Network management refers to the activities, methods, procedures, and tools that pertain to the operation, administration, maintenance, and provisioning of networked systems.
Today, we find ourselves nearing another possible hinge moment. We’ve seen remarkable progress, but it feels like we’re still waiting for another huge breakthrough. Well, 5G could well be what we’re waiting for.
Going from 2G to 3G was the mobile equivalent of switching from dial-up to broadband. Similarly, the transition from 4G to 5G promises to be more than just incremental change— we could see dramatic improvements in network speed, capacity, and responsiveness that will make the impossible possible. One analysis by CTIA suggests that 5G could create three million jobs and over $500 billion in additional GDP growth over seven years in the United States.
[Commentary] It’s time to stop the regulatory foot-dragging and require the mobile phone industry to use its technology’s capabilities to deliver safety alerts with the same accuracy that delivers a taxi and the same functionality that delivers video. Immediately after the installation of the Trump Federal Communications Commission, the mobile carriers filed a petition to stop the implementation of the earlier decision on Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) improvements that were strongly advocated by the Center for Missing and Exploited Children as well as public safety managers across the country. The Trump FCC magnified the failure of the current system by not acting on the WEA improvements proposed last September. The new FCC majority even removed wireless alerts form the charter of the public safety and industry working group that made the original recommendations.
If the Obama FCC regulations and recommendations were in effect, geo-targeting could deliver the precise message to specific audiences; those messages could contain links to maps and other important information; and the ability to link with users would allow the collection of information from victims, providing a rapid triage among survivors and targeting the delivery of rescue and other services. Instead, in Houston, victims overloaded the 911 system and public safety officials had to resort to social media. The FCC must learn from what happened in Hurricane Harvey.
[Tom Wheeler is a visiting fellow with the Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation, and former Chairman to the FCC.]
Delaware became the latest state to pass legislation aimed at streamlining policies for the siting and deployment of small cells. And unlike some other states, Delaware’s effort apparently didn’t face much vocal opposition.
As expected, Gov John Carney (D-DE) signed House Bill 189—dubbed the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Investment Act—which enables carriers and their partners to apply to place small cells on public rights-of-way directly through the state’s department of transportation. The bill passed the Delaware General Assembly in July unanimously, according to The Coastal Point, a local media outlet. Naturally, the wireless industry was quick to praise the move.
Verizon announced that its existing unlimited data plan is being divided into three new options: Go Unlimited (starting at $75 for a single line), Beyond Unlimited ($85 for first line), and Business Unlimited. Unlike the relatively straightforward unlimited plan that Verizon surprised customers with in February, these new monthly plans are chock-full of fine print and caveats. And in a move sure to anger network neutrality advocates, the regular “Go Unlimited” plan throttles all smartphone video streaming to 480p / DVD-quality. The new plans go into effect beginning tomorrow, August 23rd, so this change is happening fast. Existing postpaid customers can keep their current plan, but some things will change even for them.
Paid Prioritization and Zero Rating: Why Antitrust Cannot Reach the Part of Net Neutrality Everyone Is Concerned About
As Internet-based distributors move up and down the stack to become vertically integrated platforms with a preferred suite of affiliated content, there is a growing concern among policymakers that innovation among independent content creators and websites may be threatened. More fundamentally, the Internet is not one thing—it is many things, and our current regulatory regimes are struggling to address that complexity. These new platforms give rise to potential conflicts of interest, in which it might pay for a vertically-integrated platform owner to sacrifice some profits (if any) in its distribution division in order to support an affiliated (or favored, third-party) application.
This essay focuses on identifying and fixing this potential regulatory gap when crafting a “net neutrality” policy—a set of rules or standards designed to spur innovation at the “edge” of the Internet by preventing Internet service providers (ISPs) from engaging in discriminatory conduct. But the essay could just as easily be directed at the powerful online platforms wielded by Amazon, Facebook, or Google. The applicability of this remedy to other parts of the Internet is natural, not because market power is paramount there (though it certainly exists), but because there is a large enough threat to innovation in adjacent markets to online shopping, social media, and search, respectively.
[Singer is Principal, Economists Inc., and Senior Fellow, George Washington Institute of Public Policy. The author has served as a consultant to both ISPs and independent cable networks in regulatory matters.]
Unlimited data plans are slowing down mobile speeds for Verizon and AT&T customers, according to data released by mobile network measurement company OpenSignal.
Verizon and AT&T reinstated their unlimited plans in February to compete with T-Mobile and Sprint, which have long offered unlimited data plans, and have since seen a deluge of demand. Greater data demand — either more data usage or more customers — means slower speeds. Think of it as increased traffic on a highway. Verizon and AT&T also have nearly double the subscribers of T-Mobile and Sprint, so changes in their offerings hit their networks harder. Carriers have long supported greater leeway to manage their networks as part of the US government’s fierce debate over net neutrality. T-Mobile’s unlimited plan often limits video streaming quality in a bid to ease the burden on its network; others like Verizon recently have tested similar tools to improve speeds. To staunch advocates of open internet rules, however, these techniques violate the spirit of federal safeguards meant to ensure all web traffic is treated equally. Both Verizon and AT&T saw a notable decline in speeds after introducing unlimited plans.
[Commentary] The current network neutrality regulations set forth in the 2015 Open Internet Order (2015 OIO) prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or throttling lawful content or engaging in paid prioritization of Internet traffic. These three “bright line rules” cover a wide swath of ISP practices and are intended to promote competition and ensure quality service transmission for content providers and end users. At the same time, however, they fail to consider more nuanced issues that complicate achieving these outcomes.
Christopher Yoo, Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and founding director of the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition, makes the case for one such issue in his recent work, “.” This post is the sixth in a series featuring the contents of a recent special issue of the Review of Industrial Organization, organized by the Technology Policy Institute and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition. Yoo argues that, contrary to the FCC’s claim in the Order, practices like zero rating can stimulate competition among infrastructure providers and edge services. He contends that zero rating should not be prohibited but rather handled on a case-by-case basis. He supports these claims with economic theory, competition theory, and a number of case studies featuring zero rating.
[Romzek is a 2017 Google Policy Fellow and Research Associate at the Technology Policy Institute. Wallsten is President and Senior Fellow at TPI]
Recently, Verizon was caught and subsequently admitted to throttling all video traffic on its network. July 25, the company is finally addressing the potential network neutrality issue. Verizon said that its actions represented “reasonable network management,” which is an exception carved out under the 2015 net neutrality rules. "Video optimization is a non-discriminatory network management practice designed to ensure a high quality customer experience for all customers accessing the shared resources of our wireless network,” a spokesperson said.
It’s pretty expected that Verizon would argue this. It said last week that its video throttling was a matter of “network testing” that would be “completed shortly,” and speeds since appear to have returned to normal. The trouble is, the order is a little vague on what constitutes “reasonable network management,” since the commission assumed it might take many different forms. But it has a handful of guidelines of what might and might not violate the exception. One important limitation: the practice must be “primarily motivated by a technical network management justification rather than other business justifications.”
T-Mobile said a new report from Ookla indicates its LTE network continues to provide the fastest average download speeds among major US wireless carriers. And the carrier made a point of noting that Verizon's and AT&T's networks have slowed since the bigger carriers have jumped aboard the unlimited bandwagon. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray claimed in a blog post that fresh Ookla data “based on millions of real-world customer experiences” using the Speedtest app shows that T-Mobile’s network ranked first in speed and LTE availability.
An Ookla representative said that the data has yet to be published but that Ookla reviewed T-Mobile’s claim before Ray’s post was published. “The real news is how dramatically both AT&T and Verizon’s networks have caved since making unlimited available to their customers—all while T-Mobile’s network has continued to soar,” Ray wrote before referring to a chart T-Mobile created based on the data. “That chart? That’s what it looks like when carriers jump into unlimited without doing the hard work to make sure their networks are ready. In that chart, you can see that Verizon has plunged all the way down to third place behind AT&T on network speed. That’s just in the first full quarter since offering unlimited.”
Assessing the Impact of Removing Regulatory Barriers on Next Generation Wireless and Wireline Broadband Infrastructure Investment
This study evaluates the estimated impact of the Federal Communications Commission’s recent efforts to remove barriers to investment into next-generation wireless and wireline broadband networks, and thereby to accelerate the transition from legacy copper networks to next-generation services.
We estimate that these proposed changes could have a significant impact not only on new wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure investment, but could also positively impact job creation, economic output and consumer welfare. Our models forecast that with these new rules in place, up to an incremental 26.7 million premises would become economical to serve with next generation networks, driving up to $45.3 billion in capital investment. This investment would be made by incumbent service providers across the country and is expected to take place over at least five years.