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Monday, October 31, 2016

Netflix CEO: Net Neutrality Key to AT&T-Time Warner Merger | Variety

Netflix CEO: Net Neutrality Key to AT&T-Time Warner Merger | Variety: "Hastings cautioned that the deal is still very new, and that not all the implications are clear yet. But he also argued that it’s all about preserving an equal playing field. “As long as HBO’s bits and Netflix’s bits are treated the same, that would be a starting point,” he said. “The key thing is with us net neutrality.”

 Netflix has in the past been a vocal opponent of some big media and telco mergers, notably opposing the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast; however, the company subsequently spoke out in support of Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable." 'via Blog this'

T-Mobile agrees to pay FCC $48m over misleading data plans: Endgadget 19.10.2016

T-Mobile agrees to pay FCC $48m over misleading data plans: "The main bone of contention centered around T-Mobile's "top three percent" condition, where those who were on unlimited plans and in the top three percent of data usage would get throttled at times of high congestion. That throttling would take place even if they were on a plan that said they could use as much data as they wish.

 Of that $48 million fine, only $7.5m million is in actual cash. T-Mobile will additionally pay out $35.5 million in a "consumer benefit" program that consists of a 20 percent off discount for any accessory as well as 4GB of additional data if they have a "mobile internet line" -- presumably that's what you have for tablets or hotspots, although T-Mobile isn't super clear on that point.

T-Mobile says it'll also start using the FCC's "consumer broadband label" -- a chart showing exactly how much plans cost and what to expect in terms of speed." 'via Blog this'

European Net Neutrality – Regulation and guidelines - Nkom

European Net Neutrality – Regulation and guidelines - Nkom: "The European net neutrality rules provide a solid basis for regulation of net neutrality the next years. However, due to the novelty of the rules, there will most probably be challenging questions to resolve. With a view to preserve the value of the Internet for upcoming generations, it is important to continue the work to maintain the net as an open and non-discriminatory platform for everyone.

 The current high-profile net neutrality question about zero-rating has not achieved a clear answer under the European net neutrality Regulation. However, a general assessment methodology is provided, with a possibility for national regulators to intervene if necessary.

Over time the development of the market under this regulatory regime will gather experiences that can be used to feed into any future legislative processes." 'via Blog this'

Salvaging Google Fiber's Achievements | diffraction analysis

Salvaging Google Fiber's Achievements | diffraction analysis: "Google’s acquisition of Webpass however is interesting. Few journalists took the time to try and understand what Webpass does. Webpass uses wireless solutions for urban aggregation, not access. In other words, it doesn’t connect homes wirelessly, it connects multi-tenant buildings wirelessly and uses existing in-building wiring to connect the homes from the rooftop antenna.

 It’s a clever approach that solves two fundamental deployment issues:
– it eliminates the need to pull fiber along street poles or bury ducts in the pavement to pull fiber along the streets. This is both costly and time consuming;
– it eliminates the need to deploy fiber inside the homes, also expensive and time-consuming, by reusing the existing wiring.

 However, that approach does not seem to me to be so universal as to be usable in any deployment scenario. There are a number of potential issues that I see with it:

first, you need to target multi-tenant buildings to make the economics work. I suspect (again, not knowing the exact costs of their solution) that the equipment necessary to install this on single homes would make the price point too high. Furthermore, you need line of sight between rooftops which is comparatively easy when people live in high downtown MDUs, not so easy when they live in detached homes.
second, you need to be able to reuse the existing cabling in the house.

I haven’t had time to look into the specific regulatory aspects of this (and particularly to see if this varies from state to state or county to county in the US) but my bet is you can’t always bank on being able to reuse the cabling, especially if it’s been deployed by an incumbent or a cable operator. I may be wrong here, and I will be doing my homework on this, but I’m flagging it as a risk.

This doesn’t mean that Webpass doesn’t open up opportunities. I don’t think you’d get as good and stable a service as you’d get with FTTH but you might get a service that’s good enough for most customers’ needs.

Would it be good enough to compete with AT&T’s FTTC ? Most likely. Good enough to compete with Cable’s Docsis 3.1 as it gets deployed ? Less likely." 'via Blog this'

Broadband advert rule changes come into effect - 15 years too late

Broadband advert rule changes come into effect - BBC News: "To comply with the new rules, broadband providers will now have to:
Show all-inclusive, upfront and monthly costs, with no separating out of line rental prices
Give greater prominence to the contract length and any post-discount pricing
Give greater prominence to upfront costs
Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock welcomed the ASA's move." 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 28, 2016

Luca Belli: Net neutrality, zero rating and the Minitelisation of the internet

Net neutrality, zero rating and the Minitelisation of the internet: Journal of Cyber Policy: Vol 0, No 0: "This paper starts by exploring the NN debate, stressing that the NN rationale is to preserve an open and decentralised internet architecture, empowering end-users and protecting their rights. Subsequently, it argues that the combination of reduced data caps and zero-rating (ZR) schemes may create artificial scarcity, raise the price of the open internet and jeopardise the achievement of the NN rationale. It provides a taxonomy of ZR models and emphasises that several ZR practices might impose on the internet a centralised configuration that characterises less innovative networks, such as the Minitel. The phenomenon that I define as ‘Minitelisation’ of the internet consists of the shift from a user-centric, general-purpose network to one with predefined purposes, thereby creating passive consumers of predetermined services, rather than active internet users." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Blocking VoIP in the MENA region: the worst net neutrality violations of all

Blocking VoIP in the MENA region: "From Morocco to Jordan, governments throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have blocked access to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Skype, WhatsApp calling, and others.

VoIP blocking often occurs to protect the profits of the incumbent telecom operators, many of which have a monopoly and are at least partially owned by the government. 

Recently, a member of the Internet governance community asked iGmena if there was a resource that tracked and mapped where VoIP is blocked in the MENA region. After searching for such a resource and coming up empty handed, we decided to make our own such resource based on our previous research (e.g., see here and here), and upload it to our website. We officially unveiled the map at iGmena Summit 2016, but now we are very excited to post it here as well." 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 14, 2016

Hungary regulator to investigate zero rating in 2017

The NMIAH may bring such an investigation is based on requests from subscribers, but may on its own initiative, ex officio, or some kind of announcement, also in light of new information. If it finds unlawful business practices, it may prohibit the continuation and may oblige service providers to restore the lawful status. In addition, it imposes a fine of not only the provider, but also personally against its executive officers or require service providers to publish the decision on this point. "Severe cases may be suspended or even prohibit the provision of services in the service entitlements".

Dutch pass strict net neutrality law, T-Mobile plans appeal - Telecompaper

Dutch pass strict net neutrality law, T-Mobile plans appeal - Telecompaper: "The Dutch Senate has approved legislation implementing the EU regulation on net neutrality and the end to roaming surcharges. The legislation amending the Telecommunications Act was already approved by the lower house of parliament in May and will take effect after its publication in the official journal.

The law has already raised opposition, as T-Mobile said it plans a court appeal and industry association GSMA said the Dutch law goes "far beyond the intent of the EU Regulation".  

 Dutch law already incorporated the principle of net neutrality under changes to the Telecom Act passed in 2012. This included a stricter stance than the EU regulation on various issues, notably a ban on price discrimination. Also known as zero rating, this is where ISPs allow customers free access to certain applications without charging for data traffic. " 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 07, 2016

Comcast Expands 1 TB/month Data Caps To Another 23 Markets; Consumeris

Comcast Expands Data Caps To Another 23 Markets Starting Nov. 1 – Consumerist: "The caps (they gave up on “thresholds“) have been slowly spreading across new cities for years, and in a a blog post today, Comcast confirmed that it’s bringing “data plans” (read as: broadband service limits) to “many markets” nationwide.

Users who go over the limit of 1 TB of data used in a billing cycle will get a stern warning. Customers get two “courtesy months” in a year without being billed for overage. After that, it’s overage charges, much like a traditional wireless plan. Your service won’t be cut off or throttled; you’ll just suddenly see extra charges on your next bill." I dream of 1TB/month 'via Blog this'

BEREC Work Programme: net neutrality 2017

"BEREC will monitor the implementation of the net neutrality provisions of Regulation 2015/2010 in the context of BEREC Guidelines. BEREC will receive answers to a BEREC internal questionnaire (to be sent out in early 2017) as well as the first set of annual reports to be provided by NRAs by the end of June 2017 on the implementation of net neutrality rules. This will be used to produce a report describing and analysing how NRAs have implemented the rules and issues which arose. Starting in early 2017 and continuing throughout the year, BEREC will also provide a forum for NRAs to exchange views and experiences on the implementation of the Regulation. Based on this work, BEREC will identify best practices or preferred approaches to reporting, and will consider if it is necessary to encourage common reporting approaches and methodologies."
BEREC Internal report summarising annual reports by NRAs on the implementation of the net neutrality provisions of Regulation 2015/2120 and associated BEREC guidelines: Discussion and orientation in P3/2017
BEREC Report on the implementation of Regulation 2015/2120 and related BEREC guidelines, including possible recommendations: Adoption for publication in P4/2017
BEREC regulatory toolkit for QoS assessment for the implementation of articles 4-5 of the Regulation 2015/2120: Adoption for public consultation in P2/2017 Adoption in P3/2017
BEREC Report providing practical guidance regarding the technical implementation of a QoS monitoring system. Adoption in P2/2017 (after dialogue with stakeholders) Decision on the next steps (possible launching of an opt-in quality monitoring software in P3) P2/2017
BEREC Report analysing contractual, commercial and technical practices for the implementation of article 3 of Regulation 2015/2020, including recommendations to NRAs Adoption in P4/2017 (after dialogue with stakeholders)

Facebook is talking to the White House about giving US ‘free’ Internet - WashPost

Facebook is talking to the White House about giving you ‘free’ Internet. Here’s why that may be controversial. - The Washington Post: "In the wake of the uproar, Facebook updated its approach to Free Basics. It currently allows any third-party organization to offer its services as part of the program, provided that the organization's developers abide by terms that, for example, prohibit the use of high-definition images or video that could consume a great deal of mobile data.

U.S. Internet advocates have called on the Federal Communications Commission to regulate zero-rating under its net neutrality rules. The practice, they argue, risks tilting the online marketplace to benefit large, established firms, or the corporate partners of those firms.

“Zero-rating is pernicious, unfair and unnecessary,” said Susan Crawford, a law professor at Harvard who has advocated for strong regulation of the broadband industry. Permitting the practice would simply enable “the gameplaying of companies who have a strong interest in maintaining the status quo.”

The agency has not decided whether to take action." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Say Bonjour to the Internet’s Long-Lost French Uncle | Internet Hall of Fame

Say Bonjour to the Internet’s Long-Lost French Uncle | Internet Hall of Fame: "In building CYCLADES, Pouzin used the ARPANET as a model, as well as the British research network overseen by Donald Davies across the English Channel. Like the ARPANET and Davies’ National Physical Laboratory network, CYCLADES used packet-switching, meaning information would be broken down into tiny messages, or packets, before traveling across the wire. But Pouzin reinvented these network packets, creating something called the “datagram.”" 'via Blog this'

T-Mobile killed Binge On and hatched a whole new set of problems | FierceWireless

T-Mobile killed Binge On and hatched a whole new set of problems | FierceWireless: "With T-Mobile’s launch of Uncarrier 12, which makes all of its data plans unlimited, the carrier has effectively killed three of its previous Uncarrier initiatives: Binge On, Music Freedom and Data Stash.

In one fell swoop, T-Mobile looks to have washed its hands of some net neutrality controversy with its zero-rated data practices. But with the apparent exit of Binge On, Music Freedom and Data Stash, a new set of problems for T-Mobile could just be beginning to take shape.

With all its new customers now being ushered onto unlimited data plans, there’s no need to zero-rate streaming activities or to roll over unused data from month-to-month." 'via Blog this'

European net neutrality, at last? | openDemocracy

European net neutrality, at last? | openDemocracy: "BEREC was given nine months to draft, consult and finalise the Guidelines, hence the 30 August 2016 deadline. In the meantime, the Regulation came into effect in April but was largely ignored by national regulators in the absence of the final Guidelines. It has been a year of “phoney war” on net neutrality while the legal text has been ignored in practice. Call it ‘Schrodinger’s net neutrality’ – net neutrality is both alive and dead in Europe, and only when enforcement by national authorities is tested, will we know the cat’s fate." 'via Blog this'

DFMonitor: zero-rating trends

DFMonitor: zero-rating trends'via Blog this'

Implications of Sponsored Data Program for Providers and Users of Nonsponsored Contents by Jialin Song, Qiong Wang :: SSRN

Implications of Sponsored Data Program for Providers and Users of Nonsponsored Contents by Jialin Song, Qiong Wang :: SSRN: "Every major mobile service provider (MSP) in the US has now introduced a sponsored data program that allows content providers to pay for bandwidth usage on behalf of their customers. However, not every content provider (CP) is in the position to be a sponsor, leading to the concern that these programs may be detrimental to the welfare of users and providers of nonsponsored contents.

We develop a model-based analysis that characterizes conditions under which a sponsorship program may or may not lead to higher costs for users to access nonsponsored contents, or deliver a negative demand shock to their providers.

We capture the situation without a sponsorship program by a commodity bundling model, in which users pay a single price for a data plan for accessing all contents, analogous to buying a ``bundle'' of commodities. A sponsorship program removes a subset of contents from the bundle, and hence reduces users' willingness to pay for the plan. There is no guarantee that the change will lead the MSP to reduce the price of the data plan to accommodate this change. In fact, as we demonstrate by example, there exist cases where the MSP improves its profit by raising the price. Nevertheless, we argue that such situations may not be typical by showing that for many distributions of consumer types, it is in the MSP's best interest to lower the price of the data plan, reducing consumers' costs of accessing nonsponsored contents. On the other hand, providers of these contents may still be negatively affected by smaller demand if the price is not reduced sufficiently to fully compensate for the decline of willingness to pay. We develop conditions for such situations to occur and discuss related insights." 'via Blog this'

Policy Challenges in Mapping Internet Interdomain Congestion by KC Claffy, David D. Clark, Steven Bauer, Amogh D. Dhamdhere :: SSRN

Policy Challenges in Mapping Internet Interdomain Congestion by KC Claffy, David D. Clark, Steven Bauer, Amogh D. Dhamdhere :: SSRN: "Interconnection links connecting access providers to their peers, transit providers and major content providers are a potential point of discriminatory treatment and impairment of user experience. In the U.S., the FCC has asserted regulatory authority over those links, although they have acknowledged they lack sufficient expertise to develop appropriate regulations thus far. Without a basis of knowledge that relates measurement to justified inferences about actual impairment, different actors can put forward opportunistic interpretations of data to support their points of view.

 We introduce a topology-aware model of interconnection, to add clarity to a recent proliferation of data and claims, and to elucidate our own beliefs about how to measure interconnection links of access providers, and how policymakers should interpret the results. We use six case studies that span data sets offered by access providers, edge providers, academic researchers, and one mandated by the FCC. This last example reflects our recent experience as the Independent Measurement Experts that worked with the FCC and AT&T in establishing a measurement methodology for reporting on the state of AT&T’s interconnection links. These case studies show how our conceptual model can guide a critical analysis of what is or should be measured and reported, and how to soundly interpret these measurements. We conclude with insights gained in the process of defining the AT&T/DirecTV methodology and in the process of defining and applying our conceptual model." 'via Blog this'