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It's Time to Move From 'Broadband' to 'Infrastructure'

The success of the internet demonstrates that we now depend on network operators to assure that services like telephony work. The carriers are pushing back on neutrality because their business model is threatened by a level playing field. We should be encouraging innovative internet-native business models rather than working to preserve an industry threatened by innovation. more

"Restoring" Internet Freedom for Whom?

Recently, a colleague in the Bellisario College of Communications asked me who gets a freedom boost from the FCC's upcoming dismantling of network neutrality safeguards. He noted that Chairman Pai made sure that the title of the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is: Restoring Internet Freedom. My colleague wanted to know whose freedom the FCC previously subverted and how removing consumer safeguards promotes freedom. more

Net Neutrality: Both Sides Make Some Ridiculous Claims

We've all heard too much about NN, which I've been reporting for 20 years. I support it because I don't want Randall Stephenson of AT&T deciding what I should watch on TV. The long-run effect is negative. The claims from some people who agree with me are ridiculous. "According to former FCC commissioner Michael Copps, ending net neutrality will end the Internet as we know it." Michael knows I respect him, but... more

An Example of Effective Government Support for New Communication Technology

The October Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on the commercial satellite industry provides a current example of effective government support of new communication technology. The hearing focused on broadband access, primarily from low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Witnesses from four companies - Intelsat, OneWeb, ViaSat and SpaceX - testified and the tone of the hearing was set by the opening statements of Committee Chairman John Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson. more

Internet Religious Wars: Net Neutrality Episode

Turning network technical protocols into religion seems like an inherently bad idea -- transient and unstable at best. However, it happens. More than 40 years ago, the world of legacy telecommunications and network design formalism started the tendency with OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Networks). A few years later, the academic research community did it with their myriad host-to-host datagram protocols -- eventually calling one "the Internet." more

The FCC is Taking the Right Step

Today's announcement from the Commission that it intends to roll back the exercise of Title II utility-style regulation over "any person engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service" at its 14 December meeting is the right step. As a veteran of 40 years of internet related regulatory wars in the FCC and numerous other venues, the Commission's decision and the actual Rules promulgated in the February 2015 Report & Order stand among the most ill-considered application of authority and regulatory gerrymandering ever witnessed. more

Could SNET Become Cuba's Guifi.net?

In an earlier post, I described Havana's community network, SNET, and wondered what it could become if the government and ETECSA were willing to legitimatize and support it. Spain's Guifi.net provides a possible answer to that question. Guifi.net is said to be the largest community network in the world. It began in 2004 and has grown to have 34,165 nodes online with 16,758 planned, 407 building, 612 testing and 4,043 inactive. more

Telesat - a Fourth Satellite Internet Competitor

I've been following SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing satellite Internet projects, but have not mentioned Telesat's project. Telesat is a Canadian company that has provided satellite communication service since 1972. (They claim their "predecessors" worked on Telstar, which relayed the first intercontinental transmission, in 1962). Earlier this month, the FCC approved Telesat's petition to provide Internet service in the US using a proposed constellation of 117 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. more

Google Now a Target for Regulation

The time was - way back around the turn of the century - when all Internet companies believed that the Internet should be free from government regulation. I lobbied along with Google and Amazon to that end (there were no Twitter and Facebook then); we were successful over the objection of traditional telcos who wanted the protection of regulation. The FCC under both Democrats and Republicans agreed to forbear from regulating the Internet the way they regulate the telephone network; the Internet flourished, to put it mildly. more

Data on Cuba's SNET and a Few Suggestions for ETECSA

I've written several posts on Cuba's user-deployed street networks (SNET), the largest of which is SNET in Havana. (SNET was originally built by the gaming community, but the range of services has grown substantially). My posts and journalist's accounts like this one describe SNET, but a new paper presents SNET measurement data as well as descriptive material. more

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