Friday, November 20
So-called “bandwidth hogs”—people who use an inordinate amount of bandwidth each month—have a history of giving Internet service providers headaches. But as Todd Spangler of Multichannel News points out, thanks to the popularity of online video, it’s not just the hogs who are creating a bandwidth crunch:
[A]ccording to recent analysis of Internet usage patterns, there’s a “primetime” for broadband consumption, which a huge monthly cap won’t do anything to address. A monthly 250 GB cap only filters out the bit junkies who are literally sharing terabytes of stuff; granted, they unequivocally use more than their fair share but capping them doesn’t solve long-term congestion issues.
Network-management equipment vendor Sandvine says that between 7 and 10 p.m. in any given region around the world, the usage profile among all users was roughly equivalent, mainly thanks to the explosive popularity of Internet TV and online video. That means in that primetime window, you and I use the same amount of bandwidth as the overall heaviest users (”bandwidth hogs”) who use their connections 24 hours per day.
Thursday, November 19
As the FCC works toward a national broadband plan, it is also seeking to have an integral role in finding solutions for broadband deployment, lack of spectrum, and digital literacy. Reports the Wall Street Journal:
The FCC identified a number of issues the government should address, including the high cost of laying new broadband lines in rural areas, a lack of airwaves for wireless Web access and ill-informed consumers.
“This focus on broadband is a reflection of a recognition that the U.S. is lagging behind,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Wednesday at the agency’s monthly meeting.
Earlier this, the agency also passed a new rule that will help wireless companies speed up the process of installing new cell towers.
CNet (via CNN) on a new report:
Major countries and nation-states are engaged in a “Cyber Cold War,” amassing cyberweapons, conducting espionage, and testing networks in preparation for using the Internet to conduct war, according to a new report to be released on Tuesday by McAfee.
In particular, countries gearing up for cyberoffensives are the U.S., Israel, Russia, China, and France, says the report, compiled by former White House Homeland Security adviser Paul Kurtz and based on interviews with more than 20 experts in international relations, national security and Internet security.
While cyberwarfare has yet to truly surface—outside of cases of espionage—many believe it will become a major component of wars between nations in the future.
Back in October, Finland became the first nation to declare broadband a legal right for every citizen.
Now Spain is joining in, with the the country’s industry minister declaring that starting in 2011 every citizen has a legal right to service of at least one megabyte per second.
Wednesday, November 18
Tuesday, November 17
President Obama held a town hall with students in Shanghai yesterday, and while his confession that he’s never personally used Twitter is getting a lot of attention, the New York Times reports that his willingness to criticize Internet censorship in one of the most restrictive countries in the world, is a much more noteworthy event.
Though the FCC is moving forward with proposed net neutrality rules, there remains dissent over the policy within its own ranks. Reports Broadcasting & Cable:
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell made it clear Thursday that he remains opposed to the substantive underpinnings of the FCC Democratic majority’s proposal to expand and codify network neutrality principles.
Speaking at an Institute For Policy Communications Summit in Washington, McDowell pointed out that while he had voted to initiate the rulemaking, he has never voted against doing so in his tenure, saying it was important to be part of the process. But he also emphasized that he had dissented from the proposals themselves, and said he hoped all the commissioners minds “can be changed purely on the basis of the facts and the law.”
In national broadband plan news, the FCC is currently seeking comment on the role of broadband and health care.
The deadline for comments is December 4.
Monday, November 16
According to Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett, the cable industry is outgrowing the wireless industry. Subscriber growth in the wireless industry over the last 12 months is up 5.3%, but revenue per subscriber is down 1.7%, producing just 3.6% revenue growth. The cable industry, by contrast, grew revenue per sub 4.1% over the same time period and total industry growth was 5.3%.
Eric Savitz, “Cable Vs. Wireless: Guess Which Is Growing Faster?” Barron’s. August 23, 2009.
More facts about broadband.
Friday, November 13
PC World reports on forum recently held by the Institute for Policy Innovation, specifically discussing the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules. At issue was whether the rules—especially when it comes to what counts as “reasonable network management by ISPs—could mean for the Internet:
The proposed rules would prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing legal Web content and services, while allowing them to engage in “reasonable” network management. Some speakers at the event worried about how the FCC will define reasonable network management, with no definition in a notice of proposed rulemaking released by the FCC in October.
The FCC’s definition of reasonable network management is likely to be challenged in court, and that uncertainty could slow down network investment, said Robert McDowell, a Republican member of the FCC. “‘Reasonable’ will be litigated,” he said. “At the end of the day, do we want lawyers running the Internet?”
The FCC is currently seeking comment on the proposed plan.