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Thursday, January 29, 2015

British Mobile marriages and the power of four

British telecoms: Mobile marriages | The Economist: "In a group of four, the smallest operator is often the one that tries to shake things up. In Britain, for instance, Three has kept its prices low and did not charge extra for using 4G, the latest wireless technology. In America, after plans to merge with Sprint came to naught, T-Mobile USA has started a price war and introduced new products. Most recently, it launched a programme called “Smartphone Equality” which allows even customers without a good credit score to get a cheap contract.

By contrast, in markets where regulators have allowed the number of independent mobile networks to drop to three, such maverick operators are generally lacking—with the result that prices go up and the range of offerings is reduced. In Austria, for instance, where Hutchison Whampoa also acquired a competitor, prices jumped by about 10% after the merger, according to the OECD." 'via Blog this'

CRTC bans Bell from subsidizing data usage for mobile TV app

Net neutrality: CRTC bans Bell from subsidizing data usage for mobile TV app - The Globe and Mail: "Canada’s telecom regulator has ruled against a billing practice by cellphone providers that exempts certain television content streamed on wireless devices from customers’ monthly data caps.

 The decision, which applies specifically to mobile television apps offered by Bell Mobility Inc. and Videotron Ltd., sets a new limit on how companies that own both media and communications businesses can use television and sports content to bolster their wireless or Internet divisions.

 It also has implications for the Canadian approach to net neutrality, the principle that telecom providers should treat all content that flows through their networks equally, and not give any type of preference to content they own." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

EBU on net neutrality: a clear chance to lobby

Council of Ministers to mull the Telecoms Single Market bill: a clear chance to lobby | TelecomTV: "EBU brings up a crucial point that is often missing from the argument. Anti neutrality rhetoric usually conflates higher or specialised services with upstream charging as if the commercial  involvement of a specific upstream provider were the only way to deliver ‘better than best effort’.

In fact there is nothing to prevent mobile operators from continuing to offer users better classes of service or, as the EBU points out,  “specialised services” or internet access packages with different speeds and volumes as long such services were non-discriminatory to upstream providers." 'via Blog this'

Netherlands: KPN and Vodafone fined for violation of net neutrality

Fines imposed on Dutch telecom companies KPN and Vodafone for violation of net neutrality regulations | "With regard to its free Wi-Fi hotspots, KPN blocked various services including several internet calling services. As a result, consumers were unable to use these services. Internet providers are prohibited from deciding what their customers can and cannot do online.

Vodafone offered plans with which customers were able to watch pay-tv channel HBO using an app without charging these customers the data used for watching HBO. That way, Vodafone influenced its customers’ online behavior, which is not allowed either. Regulations require internet providers not to influence consumer behavior through blockades or tariffs.

Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, adds: “Internet providers are not allowed to decide for consumers what they can do on the Internet, and they are not allowed to influence their behavior either. All data must be transmitted under the same conditions. That is the idea behind net neutrality, and that is what we are enforcing in these cases. ACM thus prevents consumers from having less freedom of choice online.”" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The splinternet - GE Look Ahead

The splinternet - | GE Look Ahead | The Economist: "Mr Steimle doesn’t see ISPs “actively throttling bandwidth for Internet publishers they disagree with, [as] it would cause a massive backlash”. But the influence could be more subtle. Mr Drossos, Mr Shapiro and others hold a dystopic view wherein large ISPs could wield a disproportionate amount of influence over who gets access to them and what their customers view and read. Proprietary apps, partner services and other contributors to what The Economist has called “mega-sites” could shape cultural and political information, for example.

 This, of course, is the more dystopic view. And it might not occur at all: Services might switch stream altogether and focus on machine-to-machine (M2M) apps for the Industrial Internet and Internet of Things. In an “ubernet”, world, bandwidth providers might exercise most of their differentiated pricing on M2M data flows, which raise perhaps fewer ethical issues." 'via Blog this'

Slovenia: regulator forced by Electronic Communications Council to find Telekom Slovenije and Si.mobil in breach of net neutrality

Competitive Analysis & Foresight: Telekom Slovenije and Si.mobil found in breach of net neutrality: "Both operators confirmed to have received the decisions ordering them within 60 days to stop discriminating against internet traffic by music streaming service Deezer (Telekom Slovenije) and cloud storage service Hanger Mapa (Si.mobil). The decisions are final and only an administrative dispute or extraordinary judicial review are allowed.  

Several investigations of compliance with net neutrality provisions of the Electronic Communications Act were started on the initiative of the Electronic Communications Council of the Republic Slovenia. 

The council examined unfair, deceptive, abusive or otherwise prohibited business practices in the mobile industry. As AKOS whose senior officials regularly attended the council’s meetings had not started the investigation on its own initiative, the council filed a complaint in July 2014." 'via Blog this'

Brazilian Telecoms Leader Fined over Phorm ‘Trials’ - now for China?

Daily Research News Online no. 19515 - Brazilian Telecoms Leader Fined over Phorm ‘Trials’: "More than six years ago, Phorm came to public attention when UK ‘phone giant BT was charged with the abuse of users’ privacy. The UK provider admitted using business customers’ data without permission, in a trial run for Phorm’s ‘Webwise’ software.

Since then the massively indebted ad personalisation company has tried its hand in Korea, Brazil, Romania, Turkey and now China, but its 2013 turnover of $280k represents a speck beside its accumulated deficit of $256.6 million. CEO Kent Ertugrul (pictured) continues to persuade investors and must have some very convincing arguments - one of them could be the MoU which makes Phorm China Telecom’s ‘preferred strategic partner’ for big data technology and ad operations." 'via Blog this'

Monday, January 26, 2015

Remaining ISPs commit to the UK’s Open Internet Code - 900 days late

Remaining ISPs commit to the UK’s Open Internet Code | BSG - Broadband Stakeholder Group: Not only has it taken EE, Voda et al almost 3 years to sign up, but the alleged 'consumer champion' sounds like a mouthpiece for government:

"Jo Connell, Chair of the Communications Consumer Panel, said “The Code usefully supports open access to the internet and builds on previous commitments by ISPs to provide transparent information to consumers about their traffic management policies. We are delighted that EE, Virgin and Vodafone have now agreed to become signatories. The Code has gained significant interest internationally as a positive example of industry responding to a developing consumer need.”"

Vomit inducing...'via Blog this'

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Marriott gives up on blocking guests from using personal Wi-Fi hotspots

Marriott gives up on blocking guests from using personal Wi-Fi hotspots | The Verge:

"For some time, Marriott has said it had no desire to cripple hotspots in hotel rooms, but wanted the ability to shut them down in conference rooms. But that approach still outraged customers, who want the ability to use the smartphone tethering and other wireless connectivity they're already paying for rather than succumb to pricey hotel internet rates.

Companies including Microsoft and Google came to the defense of hotel stayers, while the Marriott feebly tried to argue that it was only trying to shield guests from "rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber attacks and identity theft." No matter now: it seems Marriott has finally gotten the message and given up on making people pay twice for connectivity." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 is the year of the Net Neutrality paperback

A quick note to regular readers - to note that this blog will be MUCH busier than usual in the next 6 months, then quiet for 3 months then noisy again.
How can I predict with such certainty? Because this year I am working on the revised second edition of Net Neutrality - first edition written in 2009 and published January 2010 had exactly this pattern. It's predictable because:
[1] I will be travelling, speechifying and blogging as I update chapters - lots of new law if relatively little new fundamental political economic analysis sine 2009. The big structural change is likely to be the mobile chapter, given the zero rating controversy in developing countries in particular. The biggest legal change is the growth in analysis of specialised services.
[2] I will then go quiet in the summer and early autumn as I frantically write the final chapters - I am still co-regulatory but there is a bit more to say on fundamental rights than in 2009. Mind you, I cited freedom of expression/speech over 30 times back then.
[3] Then I recover, read page proofs and realize what I missed - so updates in the winter that act as the start of the 3rd edition!
Bloomsbury are committed to a paperback as well as their CC online access model - so if a few thousand of you want the delicious paper version, it won't cost £60 this time. You can save your photocopier the effort of printing it out!

If the price of giving everyone internet access is total domination by Facebook, it’s not worth it

If the price of giving everyone internet access is total domination by Facebook, it’s not worth it | Technology | The Guardian: "The term for this wheeze is “zero rating” and it’s fiendishly cunning. Sure (say its advocates), it effectively locks poor people into Facebook’s walled garden, where they can be “monetised” if they ever have anything worth monetising. But isn’t limited access to an online world made up of Facebook, Google, Twitter – and maybe Wikipedia thrown in as a gesture of goodwill – better than no access at all for people on the other side of the digital divide?

This is a pernicious way of framing the argument, and we should resist it. The goal of public policy everywhere should be to increase access to the internet – the whole goddam internet, not some corporate-controlled alcove – for as many people as possible." 'via Blog this'