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‘Events’ Category

Live Blogging from the “Innovation, Investment, and the Open Internet” Workshop

January 13th, 2010 by Robert Cannon - Senior Counsel for Internet Law - Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, FCC

7:10 pm Second Discussion Panel (introduction by Paul de Sa)

Ajay Agarwal, Managing Director, Bain Capital Ventures

One of the risks for an innovating wireless company is that the innovator has to go to each of the carriers and negotiate an API in order to gain access to network. This increases risk and hesitancy to invest. In the last two years with the advent of the iPhone – it is not totally open – but it is a huge leap forward. Skyhook’s technology is built into the phone to identify location. Have seen an explosion of applications that take advantage of this location based information. Yelp uses it to provide reviews of stores and restaurants nearby. Another example is UrbanSpoon; shake your phone and it will recommend a restaurant nearby. This is a great story of how an open system unleashes innovation. As ecosystems gets more open, will get more investment.

The greater the threat of regulatory uncertainty, the more we hesitate to invest.

Nabeel Hyatt, Founder/CEO, Conduit Labs

Disruptive innovation which poses a threat to other parties; we have to think about how important disruptive innovation is to the overall economy and ensure that it continues to occur.

We developed an application where we had to talk to each of the carriers. It was a new device and new use for the network. It was easy to get Wired and Oprah to talk about it; but could not get executives of carriers interested. Small number of gatekeepers make decisions about what will be on the network. Right now, in this environment, I would not start a mobile company.

Anything but neutrality ends with a small selection of services.

Amy Tykeson, CEO, BendBroadband

I see that I am the only one here actually running one of these networks.

255-amy_tykesonThree major concerns with network neutrality:

Is it broken? The current regulatory environment has fueled investment over the past decade. So how is it broken? Worry about government getting involved in an industry which is so dramatically changing.

Ecosystem which continues to blur. Look what has happened to search and how it influences what people do on the web and where they go on the web.

ISPs have to be allowed to manage their networks to preserve their customers’ experience.

I worry about unnecessary rules that would increase our costs and increase uncertainty over litigation over what terms actually means. Light-handed regulation has enabled our investment to grow.

7:23 pm

255-csyooChristopher S. Yoo, Professor of Law and Communication, University of Pennsylvania Law School

One of the things that concerns me is the extent to which the policy debate has been framed by a 1990s vision of the network.  The universe of users and applications and the technologies and business relationships comprising the Internet have become much more diverse.The market for the Internet in the United States may be starting to approach saturation . When you reach the flat stage of growth, the nature of competition changes. Instead of offering general products targeted at new users, service providers naturally shift their focus to using more specialized production processes to reduce costs and to providing specialized services that provide greater value to current users.

A number of technologists believe that the Internet is locked into an obsolete technology. The existence of a large installed base creates natural inertia. The hierarchical nature of the current network makes it even harder to evolve to a new protocol stack. While the current architecture promotes innovation in applications that fit within the current protocol stack, it retards innovation in applications that require a different architecture.

The nature of applications is changing. The previous world was dominated by downloads. The current world is increasingly shifting toward interactive video, which is more bandwidth intensive, less tolerant of delay and jitter, and uses protocols that will require new tools to manage congestion. The focus is also shifting from content to applications.

Historically, network providers were able to increase capacity by leveraging legacy investments. Capacity growth now requires more substantial capital investments. Carriers are attempting to use network management to reduce cost of capacity expansion by shifting capital expenses to operating expenses.

We should expect things to change. The current architecture may be inhibiting certain innovation. Lots of things the current Internet does not do well, such as mobility and multicasting.  Other functions are shifting from the edge into the core of the network, such as botnet detection.

7:29 pm
Questions and answers.

Barbara van Schewick: I did not hear anyone saying we have to keep the current architecture of the Internet . What I did hear is that there are certain factors, and these factors give you the framework in which the network can evolve.

Amy Tykeson: Innovation is happening in the network, to improve the experience of the customer. Points to DOCSIS.

Greenstein: Most important thing FCC can do: More Spectrum!

7:47 pm Adjourn

Live Blogging from the “Innovation, Investment, and the Open Internet” Workshop

January 13th, 2010 by Robert Cannon - Senior Counsel for Internet Law - Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, FCC

6:00 pm First Discussion Panel (introduction by Sharon Gillett)

David Clark, Senior Research Scientist, MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

QoS is not inherently opposed to innovation. But QoS causes fear. Don’t want fear to dominate hope. QoS was originally intentionally application blind. QoS field is not the same as the application field. User should be able to pick QoS of applications they want.

How do you get QoS in interconnection across Internet; problem of interconnection on Internet. I am not encouraging FCC to regulate interconnection. ISPs have to figure this out but ISPs have concern about antitrust. Need not regulation but facilitation.

Look at all the actors. This is a balancing act to make sure everyone can innovate. There are very few absolutes. The Internet is not absolutely open. It is not absolutely for the benefit of the ISPs.

Need facilitation across actors. Previously done through IETF.

6:06 pm

Tim Berners-Lee, Director, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

I invented the Web 20 years ago and it was really nice that I did not have to ask anyone’s permission. The Web was an innovation on top of the Internet. It has become a platform on top of which people innovate. EBay happened on top of it. HTTP also was not designed for a specific application or for a specific company.

I have spoken out previously about packet discrimination. Example is the delivery of packets to the shoe store of choice. Without neutrality, could use discrimination to control what sites you reach to find out information about religious information or information about evolution.

I have benefited very much from the Internet as it originally was, where I did not have to ask anyone for permission. I know that the Internet had little regulation but it was originally done through good will. There are some times when you have to have rules – may they be simple – because they are essential to the way that the thing works. We may need regulation if we cannot assure it without it.

I would not use network neutrality to mean QoS. Neutrality means ISPs cannot use what it knows about me to control what applications I use or content I see. Non discrimination does not mean that you cannot have QoS; but there is a fine line where I cannot download a video because the network service provider is also a cable video service provider.

6:13 pm

Susie Kim Riley, Founder/CTO, Camiant

I agree with Barbara that openness is critical. The ability to try lots of different things and then try them to see what sticks. What has enabled a lot of these innovations to take off is the investments that networks have made in their infrastructure. Investment has enabled access to these applications. If  a network blocks access to applications, then they will lose subscribers. They invest because they want to roll out new services like video conferencing. By doing this, they collapse many networks / services (telephony, video) to one IP platform. Because they invested in this network, it benefited many applications that leverage this platform.

We need openness and transparency because people need to know what their service is and how the network will perform during congestion.

But one aspect of network neutrality has dampened investment. This is the non discrimination requirement that does not allow network services to provision QoS. Some of the applications that operators are talking about differentiated applications where subscribers can pick and choose what applications they want differentiated with QoS. In Europe these type of services are starting to roll out. These services are innovated, give consumers choices and provide differentiated services for consumer. This allows, for instance, a gamer, to differentiate gaming for QoS.

Application and network innovation are not mutually exclusive. Operators cannot keep adding capacity for the same price. With the non discriminatory provisions of network neutrality, you prohibit network innovations in differentiated service.

6:21 pm

Aaron Ahola, Akamai

Openness of Internet has been crucial to success. Akamai came about because the centralization approach of early Internet led to congestion. Originally people thought WWW meant “World Wide Wait”. Akamai solution was to make content more accessible in a more diverse way. Solution was to deploy servers at edge of the network and cache content, along with easy synchronization with original source. Bypass the choke points of the Internet. Now have about 70,000 servers. Today, we accelerate 15-20% of world’s web traffic. What we have seen from our customers is that customers are investing in the web and it is for a couple reasons: common standards, global nature of the Internet, how quickly you can change or adapt things on the web.

6:34 pm

Barbara van Schewick: There is a real need for regulation to draw the line on what the rules are; the uncertainty as to rules has led some to be hesitant to innovate.

6:58 PM Break

FCC Workshop January 13

FCC Workshop January 13

Live Blogging from the “Innovation, Investment, and the Open Internet” Workshop

January 13th, 2010 by Robert Cannon - Senior Counsel for Internet Law - Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, FCC

4:50 pm Panelist Presentations

Barbara van Schewick, Assistance Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

Three Stories: First, EBay, a huge success with 88 million people world wide use EBay

245-van_schewick_barbaraInternet built on design principle called end-to-end (E2E) arguments described Saltzer, Clark and Reed in 1981 [PDF]. Network provides only general services of broad utility across applications; Network not optimized in favor of specific applications; all application-specific functionality at end hosts. Network is general. The Network is application-blind. Innovators decide what they want to build. Users decide what applications they want to use. Low cost for innovation. Many people can innovate.

Second Story: Skype

Third Story: Google Video

Today service providers can control the applications and content on their networks; they may do so in order to increase profits, exclude unwanted content, or manage bandwidth. By singling out specific applications, network providers start picking winners and losers on the Internet. Innovators cant innovate; Investors don’t invest.

Measures that increase the costs of application innovation reduce the number of innovations that will be justified and reduce the size and diversity of the pool of potential innovators. Enabling widespread experimentation at the application-level and enabling users to choose the applications they prefer is at the heart of the mechanism that enables innovation.

Widespread experimentation of applications, between users and innovators. Users and network providers use different criteria for what applications will be successful. Network providers will have different criteria (does this compete with one of my applications, does it consume my bandwidth). Consider Skype. Many mobile providers do not permit consumers to use Skype because it keeps users from using their service.

No body knows if an application will be successful until users try it; network providers can not replicate this. If network service providers pick winners and losers, then users will get applications that they would not have otherwise have chosen.

Low cost of innovation makes many more applications worth pursuing and allow a more diverse group to become innovators.

Why do we care about innovation: it contributes to economic growth and creates value for society. Did you ever try to explain to a grandmother why they should get the Internet? You don’t explain that it sends data packets back in forth. You explain that if you get the Internet, you can get pictures of grandchild and allows you to read about anything. The Internet creates value by allowing us to do the things that we want to do. Applications are the means for allowing us to do these things.

Prof. Shane Greenstein, Elinor and H. Wendell Hobbs Professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Transaction Cost, 245-greenstein_sTransparency, and Innovation for the Internet

Open has many meanings; the meaning in this talk is communications between partners in a value chain and transaction costs: Cost of setting up new process to create value: Cost of executing series of actions within a value chain

The important economic role of transparency and consistency for lowering those transaction costs: Lowering transaction costs supports wide participation in innovative activity.

Internet is the basis for a wide array of services and economic activity

The Legacy: Collective invention is a process in which improvements or experimental findings are regularly shared

It becomes something different when it commercializes. What’s new with the commercial internet: Platform: reconfigurable based on compatible components. The Internet today is a network of platforms. The second thing that has changed is broadband concentration which has resulted in small set of carriers in local markets with market power. This raises a traditional concern about prices.

Transaction Costs: Transparency. Participants know what changes are imminent. Participants actively inform others in advance. Any participant can learn info without restriction. Originally the Internet was quite transparent.

Other Change: Consistency: Processes and policies for interacting with other firms change slowly (at most). Matters because it shapes return on investments (ROI). Entrepreneurs & VCs dislike inconsistency. Opportunistic pricing or renegotiation costs.
Factors shaping ability to capture value. From broadband firms with market power? In developing apps that work with multiple ISPs

What Shapes Participation in Innovation: Processes for soliciting input in decisions Drawbacks: costs of notifying/communicating, strategic costs from giving up control over direction, slowing speed of decision: Gain: additional info. Variety of opinions.

Conjecture: Gains to industry far higher than cost of transparency and consistency. Transparency & consistency increase participation in innovative activity. In a competitive setting, those without transparency wont work with partners and will have trouble in market. Firms with market power, platform providers have weak incentives to be transparent & consistent.

What Shapes (Re)negotiation: Interdependence + changing opportunity means partners must reconsider in time and frequently: Concern about powerful firm using negotiating position to limit what information they give others. Worry about take it or leave it offers, or refusal to deal. Hid behind lack of transparency & lack of consistency.

When all broadband ISPs look less transparent and/or consistent, what then? ISP owns users and applications. Transaction costs for innovation increase. Decline in breadth of participation and in extent of innovation.


Wide participation in innovative activity encouraged by transparency and consistency: Lowers transaction costs of participants in interdependent value chain. Concern: Incentives of broadband firms w/market power & platform vendors to be transparent or consistent?

If commercial Internet necessitates some active role for management at carriers… Implication of unrestrained discretion? In presence of market power at broadband firms & rise of platform vendors?

Glimmers and Signs of Innovative Health in the Commercial Internet (2009)

Marcus Weldon, Corporate CTO, Alcatel-Lucent, Innovation and Investment in the Internet: Past, present and future

The Internet is a series of interconnected private, managed IP networks and public networks that connect through transit links and peering links. It is Open because any user can connect to any internet application located anywhere on the internet from anywhere else on the internet. The Open Internet supports ‘best effort’ transport, with no service guarantees, but ~equal usage of the resources between users connected via the same access ‘on ramp’. The ‘on-ramps’ to the Open Internet are primarily provided over managed IP networks, which also support managed services with specific QoS guarantees

But not all Internet services are equally accessible:
• Content Data Networks (CDNs) enhance delivery of content
• Networks of Data Centers enhance access to applications
• Different service tiers are offered to improve users’ access

Best Effort Services and Managed Services : What’s the Difference?

Best Effort services : Typically delivered from a web server on the Open Internet to the client, using the Managed IP network as an Internet ‘on ramp’

Managed services: Typically delivered from a web server within the Managed IP network to the client and only traverse the Managed IP network

(Demonstrations of how different services fit within these models, some hybrids – more diverse array of applications is better, giving user ability to chose)

What led to the success of the Open Internet and what harms it?

Investment in Content and Applications – was helped by openness of Internet (key factor), affordable broadband, convergence of networks to IP, simplicity of IP, proliferation of IP-enabled devices – was hampered by bandwidth limitations, limited reach of infrastructure, security and rights concerns, usage of IP-enabled devices, and poor quality of experience.

Investment in network infrastructure – was helped by FTTx-promoting regulation, competition, demand, network convergence, massive IP market – was hampered by FTTx hampering regulations, geographies and topologies, cost of networks, lack of competition.

Open is good; but have to have the ability to afford the bandwidth.

What’s the problem: While network revenue (per subscriber) used to exceed cost, revenue and cost have converged (mobile cost is forecast to exceed revenue). It is bad for everyone for the network to go out of business.

What’s the solution: managed services for revenue sharing and investment for good of all. Allow user to select QoS for the applications that they want; increasing revenue for network. Experience gets better; more applications developed. Even Best Effort network experience will improve.

5:41 pm

Jeffrey Glueck, CEO, Skyfire, Perspective of a Mobile Application Developer and Entrepreneur

skyfire launched in 2009 after three years of development. skyfire is a fast mobile web browser that supports all of the rich media on the web, allowing users to watch any video on the web including Flash, Silverlight, and Real Player, and to visit any website (not just mobile sites). It is free and downloadable from the skyfire website, and runs on Windows Mobile, and Nokia N and E Series phones.

Features of Internet that have given confidence and predictability for Investment: Mass Scale; Interoperability; Low Barriers to Entry; and Adequate Infrastructure. One website would work on any computer (Dell, Apple, IBM). Did not have to be approved to get into marketplace. Knew that photos on website could get through the network.

Mobile Internet presents new challenges: Closed proprietary standards create fragmented markets, lowers ROI per unit of effort. Lack of interoperability

Three obstacles to innovating on the “closed” mobile Internet: (1) Freedom of the consumer to choose apps and defaults; (2) Lack of Transparency and consistency on network management practices, and discriminatory requirement for proprietary protocols; (3) Uncertainty on non-discriminatory and adequate data throughput.

Skyfire has to date held back from developing for iPhone because of cost of development, Apple’s rule against duplicate functionality and opposition to Adobe Flash playing on the iPhone. This is a limit on Skyfire’s ability to improve the browsing experience.

Carriers block certain ports, do not disclose port blocking practices, throttle RTSP streaming, and block applications from their stores. Apple declare video must use HTTP streaming; our app was not designed for HTTP streaming, our protocol is better, but not allowed to use it.

Non discrimination should be hallmark of network management.

Concern: take of allowing biggest players to colo servers inside ISP host; if it is not provided equally to other firms, that means new entrants don’t have a chance because they cannot afford to collocate.

“Mobile Warming.” Browsers provide key interoperability to enable competition. Browsers allow small entrants. Publishers can not be expected to build and maintain apps for each OS/Hardware permutation and version.

Prof. Shane Greestein, Prof. Barbara van Schewick

Live Blogging from the “Innovation, Investment, and the Open Internet” Workshop

January 13th, 2010 by Robert Cannon - Senior Counsel for Internet Law - Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, FCC

4:30 Introduction

  • Chairman Julius Genachowski appearing via video, welcoming participants, thanking FCC staff, and inviting public participation and interaction
  • Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, present at the Workshop, welcoming participants

4:40pm Framing Remarks

Sally Shipman Wentworth, Internet Society’s Regional Bureau Manager for North America240-wentworth

“What has remained constant about the Internet, what is at the heart of its growth—and what distinguishes the Internet from other technologies or communication networks —is its continued evolution. Its amazing success has only been possible because of its development model built on openness, transparency, decentralization, and its distributed nature. Because the Internet is an open platform, users, network engineers, and businesses of all sizes can innovate both with regard to the platform itself—the Internet–and in how that platform is used… The fact that the Internet remains open to ongoing evolution in its development, operation, management, and use means that the opportunities for context-shifting innovation and creativity still abound today. Innovators are not locked into a centrally predetermined future. Instead, they have the freedom to create multiple possibilities, with success or failure dependent upon whether they are taken up by users.”

Live-Blogging the Boston Workshop

January 13th, 2010 by Robert Cannon - Senior Counsel for Internet Law - Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, FCC

Bob CannonThe Blog will feature live posts from today’s Innovation, Investment, and the Open Internet Workshop, scheduled to begin at 4:30 pm ET from MIT Media Lab, Bartos Theater (Agenda and Bios). You can watch the event live at You can also follow the workshop on Twitter using #OiDiscuss.

The Internet has become an unprecedented, global platform for commerce, unleashing the power of American innovators and driving economic growth and job creation. This workshop will examine how the Internet’s openness affects the ability of network operators, Internet content and application providers, and other Internet technology developers to innovate and to drive investment, job creation, and economic growth throughout the Internet ecosystem. These issues will be explored from the diverse perspectives of innovators and entrepreneurs, investors, network operators and equipment vendors, and experts in Internet innovation and investment.

The following will be summaries and paraphrases of the panels, presentations and discussions from the workshop (with apologies to the presenters if I mangle their message).

Live Blogging the “Speech & Democratic Engagement” Workshop

December 15th, 2009 by George Krebs

1:12 PM EDT
On your way to work, between flipping through pages of your book on an e-reader, you check your email on your phone. When you’re ready to leave in the evening you check the train schedule on that very same phone. Once home you surf the web to order your holiday presents and watch a video online. Just a few short years ago many of these tools on the Internet that we now consider essential to our everyday living did not exist.

The Internet is changing rapidly and all indications point to a pace that will not slow. Today’s workshop will explore the myriad possibilities that today’s dynamic Internet has allowed. From news, to entertainment, to social networking, to law, and every conceivable realm in between, the Internet is changing the landscape as we know it. Today’s panel represents bloggers, minority media owners, community and advocacy groups, and legal scholars (and we even have a legal scholar who moonlights as a blogger). We have quite a line-up here today which promises some great discussion on a fascinating topic.

1:35 PM EDT
The panel is being moderated by Stuart Benjamin, an impressive introduction given that this is his first day at the FCC as the Distinguished Scholar in Residence. Commissioners Copps, McDowell and Clyburn will give statements, and then the panel will begin.

1:46 PM EDT
Michele Combs, from the Christian Coalition of America, explains that the Coalition is connected in every way imaginable. They tweet their members, produce YouTube videos, and ensure that they make the most of web capabilities in reaching out to their constituents. With these tools they compiled and distributed to churches voter guides for the Presidential race last year. When an amendment they opposed came up in congress, they organized their base and facilitated the mailing of hundreds of thousands of emails to congressional members to defeat it. She emphasizes that the open Internet allows them to “reach members directly without a media filter.”  She is concerned about invasion from Internet service providers. “The open Internet levels the playing field” and allows them to get their message out to all of their members to coalesce around the issue of the moment. Ms. Combs stresses that the rules shouldn’t overstep their bounds; but more importantly her organization’s message should not be submerged for their ideological bent.

1:53 PM EDT
As Commissioner Mignon Clyburn made clear in her opening remarks, the Open Internet proceedings affect minority business owners as much as any other stakeholder.  One such company is Jonathan Moore’s Rowdy Orbit. The company gives an online platform for programming featuring African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, and is primarily intended for those audiences. Mr. Moore created the media company “out of frustration over the lack of representation of people of color in traditional media… The only way I could create and deliver a solid platform was the Internet,” he says. He explains that these shows are examples of “Great storytelling that would have been shelved by a traditional process” and give “an unobstructed direct line to an under-served viewing audience. A launching pad for quality multicultural programming.” Another advantage of the Internet is that it’s incredibly inexpensive. “From the start of developing the business plan to today, my out-of-pocket investment has been only $526.” This is the quintessential business success story of the poor immigrant coming to America with a few dollars in his pocket and making it big. The Internet has given Rowdy Orbit that chance.

2:10 PM EDT
Professor Glenn Reynolds has an interesting perspective and speaks to the immeasurable opportunities that the Internet is creating. A few years ago, he says, he founded What began as a means for him to supplement his Constitutional Law classes with some relevant blogging on the side, has become a full fledged opinion site with between 400,000 and 500,000 views a day. He discusses how the Internet is entirely upending journalism, allowing independent journalists to report on the ground from Iraq and Afghanistan based solely on reader contributions. Also touching on the value of citizen reporting, he says that there is now typically someone there to capture news instantly as it happens. In moments it can be viewed by millions. Low barriers to entry on the Internet, he says, facilitate all of this.

2:18 PM EDT
Online video is in its nascent stages and Ruth Livier is a pioneer. She was the first person to join the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) for her work on the web.  She produces and stars in a show called Ylse, about a struggling, modern American Latina woman. The show has become enormously successful and now boasts half a million viewers in only its second season in production. She hasn’t spent a dollar on marketing. She says, “As an American and a Latina I got tired of seeing disproportionate amounts of negative stereotypes… I saw in the web an opportunity to partake in redefining those unfair and unbalanced perceptions.” The Internet allowed her that chance to grow her show with few obstacles. “There is no way I could have gotten my show produced through traditional media,” Ms. Livier says. Given the success of her show she now has employees. “As a small business owner, I hope to create jobs and open opportunities for others.” These possibilities depend on the Internet as an open and growing platform. She concludes, “A neutral Internet is our best opportunity for diverse voices to partake in the molding of the American perception and perspective.”

2:25 PM EDT
Yale Law professor Jack Balkin forcefully argues against allowing Internet Service Providers to play the roll of free speech arbiter. “The first amendment protects speech; it does not protect business models,” he concludes. He also emphasized the need for transparency on the part of providers who block content. Bob Corn-Revere, a partner at David, Wright, Tremaine law firm is opposed to net neutrality rules, citing Commissioner Robert McDowell’s opening statement in which he said that when a company makes a mistake it affects that company. When the government makes a mistake, it affects everyone. Garlin Gilchrist, a blogger with an engineering background who runs New Media for the Center for Community Change discussed the incredible journey that much of this technology has traveled. Andrew Schwartzman, President of the Media Access Project, provides anecdotes of Internet Service Providers blocking customers’ access to various web content. This is a destructive approach, he argues, and calls on the government to take action to ensure the Internet does not slip down a slippery slope of access restrictions.

2:43 PM EDT
The question and comment period has commenced.

3:02 PM EDT
This concludes today’s lively discussion on Speech and Democratic Engagement. Panelists came to the discussion with a number of different view points and offered terrific perspectives on how far, if at all, the FCC should go in taking steps toward preserving the open Internet. Even more intriguing was hearing the stories of the panelists. They noticed an absence in the market, created their obscure website with few resources, and eventually carved out a substantial space for themselves in the ever-growing Internet community. Two other workshops, on “Innovation and Investment” and “Consumers and Transparency,” will take place in the coming weeks.

Today’s Workshop

December 8th, 2009 by Julius Knapp

Julius KnappWith today’s workshop we’re kicking off the Technical Advisory Process for the open Internet proceeding. The FCC’s Office of Engineering & Technology created the Technical Advisory Process to ensure that the FCC’s decisions regarding the open Internet reflect a thorough understanding of current technology and future technology trends.  The idea is to provide an inclusive, open, and transparent forum for obtaining the best technical data and insights from a broad range of stakeholders.

We’ve started by establishing a technical working group comprised of engineers and technologists from across the FCC’s bureaus and offices.  The working group will hold meetings with engineers and any other interested parties to understand the range of views in the technical community on the issues presented by the open Internet rulemaking, identify any areas of common ground between stakeholders, and clarify the scope of key differences.  In addition, FCC engineers from the working group will be integrated into other teams within the Commission considering the various issues raised in the open Internet proceeding.

We’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and engaging with the engineering community on the technical issues in the open Internet proceeding.

Open Internet Workshops

December 7th, 2009 by Haley Van Dyck FCC New Media

Haley Van DyckTomorrow will kick off a series of public workshops held by the FCC to explore issues raised in the open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The initial round of workshops will discuss the impact of the Internet’s openness on important issues including speech, democratic engagement, consumers, innovation, and investment.

All workshops will be live streamed here on and open for online participation. You can share your thoughts and submit questions to panelists during the workshops on the FCC’s Facebook or Myspace pages, through the crowd sourcing platform Ideascale, via e-mail, or on twitter using #OiWkshp. To register and learn more about upcoming workshops please visit the open Internet workshops home page, and check back soon for announcements on additional workshops.

The first public workshop—part of the Technical Advisory Process—will take place tomorrow December 8th at 10 AM, and will address basic technical issues relevant to the proceeding. Please see the agenda below, or visit the technical advisory process workshop page for more information.

Technical Advisory Process Workshop on

Broadband Network Management


December 8th, 2009, 10:00 am

FCC Commission Meeting Room

10:00-10:05 am Introduction of Workshop-Moderator, Julius Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology

10:05-10:50 am Scott Jordan (UC Irvine), Traffic Management and the Open Internet

10:50-11:35 am kc claffy (UC San Diego), Network Management in the Internet

11:35-12:20 pm Paul Sanchirico, Cisco, Routing and Network Operation

12:20-1:30 pm Lunch

1:30-2:15 pm Paul Liao (CableLabs), Cable Network Management

2:15-3:00 pm Bill Smith (AT&T), Wireline Network Management

3:00-3:45 pm Tom Sawanobori (Verizon), Wireless Network Management

3:45-4:30 pm Jonathan Rosenberg (Skype), Network Management for Applications and Services

FCC Participants:

Julius Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering & Technology

Ruth Milkman, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

Sharon Gillett, Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau

Stagg Newman, Chief Technologist, National Broadband Taskforce

Jon Peha, Chief Technologist, FCC

Walter Johnston, Chief, Electromagnetic Compatibility Division/OET

The Technical Advisory Process Begins

December 7th, 2009 by Jon Peha - Chief Technologist, Federal Communications Commission

Jon PehaFCC engineers have been thinking about what an open Internet could and should look like for some time, and we’ve ramped up recently.  It often looks like a preschooler filled my white board with strange diagrams that I like to think represent the Internet.  But to really help the FCC make informed decisions, we need to learn more from people outside the FCC about where the technology is, where it’s going, and how it might be affected by the open Internet proceeding.

That important process begins now.  I am delighted with the announcement of a new technical advisory process.  A working group of FCC engineers will be talking to leading technologists from throughout the engineering community over the coming months, and reading those brilliant comments that are starting to pour in.  Continuing a great idea from the National Broadband Plan process, we’ll hold a public workshop on December 8 at the FCC, where technology experts describe current practices in broadband networks.

So join us live or online for the technology advisory process kickoff workshop on December 8.

For more information about the technology advisory process, see the workshop page.

And to file your own formal comments through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System, see

Protecting the Open Internet Around the Globe

November 17th, 2009 by Priya Aiyar

Priya Aiyar OIA few weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began soliciting public input on proposed rules to preserve the open Internet for all Americans.  The past few weeks have also been busy for the open Internet abroad . . . .

The Freedom To Innovate in Canada

On October 21, 2009, the FCC’s Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, issued new rules of the road to “balance the freedom of Canadians to use the Internet for various purposes with the legitimate interests of [Internet service providers] to manage the traffic thus generated on their networks.”  The Canadian policymakers noted that “innovation is at the heart of the Internet” and that the Internet “has given people the freedom to innovate without permission.”

In a process similar to the FCC’s, the Canadian Commission sought public input on how to preserve the open Internet and received thousands of comments over several months. The resulting framework seeks to minimize discrimination in traffic-handling by Internet service providers, and emphasizes the importance of transparency.  Internet service providers must disclose restrictive traffic management practices at least 30 days before implementation so that consumers can “make informed decisions about the Internet services they purchase and use,”

Disclosure to Consumers in Europe

Across the ocean, European policy makers are also grappling with how to keep the Internet free and open.  In early November, the European Parliament and Council reached an agreement on open Internet measures. Although the final text of the agreement has not been released publicly, a press release reports that the compromise requires providers to disclose traffic management techniques and their impact on service quality, as well as any other limitations on Internet service, such as bandwidth caps or available connection speed.  The rules also reportedly give telecommunications authorities the power to set minimum quality levels for network transmission services.  The agreement will go to a final vote later this month.

Openness in Beirut

Finally, telecommunications policymakers from around the world met in Beirut last week to share ideas at the International Telecommunication Union Global Symposium for Regulators.  The Chairman of the FCC, Julius Genachowski, spoke to the forum about the FCC’s open Internet proceeding.   He explained that the “open, decentralized architecture of the Internet has been the key to its success,” and that the FCC’s proceeding “is not about government regulation of the Internet”:  “It’s about ensuring that no one, not the government and not companies that provide Internet access, restricts the free flow of lawful information and services over the Internet.  Our goals are to ensure that consumers and the market can pick winners and losers; to promote competition; and to promote continued investment and innovation as our Internet future unfolds.”

What are your thoughts about all this?