“Net neutrality” and “freedom to connect” might be loaded or vague terminologies; the label “Open Internet” is clearer, more effective, no way misleading. A group of Internet experts and pioneers submitted a paper to the FCC that defines the Open Internet and explains how it differs from networks that are dedicated to specialized services, and why that distinction is imortant. It’s a general purpose network for all, and can’t be appreciated (or properly regulated) unless this point and its implications are well understood. I signed on (late) to the paper, which is freely available at Scribd, and which is worth reading and disseminating even among people who don’t completely get it. I think the meaning and relevance of the distinction will sink in, even with those who don’t have deep knowledge of the Internet and, more generally, computer networking. The key point is that “the Internet should be delineated from specialized services specifically based on whether network providers treat the transmission of packets in special ways according to the applications those packets support. Transmitting packets without regard for application, in a best efforts manner, is at the very core of how the Internet provides a general purpose platform that is open and conducive to innovation by all end users.”
Numerous Internet and technology leaders issued a joint statement last night encouraging the FCC to expand its recent analysis of open Internet policy in a newly fruitful direction.
In the statement, they commend the agency’s recent request for input on “Two Underdeveloped Issues in the Open Internet Proceeding” for its making possible greater recognition of the nature and benefits of the open Internet — in particular, as compared to “specialized services.” In response to the FCC’s request, their submission illustrates how this distinction dispels misconceptions and helps bring about more constructive insight and understanding in the “net neutrality” policy debate.
Longtime network and computer architecture expert David Reed comments in a special blog posting: “It is historic and critical [to] finally recognize the existence of ‘the Open Internet’ as a living entity that is distinct from all of the services and the Bureaus, all of the underlying technologies, and all of the services into which the FCC historically has partitioned little fiefdoms of control.”
Another signer, John Furrier of SiliconANGLE, has publicized the statement, stating “the future Internet needs to remain open in order to preserve entrepreneurship and innovation.”
The statement’s signers are listed below. Please reply to me, Seth Johnson ([email protected]), to request contact information for those available for comment.