In a speech at the Progressive Policy Institute on Tuesday, Ruth Milkman, the Chief of Staff for FCC Chairman Tom  Wheeler, signaled the FCC’s intention to examine issues that relate to Internet service provider (ISP) interconnection and  the extent to which agency intervention is needed to promote fairness and resolve disputes, as she proclaimed that  “disconnected networks do not serve the public interest.”  Milkman’s remarks were focused on peering arrangements that  give website operators such as Netflix or Google or intermediary providers such as Cogent Communications the right to  interconnect directly with “last mile” ISPs that include cable operators and the major landline phone service carriers.  Noting that ISP interconnection “has not always been seamless,” Milkman cited several high profile disputes from the  1990s and early 2000s in which peering connections were terminated or cut off temporarily by large ISPs.  Milkman also  spoke of “more recent disputes that have erupted” that “seem to involve degradation of service arising from congestion at  peering points, particularly during peak usage times.”  The question before the FCC, said Milkman, is whether these  disputes are “just business negotiations that can be resolved adequately in the marketplace” or “warning signs of the  breakdown of the functioning marketplace?”  Admitting, ‘we at the FCC don’t know the answer,” Milkman declared:  “we  need to learn more about how the marketplace is or is not functioning.”  Milkman further noted that the FCC is soliciting comment on ISP interconnection as part of the agency’s net neutrality proceeding, as she observed that “some parties have  sought to expand the scope of the [proposed rules] to include issues related to Internet backbone providers.”