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Telecom in China: After the Dust Settles

The long rumored reorganization of the telecommunications sector in China has begun. Now China will have three major companies, each with both mobile and fixed networks. The focus for fixed network growth is broadband Internet access. The focus for mobile will be continued growth in mobile subscribers and the launch of 3G services, with the three companies using three different 3G technologies. more

Canadians Rally for Net Neutrality

Hundreds of protesters are expected to descend on Canada's capital on Tuesday to urge government action on keeping the internet free from interference by service providers. The net neutrality rally is drawing together politicians, labor unions, consumer groups and internet activists, with protesters being bused in from several locations including Toronto and Montreal. At issue are the actions of big ISPs such as Bell Canada Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc., who have been slowing down the internet speeds of customers using certain applications, such as peer-to-peer software used for file sharing. more

Is Mobile Internet Really Such a Good Thing?

Just about everyone I talk to is very excited about mobile Internet. In 2006, the Japanese government proudly announced that more people used the Internet through their mobile phones than through their computers. Online services are all talking about their "mobile strategy" and VCs are flocking to fund the latest "mobile startup". I don't think there is anything wrong with mobile or with some of the great new mobile applications and devices, but we have to be careful to remember that most mobile networks that actually work are built on infrastructure that is operated by a small number of mobile operators who use a lot of regulated and closed technology... more

White Space for Internet Use Interfering with Wireless Patient Devices?

There is a germ of truth (perhaps a prion-sized germ or maybe just an amino acid) in the idea that transmitters in "white spaces" in the TV band *might* disrupt patient monitoring equipment if designed by a lunatic who believes in sending massive pulses of energy in a whitespace in the TV band (perhaps amplified by a large parabolic dish antenna the size of a trashcan lid or larger, aimed at the patient monitor system. But that risk is completely shared with zillions of other potential radiators of energy in the entire electromagnetic spectrum... GE, of course, owns NBC. There is a MAJOR conflict of interest at the corporate level of GE... more

The New Clearwire

The new Clearwire could be game-changing, but the rules of the game may not be quite as Clearwire presents them. I have been wondering since last July whether something significant would happen in the Google/Sprint world. The deal announcement earlier this weekseems to be that key development... In a nutshell, Sprint will contribute its substantial spectrum licenses in the 2.5 GHz range and its WiMAX-related assets and intellectual property. Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will invest a total of $3.2 billion. more

NGN is Not the Internet, and Never Will

I see and hear a lot of confusion about next generation networks (NGN). In most cases people are using the term roughly as the ITU-T defines it: "A Next Generation Network (NGN) is a packet-based network able to provide services including Telecommunication Services and able to make use of multiple broadband, QoS-enabled transport technologies and in which service-related functions are independent from underlying transport-related technologies." but many people don't realize how little this has to do with the Internet... more

Internet Hitting Full Capacity by 2010?

Speaking at a Westminster eForum on Web 2.0 last week in London, Jim Cicconi, vice president of U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T has claimed, current systems that constitute the Internet will not be able to cope with the increasing amounts of video and user-generated content being uploaded. "The surge in online content is at the center of the most dramatic changes affecting the Internet today," he said. "In three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today." more

FCC's Stanford Hearing on Broadband Practices

About 300 people attended to the net neutrality hearing Thursday hearing which began with testimony from Larry Lessig, a Stanford Law School professor and founder of the Center for Internet and Society... The meeting was called by the FCC in reaction to the news that US net firm Comcast had been exposed as managing traffic by stopping some of its 13m customers uploading files to BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer networks. The FCC has started a formal investigation to see if Comcast merits a fine for its actions. more

Does Bell Really Have a P2P Bandwidth Problem?

Bell filed its response to the Canadian Association Of Internet Providers (CAIP) submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on its throttling practices yesterday, unsurprisingly arguing that its actions are justified and that there is no need to deal with the issue on an emergency basis. Several points stand out from the submission including its non-response to the privacy concerns with deep-packet inspection... and its inference that P2P usage could be deemed using a connection as a "server" and therefore outside the boundaries of "fair and proportionate use" under typical ISP terms of use. more

Locking Out Competing Providers is Bad

Today one of the headlines in Computer Sweden was that there is a dispute between Telia and the regulator PTS in Sweden. PTS requires Telia to stop locking out competing TV-distribution companies for IP-TV in the access network (DSL) that Telia runs. Specifically, they lean towards the fact Telia is dominant provider of the copper, and require Telia to competitors give access to the larger frequency band in the copper that they claim is needed for TV distribution. more

Models for Muni WiFi Completely Neglect Technology Evolution

Modern travel means interminable waits, but it's a good time for reading. I finally read Wireless Pittsburgh: Sustainability of Possible Models for a Wireless Metropolitan-Area Network by Jon M. Peha, published in February as a working paper of the New America Foundation. The good news: it's full of interesting cost estimates and projected subscriber take rates based on specific demographics in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Philadelphia... The flaws in this study...
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Retrograde Inversion of Telecommunications Policy

Going backwards upside down. That's what we're doing with telecommunications policy in the U.S. The Comcast affair should prompt a re-examination of many decisions the FCC, Congress, and the courts have made over the last few years. When the FCC reports on its reactions to Comcast's activities, the right response will be "You're asking the wrong question." "What is reasonable network management" isn't the question we should be asking... more

Overloading the Internet? Recent Media Reports Based on Dangerous Misinformation

The London Times article (and a similar one in the Guardian) are based on dangerous misinformation. The net isn't slowing down, and nearly no technical experts believe major "overload" problems likely on the backhaul, core, or decent local loop... Net traffic per user, as documented by Odlyzko and Cisco, has been growing at about 35-40% the last five years, and that growth rate is flat and possibly down the last two years. The net has been able to handle the increase without price increases, much less overload, because the primary and rate limiting equipment (switches, routers, WDM, etc.) have simultaneously been going down at a similar 35-40%. Moore's Law is bringing costs down and capacity up at a remarkable rate. more

NY Times Grossly Misreads WEF Report

Today's New York Times includes an article by John Markoff entitled "Study Gives High Marks to US Internet." But either John Markoff is fuzzy about exactly what the Internet is or he didn't actually read the report. His title is way off base. He did interview a few people who are quoted in the latter part of the article, so there is some information in the article. But he's done a major disservice for the many who read only the title or perhaps first paragraph... more

Whose Network Is It?

A reader sent me a link last week to a piece that doesn't speak highly of net neutrality. Clyde Wayne Crews wrote an article called "Dumb Pipes, a Dumb Idea: Net Neutrality as 21st Century Socialism" that calls for legislators to reject "nut" neutrality. "Elevating the principle of mandatory net neutrality above the principle of investor ownership and wealth creation in pipes and spectrum deflects market forces away from the infrastructure development that we need..." Did anyone else see a touch of irony in a letter to the editor... more