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A broken cable box

Cities are investigating, workers are on strike, but it's not all good news for Verizon

US telecoms giant Verizon is once again facing government scrutiny for a rollout of its network services in a major US city. The city of Philadelphia mayor's office has put out an open call to citizens asking if they have the ability to get Verizon FiOS, its fastest home fiber service. The campaign is part of an effort by …
Shaun Nichols, 12 May 2016
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A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

Analysis The pace of fibre broadband deployment in the UK remains a highly contentious issue. But the current lack of fibre isn't our biggest problem: it's the absence of any national strategy. To put our fibre-to-the-premise broadband infrastructure into international perspective, FTTP services are only available to two per cent of UK …
Kat Hall, 11 May 2016
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A modest proposal: dump the NBN mess on Telstra

Because Australia is now in an election campaign, various hopefuls are holding their breath in case (a) the NBN becomes A Serious Election Issue, and (b) the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) advances an alternative policy that brings fibre closer to the premises. The depressing truth is this: (a1) because of the …

Small broadband firms aren't fussed about getting access to BT's ducts and poles

Ofcom's move to open up BT's ducts and poles to competitors is the cornerstone of the regulator's strategy to break the country's reliance on the former state monopoly, but small fibre firms say they are not holding their breath. In February the regulator announced plans to open up BT's Openreach infrastructure to competitors …
Kat Hall, 9 May 2016

Don't split Openreach, says BT, and we'll splash BEELLIONS on broadband and 4G

British Telecom has offered the UK government a familiar devil's bargain: protect us from competition and we'll spend an extra £6 billion on our broadband networks. The carrier's Thursday announcement to the London Stock Exchange comes just after comparison site uSwitch published a damning analysis of UK broadband speeds. …
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ALP promises 'fibre' NBN as 'NBN defenders' return with new petition

The Australian Labor Party has hinted at its policy for the nation's national broadband network (NBN), with leader Bill Shorten promising “a first-rate fibre national broadband network” in his Budget in Reply speech. Shorten's speech declared a “fibre” NBN “the most important piece of infrastructure to any 21st Century economy …
Aligator eating a crab

FCC gives the nod to $17.7bn US cable mega-merger (no, not that one)

America's internet mall cop the FCC has approved the proposed $17.7bn merger between Altice and US cable provider Cablevision. The deal, which is now only awaiting approval by state regulators, will give the Dutch-based telecoms biz Altice the fourth largest cable network in the US. If the gobble is successful, Cablevision …
Shaun Nichols, 4 May 2016
Don Draper is Sad

We will end misleading broadband adverts, thunders ASA...

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced it will be cracking down on dodgy fixed broadband price claims... from 31 October. Back in January, the ASA and telco regulator Ofcom published joint research which found that the current approach to presenting pricing in fixed broadband ads was "likely to confuse and …
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Government tips last dollars into NBN

Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) won't get anywhere near completion before direct government funding for the project dries up, the 2016 Budget reveals. It's even feasible that the government could throw its hands in the air and terminate the rollout, if the cost of doing so is less than the total cost of funding …
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NBN launches satellite broadband services

Australia's national broadband network (NBN) has turned on its 25Mbps satellite service. Communications minister Mitch Fifeld and regional communications minister Fiona Nash today pressed the go button for satellite services. The service isn't complete, because only one of two planned Sky Muster satellites is in orbit. That …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Apr 2016
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Comcast Com-templates Com-trashing Com-crap Com-pact Com-caps

Comcast has decided that rather than slap a 300GB-a-month download cap on some of its broadband customers, it will instead give them a 1TB limit. The US cable kingpin says it has begun tests in trial markets in 12 US states that gives users an allowance of 1,000GB monthly. That's up from the 300GB cap it slapped on subscribers …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
Man rools out fibre cable from a large wooden cable reel on a suburban street. Pic via Pixabay

UK's 'superfast' broadband is still complete dog toffee, even in London

The government may claim that 90 per cent of the UK have access to superfast broadband, but in reality an analysis of customers' speeds in 20 major cities, including London, found most folk aren't even getting 24Mbps speeds. Data from comparison site USwitch analysed actual speeds rather than available top speeds, indicating a …
Kat Hall, 28 Apr 2016
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Sure, let's build the NBN with technology that's not proven at scale

Comment Internet Australia's new National Broadband Network (NBN) policy advocates using a technology yet to be proven to work at scale. The organisation last week decided to update its policy from one I surmise as “never compromise: only fibre-to-the-premises will do” to advocating fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTDP) rollout as …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Apr 2016

Charter can gobble TWC for $78.7bn ... if it bins monthly download caps

FCC boss Tom Wheeler has put out the terms for his watchdog's approval of Charter Communications' $78bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Wheeler said Monday that he has passed along a proposed approval order and conditions for the other four FCC commissioners to vote on. "As proposed, the order outlines a number of …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2016
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iiNet founder Michael Malone takes nbn chair

nbn, the entity building and operating Australia's national broadband network, has announced a new board member. Michael Malone, the founder of internet service provider (ISP) iiNet, is the new board member. He replaces Simon Hackett, a founder of ISP Internode that iiNet acquired in 2011. Hacket resigned so he can dedicated …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Apr 2016
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'Technology enablers' will help Ofcom determine if spectrum can be shared

Ofcom will decide whether spectrum should be shared based in part on whether the technology is available to enable it to happen, it has said. The UK's telecoms regulator said that new technologies can help facilitate spectrum sharing. It said "technology enablers" will be one factor it will consider when deciding whether "the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 21 Apr 2016

Vaizey: Legal right to internet access, sure. But I'm NOT gonna die on the 10Mbps hill

UK digital minister Ed Vaizey has shied away from guaranteeing a legal right to a universal service obligation of 10Mbps by 2020. Speaking in front of a Parliamentary select committee on “Establishing World-Class Connectivity Throughout the UK”, Vaizey said the government will include a legal right to a universal service …
Kat Hall, 14 Apr 2016

Can you hear me now – over the picket line? Verizon workers strike

The workers who handle Verizon's wireline services in the Eastern US have gone on strike. At 6:00am local time Wednesday morning, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said that members in districts ranging from Maryland and Delaware up through New York and New England were officially on strike barring failed …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Apr 2016
BT Openreach at work

Ofcom promises to have details on duct and pole access by summer

The communications regulator Ofcom has promised to release more details on how it intends to give BT's competitors greater access to Openreach's poles and ducts by the summer. The details follow Ofcom's decision in February in the once-in-a-decade Digital Communications Review to open up BT's network of telegraph poles and …
Kat Hall, 12 Apr 2016
Man rools out fibre cable from a large wooden cable reel on a suburban street. Pic via Pixabay

We're not in Kansas City anymore, Toto ... Google axes free fiber internet

Google says it will no longer offer free Google Fiber internet in Kansas City, Missouri. As of May 19, customers in the first US city to get Fiber will no longer be able to sign up for the no-charge 5Mbps service, according to a new set of pricing plans. Those who are already on the free plan will be able to keep their …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Apr 2016

Popular cable modem vulnerable to remote reboot/reset flaw

Updated Security defence man David Longenecker says millions of users could have their internet connections severed thanks to a flaw in Surfboard SB6141 modems. The soon-to-be-patched cross-site request forgery flaw allows attackers to cut off users from the internet until their modem renegotiates with the ISP and reconfigures itself …
Darren Pauli, 11 Apr 2016
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Telstra being paid to fix Telstra's network for NBN – AGAIN

Telstra has once again won work with nbn, the entity building Australia's national broadband network (NBN), announcing it's secured a contract worth AU$1.6 billion to work on the hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) cable broadband network to sold to nbn. The biggest beneficiary of NBN policy of successive governments, the incumbent …
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NBN shenanigans: someone wants broadband speeds hidden

Last week The Register brought you news that the Australian Bureau of Statistics' most recent Internet Activity data combined data for broadband services advertised as “8Mbps to less than 24Mbps” and “24Mbps or greater” into a single category titled “8Mbps or greater.” At the time we suggested this was an odd categorisation, …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2016
An angry mob

Verizon peeps gobbled by Frontier enter week two of crap internet

The problems that have plagued the handover of broadband subscribers from Verizon to Frontier Communications are entering their second week – and Frontier says that some internet services will not be restored until mid-April. The issues began on April 1, when people reported widespread outages and service disruptions in …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Apr 2016
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Waleed Aly's NBN intervention is profoundly unhelpful

Australian political commentator Waleed Aly has made a spectacularly non-useful intervention into the debate about the technologies used to build Australia's national broadband network (NBN), setting the ridiculous expectation that streaming video must always load in under a second and must never pause. Aly's piece on The …
Woman throttling man. Pic: quan ha

Australia's broadband policy is a flimsy, cynical House of Cards

On a recent trip to the shops, I priced a massive UHD OLED telly, with blacks so dark the panel looked like it actively sucked in light. Staring into the most beautiful television I’d ever seen, I had a moment of clarity: Gorgeous and expensive, but useless. A generation ago, one of my mentors taught me a simple truth, “ …
Mark Pesce, 6 Apr 2016

Australian Bureau of Statistics stops counting 24Mbps broadband services

Australians downloaded 1,714,922 Terabytes in the 90 days to December 31st, 2015, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The bureau's new Internet Activity, Australia, December 2015, released today, points out that 98 per cent of those downloads used wired networks, which rather dampens the …

Broadband bods Gigaclear bag £24m for rural hi-speed internet

Rural broadband provider Gigaclear has bagged an additional £24m in investment, part of its plans to serve 1.5 million homes currently without fibre-to-the-premises networks. This investment follows a cash injection of ‎£20m (€25m) from the EU-controlled European Investment Bank in January. Gigaclear is targeting a fund- …
Kat Hall, 5 Apr 2016
Woman in bathrobe is shocked by something she is reading on her laptop. Pic via Shutterstock

Ofcom is keeping schtum over BT Openreach plans until end of year

Telecoms regulator Ofcom will not release details of its proposals for greater structural separation of Openreach and BT until the end of the year. In February the regulator stopped short of recommending a full separation of BT and Openreach in its Digital Communications Review. Ofcom will now draft its "proposals for …
Kat Hall, 31 Mar 2016
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Legal right to 10Mbps broadband is 'not enough', thunders KCOM chief

The government's plans to make 10Mbps a 'legal right' by 2020 do not nearly go far enough, Bill Halbert, chief exec of telecoms sector firm Kcom has said. Achieving an ultrafast broadband infrastructure is "one of the most important things we can achieve as a country," Halbert told The Register. "The Universal Service …
Kat Hall, 30 Mar 2016
Telephone. Copyright: macinate

East Coast: Verizon on the hook for landline hikes. West Coast: AT&T denies hooking $100m for 10Mbps broadband

AT&T and Verizon are taking heat on opposite sides of the US over their networks. In California, AT&T is said to be pursuing a deal that would pay the telecom giant $100m to hook virtually the entire state up to "broadband" internet. California Assembly Bill 2130 will allow the state to fund the expansion of broadband networks …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Mar 2016
Man rools out fibre cable from a large wooden cable reel on a suburban street. Pic via Pixabay

Your broadband speeds are up by 6Mbps, boasts UK watchdog Ofcom

The average home broadband speed in the UK increased to 28.9Mbps, up by 6Mbps from a year ago – according to the latest annual research from Ofcom. In November 2015, forty-two per cent of residential fixed broadband lines were superfast products – connections with a headline speed of "up to" 30Mbps or more, a nine percentage …
Kat Hall, 24 Mar 2016
Man rools out fibre cable from a large wooden cable reel on a suburban street. Pic via Pixabay

Govt: Citizens, we know you want 10Mbps. This is the last broadband scheme for that

The government has said it will not conduct another national broadband roll-out programme in order to meet its promise that every citizen in Blighty will have access to 10Mbps by 2010. In its consultation document regarding the Universal Service Obligation promised by David Cameron last year, the department for Culture, Media …
Kat Hall, 24 Mar 2016

The FCC, once seen as a telco-thrashing hero, is sadly losing the plot

Analysis The FCC's continued push against the powerful telco lobby has swung a spotlight onto the American regulator's archaic work practices and increasingly partisan atmosphere. Appearing in front of a US Senate subcommittee (again) yesterday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and his four Commissioners were quizzed about a range of plans to …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Mar 2016
BT Openreach van outside Comedy Pub

Ofcom wants to crack down on pisspoor BT Openreach biz lines

Ofcom wants to impose "strict new rules" on BT Openreach to improve its leased line services to businesses, in draft proposals today recommending faster installation times, lower prices for high-speed lines and greater access to its “dark fibre” network by competitors. In its Business Connectivity Market Review proposals the …
Kat Hall, 22 Mar 2016
Verizon's Netflix chart

Verizon: We're sick of waiting for the FCC, so here's our 'net neutrality'

Verizon has laid out its own set of net neutrality rules it will impose – regardless of whether the FCC keeps its grip on America's broadband service. General counsel and executive VP for public policy, Craig Silliman, said Verizon would adhere to a set of rules on its networks, including policies against throttling, paid …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2016

FCC boss: Oh look, net neutrality didn't end the world after all. Surprise!

Tom Wheeler, chairman of US broadband watchdog the FCC, has given telcos a firm poke in the eye over their net neutrality doomsday predictions. Speaking on the one-year anniversary of the Open Internet Order at the GnoviCon conference in Washington DC, Wheeler reflected on the fact that the big telcos railed against the rules …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Mar 2016
Woman in bathrobe is shocked by something she is reading on her laptop. Pic via Shutterstock

So where has the legal 'right' to 10Mbps broadband gone?

Analysis UK Chancellor George Osborne's budget may have provided a sprinkling of sweeteners for businesses and middle class savers alongside the headline-grabbing sugar tax last week, but details on digital infrastructure plans were distinctly lacking. No mention was made of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) in the 148-page …
Kat Hall, 21 Mar 2016
NBN truck on Mount Cotton

nbn special: See the FTTN and HFC cabinets coming to your street

Reg Roadtrip Last week, The Register was invited on a tour of new installations comprising part of Australia's national broadband network (NBN). nbn, which is building the NBN, paid for an airfare, buses and lunch. nbn also provided some of the photos in the video below, which shows key pieces of the NBN. You'll see a phone exchange …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2016
NBN CEO Bill Morrow

nbn tries to shift the conversation to future copper upgrades

Reg roadtrip In the best possible world, all terrestrial internet connections would use fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). Everything I've learned over years writing about broadband suggests that a fibre optic network has a longer working life and will scale to greater bandwidth than technologies that rely on existing or new twisted pair copper …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2016

Optus cable routers let anyone change passwords, says tech

University of Sydney tech Paul Szabo says Netgear routers provided by Australian telco Optus contain a vulnerability that allows attackers to change admin passwords without knowing the existing credentials. The bug in the CG3000v2 cable modem means attackers could enter anything into the current password field to change the …
Darren Pauli, 17 Mar 2016

Silicon photonics boosted with UK fabrication research

Silicon photonics is one of the industry's hottest research fields, because it holds out the promise of accelerating on-chip communications without the extra heat that faster copper-based comms generate. One of the big challenges is fabrication, and that's the subject of research announced by University College London, Cardiff …