Timothy M. Denton

Success Through Understanding Technology

Timothy Denton's Blog

Commentary and insights on policy issues in telecommunications and the Internet.

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Timothy Denton

Timothy Denton

Timothy Denton is a lawyer by training who practices principally in telecommunications and Internet policy and domain name issues, with a strong concentration on explaining what the technology is and what it means.

Posted by on in Industry News

Shaw admitted this morning that it would continue to invest in facilities regardless of obligations to smaller ISPs to allow access to their facilities. While other incumbents  have occasionally nuanced their positions on this, their essential position has been that by allowing third party access to underlying facilities they will cease to invest adequately in new facilities.

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You know when you are a telecom junkie when the essential services proceedings fascinate you.

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Watching the show at the CRTC Essential Services proceeding, I count the number of bad ideas that confuse the discussion. Commissioners have them put in their heads by years of listening to them, and have to ask questions predicated on them. This I understand. The purpose of a hearing is in large part to air out the bad ideas as well as the good. As fast as they are aired and hung out to dry, new bad ideas will be tried out. My purpose here is to try to identify the bad ideas.

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Carleton PhD candidate  Benjamin Klass, and Mike Kedar, the guy whose actions caused long distance voice competition to come to Canada, have written a letter to government, including the CRTC, on the question of constraining the market power of the incumbents. It is their letter. I post it below. Professor Dwayne Winseck of Carleton signed his name to it in support.

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In political life you may have to agree with people with whom you would rather not. So it is with Obama's proposals for net neutrality.

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The CRTC is making a lot of good moves lately: eliminating the requirement to give 30 days' notice before abandoning a cable subscription is both sensible and substantially good. And insisting on making decisions based on evidence is right, and  taking pride in basing one's decisions on evidence is understandable.  Running the risk of being a dinosaur is the fate of anyone over forty, but try not to be one.

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Posted by on in Industry News

Our planning for it is deplorable, at the moment. An Internet-centric 9-1-1 needs to be planned by people who understand the Internet. Does this not seem obvious? Then why is our planning process excluding them? Because we have no adequate planning process.

Here is a presentation I made at the Toronto ISP Summit in November 2014.

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Today's Hi and Lois says it all. Lois: "What's on TV tonight?" [The each member of the  family is watching their own device] "Who cares?" asks Chip the teenaged son. Who cares indeed?

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The ladders of investment are lonely creatures.They wander the plains of the Regulatorium, a vast continent whose middle is   populated by very few, very large idea-creatures, who dwarf the ladders of investment.  These bigger creatures graze on consumer surplus, and run into each other at large water holes, where they bellow their challenges to each other and complain that the game wardens should allow them more pasturage and eliminate both their larger rivals and the new smaller creatures which try to graze on their pasturage.

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Sometimes a question can send you back to first principles. Yesterday I heard one, and it kept me awake last night while I pondered it.

The question was asked by a Commissioner at the mobile wholesale hearing. It went like this. "The mobile sector has seen the most wonderful progress in the last twenty years. The landline side is in relative decline. Yet you say we should apply more of the approach we adopted for ensuring landline competition worked for mobile. Can you explain why? Is that not a contradiction?"

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Is it time to break up the CRTC into separate brodcasting and telecommunications agencies? I think so.

The CRTC has climbed down from its untenable position on regulating the Internet. It has huffed and puffed and struck Netflix' testimony from the record, which is about as sensible as striking Trotsky from the pictures with Lenin and Stalin. Or as Andrew Coyne remarks today, like the characters in Hamlet, ignoring the oncoming army of Fortinbras, which will put an end to the whole crew in Elsinore Castle.

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The  Klingon Empire salutes you, Chairman Blais. According to reports we have heard from reliable sources, you have deliberately arranged this confrontation with the Internet.

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The CRTC vs. Netflix fight is beginning. Its conclusion - unless the Commission backs off -will  mark the end of its claim to regulate the Canadian portion of the Internet.

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I can understand why large carriers in the United States are so opposed to municipal networks that they pay off state legislatures to pass legislation banning municipal investment in networks. America is the land with the best legislation money can buy. I understand why their legions of myrmidons applaud this as the only proper course of action. What I cannot understand is why everyone else seems to think this is economically rational and socially beneficial.

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Terence Corcoran is the senior editor of the Financial Post. He is a committed opponent of a host of economic follies: unfunded liabilities, statism,  junk science - of which the largest example is anthropogenic global warming, and a host of fashionable fads. On the subject of network industries, however, I regret to say he is persistently wrong, seriously, radically in error.

His latest outburst of rage was vented against the government's decision to reserve spectrum for a smaller player in the Canadian wireless market. He has been waging a long, and so far unsuccessful, campaign to shape public opinion away from the Conservative government's attempts to introduce more competition into domestic wireless communications.

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The German subsidiary of Verizon has lost the contract to provide telecommunications services to the Bundestag. The German interior ministry said the cancellation was linked to the "relationship between foreign intelligence agencies and companies" that the rogue US National Security Agency contractor exposed last year.

The Financial Times reported:

"Among the revelations, it emerged that Verizon was required by a court order to hand over information about telephone calls on its network to the NSA on an “ongoing, daily” basis. The order barred the company from publicly disclosing the existence of the request"

As any self-respecting nation state would do, Germany has taken measures to restrict NSA's access to parliamentary telephone calls, through its agent, Verizon. Would you not do the same in their shoes?

 

 

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What is the nature of the Internet? I ask this question as I listened to a discussion of Internet security features. The more fundamental answers to the question can be found in one of my articles, "The Internet Illustrated" on this site. But there is another approach to thinking about the Internet, as an addressing system for reaching endpoints. Forgive me if all this is obvious.

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Posted by on in Industry News
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Posted by on in Industry News

Mobile television apps are now before the CRTC. They put the question at the heart of Canadian communications policy front and centre: will carriers be able to evade net neutrality rules whenever they declare their signal to be "broadcasting"?

There is a contradiction between the two statutes the CRTC administers. The Broadcasting Act says "go forth and discriminate infavour of Canadian programming". The Telecommunications Act says "thou shalt not discriminate among signals except for very good reason, and the CRTC will rule on the adequacy of that reason".

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