Broadband

Broadband / Most Commented

No Spectrum Shortage, Just an Allocation Problem

As a new study from Citi Investment Research & Analysis make clear, the US does not have a spectrum shortage. We've just allowed a relatively small number of carriers to control the spectrum. ... Perhaps if we had an effective "use it or lose it" policy in place, or a heavy tax on unused spectrum a more vibrant market for this spectrum would emerge. more

Network Neutrality in the Wireless Space

There's been a tremendous amount written about the Google-Verizon joint proposal for network neutrality regulation. Our commentary at the EFF offers some legal analysis of the good and bad in this proposal. A lot of commentary has put a big focus on the exemption for wireless networks, since many feel wireless is the real "where it's gonna be," if not the "where it's at" for the internet. more

To What Extent Will the US Broadband Stimulus Package Provide a… Stimulus?

The story of America's lacklustre broadband performance is relatively well known. Part of that story relates to its low broadband penetration levels when compared with other developed economies... Another aspect of the story relates to broadband speeds... in terms of broadband technology levels, the USA still trails behind leading countries such as Japan and Korea, and some European countries such as France and Italy, by a full generation. more

Old New Telco Thinking

Ahh, so the telecom incumbents have come up with a "new" idea for the Internet -- usage-based pricing. That's right, more usage (for things like VOIP and video especially) means more costs to operate the network, so users should pay by the bit, or some similar metric. It's all so logical! But wait a minute. I thought what sparked the consumer Internet revolution was the fact that ISPs didn't charge by the minute, but offered flat-rate monthly fees. And what catalyzed the boom in cellular usage here in the US was the shift from heavily usage-based pricing to the largely flat rates we see today... more

New, Old and Forgotten Frames in the Network Neutrality Debate

One key reason for confusion about Network Neutrality lies in the many different and inconsistent frames used to shape the debate. The Tea Party has entered the fray by characterizing the matter primarily in terms of freedom. Republicans decry the "job killing" impact of the FCC's rules. Network Neutrality advocates appear ambivalent whether the FCC has capitulated to special interests, or shaped a pragmatic compromise. more

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

Canadians Aren't Buying Into Net Neutrality

The Tyee, an independent on-line magazine based in BC wrote a story about net neutrality more than a year ago, noting that most Canadians are sleeping through the debate. They followed up again last week. Despite what is called a "perfect storm of events that may crystallize the issue for consumers, businesses, politicians, and regulators," there hasn't been an overwhelming outcry, despite extensive press coverage of the most recent network activities. There are a number of voices who present a conspiracy theory on traffic shaping in Canada... more

The Future of Interdomain Interconnection and Traffic Control

Today, we are excited to announce, in partnership with the Open Networking Foundation and Open Source SDN, the official launch of iSDX - open-source controller software for an industrial-scale Software-Defined Internet exchange point. iSDX allows independently operated networks to interconnect and exchange traffic in completely new ways. This software, which we've been developing for nearly three years, now finally operates at the scale of the world's largest IXPs and interoperates with SDN-capable hardware switches, opening up new possibilities for interdomain business relationships and traffic exchange. more

Getting Out of the Broadband Box

Today's official launch of Gig.U, a consortium of universities to facilitate next-generation community broadband opportunities, has tremendous potential. John Markoff has a story about the launch in today's New York Times. Here's why I'm hopeful for this project. more

Bandwidth: Why Fast is Important in a Global Economy

Bandwidth is the basic foundation for Internet traffic as a connector to everything important in our lives. Whether it is basic bandwidth for connecting to family and friends, or a super fast highway for global reach and competitiveness in the business world, bandwidth constitutes the speed at which we connect as a global presence within the expanding sphere of Internet communication. ... To understand why bandwidth is important to all Americans, including personal and business uses, we must understand the different types Internet traffic. 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

Net Neutrality an 'American Problem', Australians Suggest Alternatives

Head of leading ISP's in Australia believe Net Neutrality is a U.S. problem and the country should take a look at the Australian market for better ideas on how to address bandwidth issues. Brett Winterford and Julian Hill of ZDNet Australia reporting from London: The debate was sparked after several American and British service providers offered to charge a premium to prioritize traffic connecting with some sites over others. "The U.S. have got a problem," weighed in Justin Milne, group managing director for Telstra Media and former chief of Australia's largest ISP, BigPond. "Their problem is that unlike Australia, they (offer) truly unlimited plans." more

Deep Packet Inspection: When the Man-In-The-Middle Wants Money

Say you're walking down the sidewalk having a talk with your best friend about all kinds of things. What if you found out later that the sidewalk you were using wasn't really a sidewalk -- but instead a kind of false-front giant copying machine, unobstrusively vacuuming up what you were saying and adding to its database of information about you? Or, say you send a letter to a client of yours (to the extent you still do this), and it turns out later that your letter was intercepted, steamed open, and the contents were read... more

Note to John McCain: Technology Matters

One would think that, in 2008, the significance of the Internet and information technology would be universally acknowledged. That makes the recent news from the Presidential campaign a bit shocking. After ignoring technology issues for the past year, John McCain is poised to announce his great insight: tech policy isn't worthy of attention from the President of the United States. This is what I draw from the announcement that former FCC Chairman Michael Powell is drafting a technology plan for McCain, to be released shortly... What concerns me most is what the McCain plan apparently leaves out... more

Is Today the Beginning of the End of Net Neutrality?

Today, May 15, 2014 a vote will be taken at the FCC. Today the Internet we know can change forever. Today at 10:30 am EST the FCC meets to vote on the issue on whether or not allow the collection of special rates to provide certain services through the Internet for those who can afford it. A "faster lane" has been called... Who will pay for the use of this improved infrastructure? more