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First Impression: FCC Rules for the 700MHz Auction

The FCC has issued rules which will govern the auction of valuable radio spectrum which could make a huge difference in the price and quality of communications in America. The glass is definitely half something: I'd say closer to empty than full but there are some things to like and some hope for competition. The decision is a compromise. Republican Chairman Martin was joined by Democrat Commissioners Adelstein and Copps in setting some open access conditions for 22MHz out of the 62MHz which will be auctioned. Republican Commissioner Tate reluctantly went along with these conditions and Republican McDowell voted against them. more

FCC Makes Decision on 700 MHz Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission voted to shake up the wireless market by approving a set of rules for the upcoming auction that would require the winner to make them accessible to any phone, other device or application. Regulators decided today that the winner of the valuable wireless airwaves the U.S. government plans to sell (by early next year) would have to permit consumers to connect using any device or software. more

Other Plans: WiMAX, Google, Sprint and Clearwire

Someone asked me a question today about Google's new partnership with Sprint. Sprint/Nextel is the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., falling far behind Verizon and AT&T -- who together control 51% of the wireless market. (Sprint services are also resold by Comcast and Time Warner as part of their packages.) Sprint has announced it won't bid in the 700 MHz auction. Sprint has other plans... more

Vint Cerf Explains Google's Biggest Challenge in Telecommunications Space

In his recent visit to Google's Seattle office, Vint Cerf discussed various topics with reporters including Google's recent bid on the wireless airwaves. Below are a couple of questions asked during this session by Seattle Times' reporter, Brier Dudley: What's going to be Google's biggest challenge if it moves into the telecommunications space... more

Google's Good Bandwidth Gambit

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has made the FCC an offer it shouldn't refuse. At this point it's unlikely that the FCC will accept but it would be good for the United States if it did -- and good for Google, of course. Two problems with the Google offer: at&t and Verizon hate it and it probably would result in the 700MHz auction bringing in somewhat less money (immediately) for the treasury than an alternative which would encourage the telcos to bid. more

Google Will Bid At Least $4.6 Billion on Wireless Airwaves

Google has announced today that it will bid at least $4.6 billion on the wireless airwaves that are to be auctioned off by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However Google will only commit to its bid if the following conditions are met... Om Malik of GigaOM says that behind all the 'openness' of Google's proposal, there are likely hefty vested interests in play... more

China to Become Largest Broadband Market by Year's End

CNN Money reports that the China is on track to pass the U.S. in becoming the largest broadband market later this year as video, e-commerce and online gaming fuel demand -- and the country has "just scratched the surface". From the report: "China added 4.5 million high-speed connections in the first three months of 2007 to 56.3 million, says research firm point 15pic. more

FTC Report on Broadband Resurrects Freedom of Service Information

The Federal Trade Commission intends to monitor the information that telecom and cable companies provide about high-speed Internet service in the service plans they offer to customers, according to a report issued last week by the agency. The FTC asserts in the report, released on June 27, that since it has jurisdiction over matters involving consumer protection, it "will continue to enforce the consumer protection laws in the area of broadband access."... The consumer protection sections of the FTC report raise this question: are broadband providers engaging in a deceptive practice when they advertise a connection speed of, for example, "up to" 768 kilobits per second (kbps) - and yet actual speeds are considerably lower? more

Google Preparing to be Next Giant of Telecommunications?

Canada's Financial Post suggests in a story that Google's plan to provide bandwith to consumers has been underway for some time and is now gaining momentum. From the report: "Search engine giant Google Inc. has been putting together a massive cable network to provide customers around the world with telecommunications services ranging from broadband Internet to home and mobile phones. Google has publicly denied plans to get into the lucrative business, valued at US$1.3-trillion globally, but industry experts say it is inevitable." more

FTC Tells Law Makers Back Off Net Neutrality

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released its report suggesting that concerns over threats to 'Net Neutrality' are a non-issue and that current anti-trust laws provide adequate protection against abuses of network power. more

U.S. Broadband Speed Lagging Behind Other Industrialized Nations

The U.S. is lagging behind other industrialized nations in the availability and use of high-speed broadband connections, according to a report released today by the Washington-based Communications Workers of America. The report, based on aggregated data from nearly 80,000 broadband users, found that the median real-time download speed in the U.S. is 1.9Mbit/sec., compared with 61Mbit/sec. in Japan, 45Mbit/sec. in South Korea, 17Mbit/sec. in France and 7Mbit/sec. in Canada. more

Web Traffic Overtakes P2P as Largest Bandwidth on the Network

After more than four years during which peer-to-peer (P2P) applications have overwhelmingly consumed the largest percentage of bandwidth on the network, HTTP (Web) traffic has overtaken P2P and continues to grow says a report released by Ellacoya Networks. These findings are based on usage data of approximately one million broadband subscribers in North America. more

First Square Mile is not the Last or First Mile: Discovery not Just Choices!

The term "last mile" highlights the fact that we are the consumers at the end of a broadband "pipe". Saying "first mile" is a little better but the Internet is not a pipe to or from somewhere else. It's about what we can do locally and then what we can do when we interconnect with other neighborhoods. It's better to describe our neighborhood as the first square mile. Telecom is about selling us services; the Internet is about what we can do ourselves locally and then interconnecting with others everywhere. In writing the First Square Mile - Our Neighborhood essay which I just posted I came to better understand the fundamental difference between the world of telecom which is about giving you choices and the Internet which provides opportunity to discover what we can't anticipate... more

Google Explains What They Mean by "Net Neutrality"

Google has launched a new Public Policy Blog focused on U.S. government legislation and regulation -- reported in the media as part of Google's efforts in setting up focus on the U.S. government since early 2005. In an entry posted over the weekend on the blog by Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, key argument within the net neutrality debate is explained... more

Carriers Constrain Entrepreneurs

Previously, I've written about how the success of the MVNO (though not without its problems) demonstrates how an Open Access-like business model can work in a wireless context. The underlying carrier, such as Sprint or Verizon, can sell access to its network at wholesale rates to a company like Virgin Mobile, which then markets to consumers. This model can be and is a success both for the retailer and the wholesaler. MVNOs are not perfect. more