Tales of the Sausage Factory

The FCC Never Regulated DSL, Oceania Has Always Been At War With Eastasia, and My Offer To AT&T.

Hank Hulquist over at AT&T writes that the FCC never regulated internet access.
It’s a funny thing, because I distinctly remember going through a process where the FCC reclassified DSL from a Title II telecom service to an information service. Let me rummage for a bit . . . . ah yes. Here is the link to the FCC’s 2005 Order reclassifying DSL as an “information service.”

In fact, come to think of it, I’m old enough to remember when the telephone companies wanted DSL classified as an “interstate telecommunications service.” Can I find that link on line? Why yes! Here it is: GTE’s DSL Tariff and the Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, GTE, and PACBELL DSL Tariff. (The telcos wanted these classed as Title II telecom to preempt state regulation, if you were wondering.)

And what does the first paragraph of the GTE Tariff Order say?

In this Order, we conclude our investigation of a new access offering filed by GTE that GTE calls its DSL Solutions-ADSL Service (“ADSL service”). We find that this offering, which permits Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide their end user customers with high-speed access to the Internet, is an interstate service and is properly tariffed at the federal level.

Which is why carriers providing DSL paid Universal Service support (paid only by Title II telecommunications carriers) until the FCC 2005 Reclassification Order.

[Funny story. The 2005 Reclassification Order phased out USF payments over the course of a year, but in 2006, rather than dropping the USF fee, the carriers tried to keep charging customers for a fee they no lnger had to pay. Then Kevin Martin threatened to investigate the Bells for false billing, and they backed off.]

More below . . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

Public Service Announcement for Public Knowledge

The great public interest advocacy group Public Knowledge (about which Harold might tell us more, if he feels like it), has issued an alert about efforts by lobbyists of the Hollywood and corporate-state varieties to insert nasty, scary language about “copyright filtering” into the stimulus bill.

I used the Public Knowledge website to register my objection. Here’s the version of the letter I sent to Senator Reid and Congressman Waxman:

Dear Representative/Senator,

It is my understanding that during the conference committee on the stimulus bill, your office may be asked to change the provision that deals with public grants to spur broadband deployment to allow for copyright filtering. This may be proposed as a “noncontroversial” change that would allow Internet Service Providers to inspect its subscribers’ Internet connections to filter out copyright infringement, under the guise of “network management.” Copyright filtering is outside of the capabilities of network management, would be a massive invasion of privacy and would prohibit my lawful use of copyrighted works — for purposes of education, criticism, and commentary.

Copyright filtering is very controversial and I urge you to oppose such changes to the stimulus.

As someone who depends on free downloads of my own copyrighted works for marketing and publicity, I consider copyright filtering not only unconstitutional, unAmerican, but also a threat to my livelihood. Please resist the temptation to go down this corporate-statist road. Nothing good will come of it.

Sincerely,

John Sundman

Please click on the link above and do the right thing.

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", My Thoughts Exactly, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Digital Clutch

We’re getting some practical experience using Croquet away from of the confines of the lab and out on the wide open Internet. One problem we found is that our “outgoing” bandwidth (from each machine to the others) is often limited by, e.g., consumer Internet Service Providers. At my home, if I try to send more than about 30 KBytes/sec, my ISP kicks in a sort of governor in which it transmits the bits more slowly to keep my upload speed constant.

When this happens, it takes longer for the bits to reach the Croquet router that timestamps and redistributes them to all the participating machines. No participating machine, including our own, will act on this until it comes back to us from the router. So when the messages take longer to get to the router, they get timestamped for execution farther and farther from when they were sent. If we keep getting throttled, we end up falling further and further behind. It doesn’t take long before you do something and it seems like nothing ever happens in response. So you really don’t want to get your upload speed clamped.

Whenever we move the mouse around, the mouse position is sent along with a bunch of other stuff. When we send voice or video, much more data goes. This is fine on a high-speed Local Area Network, but not so good in the real world. We can and should send a lot less data. But how efficient is efficient enough? With different networks, there isn’t a single target number. The limits could even vary with the time of day or other traffic.

We’ve had some good preliminary results with a rather elegant solution.

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Posted in Inventing the Future, KAT | Tagged | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

What politician will claim, “I destroyed the Internet?”

I admit I haven’t thought through the implications of the FCC’s recent orders about the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, but I’m pretty damn sure that our leaders haven’t thought it through.

The idea is to create the biggest unfunded mandate in history by forcing all Internet service providers to retool their systems to make it easier for the feds to monitor communications. The cost to universities alone is said to be at least $7B. I don’t know what this does to municipal and home grown mesh network systems. I suppose that the intent is to make it too expensive for anyone but a TelCo to operate anything other than restrictive high-level services. The prophetic David Reed laid out the the issues five years ago, saying it much better than I can.

To this I would add an uneasiness as to what steps a person must now apply, or is allowed to apply, to protect “intellectual property.” We are required to take practical precautions to keep our freedom of privacy else we loose it. If we wreck the Internet in a rush to destroy any practical means of protecting privacy, then who in the end will be allowed to actually claim the priviledge of privacy? Only those large institutions who can afford to run their own government-approved private networks?

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Action Alert on Broadband

I’ve been distributing this for anyone interested in using unlicensed spectrum in the broadcast bands.

BTW, due to major issues going on at work (we are losing one of our three attorneys and reorganizing), I’m likely to post terse, infrequent things over the next month or two. Sorry. I swear I’ll keep trying.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Alert on INDUCE

I am reproducing below a legislative call to action from the Association of American Law Libraries. You can find similar alerts and more infromation at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge.

Remember — if we do not act, we get the legislation we deserve. Pick up the phone and call these folks!

Stay tuned . . . .

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Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)
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