Access Providers

Access Providers / Most Commented

It’s March Madness Time and I Want My IPTV!

IPTV is on the horizon. Maybe I watch too much basketball, but the first thing I pictured was turning my flat screen into a big PC-like monitor with multiple windows showing several games, and perhaps even checking email and trying to do a bit work in another (admittedly much smaller) window. You could drag and drop, expand or shrink the games to whatever size you wanted just like you do on a PC with applications. Since the source video could come from different geographical regions in the country, you could catch the NCAA game they are showing in your local region while also watching another game from another region... For some, IPTV is a reality. But for the most part deployments are limited. more

As the Comcast Saga Unfolds, Be Careful What You Wish For

Comcast has been in the news recently for deliberately "slowing down" some subscribers and applications in its broadband cable service. There was an article in the Washington Post today updating the case, and there was a recent article in Network World that actually favors the groups filing the complaints and calls for the FCC to crack down on Comcast. more

iPhone, Android, 700 MHz: What Maximizes Wireless Innovation?

At the Emerging Communications Conference eComm 2008, I'm moderating a panel "Wireless Innovation, with or without operators." This will be a discussion -- smart people from differing camps responding to (hopefully) probing questions from yours truly, and the audience. Points of view represented include Google Android, J2ME/JavaFX Mobile, iPhoneWebDev.com, Skype and Trolltech Qtopia (Nokia), plus Chris Sacca, formerly head of Google's wireless initiatives. I've been thinking about subjects and questions for the panel. As a start, I'll set down my current views, then seek others' views and questions. more

Client-based WDS: Providing Application Acceleration in Mobile and VPN Environments

Wide-Area Data Services (WDS), aka "WAN Optimization" is becoming the most effective way to improve application performance while reducing network traffic. In scenarios where there is significant network latency that would otherwise render many applications unusable, WDS can deliver almost LAN-like speed. Where bandwidth constraints exist and there is no practical or economical option, WDS can help reduce network traffic, allowing you to postpone or avoid circuit upgrades altogether. The technology provides the ability to centralize applications and servers, furthering the cost savings on hardware, software licensing, maintenance and the operation of a distributed architecture. more

How Tiered Internet Pricing Could Actually Facilitate P2P

Time Warner Cable's planned experiment with tiered charging for Internet access has generated a flurry of coverage in the blogsphere, but no new insights (at least that I've seen). The primary problem ISP's complain about is that 5% of their customers use 90% of the available bandwidth and when they examine this traffic, it's mostly peer-to-peer file sharing... more

Internet Access and the Missing Institutional Design

It's Friday, a day to tie some threads together. There were three announcements/events this week that are connected in a non-obvious way... These three elements go together in creating a picture of US policy towards Internet access at the beginning of 2008. Rather than seeing the Internet as an engine for economic growth, creativity, innovation, and new jobs -- and as the converged communications medium for the next generation -- current policy is to wait for private companies to decide when investment in access makes sense for them. Those private companies have plenty of incentives to shape access to suit their own business plans. more

The Network Management Excuse

Telco front-man Scott Cleland, in a recent blog post, thumbs his nose at the Four Internet Freedoms and says that the FCC should too. Under current leadership, it probably will. Referring to the recent submissions to the FCC by Free Press and Public Knowledge and Vuze complaining about Comcast's use of reset packets to block applications that compete with Comcast's own proprietary video entertainment offering, Cleland says "Network management trumps net neutrality." There are lots of reasons for, ahem, managing. Cleland neglects to observe that controlling congestion the way Comcast does it is like scattering nails in the road for traffic control. more

“The Broadband Revolution”

The International Telecommunications Union recently issued a press release announcing with joy the release of "the first set of global standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)." A key sentence: "A combination of voice, Internet and video services over a single broadband link and from a single provider is foreseen as the ultimate goal of the broadband revolution." Those of you who lived through 'What Is Broadband Good For?' with me last summer, know that the word "broadband" is a pet bugaboo of mine. It's a word that answers a lot of policy questions in a particular way. more

Will 2008 be the WiMAX Year?

There has recently been some good and bad news about WiMAX. On the good news part, an announcement made by the WiMAX Forum this month regarding the launching of the Mobile WiMAX certification program through which vendors can get their IEEE 802.16e-2005 equipment tested and possibly certified... On the bad news part, there was the Sprint-Clearwire breakup after three months of announcing a plan to join forces in building a nationwide WiMAX network in the US. Although it is anticipated that each company would carry on with its own WiMAX plans, analysts believe that the breakup would have negative impact on WiMAX deployment in the US... more

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

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

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

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