This is an important breaking story. I'm posting here all primary documents I can find as well as any responses from the companies. I hope this is helpful to reporters and others looking for information. Some of these articles contradict others, often because there is no consensus. The spin on this in Barcelona is extreme. My opinions at and more shortly to come. (LAA, also called LTE-U, is a proposal tp use some WiFi unlicensed spectrum for telephone company LTE..) 

WiFi & LTE about equivalent. Tony Melone, Verizon

"utilizing unlicensed spectrum for LTE will be similar to Wi-Fi in terms of power requirements et cetera. So the advantage we will have is we will have centralized control and knowledge of the interference condition, so we'll be able to bring that unlicensed spectrum in to play when it's available, when it can provide a good experience for our customers and again use it as a supplemental downlink to augment capacity."the technology itself, the cost of some of the equipment and the capacity that you get out of the small cell has significantly increased. Interference management techniques which are also an important part of having a highly dense network of sales has improved. And then just the proliferation of fiber, the competitiveness of that environment, the cost points associated with that, all these things combined are a big part of that.

And then, finally, the cost of new spectrum. I mean certainly at a time where spectrum was at a certain price per megahertz POP that was a very effective solution; as those prices increased small cell technology with the improvements there just the balance of the comparison between the two changed dramatically.


"Looks like it's back to the drawing board" Joey Padden CableLabs Lead Architect  

Wi-Fi vs EU LBT: Houston, we have a problem

Licensed Assisted Access using LTE is the nascent LTE tech that puts cellular signals into the unlicensed spectrum. It goes by LAA-LTE or LTE-U for short. By all accounts the blitz is on to push this new tech into the field as fast as possible. NTT DoCoMo and Verizon have already announced their testing LTE-U. In addition the effort in 3GPP (the mobile standards body) on the approved study item is going fast & furious after kicking off at RAN1 78bis in Ljubljana Slovenia in early October.

The "license assisted" moniker is an indication of something unique: though it uses unlicensed spectrum, it is actually linked to licensed spectrum. This is a technology for mobile operators to supplement their networks by integrating unlicensed spectrum. Unlicensed spectrum will "assist" licensed LTE.

Having already decided to retain this link to licensed networks, 3GPP is now turning its attention to implementation. A key issue for 3GPP to tackle when creating LAA-LTE is how to modify LTE so that it can fairly share spectrum with other technologies e.g. Wi-Fi. As some have pointed out (see blog 1, blog 2,blog3, and most recently blog4) it is still hotly debated how nicely LTE-U will ultimately play with Wi-Fi. Much more

"There is a lot of work left to do before we see the fair and friendly coexistence solution that Wi-Fi users want" Padden

If the duty cycle period is configured as too low, the throughput of a Wi-Fi network sharing the channel will be negatively impacted. On the other hand, if the duty cycle period is too high, the latency of a Wi-Fi network sharing the same channel will be negatively impacted. much more

Padden's articles come closer than others to be intelligible to a layment but all of this is can be hard for someone non-technical.



"Causing heated debate" Antti Toskala, head of Radio Standardization at Nokia

Toskala goes on to conclude LTE-U & WiFi will work well together and his company is designing products.(ed) "unlicensed spectrum has long been the preserve of Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is well established, low cost and embedded in billions of devices. On the other hand, LTE is spectrally more efficient to deliver a larger capacity bang, offers dynamic off-loading, delivers greater coverage for the same power, and is easy to integrate into an operator's existing radio networks. Such advantages are leading some people in the industry to think that LTE-U could kill off Wi-Fi in the long run."


Huawei working with NTT DOCOMO

August 21, 2014 DOCOMO and Huawei Confirm LTE Network over Unlicensed Spectrum

— Key advancement toward the global standardization of LAA technology —

TOKYO, JAPAN, August 21, 2014 --- NTT DOCOMO, INC., a personalized mobile solutions provider for smarter living, together with DOCOMO Beijing Communications Laboratories Co., Ltd. and Huawei announced today that their joint test has successfully demonstrated that LTE can be deployed over the 5GHz unlicensed spectrum, which is widely used for wireless LAN networks in many countries today. more pr


"Wi-Fi is significantly impacted by LTE transmissions" Nokia team, 2013 

IEEE Vehicular Technology, Spring 2013 


The deployment of modern mobile systems has faced severe challenges due to the current spectrum scarcity. The situation has been further worsened by the development of different wireless technologies and standards that can be used in the same frequency band. Furthermore, the usage of smaller cells (e.g. pico, femto and wireless LAN), coexistence among heterogeneous networks (including amongst different wireless technologies such as LTE and Wi-Fi deployed in the same frequency band) has been a big field of research in the academy and industry. In this paper, we provide a performance evaluation of coexistence between LTE and Wi-Fi systems and show some of the challenges faced by the different technologies. We focus on a simulator-based system-level analysis in order to assess the network performance in an office scenario. Simulation results show that LTE system performance is slightly affected by coexistence whereas Wi-Fi is significantly impacted by LTE transmissions. In coexistence, the Wi-Fi channel is most often blocked by LTE interference, making the Wi-Fi nodes to stay on the LISTEN mode more than 85% of the time. This reflects directly on the Wi-Fi user throughput, that decreases from 50% to ~100% depending on the scenario. Finally, some of the main issues that limit the LTE/Wi-Fi coexistence and some pointers on the mutual interference management of both the systems are provided.


ICC 2013 - 2013 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC)
The recent development of regulatory policies that permit the use of TV bands spectrum on a secondary basis has motivated discussion about coexistence of primary (e.g. TV broadcasts) and secondary users (e.g. WiFi users in TV spectrum). However, much less attention has been given to coexistence of different secondary wireless technologies in the TV white spaces. Lack of coordination between secondary networks may create severe interference situations, resulting in less efficient usage of the spectrum. In this paper, we consider two of the most prominent wireless technologies available today, namely Long Term Evolution (LTE), and WiFi, and address some problems that arise from their coexistence in the same band. We perform exhaustive system simulations and observe that WiFi is hampered much more significantly than LTE in coexistence scenarios. A simple coexistence scheme that reuses the concept of almost blank subframes in LTE is proposed, and it is observed that it can improve the WiFi throughput per user up to 50 times in the studied scenarios.
(editor's note. Nokia's Antti Toskala came to a different conclusion, above)


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"

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 . More from Noam

Russia Orders Alternate Root Internet System
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

ICANN Continues Excluding Russia & China From the Board
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,

Sorry, Ajit Pai: Smaller Telcos Did Not Reduce Investment After NN Ruling
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

Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More
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,