Viodi View – 06/23/14

My aha moment from last week’s SMPTE ETIA Conference was triggered by the FCC’s Matthew DelNero’s excellent presentation on the history and status of Net Neutrality. That is, and it’s something that has been said for years by many experts, the entire telecom legal and regulatory morass needs to be simplified and flattened in a way that is analogous to what IP has done to the various telecom segments. Piecemeal legislation, like that offered up last week by Senator Leahy D-VT and Representative Matsui D-CA regarding paid prioritization, won’t help to break down these barriers. It is a brave new world and the legal and regulatory framework needs to catch up to the year 2014.


Do You Hear What I Hear?

A screenshot of different audio profiles in a demonstration from Dolby Labs.
Click to read more

Some 80% of those with hearing loss do not use a hearing aid, according to Philip Hilmes of L126/Amazon at SMPTE’s Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age Conference. His presentation was particularly timely given last week’s announcement of the Amazon Fire phone, Hilmes’ brought interesting insight into the topic of immersive and personal audio and how Amazon is using feedback from multiple sensors to create a better sound experience. Their work could have interesting implications for the hearing aid market as well as creating some interesting privacy implications.

Click here to read more.


Broadband TV Conference Overview & Summary of MPEG-DASH Video Streaming Standard by Alan Weissberger

An image showing where DASH fits in the streaming ecosystem.
Click to read more

The vital importance of the relatively new video streaming standard, DASH, was emphasized by Will Law of Akamai Technologies during his opening remarks: “DASH intends to be to the Internet world … what MPEG2-TS and NTSC have been to the broadcast world.” Video/multi-media streaming over the Internet (from web based video server to streaming client receiving device) was said to be a “feudal landscape.” That may now change with DASH, according to Will.

Click here to read more.


Broadband TV Conference Part 2: How to Measure Streaming Video Quality by Alan Weissberger

A diagram showing different streaming methods.
Click to read more

This second article on the 2014 Broadband TV Conference summarizes a presentation by OPTICOM’s CEO on streaming video quality measurements. This topic will be very important for many players in the OTT streaming video and connected TV markets. In particular, it’ll be quite valuable for adaptive bit rate OTT and mobile video streaming providers to measure and then attempt to improve the Quality of Experience (QoE) of their customers.

Click here to read more.


Broadband TV Conference- Part 3: The Problem and Solution for WiFi Delivered Video Content… by Alan Weissberger

An image of AirTies Mesh network configuration.
Click to read more

The number of mobile devices in the home is exploding. Most “Pay TV” operators (like Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FioS, and AT&T U-Verse) are supporting multiple screen viewing as part of their “TV Everywhere” services. The content is mostly OTT VoD, video clips, or real-time sporting events available by subscription (e.g. MLB.TV, NHL.com or ESPN3) that’s played on mobile devices, gaming consoles and even connected TVs. Whole-home WiFi coverage and a consistent signal become mandatory for a good “user quality of experience.”
Click here to read more.


Look Ma, Video with No Plug-Ins

Ken Pyle interviews Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis at the MetaSwitch 2014 Forum.
Click to view

For anyone who has ever faced the frustration of having to download a plug-in to launch a web conferencing program, WebRTC may provide the answer. Providing real-time communications via simple JavaScript APIs within the browser (Chrome, Opera, Mozilla) or mobile app, it is very simple for the average user to view video or contribute their own content without the need for plug-ins. Bubley explains the reason WebRTC has such a disruptive potential is that there are many uses cases over many market segments, so that even if some of them aren’t successful there will be a number that will find success.

Click here to view and read more.


The Golden Age of Local TV Advertising

Ken Pyle interviews Mark Lieberman, CEO and president, of Viamedia at The Cable Show 2014.
Click to view

We are going through a a golden age; a renaissance; of TV programming,” said Mark Lieberman president and CEO of Viamedia. “It is the best platform; the most engaging platform for advertisers to get across their message.” He was referring to the value of television for advertisers. Lieberman discusses the automated, end-to-end programmatic solution they are introducing to make TV advertising even more valuable for local advertisers.

Click here to view and read more.


A Hybrid Gaming Device

Ken Pyle interviews Whitney Merrifield of Xi3.
Click to view

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo and their associated game consoles were, as usual, center stage at this year’s premier gaming conference E3. PC gaming by one estimate and measure has a 20% market shareand isn’t going away. As a proof-point, the Piston Console from Xi3 is the latest in a series of micro-mini PCs that are both compact (e.g. can bolt to the back of a monitor) and powerful. Whitney Merrifield speaks to the advantages of the micro-mini approach, as embodied in the Piston, compared to the traditional console approach.

Click here to view and read more.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts


The Korner – The Autonomous Vehicle and What It Means

An automobile industry executive and subject matter expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote the article that follows this preface. It is in response to my June 2nd article that speculated on Google’s long-term plans for the autonomous vehicle. This article provides additional insight into the AV market with some excellent references, while having some more fun imagining the type of vehicles we may see in the future.

Image showing what a vehicle might look like without a steering wheel.
Click to read more

This article also introduces images from ED Design’s Michael Robinson, a Hall of Fame vehicle designer and leader in “Experiential Design”. He is at the forefront of determining what autonomous vehicles (whether on wheels, rails or wings) will look like and their impact on society. He wants to ensure that, in addition to achieving a safety goal of zero accidents, the autonomous vehicle doesn’t kill the love affair people have had with their cars.

More importantly, he wants the autonomous vehicle to be an extension of the future digital home; an environment that stimulates emotions and thoughts and not one that is simply a mobile couch potato transporter. As he points out, removing the steering wheel changes everything as far as vehicle design and he even suggests a scenario where regulators outlaw steering wheels and driver-less cars are mandatory in 2040 (coincidentally, the same year as my story takes place).

It is important for broadband providers to stay abreast of the direction of the AV market and the thinking of visionaries like Robinson and the anonymous author of the following article, as this mobile Internet of Things, known as autonomous vehicles, will have an impact on broadband networks at some level. Broadband providers will either find new opportunities in this arena or let the Googles of the world grab the opportunity.

Click here to read more.

Viodi View – 06/09/14

Wayne Gretzky’s quote of, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been,” has become an oft-used metaphor in presentations in the telecom world. An important point, not mentioned in his quote, is to be aware of the external factors that could the alter the path of that puck (e.g. like the really fast skater you don’t see). Competition can come from any sector these days, as disparate industries look more and more alike, thanks to the Internet and the principles of the Internet.


Google’s Potential End Game – Transport and Organize the World’s People, Not Just Information

The garage is no longer needed to house a car with a vehicle-on-demand service.
The garage is no longer needed to house a car with a vehicle-on-demand service.

On the surface, autonomous vehicles seem way beyond Google’s core business, so it is easy to discount their efforts in this space, given all the barriers they face from incumbents, regulators and entrenched consumer behavior. Still, they have an advantage of a fresh approach without the legacy that other providers have. For instance, looking at autonomous transport as a service business (as opposed to the traditional box business of the vehicle market), yields $30B+ in profitable revenue with only 5% market share, while providing consumers a lower-cost, higher quality and safer transport option.

It is not to hard to imagine Google creating a Smart Transport Community contest, like they did with Google Fiber. A pilot program to a mid-size city would only require 1,700 vehicles, which is not much more than 100-250 they are planning on developing for testing purposes. As a service business, there are many analogies to broadband (including net neutrality or, perhaps, “road neutrality”).

This article, which is probably too long for the web, touches upon the salient points of what it will take to make an autonomous transport service a reality, including:

Although this seems way outside a broadband operator’s sweet spot, it probably makes sense to imagine the impact of Autonomous Vehicles on their broadband networks and their customers. In the meantime, let’s fast-forward 25+ years and imagine what life might be like for the next generation.

It’s 8:07 am and my next door neighbor, cheapskate Charlie, has been waiting outside his door for a few minutes for his ride, which is guaranteed to be at his house within a 10 minute window. He looks at his garage and is reminded that he will soon be renting it as storage space to his neighbor, Rich……

Click here to read the rest of the story.


Marching Toward a Gigabit

Ken Pyle interviews Terry Nidiffer of GCI regarding their plans for 1 Gb/s.
Click to View

“What would you do with a gigabit,” is what GCI is asking of its customers in anticipation of a 2015 roll out of gigabit services via its DOCSIS 3.0 plant. Announced in late March, GCI will be the first operator offering gigabit in the 49th state. GCI’s Vice President of Product Management, Terry Nidiffer, reinforces the idea of a “halo effect” of offering gigabit services, as they have seen approximately 300% uptake on their top-end offerings since their announcement of the higher speed services.

Click here to read more and view the associated video.


Congressional leaders ask FCC to Streamline Wireless Broadband Infrastructure Deployments by Alan Weissberger

Cell Tower
Click to Read More

On May 29th, House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to streamline the approval process for upgrading existing wireless facilities.  The letter asks Mr. Wheeler for clarification of Section 6409(a) – the spectrum provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. 

Click here to read more.


Meeker: Mobile is King of Internet Access and Content by Alan Weissberger

1cast application on the Gphone
Click to Read More

Mary Meeker of KPCB puts out an Internet Trends report every year that is chock full of interesting data on Internet, social, mobile and e-commerce trends.  In this year’s report at the Code conference in Southern California last week, Ms. Meeker said that while growth in overall Internet usage was slowing (especially in developed countries), it has increased rapidly for mobile.

Click here to read more.


Technology Outlook: The Cable Show 2014 by Kshitij Kumar

An image of the Imagine Cafe at the 2014 Cable Show.
Click to Read More

The Cable Show 2014 was back in Los Angeles this year – which usually allows for a larger contingent of content folks to attend given the proximity of Hollywood. This year saw a good mix of technology folks rubbing shoulders with content-types but it almost felt like two shows in parallel – one set of tracks attended mostly by the techies of the industry and the other attended mostly by the content folks.

Click here to read some of the more interesting themes of the show.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:


The Korner – Better Officiating Through Technology – Because It’s the Cup

Jim Jachetta of VidOvation shows a goal cam, which includes camera, battery and 60 GHz wireless transmitter.
Click to View

Often, it is important to know where the puck has been; particularly when millions of dollars are riding on an accurate call.

In this interview, Jim Jachetta of VidOvation discusses how his company worked with NHL to create an in-goal camera system to help remote officials determine whether a puck crossed the goal. The “puck cam” that Jachetta describes has an integrated 720p camera, a battery and a 60 GHz wireless transmitter.

What makes this application particularly interesting is that VidOvation is transmitting uncompressed video using 1.5 GHz of the 7 GHz available band within the 60 GHz band.  Although this application only needs to go about 50 meters (to the top of an arena’s ceiling), Jachetta explains that, with the right antennas, the 60 GHz frequency band has application for point-to-point transport to buildings of up to one (1) kilometer.

He explains that 10 to 15 kilometers can be achieved with the higher frequency bands of 70, 80 and 90 GHz. This gets particularly interesting for service providers as these bands offer the potential to serve as the equivalent of wireless extensions of their fiber networks.

Click here to read more and to view the video.

Viodi View – 05/27/14

Beware of the Unseen Competitor was a title of an article written many years ago that warned broadband operators of the rise of competitors from completely different market sectors. Of course, it is the Internet and the intelligence of the things that helps turn products into mere features and brings in competition from seemingly disparate industries. In the Korner below, there is an example of this sort of disruptive development that could signal a revolution in the transport industry.


FCC Net Neutrality Proposal Stirs Up Controversy- Reclassify or Not? by Alan Weissberger

An image of Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC,.
FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler (image courtesy of FCC.gov)

On May 15th the FCC Commissioners narrowly voted to approve a framework for rules that would create an Internet fast lane, while trying to patch up the loopholes that would make that fast lane possible. The proposal from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down websites, but leaves the door open for them to strike deals with content companies for preferential treatment, or fast lanes to customers.

Click here to read the rest of Weissberger’s article and add to the lively discussion that follows.


Cable Show 2014 Musings

The following are some observations from and reactions to the recent 2014 Cable Show.

A picture of the Comcast booth at the Cable Show 2014
Click to read more
  • Impressive Demos
  • Open Up DNS, Comcast
  • Is it a Revolution or More of the Same
  • Freedom to Be Creative
  • Tap a WiFi Hot Spot
  • 4K, 4K, 4K
  • Stay Tuned

Click here to read more.


The Name Says It All

Ken Pyle with Steve Weed of Wave Broadband at the ACA Summit 2014
Click to view

CBO (Community Broadband Operator) might be a better term to describe operators traditionally described as CATV (Community Antenna TeleVision). The vision of Steve Weed, CEO of Wave Broadband, and his team has become reality as they now have more broadband customers than video subscribers. With that context, he looks forward to the day, in the not-too-distance future, when a new form of Over-the-Top video provider – a virtual MSOs (Multichannel System Operators) – ride over Wave Broadband pipes, giving consumers more choice in video packages and bringing more value to the broadband connection.

Click here to read more and view.


An Incremental Approach to SDN/NFV

Ken Pyle interviews Andy Randall of Metaswitch
Click to View

“All the intelligence and all the value is moving into software in the cloud,” said Andy Randall, GM Networking Business Unit & SVP Corp Development of Metaswitch. Randall talks about the transition to using commodity hardware with software defining how that hardware is used. Ultimately, a software-based approach will allow for operators to be more nimble in responding to customer and market demands.

Click here to view.


Are the Internet of Things (IoT) & Internet of Everything (IoE) the Same Thing? by Alan Weissberger

An image of an Internet Connected Water shut-off valve is shown.
Click to read more.

For quite some time, Cisco and Qualcomm have used the term Internet of Everything (IoE) to describe what almost everyone else refers to as the Internet of Things (IoT). McKinsey Global Institute’s Disruptive Technologies report calls out the Internet of Things (IoT) as a top disruptive technology trend that will have an impact of as much as $6 Trillion on the world economy by 2025 with 50 billion connected devices!

Click here to read more.


TiECON Flash: U.S. Dept of Commerce & TiE in Partnership to Promote Exports by Alan Weissberger

TiE Silicon Valley President Venk Shukla kicked off TiECon (The Indus Entrepreneurs annual conference) by stating that “wealth creation through entrepreneurship” was TiE’s principal mission (or reason for being).  Also, that TiE was “deeply ingrained in Silicon Valley” through its members (over 11,000 from over 50 countries) which are at start-ups, established companies, VCs and private equity firms. The surprising announcement at TiECon is that the U.S. Dept of Commerce and TiE have entered a partnership to promote TiE U.S. member companies products and/or services that are sold abroad.

Click here to read more.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • One step down, two to go. Big thanks to the city for bringing San Jose one step closer to getting 
  • Live demo of a voice to calendar feature that took about 8 hours development at #mforum14Wow!
  • Using Amazon Web Services as a virtual lab to test 20M circuits. 1/60th cost. Great idea. #mforum14

The Korner – The Software Driven Car

A picture of an electric vehicle from LIT Motors at CES 2014.
Click to view and read more

As simple and as safe as a car combined with the benefits of a motorcycle is what LIT Motors promises with its C-1 electric vehicle. With a projected range of almost 200 miles, a top speed of over 100 miles per hour and anticipated pricing in the mid-20 thousands (before tax credits), the C-1 (working name) has potential to be a game-changer for transportation in urban areas.

The real revolution, however, may be in the way this company has done so much to turn one man’s vision into reality a relatively small investment (measured in the millions) and short amount of time. A handful of people created the prototype on display at CES. They are set up more as a Web 2.0 company, than an automobile company, as evidenced by their use of crowd-funding (for their $6,000, electric cargo scooter,Kubo), use of social media and direct relationship with the end customers.

And although they still have to set up manufacturing for mass-production, their relatively small investment gives them the flexibility to try new business models (e.g. think licensing, maybe open sourcing, etc.) that allow others to manufacturer and even market their vehicle designs. The interesting thing is that a brand that would license such a vehicle might not even be from the automobile space.

Click here to read more and view the video.

FCC Net Neutrality Proposal Stirs Up Controversy- Reclassify or Not?

An image of Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC,.
FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler (image courtesy of FCC.gov)

On May 15th the FCC Commissioners narrowly voted to approve a framework for rules that would create an Internet fast lane, while trying to patch up the loopholes that would make that fast lane possible.

The proposal from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down websites, but leaves the door open for them to strike deals with content companies for preferential treatment, or fast lanes to customers. The Democrat-majority FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to open the proposal to public comment for 120 days, with an eye toward voting on final rules later this year.  However, the timing of actual rules will depend on what the agency decides to do after the four-month comment period expires.

Frankly, we don’t understand why there are objections for content providers and consumers paying more for higher speed delivery of broadband Internet content.  Doesn’t every ISP charge more for higher speed Internet access?  Don’t pay TV providers charge more for premium content with tiered service offerings? And an extra charge for HBO, Showtime, STARZ, Cinemax, etc?

The FCC is proposing that it should use the authority that it has under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to regulate net neutrality, which leaves the rules open to the possibility of “paid prioritization” of Internet traffic. While FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that those rules don’t allow paid prioritization and is vehemently against allowing any bifurcation of the Internet, it’s also something that the agency can’t enforce if the ISPs offer a creative legal challenge to its no-blocking rules or the wording of the eventual net neutrality rules.

“The potential that there would be some kind of a fast lane has many concerned,” Wheeler said. “I don’t like the idea and I will work to see that does not happen. We specifically ask whether we can and how to prevent an internet fast lane.”

While broadband providers like  Comcast, Verizon and  AT&T are firmly against stronger regulatory oversight of the industry—a possibility that the commission opened up for comment—they have indicated that Mr. Wheeler’s proposal as it stands is something they could live with.

The content providers disagree vehemently.  Google, Facebook, Amazon.com, and many web content startups are vehemently opposed to any arrangements that allows broadband providers to charge content companies extra for preferential treatment.

Netflix, whose streaming service is responsible for a substantial share of overall Internet traffic, said it is “concerned that the proposed approach could legalize discrimination” in how broadband providers treat Web traffic, “harming innovation and punishing U.S. consumers.” The statement added, “Netflix is not interested in a fast lane” on the Internet.


Another key issue is whether the FCC should reclassify broadband as a public utility service that’s regulated.  Currently, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are classified as information services, which means the FCC cannot regulate them as it would landline phones which are considered telecommunication utilities and under the FCC’s purview. Reclassifying ISPs as utilities (like common carrier telephone services) would potentially give the FCC far greater control over ISPs and, potentially, help the FCC ensure an open Internet.

The problem with defining broadband (not including mobile Internet access) differently than land-based common carriers, which are governed by Title II in the original 1934 U.S. Telecommunications Act, is that the FCC doesn’t have the right to regulate broadband or truly protect net neutrality.

When the FCC sought to censure Verizon’s efforts to manage its own Internet traffic, the D.C. Court of Appeals found it had overstepped its bounds and struck down the net neutrality rules the FCC essentially built as a bulwark against Internet access abuse. The rules it was applying to Verizon’s Internet services were not covered under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which governed the FCC’s oversight of broadband.

Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act didn’t give the FCC that kind of power. Redefining broadband Internet services a utility would allow the FCC to bring to bear all the rules and power found in Title II of the 1934 Telecommunications act.

“The fact is that reclassification doesn’t mean any additional regulation at all,” said Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner who added that industries like wireless and carrier Ethernet currently classified under Title II “are thriving.”  So what’s the problem?

Net neutrality proponents believe officially designating broadband as a utility to be regulated is the only way to ensure an open Internet. “It is exactly what the bulk of activists are supporting, as the recent court decision made it clear that it is the only way in which true net neutrality regulations can be applied,” said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress.

Some would like the whole Internet designated a public utility. “The Internet is a public utility and the FCC must regulate Internet providers as common carriers. Anything short of undoing the George W. Bush-era deregulation of broadband industry is fake net neutrality, and we’re not falling for it this time,” said Becky Bond, Political Director at CREDO Mobile.

“Tom Wheeler spoke passionately about the open Internet, but his rousing rhetoric doesn’t match the reality of his proposal. The only way to accomplish the chairman’s goals is to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers,” Craig Aaron, CEO of the open-media advocacy group Free Press said.

Broadband (wire-line) providers, though, say reclassification would be devastating for their industry.  Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell (now the CEO of National Cable and Telecommunications Association) said: “Treating broadband as a utility-like Title II service would reverse years of settled precedent, dry up investment in broadband deployment and network upgrades, and result in protracted litigation and marketplace uncertainty. We (the NCTA) will continue to reiterate our unwavering opposition to any proposals that attempt to reclassify broadband services under the heavy-handed regulatory yoke of Title II.”


The FCC’s proposal is open to months of debate before a final document is voted on at the end of this year. Whether the Title II reclassification concept survives that long is open to conjecture and debate.  Mr. Wheeler emphasized that his proposal is only a draft, and that he is open to changing it before a final vote later this year.

Mr. Wheeler has repeatedly vowed to use all tools at his disposal to prevent Internet providers from striking deals that would shut out startups and smaller companies that can’t afford to pay for preferential treatment.  He said consumers pay for a specific amount of bandwidth when they subscribe to broadband Internet access, and that the commission won’t allow broadband providers to throttle that connection or limit how consumers use it.

“The potential for there to be some kind of ‘fast lane’ available to only a few has many people concerned. Personally, I don’t like the idea that the Internet could become divided into have’s and have-nots,'” Mr. Wheeler said. “I will work to see that doesn’t happen.”

“There is one Internet. It must be fast, it must be robust, and it must be open,” Mr. Wheeler added. “The prospect of a gatekeeper choosing winners and losers on the Internet is unacceptable.”

That remains to be seen.  This is going to be one heck of a balancing act for the FCC.  For sure, they won’t be able to satisfy all the stakeholders in the broadband Internet (content providers, ISPs, consumers, public interest/ consumer advocate groups, etc).

We’ll update you with our perspective, comment and analysis as this controversial proposal and ultimate ruling progresses.  We think it will be a “battle royal.”


Here’s how to submit a comment to the FCC:

The FCC is taking comments on its proposal at OpenInternet@FCC.gov This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The initial deadline for comments in July 15th and the deadline for reply comments is September 15th, but the agency is expected to keep the inbox open until it votes to finalize the proposal.


References:

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the FCC’s Net Neutrality Proposal

Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act

(TELE) COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934

 

Viodi View – 05/12/14

Operational and incremental improvements using cable television infrastructure as a wireless network and as an enabler of the Internet of Things were big themes of the recent four-day Cable Show confab in Los Angeles. Although 4K was prominent in multiple booths and displays at the conference, much to my surprise, there were no blockbuster announcements from any of the major TV networks announcing 4K programming. Most likely alternative sources of content will prime the market for Ultra High Definition, as can be seen in the ViodiTV exclusive video in the Korner.


Innovation of Things at the Cable Show 2014

An image of the Internet of Things display at the Cable Show 2014.
Click to view

“Everybody’s looking to innovate,” said Matt Polka of the American Cable Association. Polka explains that innovation surrounding the cable broadband ecosystem was one of the themes of the 2014 Cable Show. He stresses that innovation is an important element to giving consumers’ what they want; whether that is new ways of viewing content or apps that help make for a smarter home. The following interview with Polka features video highlights of various demonstrations, exhibits and other highlights of the Cable Show.

Click here to view and read more.


Rural America Needs Advanced Services & Competition by Gene South

Snapshot of U.S. broadband from broadbandmap.gov
Click to read more

It is an honor to publish a two-part article from Gene South, a leader in the independent telco industry for a number of years. In part one,  he outlines how the view of the telecom industry changed from one of a regulated monopoly to one where competition is encouraged. In part two, he looks at the post AT&T break-up and the importance of rural citizens at the local level being able to determine their broadband destiny.


Open Video Rules Make BB a Reality for the Unserved

Ken Pyle interviews Gary Johnson of Paul Bunyan Communications at the 2014 MTA.
Click to view

An entity that has its ear to the consumer in rural Minnesota is Paul Bunyan Communications. They have almost tripled in size since the turn of the century by aggressively expanding outside their traditional service area to serve customers where incumbents had not kept up with market needs for broadband and video service. Using a little-employed federal law they have been able to work with Minnesota Townships to expand their service with fewer barriers than traditional regulatory structures.

Click here to view and read more.


Ethernet Tech Summit Reveals Many Paths to “Open SDN” by Alan Weissberger

One expert's solution to the multiple flavors of SDN: Overlays Complete Virtualization
Click to read more.

[Editor’s Note: After giving some thought to Alan Weissberger’s cogent analysis on the state of Software Defined Networking, perhaps the SDN acronym should stand for Still Don’t kNow (apologies to whoever invented the acronym I Still Don’t Know – which many suggested was the answer to the question of the market for ISDN back in the early 1990s). Weissberger makes the case that, despite several efforts to create “open” standards, there is potential for vendor lock-in around SDN and that there are issues of compatibility and single points of failure that point to multiple flavors of SDN.]

Click here to read and to contribute to the discussion on his article.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • “One of the most effective tools for ensuring Internet openness is competition,” FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler recently stated. Competition in the last mile is critical to ensuring not only cost-competitive, but innovative broadband offerings. Some other commentary on the upcoming Net Neutrality discussion can be found here.
  • Good article point-counter-point about net neutrality in Monday’s WSJ. Local barriers are often the difference between a duopoly and multiple competitors; at least in urban areas.
  • Also kudos to Brett Sappington of Parks Associates for his piece in that same WSJ section arguing that it is too early to buy a 4K TV.
  • At the cable show, a respected cable operator expressed the same concerns about new LTE-Unlicensed having the potential to relegate WiFi to second-class status. Click here for the Light Reading article on this topic.
  • Create, not cover the conversation. Need to provide reason for new generation to come to cable & their goal is for to help.
  • Twitter changed the game – immediate audience feedback. Don’t need to wait for Nielsen
  • “Cable collectively is already the largest wireless operator” [in terms of bits transmitted over unlicensed WiFi]. Interesting statement made by one of the cable executives; haven’t had a chance to verify. 

The Korner – The World’s Biggest Art Museum – In Your Hand

Ken Pyle interviews Sheldon Laube of Artkick with the Monalisa painting in the background.
Click to view

The ephihany from the 2013 Cable Show was that some of the first successful content for 4K will come from sources other than the traditional video networks. One of the things that intrigued me about Artkick when they reached out to me at CES is that they are creating a channel that could easily offer compelling 4K content.+  Artkick’s approach of viewing black screens as something more than TV has a potentially big impact on the way screens are viewed in the home.

Click here to read more and to view.

FCC Set to Act on Net Neutrality at May 15th Meeting

An image of Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC,.
FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler (image courtesy of FCC.gov)

On April 23rd, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said that he’d circulate his net neutrality proposal to other commissioners on Thursday of this week, in preparation for a vote at the FCC’s May 15 meeting. The draft rules will then be formally proposed and available for public comment.

We’ve been waiting for a definitive net neutrality proposal from Wheeler for well over two months. While speaking at Silicon Flatirons/ University of CO Law School on February 10th, Wheeler said he’d be outlining his plans “in the coming days.”  Or was that “coming months?”

“In its Verizon v. FCC decision, the Court of Appeals invited the Commission to act to preserve a free and open Internet. I accept that invitation, and in the coming days, I will be outlining how I propose to proceed.”

The proposed FCC rules are expected to ensure that network operators disclose exactly how they manage Internet traffic and do not restrict consumers as they surf the Web.  In particular, the rules would prevent the service providers from blocking or discriminating against specific websites, but would allow broadband providers to give some traffic preferential treatment, so long as such arrangements are available on “commercially reasonable” terms for all interested content companies. Whether the terms are commercially reasonable would be decided by the FCC on a case-by-case approach in reviewing the practices adopted by Internet providers.

However, the FCC rules are not expected to address the issue of interconnection, or agreements in which content companies pay network providers for faster access to their sites or services.  In the past, Wheeler has said that net neutrality rules would not regulate deals between businesses on connections before they reach the user.  That’s because the scope of the net neutrality rules is limited to the “last mile” of the (broadband access) network that reaches the consumer or business customer.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that

“The FCC’s proposal would allow some forms of discrimination while preventing companies from slowing down or blocking specific websites, which likely won’t satisfy all proponents of net neutrality, the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. The Commission has also decided for now against reclassifying broadband as a public utility, which would subject ISPs to much greater regulation. However, the Commission has left the reclassification option on the table at present.

In addition, the FCC plans to significantly increase the disclosure requirements for broadband providers, which could include details such as the speed and congestion of their service along the last mile. The proposal wouldn’t cover wireless carriers, but it will ask whether mobile broadband providers should be subject to a similar commercially reasonable standard when striking deals with content providers.”

Here are few recent facts related to net neutrality:

  1. This January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the FCC’s previous version of the open Internet order.  It was the second time the court took such action.
  2. However, the Court ruled that the FCC has the legal authority to issue enforceable “rules of the road” to preserve Internet freedom and openness.  It affirmed that Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996  gives the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to  infrastructure deployment and promoting competition. It also found that the goals of the Open Internet Order are within the scope of authority granted to the Commission.
  3. The court opinion specifically included that the Commission was justified in concluding that an open Internet would further the interest of broadband deployment by enabling the virtuous cycle of innovation that unites the long-term interests of end-users, broadband networks and edge-providers. After all, it explained, when edge-providers are prevented from reaching end-users, demand for both those upstream applications and for network expansion suffer.  The upshot here is that the preservation of an “open Internet” is within the FCC’s authority.
  4. Comcast, through conditions placed on its 2011 merger with NBC Universal, is the only Internet provider still bound by the earlier FCC net neutrality rules through 2018.  Comcast has now proposed to buy its biggest rival Time Warner Cable Inc and Netflix has come out in opposition of the $45.2 billion merger, arguing that the Internet provider should be banned from charging fees for delivering its content.  Comcast has said that Netflix’s opposition was “based on inaccurate claims and arguments.”
  5. Netflix, which accounts for much of Internet traffic during peak hours (some say over 50%), in February struck a deal to pay Comcast for faster online delivery of its movies and TV shows.
  6. Indeed, Netflix, Skype (now owned by Microsoft), Hulu/ Hulu +, Amazon, Google/You Tube, and other content providers that offer video, voice, or audio services that rely on broadband Internet connections could take advantage of such arrangements by paying the broadband providers to ensure that their traffic reaches consumers without disruption. Those companies would be paying for preferential treatment on the “last mile” of broadband networks that connects directly to consumers’ homes.

To reiterate, the FCC’s net neutrality proposal is not expected to address the separate issue of “back-end interconnection” or “peering” between content providers and broadband network providers.  It’s new rules will only apply to the “last mile” broadband access network.


References:

 

Viodi View – 01/21/14

An image of Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC,.
FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler (image courtesy of FCC.gov)

All-IP Network Transition Plan at FCC’s Jan 30th Open Commission Meeting by Alan Weissberger

With all the noise of International CES, it was easy to overlook Tom Wheeler’s first sojourn into Silicon Valley since becoming FCC Chairman. Alan Weissberger reports on Wheeler’s comments about the transition to IP. Wheeler also suggested that spectrum management needs to keep up with the analog to digital transition.

Click here to read Weissberger’s take on Wheeler’s talk as it relates to the transition to IP.


Net Neutrality Ruling – The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning? by Alan Weissberger

An image showing a race between a horse drawn and steam powered trains in 1830.
2nd Generation Network

In his January 8th speech at the Computer History Musuem (CHM), F.C.C. Chairman Tom Wheeler said we were in the midst of a transition to a “4th Generation Network” which had an “Open Internet” as it’s foundation. The concept of net neutrality– where there are no privileges or added costs or special deals for high bandwidth media/content delivery companies – was clearly implied.

Click here to read more.


An Indestructible Wireless Broadband Network for All – Part 2

Rajeev Krishnamoorthy and Devabhaktuni Srikrishna discuss possible pilot projects for testing the SocialMesh Network concept.
Possible SocialMesh Pilot Projects

“There are better ways of assuring very high reliability and very high quality of service than selling spectrum,” said Rajeev Krishnamoorthy. He was referring to the idea that allowing radios to self-organize will provide a more efficient use of spectrum than through existing allocation methods. Devabhaktuni Srikrishna points out that their modeling suggests that this approach to spectrum allocation could double the throughput to existing networks.

Click here to view Krishnamoorthy and Srikrishna’s ideas for possible pilots projects for moving the SocialMesh network concept forward.


From Connected to Selfie

Stuart Sikes gives his thoughts on what he saw at CES 2014.
From Connected to Selfie

With a record two million net square feet of exhibit space housing more than 3,200 exhibitors, CES was literally bigger than ever. Sorting through the 40+ interviews will take a while, that’s why this first interview with Stuart Sikes of Parks Associates is an important one, as he provides an excellent overview of this conference. Although there may not have any a single revolutionary announcement from CES, the evolutionary progression of technology shown in so many of the exhibits makes a strong case that we are in a brave new world.

Click here to view and read more.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Wheeler makes the point that 19.4 Mb/s throughput can be provided on one 6 MHz channel. The reality is that the more this 6 MHz can be reused (e.g. through small cells or peer-to-peer in a social mesh configuration) with higher order modulation to increase throughput many time over what could be achieved from a single broadcast antenna.
  • Wheeler states – “The analog inspired spectrum silos have become an impediment to advancement…….Slavishly sticking to analog age concepts of spectrum allocation can become, in the digital age, a government imposed choke point that burdens competition and innovation by creating unnecessary and artificial scarcity of this essential resource.”
  • My idol – “Cheapest CEO in America” continues to reinvest in his community. FCC: Kierlan now owns 61% of HBC.
  • Stay tuned for the next issue of the Viodi View to see the connection between SJ Sharkie (the San Jose Sharks’ mascot) designing a playground and rural telecom.

The Korner – Monitoring the Man Cave

alarm
Man Cave Monitoring

There weren’t enough issues of the Viodi View to publish all the videos we produced in 2013 under the ViodiTV moniker. Hence, in the January 3rd issue of the Viodi View, there were four videos that, although personally appealing, didn’t have a close tie with rural telecom providers. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise at CES to run into a group of people who had seen these videos. More importantly, the manager of the rural telecom carrier for which they worked, sent them to CES based on the last year’s ViodiTV coverage of this.

Which brings us to this video from CES 2014, where we learn about how one man’s children were vampires of sorts, sneaking into his man cave and using his electronic gizmos while he was away. Jay Kenney, Vice President of Marketing for Alarm.com explains how their service helped save the man cave from expensive electricity bills. Their solution will also be very useful for when that man’s kids grow up to be tomorrow’s adventurous teens.

Click here to view a not so-obvious application for home energy management.

Click “reply” if you are interested in carrying ViodiTV coverage of CES on your local content channel.

Net Neutrality Ruling – The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning?

In his January 8th speech at the Computer History Musuem (CHM), F.C.C. Chairman Tom Wheeler said we were in the midst of a transition to a “4th Generation Network” which had an “Open Internet” as it’s foundation. The concept of net neutrality– where there are no privileges or added costs or special deals for high bandwidth media/content delivery companies- was clearly implied.

”Not unlike how the radio stations of the 1920s needed to be protected from technical interference, today’s entrepreneurs need to have a fair opportunity to reach their customers over the biggest technological channel of them all—the Internet,” Wheeler said during his prepared remarks at the CHM.

”No one in Silicon Valley needs to be convinced of the importance for innovation and overall societal welfare of our broadband networks. Keeping them open for any and all lawful uses is a major policy imperative.  It is essential in the public interest of our
country that the government, and by government I mean the FCC, have the power to oversee the broadband networks and to intervene to forestall their exploitation by unacceptable acts,” Wheeler added.

That Open Internet policy is now in jeopardy. On January 14th a federal appeals court tossed out the FCC’s Open Internet rules, permitting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to make deals with streaming media and web content companies (Netflix, Amazon, Apple, or Google) for faster content delivery at a higher price.

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruling stated that the FCC’ s Open Internet Order is invalid and that the regulator had overstepped its authority when (in 2010) it classified broadband as an ‘information service,’ not a ‘telecommunications service.’  Having done that, the FCC could not then impose its “anti-discrimination” and “anti-blocking” rules on ISPs, the court ruling stated.

The court stated: “Even though the Commission has general authority to regulate in this arena, it may not impose requirements that contravene express statutory mandates. Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such. Because the Commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order.”

The FCC had tried to prevent those deals, saying they would give large, rich content/media companies an unfair edge in reaching consumers. But since the Internet is not considered a utility under federal law, the court said, it is not subject to regulations banning such arrangements. That paves the way for ISPs like Verizon to cut a deal with Netflix, Amazon or other content providers for higher speed Internet delivery services.

For consumers, the ruling could usher in an era of tiered Internet service, in which they get some content at full speed while other websites appear slower because their owners chose not to pay up.

According to the NY Times broadband Internet providers (like Verizon) that have spent billions of dollars building their networks, said the ruling confirmed their right to manage their networks as they saw fit.

“Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet, which provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where and how they want,” the company said in a statement. “This will not change in light of the court’s decision.”

Much of the argument over net neutrality has been theoretical. Verizon noted in its court papers that the F.C.C. documented only four examples over six years of purported blocking of Internet content by service providers. The issue came into focus in the agency’s review of the purchase of NBC Universal by Comcast. As a condition of approving the deal, the F.C.C. made Comcast promise that it would abide by the Open Internet rules for seven years, even if the rules were modified by the courts.

Consumer advocates warned that higher costs to content providers could be passed on to the public, and called the ruling a serious blow against the concept of a free and opens Internet. “It leaves consumers at the mercy of a handful of cable and phone providers that can give preferential treatment to the content they profit from,” said Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union.

“I would not be surprised if business development folks in ISP’s around the country were now looking for ways to partner with content creators,” said Michael Weinberg, acting co-president of Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group. The companies’ goal is “to make sure their unpartnered service is bad enough that a paid partnership is attractive.”

“It takes the Internet into completely uncharted territory,” said Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor who coined the term “net neutrality.”

Mr. Wheeler said the FCC might appeal the ruling. In a statement, he wrote that he was “committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment.” He added, “We will consider all available options, including those for appeal, to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression, and operate in the interest of all Americans.”

A January 15th NY Times editorial called the ruling “a disappointing Internet decision.” 

“If this ruling stands, broadband providers would be free to strike deals with companies like Netflix and Apple to pay to have their movies, software and other data streamed to customers faster than or ahead of other content. Such deals would hurt smaller businesses or start-ups that cannot afford to pay for preferential treatment.”

“Ideally, Congress would pass a law prohibiting broadband companies from discriminating or blocking content, but that is unlikely to happen given industry opposition. That’s why it’s important for the commission to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service.”

Craig Aaron of Free Press told PBS he was very much against the court ruling.

“I really think this court decision puts at risk so much of what we love about the Internet. With these rules being invalidated, it really leaves consumers at the mercy of phone and cable companies, who are now free to block websites if they want to, interfere with traffic, favor certain sites and services over other sites and services. And I think that’s bad news for the average Internet user, that the agency that is supposed to be protecting them has been told it has no oversight of the most important communications network of the 21st century.”

But not everyone dissented. Former F.C.C. Commissioner Robert M. McDowell (who voted against adopting the Open Internet rules in 2010) told the WSJ: “The Internet was working beautifully before these rules were implemented. It will thrive even more now that they have been struck down. In the meantime, ample laws already exist to protect consumers should market failures occur.”

CNET is attempting to gauge public perceptions of the new network neutrality rules by conducting a poll:  “How concerned are you about Net neutrality? The FCC’s Net Neutrality rules got wiped out in a court ruling, leaving some people unimpressed and others predicting Internet Armageddon.” You can read all about it and cast your vote here 

Stay tuned for a follow up article that will preview the F.C.C.’s January 30th open commission meeting, which will cover topics described in this meeting announcement.

Those issues will be contrasted with the policy agenda Mr. Wheeler described during his January 8th CHM speech.

Net Neutrality Ruling – A Slippery Path to Internet Video Regulation?

Yesterday's FCC meeting on Net Neutrality was entertaining, given it was truly one of the more partisan events at that agency in a long time. The key question at the end of the meeting was whether the new rules will lead to market stability or uncertainty and litigation. There are some hopeful signs, such as this post from the American Cable Association (ACA), praising the balance of the approach, while suggesting the open docket regarding Title II regulation of broadband providers be closed.  On the other hand, Verizon believes that the FCC is overreaching in their statutory authority with regards to the proposed rules; .

Underpinning the FCC’s argument as to why they can regulate is section 706 of the 1996 Communications Act which, “directs the FCC to ‘encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis’ of 'advanced telecommunications capability’ to all Americans.” They go on to say that in July 2010 the FCC concluded that the deployment of broadband is not reasonable and timely, triggering section 706(b); the basis for their ruling.

They rely on Title II for protecting VoIP services, Title III for ensuring open Internet in wireless and Title VI for promoting competition in video services. Title VI is the power Congress gave the FCC to regulate and ensure competition among cable television providers (now known as Multichannel Video Program Distributors – MVPDs).
My question for the lawyers out there in the Viodi View audience is:

Could the justification of Title VI as a way to protect internet video providers from being discriminated against by MVPDs also be used as a basis for regulating those very same internet video providers?

That is, could the FCC use Title VI to mandate that internet video providers support things such as must-carry, closed captioning, obscenity, advertising limits, etc.?1 I may not be the only one thinking that this is a possibility, as I have noticed an uptick in views of an article, that I wrote a couple of years ago, on proposed legislation that would have had regulated Internet Video; of course the interest in my other article may have to do more with the image of Charlotte Ross.  

If I am right, advocates for unregulated internet video may have gotten more than they wanted.  

What do you think?


1Interestingly, at the same meeting regarding Net Neutrality, the FCC did approve a plan for a Next Generation EAS that moves beyond the phone and embraces broadband and wireless. 

Network Neutrality Revisited: Level 3 Complaint & Comcast Response

Level 3 Communications Complains about Comcast's excess charges for video content delivery:

Level 3 Communications Inc., a Broomfield, CO based Internet backbone company ("carriers carrier") complained Monday November 29th that Comcast Corp. is charging it an unfair fee for the right to send streaming video and other large data files to its subscribers.  The company said it agreed to pay "under protest" to avoid service disruption.

Level 3, recently partnered with Netflix to deliver the latter's very popular video streaming service (on- line movies and archived TV shows) to broadband Internet subscribers.  Level 3 helps Netflix improve online video delivery by navigating it over less congested Web routes. It said earlier this month it would need to boost its own network capacity due to its deal with Netflix, which accounts for about 20 percent of primetime U.S. Internet traffic (more than either You Tube or Hulu or other on-line video content provider).

Is this not Bit Torrent deja vu?   The Level 3 complaint comes two years after  the 2008 FCC decision for Comcast to stop slowing and blocking its subscribers from accessing an online file-sharing service called Peer-to-Peer from BitTorrent.  That P2P service enabled broadband Internet subcribers to swap movies and other huge files over Comcast's Internet connection.  A Federal Court subsequently overturned the FCC decision and questioned the FCC's authority to regulate Internet Service Providers and impose any net neutrality rules.

Here is Level 3's statement complaining about Comcast which is attributed to Thomas Stortz, Chief Legal Officer of Level 3 (not clear who it was intended for other than an open letter to the general public):

“On November 19, 2010, Comcast informed Level 3 that, for the first time, it will demand a recurring fee from Level 3 to transmit Internet online movies and other content to Comcast’s customers who request such content. By taking this action, Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity delivered content. This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets as the nation’s largest cable provider.

On November 22, after being informed by Comcast that its demand for payment was ‘take it or leave it,’ Level 3 agreed to the terms, under protest, in order to ensure customers did not experience any disruptions.

Level 3 operates one of several broadband backbone networks, which are part of the Internet and which independent providers of online content use to transmit movies, sports, games and other entertainment to consumers. When a Comcast customer requests such content, for example an online movie or game, Level 3 transmits the content to Comcast for delivery to consumers.

Level 3 believes Comcast’s current position violates the spirit and letter of the FCC’s proposed Internet Policy principles and other regulations and statutes, as well as Comcast’s previous public statements about favoring an open Internet.

While the network neutrality debate in Washington has focused on what actions a broadband access provider might take to filter, prioritize or manage content requested by its subscribers, Comcast’s decision goes well beyond this. With this action, Comcast is preventing competing content from ever being delivered to Comcast’s subscribers at all, unless Comcast’s unilaterally-determined toll is paid – even though Comcast’s subscribers requested the content. With this action, Comcast demonstrates the risk of a ‘closed’ Internet, where a retail broadband Internet access provider decides whether and how their subscribers interact with content.

It is our hope that Comcast’s senior management, for whom we have great respect, will closely consider their position on this issue and adopt an approach that will better serve Comcast and Comcast’s customers.

While Comcast’s position is regrettable, Level 3 remains open and willing to work through these issues with Comcast. However, Level 3 does not seek any ‘special deals’ or arrangements not generally available to other Internet backbone companies.

Given Comcast’s currently stated position, we are approaching regulators and policy makers and asking them to take quick action to ensure that a fair, open and innovative Internet does not become a closed network controlled by a few institutions with dominant market power that have the means, motive and opportunity to economically discriminate between favored and disfavored content.“

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20101129006456/en/Level-3-Communications-Issues-Statement-Comcast%E2%80%99s-Actions

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Opinions:  John Ryan, a Level 3 legal official told Reuters the fee Comcast was asking was unprecedented. "Prior to Comcast's demand, no other broadband access provider had demanded a toll in order to increase interconnection capacity," Ryan said.  One source in the content delivery network industry said it is unusual but "not unheard of" for a last mile provider to charge for connectivity."

Here is Comcast's Response to Level 3 Charges:

Comcast's statement, attributable to Joe Waz, Senior Vice President for External Affairs and Public Policy Counsel, Comcast Corporation:

“Level 3 has misportrayed the commercial negotiations between it and Comcast. This has nothing to do with Level 3’s desire to distribute different types of network traffic. Comcast has long established and mutually acceptable commercial arrangements with Level 3’s Content Delivery Network (CDN)competitors in delivering the same types of traffic to our customers.

Comcast offered Level 3 the same terms it offers to Level 3’s CDN competitors for the same traffic. But Level 3 is trying to undercut its CDN competitors by claiming it’s entitled to be treated differently and trying to force Comcast to give Level 3 unlimited and highly imbalanced traffic and shift all the cost onto Comcast and its customers.

What Level 3 wants is to pressure Comcast into accepting more than a twofold increase in the amount of traffic Level 3 delivers onto Comcast’s network — for free. In other words, Level 3 wants to compete with other CDNs, but pass all the costs of that business on Comcast and Comcast’s customers, instead of Level 3 and its customers.

Level 3’s position is duplicitous. When another network provider tried to pass traffic onto Level 3 this way, Level 3 said this is not the way settlement-free peering works in the Internet world. When traffic is way out of balance, Level 3 said, it will insist on a commercially negotiated solution.

Now, Level 3 proposes to send traffic to Comcast at a 5:1 ratio over what Comcast sends to Level 3, so Comcast is proposing the same type of commercial solution endorsed by Level 3. Comcast is meeting with Level 3 later this week for that purpose.

We are happy to maintain a balanced, no-cost traffic exchange with Level 3. However, when one provider exploits this type of relationship by pushing the burden of massive traffic growth onto the other provider and its customers, we believe this is not fair. To use Level3’s own words:

'To be lasting, business relationships should be mutually beneficial. In cases where the benefit we receive is in line with the benefit we deliver, we will exchange traffic on a settlement-free basis. Contrary to [other ISPs] public statements, reasonable, balanced, and mutually beneficial agreements for the exchange of traffic do not represent a threat to the Internet. They don’t represent a threat to anyone other than those trying to get a free ride on someone else’s network.’”

http://blog.comcast.com/2010/11/comcast-comments-on-level-3.html

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Who are the Regulators that can rule on this dispute?

With the FCC's rule of the Internet questioned by Federal Court, who can make a ruling on this case?  The Justice Department?The Commerce Dept?  Give me a break- they don't know anything about telecom  If regulators sided with Level 3 in this case, it could potentially have ramifications for Comcast's proposed NBC Universal deal, which is being reviewed for anti-trust concerns. Comcast previously stated that it expects approval of the NBC Universal deal by year-end.  That deal is being reviewed by the FCC, which declined comment on the statement from Level 3.  If Comcast does acquire NBC Universal it will own a whole lot of video content.  Do you think the company might charge more, block or slow down on-line content transmitted from competitive content delivery companies to protect its vested interests?

The FCC is scheduled to meet on December 21, with 'net neutrality' said to be at the top of its agenda.  Why not meet on Christmas Day instead?  The results would likely be the same- nada!