Light Reading
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered a blistering speech to the cable industry emphasizing his dedication to maintaining an open Internet.

FCC's Wheeler: 'Internet Will Remain an Open Pathway'

Mari Silbey
4/30/2014
50%
50%

LOS ANGELES -- The Cable Show -- In a blistering speech at The Cable Show on Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler forcefully restated his agency's commitment to an open Internet. "Our goal is rules that will encourage broadband providers to continually upgrade service for all," Wheeler said. "We will follow the court's blueprint for achieving this, and I must warn you that we will look skeptically on exceptions."

Importantly, Wheeler also announced that, even though he believes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's current path will produce effective rules for managing broadband, that "does not mean I will hesitate to use Title II if warranted." He was referring to the idea of reclassifying broadband as a common carrier service -- and therefore regulating it much more heavily than it is today.

The tone of the speech was undoubtedly in response to the recent outcry over the chairman's proposed plan to allow broadband providers to create and charge for network "fast lanes" for customers like Netflix. Wheeler addressed this issue directly by saying, "If someone acts to divide the Internet between haves and have nots, we will use every power at our disposal to stop it." (See FCC's 'Middle Ground' Already Under Attack.)

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler makes his point.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler makes his point.

One issue in the debate over selling premium access to last-mile bandwidth is the fact that there is no visibility into how that capacity is allocated between the public Internet and private, managed services. On that front, broadband providers could end up with more incentive to invest in and improve services for commercial customers while letting performance degrade for consumers.

However, Wheeler made it very clear that he has no plans to let that happen. He pointed out that there is very limited regulation today as far as broadband is concerned, but he suggested in no uncertain terms that, if providers don't keep up their end of the bargain to provide a high-quality service to consumers, the regulatory situation could change dramatically.

He also gave a nod to municipal broadband efforts. "If municipal governments… want to pursue [selling broadband service], they shouldn't be inhibited by state laws. I believe the FCC has the power… to prevent state laws that ban competition from community broadband."

Repeatedly, Wheeler emphasized the mantra of "competition, competition, competition." However, perhaps ironically, in a panel following the chairman's speech on stage, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) CEO Brian Roberts and Charter Communications Inc. CEO Tom Rutledge were spotlighted for recently announced plans that would give them both significant control of the cable market. Showtime Networks Inc. CEO Matt Blank, who joined them on the panel, joked, "It's great to be up here with the entire cable industry now." (See Comcast to Send Subs to Charter if TWC Deal Closes.)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
gconnery
100%
0%
gconnery,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/2/2014 | 2:37:59 PM
He's clearly assuming we're dumb sheep
Okay, so he's a good liar.  The actual proposal on the table makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with an open internet or network neutrality.  The fact that he says a bunch of words that contradict that is irrelevant.  It just means he doesn't like being painted as a stooge.


If there were real competition in the United States, then this wouldn't matter.  Different ISPs could take different approaches and the people would vote with their feet. 


Certainly the "encourage municipal internet" part of this is interesting, though obviously decades away from being material.  And of course it isn't clear the FCC actually has the authority to do this, and will certainly be challenged in court IF AND WHEN they ever actually try anything here.  Which they HAVEN'T yet, despite his words.

I don't trust him.  I don't believe him.  I am very very very unhappy with Obama for breaking his promises on this matter (see http://billmoyers.com/segment/bill-moyers-essay-what-happened-to-obamas-promised-net-neutrality/ for some nice film clips of Obama the candidate).

Its time for the internet to rise up again.
briandnewby
100%
0%
briandnewby,
User Rank: Lightning
5/2/2014 | 12:51:21 PM
Re: I guess I don't get it
In the end, I think it's simply an approach that people will pay different amounts to access different content.

Today, we pay $40 or so for Internet access and our cost to access each site is the same--bundled, really.

It's sort of the reverse situation with cable TV, whereby users want unbundled cable, but can't get it.  Here, we'd rather have a flat rate (I think, anyway) and we'll have that plus a premium to go to certain sites.

Netflix will be the new HBO, a premium channel on top of the basic Internet bundle. 

It's no different, I think, than the way cable TV works except that you could make a fair argument that there is some censorship or overall information control if sites like Yahoo or Google or branches from them become premium.

Problem is, users paying optionally to get content (paywalls for newspapers) hasn't been that successful, so information providers will like this just as much as video streamers.
Duh!
0%
100%
Duh!,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/1/2014 | 11:00:09 AM
Re: I guess I don't get it
We really ought to stop using this "fast lane on the Information Superhighway" metaphor.  The behavior of a road system in carrying individual cars is completely unlike the behavior of the Internet in carrying a duality of individual packets and flows.  How do you map packet drop policies - tail drop, RED, FRED etc. - to congestion handling on a highway -- artillery pieces at intersections to blow up random cars?  How about TCP slow start and congestion avoidance? 

Once we start thinking about the behavior of the Internet on its own terms, we can start thinking in terms of 25 years of research, standardization and experience in integrated services networks.  We can introduce the notion of "Best Effort Service" into the debate, and explain the while Best Effort is the default service, it is optimized for "Elastic" flows.  These can coexist peacefully with "Inelastic" flows,  using a "Premium" service that includes bandwidth reservation, traffic conditioning, complex scheduling disciplines (like WFQ), and admission control.  It's not a zero-sum game.  In fact, if anything, isolating non-TCP responsive flows from TCP responsive flows will improve the performance of both.

The risk is that admission control policy will either be absent or too permissive, shrinking the "pool" of Best Effort bandwidth to the point that packet loss and variable delay for Best Effort flows become unacceptable.  This is the big challenge for the FCC.  I'm pretty convinced that they can get this right, but also aware that it will be difficult, and that any loopholes will be exploited.

Does this make sense?  And how can it be explained to a non-technical audience?
brookseven
0%
100%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/1/2014 | 10:12:59 AM
Re: I guess I don't get it
Wanlord,

Disney has all kinds of Fast Lane Access...my HD version of that Fast Lane is on channel 724.

seven
wanlord
0%
100%
wanlord,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/1/2014 | 10:05:58 AM
Re: I guess I don't get it
Is Netflix really getting "fast lanes". I don't think so. People are in such an uproar that Netflix will pay Comcast and Verizon for access, but this is not new. It's similar to an Akamai or Velocix putting CDNs in ISP networks. It's another peering relationship. Netflix is popular so it makes sense to have the servers as close to the edge as possible with more bandwidth to avoid negative experiences for customers. The ISP in this case has to support space, power, high speed interfaces, routers, etc., so why is it so wrong for Netflix to pay them? This is not a net neutrality issue, it's how the Internet works. What is popular gets priority.
DOShea
100%
0%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
4/30/2014 | 9:20:39 PM
Re: I guess I don't get it
For now, it's a lot of talk. I think he's determined to let carriers try to manage themselves through the introduction of premium services, perhaps betting that a lot of people won't notice degradation, or won't complain in large enough numbers.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
4/30/2014 | 6:53:50 PM
Re: I guess I don't get it
Can't wait!!!
briandnewby
100%
0%
briandnewby,
User Rank: Lightning
4/30/2014 | 6:41:51 PM
Re: I guess I don't get it
Easy.  Most can hitchhike on the shoulder, while others go in the fast lanes.  There isn't a quota of how many can be on the highway.  Just for some, it truly is a pathway.
DanJones
100%
0%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
4/30/2014 | 6:34:09 PM
I guess I don't get it
I guess I don't get it. How can creating "fast lanes" for the Internet result in an "open pathway for all?"

As long as the pathway is open and you can ride down it in your horse and buggy it doesn't matter if others can get barrel past in the fast lane? 

Am I missing something? Seems like a cognitive disconnect to me.
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV – Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business – Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Orange Tunisia Discusses Multi-Band Antenna With EasyRET Solution

7|4|14   |   2:45   |   (0) comments


As new site acquisition becomes more difficult, Orange Tunisia has requested multi-band antenna to support UMTS and LTE innovation. Some things considered include reducing the cost of antenna maintenance and having high reliability antenna and EasyRET solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How Telefonica Spain Considers Antenna Selection for LTE Network Deployment

7|4|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Tony Conlan, Global CTO of RAN, Telefonica, shares his opinion on antennas in LTE network deployment: Tower space is the premier requirement on antennas; reliability is important to reduce OPEX; and EasyRET solution will be helpful for antenna maintenance.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
dtac Thailand: Multi-band Antenna & Capacity Solution for a Better MBB Experience

7|3|14   |   3:45   |   (0) comments


With the development of LTE, tower space and load are limited for new antenna, but users' capacity requirements are growing fast. To provide a better MBB experience, Panya Vechbanyongratana from dtac Thailand shared his experiences and antenna requirements.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Panel: Network of the Future

7|2|14   |   1:00:57   |   (0) comments


Full-length video of the ATIS Panel Discussion: 'How Far Away Is the Network of the Future & What Does It Look Like?' from the Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago.
LRTV Custom TV
Redknee Supports BH Telecom With Redknee Unified

7|2|14   |   6.14   |   (0) comments


Lucas Skoczkowski, CEO of Redknee, and Amir Orucevic, Director BH Mobile, discuss how the benefits of the Redknee Unified suite of products provide BH Telecom with innovation and leadership in the market, with the flexibility to launch services faster to the market, provide new and compelling promotions and pricing models, and combine services in order to drive ...
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
Infographics
Allot's latest MobileTrends Charging Report shows that value-based pricing plans are up from 35% in 2011 to 85% in 2014.
Hot Topics
Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/17/2014
GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 7/18/2014
Have IBM & Apple Partnered Their Way to Cloud Leadership?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/18/2014
Analytics, Security Key to Apple, IBM Tie-Up
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/16/2014
Will Santa Fe Strategy Be a Message to Munis?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/18/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed