Net Neutrality Legislative Proposal

Seth Johnson seth.johnson at
Mon Jul 10 21:58:28 UTC 2006

The proposal is designed to straighten out the current misguided
discourse on NN, which actually would end up ending NN either way
-- the "pro-NN" legislative proposals would essentially say
similar applications need to be treated the same, thereby
authorizing the breaking of the separation of layers.

Our point is, as I think you see, that the merits of the
Internet's design are for application flexibility as provided by
the nature if the transport, and this design needs to be
recognized in policy that intends to enforce neutrality, because
that design will be lost as a result of the current discussion.

Many observe that present practices already block or disfavor
certain applications.  We want those practices to be the
substance of the discussion, and the discussion should be on the
right basis.  The proposal is designed to accomplish that (and we
believe we have already had that effect -- Snowe and Dorgan may
have modified their amendment to the Stevens Bill, withdrawing
their original proposal and introducing a simple additional
principle to the FCC's list, in response to the concerns we
expressed that they would unintentionally actually end up ending
NN.  And, while common carrier is not necessarily the only
solution, we think that the consumer groups pursuing NN settled
on a position of going back  to common carrier a la Internet II
as a result of the concerns we raised).

A lot of times, we've found many people looking at NN in more
deterministic or behavioral terms, as in rules about practices
that network providers must obey.  The thing to "get" about this
proposal is that if it passed, the result is really to preserve
and separate the standards.  If everybody proceeded to offer the
same services, with little tiny asterisked notices in their
advertising that "this is not Internet per US Code XXX" we'd
still achieve the critical outcome.

We think it's the right position to present, and it's critical
that it be presented now.  Of course, we can't exactly fault
people who are engaged in the discussion at the level of what
existing practices are.

NANOG folks would either sign out of simple dedication end-to-end
purity, or knowing that starting from this place, other issues
will be addressed appropriately.  And note, it is designed not to
legislate engineering -- only to say that what may be called
Internet needs to actually follow the standard, described here in
abstract terms in terms of the router behavior.  This preserves
the standards against their being trumped by incumbents who are
asserting they can go ahead and offer priced, tiered services,
and against letting local peering policies of certain incumbents
(or port blocking practices of "consumer internet," etc.) from
gaining priority due to their position in the market.


Valdis.Kletnieks at wrote:
> On Mon, 10 Jul 2006 15:25:55 EDT, Seth Johnson said:
> >      (2) Any person engaged in interstate commerce that charges
> >          a fee for the provision of Internet access must in fact
> >          provide access to the Internet in accord with the above
> >          definition, regardless whether additional proprietary
> >          content, information or other services are also
> >          provided as part of a package of services offered to
> >          consumers.
> So how does all this mumbo-jumbo square up with the common practices of
> blocking SMTP and the 135-139/445 ports to protect your own infrastructure from
> the mass of malware that results if you don't block it?  And does this mean
> that my Verizon DSL isn't 'The Internet' because the customer side of the modem
> hands me a DHCP address in RFC1918 space? For bonus points - is the DSL *still*
> "not the Internet" if I bring my own DSL modem or hand-configure the DSL one to
> mitigate the effects of NAT brain damage?
> What percentage of cable and DSL access is an "unfair or deceptive act"
> per the definition of this?
>   -----------------------------------------------------------------
>    Part 1.2Type: application/pgp-signature


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