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FCC Calls for Sanctions Against Comcast for Blocking Internet Traffic

The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Kevin Martin, intends to recommend that Comcast, U.S.'s largest cable company, be punished for violating agency principles that guarantee customers open access to the Internet. Martin said Comcast has "arbitrarily" blocked Internet access, regardless of the level of traffic, and failed to disclose to consumers that it was doing so. more»

U.S. Senate Passes Telecom Immunity Bill to Shield Phone Companies

More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate has given final approval today to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program. Senator Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee for president, voted for the plan amid supporters expressed concerns that he would backtrack on his opposition to telecom immunity. more»

Inter-Continental Cable-Laying Top Priority to Enhance Internet Connectivity

Reported by the Financial Times today: "The world's biggest telecoms companies are rushing to add capacity on inter-continental routes, to keep up with booming demand fuelled in part by consumers downloading bandwidth-hungry video content from YouTube, iTunes and other sites over broadband networks. Demand is also being driven by fast-growing telecom and internet markets in some developing countries, and by the need to build additional "redundancy" into the network undersea cables to protect against damage and failure." more»

FCC Has 4 Months to Justify Rule on Payments for Dial-Up Internet Access

Dial-up Internet connections often require larger phone companies to transfer the connections to smaller competitors who contract with ISPs. In a non-Internet context, the original carrier of a phone call is required to pay the second carrier for use of its facilities. A federal appeals court on Tuesday has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 4 months to explain its rule governing how phone companies are compensated when people use dial-up Internet connections. If the FCC does not comply with that deadline, the rule will be invalidated, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said. more»

U.S. Telecoms Suing Cities Planning Broadband Access

According to today's report from Law.com, Telecommunications companies are suing cities around the United States in order to stop the construction of publicly owned fiber optic systems that bring high-speed Internet, telephone and cable television to communities far from metropolitan centers. Attorneys for cities say the telecommunications suits, whether brought under state law, the Federal Telecommunications Act or other laws, are veiled attempts to stop construction of competing public systems providing an essential utility in the digital age. more»

Google Says Bell Canada is Breaking the Law

Google says Bell Canada is breaking Canadian telecommunications law by throttling certain internet traffic, and is urging the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to take action against the company. Peter Nowak of CBC News reports today that Google has made a 15-page submission to CRTC which went public over the weekend. Quoting from the submission: "Bell claims its throttling of peer-to-peer applications is a reasonable form of network management. Google respectfully disagrees. Network management does not include Canadian carriers' blocking or degrading lawful applications that consumers wish to use." more»

Cable Operator Suspends Plan to Sell Customer Data to Advertisers

Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States, announced yesterday that it has backed off a plan to monitor customers' Internet transmissions. The company had been planning to harvest the stream of data from each Internet customer for clues to their interests and then make money from advertisers who would use the information to target online pitches. The data-collection effort would have protected personal information, Charter officials said in describing the plan, but critics likened the practice to wiretapping. more»

New Coalition Pushes for High-Speed Internet Access for All

U.S. Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein and several high-profile technology executives and industry advocates on Tuesday launched an initiative to make broadband access a national priority in the U.S., report Elizabeth Montalbano or IDG news service. At the Personal Democracy Forum in New York, Adelstein and others unveiled InternetforEveryone.org, a movement aimed at fostering a public dialogue among U.S. citizens to advise the government on how to set a national policy. more»

Cyberattack Paralyzed Marshall Islands Email Service

Email communication in the Marshall Islands was paralysed Tuesday after hackers launched a "zombie" computer attack on the western Pacific nation's only Internet service provider, AFP reports. The attack started early Tuesday, in which hackers used zombie computers to flood country's only Internet service provider with spam emails, causing a complete shutdown of email traffic into the nation of around 55,000 people. more»

The Pirate Bay Calls ISPs Around the World to Block Sweden

In a response to the new wiretapping law that was introduced in Sweden this week, The Pirate Bay is asking international ISPs to block traffic to Sweden in order to protect their customers. In addition, the BitTorrent tracker will add SSL encryption to their site, and roll out a new VPN service. Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde, has written about this issue on his blog. Sunde points out that Belgium has taken Sweden to the Strasbourg court and hopes more countries will follow suit. more»

Internet Usage Control Necessary, Says Sandvine

CBC News has an interview with the CEO of Sandvine, a company notorious for providing Internet access providers the technology to manage the amount and type of traffic used by consumers. From the interview, "Q: Some people have a negative view of Sandvine -- one keynote speaker at a security conference last year referred to your company as "evil." How do you react to that perception? A: Here we are, a company founded on improving the quality of the experience of the internet and trying to make the world a better place... One of the biggest ironies is that people who might not be too happy with what we're doing are often the largest benefactors of it." more»

ISPs Will Likely Try Variety of Methods to Deal With P2P Traffic

P2p traffic management was a hot topic at this year's NXTcomm convention in Las Vegas, as keynote speakers and telecom industry panelists highlighted new methods for handling P2P traffic crunches, reports Brad Reed of Network World. Ericsson North America CTO Arun Bhikshesvaran says: "In the end, ISPs are likely to try a wide variety of methods for managing P2P traffic, and users shouldn't expect one method will instantly crop up that will satisfy both their demands and those of the network. It's really more of an evolution of the service provider model than anything else. It's an evolution of the business model, and there will be more to come... hopefully not to the detriment of the users." more»

No Broadband Access for Illegal Downloaders Under New Law in France

A new controversial law in France will ban anyone who persists in illegal downloading of music or films from broadband access. Under a cross-industry agreement, internet service providers (ISPs) are required to cut access for up to a year for third-time offenders. "There is no reason that the internet should be a lawless zone," President Sarkozy told his Cabinet yesterday as it endorsed the "three-strikes-and-you're-out" scheme that from next January will hit illegal downloaders where it hurts. more»

Google is in Process of Developing ISP Throttling Detector Tool for Consumers

In an effort to identify traffic discrimination by American ISPs, Google is prepping a suite of network analysis tools for everyday broadband users. "We're trying to develop tools, software tools...that allow people to detect what's happening with their broadband connections, so they can let [ISPs] know that they're not happy with what they're getting -- that they think certain services are being tampered with," Google senior policy director Richard Whitt said during a panel discussion. more»

AT&T Following Steps of Cable Companies, Considers Tiered Broadband Pricing

AT&T, United States' largest Internet provider, is considering charging extra for customers who download large amounts of data. Cable companies such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Rogers have already taken steps to gauge their customers Internet usage. "A form of usage-based pricing for those customers who have abnormally high usage patterns is inevitable," said AT&T's spokesman Michael Coe. more»

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