Total Pageviews

Thursday, May 29, 2014

BITAG: 6 measures to stop throttling of VoIP - for super-users?

BITAG: After 7 months in purdah, BITAG is back with a bang: some concrete recommendations to ISPs, VoIp developers and industry. "BITAG’s Technical Working Group recommends the following to minimize the occurrences and impact of VoIP impairment, failure, and restrictions:

  1.  Network operators should avoid impairing or restricting VoIP applications unless no reasonable alternatives are available to resolve technical issues. 
    • Certain network management actions may have the effect of limiting or restricting VoIP traffic as a method of ensuring network integrity. Examples include port blocks or traffic limitations implemented when a customer uses a vulnerable VoIP service that can be exploited by attackers for the purpose of flooding the network with unwanted traffic. In adopting any approach that has the effect of limiting the use of VoIP, network operators should seek to minimize the impact of the approach on legitimate VoIP use. 
  2. VoIP-related ALGs in operator-supplied home routers should minimize their impact on traffic other than the operator’s VoIP service where possible. 
    • VoIP-related ALGs can interfere with some VoIP services while attempting to facilitate NAT traversal for other VoIP services. Because of these problems, BITAG recommends that VoIP-related ALGs in operator-supplied home routers should either allow the VoIP-related ALGs to be disabled for customers who do not subscribe to the operator’s VoIP service or minimize or avoid impact to independent VoIP services and all other traffic not associated with the operator’s own VoIP service. Where possible, VoIP-related ALGs in operator-supplied home routers should be disabled by default. ALGs for real-time applications (including VoIP) can be problematic for services other than VoIP, but recommendations concerning ALGs more broadly are outside the scope of this report. 
  3. Manufacturers of home routers should disable VoIP-related ALGs by default.
    • Some consumers purchase their home routers from retailers rather than from network operators. To limit the impact of VoIP-related ALGs on VoIP services, home routers sold to consumers should have VoIP-related ALGs disabled by default. 
  4. Port blocking rules in consumer equipment should be user-configurable. 
    • The port blocking (or firewall) rules of consumers’ home routers should be user-configurable, whether the routers are provided by the ISP or purchased separately by the consumer. By making these rules user-configurable, technically sophisticated users may be able to eliminate port blocks that prevent them from using VoIP services. It is recommended that the documentation provided with the consumer equipment inform the consumer that port blocking or firewall rules have been implemented, the default ports blocked, and how consumers can modify those rules. 
  5. If network operators intentionally use network policies or practices that impair or restrict VoIP, they should provide disclosures about those policies and practices and provide communications channels for feedback. 
    • BITAG recommends that network operators disclose their policies and practices that may or could result in VoIP impairment, failure, or restrictions. The information should be readily available to both customers and non-customers alike. For example, such policies could be provided on the operator’s public-facing web site or on a page dedicated to summarizing or describing the ISP’s network management practices. If specific VoIP applications are impaired or restricted, those applications should be listed by name, along with a brief description of the reason for the impairment or restriction. BITAG also recommends that ISPs provide a communications channel or other clear method for application providers and consumers to discuss the impact of VoIP impairment, failure, and restrictions, and possible mitigations. 
  6. Application developers should design VoIP applications to be port-agile where possible. 
    • BITAG recommends that VoIP application developers design VoIP applications and services to be port-agile where possible. Applications designed to tolerate random source ports or to allow port selection to be user-configurable are better able to avoid VoIP impairments that result from port blocking or contention between multiple services for the same port. Whether particular applications can be re-designed to be port agile may depend on whether re-designed versions of the application can be made compatible with existing versions or other existing applications." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BEREC publishes its views on the E.Parliament 1st Reading legislative resolution

BEREC publishes its views on the European Parliament first reading legislative resolution on the European Commission’s proposal for a Connected Continent Regulation: "If a rules-based approach is nonetheless to be pursued, then further work would be required to ensure that the definitions and rules were legally precise, future-proof and enforceable in practice. While some of the language in the text adopted by European Parliament draws upon BEREC previous publications on the subject, improving the original Commission’s proposals, it does not yet meet these standards. A balanced approach to promoting net neutrality on the Internet in parallel to the provision of specialised services is a difficult challenge. BEREC considers that specialised services should be clearly separated (physically or virtually) from internet access services at the network layer, to ensure that sufficient safeguards prevent degradation of the internet access services.  Therefore BEREC welcomes the European Parliament’s acknowledgement of this principle.  However, some inconsistencies in the proposed rules and definitions still raise legal and policy concerns." 'via Blog this'

Saturday, May 24, 2014

European Parliament should create a Committee on Digital Affairs

European Parliament should create a Committee on Digital Affairs: "There are currently three different committees responsible for agriculture, fisheries and food, while digital issues are a secondary responsibility of the committee responsible for industry and research.  Other digital themes are addressed in the committees for international trade or for the internal market. Schaake: “The division of powers between committees reflects the past, just like the EU budget with its billions in agricultural subsidies does. Our ambition to make Europe a competitive and innovative continent should be reflected in the European Parliament’s priorities. We have to commit ourselves to become global leaders in ICT and tech.”" 'via Blog this'

Ammori: problems with FCC's proposed exclusive fast lanes

Marvin with deep dive analysis of why non-FRAND Specialized Services are a terrible idea:
"Startups would never have the money to buy the exclusives and thus would be at a disadvantage. If we had this model years ago, we’d probably all be using Alta Vista not Google, MySpace not Facebook, and Digg not Reddit. And talk about a fast lane—the FCC is proposing to adopt these rules by the end of the year.
The chairman’s proposal would authorize exclusives through the operative language in Paragraph 126 of last week’s proposal: “we propose to adopt a rebuttable presumption that a broadband provider’s exclusive (or effectively exclusive) arrangement prioritizing service to an affiliate would be commercially unreasonable.”
Translation: The FCC is saying that exclusive deals between a “broadband provider” (this means Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T) and an “affiliate” (a company it owns or co-owns) should be presumed to be illegal, and the provider would have to prove otherwise. So an exclusive deal between Comcast and a site it owns, such as, would be presumed illegal.
But—and this is key—other exclusive deals would be presumed legal. Comcast could make premium exclusives with any of the millions of sites it doesn’t own, extracting cash from to disadvantage Airbnb, from iCloud over Google Drive or Microsoft SkyDrive, from Amazon AWS over Google AppEngine Facebook’s Parse or Microsoft’s Azure, and from the Atlantic or Vox over Slate. (Sacrilege!)"

Monday, May 19, 2014

U.K. Government Willing To Block EU Net Neutrality Deal (or hoping)

U.K. Government Willing To Block EU Net Neutrality Deal: "Ed Vaizey said the UK would work to amend the legislation so that it does not introduce restrictions on the British government’s ability to police the internet.
“Let me clear that we will not agree to any proposals that restrict the ability of parents to protect their children from inappropriate content on line,” he said.
“We are confident that this was not the intention of the European Parliament and we are working with EU member states, the European Commission and the European Parliament to deliver a final package that promotes an open, safe and secure internet.”" 'via Blog this'

AT&T claims to embrace net neutrality but could still offer “fast lanes”

AT&T claims to embrace net neutrality but could still offer “fast lanes” | Ars Technica: Call it AT&T in DirecTV offering the Comcast-merger version:

"Comcast's NBC agreement with the US government has a carveout for specialized services, which may support Cohen's argument. The agreement says, "If Comcast offers any Specialized Service that makes content from one or more third parties available to... its subscribers, Comcast shall allow any other comparable Person to be included in a similar Specialized Service on a nondiscriminatory basis." The agreement broadly defines Specialized Services as "any service provided over the same last-mile facilities used to deliver Internet Access Service other than Internet Access Services," regulated telecommunications services, or Comcast's VoIP service."

FRAND it is, then...'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Case T-79/12 Cisco Systems and Messagenet v European Commission (Microsoft/Skype) - Chillin'Competition

A comment on Case T-79/12 Cisco Systems and Messagenet v European Commission (Microsoft/Skype) | Chillin'Competition: "the Court rightly or wrongly shifts away from [MSFT] precedents, from arguments inspired in behavioral economics, and providing –at a very convenient moment- an unbeatable defensive argument for Google (go now tell Google that competition in search is not one click away or that people can’t download apps other than those allegedly bundled to Android!) Indeed, there are no technical or economic obstacles to using another search engine nor to downloading apps in mobile phones. Paradoxically, complainants in the search investigation against Google (including the intervener in this case) nevertheless complain that… network effects and inertia also need to be considered! Ah, isn’t competition law fascinating…" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Perfect and the Good on Network Neutrality

Technology | Academics | Policy - The Perfect and the Good on Network Neutrality: "How to defend and implement network neutrality is not as simple as banning all forms of paid prioritization. After all, the FCC's old rule left the door open to such service offerings, and even the reclassified Title II framework traditionally allowed different levels of service as long as they were offered to all comers. What really matters is ensuring that the broadband environment continues to provide space for tomorrow's innovators to develop new, disruptive offerings. When the FCC releases the proposed rules for comment, we should all focus on that criterion to evaluate whether they are sufficient and effective" 'via Blog this'

Monday, May 12, 2014

Joint declaration on universality and the right to freedom of expression: net neutrality

Joint declaration on universality and the right to freedom of… · Article 19: "The global reach and effectiveness of the Internet, as well as its relative power and accessibility compared to other communication platforms, means that it plays a key role in realising the universality of freedom of expression. In this context, the following principles apply:


i.    The right to freedom of expression, which applies regardless of frontiers, protects the Internet, as it does other forms of communication.

ii.    Extreme caution should be taken in applying restrictions on freedom of expression to the Internet and other digital technologies, taking into account that such actions in one jurisdiction may affect other jurisdictions.             iii.    States should actively promote universal access to the Internet regardless of political, social, economic or cultural differences, including by respecting the principles of net neutrality and of the centrality of human rights to the development of the Internet." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My origins in net neutrality

Well of course I also start with Noam and Lemley/Lesssig - in fact you could argue a chance meeting with Mark in Austin in 1997, or with Eli at ITS'98 Stockholm. Whatever the reasons, I got all three to Warwick in May 1999 and that made me write about net neutrality in my Council of Europe report in June 1999. But it was then reinforced by my own dip into corporate life, both with start-up ShortMedia (an anti-net neutrality play) and with huge mega-bust ISP competitor WorldCom in 2001-2002. The book explains a bit in the preface but I will extend in the second edition:
"I had spent 2003 on self-reinforced sabbatical in Barcelona following the dot-com meltdown (specifically my video-on-demand start-up ShortMedia, with inspirational co-founders Doug Laughlen and Ivan Croxford) and more particularly the grotesque fraud at MCI WorldCom, following which I had resigned on principle in July 2002. The lack of consumer broadband in the period 2000-2 ended the hopes of many for a rich multimedia Internet at that point – there was capital, but no users to consume or help create mash-ups from licit or illicitly distributed content.... my contacts with David Clark and Bill Lehr, to whom I had presented local video-on-demand strategies in 2000 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, their home base."

Tim Wu and the origins of net neutrality

[Note - Tim states clearly that the idea comes from the seminal Lemley/Lessig 1999 paper (the lobbyist cited has the 2000 paper but hey, that's the Beltway for you) to the FCC which itself has its roots in the Noam 1994 article]
Fascinating piece on Tim's background and the ideas that led to net neutrality, essential reading for students of the topic. I was struck by his brief foray into corporate life:
"In 2000, as Mr. Wu’s clerkship came to a close, the country was infected with dot-com fever. And even at the Supreme Court, he caught a case of it. With his legal pedigree and programming skills, he was in high demand. He opted for a high-risk, high-reward opportunity: a marketing job with a start-up firm in Silicon Valley called Riverstone Networks. The company, he said, “promised to make us all rich.”
Instead, it made him disillusioned. He says he was appalled by the business practices around him. “Network neutrality came out of the bad things there,” he said.
The company sold industrial-size Internet routers that were being used, Mr. Wu recalls, “to block and prioritize Internet traffic, to discriminate against traffic, basically, to do many of the things that I think companies on the Internet shouldn’t be doing.” He went to China for the company and found that the equipment he was dealing in was of interest to the Chinese for its potential to abet censorship.
“Helping the Chinese government censor dissidents wasn’t the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life,” he said. “It hit me that we weren’t on the good side there.” The idea of net neutrality grew, in part, because “I had personal experience of violations of it,” he said.
That was only part of the problem. The company’s top executives were engaging in activities that the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors said were improper. His immediate boss, Andrew Feldman, ultimately pleaded guilty to a felony count of violating internal accounting controls, and Mr. Feldman and four other top executives agreed to an S.E.C. settlement in a complaint accusing them of a scheme to defraud investors by misstating revenues.
Mr. Wu was untouched by the investigations, but said he had known that things weren’t right. 
“I wondered how I’d gotten there,” he recalls. “I realized that what we’d been doing all those months was abhorrent.” He had been living in a world based on nothing but money, he said, and saw that “the idea that the private sector, the free market, on its own has all the solutions is just a myth.” He added: “When it’s just about money, there are no values.”
See Part 2 for my background - rather similar.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Tom Wheeler and the Defining Question of Network Neutrality

Wetmachine » Tales of the Sausage Factory » Tom Wheeler and the Defining Question of Network Neutrality: "Wheeler is constrained by politics, “the art of the possible.” As we have already seen, Wheeler has gotten heat from Republicans and opponents of network neutrality for refusing to close the old docket on reclassification from 2010. Now that Wheeler has said the FCC will actively consider Title II if it cannot provide adequate protection to consumers and competition under the current Title I Information service, we can be sure that those who launched  “shock and awe” campaign against Genachowski’s “Third Way” reclassification proposal in 2010 will do the same here even before May 15" 'via Blog this'

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Net Neutrality - getting the right compromise: Focus on innovation!

Dean Bubley's Disruptive Wireless: Net Neutrality - getting the right compromise: Focus on innovation!: "Let's kill two birds with one stone.

Regulators could allow specialised services, but only for ones which are not also available on the "open Internet". In other words, specialised services should actually be "special", and not just chunks of the existing Internet sold at a higher price.

Yes, I know this isn't going to be "quite that easy", but it strikes me as a reasonable compromise that gets around a lot of the objections on both sides. It gives a clear dividing line between the Internet and the Ain'ternet (You heard that one here first). It could help create a broad range of new broadband propositions that are risky or insecure to do over the public Internet (telemedicine, smart homes & the like). And it means that if we do get proof that QoS-managed/specialised-services connections generate innovation and "cool new stuff", then future law-making will be much more evidence-based, rather than just hot air from lobbyists. 'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 01, 2014

7 Ways the Feds Can Make a Comcast-Time Warner Merger Less Terrible

7 Ways the Feds Can Make a Comcast-Time Warner Merger Less Terrible | Opinion | WIRED:

"1. The combined Comcast has to stop pushing state laws that restrict competition from municipal systems or commercial overbuilders, has to work for their repeal and will not contest any competition.  TWC is the most obvious culprit, having fought its battle against municipalities in North Carolina.  TWC, Comcast and others work also through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the shadowy group pushing anti-consumer legislation.

2. Comcast-TWC has to establish a fund of, say, $1 billion, to aid local governments in building their own systems.

3. The combined entity must agree to a stringent Net Neutrality policy.  Off the table are the weak-tea rules negotiated by Verizon and Google, and put in place by the late and unlamented Julius Genachowski during his term at the FCC.  This time, former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, the embodiment of the public interest, gets to write the rules.

4. No data caps.  It’s been proven time and time again that caps have nothing to do with traffic management and everything to do with stifling competition.

5. If there are to be these ridiculous “retrans” disputes, the channels stay on the systems until the issue is resolved.

6. The company shall not require direct connection to its network.  Netflix gets its money back.

7. Independent programmers get the same treatment as those owned by Comcast and TWC pre-merger.'via Blog this'

"I for one welcome our net neutrality overlords"....traffic up 600% in April

Hello to the many newcomers to this blog - traffic spiked from 4000 visitors in March to 27,000 visitors in April - presumably because of my blogging about ConnectedContinent and its historical preliminary scuffles. Enjoy the blog - and note that it was at its busiest for posting in 2009-10 when I wrote the first edition of the Net Neutrality book.
You may - should - also be interested that the new edition is appearing in mid-2016, once this new law is promulgated, chewed over by Council and spat out. It will be in a flexible weather-resistant display called paper that you can consume on the beach or in a (light) shower. The 2010 book is hardback and Creative Commons licensed - and downloaded by 100,00) of you in PDF. The ebook is a satisfying £23!
Happy May Day to ICT workers of the have nothing to lose but...the interwebs...
Figure: daily traffic April 2014

Kroes' anti-neutrality all part of a cunning plan- priceless comments

TelecomTV | News | Kroes' anti-neutrality all part of a cunning plan: "ETICS is actually funded by the EU (that's the place YOU work for, isn't it?) so it shouldn't require any Googling. (European collaborative research project within the ICT theme of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union) Well-thumbed copies should be all over the office.

And if the policy-makers at the EU aren't even reading the expensive research output they're (sorry, we're) paying for (€8 million I believe) then something needs to change.

This is not obscure stuff from your point of view, Ryan. It's all about the very technology and economics behind the 'specialised services' you were so keen to promote just a few weeks ago in Connected Continent.

You might claim to never have heard of the ETICS project, but they've certainly heard of you. What's more they think their ASQ concept informed the 'Connected Continent' proposals. Long quote from their white paper follows, but worth the journey...
"In September 2013, the European commission has made regulatory proposals for a Connected Continent, explicitly recognizing the opportunities for Assured Service Quality offers as one of the new source of growth and innovation in Europe, and which has to be in operation side-by-side with a well-functioning best-effort Internet access service." 
Now where have I heard that sort of thing before? So if you really haven't read it yet, you'd better give it a read now Ryan. After all, you (I mean we) paid for it.Ian (I.D.) Scales, Managing Editor'via Blog this'

Net neutrality in the nineteenth century: railway regulation & telegraph abuse

Railway Regulation Act :: The Railways Archive: This from the UK in 1844: "whereas it is expedient to secure to the poorer Class of Travellers the Means of travelling by Railway at moderate Fares, and in Carriages in which they may be protected from 'the Weather;' be it enacted, That...all Passenger Railway Companies...shall, by means of One Train at least to travel along their Railway from one End to the other of each Trunk, Branch, or Junction Line...once at least each Way on every Week Day...provide for the Conveyance of Third Class Passengers...

Such Train shall start at an Hour to be from Time to Time fixed by the Directors...Such Train shall travel at an average Rate of Speed not less than Twelve Miles per Hour for the Whole Distance travelled on the Railway, including Stoppages:

Such Train shall, if required, take up and set down Passengers at every Passenger Station which it shall pass on the Line:

The Carriages in which Passengers shall be conveyed by such Train shall be provided with Seats, and shall be protected from the Weather...

The Fare or Charge for each Third Class Passenger by such Train shall not exceed One Penny for each Mile travelled:"

And see also an 1869 letter of protest at Western Union censorship by telegraph throttling of the Californian critics of its policies - via Stuart Geiger (hat tip). 'via Blog this'

MayDay improvements to network and internet at University of Sussex

2014 improvements : Network and internet : ... : ITS : University of Sussex: "Bandwidth management was not introduced to save costs but instead to ensure fairness of access. Some students have reported that they used to have 60-80mbps connections to the internet before the restrictions were introduced but it only takes a few people using the internet at that capacity to consume all bandwidth. The University's resources are shared by a lot of people. At peak times, there are around 10,000 student devices using the internet. During peak hours, the University provides a total bandwidth of 1gbps for students. Last year, IT Services signed contracts to increase it to 10gbps. This is part of a new academic network being introduced across the country and the project coordinators have confirmed that the connections to Sussex should be in place by 1 May 2014." No more throttling of HD video?  'via Blog this'