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Shuddit, Obama! Here in Blighty, we ISPs have net neutrality nailed

Analysis As we saw from Vodafone's announcement on Tuesday, competition in the broadband market is thriving here in the UK. So, should consumers be fretting about the fierce net neutrality debate going on across the Atlantic? The European Commission, steered by former unelected digi czar "Steelie" Neelie Kroes, would very much like it if …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Nov 2014

Net neutrality, Verizon, open internet ... How can we solve this mess?

Analysis So President Obama chimed in this week over the issue of "net neutrality" – arguing that in order to protect netizens and keep the internet "free and open", cable companies should be reclassified as "Title II common carriers". "Whether you use computer, phone or tablet, your internet provider should have a legal obligation not …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Nov 2014

Net neutrality, Obama, FCC, Title II:Your ESSENTIAL guide to WTF is happening

Analysis President Obama ploughed into the net neutrality debate on Monday by demanding reclassification of "internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunication Act." What does that actually mean? And why are some for and some against this as a solution? First, some very quick history: The Telecommunications Act [PDF …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Nov 2014
Swiss alps

Has Switzerland cracked the net neutrality riddle?

Analysis Broadband providers in Switzerland – a country synonymous with neutrality – have formulated new rules for ISPs that may save regulators and lawmakers from fruitless battles over "net neutrality". The code of conduct formulated by Swisscom, Sunrise, UPC Cablecom and Orange pledges to allow all subscribers "to use the content, …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2014

Virgin Media CUTS OFF weekend 'net surfers after embarrassing smut-filtering snafu

Virgin Media customers were hit by an annoying network cockup on Saturday, after the cable company's smut-filtering Web Safe system stupidly blocked lots of websites. Subscribers complained about the snafu on Twitter, where many people claimed that they could barely access anything over Virgin Media's network. Reg reader Red …
Kelly Fiveash, 9 Nov 2014

Why 120 people protested outside San Francisco City Hall (Hint: 'Hybrid' net neutrality)

Vid+Comment If you wandered through San Francisco's Civic Centre Plaza on Thursday between 6pm and 6.35pm at the City Hall end, it would have been hard, though not impossible, to avoid a protest held against new net neutrality proposals. With just two days' notice, a turnout of 100 to 120 people is pretty good (although 333 said they …
Ed Zander

UK superfast broadband? Not in my backyard – MP

A MP has questioned the government's ability to provide superfast broadband nationwide if it cannot even meet its commitments "in an urban area such as Cheltenham". Martin Horwood, Lib Dem MP for Cheltenham, told Ed Vaizey, Minister of Fun (and Broadband), that the government's target of 90 per cent superfast broadband and a …
Kat Hall, 5 Nov 2014

Manufacturers SLAM UK.gov: 'High speed broadband' rollout is TOO SLOW

Manufacturers have slammed the UK government for its "poor communication" and "lack of clarity" over the high speed Broadband UK (BDUK) programme. In a survey of 134 manufacturers by representative body the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF), 40 per cent rated broadband as "quite poor" or "very poor". Only 30 per cent said …
Kat Hall, 3 Nov 2014
European Union Flag

Netflix and other OTT giants use 'net neutrality' rules to clobber EU rivals

+Comment Cable giant Netflix and other big firms are using calls for greater net neutrality to drive down the prices they pay, according to recently published research. Referring specifically to the Dutch internet market, late last week John Strand of Strand Consulting said: “Net neutrality law (which limits operators’ ability to manage …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co reports fibre traction and Telstra action

NBN Co has made the slightly awkward announcement that it's more than tripled the number of premises connected to its fibre network in the past year, while maintaining its commitment to the multi-technology model for future rollouts. It's chalked up the connections surge in spite of a management bonfire, several reviews to …

Pay a tax on every gigabyte you download? Haha, that's too funny. But not to Hungarians

Hungary is threatening to tax its broadband providers for every gigabyte their subscribers use. The Fidesz-run European nation said that it would charge ISPs 150 forints (around 60 US cents or 39p in the UK) for each gig transferred. Hungary shifted 1,150PB in 2013, and 18PB in mobile data, according to figures from consultancy …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Oct 2014

Broadcom pitches chips at G.fast OEMs

Broadcom has become the latest vendor to stake out its ground in the G.fast market, as the ITU's standardisation bods stretch their hands slowly towards the rubber stamp. At the Broadband World trade show in Amsterdam, the chip outfit's been showing off silicon for G.fast and G.vector kit designers at both provider head-end …
Protesters outside FCC headquarters

US Senate's net neutrality warrior to Comcast: Remind us how much you hate web fast lanes

US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has urged Comcast to publicly swear it will not pave fast lanes across the internet for wealthy websites. Leahy, writing in an open letter, also wants the American telco to use its market and lobbying muscle to support net neutrality. Leahy noted that the amount of public comment on the issue has …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co adds 'burbs to copper map, claims 'speed up' rollout

NBN Co has re-designated 140 suburbs from fibre-to-the-premises to fibre-to-the-node, a move it says will deliver high-speed connections to the target locations earlier than would otherwise have been a case. In NSW, the deployment decision covers parts of the Central Coast, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions, while in …

Austrian telco trials G.fast as 'interim solution'

Telekom Austria is the latest outfit to trumpet the virtues of the yet-to-be-ratified G.fast standard, announcing that a deployment trial conducted with Alcatel-Lucent achieved speeds beyond 100 Mbps per household. The deployment trial covered multi-storey apartments covered by Telekom Austria subsidiary A1, with the carrier …
Apple iPhone 4s, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus

Mobile carriers keep the promised land on an ever-receding horizon

Upon taking delivery of a new iPhone last month, my mobile carrier informed me that as a special gift, the data fairies had granted me an additional 25 GB of mobile data. The catch: I had to use all of it within 30 days. That has turned out to be a good thing. If the offer had been spread out over the 24 months of my contract, I …
Mark Pesce, 17 Oct 2014
Google Fiber

Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)

Another US city will be get a high-speed fiber broadband network courtesy of Google, though it is a few months late. Google's Austin Fiber website confirms that starting in December, residents will be able to start signing up for the gigabit-a-second service. The launch will make Austin the third US city to get a Google Fiber …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Oct 2014

City council thinks what we're all thinking: 'Comcast is terrible – and NOT welcome here'

New England's second-largest city has hit out against a proposed deal that would take place should Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable go through. The city council of Worcester has voted not to approve the transfer of its cable television and broadband services from Charter Communications to Comcast as part of an agreed …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Oct 2014
xfinity wifi

Remember that tale of a fired accountant who blamed Comcast? It's kinda true, says telco

Updated Comcast has publicly apologized to Conal O'Rourke, the accountant who claims he was fired for moaning about the ISP's lousy service. "What happened with Mr O'Rourke's service is completely unacceptable," said Charlie Herrin, Comcast's recently appointed VP of customer experience, in a company blog post. "Despite our attempts to …
Iain Thomson, 9 Oct 2014
xfinity wifi

Strange tale of an angry bean counter, Comcast and a shock 'firing'

A Comcast customer who complained about being overcharged and crap service alleges someone at the ISP got him fired as a result. The punter, described by The Consumerist as an "experienced accountant at one of the nation’s most prestigious firms," signed up with America's largest ISP in 2013 at an introductory rate, but said …
Iain Thomson, 8 Oct 2014
Slow downloads

First gigabit-over-COPPER chipset lands

Israeli outfit Sckipio has revealed what it claims is the world's first G.fast chipset. G.fast is widely seen as a successor standard to VDSL, as it delivers broadband over telcos' existing copper connections, but can do so at up to a gigabit-per-second. That's a speed comparable with that achievable over hybrid fiber coax (the …

You folks probably don't have much to say on the Comcast-TWC merger ... FCC extends deadline for comments anyway

The FCC has extended the deadline for people wishing to send in comments on the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The commission said on Friday that it would give the public until 29 October to file their opinions on the proposed $42.5bn deal between two of the largest cable providers in the country. The …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Oct 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Vertigan hands Turnbull a knife, Turnbull carves Vertigan report

It would be hard to find a more doctrinaire document than the final Vertigan panel's Markets and Regulatory Report that was handed down yesterday. The panel has managed to produce a report so far off realpolitik that the government had no choice but to damp it down immediately. The document takes to heart Tony Abbott's notorious …
RFID_snail_trio

NBN Co to launch commercial FTTN in Q3 2015

The Federal Government's favoured “multi-technology model”, under which fibre-to-the-node would become the default build for NBN Co where the fibre build hasn't commenced, has finally got a landing date: 2015. NBN Co's latest product roadmap (PDF here) says commercial fibre-to-the-node services will launch in the third quarter …
An abandoned Telstra facility on the Stuart Highway

Telstra announces another national WiFi rollout

Telstra has announced that its re-entry into the wireless hotspot business will go into live trial before the end of the year, using public phone boxes to host WiFi in “iconic” locations. The system is being rolled out in partnership with Fon. Eventually, the commercial service will be free to people with a BigPond account, with …
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co: Melton trial document SMELLS BAD

NBN Co is still complaining about media and political attention being given to the leaked results of a deployment trial conducted in an area of the Victorian town of Melton. Speaking to the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network, NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow described the leak as having “a bad smell” and reiterated …
BT Openreach van outside Comedy Pub

BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE

BT has claimed that ultrafast modern broadband can be delivered using a decidedly old school method: copper wires. The telco has released research which found that combined downstream and upstream speeds of up to one Gigabit per second (1000 Mbps) is possible using a mix of fibre and copper. It admitted that many folk assumed …
Jasper Hamill, 26 Sep 2014
Google Loon balloon envelope

Google to go Loony within the year

Google reckons its Loon balloons are going to be delivering a service within the next year, and has revealed that it's abandoned the radio kit it first tested in favour of LTE. When it first started playing with its stratospheric connectivity in 2013, the Chocolate Factory would only reveal that it had a “3G-like” communications …

Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS

Comcast has branded Netflix, Discovery and others extortionists after they opposed the ISP's proposed merger with Time Warner Cable In a dossier to US watchdog the FCC [PDF], Comcast claimed companies lobbying against its merger are hoping to force it into making concessions that benefit them. Specifically, Comcast alleges …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Comms Alliance preps vectored VDSL2 connection rules

The Communications Alliance has published drafts two key standards associated with the introduction of vectored VDSL2 services to the Australian market. Once the standards are formally adopted, they will provide the specs permitting vectored VDSL2 modems to be connected to the network; and requires that line filters support the …

Net Neutrality? Hold my coffee, I got this: FCC says it's still considering all options for Open Web

The Federal Communications Commission says that – despite immense pressure from all sides – all options are still on the table for implementing its grand Open Internet scheme. That's the scheme that may or may not end up enforcing so-called net neutrality rules on the internet, and has had millions of comments from the public …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet

In surprising-no-really-it's-surprising research from NBN Co, Australians with slow internet services apparently get frustrated trying to work from home, so they unnecessarily condemn themselves to the frustration of commuting instead. In a study announced here, the network builder has slung some funds in the direction of Evolve …
Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley

Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has again unloaded on his predecessors in government, saying the swift planing process for the National Broadband Network made it “the riskiest and most complex project the Australian Government has ever attempted to carry out. In a speech delivered yesterday to the Corporate …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Sep 2014
Thurber-esque cartoon of fat mouse looking inquisitively at bicycle pump valve

Cable internet won't need dose of fibre to stop feeling bloated

CableLabs, the industry group that develops data transmission standards for cable television networks, is experimenting with Active Queue Management (AQM) to deal with the issue of bufferbloat in cable networks. Bufferbloat is one of the underground problems of Internet performance: the way that buffers in network kit add to …
Tor

Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it

Comcast has denied claims that it will cut off subscribers for using the Tor project's anonymizing web browser. "Comcast is not asking customers to stop using Tor, or any other browser for that matter," said Jason Livingood, VP of internet & communications engineering at Comcast in a blog post titled "Setting the record straight …
Iain Thomson, 15 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Tasmania offered possible pay-to-connect for NBN fibre

NBN Co boss Bill Morrow has told Tasmanians that communities might be able to preserve the fibre rollout – if they're prepared to kick the can for the installation. In an interview with The Mercury, Morrow said the network builder was investigating the possibility of using co-funding models under which “everyone can jointly …

Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress

This week's internet slowdown protest has been, as one might expect, declared a roaring success by its organizers, after US watchdog the FCC was once again forced to change its comment policy under a deluge of opinions. Organizing group BattleForTheNet said 2,039,500 people took part in the September 10th day-long campaign, …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Sep 2014
Ford Focus embedded into Edinburgh basement

ACCC gives thumbs up to TPG's NBN fibre-to-the-basement raids

Australia's Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has to do nothing about junior telco TPG's plans to compete with the nation's government-mandated monopoly telephony network provider NBN Co, but is still pondering whether other telecoms retailers should be allowed to resell services running on TPG's infrastructure. TPG plans …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co says Melton test not valid, likely uses processes developed there anyway

Far from being an “unrepresentative” document based on bad data, the NBN Co internal presentation which leaked last week was the outcome of five months' work, instigated to create a benchmark for future fibre rollout areas. The furore – Vulture South could even go as far as to call it a kerfuffle – began with the leak of an …

Virgin Media hit by MORE YouTube buffering glitches

Virgin Media has been battling another round of YouTube buffering glitches on its cable network. Register reader Michelle D’israeli flagged up the latest technical cockup with Google's video-sharing service. She told us that problems first appeared last Thursday (4 September). Subscribers moaned about YouTube being crippled …
Kelly Fiveash, 9 Sep 2014

Straight to video: Facebook to add 'view counts' to autoplay newsfeed vids

Facebook has apparently watched video views explode since the free content ad network decided to set them to play automatically on its News Feed. The Mark Zuckerberg-run company said on Sunday that an average of more than 1 billion vids had been watched every day since June this year. However, there's a potential side-effect to …
Kelly Fiveash, 8 Sep 2014
NBN FTTN cabinet

NBN Co correction: We're rubbish at broadband rollout and NEVER improved

NBN Co has issued a press statement assuring media that in spite of what looked like a favourable assessment of its fibre-to-the-premises rollout procedures, things really were dreadful until the new government commissioned the Strategic Review. Or perhaps things weren't dreadful, but they're really, truly, definitely better now …