The comment period on the FCC’s proposed rules on Open Internet Standards (NPRM) closed yesterday Jan 14 2010. The Internet Society (ISOC) took the opportunity to file comments . They are transcribed below:
January 14, 2010
Honorable Julius Genachowski, Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
RE: In the Matter of Preserving the Open Internet (GN Docket No. 09-191)
The Internet Society (ISOC) respectfully submits its comments on the above
referenced proceeding. In this proceeding, the Commission has noted that “standards
bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have played a significant
role in developing network management protocols” and has requested comment on
“whether the IETF, other standards bodies, or other third parties could help define more
precisely what practices are reasonable” (NPRM, pg 52). The proceeding also raises
the question of whether there are network management techniques that are consistent
with industry standards.
The Internet is built on technical standards, which allow devices, services, and
applications to be interoperable across a wide and dispersed network of networks.
Internet standards are developed by a group of organizations, some of which are
supported by the Internet Society (ISOC). This is a statement of the Internet Society’s
opinion, and is not to be interpreted as representing the opinion of any of these
standards developing organizations.
The Internet Society notes that, in addition to establishing the requirements for
interoperability, successful Internet standards share certain characteristics, described
- Freely accessible specifications: all relevant written specifications required to
implement the standard are available without fee or requirement of other
contractual agreement (such as a non-disclosure agreement).
- Unencumbered: it is possible to implement and deploy technology based on the
standard without undue licensing fees or restrictions.
- Open development: to produce relevant and broadly-accepted standards, it is
critical that all parties working with impacted technologies are able to participate
in and learn from the history of the development of an Internet standard.
- Always evolving: as the Internet itself continues to evolve, new needs for
interoperability are identified, so the standards that support it must evolve to
address identified technical requirements through open standards processes.
These characteristics ensure that all interested and technically capable parties
can participate in open standards development processes. In the case of network and
bandwidth management, network operators, content providers, and all other interested
technical experts need to be able to collaborate in an open environment. This model of
open standards development for the Internet results in specifications being developed
for the overall benefit of the Internet globally, rather than responding exclusively to any
particular industry, corporate or regional agenda. In so doing, the open development
model ensures global opportunities for innovation.
The Commission has asked whether standards bodies could define precisely
what is considered “reasonable”, and in the same paragraph asks “how to evaluate
whether particular network management practices fall into one or more of these
categories and on who should bear the burden of proof on that issue.” (NPRM, pg 52)
The Internet Society notes that while open Internet standards processes are invaluable
for establishing specifications for best practices, the question of evaluating whether a
given practice is implemented in a way that is reasonable or not (compliance) is outside
of their scope. By contrast, the open standards model lends itself to enabling
competitive self-governance, rather than imposition of rules, and fosters innovation in
the interests of the many, rather than the protection of a few.
Sally Shipman Wentworth
Regional Manager, North America