Internet partitioning event regulations (was: RE: Sending vs requesting. Was: Re: Sprint / Cogent)

Lamar Owen lowen at
Wed Nov 5 16:59:09 UTC 2008

Charles Wyble charles at wrote:
> Lamar Owen wrote:
> > There are three ways that I know of (feel free to add to this list) to limit the events:
> > 1.) As you mentioned, regulation (or a government run and regulated backbone);
> Right. But what do we want this to look like?

Well, since I've already stepped out on a limb, here goes my try at a rough outline of what such a regulation might look like (with the caveat that this is likely too simple to actually make it as a regulation):
1.) Define the regulation's scope, that it is, who is being regulated and why.  In this case, I would say 'transit-free Internet carriers' are the who, and to maintain a 'complete Internet' is the why.
2.) Allocate regulatory responsibility and enforcement authority to an entity.  I would suggest the FCC would be appropriate.  (This outline might then be the start of a 47 CFR 221 or similar).
3.) Define 'transit-free Internet carrier.'  This has been done already by Patrick Gilmore and others, and done quite well.
4.) Define 'complete Internet.' I'm staying away from that one. ;-)
5.) Define 'peering arrangement.' This has also been done quite well by others, so I'll not repeat that here.
6.) Mandate that all transit-free Internet carriers shall maintain peering arrangements with all other transit-free Internet carriers to maintain a complete Internet (citing some law that makes a 'complete Internet' a national security matter, or somesuch, and belongs in 47 CFR 221 as a result).
7.) Mandate that only carriers who voluntarily accept this regulation may use the term 'Tier 1 Internet Provider' and provide penalties for Internet providers who wish to 'opt-out' of the regulation but who do not obtain transit from another provider.  IOW, become a Tier 2, no need for regulation.
8.) Authorize the issuance of a 'Tier 1 Internet Provider' license (that must be renewed periodically, with documentation supporting the Tier 1 status) to participating transit-free Internet carriers (for a fee to cover the opex).
9.) Authorize the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to enforce.
This is, IMHO, the best case regulatory scenario.  But I reserve the right to be wrong.  Not that it is a desired scenario, but as far as regulation goes I think it would be the scenario that does the least harm. 

> Hmmmm. I need to read that over. Thank you for the reference.

You're very welcome.  My previous career was as a broadcast chief operator.  Knowing 47 CFR Parts 1, 2, 73, 74, and 101 was part of that job (and a part I do not miss).  Radio (both amateur and professional) used to be, prior to the late 1920's, an unregulated free-for-all similar to the current state of the Internet; but that proved to be unworkable, eventually producing the Communications Act of 1934, which established the Federal Communications Commission with real authority to regulate radio.
If you want to see just how technically ridiculous such regulation can get, research the term 'CONELRAD' for a horrifying example. 
Now, on the flipside, current providers who also happen to be LEC's covered by 47 CFR 51 might actually not mind the addition of IP carriage to Part 51's scope.  Makes everything consistent for them and their legal departments.  But Part 51 is quite a bit more cumbersome than the simple 'Regulate the Tier 1's only' outline above, and carriers who are not already covered by Part 51 would likely raise a holy tantrum about it.
But I'm sure there are loopholes in my rough outline above; it's too simple to be real regulation. :-)

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