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Net Neutrality: Hurtful Government Whims

November, 2014

The notion of neutrality in general is a myth. Nations that claim to be neutral in inter-state conflicts are hardly impartial. If country A has a major advantage in its conflict with country B, the so-called non-aligned party is in effect supporting the former, and potentially leading to its winning the fight. When the US government is pushing the notion of net neutrality, it is also a canard because corporations by definition are not neutral because they want to defeat their competitors and make money for their shareholders. Arbitrarily forcing them to provide bandwidth in ways that are not economical will only suppress new investments in technology – leading to even more constraints in networks. The capricious nature of the US government to decide on policies can have beneficial results. The original breakup of AT&T in 1984 led to a massive fiber optic build-outs...

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AT&T’s Neutrality Reply a Red Herring

November, 2014

While on the surface, it is commendable that a large player such as AT&T is taking on the US government on net neutrality, its response is totally self-serving. The carrier knows that it will make relatively little money in providing fiber to residential customers. Plus, the biggest cause of network congestion does not come from uploads and downloads to and from the home; it is about the interconnection of data centers for high-volume content. Verizon’s concentration with fiber to the home was in areas that had large enterprises nearby. It divested a lot of its other lines that did not fall into this category. Verizon saw an opportunity to disguise aggressively going after the very lucrative business customers from the regulators – and FTTB subsidized FTTH. To this day, lots of people in the industry would prefer to believe Verizon was just crazy to do so much FTTH,...

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New Title II Will Choke Optical Investment

February, 2015

The logical presumption associated with the madness of the FCC’s planned takeover of the Internet will be that service providers should be expected to cut back on fiber optic network investment to an absolute minimum, at least until litigation in the courts has been completed. It is also reasonable to conclude that the impact on purchasing of equipment by these carriers of net traffic will be even worse than what happened with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in which the incumbent carriers were forced to unbundle their infrastructure. The expected Title II ruling is more detrimental because it is a demonstration of a federal agency, reflecting the overall plan of the current administration, which is behaving as if it has virtually boundless legal authority over Internet service providers. Up until fairly recently, there was bipartisan support in the US for a more or less...

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Latest Title II Opened: Property Rights Raid

February, 2015

After the extraordinary action of not making its document on applying Title II rules to the Internet before its formal meeting on the matter, resembling the behavior of a repressive regime, the FCC has voted on the order. Yet inexplicably, even an estimate of the timing of the release of the report that could have such a devastating impact on the ISP market has not been provided by the agency. One of the most egregious aspects of this whole regulatory shift is that after 30 years past the original divestiture of AT&T, the former Bell companies are still not allowed full freedom in the ownership and direction of their networks, a lot of which was built after 1984. The chairman of the FCC actually had the gall to describe the process as “one of the most transparent proceedings that this...

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Monetizing Older Networks: An Overreach?

March, 2015

Although one of the most thought-provoking panels at OFC 2015 will be on the monetization of optical networks, which will include seasoned experts who are vigorously involved in building new revenue models, it is not easy to imagine the kind of cultural metamorphosis that would be required for incumbent service providers to change their long-standing, bureaucratic behavior. In addition, while it is only commonsense to switch from a model that requires a lengthy period of time to install a circuit with a long-term commitment to more of a cloud-driven, network-on-demand paradigm, in which files can be loaded for say, a couple hours to be analyzed, we have discussed the very legitimate structural...

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