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Why Government Investment in Broadband Is Justified Now

Bobbie Johnson, technology correspondent for The Guardian, was kind enough to quote me along with Vint Cerf (nice to be in good company) on the importance of building an online economy and an online government. Vint said: "You know how they say opportunity lies on the edge of chaos? Maybe that's going to be true here too." So far our telecommunications infrastructure has largely been privately built and financed. Why should that change now? It's unusual for government to do anything as well as the private sector. more»

CircleID's Top 10 Posts of 2008

Here is a list of the most viewed news and blog postings that were featured on CircleID in 2008... Best wishes for 2009 and Happy New Year from all of us here at CircleID. more»

The Meanings of Network Neutrality

Ed Felten has posted a nice taxonomy of the several meanings people take when they use the term Network Neutrality, briefly: End-to-End Design; Nonexclusionary Business Practice; Content Nondiscrimination ... I've been developing a taxonomy of issues that interact with and are bound with Network Neutrality. So far there are six items... more»

Undersea Cable Cuts, Internet Governance, and Lessons Learned

Early this month I attended the 3rd Internet Governance Forum in Hyderabad, India. The overall theme of the 4-day meeting was "Internet for All"... Last Friday, I spent a couple of hours in the morning on email before I got cutoff around 10am. I have 2 DSL lines at home through 2 different ISPs, I tried both lines but they were both down. I thought something wrong happened at the local exchange and decided to turn off my computer and enjoy my weekend. The last thing I could have thought about then was that what happened back in January 2008 was happening again in less than a year! more»

Deja Vu All Over Again: Cables Cut in the Mediterranean

The end of the year is approaching which seems to be a harbinger of Internet disasters. Four years ago (on 24 Dec. 2004), TTNet significantly disrupted Internet traffic by leaking over 100,000 networks that were globally routed for about an hour. Two years ago (on 26 Dec. 2006), large earthquakes hit the Luzon Strait, south of Taiwan, severing several underwater cables and wreaking havoc on communications in the region. Last year there was a small delay. On 30 Jan. 2008, more underwater cables were severed in the Mediterranean, severely disrupting communications in the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. Calamity returned to its customary end-of-year schedule this year, when early today (19 Dec. 2008) several communications cables were severed, affecting traffic in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent. more»

What Could the RIAA's Switch in Strategy Mean?

The Wall Street Journal and others are reporting that the Recording Industry Association of America is adjusting its strategy for combating the massive infringement occasioned by the sharing of music files over the internet. Since 2003, that strategy has been to pursue copyright infringement cases against individual file sharers. The RIAA now says it will focus less on pursuing infringement litigation and more on working with internet service providers to shut down the accounts of individuals suspected of illegally trading files. more»

One Good Outcome from the Wall Street Journal: Google Flap

On Monday the Wall Street Journal published an article alleging that Google was trying to arrange a "fast lane for its own content" with telecom carriers and contending that Google and Professor Lessig were in the midst of changing their position on network neutrality policy. The WSJ reporters received a lot of flak for the piece -justifiably so. There was no real "news" in this news article. more»

Blocking BitTorrent in Britain

Virgin Media announced its intention of restricting BitTorrent traffic on its new 50Mbps service according to an article by Chris Williams in The Register. Does this mean that net neutrality is endangered in the UK? The question is important because advocates of an open Internet like me hold the UK up as a positive example of net neutrality achieved through competition rather than through regulation. more»

What If I Were Wrong About Edge-Caching?

Nicholas Thompson at Wired Blog sums up yesterday's Wall Street Journal piece on Google. To summarize his summary: Google's edge caching isn't new or evil; Lessig didn't shift gears on NN; Microsoft and Yahoo have been off the NN bandwagon since 2006; The Obama team still supports NN; Amazon's Kindle support is consistent with its NN support. Yet... yet... more»

Net Neutrality and the Obama Stimulus Package

As long as US telecom is duopoly dominated, a neutral Internet is endangered if not impossible; regulation of this kind of concentrated power is necessary but is unlikely to be sufficient. The solution, IMHO, is to dilute the power of the duopoly so that consumers can buy whatever kind of Internet access they want. Countries like the UK with a competitive ISP market do not seem to have net neutrality problems nor require net neutrality regulation and have better Internet access than we do at lower prices. more»