Interisle Files Comments in FCC's Network Neutrality Docket (15 July 2014)
Read Interisle's Filing to the FCC
The Federal Communications Commission has been struggling to find a framework for, in its words, "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet."
Most people simply refer to the topic by the tag line "network neutrality." But it's a much more complicated topic than most people realize,
and can't be solved by simple slogans. Nor, it seems, did the FCC itself have a good understanding of the problem when it framed its own questions.
Consequently, Interisle recommends a simple approach where the FCC treats all major subscriber access providers as common carriers that must
provide neutral transport for ISPs or others, and leave the Internet unregulated so that competition can flourish. This approach is consistent
with long-standing US telecommunications policy and existing laws.
The public Internet evolved out of private networks that had little need for security, were not open to the public, and relied more on policies
than technology to limit what they could be used for. The public Internet's business model and policies evolved in a competitive market that had
open entry into the ISP business. Customer-centric policies gave the illusion of neutrality, enforced by the customer's ability to change ISPs.
However, policy choices made by the FCC in the 2000-2005 time frame dramatically reduced ISP access to essential facilities, with the consequent
result that most independent ISPs have gone out of business. American consumers thus have a limited choice of one or two ISPs. This makes
discriminatory behavior by these dominant ISPs a more realistic threat, prompting public outcry.
While the FCC's proposed approach is to leave the cable/telephone duopoly in place and regulate all ISPs so that non-neutral behavior would have to be
"commercially reasonable," we propose an alternative approach. Interisle's Comment
calls for a layered approach where the underlying access networks between subscribers and ISPs, including DSL, cable, fiber, and cellular, should be
opened up as neutral common carrier transport services available to ISPs or others, while the Internet itself, including all activities from IP to
the application, should remain outside of common carrier regulation. This is essentially the model that worked prior to 2000 and which many other
parts of the world successfully adopted from the US, before the US changed course.