Competition, access to bandwidth, and other issues muddy the net neutrality waters.
It was the million comments filed at the FCC that dragged me out of the silence I’ve maintained for several years on the slippery controversy known as “network neutrality.” The issue even came up during President Obama’s address to the recent U.S.-Africa Business forum.
Most people who latch on to the term “network neutrality” (which was never favored by the experts I’ve worked with over the years to promote competitive Internet service) don’t know the history that brought the Internet to its current state. Without this background, proposed policy changes will be ineffective. So, I’ll try to fill in some pieces that help explain the complex cans of worms opened by the idea of network neutrality.
A conference report on the IP transition.
Although readers of this blog know quite well the role that the Internet can play in our lives, we may forget that its most promising contributions — telemedicine, the smart electrical grid, distance education, etc. — depend on a rock-solid and speedy telecommunications network, and therefore that relatively few people can actually take advantage of the shining future the Internet offers.
Worries over sputtering advances in bandwidth in the US, as well as an actual drop in reliability, spurred the FCC to create the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force, and to drive discussion of what they like to call the “IP transition”.
Last week, I attended a conference on the IP transition in Boston, one of a series being held around the country. While we tussled with the problems of reliability and competition, one urgent question loomed over the conference: who will actually make advances happen?
David Farber offers his big ideas about where the Internet is headed: how long it can last, slaying the bandwidth bottleneck, and waiting for the big breach.
The DC Circuit didn't tell the FCC to turn back. It has a job to
do–promoting the spread of high-speed networking, and ensuring that
it is affordable by growing numbers of people–and it just has to find
the right tool for the job.
So That's What All of Google's Dark Fiber Was For
In a week already full of Google announcements, another bomb was casually dropped today via Google’s blog. The Borg from California announced that it was experimentally entering the Fiber to the Curb (FTTC) market, and that they planned to offer much higher speeds than current offerings (1Gb/sec) and competitive pricing. The announcement also talks about what, when you remove the marketspeak, is a commitment to net neutrality in their service. This, of course, is not surprising, given Google’s strong lobbying for neutrality to the FCC and congress.
Opponents can shed their rhetoric and reveal new depths to their thought when you bring them together for rapid-fire exchanges, sometimes with their faces literally inches away from each other. That made it worth my while to truck down to the MIT Media Lab for yesterday’s Workshop on Innovation, Investment and the Open Internet, sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission. The event showed that innovation and investment are not always companions on the Internet. An in-depth look at the current state of the debate over competition and network neutrality.
The wiretapping accusation against P2P and copyright filtering: evidence that we need more user/provider discussion
Celebrated law expert Paul Ohm suggests that cable companies and other
ISPs might be breaking the federal wiretap law by doing deep packet
inspection. But the same kinds of deep inspection that Ohm decries is
also used for spam and virus filtering. On the other hand, I wonder
whether web mail services such as Hotmail, Yahoo! and Google would be
guilty of wiretapping if they check traffic. These dilemma suggest to
me that the relationship between ISPs (or mail service providers) and
customers has to change, and perhaps that the wiretap statute has to