FCC CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI
REMARKS ON THE OPEN INTERNET APPS CHALLENGE
COMMISSION MEETING ROOM
AUGUST 5, 2011
Thank you for joining me to announce the winners of the Open Internet Apps Challenge. I'm
thrilled to be here to see the results of your hard work.
We announced this competition last December when the Commission adopted a light-touch
framework to preserve a free and open Internet. It's another important step in our agenda to
empower consumers and promote innovation, investment and job creation.
Thank you to our panel of judges who volunteered their time in evaluating the entries. This group
includes professors from Boston University and UMass-Amherst; scientists and technologists
from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Arbor Networks, and ICSI; and engineers from AT&T,
Comcast, Microsoft, Raytheon and Intel.
On my first day as Chairman, I spoke about the important principles of openness and
transparency. We've been committed to improving the information we provide the public;
opening the agency to greater participation from external stakeholders; and pursuing transparency
as a vehicle to empower consumers.
And we've been committed to harnessing technology to pursue these important principles of
openness to transparency. In keeping this commitment, we've hosted more than 85 staff-led
public workshops on topics from public safety to small business opportunities, workshops that
have been streamed online and open to broad public participation.
We transformed our website, offering new ways for public participation, including an easy-to-use
proceedings page where people can submit comments into the official public record with just one
click a first in government. We are the first federal agency to launch a website that makes
government data available in formats that can help entrepreneurs build innovative applications.
We've also worked extensively with the software developer community. The FCC held an Open
Developer Day, also a first.
And this challenge presents a new opportunity for the agency to partner with innovators and
researchers working towards important goals.
One of the most innovative ways the Commission is promoting public participation is through
challenge.gov. Challenge.gov is a government-wide initiative which offers a platform for
agencies to solicit the public's best ideas to solve public challenges. Agencies submit a challenge,
and private citizens propose solutions -- often with prizes as an incentive for their submissions.
Late last year, the FCC issued a new challenge to researchers, inventors, and software developers:
create tools and publish research that would help preserve and protect a free and open Internet.
This challenge was designed to provide the public, researchers, policy makers, consumers and the
Internet community with useful tools and information that will help ensure the free flow of
information on the Internet data that help consumers make informed choices in choosing
broadband service, and help developers designing the next killer app.
This challenge was announced at the same time the Commission adopted a strong and balanced
framework to preserve Internet freedom. This framework which has been broadly supported is
We said at the time that this strong and balanced framework would bring increased certainty and
predictability to a long fraught issue. And it has.
We said that it would help spur innovation and investment throughout the broadband economy.
And it has. Tens of billions of new dollars have already been invested this year in fixed and
mobile broadband networks this year an increase in private investment in this sector, even in
this challenging economy. Shortly after the framework was adopted, America's leading wireless
providers announced that they were accelerating the deployment of their 4G networks.
We've seen increased investment not only in the core of the network, but also at the edge. In fact,
there is more investment this year in U.S. Internet companies than in any year since 2001.
Investments in Internet companies these are companies that rely on a free and open Internet --
surged in the second quarter of this year with $2.3 billion going into 275 companies. This
represents a 72% increase in dollars and a 46% increase in deals from the first quarter of this
year. 2011 is going to be the biggest year for tech IPOs in more than a decade, reflecting strong
investor confidence in companies that rely on an open Internet.
These companies, meanwhile, are creating thousands and thousands of new jobs. Consider:
Groupon and LivingSocial, two very young Internet companies with services providing benefits
to both consumers and small businesses, have created over 10,000 jobs in the last two years.
We're seeing more and more evidence that the broadband sector is a bright light in our economy
and is strongly positioned to help drive and strengthen our economy.
Just yesterday, I was in Indiana participating in the announcement of 100,000 new broadband-
enabled jobs. A coalition of leading customer service companies have committed to creating
these jobs over the next two years. These will include many jobs on-shored from overseas. And
many "at home" jobs which provide unique opportunities for people who need to work from
home, including people with disabilities, returning veterans, and single parents.
This brings me back to the challenge and why the winners of this contest will help ensure
continued certainty, innovation and investment in this vital sector. How? Shining a light on
network management practices will ensure that incentives for entrepreneurs and innovators
remain strong. They will help deter improper conduct helping ensure that consumers and the
marketplace pick winners and losers online, and that websites or applications aren't improperly
blocked or slowed.
Today, we recognize three teams who rose to the challenge.
Our award for Best App the winner of both the juried competition and the public voting - goes
to a team from the University of Michigan and Microsoft research, which created MobiPerf, an
Android and iOs app. With this tool, in only two minutes, you can give your mobile broadband
network a thorough check-up. MobiPerf will not only give you basic information about your
service, such as throughput speeds, but it can also reveal traffic management practices such as
the blocking of certain ports and applications.
We have two winners for Best Research.
A team at Georgia Tech's School of Computer Science developed a method called "Differential
Probing" or DiffProbe, which allows end-users and researchers to identify the ways ISPs shape
Internet traffic on their networks.
ISCIS, the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley, came up with a tool called
Netalyzr, a Java applet, which like MobiPerf allows people to conduct a diagnostic of their
Internet service. Their paper looks at more than 130,000 measurement sessions to understand
filtering and manipulation practices being employed by broadband providers.
MobiPerf, DiffProbe, and Netalyzr may sound like experimental pharmaceuticals, but these are
practical tools that are giving consumers and researchers the information they need to understand
and monitor the free and open Internet. It's my pleasure to recognize these private citizens whose
innovations will ensure the Internet remains a powerful platform for innovation, job creation, and
I'd now like to call up the winning team members to accept your awards: Feng Quian (Fang Can)
of the University of Michigan Team; Nicholas Weaver of the ISCI Team; and from the Georgia
Tech Team, Partha Kanuparthy and Constantine Dovrolis.
With that, it's now my pleasure to welcome the University of Michigan and Microsoft team, who
will offer a presentation of MobiPerf, followed by presentations from the other winners.