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[ NNSquad ] Re: Will Google Wallet ever open on Verizon phones? -- The benefits of bad architecture

There is indeed a mystical idea that wireless bits are special and scarce
and that all traffic must go through billing chokepoints. It goes back to
the ideological notion that infrastructure must be a profit center because
that idea worked so well for the railroads and the FCC is the ICC redux.
Note that this scarcity would go away if we didn't need to assure each bit
is billed and could take advantage of the very abundant wired (including
fiber) capacity via Wi-Fi.

As the LA Times story reminds us, Google agreed with the idea that wireless
bits are limited in their attempted deal with Verizon.

It's also a reminder that we can only buy "communicating devices" from a
legacy phone company even when the bits completely bypass their billing
engines. The cellular carriers are rewarded for bad design in that their use
of fragile protocols. Each device must be certified to work with their
network. They did not repeat the mistake of good architecture in which the
red/green wires of analog telephony provided a clear demarcation point. The
last time they did that customers bought their own equipment creating a
vibrant market in devices and third party services.

Today CarrierIQ is a throwback to the days when the carriers made us pay a
very high price (via rental) for phones that were very sturdy so they
reduced the carriers' maintenance cost but at the cost of preventing
innovation. It was their phone then and their cellular phone today.

Verizon has also repeated this "error" in FiOS by making their BHR
(Broadband Home Router) an architectural element. This "error" works to deny
us Internet access. If you use your own router then services such as remote
DVR no longer work. But their router doesn't provide full access. I use my
own router because it supports IPV6, VPNs, Guest access and is simply less

I was reminded of this when my EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) started to
decay (was no longer showing original air date and full credits) and then
disappeared. I finally fixed it by rebooting their router (BHR). But before
I did that I had a chat with support and then a tweet exchange with
@VerizonSupport. One DM was explicit: "Features like the Remote DVR, caller
ID on TV, and VOD, require the Verizon BHR in order to work. This is by
design and not considered a bug ^ JIR".

(As an aside, I see this as violating the Verizon franchise promise by
compromising my Internet access. Fortunately VoD generally does work using
my router because it is over IP and just passes through. But VoD does not
work with a dual WAN router because VoD requires a direct connection with a
Verizon head-end and doesn't tolerate being routed over the rest of the
Internet. As a further aside their non-VoD streams seem to depend on QoS and
glitch if there is a problem.)

The Internet forces a design discipline. VoIP is a good example of the power
of architecture. In the 1980's few would've believed we could do voice over
the Internet and most would've accepted the idea that voice needed special
treatment. Because that was not an option thanks to the architectural
discipline of decoupling TCP and UCP from IP we were forced to be innovative
and wait for the real market process to play out. Now we not only get voice
but we also get video simply because we found it worked and didn't limit
ourselves to voice as a network service. The problems with Verizon's non-VoD
streams show the risks of not having this discipline and becoming

Designing systems to fail provides a rationale for Verizon to intervene. Too
bad the FCC doesn?t understand that the power of the Internet comes from
decoupling these systems -- good architecture drives market innovation. Bad
architecture serves to protect the incumbents.

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2011 00:09
To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Will Google Wallet ever open on Verizon phones?

Will Google Wallet ever open on Verizon phones?

http://j.mp/tKZjwI  (L.A. Times)

   "Here's the part of the blog post where irony comes in. The Net
    neutrality rules the FCC adopted last December bar broadband Internet
    service providers from blocking legal applications or services. But
    the rules provide a sweeping exemption for wireless carriers; the only
    legal apps they can't block are voice and video calling services that
    compete with the carriers' offerings. So if Verizon wanted to hold off
    Google Wallet until its Isis service was ready to go, it wouldn't face
    any obstacles from the FCC."

 - - -

Historically, if you assume disingenuous motivations on the part of
phone companies in situations like this, you'll (unfortunately)
usually be right.

Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance:
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com