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Free Broadband: The Shape of Things to Come

The UK's broadband market is one of the most competitive in Europe. The DSL network effectively covers the entire country, while the network of the dominant cable provider Virgin Media covers more than half of all households (about 12.6 million homes). Beginning in 2007, Virgin Media expanded the availability of its services not by increasing the footprint of its cable network but by utilising wholesale LLU services... more»

A Clear Case for ISP Regulation: IP Address Logging

Over on the Network Neutrality Squad yesterday, I noted, without comment, the following quote from the new Time Warner Cable privacy policy bill insert: "Operator's system, in delivering and routing the ISP Services, and the systems of Operator's Affiliated ISPs, may automatically log information concerning Internet addresses you contact, and the duration of your visits to such addresses." Today I will comment, and explain why such logging by ISPs creates a clear case for regulatory intervention, on both privacy and competition grounds. more»

Policy Beyond the Potholes

I cringe whenever I hear the arguments that we can't have community owned infrastructure for connectivity because local governments can't fix potholes. I wouldn't mind it so much if that argument wasn't used to shut off further discussion. We should be asking why we are denied the "dumb-pipes" that provide vital infrastructure and why we allow phone (and TV) companies to horde vital infrastructure. Instead we accept the "pothole" argument as a reason we can't be trusted to communicate on our own. more»

The Right to Internet Access

President Sarkozy of France recently managed to get his 'Création et Internet' law passed by the National Assembly, and if all goes well in the Senate then French internet users will soon find their activities being supervised by HADOPI, the grandly named 'Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet.' The rights it is concerned with are not those of ordinary net users but of copyright owners, and especially the large entertainment companies that have lobbied so hard and so successfully for the power to force internet service providers to terminate the accounts of those accused of downloading unlicensed copies of music, films and software... more»

IPv6 and LTE, the Not So Long Term Evolution?

The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T saw wireless networks about to drown under a deluge of data. To see YouTube content uploaded form an iPhone or Slingbox rerouting a favourite television program to your smart phone gives mobile network operators the shivers. Skype over 3G in the meantime gives sleepless nights, not because of surging megabyte floods but due to nightmares of considerable voice and roaming revenues washing away. Not easy to plan and engineer "managed transitions" under those circumstances. more»

Crawford Likes Aussie Utility Network

Susan Crawford, special assistant to the president for science, technology and innovation policy and a member of the National Economic Council, is reported to be favorably inclined towards a U.S. network much like Australia's recently announced $33B broadband plan. Of course, the U.S. is some 15 times bigger than Australia, and that'd make the price tag closer to $500B by straight multiplication. But the U.S. would get a fiber network done right... more»

HD Voice Really is Great

Listen for half a minute to a demo of a high-bit-rate codec and you expect they will transform our industry. The difference is like a CD with great headphones versus a little transistor radio. Suddenly, you realize just how awful the sound is on your regular telephone. Who wouldn't want their call to sound dramatically better was my first reaction. When Thomson and some of the cable folks discussed plans, I was enthusiastic. Years later, nearly no one is taking advantage... more»

Google Book Search Settlement: Another Digital Pandora's Box

A very good friend of mine is an archivist with the Ontario government, and we share similar views on how technology is impacting modern life. He passed a really interesting item along that ran in yesterday's Washington Post. Some of you may be following this – Google's Book Search Settlement. I can definitely see how this has a direct bearing on the archive space, but also how it touches on a few tangents of my world – emerging communications technologies. more»

Australia's Open National Broadband Network Sets the Benchmark for the USA

As someone closely involved with the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) and many other fibre plans around the globe, I would like to provide an inside picture of the revolutionary developments that are taking place in the Australian broadband market. Australia's national broadband network will be an FttH-based open wholesale network -- a network that will connect (not pass) 90% of all Australians to fibre, with the remaining 10% of the population being linked to that network through technologies that are capable of delivering equivalent services. more»

Belgian Incumbent ISP Not Dominant Operator Says Appeals Court

Picture this: the still state-owned (51% of shares) Belgian incumbent telecom and Internet operator, Belgacom, is not a dominant player on the ISP market, according to the Brussels appeals court... It is obvious to every inhabitant of Belgium that the incumbent is everywhere. It owns all the copper pairs to homes and a good deal of the fibre. No single Internet or telephony operator can get into the business without transiting through the Belgacom network at some stage. more»