NYC CTO I Quit 230The FCC Broadband Committee recommendations are "Industry priorities without regard for a true public-private partnership. ... 75 percent of members represent large telecommunications and cable companies or interests aligned with those companies, ... These circumstances give me no choice but to step away."

Miguel Gamiño Jr., Chief Technology Officer of the City of New York, wrote the letter below to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Like San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, he quit. He worked hard for 11 months but was overruled by the company people Pai put on the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. 

Gamiño is refusing to accept a "Pre-packaged one-size-fits-all proposal that industry lobbyists have pushed nationwide rather than working in a cooperative fashion to find creative solutions to dynamic local issues."

Pai's claim that getting rid of regulations on small cells will have a major impact on the deployment of 5G is almost certainly wrong. The telcos have already decided to deploy over 100,000 5G cells for business & competitive reasons. The main impact will be to save the telcos (and cablecos) a lot of money. 

There's no evidence I can find that most of that money will be spent on the network. Government "incentives" are giveaways to shareholders unless most of the money goes to investment. Otherwise, it to shareholders. In this case, the savings on the cells already planned or predictable will almost certainly dwarf the amount of additional investment. 

Any reporter - or Congressman - hearing about "incentives" needs to ask the question, "How much more will be built?" Almost always, the answer will be disappointing if you get one. 

The New York Chapter of the Internet Society resolved April 2 "Resolved: That ISOC-NY supports the letter of New York City Chief Technology Officer re: FCC Broadband. We urge the FCC not to move forward without majority support from non-corporate members. We also recognize that getting rid of unnecessary regulations on small cells is a good idea."

I made the motion. 

March 28, 2018

Dear Chairman Pai:

I appreciate the opportunity to have served on the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Model Code for Municipalities Working Group over the past 11 months. Along with my designated alternates, we have collectively participated in approximately 100 hours of calls, attended a full day in-person meeting in Washington D.C., and have submitted countless edits, drafts, and comments in an effort to share insights from our many decades-long successful experience in franchising wired and wireless uses of New York City’s public rights-of-way.

 

As the BDAC’s process is scheduled to come to a close, it is clear that despite good faith efforts by both the staff and members involved, the membership structure and meeting format of the BDAC has skewed the drafting of the proposed recommendations towards industry priorities without regard for a true public-private partnership.

 

These circumstances give me no choice but to step away from this committee in order to direct the City’s energy and resources to alternative forums that provide more productive opportunities for achieving the kind of cooperative progress in advancing broadband deployment in the public interest.

 

I have expressed concerns with other municipal colleagues in multiple meetings and documents that the makeup of the BDAC, with roughly 75 percent of members representing large telecommunications and cable companies or interests aligned with those companies, would result in recommendations unfavorable to localities looking to responsibly manage public rights-of-way to promote public safety, quality of life, and other priorities.

 

This has resulted in the BDAC producing pre-packaged one-size-fits all proposals that industry lobbyists have pushed nationwide rather than working in a cooperative fashion to find creative solutions to dynamic local issues. In our own working group, there have been no efforts to add more voices familiar with city operations or to replace the former working group Vice Chair San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. This has prevented us from addressing the diversity of concerns and solutions that would be offered by a better representation of the nearly 40,000 local governments nationwide.

 

I am concerned that the current draft of the code could lead to municipalities entering into agreements with wireless providers that are counter to the interests of their constituents. Most importantly, we do not believe that the recommendations will help close the digital divide. Therefore, we are not able to recommend that a municipality adopt the code without significant legal and financial analysis or for it to be referenced as a “model” for legislatures, the FCC, or other regulatory bodies. Despite our objections to the operations and findings of the BDAC, we remain committed to working with all parties to address the digital divide.

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio has set the ambitious goal to provide affordable, high-speed internet to all New Yorkers by 2025 and it is imperative that we engage in productive and respectful partnerships with the private sector to reach that goal. In addition, we have found it useful to engage and share information and best practices with other cities.

 

In this regard, Mayor de Blasio, along with over a dozen other mayors, recently announced a pledge to promote the principles of net neutrality though our local authority. This nationwide partnership, which is growing daily, can also serve as an important network to share best practices on issues around broadband deployment.

 

We remain open to working with the FCC and other branches of the federal government as well as the telecom industry, digital equity advocates, organized labor and other key stakeholders. Note that I will be departing from City service in the upcoming weeks, however the City had chosen not to designate a replacement in my absence for the reasons listed above.

 

Thank you again for to the opportunity to work on this issue on a national level, and we hope to work with you again in a more productive forum.

Sincerely,

Miguel Gamiño Jr. Chief Technology Officer, City of New York

 of New York

The world needs a good news source on Internet and telecom policy. I hope to create one. Catch a mistake? Email me please.  Dave Burstein

Latest

Professor Noam's "Many Internets" http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Until about 2010, everyone agreed the Net was a "network of networks," not a monolithic entity. There was a central authority, ICANN, keeping track of domain names, but that was a minor administrative function.
Columbia Professor Noam suggests we might be better off accepting that some nations or groups might want to organize their networks differently. It's easy to see demand for an Internet with much more effective filters against material some think harmful to children. (Any 10 year old can easily find porn today. Many do.)
Internet translation is getting better very quickly. You might want an "Internet" that translates everything into your language. Google Chrome translation isn't perfect but I was able to research most of this story on Russian language sites. With a few more years progress, I might welcome an alternate that brings me everything in English, including caching for better performance.
De facto, Internet news is already split, as hundreds of millions only get their news from Facebook. Google AMP pages, including for news, also favor selected parts of the net
Centralizing the DNS doesn't prevent censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. There are many Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists who want to block what they consider blasphemy and limit free speech. See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-hold-rally-on-internet-at-citi-field.html . More from Noam http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Russia Orders Alternate Root Internet System http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS
It's actually practical and not necessarily a problem.The Security Council of the Russian Federation, headed by Vladimir Putin, has ordered the "government to develop an independent internet infrastructure for BRICS nations, which would continue to work in the event of global internet malfunctions ... This system would be used by countries of the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa." RT
Columbia University Professor Eli Noam and then ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé have both said such a system is perfectly practical as long as there is robust interconnection.
Actually, the battle over ICANN and domain names is essentially symbolic. Managing the DNS is a relatively insignificant task, more clerical than governing. ICANN Chair Steve Crocker pointed out they had very little to do with policy.
Some will claim this is about blocking free speech but that's rhetoric. Russia doesn't need to fiddle with the DNS for censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. The wonders of the Internet will continue so long as the resulting nets" are robustly connected. The ICANN and U.S. policy goal should be to help create that system for interconnection.
I expect contentions that “The Russians are taking over our Internet” and “They are splitting the Internet.” The Internet is a “Network of Networks.” It is not a monolith so what would “splitting” it mean or do?
After the WCIT, China realized that ICANN and the DNS are side issues not worth bothering about. They have been building alternate institutions including the World Internet Summit in Wuzhan and the BRICs conferences.  The Chinese have put their main work where decisions that matter are made. Wireless standards are set by 3GPP, where nothing can be approved without China's consent.
The American battle at ITU is proving to be a historic mistake.
Why does Russia want an independent Internet?
They fear that Western sanctions on Russia could cripple the Russian Net. Communications minister, Nikolay Nikiforov, worries about, "a scenario where our esteemed partners would suddenly decide to disconnect us from the internet." I think that's highly unlikely but Nikiforov points out, “Recently, Russia is being addressed in a language of unilateral sanctions: first, our credit cards are being cut off; then the European Parliament says that they’ll disconnect us from SWIFT."
It makes sense for the Russians to be prepared for such a contingency as the Cold War has been warming up on both sides. "Britain's top military chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach just made headlines warning Russian subs "could CRIPPLE Britain by cutting undefended undersea internet cables." Much more http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS

ICANN Continues Excluding Russia & China From the Board http://bit.ly/CEOPromises
No wonder Russia wants an alternate root. Three years ago, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé promised "a seat at the table" to Chinese Premier Li. ICANN welched and this year added two more Americans.
Almost all the ICANN board is from the U.S. and close allies; only about 4 of the 18 board members are from countries on the other side of the North/South divide in Internet policy.  Claiming ICANN represents the Global Internet is inappropriate. China is 1/3rd of the Internet but has no representation on the board.
I know many of the board members. They are all basically honorable but generally share a strong opinion on North-South issues.
Larry Strickling of the U.S. government knew just what he was doing with the IANA transition. He handed over to a board with similar positions as the U.S. government.
"The system is unsustainable while it excludes half the world," I have been saying since 2012. More, including the transcript of Fadi's statements,http://bit.ly/CEOPromises

Sorry, Ajit Pai: Smaller Telcos Did Not Reduce Investment After NN Ruling http://bit.ly/SorryPai
Pai justifies his NN choice with the claim, "The impact has been particularly serious for smaller Internet service providers." #wrong (Actually, NN has minimal effects on investment, up or down, I’m convinced. Competition, new technology, customer demand and similar are far more important.)
The two largest suppliers to “smaller ISPs” saw sales go up. Adtran's sales the most recent nine months were $540M, up from $473M the year before. 2016 was $636M, 2015 $600M. Calix the last nine months sold $372M, up from $327M. The full year 2016 was $459M, up from $407M in 2015. Clearfield, a supplier of fiber optic gear, was up 8% in sales in the smaller ISPs.
There is nothing in the data from others that suggests an alternate trend. Anyone could have found this data in a few minutes from the company quarterly reports.
The results in larger companies are ambiguous. I can "prove" capex went up or went down by selecting the right data. The four largest companies' capex - two/thirds of the total - went up from $52.7B in 2015 to $55.7B in 2016. The result remains positive after making sensible adjustments for mergers and acquisitions. That's as close to "proving" that NN led to increased spending as the facts chosen to prove the opposite.
Actually, whether capex went up or down in 2016 tells us almost nothing about the choice on neutrality. Everyone knows a single datapoint could be random or due to other causes. Much more, including the source of the errors http://bit.ly/SorryPai

Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More http://bit.ly/VintTim
Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak and more than a dozen true Internet pioneers wrote Congress to protect Neutrality. The best Congress money can buy didn't listen but I wanted to reproduce their letter.
I hope they are wrong believing "is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create." My take is the impact will be moderate in the short run.
From the letter:
We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. ... The FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017.
Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order ... More, including the full list, http://bit.ly/VintTim