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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
Decaying red telephone boxes

BT takes broadband to NEW PLACES. That's right: CITIES

BT is trumpeting a new test which will see it install broadband in some really hard-to-reach locations: the middle of cities. Well, provided it can get into the building in the first place. It seems there are some places where it’s impossible to put a cabinet in the street, and that means slow broadband for domestic and small …
Simon Rockman, 23 Dec 2014

FCC hits pause on Comcast-TWC gobble AGAIN

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has once again put a hold on Comcast's controversial proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying it needs more time to review documents in the case. The commission said on Monday that it is extending the deadline for its planned review period on the deal, this time due to a …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014
Photo of a vintage analog modem with an acoustic coupler

NBN Co reveals product roadmap and Telstra planning deal

NBN Co has updated its product roadmap and Telstra has revealed it will help the company to plan future deployments. The highlights of the new roadmap (PDF) are: A guesstimate that trials of a broadband service delivered over hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) cable (Pay TV cables) will start in Q4 of 2015; A second guesstimate that a …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2014

Net Neut: Verizon flips the bird to FCC on peering deal crackdown

Verizon reckons the FCC's net neutrality proposals can not lawfully stop ISPs charging websites big bucks to increase streaming speeds to subscribers. In a letter to FCC secretary Marlene Dortch, the US telecoms giant said the FCC's Open Internet policies must not regulate peering agreements – because doing so would ruin the web …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2014
cable

Gigabit-over-TV-cable spec DOCSIS 3.1 passes interop test

DOCSIS 3.1, a standard designed to deliver downloads at up to 10Gbps on existing hybrid fibre-coax cable television networks, has passed an interoperability test. The Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) standard is overseen by Cable Labs, a not-for-profit outfit that conducts research for the cable companies …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Dec 2014
TalkTalk YouView set top box launch

TalkTalk customers demand opt-out fix for telco's DNS ad-jacking tactics

Budget ISP TalkTalk has been accused of forcing customers to remain opted into a so-called Error Replacement Service that swaps NXDomain DNS results with an IP address. The option to turn off the system has been busted for months now, but subscribers are still waiting for TalkTalk to fix the error with the Error Replacement …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Dec 2014
Spam

Plusnet could face DATA BREACH probe over SPAM HELL gripes

Exclusive BT-owned Plusnet faces a possible data breach investigation by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office, after complaints from the ISP's customers about their email accounts being swamped by spam were dismissed. As The Register reported last week, an unknown number of subscribers expressed concern that their email accounts …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Dec 2014
Google Loon balloon envelope

French space agency teams with Google for broadband balloons

France's space agency, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), will team with Google to advance the Project Loon broadband balloons project. As CNES points out, France has been messing around with balloons since the 1960s. Today the CNES has 60 staff working with balloons, the world's second-largest such program after the …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2014
David Thodey, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Morrow sign NBN agreements

NBN Co, Turnbull, issue contradictory broadband speed promises

NBN Co has signed definitive agreements to acquire Telstra's copper network, plus the hybrid fibre-coax networks belonging to both Telstra and Optus, but just what the deals will deliver is uncertain after communications minister Malcolm Turnbull and NBN Co issued conflicting advice on the speeds the network will deliver. The …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2014

Euro phone, broadband giants are the 1% – yes, single-digit growth. Wow

After six years in the dark, Europe’s telecoms providers see a light at the end of the tunnel. According to a new report commissioned by industry body ETNO, the sector should return to growth in 2016. The association's Annual Economic Report claims telecoms services revenues were 4 per cent lower in 2013 than the previous year …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Dec 2014

Thought your household broadband was pants? Small biz has it worse

Smaller businesses tend to be worse off for broadband connections than average users, particularly in urban areas, according to an official report on the UK's digital infrastructure. Market regulator Ofcom said that its 2014 report underlined the importance of its new programme of work for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Dec 2014
An abandoned Telstra facility on the Stuart Highway

SURPRISE: Oz gov gives itself room to NEVER finish the NBN

The Vertigan panel's report on telecoms regulation in Australia was delivered in October and was mostly ignored by the nation's federal government, but the document has provided a fig-leaf for the abandonment of last year's pre-election promise* to complete the network (albeit with different technologies). According to the …

Net neutrality: Cisco, Intel, IBM warn FCC NOT to crack down on ISPs

More than 60 technology companies, from Cisco to Intel and IBM, have asked the FCC not to tighten the rules on what ISPs can do with web traffic and subscribers' bills. Specifically, the IT giants do not want the US watchdog to reclassify ISPs as "Title II" providers, a classification championed by some net neutrality advocates …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Dec 2014

G.fast is HERE: Sckipio slurps funding to cook up SPAWN of VDSL tech

Having sold his company Coppergate to Sigma Designs in 2009 for around $190m, Sckipio boss David (Dudi) Baum has got the band together to build a fixed broadband chip to take advantage of the 1Gbps-over-copper VDSL successor G.fast, which was ratified as an ITU standard this week. Sckipio has raised $17m in a series of second- …
Simon Rockman, 10 Dec 2014

Mom and daughter SUE Comcast for 'smuggling' public Wi-Fi hotspot into their home

A mother and daughter are suing Comcast claiming the cable giant's router in their home was offering public Wi-Fi without their permission. Comcast-supplied routers broadcast an encrypted, private wireless network for people at home, plus a non-encrypted network called XfinityWiFi that can be used by nearby subscribers. So if …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Dec 2014

Virgin Media's ad fibs EXPOSED by bitter rival BT

BT successfully convinced Britain's advertising watchdog to admonish rival ISP Virgin Media for "misleading" its customers with unsubstantiated savings claims. The cable company failed to defend itself against three separate complaints filed by BT, which had griped about five national press ads and one posted on Virgin Media's …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Dec 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Telstra's NBN boondoggle nearly set in stone: reports

Reports are emerging that the builder of Australia's national broadband network, NBN Co, has all-but struck a deal with Telstra over access to last-mile copper, plus a separate arrangement to absorb the country's cable broadband networks. The deals are reportedly so advanced they'll be tabled at a cabinet meeting, perhaps even …
Slow downloads

97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband. 'Typical households' need 10Mbps – Ofcom

Most Brits can get broadband at home these days, according to regulator Ofcom, but the service is still pretty patchy. The telecoms authority said 97 per cent of folks in Blighty are able to get at least basic broadband of 2Mbps, and altogether 15 per cent of people are stuck below the 10Mbps mark. Ofcom considers this speed – …
The Zuckerberg comic cover. Image: Bluewater

Marky Mark & the techie bunch: We love you, China. Can Facebook 'n' Apple come over?

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and Apple kingpin Tim Cook recently welcomed China's top internet regulator to the United States. Photographs posted on a People's Republic state-owned news website showed the tech titans heartily laughing and smiling with Lu Wei. Zuckerberg apparently greeted Wei in …
Kelly Fiveash, 8 Dec 2014

Gigabit-over-copper VDSL successor G.fast signed off at last

The long-awaited G.fast physical layer standard has been signed off by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), improving the chance that the world will see standards-compliant, interoperable kit start to ship in 2015. The ITU almost manages to work up some excitement about the announcement, reminding a grateful world …

FCC puts AT&T and Comcast gobbles back on the table

The FCC has restarted the approval process for a pair of high-profile proposed mergers – Comcast-Time Warner Cable, and AT&T-DirecTV. The US watchdog said it has officially set two deadlines for folks sending in their views on the biz gobbles. In the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable (TWC) tie-up, citizens will have until …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Dec 2014

FCC bigwig grills Netflix: If internet fast lanes are so bad, why did YOU build them?

An FCC commissioner has asked Netflix to explain an apparent contradiction in its demand for net neutrality: on the one hand, Netflix wants an open and neutral internet for all – and on the other hand, it's making deals with ISPs to speed up its video streams. Netflix pays Comcast and Verizon to install servers within their …
Shaun Nichols, 2 Dec 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co details fibre/copper divide in new rollout plan

NBN Co has reconfirmed what's been known ever since the 2013 election: fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) builds are more-or-less frozen, and all new builds will be under its multi-technology model. Two weeks after its revised corporate plan capped Australia's experiment with fibre-to-the-premises, the network builder has published a …
Gesture six

AT&T to FTC: I'd like to see YOU install 1Gbps fiber across the US. Which we're still doing

AT&T has told the FCC to mind its own business after the US watchdog started poking around the ISP's threat to halt its fiber broadband rollout. The phone giant, in a strop over proposed net neutrality regulations, announced it was freezing its program of high-speed internet expansion in America. Execs at the company said it was …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Nov 2014
management regulation2

BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network

BT's patent spat with US company ASSIA will start to be noticed by customers, with the carrier reportedly shutting down boxes that provide rate adaptation after it lost a crucial round of legal action. In December 2013, Britain's High Court ruled that BT had infringed ASSIA patents by developing DSL management platforms referred …
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co makes it official - backhaul charges will fall

NBN Co has followed through on its promise to cut the price of its services with a 12.5 per cent snip off the price of its connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) as of 1 February 2015. Currently $20 per Mbps per month, the CVC will fall to $17.50 per Mbps per month under the new agreement, published in template form by the network …
European Union Flag

Ex-EU digi supremo Steelie Neelie's net neutrality bid in tatters?

Former EU digital tzar Neelie Kroes’ net neutrality plans for the Continent may be chucked out by national governments. The latest draft of a law prepared by Italy for national delegations to mull over – a copy of which was leaked by digital rights group EDRi here [PDF] – suggests replacing a definition of net neutrality with a …
Jennifer Baker, 25 Nov 2014
Cellular antenna. Source: Vxla/Flickr

Qualcomm joins Ericsson, Telstra in 450 Mbps LTE demo

Telstra has again demonstrated technology that will let lucky LTE users consume the entire 15 GB of its largest consumer post-paid broadband plan in less than 5 minutes. A repeat of the May 2014 demonstration of the same speed in conjunction with Ericsson, the latest demo brought Qualcomm into the fold. Qualcomm provided the …
BT Openreach van

Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts

Updated Blighty's broadband providers are once again at Ofcom to do something about the alleged monopoly they believe former national telco BT maintains in the business broadband sector. Sky, TalkTalk, EE, Virgin Media and Vodafone are all part of the UK Competitive Telecommunications Association (UKCTA), which is pressuring Ofcom to …

BEST EVER broadband? Oh no you DIDN'T, Sky – ad watchdog

The telecoms giant formerly known as BSkyB has been ordered to remove a "best ever" broadband ad after rival BT claimed it was "misleading". The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the context of Sky's "BEST EVER broadband offer" in July had not been substantiated and was likely to mislead. Last week BSkyB ditched the …
Kat Hall, 21 Nov 2014

Where the HELL is that Comcast technician? Finally – an app for that

US cable giant Comcast is offering some subscribers an app that tracks the whereabouts of its technicians before they arrive for a service appointment. So if you're waiting around for ages wondering where he or she is, there'll be a light at the end of the tunnel. The ISP said its MyAccount app, available on iOS and Android …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Nov 2014
Leaf

Greening the copper with NFV, lower power optics from GreenTouch

The GreenTouch group, which researches less power-hungry networking technologies, is pitching an NFV-style home gateway architecture as one way to curb broadband networks' appetite for electrons. The vendor-and-research partnership was set up in 2010, and now lists nearly 50 member organisations listed. Leading its latest …
Joseph Reger, Fujitsu cto, with his 3D-printed doppelganger

Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years

Fujitsu’s CTO slapped down the net neutrality dogmatists yesterday, saying the flood of data due to the emergence of the internet of things meant society would force a new pricing model. Joseph Reger, Fujitsu cto, with his 3D-printed doppelganger Joseph Reger, Fujitsu CTO, with his 3D-printed replica Joseph Reger told a crowd …
Joe Fay, 19 Nov 2014
Another tree anchors the cable

NBN Co screws lid on FTTP coffin

NBN Co has set in place the new rollout principles announced last week, in the form of a new corporate plan. Published yesterday, the 2014-2017 plan lays out the company's expectations now that the “multi-technology mix” has been set in stone. In the event that NBN Co is able to complete its negotiations for access to Telstra's …
Gun and dollars

FCC: Gonna need y'all to cough up $1.5bn to put broadband in schools

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to spend $1.5bn on hooking up high-speed broadband to more American schools and libraries. The money will come from you, dear US readers: the FCC will put up phone bills by about $2 a year per line to foot the damage, it's understood. Specifically, the monthly E-Rate charge …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Nov 2014