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Are the FCC Workshops Fair?

The FCC has run three days of workshops on the National Broadband Plan now, for the purpose of bringing a diverse set of perspectives on broadband technology and deployment issues to the attention of FCC staff. You can see the workshop agendas here. The collection of speakers is indeed very diverse. As you would expect, the session on eGov featured a number of government people and a larger collection of folks from the non-profit sector, all but one of whom has a distinctly left-of-center orientation. Grass-roots devolution arguments have a leftish and populist flavor, so who better to make the argument than people from left-of-center think tanks? more»

Google Voice Dispute Highlights an Opportunity for Mobile Network Operators

The recent row between Google, Apple and AT&T concerning the removal of Google Voice from the Apple iPhone store highlights the friction existing between network operators and so-called over the top (OTT) application providers. Most observers believe that AT&T initiated the blockade because Google Voice (which offers free or highly discounted calling rates) is a direct threat to AT&Ts call revenue (Google Voice users need only pay AT&T for access to the Internet). more»

Analysis of the US Broadband Stimulus Package

In January 2009 the US Congress began considering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill 2009 aimed at kick-starting an economy in deep recession. The package, passed into law on 17 February, comprised $787 billion of mainly tax cuts, unemployment benefits and spending in education, health care, infrastructure and energy. Included in the fiscal stimulus package was a relatively modest $7.2 billion for broadband and wireless in unserved and underserved areas... more»

Trans-Sector Thinking Spreading to the Highest Levels in Government

Australia, New Zealand and the USA have taken international leadership in relation to their approaches to the infrastructure investment their countries are committed to in relation to the multi-billion dollar investment in national broadband and smart grid infrastructure. This is based on open networks, which will allow multiple access to infrastructure that can be used for e-health, smart grids, tele-education, as well as, of course, to telecoms, Internet and entertainment services. more»

National Broadband Infrastructure: Global Regulatory Re-Think Required

Around the world governments, regulators and the industry are struggling with the old regulatory legacy systems. These have become a major stumbling block in the transition to a new environment. Increasingly countries are beginning to understand the social and economic benefits a national broadband infrastructure can offer, but it is impossible to bring that about while the systems are based on the present regulatory regimes. To take these broader benefits into account we will need to develop government policies to facilitate the digital economy... more»

The FttH Versus Cable Debate Misses the Point

I recently followed an interesting international discussion on FttH vs. cable. With the fiber to the home (FttH) debate hotting up, driven by the possibility of using FttH as the new infrastructure for the digital economy, the cable companies are putting up a stiff fight, both in Europe (Netherlands) and the USA, claiming FttH is not necessary, and that DOCSIS 3.0 can do the job just as well. In these debates the longer-term national interest is often disregarded. The debate is confined to the technology -- what it can and cannot do -- and it also concentrates on a rather short-term timeframe, say of the next five years. more»

USA: Court Leaves FCC With Discretion to Regulate Special Access Circuits

On Friday, the decision to deregulate "special access" circuits was upheld. The case had been brought by the Ad Hoc Committee, a long standing body of large business users, one of the main categories of buyers of high capacity leased lines to interconnect business premises. more»

UK: Barely One in Ten Users Are Satisfied With Mobile Broadband

A web-based poll on the Mobile Broadband Genie site had participants 1160 who were asked: "Is your mobile broadband fast enough?" 133 yes; 740 no; 287 don't know. Perceptions of the term "mobile broadband" appear to far exceed what is being delivered. While operators have been competing to offer cross-subsidized laptop and netbook deals with higher usage caps and ever cheaper mobile Internet deals, they seem to have overlooked the quality of the service. more»

Carriers Are No Longer Operators

The classic view of a wireline or mobile carrier is that it was an "operator", it ran out cables, raised poles, installed switches, constructed central offices and base stations and the like. However, the figures from Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) show that firm is making 45% of its sales from services, meaning it is constructing and managing networks on behalf of "carriers". NSN is "carrying" a lot of telecoms traffic. This has been accelerated by the global financial crisis... more»

Australia Sets Rules for Access on Incumbent's Fixed Network

In December 2005 the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched an inquiry into the future regulation of wholesale access on fixed networks. It has now announced a final decision, following a public inquiry, under section 152AL of the Trade Practices Act 1974 on six fixed-line services that had been due to expire at the end of this month. The following will remain declared services until July 2014... more»