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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
Steve Crocker, ICANN chairman

ICANN shoots down incoming Cruz missiles

DNS overlord ICANN has responded to an angry letter from three US Congressmen accusing it of failing to answer questions ... by sending a letter that fails to answer their questions. Earlier this week, the three senators, including Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, complained to ICANN chairman Steve Crocker that the …

Google to admins: We'll tell you when your network is pwned

Google software engineer Nav Jagpal says it will start sharing URLs linked to social engineering, unwanted and malicious software, to help network administrators understand the threats they face. Google is monitoring some 22,000 autonomous systems (ASNs) or about 40 percent of total active networks, and provides some 250 …
Team Register, 8 Apr 2016
Pawn Shop

Cash-strapped Sprint to raise $2.2bn by flogging off its network hardware

Mobile carrier Sprint says it will raise $2.2bn by selling and then re-lease its own network hardware. The SoftBank-owned US telco said it will use money from the sale to return to profitability by providing a much-needed infusion of cash, as it works to turn around a business that had become a cash sink. "Sprint and SoftBank …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Apr 2016

China's Great Firewall inventor forced to use VPN live on stage to dodge his own creation

The architect of China's Great Firewall was forced to use a VPN to bypass his own creation in a lecture this week on internet safety. Fang Binxing was speaking at his old university, the Harbin Institute of Technology in Heilongjiang, China, when he attempted to access webpages hosted in South Korea as a way to illustrate a …
An angry mob

Verizon peeps gobbled by Frontier enter week two of crap internet

The problems that have plagued the handover of broadband subscribers from Verizon to Frontier Communications are entering their second week – and Frontier says that some internet services will not be restored until mid-April. The issues began on April 1, when people reported widespread outages and service disruptions in …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Apr 2016
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Three to chop off £3bn of its network in bid to woo EU over O2 merger

Three UK is making a last-ditch attempt to win EU approval of its £10.25bn O2 merger with a number of sweeteners, including £3bn in network deals with competitors, according to reports. According to The Telegraph, Three's owner, CK Hutchison, has signed deals with Virgin and Sky that will guarantee space on its expanded mobile …
Kat Hall, 7 Apr 2016
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Waleed Aly's NBN intervention is profoundly unhelpful

Australian political commentator Waleed Aly has made a spectacularly non-useful intervention into the debate about the technologies used to build Australia's national broadband network (NBN), setting the ridiculous expectation that streaming video must always load in under a second and must never pause. Aly's piece on The …
Woman throttling man. Pic: quan ha

Australia's broadband policy is a flimsy, cynical House of Cards

On a recent trip to the shops, I priced a massive UHD OLED telly, with blacks so dark the panel looked like it actively sucked in light. Staring into the most beautiful television I’d ever seen, I had a moment of clarity: Gorgeous and expensive, but useless. A generation ago, one of my mentors taught me a simple truth, “ …
Mark Pesce, 6 Apr 2016

Nest's bricking of Revolv serves as wake-up call to industry

The extraordinary decision of Nest to brick its $300 Revolv home automation hub has served as a wake-up call to the tech industry. Both customers and the broader internet of things (IoT) industry were appalled when Nest removed all support for the device, making it as useful as a tub of hummus, as one angry consumer memorably …
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Angry Vodafone customers spark Ofcom probe after phone bill overcharge snafu

Vodafone has once again come under fire for poor customer service, this time for its handling of a computer glitch that led to customers being overcharged. A spokeswoman admitted the company experienced problems last year when it migrated records onto a new billing system. "Unfortunately, there were some problems during the …
Kat Hall, 6 Apr 2016

Australian Bureau of Statistics stops counting 24Mbps broadband services

Australians downloaded 1,714,922 Terabytes in the 90 days to December 31st, 2015, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The bureau's new Internet Activity, Australia, December 2015, released today, points out that 98 per cent of those downloads used wired networks, which rather dampens the …

Mobe and Wi-Fi firms flog your location data to commercial firms, claim reports

Two reports by privacy campaigners into mobile and Wi-Fi services' location tracking activities have revealed practices of questionable legality and security. The studies found that “at best, companies are fulfilling the minimal legal requirements, and at worst could breaking the law and breaching our right to privacy.” The …

Broadband bods Gigaclear bag £24m for rural hi-speed internet

Rural broadband provider Gigaclear has bagged an additional £24m in investment, part of its plans to serve 1.5 million homes currently without fibre-to-the-premises networks. This investment follows a cash injection of ‎£20m (€25m) from the EU-controlled European Investment Bank in January. Gigaclear is targeting a fund- …
Kat Hall, 5 Apr 2016
Cartoon - Private SNAFU

Telstra hauls in Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper to explain TITSUPs

Australia's dominant carrier Telstra has hauled three of its key vendors into the principal's office for a dressing down, following network outages that had the Australian incumbent giving mobile users “free data days” to stem the outrage. Major outages in the mobile network happened in February and March, and the carrier's …

Eat your greens, FCC tells ISPs with new broadband "nutrition label"

The FCC has launched a "broadband label" that breaks down exactly what service your ISPs offers and all related fees to it. The goal of the new label - which looks a lot like that seen on the side of a food packet - is to increase transparency in broadband services. It will ensure there are "no surprises after you buy", FCC …
Philips Hue Starter Pack

Hue, not Three, could be Hutchison’s crown jewel as MNO model morphs

The European Commission has two months to decide whether to allow the takeover of Telefonica’s O2 UK arm by CK Hutchison, owner of 3UK, and if it does, what conditions will be imposed. One of the most likely demands will be for the merged entity to divest some of its infrastructure for a new entrant, or at least to earmark a …
Hawaiki Cable Route

Hawaiki cable to go ahead with US$300 million Au/NZ/US build

A long-awaited third crossing between Australia, New Zealand and the USA looks set to become a reality, with Kiwi cable Hawaiki announcing it's secured the funding needed to start construction. The 30 Tbps cable has been on the cards since it was first announced in 2012, and in 2013 it nominated TE Subcom for its build. …
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Egypt unfriended Facebook for Free Basics snoop snub

Facebook reportedly had its Free Basics internet service banned in Egypt because it would not meet government demands that it open the service for surveillance. A Reuters report cited two unnamed sources in claiming that the decision by authorities to suspend Free Basics in the country on December 30 of last year was due to …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Apr 2016

Frontier rings in Verizon takeover by borking its network

Frontier Communications says that problems related to its takeover of Verizon's internet service led to outages across the three most populous states in the country yesterday. The company told The Register that errors related to the handover caused a failure early this morning in California, Texas and Florida. Making matters …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Apr 2016

Critics hit out at 'black box' UN internet body

The United Nations body that reviews how the internet is governed is facing criticism from some of its biggest supporters over its "black box" decision making. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an annual event that pulls everyone from governments to civil society to business and the technical community together to discuss …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Mar 2016
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

EE most 'reliable' mobile provider for cities – Ofcom

Communications regulator Ofcom has named EE the mobile provider with the fastest speeds in four major cities, according to research published today. EE came out on top in all five categories: download speeds, web-browsing speeds, upload speeds, video streaming and even - gasp - telephone calls in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool …
Kat Hall, 31 Mar 2016
Woman in bathrobe is shocked by something she is reading on her laptop. Pic via Shutterstock

Ofcom is keeping schtum over BT Openreach plans until end of year

Telecoms regulator Ofcom will not release details of its proposals for greater structural separation of Openreach and BT until the end of the year. In February the regulator stopped short of recommending a full separation of BT and Openreach in its Digital Communications Review. Ofcom will now draft its "proposals for …
Kat Hall, 31 Mar 2016
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Ofcom puts aside a little bit of spectrum for Internet of Things things

A proportion of very high frequency (VHF) wireless spectrum will be reserved for future use by Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices, the UK telecoms regulator has announced. Ofcom will also create a new category of licence specifically for IoT/machine-to-machine (M2M) communications applications, along with a “dedicated …
OUT-LAW.COM, 31 Mar 2016
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New submarine cable to connect Australia to Singapore

SubPartners' APX-West cable from Perth to Singapore will finally go ahead, after the company changed its business model to a consortium build. Mooted for some years now, the company originally wanted to finance and build the cable itself and sell access to all comers. It proved difficult to convince investors, however, so …
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Legal right to 10Mbps broadband is 'not enough', thunders KCOM chief

The government's plans to make 10Mbps a 'legal right' by 2020 do not nearly go far enough, Bill Halbert, chief exec of telecoms sector firm Kcom has said. Achieving an ultrafast broadband infrastructure is "one of the most important things we can achieve as a country," Halbert told The Register. "The Universal Service …
Kat Hall, 30 Mar 2016

DARPA issues collaborative spectrum sharing challenge

Static spectrum allocation is going to pass its use-by date soon, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has kicked off a US$2 million challenge to find co-operative ways to share radio frequencies. DARPA's project page, here, describes its aim simply: it wants to replace static spectrum …
Telephone. Copyright: macinate

East Coast: Verizon on the hook for landline hikes. West Coast: AT&T denies hooking $100m for 10Mbps broadband

AT&T and Verizon are taking heat on opposite sides of the US over their networks. In California, AT&T is said to be pursuing a deal that would pay the telecom giant $100m to hook virtually the entire state up to "broadband" internet. California Assembly Bill 2130 will allow the state to fund the expansion of broadband networks …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Mar 2016

DNS root server attack was not aimed at root servers – infosec bods

The internet's root servers were not the target of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in December which for a short time took out four of the 13 pillars of the global network. That's according to two security researchers who will present their findings at a conference in Argentina on Friday. Instead, they conclude …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Mar 2016
Ethernet cable rises up like a snake (artist's impression). Image via shutterstock

Arista takes on the network big boys with switchin 'n' routing gear

Arista is taking on the big boys of Cisco and Juniper with its new switching and routing platform for cloud service providers and enterprise data centres. The Arista 7500R “universal spine” device combines the functions of a high speed modular switch and a router. It is based on Broadcom’s “Jericho” silicon enhanced with …
Kat Hall, 29 Mar 2016

Verizon plots 28 GHz 5G tests

Verizon is moving ahead with its mm-wave wireless plans, filling applications for 28 Ghz-band experimental licenses in the US. The company has requested a six-month license to test equipment from Ericsson, Intel, Samsung and Qualcomm. Most of its interest seems to be in the propagation characteristics of 5G kit in the band, …
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Basslink says cable repairs won't be done until June

Tasmania's long-suffering electricity and Internet users – in other words, nearly everyone – will have to wait until mid-June for a fix to the Basslink power and optical fibre cables. The company has announced (PDF) that it's pinpointed the fault on its electricity cables, just 1,150 metres from where it cut the cable for …

Net neut naught: Netflix throttles its own video

Streaming video titan and net neutrality champion Netflix says it will be complicit in throttling content for wireless carriers. The entertainment giant said on Thursday that it will compromise the quality of its streams at the behest of wireless carriers who place caps on user data intake. "We believe restrictive data caps …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2016

French scream sacré bleu! as US govt gives up the internet to ICANN

The French government has slammed the agreement to move the domain name system out from under US control and hand it to Californian non-profit ICANN. The French believe the move hands too much control to internet giants like Google and Amazon. Speaking to leading French newspaper Le Monde, French government officials said …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Mar 2016
Man rools out fibre cable from a large wooden cable reel on a suburban street. Pic via Pixabay

Your broadband speeds are up by 6Mbps, boasts UK watchdog Ofcom

The average home broadband speed in the UK increased to 28.9Mbps, up by 6Mbps from a year ago – according to the latest annual research from Ofcom. In November 2015, forty-two per cent of residential fixed broadband lines were superfast products – connections with a headline speed of "up to" 30Mbps or more, a nine percentage …
Kat Hall, 24 Mar 2016
Man rools out fibre cable from a large wooden cable reel on a suburban street. Pic via Pixabay

Govt: Citizens, we know you want 10Mbps. This is the last broadband scheme for that

The government has said it will not conduct another national broadband roll-out programme in order to meet its promise that every citizen in Blighty will have access to 10Mbps by 2010. In its consultation document regarding the Universal Service Obligation promised by David Cameron last year, the department for Culture, Media …
Kat Hall, 24 Mar 2016
Bristol's massive MIMO testbed

Bristol boffins blast 1.59 Gbps down ONE 20 MHz channel

VIDEO In what's being touted as a “5G breakthrough”, University of Bristol researchers have demonstrated that MIMO (multi-in, multi-out) antenna arrangements can be scaled up to more than 100 transmitters. The demonstration, as described in a canned statement, used 128 antennas transmitting to as many as 12 single-antenna clients …

The FCC, once seen as a telco-thrashing hero, is sadly losing the plot

Analysis The FCC's continued push against the powerful telco lobby has swung a spotlight onto the American regulator's archaic work practices and increasingly partisan atmosphere. Appearing in front of a US Senate subcommittee (again) yesterday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and his four Commissioners were quizzed about a range of plans to …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Mar 2016
Shoppers escalators1 photo via Shutterstock

Google to unleash Android Pay on UK shoppers within 'months'

Google’s smartphone payment system, Android Pay, is coming to the UK “in the next few months". The payment service, released in September 2015, will début with a host of the UK’s retailers, banks and financial services institutions on board, Google said on Wednesday. Android Pay is already available in the US, with a claimed …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Mar 2016

Four of the top 10 places in the world for internet are, er, in the US

Akamai’s state of the internet survey is the most comprehensive global snapshot of internet performance you’ll find. So if your country (or state) is falling behind, you can see how. These days, the survey even comes with its own app. The just-published summary for Q4 2015 shows a 23 per cent year-on-year gain in connection …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Mar 2016

Censor-happy China, battling Brazilians ... just what's left in the wake of ICANN's now ex-CEO?

Analysis Everyone wants to leave their job on a high, but so few manage it. One of those who tried so hard is Fadi Chehade, CEO of domain-name system overseer ICANN, who vacated the top role earlier this month. He has left a bit of a stink behind, thanks to his courting of the repressive Chinese government and disgraced Brazilian …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Mar 2016

Comms 'redlining' in Brussels as explosions kill up to 30 people

Communications are "redlining" in Brussels after three explosions struck the city this morning, two at the Zaventem international airport and one at the Maelbeek metro station. Belgian national media has called for citizens to stay indoors and off of their phones around the capital city following what seem to be terrorist …