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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

MWC 2017: Wikipedia goes data-free in Iraq - BBC News

MWC 2017: Wikipedia goes data-free in Iraq - BBC News: "The free programme begins on 28 February and was revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Wikimedia Foundation states on its website that it does not pay mobile phone providers who sign up to the programme and they do not get any editorial control over the platform." 'via Blog this'

Rise of the Apps: How OTT Traffic is Balancing a Carrier Slump

Rise of the Apps: How OTT Traffic is Balancing a Carrier Slump: "TeleGeography has fairly reliable estimates of Skype’s traffic through 2013, when the company carried 214 billion minutes of on-net (Skype-to-Skype) international traffic. Telcos terminated 547 billion minutes of international traffic in 2013, and Skype plus carrier traffic totaled 761 billion minutes.

 If we assume that total (carrier plus OTT) demand for international communications has continued to grow at a relatively modest 13% annually since 2013, the combined volume of carrier and OTT international traffic would have expanded to 971 billion minutes in 2015, and to just under 1.1 trillion minutes in 2016.

As traditional carrier traffic has slumped, OTT traffic has risen to fill the void." 'via Blog this'

Ignore the GSMA's "Advanced Messaging"​, RCS & "Universal Profile"​ | Dean Bubley

Ignore the GSMA's "Advanced Messaging"​, RCS & "Universal Profile"​ | Dean Bubley | Pulse | LinkedIn: "The project started in 2007, and emerged as a lukewarm 2008 IM concept for featurephones in the days when both iOS and Facebook where just emerging onto the stage. I described it as a "coalition of the losers" in a report in 2010. It evolved to a dead-on-arrival branded app called "joyn" as smartphones gained traction, and it has tried climbing out of its grave so many times since that I describe it as a zombie. Various operators have deployed it, then given up - even in markets like Spain and South Korea where multiple operators offered it at first." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, February 23, 2017

BBC Internet Blog - Balancing, spikes & speed: Architecting media distribution cloud services

BBC Blogs - Internet Blog - Balancing, spikes & speed: Architecting media distribution cloud services: "In the Media Distribution team, our main systems are content caching servers, known as caching cells, that make up the BIDI Content Distribution Network (CDN). For these systems, we still rely heavily on physical machine deployments to meet our performance requirements. The caching cells also need to be deployed in certain geographical locations, meaning that a cloud based architecture restricted to Amazon’s data centres wouldn’t work, even if the performance were good enough.

Not all of our services in BIDI have to be deployed like that, however. The “brain” of the platform, which deals with traffic management and configuration, is a suite of micro services which aren’t tied to any particular data centre. For these services, AWS/Cosmos promises faster deployments and less operational overhead than our internal deployment platforms. It’s often cheaper in the end as well, even though AWS’ fine-grained pricing model makes it hard to quickly determine whether that’s going to be the case.

 One of the BIDI related services that we decided to deploy in the cloud is called Croupier and is used when making decisions about which CDN to redirect BBC iPlayer clients to. Croupier is a lookup service which provides an HTTP GET endpoint where the iPlayer client’s IP is a parameter. The service is internal: it is only used by another (AWS based) BBC service called Media Selector, which is called by iPlayer before the user actually gets to see any video." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Walden Shies Away From Big Communications Act Overhaul | Bloomberg BNA

Walden Shies Away From Big Communications Act Overhaul | Bloomberg BNA: "Walden said Congress could defer to the broadband industry unless it identifies a particular problem requiring a legislative fix. “The marketplace is changing so rapidly, and if the marketplace can handle it, then the marketplace should,” he said.

 He also plans to defer to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who chairs the committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, on launching telecom policy initiatives." 'via Blog this'

Monday, February 13, 2017

Republicans are ready to take down the FCC - The Verge

Republicans are ready to take down the FCC - The Verge: "That kind of change can’t just happen with a directive from Pai. An agency restructuring that would strip it of antitrust abilities in theory requires an act of Congress. “It’s difficult for [the FCC] to say, ‘Well this doesn't work anymore,’” Jamison says. “The law is still there, so that's really up to Congress to update those laws.”

 And rewriting telecom law isn’t easy. It’s traditionally been a bipartisan effort, and given the margins in Congress, it would have to be here, too.

"I assume any effort to update the Telecommunications Act would end up being bipartisan again this time around for it to be longstanding and have the consensus of what all stakeholders want," says Lewis, of Public Knowledge.  "It will take some time because it's a complicated and long act."

 “Do you know how many years it took to write the Telecom Act of 1996?” Eshoo asks. “Oh my God. It was at least a decade.”" 'via Blog this'

Friday, February 10, 2017

Connected Nations 2016 - Ofcom: Section 6 Internet Access

Connected Nations 2016 - Ofcom: "The highlights are:

 A major package of new regulatory obligations, coupled with complementary enforcement powers for regulators, is in the process of implementation. This will result in greater transparency in how ISPs manage traffic, market their services and contract with customers.

ISPs have already been improving the information they provide to consumers about the use of traffic management on their networks as part of a voluntary code of practice administered by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG). Current traffic management practices in widespread use have minimal or no impact on most users on fixed networks but, given the fixed capacity and variable demand in specific parts of mobile networks, may have an appreciable effect on mobile users during peak periods in busy areas.

The amount of internet data being delivered to consumers by major video content providers continues to increase. The use of content delivery networks (CDNs) also continues to increase: internet content is increasingly being served from caching servers embedded in the ISPs’ access networks and provided by the content providers.

Larger-scale ISPs are progressively introducing support for the latest IPv6 internet addressing system;
The lack of security of Internet of Things (IoT) and other low cost internet connected devices is leading to their being targeted by malware and their use to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, increasing concerns over security of personal data." 'via Blog this'

French watchdog Soriano promotes 'self-organized' market in land of dirigisme - MLex

French watchdog Soriano promotes 'self-organized' market in land of dirigisme - MLex: "He’s hardly the first regulator to think about new modes of enforcement at a time when terms such as Regulation 2.0 and Agile Policymaking have become common. But most of his peers have confined themselves to developing theoretical models. Soriano is intent on putting the models into practice.

 One cornerstone of regulating with data is collecting information in the first place. So Arcep plans to launch an ambitious data-gathering system this year to shed light on all sorts of indicators in the telecom market, ranging from mobile coverage to connection quality.

The agency will run some, but not all, of these databases.

But once they are in place, Soriano’s idea is to package the information into apps that would allow consumers to pick and choose operators with more precision. Any misbehavior would show up on the datasets, making it easy for consumers to ditch companies that don’t match their expectations." 'via Blog this'

Regulate telecom oligopolies on a case-by-case basis, Dutch authority says - MLex

Regulate telecom oligopolies on a case-by-case basis, Dutch authority says - MLex: "Keetelaar called for the updated law and significant-market-power guidelines to contain detailed advice — which he insisted should be based on economic evidence — to help regulators judge how to approach the regulation of duopolies.

 He was also keen to point to a recent commission decision approving a Dutch joint venture between mobile operator Vodafone and cable operator Liberty Global.

That approval, the commission wrote, came “against the backdrop of existing access obligations” imposed on incumbent KPN. Keetelaar said this showed that even competition authorities see the value of access rules also in markets with two national operators, rather than just one dominant one.

 He also dismissed the argument often made by incumbent operators that regulation hampers investment. “For instance, in the Netherlands, we have regulation and plenty of investment. It is by no means clear that if we stop regulation, it will be good for investment.”" 'via Blog this'

Net Politics President Trump’s Unlikely Effect on the U.S.-EU Tech Relationship - Net Politics

Net Politics President Trump’s Unlikely Effect on the U.S.-EU Tech Relationship - Net Politics: "The manner in which the United States defends online rights, in turn affects the ability of the United States and the European Union to set global norms together.

It will be harder to promote net neutrality in developing economies if the new Federal Communications Commission chairman is committed to repealing its protections domestically. It will be harder to promote shared norms for appropriate state behavior in cyberspace if the United States is not seen as abiding by them.

Warmer relations with illiberal governments will make the case for liberal democracy a tougher sell.

 With the president’s approval at historic lows and concerns about his policies growing, the digital transatlantic relationship must be shaped not by government-to-government ties, but rather through clusters of businesses, civil society groups and governments that share the same values. U.S. tech companies should join Europeans in their calls to ensure values such as fair competition, access to information, free speech and non-discrimination are upheld." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Donald Trump could be about to end net neutrality

Zero rating: Streaming video gets a break

Zero rating: Streaming video gets a break: "How does someone convince consumers that free data is “bad” for them?  To convince consumers that they don’t know what is good for themselves, zero-rated data has been described by some as violating net neutrality or, more accurately, the spirit of net neutrality.  This is a rather broad policy assertion, and an even broader legal assertion, so clarification is useful. 

To be sure, zero rating plans were being evaluated under new regulations that were part of the Open Internet Order that ushered in the codification of net neutrality principles.

In particular, as the Commission itself said it would be, zero rating was evaluated (in large part) under the highly controversial General Conduct Rule." 'via Blog this'

Monday, February 06, 2017

Net Neutrality in the EU: Australian Journal of Telecommunications

Net Neutrality | TelSoc: "Net Neutrality
A perspective responding to recent developments in the European Union
AJTDE - Vol 4, No 4 - December 2016
David Rogerson
Incyte Consulting
Pedro Seixas
Incyte Consulting
Jim Holmes
Incyte Consulting" 'via Blog this'

Don't Believe Those Against Net Neutrality, Title II and Privacy--Funded by the Phone, Cable and Wireless Associations: USTA, NCTA, & the CTIA | The Huffington Post

Don't Believe Those Against Net Neutrality, Title II and Privacy--Funded by the Phone, Cable and Wireless Associations: USTA, NCTA, & the CTIA | The Huffington Post:

Kushnick goes loco on the astroturfing of the telcos:

"He has been a vocal critic, like Pai, about Net Neutrality and Title II, and never once noticed that Verizon’s entire networks have been Title II for decades — before the FCC decision, and it never harmed investment—it is the investment vehicle.

 And if you want to get pissed some more — you know that every cent these people are getting, not to mention, for these associations, are paid by you and anyone with cable or broadband service.

 Ironically, while we hear that there is a call for “transparency” at the FCC, this doesn’t mean that anyone has to reveal their backgrounds and biases, much less their current telco-cable funding.

 Say It Loud: I Don’t Believe You." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Tesla's bundling of zero rated Spotify with a SIM card is a violation of the EU's net neutrality rules. Strand Consult submits complaint to two European telecom authorities

Tesla's bundling of zero rated Spotify with a SIM card is a violation of the EU's net neutrality rules. Strand Consult submits complaint to two European telecom authorities: "From many regulators’ perspectives, allowing zero rating harms the openness of the Internet.  It certainly harms the openness of competition and the viability of telecom law when telecom services are allowed to be sold with differing regulations, protections, and treatment.

 Going forward this issue will only become more complex with the Internet of Things and new providers of services, SIM cards and traffic. It seems that BEREC has attempted to isolate and favor new types of mobile providers from rules, but given their labyrinth of guidelines and the conflicting opinion across countries, it is likely that regulators will come under legal challenge for limiting the free flow of services across the European Union.

Notably American telecom authorities encourage zero rating and the Federal Communication Commission notes that it receives no complaints about free data from real consumers, only select activists.

Given that the EU continues to fall behind the US in investment and internet innovation, the ban on pricing flexibility and partnerships seems misguided and distortionary in a converging marketplace." 'via Blog this'

BBC licence payers deserve a strong, independent regulator

BBC licence payers deserve a strong, independent regulator: "Non-executive directors are all appointed by the secretary of state for culture, media and sport (DCMS). Of its current six, three have affiliations with the Conservative party. The deputy chair, Baroness Noakes, takes the Tory whip in the Lords. Graham Mather is a former Tory MEP. And the chair, Dame Patricia Hodgson, while not politically active, is a former head of the Conservatives’ Bow Group and featured in Charles Moore’s biography of Margaret Thatcher as her regular lunch companion.

The chair carries a double question-mark as she was a long-time senior executive at the BBC until she left in 2000. Dame Patricia will be wise to every trick in the BBC book, but at moments of political tension she is liable to face accusations that she is too familiar with the players to be a proper referee. 

That frontline referee may have to be Ofcom chief executive, Sharon White, who until 2015 was a second permanent secretary at the Treasury. Ms White has fine civil service values. But when fan and ordure meet, she will have to prove her detachment from government.

 Ms White’s caution, along with Dame Patricia’s BBC background, played a role during my time chairing the content board. I succeeded Tim Gardam, a former television executive, on the basis that Ofcom and the DCMS felt independence from the BBC could best be displayed by choosing a former print editor instead of an ex-BBC person.

Related article
BBC World Service to transmit radio show into North Korea
Broadcaster raises global ambitions despite increasing financial pressures

 The trouble with journalists, it transpired, is that they write. Perhaps alarmed by the febrile atmosphere surrounding the June 23 referendum, Ms White decided in May that for the chair of the content board to publish articles on matters of public policy could produce a conflict of interest should editorial complaints arise about such issues.

A legal opinion was produced to back this up, one which should, on the face of it, have ruled out my recruitment in the first place. Accordingly, Ofcom negotiated an amicable settlement for the early termination of my contract.

Four months later, DCMS secretary of state, Karen Bradley, overturned the settlement, alleging that three tweets, one Italian interview and an article about “Preparing for President Trump” amounted to “misconduct” and that Ofcom had no power to negotiate a deal.

 Suspicion of the establishment is running high. So it is crucial that the BBC should have regulators who are seen to be independent of mind and stiff of spine. Instead, the DCMS and Ofcom’s leadership appear to believe that having editorial regulation fronted by an independent writer is a greater risk than having the main board dominated by one party.

Contrary to Lord Patten, “ever more powerful” does not seem the main danger. Supine and too close to government represent bigger worries.  'via Blog this'

If Donald Trump builds a wall against the open Internet, will you pay for it?

When Donald Trump was inaugurated as 45th President of the United States of America on 20th January, he had one easy policy to implement and one person to pick as his Internet policy chief. Where Obama was the Google and Facebook President, Trump is the alt-right alternative-news Twitter President. He wants to build a paywall for his friends and supporters’ businesses on the Internet, and you the user may end up paying for it.
His policy – to dismantle President Obama’s main Internet policy of ensuring network (‘net’) neutrality – also known as the ‘Open Internet’ principle. His pick: the most vocal Republican critic of the outgoing administration’s policies. His time scale: THREE days. On 23 January, Ajit Pai was confirmed as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the largest and most powerful Internet regulatory body in the world. On 24 January, he appointed his staff to dismantle the Obama policy. On 31 January, he closed the inquiry that had tried to implement Obama’s policy. He is highly unlikely to agree to another one. Expect loud protests against his new policy inside and outside the first Trump era FCC Open Meeting on 23 February.
Thus begins the ‘Third Age’ of net neutrality regulation. The first was the preparation and policy formation, largely prior to legal enforcement, from 1999 to 2009 (which I documented in the first book on the topic). The second was the growing international consensus on net neutrality in 2009-2016, not just in Obama’s US but also in Europe with laws passed in both 2009 and 2015, in Latin America with new laws in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica, and India, which outlawed zero rating in 2016. My new book explains that seven year passage to regulatory implementation. But now we enter the new Trumpian era for net neutrality.
So what is net neutrality, and what is zero rating? Net neutrality is the principle, elaborated by US law professors Mark Lemley, Lawrence Lessig, and then Tim Wu (who coined the term in 2003), that access providers that connect you to the Internet should not block, throttle and otherwise discriminate between content you choose when you use the ‘Net. (There are narrow exceptions for security against viruses, spam, law enforcement and temporary congestion.)
Take an example: your mobile phone company should not degrade your use of WhatsApp, Skype or YouTube evne though they have their  services in a bundle they want you to use instead. Remember when phones were mainly used for texting and calling? Mobile operators admitted they tried to stop this happening, degrading independent services Skype and WhatsApp connections in the 2000s, leading in 2011 to the first European net neutrality law when Netherlands consumers – and politicians – were outraged that mobile companies were tracking their phone use and blocking WhatsApp. Mobile operators have now agreed in many countries not to block your connections, and the laws that ensure your freedom to connect are slowly being implemented in detailed regulation.
Zero rating is the alternative to that now-illegal blocking and throttling. Mobile and even fixed line operators want to give you a bundle of ‘preferred’ affiliated content, like bundling basic cable TV services. These “sponsored data” plans allow you to use certain services without dipping into your data allowance, with other companies picking up the bill – you pay indirectly through their ‘sponsorship’. The giant companies like Facebook (which bought WhatsApp in 2014), Microsoft (which bought Skype in 2011), and Google (which bought YouTube in 2006) can afford to negotiate ‘sponsored data’ to zero rate, with the telecoms and mobile companies. A new rival to Facebook, WhatsApp – such as Signal – or YouTube could not. Wikipedia could not, the BBC could not.
Regulating to create an open Internet was still a work in progress in 2016, with opposition from big telecoms and cable corporations in the courts, that meant it took six years of Obama’s Presidency to begin effective implementation. I wrote three years ago in The Conversation that the litigation was wrapping up the policy in knots, but six months ago that litigation failed, vindicating the FCC in part. Only five months ago, the European regulators created their own detailed rules – all seemed settled on both sides of the Atlantic. Hungary, Netherlands, Sweden (and in a perverse manner Slovenia) were all implementing zero rating rules.
As recently as 11 January, Obama’s FCC declared the zero rating plans of the giant telecoms companies Verizon and AT&T to be against the open Internet rules – with bitter opposition from then-Minority Commissioner Pai. It accused AT&T of treating its own DirecTV better than its rival services, making the system uncompetitive be favouring its own subsidiary. Smaller rival T-Mobile’s BingeOn video service, was permitted as it “charges all providers the same zero rate for participating”. FCC had already warned both AT&T and Verizon about its offers in separate letters – but that it is now history. The Wireless Bureau author of that declaration, and Obama’s FCC Chairman, have both ‘moved onto other responsiblities’.
How can you affect open Internet rules? Academics study the law, the policy, the technology, the business economics, the privacy and human rights implications, the civil society protests when net neutrality is infringed, all around the world. Some of us advise governments on the implications of different forms of net neutrality regulation (I have done so for a decade now). Millions have responded to the US and Indian consultations, over half a million to the European guidelines. One professor went further.
Lawrence Lessig, one of the ‘fathers’ of net neutrality regulation, taught at the University of Chicago Law School with Obama – and was so worried about Trump, and billionaires’ corruption of politics, that he ran for President in 2015. Unlike his fellow lawyers Obama and the Clintons, he did not get very far. His open Internet idea was Obama regulatory policy – how long will it be before Ajit Pai and his President Trump consign that freedom to connect to history? If net neutrality fails, expect more sponsored data plans inside the paywall, and more difficulty in accessing higher cost data if you want to leave the ‘bubble’.

Friday, February 03, 2017

What Happens If Net Neutrality Goes Away? MIT Tech Pol. Rev.

What Happens If Net Neutrality Goes Away?: "That’s not to say startups and smaller companies don’t need protections against discriminatory practices, though, says Singer, who worries that the Trump administration might go too far in weakening the FCC’s regulatory power. Members of the transition team have advocated for removing all of the agency’s authority to police unfair business practices by the ISPs and put that in the hands of the Federal Trade Commission. Singer and others are concerned that without a new mandate from Congress the FTC does not have enough authority to protect independent content providers adequately." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

New FCC chair lays down line on net neutrality - Axios

New FCC chair lays down line on net neutrality - Axios: "The rub: The new chairman declined to say how he would revisit the 2015 net neutrality rules beloved by consumer activists and opposed by major internet service providers. He wouldn't comment on whether the agency would continue to enforce the rules' prohibitions on blocking, throttling and fast lanes — but did note Republican plans not to apply certain parts of the order to smaller internet providers.

 The bottom line: This debate is just getting started. The battle over net neutrality is likely to involve public commenters on both sides of the issue and be closely watched in both the tech and telecom sectors. The most significant fight will be over the so-called "Title II" approach taken by former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, which expanded the agency's regulatory power over broadband providers. " 'via Blog this'

Telenor Hungary joins Telekom on the net neutrality naughty step - Telegeography

Telenor Hungary joins Telekom on the net neutrality naughty step: "Hungary’s National Media & Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) has invoked the EU net neutrality framework rules once more, in a judgement against cellco Telenor Hungary. The regulator ruled that Telenor violated the EU net neutrality principles by distinguishing between specific content types, including its ‘MyChat’ instant messaging application and other social media apps, and between its ‘MyMusic’ service and online radio stations. The practices are disadvantageous to competing services, the watchdog stated in a decision which can be appealed by Telenor.

CommsUpdate reported last month that the NMHH invoked the EU net neutrality framework rules to order Hungary’s largest fixed and mobile operator Magyar Telekom to cease ‘zero rating’ selected over-the-top (OTT) internet video services for its mobile users (i.e. giving subscribers access to the services without registering any data volume usage)." 'via Blog this'

Trump’s Internet and How to Stop It - Lawfare

Trump’s Internet and How to Stop It - Lawfare: "Section 606 has never been applied to the internet, but there is nothing in the law that explicitly says it cannot be.  The question is whether the government’s statutory authority over traditional telecommunications under 606 extends to the internet.

The issue is similar to the question of whether the FCC can use its regulatory authority to impose “net neutrality” rules under other provisions of the statute.  In June 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the FCC’s power to impose “net neutrality” rules.

 If Trump wants to “close that internet up,” all he will need is an opinion from his Attorney General that section 606 gives him authority to do so, and that the threat of terrorism is compelling enough to override any First Amendment concerns.  It is critically important that a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee ask Trump’s nominee, Senator Jeff Sessions, what he thinks about this issue.

 We already know what Trump thinks.  Immediately after suggesting internet filtering, Trump said, "Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.'  These are foolish people."" 'via Blog this'