Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

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

CircleID's Top 10 Posts of 2007

Here is a list of the most viewed news and blog postings that were featured on CircleID in 2007. Best wishes for 2008. more

FCC Chairman Martin a Tireless Consumer Advocate - Who Knew?

In a counter-intuitive move for a Republican free marketeer, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has sought to impose substantial additional regulations on cable television. Chairman Martin ostensibly can retain his credentials by claiming that a 1984 law requires the FCC to act when cable television systems serve 70% or more of the U.S. population and 70% who can subscribe do so. more

Unbridled Discretion and Prior Restraint: The Verizon and Comcast Stories

Let's say that providing communications infrastructure is an inherent function of a state. Most people think of the internet as a telephone system, and most people think the telephone companies aren't supposed to choose which calls will go through based on their content. People think that because they think internet access, like telephone access, is a utility -- like electricity conduit, water pipes, etc. -- that has something to do with the government, and the government isn't supposed to discriminate. more

Financial Times on Telecoms Separation

I've written that a Network Neutrality law needs a Network Management Exception, and I've laid out how this exception is likely to become a giant vacuum-cleaner-fish loophole. The way out is the separation of infrastructure from service, so infrastructure operators can have no financial interests in the services they carry, hence no motive to discriminate in anti-competitive ways. Now today's Financial Times has an editorial on the EC telecom regulator, Viviane Reding's proposal to beef up national telecom regulatory authority within European countries and create a Europe-wide so-called super-regulator. more

Europe's Telecommunications Infrastructure Dramatically Shaken Up

The European Commission has adopted a raft of proposals that will see Europe's telecommunications infrastructure dramatically shaken up. At the heart of the proposals, which represent the biggest change in telecommunications regulation in five years, is the Commission's desire to see the European telecommunications market made into a more level playing field. The existing framework was set in place by the Commission in 2002. more

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