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2006.06.05 NANOG-NOTES Network Neutrality panel notes

  • From: Matthew Petach
  • Date: Tue Jun 06 06:35:26 2006
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(since there's no slides for these online anywhere, and the slides
were going past
pretty quickly, I have to apologize for the gaps in the notes ahead of
time. --MNP)

2006.06.05 Network Neutrality Panel
[slides are not yet online]

next up is the controversial subject of
network neutrality;
Bill Woodcock will be chairing the panel,
so Randy Bush can go be a member of the
audience again.

Bill Woodcock: network neutrality has
been in front of press and legislatures
for the past several months, and has
been in the works behind the scenes for
almost a year.

Brokaw Price, peering at Yahoo!
Sean Doran, free agent, "rooting" for
Sprint back in the day
Sean Donelan, now at cisco,
Gene Lew, at neustar now, has done cable
operations before.

Sean can pretend to be Vint Cerf for this
panel.  :D

Network Neutrality--what does it mean to
operations people?

Michael Powell, Feb, 2004, defined four internet
consumer rights (chairman FCC)
freedom to access content
freedom to use applications
freedom to connect personal devices
freedom to obtain service plan information

History of net neutrality concept:
feb 2005, madison river telephone company
consent decree
"Madison River shall not block ports used for

August 2005, FCC policy statement
access lawful internet content
run applications and services subject to the needs
of law enforcement
connect legal devices that do no harm to the networks
competition amongst...
All of these principles are subject to reasonable
 network management.

That last bullet is what gives telcos ability to
quote QoS as a mandatory network management requirement.

March 2006, internet non-discrimination act
senate bill 2360
only 2% of americans have a choice in last mile.

shall not interfere with block, degrade, alter,
modify, impair, or change bits or content

May take measures to protect customers from
may protect their own network infrastructu

May 2006 Internet freedom and non-discrimination
modifies clayton anti-trust act.
Passed based on party lines.

Turns over to Sean to talk about his thoughts.

Sean Donelan
Doesn't represent anyone right now.
The Huck Finn approach.

And no, you can't configure this on your router.

What are we talking about?
Rep John Conyers (D-MI)
"internet as we know it is at risk"
Same guy noted in 2003 about cable operators being
smart enough to not poison their customer pool

Not really a new issue:
ANS CO+RE in 1991
unapproved networks filtered from R&E gateways
ANS and CIX, June 1992
ANS agreed to "provisionally" interconnect
CIX proposed filtering resellers (194)
NSF NAP/NREN solicitation (1993)
required NSPs connect to all priority Network Access
 Points (NAPs)
uncertainty created opportunities for new service
providers debate--couldn't reach it from university
networks, but you could reach it from UUnet.  Two-tiered
internet even back then.

Regulations chasing change
TitleI -- General FCC Authority (pre 1984)
TitleII common carrier voice/phone calls/later data
TitleIII spectrum licensing broadcast TV and radio
TitleVI Cable Television (post 1984)

FCC moved DSL (but not UNE-L and cable modems) back
into TitleI again.
VoIP is still unknown.

Telecom act of 1996 was another biggie.
before 1996, enhanced services transmitted over a common
After 1996, info services were defined by the telecom
act; they run over telecommunications provisioned by
anyone, not just common carriers.
That's why cable companies can offer telecommunications
even though they're not common carriers.  Also why
Radio and TV can put IP in subcarrier without being
common carriers.

So, we have a really odd blend, they're not mutually
exclusive.  Now you have the potential for new entrants
from any direction.
Most home services now come over cable companies;
multiple resellers of same product wasn't enough
to satisfy customers.

Customers are very fickle
Interfering with a customer's use of the Internet would
hurt the provider's business.
No-one can predict what the next "Killer App" will be.
and *everyone* can complain
Both sides need each other to succeed.
Predicting in advance what customers want and will
 consider improvement vs interference is hard to the
 point of being nearly impossible.
And what customers consider an improvement one year
may become interference, or what was once interference
will now be considered improvement.

If you start writing regulations, you imply investigative
and reporting requirements along with it.
Who would enforce these regulations?
And regulations seldom prevent people from being evil,
the government simply sets the price for being evil.
Broadcast fairness doctrine--equal time; nobody can
buy public advocacy on national networks, except
for politicians, who get the best rates.

Kingsbury committment--ATT had to interconnect with
everyone--but that meant you didn't need a second
long distance company, so ended up supporting monopoly

Universal service backfired by giving a monopoly
to those giving out the free phones to...

Back to Bill Woodcock:
Arguments in favour
preference will go to dominant players instead of
 technological innovators
If market isn't free, consumers must be protected from
 predatory practices.
Nondescrimination is part of common carrier status
Many access networks were built under monopoly protection
 are they thus the moral property of the consumers
 who were forced to pay to create them?

Arguments against
descrimination required to protect customers from "bad"
service bundling needed to encourage future investment
 in infrastructure
Nondescrimination is compelled speech in the first
 amendment sense.

QandA for the panel.

Q: Free speech: can carriers claim "common carrier"
protection from responsibility for customer content, and
simultaneously claim a seemingly-contradictory 1st
amendment protection from compelled speech?

Sean Doran--Canadian, working in EU on similar issues;
can carriers degrade non-customer or competitor's
traffic as part of deregulatory process?
Unbundling local loops, etc; if people were given
access to these components on an equal cost basis,
would incumbent be able to sustain a biased offering
around degraded service?  Risk was taken that rather
than regulate a monopoly, the regulators would create
an artificial basis where the competitive playing
field was forced to be level; seems to have worked,
they've seen 100fold to 100,000fold price decreases
since 1997;
double-digit mbit connectivity four double-digit
prices in US dollars are available in major cities;
can get triple digit BW for triple digits in stockholm
for example.
Mutually competitive providers, incumbent PTT is forced
to sell access to all comers at same price level.
Regulating on other levels tends to enhance the power
of the incumbent, rather than limit it, since they
generally have the stronger lobbying power.

Bill Norton at mike--In US, given the large amount
of video traffic on the net, do cable companies have
enough infrastructure to handle forseeable traffic
Since he can't be compelled to pay for speech that
isn't paid for, he'll just replace your ads with his
own as they pass along the wire.
What about mandatory revenue sharing?
Bill Woodcock passes the question to Brokaw Price
from Yahoo!
Well, Brokaw notes that's a push model, vs the reality
of the internet, which is a pull environment.  If
incumbents did that, the model for the internet would
start to collapse, as customer wouldn't be able to be
sure where their traffic was coming from; more likely
the incumbent would be likely to compete directly, rather
than trying to circumvent.  But that's likely to create
more of a walled garden environment, and we've seen
those walled gardens collapse in the past.

Sean notes AOL could do it since they have proxies
(ad replacement, that is).  More likely that telcos
would be able to show that a free-for-a-month link
is better than your other providers, so you should
pay them to get that better connectivity--and since
you can't see into their routers, you have no way
of knowing *why* their direct paid-for link is better
than the alternative transit provider's link.

The congestion issue
is all this just an excuse for backbones to not upgrade,
and just pass the pain and costs around to different
Gene notes that Neustar is not taking any official
position on network neutrality.  But then back to
earlier question; the ads on baseball games are often not
what exist in the stadium, they're what the broadcaster
decides their audience should see.
Being a former carrier, it's debatable about skipping
upgrades and forcing QoS payments instead to deal with
congestion issues.
Where he lives, he has 5 broadband providers he can
chose from; in major metro markets, that's often
true, and with municipal wifi coming into the play,
could be a dark horse that will force the issue.

The competition issue:
do network neutrality and local loop unbundling matter
only in the absence of competition?
Brokaw: well, competition is generally good, gives
customer a chance to decide which provider is better,
assuming the customer has the wherewithall to move.
In areas where the customer can't change, yes, it's
likely to be more of a problem.
In the content space, if he only has one option to
reach a huge consumer base, price elasticity raises
his ugly head, and it's likely the user experience
will be adjusted to reflect that increased cost;
and that's an ugly outlook for the internet if we
follow it out to its conclusion.
And if the big players are forced to do that, it's
likely the smaller players will be under even more

3 choices: do we have sufficient competition now?
Do we need more regulation?  Or do we need more
Brokaw: consolidation is reducing the number of
competitors in the market; it's still a free market,
so we're not yet down to monopolies yet.  It's a
tough call.  We're struggling with what the end
vision will be.
Sean Doran: US needs more competition; there's
already too much regulation in all the wrong
areas.  Congress is introducing bills all over
the place, likely to do for network neutrality
the same thing they did with spam.  not likely
to turn out well.
Sean Donelan: regulation tends to freeze things as
a status quo; just adds more regulation, rather than
adding more real competition.  Regulation just gives
more brand names without real competition.  He feels
regulation is useful as long as it goes in the right
direction; tries to make everything look alike, rather
than rewarding innovation.
Greg Lew: Is there enough competition, or more needed?
Well, yes for his area, but large areas (20%) don't
have access to broadband, so those areas need more
competition, definitely.

Q: Michael Sinatri?, UC Berkeley.  Service Provider
(TV station) pays the content provider for the content,
and negotiates the ad space placed on that.  If the
content is being provided for free, what right does
the SP have to modify the content mid-stream?
Content Accelerators--shrink images before being
sent; if customer pays for that, does that infringe
on content provider's original data?

Q: Ted Seeley, Sprint.  Incumbent ILECs spend millions
to build out infrastructure to support that video
distribution.  Why pay SBC when you can buy it
from Sony?  That is, the ILEC spends the dollars to
expand their network, hoping to recoup the cost from
the customers over a 10 year period; But there's no
guarantee  that customer will be there for the full
10 year amortized time for paying back the buildout;
if they jump ship to someone else, how do those upgrades
get paid for?

Q: Patrick Gilmore: if telco wants to charge content
providers for bits they're sending, what are they
going to charge each other for the high volume of
illegal content they're sending back and forth to
each other, which according to their own stats is
the bulk of their traffic?

Survey forms available on the web!  If you're
sticking around, fill it out.  If you're leaving,
fill it out!

Maps with food places; will start up again at
2:15 for afternoon bofs.

Lunchtime now!