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World Cup: Global Event, Global Network, Local Rights

LONDON -- The working timetables of billions are affected by World Cup fixtures at present, especially in England as we wait with baited breath to see whether we can end our ‘nearly, but not quite’ habit of the last 40 years.For this World Cup, the BBC have continued their excellent work innovating with content delivery over the internet and are offering great content including a live video feed of matches. But, they only have the rights to broadcast in the UK so cannot allow this to go to viewers outside the country. They do this by checking your IP address to see whether you are physically in the UK. This is of course only approximate as the IP address we make visible to the public web is determined by a number of factors. In the case of the Cisco corporate network that I am logged onto all traffic clearly comes out onto the public net in the US as I cannot access the video feed. Damn. If this was a deliberate management ploy to stop us watching sport at work then this would be a good cause for worker revolt. But it is just an accident of our technical configuration. Presumably, the converse would apply. If I was logged into a UK corporate network that presented traffic with a UK IP address then I could watch the matches wherever I was in the world. UK-hosted VPN connections for hire, anyone?If you want to check whether you are ‘UK’ from the BBC’s point of view then you can try looking at a highlights video with the video button on a page like this one of the England-Ecuador match. It will either show the clip or explain it is for UK users only.So national broadcast rights, carefully guarded, are the norm in 2006. It will be interesting to see whether things have changed by the London Olympics of 2012 such that an internet broadcaster is legally empowered to show material about a global event to a global audience.

Cisco Statement on U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Vote on Net Neutrality

June 28, 2006 at 12:00 pm PST

SAN JOSE, CA -- Below is a statement from our Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs, Laura Ipsen, on today’s vote on net neutrality in the Senate Commerce Committee.“We’re pleased that the Senate Commerce Committee chose not to regulate the Internet, while also fostering innovation and investment in the network and protecting consumer choice.”(End of Statement)This has been a very passionate debate on real issues and the rhetoric has been ratcheted up quite a bit…perhaps this will slow down now. Like a good negotiation, both sides of this one can walk away with somewhat of a victory. Consumers can go to any site, run any application and attach any equipment…just like always, however, it is reaffirmed. Also, reaffirms that the FCC has the authority to act against bad actors. And, network owners can innovate and invest in the network with some amount of “certainty” that they can recoup their investment, which, after all, is the key to investing…just ask Warren Buffett.

Senate Rejects State VoIP Regulation

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a crucial vote today, the Senate Commerce Committee rejected an attempt to restore significant state regulatory authority over Voice over IP services. Last week, the Committee had adopted, on a bipartisan 14-8 vote, an amendment from Sen. Sununu that codified FCC decisions holding that VoIP is an interstate service and limited state authority to consumer protection, child pornography, E911 and general state business law. Today, Sen. Dorgan offered an amendment to would have removed the Sununu provisions and opened VoIP up to a plethora of state regulation, including subsidy-laden intrastate access charges. Fortunately, the Committee rejected the Dorgan amendment by a 15-7 bipartisan vote.This vote is significant because it was just 2 years ago that this same Senate committee approved a similar Dorgan amendment by a slim margin. Today’s vote shows that the Senate has a growing appreciation for the value of VoIP and for the harm that overzealous state regulators could cause to a vibrant new broadband service.

Free eBook: “Net Neutrality and Fair Use: Where Service Providers Fit”

June 22, 2006 at 12:00 pm PST

BRUSSELS -- I thought any of you wanting a deeper dive on net neutrality issues would be interested in this eBook produced by xChange Magazine. While there are myriad articles on”net neutrality” from the content provider’s point of view (as well as most blogs’ points of view), there has been very little out there to tell the story of what service providers are expected to endure under the concept of net neutrality. You can access the eBook here.Another interesting article on the topic of net neutrality is from eWeek and reporter Wayne Rash. The American Consumer Institute announced that it is asking senators to leave any regulatory provisions out of their net neutrality legislation. Dr. Larry Darby, head of the Institute and former Chief Economist at the FCC, argues that passing net neutrality regulations as written would simply pass the network buildout costs to the consumer “while the companies that benefit the most, such as Google and Microsoft, would be given what is essentially a free ride.” Something that sounds eerily similar to a blog entry I wrote earlier this month. Great minds think alike? Check out the eWeek article, “Institute Slams Net Neutrality Legislation.”

Cisco’s Mike Volpi Op-Ed on Net Neutrality: “`Neutrality’ Regulations Could Stifle Evolution of High

June 21, 2006 at 12:00 pm PST

BRUSSELS -- Great op-ed by Mike (aka Michelangelo) Volpi in today’s San Jose Mercury News. Mike is our SVP in charge of our Routing and Service Provider Technology Group. You can check his bio out here. One of the smartest people I have met within or without Cisco, so IMHO his opinion on net neutrality issue should be listened to.Op-ed states in part: “The Net Neutrality debate comes down to this: content providers and aggregators want to regulate the Internet so that service providers cannot charge for different levels of service among their customers….Broadband service providers who build the networks believe that they should be able to manage the networks for efficiency, security and quality of service. Broadband providers believe that they should be able to place intelligence in the core of their network as well as the edge, or the part that reaches consumers. The debates between these two camps centers around whether Congress should to step in to create such regulation. They should not.Read the full op-ed here.