A group of broadband and high-tech companies joined Adjunct Professor Dale Hatfield of the University of Colorado at Boulder in announcing initial plans for a voluntary Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The TAG’s mission is to bring together engineers and other similar technical experts to develop consensus on broadband network management practices or other related technical issues that can affect users’ Internet experience, including the impact to and from applications, content and devices that utilize the Internet.
Participants agreed that the TAG’s mission could also include: (1) educating policymakers on such technical issues; (2) attempting to address specific technical matters in an effort to minimize related policy disputes; and (3) serving as a sounding board for new ideas and network management practices.
Professor Hatfield, a former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Technologist, will facilitate TAG. Participants in the initial efforts have included representatives from AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, DISH Network, EchoStar, Google, Intel, Level 3, Microsoft, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.
"The TAG will function as a neutral, expert technical forum and promote a greater consensus around technical practices within the Internet community," said Hatfield in a statement. "The TAG would consider a number of factors in looking at technical practices, including whether a practice is used by others in the industry; whether alternative technical approaches are available; the impact of a technical practice on other entities; and whether a technical practice is aimed at specific content, applications or companies."
The participants in these initial founding efforts for the TAG expressed their desire that the group would advise on technical issues, attempt to resolve disputes over network management and related issues outside of an adversarial context, and help inform federal agencies (e.g., the FCC, Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice) in their industry oversight functions.