Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Tuesday, April 20

IIA Video:  Engaging the Young

By IIA

Cornell Belcher discusses organizing young demographics through the Internet.

The Public as Regulator

By Brad

As various organizations and interest groups declare that the Internet is doomed in the wake of the FCC’s loss in its case against Comcast, BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker — whose company was at the center of the case — has a different take on the FCC’s apparent lack of authority when it comes to regulating the Internet. Reports PC World:

Carriers probably won’t try to be gatekeepers against certain websites or Internet-based services because the steps they would have to take, [Klinker] said.

“For example, if (carriers) wanted to extract a rent from Google, one of the carriers in this room is going to have to blink first and block Google,” Klinker said. The greater threat to the Internet may be Apple’s “feudal” approach to the Internet, he said. Apple has come under fire for controlling access to popular, lucrative platforms of its own creation, such as iTunes and the iPhone App Store.

Most people basically want net neutrality, so it would be hard for carriers to justify network management measures that are seen as discriminatory, Klinker said. What consumers will embrace are moves to ease congestion during busy times.

The Unintended Consequences of Title II

By Bruce Mehlman

In an op-ed for CNet, Larry Downs from the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society examines some of the many issues involved with reclassifying broadband as a Title II type service:

Although the objective of that fight might simply be to enact Net neutrality rules and otherwise leave broadband providers alone (for now), expect to find some odd bedfellows joining the resistance. The communications industry, which has operated for the last several years under the belief that unregulated broadband Internet was settled law, would lead the charge. But there are plenty of other constituencies that would object to the FCC’s playing fast and loose with its governing statute.

That includes members of Congress who might otherwise be sympathetic to the Net neutrality cause but worried about an agency usurping legislative power. The courts, which believe that they are the only ones that get to reverse court decisions, might also prove hostile to the idea of upending Brand X on the mere promise of a “good reason.”

Consumers, too, might find common cause with the antireclassification movement. Even if some consumers like the idea of FCC-enforced Net neutrality rules, most Americans are justifiably skeptical of untethered legislating by unelected civil servants.

Given the legislative and legal mess reclassifying broadband could lead to, it’s not wonder Chairman Julius Genachowski told the Senate Commerce Committee the FCC hasn’t “settled on a path forward” yet.

Monday, April 19

$126 Billion

By Brad

That’s how much companies are planning to invest this year alone in areas such as information technology and wireless infrastructure upgrades, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In other words, the Internet business is booming.

A Major Distruption

By Brad

GigaOm reports that SeaNeWe-4, one of the undersea cables that connects Europe and the Middle East, has been cut. This, of course, is leading to major problems for Internet traffic in the regions.

Interesting sidenote: There are just three cables that connect that part of the world, and each runs pretty much along the same route beneath the Mediterranean Sea. The more you know…

Unnecessary Regulations

By Brad

The editorial board at the Washington Post believes that some oversight of the Internet is necessary, but that FCC regulation isn’t the answer:

For the past eight years, the FCC has rightly taken a light regulatory approach to the Internet, though it believed it had authority to do more. Now that the agency has lost in court, some advocates in the technology industries are urging the agency to invoke a different section of law and subject ISPs to more aggressive regulation, until now reserved for telephone companies and other “common carriers.” Such a move could allow the FCC to dictate, among other things, rates that ISPs charge consumers. This level of interference would require the FCC to engage in a legal sleight of hand that would amount to a naked power grab. It is also unnecessary: There have been very few instances where ISPs have been accused of wrongdoing—namely, unfair manipulation of online traffic—and those rare instances have been cleared up voluntarily once consumers pressed the companies. FCC interference could damage innovation in what has been a vibrant and rapidly evolving marketplace.

Broadband Fact of the Week

By IIA

Fact of the Week

In 2008, the 94 percent of U.S. schools with Internet access used almost exclusively broadband connections, but residentially-based broadband in rural areas continues to lag the availability in metropolitan regions.

— Robert LaRose et. al., “Closing the Rural Broadband Gap,” Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, Michigan State University. November 30, 2008.

More facts about broadband.

Friday, April 16

iBan

By Brad

Apple’s iPad may be selling like hot cakes here in America, but in Israel it’s being confiscated. From the Associated Press:

Customs officials said Thursday they have already confiscated about 10 of the lightweight tablet computers since Israel announced the new regulations this week. The ban prevents anyone — even tourists — from bringing iPads into Israel until officials certify that they comply with local transmitter standards.

At issue is whether Apple’s device affects other wireless devices in Israel, but it’s expected to be cleared up before the iPad officially launches in the country later this year.

Before the Senate

By Brad

On Wednesday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski testified before the Senate Commerce Committee about the commission’s recent loss in court and the National Broadband Plan. As Broadband Breakfast reports, the senators had some stinging criticism:

[Genachowski was] chided strongly by senators for a proposal “long on vision, but short on tactics,” as described by panel Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Rockefeller was particularly disappointed with FCC chief Julius Genachowski’s strategy of prolific requests for public comment on key issues instead of commission votes and actions.

Just seeking comment on a slew of issues is not enough,” Rockefeller told Genachowski, who was the lone witness at the hearing. “It’s action that counts.”

Things were also heated from across the aisle:

The ranking Republican on the panel, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, was equally irate with the FCC for different reasons. “I am…concerned by the aggressive regulatory posture being conveyed by the commission,” she said. “If the FCC were to take the action…reclassifying broadband without a directive from Congress…the legitimacy of the agency would be seriously compromised.”.

After the FCC v. Comcast ruling, Chairman Genachowski is in a tight spot: On one hand, he has committed the FCC to net neutrality regulations, but the federal court ruling appears to have stripped the commission of the power to implement them. On the other, he acknowledges that the goals put forward in the National Broadband Plan will require hundreds of billions in private investment — investment that may evaporate in the wake of new regulations on broadband providers.

Cyber Diplomacy

By Brad

Today’s New York Times has an interesting read on the differences between how the U.S. and Russia view cybersecurity:

The United States has succeeded in creating a global 24-hour, seven-day network of law enforcement agencies in 50 nations, which have agreed to collect and share data in response to computer attacks and intrusions. While officials from both nations said that law enforcement cooperation had improved, the Russians have refused to sign the European cybercrime treaty, which the United States strongly backs.

At the same time, for the past 13 years, the Russians have been trying to interest the United States in a treaty in which nations would agree not to develop offensive cyberweapons or to conduct attacks on computer networks. The United States has repeatedly declined to enter into negotiations, arguing instead that improved law enforcement cooperation among countries is all that is necessary to combat cybercrime and cyberterrorism.

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