I ended 2011 with a short (20 December) visit to a pleasantly warm Washington, D.C. for my 5th FCC Technical Advisory Council meeting. Some of the discussions from the third meeting were extended, others cut off for lack of time. We spent over an hour on the suggestion made by the Legacy Transition working group two meetings ago to advise the FCC to move forward in sunsetting (although we shunned that term at this meeting — “It’s a new beginning, not an end!”) the public-switched telephone network (PSTN). Many questions have arisen repeatedly in the discussions over the course of the last two meetings (and two FCC workshops in between), notably, “What happens to the telephony numbering system?” The initial strategy was imprecise, “The numbering plan will continue to exist but governance and allocation process needs to be considered.” Another repeated question has been “What exactly do we mean by PSTN?”
Archive for the 'Policy' Category
Policy making has become predominated by sponsored research, politics, campaign contributions and rhetoric. In light of an apparent disinterest for the facts it comes as no surprise that the network neutrality debate highlights opposing perceptions about the impact from changes in the next generation Internet. Regrettably no unbiased fact finding appears readily available, because politicization at the FCC prevents fair minded assessment by the Democratic and Republican Commissioners and heretofore the conflict has not generated a question of law or fact reviewable by a court.
— Rob Frieden: Internet 3.0: Identifying Problems and Solutions to the Network Neutrality Debate, 2007.
in June I participated on a panel on network neutrality hosted at the June cybersecurity meeting of the DHS/SRI Infosec Technology Transition Council (ITTC), where “experts and leaders from the government, private, financial, IT, venture capitalist, and academia and science sectors come together to address the problem of identity theft and related criminal activity on the Internet.” Here is a belated recap of my thoughts on that panel, including what network neutrality has to do with cybersecurity.
As is well known to most CircleID readers — but importantly, not to most other Internet users — in March 2011, ICANN knowingly and purposefully embraced an unprecedented policy that will encourage filtering, blocking, and/or redirecting entire virtual neighborhoods, i.e., “top-level domains” (TLDs). Specifically, ICANN approved the creation of the “.XXX” suffix, intended for pornography websites. Although the owner of the new .XXX TLD deems a designated virtual enclave for morally controversial material to be socially beneficial for the Internet, this claim obfuscates the dangers such a policy creates under the hood.
In response to the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s recent Further Notice of Inquiry on the Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Authority (IANA) Functions [Docket No. 110207099-1319-0], I submitted the following comment:
My third FCC Technical Advisory Council meeting (3-hr. video archive here) was the most exciting yet. The TAC’s Critical Legacy Transition working group, studying the legacy public switched telephone network, recommended that the Council advise the FCC to set a concrete date to sunset (shut down) the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). (!) The working group recommended the year 2018 as a starting point for lively discussion.
Although the outcome is not good news, it is gratifying to see the predictions of a model of the Internet ecosystem being validated by the real world. Specifically, the recent spate of ISP consolidations is precisely what our network formation model predicts. First, Level3 acquired Global Crossing in a deal valued at $3B. A few months later, Centurylink (QWEST) acquired Savvis for $2.5B. Our model predicts that this consolidation will continue unless ailing tier-1 providers find a new source of revenue to compensate for their losses on IP transit.
I recently remotely attended my second meeting of the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (slides but no video archives). The chairs of four working groups created at the first TAC meeting (Critical Transitions; IPv6; Broadband Infrastructure Deployment; and Sharing Opportunities) presented their interim results. The FCC then issued a set of “TAC recommendations” (which the TAC never saw); it is mostly a wish list from industry to the FCC. Ironically, IPv6 did not appear anywhere in the recommendations, despite being the most popular topic at the first TAC meeting last November, and despite us running out of IPv4 addresses since the last TAC meeting. But the TAC’s IPv6 WG did commit to (on slide 53) delivering a report by November 2011 on what the FCC could or should do to help promote IPv6 deployment. Specifically, the WG has the following charter:
This month Internet2′s new UCAN project issued a call for white papers on how they could use their $65M BTOP grant in operationally sustainable ways, i.e., so the infrastructure they build will have a chance of surviving when the federal stimulus project money runs out.
My recently submitted public comments on the increasingly controversial issue of ICANN’s plans to expand the generic Top Level Domain namespace indefinitely:
a repeat of my still unaddressed comments from the last (June 2010) economic report,
- an attempt to summarize some public comments to that June 2010 report,
- end an abbreviated historical timeline of ICANN’s economic research commitment to launching new gTLDs.
Among the interesting meetings I attended in 2010 was the principal investigators (PI) meeting for NSF’s new “Future Internet Architecture” (FIA) program. The FIA program builds on the successes of NSF’s previous Future Internet Design (FIND) program, the recommendations of a review panel, and a community summit in October 2009. (The FIND program itself has been integrated into NSF’s new Network Science and Engineering research program, while the four FIA teams are attempting to implement some of the ideas developed thus far.) CAIDA is participating in one of these projects — Named Data Networking (NDN), led by Van Jacobson at Xerox Parc and Lixia Zhang at UCLA. (Background links to 2010 technical report describing the proposed architecture, Van’s August 2006 video lecture and 2009 ACM Queue Q&A on NDN ideas.)