Regulation by

When uncontrolled political powers want regulatory reform

What happens when political powers go out of their way to influence what is supposed to be an independent regulatory process? Simply put, you find yourself sitting on research and analyses that cannot possibly inform, but rather can only conform to, the already-made regulations and their political motivations. This is exactly what appears to have happened to the Open Internet Order: the White House pushed for the FCC to implement the “strongest possible rules” on broadband providers, and the resulting order came out “threadbare and conclusory throughout.” But America is not alone. A look to New Zealand shows Americans what they are in for in the coming months and years.
Pro-net neutrality Internet activists rally in the neighborhood where U.S. President Barack Obama attended a fundraiser in Los Angeles, California July 23, 2014. REUTERS

When community activists rule the web

The notion that the Federal Communications Commission would designate Internet access to be a Title II service – a “public utility” as Susan Crawford and other net neutrality advocates put it – was inconceivable as recently as a few months ago. Then, just after the election, something happened: Demonstrators appeared outside the home of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and, on the same day, President Obama posted a YouTube video calling on the commission to impose Title II regulation. Those events didn’t happen by accident. Rather, they were – according to one sympathetic account – the result of “one of the most sustained and strategic activist campaigns in recent memory,” which successfully “framed net neutrality as a social justice issue, warning about how an Internet with fast lanes would harm the ability of activists to spread their message.” The extent of the activists’ victory is highlighted not just by the fact that most Americans oppose turning the Internet into a public utility, but also by the growing number of erstwhile net neutrality supporters who have expressed concern – or outright opposition – to the FCC’s overreach.
Broadcast by

Title II and the future of LTE broadcast

Over the past 18 months, LTE broadcast has garnered significant buzz as one of the just-around-the-corner technologies that will help optimize the wireless experience. On the eve of the 2014 Super Bowl in New York, Verizon Wireless demonstrated the service, showing how it might someday solve the bandwidth problems that caused the NFL to blackout streaming video at stadiums. Since then, both Verizon and AT&T have invested significantly in the technology and are expected to debut services later this year. As the wireless industry analyzes the changed legal landscape following the FCC’s reclassification decision, the always-insightful Phil Goldstein at FierceWireless asks an interesting question: what does Title II mean for LTE broadcast? The answer is not as clear as one may think – but it may provide hope for those worried about how future innovation will fare under the FCC’s new framework. LTE broadcast is a technology that facilitates multicasting over wireless networks. With traditional streaming, a content provider sends an individual copy of requested content to each consuming device.
Wireless by

Breathtaking progress with wireless networks

The future of networking is wireless, and we shouldn’t want it any other way. Despite the well-deserved hype about the boundless capacity of fiber optic wired networks, most network interactions in the future will begin and end without wires. There are two obvious reasons for this: mobility and flexibility. Not only do wireless networks allow for access while we’re in motion, they also allow us to rearrange our gear without the hassle of pulling new wires. And wireless networks are fundamentally safer, neater, and more reliable than their wired counterparts, as they do away with cable clutter and are immune to cable cuts. Emerging technologies promise to increase the efficiency of wireless networks by a hundred times: parallelism technologies such as Multi-User Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), Space Division Multiplexing (SDM), and Beam-Forming permit multiple devices to use the same spectrum at the same time in the same place, something that hasn’t been possible before without a reduction in performance.