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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

Demon Internet goes TITSUP: Outage borks ancient ISP

Updated Demon internet broadband users are currently unable to connect, with the company reporting a complete outage of its services. The internet provider first reported problems at 08:43 this morning. According to Demon, engineers have localised the issue and further engineers have been despatched to a network site. "Our focus …
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
Office Space

Stop viewing Facebook at work says Facebook at work on Facebook at Work

Facebook will soon tell its users (sorry, people) to dump its colleagues on the site and interact with them instead on the company's social-networking-for-suits site, Facebook at Work. In the meantime, Facebook is at work on Facebook at Work. Facebook will not be renamed Facebook at Home, but the Mark Zuckerberg-run firm has …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jan 2015
Cellular antenna. Source: Vxla/Flickr

5G needs new connectivity methods, say Spanish boffins

While millimeter-wave radio frequencies are hyped as the future of high-speed wireless networks, they're severely range-limited. A group of Spanish boffins has proposed using user context information like location to help mobile devices get the best speed. As they explain in their paper at Arxiv, it's not enough just to run an …
BlackBerry Passport

BlackBerry Enterprise chief: Yes, we did leave users behind

Interview BlackBerry's previous management left its users behind and underused a vital asset, its enterprise chief told El Reg in a wide-ranging interview. John Sims is part of the rescue team brought in a year ago, when the Canadian giant was at rock bottom – and was seemingly on the wrong end of every trend in the business. The company …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jan 2015
jack russells racing with knitted 'jockeys' on their backs

You go fast, but we go 'further' and 'deeper' – Voda tells 'Speedy' EE

In a blog on the Vodafone website, its UK CEO Jeroen Hoencamp claims the global operator could build something as fast, or faster than, EE’s 300Mbps - it just doesn’t want to. Hoencamp claims that “one of the things that makes us different from others is that we have our 'low band spectrum'. What that means is that our 4G is on …
Simon Rockman, 13 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 …
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

I don't think you're ready for this Jelly: Google pulls support for Android WebView

Google has decided to end support for older versions of Android WebView, the default web browser on 'droid devices. This will apply to users running 4.3 or earlier versions of its Android smartphone OS. It has decided instead to invite securobods to fix the problem, saying it "welcome(d) patches with the report for …
John Leyden, 12 Jan 2015
An Android robot blushes from embarrassment

Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Stats from self-pleasuring site Pornhub (link vaguely NSFW - no pics but still contains the word Pornhub) show that mobile viewing has overtaken desktop, and Android is the OS of choice for viewers of its select content. The, ahem, growth is in part down to the site removing its limit on the number of videos a day that can be …
Simon Rockman, 12 Jan 2015
slow_sign

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

US govt opens door to Google The Cellphone Network

The US government has cleared the way for Google to become your next cellphone network provider – possibly without costing the company a pretty penny. As we revealed yesterday, the advertising giant wants to use the largely open spectrum at 3.5GHz to provide high-speed mobile data connections at low cost to phones and gadgets in …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Jan 2015

When the US lets go of the keys to the internet, what about our protocols?

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has completed its part of a larger effort to move crucial behind-the-scenes internet systems away from US government control. The IETF, which develops and publishes key standards, has drawn up plans for how internet protocols should be managed in the future. These protocols rely on …
Lenovo's P90

Lenovo hopes to say Hello Moto to smartphone cash

A year after buying Motorola, Lenovo is looking to sell a lot of its once highly popular phones. The Chinese company expects the brand to account for 40 per cent of the smartphones it sells next year. Combined Motorola and Lenovo sales of smartphones last year were 85 million. This would make it the third-largest smartphone …
Simon Rockman, 9 Jan 2015
india

BILLIONTH Indian mobile subscriber due in 2015

Growth of India's mobile phone using population has stalled, but the nation looks on track to notch up its billionth subscriber during 2015. India's Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) helpfully pops out monthly counts of subscriber numbers. The most recent data, for says India had 937.06 million mobile phone subscriptions as of …

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
Airwave has given the police reliable comms

Police radios will be KILLED soon – yet no one dares say 'Huawei'

In less than 18 months' time the police radio network will be switched off. There is no obvious replacement and the looming omnishambles is turning into a bonanza for Arqiva, the only company brave enough to offer a solution. Peter Neyroud CBE, former head of the National Policing Improvement Agency and now at the University of …

Google's plan to become your phone company

Google hopes to become your next cell phone operator by using license-free spectrum to offer cheaper internet access. The internet giant is readying to take on cell giants AT&T and Verizon with a team of wireless executives focused on gaining access to unused spectra and using new technologies to make fast data sharing possible …
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 …

Right, who feels like going to an Ofcom meeting? Anyone? Bueller?

Ofcom has released a draft of its plans for 2015 and 2016, promising to protect citizens, as well as allow them to express a view on developments, which is nice. The final plan will be published in March, but the draft allows interested parties to express a view, to be aired at one of a series of public meetings which you can …
Simon Rockman, 7 Jan 2015
Wi-Fi Aware

The Wi-Fi Alliance wants to get you off Wi-Fi

CES 2015 The Wi-Fi Alliance is looking to push a new platform that will allow devices to share data even when no Wi-Fi network is available. Dubbed Wi-Fi Aware, the platform would have devices share small snippets of data directly to enable applications like multiplayer games, without device upgrades or the need for an access point. …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Jan 2015
Cellular antenna. Source: Vxla/Flickr

WAM, bam, thank you QAM

CES 2015 Startup MagnaCom is using CES to pitch a technology it reckons offers wireless comms an attractive combination of better spectral efficiency and higher capacity. Those claims are based on what the company calls WAM, which it's pitching as a possible replacement for the ubiquitous QAM-based modulation. QAM is a standard …
Another tree anchors the cable

Verizon wants to sell 'antiquated' copper assets, stick to wireless for voice

Verizon's copper networks are now so old it says wireless is a better option for voice and low-speed data services. Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam told a Citi briefing that along with looking for opportunities to offload some of its copper assets, part of the company's strategy to retire its copper is wireless. “We're moving a …

'Open' SIMs, brain chips and Google's Nest: What to expect in wireless in 2015

Analysis In mobile and wireless technologies, history will see 2014 as a year in which most of the dramas were about M&A rather than breakthrough technologies (although at least the industry was starting to move on from patent wars). However, it will also be seen as a year when the groundwork was laid for many trends that will shape the …
The fashion world’s most privileged urchin lounges in a luxury hotel in Paris, 1993. © Geoff Wilkinson/RexUSA

Marriott: The TRUTH about personal Wi-Fi hotel jam bid

The Marriott hotel chain – slammed for jamming guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots – has tried to explain why it's asking for permission to interfere with wireless networks. Marriott, Hilton, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association, had together petitioned US watchdog the Federal Communications Commission for clarification – …
Iain Thomson, 6 Jan 2015

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 …
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

No cellphones in cells, you slag! UK.gov moots prison mobe zap law

New legislation to be discussed in Parliament today will compel mobile phone networks to cut off the phones of criminals who use mobile phones in prison. There is no onus on the Prison Service to prove a targeted phone is being used by a specific prisoner; the service will be able to apply to a court for it to be disconnected …
Simon Rockman, 5 Jan 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Whew, US cellcos... Better find a new revenue stream, QUICK

Analysis The wave of operator consolidation across the Americas and Europe is driven by the urgent need to cut costs and achieve economies of scale. With average revenue per user (ARPU) falling, even for supposedly premium LTE and fiber services, and with huge infrastructure upgrades still ahead, carriers need to find drastic cost …
Road closed

VPN users reckon Netflix is blocking them

Netflix is being accused of planning to enforce its terms and conditions by blocking connections from services that bypass geographic blocks. If the reported blocking proves effective, users in nations not served by the media streamer would find themselves stuck with the company's limited local catalogue, rather than continuing …
Pigeon crapping on statue

Music fans FUME over PJ Harvey ticket CHAOS as Somerset House site buckles

Many PJ Harvey fans who rushed to buy tickets from Somerset House's online store on Friday were left bitterly disappointed, after the website buckled under demand. It was announced yesterday that the two-time Mercury Prize winner would be collaborating on a live installation in London with Somerset House on the artist's …
Kelly Fiveash, 3 Jan 2015

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
Huawei Campus Shenzhen Bantian

Huawei? Apple and Samsung's worst nightmare, pal

Huawei claims to have banked over $11bn in smartphone revenue in 2014 despite falling short of its volume prediction. Consumer chief Richard Yu says the Chinese giant shifted 75 million units in the year, a little short of the 80 million it had predicted - but still up 40 per cent from 2013, the WSJ reports. Three of the top …
Dom Joly

30 years ago today, the first commercial UK 'mobile' phone call was made

The first mobile phone calls were made on Cellnet and Vodafone 30 years ago today. The companies we know as Vodafone and O2 today were Racal-Vodafone and Securicor-Cellnet back then, phones were the size of a small suitcase and only did voice. They didn’t even let you assign names to the numbers in the phonebook. The two …
Simon Rockman, 1 Jan 2015
BlackBerry Passport

El Reg's Giant Mobile Industry Roundup of 2014: Part Deux

Part 2 Here's part two of El Reg's mobile industry review for 2014, where Andrew Orlowski picks out a few of the key trends. Click here for part one. Windows Phone made big strides in 2013, but was pegged back in 2014 for a number of reasons. Microsoft got a hyperactive new CEO Satya Nadella, who regarded the Nokia mobile devices …

T-Mobile US CEO on wearables: 'Apple Watch is the tipping point'

In a rash of annual predictions, T- Mobile big cheese John Legere claims that “Wearables and phablets will be the big device stories of 2015”. He goes on to look at exercise and fashion products as being in the same space: “I love what Jawbone, Fitbit, Samsung, LG, Microsoft and others are doing in the wearables space. But we …
Simon Rockman, 31 Dec 2014

El Reg's Giant Mobile Industry Roundup of 2014

Part 1 It has been a crowded year in mobile. Apple breathed life into its iPhone brand, Google tried to take control of Android, while Microsoft fell asleep at the wheel. The Chinese handset tide began to reach Europe. Nokia waved goodbye to its phone division and jumped back in with a tablet – and an unusual business proposition. …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Dec 2014
top of the bt tower

If BT gets EE, it will trigger EU treasure hunt for fixed lines

Opinion The agreement announced earlier this month for BT to enter exclusive negotiations with EE is part of what we have discussed now for the past two years: a re-pricing of the premium associated with cellular businesses, in favour of those based on fixed lines. This trend will continue and it is the yardstick by which you can …
Faultline, 31 Dec 2014
TalkTalk YouView set top box launch

TalkTalk eyes up Blinkbox for advanced FOURPLAY – report

Budget telco TalkTalk is reportedly pursuing a buyout of video-streaming service Blinkbox from Tesco. In the manoeuvrings to provide mobile, internet, TV and fixed phone services, Blinkbox had looked to be a good move for Britain's biggest supermarket, but while Tesco Mobile has been successful for the retail giant, BlinkBox …
Simon Rockman, 30 Dec 2014
Apple phone payement.

UK banks prepare for Apple Pay 'invasion', look to slap on bonking protection

Analysis Apple's attempt to launch its NFC payment solution in the UK could be thwarted by some financial institutions' concerns over privacy and security issues surrounding Cupertino's "invasion" of the banking industry. The system, which has been developed with the credit card companies, has been tried by two million iPhone 6 users in …
Simon Rockman, 30 Dec 2014