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Open Access for Apartment Buildings

San Francisco recently passed an interesting ordinance that requires that landlords of apartments and multi-tenant business buildings allow access to multiple ISPs to bring broadband. This ordinance raises all sorts of regulatory and legal questions. At the most recent FCC monthly meeting, the FCC jumped into the fray and voted on language that is intended to kill or weaken the ordinance. more

Internet, Broadband Companies Admit to Tracking User Behavior Without Explicit Consent

According to a letter released recently by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, several Internet and broadband companies have admitted to using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers. Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post reports: "Google, in its letter to committee Chairman John Dingell, Markey, Stearns and Rep. Joe L. Barton, stressed that it did not engage in potentially the most invasive of technologies -- deep-packet inspection, which companies such as NebuAd have tested with some broadband providers. But Google did note that it had begun to use across its network the 'DoubleClick ad-serving cookie,' a computer code that allows the tracking of Web surfing." more

Highlights from SCTE Cable-Tec EXPO

As a product manager and engineer, I really enjoy attending the technology-oriented Cable-Tec Expo each year. It has a stronger technology focus than many other industry trade shows and it's always a good opportunity to talk to the engineering teams from all of the operators and vendors. more

An Optimistic Update From Telesat

Emily Jackson interviewed Dan Goldberg, Telesat President and CEO, in a recent episode of the Down to Business podcast. The interview followed the announcement that the Canadian Government would contribute $85 million (all amounts are in Canadian dollars) to support research and development in support of Telesat's planned constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and another $600 million to subsidize Internet connectivity in rural Canada. more

FCC Cancels Vote on Free Internet Plan

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Saturday it was canceling a December 18 meeting in response to a request by Democratic lawmakers that it pay more attention to a smooth transition to digital television early next year. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Rep. Henry Waxman of California wrote FCC Chairman Kevin Martin on Friday asking him to hold off on other FCC business to focus on the mandatory switch to digital television signals due in February. more

Australia's Prime Minister Announces New Mulit-Billion Dollar Broadband Plan

In an age in which governments are taking over banks and propping up auto companies, it might come as no surprise that the Australian government decided the private sector wasn't up to the task of building a national broadband network. In a surprise move Tuesday, Canberra tossed out a competitive bidding process and said it will set up a government-controlled company that will bring the country out of the dial-up era. It will be the largest infrastructure project in Australian history... more

Obama's $6 Billion Broadband Proposal Under Scrutiny

Don't expect to find a comprehensive national broadband policy in the so-called economic stimulus package that President-elect Barack Obama hopes to sign in his first days in office, Blair Levin, a top technology adviser for Obama, said Wednesday. While funds for broadband deployment will be a part of the stimulus package, Blair cautioned groups interested in seeing more federal investment in broadband from expecting too much right away. more

Scientists Create Microscopic Fiber Optic Cables From DNA Strands

A team of Swedish scientists have created a new technique that converts DNA strands to microscopic fiber optic cables. Due to the nature of DNA's structure to create helices, wires self-assemble which according to scientists is better than wires made by the previous chemical method as they can self-repair. Bo Albinsson and his colleagues at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have worked out how to make them. The wires build themselves from a mixture of DNA and molecules called chromophores that can absorb and pass on light. more

All Major U.S. Senate Democratic Challengers Announce Support for Net Neutrality

Eevery single U.S. Democratic challenger with more than $500k in cash on hand has announced their support for net neutrality, reports Matt Stoller of OpenLeft -- "This is a milestone for the fight for internet freedom." Also noted is that, with the exception of three individuals, there is no organized telecom or cable money going to any of these candidates. Included in the report are statements reacting to this news from Senator Byron Dorgan, Speaker Pelosi, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, Google public policy director Alan Davidson, and Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu... more

Nokia Denies Helping Iran With Internet Monitoring Capabilities

A joint venture of Siemens AG and Nokia Corp., two large European technology firms, is denying reports that Iran uses its Web-monitoring technology to censor and spy on its citizens' online activities. Nokia Siemens Networks said Monday that it has sold telecommunications systems to the Iranian government but that any built-in monitoring technology was for voice communications and not the Internet. more

UK to Implement Broadband Tax

Millions of households in UK will be paying a "broadband tax" in order to fund increase and improvement of broadband access in the country according to the Digital Britain white paper launched yesterday. BBC today reports: "One of the biggest surprises in the Digital Britain report was the news that everyone with a fixed line telephone would pay a broadband tax. At 50p a month the amount is unlikely to break the bank but experts are already questioning what it will buy." more

FCC Moving Ahead with Airwave Auction Despite Credit Crisis

U.S. Federal regulators are moving forward with plans to put two valuable chunks of airwaves up for sale, despite market turmoil that could make it difficult for potential bidders to raise necessary financing, report the Wall Street Journal today. "Today, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to release draft rules for the re-auction of airwaves that would be used to create networks that allow fire, police and other emergency services to communicate more effectively. The idea, pushed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, faltered earlier this year when the first effort to sell airwaves attracted no winning bids. Potential bidders were concerned about onerous conditions required of the winner. This time, the FCC is considering relaxing some of those conditions, including cutting the minimum bid to $750 million from $1.3 billion." more

US Court Upholds Repeal of Net Neutrality

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the last day of September that the FCC had the authority to kill Title II regulation and to repeal net neutrality. However, the ruling wasn't entirely in the FCC's favor. The agency was ordered to look again at how the repeal of Title II regulation affects public safety. In a more important ruling, the courts said that the FCC didn't have the authority to stop states and municipalities from establishing their own rules for net neutrality. more

U.S. Telecoms Suing Cities Planning Broadband Access

According to today's report from Law.com, Telecommunications companies are suing cities around the United States in order to stop the construction of publicly owned fiber optic systems that bring high-speed Internet, telephone and cable television to communities far from metropolitan centers. Attorneys for cities say the telecommunications suits, whether brought under state law, the Federal Telecommunications Act or other laws, are veiled attempts to stop construction of competing public systems providing an essential utility in the digital age. more

Android Rumored as More Than Just a Mobile OS

According to reports, Google's Android mobile phone operating system (OS) to be launching in few weeks might actually be indented to be more than just a mobile OS. Google may be aiming at expanding Android as a universal operating system spanning set-top boxes for televisions, mp3 players and other communication and media devices and services. According to Eric Eldon of VentureBeat, rumors about this plan have actually been circulating since last year. Google chief internet evangelist and Internet co-creator Vint Cerf hinted at Google's larger focus during a talk on innovation journalism in 2006, before Android existed..." more