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What Did the Bush Admin Promise the Telco's in Early 2001?

I have a hypothesis: The Bush administration came to power in December 2000. American telcos were on the precipice about to go into Free fall. We have seen how Bush politicized the Justice Department and are much more aware thanks to John Dean's Broken Government and Charlie Savage's Take Over of the intense desire to aggregate executive power to feed the Addingtons belief in the Unitary Executive. We now know that Cheney was meeting with the energy industry in early 2001 promising them whatever they wanted. We may begin to ask what the domestic telecoms industry was being promised? more

Europe Weighing Broadband Price Regulation

The gap between broadband haves and have nots in the European Union has widened during the past year, a trend that might warrant price regulation similar to that imposed on the market for mobile roaming charges earlier this year, the European Commission said Monday. more

Internet2 Announces 100 Gigabits Per Second Network Infrastructure

Today at its annual Fall Member Meeting, Internet2 announced the completion of its new nationwide network infrastructure. With an initial capacity of 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps) nationwide and revolutionary bandwidth-on-demand capabilities, the new Internet2 infrastructure provides researchers and educators the potential to transform disciplines across the board from science, to telemedicine, to network research, to the performing arts. more

The Myth of Infinite Bandwidth

Back in the late 1990s I was often asked what I thought would happen if Internet bandwidth was infinite -- what would that change about the Internet itself? Level 3's (LVLT) recent decision to slash prices on its content distribution network and rumors of new multi-terabit cables across the Pacific have me wondering if we are actually getting closer to having infinite bandwidth. But when replying to the infinite bandwidth question I was prone to posing a return question -- what does infinite bandwidth actually mean? more

FON and BT: Wifi Today; Mobile Tomorrow?

A deal announced today between British Telecom and upstart FON allows BT's Internet customers to share their own broadband connections via WiFi and, in turn, be able to access WiFi free at "thousands" (doesn't say how many) of FON hotspots around the world operated by other Foneros... When you buy home Internet access from BT and opt into this plan, you are also buying roaming access at no extra charge. The technology is supposed to assure that the part of the connection which you share is segregated from your own access so that there are no security problems caused by the sharing. more

Japan Becomes Broadband Paradise

The United States and European Union might be the largest economies, but when it comes to Internet connections at home, many of their citizens still live in the slow lane. By contrast, Japan is a broadband paradise, with the fastest and cheapest Internet connections in the world. Nearly eight million Japanese have a state-of-the-art fiber-optic line at home that is up to 30 times speedier than a typical DSL line. more

Project Unity: Google Planning Multi-Terabit Undersea Communications Cable

According to recent reports, Google is planning a multi-terabit undersea communications cable across the Pacific Ocean for launch in 2009. The project, called "Unity", has been under development for several months with a group of carriers and Google meeting for high-level talks on the plan in Sydney last week. Although Google is neither confirming nor denying the existence of the Unity plan, the company's spokesman Barry Schnitt has been quoted saying: "Additional infrastructure for the Internet is good for users and there are a number of proposals to add a Pacific submarine cable. We're not commenting on any of these plans." more

Enterprise or Public Sector Investment in National Lambda Rail Presents a Unique Opportunity

Sometimes in our worries about the Duopoly, we fail to recognize that some extraordinary wealth of opportunity sits right underneath our noses. National Lambda Rail (NLR) is one such case. About six months ago I wrote in some detail about NLR and what made this entity different from previous attempts at research networks in the US... NLR runs on a philosophy of a user owned and administered research network. Intrernet2 (I2), during the ten years of its existence, has run on the basis of first a Qwest donated backbone known as Abilene and since November 2006 on the basis of a seven year managed services contract with Level 3 Communications. more

Wireless Net Neutrality

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

Is Bandwidth Infinite? It All Depends…

On August 23 ( while I was in China) a list member Lee S. Drybrugh wrote in jest: I happened to bump into Peter Cochrane stating, "The good news is -- bandwidth is free -- and we have an infinite supply." Next by sheer accident I bumped into this in relation to Gilder, "Telecosm argues that the world is beginning to realise that bandwidth is not a scarce resource (as was once thought) but is in factinfinite." Can anyone explain this infinite bandwidth as I think I am getting ripped off by my ISP if this is true? Craig Partridge then offered what I think is a very good commentary of a difficult question where the answer depends very much on context... more

This Week in the White Spaces

Every once in a while I look in on the white spaces, to see how things are going. You'll recall that the white spaces are unused, non-contiguous ("swiss cheese" ) frequencies between broadcast stations around the county. Commr. McDowell of the FCC has said that initial rules for the white spaces will be released sometime this fall. If the white spaces are made available on an unlicensed basis for use by opportunistic, "smart," low-power mobile devices, entrepreneurial engineers will think of ways to use this wealth of spectrum (300 MHz wide, if fractured) to provide mobile connections to whatever fiber installations are nearest. more

P2P: Boon, Boondoggle, or Bandwidth Hog? (The Dark Side)

Yesterday's post explained how peer-to-peer (P2P) applications use the processing power, bandwidth, and storage capacity of participants in a service rather than centralized resources. This makes such applications generally less subject to catastrophic failure, much less subject to running out of resources (since each new user brings new capacity as well as new demand), and much cheaper FOR THE PROVIDER of the application in terms of hardware and bandwidth required. It's the FOR THE PROVIDER part that's the rub. Let's consider the case of BBC's iPlayer service... more

CALEA Roundup: 2005-2007

The wrangling around the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) is one of those issues that creeps inexorably forward and is hard to follow unless you're really focusing. So here is a quick, if longish, overview: CALEA is a 1994 statute that requires telephone companies to design their services so that they are easily tappable by law enforcement in need of "call-identifying information." Back in August 2005, following a request from the Dept. of Justice, the Commission moved swiftly to impose CALEA obligations on providers of broadband access services and "interconnected VoIP" services... more

Prediction: Google WILL Bid for 700MHz Spectrum and WILL Win

There is an excellent business case for Google bidding megabucks in the upcoming 700MHz auction and investing even more to get a network up and running. I think Google is well aware of the value to them if they win and the harm they'd suffer if the duopoly wins instead. Google can make big bucks with a nationwide third network AND make things better for all Internet users AND improve the United States' pathetic competitive position in the contest for broadband access. Hope this post doesn't end up post-tagged "wishful thinking"... more

Two Things Happened at the FCC Today

Paul Kaputska has the best wrap-up of the 700 MHz press releases and statements online, with comments from major players. Rick Whitt is polite and welcoming, noting the progress that's been made (who would have thought any move towards unlocking devices from networks was possible?) while saying it would have been better to have included wholesale requirements. But while even mainstream media was (finally) focusing on the moderate, incremental, and possibly hopelessly unenforceable (and ultimately meaningless) steps taken by the FCC today in announcing its auction rules, something else happened. more