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The Internet's Gilded Age

The rise of the Internet has heralded rapid changes in our society. The opportunities presented by a capable and ubiquitous communications system and a global transportation network have taken some corporations from the multinational to the status of truly global mega-corporation. Good examples of these new corporations include Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. There are a handful of large-scale winners in this space and many losers. But this is not the first time we've witnessed a period of rapid technological and social change. more»

Is Call Forwarding an "Information Service" and Why It Matters for FTC Jurisdiction

Time to brush the dust off your Computer II notebooks. Are voicemail, electronic fax, and call forwarding enhanced services or telecom services? Today's case: FTC v. American eVoice, Ltd... The FTC brought an action against Defendants claiming that they were engaged in cramming, adding unwanted voicemail, electronic fax, and call forwarding services to consumers bills to the tune of $70 million. more»

5G (and Telecom) vs. The Internet

5G sounds like the successor to 4G cellular telephony, and indeed that is the intent. While the progression from 2G to 3G, to 4G and now 5G seems simple, the story is more nuanced. At CES last month I had a chance to learn more about 5G (not to be confused with the 5Ghz WiFi) as well as another standard, ATSC 3.0 which is supposed to be the next standard for broadcast TV. more»

Let's Face Facts: We Need a New Industrial Internet

The Internet is a great success and an abject failure. We need a new and better one. Let me explain why. We are about to enter an era when online services are about to become embedded into pretty much every activity in life. We will become extremely dependent on the safe and secure functioning of the underlying infrastructure. Whole new industries are waiting to be born as intelligent machines, widespread robotics, and miniaturized sensors are everywhere. more»

Commercial Incentives Behind IPv6 Deployment

The Best Practice Forum (BPF) on IPv6 at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) explored what economic and commercial incentives drive providers, companies and organizations to deploy IPv6 on their networks and for their services. The BPF collected case studies, held open discussions online and at the 2016 IGF meeting, and produced a comprehensive output report. This article gives a high-level overview. more»

We Urgently Need a New Internet

Let's be honest about it. Nobody -- including those very clever people that were present at its birth -- had the slightest idea what impact the internet would have in only a few decades after its invention. The internet has now penetrated every single element of our society and of our economy, and if we look at how complex, varied and historically different our societies are, it is no wonder that we are running into serious problems with the current version of our internet. more»

The International Telecommunication Union and the Trump Administration

The question is not uncommon these days for someone who has been the principal historian on the ITU over the past 40 years. The short answer is that the institution should do just fine. Indeed, the appearance of bizarre phenomena like Trump, enhance the value and trustworthiness of a stable, globally inclusive intergovernmental venue dealing with matters that by their nature require worldwide cooperation and is buttressed by one of the most highly regarded Secretary-Generals in its history. more»

Help Us Answer: What Will the Internet Look Like in 10 Years?

What will the Internet look like in the next seven to 10 years? How will things like marketplace consolidation, changes to regulation, increases in cybercrime or the widespread deployment of the Internet of Things impact the Internet, its users and society? At the Internet Society, we are always thinking about what's next for the Internet. And now we want your help! more»

If Slate Comes in Standard Sizes, Why Not Broadband?

Last week I was at the National Slate Museum in Wales watching slate being split apart. On the wall were sample pieces of all the standard sizes. These have cute names like "princess". For each size, there were three standard qualities: the thinnest are the highest quality (at 5mm in thickness), and the thickest have the lowest quality (those of 13mm or more). Obviously, a lighter slate costs less to transport and lets you roof a wider span and with less supporting wood, hence is worth more. more»

Will Harding's Mistakes in International Telecommunication Cooperation be Repeated?

The International Telecommunication Union recently began a well-deserved celebration of one of the real success stories in international cooperation -- the 110th anniversary of the Radio Regulations as a treaty instrument. An ITU publication describes the historical highlights. Global cooperation among governments in managing radio spectrum via the Radio Regulations has been generally regarded as essential from the outset in the early years of the 20th Century and remains so today. more»

The FCC Under Trump - A Long Shot

In May 2013, President Obama picked Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communication Commission. The Internet community generally disapproved because Wheeler had been a lobbyist for both the cellular and cable industries and a major contributor to the Obama campaign. Internet service providers AT&T and Comcast lauded the appointment and a few months later, the President was spotted playing golf with Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast. more»

"Non-Discriminatory" Broadband: Just Carriage, or Miscarriage of Justice?

The foundational idea behind "net neutrality" is one of fairness by constraining ISP power over network mechanisms. The theory is this: if there is "non-discriminatory" local traffic management, then you have "fair" global outcomes to both users and application providers. There are thousands of pages of academic books making this assumption, and it is the basis of recent EU telecoms law. more»

Broadband Carrier Quandary: Exploit Bandwidth Scarcity, or Reduce It?

Comcast enhanced the value position of its broadband subscriptions by increasing the monthly data allowance to 1 Terrabyte (1000 Gigabytes). See Comcast Announcement. As an independent, unsponsored researcher, I can say "Thank You Comcast" without adverse consequences and only a bit of irony. This company does much to displease, but an expanded data allowance offers a winning proposition. more»

The Directory Dilemma - Why Facebook, Google and Skype May Win the Mobile App War

As much as I am enjoying the new Wire app, there is a fundamental dilemma that Wire faces... as well as Talko, Firefox Hello, Subrosa and every other Over-The-Top (OTT) or WebRTC application that is seeking to become THE way that we communicate via voice, chat and/or video from our mobile phones and desktops. That is: How do they gather the "directory" of people that others want to talk to? more»

Why SDN is Not Enough

A hot topic in telecoms at the moment is 'software-defined networking' (SDN). This term covers a range of technologies that put networks under the control of centralised management software. But what if SDN misses the point of why broadband networks exist in the first place? Network equipment vendors are busy pushing operator CTOs to adopt a 'software telco' approach. A small army of analysts and consultants cheer this process on. more»