David Kirkpatrick

September 7, 2010

Net neutrality and the FCC …

… a lot of talk (a whole lot of talk) and no action.

April 6, 2010

The internet is a bit less free …

… and a bit more corporate (at least for now) after this appeals court ruling.

From the link:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt a sharp blow to the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to set the rules of the road for the Internet, ruling that the agency lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks.

The decision, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, specifically concerned the efforts of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, to slow down customers’ access to a service called BitTorrent, which is used to exchange large video files, most often pirated copies of movies.

October 23, 2009

John McCain v. net neutrality

Disappointing news from the Arizona senator.

I’ve never felt McCain was in the pocket of corporate America, but unless he signed off on a bill he doesn’t understand that’s the only conclusion for this move. And the name — the Internet Freedom Act?  That’s some Orwellian obfuscation worthy of well, standard GOP talking points which is exactly where it probably came from.

It is interesting to see the various sides lining up for and against net neutrality now that the FCC has brought the regulation argument to the actual table.

From the first link:

U.S. Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would block the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from creating new net neutrality rules, on the same day that the FCC took the first step toward doing so.

McCain on Thursday introduced the Internet Freedom Act, which would keep the FCC from enacting rules prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Internet content and applications. Net neutrality rules would create “onerous federal regulation,” McCain said in a written statement.

The FCC on Thursday voted to begin a rulemaking process to formalize net neutrality rules. The rules, as proposed, would allow Web users to run the legal applications and access the legal Web sites of their choice. Providers could use “reasonable” network management to reduce congestion and maintain quality of service, but the rules would require them to be transparent with consumers about their efforts.

Click here to find out more!

The new rules would formalize a set of net neutrality principles in place at the FCC since 2005.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, called the proposed net neutrality rules a “government takeover” of the Internet that will stifle innovation and depress an “already anemic” job market in the U.S. McCain was the Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and Obama has said net neutrality rules are among his top tech priorities.

October 22, 2009

FCC releases proposed net neutrality rules

I’m putting the FCC’s net neutrality press release from today in this post and you can hit this link (go to the entries from 10/22/09 to find the links) to find more statements. Here’s a link to the PDF of the “official notice of proposed rulemaking.”

Here’s the FCC’s net neutrality press release:


October 22, 2009



Washington, D.C. — In the next chapter of a longstanding effort to preserve the free and open Internet, the Federal Communications Commission is seeking public input on draft rules that would codify and supplement existing Internet openness principles.

In addition to providing greater predictability for all stakeholders, the Notice is aimed at securing the many economic and social benefits that an open Internet has historically provided. It seeks to do so in a manner that will promote and protect the legitimate needs of consumers, broadband Internet access service providers, entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses of all sizes that make use of the Internet.

The Commission has addressed openness issues in a variety of contexts and proceedings, including: a unanimous policy statement in 2005, a notice of inquiry on broadband industry practices in 2007, public comment on several petitions for rulemaking, conditions associated with significant communications industry mergers, the rules for the 700 MHz spectrum auction in 2007, specific enforcement actions, and public en banc hearings. During this time period, opportunities for public participation have generated over 100,000 pages of input in approximately 40,000 filings from interested parties and members of the public.

The process today’s Notice initiates will build upon the existing record at the Commission to identify the best means to achieve the goal of preserving and promoting the open Internet.

Recognizing that the proposed framework needs to balance potentially competing interests while helping to ensure an open, safe, and secure Internet, the draft rules would permit broadband Internet access service providers to engage in reasonable network management, including but not limited to reasonable practices to reduce or mitigate the effects of network congestion.

Under the draft proposed rules, subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service:

1.   would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from sending or receiving the lawful content of the user’s choice over the Internet;

2.   would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from running the lawful applications or using the lawful services of the user’s choice;

3.   would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from connecting to and using on its network the user’s choice of lawful devices that do not harm the network;

4.   would not be allowed to deprive any of its users of the user’s entitlement to competition among network providers, application providers, service providers, and content providers;

5.   would be required to treat lawful content, applications, and services in a nondiscriminatory manner; and

6.   would be required to disclose such information concerning network management and other practices as is reasonably required for users and content, application, and service providers to enjoy the protections specified in this rulemaking.

The draft rules make clear that providers would also be permitted to address harmful traffic and traffic unwanted by users, such as spam, and prevent both the transfer of unlawful content, such as child pornography, and the unlawful transfer of content, such as a transfer that would infringe copyright. Further, nothing in the draft rules supersedes any obligation a broadband Internet access service provider may have — or limits its ability — to deliver emergency communications, or to address the needs of law enforcement, public safety, or national or homeland security authorities, consistent with applicable law.

The Commission is also seeking comment on how it should address “managed” or “specialized” services, which are Internet-Protocol-based offerings provided over the same networks used for broadband Internet access services. While the proceeding will seek input on how best to define and treat such services, managed services could include voice, video, and enterprise business services, or specialized applications like telemedicine, smart grid, or eLearning offerings. These services may provide consumer benefits and lead to increased deployment of broadband networks.

The Notice asks how the Commission should define the category of managed or specialized services, what policies should apply to them, and how to ensure that broadband providers’ ability to innovate, develop valuable new services, and experiment with new technologies and business models can co-exist with the preservation of the free and open Internet on which consumers and businesses of all sizes depend.

The Notice affirms that the six principles it proposes to codify would apply to all platforms for broadband Internet access, including mobile wireless broadband, while recognizing that different access platforms involve significantly different technologies, market structures, patterns of consumer usage, and regulatory history. To that end, the Notice seeks comment on how, in what time frames or phases, and to what extent the principles should apply to non-wireline forms of broadband Internet access, including mobile wireless.

Recognizing that the Commission’s decisions in this rulemaking must reflect a thorough understanding of current technology and future technological trends, the Chief of the Commission’s Office of Engineering & Technology will create an inclusive, open, and transparent process for obtaining the best technical advice and information from a broad range of engineers.

The adoption of this Notice will open a window for submitting comments to the FCC. Comments can be filed through the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System, and are due on Thursday, January 14. Reply comments are due on Friday, March 5.  In addition, the rulemaking process will include many other avenues for public input, including open workshops on key issues;  providing feedback through openinternet.gov, which will include regular blog posts by Commission staff; and other new media tools, including IdeaScale, an online platform for brainstorming and rating solutions to policy challenges.

Action by the Commission, October 22, 2009, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 09-93).  Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps and Clyburn; Commissioner McDowell and Commissioner Baker concurring in part, dissenting in part.  Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker.

GN Docket No.: 09-191

WC Docket No.: 07-52


News about the Federal Communications Commission can also be found

on the Commission’s web site www.fcc.gov.

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.

The latest on net neutrality

Net neutrality is a good thing, and here’s the latest on the topic from D.C.

From the second link:

The top U.S. communications regulator plans to unveil proposals Monday for ensuring Web traffic is not slowed or blocked based on its content, sources familiar with the contents of the speech said on Friday.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce plans to ask his fellow commissioners to adopt as a rule net neutrality and four existing principles on Internet access issued by the agency in 2005, one of the sources said.

Net neutrality pits open Internet companies like Google Inc against broadband service providers like AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp, which oppose new rules governing network management.

Advocates of net neutrality say Internet service providers must be barred from blocking or slowing traffic based on its content.

But service providers say the increasing volume of bandwidth-hogging services, like video sharing, requires active management of their networks and some argue that net neutrality could stifle innovation.

“He is going to announce rulemaking,” said one source familiar with the speech due to be delivered at the Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank.

The rule proposal will also try to seek greater clarity into what constitutes “reasonable” network management by Internet providers.

The FCC could formally propose the rule aimed at both wireless and landline Internet platforms at an open meeting in October.

August 5, 2009

There’s a new net neutrality bill

Don’t know how great this particular bill is, but net neutrality is a good thing and a solid law in defense of net neutrality would be welcomed.

From the link:

Two U.S. lawmakers have introduced a net neutrality bill that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or impairing Web content, but providers have largely refrained from commenting on the legislation.

Representatives Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act on Friday. The bill says it’s the duty of all Internet service providers to “not block, interfere with, discriminate against, impair, or degrade the ability of any person to use an Internet access service to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer any lawful content, application, or service through the Internet.”

In addition, the legislation would prohibit broadband providers from charging Internet content, service or application providers to enable their products, beyond the normal end-user charges for Internet service. The bill would prohibit broadband providers from selling service that prioritizes some Internet traffic over other content, and it would require providers to offer Internet service to “any person upon reasonable request.”

Click here to find out more! USTelecom, a trade group representing broadband providers, called the legislation “disappointing.”

October 2, 2008

Presidential candidates on tech issues

Filed under: Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:46 am

This CIO.com article compares Obama and McCain on five technology issues — telecommunications, national security, privacy, IT jobs and innovation.

From the link:


Net neutrality| Obama has long supported the passage of Net neutrality laws or rules. “A key reason the Internet has been such a success is because it is the most open network in history,” his tech paper says.

McCain opposes a Net neutrality law, saying broadband carriers need to recoup their investments. However, his tech-policy paper says he would focus on allowing broadband customers access to the Web content and applications of their choice. Instead of a law, the best way to guard against unfair practices is “an open marketplace with a variety of consumer choices.”

Rural broadband deployment: Obama calls for policies to encourage next-generation broadband deployment, including rural areas and inner cities. He supports government programs to bring broadband to schools, libraries and hospitals, and called for public/private partnerships to help roll it out in areas without service. McCain would encourage private investment in broadband service. In 2005, he split from many other Republicans by authoring legislation that would prohibit states from outlawing municipal broadband projects.

Competition in the wireless spectrum| Obama has called for a review of existing uses of the wireless spectrum, and he wants government agencies to come up with “smarter, more efficient and more imaginative use” of the spectrum they control.

McCain has long advocated and voted for putting more spectrum in the hands of mobile phone carriers and broadband providers. In recent years, he pushed for a nationwide voice and data network for public safety agencies and was a leading voice in the Senate in the effort to get television stations to give up part of their analog spectrum for use by police and fire departments.