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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Airtel forcing TRAI’s hand on net neutrality consultation - this is serious, people!

India has a pathetic fixed line infrastructure, and enormous mobile markets. Therefore, mobile net neutrality is the only real game in town. In September 2014, there were officially 15million DSL lines out of 27million fixed lines, a market penetration of 2.2%. There were 812million 'active' cellphone subscribers, 60million of those 3G. So mobile neutrality is neutrality....

Airtel withdraws VoIP charges for now, after forcing TRAI’s hand on net neutrality consultation - MediaNama: "Effectively, Airtel forced the TRAI’s hand: It instituted a pack that violated net neutrality, thereby, following the criticism and outrage, ensuring that the TRAI Chairman, Rahul Khullar announced a consultation process. Remember that Khullar said that Airtel’s action is not illegal, since there is no law preventing violation of Net Neutrality." 'via Blog this'

Chaos Computer Congress 31 - net neutrality: days of future past?

C3TV - net neutrality: days of future past?: "Our talk will highlight the current debates surrounding net neutrality in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world. We will look at the results of the campaign which was lunched a year ago on 30c3. We will discuss various legal protections for net neutrality, look closer at the experience of the Netherlands and we will give an overview of all important open ends of the debate." 'via Blog this'

Monday, December 29, 2014

Where you're from - net neutral exemplars, Anglo-Saxons and Vietnam (?)

United Kingdom
United States

Top blog posts 2014 - and 2009

Unsurprisingly you mainly read what I post about the European Directives - 13,000 of you read the post with the provocative title about ex-VP Kroes! More next year when this blog and the second edition of the book are my key research area - and keep reading!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Sky Broadband Sees UK Internet Traffic Peak at 2Tbps on Christmas Day

Sky Broadband Sees UK Internet Traffic Peak at 2Tbps on Christmas Day - ISPreview UK: "That’s why having a totally unlimited DSL or fibre package has become so important to families" including net neutrality to prevent Sky preferring its own CDN for shows? 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Schneier on Security: Reacting to the Sony Hack

Schneier on Security: Reacting to the Sony Hack: "Sony's reaction has all the markings of a company without any sort of coherent plan. Near as I can tell, every Sony executive is in full panic mode. They're certainly facing dozens of lawsuits: from shareholders, from companies who invested in those movies, from employees who had their medical and financial data exposed, from everyone who was affected. They're probably facing government fines, for leaking financial and medical information, and possibly for colluding with other studios to attack Google." 'via Blog this'

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hysterically funny UKGov spoof ad: "Now's the time for superfast (sic) broadband #gosuperfast"

Now's the time for superfast broadband #gosuperfast - YouTube: "Superfast broadband is much faster and more reliable than standard broadband. It lets you make video calls, do homework online and stream music, all at much higher speeds - and all at the same time." It must be a joke, right? The clue is in the song....'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Genuinely interesting Ofcom idea: extend universal service, 2Mbps inadequate for video calling

"3.15 It may be time to review public policy around universal service (3.65 to 3.66). The current universal service commitment, set by the Government in 2009, specified that every household should have broadband access of at least 2Mbit/s.16 It may now be time to review that policy, as consumer expectations of broadband rise along with the availability and take-up of faster broadband. There is evidence that broadband of at least 10Mbit/s is required to support typical consumers’ use. Below that speed, overall broadband performance is generally impaired. Indeed, use may be constrained for broadband below this threshold, because some applications will not work properly, if at all.
"Upload speeds are also an important consideration (3.85 to 3.86). This is especially the case for services such as high quality video calling. The average upload speed in the UK is currently 3Mbit/s.

"3.86 Figure 25 below shows that the distribution of upload speeds is skewed towards the lower end, with 80% of connections having an upload speed of less than 2Mbit/s."

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Ofcom Infrastructure Report: UK mobiles playing self-regulatory game

Ofcom is not measuring the actual level of throttling, zero-rating and fast lanes, but it is measuring self-regulatory commitments as per its strategy since 2006. "The most significant development is that all UK mobile operators have now discontinued packages which block access to VoIP services. On top of this, EE, Vodafone and Virgin Media have signed up to the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) Open Internet Code of Practice. This means that all major consumer internet providers are committed to the self-regulatory approach, a key part of the Government’s policy on Net Neutrality." So no change there....

Zero-Rating Violates Slovenian Net Neutrality Law

Competitive Analysis & Foresight: Zero-Rating Violates Slovenian Net Neutrality Law: "The electronic communications industry fiercely opposed the adoption of net neutrality rules. Its efforts were partially successful and resulted in watering down of provisions related to content, service or application discrimination. In response to lobbying by the industry, the National Assembly in the second reading removed an explicit prohibition of price discrimination from Article 203, paragraph 5. 

 A regulator, the Agency for Communications Networks and Services (AKOS), led by a former industry executive, has not been an advocate of net neutrality. Instead, it has taken a pro-industry stance on net neutrality and has not opposed attempts to weaken or even remove net neutrality provisions from the law. It is not surprising that it has not paid much attention to its imposition. Therefore, despite solid net neutrality legal protection, in practical terms this has not led to much of a difference." 'via Blog this'

Friday, December 05, 2014

Germany: privatisation of 32% stake in DTelekom - see why they will veto net neutrality?

Germany quietly shelves idea of Deutsche Bahn privatisation | Reuters: "In its report on state assets, the government is laying out plans for the possible privatisation of stakes in firms such as Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post.

Merkel's "grand coalition" promises to balance the federal budget next year for the first time since 1969. Selling such stakes could help it do that at a time of slowing growth. It could also free up cash for public investments when Merkel is under pressure to spend more to stimulate the economy.

The government holds a 31.7 percent stake in Deutsche Telekom and a 21 percent stake in Deutsche Post. Together, the stakes could fetch about 24 billion euros, though the government could choose to sell a portion rather than all of its shares."

Turkeys don't vote for Christmas, the government is entirely conflicted in regulating Telekom. That's why it has been advised to sell....

Also note that Telekom is trying to offload both its US and UK mobile arms - and net neutrality would negatively affect both sales to some extent. It's worth billions...'via Blog this'

Merkel speaks out against net neutrality

Merkel speaks out against net neutrality - The Local: "At the Vodafone-hosted Digitising Europe conference in Berlin, she called for a splitting of services, "one for free internet, and the other for special services", adding that it was up to Brussels to negotiate how it would work.

"An innovation-friendly internet means that there is a guaranteed reliability for special services," she said. "These can only develop when predictable quality standards are available".

Merkel added that these special services would run over existing internet infrastructure.

 Social Democratic Party (SPD) MEP Petra Kammerevert told The Local that this would make it more difficult to find a common European position on net neutrality.

"If Merkel goes into negotiations with the position she's outlined today, it will be very difficult for the European Council to find a common position," she said." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Cisco's CEO Blames Net Neutrality for US Orders Slowdown

Cisco On Net Neutrality Isn't What It Seems: "what you’re seeing in terms of net neutrality, Titled II discussions going on, where in my opinion it would be a very disappointing in result if we moved back to regulation, the Internet like we did voice many decades ago. It would dramatically slow the ability of service providers to be on our broadband" 'via Blog this'

British Telecom Calls on FCC to Regulate Broadband 'Special Access'

British Telecom Calls on FCC to Regulate Broadband 'Special Access': "Bas Burger, the president of British Telecom in the Americas, wants to see the special access market regulated as a way to end the negative effects of the effective monopoly held by AT&T and Verizon in the U.S.
Special access is communication that includes data and voice used by enterprises, carriers and others to connect one point to another. For example, a cell carrier would use special access to connect a cell tower with the central office where calls are routed." 'via Blog this'

FRAND and net neutrality - is the Commission starting to understand?

One of the key questions in the net neutrality debate is whether ISPs can discriminate in pricing of both Internet access and specialized services - either surcharging or insisting on paid peering (as with e.g. NetFlix) or zero-rating/uncharging their affiliates (e.g. IPTV, Facebook or even Wikipedia).
This is at the heart of the matter as I have argued for at least 7 years (yes, getting old...). Not neutral, is it!?

Monday, December 01, 2014

EU Telecoms Council conclusions: nothing to see here....

"The presidency concluded that more technical work was needed with a view to defining a Council
position on roaming and net neutrality - issues in which the citizen has a central position. The
presidency will continue to work on the proposal until the end of the year, based on the guidance
given by ministers. Talks with the European Parliament would only start when the time is ripe." Ripe?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

We need to be pragmatic about the principle of net neutrality

We need to be pragmatic about the principle of net neutrality | Technology | The Guardian: "If the FCC is looking for a principle, it is that technological changes should be made for engineering, not commercial, reasons. Will the agency’s chairman, who used to be a telecoms lobbyist, see it that way? Is the Pope a Protestant?" 'via Blog this'

Friday, November 28, 2014

Reminder: UK isolated in EU Council - may lead to 2015 compromise

Telecom Italia, guardians of ugly monopolists ETNO, was always going to spike the Italian Presidency's guns, so this will probably roll on to the next Telecoms Council chaired by Latvia in early 2015 - though not presumably as late as the 9 June formal Telecoms Council - handily on the Google Calendar for the Latvian Presidency.
There will be a UK General Election before that date but as all major UK parties are neoliberals (except in this area possibly the LibDems) don't expect much change. Note the Latvians have a lot of fibre connections and a 51% government-owned incumbent.
Ed Vaizey in any case set out the UK position very clearly in a 'Dear Bill' letter to the European Scrutiny Committee in May of this year:
I begin with noting that the outcome of the EP First Reading deal was not as expected i.e. in line with the recommendations put forward by the ITRE Report. This was, in the main, due to the ALDE (liberal) Group within the EP withdrawing its support for the content of the ITRE Report covering this issue after voting for its adoption, and then aligning itself with the positions previously adopted by the Socialists & Democrats and Green Groups by jointly putting forward a series of amendments. It was these amendments that were voted passed during the Plenary vote rather than those in the ITRE Report.
"As noted above, the result is that the EP First Reading now contains a specific definition of “net neutrality”, as well as a more restrictive approach to “specialised services” and “traffic management”. This is in direct opposition to HMG’s current negotiating stance and underlines the contentious nature of this issue as previously noted in the most recent Commons Committee Report.
I can confirm that I remain convinced that self-regulation and transparency of traffic management measures will be more effective in delivering an open internet than regulation and that any Regulation risks being too prescriptive, inflexible and may have unintended consequences, including higher consumer bills. Further, First Reading text includes amendments that may have implications for our work on child internet safety. I also remain of the view that it is difficult to accurately define many of the more technical terms used in this area.
"Thus, whilst I do not believe regulation to be the answer, we are committed to working with the Commission and other Member States to ensure that the text produced in Council addresses as many of these issues as possible in order to manage the risks I identify above and taking into account that the introduction of regulation in this area enjoys broad support from the EP and Council. That said, the issue has yet to be fully discussed at Working Group level and so the situation may change but taking into account early indications of Member States’ views in this area, we cannot rely on a change on the position from one where UK’s remains relatively isolated in its opposition. It is worth noting that the issue of net neutrality is one that is covered by the UK and German initiative.
"Further, HMG has also engaged with industry, through the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), to accurately understand the impact of regulation in this area, for both content producers and communications providers alike. We will continue to work closely with industry and Ofcom to ensure that our input into negotiations is as influential as possible. Should the European institutions decide that Regulation is the only way forward and UK is unable to gain wider support for its self-regulatory stance, we should prepare to ensure that any adopted text is as workable as possible given the current state of the UK market and the existing self-regulatory approach."
Hence the isolation - but for Germany, Spain and Italy with their giant state-owned telecoms former monopolies - was expected....

Thursday, November 27, 2014

EU Parliament calls on Commission to consider Google break-up

EU Parliament calls on Commission to consider Google break-up — Tech News and Analysis:

"Google is currently embroiled in a long-running antitrust case with the European Commission over the way it uses its search dominance – it has more than 90 percent of the European market — to push its own services (among other things). The Commission is also looking into complaints about Google’s bundling of its services with Android.

 The resolution was passed on Thursday by 384 votes to 174, with 56 abstentions, urging the Commission to consider “unbundling” Google’s search business from its other interests. The Commission does have the power to force a company’s break-up (the European Parliament cannot itself initiate any such plan) but has never before done so. Nor has the European Parliament ever urged such a move in this way." 'via Blog this'

Looks like the EU net neutrality debate will run into 2015

Looks like the EU net neutrality debate will run into 2015 — Tech News and Analysis: "It looked like the Council was about to water the rules down, but then the European Commission and the Parliament both pleaded with it not to, and now the decision has reportedly been delayed. The Italian presidency of the Council said Thursday that none of the compromise drafts had achieved consensus and a Council official quoted by IDG said the debate will now go through to 2015. "

Telecom Italia and ETNO foiled? 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

AT&T tells FCC its threat to halt fiber rollout is only for new projects - political regulation...

AT&T tells FCC its threat to halt fiber rollout is only for new projects: "AT&T isn't backing down from its threat to halt its fiber rollout, which was a not-so-subtle jab at President Obama's pro-net neutrality / Title II comments earlier this month. Following an FCC inquiry about that announcement, AT&T said in a letter today that it's still going to move forward with existing fiber commitments -- it's just not going to make any new plans. AT&T's in a bit of a tricky spot: It already agreed to bring fiber to 2 million homes as part of its massive $48.5 billion Direct TV acquisition (which is still under regulatory review). But, well, new regulation bad! "AT&T simply cannot evaluate additional investment beyond its existing commitments until the regulatory treatment of broadband service is clarified." 'via Blog this'

Does Europe have the power to break up Google?

Does Europe have the power to break up Google? | Technology | The Guardian: "EC vice-president Andrus Ansip also downplayed unbundling talk: “I’m not ready to say that they will have to be broken up, talking about vertically integrated structures.”

“We have to investigate very carefully where those problems are … and then find possible solutions”, Ansip said, adding that decisions should only be taken after a full public debate. “We have some doubts about misuse of gatekeeper positions and also leading positions in the markets.”" 'via Blog this'

MEPs urge the Council to uphold net neutrality and roaming provisions

MEPs urge the Council to uphold net neutrality and roaming provisions: "On Thursday, the Council of Ministers will discuss the proposal for European telecoms legislation. Besides net neutrality the European Parliament also included stricter measures to abolish the high costs for mobile roaming in Europe. But it now seems that the Council not only postpones but also dilutes these guarantees.

Schaake says: “The next days will be crucial to show Member States that net neutrality and the elimination of roaming charges must be included into legislation. As our letter shows, the European Parliament will not accept a weaker outcome in the final vote.”" 'via Blog this'

Friday, November 21, 2014

Alles Klar, Herr Kommissar? EU Oettinger’s Live Chat is Short, Deutsch - and anti-neutrality?

Alles Klar, Herr Kommissar? EU Oettinger’s Live Chat is Short, Deutsch - Real Time Brussels - WSJ: "He also hinted that telecoms companies will get their wish when it comes to net neutrality and be able to charge more for certain traffic.

“Every user needs to rely on a stable internet connection. This is something that we are trying to achieve via the concept of net neutrality. At the same time, certain clearly-defined services could be made available at a higher performance level for an additional charge. This must not be discriminatory in any way and it must not lead to a degradation of general Internet standards.”" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fake net neutrality 'lite' offered by European Council - rolling clock back to 2009

EU to water down net neutrality rules | EurActiv: "EU lawmakers voted in April for strict net neutrality rules that barred telecoms operators like Orange and Telefonica from prioritising some internet traffic over others.

But the latest draft of the [Council] reform proposal shows that member states are leaning towards a looser approach which only bars internet service providers from applying traffic management measures which "block, slow down, alter, degrade or discriminate against specific content."

It does not define net neutrality or so-called "specialised services," which would have specified the types of content that operators could prioritise over others."

Next stop - Telecoms Council in 2 weeks. Parliament in January? 'via Blog this'