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Net Neutrality's Legal Binary: An Either/Or With No "Third Way"

People working on net neutrality wish for a "third way" — a clever compromise giving us both network neutrality and no blowback from AT&T;, Verizon, Comcast and others. That dream is delusional because the carriers will oppose network neutrality in any real form; they want paid fast lanes. They have expressed particular opposition to "Title II" of the Communications Act — something telecom lawyers mention the same way normal people might reference the First or Second Amendments. Title II is the one essential law to ban paid fast lanes. more

The Two Sides of Net Neutrality

Over the last decade or so the telecoms industry has been at loggerheads with the content providers and distributors (OTT companies) regarding the use of the infrastructure by the OTT players. On one side we have the people arguing for net neutrality (leave the OTT players alone), and on the other we have the telcos wanting to charge certain players for using their network. The whole issue came to a head, when in mid April the FCC decided to allow telecom operators (or ISPs as they are called in the USA) to charge content providers for higher quality services. more

RIP Network Neutrality

It's been an interesting couple of months in the ongoing tensions between Internet carriage and content service providers, particularly in the United States. The previous confident assertion was that the network neutrality regulatory measures in that country had capably addressed these tensions. While the demands of the content industry continue to escalate as the Internet rapidly expands into video content streaming models, we are seeing a certain level of reluctance from the carriage providers to continually accommodate these expanding demands... more

What Does "Network Neutrality" Mean?

A lot of ink and pixels have been spilled about the FCC's new rules for network neutrality. It's impossible to comment sensibly yet about the actual proposal, since as far as I know it's not been published anywhere, but the various news reports have left me confused about just what is being addressed. There are a number of different sorts of behavior that can result in performance differences to the end user... The purpose of this post is to give a simplified (with luck, not too horribly oversimplified) explanation of the different issues here. more

Better Than Best Efforts Routing of Mission Critical Traffic and the FCC

It appears that the FCC will permit exceptions to the standard, plain vanilla best efforts routing standard for Internet traffic, such as the paid peering arrangement recently negotiated between Comcast and Netflix. In both academic and applied papers I have supported this option, with several major conditions... With no opposition that I have seen, companies like Akamai offer better than best efforts routing of "mission critical" traffic from content source to last mile, "retail" Internet Service Providers. more

Interconnection Disputes Are Network Neutrality Issues (of Netflix, Comcast, and the FCC)

A lot of people have been talking about the "interconnection" deal between Comcast and Netflix and whether that deal is related to network neutrality. (It is.) This question comes partly because the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order (also known as the network neutrality order) was recently struck down. So network neutrality lands back at the FCC, with a new Open Internet proceeding, at the same time Netflix starts working so poorly on Comcast that Netflix had to cut a special deal with Comcast. more

Vint Cerf: Ask Your ISPs What Their Plan Is for IPv6

Vint Cerf joined TWiT TV host Leo Laporte yesterday in Google+ Hangout urging that we need to stop running the experimental version of the Internet and move to the production version of the Internet running IPv6! He also made a great request to everyone watching to ask their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) about when the ISPs would have IPv6 available. more

Netflix Has Buyer's Remorse Over Its Paid Peering Deal With Comcast

Soon after capitulating to Comcast's surcharge demand for improved treatment of its traffic, Netflix got better downstream delivery speeds. Apparently Comcast did not have to undertake a major bandwidth expansion program. Much to the immediate relief of Netflix, Comcast merely needed to allocate more ports for Netflix traffic. So with a reallocation of available bandwidth, Comcast solved Netflix's quality of service dilemma apparently without degrading service to anyone else, upstream or downstream. more

Netflix Agrees to Pay Comcast for Speedier Service

Netflix and Comcast have reached an agreement aimed at smoothing the streaming of Netflix content to the cable company's customers, ending a dispute that included suggestions of throttled traffic. Under the so-called "paid peering" deal, Netflix will be able to connect directly to Comcast's network and skip the intermediaries as it formerly did. The agreement comes less than two weeks after Comcast announced a $45 billion deal for Time Warner Cable. more

How Do We Get More Network Operator Feedback Into IETF Standards? Please Take This Survey

How do we get more feedback from the operators of networks back into the standards process of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)? How do we help know whether the open standards being developed within the IETF reflect the operational realities of the networks into which those standards will be deployed? If we could get more network operators participating in the IETF standards process, would that result in better standards that are deployed faster? more

On Mandated Content Blocking in the Domain Name System

COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act) is a legislative bill introduced in the United States Senate during 2010 that has been the topic of considerable debate. After my name was mentioned during some testimony before a Senate committee last year I dug into the details and I am alarmed. I wrote recently about interactions between DNS blocking and Secure DNS and in this article I will expand on the reasons why COICA as proposed last year should not be pursued further in any similar form. more

Learning to Love the WTO: How Trade Policy Can Save Open Internet - and Bridge the Digital Divide

From the dawn of the mainstream commercial Internet in the late 1990s until quite recently, the world trade and Internet communities have been almost entirely disconnected from one another. This isn't surprising, given that trade policy historically follows technological developments with a considerable 'lag.' As the senior-most 'permanent representative' on the ground in Geneva from the for-profit tech sector, a big part of my job is to try and translate the Internet for the Diplomatic Corps across many different policy subjects. more

The Framing of "IP Transition" Fails to Come to Terms With Real Impact of the Internet

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. more

Google DNS to Be Discontinued in Brazil Ahead of New Law

Doug Madory from Renesys reports: "In response to recent NSA spying allegations, Brazil is pressing ahead with a new law to require Internet companies like Google to store data about Brazilian users inside Brazil, where it will be subject to local privacy laws. The proposed legislation could be signed into law as early as the end of this week. However, Google's DNS service started leaving the country on September 12th, the day President Rousseff announced her intention to require local storage of user data." more

An Internet Governance Update

A lot of people (including me) are pretty upset at revelations of the breadth and scale of NSA spying on the Internet, which has created a great deal of ill will toward the US government? Will this be a turning point in Internet Governance? No, smoke will continue to be blown and nothing will happen. Governments are not monolithic. What people call Internet governance is mostly at the DNS application level, and perhaps the IP address allocation. more