Questions Posed by FCC Open Internet NPRM
The sky hasn’t fallen yet. The FCC has proposed Open Internet regulations and has posed a number of questions for public comment in the recent Open Internet NPRM (notice of proposed rule making). If you want to learn more about the Open Internet NPRM, check out my blog on the Sound and Vision website. Here is what you can do if you want to save Net Neutrality–making sure that no websites are blocked, slowed down, or otherwise limited in favor of other websites.
Also, the ability of the FCC to regulate the Internet is being threatened by some Congress representatives who are trying to block Title II reclassification of broadband providers that allows the FCC to make net neutrality rules. Please learn more at the FreePress.net website and send a letter to your Congress rep.
These are the subjects and questions that the FCC is asking for comments on. They are outright asking for ideas, and any opinions of things they are missing, as well as ways they might be blind-sided. If you have expertise, (technical, marketing, business), be sure to answer those questions. If you just want to say, “Hell, no!…I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” feel free to do that too.
Questions posed to all of us end users:
(Note that these questions and paragraphs have been copied directly from the NPRM):
Is your broadband provider doing a good job?
We seek comment on the extent to which the existing transparency rule is effectively informing end users. We are interested both in what information broadband providers are disclosing to end users and how that information is being disclosed. In addition, we seek comment on the incentives and ability of broadband providers to provide service at lower quality or higher prices than their subscribers expected when they enrolled, and on the incentives and ability of subscribers to choose other options if their broadband providers fail to live up to these expectations. If a subscriber is locked in to a particular provider, how can transparency rules bring the performance of that provider up to the subscriber’s expectations?
How can Internet providers make Internet speed information easier to understand?
We seek comment on whether there are ways to make the content and format of disclosures more accessible and understandable to end users. With respect to content, should the Commission require the disclosure of specific broadband provider network practices, performance characteristics (e.g., effective download speeds, upload speeds, latency, and packet loss), and/or terms and conditions of service to end users (e.g., data caps)?
What information should the Internet Providers be required to tell us?
Should we require disclosure of any type of traffic exempted from any data caps, and how end users can find their current consumption levels? Should we require that disclosures explain any restrictions on tethering for mobile devices? Should the Commission expand its transparency efforts to include measurement of other aspects of service such as packet loss, packet corruption, latency, and jitter in addition to upstream and downstream speed? Should the Commission require the reporting of actual achieved results for each category?
For example, to ensure the effectiveness of the no-blocking rule proposed below, should the Commission mandate that broadband providers disclose—in a more rigorous and consistent way—the expected performance end users can expect from their broadband service?
Should the public be allowed anonymity when reporting bad conduct by Internet providers?
Should the Commission permit individuals to report possible noncompliance with our open Internet rules anonymously or take other steps to protect the identity of individuals who may be concerned about retaliation for raising concerns?
No website should be slowed below a minimum level–how should that be defined and should the information about Internet providers infractions be made available to the public?
Should we allow ANY fast-lane deals between big web companies (called “edge providers”) and Internet providers?
Should the Commission establish and make public a list of those broadband providers that block or otherwise limit certain types of traffic? Should the Commission collect and publish information on pay-for-priority arrangements? In what timeframe should the Commission require providers to report such changes in their traffic management policies to the Commission?
With a clarification that it does not preclude broadband providers from negotiating individualized, differentiated arrangements with similarly situated edge providers (subject to the separate commercial reasonableness rule or its equivalent). So long as broadband providers do not degrade lawful content or service to below a minimum level of access, they would not run afoul of the proposed rule. We also seek comment below on how to define that minimum level of service. Alternatively, we seek comment on whether we should adopt a no-blocking rule that does not allow for priority agreements with edge providers and how we would do so consistent with sources of legal authority other than section 706, including Title II.
While anybody can comment on the following questions, if you work in the Internet or Cable field, the FCC is seeking answers that come from your experience:
About competition and market power: “Thus, we seek comment on whether the Commission should engage in a market power analysis with respect to broadband providers and, if so, how we should go about that analysis. “
About the disadvantage of web companies making fast lane deals: Do edge providers that incur significant sunk costs in the delivery of their output face “lock-in” problems if they become dependent on a particular pathway to their current or potential users? In the absence of open Internet protections, would those edge providers face uncertainty that would hamper their ability to attract capital?
For Internet Engineers and techs: Is it technically feasible for a broadband provider to block or degrade based on the location or neighborhood of the end user? Is it likely that it would do so? If so, how should our rules address this concern?
About Internet traffic management: For example, a provider can use technical methods like packet classification, admission control and resource reservation, rate control and traffic shaping, as well as packet dropping and packet scheduling to identify and manage traffic on its network. Such techniques may provide additional ability to discriminate in a way that is largely opaque to edge providers and end users. We seek comment on the technical tools broadband providers can and do use to manage traffic on their networks.
About their fast lane proposal: how can we ensure that a broadband provider would not be able to evade our open Internet rules by engaging in traffic exchange practices that would be outside the scope of the rules as proposed?
About watch dog on Internet Providers: We seek comment on this conclusion as applied to an enhanced transparency rule, our re-adoption of the no-blocking rule, and the proposal to adopt a “commercially reasonable” standard. How can we ensure that the ability of providers to engage in reasonable network management is not used to circumvent the open Internet protections implemented by our proposed rules?