Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

Overloading the Internet? Recent Media Reports Based on Dangerous Misinformation

The London Times article (and a similar one in the Guardian) are based on dangerous misinformation. The net isn't slowing down, and nearly no technical experts believe major "overload" problems likely on the backhaul, core, or decent local loop... Net traffic per user, as documented by Odlyzko and Cisco, has been growing at about 35-40% the last five years, and that growth rate is flat and possibly down the last two years. The net has been able to handle the increase without price increases, much less overload, because the primary and rate limiting equipment (switches, routers, WDM, etc.) have simultaneously been going down at a similar 35-40%. Moore's Law is bringing costs down and capacity up at a remarkable rate. more

Who Makes the Any Apps Any Handset Call?

The Wall Street Journal today reported that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants to reject a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by Skype that would establish a wireless Carterfone policy, i.e., that wireless carriers must allow subscribers to use any compatible handset to access any application, content or software. Chairman Martin has confidence that the marketplace solutions obviate any necessary FCC intervention. Such optimism must derive in part from the apparently newfound willingness of one major wireless carrier, Verizon, to support aspects of open access. Perhaps Chairman Martin has confidence in the marketplace based on the magnanimous offer of most wireless carriers to pro-rate their early termination penalties by $5 a month. But here's the rub... more

F2C: My Opening Remarks

Here are my opening remarks at F2C: Freedom to Connect yesterday: "I am honored to be among so many remarkable people. We have to be remarkable people, because we have a hell of a job to do. The Internet has been given to us. It is a miraculous gift, and a boon to our lives... at least in part because it accidentally matured outside the purview of profit and loss. Now the money has arrived. If you want to see what happens when the money arrives, look at Nigeria or Venezuela or Russia or Iraq..." more

Gaping Hole in Models for Using Spectrum Efficiently

In February, the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis published three studies (1, 2, 3) on spectrum licensing and spectrum utilization. Thanks to Nick Ruark for pointing them out... Reading on I was struck by a gaping hole in their assumptions. more

Google and the White Spaces

The white spaces proceeding is the next big opportunity for experiments in alternative ways of providing wireless highspeed internet access... A key advantage of unlicensed spectrum is that experiments in new technology can be carried out without asking the permission of spectrum licensees. To date, we have made very little spectrum available for unlicensed use and experimentation. The FCC has the discretion to decide whether the digital television "white spaces" may be used on an unlicensed basis... more

Google's Gigabit Gambit

Want a gig (1000 megabits per second) of Internet access bandwidth? Google says you could have it by the end of next year "from Manhattan to rural North Dakota (sic, I think they meant Vermont)" if their proposal to the FCC is accepted forthwith according to CNET's newsblog. Not only a gig but a mobile gig, accessible by cellphone or roaming computer -- no fiber required. Sound too good to be true? -- it isn't, IMHO! Engineering is not the problem... more

700 MHz Auction Winners: Why Block C Matters

Today the FCC announced the winners of the 700 MHz auction -- and you can see from pp. 62-63 of this document that Verizon won Block C. (Block C was set up in two nationwide paired blocks of 11 MHz each, which were auctioned off in very large geographic areas -- 12 licenses, each covering a "Regional Economic Area Grouping". Verizon won seven of the twelve licenses, covering all of the US except Alaska, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.) Why does this matter? more

Broadband Access: What Should We Regulate?

Network Neutrality is a hot topic in the US. The FCC held hearings in my neighborhood recently (while I was in Asia). Now I see Professor Susan Crawford will be testifying next Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Net Neutrality and the First Amendment." I look forward to her remarks, but I worry that the whole discussion will be focused on "IP Pipes," that is connectivity at network layer 3. This distracts us from the fundamental problem... more

Domain Pulse 2008: Day 2 Focuses on DNS Security

Day two of Domain Pulse 2008 last Friday (see review of day one) focused on online security issues giving the techies amongst us details of security issues, and the more policy-orientated amongst us something to chew on in a few other presentations. Kieren McCarthy, these days of ICANN, also gave some insights into the drawn out sex.com drama with more twists and turns than the average soap opera has in a year! And Randy Bush outlined the problems with IPv6. Among other presentations... more

Domain Pulse 2008: Internet Governance the Focus of Day One

Around 350 attendees came from Russia in the east to Ireland in the west, as well as a few people from elsewhere around the globe, to attend Domain Pulse 2008 in Vienna on February 21 and 22. Day one's focus was internet governance. The future of the DNS was one of the key issues addressed by Michael Nelson of Georgetown University in Washington DC, with domain names becoming less important, but their numbers still increasing, as online access by a myriad of devices skyrockets connect -- everything from the television, refrigerator, washing machine, pets, sprinkler systems and cars. more

Upcoming Domain Pulse 2008 Within Central Europe

Domain Pulse, the yearly get-together of the German-speaking registries of nic.at (Austria), Denic (Germany) and SWITCH (Switzerland) is happening on February 21 and 22 in Vienna. The conference alternates between the countries -- last year it was Switzerland, this year Austria and next year Germany... Domain Pulse covers everything in the domain name arena from management of the DNS, what's happening in each of the ccTLDs, after market and domaining, security threats to the DNS and internet as well as wider issues affecting the internet's development such as internet governance. more

NIST Releases a Profile for IPv6 in the U.S. Government for Comment - Comments Due Feb. 29

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a second draft of a proposed standards profile to support the implementation of IPv6 by government agencies. "NIST developed the 'profile' to help ensure that IPv6-enabled federal information systems are interoperable, secure and able to co-exist with the current IPv4 systems." ...The White House's Office of Management and Budget declared in 2005 that all federal agencies shall migrated to IPv6 by June 30, 2008... more

Internet Access and the Missing Institutional Design

It's Friday, a day to tie some threads together. There were three announcements/events this week that are connected in a non-obvious way... These three elements go together in creating a picture of US policy towards Internet access at the beginning of 2008. Rather than seeing the Internet as an engine for economic growth, creativity, innovation, and new jobs -- and as the converged communications medium for the next generation -- current policy is to wait for private companies to decide when investment in access makes sense for them. Those private companies have plenty of incentives to shape access to suit their own business plans. more

The Network Management Excuse

Telco front-man Scott Cleland, in a recent blog post, thumbs his nose at the Four Internet Freedoms and says that the FCC should too. Under current leadership, it probably will. Referring to the recent submissions to the FCC by Free Press and Public Knowledge and Vuze complaining about Comcast's use of reset packets to block applications that compete with Comcast's own proprietary video entertainment offering, Cleland says "Network management trumps net neutrality." There are lots of reasons for, ahem, managing. Cleland neglects to observe that controlling congestion the way Comcast does it is like scattering nails in the road for traffic control. more

Luxembourg to Offer Investor-friendly Legal Environment for Domain Names

EuroDNS, the Luxembourg registrar, used its well attended New Year party last Wednesday to invite the Minister of Telecoms, Jean-louis Schiltz to talk about a law voted at the end of December 2007. According to the Finance and Budget Commission Report on Draft Law 5801, Revenues generated from use of, or license to use, a Domain Name are exempted from Luxembourg corporate taxes up to 80%. more