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OpenMarket: Nick Brown

  • Does Anyone Understand The Internet?

    April 21, 2009
    I'm beginning to think "no" is the definitive answer.  While most tend to understand the basic concepts of Internet connectivity and its associated parts, it seems that it is becoming abundantly clear that terminology has been misused by media and public organizations such that no one really understands what they are even talking about anymore.

    It's understandable that people who don't work in the telecommunications sector are unfamiliar with networking.  But a group of writers that should understand these concepts are the individuals that are paid to write for PCWorld.

    Today, David Coursey discussed the recent decision of Time Warner Cable to back off its plans to test metered broadband service in an essay strangely entitled, "Why Metered Broadband Would...
  • Broadband Stimulus Plan: Spend First, Ask Questions Later

    April 13, 2009
    There has been some noise in technology circles the last week over the FCC comment period or Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in regards to the broadband Internet portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act otherwise known as "the stimulus."

    The NOI allows individuals, association groups, public policy organizations like CEI, and businesses to issue their comments, suggestions, advise—anything really—to the FCC.   This allows "the public" to describe how they feel like the funds should be spent and the best strategy to improve the state of broadband deployment in under-served an unserved areas.

    The comment period is intended to help formulate the National Broadband Strategy which is required to be completed one year from the recovery act being signed in to law.  This means that the strategy will come due around the 17th of February 2010.

    There is a major problem with the process...
  • Verizon, AT&T See the Regulation Writing On The Wall

    March 31, 2009
    AT&T and Verizon are indicating that there is a chance that they will not seek funds from the broadband stimulus portion of the American Recovery Act.

    Verizon Executive VP Thomas Tauke has stated that, "We don't have any plans to apply; we also have not made a decision not to apply."

    Similarly, AT&T Senior Executive VP told reporters that, "We do not have our hand out seeking government funds."  But, "[AT&T is] open to considering things that might help the economy and might help our customers at the same time."

    This reluctance to accept government funding shows that major ISPs realize that acceptance of stimulus funds puts them squarely under the FCC Network Neutrality principles.   These principles could bleed into the other networks—such as Verizon's FiOS TV...
  • Netflix Neutrality

    March 27, 2009
    A little over a week ago, Netflix was berated by a user who assumed that the company was throttling his streaming video connection.  Slashdot picked up the story shortly afterwards, and an Engadget piece was soon to follow.

    The ground shook, walls crumbled, worlds were torn asunder, Lance Armstrong fell off his bike. ...
  • Utah Gov. Vetoes Bad Gaming Bill, Self-Regulation Triumphs

    March 26, 2009
    Last night, the first amendment, self-regulation, consumers, parents, entrepreneurs, gamers, and business won a huge victory in Utah.

    In early March, I posted about the "Truth in Advertising" bill running through the Utah legislature.  The bill, in effect, would have made the voluntary Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating system for video games a mandatory system by adding stiff fines ($2,000 per incident) for businesses that sold restricted games to teens or children that did not meet the age requirement for purchase.

    The proposed enforcement for this rule was wrapped up in advertising.  So, if a business didn't advertise that they followed the ESRB system—they didn't "card" customers buying adult-rated games—they'd be off the hook if they eventually did sell a violent or graphic game to a...
  • Al Gore Wants .eco Web Domain...

    March 10, 2009
    Since Dot Eco TLD announced that they were seeking establishment as a top level domain (TLD) at ICANN's (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Mexico event last week with the cooperation of Al Gore, many have been asking why we need a new TLD.  Furthermore, why we needed a new TLD solely focused on environmental websites.

    There are a lot of legitimate arguments out there against this proposal, consisting of this solely being about money, or asking why a TLD should be focused so specifically when current TLD's are very broad in comparison.

    But I say, ignore the questions, ignore the issues.  Don't just open up .eco.  No, that's not good enough.  I want a environmental wacko "red light district".  Every alarmist blog, website, non-profit and lobby should be forced to move their web presence to .eco.  Which...
  • Utah: Rated R for Ridiculous

    March 10, 2009
    Utah is on the verge of using it's 'Truth in Advertising' bill to pass regulated enforcement of video game ratings.  The bill which was in some part drafted by Jack Thompson, the disbarred anti-violent games attorney from Florida, would fine retailers that sold games to underage customers up to $2,000 per incident.

    The catch?  This only applies if they advertise that they conduct age verification, essentially encouraging retailers to remove all advertising that they check ID's or age in some manner.  Retailers would be better off in this case not advertising in any way that they train employees to verify age before selling age restricted games.  This way if a slip up occurs—as it eventually will—the retailer wouldn't be held accountable.

    The legislation takes a giant step back considering that...
  • What Does Norway's Net Neutrality Mean for the U.S.?

    March 2, 2009
    Hopefully nothing.  But international policy has a way of making waves on our shores; sort of a "Look what they're doing in Europe, we should do that too" mantra that's carried in some circles.

    The policy that was passed in Norway on the 24th of February is voluntary, but has a large base of support across government, trade associations, and consumer groups within the country.

    The policy boils down to 3 main objectives, and those wishing to voluntarily support and conduct business sign onto the document placing themselves accountable to those objectives.

    The objectives are (the policy in PDF form can be found in its entirety here):
    1) Internet users are entitled to an Internet connection with a predefined capacity and
    quality.

    2) Internet users are...
  • More Behavorial Advertising Adventures

    February 24, 2009
    Back in January I wrote about several advertising industry trade associations coming together to impose self-regulation in an attempt to deter federal regulation of behavioral advertising under the Obama administration. I pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission had advised the advertising industry back in December 2007 that it were pushing the envelope on what the FTC considered to be reasonable behavioral advertising. It seems as though the industry may have viewed this as an idle threat under the Bush administration, but got wind that the new administration would be looking at the issue with renewed vigor.

    Last week, the FTC released its Staff Report on the issue entitled ...
  • A Gamer Win For Parenting

    February 23, 2009
    If you've followed my posts here at OpenMarket.org or at my personal site, you're well aware of the fact that I have a soft place in my heart for jumping all over any attempts by government to regulate video game ratings or content.  I always emphasize that we already have a great system in place with the ESRB and that it should be up to parents to decide what is appropriate for their children. Parents should take advantage of parental controls on their kids' gaming systems to lock out games that have content unsuitable for children.

    That being said, I feel obliged to praise the story of an individual who has avoided simply taking a superficial glance at what his child is playing, and has instead taken an honest interest and engaged their child to broaden his horizons...

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