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ESET slurps up UK-based crypto firm DESlock+

Security firm ESET has snapped up UK-based data encryption firm DESlock+. Terms of the deal, announced on Tuesday, were not disclosed. DESlock+, based in Taunton, UK, specialises in advanced encryption solutions and first partnered with ESET two years ago. The DESlock+ team of 12 employees was led by managing director David …
John Leyden, 23 Sep 2015
Fibre Optic by Barta IV cc 2.0 attribution

Ex-BT boffin Cochrane blasts telco's 'wholly inadequate' broadband vision

Professor Peter Cochrane OBE, the former head of R&D at BT, has dismissed the former incumbent telco's trumpeted “vision for Britain’s digital future” as woefully inadequate. Current BT CEO Gavin Patterson spoke to a conference in London recently promising a number of improvements, arguing BT would tackle slow speeds in hard- …
Simon Rockman, 23 Sep 2015

Ofcom approves Qualcomm’s spectrum sale to Vodafone, Three

As expected, Ofcom has now rubber-stamped the L-band deal which saw Qualcomm sell a portion of its spectrum to Vodafone and Three, publishing a statement on the matter. Vodafone has bought the 1452-1472MHz frequencies, and (the soon-to-be-merged-with-O2) Three's spectrum at 1472-1492MHz. Spectrum is a touchy subject, but this …
Simon Rockman, 23 Sep 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by

Roll-your-own public safety broadband network too pricey for Australia

Australia’s Productivity Commission says emergency services should drop the idea of building a dedicated mobile broadband network and use commercial services instead. In its draft report, the Productivity Commission says a dedicated network with its own spectrum would cost more than A$6 billion over the next 20 years. …
Bill Bennett, 23 Sep 2015

Transport for London’s new crash map immediately crashes

Just hours after it was launched yesterday, TfL’s new interactive digital collision map went down for about an hour, as excited Londoners zoomed in to find out where accidents had happened. The map uses data collected by the police dating back to 2005. Users can filter the results by location, seriousness of incident, and date …
Jennifer Baker, 22 Sep 2015

EE is UK's biggest loser on customer broadband gripes – AGAIN

EE's dreadful record drags on, with the mobile carrier once again bagging the top spot for the most broadband customer complaints in the UK. Subscribers moaned about a range of problems with the provider's service, including faults, billing, pricing and charges, according to Ofcom's latest quarterly report. The regulator said …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Sep 2015
BT Openreach at work

BT boss: If Ofcom backs us, we promise to speed up UK broadband

BT chief Gavin Patterson has promised to back the government's desire to gift Blighty with universal minimum broadband speeds of 5 to 10Mbps, with the caveat that the company needs support from Ofcom. The one-time state monopoly laid out its plans for the next five years on Tuesday morning, by claiming that BT's pledges could …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Sep 2015

Shattered Skype slowly staggers to its feet after 15-HOUR outage outrage

Microsoft's Skype is slowly righting itself after spending most of the day offline. The video-and-voice call service fell over at about 0800 UTC (0100 PT), and was useless across the UK, the US, Europe, India, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere – pretty much worldwide, it seems. Now, some 15 hours later, it appears Skype is on …
Chris Williams, 22 Sep 2015

NBN fibre-to-the-node launched: Now the long sprint begins

The kinds of people that watch the weekly data releases about Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) will be watching like hawks between now and January. Yesterday, the company officially launched its fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) product to retail service providers, and set itself the task of ramping up to 60,000 premises …

Oh, IT'S ON. IT. IS. ON: Google, Netflix et al square up to telcos in net neutrality showdown

Internet companies have jumped into the lawsuit brought by Big Telco against America's net neutrality rules. The Internet Association, which is the Washington DC lobbying group for the likes of Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Netflix, PayPal, Twitter, Uber at al, has filed an amicus brief into the ongoing lawsuit against the …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Sep 2015
Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2

Hutchison will float O2 … as soon as the Three merger is done

CK Hutchison - once known as Hutchison Whampoa* - will float O2 when it merges with Three, pushing the company back into public ownership. The merger is still awaiting regulatory approval, but is expected to go ahead. The fallout will see the number of mobile operators in the UK dropping from four to three, although given the …
Simon Rockman, 21 Sep 2015
Screenshots of the Samsung Z smartphone running Tizen

New Tizen version drops, World+Dog yawns

The developers of the Linux-based device operating system Tizen have announced the latest iteration of their TV and mobile offerings. The two device profiles released over the weekend abandon the X-server in favour of the newer and simpler Wayland windowing system, and Webkit2 has been replaced with the Chromium-efl Chromium/ …

US govt: Why we're OK with letting control of the internet slip into ICANN's hands

A highly anticipated report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has given the green light to a shift of critical internet functions away from the government to domain overseer ICANN. The report [PDF], published Friday, provides a neutral and explanatory rundown of the decision by the Department of Commerce (DoC …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Sep 2015

Internet Doomsday scenario: How the web could suddenly fall apart

Analysis Engineers have recommended a small but important change to the internet's underlying structure in order to avoid a possible doomsday scenario. A report [PDF] from the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) argues that a key parameter in the internet's address books – namely, how long the information should be stored – …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Sep 2015
Bell switchboard mobile not-spot coverage project set to be completed in the year 2155AD

Exclusive The government has fallen woefully short of its promise to provide mobile coverage to 60,000 homes in "not spot" areas across the UK, having only erected a meagre eight masts in more than two years. Over the last year the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has managed to erect six masts. Those masts built so far typically …
Kat Hall, 18 Sep 2015

Thousands cut off from email after EE bungles domain renewal

Thousands of UK internet users were cut off from email after their ISP failed to renew the domain name used to route them. The address "" is the legacy domain used by Freeserve, which later merged with Orange. The domain was first registered and used back in 1999 but it expired on 4 August, leading to its suspension …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Sep 2015

Hey you! Better 'fess up to submarine cable cockups, FCC demands

Incredible as it may seem, there are currently no rules around the reporting of outages in submarine cables. On Thursday, America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tried to rectify that by putting out new rules for public comment that would make it obligatory for US companies to report any outages that saw more than 50 …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Sep 2015
Spy hides in dustbin, lifts lid to take photograph

Tremble, Vodafone! The UN ain't happy about your phone-hacking

A former Vodafone Australia employee's spying on Fairfax journalist Natalie O'Brien, and the global mobile operator's subsequent conduct, has aroused the interest of the United Nations. David Kaye, the special rapporteur for freedom of expression, has waded in to the fray, arguing the affair shows a shoddy handling of a …
Simon Rockman, 17 Sep 2015

Germany loosens liability laws to promote WiFi hotspots

Germany has signalled it will ease laws that make it hard for local organisations to operate public WiFi hotspots. Current laws in the Bundesrepublik make hotspot operators liable for their users' activities. Fearing they'll be held accountable for copyright infringement or other offences, Germany's cafes, hotels, airport, …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Sep 2015
Bell switchboard

AT&T grabs dictionary, turns to 'unlimited', scribbles it out, writes: '22GB a month'

AT&T has posted guidelines for users on how it will now be handling its "unlimited" data plans for smartphones. The US mobile giant now says it will give users on unlimited plans a 22GB soft cap, after which they will still be able to receive wireless data, but only at dramatically reduced speeds. "Unlimited Data Plan …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Sep 2015

Who wants a European Broadband Award? Anyone? *tumbleweed*

High speed broadband operators have until the end of this week to nominate themselves for a European Commission award. The Europe-wide Broadband Award honours the five best Next-Generation Networks (NGN) projects delivering at least 30Mbps in urban, suburban and rural areas. The so-called Digital Agenda target for 2020 is …
Jennifer Baker, 15 Sep 2015
VoLTE compatible: LG Revolution

Three VoLTEs to victory as it jumps into UK 4G voice offering

Mobe network Three is the first to offer UK 4G voice services, with the service going live Tuesday, taking advantage of the 800MHz spectrum which Three bought in the 2013 auction. The “low” 800MHz frequency gives much better coverage than existing services through other frequencies. Three claims its customers "will be able to …
Simon Rockman, 15 Sep 2015
Two mobiles man

EE: Yes, our broadband service is a total clusterf**k – but we promise to improve

EE has promised to get its act together after admitting what many of its customers knew already – its broadband service simply isn't good enough. Reg readers may recall that Blighty's communications watchdog has repeatedly roasted the telco for being the most moaned-about ISP in the UK. In July, Ofcom whacked EE with a £1m …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Sep 2015
Speedometer by Nathan E Photography, Flickr under CC2.0

It's not broadband if it's not 10 Mbps, says Ovum

Market researcher Ovum has trotted around 30 countries worldwide to find out what makes people like their broadband provider, and reckons the minimum download speed to satisfy users is 10 Mbps. Based on both market performance data and qualitative surveys with end users, the analyst firm reckoned customers also expect three …
David Thodey, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Morrow sign NBN agreements

Deluded Aussie geeks hail Turnbull's elevation to prime minister

With the elevation of communications minister Malcolm Turnbull to the office of prime minister, Australian tech-types are drying their tears and looking forward to a future in which he changes gear so that the country will get its all-fibre National Broadband Network (NBN) at last. Forget it: it's never going to happen. It …
Three cows image via Shutterstock

What should we do with this chunk of dead air? Ofcom wants to know

VHF isn’t just for voice. Ofcom is seeking advice on how to get things connected in the spectrum space between 30MHz and 300MHz. The regulator argues that lots of spectrum is underused, or not used for the most productive things. In its consultation (PDF), Ofcom says: This document aims to encourage investment and innovation …
Simon Rockman, 14 Sep 2015

Vodafone 'fesses up to hack of journalist's phone, denies 'improper behaviour'

The Australian division of mobile giant Vodafone has admitted that one of its employees illegally accessed the phone records of a journalist to try to uncover her sources, following publication of a negative story. However, Vodafone – which first investigated allegations of a privacy breach four years ago – has strongly denied …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Sep 2015

Plan to shift internet's control panel away from US government gets tentative thumbs-up

The plan to shift control of the top level of the internet away from the US government to domain name overseer ICANN has been given a tentative thumbs-up by the internet community. A public comment period on the proposal for the IANA functions contract closed earlier this week with 159 submissions received. Just under half the …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Sep 2015

That's a Tor order: Library gets cop visit for running exit relay in US

A New England library is calling off its plan to host a Tor exit node after cops, tipped off by the US Department of Homeland Security, paid a visit. The Kilton Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, had been hosting an exit relay on the Tor network since July as part of a pilot program to safeguard citizens' privacy online. …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Sep 2015

Ich nicht bin Charlie: Facebook must crack down on racists, says Germany's Merkel

German chancellor Angela Merkel has laid into Facebook for not doing more to tackle racism on the social network. Speaking to German newspaper Rheinische Post, Merkel focused on the big political topic of the moment: the sudden influx of Syrian refugees into Europe. Merkel has led the charge in welcoming refugees, saying that …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Sep 2015

'Major' outage at Plusnet borks Brits' browsing, irate folk finger DNS

Plusnet, the internet service provider, has suffered a "Major Service Incident" which started on Wednesday night. The outage continued until this morning. Users are complaining that they cannot visit a number of websites. Some were able to mitigate the TITSUP by changing their DNS provider. A Plusnet staffer told its …
Shouting match

The internet's Middle East problem: Who is going to do something about Whois?

The issue of what to do about Whois – the registration data for domain names – has reared its ugly head yet again, as it has over and over for the past 15 years. In the latest twist, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has sent a terse note to domain overseer ICANN over its latest effort to review the Whois service and …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Sep 2015
Australia map and flag pwned theme

Feeling ripped off by your ISP? It's getting cheaper to pipe your packets globally

The cost of IP transiting – the cost to transfer internet data across ISPs and other large public networks – continues to fall. This mean it's getting cheaper to send webpages, messages and other traffic. London has seen a 22 per cent price drop to just $1 per Mbps per month. As a global average, in the past three years, the …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Sep 2015

Beardy Branson says own OneWeb sats can replace Australia's birds

Are things going to plan for the Richard Branson-backed OneWeb satellite venture? A few months after signing its build contract with Airbus and nominating Arianespace and Branson's own Virgin Galactic to build its launch rockets, Branson apparently hopes OneWeb can somehow replace Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) …

Hi. Ofcom? My mobe's call quality is crap – but you said it was fine

Consumers will soon get proper information on how well their phone makes calls. Regulator Ofcom is to use an independent lab to test and rate phones for how well they actually make calls, and will release the information to the public. Too good to be true? Not according to the Telegraph. Ofcom reportedly told the paper that …

Netflix to complete global rollout, add 120+ countries by end of 2016

Netflix has announced it “will expand into South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan in early 2016 as it moves to complete its global rollout by the end of next year.” The last part of the sentence is perhaps the most significant as the company has previously merely hinted at its rollout plans, telling investors in a letter …

ICANN has $60m burning a hole in its pocket – and it needs your help blowing it all

Domain-name overseer ICANN wants your suggestions for how it should spend the $60m it made from auctioning off new dot-words. In a discussion paper [PDF] published today, the wannabe-master-of-the-internet notes that it has $58.8m in a special bank account. Just under half of it stemmed from Google, which paid $25m for the …
A shot from Verizon's 5G video

Verizon: we're going to start bringing you 5G NEXT YEAR (sort of)

Verizon is planning to test its 5G wireless broadband network next year. The US telecom giant said it would be working with a group including Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco, Qualcomm, and Alacatel-Lucent to launch a 2016 trial for technology that could power the network. Verizon said it plans to have a pair of "sandbox" test …
Shaun Nichols, 8 Sep 2015
United nations flag by cc 2.0 attribution

United Nations pledges to get everyone online… by 2030

The United Nations has pledged to provide universal internet access by 2030. Currently 3.2 billion people are online, but that represents just 43 per cent of the world's population. In response, the UN last week launched a new "sustainable development" agenda with a goal of 2030. It is due to be signed by all member states …
Herdwick sheep walk towards the camera

Court battle date set for £300m BT Cornwall termination dispute

A legal showdown between BT and county of Cornwall, over the local council's plans to prematurely exit its £300m outsourcing contract with the telco giant, is to be heard in the High Court in December. The adversaries are to fight out their dispute over the termination of the BT Cornwall contract this year, due to BT …
Kat Hall, 8 Sep 2015
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Broadband powered by home gateways? Whose bright idea was THIS?

Fibre-to-the-node can help squeeze the last drop of sweat out of copper telephony networks, but it has a problem: nodes need electrons, and there might not be a copper path upstream to the exchange for 48V power. So the standards body The Broadband Forum thinks powering nodes using household electricity is a good idea. The …

ICANN descends into farce as bigwigs try to cling to power

Analysis The process to bring greater accountability to domain-name overseer ICANN descended into farce last week when the organization's board tried to skewer plans to force it to answer to the internet community while simultaneously claiming it supported the idea. In an extraordinary, almost surreal three-hour teleconference, the …