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20 December 2010


Michael Anderson

George wrote: "What this represents is just the latest successful attempt to fix what is not broken."

The great thing about TCP/IP is that it detects censorship as damage, and routes around it. It behaves just as it was designed to do, as the foundational set of protocols that bring us the wonders of Ethernet. For those not aware of DARPA, Ethernet communication was originally thought of as a way for American battlefield commanders to discuss things after a global nuclear holocaust.

So I agree with you George, the Internet from a technological standpoint is not broken. If the FCC does not promulgate net neutrality, the packets will still get where they are supposed to go and WikiLeaks, for example, will still continue to leak.

But there is a bigger picture here, and it is in what's known as the "Last Mile." We do have a Last Mile problem in this country, and the FCC is somewhat addressing that in their finding.

I'll go into the details of this if your readers happen to find this thread interesting and there are some other responses to your post.

Michael A.

George Rebane

Thanks Michael. I was going to go into the 'Last Mile' discussion myself, but wanted to get my summary take on Net Neutrality out quickly. Would you consider writing a piece on this for RR? I think it deserves more of a treatment than in a comment stream to my initial reaction in a multi-part post.

BTW, I was 1) in the spooky end of the defense business, and 2) at UCLA when DARPA funded DARPANET. Also, I have known Leonard Kleinrock, developer of TCP/IP (and a world leader in queueing theory), for decades. DARPANET's original purpose was to enable, integrate, and speed up communications in the defense R&D community, much of it funded by/through DARPA. UCLA was one of the nation's three anchors for the network, and as a doctoral grad student in engineering I was one of its early users.

Account Deleted

I am not so concerned about what actual rules have just been issued as I am about the fact that the FCC has openly ignored a judges ruling telling them not to. What they are doing now is sticking their foot in the door and watching for a reaction by congress and the public. They will, of course, say they are just watching out for the consumer. But if they are determined to do that in illegal way, I see bad intent. Once again, we see unelected officials secretly making up rules and making a power grab. All the gullible public sees is a box of chocolates. As the sweeties are scarfed, they ask "how bad can this wolf be?" We do need a comprehensive plan for high speed data delivery to all Americans. This needs to be debated openly and handled by elected officials. I see this as an extension of something that the feds were given authority to have a say in with a national postal system. It was to tie Americans together with a reliable and trustworthy delivery system. The content of that system (with exceptions for public safety) was not to be tampered with or censored. Competing private delivery systems have always been allowed UPS, FedEx, etc. I see a move this time to try to block the development of faster private competition that would be outside of direct govt control.

Aaron Klein

I haven't read the FCC's ruling in any level of detail. Of course, according to Jeff Jarvis, they passed it before releasing it, and it still hadn't been posted on their own web site after it was so. So much for transparency and communication.

That being said, this is a very delicate issue and one that concerns me with my work in the high-tech world.

On the one hand, any kind of price controls or heavy regulation of telecom companies is likely to put an end to innovation in Internet infrastructure and transport technology, or at least the widespread deployment of such innovations that might occur.

On the other hand, it concerns me greatly that monopoly and duopoly telecoms want to try to build a gatekeeper position between users and applications, which would destroy the blizzard of innovation happening out on the web.

I do believe that any internet service provider using public rights-of-way and/or public spectrum needs to be app-agnostic - in other words, "all bits are created equal" and delivered without discrimination.

If the web starts looking like the mobile web did pre-2007, and makers of web apps have to pay carriers to try to reach their customers, that will be yet another way the free Internet will die, and die quickly.

I hope we're not stuck with a choice between big business OR big government here because they're about the same in my book.

D. King

From the Union:
“A federal judge has the power to place people in jail for contempt,” Thomas said. “It's a very serious violation. We certainly hope the defendants and the counsel stop their stonewalling ... This has caused me to question why the county would withhold documents for six months, unless it has something to hide.”

"...unless it has something to hide.”

What does that mean?

Michael Anderson


I think you and I line up pretty closely on this subject. I have a feeling we're all going to be talking about it a lot as a community in 2011. I'm looking forward to it.

Michael A.

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