I keep seeing so many articles about the Internet and related policy issues that it's hard to know how to respond. The term "IP Transition" may be a good starting point since the term is an attempt to treat the Internet as a smooth transition rather accepting the idea that we are in the midst of a disruptive change. It seems that the FCC's approach is to simply substitute IP for old protocols and to preserve policies tied to the accidental properties of a copper infrastructure. This shows a failure to come to terms with the new reality.
Perhaps we can learn from the history of the ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission). The Wikipedia entry tells how the FRC (Federal Radio Commission) was spun out of the ICC. What is more interesting is that the ICC itself was succeeded by the Department of Transportation whose focus is on the means of transportation rather than the business of carrying freight. I'd be interested in learning more about how we went from the ICC to the DoT from those versed in regulatory history.
If we are to come to terms with a disruptive change we need to take a zero-based approach and think in terms of a "Department of Connectivity" (DoC) that can focus on the future rather than on preserving the past. This is a thought experiment which is appropriate because the Internet is really about an idea — a way to use available resources.
The DoC could take a fresh look at the infrastructure and ask how to finance the wires and radios given that we can't charge for services like phone calls because such services are now apps. While we do need to be wary of analogies there is a similarity to the shift from charging for rides on railroads to paying for roads. The DoC can also think outside the telephone-framing of today's 9-1-1 to a resilient infrastructure. For example a Nest (or similar) fire detector should be able to send a rich message directly to a fire department using standard messaging.
The problem with calling for a DoC is that unlike roads, which coexisted with the railroads, today's connectivity has to be carved out of the existing telecommunications infrastructure as when IP was used to create wormholes between LANs. I can't make the case for a DoC in a few sentences here given that it took a carefully constructed column (in IEEE/CE Magazine) for me to explain the concepts. What I can do is ask those who take the "IP Transition" effort seriously to read that column and to revisit the conventional understandings rather than trying to force the Internet into the confines of regulatory policies of circa 1934.
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