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Sunday, March 24, 2013

FCC OIAC: 'Heavy' Managed or 'Specialized Services' definitions

As the revolving door at the FCC ushers out 2 Commissioners and will no doubt result in more delicious political lobbying and public mudflinging as the new Chair is confirmed, action IS taking place - and not only in the Bleak House that is the Open Internet Order legitimacy court case (expected judgment now sweaty summer 2013).
The OIAC has been busy in its working groups - and January's presentation gives plenty to chew over on the thorny subject of when is the Internet not the Internet, i.e. when a managed service lane can be partitioned out of the regular open IP stream?
The working assumptions - that require case studies to flesh out their details are:
"Specialized services is a term that is meaningful only within the context of the Order. It is a way to talk about “anything else” that is IP-based over a physical access path. It is NOT a new category of service for which a class of regulation is applicable."
Moreover "service is NOT a specialized service, and therefore is subject to the Order if: [1] The service is a general service—e.g. a service like IP on which higher-level services can run, and [2]  As opposed to a specific “user-level” service like telephony or home security, which is presumably a specialized service, it reaches most or almost all of the end-points of the Internet. E.g.—one cannot evade the Order by offering an Internet-like service that cannot reach a small country somewhere."
This must be right? It limits the reach of specialized services that evade the Order. Take an example "If [a DSL or cable ISP] decided to offer a “poor” Internet service, would we view this as: Better than nothing or unacceptably slow[?] Perhaps they can call it Internet but not broadband?" Not we get to the heart of the matter - do we impose FRAND conditions and insist that slow service is NOT the 'real' Internet'? Food for thought...

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