COMS 4419: Internet Technology, Economics and Policy (Spring 2019)
[Syllabus and schedule]
This course provides a broad overview of current technology,
economics and policy challenges in communications, emphasizing the "why"
and "how", as well as historical connections. The course will rely on
primary materials (published papers, white papers, technical reports,
laws and regulations) and draw heavily on the diverse experiences of the
students in the class, whose active participation is expected.
The class will attempt to provide a broad international perspective,
with special emphasis on the United States, Canada and Europe.
Topics will include:
- Overview of Internet technology (how does the Internet work)
- Review of basic principles of micro-economics
- How does the law work?
- A bit of communication history
- The role of communication policy and regulation (Telecom Act, FCC overview)
- Common carriage, significant market power and other regulatory frameworks
- Protocol and architecture standardization (IETF, 3GPP, OMA, ...)
- The economics of networks (building networks, natural monopolies, ...)
- Wireless communications: from AM radio to cellular
- Spectrum: properties, allocation and co-existence
- Network neutrality and the Open Internet
- Peering, transit and traffic exchange
- Names, numbers and addresses
- Basic principles of network security
- Internet security challenges: "cybersecurity"
- Internet security challenges: unwanted communication
- Privacy and surveillance
- Communication for public safety: 9-1-1, emergency alerting, ...
- Communication for all: enabling technologies for people with
disabilities (relay services, accessibility, CVAA, ...)
- Internet governance: ICANN, ITU and other actors
(Some topics may be omitted depending on time available and class interests.)
The class sessions will combine instructor lectures, guest lectures
General engineering, economics, law or technology background. A
programming background is not required; projects for CS students
will typically, but not necessarily, contain programming components, but
others will be able to do a project that reflect their individual
academic backgrounds or work as part of interdisclipinary teams.
Fridays, 1:10 - 3.40 pm in Mudd 1127
- Prof. Henning
Schulzrinne (office hours in room 720 CEPSR: Tuesdays, 1 pm or by appointment),
please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org before
- Instructional assistants:
- Neha Arora, Shivani Ghatge, Luoyao Hao.
- Instructional assistant office hours:
Neha Arora: Tuesday 3:45pm - 4:45pm, Mudd CS TA room
Shivani Ghatge: Thursday 4pm - 5pm, Mudd CS TA room
Luoyao Hao: Wednesday 5pm - 6pm, CEPSR 7LW2
There are no required books. Background material will be provided as
Class Mailing Lists and Other Resources
- Homework assignments are submitted via Courseworks.
- The Courseworks mailing list will be used for announcements.
- We are using the Piazza Discussion Forum for class discussions.
Grading and Late Policies
- 23%: Semester project:
- A two-person project assigned early in
the semester, involving a topic related to the class. (Projects with
one or three team members are possible, with scaled expectations.) The
project includes a report conforming to standard conventions of
scientific papers and a 12-minute presentation, typically at the end of
finals week. CVN students will use a video conference call, provided by
the instructor, to prsent their project.
- 32%: Homework assignments:
- There will be five homework assignments, assigned roughly every
- 20%: Midterm:
- The midterm is one class period, closed book, calculator permitted.
The midterm will cover all material discussed in the course up to the
week before the exam.
- 25%: Final:
- The final exam is scheduled during the normal final
exam time for this class period. The final is closed book,
calculator permitted. The final is cumulative and will cover all
material discussed in the course.
- 0%: No "extra credit" work
All homeworks are due by the date and time specified in the
assignment (usually one or two weeks after they are issued). Homework
submissions will be electronic, through CourseWorks. Complete
instructions will be given with each homework.
You can submit your assignment multiple times, but the last
submission is what counts. Each submission will be time stamped.
Proper submission is your responsibility; we strongly urge you to make
sure you understand the submission process and submit early. You can
always submit again up until the deadline, so we strongly urge you to
submit well before the deadline and then submit again if you have a more
updated assignment to submit later.
You are allowed a total of 5 late days for the whole semester,
to be used as you wish throughout the semester. That means you can be
five days late for Homework 2 (for example) and turn in all other
assignments on time, or one day late for each of the first five homework
assignments, with no point penalty. Once you have exhausted your five
late days, late homeworks will not be graded at all --- no extensions
will be given, except for medical emergencies certified by University
Health Services or a family emergency. Naturally, you may hand in
incomplete assignments for partial credit by the deadline.
Also see the Columbia
Policies and Procedures Regarding Academic Honesty.
All students or groups whose assignments are determined to be
obviously very similar will receive a zero on the respective homework
assignment for the first offense, and will receive an F for the course
for the second offense ("all" means both the copy-er and copy-ee). More
serious cases of cheating, such as copying someone's work without their
knowledge or cheating on exams, will result in the person cheating
receiving an F. In addition, offenses will be reported to the Dean's
office, which may result in further disciplinary action, including
suspension or expulsion from the program. Penalties will be given
without discussion or warning; the first notice you receive may be a
letter from the Dean. Note that you are responsible for not leaving
copies of your assignments lying around and for protecting your files
We would like the course to run smoothly and we'd like you to enjoy
the course. Feel free to let us know what you find good and interesting
about the course. Let us know sooner about the reverse. See us during
office hours, leave us a note, or send us email.
- Telecom policy
- TPRC is a long-running annual
conference where research on topics related to telecommunications, the
Internet, privacy and media is being discussed. Links to earlier
conferences are at the bottom of the page.
- Economics papers
- SSRN is a preprint
archive for papers in economics, social sciences and related fields.
- The BTOP program supported
broadband infrastructure, middle mile and digital inclusion projects.
The web site contains reports and case studies.
- Advertising, ad blocking
Overview, ad blocking ethics;
- OECD 2017
- Digital divide
measurements by state and city;
OECD Bridging the rural digital divide
- Rural networks
rural electric coops;
RUS loans and grants;
- Nudges & behavioral economics
of Competition and Indicators of Market Power