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Beyond 'neutrality' - how to reconnect regulation to reality?



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How can we anchor broadband policy in technical reality? The key is to understand that there is a critical missing element missing from the current literature: the stochastic nature of broadband. This has significant and serious implications for all regulators, ISPs and consumer advocates.

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Beyond 'neutrality' - how to reconnect regulation to reality?

  1. 1. BEYOND ‘NEUTRALITY’ © 2016 Martin Geddes Consulting Ltd All Rights Reserved How to reconnect broadband policy to technical reality?
  2. 2. MARTIN GEDDES I am a computer scientist, telecoms expert, and writer. I collaborate with other leading practitioners in the communications industry. Together we create game- changing new ideas, technologies and businesses.
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. Did you watch the Super Bowl? 4
  6. 6. Does an article mention these keywords? Quarterback Cheerleader Touchdown (Coin) toss Referee Huddle Conversion 6
  7. 7. It is probably about the game of American football. YES! NO! It is probably about something other than the game. or 6
  8. 8. 8 So is this article about the game of American football?
  9. 9. Quarterback Cheerleader Touchdown Coin toss Referee Huddle Conversion 9 YES!
  10. 10. 10 And is this article about the game of American football?
  11. 11. Quarterback Cheerleader Touchdown Coin toss Referee Huddle Conversion 11 NO!
  12. 12. About the Super Bowl GAME About the Super Bowl AD BREAKS Quarterback Cheerleader Touchdown Coin toss Referee Huddle Conversion Quarterback Cheerleader Touchdown Coin toss Referee Huddle Conversion 12
  13. 13. 13 SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT We can do the same ‘keyword test’ in telecoms.
  14. 14. 14 SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT Here are some example words you might expect to find in policy literature grounded in science:  Radio waves  Electromagentic  Interference  Propagation  Reflections  Frequency  Permeability  Cognitive
  15. 15. 15 So what about BROADBAND?
  16. 16. Broadband is a random game of chance for network transmission resources 16
  17. 17. The scientific study of the interaction of random processes is called STOCHASTICS 17
  18. 18. Has the policy literature engaged with the stochastic nature of ‘THE GAME’? 18
  19. 19. MEANINGFUL AND SCIENTIFIC TERMS A. Stochastic B. Emergent C. Random(ness) D. (Non)Deterministic E. Semantics F. Probabilistic G. Statistical Multiplex(ing) 19
  20. 20. MEANINGLESS OR VAGUE TERMS Neutral(ity) Discrimination Throttling Priorit(isation) Violation QoS Speed 20
  21. 21. We did a literature search for books on net neutrality and internet policy 21
  22. 22. 1. The Fallacy of Net Neutrality (Encounter Broadsides), Thomas W Hazlett 2. Internet Architecture and Innovation, Barbara van Schewick 3. The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, Tim Wu 4. Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources, Brett M. Frischmann 5. Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, Susan Crawford 6. Net Neutrality for Broadband: Understanding the FCC's 2015 Open Internet Order and Other Essays, Matthew Howard 7. The Illusion of Net Neutrality: Political Alarmism, Regulatory Creep and the Real Threat to Internet Freedom, Bob Zelnick and Eva Zelnick 8. Regulating the Web: Network Neutrality and the Fate of the Open Internet, Zack Stiegler 9. The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, Evgeny Morozov 10. Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate, Angele A. Gilroy 11. Net Neutrality Compendium: Human Rights, Free Competition and the Future of the Internet, Luca Belli and Primavera De Filippi 12. Virtual Freedom: Net Neutrality and Free Speech in the Internet Age, Dawn Nunziato 13. Net Neutrality and the FCC: Legal Issues and Matters of Debate, Denise Lambert 14. EU Competition Law, Regulation and the Internet. The Case of Net Neutrality, Katarina Maniadaki 15. Net Neutrality And Free Speech On The Internet, United States Congress House of Representatives 16. Net Neutrality: Towards a Co-Regulatory Solution, Christopher T. Marsden 17. Net Neutrality - Scholar's Choice Edition, United States Congress Senate Committee 18. The Book of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal & Free the Net, Bruce A Kushnick 19. Bringing Us To Tiers: The 2014 Net Neutrality Lectures, Mitchell Szczepanczyk 20. Net neutrality 135 Success Secrets: 135 Most Asked Questions On Net neutrality - What You Need To Know, Billy Randolph 21. Net Neutrality or Net Neutering: Should Broadband Internet Services Be Regulated, Thomas M. Lenard and Randolph J. May 22. Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate, Congressional Research Service 23. The Open Internet, Net Neutrality and the FCC (Internet Theory, Technology and Applications), Andrew C. Firth and Natalie H. Pierson 24. Technical, Commercial and Regulatory Challenges of QoS: An Internet Service Model Perspective, XiPeng Xiao 25. Net Neutrality. Developing Business Model and Evidence Based Net Neutrality Regulation, Anurag Rana 26. Net Neutrality and Free Speech on the Internet: Hearing Before The Task Force on Competition Policy and Antitrust Laws by Congress United States, Congress United States 22
  23. 23. Some notes… This book list was pulled from and is not exhaustive or necessarily ‘balanced’. However, there is a broad mix of different policy viewpoints. There is no meaning to the list order. IMPORTANTLY: NO PRAISE OR CRITICISM is implied of any individual book or its author(s), as we don’t know their writing objectives. 23
  24. 24. 24
  25. 25. Did each book mention any of the scientific terms? 25
  26. 26. Likely relevant mention of term Possible relevant mention of term No relevant mention of term Irrelevant mention of the term (e.g. “random” in publisher “Random House”) (No electronically searchable online copy found)
  27. 27. Caveats… These are just isolated mentions of the relevant terms and… …there may be no exploration of their meaning or consequence and… …any technical arguments made could still be wrong! 27
  28. 28. A B C D E F G 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Has the broadband policy literature engaged with the technical reality of stochastic networks?
  29. 29. So do you think the ‘net neutrality’ policy literature reflects… The stochastic GAME OF CHANCE?... …or the POLITICAL AD BREAKS? 29
  30. 30. Regulatory problem: An emerging ‘science gap’ between policymakers and technical reality 30
  31. 31. SO WHAT? There is an INSURMOUNTABLE STOCHASTIC BARRIER to the regulation of ‘discriminatory’ traffic management
  32. 32. FLUKE OR FAULT? 32 You just can’t tell them apart…
  33. 33. 33 Oh, and by the way… ‘neutral’ traffic management isn’t what matters to users anyway!
  34. 34. So how to escape the stochastic impossibility of regulating ‘neutrality’? 34
  35. 35. Understand the stochastic ‘LABYRINTH OF LUCK’ that joins local traffic management to the global user experience 35
  36. 36. FOR EXAMPLE… The stochastics experts at Predictable Network Solutions Ltd responded to an invitation to tender issued by 36
  37. 37. 37
  38. 38. “A Study of Traffic Management Detection Methods & Tools” (Sounds a bit dry and academic, so what does it really say?) 38
  39. 39. Summary of the science and mathematics inside: Q: “Can regulators reliably detect and remedy ‘discriminatory’ traffic management?” A: “No, and that’s not the important question to ask.” 39
  40. 40. Stochastic Emergent Random(ness) (Non)deterministic Semantics Probabilistic Statistical Multiplexing 40 + (OK, so we’re not perfect) Click to read the science for yourself!
  41. 41. Our proposed way forward for policymakers and regulators 1. SOCIALISATION OF THE SCIENCE Help align policy to the constraints of nature 2. INSTIGATE A QUALITY FLOOR Define the broadband service properly 3. OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENT Select user-centric metrics, and use measurement methods that locate QoE issues in the supply chain 41
  42. 42. SERVICES WE OFFER Technical education We can help you to understand the science, and how network performance and user experience are actually related Scientific policy advice We can show you how to shift regulatory focus away from infeasible ‘traffic management’ to feasible ‘quality floors’ High-fidelity measurement Our ‘network tomography’ technology proves regulatory (non)compliance to a level that can stand up in a court of law 42
  43. 43. FURTHER READING The labyrinth of luck The real reason why network ‘neutrality’ is impossible ‘Net neutrality’ died today. So what else, instead? Why telecoms regulators must ignore ‘lawgeneers’ Why ΔQ is the ideal network metric Why ’neutrality’ is too weak to protect broadband buyers Three under-appreciated facts about broadband The FCC’s ‘net neutrality’ rules are technically unworkable How should regulators measure broadband quality? Packets are not pizzas: Why ISPs are content, not carriage Network Neutrality: Fantasy or folly? How is network neutrality like pigeons playing chess? The illusion of benevolent broadband teleology How the broadband farmers and cowmen can be friends How to X-ray a telecoms network 43
  44. 44. Martin Geddes Please do get in touch to learn more