Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality / Featured Blogs

The FCC is Taking the Right Step

Today's announcement from the Commission that it intends to roll back the exercise of Title II utility-style regulation over "any person engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service" at its 14 December meeting is the right step. As a veteran of 40 years of internet related regulatory wars in the FCC and numerous other venues, the Commission's decision and the actual Rules promulgated in the February 2015 Report & Order stand among the most ill-considered application of authority and regulatory gerrymandering ever witnessed. more

Google Now a Target for Regulation

The time was - way back around the turn of the century - when all Internet companies believed that the Internet should be free from government regulation. I lobbied along with Google and Amazon to that end (there were no Twitter and Facebook then); we were successful over the objection of traditional telcos who wanted the protection of regulation. The FCC under both Democrats and Republicans agreed to forbear from regulating the Internet the way they regulate the telephone network; the Internet flourished, to put it mildly. more

Net Neutrality 101: Why 'Title II' Doesn't Apply to Internet Transmissions

No baby boomers had been born when Congress enacted Title II of the Communications Act in 1934 as a means of regulating the Bell telephone monopoly, and the first Millennials were in elementary school when that monopoly was broken up in 1983. Title II was set to die along with plain old telephone service until the Obama administration decided Title II should be used to implement net neutrality -- the principle that consumers should have reasonable access to internet functionality. more

Network Design: If You Haven't Found the Tradeoff…

This week, I ran into an interesting article over at Free Code Camp about design tradeoffs... If you think you've found a design with no tradeoffs, well... Guess what? You've not looked hard enough. This is something I say often enough, of course, so what's the point? The point is this: We still don't really think about this in network design. This shows up in many different places; it's worth taking a look at just a few. more

The One Reason Net Neutrality Can't Be Implemented

Suppose for a moment that you are the victim of a wicked ISP that engages in disallowed "throttling" under a "neutral" regime for Internet access. You like to access streaming media from a particular "over the top" service provider. By coincidence, the performance of your favoured application drops at the same time your ISP launches a rival content service of its own. You then complain to the regulator, who investigates... It seems like an open-and-shut case of "throttling" resulting in a disallowed "neutrality violation". Or is it? more

"Net Neutrality" Protects New Monopolies from Old

Over the next decade which companies do you think will be better able to exercise monopoly power? Amazon, T&T, Comcast, Facebook, Google, Regional phone companies, or Verizon? If you'd asked me this question in 2000, I would've picked AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and regional phone companies. They are part of local duopolies for wired infrastructure. more

Blaming Technology and the Rule of Law

Imagine that Ford was held responsible every time one of its Mustangs broke the speed limit. Imagine that the company responded by limiting the speed of its vehicles to 65 MPH, or that the company was required by the government to report every speeding car to highway patrol. It sounds far-fetched, but is actually a good metaphor for the way that many want technology companies to respond to infractions. more

Is the Passion Over Net Neutrality Misguided? A New Paper Offers a Fresh Technical Approach

"Net neutrality" is implicitly framed as a debate over how to deliver an equitable ration of quality to each broadband user and application. This is the wrong debate to have, since it is both technically impossible and economically unfair. We should instead be discussing how to create a transparent market for quality that is both achievable and fair. In this paper I propose an alternative approach that (potentially) meets the needs of both consumer advocates and free market proponents. more

Telecoms Competition on a Downhill Slide in America

That is what happens when you base your telecommunications policies on the wrong foundations. The problems with the telecommunications industry in America go back to 1996 when the FCC decided that broadband in America should be classified as internet (being content) and that therefore it would not fall under the normal telecommunication regulations. Suddenly what are known as telecommunications common carriers in other parts of the world became ISPs in the USA. How odd is that? more

Internet Fast Lanes - You May Be Surprised at Who Has Them

The Internet Association -- lobbying organization for Internet giants like Google, Amazon and Netflix -- is adamant that it is necessary to apply of 1935 phone regulation (Title 2) to the Internet to assure that there are no premium "fast lanes", that all bits are treated equally, that Internet access providers (ISPs) do not prioritize their own content over content from competitors. more