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Dr. Rouzbeh Yassini

“Multiple news outlets including the NY Times were reporting that the FCC will not just weaken but eliminate its net neutrality program at a Commission meeting in the middle of this month.”

I am not surprised by the news last month that the FCC will do away with net neutrality at a meeting in mid-December, giving incumbent ISPs such as Telcos and cable operators a nice Christmas present for this year. Rather than a gift, it seems to me like its coal in the stocking for up-and-coming entrepreneurs and businesses who may lack the clout to potentially have to buy their way into what could become the next pay-per-play communications environment.

We have a brief report on the anticipated vote below, with a link to some extensive BCoE work we reported on in July.

On a more positive note, my colleague Paul Nikolich continues to report progress from the IEEE community as it churns ahead on important standards for next gen networks. Thank you all for your time spent reading our newsletter and your comments this year.

Is Net Neutrality a Goner?

Multiple news outlets including the NY Times were reporting that the FCC will not just weaken but eliminate its net neutrality program at a Commission meeting in the middle of this month. The dismantling of a regulatory program put in place by the Obama Administration is not a surprise under the current administration’s early track record of moving away from regulated industries and practices. After the news hit there was a flurry of columns and editorials; on the pro side — NY Times — and on the con side reason.com.

Net Neutrality

UNH BCoE December 2017 Newsletter Contribution
by Paul Nikolich, IEEE 802 LMSC Chairman and BCoE Board Member

The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee held its 117th plenary session in Orlando, FL, from 05 to 10 November 2017. It was well attended with over 700 participants working on 50+ standards activities. An area of continuing development for the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group is in the field of next generation ethernet passive optical networks.

This work is being done by the IEEE P802.3ca 100G-EPON Task Force. The project was officially started in December 2015 to develop the physical layer specifications for 25, 50 and 100 gigabit per second operations in both the downstream and upstream directions. The Task Force participants are affiliated with a wide range of optical, semiconductor, system manufacturers and cable operators from across the globe. It is still early days in the project; the Task Force is aiming to select baseline proposals by March 2018 and is scheduled to complete its work by March 2020.

The project addresses the fact that access network bandwidth usage increases about 50% per year, year over year, driven by a growing number of broadband subscribers, connected devices per subscriber, higher demands per device and higher peak speeds to support ultra-high definition video. All-in-all, the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee remains a vibrant community of globally based technologists that continue to standardize the best technologies for global commercialization of products and services benefiting humanity.

Broadband Gaps and Congress

Every congressional district — there are 435 — would benefit from federal policies that increase the availability and use of wireline broadband, according to a November 2017 REPORT out of the Brookings Institution. The report asserts that Congress understands the problem, it held 5 separate hearings related to connectivity during the year and members introduced 8 bills aimed at extending the reach of broadband and its economic value. But there is minimal legislative action regarding adoption of broadband.

A few highlights: Republicans (who control both the House and the Senate) “disproportionally” have districts without physical access to broadband Internet. The report quantifies this as stating that 89.4% of residents in Red House districts may physically access wireline broadband, whereas Blue districts have a 97.5% coverage rate.

Bottom line is that population density plays the key role in availability of broadband Internet access. The report did not address wireless broadband access.