A Layered Model for Internet Policy
26 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2005
Today, communications regulators mechanically apply outmoded categories to novel converged services. As a result, they create irresolvable contradictions and force hair-splitting distinctions that seldom hold up under the strain of judicial review or market forces.
Policy-makers should reformulate communications policy around the technical architecture of the Internet itself, which is based on an end-to-end design and a layered protocol stack. Horizontal service and geographic classifications should be reconceived in terms of four layers: content, applications or services, logic, and physical infrastructure. Different policy approaches should be used for each layer, and regulators should turn their attention from pricing to the openness of interfaces between layers and competing services.
The layered model would make many of the conflicts that bedevil regulators more tractable. It would bring important issues to the surface, and would put communications policy on a sound footing for the future.
Keywords: telecommunications, layers, VOIP, layered model, Internet policy, convergence
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