RMIUG Meeting: Tues, Sep 13 – "Deconstructing Net Neutrality: How it might change the Web forever"

Net neutrality (also known as network neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle that advocates no restrictions by Internet service providers or governments on consumers' access to networks that participate in the Internet. Specifically, network neutrality would prevent restrictions on content, sites, platforms, types of equipment that may be attached, and modes of communication.

On the surface, this seems like a great thing: unfettered/unfiltered/unlimited access to the world's information is what the Internet.   Whether you search wikipedia, download music from iTunes, or watch a High-Definition (HD) video on Netflix, Net Neutrality establishes the principle that you should be able to get all of that information equally.  It's growth (and arguably our society's growth) has benefited from it.

However, if you are an Internet Service Provider (ISP), Net Neutrality might bankrupt you, especially if it is put into law, as some proponents have suggested.  ISPs pay for the bandwidth that comes to your home.  If, suddenly, more subscribers stream HD video, Net Neutrality might prevent you from charging more even if you need to lease more bandwidth to deliver that information.  Net Neutrality would prevent the ISP from putting in measures to insure that you don't exceed your costs. 
Complicating the argument is the consolidation of the Telecom/Cable/ISP companies. Now that many of them provide a such broad range of services (and often with little competition), they can use their control of your pipe to promote their other services by degrading others.  For example, why would your ISP want to give you unfettered use of Skype if it means that you won't purchase their phone service? Or crystal clear Netflix streaming if it means you'll cancel your cable service?  
There has been much debate around net neutrality.  At our next RMIUG meeting, we'll attempt to sift through it and, in the process, open up our own debate. 
Helping to guide our conversation will be someone extremely well versed in the subject and many of its nuances, both practical and political:

Cindy Schonhaut (cindy@schonhaut.com) is an experienced and well-known attorney who has practiced extensively in the areas of telecommunications and Internet law, on national, state, and local levels including prominent positions with Level 3 Communications, ICG Communications, and MFS Communications. She served as a key lobbyist for competitive telecommunications network and service providers, as well as VOIP providers. She was called to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives on telecommunications and Internet access issues and has appeared before many state and federal legislative and regulatory agencies on behalf of competitive interests. Prior to her private sector experience, Ms. Schonhaut was an attorney with the Federal Communications Commission, during which time she served as legal advisor to Commissioner Andrew C. Barrett, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush. Ms. Schonhaut is an honors graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, where she served as an editor of the Law Review, and also has a degree in Social Work from Syracuse University.

The meeting is Tuesday, September 13th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm (with optional 6:30 pm start for refreshments and informal networking). The meeting will be held at The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) at 1850 Table Mesa Drive in Boulder. To get to NCAR from the Boulder Turnpike (US 36) or Broadway (US 93), take Table Mesa Drive west towards the mountains for approximately 2.5 miles into the foothills. NCAR is at the top of the hill. For door-to-door driving directions, go to MapQuest (www.mapquest.com/), click on Driving Directions, enter your starting address, NCAR's address, and voila! Park in the NCAR lot, go in the main door, and ask the guard to point you to meeting, which is held in the main auditorium, right off the lobby. The meeting is free and open to the public, but we may pass the hat to help defray expenses.


Our meeting location seats about 120 people. That is usually enough room to accommodate all attendees, but it's impossible for us to predict how many people will show up for any given meeting. Seating is always on a first-come, first serve basis, and in the event of more attendees than seats, we won't be able to admit additional people into the auditorium after all seats are filled.

Thanks to our four sponsors who help make RMIUG meetings happen:
Applied Trust Engineering (www.appliedtrust.com/) — an IT security and network/systems infrastructure consulting services company sponsors the refreshments.

ONEWARE (www.oneware.com) — a Colorado-based software company that provides semi-custom web-based applications, sponsors the RMIUG meeting minutes.

ReturnPath (www.returnpath.net) — a Colorado-based software company that makes email work better by scoring and certifying email senders from around the world sponsors the RMIUG meeting minutes.

Copy Diva (www.copydiva.com) which provides marketing project management, marketing communications consulting, and web content development is the AV sponsor for RMIUG.






Consultants and companies are invited to bring Internet-related Product information, brochures, and business cards which will be displayed on an information table.

There are email mailing lists set up for this group. To subscribe or unsubscribe, see www.rmiug.org/maillist.html. You can also reach the RMIUG "Executive" Committee at rmiug-comm@rmiug.org. Our web site is at www.rmiug.org/

Please note that RMIUG is hosted at NCAR and we are their guests. NCAR has security regulations in effect that we must follow in order to use the facility. If any RMIUG attendee is unwilling to follow these simple regulations, I would ask that he or she not attend and instead read the minutes after the meeting.

Here are the NCAR security policies that must be followed:

1. No weapons.
2. Must sign in at front desk and provide name.
3. Cooperate with security folks including providing ID if requested.
4. We are guests of NCAR so cooperation and courtesy are expected when dealing with NCAR staff.

If there are any questions or concerns with this policy, please contact me directly.
Thanks, Josh Zapin (josh@rmiug.org).

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