Assure the Principle of an Open Internet in Broadbandby Designating a General Purpose Platformas a Category of Advanced Telecommunications CapabilityBy Seth JohnsonJanuary 14, 2010
I submitted substantially the same comments under NBP Public Notice #1, on defining the term “broadband.”The same points relate to preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices.
Two Categories of “Advanced Telecommunications Service”
The National Broadband Plan must define "broadband" according to a proper and full concept of whatcapabilities constitute "advanced telecommunications service." Broadband in this conception is constituted of two things:1.a general purpose platform (in this document generally associated with the term "Internet" and itsconsensus protocols) which is optimized for maximum flexibility and application innovation, and2.certain other functions that may optimize particular applications but that may compromise theflexibility of the general purpose platform.
These Categories are Efficacious Even Without FCC Authority to Mandate Network Neutrality
Even if it were found that the FCC lacks regulatory authority to impose requirements for network neutrality,it can still establish correct principles by simply defining and tracking broadband offerings that fall into acategory of a general purpose platform that serves the purpose of supporting application innovation, basedon a number of principles expressed in protocols, distinguishing these offerings from more specialized typesof service that may optimize particular applications at the expense of the general purpose platform. Such acategorization would allow the performance of such a platform to be identified and compared against other types of offerings. The manner in which the Internet protocols provide an optimally flexible platformproduces network neutrality as an emergent phenomenon.
Delineating the General Purpose Platform
RFCs 1958, 2775, 3724, 4084, and 4924 illustrate how to distinguish protocols that provide for a generalpurpose platform from other types of protocols that may undermine principles that provide for a maximallyflexible platform for end-user innovation, such as the end-to-end principle, permissionlessness, best effortsdelivery of packets, and the transmission of Internet datagrams regardless of the application they aresupporting.The principle of transmitting Internet datagrams without regard for the applications they support alsoprovides for "network neutrality" as an emergent phenomenon.RFC 4924, "Reflections on Internet Transparency" (http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc4924.txt) describes thematter as follows:A network that does not filter or transform the data that it carries may be said to be "transparent" or "oblivious" to the content of packets. Networks that provide oblivious transport enable the deployment of new services without requiring changes to the core. It is this flexibility that is perhaps both the Internet's