Network Neutrality: How We Brought this on Ourselves

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Presentation for alt.telecom, Oct. 21, 2006. Ottawa Canada

Presentation for alt.telecom, Oct. 21, 2006. Ottawa Canada

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  • 1.
    • Stupid Networks vs. Stupid Regulations
    Network Neutrality and how we brought this on ourselves.
  • 2. Me
    • Tucows Inc.
    • Director, Retail Services
    • Director, Policy, Research & Innovation
    • CIRA Board of Directors
    • ICANN GNSO Council
    • pseudo-blogger
  • 3. NN is this...
    • If I pay to connect to the net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service then we communicate at that level - no matter what the network thinks.
    • - Decentralized Information Group
  • 4. NN is not...
    • asking for the internet for free
    • saying that one shouldn’t pay more for higher QOS
    • inconsistent with private network ownership or management
  • 5.
    • So its a technical thing!
  • 6. Network Neutrality
    • Not really
    • mostly just another view of the way things ought to be
    • a policy statement
  • 7. A policy statement...
    • Which essentially says...
      • that I ought to be able to do whatever I want with my network
      • ...and you with yours
      • and that your use of your network shouldn’t impinge on my use of mine
      • ...nor mine with yours
  • 8. But what about e2e?
    • e2e is a technical statement
      • that protocol operations should happen at the endpoints.
    • e2e is about ends, not middles
    • NN is about both
      • that said, e2e is very consistent with NN
    • and vicey versey
  • 9. So what’s the fuss?
    • Predictably, someone wants to make money from all of this
    • and worse, some folks aren’t.
    • Everyone wants Google’s money.
  • 10. Don’t Blame the Bellheads
    • They’re just following the script
        • Shock and horror, these folks want to maximise their ROI and leverage their assets into crazy profitability for their shareholders
        • just like the guys on the other side of argument (i.e. Me & the rest of the NetHeads)
  • 11. What about the users?
    • also acting predictably
    • Looking to extract maximum utility from their purchases
    • “I want to make sure I get good bang for my buck!”
  • 12. So what’s the problem?
  • 13. SURPRISE!
    • The government screwed up
    • Regulators have been making a mess of the internet for over 100 years.
  • 14. 100 Years?
    • “ messages received from any individual, company or corporation, or from any telegraph lines connecting with this line at either of its termini, shall be impartially transmitted in the order of their reception, excepting that the dispatches of the goverment shall have priority”
      • - An act to facilitate communicate between the Atlantic and Pacific states by electric telegraph. June 16, 1860
  • 15. In other words...
    • Network Neutrality*
    • *unless we say otherwise
  • 16. or...
    • “ ...backbone services are provided to support open research and education in and among US research and instructional institutions, plus research arms of for-profit firms when engaged in open scholarly communcation and research. Use for other purposes is not acceptable.”
      • NSFNet Acceptable Use Policy
  • 17. In other words...
    • Network Neutrality*
    • *subject to certain terms and conditions and god forbid that you actually want to make money from this thing. Except as stated herein, We make no representation and gives no warranty with respect to the accuracy of any information found or displayed on the Network. We will not be held responsible for the accuracy of such information and that this information is being provided to you on an "as is" basis. Therefore the content of this website, whether in part or in whole, shall not constitute any part of a contract unless expressly agreed in writing by Us. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage you sustain by using any information or data on this network. We specifically disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement, and those arising from a course of dealing, usage or trade practice. Local blackout in effect.
  • 18. More recently
    • The debacle continues
    • i.e. 3rd party access and other telco/cableco competition regulation
  • 19. The regulation debacle
    • US approach to 3rd party access regulation
      • forcing a cage match between the CableCo and Telco oligopoly should create competition.
        • but it doesn’t
          • it entrenchs the oligopoly
  • 20. The regulation debacle
      • The Canadian approach
      • “forcing” the oligopoly to grant 3rd party access to tightly controlled facilities should create competition
        • except it doesn’t
          • it creates customers
  • 21. Nurture vs. nature
    • This is the stuff the BellHeads have grown up on
      • “ The Network doesn’t care what gets stuffed down its pipes, but everyone else sure does!”
      • “ Its a Good Thing the network is dumb, otherwise it wouldn’t tolerate all these stupid policies!”
      • “ The government will protect and help us!”
  • 22. The Assumptions
    • The Bellheads are simply working with the assumptions that the the regulators, legislators and network designers gave them!
  • 23. What are they?
    • That exceptions to the rules are okay
    • that discrimination is okay
    • that the gatekeeper sets the rules
    • that competition is about competitors, not customers
  • 24. What are they?
    • that competition between monopolists equates to market competition, and is therefore a good and desirable thing
    • that 3rd party access has failed to breed competitors, therefore it is a failed initiative
  • 25. The deck is stacked!
    • the regulators and technical community have inadvertently stacked the deck against the interests of customers
      • true competition and truly dumb networks cannot exist in the current regulatory environment
  • 26. The dim view of the Road Ahead...
    • “ Various current legal environments are threatening to tear apart the fabric of the network (i.e. U.S. intellectual property law, communications regulation, etc.). This trend must be reversed. Without a fundamental right to choose platform, service, and application, there is very little merit left in the network. (If this continues...) by 2020, network communications providers will have succeeded in Balkanizing the existing global network, fracturing it into many smaller walled gardens that they will leverage to their own financial gain. The edge must be left to its own devices, despite the economic pursuits of big business.”
    • - Me, Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2006
  • 27. So what do we do?
    • Possible approaches
      • Regulatory reset?
      • Red Fiber?
      • MuniNet?
      • More regulation?
      • Fewer Bellheads?
    • All of the above?
  • 28. Tactics
    • Develop a strong community with a strong vision for the internet.
    • Show leadership related to internet issues.
    • Resist the temptation to put the interests of the few ahead of the many.
    • Punish those that don’t.
    • Start pushing for strong and determined deregulation of communications and network services - no more monopolies.
  • 29. Thanks
    • Ross Rader
    • [email_address]