Network and Engineering
A New Internet Engineering Forum is Almost Here
Over the last few months, I and some Comcast colleagues have been part of a diverse group of representatives from technology companies, advocacy groups, and academia who share the common goal of ensuring that Internet policies and practices keep pace with rapidly advancing technology. We are all working with Dale Hatfield, a professor at the University of Colorado and a former Chief Technologist of the FCC, to develop the practices and procedures that will govern a new Internet engineering forum called the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group, or BITAG (pronounced "BEE-tag"). The creation of the BITAG was announced earlier this summer when Dale, joined by companies such as Comcast, Google, Dish Network, Intel, and Level 3 Communications, announced their desire to create a group that would advise on technical issues, attempt to resolve disputes through engineering insights, outside of an adversarial context, and help inform federal agencies' industry oversight. Last week, at a seminal meeting in Boulder, Colorado, the BITAG took a giant step forward by finalizing practices that will ensure an open membership that can deliver engineering-driven analysis and consensus on the most pressing Internet questions of the day.
While it will be up to Dale and his team to share more details (which I anticipate they will quite soon) - I can tell you that we have worked hard to ensure that BITAG membership is open to all interested parties who are committed to advance the cause of improving engineering around all Internet practices. BITAG membership will include representatives from ISPs, ASPs, equipment manufacturers, content providers, and the Internet community at-large - including policy advocacy groups and academic experts - so long as they come equipped with engineering expertise and a commitment to problem-solving.
One open question remains: "How busy will the BITAG be?" The Internet is rapidly evolving and our understanding about how the Internet is used and how traffic on the Internet is managed faces new challenges every day by technological advances throughout the ecosystem. We anticipate that Dale and his team at the BITAG will be quite busy. But the success of the BITAG depends on developing a reputation for intellectual integrity, engineering rigor, and transparent processes. With Dale's leadership and expertise on board, we are off to an excellent start. And as founding participants in the BITAG, we will remain committed to those goals.