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WSJ on Wireless Network Neutrality

Today's Wall Street Journal had an interesting article (subscription required) on the current state of the wireless walled garden. It cites several recent clashes between handset vendors and cellcos over the extent to which consumers can use their phones to access non cellco content. From the article: "At stake for consumers are what services will be available on their mobile phones and whether they're free or cost a monthly fee. The wireless Web is taking off more slowly in America than overseas, and one reason is that U.S. carriers tightly control what applications are available on mobile devices..." more

Google Lobbying for Open Wi-Fi Spectrum

CNet News is reporting that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will be in the process of deciding whether to impose the so-called "open access" rules on winners of the upcoming auction of a generous chunk of the 700MHz broadcast TV band. Wireless companies are eager to bid on the auction as the 700MHz broadcast signals can travel farther and easily penetrate walls resulting in widespread, wireless broadband networks. more

Broadband Subscribers Reaching 300 Million Worldwide

According to a recent report by Point Topic, there were 298 million broadband subscribers worldwide as of the end of March 2007 -- and assumed to have passed 300 million by now. From the report: "China continues to push hard for the top spot however and has cut the gap to the US from 5.8 million at the end of 2006 to 4.1 million at end of March 2007." more

Over Half of U.S. Households Using Broadband Service

A new consumer research conducted by Leichtman Research Group finds that 53% of all US households now subscribe to a broadband high-speed Internet service at home. Broadband services now account for about 72% of total home Internet subscriptions as compared to 60% last year. his report has also noted that income still plays a major role in broadband adoption... Leichtman Research Group forecasts that the total number of broadband subscribers will increase by over 40 million over the next five years. more

Treating Different Types of Communications Differently

A friend who read my Creating Sustainable Network Neutrality paper wrote to say, "Help me understand what is so bad about treating different types of communications differently." That's a really good question! If you want to offer vertically integrated services on special purpose networks, such as video entertainment or pager service or telephony, I do not have a problem with that, provided you don't use your market power to impede Internet applications that offer competing services... more

Net Neutrality Reflection

So this afternoon my charge is to lay out all the Net Neutrality (NN) issues to a bar association that doesn't have a telecom subcommittee... Cringely says that "In the end the ISPs [network providers] are going to win this [network neutrality] battle, you know. The only thing that will keep them from doing that is competition, something it is difficult to see coming along anytime soon..." more

More on Broadband Router Insecurity and Being Proactive

Fergie replied on NANOG to my recent post on the subject of broadband routers insecurity: "I'll even go a step further, and say that if ISPs keep punting on the whole botnet issue, and continue to think of themselves as 'common carriers' in some sense -- and continue to disengage on the issue -- then you may eventually forced to address those issues at some point in the not-so-distant future..." He is right, but I have a comment I felt it was important - to me - to make. Not just on this particular vulnerability, but on the "war"... more

Broadband Routers and Botnets: Being Proactive

In this post I'd like to discuss the threat widely circulated insecure broadband routers pose today. We have touched on it before. Today, yet another public report of a vulnerable DSL modem type was posted to bugtraq, this time about a potential WIRELESS flaw with broadband routers being insecure at Deutsche Telekom. I haven't verified this one myself but it refers to "Deutsche Telekom Speedport w700v broadband router"... more

Ed Richards of Ofcom on Net Neutrality

Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom, was at Columbia today... NN (Net Neutrality) debate does give us insight into importance of disclosure to consumers -- consumers should be able to switch providers, and they should know which ISPs are making prioritization decisions. This should be an obligation of suppliers to communicate this information to consumers. In particular, he says that Ofcom is actively exploring whether network operators whose traffic shaping activities change materially should have to tell consumers -- and if these changes are significant consumers should be allowed to break their contracts with the provider without penalty... more

Whose Network is it Anyway?

In reading a Q&A with Verizon's Brian Whitten I found this striking Q and A: "Q. With a fiber connection being symmetric, many fiber providers such as Paxio are providing symmetric connections such as 5Mbit, 10Mbit, 30Mbit. Why is Verizon keeping this arbitrary asymmetric limit with Fiber? A. ...Indeed, our FTTP network can easily support a symmetric data service. As market dynamics change, we would re-assess the benefit to our customers of introducing a class of symmetric data services." My reaction is "No thank you, I'd rather do it myself". To understand my reaction you need to recognize the difference between wanting to build my own bridge across a stream and asking why I'm not allowed to cross it myself using my own boat. more

Vint Cerf, Dave Farber Debate Net Neutrality

Two Internet pioneers, Vint Cerf and Dave Farber, debated on the issue of proposed Net neutrality regulations supported by companies like Google and Amazon.com. The pair of technologists appeared to agree on at least one thing: Network operators, in general, shouldn't be allowed to interfere with Net users' activities. Where they disagreed was on the role that Congress and federal regulators should play in the ongoing debate over so-called Net neutrality, the idea that network operators must generally give equal treatment to all content that travels over their pipes.

Related Links:
The Great Debate: Net Neutrality (includes audio recording) more

Google Warns With Anti-Trust Complaints for Net Neutrality

Google warns it will not hesitate to file anti-trust complaints in the United States if high-speed Internet providers abuse the market power they could receive from U.S. legislators... If the legislators ... insist on neutrality, we will be happy. If they do not put it in, we will be less happy but then we will have to wait and see whether or not there actually is any abuse," Vint Cerf, a Google vice-president and one of the pioneers of the Internet, told a news conference in Bulgaria. more

Americans Continue Buying Broadband at Record Pace

Americans continued to sign up for broadband -- both cable and DSL -- at record rates in the first quarter, according to a report from the Leichtman Research Group.

A total of 3.06 million net additional subscribers signed up for broadband in the quarter, bringing the total of high-speed Web subscribers to nearly 46 million. Nearly 25.8 million subscribers have cable, while DSL is used by about 20.2 million subscribers. more

Net Neutrality Further Complicated by Opposition from Hardware Firms

The political debate in Washington over the concept known as Net neutrality just became a lot more complicated. Some of the largest hardware makers in the world, including 3M, Cisco, Corning and Qualcomm, sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday firmly opposing new laws mandating Net neutrality -- the concept that broadband providers must never favor some Web sites or Internet services over others. more

If It's Not Neutral It's Not Internet

The success of a proposal by AT&T and Verizon to end net neutrality does not threaten the Internet. The broadband customers of AT&T and Verizon will just no longer have access to the Internet. The development appropriately creates alarm among AT&T and Verizon's customers, but the combined customer bases of these companies represent less than 2% of the billion or so users of the Internet. The fact that access to the Internet requires net neutrality does not depend on laws passed by the US Congress or enforced by the FCC. Neutrality arises as a technical and business imperative facilitating the interconnection 250,000 independent networks that choose to participate in the Internet. more