The FCC Still Doesn’t Know How the Internet Works
By Erica Portnoy and Jeremy Gillula
December 7, 2017
Earlier this year nearly 200 Internet engineers and computer scientists sent a letter to the FCC that explained facts about the structure, history, and evolving nature of the Internet. The reasons we laid out in that letter for writing it then still apply to the draft now:
Based on certain questions the FCC asks in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), we are concerned that the FCC (or at least Chairman Pai and the authors of the NPRM) appears to lack a fundamental understanding of what the Internet's technology promises to provide, how the Internet actually works, which entities in the Internet ecosystem provide which services, and what the similarities and differences are between the Internet and other telecommunications systems the FCC regulates as telecommunications services.
Unfortunately it looks like the FCC ignored the technical parts of that letter, because the FCC’s latest plan to kill net neutrality is still riddled with technical errors and factual inaccuracies. Here are just a few.
The FCC Still Doesn’t Understand That Using the Internet Means Having Your ISP Transmit Packets For You
The biggest misunderstanding the FCC still has is the incorrect belief that when your broadband provider sells you Internet access, they’re not selling you a service by which you can transmit data to and from whatever points on the Internet you want. Citing a past order, the FCC demonstrates this misunderstanding by claiming that "[e]nd users do not expect to receive (or pay for) two distinct services—both Internet access service and a distinct transmission service, for example.”
This false distinction between “Internet access service” and