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The New Clearwire

The new Clearwire could be game-changing, but the rules of the game may not be quite as Clearwire presents them. I have been wondering since last July whether something significant would happen in the Google/Sprint world. The deal announcement earlier this weekseems to be that key development... In a nutshell, Sprint will contribute its substantial spectrum licenses in the 2.5 GHz range and its WiMAX-related assets and intellectual property. Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will invest a total of $3.2 billion. more

NGN is Not the Internet, and Never Will

I see and hear a lot of confusion about next generation networks (NGN). In most cases people are using the term roughly as the ITU-T defines it: "A Next Generation Network (NGN) is a packet-based network able to provide services including Telecommunication Services and able to make use of multiple broadband, QoS-enabled transport technologies and in which service-related functions are independent from underlying transport-related technologies." but many people don't realize how little this has to do with the Internet... more

FCC’s Stanford Hearing on Broadband Practices

About 300 people attended to the net neutrality hearing Thursday hearing which began with testimony from Larry Lessig, a Stanford Law School professor and founder of the Center for Internet and Society... The meeting was called by the FCC in reaction to the news that US net firm Comcast had been exposed as managing traffic by stopping some of its 13m customers uploading files to BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer networks. The FCC has started a formal investigation to see if Comcast merits a fine for its actions. more

Does Bell Really Have a P2P Bandwidth Problem?

Bell filed its response to the Canadian Association Of Internet Providers (CAIP) submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on its throttling practices yesterday, unsurprisingly arguing that its actions are justified and that there is no need to deal with the issue on an emergency basis. Several points stand out from the submission including its non-response to the privacy concerns with deep-packet inspection... and its inference that P2P usage could be deemed using a connection as a "server" and therefore outside the boundaries of "fair and proportionate use" under typical ISP terms of use. more

Locking Out Competing Providers is Bad

Today one of the headlines in Computer Sweden was that there is a dispute between Telia and the regulator PTS in Sweden. PTS requires Telia to stop locking out competing TV-distribution companies for IP-TV in the access network (DSL) that Telia runs. Specifically, they lean towards the fact Telia is dominant provider of the copper, and require Telia to competitors give access to the larger frequency band in the copper that they claim is needed for TV distribution. more

Models for Muni WiFi Completely Neglect Technology Evolution

Modern travel means interminable waits, but it's a good time for reading. I finally read Wireless Pittsburgh: Sustainability of Possible Models for a Wireless Metropolitan-Area Network by Jon M. Peha, published in February as a working paper of the New America Foundation. The good news: it's full of interesting cost estimates and projected subscriber take rates based on specific demographics in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Philadelphia... The flaws in this study...
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Retrograde Inversion of Telecommunications Policy

Going backwards upside down. That's what we're doing with telecommunications policy in the U.S. The Comcast affair should prompt a re-examination of many decisions the FCC, Congress, and the courts have made over the last few years. When the FCC reports on its reactions to Comcast's activities, the right response will be "You're asking the wrong question." "What is reasonable network management" isn't the question we should be asking... more

Overloading the Internet? Recent Media Reports Based on Dangerous Misinformation

The London Times article (and a similar one in the Guardian) are based on dangerous misinformation. The net isn't slowing down, and nearly no technical experts believe major "overload" problems likely on the backhaul, core, or decent local loop... Net traffic per user, as documented by Odlyzko and Cisco, has been growing at about 35-40% the last five years, and that growth rate is flat and possibly down the last two years. The net has been able to handle the increase without price increases, much less overload, because the primary and rate limiting equipment (switches, routers, WDM, etc.) have simultaneously been going down at a similar 35-40%. Moore's Law is bringing costs down and capacity up at a remarkable rate. more

NY Times Grossly Misreads WEF Report

Today's New York Times includes an article by John Markoff entitled "Study Gives High Marks to US Internet." But either John Markoff is fuzzy about exactly what the Internet is or he didn't actually read the report. His title is way off base. He did interview a few people who are quoted in the latter part of the article, so there is some information in the article. But he's done a major disservice for the many who read only the title or perhaps first paragraph... more

Whose Network Is It?

A reader sent me a link last week to a piece that doesn't speak highly of net neutrality. Clyde Wayne Crews wrote an article called "Dumb Pipes, a Dumb Idea: Net Neutrality as 21st Century Socialism" that calls for legislators to reject "nut" neutrality. "Elevating the principle of mandatory net neutrality above the principle of investor ownership and wealth creation in pipes and spectrum deflects market forces away from the infrastructure development that we need..." Did anyone else see a touch of irony in a letter to the editor... more

F2C: My Opening Remarks

Here are my opening remarks at F2C: Freedom to Connect yesterday: "I am honored to be among so many remarkable people. We have to be remarkable people, because we have a hell of a job to do. The Internet has been given to us. It is a miraculous gift, and a boon to our lives... at least in part because it accidentally matured outside the purview of profit and loss. Now the money has arrived. If you want to see what happens when the money arrives, look at Nigeria or Venezuela or Russia or Iraq..." more

Google and the White Spaces

The white spaces proceeding is the next big opportunity for experiments in alternative ways of providing wireless highspeed internet access... A key advantage of unlicensed spectrum is that experiments in new technology can be carried out without asking the permission of spectrum licensees. To date, we have made very little spectrum available for unlicensed use and experimentation. The FCC has the discretion to decide whether the digital television "white spaces" may be used on an unlicensed basis... more

Google’s Gigabit Gambit

Want a gig (1000 megabits per second) of Internet access bandwidth? Google says you could have it by the end of next year "from Manhattan to rural North Dakota (sic, I think they meant Vermont)" if their proposal to the FCC is accepted forthwith according to CNET's newsblog. Not only a gig but a mobile gig, accessible by cellphone or roaming computer -- no fiber required. Sound too good to be true? -- it isn't, IMHO! Engineering is not the problem... more

700 MHz Auction Winners: Why Block C Matters

Today the FCC announced the winners of the 700 MHz auction -- and you can see from pp. 62-63 of this document that Verizon won Block C. (Block C was set up in two nationwide paired blocks of 11 MHz each, which were auctioned off in very large geographic areas -- 12 licenses, each covering a "Regional Economic Area Grouping". Verizon won seven of the twelve licenses, covering all of the US except Alaska, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.) Why does this matter? more

Broadband Access: What Should We Regulate?

Network Neutrality is a hot topic in the US. The FCC held hearings in my neighborhood recently (while I was in Asia). Now I see Professor Susan Crawford will be testifying next Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Net Neutrality and the First Amendment." I look forward to her remarks, but I worry that the whole discussion will be focused on "IP Pipes," that is connectivity at network layer 3. This distracts us from the fundamental problem... more

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