Having been a member of the Committee for this past year, I'm pleased to share that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "Open Internet Advisory Committee" has published its first annual report -- available here.
Why download and read the report? Well, have you ever wondered about the future of the Internet, based on the economic impacts of usage based pricing and data caps? Questioned whether open Internet is applicable to the mobile application world? Tried to puzzle through the implications of delivering local video services over the same IP infrastructure as over the top Internet video services? Wanted to help a parent puzzle through the merits of different Internet access providers? If you answered yes to any of these or similar questions, you will be interested to read the Committee's reflections, captured in this report.
The report is weighty -- 98pp if you kill trees to print it. The OIAC was established as part of the US FCC Open Internet activity and Open Internet Report and Order from 2010. The FCC appointed expert committee members from a broad range of commercial, academic, and not-for-profit organizations. Four focus areas were identified early in the year and working groups were set up to tackle specific topics, each contributing to the annual report:
- Economic Impacts of Open Internet Frameworks
- Mobile Ecosystem
- Specialized Services
On the whole, having been part of the sausage-making, I do have to recommend it as a useful piece in articulating many aspects of the issues that are being discussed the world over in terms of how regulators might think about handling access networks in the light of keeping the Internet open. Clearly, there are aspects of this that are capitalist-oriented, if not strictly US-centric. Nevertheless, there are no magic answers! This is a report *to* the US government, to inform its thinking on future possibilities. Other parts of the world have a very different approach to building out and ensuring high quality Internet access networks.
We would love to hear other perspectives.