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Cisco CEO John Chambers speaking at Cisco Live! 2014

Cisco hits the disco as unified comms, wireless sales are lookin' frisk, yo

Just watch that elephant dance: Cisco believes it's managed something Silicon Valley startups often die trying to do, “pivoting” the business to reverse a downward trend. CEO John Chambers sounded cat-swallowed-cream pleased during The Borg's Q2 2015 results call, and investors agreed, adding five per cent to the company's share …
Unlocked padlock

Let freedom RING! Americans can now legally liberate phones from axis of network evil

It's phone Independence Day as American mobe owners can now legally unlock their smartphones again from their network carriers – provided you've finished paying for them. Phone unlocking, allowing it to subscribe to a different network, was perfectly legal in the US until 2012, when the practice was banned in a review of the …
Iain Thomson, 11 Feb 2015

'Worse than I imagined': FCC commish slams chief's net neutrality bid

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai used a Tuesday press conference to slam net neutrality rules that are expected to be approved by the regulator later this month. "I have studied the 332-page plan in detail, and it is worse than I had imagined," Pai told the room of reporters and tech policy analysts before giving six reasons why he won …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Feb 2015
Flying pig

VMware creates network function virtualisation team

VMware will create a new team dedicated to what it calls “networks functions virtualisation” (NFV). News of the initiative slipped into a canned statement about a pair of promotions at Virtzilla. The newly-titled ones are Sanjay Mirchandani, now corporate senior veep in addition to his role as leader of VMware's Asia-Pacific and …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Feb 2015
Cable laying plow

NZ regulator okays cable to Oz

A second trans-Tasman submarine fibre cable is a small step closer, with New Zealand's Commerce Commission (NZCC)reportedly giving the Tasman Global Access (TGA) project the competition green-light. The cable was first mooted in 2013, as a partnership between then-TNZ (now Spark), Telstra, and Vodafone New Zealand. The project …
A microwave tower

Telstra's rivals eye point-to-point frequencies for country mobile

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is proposing a spectrum reallocation to give mobile carriers access to 1800 MHz spectrum in regional areas, extending the footprint of 4G networks. However, Telstra isn't entirely pleased at the prospect. Currently, it's one of the largest users of the 1800 MHz band, …
Paul Graham installs a Parallel Networks cell for EE in Cumbria

EE 'best' of the UK mobile network bunch, but how good is that?

Mobile network testing company RootMetrics has again hailed EE as the best network for speed, reliability, calls and text. Three comes second in all tests. Vodafone and O2 swapped third and fourth spots in various categories but O2 came out ahead overall. The latest figures cover the second half of 2014, so may well under-rate …
Simon Rockman, 10 Feb 2015

Alibaba splurges $590m on mobile-maker Meizu. Xiaomi the money?

Alibaba, which held the largest IPO in history after raising $25bn, has bought a minority stake in Meizu, the Chinese manufacturer of Android-based smartphones. While recent releases such as the eight core Meizu M1note run standard Kit-Kat (with Lollipop to come), it is expected that Alibaba will want to see devices with its …
Simon Rockman, 9 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

UK mobile networks LOSE to France and Germany on data speeds

Mobile internet speeds are slower in the UK than in France and Germany, says yet another mobe coverage survey. This survey is crowdsourced by Aalto University and it has to be read with a little caution, as while the research has 1,250,020 data points, 1,144,213 of them were captured in Finland and only 10,298 in the UK. It …
Simon Rockman, 9 Feb 2015

Crap mobile coverage costs UK biz £30m a week, reckons survey

Comment Indoor mobile coverage is pants, says ip.access, a company which makes kit to improve indoor coverage. To quantify just how pants it is the Cambridge-based company commissioned a poll from survey outfit OnePoll. They carried out research in the form of an online survey, and then did some sums to come up with the claim, “UK …
Simon Rockman, 9 Feb 2015

Microsoft: Even cheapo Lumias to get slimmed down Windows 10

The “next chapter” in Windows is coming to Microsoft's cheapo, mass-market Lumia phones. Microsoft is working to get Windows 10 working on devices with just 512MB RAM, including the Lumia 520. The news was tweeted by Microsoft operating systems group vice president Joe Belfiore on Sunday. Just one catch: small memory means …
Gavin Clarke, 9 Feb 2015
shutterstock_184661174

TalkTalk may begin making 'Three style' low-cost mobile moves

As Telefonica looks to sell its O2 UK outfit to Hutchison Three, it is also supporting two mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deals which are adding to the quadplay mayhem of the UK market. BSkyB and TalkTalk both have their virtual mobile services hosted by O2, and both will be harnessing these, while also investing in Wi- …
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 …

Calling a friend? Listen to an advert. You lucky, lucky thing

Do you ever think that the time you spend listening to a phone ringing is wasted? ChannelVAS does. It wants to use that time to sell you things. The idea the company has had is that instead of listening to a ringing sound you could be listening to an ad. The mobe network could then make money from selling that time to …
Simon Rockman, 8 Feb 2015
gTLD graphic

Industry research claims over half of internet users open to new domains

A survey by industry group, the Domain Name Association (DNA), shows that people are open to the idea of new internet extensions, with more than half of respondents expressing a preference for new names. More than 5,000 users in 10 countries took part in the survey, whose broad methodology was also published [PDF] to build …

FCC chair refuses to make net neutrality rules public before approval

FCC chair Tom Wheeler has refused to release the net neutrality rules that the regulator will vote on later this month. The decision whether to make a document public before it faces formal approval rests with the FCC chair but, despite requests from Congress and two of his own commissioners, Wheeler has refused to do so, …
Hughes Products 1960s videophone concept

Ofcom can prise my telly spectrum from my COLD, DEAD... er, aerial

Breaking Fad Ah, nostalgia! How often people round these parts wax lyrical about the days of the ZX Spectrum. And how quickly, if some get their way, we may be waxing lyrical about the spectrum that used to provide us with terrestrial TV. Yes, a bare few months after I suggested Reg readers might like to make their thoughts known to Ofcom on …

4G Mobile data suck stiffens Vodafone revenues

Vodafone has seen an increase in its UK revenues of almost one per cent during the fourth quarter of 2014, prompted by users gradually moving to 4G and spending more on data. Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013 was £1,518m, rising to the princely sum of £1,532m for the end of 2014, the mobile giant's first UK revenue rise for …
Simon Rockman, 5 Feb 2015
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
Fiber optics

UK boffins DOUBLE distance of fiber data: London to New York WITHOUT a repeater

Researchers at University College London say they have found a way to dramatically increase the distance data can be sent intact over ordinary fiber optic cables – by partially working around the Kerr Effect. A phenomenon discovered by Scottish physicist John Kerr in 1875 limits the distance coherent data can travel. The effect …
Iain Thomson, 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 …
Tom Wheeler, Chair of FCC. Image by DonkeyHotey

Tom Wheeler flings off dressing gown, dons gloves for net neutrality RUMBLE

FCC chief Tom Wheeler has confirmed he will put forward strong rules enforcing net neutrality this month. These protections, if approved, will try to ensure all traffic across the internet is treated equally, with no one able to build so-called "fast lanes" for rich websites. It's feared these expensive web toll roads could be …
China censorship

China demands real names online, bans parody accounts and news article comments

From March 1, people in China must reveal their real names before they can join social networks and use other websites – or face cyber-exile. The ban on pseudonyms, plus the removal of reader comments from web articles, is a further crackdown on privacy and freedom of speech in the Middle Kingdom. According to the Cyberspace …
Iain Thomson, 4 Feb 2015
germany

German 700MHz auction signals start of Euro spectrum flogoffs

Germany is to be the first country in Europe to flog off the 700MHz frequency band, with auctions taking place in May and June this year. The Teutonic auction will take place seven years ahead of the date Ofcom proposes for the frequency to be made available to mobile operators in the UK. The lower frequencies are more valuable …
Simon Rockman, 4 Feb 2015
Paul Winchell and dummy

O2 notifies data cops 'for courtesy' ... AFTER El Reg intervenes in email phish dustup

O2 has denied that it's suffered a serious data breach after customers began receiving sophisticated phishing emails that appeared to have been sent by the mobile operator late last month. It was claimed by subscribers that the body of the email included their name, email address, and date of birth. The dodgy messages about VAT …
Kelly Fiveash, 4 Feb 2015
The European flag

Web daddy Tim Berners-Lee calls for net neutrality in Europe

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, HTTP server visionary and founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, has penned a blog post on the European Commission web site titled Net neutrality is critical for Europe's future. Sir Tim defines net neutrality as “ the principle that each ‘packet’ of data must be treated equally by the network” and says …

Singapore wants nation-wide internet of things, hold the internet

The government of Singapore, famously keen on connectivity, has issued a tender seeking a fibre network to connect an island-wide sensor network. The sensors will include surveillance cameras, according to AsiaOne, and are due to be rolled out by the end of the year. There will also be sensors in drains to provide flood …

Who's come to fix your broadband? It may be a Fed in disguise. Without a search warrant

A Nevada court has ruled FBI agents can dress up as ISP repairmen to blag their way into a suspect's home without a search warrant – but must tell the courts about it when they do. The ruling stems from a case brought by the Feds against Malaysian poker player Wei Seng Phua and his son, whom the agency accused of running an …
Iain Thomson, 4 Feb 2015

Dish, the FCC, and a sly trick to leave American taxpayers $3bn short

Analysis A row has erupted over the $3bn discount Dish Networks hopes to bag on the slice of US government radio space it bought for wireless broadband. It's put a spotlight on the process of auctioning frequencies to private biz – and thrown the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the hot seat. One of the regulator's five …
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 …

Not-spot-busting for the home: Eero thinks tiny mesh router's a winner

A San Francisco startup has launched a tiny mesh router aiming to kill notspots and end buffering in the home. Eero features dual Wi-Fi radios (alongside Bluetooth and wired Ethernet) in a curved box around 4.75inches square. It combines a router, repeater and range extender – but additional Eeros auto-configure, creating a …

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
Doomsday clock

UK not-spot deal: When we said '2017’, we meant 1 DAY BEFORE 2018

Opinion While the initial “not-spots” deal looked vague and woolly, the latest communication from Ofcom shows that there is at least some engineering nous in the background. The crux of the matter is that the operators have now been given some actual numbers (PDF) to define coverage: The Licensee shall, by no later than 31 December …
Simon Rockman, 3 Feb 2015
<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-519892p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Chad Zuber</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

You heard this Chicago electro underground sound? ... Yeah, it's 4G

The Chicago subway system is to become the biggest transport system in North America to be completely blessed with 4G mobile broadband coverage. The $32.5m project will use a next-gen distributed antenna system rather than the leaky feeders employed by other underground networks. The estimated 18-month project was brought …
Simon Rockman, 3 Feb 2015
Pistol cartridges and a pistol

Dixons Carphone clings to EE, Three in Phones 4U bullet dodge

Analysis Electrical retail Goliath Dixons Carphone has announced deals with mobile networks EE and Three to head off the scenario that killed Phones4u. Phones4U folded when it failed to negotiate contracts to sell mobile network airtime. Dixons Carphone has now announced a multi-year contract with EE and a new range of custom tariffs …
Simon Rockman, 2 Feb 2015

National Lottery sleeps through Sunday

The UK National Lottery website seems to have done something nasty to itself on Saturday night, as it crashed out for much of Sunday. We're not sure exactly when the site went down and it's hard to say exactly when the problem happened because the time stamps on the Tweets that tell the story don't translate well when read down …
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Dish, AT&T, Verizon's mobile broadband bids slash US debt by 0.13%

AT&T was the biggest spender in the auction for wireless broadband frequencies that closed yesterday – spending $18.2bn to get access to every corner of the US. Of the remaining $23.1bn spent by telcos, Dish Network was the unexpected second largest shopper with $13.3bn blown on spectrum licenses, followed by Verizon with $10. …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Jan 2015