Networks > More stories

Smart Meter keeps you on top of your spending

Chair legs it from UK govt smart meter installation programme

The chair of the government's controversial smart meter programme, Baroness McDonagh, has left her post after recently criticising the roll-out of the widely hated scheme. Current costs of the scheme are expected to reach £11bn, while total lifetime costs were recently pegged as high as £19bn – the same amount that the programme …
Kat Hall, 2 Jul 2015
NBN logo

New nbnTM roadmap reveals HFC tests to start in Q4

nbnTM, the entity charged with building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN) has released a new product roadmap. The new plan (PDF) reveals that retail service providers will be provided with a Network Sandpit for HFC” in 2015's fourth quarter. In Q2 of 2016, “HFC Business Readiness Testing” will commence …

Sprint: Forget all we said about strangling your web video streams

US telco Sprint has killed off its attempt to strangle internet video streaming on its so-called "unlimited" phone plan. The carrier said its "All-In" $80 monthly plan will no longer impose a 600Kbps cap on streaming video speeds. "At Sprint, we strive to provide customers a great experience when using our network. We heard you …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Jul 2015
You seen him? Hasidim

Orange hurls €90m at Israel's Partner to end political bunfight

Orange has been caught in a political storm after trying to stop Israeli mobile network Partner Communications from using its name. The company uses the brand because it received funding from, but was not owned by, Hutchison Whampoa, which launched the Orange brand in the UK several years ago. When Orange (then the UK's third- …
Simon Rockman, 1 Jul 2015
SMS inventor Matti Makkonen

Vale Matti Makkonen, SMS dreamer

Matti Makkonen, a figure widely held to have influenced the development of SMS, has died at the relatively young age of 63. According to BT, it took some years for Makkonen's pitch to Finland's Telecoms and Postal agency in 1984 to become a reality in 1992. It took even longer for SMS to really hit its straps, because carriers …
NBN Co fixed wireless antenna

While city slickers argue about the NBN, rural retailers are smiling

While debate continues in Australian cities about the technology employed to build Australia's national broadband network (NBN), a regional specialist reckons things are on the improve beyond the sandstone curtain. Tony Bundrock, CEO of NBN satellite and wireless retail service provider (RSP) Activ8me, told Vulture South the …
angry_woman_mobile_cropped_648

Sprint: Our 'unlimited' mobe plan has one tiny limit: High-quality video

US phone carrier Sprint is offering an unlimited data plan that carries one important caveat: throttled data rates for video. The carrier's All-In smartphone plan charges users $80 per month with no limit on voice or data usage. Streaming video, however, will be slowed to a crawl, thanks to a limit holding video to "3G" data …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Jul 2015

EUROPEAN PURGE on hated mobile roaming charges

After 12 hours of tense negotiations, EU negotiators agreed at 3am on Tuesday to impose a minimal cap on mobile phone roaming charges for calls, texts and data. The so-called Telecoms Package has been in trouble for months, but – acting on behalf of EU member states – the rotating EU Council Presidency, under Latvia, pushed hard …
Jennifer Baker, 30 Jun 2015
BT Openreach at work

Sky bangs on Ofcom's door – demands BT competition probe

Blighty's communications watchdog declined this morning to comment on Sky's demands for an in-depth competition probe of BT's broadband biz. Sky has argued in its submission (PDF) to Ofcom today that the regulator should ask the Competition and Markets Authority to intervene with a full inquiry into BT's strong grip on the UK's …
Kelly Fiveash, 29 Jun 2015
Image from Shutterstock 161369036

Ofcom: We need 5G spectrum planning for the future’s ultramobes

Despite the majority of Reg readers thinking that 5G can wait, there needs to be some planning as to how spectrum will be allocated if the same frequencies are to be made available globally. The need for international harmony on use of millimetre spectrum was the focus of a recent presentation by UK regulator Ofcom to the LTE …
Simon Rockman, 29 Jun 2015
Selection of Australian banknotes

Turnbullnomics trashed as Oz regulator cuts telecoms prices

A bunch of Australian fixed telephony and broadband users are about to suffer under a regime of lower prices. In spite of communications minister Malcolm Turnbull's 2014 assertion that lower prices are against consumer's interests, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has told Telstra to cut its wholesale fixed …
Three Telstra vans restore one line

ACCC clears copper for the NBN

The ACCC has rubber-stamped the agreements needed to let nbnTM absorb Telstra's copper for fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) broadband. The approval of the deal means nbnTM can take ownership of Telstra’s copper and HFC networks for the government's multi-technology model broadband delivery. “Using existing infrastructure means we can …
Fiber optics

Boffins set networking record with marathon 12,000 km fiber data run

A group of university researchers claim to have developed a method to increase the data bandwidth of fiber optic cables by eliminating a barrier that has limited the maximum power at which optical signals can be sent. The team from University of California, San Diego said its method of adjusting the frequency of light signals …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jun 2015
Google HQ logo. Pic: Bob Dormon

Google helps Brit crims polish their image – but what about the innocent

Comment Google appears to be "complying" with the so-called European "right to be forgotten" ruling in a way which has helped convicted criminals to give their reputations an unexpected boost. We know this from media organisations which have helpfully listed the stories Google won’t return in its search results. The Telegraph does so …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jun 2015
Checking comms at supersonic speeds

Cambridge boffins: STOP the rush to 5G. We just don't need it

+Poll The headlong rush into 5G is an unnecessary technology treadmill, or so the great and the good of the wireless world have concluded. Cambridge Wireless, a network which brings together senior players in the mobile industry, may have moved its annual shindig from the esteemed university to London's Emirates Stadium, but it …
Simon Rockman, 26 Jun 2015

G.fast is coming, so get ready, telcos tell ACCC

The Communications Alliance has told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission it wants deployment rules to leave room for G.fast in the future. In this submission (PDF) to the ACCC's Superfast Broadband Access Service (SBAS) declaration inquiry, the industry group notes that it's already working on VDSL2 deployment …
Reported mobile black spots

Telstra, Voda bag blackspot bucks

The Australian government has embarked on a mobile blackspot crackdown with funding released for the creation of 499 new mobile base stations to improve coverage in rural and remote areas. The new base stations will provide an extra 68,600 square kilometers of handheld coverage, and 150,000 square kilometres of external antenna …
Tom Wheeler, Chair of FCC. Image by DonkeyHotey

FCC boss Wheeler: Shove off, big dogs – let the small telcos play

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chief Tom Wheeler has proposed new rules for upcoming wireless spectrum auctions which will limit large telcos' ability to snap up space meant for small carriers. By entering smaller subsidiaries into the small business spectrum auctions, larger carriers are able to bid for more of the …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jun 2015
Sad iPhone

Apple apes Microsoft with iPhone BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH

T-Mobile users with iPhones are being beset by a mysterious issue that causes their handsets to randomly flash a blue screen and then reset itself. Multiple users are reporting that their Apple handsets have been flashing the blue screen before going black and restarting without warning. T-Mobile has yet to respond to a request …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Jun 2015

ICANN's leaving the nest, so when will it grow up?

Comment ICANN is 17 years old. It's about to be given the keys to its dad's car. And we are all going to have to take a ride with it every day. On June 30, 2016, ICANN, which oversees the global domain name service (DNS), will take over the IANA contract on a semi-permanent basis from the US government. The IANA contract means very …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jun 2015
BT Openreach at work

BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

BT is asking Ofcom to be freed from its obligation to provide ordinary PSTN/POTS voice telephone connections across the UK. The telecoms giant would prefer to provide only internet services, and let customers use them for voice calls. The Telegraph reported that BT wants to move "all domestic and business customers to internet- …
Three Telstra vans restore one line

The slow strangulation of telework in Australia

From the day I arrived in Australia, I’ve had a high-speed broadband connection. The owner of the ISP came over to my flat to set it up, attaching a point-to-point wireless link to my terrace, then aiming it at his offices. Within a few minutes I had the very same 5 Mbps symmetric connection that I’ve enjoyed ever since - even …
Mark Pesce, 25 Jun 2015
Speedometer by Nathan E Photography, Flickr under CC2.0

Australia leads Asia Pac in mobile broadband speeds

The most recent Akamai State of the Internet report has found Australia has the fastest mobile download speeds in the Asia Pacific region, peaking at an astonishing 149.3 Mbps. A pity that the peak, which probably happened because someone was standing next to a brand-new base station and was the only user handy, didn't reflect …
Zombie rising from the grave

Verizon outage borks phones, TVs, internet for hapless East Coast folk

Update All of US carrier Verizon's services have been struck down by an outage across Delaware, New Jersey, and New York since 5:27am EDT. Down Detector has recorded a spike in complaints since this morning, and its own commentards have tracked the outage by offering their experiences and referencing them with their area codes. …

Understanding the network energy efficiency challenge

At the end of last week, the GreenTouch telco energy-efficiency consortium told a presumably-glittering event in New York that its five-year project to design more energy-efficient telecommunications has been a success. In fact, the group said, it reckons that if adopted, its approaches could improve mobile network efficiency by …
New York's proposed wi-fi station

Google to take another shot at a free Wi-Fi business

Google side-project Sidewalk Labs is buying the companies running New York's LyncNYC project that offers public Wi-Fi from payphones, in the hope of one day achieving World DominationTM. It's not the Chocolate Factory's first free Wi-Fi in New York – that honour goes to the free zone around its Chelsea offices – but this time …
Herdwick sheep walk towards the camera

Triple glitch grounds ALL aircraft in New Zealand

A trinity of network failures led to the grounding of all aircraft in New Zealand yesterday. Just four minutes of outage ended up keeping planes on the ground for two hours, affecting 200 flights on 23 June. It cut off radar systems and forced traffic controllers to revert to manual systems to land some of the fifty aircraft …
Darren Pauli, 24 Jun 2015

What is this river nonsense? Give .amazon to Bezos, says US Congress

The US Congress has had a second stab at trying to get Amazon its own internet extension in a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The Congressional Trademark Caucus has written to the domain name overseer's CEO and chair complaining about the decision to deny the online retailer its …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Jun 2015
Supermarine Spitfire firing up. SAC Graham Taylor/Crown copyright

Vodafone splashes €2 BEEELLLION to kick German TV sideways

Germany's electricity, gas, telecoms, post and railway regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, has raised €5.08bn in its latest spectrum auction - including flogging the 700MHz frequencies currently in use by TV channels. The biggest purchaser was Vodafone, which splurged €2.1bn, with the auction going through 181 rounds and …
Simon Rockman, 23 Jun 2015

Oi! 'Hands off America's Wi-Fi spectrum' yells, er, the cable lobby

America's cable broadband lobby has decided it doesn't like proposals for unlicensed LTE, claiming that LTE-U rollouts will interfere with citizens' WiFi kit. LTE-U is a hot topic among spectrum-hungry mobile carriers, since it would let a base station look around, and if it spots radio quiet in (for example) 3 GHz or 5 GHz …
Virgin Tivo

Virgin Media starts its broadband-of-the-gaps fibre rollout

Virgin Media has started work connecting customers to the fibre broadband infill it announced in February. The £3bn programme significantly larger than anything planned by BT and represents a growing trend among companies to provide higher speed broadband than available with the UK incumbent. Virgin offers a 152Mbps service, …
Simon Rockman, 22 Jun 2015
india

Phone-home service Lebara launches prepaid TV offering

Low-cost mobile virtual network operator Lebara is following the non-virtual operators in a step towards quad-play with a TV offering — and for the moment at least skipping broadband and fixed. As with the existing phone service, Lebara Play will be prepaid, with customers topping up their allocation at a local corner shop. …
Simon Rockman, 22 Jun 2015
shutterstock_206717503

Giganto French telco merger: Altice makes eyes at Bouygues

Despite Margrethe Vestager – the EU’s anti-trust supremo – railing against telco mergers earlier this month, French mega-company Altice has made a €10bn bid for the telco part of rival Bouygues. Altice has made the bid thorough Numericable-SFR, formed when Numerical bought the SFR network from Vivendi last year for €17bn. A …
Simon Rockman, 22 Jun 2015
parcels_shutterstock_648

Post Office launches mobe service for aged greybeards

The Post Office has launched its own mobile phone service. The organisation plays hard on the value for money that its new pre-pay tariffs offer, but in practice the market is so competitive it’s hard to make that stand up. While the headline prices are cheaper, many rivals – notably Tesco Mobile – offer top-up bonuses, which …
Simon Rockman, 22 Jun 2015
top of the bt tower

Tower of BT Bubbly: Fancy nibbling atop a strategic data hub?

The rotating restaurant at the top of the BT Tower will open for two weeks this year to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The GPO Tower, as it was named many decades ago, used to be open to the public, with both a restaurant and a public viewing galley. A 1971 IRA bomb led to the closure of the gallery, with the restaurant closing …
Simon Rockman, 22 Jun 2015
Telstra phone booth by Ed Dunens from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/blachswan/

Telstra wi-fi hotspots go dark ahead of commercial roll out

Telstra’s free wi-fi hotspots have gone dark ahead of a commercial launch of the service sometime later this year. The service trial saw public phone boxes transformed into wireless hotspots, the first rolling out at the end of last year. The six month trial was designed to provide the telecoms giant with information about user …

Thing users: you need national narrowband

A couple of Australian telco industry veterans reckon the Internet of Things needs an access network of its own, to meet the requirements of cheap, low-volume traffic. Industry newsletter Communications Day reports today that founder Rob Zagarella told a Communications Alliance workshop that the outfit wants to create an open …
Speedometer by Nathan E Photography, Flickr under CC2.0

ITU: we'll have 5G standards ready by 2020

Following a working party meeting in San Diego, the ITU has announced the timeline for 5G standardisation. The IMT-2020 process, outlined here, envisages completing standards for 5G during 2020. The standards body expects to complete its 5G vision statement to be completed this year, which will let it start serious work on 5G …
Throttling

At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

From tomorrow it will be easier for consumers to switch from a crap broadband provider to, er, well, another — possibly slightly less crap — broadband provider. The new rules apply to those using the Openreach telecoms network, such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk. Previously, consumers had to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code …
Kat Hall, 19 Jun 2015

The world .sucks at a minute past midnight on Sunday

At a minute after midnight on Sunday, UTC time, .sucks domains will go on sale to anyone who wants one. The flick of the switch to general availability is expected to produce a feeding frenzy as brands and celebrities scramble to make defensive purchases – there's no way Coca Cola wants Coke.sucks in the wrong hands – and …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2015

FCC hosts Reagan-off as it enters 21st century

FCC commissioners embarked on a Reagan-quoting political bake-off today as the regulator sought to expand its discount telephone service for flat-broke families. A proposal to extend a $9.25-a-month telephone service called Lifeline to include broadband internet access is now out for public comment. The Lifeline service is aimed …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jun 2015
Statue of Liberty

Verizon promised to wire up NYC with fiber... and failed miserably – audit

New York City authorities have thumped Verizon for apparently reneging on its promises to wire up the Big Apple with super-fast fiber internet. In 2008, the city signed a deal with Verizon in which the telco promised to give every resident access to a fiber-optic broadband connection by July 2014. In return, the city reduced the …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jun 2015