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Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

Virgin Media temporarily pushed BT's shares down more than 2 per cent on Friday, after it announced a juicy £3bn cash injection into Britain's internet infrastructure. The cable company, which was bought by John Malone's Liberty Global roughly 18 months ago, promised to bring broadband speeds of 152 Mbps to four million more …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Feb 2015

Net neutrality: Growing flames of criticism lick FCC chief's secret plans

As the big vote on new net neutrality rules draws close, opposition to the FCC chairman's plan to reclassify broadband under so-called Title II legislation is growing. On Thursday, the Washington Post formally came out against the idea, arguing that such an approach would "expose broadband providers to a new world of federal …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Feb 2015

City broadband ISPs: PLEEEEASE don't do 'Title II' net neutrality

No less than 43 small ISPs have written to US watchdog the FCC [PDF] asking that it not introduce Title II legislation later this month. According to the broadband slingers, who hail from 16 states of America and have on average just over 4,000 subscribers each, reclassifying internet providers as common carriers will cause them …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Feb 2015
Herdwick sheep walk towards the camera

What time do you call this, BT? Late, state-funded broadband rollout plods on

Readers may recall a time when the Tory-led UK government trumpeted plans to have the best broadband connections in Europe by, well, now. That dream was shattered, however, when progress on the Broadband UK (BDUK) project stalled, in part due to intervention from Brussels' competition officials, who had questioned BT's tight …
Kelly Fiveash, 9 Feb 2015
Zip HydroTap All-in-one

NBN Co strangles bird: satellite users limited to 20 GB / month

NBN Co is imposing new limits on satellite downloads, forcing ISPs to kill off plans with more than 50 GB monthly allowances. According to documents seen by The Register, the network-builder is once again finding its Interim Satellite Service effectively DDoSed by its popularity. “In response to complaints about poor …
Sean Bean in Game of Thrones

'Tech' City hasn't got proper broadband and it's like BT doesn't CARE

An MP has told Parliament she was left "shocked and surprised" by BT's response that it was "not commercially viable" to improve broadband access for one of 38 Tech City businesses petitioning for more reliable speeds. In May, 38 businesses from Tech City signed a petition complaining about the slow, unreliable broadband in the …
Kat Hall, 5 Feb 2015
EE 4G banner

BT coughs £12.5 billion for EE as fourplay frolics pay off

BT has agreed terms with the French company Orange and Deutsche Telekom to buy their joint venture EE to form a quad-play superpower. The £12.5bn deal will be a combination of cash and new BT ordinary shares issued to both Deutsche Telekom and Orange. Average cost savings of £360m a year over the next four years will include “ …
Simon Rockman, 5 Feb 2015
Clockwork Orange

G.Fast sand-slinger says it's slung bits at 500 Mbps over 200 metres

Hold on to your cabinets: G.Fast chip shipper Sckipio has doubled the reach of its chipsets, and has demoed greater than 500Mbps speeds for a distance of 200 metres. To put that in perspective, 500Mbps over a distance of 200 metres equates to about one-third of a Usain*. The company is chuffed, because that's double the rather …

Australia's (current) PM Tony Abbott again calls for metadata trove laws to pass, ASAP

Australia's current prime minister Tony Abbott has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the head of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to renew his call for the country's data retention regime to pass parliament as soon as possible. Relying on briefings from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, Tony Abbott stated that there …

SPITTLE SPATTER as America weighs into FCC net neut shoutgasm

Roundup This morning, FCC bigcheese Tom Wheeler outlined his plans for firm net neutrality rules - and hence, the regulation of internet access. The issue has long been a source of argument and wrangling, and the responses to the news have demonstrated what we already knew: there is seemingly no middle ground on the issue. Verizon …
NBN FTTN cabinet

Opticomm wants peer relationship with NBN Co

Fibre infrastructure provider Opticomm is hoping the federal government will help it push NBN Co into standardising its retail service provider interfaces. Th company, which specialises in building fibre networks in greenfields housing developments, recently upgraded its core network, anticipating customer growth in the wake of …

TalkTalk boasts of fourplay-loving customers, extreme growth

While the battle lines are being drawn up between BT-EE and Vodafone over selling you great big lumps of TV, broadband, fixed and mobile phones, TalkTalk has been in the quadplay game for ages. The telco, which was spun out of Carphone Warehouse in 2010, has announced its last quarter (third quarter, full year 2015) figures, and …
Simon Rockman, 3 Feb 2015
Jersey cow

Get internet access to those POOR country bumpkins, says UK.gov

Rural areas are at risk of being unable to access online-only government services thanks to poor internet connectivity, a Parliamentary report said today. Anne McIntosh MP, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said the current broadband target of reaching 95 per cent of premises with 24 Mbps by 2017 may be …
Kat Hall, 3 Feb 2015

Wheeee! BT preps for FIVE HUNDRED MEGABIT broadband trial

BT has announced that it wants to roll out G.fast and fibre to the home to provide internet speeds of up to 500Mbps and 1Gbps. G.fast is a technology that gets fibre closer to the home and leaves traditional copper twisted pair to the last leg, so that drives and gardens don’t have to be dug up, but uses interference cancelling …
Simon Rockman, 30 Jan 2015
Broadband Genie

FCC sexes up, er, sextuples 'broadband' speed to 25Mbps in US

US internet tweaker FCC this morning redefined the meaning of "broadband" internet to mean at least 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up – from the previous 4Mbps/1Mbps definition. Describing the old measure as "dated and inadequate," three of the watchdog's five commissioners voted in favor the change – which will enable the FCC to put …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jan 2015
Slow downloads

FCC will vote to cut off 41 million broadband users this Thursday*

US internet tinkerer the FCC will likely vote tomorrow to change its definition of "broadband" connections from 4Mbps to 25Mbps – effectively moving 13 per cent of the American population outside the envelope of "fast" internet access. An internet connection slower than 25Mbps can't be touted as a broadband product, if the …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jan 2015
Google Fiber

Google reveals where AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable will next offer Gbps broadband

Google has named the next four areas in the US to get its gigabit-a-second fiber broadband. The advertising giant said on Tuesday it will next roll out high-speed connections to 18 cities in and around Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Raleigh-Durham, NC; and Nashville, TN. Charlotte city officials had indicated they were expecting …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Jan 2015

Government's rushed NBN migration plan off to the ACCC

Industry objections notwithstanding, the federal government has okayed Telstra submitting its revised NBN migration plan to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). In spite of industry concerns that the arrangements favour the incumbent, communications minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the finalisation of …
Google Fiber

Charlotte, NC thinks it has won the Google Fiber lottery

Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina believe they will be the next to enjoy Google Fiber. Multiple reports from local media show that city officials plan to meet with the Chocolate Factory later this week on what is expected to be an announcement that the Google broadband service is coming to Charlotte. The company has yet to …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jan 2015
Keyboard where return key is marked communication and to its left is a key with the Cuban flag. Copyright: xtock, Photo via Shutterstock

Cubans defy government's home internet ban with secret home-made network

Cubans are fighting back against restrictions on their use of internet with SNet, a secret network. Also known as StreetNet, it pools the resources of citizens, who are effectively prohibited from using the internet. The Washington Post reports that while the full fat internet in Cuba is government-controlled – home internet is …
Simon Rockman, 26 Jan 2015

Eurovision tellybods: Yes, you heard right – net neutrality

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the annual Eurovision musical telly glitterfest, has rounded up a group of “civil society” pressure groups to send a letter to EU leaders demanding net neutrality. The letter, published on Tuesday, urges the EU Council of Ministers “to support strong and clear net neutrality rules …
Jennifer Baker, 21 Jan 2015
Graphic depicting the Cluster satellite constellation in action. Credit: ESA

Tap sat app gap, yaps Inmarsat chap: Orbiting bird API opened to devs

Satellite communications oldie Inmarsat is to open up its systems to third-party developers – and wants them to create new ways to use its communications grid to link ships, aircraft, and machine-to-machine data traffic. "We have been providing global mobile connectivity for decades and want to leverage this position to …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jan 2015
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Bush-first NBN build was back to front says NBN Co CEO

NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow has told a TasICT gathering that the original National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout plan, which prioritised regional areas to receive fibre first, was a mistake. Speaking to the IT industry group TasICT on Monday evening, Morrow added that the rollout schedules announced by the previous government had …

India pushes ahead with slimmed-down fibre rollout

India is pushing ahead with the Modi government's fibre vision, under which 20,000 rural villages will get fibre backhaul by December 2016. The country's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) says villages in the southern state of Kerala, Karnataka on the west coast, and Seemandhra on the Bay of Bengal will be the first …

New York State plots broadband future

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has decided that the 6 Mbps that's out of reach for a million residents of the state isn't good enough, and has created a half-billion-dollar fund to kick things along. The target, Cuomo says, is to get 100 Mbps speeds to everyone in the 141,000 square kilometre state. In his announcement, the …
Darth Vader choking someone

Which of UK's major ISPs will let you have exotic p0rn? NONE OF THEM

Virgin Media, Vodafone and EE have promised to be more upfront with their subscribers about traffic management policies two and half years after rival, big name UK ISPs signed up to the voluntary "Open Internet Code". The telcos have also vowed not to choke the services of competitors, such as over-the-top players – Microsoft's …
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Jan 2015
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN's basement-dive begins in earnest

NBN Co, the entity building Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has started identifying which apartment blocks are to get its fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) rollout, with 43 blocks totalling 6,000 premises on the current plan. Around 2,000 of the premises in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney (the latter receiving the bulk of …
Alcatel Speedtouch USB ADSL modem

Future imperfect: A UK broadband retrospective

Feature It's astonishing how fast the world changes. It's not so long ago that my internet connection at home was a 64k KiloStream, with an ISDN line that was used for backup, or channel bonding if I wanted to download something at a whopping 128kbps. It was fearsomely expensive, but since I was writing about the net a lot back then, it …
Nigel Whitfield, 17 Jan 2015

Virgin, Qualcomm, back 600-satellite space internet plan

WorldVu, an outfit that last year looked to have Elon Musk and Google backing its vision for a fleet of broadband-beaming low-earth orbit satellites, has scored support from Virgin Group and Qualcomm. Now operating as OneWeb Ltd, but still helmed by former Google man Greg Wyler, the plan now calls for 648 satellites instead of …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jan 2015

BT bemoans 'misconceived' SUPERFAST broadband regs

Ofcom is attempting to clip BT’s financial wings by proposing to regulate the margins it banks from superfast broadband sales to consumers, essentially to prevent the firm from future profiteering and elbowing rivals out of the market. The Brit telco monopoly is the largest provider of fibre broadband services over its network …
Paul Kunert, 15 Jan 2015
Jersey cow

Crap broadband holds back HALF of rural small biz types

Patchy connectivity in rural areas is hampering small businesses with half complaining of poor broadband speeds, according to an extensive survey from the Federation of Small Businesses. In contrast just 28 per cent of their urban small biz counterparts reported broadband issues, according to nearly 1,500 responses. Frustrated …
Kat Hall, 15 Jan 2015

If cities want to run their own broadband, let 'em do it, Prez Obama tells FCC

President Obama wants US internet watchdog the FCC to overturn bans on city-run broadband in America. The White House has sent FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and his fellow commissioners, a letter requesting city governments be allowed to build and administer their own fiber networks. "Today, President Obama is announcing a new …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Jan 2015
Fight sticker

Should spectrum hog TV give up its seat for broadband? You tell us – EU

The European Commission wants help in deciding whether or not to allow terrestrial TV to hang on to valuable spectrum. The Commish launched a public consultation on Monday asking industry, academia and users of TV or wireless broadband to speak their brains on how to proceed in allocating the 700 megahertz band. Currently, the …
Jennifer Baker, 13 Jan 2015
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN migration arrangements favour Telstra, say competitors

With the Australian government's multi-technology model for the National Broadband Network (NBN) set in stone, competitors to dominant carrier Telstra are concerned that proposed transition arrangements give the incumbent too much power while crimping the reach of regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The …
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Australia's Akamai ranking has nothing to do with the NBN

There's never any shortage of ways for Australia to feel inadequate about its broadband performance, and speed comparisons are a perennial favourite. With Akamai's latest State of the Internet report hitting the Internet at the end of last week, Australians are in for another bout of soul-searching: while our year-on-year …
Hacker image

Sony post-mortem: Obama lobbies for new legal powers to thwart hackers

In the aftermath of the massive hack attack on Sony Pictures – which the US government continues to insist was carried out by North Korea – President Barak Obama is expected to lobby hard for legislative overhauls to battle online threats. He will reveal those proposals early next week, an unnamed White House spokesperson told …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Jan 2015

So: Will we get net neutrality? El Reg decodes FCC boss Tom Wheeler

Analysis FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has set off another frenzied storm of net neutrality speculation. At a packed session at CES on Wednesday, Wheeler was interviewed about a range of issues but most significantly over how the FCC plans to classify broadband: something that will have huge implications for internet access across the US. …
1950s style illustration - Smiling woman talks into rotary phone

Broadband isn't broadband unless it's 25Mbps, mulls FCC boss

US comms watchdog the FCC wants to increase the minimum speed ISPs must deliver in order to label an internet service as broadband. Chairman Tom Wheeler hopes to scrap today's minimum of 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up, and instead require carriers to provide 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up if they want to claim broadband internet service in …
Shaun Nichols, 8 Jan 2015
Philips 42-inch Ambilight 42PUS7809 4K TV

4K off, Google Fiber: Comcast, Broadcom tout 2Gbps cable

By this time next year, we should be able to stream 4K video over home cable internet connections. That's according to Comcast, which has promised a gigabit-broadband service using a modem designed by Broadcom. The BCM93390 modem includes "the world's first DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem system-on-a-chip," referring to the new standard …

TPG unplugs NBN rival fibre to the basement service

Junior telco TPG has decided it will not proceed with a fibre to the basement (FTTB) product. TPG last year decided it would go after the FTTB market, which largely comprises large apartment buildings in which fibre to the premises is impractical. Building FTTB rigs and acting as a retailer was eminently possible under …

US watchdog boss pencils in net neutrality February showdown – report

US broadband watchdog the FCC is reportedly planning to hold a vote next month on how it will, or won't, eventually enforce net neutrality. The Washington Post cited an unnamed source within the regulator in reporting that chairman Tom Wheeler wants his fellow commissioners to approve his proposed "Open Internet" rules. Wheeler …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Jan 2015
Facepalm by Ron Mander

FCC: A few (680,000) net neutrality comments lost in 'XML gaffe'

The US Federal Communications Commission misplaced a huge tranche of public comments on its net neutrality proposals – and has blamed its outdated IT system. Four million missives were submitted via the FCC's website and in emails to staff; comments could be submitted in PDF, CSV, or plain text formats, and were converted into …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014