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Does the iPhone Keep dotMobi Awake at Night?

We've had a number of questions (and seen plenty of commentary) regarding the recent launch of the iPhone and how it might affect us and the mobile web in general. ...the iPhone changes the way that tastemakers think about their online existence. Interacting with the web, clearly, is no longer a solitary, sedentary and constrained activity.Now I've personally believed this for a while, so arguably it's no big deal -- the long-term evolution of the web to become a largely mobile (and, by the way, subtly different) medium is inevitable. more

FTC Report on Broadband Resurrects Freedom of Service Information

The Federal Trade Commission intends to monitor the information that telecom and cable companies provide about high-speed Internet service in the service plans they offer to customers, according to a report issued last week by the agency. The FTC asserts in the report, released on June 27, that since it has jurisdiction over matters involving consumer protection, it "will continue to enforce the consumer protection laws in the area of broadband access."... The consumer protection sections of the FTC report raise this question: are broadband providers engaging in a deceptive practice when they advertise a connection speed of, for example, "up to" 768 kilobits per second (kbps) - and yet actual speeds are considerably lower? more

Google Acquires Grandcentral… and Enters Further into the PSTN Side of Telecommunications

News breaking out today is that Google has acquired GrandCentral for something around $50 million. GrandCentral is a service that gives you one phone number that can ring multiple numbers, provide one common voicemail - and all sorts of the other features (see "howitworks" for a list of features)... So will we ultimately see voicemail inside of Gmail? One would assume that we will eventually see integration with GoogleTalk... more

SIP, the Holy Grail of VoIP World

For many in the Voice over IP world, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the holy grail. Once it is accepted by every vendor and manufacturer, it will enable every IP-based device and application to communicate with one another. But for now it remains still a bit of an enigma that raises a large number of questions for everyone. TechTarget offers a VoIP SIP fundamentals guide discussing some of the basics of SIP -- its vulnerabilities, testing and hardware. more

First Square Mile is not the Last or First Mile: Discovery not Just Choices!

The term "last mile" highlights the fact that we are the consumers at the end of a broadband "pipe". Saying "first mile" is a little better but the Internet is not a pipe to or from somewhere else. It's about what we can do locally and then what we can do when we interconnect with other neighborhoods. It's better to describe our neighborhood as the first square mile. Telecom is about selling us services; the Internet is about what we can do ourselves locally and then interconnecting with others everywhere. In writing the First Square Mile - Our Neighborhood essay which I just posted I came to better understand the fundamental difference between the world of telecom which is about giving you choices and the Internet which provides opportunity to discover what we can't anticipate... more

Google Explains What They Mean by “Net Neutrality”

Google has launched a new Public Policy Blog focused on U.S. government legislation and regulation -- reported in the media as part of Google's efforts in setting up focus on the U.S. government since early 2005. In an entry posted over the weekend on the blog by Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, key argument within the net neutrality debate is explained... more

Carriers Constrain Entrepreneurs

Previously, I've written about how the success of the MVNO (though not without its problems) demonstrates how an Open Access-like business model can work in a wireless context. The underlying carrier, such as Sprint or Verizon, can sell access to its network at wholesale rates to a company like Virgin Mobile, which then markets to consumers. This model can be and is a success both for the retailer and the wholesaler. MVNOs are not perfect. more

WSJ on Wireless Network Neutrality

Today's Wall Street Journal had an interesting article (subscription required) on the current state of the wireless walled garden. It cites several recent clashes between handset vendors and cellcos over the extent to which consumers can use their phones to access non cellco content. From the article: "At stake for consumers are what services will be available on their mobile phones and whether they're free or cost a monthly fee. The wireless Web is taking off more slowly in America than overseas, and one reason is that U.S. carriers tightly control what applications are available on mobile devices..." more

VoIP: Beyond Digital POTS

I've been involved with VoIP technology since 1996. I've been a public advocate for wideband audio at least since 1997. And I've admired and supported a variety of companies using VoIP to provide innovative services and new user interfaces. But reflecting on the past decade, the only globally significant impact of VoIP has been on prices (by fostering arbitrage). Most VoIP telephony services are just digital POTS... more

Treating Different Types of Communications Differently

A friend who read my Creating Sustainable Network Neutrality paper wrote to say, "Help me understand what is so bad about treating different types of communications differently." That's a really good question! If you want to offer vertically integrated services on special purpose networks, such as video entertainment or pager service or telephony, I do not have a problem with that, provided you don't use your market power to impede Internet applications that offer competing services... more

Skype as a Platform for Secure VPN Tunnels?

Since Skype has an open client-side API, why not use it as a transport to tunnel VPN traffic and blow through firewalls to connect you to a remote system? That's the idea raised by Peeter P. Mõtsküla in his Skype Developer Blog entry: "Idea: skypetunnel". For instance, have a Skype client running on your home machine logged in as one account. Have Skype on your laptop on another account. Initiate a connection between the two of them and wind up with secure, encrypted access through the firewall from wherever you are. Being peer-to-peer, there would be no central servers or infrastructure required (outside the usual Skype p2p cloud.) This would require, of course, a yet-to-be-created "extra" that connected into the Skype client API and was installed on both systems...but that was the point of the article... more

Frustrations with VoIP Phone Services

I ought to explain why I've suddenly gone cold on VoIP. It's just I've watched my own behaviour. I've grown tired of the inconsistency of PC VoIP calls, and instead I've reverted to using landlines, mobiles and Jajah (for callback). But I'm still using IM to set up many of those calls! The problem isn't unique to any one client - they're all proving unsuitable for business use with clients (which is most of my telephony needs covered). The worst of all seems to be Skype conference calling... more

VoIP/IP Telephony in Estonia: Disrupted by Botnets?

With my post earlier this month about the possibility of SIP botnets [also featured here on CircleID], I've had a number of people asking about more information and wondering about the possible impacts. And while I will write more on botnets in general, as far as the potential impact of "botnets" in general, one need only look over at the current situation in Estonia... Now, perhaps Russia is behind the attack... perhaps not. There are obviously much larger political issues going on between the two states. more

Net Neutrality Reflection

So this afternoon my charge is to lay out all the Net Neutrality (NN) issues to a bar association that doesn't have a telecom subcommittee... Cringely says that "In the end the ISPs [network providers] are going to win this [network neutrality] battle, you know. The only thing that will keep them from doing that is competition, something it is difficult to see coming along anytime soon..." more

Clues about the Future of TV

A recent article chronicles the telcos' slow start in cable TV. I don't think the telcos stand a chance of succeeding in cable TV. Instead, if they're to succeed at all, they'll probably buy or form alliances with existing cablecos... But they'd better start swimming, because the times are a changing.. more