​​The Internet Society has a $30M/year subsidy from .org registrations. It can and should be the world's leading advocate for a great Internet for everyone. I'm on the ISOC-NY Board and sent this note.


I- and I believe many of you - believe bringing down the cost of access is crucial to bringing the Internet to everyone. As things change in the Internet Society, I think we should look at how we can influence decisions that directly affect the cost of access.

In the U.S., Trump's FCC wants to severely cut back on Lifeline, the program to connect the poor. Commissioners Copps & Tristani will lead a

Speakout to Save Lifeline  Wed., Sept. 26, at 10 a.m. EDT at FCC headquarters, 445 12th St. SW, Washington, D.C. I hope Andrew encourages Internet Society employees to attend, making up their work later on.
In India, the telcos are trying to undermine the local efforts to connect to the remarkable BharatNet. BharatNet has brought fiber to literally hundreds of thousands of villages and hundreds of millions of people. This is by far the most important effort in the world to bring the Internet to the rural poor. ISOC, especially our Indian chapters, should be leading the effort to make sure BharatNet delivers robust Internet affordable to all. (Details on both below.)

Articulating "high order principles" is not enough unless they are applied to practice. At the U.S. State Department ITAC, where I am a member, vague "High order principles" are a euphemism for positions that sound good hiding the U.S. opposition to anything opposed by the U.S. companies. ISOC can do better by focusing on concrete proposals. (Reasonable royalties, exposing cartel-like pricing on transports and backhaul, ...)

The "DC Consensus" tactic of "incentives" generally fails. Half of the U.S. has only one decent broadband choice; in the rest, the telcos only offer service that was obsolete a decade ago. (Verizon in Manhattan only offers me 3 megabits in 2018.) Verizon's cheapest Internet in Fios territory is $75 or so. In France, you can buy fiber optic triple play for less than half that. The U.S. rural coverage is among the worst in the developed world.

The Internet Society has a $30M/year subsidy from .org registrations. We can and should be the world's leading advocate for a great Internet for everyone.

Dave Burstein

Lifeline Advocates to Rally Outside FCC Headquarters in Protest of Pai’s Plan to Gut Essential Program

12:02 PM (6 hours ago)

to daveb

September 25, 2018


Contact: Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

Lifeline Advocates to Rally Outside FCC Headquarters in Protest of Pai’s Plan to Gut Essential Program

WASHINGTON — Representatives from social-justice and digital-rights groups will rally outside Federal Communications Commission headquarters on Wednesday to protest the agency’s plan to gut the Lifeline program that subsidizes internet and telephone services for millions of people living below the poverty line.

The groups, including the Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Free Press Action Fund, the National Consumer Law Center, the National Hispanic Media Coalition and the Open Technology Institute, will be joined by Lifeline subscribers who will speak to the importance of affordable access — and against FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to severely limit their ability to benefit from the subsidy program.

Pai’s attack on Lifeline is one of several agency actions that disproportionately harm low-income communities while concentrating media power in the hands of a few wealthy companies. His FCC has also failed to defend reforms to exorbitant prison phone-call rates, blocked opportunities for communities to build their own broadband networks and repealed Net Neutrality protections that safeguarded free expression and choice online.

What: Speakout to Save Lifeline
When: Wed., Sept. 26, at 10 a.m. EDT
Where: FCC headquarters, 445 12th St. SW, Washington, D.C.
Who: Activists, advocates and others united against attacks on the most vulnerable in our society
Press RSVP: Timothy Karr at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Confirmed speakers include former FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Gloria Tristani, George Alvarenga of Shelter House, Cheryl Leanza of the United Church of Christ, OC, Inc., Sarah Morris of the Open Technology Institute, Francella Ochillo of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Jesse Rabinowitz of Miriam’s Kitchen, Carmen Scurato and Joseph Torres of Free Press Action Fund, Erin Shields of the Center for Media Justice, Aja Taylor of Bread for the City, and Monica Thammarath of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.

Free Press Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization fighting for people’s rights to connect and communicate. Free Press Action Fund does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.

300,000,000 connections at stake in rural India

Published: 08 July 2018625,000 villages are being connected with fiber by the remarkable Bharatnet, on track to complete in 2019. One to five Wi-Fi hotspots in each area (GP) will offer services including banking and e-gov for eight cents (U.S.) per day to $1.50/month. These "Common services centres" will often be run by "Village level entrepreneurs," perhaps as many as 100,000.

DOT's goal is 500,000 deployed in 2018 under a light licensing procedure. 43,000 are already in place and 300,000 more on the way. Some will be solar-powered.

This is the largest Internet access program on earth, originally conceived by Sam Pitroda in the government of  Dr. Mammohan Singh. It is a credit to the government building it.* Telcos are also connecting; Bharti has 30,000 cells planned. Reliance Jio, now with 4G to 96% of Indians, will raise that to 99%. Jio has better coverage than most of the major Europeans, all state of the art 4G LTE.

The big four telcos now are demanding a delay and a huge increase in costs.

"Establishing public WiFi networks without licence will be illegal being in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885."

More https://www.fastnet.news/index.php/8-fnn/708-300m-connections-at-stake-in-rural-india

Editor, http://Fastnet.news http://wirelessone.news gfastnews.com

Author with Jennie Bourne  DSL (Wiley) and Web Video: Making It Great, Getting It Noticed (Peachpit)

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


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