Tuesday, February 26, 2008

FCC Looking at Net Management Regs

The agency that cannot come to grips with inter-carrier compensation; cannot clean up the mess that is the USF; and thinks it should define indecency; now wants to tackle network management for the ISP's. Oh, this should be good, because as I watch Kevin Martin's Harry Potter impersonation at these meetings, I have to wonder how much technology he really understands.

I can't say I didn't see this coming. In fact, if Comcast and company had just reacted properly after the public outcry and if they had sent someone to the Boston hearing that could actually explain what they were doing and why in an authentic voice, well, this too would be swept into the pile of stuff to get to later at the FCC.

FreePress.com did a great job of beating the drum on this issue. I think they must be bored over there, because this will undoubtedly lead to messy regulations and extended court battles, without any real improvement to network management, bandwidth improvement or broadband issues in the US.

UPDATE: Sue Crawford points to some good stuff from the FCC meting in Boston (HERE). But the key would be the statement by Dr. David Reed from MIT:

"Internet Access Providers do not create the Internet for their customers, instead they provide access to a larger collective system, of which they are a small part. The Internet itself is the “network of networks” that results from voluntary interoperability among a wide variety of Autonomous Systems – networks that are not owned by each other, and which do not even have contractual obligations to each other in most cases. All it takes to be part of the Internet as an Autonomous System is to agree to participate according to the very simple ground rules of the Internet."

As it turns out "The core ground rules were laid out in the original design begun in 1975 by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. On this panel, Dr. Clark and I each participated in the original development of, and have written extensively about, these Internet ground rules." [Dr. Reed]

I get the points that this argument makes, but I also see that bandwidth inside a network is finite and, if 5% is eating up 40% as most research points to, well, a standard procedure should be established for dealing with it. Federal Regulation by the FCC is NOT the way to go. Look at what they did to the TA96?

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