/Vol. 76, No. 185/Friday, September 23, 2011/Rules and Regulations
The Internet’s openness is supported by an‘‘end-to-end’’ network architecture that wasformulated and debated in standard-settingorganizations and foundational documents.
WCB Letter 12/10/10, Attach. at 17–29, VintonG. Cerf & Robert E. Kahn,
A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection,
COM–22 IEEETransactions of Commc’ns Tech. 637–48 (1974);WCB Letter 12/10/10, Attach. at 30–39, J.H. Saltzer
et al., End to End Arguments in System Design,
Second Int’l Conf. on Distributed ComputingSystems, 509–12 (1981); WCB Letter 12/10/10,Attach. at 49–55, B. Carpenter, Internet EngineeringTask Force (‘‘IETF’’),
Architectural Principles of theInternet,
RFC 1958, 1–8 (June 1996),
Multiple Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communication,
ACM Symposium on OperationSystem Principles (1967). Under the end-to-endprinciple, devices in the middle of the network arenot optimized for the handling of any particularapplication, while devices at network endpointsperform the functions necessary to supportnetworked applications and services.
WCB Letter 12/10/10, Attach. at 40–48, J. Kempf &R. Austein, IETF,
The Rise of the Middle and theFuture of End-to-End: Reflections on the Evolutionof the Internet Architecture,
RFC 3724, 1–14 (March2004),
Business-to-consumer e-commerce wasestimated to total $135 billion in 2009.
WCBLetter 12/10/10, Attach. at 81–180, Robert D.Atkinson
et al., The Internet Economy 25 YearsAfter.com,
Info. Tech. & Innovation Found., at 24(March 2010),
The advertising-supported Internet sustainsabout $300 billion of U.S. GDP.
GoogleComments at 7.
We note that broadband providers can also beedge providers.
For example, the increasing availability of multimedia applications on the World Wide Webduring the 1990s was one factor that helped createdemand for residential broadband services. Internetservice providers responded by adopting newnetwork infrastructure, modem technologies, andnetwork protocols, and marketed broadband toresidential customers.
WCB Letter 12/13/10, Attach. at 250–72, Chetan Sharma,
Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era
(Yottabyte). By the late 1990s, a residential end usercould download content at speeds not achievableeven on the Internet backbone during the 1980s.
WCB Letter 12/13/10, Attach. at 226–32,Susan Harris & Elise Gerich,
The NSFNET Backbone Service: Chronicling the End of an Era,
10 ConneXions (April 1996),
.Higher speeds and broadband’s ‘‘always on’’ capability, in turn,stimulated more innovation in applications, fromgaming to video streaming, which in turnencouraged broadband providers to increasenetwork speeds. WCB Letter 12/13/10, Attach. at233–34, Link Hoewing,
Twitter, Broadband and Innovation,
PolicyBlog, Dec. 4, 2010,
WCB Letter 12/10/10, Attach. at 133–41,Pew Research Ctr. for People and the Press,Americans Spend More Time Following the News;Ideological News Sources: Who Watches and Why17, 22 (Sept. 12, 2010),
(stating that ‘‘44% of Americans say they got newsthrough one or more Internet or mobile digitalsource yesterday’’); WCB Letter 12/10/10, Attach. at131–32, TVB Local Media Marketing Solutions,Local News: Local TV Stations are the Top DailyNews Source,
(estimating that 61% of Americans get newsfrom the Internet) (‘‘
’’). However, according tothe Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, themajority of news that people access onlineoriginates from legacy media.
Pew Project forExcellence in Journalism, The State of the NewsMedia: An Annual Report on American Journalism(2010),
(‘‘Of news sites withhalf a million visitors a month (or the top 199 newssites once consulting, government and informationdata bases are removed), 67% are from legacymedia, most of them (48%) newspapers.’’).
communication through the network.
Accordingly, the Internet enables an enduser to access the content andapplications of her choice, withoutrequiring permission from broadbandproviders. This architecture enablesinnovators to create and offer newapplications and services withoutneeding approval from any controllingentity, be it a network provider,equipment manufacturer, industry body,or government agency. End users benefit because the Internet’s openness allowsnew technologies to be developed anddistributed by a broad range of sources,not just by the companies that operatethe network. For example, Sir TimBerners-Lee was able to invent theWorld Wide Web nearly two decadesafter engineers developed the Internet’soriginal protocols, without needingchanges to those protocols or anyapproval from network operators.Startups and small businesses benefit because the Internet’s openness enablesanyone connected to the network toreach and do business with anyone else,allowing even the smallest and mostremotely located businesses to accessnational and global markets, andcontribute to the economy throughe-commerce
and online advertising.
Because Internet openness enableswidespread innovation and allows allend users and edge providers (ratherthan just the significantly smallernumber of broadband providers) tocreate and determine the success orfailure of content, applications, services,and devices, it maximizes commercialand non-commercial innovations thataddress key national challenges—including improvements in health care,education, and energy efficiency that benefit our economy and civic life.The Internet’s openness is critical tothese outcomes, because it enables avirtuous circle of innovation in whichnew uses of the network—includingnew content, applications, services, anddevices—lead to increased end-userdemand for broadband, which drivesnetwork improvements, which in turnlead to further innovative network uses.Novel, improved, or lower-cost offeringsintroduced by content, application,service, and device providers spur end-user demand and encourage broadbandproviders to expand their networks andinvest in new broadband technologies.
Streaming video and e-commerceapplications, for instance, have led tomajor network improvements such asfiber to the premises, VDSL, andDOCSIS 3.0. These networkimprovements generate newopportunities for edge providers,spurring them to innovate further.
Eachround of innovation increases the valueof the Internet for broadband providers,edge providers, online businesses, andconsumers. Continued operation of thisvirtuous circle, however, depends uponlow barriers to innovation and entry byedge providers, which drive end-userdemand. Restricting edge providers’ability to reach end users, and limitingend users’ ability to choose which edgeproviders to patronize, would reducethe rate of innovation at the edge and,in turn, the likely rate of improvementsto network infrastructure. Similarly,restricting the ability of broadbandproviders to put the network toinnovative uses may reduce the rate of improvements to network infrastructure.Openness also is essential to theInternet’s role as a platform for speechand civic engagement. An informedelectorate is critical to the health of afunctioning democracy, and Congresshas recognized that the Internet ‘‘offer[s]a forum for a true diversity of politicaldiscourse, unique opportunities forcultural development, and myriadavenues for intellectual activity.’’ Due tothe lack of gatekeeper control, theInternet has become a major source of news and information, which forms the basis for informed civic discourse. ManyAmericans now turn to the Internet toobtain news,
and its openness makes itan unrivaled forum for free expression.Furthermore, local, State, and Federalgovernment agencies are increasinglyusing the Internet to communicate withthe public, including to provideinformation about and deliver essentialservices.Television and radio broadcastersnow provide news and otherinformation online via their own Websites, online aggregation Web sites suchas Hulu, and social networkingplatforms. Local broadcasters areexperimenting with new approaches todelivering original content, for example by creating neighborhood-focused Websites; delivering news clips via onlinevideo programming aggregators,including AOL and Google’s YouTube;and offering news from citizenjournalists. In addition, broadcastnetworks license their full-lengthentertainment programs fordownloading or streaming to edgeproviders such as Netflix and Apple.
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