Dave Fadi 230No wonder Russia wants an alternate root. The two new board members are both Americans, Sarah Deutsch & Avri Doria. Almost all the 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. I know many of the board members. They are all basically honorable but generally share a strong opinion on North-South issues. 

China is 1/3rd of the Internet but has no representation on the board. The same for Russia. That's been true for at least 10 years. Avri's a friend and I respect Deutsch, but ICANN continues to exclude over half the Internet users. (Picture is Fadi on the right and me on the left. Thanks, Joly.)

In particular, CEO Fadi Chehadé in 2014 promised "a seat at the table" to Chinese Premier Li. 

In response, Fadi said, "China has made clear announcements that they are now supporting ICANN." He noted the U.S. control at the time made a Chinese board member impossible. I have a transcript below and the video has been preserved. ICANN welched.

Larry Strickling of the U.S. government knew just what he was doing with the IANA transition. He handed over the nominal control to a "global," multi-stakeholder organization that had a board with similar positions as the U.S. government. Senator Rubio, Donald Trump, Mike Reilly and others objected "The U.S. must keep control." 

Larry couldn't say publicly that the deck was stacked. The whole purpose of the move was to convince people a representative organization was taking over. The board is self-perpetuating. It could be a generation before it is representative. 

"The system is unsustainable while it excludes half the world," I have been saying since 2012. 

Here's the transcript. Thanks to Joly MacFie of ISOC NY for recording this. 

From an event in the Manhattan Borough President's office. The earlier part of the meeting was about the .nyc domain. Fadi said this about China.

"Our danger really was that the Chinese were going to announce they will have their own Internet and run away with their own root and leave us kind of a second Internet. That was the biggest danger we were facing. (Audience question) What would happen if they did? (Fadi continued) If they did, and it's a good point, if the Chinese separated their Internet I think the Internet as we know it - as a single platform to share ideas, to share commerce, with a minimum of barriers, with a minimum friction - inevitably if they separate the root we will have friction between the networks. They'll put rules, they'll connect walls.

To get into their Internet you need "x". To get out of their Internet you need "y." That's not the Internet we want. We want an Internet that is open as Tim Berners-Lee would say. That information and ideas and commerce flows through it. I think it very important to know that that danger largely is behind us. I just came from China yesterday and China has made clear announcements that they are now supporting ICANN, [inaudible] ICANN. They are legitimizing the root of ICANN, legitimizing that we want one single Internet. That's extremely powerful and notable this year. (Borough President Gail Brewer said) Congratulations. (Fadi continues) Yes, it is a huge, huge step forward for us.

Now, we are watching, we are not naive about the importance of this event and the importance of what it means. So in [inaudible] this week I was there with the CEO of, from New York here, Thomson-Reuters, the CEO of Linkedin, the CEO of Qualcomm and many others. We went to meet with Premier ?Li and Premier ?Li asserted and confirmed again that China is for one global Internet. Now, they had never said this before London. One global Internet. One Internet, One world. [inaudible name] said.

Now, the Chinese of course expect "One Internet, one world" means they have a seat at the table. That seat at the table was impossible so long as ICANN is, still today or will continue to be, under contract to the U.S. government. It just wasn't [partially inaudible. Possibly congruent.] We could just not tell the Chinese you have an equal seat at the table in one global Internet but sorry to inform you the root is really under contract to the U.S. government. It just wasn't going to go. I think this is pretty obvious at a basic level. Now, getting it all done is complicated and here we are."


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