Monday, October 24, 2016

Why the Internet is the way it is (and why it will be very different in ten years) - David Clark

The History of the IANA Transition

NANOG 68: Scott Bradner will discuss the history of Internet Governance leading up to the transition of oversight of the IANA function from NTIA to the internet's multistakeholder community.

Geoff Houston, How Did We Get Here? A Look Back at the History of IANA, CIRCLEID Oct. 23, 2016 ("At the start of the month, the United States Government let its residual oversight arrangements with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) over the operation of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) lapse. No single government now has a unique relationship with the governance of the protocol elements of the Internet, and it is now in the hands of a community of interested parties in a so-called Multi-Stakeholder framework. This is a unique step for the Internet and not without its attendant risks. How did we get here?")

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

✏️ NTIA, NSF Seek Comments to Shape National Broadband Research Agenda

Broadband is increasingly playing a central role in the lives of Americans. Job searches, education, entertainment, health care services, business ventures - those with access to reliable, high-speed broadband gain tremendous opportunities in almost every facet of life.
The Obama Administration has made expanding broadband access and adoption a top priority. While we have made good progress, more work needs to be done. In March 2015, President Obama established the Broadband Opportunity Council and tasked it with producing recommendations to increase broadband deployment, competition and adoption through executive actions.
In the Broadband Opportunity Council's ensuing report, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) committed to developing a National Broadband Research Agenda to help shape the future of broadband by outlining a strategic plan for research into promising new technologies and applications, as well as promoting federal coordination in data collection practices and policies.
Of course, there is already ongoing research in important areas related to broadband. For example, NTIA, in conjunction with the U.S. Census Bureau, has for the last two decades surveyed Americans about their computer and Internet use, including reasons why some households do not use the Internet. Studies like NTIA's own Digital Nation reports, among many others, help shed light on the digital divide and other important policy challenges. With the National Broadband Research Agenda, we aim to identify new opportunities for cutting-edge research and analysis, and pathways to foster a collaborative research environment that includes stakeholders both within and outside of government.
Today, NTIA and NSF are requesting public comments that will inform the National Broadband Research Agenda. The public's input will help to improve data collection, analysis and research for the benefit of broadband policy development, program implementation and program evaluation.
We are seeking input in four areas:
  1. Broadband technology
  2. Broadband access and adoption
  3. Socioeconomic impacts
  4. Opportunities for federal leadership
Some of the questions we're asking are: What research proposals regarding broadband access should be prioritized? How can cross-disciplinary collaboration in broadband research be enhanced? What is needed to understand how to reach population groups that have traditionally under-utilized broadband technology?
We encourage all who wish to advance broadband in America through new or improved research and data collection to weigh in. Those who want to provide input should submit comments to by Oct. 11.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Ancillary Jurisdiction

The Communications Act of 1934 gives the Federal Communications Commission jurisdiction over interstate wireline and radio communications. For example, Title II of the Act gives the FCC jurisdiction over telecommunications services. Title III gives the FCC jurisdiction over wireless services.

But communications evolve, and by-and-by the FCC confronts a question not anticipated by the Communications Act. Nascent innovations storm the market and present policy issues prior to Congressional action. The classic example of this is the introduction of CableTV, placing a broadcast signal on a cable and bringing it over the mountain to a community that could not otherwise get reception. There was no Cable Act giving the Commission authority to act. Nevertheless, the FCC promulgated regulations which addressed the geographic footprints of cable TV networks. The Supreme Court upheld the FCC's exercise of jurisdiction, finding that it was reasonably ancillary to the agency's jurisdiction over broadcast TV.

The reach of the Commission's ancillary jurisdiction is not unbounded. While courts have recognized that the Communications Act grants the FCC broad authority, the Commission cannot use ancillary authority to justify anything. According to the courts,
"The Commission . . . may exercise ancillary jurisdiction only when two conditions are satisfied:
(1) the Commission's general jurisdictional grant under Title I [of the Communications Act] covers the regulated subject and 

(2) the regulations are reasonably ancillary to the Commission's effective performance of its statutorily mandated responsibilities."
It has to be interstate communications and it has to be ancillary to something (ancillary to a mere policy statement is insufficient). The FCC exercising jurisdiction over cable TV as ancillary to its Broadcast TV authority - sure, that is sound. But the courts, expressing anxiety that the FCC has no more authority than that which Congress grants it, gets jittering on the boundary of clearly articulated expressions of authority. The further astray the FCC acts from expressed statutory authority, the more anxiety is expressed by the courts. Where it is clear that the FCC is filling in gaps not anticipated by Congress, and which fulfill its mandate for promoting interstate communications, the Courts have tended towards affirming that authority. Where the FCC strains to tie its actions to expressed authority, however, the courts have stated that ancillary jurisdiction is not "unbounded."

Ancillary Jurisdiction
No Ancillary Jurisdiction
  • CableTV: regulation of geographic footprint of cable TV service ancillary to jurisdiction over broadcast TV
  • CableTV: cable TV requirement of creation of original programming ancillary to jurisdiction over broadcast TV
  • Enhanced Service Providers (Internet): Computer Inquiries safeguards ancillary to jurisdiction over telecom service
  • Universal Service: creation of universal service fund ancillary to title II authority to set reasonable interstate telephone rates
  • CableTV: regulations that required cable systems to make certain channels available for public use not ancillary to broadcast TV authority
  • Broadcast Flag: jurisdiction over broadcast flag to protect copyright is post-transmission and not ancillary to FCC authority
  • Broadband Internet Access Service: jurisdiction over BIAS cannot be ancillary to a policy statement