Ras J. BarakaMayor Ras Baraka vows to compete with powerful telecoms

The nearly 300,000 people in Newark will soon have gigabit fiber from the city, Baraka promises. Verizon for almost two decades has failed to honor a pledge to bring 45 megabit fiber to all New Jersey. They received a major rate increase in return for that pledge, then welshed. Bruce Kushnick has calculated what Verizon collected from the rate increase would have covered the fiber cost many times over.

Newark, once a great city, continues to struggle to overcome poverty. A great Internet, provided by the city at low cost, could be a powerful tool. They are targeting a price of under $50. Mark Kaufman in Mashable reports they have over 20 miles of city-owned fiber. That fiber is already being used for the city and commercial customers.

"The power is ours," Baraka says


"We have infrastructure that many cities just don’t have. We’re going to build out a competitive service to our residents so they don’t have to deal with [telecoms] at all. We can provide it at a cheaper cost."

The network will be neutral."At the end of the day we’re gonna put in our contract that if they're using our infrastructure they have to allow unfettered access to the internet."

"It is the people of Newark's fiber. It's theirs."

(Many thanks to Mark Kaufman, whose article is the source of the Baraka quotes.)

From the city

December 22, 2017

Newark Fiber Optic Network to Remain Net Neutral Despite Misguided FCC Ruling

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Citing his opposition to the recent Federal Communications Commission ruling to end Net Neutrality, Mayor Ras J. Baraka today announced that the City of Newark high-speed fiber optic network will remain Net Neutral. The city, which controls much of its network infrastructure and offers its own broadband service, Newark Fiber, will continue to guarantee equal access to the internet for local business and residents.

“The internet has always been about bringing the information from around the world to your fingertips, not picking and choosing that information based on how much you can afford to pay. That is the way it should be,” said Mayor Baraka. “In response to Trump’s anti-city policies, municipalities around the country are taking control of their own destinies. Newark is taking the lead on Net Neutrality.”

The FCC’s recent 3-2 decision ending Net Neutrality allows communications companies to charge residents more money to visit particular websites on their networks. The City and the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC), which runs the Newark Fiber program, stated their commitment to keeping the program fair and open to all, and never showing preference to websites that pay more.

To honor this commitment, the city will make certain that its existing and future contracts with third-parties who help connect its network to the internet always include a clause ensuring Net Neutrality. In addition, city officials will begin exploring legal means to ensure that its network will always remain Net Neutra

The decision supports Newark’s growing tech scene which attracts companies who can take advantage of the city’s high-speed, inexpensive and net neutral internet service. Several companies that require super-fast or large bandwidth connections, such as financial services or advanced manufacturing, have recently moved to Newark to take advantage of its network. Many large retail and content providers – including Netflix, Google and Amazon, for which Newark recently submitted a bid to host its second headquarters – have voiced support for Net Neutrality and stressed its importance to their businesses.

“We believe Newark can be home to the businesses of the future, and we want to create the best possible environment for them,” said Aisha Glover, CEO of NCEDC. “The City has long been a leader in infrastructure like canals, railways, water systems, sea and air ports, and telecommunications. This program leverages that infrastructure to equip Newark for the 21st Century.”

Newark Fiber is a public-private partnership between the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation and Gigxero, which works with companies to establish high-speed networks. The innovative new program offers 1,000Mb and 10,000Mb speed for buildings, in parks, on the streets, and eventually in homes. A number of office building in the downtown area are already connected to the network, and the city has plans to expand the service in 2018.

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The world needs a good news source on Internet and telecom policy. I hope to create one. Catch a mistake? Email me please.  Dave Burstein


Professor Noam's "Many Internets" http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Until about 2010, everyone agreed the Net was a "network of networks," not a monolithic entity. There was a central authority, ICANN, keeping track of domain names, but that was a minor administrative function.
Columbia Professor Noam suggests we might be better off accepting that some nations or groups might want to organize their networks differently. It's easy to see demand for an Internet with much more effective filters against material some think harmful to children. (Any 10 year old can easily find porn today. Many do.)
Internet translation is getting better very quickly. You might want an "Internet" that translates everything into your language. Google Chrome translation isn't perfect but I was able to research most of this story on Russian language sites. With a few more years progress, I might welcome an alternate that brings me everything in English, including caching for better performance.
De facto, Internet news is already split, as hundreds of millions only get their news from Facebook. Google AMP pages, including for news, also favor selected parts of the net
Centralizing the DNS doesn't prevent censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. There are many Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists who want to block what they consider blasphemy and limit free speech. See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-hold-rally-on-internet-at-citi-field.html . More from Noam http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Russia Orders Alternate Root Internet System http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS
It's actually practical and not necessarily a problem.The Security Council of the Russian Federation, headed by Vladimir Putin, has ordered the "government to develop an independent internet infrastructure for BRICS nations, which would continue to work in the event of global internet malfunctions ... This system would be used by countries of the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa." RT
Columbia University Professor Eli Noam and then ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé have both said such a system is perfectly practical as long as there is robust interconnection.
Actually, the battle over ICANN and domain names is essentially symbolic. Managing the DNS is a relatively insignificant task, more clerical than governing. ICANN Chair Steve Crocker pointed out they had very little to do with policy.
Some will claim this is about blocking free speech but that's rhetoric. Russia doesn't need to fiddle with the DNS for censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. The wonders of the Internet will continue so long as the resulting nets" are robustly connected. The ICANN and U.S. policy goal should be to help create that system for interconnection.
I expect contentions that “The Russians are taking over our Internet” and “They are splitting the Internet.” The Internet is a “Network of Networks.” It is not a monolith so what would “splitting” it mean or do?
After the WCIT, China realized that ICANN and the DNS are side issues not worth bothering about. They have been building alternate institutions including the World Internet Summit in Wuzhan and the BRICs conferences.  The Chinese have put their main work where decisions that matter are made. Wireless standards are set by 3GPP, where nothing can be approved without China's consent.
The American battle at ITU is proving to be a historic mistake.
Why does Russia want an independent Internet?
They fear that Western sanctions on Russia could cripple the Russian Net. Communications minister, Nikolay Nikiforov, worries about, "a scenario where our esteemed partners would suddenly decide to disconnect us from the internet." I think that's highly unlikely but Nikiforov points out, “Recently, Russia is being addressed in a language of unilateral sanctions: first, our credit cards are being cut off; then the European Parliament says that they’ll disconnect us from SWIFT."
It makes sense for the Russians to be prepared for such a contingency as the Cold War has been warming up on both sides. "Britain's top military chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach just made headlines warning Russian subs "could CRIPPLE Britain by cutting undefended undersea internet cables." Much more http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS

ICANN Continues Excluding Russia & China From the Board http://bit.ly/CEOPromises
No wonder Russia wants an alternate root. Three years ago, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé promised "a seat at the table" to Chinese Premier Li. ICANN welched and this year added two more Americans.
Almost all the ICANN board is from the U.S. and close allies; only about 4 of the 18 board members are from countries on the other side of the North/South divide in Internet policy.  Claiming ICANN represents the Global Internet is inappropriate. China is 1/3rd of the Internet but has no representation on the board.
I know many of the board members. They are all basically honorable but generally share a strong opinion on North-South issues.
Larry Strickling of the U.S. government knew just what he was doing with the IANA transition. He handed over to a board with similar positions as the U.S. government.
"The system is unsustainable while it excludes half the world," I have been saying since 2012. More, including the transcript of Fadi's statements,http://bit.ly/CEOPromises

Sorry, Ajit Pai: Smaller Telcos Did Not Reduce Investment After NN Ruling http://bit.ly/SorryPai
Pai justifies his NN choice with the claim, "The impact has been particularly serious for smaller Internet service providers." #wrong (Actually, NN has minimal effects on investment, up or down, I’m convinced. Competition, new technology, customer demand and similar are far more important.)
The two largest suppliers to “smaller ISPs” saw sales go up. Adtran's sales the most recent nine months were $540M, up from $473M the year before. 2016 was $636M, 2015 $600M. Calix the last nine months sold $372M, up from $327M. The full year 2016 was $459M, up from $407M in 2015. Clearfield, a supplier of fiber optic gear, was up 8% in sales in the smaller ISPs.
There is nothing in the data from others that suggests an alternate trend. Anyone could have found this data in a few minutes from the company quarterly reports.
The results in larger companies are ambiguous. I can "prove" capex went up or went down by selecting the right data. The four largest companies' capex - two/thirds of the total - went up from $52.7B in 2015 to $55.7B in 2016. The result remains positive after making sensible adjustments for mergers and acquisitions. That's as close to "proving" that NN led to increased spending as the facts chosen to prove the opposite.
Actually, whether capex went up or down in 2016 tells us almost nothing about the choice on neutrality. Everyone knows a single datapoint could be random or due to other causes. Much more, including the source of the errors http://bit.ly/SorryPai

Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More http://bit.ly/VintTim
Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak and more than a dozen true Internet pioneers wrote Congress to protect Neutrality. The best Congress money can buy didn't listen but I wanted to reproduce their letter.
I hope they are wrong believing "is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create." My take is the impact will be moderate in the short run.
From the letter:
We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. ... The FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017.
Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order ... More, including the full list, http://bit.ly/VintTim