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[liberationtech] Verizon Responds to Vint Cerf on Urgent M-LAB issue at FCC

Yosem Companys companys at
Tue Jul 17 14:40:26 PDT 2012

Both Vint Cerf & Dave Young messages originally shared on Dave Farber's IP
List at ip at

From: "Young, David E" <david.e.young at>

This reminds me of good old Congressman Schnell ( who was about to pass a
law that would impose a surcharge on emails unless people immediately wrote
to their members of Congress to voice their opposition.  Of course, there
was no such bill, nor even a Congressman Schnell.  Yet that did not stop
thousands of people from being tricked into sending letters to address a
non-existent problem.  Unfortunately, the same thing seems to be going on


As someone who has been involved with the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America
project from the beginning, let me provide a different perspective on this.

First, the reason that the FCC’s broadband measurement program is open and
that the data is freely available for academic use is because, to its
FCC and SamKnows chose to use M-Lab servers, the M-Lab’s disclosure
requirements were consistent with what they had already planned to do.
That said, had they not used M-Lab’s servers the FCC would still have
released the data for study.

Vint breathlessly suggests that the FCC is now backing away from this
openness “at the bidding of the telcos” and claims the program is proposing
to replace the M-Lab platform with only ISP-managed servers.  THIS IS
FALSE.  ISPs have made no such request of the FCC nor has the FCC proposed
to eliminate use of M-Lab’s servers.

What has been proposed is that, in addition to continuing to use the data
collected via the M-Lab servers, the FCC and SamKnows may also rely on the
ISP provided servers that have been in use since the beginning of the
project.  These ISP-provided servers meet the specifications required by
SamKnows as do the M-Labs servers.  In fact, it was only because of the
presence of these non-M-Lab, ISP-donated servers, that SamKnows was able to
identify problems with an M-Lab server that was affecting the results of
the tests being conducted.  M-Labs did not identify this server problem on
their own.  It was only fixed when SamKnows brought the issue to their
attention. By the way, this problem forced the FCC to abandon a month’s
worth of test data, extend the formal test period and delay production of
their report.   Later, another M-Lab server location had transit problems
that again affected results.  This was the second M-Labs-related server
problem in two months and once again, it was SamKnows, using the
ISP-provided servers as a reference who identified the problem and brought
it to M-Labs attention.

The bottom line is that the ISP-provided servers, which meet the specs
required by the FCC and SamKnows, have been part of the process from the
inception of the Measuring Broadband America project and have repeatedly
proven their value.  The M-Lab servers will almost certainly continue to be
used for this project, however the ISP-provided servers have proven that
they can provide another source of data for use by the FCC in the event
that M-Lab servers experience further problems.  And, regardless, the FCC
will continue its open data policy, whether the data is collected on M-Labs
servers or not.

I wish Vint and Google would save their prestige and influence to address
the very real problems facing the global, open Internet and not waste your
readers’ time with a “Congressman Schnell” exercise.


*David E Young*

VP Federal Regulatory Affairs****


1300 I St NW, Suite 400W****

Washington, DC 20005****

** **

+1-202-515-2517  (Office)****

+1-202-365-4755  (Cell)****

david.e.young at
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