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WSIS, Development, and Internet Governance: A Plea for 'Star Trek' over 'Mad Max'

Humanity continues to find itself at a crossroads. Ahead of us lies an uncertain future filled with predictions of imminent doom and ominous prospects along with the wonders of science and technology. Behind us lies a century marked paradoxically by both devastating global conflicts and unparalleled global collaboration. As societies continue to globalize, we are increasingly becoming more connected - to the point where it is difficult, if not impossible, to divorce ourselves from the interconnectivity in contemporary systems of commerce, economics, politics, and culture. more»

Why Broadband Speed Tests Suck

Everyone is familiar with broadband 'speed test' applications. When you have an ISP service quality problem, it is common to grab one of these tools to see if you are getting the service you feel you are entitled to get. Whenever you upgrade your broadband, the first thing you might do is to run a speed test. Then you can show off to your mates how superior your blazing fast service is compared to their pitiful product. more»

What Stopped the Cuban Internet in 1996 and What Is Stopping It Today?

The problem today is bureaucracy and its companions - fear of competition, change and stepping out of line. Cuba connected to the Internet in 1996, but three factors stifled the Cuban Net: the US embargo, economic depression during what the Cubans call the "special period" after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Cuban government's fear of free information, which was also fed in part by the Soviet collapse. more»

A Look at Why We Need Fibre-to-the-Farm

One of the discussions I am currently having with my international colleagues is about the global trend towards urbanisation and the resulting shift of political, economic and financial powers from centralised states and federal structures to mega-city or mega-urban region centres. Some of my American colleagues expressed the fear that this would further marginalise rural communication. more»

Is the FCC Inviting the World's Cyber Criminals into America's Living Rooms?

In October 2012, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee issued a joint statement warning American companies that were doing business with the large Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE to "use another vendor." The bipartisan statement explains that the Intelligence Committee's Report, "highlights the interconnectivity of U.S. critical infrastructure systems and warns of the heightened threat of cyber espionage and predatory disruption or destruction of U.S. networks if telecommunications networks are built by companies with known ties to the Chinese state, a country known to aggressively steal valuable trade secrets and other sensitive data from American companies." more»

The Strange Structure of ISP Service Semantics

I have been having a number of conversations recently with several clients and colleagues about "semantics". It's clear that there is not a lot of clarity on this philosophical subject! Whilst is may be an obscure issue, it is a very important one. Our ideas lead us to take actions, and if we want those actions to have the consequences we had in mind, then we need to have done our epistemological homework. more»

Welcome to Notflix! Your Streaming-Free ISP with the Best Quality of Experience!

It has been widely taken as "obvious" that a "no blocking" rule for ISPs is a good regulatory policy. Is this really the case? Does it save consumers from harm... or cause harm? Netflix has reached the point of being well over 30% of Internet traffic at peak time for some ISPs. This places three costs on the ISP and its users... So for someone who isn't a streaming video user, they are paying a share of the direct costs. more»

Legacy or Not to Be?

Over the years, most communication service providers will build up their information systems bit by bit. Every so often as new services are required, a new process and vendor product is installed. Several years later, there can be many legacy processes and vendor products chosen and designed by many different people. Generally, each implementation team is diligently aware of these legacy processes and vendor products. But in a lot of cases the whole enterprise architecture becomes very convoluted and complicated. more»

What Your ISP (Probably) Knows About You

Earlier this week, I came across a working paper from Professor Peter Swire - a highly respected attorney, professor, and policy expert. Swire's paper, entitled "Online Privacy and ISPs", argues that ISPs have limited capability to monitor users' online activity. The paper argues that ISPs have limited visibility into users' online activity for three reasons: (1) users are increasingly using many devices and connections, so any single ISP is the conduit of only a fraction of a typical user's activity; (2) end-to-end encryption is becoming more pervasive, which limits ISPs' ability to glean information about user activity; and (3) users are increasingly shifting to VPNs to send traffic. more»

Reflections on NANOG 66

The North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) continues to be one of the major gatherings on network operators and admins, together with the folk who work to meet the various needs of this community. Their program committee produces a program that never fails to provide thought provoking interest. Here are my reactions to some of the presentations I heard at NANOG 66, held in San Diego in February. more»

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