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Chairman Wheeler’s musings on the future of video: Is this a Tech Neutrality NPRM, and what’s up with linear programming?

Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Wheeler published a blog post detailing his proposal to apply the Commission’s rules governing multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to over the top (OTT) video providers, who stream linear channels of video over the Internet. More precisely, Chairman Wheeler proposed to classify such Internet-based video providers as MVPDs. Commentators have been buzzing about this expected rulemaking for several weeks, and the Commission has previously made clear that...

AI anxiety: Do intelligent technological “demons” spell dawn or doom?

Is technology, and thus the economy, stagnating? Or is technology moving so fast that we need to slow it down, lest it devour us? It’s an intriguing, if dissonant, debate, highlighted once again last week, this time by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. “With artificial intelligence,” Musk warned, “we’re summoning the demon.” It was a brief comment in response to an audience question at an MIT aerospace event, but Musk’s manner, which turned solemn when asked about AI, showed just how seriously smart people are taking the idea of an AI threat to humanity. “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight,” Musk said, “maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.”
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Internet speed: What you don’t know about the web

High-speed (more correctly, “high capacity”) broadband networks are often touted as the cornerstones of a blazingly fast web experience, but this isn’t really the case. The other factors that influence the web experience are the capacity of web servers to respond to user requests and the ability of browsers and end user devices to render and display web pages. At the speeds that most Americans use today, these non-network factors account for 50 to...

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Shifting alliances at the ITU: Why authoritarian regimes would love to see Title II applied in the US

The 14th Plenipotentiary (“plenipot”) Conference, a global meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU),  is underway in South Korea and has the potential to change the operating norms of the Internet. The ITU was originally chartered to coordinate international telegraph communications 150 years ago and is now part of the United Nations. The organization coordinates the international use of spectrum, satellites, and technical standards for communications. There are many reasons why this meeting...