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Broadband - Bandwidth Explained

Stagg Newman Chief Technologist,
FCC National Broadband Plan team


Transatlantic fiber NYC Data Centers Hurricane Sandy

Net Neutrality -- Definition of Monopoly - FCC public Comment - Preventing Cable Company F^ckery.



5/8/14 The Hill
FCC pushback mounts ahead of 'fast lane' vote
A coalition of advocacy groups wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), urging the Senate to push back on an amendment to the House’s recently-passed defense funding bill that would keep the Obama administration from going forward with its plans to shift Internet oversight.
The amendment from Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) would keep the U.S. from realizing its “opportunity to fulfill its decades-long promise and reassure the world of its commitment to an open, participatory and decentralized approach to Internet governance,” the groups said in a letter on Tuesday. Signatories include the ACLU, Public Knowledge and the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Shimkus’s amendment — which mirrors the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act that he introduced earlier this year and was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee over objections from Democrats — is a response to the Commerce Department’s announcement in March that it would step back from its oversight role of the technical side of the Internet’s Web address system.
FCC comment system goes down: The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) system for submitting public comments went down on Monday “due to heavy traffic,” the agency said on Twitter. The downtime comes as interest in the agency’s rewrite of its net neutrality rules increases. The FCC voted last month to move forward with Chairman Tom Wheeler’s controversial plans to rewrite the rules, which kept Internet providers from blocking or slowing access to certain websites before they were struck down by a federal court earlier this year. The controversial vote opens up a months-long process for companies, advocacy groups and members of the public to comment on the proposal, which includes potentially allowing Internet providers to charge websites for better access to users. Comedian John Oliver — who encouraged viewers to submit net neutrality comments to the FCC during Sunday’s episode of his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” — took credit for the agency’s website problems on Twitter. “Whoops. It seems that you've all crashed part of the FCC website,” he tweeted, along with a link to his segment from Sunday’s show. “I hope you're proud of yourselves.”


GCHQ's BEYOND TOP SECRET Middle Eastern INTERNET SPY BASE details of Britain’s covert surveillance programme - including the location of a clandestine British base tapping undersea cables in the Middle East - have so far remained secret, despite being leaked by fugitive NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden. Government pressure has meant that some media organisations, despite being in possession of these facts, have declined to reveal them.
The secret British spy base is part of a programme codenamed “CIRCUIT” and also referred to as Overseas Processing Centre 1 (OPC-1). It is located at Seeb, on the northern coast of Oman, where it taps in to various undersea cables passing through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian/Arabian Gulf. Seeb is one of a three site GCHQ network in Oman, at locations codenamed “TIMPANI”, “GUITAR” and “CLARINET”. TIMPANI, near the Strait of Hormuz, can monitor Iraqi communications. CLARINET, in the south of Oman, is strategically close to Yemen. British national telco BT, referred to within GCHQ and the American NSA under the ultra-classified codename “REMEDY”, and Vodafone Cable (which owns the former Cable & Wireless company, aka “GERONTIC”) are the two top earners of secret GCHQ payments running into tens of millions of pounds annually.
The actual locations of such codenamed “access points” into the worldwide cable backbone are classified 3 levels above Top Secret and labelled “Strap 3”. The true identities of the companies hidden behind codenames such as “REMEDY”, “GERONTIC”, “STREETCAR” or “PINNAGE” are classified one level below this, at “Strap 2”. After these details were withheld, the government opted not to move against the Guardian newspaper last year for publishing above-top-secret information at the lower level designated “Strap 1”. This included details of the billion-pound interception storage system, Project TEMPORA, which were revealed in 2013 and which have triggered Parliamentary enquiries in Britain and Europe, and cases at the European Court of Human Rights. The Guardian was forced to destroy hard drives of leaked information to prevent political embarrassment over extensive commercial arrangements with these and other telecommunications companies who have secretly agreed to tap their own and their customers’ or partners’ overseas cables for the intelligence agency GCHQ. Intelligence chiefs also wished to conceal the identities of countries helping GCHQ and its US partner the NSA by sharing information or providing facilities. According to documents revealed by Edward Snowden to journalists including Glenn Greenwald among others, the intelligence agency annually pays selected companies tens of millions of pounds to run secret teams which install hidden connections which copy customers' data and messages to the spooks’ processing centres. The GCHQ-contracted companies also install optical fibre taps or “probes” into equipment belonging to other companies without their knowledge or consent. Within GCHQ, each company has a special section called a “Sensitive Relationship Team” or SRT.


Subsea System Failures


3/27/13 There are cable breaks on multiple cable systems running through Egypt and surrounding areas. Breaks on I-ME-WE, TE-North, EIG and SEA-ME-WE-3. This is affecting onward connectivity on a number of other cables such as EASSy and Seacom as no restoration capacity is available. This is causing capacity constraints and outages for most operators in Southern and Eastern Africa as well as the Middle East. ETRs of between 1 and 4 weeks depending on whether you speak to the PR people or the engineers.

3/28/13 Egypt: Naval forces capture 3 divers trying to cut undersea Internet cable.
Egypt’s naval forces captured three Egyption scuba divers who were trying to cut an undersea Internet cable in the Mediterranean on Wednesday, a military spokesman said. Telecommunications executives meanwhile blamed a weeklong Internet slowdown on damage caused to another cable by a ship.
Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said in a statement on his official Facebook page that divers were arrested while “cutting the undersea cable” of the country’s main communications company, Telecom Egypt. The statement said they were caught on a speeding fishing boat just off the port city of Alexandria. ... Errant ships’ anchors are often blamed.

Question: Why don't we have a lot more redundant/resilient capacity and paths? Is it because it is more profitable for a provider to control capacity? Given the economic and social consequences of these losses wouldn't it make sense to fund the capacity as common infrastructure rather than limiting ourselves to what profits a provider?


October 04, 2012 Fourteenth Quarterly Status Report to Congress Regarding BTOP
Topics/Subtopics: Broadband Technology Opportunities Program Grants & BroadbandGrants
Pursuant to Section 6001(d)(4) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA or Recovery Act) (Public Law No. 111-5), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) provides this Quarterly Report on the status of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP or Program). This Report focuses on the Program’s activities from April 1 to June 30, 2012. BTOP Quarterly Status Report



2011 One-third of U.S. households lack broadband Web access New Commerce Department Report Shows Broadband Adoption Rises but Digital Divide Persists

2010 Digital Divide - digital nation home broadband internet adoption united states


Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2009
From: Stagg Newman
Chief Technologist, FCC National Broadband Plan team
Subject: Re: Request for input on the definition of Broadband
To: Educational CyberPlayGround
Cc: Rob Curtis at>, Tom Brown at>


First see the attached FCC Digital-Handshake-peering "white paper" that is a good description of how peering and transit works in the Internet.

Note that even a company like Google "pays" for transporting the information to a peering and transit point or point of Interconnect with ISPs.  Companies either pay directly by purchasing transport (e.g. lease lines) or pay indirectly in the sense the have acquired their own transport as a capital expenditure (e.g. dark fiber plus the optoelectronics to light the dark fiber as in Google's case) and the on-going opex to operate their own transport network.  

As the article notes above the terms and conditions for exchanging traffic among ISPs and even between ISPs and edge service providers are set through business negotiations.  What has changed since the article was written is a smaller per cent of the total traffic (but a larger total amount) goes through the "backbone Internet Providers" because more of the large content and service providers have direct connections to the large access Internet Service Providers.

Hope this helps.

Stagg Newman

--- On Thu, 10/22/09, K.E. <> wrote:
From: Educational CyberPlayGround
Subject: Request for input on the definition of Broadband
To: "Stagg Newman" <>
Cc: "Rob Curtis">, "Tom Brown">

Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 5:02 AM

Karen Ellis asked: Is this essentially how it works?

According to Arbor network says close to 10% of all net traffic is google traffic? Google pays 0 for bandwidth basically cause they bought dark fiber back in the day. All bandwidth is free because of peering relationships.

Jay Addelson explained: Most companies pay nothing for bandwidth. Heard here

Example: You are a big ISP and you get a peering relationsip.

AOL consumes lots of content - i - so they set up a Peering relationship (essentially a direct connection) with Youtube. They have a direct line between each other, so they both agree to send each other the same amount of bandwidth and send as much as as they get. It's an even steven swap. It's a wash - they pay nothing for bandwidth.

They need to make an equal amount of bandwidth in both directions.Youtube and comcast have a direct connection and they write it off as a 0 cost transaction.

Essentially it is a tie line / direct pipe / to make sure its fair you send as much as you recieve.

1999 IPO $ went into infrastructure so after the bust we lost the companies but the good news we got all this dark fiber connectivity.


Karen Ellis

Definition of Broadband
by Karen Ellis
submitted to the FCC.

Broadband is critical infrastructure for America the same as the highway system. Broadband is a connection that is always on, always connected, and allows the largest amount of data to travel through it at the same time. Voice, video, audio, and all applications used for communication and creativity are delivered at the highest possible quality and speed, that equals the best available in any country on earth.


keep up the good work, good luck, and thanks for asking :-)

all my best,

Karen Ellis Educational CyberPlayGround


One Little Thing called Bandwidth.


"1) First, an old rule of thumb in systems design: accountants care about throughput, users care about response time.
2) Second, something we thought about in the Gigabit Testbed effort quite explicitly (e.g., in John Shaffer's PhD thesis) was the relationship between these two things, which is roughly that the response time (to get an object) is propagation time + (object size) / throughput.
3) Third, the object sizes, due to both Moore's Law (memory sizes are typically the fastest-rising exponential) and consumer demand (e.g., Mpixels on digital cameras), are increasing rapidly. The speedups we achieved with the testbed program achieved usability.
The takeaway from the response time relationship however, is that an increase in throughput commensurate with increases in memory and object sizes will be necessary to maintain the present state of affairs, and a trajectory of even greater throughput improvements will be necessary for increased usability."
[jargon / buzzword bingo]
Jonathan M. Smith
Olga and Alberico Pompa Professor of Engineering and Applied Science Professor of Computer and Information Science, University of  Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104

machine-to-machine applications



Getting the most out of valuable radio spectrum was the topic of a gathering of European regulators, industry analysts and advisers at the Dynamic Spectrum Access forum, hosted by Forum Europe in Brussels on 7 March 2012.
Broadly speaking, dynamic spectrum access (DSA) refers to making better use of radio spectrum through re-use of 'idle' bandwidth – spectrum that is not fully utilised in either frequency or time.
The concept of DSA has become particularly relevant in the past few years as the use of wireless data services has expanded. The dramatic increase in use of mobile data, driven mainly by mobile subscribers using smartphones and tablet devices, is well understood. However, wireless data usage is diversifying into a wide range of industry sectors, and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications are a particular growth area. M2M applications are not nearly as time sensitive as smartphone and tablet data traffic and can, potentially, tolerate higher levels of interference than other uses of wireless data because they can schedule data transfer to fit within available resources. Hence, accommodating M2M applications in underutilised spectrum in bands assigned for other primary uses appears to be an ideal way to meet their growing demand.
M2M is not the only application for DSA; others might include rural broadband services (which can often fit into the 'gaps' left by the less intensive use of spectrum by licensed services in rural areas). Another possible application of DSA is a next generation of Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi currently operates in licence-exempt spectrum (at 2.4GHz or 5GHz), but with the 2.4GHz band becoming increasingly congested, there is commercial interest in extending into other bands. In particular, bands below 1GHz are attractive, because of their greater range and indoor penetration (into buildings).
Accordingly, although DSA could apply to any underutilised spectrum, in practice the industry is focusing on opening up TV white spaces to secondary users, which is seen as the first step in extending DSA more widely to other bands.

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