August 2nd, 2004

FCC Roundtable discussion on IP-based Services

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FCC conducted a Global Roundtable discussion on IP-based services (basically just VoIP) 2 days ago (30th July) and the webcast is available online. (via Jeff Pulver).

Yes, I sit infront of the computer for 2 hours and listen the whole webcast and here are some of my thoughts:

1. (Obvious) Take away: Regulation certainity is important for industry to invest billions/trillions to upgrade their infrastructure.

2. Jeff took the opportunity to bash some bad policies. :-) Well done! We need someone to say outloud the most obvious especially when there are lobbies on the other side.

3. The open-access issues raised by Tom Vest is a potential future problem. At this moment, we are aware of ISPs doing it, either block or ban the services outright or muffling the packets sufficient to make the quality very poor. But it is too early to say if regulators should step in on this ‘market-failure’ because (1) the outrage isn’t very big yet and (2) the industry haven’t got a chance at self-regulation yet. Given a choice, I prefer industry self-regulation.

4. Alcatel made their usual speech Internet Protocol is good but “Wild Wild West” Internet is bad. (Yes, my jaw dropped too when I first saw their ITU-NGN slides). Here is a clue: NGN wont be a brand-new network1. IPv6 couldn’t move people to move to a new network and “Quality” & “Security” arent disruptive enough for people to build a new one. Sorry, any network that doesn’t connect to the current “Wild Wild West” isn’t going to fly.

1 This is not to say I dont think the future wont have a new network. On the controdictory, I believe we will have a new network in future, within my lifetime. But it will be some radically different offering something the current Internet couldnt provide. It is probably hard to imaging why, how and what it is going to be like right now as it is difficult to imaging Internet in the 1970s.

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