Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

U.S. Falls Behind China in Broadband, Light-Touch Regulation Blamed for the Decline

Recent reports indicate that China has now surpassed the U.S. and is becoming the number one broadband country in the world. According to data analysis by market research firm Point Topic, both the U.S. and China had about 78 million broadband lines at the end of August; however China is growing twice as fast. Point Topic says that when broadband use initially surged in China, some experts predicted the country would overtake the U.S. in 2006. However the U.S. speeded up in the number of broadband lines and growth in China leveled off. For 18 months the two countries were more or less even with similar numbers of lines added in each quarter until the first quarter of this year. more

Google's Larry Page Says Whitespace Tests Were Rigged

Google's Co-Founder Larry Page said today that recent tests conducted by the FCC that determined mobile devices in the so-called "white space" spectrum can cause interference with microphones and TV stations were rigged and shouldn't serve as the basis for government policy. Speaking at a Wireless Innovation Alliance event hosted by the New America Foundation here, Page said "I'm telling you the test was rigged" and urged the FCC to act on a proposal to free up the spectrum, slices of the airwaves set aside so that broadcast stations don't interfere with each other. more

Comcast Discloses Network Management Practices

Comcast has provided U.S. regulators details of how it plans to change the way it manages Web traffic over its high speed Internet network without blocking any applications or content. The move comes after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last month to uphold a complaint that Comcast had violated the regulator's open-Internet principles by hindering peer-to-peer traffic from applications such as BitTorrent. Comcast said on Friday that under the plan designed to give all users their "fair share" of bandwidth it would focus on managing the traffic of customers who are using most bandwidth when the network is congested. more

Will John McCain Help the NEXT Blackberry Creator?

Today a senior McCain advisor, Doug Holtz-Eakin, proudly held up a Blackberry and declared: "You're looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create." Bloggers on all sides of the partisan divide are having a field day with this -- suggest that the McCain campaign is out of touch, desperate, or trying to top the trouble VP Al Gore got into, when he was falsely accused of claiming to have invented the Internet... more

Cloud Computing: A Hot Debate Among Policy Makers

During a recent Google forum on the policy implications of hosted applications and services, experts anticipate great challenges facing policy makers in the next few years as cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular. Issues include: "Who owns the data that consumers store on the network? Should law enforcement agencies have easier access to personal information in the cloud than data on a personal computer? Do government procurement regulations need to change to allow agencies to embrace cloud computing?" more

Caring About Cybersecurity or Preparing the Ground for an I-Patriot Act?

Few months ago in a talk given at the Institution of Engineering and Technology organised here in London by the Society for Computers and Law, Professor Lessig recounted a conversation he had with former US Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke, where Larry asked the question that many had in mind... how the US Government managed to conceptualize, design and draft a piece of legislation as vast and complex as the USA PATRIOT Act in such a short period of time (a month and 15 days after 9/11), and the answer was what many people had imagined... more

Help Define ICANN's Future

Mention ICANN in Internet circles and you will always find a multitude of views of what the organization should do, needs to do, and should have done; how it has to change, and why; and what it needs to focus on. Well, the time has come to make those views known and to try to persuade the rest of the community that they represent the best step forward. more

Comcast Sues FCC, Says Net Neutrality Order Legally Inappropriate

Comcast has filed suit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today in order to block the agency's decision to sanction Comcast for blocking certain Internet traffic. Comcast has released the following statement attributed to David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation... more

New gTLDs Questions Not Answered: Which Kind of Auction?

I was expecting something that would discuss the unique properties, if any, of the domain name market, and the types of inventory theoretically available to allocate, and the expected outcomes for the various types of auctions, and some showing that for some desired policy goals, whether greatest gain to seller or lowest loss to buyer, or something entirely different, the expected outcomes. This would assist the better informed, bottom-up, stakeholder-driven, consensus policy making. Is the domain name market indistinguishable from the spectrum market? If name spaces are distinguishable from units of spectrum... more

ICANN Auctioning New Top-Level Domains: Serving Public Interest or Its Own?

ICANN has recently published a number of updates to the implementation program for new gTLDs. One of these updates is a paper by ICANN's "auction design consultant PowerAuctions LLC". The document makes a case for an auction to be held for the "resolution of contention among competing new gTLD applicants for identical or similar strings." In other words, two (or more) applicants for ".bank", or applicants for ".bank" and ".banks."... more

How Rise in Nationalism and Industry's Lack of Foresight Could Mean a Fragmented and Isolated Web

I have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of the free flow of information on the internet -- what kinds of tools are available now and in the future for governments (especially repressive ones) to control content, isolate their people and keep any contrary viewpoints censored. I had an interesting conversation with a Practice Lead from IFTF.org. The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is a California based independent, nonprofit research group with 40 years of experience in identifying emerging trends that will transform global society... Turns out they are quite concerned about the fragmentation and control of the Internet as well. But will it be an inevitability? more

FCC Banning Wireless Devices that Interfere with White Spaces Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a ban on some wireless microphones and other low-powered devices that operate in the 700-MHz band after the digital TV transition in February, next year. This is part of an attempt to clear any potential interference with the "white spaces" spectrum which will be fully available for "public safety as well as commercial wireless services". more

FCC Chief Wants Broadband Across USA, Proposes "Free Broadband"

High-speed Internet access is so important to the welfare of U.S. consumers that America can't afford not to offer it -- free of charge -- to anybody who wants it, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin has told USA TODAY. Leslie Cauley reports: "Martin wants to use a block of wireless spectrum to help bridge the gap. By attaching a 'free broadband' condition to the sale of the spectrum, known as AWS-3 (for advanced wireless services-3), Martin thinks he can help drive broadband adoption in rural areas in particular. Only 25% of network capacity would have to be reserved for free broadband. The rest could be used to provide premium broadband services." Karl Bode of DSLreports.com however... more

Comcast Given 30 Days to Disclose Network Management Practices, Says FCC Order

In follow up to August 1st ruling against Comcast, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a 67 page order released today has given Comcast 30 days "to disclose the details of their unreasonable network management practices, submit a compliance plan describing how it intends to stop these unreasonable management practices by the end of the year, and disclose to both the Commission and the public the details of the network management practices that it intends to deploy following termination of its current practices." more

Lawrence Lessig's Reaction to McCain's Technology Plan

In reaction to U.S. republican presidential candidate John McCain's release of his technology policy statement on August 14, Lawrence Lessig has released a video presentation criticizing the tech plan for lack of change to important issues such as broadband penetration declines in the country. Early during the video presentation, Lessig has this to say: "...the single most important fact about internet's development in last decade has been the extraordinary decline United States has faced with respect to our competitive partners. We started the Bush administration at no. 5, we will end at no. 22. And the question anybody should be asking about internet policy here, is why we did so poorly and what change there might be to reverse that decline..." more