Thursday, September 15, 2005

Another Canadian Must-Read Document 

Some say: there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Maybe, but if you ask intelligent questions, you may even get more intelligent answers ;-)

Industry Canada published in June 2005 a Telecom Policy Review - A Consultation Paper (pdf) raising many intelligent questions. In August 2005 Elliot Noss (President and CEO Tucows) responded to a part of these questions (A and B) with a submission that is IMHO another Canadian gem.

The others two Canadian gems which first raised the implications of the layered model and the protocol stack for telecom policy are well known: “Netheads Versus Bellheads, Research into Emerging Policy Issues in the Development and Deployment of Internet Protocols”, T.M.Denton, François Ménard and David Isenberg, 1999, for the Department of Communications, and especially in “A Paradigm Shift for the Stupid Network”, T.M.Denton and François Ménard, June 15, 2000. Old, but still good - and valid.

Although the Canadian Telecommunication Law and also the European Framework are a bit more advanced then the US Telecommunications Act, the discussions show that they all need refurbishing or even better, a complete overhaul. This is recognized in the US (e.g. see the proposal of a framework on the Digital Age Communications Project (DACA) from the Progress and Freedom Foundation) and in Canada. In Europe this discussion is lagging behind, because the current framework is quite recent and some countries are still struggling with implementing it. So it would be somehow counterproductive to come up with something new to soon.

The Tucows paper is also nicely contrasting or complementing the DACA paper. Since Elliot Noss obvoiusly knowns, analyzes and builds upon the publications of Werbach, Lessig, Sucker, Whitt and others (alone the references given are worth to download the paper), it is an important step further in the on-going discussion.

And of course I like the two pictures (I expects them soon to show up in various presentations)

The Internet Model

Various sports (applications) occupy space (bandwidth) above the TCP/IP "ice".

No overt central control is exercised by the owner of the lakebed (transport layer) over who gets on the frozen surface. The ice-surface is shared, but not allocated by authoritative arrangements. Contracts or social arrangements among classes of user determine what activities go where. These arrangements assume a large enough area of ice (bandwidth) is available.

The layers below the TCP/IP “ice” are of no interest to the applications.

The Carrier Model (and of course the Mobile Operator and the NGN IMS Model ;-)

The “applications” are selected by contractual arrangements between the carrier (stadium owner) and the service suppliers (hockey league, ice capades, other acts, etc).

The TCP/IP “ice” is still present, but the access to it is controlled. The stadium owner wants an audience (to fill spare capacity) but he selects what is shown on the rink according to his best judgment. The range of “applications” (shows) is determined in part by what the rink-owner determines will fill seats in the arena.

Ice-time (bandwidth) is limited. Users pay to occupy seats. Vendors pay to appear on ice. Arena owner collects ticket fees and rents for ice and pays for upkeep of the arena.

Cost of building another arena limits duplication of facilities in the same market.

Richard: Thank you for the kind words about the papers I produced for Elliot Noss at Tucows for the Canadian Telecom Policy Review. My cartoonist, Albert Prisner, did the drawings, and I recommend him to anyone who needs to convey complex ideas visually. He can be reached at 613-230-8604 in Ottawa- Tim Denton
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