Internet Pioneers Discuss Network Architecture and Regulation

This special podcast is the audio portion of  a webcast with three special guests that deserve the title of Internet Pioneers: Tom Evslin, the founder of ITXC, the first company to transport phone calls over the Internet and owner of the outstanding Fractals of Change blog; John Day, the author of Patterns in Network Architecture and the manager of the team that created the layered OSI model of network architecture; and Barry Shein, founder of The World, the first commercial ISP and one of the 11 People Who Made the Internet Possible.

We discuss the issues at stake in the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom docket that proposes to unwind the 2015 FCC classification of the Internet under regulations designed for the common carrier telephone network.

Here are some of the reactions from Twitter while the webcast was in progress.

Tom explained the difference between telephone call routing and Internet packet routing:

Barry and John discussed the value of zero-rating for lowering barriers to Internet participation in developing countries:

Tom pointed out that regulating non-monopoly businesses as if they were monopolies prevents innovation:

We all broke down the difference between the circuit-switched telephone network and the packet switched Internet in some depth:

Tom stressed the importance of light regulatory touch for stimulating network innovation as well as application innovation:

John mentioned the Internet is missing two layers of architecture compared to other packet switched networks and the advocates of Title II don’t know it. Barry pointed out that the ability to commit mischief isn’t limited to ISPs:

I opined that net neutrality is more of an incumbency protection racket than a stimulant to innovation:

As much as we may pretend, the Internet is far from perfect and still needs a lot of work:

Tom explained that heavy regulation on any industry helps incumbents more than upstarts:

And the climax was Barry’s comparison of the Title II debate to the Game of Thrones:

You can see the video on our Facebook page and on YouTube now.