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Sunday, December 28, 2008

UK Culture Secretary Burnham wants age rating and 'watershed' for Internet

That Evertonian whiner Andy Burnham continues to embarrass himself by trying to make the Internet into terrestrial TV, in an interview in the Daily Telegraph.

I rather like a comment posted on CBC: 
"Keep your greasy fish-n-chips fingers off my internet, you parasitic English politician. Go and start a web company that provides ratings to consumers if you think that will sell. Oh wait... that requires real business acumen, and people to voluntarily purchase your product. Much easier to use the government gun to force people to employ a bunch of unionized civil servants who voted for you, isn't it? No particular skill involved there."

What isd the point in fighting against voluntary censorship via net neutrality by ISPs if government intends to introduce sweeping censorship rules for all content? Grrr....Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Codifying Cyberspace: entire book online free

Well its Google Books searchable anyway!

BBC suggests tiered pricing for live TV

Finally, the BBC has suggested the obvious solution to bandwidth constraints on the iPlayer service - ISPs should charge end-users more!

Anthony Rose is reported stating that: 
"The future lies in tiered services. What we need to do is to create the iPlayer services at different quality levels and then let ISPs offer different bandwidth propositions to users. For example, the user who enjoys higher bandwidth connections would pay more, and those who are satisfied with lower bandwidth connections would pay less. Of course, nobody should get a worse experience than today. For example, the user can get a good quality iPlayer service for, say, £10 a month but for £20, a much better iPlayer quality would be available. This can lead to win-win situations and ISPs will see video services as a profit centre rather than a cost burden," 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sensible comment on Google's strategy

Saul Hansell of the New York Times explains in the wake of the WSJ article:
"Sometimes the issue is framed as a total bandwidth egalitarianism, when that’s not really what they want. There is a huge fight here, not over whether there will be first class and coach seats, but how those seats will be priced and who will pay for them. Google and others are saying that, in effect, every seat in the same class of service should have the same price, and that Internet providers can’t add surcharges to companies they don’t like or give discounts to those they do."

This analysis actually begins to get to the heart of the problem, instead of the info-communism which seems so prevalent in the US.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Virgin Media to target Bit Torrent from mid-2009

I'm sending Christmas greetings with this very interesting story about Virgin launching DOCSIS3.0 and quite specifically targetting Bit Torrent - note they are making no security-based claims as yet, simply network management. 
What an interesting 2009 we will have!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Messy weekend - policy unchanged, but opening shots fired

This weekend, the neo-loony Wall Street Journal ('the unacceptable face of capitalism') published a piece claiming Google wanted to hire faster capacity, when it actually wanted to try to cache more locally (DOH!), while in the UK the Internet Watch Foundation found its cloudy and crude version of self-censorship under scrutiny as never before. 

Let the games commence in 2009!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FCC was totally broken in the last 2 years - says Congress

A new report reveals the appalling mismanagment of the Kevin Martin-chaired FCC - which abandoned its real role 3 years ago when it effectively abolished telecoms regulation, and since has seemingly descended into a bullying top-down culture - disgraceful. 

And they tell us to learn from the US experience? Hopefully on 20 January 2009, normal regulatory service can be resumed slowly, but expect the wounds to last for years after they throw out Martin and install a proper chair.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ofcom broadband speed Code of Conduct

More co-regulation:

"Under the code, ISPs are required to:

  • provide consumers at the point of sale with an accurate estimate of the maximum speed that their line can support;
  • explain clearly and simply how technical factors may slow down speeds and giving help and advice to consumers to improve the situation at home;
  • offer an alternative package (if there is one) without any penalties, if the actual speed is a lot lower than the original estimate; and
  • explain fair usage policies clearly and alert consumers when they have been breached.

New Ofcom research due to be published in full in early 2009 reveals that around a quarter of people said that they did not receive the speed they expected when they signed up for a broadband service."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Net neutrality - Article 22(3) USD

This is the key amendment (from IPTegrity) for 'net neutrality lite' in the proposals that the Parliament, Council and Commission have worked up - expect this to be the law, and thanks to Ralf Nigge of DT for discussing:

Article 22: Quality of service

1. Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are, after taking account ofthe views of interested parties, able to require undertakings that provide publicly available electronic communications services networks and/or services to publish comparable, adequate and up-to-date information for end-users on the quality of their services, including and on measures taken to ensure equivalent comparable access for disabled end-users. The information shall, on request, also be supplied to the national regulatory authority in advance of its publication.

2. National regulatory authorities may specify, inter alia, the quality of service parameters to be measured, and the content, form and manner of information to be published, including possible quality certification mechanisms, in order to ensure that end-users have access to comprehensive, comparable, reliable and user-friendly information. Where appropriate, the parameters, definitions and measurement methods given in Annex III could be used.

3. In order to prevent degradation of service and hindering or slowing of traffic over networks, Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are able to set minimum quality of service requirements on undertakings providing public communications networks. The Commission may, having consulted the Authority, adopt technical implementing measures concerning minimum quality of service requirements to be set by the national regulatory authority on undertakings providing public communications networks.

These measures designed to amend non-essential elements of this Directive by supplementing it shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 37(2). On imperative grounds of urgency, the Commission may use the urgency procedure referred to in Article 37(3).

(Amendment 16) A competitive market should ensure that users are able to have the quality of service they require, but in particular cases it may be necessary to ensure that public communications networks attain minimum quality levels so as to prevent degradation of service, the blocking of access and the slowing of traffic over the networks. In particular, the Commission should be able to adopt implementing measures with a view to identifying the quality standards to be used by the national regulatory authorities.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Net neutrality, PHORM, Black Wednesday and BitTorrent

Interesting day - first PHORM gets 4 directors to resign and puts Kip Meek on the board with Norman Lamont (ex-Chancellor responsible for the 'day that broke the Bank of England' in 1992 - well he knows about recessions). There's no conflict of interest for Kip, apparently....and PHORM is both under investigation by police (for the great BT secret trial) and close to burning all its cash by the middle of next year.

Second, and more far-reaching, uTorrent is going UDP, which to this lawyer indicates that [a] TCP is going to be squeezed out of the main P2P traffic; [b] that will annoy those of us who use TCP for YouTube etc. [c] it will annoy ISPs even more than us; [d] so more discriminatory shenanigans can be expected. Its the Arms Race continuing at higher level.

Impeachment in Westminster

In view of Jacqui Smith and Gorbals Mick Martin's behaviour this week, you may like to mug up on - or blog -  this handy recent guide for MPs and peers: