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

Blog posts tagged with 'Ip'

Friday, May 31

Talking Networks

By Brad

USTelecom recently held an event in Washington D.C. on the upgrade to all Internet-based networks and what that will mean from an engineering perspective. Participating were Richard Bennett, Senior Research Fellow at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation; Hank Hultquist, Vice President, Federal Regulatory for AT&T; Kevin Krufky, Vice President of Alcatel-Lucent; and Walter McCormick, President ande CEO of USTelecom.

Here’s video of the discussion:


Some choice quotes:

“We need to create some sort of framework that allows for the fact that technology constantly improves. In order for these constant improvements in technology to come out into the marketplace and to reach people’s lives, we need to not be held back by regulators that are committed to a status quo that really no longer applies.” — Richard Bennett

“It is absolutely imperative when you think about the public policy goals that we not start from the presumption that whatever solution worked with the phone network will work for IP. That presumption will almost always prove to be false.” — Hank Hultquist

“The old telephone network is regulated in an extremely granular fashion. Every feature and functionality of that network is governed by the FCC and mountains of paperwork. In switching from that to a pure IP world, not everything in those regulations fits, the technologies work differently, but ultimately from a consumer perspective you’ll get the same or better services.” — Kevin Krufky

Tuesday, May 14

Right Direction, Wrong Speed

By IIA

Late last week, the FCC’s Technology Transitions Policy Task Force announced it was issuing Public Notice seeking comment on proposed “beta” trials to transition America’s networks to all-IP. Below are reactions to the announcement from IIA leadership.

From Honorary Chairman and former Congressman Rick Boucher:

”The FCC’s recognition of the importance of the move from TDM to all-IP networks is a welcome building block, but it’s disappointing that comprehensive IP transition trials have not been authorized.  Only through a comprehensive examination can potential issues be identified and addressed and consumers be protected.”

From Co-Chairman Bruce Mehlman:

“The Commission is steering in the right direction, but traveling at the wrong speed. Fully committing to all-IP networks would bring the greatest benefits to consumers and best-equip America to compete on a global scale. Baby steps won’t keep pace with technology.”

From Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons:

“The three areas on which the FCC seeks comment are all important pieces of the puzzle, but instead of a piecemeal approach to figuring out challenges with the IP Transition, the Commission should quickly adopt a holistic strategy, including well-defined trials in designated wire centers, to bring broadband-enabled benefits in health care, education and entrepreneurship to all Americans.”

For further reading, check out FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s statement on the FCC’s Public Notice.

 

Tuesday, April 09

Brave New IP World

By Jamal Simmons

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Tossing the TV is more evidence in favor of phone companies transitioning to all-IP.

As Ryan Nakashima from the Associated Press recently reported, there’s a dramatic shift afoot in how people are consuming entertainment:

Some people have had it with TV. They’ve had enough of the 100-plus-channel universe. They don’t like timing their lives around network show schedules. They’re tired of $100-plus monthly bills.

A growing number of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV service and don’t even use an antenna to get free signals over the air. These people are watching shows and movies on the Internet, sometimes via cellphone connections.

According to Nakashima, these TV tossers have been given a name by the Nielsen group—“Zero TV” households—and their numbers are increasing. In 2007, there were just 2 million homes. Today? 5 million and counting.

While those numbers aren’t yet big enough for broadcasters and cable providers to hit the panic button, they show an undeniable trend. Things are changing fast, and consumers increasingly want more freedom in when and where they watch their favorite shows. The season premiere of Game of Thrones set a record for piracy, which tells you two things: HBO’s business model probably needs an overhaul, and more and more people are unwilling to wait to be entertained.

It’s easy to label millions of people illegally downloading a hit show as entitled, but they’re just the scouts in what will eventually be an all-out assault from consumers on traditional business models. And once the armada lands, we’ll need networks powerful enough to meet their demands.

Those networks will be all IP, or all Internet Protocol.

The transition to all IP networks will mean everything is done via the Internet — not just web surfing and streaming video, but home phone service as well. IP networks will also make viewing TV over the net more reliable and consistent, since it will give companies the ability to invest in upgrades without maintaining legacy networks people are increasingly abandoning.

This transition won’t happen overnight, nor should it. Millions of Americans still rely on traditional landlines, just as millions still happily pay for cable and watch broadcast TV over the air. Ensuring people can still depend on their home phones and watch their favorite shows is critical. The transition beta trials AT&T has proposed and the formation of the FCC’s Technology Transitions Policy Task Force to oversee regulatory concerns are good ways to step forward carefully.

The tide is definitely sweeping up toward an all IP future. The recent bump in TV viewers going online is just latest evidence. One day, we might all live in “Zero TV” households, and if everything goes smoothly — if government and industry work together — we won’t even notice how radically things have changed. The home phone will still be the home phone and TV will still be TV; the only difference will be how they’re delivered.

Friday, April 05

How Does the Internet Facilitate Engagement?

By Brad

Our Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons recently talked with Marc Strassman of Etopia News about our look at the evolution of March Madness online, the IP transition, the need for spectrum dedicated to wireless, and more. Here’s one of a number of clips we’ll be posting over the next few days.

The full interview is available at Etopia News.

Wednesday, April 03

Moving Telecom Policy Forward

By Brad

Our own Bruce Mehlman has an opinion piece in The Street today examining the current state of telecom policy and how outdated regulations are holding a vibrant industry back. Here’s a taste:

As with government, the ability of businesses to invest is not unlimited. When demanding investment in redundant copper networks to preserve the status quo for an ever-shrinking minority of consumers, policy makers directly rob investment from faster broadband networks that serve the ever-growing majority of consumers. That’s the wrong choice.

Today’s broadband marketplace is hyper-competitive, rapidly innovating and most enabled by less regulation and a lighter regulatory approach to advance the public interest and best serve consumers. It’s clear that outmoded telecommunications regulations designed in the pre-broadband, pre-smart phone era no longer advance America’s future.

You can read the full op-ed at The Street.

Monday, April 01

Where Things Are Going

By Brad

Our Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher has penned an op-ed for Reuters on the transition to all-IP networks. Here’s a taste:

As with the adoption of any new technology, the move to IP networks offers challenges and opportunities. A majority of Americans have already changed from voice-only telephone networks. Roughly 93 percent of U.S. households subscribed to switched-access phone service a decade ago, according to USTelecom, today it’s less than one-third and is projected to decline to one-quarter of households by the end of 2013.

Moving the dwindling number of consumers still on copper technology will likely require a public-private partnership that can ensure no one is left behind while also providing access to affordable 21st century technologies.

You can read the full op-ed at Reuters.

 

Thursday, March 28

IIA Hill Academy Re-Cap

By Brad

This morning in Washington, D.C., IIA hosted an Internet Academy featuring our Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher and former Congressman Mike Oxley. The discussion covered a range of topics, including policy issues around the transition to all-IP networks, and the importance of thoughtful planning by policymakers for continued investment in next-generation networks.

A key point brought up by Boucher was the 1996 Communications Act, which was written to address the technology of yesterday. As networks migrate away from outdated copper phone-lines, Boucher argued, the regulatory framework needs to be upgraded. Oxley focused on the tight relationship between policy and innovation, and the need to preserve a competitive environment as updates are made to communications policy.

All in all, it was a great discussion. Our thanks to Mike Oxley for participating. And for those unable to attend, we’ll have video soon.

Wednesday, March 27

A Boon for the Economy

By Brad

In a smart op-ed for Politico, former FCC official David Goodfriend and former White House senior member Brad Blakeman make the case that freeing up more spectrum for wireless and accelerating the transition to all-IP networks will be a boon for the American economy:

The FCC can build on the proven economic engine of wireless networks and address the current spectrum shortage by identifying additional spectrum that can be allocated and auctioned to wireless providers for their exclusive use to serve America’s mobile consumers. The agency also can move quickly to carry out a congressional mandate that recently relinquished broadcaster spectrum be made available at auction and re-purposed for consumer mobile broadband services. And just for good measure, it should speed its decision-making process for private spectrum transactions pending before the agency.

A vibrant digital economy requires a regulatory framework that promotes 21st-century wireless and wireline infrastructure. Today, incumbent local exchange carrier wireline networks remain stuck in the past century in terms of technology and regulation. These copper-based networks, first deployed in 1878, were designed primarily to provide voice telephone service when no other network or voice service was available to a consumer. While consumers today communicate using many alternative broadband services and providers — including voice over IP (or VOIP), wireless, email, text and gaming platforms — FCC rules require only incumbent telephone companies to maintain and operate two redundant networks — the old copper network and the advanced high-speed broadband IP networks to which millions of consumers are migrating.

The full op-ed is definitely worth checking out.

 

Thursday, March 21

The Great Online Video Migration

By Brad

Speaking of milestones, online video service YouTube has hit a rather big number. As USA Today reports:

YouTube says more than 1 billion people are now visiting its online video site each month to watch everything from zany clips of cute kittens to sobering scenes of social unrest around the world.

YouTube has always been popular, but a billion people a month is quite the achievement. It also highlights the major shift in viewing habits, with more and more people turning to online video — especially on mobile devices — for entertainment and information. Keeping up with this consumer migration will require a smart path forward from both providers and the government. As our own Jamal Simmons wrote yesterday:

As media companies look for new ways to deliver content directly to mobile devices, wireless companies and the FCC should find new ways to provide the broadband capacity for consumers to enjoy these choices. It is critical that we have a regulatory environment that encourages innovation like freeing up spectrum and exploring the transition to all-IP networks which holds great promise for satisfying consumer broadband demand.

Wednesday, March 20

Satisfying Consumer Broadband Demand

By Jamal Simmons

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Brian Stelter of the New York Times recently reported ABC is working on an app for live streaming shows to mobile devices. According to the report, “The app, which would stream programming to the phones and tablets of cable and satellite subscribers, could become available to some subscribers this year.”

As media companies look for new ways to deliver content directly to mobile devices, wireless companies and the FCC should find new ways to provide the broadband capacity for consumers to enjoy these choices. It is critical that we have a regulatory environment that encourages innovation like freeing up spectrum and exploring the transition to all-IP networks which holds great promise for satisfying consumer broadband demand.

Tuesday, March 19

Broadband & Basketball

By Brad

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To coincide with the kick-off of March Madness — which is one of the most online-watched sports events in America — we’ve assembled the below timeline, which shows the evolution of online viewership of the Tournament. As you can see, the timeline begins in 1996 with a simple web page — the same year Congress passed a landmark Telecom Act that referenced the Internet just once.

Timeline: Evolution of March Madness Consumption

1996: The NCAA creates the first online computer page for the Final Four.

2003: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports, and the NCAA first partner to produce NCAA March Madness on Demand, the official online platform of the tournament offering basketball live feeds, as well as on demand video streaming.

2005: CBS begins a two-year deal with CSTV.com for exclusive Internet video streaming rights for out-of-market game coverage for the first 58 games of the championship.

2006: March Madness on Demand sees 19 million video streams and 5 million visits.

2007: Due to 2006 traffic, CBS Sportsline doubles its bandwidth capacity for March Madness on Demand, which offers free live Internet streams of each game of the first three rounds of the championship.

2008: CBSSports.com and March Madness on Demand launch a developer platform that allows more than 200 websites to carry live video of the championship online, including sites such as ESPN.com, Yahoo, SI.com, YouTube and Facebook. CBS allows users to watch all 63 games that it telecasts during the tournament for the first time, and sees the total number of unique visitors from first-round games through the regional championship games grow from 1.75 million to 4.33 million.

2011: Akamai’s global network is used to provide live and on-demand streaming video across broadband and mobile applications. Akamai delivers live games and on demand content to more than 1.9 million unique visitors per day on broadband sites and more than 680,000 daily visitors to mobile applications. By the event’s end, there is a 63 percent increase in total visits across the 2011 NCAA March Madness on Demand broadband and mobile products, and a 17 percent increase in online video consumption throughout the tournament compared to the previous year. This year, for the first time, live streaming video of every game of the tournament is available online.

2012: The Android phone is added as a viewing platform for NCAA March Madness Live (formerly March Madness on Demand). NCAA.com/March Madness Live, CBSSports.com, SI.com, TruTV.com, TNT.tv and TBS.com deliver over 220 million visits across online and mobile platforms. This marks an 11% increase from 198 million in 2011.

What’s in store for 2013? The timeline indicates that consumer demand to watch March Madness online, particularly via mobile devices, will likely continue increasing exponentially, so we’re crossing our fingers for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action to accelerate the Internet Protocol (IP) Transition and competitive, open spectrum auctions that will quickly bring more spectrum to market. A move to next-generation networks and sound federal spectrum policy will be wins for consumers and the economy.

Monday, March 11

Tech & Texas

By Bruce Mehlman

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The city of Austin is some 1,500 miles away from Washington, D.C., but during my time at the South by Southwest tech conference over the weekend, I couldn’t help but see a strong connection between what was happening at the conference and what is currently being debated inside the Beltway.

SXSW is all about startups, gadgets, and apps, and this year’s conference was especially heavy on the hardware. From wearable computers and smart thermostats, to new game consoles and miniscule cameras, cool devices were everywhere. Exploring the conference, you can’t help but think over and over again that we live in truly amazing times. But as a tech policy wonk, I was constantly reminded there are crucial issues on the table in Washington that could have a dramatic effect on the gadgets of tomorrow.

One is the critical need for more spectrum for mobile broadband providers, a problem the FCC’s upcoming incentive auctions could go a long way toward solving — as long as they are open to all bidders.

The other is the coming transition to all-IP networks, and the regulatory hurdles that could slow the process down. Last week, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said he strongly supported pilot programs to explore sun-setting legacy copper network in favor of IP. Hopefully, his fellow Commissioners agree.

If SXSW attendees this past weekend thought about the networks that power all the cool devices on display, they were probably focused on signal strength or how fast a tweet made it off their smartphone. Mobile broadband has come so far so fast that it’s already close to an afterthought. But without ongoing investment and smart policies, all the innovation on display in Austin could be hampered by congested networks and red tape applied 1,500 miles away. SXSW is an event where cool ideas take off. Washington is a place where regulatory hurdles can easily ground ideas before they have a chance to leave the runway.

Thursday, March 07

Commissioner Pai Strongly Supports Pilot Programs for IP Transition

By Brad

At an event hosted by the Hudson Institute earlier today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai discussed the transition to all-IP networks. During his speech, Pai spoke of two paths the Commission could take when it comes to regulations and technology. One path is rooted in the past — and outdates rules — that could hinder investment and innovation. The other path leads to the future, or the “all-IP world,” as he called it, which has great benefits for health care, education, public safety, and most of all consumers.

Noting that the FCC up until now had a foot on each path, Pai didn’t shy away from his belief that the Commission should be working toward the future, stating the FCC’s decisions around the IP transistion will have “dramatic and real world consequences.” He then made plain his preference for a pilot program — put forward to the FCC by AT&T — to upgrade legacy copper networks to all-IP. As John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable reports:

“The FCC has sought and received comments on a proposal to create an All-IP Pilot Program,” Pai said in a speech to the Hudson Institute. “I’ve reviewed the record carefully. And having done so, I am proposing today that the FCC move forward with this program.”

Pai also noted that in 2011 alone, there were over 317 million wireless connections in the U.S., and at least 47% of all households had “cut the cord” — meaning, dropped traditional landline service in favor of wireless or VoIP. This, he joked, pointed to the IP transition being as “inevitable as another reality series starring a Kardashian.”

You can watch a replay of Pai’s speech here.

Wednesday, February 27

Everything Connected

By Bruce Mehlman

Reporting from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the AP’s Peter Svensson looks at the coming machine-to-machine revolution:

Companies are promising that machine-to-machine, or M2M, technology will deliver all manner of services, from the prosaic to the world-changing. At U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.‘s booth here at the show, there’s a coffeepot that can be ordered to start brewing from a tablet computer, or an Internet-connected alarm clock. A former president of Costa Rica is also at the show, talking about how M2M can save massive amounts of greenhouse gases by making energy use more efficient — enough to bring mankind halfway to the goal of halting global warming.

The M2M phenomenon is part of the larger drive to create an “Internet of Things” — a global network that not only links computers, tablets and phones but that connects everything from bikes to washing machines to thermostats. Machina Research, a British firm, believes there will be 12.5 billion “smart” connected devices, excluding phones, PCs and tablets, in the world in 2020, up from 1.3 billion today.

Driving the M2M movement will be advanced networks — both wired and wireless — able to power the constant flow of data. To get there will take investment. As my fellow Chair Jamal Simmons recently wrote in Fierce Telecom:

[F]or consumers, businesses and our nation as a whole to benefit from the opportunities enabled by a high-speed, all IP-based broadband network, the entire ecosystem must invest.

Monday, February 25

Statement on Beta Trials For All-IP Transition

By IIA

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IIA Says Proposed Beta Trials Are Best Way to Accelerate the Transition to All-IP Networks and Services in America

Emphasizes that consumer trends and explosive broadband growth have ended ILEC dominance in voice market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 25, 2013 – The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) today issued the following statement regarding its reply comments on AT&T’s Internet Protocol Transition Petition and its comments on the United States Telecom Association’s (USTA) Petition calling on the FCC to declare incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) as non-dominant in the provision of switched access services:

“AT&T’s proposed limited beta trials epitomize sound policy-making and will provide an open and transparent process in which the FCC can accelerate the transition to all-IP networks and services in America. Initial comments fail to make a compelling argument on why the FCC should not move forward with the beta trials. Consumer trends, particularly the overwhelming preference for wireless and Internet-based services as the primary means of communications over plain old telephone service, demonstrate that ILECs are no longer dominant in thevoice market. The evidence suggests the consumer benefits associated with the IP transition far outweigh any potential costs identified by opponents.

“Failing to acknowledge the dynamic innovation, economic growth, and overall benefits the broadband market offers to consumers and businesses as a result of a ‘light touch’ regulatory approach ignores the primary reason why the Internet has flourished in the U.S. Despite this success, certain commenters now seek torevisit the FCC’s previous forbearance decisions by looking for ways to bring ‘old rules to all networks.’ To continue expanding the array of social and economic benefits for American business and consumers, the Commission should ignore the call of entities seeking to expand legacy regulations in an all-IP world.”

To read the IIA’s full comments, visit here, or go to the FCC’s website.

Simmons in Fierce Telecom

By Brad

In an op-ed for Fierce Telecom, our Co-Chair Jamal Simmons encourages heavy investment in the transition to all-IP networks. Here’s a taste:

Many observers view this move to the future with enthusiasm. While technological advancements have granted the nation with significant benefits, many people still approach change with caution. Others will advocate for the status quo in order to retain their business models built on old technologies and favorable regulations. For example, many CLECs provide service dependent on regulated access to old Bell networks at subsidized rates. Once upon a time, regulated access may have made sense to provide a competitive alternative to the existing Bell telephone monopoly. In today’s marketplace, however, many providers compete to offer communications services. CLECs in general have failed to use their subsidized access to fund widespread investment and deployment of IP-based services, and instead have banked on the fact that they would have this favorable access in perpetuity. But for consumers, businesses and our nation as a whole to benefit from the opportunities enabled by a high-speed, all IP-based broadband network, the entire ecosystem must invest.

You can read Simmons’ full op-ed over at Fierce Telecom.

Friday, February 08

#17yrsago

By Brad

Wednesday, February 06

Simmon in The Root

By Brad

Our Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons has penned an op-ed for The Root on the coming transition to all-IP networks and what its effect will be on America’s still lingering digital divide. Here’s a taste:

Putting smart policies in place to promote the IP transition would help address these concerns. With the right incentives, incumbent telephone companies could invest in and build faster, more robust and more dynamic IP-based networks that would provide residential customers with additional competitive choices for video, high-speed broadband and voice services. Accelerating the IP transition would also have the positive effect of shifting the cost burden of maintaining antiquated, legacy voice networks away from voice subscribers in communities of color, who would disproportionately have to pay the costs of maintaining outdated networks without the benefit of access to new services provided by next-generation networks being built at the same time.

You can read the full op-ed over at The Root.

Monday, January 28

Mehlman at State of the Net

By Brad

Last week, our Co-Chairman Bruce Mehlman appeared on a panel as part of the State of the Net in Washington, D.C. The discussion, “The Internet Leadership Challenge: Restoring America to Economic Greatness Through Sound Internet Policy,” was moderated by Joe Waz, Senior Strategic Adviser to the Comcast Corporation. Also on the panel were Blair Levin, Communications & Society Fellow, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

Here’s video of the discussion, which touches on President Obama’s legacy, taxation of the Internet, and the transition from legacy networks to all-IP.

In Support of the IP Transition

By Brad

Last Friday, IIA submitted comments to the FCC on AT&T’s recent petition regarding the transition from copper wire networks to networks that are all Internet Protocol (IP) based. From those comments:

While the era of the telecom monopoly is long over, monopoly-era regulations persist. In some ways this is predictable, since markets move faster than government, and entrepreneurs innovate more rapidly than policy makers.  By way of example, one of the most counter-productive, monopoly-era regulations still on-the-books is the requirement for legacy carriers to continue maintaining redundant legacy copper (nonIP) networks even when they are no longer needed for the carrier to serve its customers. While these rules made sense at the dawn of the Internet era when little, if any, competition existed, voice remained the essential product and telephone networks had been built via government-guaranteed-rate-of-return exclusivity, they have longbeen overtaken by events. For example, in many regions incumbent telephone companies have retained less than 30 percent of the customers, yet they are still required to cover 100 percent with their pre-IP, voice-grade networks. Voice is today just another application delivered over multiple IP platforms.

You can read our full comments, penned by our Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher and Co-Chairs Bruce Mehlman and Jamal Simmons, here.

 

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