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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hazlett in FT on why blanket neutrality rules are bad for entrants

Tom explains in the MetroPCS case - and its deal with Google, oh delicious irony! It just goes to show that QoS with FRAND, my lite solution, is a much better idea that a blanket restriction - as I babbled on at EuroCPR today (slides available).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bandwidth caps and damned lies

This lobbying brief (so be careful believing everything) points out that caps at 250GB imposed by Comcast in 2008 appear to have later resulted in reversing of Moore's Law, bandwidth laws, and indeed human progress, by since decreasing substantially. Are we going back to the future?
PS: Comments indicate scepticism (to say the least) about bandwidth caps - its worth exploring in detail the actual costs of bandwidth and traffic growth - which is challenged as private CDNs appear to be picking up any renewed growth in video traffic. Who can point to something more than a guesstimate (or Google internal document?) as to CDN growth?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Private non-summit at which Vaizey hears and sees no evil

The meeting today was entirely private - that does not mean it didn't have balance, with '3' weighing in as a rogue ISP, the BBC and Skype speaking, and Tim Berners Lee telling Ed Vaizey to stand up for innovation, and consumers (ORG's Jim Killock live-Tweeted so we heard something).
But the Culture press release is some what Stalin-Blairist in tone - very wise monkeys. I do hope Tim hasn't been compromised as much as it wills...
On which, fascinating to hear Tim Wu being asked to plug his book on the Today programme as a prequel. Some things in life are priceless! Live blog of his speech at RSA also available.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ed Vaizey given a figleaf to face Tim Berners Lee on Wednesday?

There is apparently a 'net neutrality summit' on Wednesday, as reported in the broadsheets but not on the UK Culture Ministry website. Apparently it will have ISPs and content providers, plus BBC and hopefully Skype, as well as Tim Berners Lee who can look on in stupefaction as everyone pretends to agree with him. I have no idea whether any public programme has been produced - so perhaps it should be called a closed-doors meeting.
In advance, it has seen a spin attempt to appear to be doing something by UK consumer ISPs via the Broadband Stakeholders Group, an odd government funded but industry-run creature. This is effectively some consumer ISPs taking seriously their commitments in the 'voluntary' Code Ofcom published in December 2008 as well as those Ofcom signed up to in the new EC rules (Directives 136/2009/EC - especially Article 20 - and 140/2009/EC), which have to be implemented in May. Its worth noting that ISPs have been on the naughty step with Ofcom since March 2010 for failing to provide any credible traffic management information, as they had 'agreed' in December 2008.
It gives Ed Vaizey something to stammer back when Tim BL tells him he's doing nothing to enforce consumer rights on net neutrality. So it's a stitch-up: progress is glacial, and this is only transparency, not actual regulation for non-discrimination.

Jun Murai on Internet communication in Japan post-tsunami

Every European politician should read this and reassess their opinion of the essential network utility that is the Internet: "When the first earthquake of M9.0 (the original Magnitude announced was M8.8 but they modified it officially) happened at 5:46 UTC/14:46 JST, I was in Hiyoshi campus of KEIO Univ. in Yokohama city. Soon all the electric power in the city went down in Kanagawa area (therefore, no signal lights in the street). The fixed line phone and mobile became busy. I found that most of the 3G data connectivity have been working even though their 3G voice communication was not available (probably because of the controlled restrictions by the operators). Therefore, the means of communication for those people to confirm their family's safety, which as I mentioned is what they most wanted, were provided by emails, twitter and SNSes through 3G data communication. Other information of the earthquake also been accessed by WEB. I have received many emails afterwards, saying 'thanks to the Internet' in the face of this situation. Some of the Japanese mobile phones are equipped with terrestrial TV broadcast receiver in a device. This function called 'one-segment TV' has been said as 'unnecessary function' to make Japanese mobile market isolated, but this time it worked very nicely to get the TV news broadcasting with the power failure status."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prescient 1999 study for Council of Europe on (pre)'net neutrality' and media ownership

This young guy was excellent (it was drafted in June, revised in October '99) - whatever happened to him:
"5.4. Where a proprietary ISP offers content cached – stored – on a server local to the consumer, speed of access to that content is exponentially higher than for non-proprietary content. This is even more the case for digital cable modem ISPs, such as @Home and Roadrunner... Whether at this stage of Internet development in Europe, the US model will prove equally successful in the case of dominant European ISPs, is debatable, but it does point towards further research on the degree to which subscribers access non-proprietary pages...[5.7] Any legislative action at this stage may be considered premature, given the rapid growth in the market. Research and monitoring of the market must be an absolute regulatory priority. The degree to which consumers actually browse a diversity of content sites is a critically important research question in the interest of diversity."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Marsden response to government proposed undertakings: BSkyB takeover by News Corp.

Some readers may be interested to note that I propose net neutrality as a solution in the absence of any efforts to  harm the Dirty Digger's interests directly. Full response here.

Updates on Virgin throttling and UKGov wants to impose for offshore gambling

Speaking no evil as usual, but Virgin's 'trial' (sic) has throttled gamers - just as TalkTalk's throttling did 5 years ago to kick net neutrality off in the UK: "I'm playing Rift and the game was fine, with no latency problems, then all of a sudden my game starts lagging out and nothing working," posted customer Del528 on a thread stretching over pages and featuring largely negative responses. "I looked at my latency in game and it was varying from 560ms to 15,000ms, same again today. Is it a coincidence this is happening at the same time you start your trial? I don't think so. I pay money for a service from yourselves and you're failing."
The UK government had the lunatic plan of blocking offshore gambling - not quite as ineffective as the stupidity of #censilia's plans for kiddie prOn (which Netherlands ISPs explain is all off-net) - but still..

TeleFrieden: Lies, Damn Lies and Broadband Statistics

TeleFrieden: Lies, Damn Lies and Broadband Statistics: "The FCC and NTIA have launched a broadband map that purports to give quite granular and current data about broadband accessibility. Do..."

Update on why politicos all gone ominously quiet about 'net neutrality'

It seems that in Washington, Brussels and points in between, the consensus is that the kerfuffle in November and December over net neutrality means that its better to quietly abandon the policy than have those troublesome public consultations and political embarrassments. (John Boehner's barking aside, that is).
Thus Verizon decided to insert its throttling clause on top 5% iPhone users (viz - those buying latest iPhones) without making a fuss about, you know, unilaterally altering customer contracts. Its too late to break the contract in response if you paid last month's bill (for those of contrarian bent, Orlowski's anti-freetard latest will stimulate).
Similarly, Commissioner Kroes had the CEOs of major telcos in for coffee last week in private to talk investment in network speed - guess how much she discussed net neutrality? Meanwhile, BCE buys CTVGlobal just after Comcast buys NBC, and News Corporation is cleared to buy Sky - vertical integration, anyone?
All the big box sellers were in Barcelona a fortnight ago to sell their micro-billing equipment to mobiles - expect a flood of throttling to follow even when using unpaired TD-LTE.
As long as they're all transparent and you can vote with your feet in a competitive differentiated market, or you're French - its Paris where the implementation of the European Directives should be most keenly observed.
The only telcos making headlines on network management today appear to be Libyan...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Competition and the Internet - IE no longer browser of choice for this blog

You are very cosmopolitan...with 3000 sample size, is it that sophisticated (net neutrality lite) users are more likely to use Firefox/Chrome etc.? Its promising for competition authorities on browsers, less so on Windows.
Pageviews by Browsers
1,066 (34%)
Internet Explorer
1,008 (32%)
imgsizer Safari
251 (8%)
220 (7%)
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122 (3%)
120 (3%)
74 (2%)
13 (<1%)
6 (<1%)
Pageviews by Operating Systems
2,171 (69%)
Other Unix
579 (18%)
309 (9%)
20 (<1%)
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8 (<1%)
5 (<1%)
Windows NT 6.1
5 (<1%)
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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

UPDATE: Ofcom spins but does almost nothing again? Not maximum, not minimum, but 'typical' speeds

I have been shouting from the sidelines that the APCOMM 2009 report should be followed, and broadband providers forced to reveal minimum speeds based on backhaul to the exchange divided by customer numbers in the exchange - simples. Its a step too far for Ofcom, but they do want to stop blatant lying by ADSL providers (cable is ok).
Is this really any different to their research and advice published in July 2010,  or just more public relatinos spin with no action? Note that this is by no means a direction to ISPs, just evidence to the advertising regulator. The announcement made it look as if Ofcom was waving a stick, not a carrot, and it remains to be seen which it is.
I will be interested to see whether there is any real attempt to enforce this, but Claudio has always been on the side of the angels:
"The Advertising Standards Authority is looking into the issue. Ofcom is recommending that ISPs use Typical Speed Rates (TSR) to avoid confusing consumers. It has set guidelines for these speeds. It recommends that ADSL services currently advertised as 'up to' 20Mbps (megabits per second) be changed to a TSR of between 3 and 9Mbps."

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Lies, damned lies and percentages: 'Some users actually use 3G for Internet'

I have increased my blogging by 100% by writing my second blogpost today. That 100% increase would be 28,000,000,000% per cent if it was to continue over a year.

Even facts appear to be ticklish - Cisco has released its Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast - which tells us the shocking news that: 
[a] average smartphone use has rocketed - to 79MB/month. That's almost a whole Gigabyte a year, people!
[b] there is decreased bandwidth hogging (which means more people actually use their Gigabyte) with 10% of users accounting for 60% of total data: "mobile data traffic has evened out over the last year and now matches the 1:20 ratio that has been true of fixed networks for several years".
Of course, it is totally misleading to use headline percentage growth to suggest there is a major issue here - the real story is that people are actually using the Internet on mobile networks via dongles and smartphones. Headline 'People use mobile network eleven years after 3G licences awarded'?

Extraordinary Tea Party assaults on net neutrality - led by Murdoch

Writing a paper on net neutrality gets difficult when the lunatics start running the asylum. House Speaker Tom Boehner's rant to religious broadcasters is a classic right up there with the dodgy less-lamented now-deceased Ted Stevens as his tubes...but note how important both men were in Internet policy-making. I weep for US politics.
The official organ of the Tea Party is the opinion pages of the Wall St Journal (proprietor: Rupert Murdoch) - a very traditional newspaper has frothing rants on its op-ed pages. As a former media editor there told me, also be very careful of frothing headlines. It has outdone itself with yesterday's "Net Neutrality Debate in Europe is Over". If Neelie really is brushing this under the carpet, I would be...disappointed. I suspect her intentions are rather more about transparency, competition and scrutiny - which is what the spokesman actually said!