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FCC floats new rules for data lines that bind America's networks

The FCC has put forward a new set of rules governing the data network connections that glue our modern lives together. The proposed red-tape sets out a framework for regulations on specialized business data lines that, for example, hook up ATM networks and wired lines between mobile phone towers. The FCC estimates that such …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
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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

Samsung's little black box will hot-wire your car to the internet. Eek!

Samsung is developing a small black box device that will plug into your car under the dashboard and instantly turn it into a smart, connected car. Speaking at its annual Developer Conference in San Francisco, the director of the company's Connected Car program, Val Zinchenko, showcased a rectangular black box roughly three …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Apr 2016
DirecTV

AT&T credits DirecTV gobble for $41bn quarter

AT&T says its recent purchase of satellite provider DirecTV helped drive a 24 per cent jump in revenues. The US telco giant said that the $49bn merger was already beginning to pay dividends with its 2016 Q1 [PDF] period. "We're seeing good momentum with our initial integrated wireless, video and broadband offers," said AT&T …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2016

T-Mobile US gobbles up another 2.2m customers

For yet another quarter, "uncarrier" T‑Mobile US has shown that there is money to be made in giving customers what they want. Its revenue for Q1 2016 was up on the year-ago period to $8.6bn, beating analysts' expectations: Revenues: Up 10.6 per cent year-on-year to $8.6bn. Service revenues up 13 per cent year-on-year to $6. …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 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

EE grows network by one-third, promises to build 750 new sites

EE has is expanding its 4G network by one-third to cover 95 per cent of the UK by 2020 – following its mega contract with the Home Office to provide emergency services coverage across the country. Under the plan the operator is building 750 new sites across the country in a bid to eradicate "notspots". It is the first major …
Kat Hall, 25 Apr 2016

Google Loon balloon crash lands in Chile

The Chilean authorities are investigating a Google Project Loon balloon flight which ended on Saturday morning in a pile of crumpled kit in a farmer's field. Police at the scene of the landing. Pic: Policía de Investigaciones de Chile Police teams cordoned off the crash site to the east of Los Ángeles, some 100km southeast …
Lester Haines, 25 Apr 2016
Toshiba 47-inch 47L7453DB

Will Comcast's set-box killer murder your data caps? The truth revealed

Earlier this week, Comcast announced the Xfinity Partner Program, a service that will pipe TV directly into a subscriber's smart TV or streaming box without the need for a cable set-top box. The service would run through an app built on HTML5. This led some readers to question whether the TV content would be counted against …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Apr 2016
Doom

The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

The average web page is now roughly the same size as the full install image for the classic DOS game Doom, apparently. This is according to Ronan Cremin, a lead engineer with Afilias Technologies and dotMobi's representative for the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). Cremin points to data from the HTTP Archive showing that, at …
Shaun Nichols, 22 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
A broken cable box

Verizon is big on IoT 'cos its wireline biz is dying on the vine

Verizon says that it will focus on "developing new markets," as the telco giant was just able to keep revenues on the uptick. The US carrier said that it would be shifting a focus over towards the internet of things (IoT) and its content market in the coming months, as it looks to bolster sagging revenues in other parts of its …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2016

Big Cable threatens to sue FCC: You can't stop us ripping off customers

The US National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has threatened to sue the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if it pushes ahead with plans to open up cable boxes. Speaking at a press conference Thursday, the NCTA's president – and former FCC chair – Michael Powell said that the plan to force cable companies …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Apr 2016

Embattled 123-reg flings six months' free hosting at angry customers

Customers still unable to access their websites following a mega cock-up at hosting site 123-reg over the weekend have been offered six months' free VPS and backup recovery services as a sweetener. The biz 'fessed up to customers this week that a script containing a catastrophic error which was run on Saturday (16 April) took …
Kat Hall, 21 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
Man writing a letter

Snafu! BT funnels all customers' sent email into one poor sod's inbox

The UK's biggest broadband provider BT redirected its customers' outgoing emails to a single account for three hours on Tuesday. The telco said the flooded inbox was an internal account it uses for test purposes and not a random unlucky subscriber. While BT did not provide details on the reason for the disruption, it appears …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Apr 2016
Woman frustrated while trying to make mobile phone call... Photo via Shutterstock

Peak Cable looms: One in five US homes now mobile-only for internet

The number of American households relying solely on mobile networks for internet access has doubled over the past two years. This is according to Uncle Sam's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) who says that its 2015 internet usage numbers show that 20 per cent households use mobile networks …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Apr 2016

US congresscritter's iPhone hacked (with, er, the cell networks' help)

America's flagship news program 60 Minutes has demonstrated how to "hack" a US congressman's smartphone. One little thing to bear in mind about this incredible scoop: the vulnerability has been in circulation since 2014 ... and it requires high-level access to global phone networks. House representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) loaned …
Iain Thomson, 18 Apr 2016
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5G is looming, but network innovations are needed far more urgently

In all the excitement about 5G, it is easy to forget that the most intensive innovations of 2016-2020 will go on in "4.5G" – in Release 13 and 14, of course, but more importantly in the way the carriers and their vendors reinvent their cellular networks with new approaches like virtualization and HetNet, in the desperate bid to …
Wireless Watch, 18 Apr 2016
scissors cut cable

Tassie broadband users get June reboot date

The end is in sight for Tasmania's long-running submarine cable saga, with Basslink announcing its cables should return to service in June. The island state's approaching a power crisis, because drought has emptied its hydro-electric dams, and the broken cable prevents it importing power from the mainland. To make the …

Telstra's CRM system breached competition undertaking: ACCC

IT integration isn't easy. Just ask Australia's dominant carrier Telstra, whose customer information system accidentally provided a ladder over the “Chinese walls” supposed to keep wholesale information out of the hands of its retail business. That information emerged in the regular Structural Separation Undertaking (SSU) …

House passes broadband bill despite promise of White House veto

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that it claims will prevent federal regulators from setting broadband prices, but critics say it's little more than an effort to undermine net neutrality regulations. During a sometimes heated discussion in Congress on Friday, representatives voted 241-173 to pass HR 2666 – the No …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Apr 2016
Zuckerberg photo Facebook

Facebook's big trouble in its little world domination plan: China

Analysis One of the central themes of Facebook's F8 developer conference in San Francisco this week has been Mark Zuckerberg's plans to wire up the world with Facebook internet access. Attendees were repeatedly reminded that even in this day and age, there are people not using Facebook – at least four billion people, allegedly. A fair …
Iain Thomson, 15 Apr 2016

TalkTalk broadband customers continue to flee

Broadband customers at TalkTalk continued to flee the operator during the first three months of this year, with 126,000 customers switching away from the provider. That was on the back of 250,000 broadband customers switching to other suppliers in the previous quarter, according to research from Kantar World Panel. Some 17 …
Kat Hall, 14 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
Aries

Facebook open-sources city-wide WiGig internet comms, phone masts

Facebook's quest to connect the remaining four billion people on the planet without internet access up to Facebook the web is a huge task. On Thursday, Facebook showed off its open-source telecommunications tech that it hopes will get unconnected folks connected, and give those of us already on the internet a smoother ride. …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2016

I bless the reins down on .africa ... Dot-word injunction hits ICANN

DNS overseer ICANN has been hit with a preliminary injunction ordering it to halt the delegation of the .africa internet space for a second time. The judgment [PDF] by the Central District Court of California slams the nonprofit organization for running a sham process over the top-level domain in an effort to hand it to its …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 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

Web wobbles at Misco: Might be back up today, or tomorrow

Not wanting to be totally outdone by the recent outage at arch rival Insight Enterprises, online reselling rival Systemax Europe - trading as Misco - has battled its own web demons for the best part of this morning. The company’s site first fell over at least two hours ago with its Twitter feed acknowledging the worldwide …
Paul Kunert, 13 Apr 2016

Ruckus: A strong buy for Brocade, but leaves Juniper isolated again

Comment Pity poor Juniper. The networking company’s alliance with Ruckus Wireless last summer raised hopes that it would strike it third time lucky in the Wi-Fi market, filling the gaping wireless gap in its platform. Now Brocade has snatched carrier Wi-Fi leader Ruckus from under its rival’s nose with a $1.2bn acquisition. It's the …
Wireless Watch, 13 Apr 2016
Reliance free internet from Internet.org

Half of Facebook's Free Basics users ditch the freebie web-lite service for the paid-for real deal

Internet.org aka Free Basics – Facebook's slice of the web for the developing world – has been controversial, but that isn't stopping the social network. The internet service requires a SIM card from a participating mobile operator, and grants free access to Facebook, BBC News, Dictionary.com, er, ESPN and a few other sites. …
Iain Thomson, 13 Apr 2016
sign post pointing to trail in two different directions

IP address clerks RIPE: Feds, come back with a warrant, er, web browser

One of the five regional internet registries (RIRs), RIPE, has published its 2015 transparency report reviewing requests from law enforcement for information. You may be wondering what kind of information an RIR is capable of giving the authorities, since most information regarding the allocation of IP and AS numbers is …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 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
Three store maidenhead

Ofcom wants you to thank it for resurrecting the spectre of BT's 1980s monopoly

Comment Years ago, we used to mock Ofcom for its Ofcom-branded bottled water, and its tediously technocratic “evidence based” approach, something which is actually enshrined in the 2002 Act that created it. Throughout its first decade, Ofcom chief execs stood regally above the fray, knowing that a regulator’s decision must be …
Andrew Orlowski, 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

UK competition watchdog gripes to Brussels about Three-O2 merger

Britain's competition regulator has written to Brussels to put the brakes on the proposed £10.25bn merger between Three and O2 unless a fourth mobile operator is proposed. In a letter to Europe's competition chief Margarethe Vestager, chief executive of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, Alex Chisholm, reiterated the …
Kat Hall, 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