Policy & Regulation

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Vint Cerf, Dave Farber Debate Net Neutrality

Two Internet pioneers, Vint Cerf and Dave Farber, debated on the issue of proposed Net neutrality regulations supported by companies like Google and Amazon.com. The pair of technologists appeared to agree on at least one thing: Network operators, in general, shouldn't be allowed to interfere with Net users' activities. Where they disagreed was on the role that Congress and federal regulators should play in the ongoing debate over so-called Net neutrality, the idea that network operators must generally give equal treatment to all content that travels over their pipes.

Related Links:
The Great Debate: Net Neutrality (includes audio recording) more

Storing VoIP Conversation along with Email as Next Regulation

IT chiefs have been warned to prepare for the possibility of new corporate governance rules that would require them to keep records of voice-over-IP (VoIP) conversations alongside email, instant messaging and other forms of communication.

Speaking at the Symantec user event in San Francisco last week, Jeremy Burton, a senior vice-president at the security specialist, said, "Financial institutions in the US already need to keep voicemail because it is stored on disk. As soon as the regulators figure out that VoIP is a digital stream, they will probably try to force that to be kept as well." more

Telephony, Regulation, and VoIP

A new article by Ken Camp, published at Realtime VoIP, discusses telephony regulations, describing some existing regulatory issues surrounding telecommunications and how they might impact VoIP services. The following is an introduction to this article: "Bringing new technologies such as VoIP into service presents a wide range of technical challenges. Given the highly regulated environment of telecommunications, VoIP presents a set of regulatory challenges. For the most part, these challenges present hurdles to VoIP service providers who want to deliver commercial services to consumers and businesses and don't directly impact business VoIP deployment. ...Businesses that embrace managed VoIP services might want to review some of these regulatory issues, such as E-911 services, with the managed VoIP service provider." more

Comparative Broadband Ideas

The primary reason that Japan and Korea do so much better than the U.S. on any measurement of broadband (availability, penetration, price, speed) is that there is fierce competition in the market for broadband internet access in these countries. ...How do you increase competition in the U.S. for broadband access? Right now, we have giants fighting with each other -- cable and telephone companies. Small numbers of these companies control 80%-90% of the market for broadband access... more

Forward-Thinking Remedies

Just a year ago, I gave a talk at David Isenberg's 2005 Freedom to Connect conference. I said, essentially, that we should be careful in asking for regulation to protect the net, because the power to protect carries with it the power to constrain. This was a very troubling message for the audience, and the chatroom projected behind me went wild with disapproval. Since then, I've become very concerned about the concentration in broadband service provision in this country, and worried that there won't be any competition for unfettered internet access. more

Powell Warns Net Neutrologists Not to Be Naive

Just got this email reporting the speech made by former FCC Chairman @ F2C organized by David Isenberg. "Former FCC chairman Michael Powell is up on the stage at the Freedom to Connect conference right now, and he warns the tech elite crowd here not to be naive about the dangers of asking Congress for legislation on Net Neutrality. As he explains..." more

Freedom to Connect

Over the last ten years, Andrew Odlyzko has been writing about a pricing algorithm that would assure reasonable service levels at reasonable prices. If you're going to F2C, you might want to read that brief article or this slightly more complex one to learn (or refresh your sense of) PMP -- Paris Metro Pricing models to deal with network congestion. You'll also get a sense of why throwing bandwidth at the network will not be sufficient. Here's a great article from 1995... more

Telecom Policy Review Panel Calls For Net Neutrality Legal Safeguards

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel report [Canada] was released yesterday and while the immediate reaction will no doubt focus on the recommendations for a market-oriented approach with significant changes to the CRTC, I would call attention to three other recommendations gleaned from reading the executive summary (the full document is nearly 400 pages). more

Communications Policy for 2006 and Beyond: VoIP as a Case in Point

In this article, published in the Federal Communications Law Journal (FCLJ), the authors (Reed E. Hundt and Gregory L. Rosston) have proposed sweeping changes to the current telecommunications regulatory regime. With impending reform in telecommunications laws, the authors argue that an important first step is the creation of a bipartisan, independent commission to examine and recommend implementation of more market-oriented communications policy. The following excerpt from the article looks into service competition with respect to VoIP... more

Is the U.S. Dancing to a Different Drummer?

Is the United States in full retreat from internationally recognized regulatory best practice? Or is it instead headed toward some different destination -- "dancing to the beat of a different drummer"? Where is this likely to lead? The following is an introduction to a paper, published by IDATE, from J. Scott Marcus, a Senior Consultant for WIK-Consult GmbH: "...What has radically changed is telecoms regulatory practice in the United States. The U.S., in a long series of regulatory decisions, has largely abandoned its long-standing regulatory principles and moved in an entirely new direction." more

China Adds Chinese Top-Level Domain Names

China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) has made adjustment to China's Internet domain name system in accordance with Article 6 of China Internet Domain Names Regulations.

After the adjustment, ".MIL" will be added under the top-level domain (TLD) name of "CN". A new Internet domain name system will take effect as of March 1 in China. Under the new system, besides "CN", three Chinese TLD names "CN", "COM" and "NET" are temporarily set. more

Examining the Reality of Convergence

If there is one word in the telecommunications that has suffered from over-abuse for many years now, it's convergence. The term has been liberally applied to each successive generation of communications technology for their supposed ability to solve a myriad of service delivery problems within a single unifying converged carriage and service delivery solution. Unfortunately, the underlying reality has always been markedly different from these wondrous promises, and we continue to see an industry that deploys a plethora of service delivery platforms and an equally diverse collection of associated switching and service delivery technologies. One can't help but wonder at the collective gullibility of an industry that continues to herald the convergent attributes of each new generation of communications technology, while at the same time being forced to admit that previous convergent promises have never been realized. more

U.S. VoIP and Broadband Policy: Today's Debate is Off the Mark!

Despite rather rapid growth in broadband access, the U.S. is falling further and further behind other countries -- we're now ranked #16 in the world. What's slowing the U.S. down? Two threads dominate U.S. broadband policy debate today. The first focuses on traditional telecom regulation -- reciprocal compensation, universal service, e911, and CALEA (wiretap capabilities). The second focuses on "Internet freedoms," i.e., guarantees that your broadband access provider won't block or inhibit specific applications like VoIP. more

New Policy in China Favors Cybersquatters

New regulations will make it more difficult for companies to protect their domain names from cybersquatters in China.

Under the new rules, foreign and local firms will need to prove malicious intent and act quickly to have any hope of retrieving stolen domain names, according to a regulatory official interviewed by Chinese news site Sina. The new rules appear to give a green light to cybersquatters who buy up domain names which are similar to brand names in the hope of selling later for a profit. more

Flushing the 'Net Down the Tubes

Doc Searls has written a brilliant piece framing the battle for the 'Net at Linux Journal. The piece is long, but if you take the time to read just one essay on the 'Net and the politics surround it this year, read this one. If you're involved in public policy, it's especially important that you take the time to understand what's at stake here. One of Doc's main points: we haven't framed the conversation correctly and our poor choice of words makes the argument seem overly technical and arcane when it's really about freedom, markets, and innovation. more