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Net Neutrality and the Obama Stimulus Package

As long as US telecom is duopoly dominated, a neutral Internet is endangered if not impossible; regulation of this kind of concentrated power is necessary but is unlikely to be sufficient. The solution, IMHO, is to dilute the power of the duopoly so that consumers can buy whatever kind of Internet access they want. Countries like the UK with a competitive ISP market do not seem to have net neutrality problems nor require net neutrality regulation and have better Internet access than we do at lower prices. more

WiMAX Will Be Successful, as a Fringe Technology

A recent Infonetics press release says "WiMAX has gained such momentum across so many regions that it is no longer sensible to suggest that WiMAX growth will be flattened by the emergence of LTE [Long Term Evolution] in the next few years." Probably true, but it's also clear WiMAX will never reach the scale of either mainstream wireless family, i.e., WiFi or GSM/3GSM. By comparison with these giants, WiMAX will be a fringe operation. The critical issue is volume, and what counts is the wireless technology brand, not the technology itself. 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

How Fast is Starlink Broadband?

We got a recent analysis of Starlink broadband speeds from Ookla, which gathers huge numbers of speed tests from across the country. The U.S. average download speeds on Starlink have improved over the last year, from an average of 65.72 Mbps in 1Q 2021 to 90.55 Mbps in 1Q 2022. But during that same timeframe, upload speeds got worse, dropping from an average of 16.29 Mbps in 1Q 2021 to 10.70 Mbps in 1Q 2022. more

Google Now a Target for Regulation

The time was - way back around the turn of the century - when all Internet companies believed that the Internet should be free from government regulation. I lobbied along with Google and Amazon to that end (there were no Twitter and Facebook then); we were successful over the objection of traditional telcos who wanted the protection of regulation. The FCC under both Democrats and Republicans agreed to forbear from regulating the Internet the way they regulate the telephone network; the Internet flourished, to put it mildly. more

Nation Scale Internet Filtering—Do’s and Don’ts

If a national government wants to prevent certain kinds of Internet communication inside its borders, the costs can be extreme and success will never be more than partial. VPN and tunnel technologies will keep improving as long as there is demand, and filtering or blocking out every such technology will be a never-ending game of one-upmanship. Everyone knows and will always know that determined Internet users will find a way to get to what they want, but sometimes the symbolic message is more important than the operational results. more

Did Google’s Infrastructure Coup Work?

There is no doubt that the Google fibre rollout in Kansas City has been a success. Take-up rates are as high as 75%. However, when it was first announced in 2010, we stated that the real reason behind Google's entry into this market was to prove that FttH can be cost-effective and can generate a profitable return -- in the hope that the sluggish telcos would become more active in the rollout of FttH networks. Yet, Google is proving that this indeed can be done, the telcos remain sluggish in deploying FttH. more

Learning to Love the WTO: How Trade Policy Can Save Open Internet - and Bridge the Digital Divide

From the dawn of the mainstream commercial Internet in the late 1990s until quite recently, the world trade and Internet communities have been almost entirely disconnected from one another. This isn't surprising, given that trade policy historically follows technological developments with a considerable 'lag.' As the senior-most 'permanent representative' on the ground in Geneva from the for-profit tech sector, a big part of my job is to try and translate the Internet for the Diplomatic Corps across many different policy subjects. more

Is the Future of the Internet at Risk?

The debate about the control of the internet is intensifying, with interesting discussions expected later on this year in Dubai at the WCIT conference organised by the ITU. Over the last 25 years the industry has moved from being mainly telephony-based to being mainly IP-based, and many say that what is now at stake is the future of the internet as we know it at this point in time... The reality now is that the political stakes of the internet have risen significantly. more

Desperate Attempts to Drag the USA Into the Digital Economy

In the USA an interesting initiative has been taken by a number of leaders in the telco industry who are frustrated with the inability of the country to start building the high-speed broadband infrastructure that is needed for the development of its digital economy. While the Obama Administration has the right vision to make this happen - and the American National Broadband Plan is a good example of this - the dysfunctional political state of the country makes it impossible to establish the industry transformation needed to make this happen. more

Moore’s Law and the Economics of Abundance

Moore's Law explains why the price of everything electronic keeps going down; but now Moore's Law is starting to have an effect on much more than technology prices. The costs of energy, medicine, law, education, financial transactions, and government itself are falling because of Moore's Law's relentless progress. But these cost decreases are not being fully reflected in the prices we pay for all these things. more

Broadband Initiatives: Impact Will Depend on Wireless and Fixed Strategies

Broadband; we want it, and we all depend on it; but where you live can impact access and adoption of the best that service providers have to offer. The FCC is looking to change both geographic and demographic limitations now plaguing the U.S. in the global race for broadband economic supremacy. Can a combination of a fixed and wireless-mobile strategy improve broadband economic viability by increasing access, adoption, and affordability across the broadband spectrum? more

China Won’t Repeat Protectionist Past in Digital Realm

Google may have unnecessarily provoked a fight with China, but the Middle Kingdom better keep its wits, lest it repeat a sad protectionist history. Early last millennium China was the world's richest civilization and technology leader. It famously invented gunpowder, iron casting, paper, porcelain, printing, and gigantic nine-masted sailing vessels. Between 1405 and 1433, the great Muslim Chinese explorer Zheng He led seven expeditions in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, reaching the coast of East Africa. China's naval fleet grew to 3,500 ships... more

LTE and Spectrum Stupidity

Mobile operators are counting on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to handle surging demand for mobile data access. But LTE developers made some poor choices, cutting spectral efficiency and thus driving up operator costs. LTE was envisioned as an all IP system, but the RF allocations follow the voice-centric approach of earlier generations. While LTE standards allow for either Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) or Time Division Duplexing (TDD), all initial LTE equipment uses FDD. FDD requires two separate blocks of spectrum... more

NXDOMAIN Substitution: Good or Evil?

It might seem a little strange, but in the current economics of the market in registration of DNS names it appears that the set of names that are not "visible," or at least not associated with any dedicated network service point, represents a far larger set, and has a far higher total value to the DNS name registration industry, than the set of network-visible service endpoint domain names. In other words, there appears to be a larger and more valuable market for names that do not exist than for names that do. more

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