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US Supreme Court Rejects Online Child Protection Law

The U.S. Supreme Court today again refused to resurrect a federal law that required Web sites containing "material harmful to minors" to implement age-based access restrictions, presumably ending a 10-year fight over whether the law violated free-speech rights on the Internet. The court declined to hear an appeal that was filed by former President George W. Bush's administration, asking the justices to overturn a lower court's ruling against enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act of 1998. In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down COPA for the third time, saying that the law was a vague and overly broad attack on free speech. more»

Comcast Accused of Degrading VoIP Sound Quality of Competitors, Under FCC Investigation

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) raises the possibility of further network neutrality violations by Comcast. The agency is investigating concerns that Comcast's new network management practices degrade the sound quality of VOIP services such as Vonage and Skype that compete with Comcast's own VOIP service. more»

China's Online Population Reaching 300 Million, Same as Entire US Population

China's online population, already the world's largest, rose to 298 million by the end of 2008, almost the same as the entire population of the United States, an industry survey said Tuesday. The figure is up 41.9 percent from a year ago and is still growing fast, the government-linked China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) said in a report published on its website. more»

TV Warehousing: Comcast's 500-Terabyte Storage Development for Advanced Advertising

Comcast has sketched out plans for a gigantic database called "TV Warehouse," able to store a full year of statistics gathered from digital set-tops in more than 16 million households nationwide, according to an industry executive familiar with the project. TV Warehouse, envisioned as having a massive 500 Terabytes of storage, would then feed up to a database even broader in scope operated by Canoe Ventures, the advanced-advertising venture formed by Comcast and five other large MSOs. more»

Google Rolling Out Its Services Over IPv6

While Google admits that offering its services over IPv6 is still in its infancy, the company today announced the option for accessing Google services over IPv6. Last year, Google started offering Google search over IPv6 on IPv6-only websites like 'ipv6.google.com' requiring IPv6 connection, but other Google products have not been generally available over IPv6, says Google. "That's why we created Google over IPv6." more»

Broadband Now: Yes We Can… Stimulate the Economy, Says Industry Association

With the upcoming inauguration of United States' 44th President, USTelecom Association has released a Broadband Now video highlighting challenges facing the country, and how broadband can make a significant difference. From revitalizing the economy to tackling health care, education and global climate change, broadband can play a vital role, says the association which represents broadband service providers, manufacturers and suppliers providing advanced applications and entertainment. more»

AT&T Building $23M Production-Quality IPv6 Data Network for U.S. Army

AT&T is building a production-quality IPv6 data network for the U.S. Army in Germany that will cost approximately $23 million when it is completed next year. The Army is ahead of the curve with its new state-of-the-art data network, which will support its operations in Grafenwoehr, Germany -- the home of the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Center (JMTC). ... Carl Tegen, Director of Defense Networks at AT&T Government Solutions, said the training center's previous network didn't support IPv6, which is now mandated for all U.S. military telecommunications equipment purchases. The entire U.S. federal government is upgrading its network infrastructure to support IPv6. more»

Study Projects Broadband Sign-Ups to Fall by 12 Percent in 2009, Economic Downturn Blamed

The result of the economic downturn will force cable industry and telephone companies to face some unsettling prospects in terms of customer growth and revenue increases, according to a forecast by research firm, Pike & Fischer. According to the report released today, Pike & Fischer anticipates approximately 5.7 million U.S. households to become new high-speed Internet customers this year, marking a 12% decline in subscriber growth compared to 2008. The report also suggests that the cable industry will capture about 75% of new broadband subscribers. more»

China Determined to Purify the Internet, Cracks Down on Google and Other Major Websites

The Chinese government broadened its recent effort to limit pornography on the Internet by criticizing 19 Internet companies by name Monday, including Google and Baidu, the providers of the two most popular search engines in the country. A statement posted by early Monday afternoon on a government-run news site said the Ministry of Public Security and six other government agencies would work together "to purify the Internet's cultural environment and protect the healthy development of minors." A similar statement had been issued Dec. 5 but attracted little attention. more»

Telcos Pushing to Benefit From New US Administration's Broadband Funding

President-elect Barack Obama's call to improve the nation's broadband infrastructure has cable and phone company lobbyists maneuvering to get a leg up. Lawmakers in Congress want a plan that will create jobs over the next two to three years while also tackling the longer-term goal of improving the availability and quality of high-speed Web access in the U.S. The U.S. has slipped to 15th from fourth place since 2001 in broadband penetration, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. more»

Lawrence Lessig: FCC Beyond Repair, Should be Abolished

Lawrence Lessig has proposed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is corrupt beyond repair and that "President Obama should get Congress to shut down the FCC and similar vestigial regulators, which put stability and special interests above the public good." In a Newsweek exclusive opinion piece, Lessig urges that failure to "demolish regulators" charged with overseeing the nations digital pipelines will stifle the Skypes and YourTubes of the future. "In their place, Congress should create something we could call the Innovation Environment Protection Agency (iEPA), charged with a simple founding mission: 'minimal intervention to maximize innovation.' The iEPA's core purpose would be to protect innovation from its two historical enemies-excessive government favors, and excessive private monopoly power." more»

Thailand's Blacklist of Newly Banned Websites Leaked

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has released the list of newly blacklisted websites by Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). The list was leaked by advisory board member CJ Hinke, director of Freedom Against Censorship Thailand, according the WikiLeaks website. From WikiLeaks' announcement: "The 1,203 blocked websites are located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Vietnam..." more»

Music Industry Drops Mass Lawsuits, Will Pressure ISPs Instead

After years of suing thousands of people for allegedly stealing music via the Internet, the recording industry is set to drop its legal assault as it searches for more effective ways to combat online music piracy. The decision represents an abrupt shift of strategy for the industry, which has opened legal proceedings against about 35,000 people since 2003. Critics say the legal offensive ultimately did little to stem the tide of illegally downloaded music. And it created a public-relations disaster for the industry, whose lawsuits targeted, among others, several single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year-old girl. more»

Three Undersea Cables Cuts Cause Significant Disruption in Europe and Asia

France Telecom has reported today that 3 major underwater cables were cut: “Sea Me We 4” at 7:28am, “Sea Me We3” at 7:33am and FLAG at 8:06am. The causes of the cut, which is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections linking Sicily to Egypt, remain unclear. Most of the B to B traffic between Europe and Asia is rerouted through the USA. Traffic from Europe to Algeria and Tunisia is not affected, but traffic from Europe to the Near East and Asia is interrupted to a greater or lesser extent (read more for country). more»

Ranking Top Internet Service Providers in the World for 2008

In a post by Earl Zmijewski of Renesys, a number of observations have been made in the effort to rank all Internet service providers in the world for 2008 -- globally, geographically, as well as by market segment. Given the controversial nature of such a ranking in the industry, Zmijewski has pointed out that the changes in rank can be far more revealing than the actual rank itself. For instance it is noted that providers who are moving up in the rankings are doing so due, in large measure, to Asia. "China Telecom poised to enter the top-10 'global' providers, despite not being very global. Guess that is easy to do when you 'own' 1/6 of the world's population," says Zmijewski. Findings also include Sprint losing its long held #1 status to Level 3 and Global Crossing surging to #3, leaving their peers behind. more»