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Jeff Campbell

Broadband Prioritization Not Such A Terrible Idea, Georgetown University Panelists Say

in Broadband's Impact/FCC/National Broadband Plan by

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 – Paid prioritization may not be such a bad idea – in fact, the notion that the entire internet needs to be treated equally is misleading, said panelists at a June 10 symposium on internet regulation.

Internet users might have greater interest in seeing phone packets go through first than someone downloading an episode of “Game of Thrones,” to take a hypothetical episode, said Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

“I have a deep interest in my Skype conversation going reasonably well and I really am indifferent to whether my email gets delivered 27 milliseconds late, unless you’re always looking at your email…even then, 27 milliseconds isn’t bad,” said Atkinson.

Similarly, a highly competitive multiplayer video game might give a company good reasons to pay for prioritization, Atkinson said.

It’s a “game of gigs,” said Aspen Institute fellow Blair Levin in reference to the broadband landscape. And much like “Game of Thrones,” Levin said, “not everyone’s going to survive.”

“Network providers block many, many things. They block malware,” Atkinson said. “If they didn’t, all computers would be infected. The question is, what kind of blocking?”

Core values are needed, said AT&T’s vice president of public policy Brent Olson: reliability, consumer protection, competition, and public safety. While the panelists all shared this sentiment, none had a definite answer to what the proper regulatory framework should be at this time.

While ISPs should be prohibited from punishing certain consumers, Patrick Gilmore, chief technology officer of Markley Group, said that there was a big misconception about “fast lanes” and “slow lanes”: They don’t actually exist.

“I like to think of it more as a freeway ramp with too many cars and you let some of them cut in line. There’s not two pipes. There’s actually just one pipe” with a que” Gilmore said.

ISPs technically have no incentive to ever block traffic for some users and content providers, said Olson. The only provider that’s ever tried that last decade was a small telecommunications company called Madison River, he said, and it’s now bankrupt.

Jeffrey Campbell, vice president of global government affairs for Americas at Cisco Systems, expressed his fear that a major legislative change — including reclassifying internet services as Title II public utility under a theory of broadband as a public utility would bring about rules that make no sense in the current technology marketplace.

If regulatory bodies are going to interfere with broadband at all, the best route is the one that causes the least harm, Campbell said. That route would be the much more modest approach of Section 706, which was added to the Communications Act in 1996.

“I’m a real believer in what I call Sword of Damocles regulation – it’s the sword that’s going to come down and get [people] if they do something wrong,” Campbell said. “You can write whatever you want in the rules, but at the end of the day, if a large national provider does something that just feels wrong, smells wrong, is wrong – whether it’s against the rules or not – it will stop.”

Practices inciting controversy among people have always ended prematurely, Campbell said. He said they were halted without rules because the public didn’t like what was going on.

” As long as we have transparency and sunlight, any problems that arise will be cleansed no matter what regulatory regime we have,” said Campbell.

Gilmore did not agree. Although it is true that some bad actors change when exposed, there are also bad actors on whose actions are never she light in the first place.

“Comcast got caught…making sure that unless you paid them for peering, your traffic would never get through, [at least] not reliably,” he said. ”Comcast in many ways is a monopoly. When I sit at home, I have a choice between 1 Megabit per second (Mbps) Verizon and 100 Mbps Comcast. Guess which one I use? Guess how much public outcry there was about Comcast saying, ‘oh, my transit is kind of congested.’ There was none.”

The reason it is not being corrected, Gilmore said, is because there’s nowhere else to turn for consumers. Switching to the 1 Mbps Verizon network is not a viable option. Ultimately,  even Gilmore said he is “scared about government regulation on the internet” because of the damage it could cause ISPs by requiring interconnection.

Campbell said Internet traffic is projected to triple by 2018. He said letting “suits” in Washington decide the fate of the web might be misguided.

A Cast of Data Experts to Speak at February 9 Broadband Breakfast Club

in Broadband Calendar/Broadband Data/National Broadband Plan by

WASHINGTON, February 2, 2010 – A cast of key experts on the issue of collecting and using broadband data -including two key officials at the Federal Communications Commission, plus a former agency chief economist – have confirmed their participation in the Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The event is titled “Setting the Table for the National Broadband Plan: Collecting and Using Broadband Data,” and will be keynoted by Paul de Sa, Chief of Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis at the FCC. The division is widely regarded as the agency’s internal “think tank” on dealing with forward-looking issues, particularly broadband.

In addition to de Sa, who will join the panel upon the conclusion of his presentation, confirmed experts at the event will include:

  • Jeff Campbell, Senior Director, Technology and Trade Policy of Global Policy and Government Affairsm Cisco Systems
  • Michelle Connolly, Associate Professor of Economics, Duke University; former Chief Economist, Federal Communications Commission
  • John Horrigan, Director, Consumer Research, Omnibus Broadband Initiative, Federal Communications Commission
  • Brian Webster, WirelessMapping.com

Registration for the program, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., is available here.

The discussion, which will be moderated by Drew Clark, Executive Director of BroadbandCensus.com and Editor of its news operations, BroadbandBreakfast.com, will engage on the topics of the FCC’s authority over the issue of broadband data, the role that public and transparent data plays in the development of the National Broadband Plan, as well as the role that specific databases – such as Form 477 – may be harnessed and utilized. The issue of consumer survey, both by the FCC and by third parties, will also be discussed.

Interested observers seeking to weigh in on the discussion of broadband data may reply to the “Question of the Week“ on BroadbandBreakfast.com:

“How Can the FCC Help Collect and Release Better Broadband Data?”

The Broadband Breakfast Club is Sponsored by:

Telecommunications Industry Association

International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc.International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc.

National Cable and Telecommunications Association

Benton Foundation

BroadbandCensus.com to Co-Chair 'Metrics' Working Group of National Broadband Strategy Group

in Press Releases by

BroadbandCensus.com Executive Director Drew Clark to Co-Chair Working Group with Robert Atkinson of Information Technology & Innovation Foundation; Other Groups Announced

Press Release

WASHINGTON, January 10, 2009 – The National Broadband Strategy “Call to Action” on Friday announced the co-chairs of six working groups that are seeking to craft national policies to help promote universal broadband throughout the United States.

BroadbandCensus.com Executive Director Drew Clark will co-chair the working group on “Metrics” together with Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Since its launch in January 2008, BroadbandCensus.com has been at the forefront of ensuring that information about local broadband deployment, competition, speeds and quality of service is available and publicly usable.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation think tank has been been a key player in the effort to formulate and promote public policies advancing technological innovation and productivity.

The National Broadband Strategy initiative has has been described as “an unprecedented display of consensus, a broad and diverse array of groups concerned about America’s broadband future,” and an effort aimed at “providing President-elect Obama and the incoming Congress a policy framework for a comprehensive national broadband strategy.”

The Working Group on “Metrics” has the following charge:

Timely, accurate, and trustworthy data on current and future deployment, adoption, and use of broadband connections to the Internet are essential at every step in the process of developing and implementing a National Broadband Strategy.  Good data are necessary to establish meaningful goals, to evaluate how well we are doing in meeting these goals, to make appropriate policy adjustments if we are not, to ensure accountability, and to compare our performance with that of other leading nations in an increasingly competitive global economy.  Service providers and investors need good data to make sound investments.  Users of broadband connections need good data to make wise choices among available options.  The mission of the Working Group on Metrics is to develop as much agreement as possible on the nature, quality, and timeliness of the data needed for all of these purposes, and on how such data should be collected and disseminated.

Co-Chairs:  Robert Atkinson (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) and Drew Clark (Broadband Census)

The other working groups are on the need for a national broadband strategy, the goals of such a call to action, the national availability of broadband, adoption and use of broadband technologies, and implementation of a broadband policy.

The chairs of each groups are as follows:

  • The Need for a National Broadband Strategy. Co-Chairs:  Jeff Campbell (Cisco) and Jonathan Rintels (Center for Creative Voices in the Media)
  • Goals. Co-Chairs: Rick Cimerman (National Cable & Telecommunications Association) and John Windhausen (EDUCAUSE and American Library Association)
  • Metrics. Co-Chairs:  Robert Atkinson (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) and Drew Clark (Broadband Census)
  • Availability. Co-Chairs:  Brent Olson (AT&T) and Ben Scott (Free Press)
  • Adoption and Use. Co-Chairs: Charles Benton (Benton Foundation) and Link Hoewing (Verizon)
  • Implementation. Co-Chairs:  Diane Duffy (Telcordia) and Geoff Daily (App-Rising)

The “Metrics” working group will seek to identify the best criteria to measure availability, adoption, cost, speed, etc., in order to establish a current baseline and measure progress in reaching goals/targets. The group will also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the broadband data collection and dissemination practices in the United States and abroad.

The group will also recommend techniques to collect, analyze, present, and disseminate data on broadband connectivity, and prepare for and participate in the Coalition’s event to be held in the Spring or early Summer of 2009.

Signatories to the National Broadband Strategy “Call for Action” will be invited to participate in the working groups. The strategy is being shepherded by James Baller of the Baller Herbst Law Group.

National Broadband Strategy References

Questions about Broadband Data Swirl at Broadband Policy Summit

in Broadband Data by

WASHINGTON, June 12 – Questions about the availability and detail of broadband data featured prominently in presentations and in discussions at Thursday’s sessions of the Broadband Policy Summit IV, which was sponsored by Pike & Fischer.

“I have been long lamented that we don’t have a national broadband policy,” said Jeff Campbell, senior director of technology and communications policy at Cisco Systems. “If we did have a national broadband plan, we would have to define what exactly is the problem that we are attempting to solve.”

For example, Campbell said during the summit’s first panel – on the regulatory outlook for broadband – more information was needed on the number of households that have Internet connections, the speeds at which they are available, and how many subscribers take up such services.

“We just don’t have the basic building blocks of the data to size the problem” and propose solutions to it, said Campbell. He applauded the work of the California Broadband Task Force, which produced address-level data about both broadband available and promised speeds. The California report did not list broadband data by carrier.

Larry Landis, a commission with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on the same panel, agreed. “There is a heightened need for actionable data,” both about where broadband is and where it isn’t. He said that state regulatory officials aim to get more involved in assessing availability, speeds and broadband competition.

Joe Waz, senior vice president of external affairs for Comcast, addressed the cable company’s aggressive efforts to roll out DOCSIS 3.0, a higher-speed version of cable modem served that promises 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds, and 5 Mbps upload speeds, “in front of 20 percent of our homes by the end of this year, and to just about all homes by the end of 2009.”

On the data collection front, Waz praised the work of Connected Nation, which is mapping out information about broadband availability in many states.

James Cicconi, senior executive vice president at AT&T, applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s March 19 data-collection order.

The second panel, on U.S. broadband deployment, also probed further into data-policy issues. Scott Wallsten, vice president for research and senior fellow at the Technology Policy Institute, critically dissected a recent study, by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, showing the U.S. broadband penetration at 15th globally.

The OECD numbers skew U.S. performance because of the country’s relatively large household size, Wallsten said. Further, the OECD results implausibly exclude business use of broadband in its rankings. The bottom line, he said: “relax, we’re fine” on broadband availability and speeds.

Jonathan Banks, senior vice president of law and policy at the trade association US Telecom, said that the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industries had become a significant driver of the U.S. economy. “We see broadband connections being essential to the TMT ecosystem.”

Scott Deutschman, an adviser to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps (who gave an earlier keynote address), also noted the need for better data-gathering, and was cautiously optimistic about the FCC’s March 19 change. “We are headed down the road to colecting better data, that will allow to make better policy-making going forward,” said Deutschman.

Deutschman also called for the FCC to act as a clearinghouse, or a collector of general broadband strategies and ideas.

Mark McElroy, chief operating officer for Connected Nation, touted the importance of public-private partnership in assembling broadband data and creating “e-community leadership teams” to help promote awareness of broadband and encourage subscription.

Daniel Mitchell, vice president of legal affairs for National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, which represents small telecommunications cooperatives, said that Network Neutrality could grow in significance as a political issue if there is not greater competition among broadband providers.

Editor’s Note:

I was able to make a number of contributions to the Broadband Policy Summit. In addition to submitting a written paper about BroadbandCensus.com, I was able to ask a number of questions, and highlight the contribution that our free Web service is playing in the broadband data debate.

As I have said in other forums, knowing where broadband is and isn’t available is the first step toward making sure that broadband truly is accessible to all Americans, but it is only the first step.

Next, consumers and policy-makers must have access to information about broadband competition, speeds and prices. This is best done by publicly linking the data to broadband carriers.

Putting all of this information available, for free, in one readily accessable place is the goal of BroadbandCensus.com. By including the names of carriers, and by allowing consumers to rate their service quality, BroadbandCensus.com will enable Internet users to make true head-to-head comparisons. We believe that these types of comparisons are an essential part of understanding broadband, and of building a national broadband strategy for America.

-Drew Clark, Editor, BroadbandCensus.com

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