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Financial Times on Telecoms Separation

I've written that a Network Neutrality law needs a Network Management Exception, and I've laid out how this exception is likely to become a giant vacuum-cleaner-fish loophole. The way out is the separation of infrastructure from service, so infrastructure operators can have no financial interests in the services they carry, hence no motive to discriminate in anti-competitive ways. Now today's Financial Times has an editorial on the EC telecom regulator, Viviane Reding's proposal to beef up national telecom regulatory authority within European countries and create a Europe-wide so-called super-regulator. more»

Leading a Horse to Water

It is one thing to bring broadband internet to the masses, but how do we make them drink from the fountain of knowledge? One of the challenges, of course, is that the industry has not yet sold turn-key applications that capture the imaginations of the unconnected. Surprising as it seems, email, Facebook, file swapping and web surfing have not yet attracted 100% of the population. Are there some applications that might lend themselves to a toll-free model in order to reach the rest of the market? more»

Three Years With ICANN

I joined the ICANN board during the December 2004 ICANN meeting in Cape Town. I served for a three year term and stepped down at this last meeting in Los Angeles and didn't run for another term... Before joining ICANN, I thought that ICANN was the only part of the Internet that wasn't really working. I knew that there must be a better way to do what ICANN does, but I couldn't be bothered to figure it out. I'd agree with people who said things like, "it should just be distributed" or "it should just be first come first serve" or "we should just get rid of it." People from ICANN would say, "it's more complicated than that" or "at this point that would be impossible." After being part of the process for three years, I find myself saying those same things... more»

On the Hunt for "Critical Internet Resources"

I'm writing this column in November, and that means that it is time for the traveling circus known as the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to come down to earth, unpack its tents and sell tickets for its annual song and dance routine. The script for this year's show has been changed, and after being excluded from the main arena last year at the Athens gig, the headline act of "Critical Internet Resources" is taking a starring role this year in Rio. Some folk are even saying that it is the single most contentious issue to be scheduled at this year's IGF show. So what are "Critical Internet Resources" anyway? If folks are going to spend all this time, energy and carbon emissions traveling to Rio to talk on this topic, then wouldn't it be helpful to understand what it means in the first place? There are probably a number of ways to answer this question, so in this heavily opinionated column I'd like to look at the range of possible answers to this question. more»

Whois: If You Want Privacy, Pay For It

Netchoice, a lobbying group for the e-commerce industry had a strange reaction on the failure of the GNSO working group on Whois to reach a consensus. After all, they say, "Privacy concerns with Whois that were identified years ago have already been addressed by in the marketplace"... more»

Change of Leadership at ICANN as Cerf Makes Way for Intellectual Property Expert

Intellectual property and computer law barrister Peter Dengate-Thrush has been elected as new Chairman of the Board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The former chairman of InternetNZ, the country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry for New Zealand (.nz), and cofounder of the Association of Asian Pacific ccTLDs, succeeds the legendary Vinton Cerf... more»

Domain Management White Paper

Businesses may rely on domain names to conduct their day to day work, but that does not mean that they really understand what they are using or how important they are. Of course those of us in industry may feel tempted to either scoff at people's naivety or feel terribly frustrated with their ignorance, however neither action is particularly productive. Loic Damilaville, however, has tried to take a more practical and positive approach by publishing a white paper on domain name management. The document was published a few months ago in French and has since been made available in English. more»

Making the Wireless World More Web-Friendly

Your wireless carrier (in the U.S., probably AT&T or Verizon Wireless) has a lot of control over the handset you can use and the applications that can run on that device. In fact, wireless carriers routinely ask for (and get) an enormous slice of the revenue from applications that work on their networks, and they force handset manufacturers to jump through all kinds of hoops in order to be allowed to sell devices that can connect to these networks... This has had bad effects on the ecosystem of the wireless world. more»

How the Internet On Cable Became the Internet As Cable

When Rogers Communications began promoting its Rogers@Home high-speed Internet service nearly a decade ago, the company branded it "the Internet on Cable." Years later, their service, as well as those of their competitors, is gradually morphing into "the Internet as Cable" as broadcasters, Internet service providers, and cultural groups steadily move toward the delivery of content online that bears a striking resemblance to the conventional cable model. more»

Thus Ends the Stupid Network Model?

There is an article in EETimes by Fay Arjomandi of Vancouver-based Mobidia that may shake up the fans of the 10 year old stupid network principle. The stupid network essay calls for intelligence to reside at the edge of the network, rendering IP networks to plumbing pipes -- with carriers ignorant of the application and services being transported. more»

The Day The Routers Died

I hear this has been all over the network operator lists, so here it is for the rest of us. With apologies to Don McLean... more»

Study Shows German Internet Users Prefer Memorable Domain Names for Cities and Regions

The majority of private Internet users in Germany favour the increased usage of local domain endings as in .city or .region in the future because the more memorable names will help them to better find the information that they are looking for. That is the core result of a representative survey that was commissioned by eco Verband der deutschen Internetwirtschaft and conducted by the market research company eResult at the beginning of October. eco is the registered association of German Internet enterprises... more»

ICANN: WHOIS Back to Rathole #0

ICANN's GNSO council had WHOIS on its agenda for today. The options on the table: (1) Accepting the outcome of years of policy development processes; (2) rejecting that outcome (again?), but calling for some kind of fact-gathering to feed into future policy work, in order to keep the space occupied; (3) acknowledging that there is broad dissent in the Internet community, and calling for a sunset on the WHOIS clauses in current agreements, as these clauses are not backed by community consensus any more. Not very surprisingly, motions (1) and (3) failed; (2) was accepted; all that after lengthy discussion, with lots of procedural bells and whistles. more»


There are many network operator group meetings being held these days. Even in the backwater of the South Pacific where I live there is now AUSNOG, and NZNOG is just next door in New Zealand. We now have MENOG in the Middle East and AFNOG in Africa. The original NOG was the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG), and they have the T-Shirts to prove it! NANOG meets three times a year, and I attended NANOG 41 in October 2007. NANOG meetings cover a broad variety of topics, from operational tools, measurement, and peering practices through to a commentary on the state of the Internet industry. Here are my impressions of the meeting. more»

Gmail as an Email Honeypot

You all remember cybersquatting, a popular sport in the late 90s, right? McDonalds.com, JenniferLopez.com, Hertz.com and Avon.com thankfully all point to the right web sites today, but thaiairline.com, mcdonald.com, luftansa.com, gugle.com, barnesandnobles.com and other misspellings are fake web sites intended to trap the casual surfer with a hand that's a bit too much quicker than the eye... If you want to go to the McDonalds web site, you don't even spend the 10 seconds to look it up -- you will type McDonalds.com and expect to see the latest dollar meal menu. But the same is true for the other popular form of communication -- email... more»

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