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  • Feb 5th, 2015 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Wheeler has made it clear that his plan is to avoid those ...

    retrogamer and Anonymous Coward,

    What is the connection you have in mind between regulating the Internet via Title II, net neutrality, and broadband deployment in rural areas?

    The FCC does not claim imposing Title II on the Internet speeds deployment of broadband in rural areas.

    Imposing Title II on the Internet will certainly slow broadband deployment in rural areas, but I am not even advancing the argument.


  • Feb 5th, 2015 @ 11:57am

    Wheeler has made it clear that his plan is to avoid those ...


    I get that you worry the "utility" label represents problematic messaging, so feel free to call the FCC's plans anything you like.

    The core problem remains that imposing Title II on the Internet destroys (if successful) the "legal protections" not just "Wheeler has made it clear that his plan is to avoid those" entrepreneurs enjoy against FCC regulation.

    The presumption of FCC regulatory virtue underlying enthusiasm for Title II (ironically) owes to these legal protections allowing entrepreneurs to ignore the FCC.

    I organized an FCC ex parte signed by Mark Cuban, Tim Draper, Charlie Giancarlo, George Gilder, Bryan Martin, and Jeff Pulver on this point folks can review at tinyurl.com/notitlteII

    If the FCC succeeds in resurrecting Title II, the ability of entrepreneurs to separate regulated and not regulated activities disappears. The question will require a risk assessment by a regulatory attorney and remain subject to a final determination through FCC proceedings.

    The line will be a function of "Wheeler has made it clear that his plan is to avoid those ..." and the political calculations of every subsequent President or FCC chairman.


    Daniel Berninger
    Founder, Voice Communication Exchange Committee
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  • Dec 9th, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: This Is Not The Best Of All Possible Worlds, Daniel Berninger To The Contrary.


    Hmmm "perhaps you should drop the canned PR-speak"

    My PR credentials include:
    MTS, Bell Labs
    co-founder Free World Dialup with Jeff Pulver
    co-founder VON Coaltion with Jeff Pulver
    co-founder ITXC with Tom Evslin
    co-founder Vonage with Jeff Pulver

    and 20 years of opposition to regulation of the Internet.

    Current day job involves pushing for a telecom version of the HDTV transition.



  • Dec 9th, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: This Is Not The Best Of All Possible Worlds, Daniel Berninger To The Contrary.


    Hmmm "perhaps you should drop the canned PR-speak"

    My PR credentials include:
    MTS, Bell Labs
    co-founder Free World Dialup with Jeff Pulver
    co-founder VON Coaltion with Jeff Pulver
    co-founder ITXC with Tom Evslin
    co-founder Vonage with Jeff Pulver

    and 20 years of opposition to regulation of the Internet.

    Current day job involves pushing for a telecom version of the HDTV transition.



  • Dec 9th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: This Is Not The Best Of All Possible Worlds, Daniel Berninger To The Contrary.


    I agree you should want and pursue an expansion of your connection to the Internet.

    The argument is whether or not debating net neutrality and imposing Title II regulations on IP networks serves your cause.

    A review of the 10 plus year net neutrality debate and an 80 year track record of Title II realms answers a unequivocal no.

    Let's have the direct conversation about making America the most connected place on the planet.

    It seems a good bet the most connected place on the planet will win the future.

    Imposing new regulations on IP networks does not serve this cause.

  • Dec 9th, 2014 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Fair and balanced...


    One of the PPI's authors addresses the Free Press critique covered in this post and folks can judge for themselves.

    See http://bit.ly/1sffSKN

    I prefer to follow-up on how the disconnect between former opponents of Title II.

    Title II serves as the telephone network policy regime from 1934 to present day.

    The arrival of commercial versions of VoIP in 1995 created a policy crisis.

    Did VoIP fall under Title II like all other voice services or remain an non-regulated information service like all other data/computing services.

    Keep in mind VoIP/Internet were born entirely from non-regulated information services parents.

    The default answer was nontheless Title II and those of us present at the time were told our efforts were illegal without government approval.

    The experience of pursuing communication innovation under a presumption of Title II left me with an unshakable antipathy for Title II.

    Dealing with the anti-innovation Title II pronouncements of the FCC over the next 20 years added to my conviction.

    I get that everyone wants the FCC/Title II to save them from the risk of gatekeeper abuses by telco's/cableco's.

    News Flash: The 80 year track record includes no examples of the FCC/Title II saving anyone from gatekeeper abuses by telco's/cableco's.

    The expansion of communication services and connectivity after 1996 owes entirely to companies (including telco's/cableco's) pursuing non-regulated information services.

    Pivoting to Title II at this point rewards the utter failure of Title II policies and punishes the remarkable successes of non-regulated information services.

  • Dec 9th, 2014 @ 3:47am

    Fair and balanced...

    This post (again) commits the same cherry picking and reframing of stats toward a pre-determined conclusion as it accuses the PPI study.

    I have no problem with Techdirt advocacy of Title II, but the post seems to want to pretend the advocacy is fair and balanced journalism.

    The fact that pushing IP networks under Title II exposes the communicating public to new taxes is not controversial or in dispute. One can argue the taxes will happen anyway and the revenue hungry taxing authorities will find ways to impose taxes.

    However, Title II *is* the framework in which *all* communication taxes (and the 16.2% of revenue USF assessments) get imposed at the Local and State and Federal AND International levels.

    To claim imposing Title II on the Internet has no implications for new taxes goes beyond advocacy and qualifies as simply dishonest.

  • Dec 5th, 2014 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Famous last words ...


    I am aware of Harold's post from July (as you will see my comment there as well).

    Please read what Harold actually says. Aside from a cute title the post consumes 3000 words to outline the convoluted process forebearance in two cases establishing the FCC authority to forebear...I guess to prove it is possible.

    Yes. Forebearance is possible.

    I am arguing something different - the status quo information services status of IP networks requires no proceedings at the FCC to reach a presumption of non-regulation.

    Forebearance involves a statute by statue process.

    Giving up a non-regulation presumption in favor of an 18 month FCC proceeding on each of 1000 provisions in Title II will prove deadly to the entire information technology ecosystem (and terrific for billable hours)

    The Harold post describes the convoluted process for just two examples which hardly makes me feel better about 1000.

    The DC Circuit recently denied a forebearance appeal around a reporting requirement and affirmed the need for provision by provision proceedings.

  • Dec 5th, 2014 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Famous last words ...


    Thanks. Let's proceed carefully as you describe and recognize a description (of reality or not) of a *problem* and the implementation of a *solution* (successful or not) represent separate activities.

    Title II fans seem to assume justification of Title II requires only making a compelling case for the problem. I am trying to assert you need to look very carefully at the proposed to solution to know whether or not the cure is worse than the disease.

    "Or do you think that there aren't any problems in the first place?"

    The distinction I make is between *actual* and *future* problems. Government intervention becomes most problematic in the context of pre-crime and future problems. Take your pick of examples such as Japanese internment or the collect everything surveillance state.

    The telecom industry is in the process of retiring one network (voice only PSTN) and expanding another (data for everything IP network). I submit all of the descriptions of the problem reflect conditions that no longer exist or will cease to exist by the end of the IP transition. I submit we do not know whether or not the problems of the bad ole days will persist.

    I recognize the communicating public will never rest easy regarding mega corporate control over our beloved communication capacity. This does not translate by definition to government intervention as it did in 1934, because - government is much less effective, technology moves much faster, and the communicating public needs to overcome learned helplessness.

  • Dec 5th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Famous last words ...


    Really really naive.

    "if the assumption is that Title II will be by and large gutted, or rather they engage in forbearance of all provisions ...will have a pretty light regulatory burden."

    One can assert anything about the future one likes, but you need to add the caveat ... I am asserting something that is contrary actual practice of Title II for the last 80 years.

    The headline reminds me of the defense of ubiquitous surveillance - it is only a problem if you are doing something wrong.

    Others have explained the forebearance process requires a case by case data intensive finding. The FCC must collect a bunch of information about an activity to decide it does not need to regulate an activity. The FCC cannot wave a wand and make the provisions of Title II go away. Each of the 1000 provisions requires a separate proceeding. Since the invention of forebearance with the 1996 Act, the FCC has managed to make it through only 200 forebearance proceedings (each 18 months and 50% ended with a negative result).

    The notion of burden-only-if-you-do-something-wrong was demonstrated as nonsense in a recent FCC proceeding. The FCC received 768 complaints of telephone calls not completing (aka I dialed a number and the call did not go through) that seemed concentrated around rural dialed numbers.

    What was the FCC response? A new reporting requirement imposed on ALL operators (including Skype et al) to send call completion data to the FCC on a quarterly basis covering the 1 trillion calls placed in the US each year.

    This imposes an IT project on the 99.9999% of operators not implicated in the 768 complaints. Forget that sending old call completion data to a building full of 1200 lawyers in DC will make no difference to solve the original problem. Forget that operators point to cost and time burdens 100x the FCC estimate. Forget that the inherent uncertainty in the data (aka - why does or does not a call complete) makes the new reporting to the FCC useless. No one thinks the new reporting will help address the issue. The reporting is imposed because of the political leverage of rural senators over the FCC and a need to be seen to do something.

    I will stop here and not get into the fact the FCC admits to no privacy implications in the fact the new reporting rule expands the types metadata retained, expands the amount of time the data gets retained, and standardizes the labeling of metadata across operators has for the enormous upset Title II champions express in another sphere.

  • Dec 5th, 2014 @ 5:32am

    How do we improve broadband outcomes?


    Your complaint list pursues the same selective comparison model you accuse the broadband survey of following.

    The conversation is old - "you suck, no were great, no you suck..."

    Let's try something new and just ask the direct question.

    How do we improve broadband outcomes?

    Google Fiber illustrated the benefits of ending the adversarial model between operator, public, and government. One can argue about the extent the results generalize, but it seems like a significant contribution to new ideas.

    We can keep ourselves busy accumulating lessons learned from these experiments.

    The zero sum environment of the telephone network no longer exists - sell the same product for decades with the game merely reducing costs, raising prices, and maximizing share. Maximizing the value of an IP network requires maximizing the functionality of a network - which therefore aligns the interests of end users and network operators. Moore's Law improvement in the equipment sector makes expanding capacity the least expensive way to attract usage and expand average revenue.

    Progress relative to the theoretical advance of Moore's Law provides an objective point of reference. Internet connectivity moved from the Hayes 300 baud (bps) modem in 1982 to an 11.1 Mbps (US average per Akamai) in Q1 2014. Computing moved from the Intel the 80286 with 134,000 transistors in 1982 to the 1.4 billion transistor Intel Core i5 processor in the most recent iMac. Bandwidth expanded by a (larger) factor of 37,000 as computing expanded by 10,447 over the last thirty years.

    The progress owes to the non-regulated information services status of both computing and Internet connectivity. The Title II side of communication made precisely no progress from the perspective of the end user value proposition over the same period.

    The unfortunate track record of Title II regulation is self-evident regarding the pace of progress. The namesake Moore's Law was funded by a monopoly (Moore co-founded Intel), because expanding capacity expands addressable market and offers a sustainable means of growth.

    Let's get beyond name calling and just ask the direct question - how do we improve broadband outcomes?

    If you want to end the non-regulation of IP networks by applying Title II, then you need to deal with the 80 year innovation free track record of domains under Title II regulation.

  • Dec 3rd, 2014 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Start talking about the actual issue

    John Fenderson: "That value proposition has decreased, not increased."

    Hmmm... I paid $500 per month for an always on 112Kbs ISDN connection to the Internet in 1999. Today I pay $50 per month for a 50Mbs FiOS connection.

    How does this reflect a value proposition decreased????

    It amazes me how the Title II dial-up 90's was viewed (at the time) as a moment of communication abundance and everyone views the present a moment as one of communication scarcity.

    In 1996, communication involved a $0.40 per minute LD telephone call, writing a letter, or getting on an airplane to visit someone.

    The present communication landscape qualifies as a "remarkable expansion" for anyone alive in 1996.

  • Dec 3rd, 2014 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Start talking about the actual issue


    Why do you think that they would suddenly have a change of heart?

    Thanks for asking.

    The idea of seeking direct voice with the operators owes to a transformation of the environment:

    1) The existing expansion of the value proposition of wired/wireless connectivity since 1996 reflects a response to customer demand and self interest. IP networks align the interests of end users and operators because the value of a network equals the functionality of the network.

    2) Customer attention/acquisition is the only remaining scarcity in a Moore's Law world of abundance. All the wireless operators pay more in iphone subsidies to Apple than their marketing budget. They do this to attract customers to their network. Networks are largely fixed cost, so customer acquisition is king.

    3) Market power exists across the information technology landscape. The question is whether there exists an expanding value proposition. The answer is yes in the case of the operators as well as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon, etc etc.

    4) The actual cases of abuses (not many, but take your pick) were all resolved and retracted through the force of customer outrage. The "abuses" represent attempts at expanding margins, but operators will find no options beyond expanding the value proposition. Attempts to collect rents without expanding the value proposition will produce self-injury.

    The case here is not that nothing bad ever happens. The case is that the remarkable expansion of communication capacity since 1996 provides a sufficient case for preserving the non-regulation status quo.

  • Dec 3rd, 2014 @ 7:22am

    Start talking about the actual issue


    I would love to see your basic points gain traction and agree the energy driving the NN debate has nothing to do with NN.

    NN is a general all purpose hook to hang anxiety about the risk of network operators abusing their status as network operators. This anxiety exists as a function of the sacred status of human communication and a sort of progress paradox. The more communication capacity operators deliver, the more anxious the communicating public gets about protecting the capacity. There are no facts on the ground that will convince the communicating public to relax as long as they perceive a lack of a voice of influence over the operators.

    As a result, we get calls for government protections and recently the formerly unthinkable application of Title II to IP networks.

    Unfortunately, there exists nothing in the long history of government/FCC interventions that suggests Title II rules can serve the desired function. Any time reviewing the track record of Title II makes it quite clear Title II as cure is far worse than the disease.

    If not government, then what? Competition, competition, competition becomes the mantra, but the capital intensive nature of infrastructure makes funding overlapping networks problematic.

    I believe the communicating public can and should seek a direct voice with the network operators. The return on energy expended influencing operators will prove far more productive than pushing government to do the right thing. We can all benefit from a deep breath and recognizing the amazing progress from the days of 100 baud modems.

    The competition mantra presumes a zero sum game that dies with the telephone network. The future of all communication benefits from same Moore's Law forces driving the larger infotech sector. If the network operators were so remarkably powerful, then we would still live in the world where 98% of operator revenue came from voice services as it did in 1996.

  • Dec 1st, 2014 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: A simple test of the merits of extending Title II authority to IP networks

    The alternative is for the public to assert its will directly with the operators in either organized or unorganized manner.

    Maybe the last word here, but Pragmatic repeats a common misconception and deserves a response.

    The benefits of the communicating public asserting their complaints directly to operators rather than through government does not rely on the "free market".

    The question is whether there exists a greater return on the energy and prospect of success in complaining to government or the operators.

    Whatever one thinks about the market power of the operators, there exists no exit option with respect to government unless you plan to move to Canada.

    The 80 year track record of the FCC suggests extreme pessimism regarding the possibility of an enlightened outcome.

    The operators need a charm offensive and more mechanisms to give customers a voice, but operators are already far more responsive to the communicating public than the FCC.

  • Nov 26th, 2014 @ 3:40pm


    It's such a simple issue....

    Certainly agreed.

    No one does anything in your list.

    I know there exists some talk of imagined business models, but all of the scenarios fall into the category of dumb business models.

    We do not regulate against dumb business models.

    Regulating against future and theoretical problems is extremely problematic at the pace of change in tech.

    Pointing to non-existing practices does not make applying Title II "simple".

  • Nov 26th, 2014 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: A simple test of the merits of extending Title II authority to IP networks


    I think we are getting closer to closing the gap.

    The issue is not the reasonableness of words in a rule.

    The issue is implementation of the words in the rule.

    The issue is the loss of a presumption of non-regulation.

    At the moment, there is a very real limit to the powers of the FCC. The FCC cannot reach across the line separating telecom and information services.

    For example, the Verizon and Comcast courts determined the FCC's attempt to reach across the divide to impose NN rules was illegal.

    Grant the FCC Title II authority to IP networks and the limits disappear. There will be nothing connected to an IP network (aka everything) the FCC cannot construe some authority.

    I appreciate the FCC disclaims interest in anything except constraining the operators, but the fact of unlimited authority exists as a fact.

    The FCC will need to go through a phase of collecting information about all the domains (impose registration and reporting) before it can decide not to regulate domains.

    Consider VoIP. The FCC has never said whether VoIP is a telecom or information service in order to keep its options open. The Pulver Order was a concession for a particular service.

    The odd thing in the embrace of Title II is an utter failure of the domains current under a Title II regime.

    Please just review the FCC pronouncements under Tom Wheeler in the last 12 months. 100% idiotic, 100% political, and 100% lacking a connection to reality.

    I really meant the extreme point in the first post under this subject - 100% of the current proliferation of communication options owes to developments in the information services domain (which the FCC cannot touch for the moment). Everything fostered by the FCC in the telecom domain is dying for a lack of customers, lack of innovation, and lack of value proposition.

  • Nov 26th, 2014 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Do you want an example?

    The "up to" example from Anonymous Coward reflects the question of transparency that no one - zero - no one objects to - not courts, not FCC, not public interest, not operators.

    A focus on implementing the transparency rules would represent big advance in the productivity of the debate.

  • Nov 26th, 2014 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: A simple test of the merits of extending Title II authority to IP networks

    Baron von Robber asks for an alternative to Title II.

    I think anyone pushing Title II has a burden to show the cure is not worse than the disease, but I agree a discussion of alternatives might help move the conversation along.

    The NN debate is a proxy for the larger anxiety about control over the communication future. No one trusts the operators in the sense no one would trust a corporation in control of the air we breathe. This leads to the insertion of government assert the will of the communicating public.

    The alternative is for the public to assert its will directly with the operators in either organized or unorganized manner. The world of 2014 is entirely different from the context of 1934 regarding the ability of the public to assert its will. The massive expansion of communication capacity since the arrival of the Internet represents the primary source of this new power.

    The government itself is the last monopoly standing. The operators have entirely transformed their businesses from 1996 when 98% of revenue arose from PSTN voice services. My 50Mbs FiOS connection would have cost $20,000 per month in 1996.

    The standard lack of competition push back only holds in a zero sum context. The expansion of markets possible with expanding the capacity of IP networks and information technology motivates investment. Intel (a monopoly) funded Moore's Law as the driving forces underlying the entire information technology ecosystem.

  • Nov 26th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

    A simple test of the merits of extending Title II authority to IP networks

    The FCC issues major decisions and rules at monthly meetings at a rate of 3-4 per meeting.

    These decisions and rules can be viewed as falling into two mutually exclusive categories.

    1. Leave IP networks alone. We do not need to do anything.

    2. We need to do something and here is our plan.

    I challenge the forces in favor of extending FCC Title II authority to IP networks to find a single decision in the second category that makes a meaningful contribution to the day to day lives of the communicating public in 2014.

    Feel free to look at decisions going back to the Telecom Act of 1996 or among the roughly 18 years and 800 major decisions.

    In other words, a review of the actual track record will reveal the present positive aspects of the communication environment would exist whether or not the FCC existed (category 1).

    The aspects of the telephone network the FCC asserted positive control over have steadily lost adoption to the point of disappearing from the landscape.

    The fact everything the FCC has touched died seems reason enough to question the expansion of FCC authority to IP networks.

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