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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FT ETNO: NexFlix CEO steps into lion's den tomorrow

FT ETNO: A New Digital Agenda - Towards a European Renaissance: "Keynote Introduction: Netflix view on Net Neutrality
Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix" - when every other speaker is big telco! This might be more interesting than Oettinger's stonewalling yesterday? 'via Blog this'

Incoming EU digital commissioner backs net neutrality (really?)

Incoming EU digital commissioner backs net neutrality - Telecompaper: An alternative reading of Gunther's whitewash waffle: "Oettinger told EU lawmakers that he agreed with his predecessor Neelie Kroes that all internet traffic should be treated equally. “Net neutrality is a common interest for all users and for all citizens, and additionally in the public interest – emergency cases and so on – there may be an exemption, but not for businesses, not for business cases, therefore we need neutrality for all users," he said." 'via Blog this'

New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality

New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality • The Register: "In response to early questions about net neutrality, Oettinger talked about a stage-by-stage solution, but failed to clarify what he meant when asked what exactly he understands by net neutrality. Instead, he offered to explain it at a later date.

 Austrian MEP Michel Reimon, who asked the question, was unimpressed, and said: “With net neutrality you have to get it right, right away, you cannot achieve it in pieces.”

 There is already a draft law on net neutrality protections on the table, and Oettinger says he has no problems with it, adding, “We have to do everything we can so that no one is disadvantaged when they go on the net” – whatever that means.

 Oettinger said the “rules of net neutrality can only be departed from when there is a public interest,” later arguing that “culture is a public interest.” Expect lobby groups to spin what this means in the coming days." 'via Blog this'

Why Strong Title II Remains the Best Option For an Open Internet

Reliability Rather Than Rainbows: Why Strong Title II Remains the Best Option For an Open Internet - Public Knowledge: "First and foremost, relying on either a hybrid approach that classifies broadband access as Title II but uses Section 706 authority for actual rules, or relying on classifying the “sender side” of broadband (the part from an edge provider to the broadband access provider) as a telecommunications service while leaving the residential subscriber side an information service, shifts the focus away from protecting the public to promoting competition and investment.

Certainly consumers benefit from competition, and from stimulating investment in broadband infrastructure and deployment (the purpose of Section 706). But Title II is not just about promoting investment or protecting competition. It is primarily a consumer protection statute, and contains many provisions specifically targeted at protecting consumers from corporate abuses, such protecting consumer privacy and truth-in-billing.

 We do not want the basic service of the 21st Century managed for the benefit of companies – wherever they reside in the Internet supply chain – with the expectation that benefits to the public will somehow ‘trickle down’ from the right set of business oriented rules. A foundation that starts with the companies and moves backward to consumers starts in the wrong place." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reliability Rather Than Rainbows: Why Strong Title II Remains the Best Option

Reliability Rather Than Rainbows: Why Strong Title II Remains the Best Option For an Open Internet - Public Knowledge: "The FCC points to two sets of principles, one submitted by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the other from a coalition of Library Associations and Higher Education Organizations, that could replace the “commercial reasonableness” standard initially proposed by the Commission. Public Knowledge agrees with the principles outlined in both sets of comments (both of which, incidentally, favor reclassification of broadband as Title II telecommunications service). But principles, without a solid basis of authority, cannot adequately protect the public.

 The FCC blog post also points to filings by AT&T recommending an approach based solely on Section 706.  Setting aside our overall concern that AT&T’s proposal continues to lack critical details, we do not believe an approach based purely on Section 706 can work because of the “common carrier prohibition.”'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Open Internet Roundtable - Policy Approaches

Open Internet Roundtable - Policy Approaches |

"Roundtable 2: Scope of Open Internet Rules - 10:30 am - Noon

This roundtable will consider the proper scope of new open Internet rules, with a focus on the definition of reasonable network management, treatment of specialized services, and whether new rules should extend to the point of interconnection between last-mile Internet service providers (ISPs) and other networks and services (i.e., Internet traffic exchange).

Jeff Campbell, Vice President, The Americas, Cisco Systems, Inc.

Daniel Pataki, Exec. Director, European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO)

Jon M. Peha, Professor, Engineering & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon Univ.

Matt Wood, Policy Director, Free Press

Corie Wright, Director of Global Public Policy, Netflix, Inc.

Christopher Yoo, Professor of Law, Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School"

This is likely to be the key panel not only today but in the entire series of talks - watch it live on

'via Blog this'

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why Google and the FCC are bringing wireless back into the net neutrality fight

Why Google and the FCC are bringing wireless back into the net neutrality fight — Tech News and Analysis: "When the 2010 debate over network neutrality was raging, less than 30 percent percent of Americans had a smartphone, and they were using them very differently than they are using them now. During 2010, people in the U.S consumed an average of 350 MB/mo of data per month compared to 2013, when shared data plans and more devices helped push data consumption to 1.2GB per month, according to Chetan Sharma, a wireless industry analyst.

 Plus, as Sena Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for Comcast, pointed out, if more than 20 percent of visits to the internet are coming from mobile phones, a significant amount of eyeballs access the net via wireless networks, which means that any unfair deals would affect one in five attempts to get online. Comcast says it is in favor of both wireless and wireline network neutrality." 'via Blog this'

Commission priorities: new Digital Single market initiative, investment programme

Letter from Juncker to Oettinger, telling him he should be:
"Preparing, as part of the project team steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, ambitious legislative steps towards a connected Digital Single Market. You should be ready to present these within the first six months, and they should be based on a clear assessment of the main obstacles still to be removed through EU action, either by implementing existing policies or proposing new measures. More ambition should be added to the ongoing reform of our telecoms rules. A harmonised approach to radio spectrum between Member States should be developed. Copyright rules should be modernised, during the first part of this mandate, in the light of the digital revolution, new consumer behaviour and Europe’s cultural diversity.
"Contributing, as part of the project team steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, to the jobs, growth and investment package to be presented within the first three months of our mandate. I would like you to be very hands-on in terms of working with Member States to bring about the conditions necessary for investment decisions and ensure that the EU can be a catalyst for public and private investment. You should focus on supporting the deployment of a high-quality, digital network infrastructure, underpinning all sectors of the economy across borders, progressively on a continental scale."
The rest - freedom of expression, European culture, is a bit blah-blah. There is a final piece discussing the EU "29th state" of the young unemployed but no mention of the fact that this is the digital natives generation....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ontario Not Alone in Seeking Netflix Regulation: CBC, Quebec Similar Demands

Ontario Not Alone in Seeking Netflix Regulation: CBC, Government of Quebec, and Cultural Groups Making Similar Demands - Michael Geist:

"To put a blunt face on it, you are inviting the CRTC to regulate Google, YouTube and Netflix, aren’t you, and what advice will you be giving your Minister later on today when the potential headline is, “Government of Ontario wants to tax Netflix” or “Government of Ontario wants to regulate the Internet”?

 MR. FINNERTY: Well, in fact what we recommend is that new media broadcasting activities be regulated. We did not recommend that the Internet be regulated, but we are very clear in our submission, both our written submission and in today’s presentation, that we believe that new media broadcasting activity should be regulated to support the principles of the Broadcasting Act and to support Ontario’s very important entertainment and creative cluster." 'via Blog this'

Ansip Signs On as Juncker Reboots European Commission

Ansip Signs On as Juncker Reboots European Commission - Real Time Brussels - WSJ: "That’s interesting, because telecoms operators have said they need to consolidate before they invest, and Mr. Juncker says in his letter to Mr. Ansip, “We will also need to ensure that our competition and taxation rules are conducive to higher levels of public and private investment.”

 J.P. Morgan analyst Hannes Wittig also reckons it’s a win for telecoms companies.

“Mr. Oettinger seems a strong pro-incumbent appointment,” Mr. Wittig said. “The German regulator has in recent years been comparatively constructive towards Deutsche Telekom, often proposing higher regulated wholesale rates than the European telecoms regulator would have found appropriate. The appointment has added spice, given that the German regulator has been openly criticized by the European Commission for recent unbundling and mobile termination rate decisions.”

 What else? Net neutrality will come up, the San Francisco-based Computer & Communications Industry Association hinted, saying the new commissioners “need to ensure Europe’s innovators and citizens get full benefit from the open, global Internet… This means putting in place the right conditions for startup companies and ensuring citizens continue to enjoy the widest access to information, products and services.”" 'via Blog this'

WhatsApp in Brussels: Google and Facebook face competition regulators

WhatsApp in Brussels | EurActiv: "EU merger review of Facebook/WhatsApp presents a rare opportunity to start leveling an unbalanced playing field permitting dominant online players to escape appropriate regulation of their far-flung commercial activities. Facebook should be required to provide equivalent access to its dominant social media platform on the part of mobile messaging apps other than WhatsApp, much as Microsoft was compelled to open Windows to browsers other than MS Internet Explorer.  The separate issue of Facebook’s compliance with applicable Data Protection rules begs an interesting question whether merger clearance should be conditioned on strict compliance going forward, in the interest of ensuring fair competition." 'via Blog this'

Monday, September 08, 2014

When internet access gives net neutrality a beating

When internet access gives net neutrality a beating | Internet Policy Review:

"Jens Best, member of the board of Wikimedia Germany admitted he’s experiencing a dilemma. While he is all for public knowledge and open access, "it's a little bit like there is some guys on the street selling some stuff and the first stuff is for free and then the second stuff costs money". Best also pointed to several problems with the zero-rated offers, for example the issue about links leading out of the zero area. For Wikipedia the links to sources were essential. Abuse of the Wikipages for free chatting also might happen. In sum, Best said, neutrality remains the fundamental principle. While he acknowledged that one had to be open about the many uses of the internet, "entering the web only by using Facebook zero is not entering the internet, it's entering Facebook"." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ooh-la-la, the French Get (Inter)Net Neutrality Right: It’s All About the Platform Monopolies–Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Ooh-la-la, the French Get (Inter)Net Neutrality Right: It’s All About the Platform Monopolies–Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter etc. | Gurstein's Community Informatics: "The report concludes with four general high level recommendations and a number of more specific recommendations nested within these.

1. Bolster the effectiveness of law in relation to digital platforms — in this way challenging law makers to update both their thinking and their legislation in response to these very significant changes in the overall policy landscape. In doing this they make it very clear that they consider these areas subject to national (and regional) policy considerations in direct opposition to the position of those advocating “Internet Freedom” i.e. an Internet which is beyond or outside of the realm of public policy. Within this there is the suggestion of the creation of independent assessment “auditing” agencies whose task it would be to assess neutrality issues and whose operations would build on crowd sourcing information gathering and reputation management methodologies.

2. Ensure data system effectiveness.– Interestingly, where issues of “system effectiveness” within the more traditional context of Internet Governance would be defined from the perspective either of “technical effectiveness” or “corporate functional effectiveness” in this report the meaning is very much end-user focused. How effectively does the system operate so as to maximize individual and particularly collective benefits to end users? Thus the notion of “fairness” (from the end user perspective) is central to this part of the discussion — is the manner and outcome of data use within platform-defined systems providing “fair” use and value to the end user and how can the playing field be leveled (if indeed it can) for individual user (and data provider) in managing and controlling their own data including through “transferability” and “interoperability” in relation to super rich and super powerful platform monopolies.

The report here goes into quite uncharted waters opening up a discussion of the “prescriptive” (normative) role of digital platforms and presenting a series of innovative responses to this set of observations including the need for transparency of algorithms, identification of operational practices and guidelines (they use the term “best practices”) employed within the various platforms, and suggested guidelines to ensure appropriate levels of end user, competitor and collaborator neutrality/fairness of operations.

Going even further the report identifies issues of “power” and “power imbalances” as being at the core of the relationships between the various digital platforms and those within their broader digital eco-system. The report further points out how more traditional understandings (and the associated policy responses) of such power imbalances needs to be updated in the light of the new technology functionalities and business models/strategies in the digital sphere.

3. Invest significantly in skills and knowledge to bolster competitiveness Following on from the earlier assertion of attempting to “bolster” rather than “control” the report outlines a series of research and other measures that should be undertaken to enhance the broad and in particular political understanding of the developments that are taking place in the digital sphere as a background to initiating efforts to respond to these.

4. Set the right conditions to allow alternatives to emerge  Again turning away from the dominant laissez faire Internet development model the report goes on to suggest an economic strategy way forward given that the digital world is currently dominated by a small number of platform-based monopolies based in the US and competing directly (and again based on the analysis) “unfairly” with possible competitors in France and Europe.
France and the EU must develop a strategy that will protect their social and individual values, and that will act as a springboard for the development of digital economic actors. Sovereignty–understood here as the ability to choose a development model with respect to the digital world –means giving oneself the resources to make such a choice.
It is notable that the report identifies “neutral, open platforms” and “open data” as essential for this task."

'via Blog this'

Here’s Why the Comcast–Time Warner Merger Is Bad - Susan Crawford on 1995 @Home comparison

Here’s Why the Comcast–Time Warner Merger Is Bad | MIT Technology Review:

"TCI, Comcast, and Cox locked arms and agreed to jointly own and fund the @Home network—but TCI had the majority stake. And the group agreed to give @Home the exclusive right to market cable-modem Internet access to their subscribers for five years.

This plan was initially successful: by 2000, @Home had four million subscribers, and 13 other cable companies had joined in the exclusive plan.

But Comcast and Cox didn’t trust TCI. Why? Because, as the majority owner of @Home, TCI had the ability to cause @Home to favor TCI-owned or -affiliated content providers over content providers owned by Cox or Comcast.

And so the shareholders in @Home created the “.Com Committee,” designed to ensure equal treatment and equal access to the @Home network for all content.

The three companies also agreed that no video streams of longer than 10 minutes would be allowed over the @Home network, so as to protect their interests in traditional long-form video pay-TV programming." 'via Blog this'