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Comcast's Network Management Practices: A Brief Analysis

Late last week, Comcast officially disclosed to the FCC details of its network management practices which have been a subject of considerable discussion here on CircleID. (My thanks to Threat Level from Wired.com for providing a convenient copy of Comcast's "Attachment A" in which this disclosure is made.) There's not a lot of startling disclosure in this document, but it does provide some useful concrete facts and figures. I'll quote the more interesting parts of the document here, and offer comment on it. more»

The Wall Street Lesson for Net Neutrality

As the institutions of Wall Street continue to crumble one after another, there's a lesson to be learned for those of us who want to make sure the Internet remains as free and open in the future as it has been in the past. The collapse of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, AIG and the rest didn't happen overnight. The situation has been brewing for years. The subprime mortgage crisis may have precipitated the immediate tragedy, but underpinning the whole mess is a philosophy about business and government. more»

Satellite Internet Access That Could Be Good

According to The Wall Street Journal, a company called O3b Networks LTD Traditional is planning to launch up to 16 satellites by the end of 2010 to provide Internet access in Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Latin America. This satellite plan, unlike many others, could be good. These are low earth orbit satellites or LEOs so they will be able to avoid the latency problems which are unavoidable with the geostationary satellites used by companies like WildBlue and Hughes to provide "last resort" Internet access in the US. more»

Aircell vs. VoIP

Last week American Airlines launched their Aircell wireless Internet access on a limited number of flights. It didn't take long before a few folks tried to make voice and video calls (in violation of Aircell's terms-of-service according to their PR folks), and it didn't take long before someone figured a way around their voice/video blocking efforts. more»

WiMAX Will Be Successful, as a Fringe Technology

A recent Infonetics press release says "WiMAX has gained such momentum across so many regions that it is no longer sensible to suggest that WiMAX growth will be flattened by the emergence of LTE [Long Term Evolution] in the next few years." Probably true, but it's also clear WiMAX will never reach the scale of either mainstream wireless family, i.e., WiFi or GSM/3GSM. By comparison with these giants, WiMAX will be a fringe operation. The critical issue is volume, and what counts is the wireless technology brand, not the technology itself. more»

The McCain Campaign's "Technology" Message

I look at this as the ideas of Mike Powell and Meg Whitman, and a lot of unimportant wordsmithing. Before the Dublin (Erie) IETF I wrote one for one of the top three DCCC targeted races. You, or One, or I (isn't voice fun) tries for ideas that matter, and then try to connect the dots, for the semi-literate staff of a candidate who needs clue, e.g., to make effective calls to the DNC's major contributor lists for area codes 415, 408, 650 and 831. I mention Dublin because ages ago Scott Bradner's plan for Harvard, decent bandwidth everywhere and location transparency was, in just a few pages, a revolutionary policy document then, and now, and I was happy to see Scott again and let him know that two decades later I still remembered seeing policy stated with confidence and clarity. more»

McCain's Technology Non-Plan

The McCain technology plan is finally out. As expected, it's light on what most of us understand as "technology policy." There are many platitudes about the glories of lower taxes and private investment, but little understanding of just how profoundly communications and information technologies are changing our world. The good news, I suppose, is that McCain is finally talking about technology issues which he resolutely ignored for most of the campaign, and which his advisors dismissed as not worthy of Presidential attention. more»

McCain Tech Plan: The Only Vision is Backward-Looking

So I've spent more time with the McCain tech plan today. At a time when this country is suffering economically and looking for fundamental change, it looks as if Sen. McCain is in the back office having lunch with a bunch of accountants. The heavy emphasis in the policy on tax cuts seems designed to appeal to people who equate lower taxes with progress. Haven't we already had years of that kind of approach? more»

McCain's Tech Policy

I was hoping that McCain's Tech Policy would emphasize and extend the two McCain pro-Internet initiatives -- the McCain Lautenberg Community Broadband Act and Spectrum Re-regulation, neither of which have yet seen the light of day -- but it doesn't. In the first case, it makes a vague nod in the direction of "market failure and other obstacles." In the second, it treats spectrum policy as a done deal; now that we can surf the Web in coffee shops, we're done. more»

Hunting Unicorns: Myths and Realities of the Net Neutrality Debate

In many ways, the emotionally charged debate on Network Neutrality (NN) has been a lot like hunting Unicorns. While hunting the mythical horse could be filled with adrenalin, emotion, and likely be quite entertaining, the prize would ultimately prove to be elusive. As a myth, entertaining; but when myths become reality, then all bets are off. The Network Neutrality public and private debate has been filled with more emotion than rational discussion, and in its wake a number of myths have become accepted as reality. Unfortunately, public policy, consumer broadband services, and service provider business survival hang in the balance. more»