Broadband

Broadband / Featured Blogs

FCC and Comcast: Reasonably Vague

So, the FCC will recommend that Comcast be "punished" or receive "sanctions" for its peer-to-peer throttling practice. And the network neutrality debate goes on, as does its ambiguities and vagueness. Even if you hate Comcast and agree with the net neutrality argument and the FCC's decision, one thing Comcast is correct in saying is that "reasonable network management" specified by the FCC in network neutrality policy set in 2005 is vague. Actually, the term "network management" by itself is broad before you even try to interpret what is meant by "reasonable", and it is not exactly correct in its application here... more

No Fines for Comcast

Note: this is an update on my earlier story, which incorrectly said that the AP reported that Chairman Martin was seeking to impose "fines" on Comcast. In fact, the story used the word "punish" rather than "fine," and a headline writer at the New York Times added "penalty" to it "F.C.C. Chairman Favors Penalty on Comcast" (I won't quote the story because I'm a blogger and the AP is the AP, so click through.) Much of the initial reaction to the story was obviously colored by the headline. more

Consequences of Opt-in Better Than Best Efforts Internet Routing

While attending the International Telecommunications Society's 17th bi-annual conference I attended yet another network neutrality session. Economists predominated at this conference and their collective read on network neutrality emphasizes the need for ISPs to "extract value" from content providers primarily by converting zero cost peering with ISPs into specific payments from individual content sources. I have no problem with offers of non-neutral, "better than best efforts" routing options to content providers who voluntarily opt in, particularly if the offer is made transparently and anyone can opt in. What troubles me is the impact of opt-in on content providers that opt out... more

Vint Cerf Comments on Government's Role in Internet Broadband Access

Some offhand comments by Google's Vint Cerf at a recent event seem to have a triggered a panicky "Vint Cerf proposes nationalizing the Internet" buzz that's been ramping up fairly rapidly. Holy BitTorrent, Batman! Army paratroopers seen dropping into parking lots at AT&T and Comcast, while the Transportation Security Agency orders us all to remove our shoes before surfing the Web! Settle down, everyone. As usual with these kinds of stories, the truth is significantly different from the breathless buzzing. Here's how Vint described his thinking on this issue to me... more

Bit Caps, Consolidation, and Clearwire

The news that Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T are all considering capping use of their networks -- so that "overuse" would trigger a charge -- has prompted intense discussion of just why these network operators are moving in this direction. One camp suggests that these operators have to do *something* to manage congestion, and because any protocol-specific discrimination plan raises howls of protest from the Net Neutrality side of the fence adopting bit-usage discrimination schemes is inevitable. It's the least-bad approach, following this view. more

Introductory Remarks from Innovation '08

Here's my opening remarks from Media Access Project's Innovation '08 in Santa Clara this morning. A DVD will be available shortly. This was a lively discussion, with Google and Vuze on the case. Good morning and welcome. My name is Richard Bennett and I'm a network engineer. I've built networking products for 30 years and contributed to a dozen networking standards, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi... I'm opposed to net neutrality regulations because they foreclose some engineering options that we're going to need for the Internet to become the one true general-purpose network that links all of us to each other, connects all our devices to all our information, and makes the world a better place. Let me explain. more

Google, the NAB, and a Third Way in 'White Spaces' Debate

Google co-founder Larry Page came to Washington last week to take on the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the lobbying group that represents over-the-air television stations. It's a whole new adversary for the beleaguered broadcasters, who have been fighting cable and satellite television for years. The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering a proposal, by Google and other tech players. It would allow tech companies to build electronic devices that transmit wireless internet signals over the "white spaces," or the vacant holes in the broadcast television band. "We have an ambitious goal called pervasive connectivity through ubiquitous broadband networks," said Page... more

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

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