David Kirkpatrick

September 21, 2009

New America Foundation supports the latest in net neutrality

Hot from the inbox and this blog:

Chief Technologist, Robb Topolski, Applauds FCC Net Neutrality Announcement

Washington, DC, September 21, 2009 – Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced his intention to pursue concrete Network Neutrality policies and rules governing American’s Connections to the Internet.
“We applaud that the FCC will be taking the necessary steps to continue freedom and openness for all Internet users,” said Robb Topolski, Chief Technologist at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative. In 2007, Topolski, then a network products developer, discovered Comcast Corporation secretly blocking his peer-to-peer transfers of public domain barbershop quartet music and memorabilia. His testing and results were independently reproduced by the Associated Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reigniting the Net Neutrality debate.  Following an investigation, the FCC ordered Comcast to disclose all of its network management techniques and to stop blocking peer-to-peer file transfers of lawful content.
To preserve and encourage freedom, openness, and investment, the Chairman proposed:
1) Adopting the four principles defined in the 2005 Internet Policy Statement into rules
2) Adding two new principles including:  A fifth principle stating that broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications and a sixth principle requiring that providers of broadband Internet access be transparent about their network management practices
3) A determination that these principles apply to the Internet however accessed (wired or wireless).
The FCC’s move is expected to encourage investment in both Internet infrastructures and applications.  For example, Venture Capitalists will not have to wonder if they’ll need the permission of the nation’s ISPs to develop applications on the Internet.  “ISPs won’t be able to cut costs by blocking traffic, nor will they be able to generate revenues by degrading everything else,” explained Topolski, referring to the capabilities now available to ISPs such as Deep-Packet Inspection (DPI) devices to monetize traffic on last-mile Internet connections.  “This means that investment dollars will return to real infrastructure upgrades that produce actual bandwidth improvements.”
The Open Technology Initiative of the New America Foundation formulates policy and regulatory reforms to support open architectures and open source innovations and facilitates the development and implementation of open technologies and communications networks. OTI is a founder of measurementlab.net, a platform that helps users test their broadband connections and helps researchers analyze trends from the data.  Consumers and researchers are invited to use www.measurementlab.net.


About the New America Foundation
The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.
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