Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Zoning and local laws interfere with rural broadband access even with neutrality

On the same day that President Obama asked the FCC to reclassify service providers so it could legally enforce network neutrality. the New York Times reported on serious problems in some rural areas where farmers, local businesses or other property owners can't get effective broadband extended across county lines or city limits.  The example given was in Wilson, NC, on the coastal plain;  I know some one from the area, in fact.  The story by Edward Wyatt is here. I don't think the president had yet read this story when he gave the speech, but he surely has by now,

The picture is from a Veteran's Park along I-85 in North Carolina, Jan. 2011.   

Monday, November 10, 2014

Obama asks FCC to classify ISP's as telecommunications providers

President Obama has announced that he will encourage the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify internet service providers as telecommunications providers (like older phone companies), to guarantee the legal basis of network neutrality.  Obama said blunty that ISP’s have no business monitoring which websites a consumer visits. 

This announcement would seem to apply to conventional land cable or fios based broadband, but not to wireless.
This announcement would seem to put to bed the idea of a “tiered” plan, which the FCC believed appropriate for some extreme uses of bandwidth (like gaming sites).  

The president's announcement seems to be a reaction to a New York Times editorial Sunday that had supported a "hybrid" approach, link here

Monday, November 03, 2014

FCC's two-tiered compromise proposal still gets a lot of criticism from lawyers

On Friday, Halloween, Oct. 31, 2014, the Wall Street Journal published an analysis by Gautham Nagesh on its Marketplace page, describing a two-tiered system that the FCC wants to define for broadband providers.  The top tier would provide basic telecommunications for Internet access to consumers, and a second tier would provide a “backbone” (rather like the mountain in Maryland) for website content distribution, but the “backbone mountain” could be regulated as a common carrier to prevent abusive deals.  But some deals, as for gaming platforms that require huge resources, would be approved.

Nevertheless, most observers believe this plan will wind up in court, as giving the FCC too much power.  The FCC believes this plan leaves its earlier policies in place, to deregulate many simpler services.  The latest Nagesh story is here