Broadband services

Net Neutrality Is Dead Yet Again

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the FCC's rollback of net neutrality rules enacted under the Obama administration. But the court found that the FCC was not allowed to prevent states from creating and adopting their own guidelines for an open Internet.

California, for example, has already passed its own net neutrality law but that's still caught up in a court fight with the Justice Department. The FCC can't prevent California from doing that, under the appeals court ruling. But it can take the state to court and challenge the legality of how it defines an open Internet.

In general, an "open Internet" is the principle of allowing anyone to share and access information of their choosing without that info being blocked or interfered with by broadband providers or other entities.

The trouble is that the states, telcos and the FCC all seem to have differing views on how to create, and preserve, such an environment.

Most in the telecom industry think that paying for different traffic prioritization on a network is a fine idea, but media and content producers worry that practice could lead to an environment where only blockbuster content produced by big corporations has a chance to be seen by the public.

Likewise, first responders worry that overzealous telcos and cablecos would either charge them extra for prioritizing public safety communications above all else during an emergency, or relegate them to best-effort status since their warnings and communications aren't helping advance the cause of telco-media conglomerate dividend checks. Also, first responders worry that telcos might also block certain citizens or businesses from receiving timely alerts that were generated by web-based systems.

Imagine the horror if a new Game of Thrones reboot broadcast was getting the fast-lane treatment online while evacuation or shelter-in-place orders, or warnings about fires, unhealthy air quality, and excessive heat were delayed or just dropped. You don't have to imagine it -- the California Public Utility Commission spelled it out their worries and they were noted on page 95 of the appeals court ruling.

With so many ways a telco's lust for profits could imperil the public, the state of California passed its own law prohibiting ISPs from blocking and throttling data. The California law also took aim at paid interconnection deals and "zero-rating" policies that exempt some traffic from data caps and other usage-based data policies.

The telcos and cablecos that own or have deals with media companies did not like being told they're not allowed to selectively charge for carrying certain kinds of data traffic. The Justice Department sued California because it saw the move as an attempt to regulate interstate commerce and a devious plot to subvert the federal government’s deregulation efforts. The government's deregulation efforts, it should be noted, are being handled by a phone company lawyer.

In the short term, the FCC will need to decide if it's going to sue every state that wants to take the step of declaring its own open Internet rules. The appeals court's mixed verdict strikes down the government's ability to provide overarching rules on net neutrality, leaving the telcos, cablecos and lobbyists to direct their attention and political pressure to states and local municipalities.

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Phil Harvey, US Bureau Chief, Light Reading

brielleluna 10/25/2019 | 9:53:03 AM
shouldn't be left behind Net neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally – with no internet service provider (ISP) having the power to favor one source over another by blocking, throttling, or a means of paid prioritization. And this means this issue shouldn't be treated as dead or a nevermind.

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samayrajohn07 10/4/2019 | 1:44:42 AM
Re: Question (?) I really said one thing is you share your personal knowledge with us that was the great thing. I really appreciate this thing.AOL gold support
mvissers 10/3/2019 | 4:28:05 PM
Re: Question (?) Seven,

I am referring to a private service network consisting of (software defined) service switches and tunnels (not a set of p2p private lines) that are supported/provided by the optical (access & transport) networks (i.e. L1/L0). Congestion would occur if the tunnels have insufficient bandwidth and/or the service switches have insufficient capacity for the set of subscribers and their services. The service provider has control over the forwarding of the service flows.

In the example, an OTT's DC is connected with its subscribers located behind access nodes with typical service flows between the DC and its subscribers. If a subscriber (of the OTT) does not receive acceptable performance of its (e.g. video) service, then either its OTT is to blame for not having ordered tunnels/switches with appropriate bandwidth from the telco, or the subscriber itself is to blame for not having ordered its service with appropriate performance guarantees. There is no third party (e.g. telco, other service providers and their subscribers) that can be blamed.

100M or 1G Ethernet access links provide a physical layer; the subscribers do not get 100M or 1G constant bit rate throughput however. Subscriber throughput is based on their service contract.

Enterprises can also order a private service network that connects its premises. The bandwidths of the (software defined) service switches and tunnels (that the telco configures in its optical access/transport network) are determined by the enterprise. The flow forwarding within these switches and tunnels is controlled by the enterprise. Only the enterprise is too blame for any congestion that occurs within its private service network. There is no third party (e.g. telco) that can be blamed.

Such private service networks establish a kind of (software defined) private internets that support the paid services. The public internet is for unpaid (and thus best effort) services.

brooks7 10/2/2019 | 5:24:43 PM
Re: Question (?) !mvissers,


So you are suggesting that every point on the Internet is connected with every other point of the Internet with a direct connection of the maximum rate that everyone is connected to the Internet.

Otherwise you will have some point of congestion in the Internet system.  The moment you have any point of congestion, then some form of traffic management happens.

Let's use an example.  The small city I live in has about 150K people, which would be about 30K addresses.  If we assume 1Gb/s per address, that would require about 30 Tb/s leaving my city to guarantee that no congestion happens at that level.  More realistically that would be about 20Tb/s, but still.  And that is one small city.


mvissers 10/2/2019 | 2:28:12 PM
Re: Question (?) Optical (access & transport) networks can provide network slices with constant bit rate tunnels (any bit rate) that support software defined private service networks, which connect a service provider's data center with the access nodes and their attached subscribers (bypassing the IP layer of the telco).

The service provider (e.g. OTT) will have complete control over the protocols used in its private service network (i.e. software defined) and over the forwarding of the traffic of its subscribers. This traffic can be treated as a constant bit rate stream that is independent of other subscriber traffic in the private service network, or as a variable bit rate stream of which the bandwidth is dependent on other subscriber traffic in the private service network (but completely independent of traffic in other network slices/private service networks).

The telcos provide the software definable service switch resources and service tunnels between these switch resources, data center and access nodes. The required capacity of the switch resources and bandwidth of the tunnels are determined by the service provider.

No more conflicts of interest.

Phil Harvey 10/2/2019 | 9:50:51 AM
Re: Question (?) I do agree the focus of regulatory efforts should be more toward forcing everyone's hand at broadband (real broadband) deployment. 

With net neutrality, I think there needs to be some kind of guidelines to keep telcos from establishing a new harmless normal (zero-rating) and then using it as an anticompetitive weapon to harm consumers. The answer isn't treating all traffic equally (there's really no such thing as that on a real-time, contested resource), but it's also not likely that telcos will behave if we trust them to do the right thing.

So, I think we should regulate, very lightly, with a bias towards getting everyone online. But I'm also not trying to get elected and I don't have to talk at a shareholders' meeting this quarter. :)
brooks7 10/1/2019 | 7:47:26 PM
Question (?)  

Hey Phil,

Here is my opinion and I wondered if we have seen anything to contradict this.  Net Neutrality is a "wag the dog" thing.

From what I know the imposition of Title II (light) did not show any obvious effects on carrier capex.

From what I can tell (by just my own observation and the lack of reporting here) the removal of Title II has not caused any great change to the way Broadband works for home users (note corporate users were always outside of this process).

So in my (not humble) opinion, absolutely nothing has changed in the real world.  If that is true, I would suggest that we refocus our thinking to 100% deployment of 100Mb/s (with a down to up ratio of no more than 10:1) service to every residence in the US by 2025 and 1 Gb/s of service to every residence by 2035.  Let's add a $1B per day fine for every address in their service area not covered by service.  Then we might make some headway.  If that is not enough, make it $10B per day per residence.


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