This essay contains my thoughts, analysis, and supporting links about how Internet has been evolving over the past 20 years. These ideas have been driving me over the past decade to develop a set of improved technologies, practices and standards.
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U.S. stock markets have boomed since Donald Trump’s unexpected victory last November. The conventional explanation is that investors got excited by the twin prospect of business tax cuts, which seemed inevitable given Republican domination of the federal government, and of huge infrastructure spending programs that Trump promised. (If you’re doing the math, you can see that investors did not worry about the government taxing less while spending more. Deficits? What deficits?)
By now, however, it should be clear to everyone that virtually none of the GOP program is going to get enacted any time soon, if ever, given the dysfunction in Washington and the Trump administration’s limp grasp on the levers of power. Yet the markets remain ebullient. What’s up with that?
By Miguel Gamiño, Chief Technology Officer for New York City
ICYMI — We were troubled by the news from FCC Chairman Pai this week. So much so that NYC Mayor’s Office made our position clear right here on Medium. An act of leadership that makes me proud to be part of this team! My tweet sums it up pretty well.
While the world was transfixed by the legislative train wreck of the Obamacare repeal effort in the House, the Senate was busy with its own mischief. On Thursday, it passed a bill that would remove Obama-era privacy restrictions from internet service providers (Buzzfeed). Republicans supported the bill, arguing that they were barring onerous rules that impede innovation, while Democrats maintained that the rules protect consumers. The bill still needs House approval and a presidential signature, but those are expected to come soon. “The Senate Prepares to Send Internet Privacy Down a Black Hole,” Wired headlined its story.
The FCC rules that are being trashed drew a distinction between ISPs like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T, and online firms like Google and Facebook that build services on top of the internet access you pay those other companies for. The distinction may feel abstract and increasingly outdated in an era when your ISP might also be peddling its own content. Why should one kind of media company be more heavily regulated than another?
It should come as a surprise to no one that the arrival of a new conservative Republican administration means a reordering of telecommunications policy — away from regulation, and towards a freer hand for the semi-monopolists who control our network access. Now that this change is taking concrete form, it’s worth taking a closer look at.
Ajit Pai, who is already a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (and before that was a lawyer for Verizon), will be the new FCC chairman (The Washington Post). Critics say Pai was a staunch opponent of his predecessor Tom Wheeler’s moves to make network neutrality the law, and we should expect the FCC to begin unravelling that initiative — making it easier for Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and other network providers to create different tiers of internet access and to bundle content channels that they control with the basic network services they provide (Motherboard). Also in the offing: a loosening of privacy rules and less support for municipal broadband initiatives.