Items tagged "Broadband"

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So what happenend at the FCC?

July 16, 2006 Broadband , FCC , Network Neutrality , Policy Blog

I have a much more complete write up on the resolution of the Adelphia transaction and what it may mean in the long run on my regular blog here. To condense that to points relevant here and comparing to my post last Wednesday:

1) The FCC failed to adopt a network neutrality condition. Commissioner Copps dissented in full from grant of the merger, while Commissioner Adelstien dissented from the failure to adopt a network neutrality condition but otherwise concurred in the order.

In addition, Copps called for the FCC to add a "fifth principle" to the four broadband principles adopted last year. This fifth principle would prohibit tiering or other discrimination based on source or content, while permitting approriate network management. Adelstien, in his dissenting section, also endorsed this proposed principle.

The FCC's failure to adopt a network neutrality principle does not augur well for adoption of such a principle in the AT&T/BellSouth merger. Chariman Martin's position, spelled out in his separate statement, acknowledges that there is a great deal of controversy about NN, but that he feels they have the power to enforce the existing principles if the FCC finds evidence of real harms.

2) Appropos of this, however, it is worth noting that FCC enforcement staff came in for quite the tongue lashing for their failue to enforce existing law against cable operators using their market power in violation of the 1992 Cable Act. How on Earth can people trust that the FCC staff will enforce the broadband "four principles" when it can't even manage to enforce laws passed by Congress?

3) The Commission did express a lot of interest in "leased access," a provision of the Cable Act (codified in Section 612 of the Communications Act, as amended) that requires cable operators to lease channels to independent programmers. This may provide a new venue for programmers to get around the cable bottleneck and promote more diverse viewpoints in video programming. We will need to see how this plays out in the comming months.

4) The FCC withdrew the digital audio broadcast (digital radio) item from the agenda. It is not clear why. It may be that the last minute negotiations over Adelphia prevented the Commissioners from reaching final agreement on the DAB item. In that case, the Commission may release it "on circulation" after the Commissioners vote on it (The FCC does not have to wait for an open meeting to vote on an item). Otherwise, Martin can put it back on the agenda for the August meeting and force a vote.

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Professionals vs. Amateurs on the web

June 9, 2006 Broadband , Policy Blog

Martin Nisenholtz, Sr. VP, Digital Operations, The New York Times is remarkably optimistic about the Times online presence. He says the site is very profitable and traffic is growing rapidly. About 9% of the audience drives 80% of the page views and those loyal users often take the paper copy as well. The rest of the traffic comes from search links and their task is to turn more of those casual users into "Package users". RSS is only a modest distribution channel for them, as many users seem confused about RSS. It was clear that the digital properties of the Times, including About.com and Career Builder, which they own with a couple of other papers, will continue to represent a greater portion of the parent company revenues.

Nicholas Carr took on Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia on the same panel. Carr worries that a free encyclopedia (managed by 3 people) and written by a small core of users (unlike the conventional wisdom of thousands of contributors), makes the economics of a paid for encyclopedia impossible. Carr believes that the professional culture of "you get what you pay for" will perish. Jeff Jarvis then got up to say "this is the new world, get over it."

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What’s good about US Broadband

June 9, 2006 Broadband , Policy Blog

It's not always fashionable to say good things about U.S. Broadband — but I do want to say one thing:

Cable. I've been traveling alot lately, and while the U.S. has less broadband penetration than it should, the one thing we do have is more cable broadband than DSL.

And let's just be clear about this – Cable really is much better. The network designs are better than DSL, the technology is better, the lack of PPPoE is better. Just better.

Some of the credit is due to late 1970s FCC policy, which let cable out of its regulatory prison. That's why we at least have a duopoly in broadband, for example. Alot of other countries kept cable buried to protect broadcast.

In addition, my guess is that there's way more bandwidth that the Cable Cos can coax out of that coax. If they would just give up on, say, half of those ridiculous and unwatched channels, and throw the rest at internet bandwidth, cable might be in a position to bury the Bells long-term. Especially if cable got serious about the business market.

But like all companies, cable has its existing revenue streams, established ways of doing business, and is slow to change. But if I were running a cable company, I know what I'd do.

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Life without Google and Wikipedia

June 9, 2006 Broadband , Policy Blog

The toughest thing about using the Internet in China is this — no Google or Wikipedia!

I'm living in Beijing this summer, and for the most part its a great life. But Google.com comes and goes — its been blocked all week — and wikipedia is blocked altogether. I miss them!

It reminds me that, amidst the Network Neutrality debate in the United States, the most important rules are those that ban blocking. I happen to have opinions about the rest, thought they can be debated. But the blocking of sites by service providers is a real drag..

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Is My Space Over?

June 5, 2006 Broadband , Policy Blog

Rupert Murdoch is just about to enter into a rather large economics experiment quantifying the "switching costs" of college students in the social network arena. Reports that Murdoch's My Space is loosing altitude have begun to circulate in the blogosphere. The conventional wisdom is that My Space dominates in the social network race for the same reason that Google dominates in search: they both benefit from a new version of Metcalf's Law. However, if fickle college students find it un-hip to be on My Space because it is clogged with Tweens, they will migrate to other sites with relatively little switching costs. Just as they moved to My Space from Friendster, there is little technological advantage to be had in the social network space, whereas Google's massive numbers combined with its superior search algorithm actually seems to have a technological lead over Yahoo and MSN. My sense from my own students at USC is that Facebook, resticted to students with college (edu.) email addresses may be the beneficiary.

If My Space looses audience, it will be a huge setback to News Corp. Since their main means of media distribution throughout the world is a one-way satellite system in a two-way interactive world, MY Space was the future for Murdoch. Let's see if, coming back to college in the fall, the undergrads stay loyal.

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Xeni Jardin on NPR: Google, Microsoft Push for ‘Net Neutrality’ Law

May 10, 2006 Broadband , Network Neutrality , Policy Blog

Xeni Jardin posted her report on net neutrality for NPR‘s Day to Day.

You can listen…

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Death of the Internet? Video

May 10, 2006 Broadband , Network Neutrality , Policy Blog

Another great video has surfaced on net neutrality from [COAnews.org](http://www.coanews.org). It’s a compelling six minute mashup that does a great job explaining the problem that arises when broadband providers can mess with your ability to surf to whatever website or use whatever application you’d like to on the internet. To help maximize eyeballs, I’ve linked to the [YouTube](http://www.youtube.com) video in [VideoBomb](http://www.videobomb.com)–please share it, bomb it, and [digg it](http://digg.com/technology/Death_of_the_Internet_Video)! Click on the image below to view the video: We’ve tried to make the [PK VideoBomb channel](http://videobomb.com/users/show/publicknowledge) the goto place for these kinds of things. You can subcribe to the feed with this [RSS link](http://videobomb.com/rss/users/show/publicknowledge).

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show Tech Tuesday: Net Neutrality

May 9, 2006 Broadband , Network Neutrality , Policy Blog

Gigi was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show for Tech Tuesday. The subject was net neutrality

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Net Neutrality Video: This Spartan Life

May 8, 2006 Broadband , Policy Blog

A new video on the issue of [net neutrality](https://www.publicknowledge.org/issues/network-neutrality) has appeared on the ‘net and we’ve linked to it via [VideoBomb](http://videobomb.com/posts/show/2368):

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Net Neutrality (or the lack of) in the Draft Senate Telecom Bill

May 1, 2006 Blog Posts , Broadband , Network Neutrality , Policy Blog

Also in the Senate Telecom Draft Bill (link coming soon!) is language on net neutrality. The bill calls for the FCC to conduct a study on the issue. That’s pretty much it.

Here’s the language:

SEC. 901. NETWORK NEUTRALITY.

(a) INGENERAL.—Beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall report annually to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce for 5 years regarding—

(1) the developments in Internet traffic processing, routing, peering, transport, and interconnection;

(2) how such developments impact the free flow of information over the public Internet and the consumer experience using the public Internet

(3) business relationships between broadband service providers and applications and online user services; and

(4) the development of and services available over public and private Internet offerings.

(b) DETERMINATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.—If the Commission determines that there are significant problems with any of the matters described in subsection (a) the Commission shall make such recommendations in its next annual report under subsection (a) as it deems necessary and appropriate to ensure that consumers can access lawful content and run Internet applications and services over the public Internet subject to the bandwidth purchased and the needs of law enforcement agencies. The Commission shall include recommendations for appropriate enforcement mechanisms but may not recommend additional rulemaking authority for the Commission.

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