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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»

WSJ: Google Seeking Preferential Treatment from ISPs

The celebrated openness of the Internet or Net Neutrality is quietly losing powerful defenders, reports the Wall Street Journal. According to the report, "Google Inc. has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content... Google has traditionally been one of the loudest advocates of equal network access for all content providers." ...
One major cable operator in talks with Google says it has been reluctant so far to strike a deal because of concern it might violate Federal Communications Commission guidelines on network neutrality. more»

Ted Rogers, Canadian Communications Pioneer, Dies

Ted Rogers, the Canadian who turned a Toronto radio station into a North American broadcasting, publishing and telecoms conglomerate, died this morning. He was 75. He died just after midnight of heart failure at his home in Toronto, according to Jan Innes, a spokeswoman at Rogers Communications Inc., the company Rogers founded almost 50 years ago and turned into Canada's largest cable television and wireless carrier. He had suffered from deteriorating health recently, the company said. more»

FCC Pushing for Free Internet Plan, Called Most Controversial Issue in December

Outgoing Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is pushing for action in December on a plan to offer free, pornography-free wireless Internet service to all Americans, despite objections from the wireless industry and some consumer groups. The proposal to allow a no-smut, free wireless Internet service is part of a proposal to auction off a chunk of airwaves. The winning bidder would be required to set aside a quarter of the airwaves for a free Internet service. more»

Canada's CRTC Sides with Bell on Internet "Throttling" Case, Regulating Traffic Flow OK

Canada's telecoms watchdog has sided with Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) in letting the company slow down certain file-sharing traffic on wholesale networks it leases to smaller, independent service providers. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said today that BCE's main telecom unit, Bell Canada, can continue to "shape" traffic on the leased networks, but will now have to notify wholesale customers at least 30 days in advance of making performance-affecting changes. more»

U.S. Lawmaker to Push for Net Neutrality Legislation

A senior U.S. lawmaker plans to introduce a bill in January that would bar Internet providers like AT&T Inc from blocking Web content, setting up a renewed battle over so-called network neutrality. Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, believes a law is essential to prevent telephone and cable companies from discriminating against Internet content, even though regulators have taken actions to enforce free Web principles, a top Dorgan aide said on Thursday according to Reuters. more»

Major ISPs to Roll Out P4P Over the Next Two Months

Some of the largest ISPs in US, including phone and cable companies, plan on updating their networks over the next two months with a new technology that promises to accelerate P2P distribution. According to reports, recent trials have demonstrated 59% increase in download delivery speeds on average -- and up to 150% for the fastest class of users. more»

Government Net censorship Plan Facing Backlash in Australia

As opposition grows against the Government's controversial plan to censor the internet, the head of one of Australia's largest ISPs has labeled the Communications Minister the worst we've had in the past 15 years. Despite significant opposition from internet providers, consumers, engineers, network administrators and online rights activists, the Government is pressing ahead with its election promise of protecting people from unwanted material, this week calling for expressions of interests from ISPs keen to participate in live trials of the proposed internet filtering system. Michael Malone, head of iiNet, Australia's largest ISP, said he would sign up to be involved in the "ridiculous" trials, just to show how impractical it is. more»

Consumers Worldwide Getting Better Deals on Broadband Access, Says New Study

According to a report released today by market research company Point Topic, consumers worldwide are getting better deals on broadband. Out of the three main broadband technologies, DSL, Cable, and Fiber, DSL has seen the largest worldwide fall in average price for a subscription which dropped from $66.75 in first quarter of this year to $53.32 in third quarter. That is a 20% drop in the first 3 quarters of the year. In comparison average subscription prices for cable are down just over 12% and for different versions of fiber (often called FTTx) down by 6.5%. more»

FCC Approves White Space for Broadband in Unanimous Vote

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today approved, in a 5-0 unanimous vote, the plan to open up unused, unlicensed portions of TV white space spectrum for wireless applications and devices. However, to prevent interference, FCC has also placed some "rigorous certification process" which device offered by a technology company for use on the white spaces will have to go through. more»