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Comcast-TWC: Why Compete and Innovate When You Can Buy Market Share?

Expect a charm offensive as Comcast and scores of sponsored researchers explain how acquiring Time Warner Cable will promote competition and enhance consumer welfare. You might not hear too much about two traditional concerns remedied by actual facilities-based competition: incentives to innovate and reduce prices. Comcast will frame its acquisition as necessary to achieve even greater scale to compete with other sources of video content and maybe to compete with the limited other sources of broadband access. more»

The Framing of "IP Transition" Fails to Come to Terms With Real Impact of the Internet

I keep seeing so many articles about the Internet and related policy issues that it's hard to know how to respond. The term "IP Transition" may be a good starting point since the term is an attempt to treat the Internet as a smooth transition rather accepting the idea that we are in the midst of a disruptive change. It seems that the FCC's approach is to simply substitute IP for old protocols and to preserve policies tied to the accidental properties of a copper infrastructure. This shows a failure to come to terms with the new reality. more»

Global Technical Internet Related Issues That Need Fixing

Given its engineering background, many positive contributions can be made by the engineering community in the broader ICT world to assist in addressing some of the broader internet issues, often addressed within the more limited telecoms environment.. Of course some of this is already happening; however much more work would be needed to strengthen the technical foundations of the internet. Just as an example, the type of issues that could be addressed by a broader ICT engineering foundation could include... more»

23 Countries Ahead of U.S. in Internet Usage According to ITU Broadband Report

United States ranks 24th worldwide in the percentage of residents who use the Internet, according to the International Telecommunications Union's 2013 State of Broadband Report, released recently at a meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Eighty-one percent of U.S. residents use the Internet, the ITU said. Countries with the highest percentage of people using the Internet was Iceland, where 97 percent of the people are Internet users. The top 10 countries all had usage rates above 88 percent. more»

Mobiles Moving Into Fixed Networks

There are often confused reports in the media about mobile and fixed broadband, with arguments that one could replace the other. Yet the reality is that they coexist and complement each other - perhaps even more so since one cannot manage without the other. Increasingly, devices such as smartphones, tablets and smart TVs are at the end of fixed lines, with a wireless (WiFi) connection between the fixed line and the device. more»

TeleGeography's Interactive Submarine Cable Map Is a Fun and Fascinating View Into Infrastructure

Ever want to know where all the submarine cables are that provide part of the physical infrastructure of the Internet? Or which cities in the world have the most connectivity via submarine cables? (or which regions might be single points of failure?) In doing some research I stumbled across this excellent site from the folks at TeleGeography... It is a very well done and captivating (to me, anyway) view into where all the current and planned submarine cables are located. more»

The Internet: Missing the Light

Today's Internet is wonderful for solving hard problems such as connecting to Amazon to buy goods or for using Netflix. Amazon and Netflix, among others, demonstrate what is possible if you put in enough effort. Yet if we are to understand the Internet we need to look beyond those applications to the simplest application such as sending one bit of information from a light switch to a light fixture. more»

Urgent Need to Revisit Internet Governance (WCIT-12)

Developments over the past few months - and especially the revelations about the spying work of the NSA on friendly governments and their people and businesses - show how important it is to try and establish some high-level strategies relating to managing the governance of the internet. While companies like Google have been lobbying hard against WCIT-12 - basically because they are opposed to any government interference in the internet - the reality is that, clearly without their knowledge, their own American government through the NSA is already directly interfering in their network. more»

Moving Beyond Telephone Numbers - The Need for a Secure, Ubiquitous Application-Layer Identifier

Do "smart" parking meters really need phone numbers? Does every "smart meter" installed by electric utilities need a telephone number? Does every new car with a built-in navigation system need a phone number? Does every Amazon Kindle (and similar e-readers) really need its own phone number? In the absence of an alternative identifier, the answer seems to be a resounding "yes" to all of the above. more»

America Closing Down Its Copper Network - So What's Next?

We have reported in the past on the rapid decline of the copper telecoms network in the USA. A decade ago BuddeComm predicted that it would be impossible to move two customer access networks in parallel towards the new fibre future, the one operated by the telcos and the other operated by the cable companies. At that stage we indicated that a possible outcome could be that the telcos would upgrade their networks to FttH and that the cable companies would become the key tenants on that network. more»

US Smart Grid Networks Exploiting Infrastructure to Provide Wireless Broadband

The USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has now spent the $250 million committed for smart grid technologies. To this has been added an additional $201 million in funding approved by the Agriculture Secretary to electricity utilities in eight states to install smart grid technologies and improve their generation and transmission facilities. The beneficiaries are spread among a large number of states. more»

No Free Super WiFi, But the US Still Needs Improved WiFi Coverage

The FCC has long battled for a more efficient deployment of unused spectrum, endeavouring to adapt rules governing 'white space' TV spectrum (largely gifted to broadcasters years ago, and generally in the 700MHz band) to newly released spectrum (in the 600MHz band). This will considerably improve wireless broadband coverage where it is needed most... Certainly, in the US's disjointed broadband sector there are considerable challenges ahead... more»

It's Not Paranoia if They Are Really After You!

In the latest development from the World Conference on International Telecommunications, a new "compromise proposal" has been leaked to wcitleaks.org. This proposal is certainly no compromise, as it not only is a bald faced power grab by the sponsors (Russia, UAE, China, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan at this point), but shows a stunning lack of comprehension of how the Internet works and how it is currently governed. It also shows that the coalition of Civil Society groups and private sector organisations that have focused on WCIT have been correct all along.  more»

How Can WCIT Assist in Connecting the Rest of the World?

A key element of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) is to connect the people around the world who are not yet connected. These are people in developing economies, but also people in rural areas within developed economies, as well as the 650 million people with disabilities. The question is whether the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) that are being discussed at WCIT can assist in this. If we go back to 1988, when the current ITRs were first established, the focus was on access and interoperability. more»

Privatizing the ITU-T: Back to the Future

The awkwardly named International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) by any measure is a highly unusual body. It is the only global intergovernmental organization where Nation States produce detailed technical standards for telecommunications. Even more amazing is that it produces these standards for a field that is so dynamic and globally competitive as telecommunications. What is not well known is that the ITU-T was once a private standards body... more»