Feeds

America demands definition of fourth generation

I did not have a 4G connection with that woman

Security for virtualized datacentres

A bill before the US congress will require mobile operators to state which technology they're providing, and how fast it is, as well as formally defining what's meant by "4G".

The "Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act" has been proposed by Anna Eshoo (rep for California's 14th District), and calls on network operators to publish their minimum speed, reliability and content management policies, as well as the technology they've chosen to use for their network - pushing T-Mobile and AT&T's networks back into the third generation.

The first generation was analogue, so it's quite easy to spot the 2G networks (which are digital). With 3G things get a little more complicated, with EDGE slipping into the definition but still called 2G by most people. However, the US networks have been playing fast and loose with the definition of "4G", applying it to HSPA technology that everyone else agrees is third generation at best.

2G_3G_4G_GRAPH

Who says what is what, but not why

The ITU now accepts that WiMAX and LTE can be called "4G". Engineers can still be heard to mutter that neither is really fast enough to warrant a generational shift, but most of the world now recognises that LTE is the 4G standard of choice, and that's the stance taken by the new act.

But it's not just the underlying technology that Anna Eshoo wants published in the small print on every customer's bill. The bill (PDF, shorter and easier to read than expected) also asks that the FCC establish minimum speeds and reliability statistics for every operator, which that operator will be obliged to publish. Not only that but operator policies on content optimisation, and any content control, will also have to be shared.

Visibility is to be welcomed, and making everyone publish their policies seems to make sense, as does defining the term "4G". But one can't help feeling the act faces an uphill battle in getting the FCC to monitor operators, given the likely challenges to the impartiality of any such process.

Either way, the bill is now before the House Energy & Commerce Committee so we'll see what the rest of Congress makes of it. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.