Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BT and BBC saga rumbles on...

I haven't commented on the BT threat to content providers and their throttling of iPlayer to under 800kbps, in part because its such a non-story - its what most ISPs have been donig for years. I am posting the comments in El Reg on the claim that the problem is BT Wholesale backhaul costs - and the middle mile is indeed the problem.

Shock, horror - prior to the E-Comms review in the European Parliament, Ofcom won't do anything, in fact some of the seniors there rather approve of ISPs throttling content providers until the pips squeak (or wallets open). Wonder what the Tories think? It'll be their problem.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Genachowski confirmed - so net neutral Telecoms Act 2010?

Julius got his Senate confirmation late last Thursday - and as Eli Noam is running a 'Telecoms Act 2010' conference, maybe its on the cards....

I promise...

...to post more this summer - I finished the 'Net Neutrality' book last week and you can imagine much of my May-June was taken up with that. Back on the blog and thanks for sticking with it!

'Super-slow' broadband and hackwatch

Why do journos constantly mislead even the tech public on what is broadband? Take this garbage from PCWorld: "U.K. unveiled plans to establish a super-fast broadband infrastructure across the country within the next three years" - in the Digital Britain report!

No, they didn't. What they did was talk about how half the country will get both DOCSIS3.0 and VDSL if Virgin and BT 'race' each other at leisurely pace to install street furniture SLAMs. They also stated vaguely that it would be nice if everyone could have their advertised 2Mbps by 2012, but there was a very shaky plan to set up a delivery authority funded by a new 50p/month tax and some digital TV switchover money no longer needed, plus some futurology on whether LTE (Long Term Evolution, 4G mobile) might help...in about 2018-2020.

No, I never understood why Carter and Meek are so keen to bend over backwards for the mobile billionaires....wait a minute, doesn't someone need a new job?

Its superslow broadband, journos!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Consultation On Legislation To Address Illicit Peer-To-Peer (P2P) File-Sharing, 16 June

Paragraph 4.39 sets out an indicative timeline, with government response by 15 December 2009, and no technical measures taken against subscribers until ‘Zero+28 months’, zero being date of Royal Assent to any Order instructing Ofcom to set up the mechanism. That suggests at earliest May 2012, and given the General Election due by May 2010, may indicate late 2012 as the more likely date for implementation. This is likely to be a highly controversial three years , and whether Ofcom will actually reach the ‘throttling point’ under the next government must be open to severe doubt.

Para 1.3 “This takes forward Recommendation 39 of the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, the recent BIS consultation on possible regulatory options and Action 13 of the Digital Britain Interim Report…ISPs will be required to send notifications to subscribers who have been identified in relation to alleged infringements of copyright. The second obligation is for ISPs to maintain (anonymised) records of the number of times an individual subscriber has been so identified and to maintain lists of those most frequently identified. Both obligations would be underpinned by a code drawn up by industry and approved (or imposed in the absence of agreement) by Ofcom. Following further consideration we are now proposing a change to the way in which we construct these obligations. This document sets out an approach whereby a duty will be placed on Ofcom to take steps aimed at reducing online copyright infringement. Specifically they will be required to impose the two obligations on ISPs set out in the Digital Britain Interim Report. Ofcom will also have the power to impose by Statutory Instrument the additional obligations listed in the legislation if they think it necessary. In addition they will be required to put in place a code to support any obligations that are in place.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Government consultation on P2P throttling - 3 months to respond

In all the Digital Britain fuss, here's the deal with a 3-month consultation by which time Carter will have hotfooted it out of Whitehall and into a rightsholder body:
Have a look at pp49-51 - and in particular note the lack of costings and the reliance on some very sketchy figures from the rights-holders. This is a rather sick joke of a consultation.

Carter's £6 rural NGA tax examined

£6 tax on all BT lines to support the 'Final Third' - VDSL in rural areas. Why, oh Lord Carter, why? You could not get less hypothecated if you tried...

"My gran will be happy, she's always complaining that without fibre to home her current 22mbps is just not fast enough for her torrents to download at the same time as running apache server to to distribute her content to the other people in her sheltered housing."

Educated readers respond to Carter

Hope I'm not flattering The Register's clientele, but I rather enjoyed reading their responses to Lord Carter's throttling charter. There's more by Monica Horten here - yes, of course its worse than Sarkozy's wet dreams of how restrictive Hadopi could be!

Stephen Carter: evil genius!

Poison pill defence against both Ofcom (his erstwhile employees) and the next Tory government: cut copyright violators by 70% in a year by saying 'no, don't'. If that doesn't work, adopt Plan B - deliberate Parliament-ordered anti-pirate throttling without a court order! You couldn't make it up...

"Government will also provide for backstop powers for
Ofcom to place additional conditions on ISPs aimed at reducing or preventing online copyright infringement by the application of Blocking (Site, IP, URL), Protocol blocking, Port blocking, Bandwidth capping Bandwidth shaping, Content identification and filtering– or a combination of these measures"

- unless file-sharing is reduced by 70% in 6 months, Ofcom's job!

Its almost exactly what was ruled unconstitutional in France last week - graduated response without a court ruling, to restrict users' access.
Note that it applies after 12 months of Ofcom's notification procedure - i.e. after the Election!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Digital Britain - nothing to see here....

Times cuts through the spin to reveal a shivering naked emperor and his sidekick Carter leaving government

The Prime Minister promises inThe Times today that the Government will help the private sector to move “farther and faster” to provide the next generation of superfast broadband, and the aim is that all households should enjoy broadband speeds of 10 megabits. But today Lord Carter of Barnes, the departing Communications Minister, will promise only that all households will be able to get a minimum standard speed of 2 megabits.

It was known already that the 2-megabit proposal would be partfinanced with £200 million, taken from a BBC-run scheme to help the elderly and vulnerable to change from analogue to digital television.

Lord Carter’s Digital Britain White Paper will reveal that the Government has been unable to strike deals with any of the main players on key elements of the digital strategy, including:

a plan to take millions of pounds from the BBC licence fee to subsidise other media activities, including ITV’s regional news and local newspapers;

the merger of BBC Worldwide and Channel 4;

who will pay for fibre-optic connections across the country;

the release of mobile radio spectrum by Vodafone and O2 for new national wireless broadband.

Instead, there will be only a modest package of initiatives and tax breaks to help BT and Virgin Media to extend faster, fibre-optic connections around the whole country

Monday, June 15, 2009

NGA - duopoly is enough competition?

The EC consultation seems to think so! Are Barroso and Kroes railroading Reding?
"several people, including a telecom regulator, a diplomat from one large E.U. member state, ECTA, and even one person from within the Commission itself have said that the Commission's draft recommendation may be biased in favor of incumbents. Only ECTA spoke out publicly. The other sources insisted on remaining anonymous. There have been numerous meetings this week about the draft recommendation, and it does appear that political pressure has been brought to bear in favor of incumbent operators," said one person close to the discussions.

According to the diplomat, the political pressure stems from the German government, which is fighting to secure a better deal for Deutsche Telekom. "Germany is pressuring Barroso to intervene in favor of the incumbents. It is also lobbying other countries to do likewise," he said. Barroso has publicly stated his interest in leading the next Commission once the current team's mandate expires in the fall. To ensure that he gets the job again, he needs the endorsement of the heads of national governments, and Germany's in particular because Germany is the biggest E.U. member state."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

3rd Reading 15 December - or is it?

Monica Horten as usual is first with the news on the Package - it appears that it must go to Conciliation on 12 June at the Telecoms Council, but there is a rumour that only Amendment 138 - on user rights and 3 strikes - will go.