cisco, has been growing at about 35-40% the last five years, and that growth rate is flat and possibly down the last two years. The net has been able to handle the increase without price increases, much less overload, because the primary and rate limiting equipment (switches, routers, WDM, etc.) have simultaneously been going down at a similar 35-40%. Moore's Law is bringing costs down and capacity up at a remarkable rate. more

Net Neutrality: A Net-Head View

Net neutrality is a complex issue with some strongly opposed views that at times sound more like religion than sensible argument, so this article is an attempt to provide some sense for those still not completely sure what it is all about. Be warned though, that this article is not an unbiased appraisal of the arguments, it is written from the perspective of a confirmed net-head. more

Taking the Leap to Cloud-Based Malware Inspection

Is desktop anti-virus dead? Someday I'd love to make that announcement, but it still feels to me that there's a Patron Saint of Voodoo with an affinity for bringing it back to life -- like some macabre mirror image of the malicious zombies it's supposed to provide protection against. It's kind of ironic that today's innovation in desktop anti-virus isn't really happening at the desktop; rather it's occurring in the cloud. more

Beyond Neutrality - Enabling a World of Connected Things

The growing interest in the "Internet of Things" is forcing us to think beyond the web to a much larger world of connected devices. We can tolerate the many barriers to connectivity because we expect that someone can provide the necessary credentials to log in to the providers' services and to adjust Wi-Fi access keys whenever the access point changes or simply to click "agree" at a hotspot. This doesn't work for "things" which can't recognize a sign-on or "agree screen". more

Network Neutrality and the FCC’s Inability to Calibrate Regulation of Convergent Operators

For administrative convenience and not as required by law, the FCC likes to apply an either/or single regulatory classification to convergent operators. Having classified ISPs as information service providers, the Commission unsuccessfully sought to sanction Comcast's meddling with subscribers' peer-to-peer traffic. Now Chairman Genachowski wants to further narrow and nuance regulatory oversight without changing the organic information service classification. more

How Fast is Internet Traffic Growing?

It depends on whose numbers you like. Andrew Odlyzko claims it's up 50-60% over last year, a slower rate of growth than we've seen in recent years. Odlyzko's method is flawed, however, as he only looks at public data, and there is good reason to believed that more and more traffic is moving off the public Internet and its public exchange points to private peering centers. Nemertes collects at least some data on private exchanges and claims a growth rate somewhere between 50-100%. more

The Open Internet?

I'm sure we've all heard about "the open Internet." The expression builds upon a rich pedigree of term "open" in various contexts. For example, "open government" is the governing doctrine which holds that citizens have the right to access the documents and proceedings of the government to allow for effective public oversight, a concept that appears to be able to trace its antecedents back to the age of enlightenment in 17th century Europe. more

Susan Crawford, Kevin Werbach Named Obama’s FCC Review Team Leads

We'd like to congratulate our long time CircleID participants, Susan Crawford and Kevin Werbach for being named today as Obama-Biden FCC Transition Team Leads. Susan Crawford, is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School who recently ended her term as a member of the Board of Directors of ICANN and is the founder of OneWebDay. Kevin Werbach, is an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also the founder of the Supernova Group and the organizer of Supernova, a leading executive technology conference. more

Is Bandwidth Infinite? It All Depends…

On August 23 ( while I was in China) a list member Lee S. Drybrugh wrote in jest: I happened to bump into Peter Cochrane stating, "The good news is -- bandwidth is free -- and we have an infinite supply." Next by sheer accident I bumped into this in relation to Gilder, "Telecosm argues that the world is beginning to realise that bandwidth is not a scarce resource (as was once thought) but is in factinfinite." Can anyone explain this infinite bandwidth as I think I am getting ripped off by my ISP if this is true? Craig Partridge then offered what I think is a very good commentary of a difficult question where the answer depends very much on context... more

A Look at How Google, Verizon and the FCC Talks are Playing Out

Sam Gustin reporting in DailyFanance: "As Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Google forge ahead with highly publicized new plans to stream high-speed content like movies and TV shows to your living room, smartphone, telecom and cable giants like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast (CMSCA) have been intensely lobbying to maintain control over the broadband pipes they spent billions to build. Comcast is going so far as to buy a rich content factory, NBC Universal, a deal that would create a $35 billion media and delivery juggernaut." more

On Comcast and Net Neutrality: Shouting Fire in a Theater

The Comcast traffic shaping case has stirred up passionate debate. Net neutrality proponents are calling for Comcast's head on a platter. The common argument is that Comcast's policy may stifle innovation and competition. If a service provider is allowed to exercise unregulated discretion in how it treats subscriber traffic, it is a slippery slope toward anti-competitive practices. Net neutrality says keep your hands off. Some are preaching net neutrality as if it were an inalienable human right like freedom of speech... more

A Clear Case for ISP Regulation: IP Address Logging

Over on the Network Neutrality Squad yesterday, I noted, without comment, the following quote from the new Time Warner Cable privacy policy bill insert: "Operator's system, in delivering and routing the ISP Services, and the systems of Operator's Affiliated ISPs, may automatically log information concerning Internet addresses you contact, and the duration of your visits to such addresses." Today I will comment, and explain why such logging by ISPs creates a clear case for regulatory intervention, on both privacy and competition grounds. more

Comcast-TWC: Why Compete and Innovate When You Can Buy Market Share?

Expect a charm offensive as Comcast and scores of sponsored researchers explain how acquiring Time Warner Cable will promote competition and enhance consumer welfare. You might not hear too much about two traditional concerns remedied by actual facilities-based competition: incentives to innovate and reduce prices. Comcast will frame its acquisition as necessary to achieve even greater scale to compete with other sources of video content and maybe to compete with the limited other sources of broadband access. more

Internet Economics

One year ago, in late 2017, much of the policy debate in the telecommunications sector was raised to a fever pitch over the vexed on-again off-again question of Net Neutrality in the United States. It seemed as it the process of determination of national communications policy had become a spectator sport, replete with commentators who lauded our champions and demonized their opponents. more

Questioning “Net Neutrality”

I'm kinda foxed by the some of the discussion going on about "Net Neutrality". The internet was designed from the outset not to be content neutral. Even before there was an IP protocol there were precedence flags in the NCP packet headers. And the IP (the Internet Protocol) has always had 8 bits that are there for the sole purpose of marking the precedence and type-of-service of each packet. It has been well known since the 1970's that certain classes of traffic -- particularly voice (and yes, there was voice on the internet even during the 1970's) -- need special handling... more