Joined on April 25, 2007
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Mark Goldberg has more than 30 years of international experience in strategic planning, managing, designing and implementing telecommunications carrier networks. His background includes heading the Network Services organization for one of Canada's largest long distance companies, developing the network architecture for competition in Canada, design of the US Government Voice Network, creating the business plan for Canada's Information Highway initiative, and helping new international entrepreneurs launch traditional and enhanced telecommunications services. He is chair of the advisory board for the Masters in Engineering in Telecommunications at University of Toronto.
In naming him as one of Canada's top 10 technology bloggers in April 2008, itWorld Canada wrote: No one does a better job of exploring, interpreting or criticizing telecommunications policy in Canada. Period.
His consulting firm, Mark H. Goldberg and Associates, provides a full range of consulting services to telecommunications companies, including: business planning, strategic planning, carrier relations, regulatory and government relations, network design, RFP evaluations, project management and operations reviews.
He is co-Chair of Canada's largest annual telecom industry event: The Canadian Telecom Summit, taking place each June in Toronto.
It used to be so much easier to manage a system of cross subsidies for communications. If a regulator wanted consumer services to be subsidized by businesses, rural to be subsidized by urban, local subsidized by long distance, TV production subsidized by distribution, it could just issue an order to make it so. So let it be written; so let it be done. There were few, if any, other suppliers of those services, so there were limited arbitrage opportunities. more»
AT&T got critics' keyboards activated by announcing plans for a Sponsored Data service, enabling websites to pay for their end-users data consumption. The service has been characterized as a type of toll-free or "1-800″ style service for mobile data. Does this contravene network neutrality principles? AT&T says the traffic from the sponsoring sites will be treated the same as other traffic on the network. A US public interest group, Public Knowledge, claims this is precisely what a net neutrality violation looks like. more»
A colleague sent me a story by Cecilia Kang in the Washington Post: Survey finds gap in Internet access between rich, poor students. With my interest in programs to get connected computers into low income households, my friend knew I would be interested in the article which talks about a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. Indeed, I would commend the Washington Post article and the survey itself to you for reading. I want to highlight the problem representing the survey results in the Washington Post. more»
In a blog post, Sandvine announced that for the second year in a row, the Super Bowl was seen as an event that led to a 15% reduction in overall internet traffic, despite being available as a streaming video feed for United States viewers. The blog says "Sandvine's traffic statistics have showed continued growth in adoption of live streamed sports events, but for the time being it is no threat to replace viewing via traditional broadcast methods." more»
It started with a report in the New York Times, citing a study from Arieso, saying that "Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of World's Bandwidth". Arieso said that part of the reason for the increase in download volumes may be Apple's Siri voice feature on the iPhone 4S which allows consumers to dictate to the phone and enter more text and data... Other news outlets picked up the story and lost all perspective. more»
Intel sent an interesting infographic: What Happens in an Internet Minute. Looking at the traffic data, Intel asks if there is sufficient attention being paid to investment in infrastructure. Imagine the state of the network in three years, when the number of connected devices is projected to be double the world's population. Can our networks scale to handle predicted traffic and meet consumer expectations for immediate access from multiple devices? more»
A political focus on subsidizing telecom infrastructure is just so easy. There are multiple photo opportunities (at the announcement, the cheque presentation and the system activation), happy mayors, happy voters. It gets to be portrayed as economic stimulus, direct job creation and consistent with progress on digital economic development. But while it may feel satisfying politically, I question the effectiveness of continued broad government subsidies based on geography, rather than taking a more focused approach based on need. more»
Tim Wu had an OpEd published in the Wall Street Journal this weekend: In the Grip of the Internet Monopolists. There are commentaries on the piece on The Technology Liberation Front and TechCrunch. The more I thought about the OpEd, the more troubling it seemed. more»
A new report was released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, part of the US Department of Commerce... It is a 68 page report with a wealth of data to help understand the factors that differentiate levels of adoption and to try to understand the reasons for non-adoption of residential broadband. In the US, people who don't use the internet represent two thirds of non-users of broadband... more»
It seems to me that too many people have focused government attention on intervening in the supply of broadband facilities. Let's face it, it is easier to look at a dozen or so suppliers to gather information and figure out who should receive a cheque to help direct their investment in broadband facilities. On the other side of the equation, it is hard work to stimulate demand. But this is precisely where our efforts should be focused, as was recommended by the recent report... more»
A paper out of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) examines answers to "Does Broadband Boost Local Economic Development?" Many might flame PPIC for daring to ask such a question, but with billions of dollars in public funds being spent by governments around the world, it seems appropriate for some science to be applied to study the benefits. more»
Last week, comments were filed with the FCC in response to the Berkman study of international broadband comparisons... Many of the comments were not supportive of the Harvard Berkman study. In an earlier blog posting, we had observed that there appeared to be statistical problems in the Berkman study that would not hold up to peer review. Our comments may have understated the extent of the problems. more»
There is a difference between rhetorical leadership and actually instituting regulations. As the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chair Konrad von Finckenstein said on October 21: "Canada is the first country to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to internet traffic management practices." In a regulatory policy decision, the CRTC affirmed that it already has sufficient legislative authority within Canada's Telecom Act to police discriminatory practices by ISPs. Similar clauses do not exist in US legislation. more»
AT&T has turned up the volume on Google Voice in a filing with the FCC. At issue is Google's decision to block calls that are routed to certain rural areas with higher than average termination costs. Google questions regulating its service - a web application - the same as traditional phone services, but AT&T's letter claims that at the end of the day, Google Voice is routing PSTN to PSTN calls. more»
I have found a disturbing lack of context in respect of some reports examining the state of Canada's telecommunications industry, especially those that have cited various OECD studies released over the past few months. It has become increasingly clear that the OECD's analysis is flawed. The failure by so many to analyse the data appears to confirm what President Barack Obama said recently in a newspaper interview... more»
Financial Times has an article called The broadband numbers racket, by former FCC chief economist Thomas Hazlett, now a professor of law and economics at George Mason University. Hazlett points out that too many people use superficial selection of statistics to bolster questionable policy positions. more»
A report calling for reforms to Canada's Human Rights Commission is calling for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to form their own monitoring body to more speedily deal with hate material hosted on their servers. The report calls for the Human Rights Act to be amended to remove provisions that have the government body censor hate speech, while at the same time calling for ISPs to invoke their terms of service to knock down hate websites. more»
The Tyee, an independent on-line magazine based in BC wrote a story about net neutrality more than a year ago, noting that most Canadians are sleeping through the debate. They followed up again last week. Despite what is called a "perfect storm of events that may crystallize the issue for consumers, businesses, politicians, and regulators," there hasn't been an overwhelming outcry, despite extensive press coverage of the most recent network activities. There are a number of voices who present a conspiracy theory on traffic shaping in Canada... more»
The internet is a shared resource. Different access providers begin mixing traffic at different places, but sooner or later, my internet gets mixed into yours. The Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) application to the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) seems to acknowledge this shared nature with its reference (at paragraph 50 of its application) to the description of the Gateway Access Service its members resell, a description complete with a graphic of a cloud -- a sign that the resource is being shared... more»
A reader sent me a link last week to a piece that doesn't speak highly of net neutrality. Clyde Wayne Crews wrote an article called "Dumb Pipes, a Dumb Idea: Net Neutrality as 21st Century Socialism" that calls for legislators to reject "nut" neutrality. "Elevating the principle of mandatory net neutrality above the principle of investor ownership and wealth creation in pipes and spectrum deflects market forces away from the infrastructure development that we need..." Did anyone else see a touch of irony in a letter to the editor... more»
It is one thing to bring broadband internet to the masses, but how do we make them drink from the fountain of knowledge? One of the challenges, of course, is that the industry has not yet sold turn-key applications that capture the imaginations of the unconnected. Surprising as it seems, email, Facebook, file swapping and web surfing have not yet attracted 100% of the population. Are there some applications that might lend themselves to a toll-free model in order to reach the rest of the market? more»
There is an article in EETimes by Fay Arjomandi of Vancouver-based Mobidia that may shake up the fans of the 10 year old stupid network principle. The stupid network essay calls for intelligence to reside at the edge of the network, rendering IP networks to plumbing pipes -- with carriers ignorant of the application and services being transported. more»
There is growing interest in the US for the FCC to look at White Space to enable more options for broadband wireless in rural areas. What is White Space? Last weekend, the Sunday NY Times published an article about wireless services that included this description: "In many areas, not all broadcast [television] channels are in use. The unused channels are "white spaces" of high-quality spectrum that could be made available to local Internet service providers. Unlike the much higher frequency of Wi-Fi, television broadcast frequencies can travel for miles and penetrate walls, providing a much broader range for Internet service." There is a coalition of eight technology companies driving the discussion in the US... more»
To date, most of the discussion on net neutrality has dealt with the behaviour of conventional wireline ISPs. RCR Wireless News is carrying an opinion piece called "Paying for the bandwidth we consume" by Mark Desautels, VP -- Wireless Internet Development for CTIA -- the trade association for the US wireless industry. His article follows up on reports of Comcast cable moving to discontinue internet access service to so-called "bandwidth hogs"... more»
I had hoped to take a longer break from the theme of Net Neutrality, but a piece on Om Malik's blog by Daniel Berninger seems to be screaming for a reply. Berninger hails from Tier 1 Research; his credentials show a close association with Jeff Pulver's Free World Dialup, and hence a piece that is sympathetic to the 'Save the Internet' movement. His legalistically styled piece attempts to suggest that, in the absence of conformance to network neutrality principles, telephone companies will lose their common carrier status and therefore should lose their access to low cost rights-of-way. Good try, Dan... more»