Internet ‘Abandonment’ Merits Mention In Cruz’s Big Non-Endorsement Speech

The issue of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s handoff of the ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) root zone oversight to a multistakeholder model might seem wonky.

OK, there is no way it would not seem wonky and totally in the weeds.

But it is a wonky issue that has drawn lots of fire from Republicans in Congress — and one that got a little bit of the limelight at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

It was a red-meat plank in the GOP platform approved at the convention and it got a mention in Sen. Ted Cruz’s primetime Donald Trump non-endorsement speech at the convention. Maybe you heard Cruz say it and thought, what’d he say?

“The Internet? Keep it free from taxes, free from regulation. And don’t give it away to Russia and China,” Cruz said to extended applause, though it was one item deep into a call-and-response list of things Cruz said needed changing or protecting, with each drawing applause.

The party platform’s take is that President Obama “has unilaterally announced America’s abandonment of the international Internet by surrendering U.S. control of the root zone of Web names and addresses. He threw the Internet to the wolves, and they — Russia, China, Iran, and others — are ready to devour it.”

The Wire will be watching for a response this week when Democrats gather in Philadelphia.

Trawling for Tech Talent in Cable’s Capital

Thanks to the rise of tech giants like Facebook and Google, the competition for software coders and other forms of engineering talent has never been greater. And that goes for the cable industry, too, as networks become more virtualized and software-based, and as operators gradually migrate to all-IP distribution systems.

While much of this talent is concentrated in Silicon Valley, there’s still a sizable pool of it in the Denver area, which has become a tech hub in its own right, Denver also remains a significant cable industry presence, as it’s home to CableLabs, The Cable Center, Liberty Global, and Charter Communications’ new Technology and Engineering Center, as well as various Comcast facilities and divisions.


Denver (actually, the Omni Interlocken hotel in Broomfield, a city located northwest of Denver) was the site of an invitation-only “Tech Talk & Networking Event” held last Wednesday (July 20) evening by Comcast.

According to industry sources, the event drew well more than 100 people, including “many” former Time Warner Cable employees to learn more about opportunities at Comcast and the MSO’s vision for the future, along with some specific details about what’s on the company’s roadmap.

Representatives from different business units of Comcast, including business and enterprise services, Comcast Wholesale and its Denver-based VIPER (Video IP Engineering & Research) unit, discussed their current focus and plans, according to an agenda of the event.

Also on hand, sources said, were Comcast’s Tony Werner, recently promoted to president, technology and product; and Sree Kotay, who was also upped to chief technology officer.

One person familiar with the event said Comcast was clear that it doesn’t intend to have a presence in north Denver, near to where the event was held, but spoke about various other opportunities at the company.

Those opportunities span VIPER, which is based in the heart of Denver, as well as Comcast Wholesale, based in Centennial, a city that’s south of the Mile High City.


Comcast, the person noted, also was also encouraging attendees to consider helping the MSO define a technology culture in Philadelphia, where the company is building the 60-story Comcast Innovation and Technology Center that, at 1,121 feet, will rise above the neighboring Comcast Center. Comcast expects the new, $1.5 billion building to be completed by the first quarter of 2018.

In an interview with Philly published earlier this month, Kotay talked up Comcast’s ambitious work to pitch the city as a desirable destination for tech and engineering talent. “You go to Silicon Valley at one of the big companies, or even a startup, and you’re slipstreaming into this massive pool of churn,” Kotay said. “All this stuff is happening. Philly is a relatively small technology community, and you have the opportunity to define it. You’re not just a cog or Engineer No. 3,724 working on some feature.”

Kotay also told the pub that Comcast has about 170 development positions open, if any readers of The Wire know anyone who might be interested.

— Jeff Baumgartner

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.