[opendtv] Re: Watch FCC's Ajit Pai dress up as Santa and wield a lightsaber to mock net neutrality rules
- From: Craig Birkmaier <brewmastercraig@xxxxxxxxxx>
- To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2017 08:47:00 -0500
On Dec 20, 2017, at 8:50 PM, Manfredi, Albert E
The difference being, every FCC since the beginning of the broadband era had
tried to achieve neutral behavior from the ISPs, because of issues like
Vonage, BitTorrent, Netflix, and many others less publicized, which were
listed in an article I posted. *Many* examples of non-neutral behavior. Even
Michael Powell had to deal with this, and did so honorably, in his job as FCC
And all of the so called neutrality violations your article listed have been
largely proven to be false, or were quickly resolved using the light handed
regulatory approach that existed before 2015.
It is also important to note that Congress did not create a level playing field
in 1996. They forced the Telcos to unbundle their data lines, which backfired,
after the FCC set rates so low that the telcos were subsidizing competitors.
And the telcos were prohibited from deploying FTTH to compete with cable and
The history of Telco competition in broadband begins in 2004, when the courts
eliminated the unbundling requirements. This was re-enforced in 2005 when the
Supreme Court ruled that cable systems did not need to share their
Unbundling then evolved into “Open Access.”
The “modern” concept of Net Neutrality was not born until 2003, when Tim Wu
wrote the now infamous paper: Net Neutrality; Broadband Discrimination.
When that paper was written broadband was just starting to be deployed by
Cable, and DSL was being deployed on a very limited basis. At the time, as Wu
points out, the “Open Access” remedy was falling out of favor. The FCC had just
ruled that cable companies did not need to unbundle their broadband lines, and
the telcos were making progress in the courts, which eliminated the unbundling
requirement the following year.
More important, Wu points out that the Internet protocol was inherently NON -
I believe there are several reasons to question the fit between open-access
remedies and network neutrality. First, the concept of network neutrality is
not as simple as some IP partisans have suggested. Neutrality, as a concept,
is finicky, and depends entirely on what set of subjects you choose to be
neutral among.21 A policy that appears neutral in a certain time period, like
“all men may vote”, may lose its neutrality in a later time period, when the
range of subjects is enlarged.
This problem afflicts the network neutrality embodied in the IP protocols. As
the universe of applications has grown, the original conception of IP
neutrality has dated: for IP was only neutral among data applications.
Internet networks tend to favor, as a class, applications insensitive to
latency (delay) or jitter (signal distortion). Consider that it doesn’t
matter whether an email arrives now or a few milliseconds later. But it
certainly matters for applications that want to carry voice or video. In a
universe of applications, that includes both latency-sensitive and
insensitive applications, it is difficult to regard the IP suite as truly
neutral as among all applications.
This point is closely linked to questions of structural separation. The
technical reason IP favors data applications is that it lacks any universal
mechanism to offer a quality of service (QoS) guarantee.22 It doesn’t insist
that data arrive at any time or place. Instead, IP generally adopts a
“best-effort” approach: it says, deliver the packets as fast as you can,
which over a typical end-to-end connection may range from a basic 56K
connection at the ends, to the precisely timed gigabits of bandwidth
available on backbone SONET links. IP doesn’t care: it runs over everything.
But as a consequence, it implicitly disfavors applications that do care.
To Wu’s credit he was looking ahead to the new “network” that has been built on
many of the original Internet principles, but does not treat all traffic
equally, and in some cases may require prioritization techniques including
co-location of servers at the edge, to work at all.
He examined some of these issues in the paper linked above, and concluded:
The goal of this paper was to make an initial case for a broadband
discrimination regime as an alternative to the structural remedy of open
access to achieve the goal of network neutrality. At this point, the newness
of the concept means much unavoidable vagueness as to its operation. It is
easier to point out examples of application discrimination that seem
unjustified than to elucidate a standard that nearly separates the legitimate
from the suspect. For example, there remains much work to better define what
the concepts of network neutrality and discrimination would fully entail as a
regulatory matter, or even as a regulatory threat. Should neutrality be
defined by IETF standards? The intuitions of network theorists? Government
definition? Any workable regime designed to achieve network neutrality will
need a more precise conception of this and other matters. Nonetheless, the
hope is that the general framework described here might serve to begin the
effort to discourage the most blatant or thoughtless disfavoring of certain
application types through network design.
Clearly Wu did not have the vision adopted in 2015 in mind in 2003. (If he did,
he certainly did not telegraph it in 2003). It is equally clear that the FCC
did not have any policy about Net Neutrality at the time. The first such
“policy” was announced on August 5, 2005 by the Powell FCC, but did not have
the force of law OR regulation.
The reality is that the first attempt to adopt Net neutrality regulations did
not occur until December 21, 2010.
So please stop trying to re-write history Bert. The reality is that yes, there
were a few missteps along the way to our current vision of the Internet and Net
Neutrality, as industries jockeyed for competitive advantage. The important
takeaway is that the light handed regulatory regime WORKED, as the
communications industries invested $1.5 TRILLION to create an entirely new
communications infrastructure atop the early Internet IP protocols.
We have evolved from a simple data network with neutral handling of all
packets, without QOS guarantees, into a far more complex network of networks
with diverse applications including real-time streaming with QOS guarantees.
Reclassifying under Title II was done to fix a long-standing problem. The
No Bert. There were no long standing problems. The few incidents you keep
trying to characterize as net neutrality violations were resolved by the
marketplace with light handed regulation. Some, like the so called Netflix
“throttling” were actually CAUSED BY NETFLIX, as they tried to push the costs
of their service off on the companies carrying their traffic.
The DC appeals court was split in its 2016 decision to uphold the Title II
order. The appeal for the entire court to revisit this decision en banc was
placed on hold pending the order adopted by the FCC last week. This case is NOT
OVER; it may still be reviewed the Supreme Court; or it may become part of the
next court cases, unless Congress Acts to end this madness.
Instead, this latest action is totally capricious. Not only is it capricious
because the evidence says the opposite of what the Chairman claims, wrt
investment in broadband, but even more capricious because this is one
Chairman who doesn't give a damn about neutrality! Which virtually everybody
wants, and expects, of any telecom service they pay for. Don't you expect a
*guarantee* of neutrality from your post office, telephone service, and your
Internet access? What's the difference? None!
John blew this argument out of the water. Similar analogies can be made given
the FACT that ISP service is available at many price points, performance
levels, wired and wireless.
The real issues here are blocking and throttling; currently blocking only
occurs among “Edge Providers,” i.e. services like Google, Twitter and Facebook;
these neutrality violations may need to be addressed by the FTC, or the
anti-trust division of the DOJ.
Throttling only exists in limited cases based on user caps and wireless network
congestion issues - all legal under the Title II rules.
These issues will disappear, probably by the end of this decade, as technology
turns what was once a tiny dribble from the Title II controlled 28K modems into
a deluge of bits delivered by competitive gigabit networks with QOS guarantees.
That's why we need the courts to do the right thing.
I have great confidence that they will...
And that you will still complain!
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