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Verizon OPEN Wireless

Very surprising and welcome announcement from Verizon Wireless yesterday announcing that "it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008..." And Verizon Wireless is right to open up. There's plenty of room to be cynical about this; after all, Verizon Wireless is trying to STOP the FCC from putting an openness requirement on the 700Mhz spectrum to be auctioned... more

In Praise of Relatively Dumb Pipes

Comcast's furtive and undisclosed traffic manipulation reminds me of a curious, red herring asserted by some incumbent carriers and their sponsored researchers: that without complete freedom to vertically and horizontally integrate the carriers would lose synergies, efficiencies and be relegated to operating "dumb pipes."... Constructing and operating the pipes instead of creating the stuff that traverses them gets a bad rap. It may not be sexy, but it probably has less risk. But of course with less risk comes less reward, and suddenly no one in the telecommunications business is content with that. So incumbent carriers assert that convergence and competitive necessity requires them to add "value" to the pipes. more

FCC Chairman Martin a Tireless Consumer Advocate - Who Knew?

In a counter-intuitive move for a Republican free marketeer, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has sought to impose substantial additional regulations on cable television. Chairman Martin ostensibly can retain his credentials by claiming that a 1984 law requires the FCC to act when cable television systems serve 70% or more of the U.S. population and 70% who can subscribe do so. more

Bandwidth Demands Exceeding Internet Infrastructure Investment

Nemertes Research has released a report on the future of the Internet infrastructure. The key finding from the report is that bandwidth demands are exceeding infrastructure investment, especially at the access layer. We noted in the project that users may begin to see the impact of degraded application performance as early as 2010. We also noted that the planned investments in Internet infrastructure are insufficient to meet growing demand. more

Unbridled Discretion and Prior Restraint: The Verizon and Comcast Stories

Let's say that providing communications infrastructure is an inherent function of a state. Most people think of the internet as a telephone system, and most people think the telephone companies aren't supposed to choose which calls will go through based on their content. People think that because they think internet access, like telephone access, is a utility -- like electricity conduit, water pipes, etc. -- that has something to do with the government, and the government isn't supposed to discriminate. more

Financial Times on Telecoms Separation

I've written that a Network Neutrality law needs a Network Management Exception, and I've laid out how this exception is likely to become a giant vacuum-cleaner-fish loophole. The way out is the separation of infrastructure from service, so infrastructure operators can have no financial interests in the services they carry, hence no motive to discriminate in anti-competitive ways. Now today's Financial Times has an editorial on the EC telecom regulator, Viviane Reding's proposal to beef up national telecom regulatory authority within European countries and create a Europe-wide so-called super-regulator. more

Leading a Horse to Water

It is one thing to bring broadband internet to the masses, but how do we make them drink from the fountain of knowledge? One of the challenges, of course, is that the industry has not yet sold turn-key applications that capture the imaginations of the unconnected. Surprising as it seems, email, Facebook, file swapping and web surfing have not yet attracted 100% of the population. Are there some applications that might lend themselves to a toll-free model in order to reach the rest of the market? more

Making the Wireless World More Web-Friendly

Your wireless carrier (in the U.S., probably AT&T or Verizon Wireless) has a lot of control over the handset you can use and the applications that can run on that device. In fact, wireless carriers routinely ask for (and get) an enormous slice of the revenue from applications that work on their networks, and they force handset manufacturers to jump through all kinds of hoops in order to be allowed to sell devices that can connect to these networks... This has had bad effects on the ecosystem of the wireless world. more

How the Internet On Cable Became the Internet As Cable

When Rogers Communications began promoting its [email protected] high-speed Internet service nearly a decade ago, the company branded it "the Internet on Cable." Years later, their service, as well as those of their competitors, is gradually morphing into "the Internet as Cable" as broadcasters, Internet service providers, and cultural groups steadily move toward the delivery of content online that bears a striking resemblance to the conventional cable model. more

Thus Ends the Stupid Network Model?

There is an article in EETimes by Fay Arjomandi of Vancouver-based Mobidia that may shake up the fans of the 10 year old stupid network principle. The stupid network essay calls for intelligence to reside at the edge of the network, rendering IP networks to plumbing pipes -- with carriers ignorant of the application and services being transported. more

Industry Updates