Completely correct only for three states.  Verizon & AT&T have decided to shut down at least 20M landlines between them, going wireless only, as I've reported several times. The evidence is in many state filings and financial reports. I believe the Florida Power & Light FCC filing in the title, while accurately quoted. was only meant to apply to the three FP&L states. In other states, my opinion is they will keep most but not all FiOS lines while dumping 10M lines of copper.  

"All the evidence shows that Verizon has been abandoning its efforts to build out wireline broadband. Verizon, in fact, has made clear it intends to be out of the wireline business within the next ten years, conveying this clear intent to regulated utilities in negotiations over joint use issues and explaining that Verizon no longer wants to be a pole owner. ... Publicly available evidence abounds. ... Verizon is obviously no longer interested in the wireline broadband business and sees its financial future in the wireless industry." 

FP & L's attorneys have written to me with the "three state" update. I'm pretty sure that Verizon intends to continue offering FiOS to 15M+ homes in it's traditional Northeast region. It's a good and profitable business, beating cable in some territories despite extremely high pricing. Verizon and AT&T have been coy on the subject. As far as I know, neither has ever gone on the record with how many lines they intend to scrap in favor of wireless.

They still make money on almost all those lines, which is why Frontier is paying so much for some of them. But they'd make more money if many of the customers switched to wireless, which in rural areas almost always has spare capacity/spectrum for VZ & T. They've also never indicated the book value on these lines, one of the reasons many believe both companies have more balance sheet write-offs to come. 

The single most important factor in the ~5M U.S. homes that can't get even a quarter-decent Internet connection is the unwillingness of VZ & T to service them. Probably 2/3rds of them are in Bell territory and been told to "drop dead." My friend Darcy Gerbarg has been working for several years to bring broadband to the unserved in Sullivan County (Upstate New York.) Neither Verizon nor Time Warner Cable is willing to service these people even though New York State will probably pay the entire cost.

The FCC since Genachowski has been sticking its head in the sand on this. This became obvious in 2009-2010 when nearly no one applied for the $5B or so in the broadband stimulus to reach the unserved. NTIA & RUS made the enormous error of spending the money on projects generally with little value. Now, the FCC is spending $B's in CAF & USF that's supposed to reach the unserved but nearly none have been connected. As a practical matter, no one except the local cable and telco can connect these very scattered remaining homes at plausible cost. Unless you already have local facilities close by, it's prohibitively expensive to reach clusters that generally are only a few dozen homes.

Politics and incompetence like that, not unmanageable costs, are the real reason the U.S. and Canada have far more unserved than any other developed country, even when adjusted for population density.

Many thanks to Stop the Cap! and DSL Reports for pointing me to this story. 

The points the filing makes about Verizon not using the savings to build broadband are right on target, unfortunately. If the reading below on the requirements to do so is not contradicted, the FCC should get right back in. This looks like yet another case of the regulator believing a common lie of incumbent telcos: that money given or saved would be mostly invested in better networks. The EU, led first by Nellie Kroes, is getting that wrong in the tens of billions. Telcos are profit making companies and more likely to pass the savings/grants to their shareholders, not improved networks. 


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,