29 December 2005
Internet, statistics, WSIS
28 December 2005
Although keeping a skeptical attitude about the future of watching video program at a tiny screen, I observe that a lot of big players in different industries have invested a great deal to promote “ubiquitous video” as the next killer application. (e.g., mobile TV, DVB-H and podbroadcast)
The development of ubiquitous video fades the border between telecommunications and broadcasting gradually. It also implies that the amendment of Telecom Act becomes necessary.
27 December 2005
- The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) happened. After much ado, the result was to keep studying Internet governance. The divide between those arguing that nothing needs to be done and those who feel inadequately represented has not effectively been bridged.
- Mergers and acquisitions were prominent features of the news. SBC kicked off the sweepstakes by entering into an agreement to purchase AT&T. This eventually triggered a bidding war between Qwest and Verizon for MCI. Verizon eventually prevailed, though not without discontents among MCI shareholders because Qwest's purchase price was higher, though it was clearly the weaker merger partner. SBC ended up taking AT&T's name, leveraging a well known brand.
- Amidst all of this consolidation, the large ILECs invested in infrastructure -- fiber to the home to be specific. Over this high speed infrastructure, they hope (and are) offering video as well as high speed Internet. This raises the specter of a "triple" or "quadruple" play ... voice, data, video, mobile. This is what AT&T attempted in the late 1990s by acquiring TCI (cable) and using the FCC unbundling rules for local access. They did not pull off a bundled service offering and ended up having to sell off the pieces. Comcast entered into an agreement with Sprint/Nextel to compete. Are bundled service offerings going to be the best business strategy going forward?
- Not everyone thinks so ... Alltel announced the sale of its wireline (ILEC) business, and Telecom Austria also moved in that direction. So which will it be?
- This might be remembered as the year in which VoIP became mainstream. VoIP traffic was blocked in some places (Israel, Qatar, to name a few). Ebay purchased Skype. Tiny Western Kentucky decided to go VoIP ... I had forecasted this eventuality some five years ago ...
- Content and carriage began coming together in new ways, to the delight of some and the consternation of others. Google began building municipal, in addition to acquiring the rights to some dark fiber. Similarly, Edward Whitacre of SBC (now AT&T) made the news in which he suggested differential pricing for high profile users. This raised the profile of an ongoing discussion about "network neutrality", including an article in Technology Review about a potential redesign of the Internet.
- Speaking of carriage, there was a tussle between Level 3 and Cogent over peering. This added fuel to the fire of network neutrality, WSIS, and the power wielded by the large internet backbone providers. This was eventually resolved, even though it did result in some temporary outages for some Cogent customers.
- Mobile continues to be an important feature in the telecommunications landscape. Many operators are rolling out 3G services; CDMA 2000-based technologies still have a substantial lead, though most of us expect WCDMA to come on strong in the coming years, as the GSM-based carriers roll out the necessary infrastructure. Will we ever see a single worldwide air interface standard? Maybe with 4G?
- Mobile continues to provide a viable alternative to wireline network access for voice. Access lines continue to decline, which is one of the reasons why Alltel (and Telecom Austria) decided to take the actions they did.
Telecommunications, wireless, VoIP, Internet, municipal networks, network neutrality
26 December 2005
22 December 2005
The technical questions include: Why is a redesign needed? Wasn't IPv6 supposed to solve the problems addressed in this article? Why can't we continue to evolve the current approach?
To me, the more interesting questions are not technical. They include: How would you get existing users to switch to a new design (note the rather unimpressive adoption IPv6, some ten years after the standard was approved). Given the earlier items on network neutrality, do you believe that a new architecture would address Isenberg's wish list? Do you believe that the current infrastructure providers (AT&T/SBC, Verizon, et.al.) would go along with such an approach? How would a new architecture fare under some of the legislative initiatives underway in Congress?
Internet, Network Neutrality
15 December 2005
3G, Wireless, Siemens, GSM, CDMA
Update: Please check out Ray Gifford's analysis of network neutrality. I found it interesting and useful in that it was based on economic analysis than on historical, moral, or other imperatives.
Network Neutrality, Internet, Telecommunications
On the plus side, it allows operational autonomy and valuation (from an investment perspective). This seems to be behind the Alltel and Telcom Austria actions. This is also what AT&T (prior to the SBC merger) did in the 1990s. On the minus side ... constructing bundled services is more difficult when the members are autonomous. Incentives to defect from the "cartel" can be strong enough to cause it to collapse. We see this with OPEC. There is, by the way, an historical precedent ... AT&T in the 1990s. After assembling all of the elements of a "triple play", they dismantled the project, arguably because they couldn't make bundling work (I have some papers somewhere ...). How easy will it be for fully independent companies to make it work, when AT&T couldn't as a holding company for these units?
There are other questions ... are bundles in the "public interest"? Are consumers better off or worse off? By what measures?
I guess I'll have to visit Tirol this winter to check it out ... ;-)
14 December 2005
I will post similar links as I come across them ...
Telegraph, New Zealand
Is this debate at all germane to Om Malik's questions? Does it matter that we discussed telephone technology in the 1980s and broadband technology today? Does it matter that the previous debate was on national development, while Om Malik is interested in transational effects?
Telecommunications, taxes, wireless, cell phones
13 December 2005
Does this foreshadow a restructuring of the search industry? Does this explain (in part) Google's (and, for that matter, Yahoo's) recent activities (i.e., announcements and acquisitions)? If so, how and why do you think so?
Yahoo, Google, Internet, Alexa
Universal Service, Wireless, Telecommunications
12 December 2005
Do you think that governments should be blocking VoIP traffic? If they do, do you think they should do it explicitly or quietly?
Internet, VoIP, Vonage, Qatar
What would the measurables be? What are appropriate interventions? How would you know if you were successful? Given the recent talk about Google's ambitions (see, for example this post earlier on this blog), would Google be a candidate for this kind of regulation?
Network Neutrality, Internet, Telecommunications, Google
09 December 2005
In focussing on rural and suburban areas with its wireline business, Alltel had built a company that was largely immune from (wireline) competition by CLECs that characterized the late 1990s. With competition from wireless carriers and CATV providers, Alltel faced greater competition. Clearly, they felt that maintaining an integrated company was not consistent with shareholder value.
I find this move by Alltel a bit peculiar in that Sprint/Nextel has recently made some noise by allying themselves with CATV providers in support of a "telecom triple play" (also discussed earlier in this blog), and the moves by Verizon and AT&T (aka SBC) in this direction. Further, Alltel does not have the wireless footprint or subscriber base to compete with the big three.
Alltel is clearly marching to the beat of a different drummer ... are they right? What are good rationales for this move?
Alltel, telecommunications, wireless, competition
Telecommunications, Telecom policy, Internet,
08 December 2005
"Historically communications have been stuck in a bunch of different silos," said Brad Garlinghouse, Yahoo vice president of communications products, and a former executive at Dialpad.
"The home phone is one silo, the work phone is a silo, the mobile phone is a silo, instant messaging is another silo and mobile phone text-messaging is another silo," he said of how Yahoo plans eventually to tie together communication services.
Business 2.0 notes that the cost to Yahoo for this new service is probably well below the billions that Ebay paid to purchase Skype. In his blog, Om Malik comments on this as well, posting price estimates -- around $30 per year. Forbes has a an article that is very bullish on Yahoo's prospects in this market.
Do you think network externalities are relevant here? How is this new business model (for Yahoo) different from its previous one (in regard to voice communications)? How successful do you think Yahoo will be in executing the strategy suggested by the Forbes article?
VoIP, Yahoo, Skype, Internet, IM
07 December 2005
So, will Microsoft make good on its threat to withdraw from S. Korea in response? Personally, I doubt it ... the risks are high in a technology-savvy country like Korea.
05 December 2005
ITU, Telecommunications, Internet, WSIS
02 December 2005
On the CAnet News mailing list, Bill St. Arnaud speculates about whether this phenomenon might turn out to be a driver for technology change. Would fiber or wireless equipment face the same problems? What if the lampposts being stolen contain access points ... how would this affect municipal networks?
Internet, Europe, EU
01 December 2005
So how does this frame Google's competition (and competitive position)? Does Microsoft's investment in the Xbox make more sense in this context? Who else might have an interest in competing here? What about Whitacre and his recent comments? What kind of future do you think is emerging, based on these (and other) speculations and analyses?
And then there is this ....
30 November 2005
ICANN, Internet, WSIS
ITelecommunications, Europe, EU
29 November 2005
The second article points out some possible futures of the Internet and their consequences. In particular, Doc Searles paints three scenarios, one in which the carriers (i.e. Verizon and AT&T) win, one in which municipal networks emerge to form an alternative, and a third in which the Internet community moves toward a future that is outside the context of the traditional content/carrier framework.
To what extent should these concerns and arguments be reflected in a new telecommunications act? Can/should regulations exist that restrict the behavior of the owners of "bottleneck facilities"? If you think so, why do you believe that setting guidelines today would not create regulatory difficulties like those that stimulated the Telecommunications Act of 1996?
Internet, Telecommunications, broadband
22 November 2005
18 November 2005
Telecommunications, Universal Service
Internet, Telecommunications, Kenya
17 November 2005
Technorati tags: Telecommunications, Broadband
Google seems to be getting into everything these days ... are their motivations altruistic? Should we be worried? If so, what should we worry about?
Technorati tags: Google
16 November 2005
Technorati Tag: WSIS
11 November 2005
The second article relates to 3G penetration. Note the differences by country in terms of the total number of subscribers and the subscribers per capita. What does this tell you about market potential?
Technorati tags: wireless, cellular, 3G
10 November 2005
Technorati Tags: Digtial Television, European Union
Technorati Tags: VoIP
Technorati Tags: Municipal Networks, Google
09 November 2005
Technorati Tags: WSIS
07 November 2005
Technorati tags: Telecommunications, WSIS
04 November 2005
May you live in interesting times ....
Technorati tags: Telecommunications, Economics, Google, Municipal Networks
Technorati tags: Telecommunications, Economics
03 November 2005
Now comes a new technique, called by some "digital door to door". This could be framed as a kind of location service, I suppose. Though I haven't read any reactions yet, I wouldn't be surprised if some industry observers will comment on the loss of privacy.
Do you think that this is an appropriate use of information collected for another purpose? The EU has published privacy rules, which might be at odds with this activity ...
02 November 2005
01 November 2005
28 October 2005
Technorati Tags: Internet, Interconnection, Peering
Technorati tags: Microsoft, South Korea, Network Externalities
27 October 2005
If this is true, what kinds of responses (if any) should their be?
Technorati tags: Telecommunications, Economics
26 October 2005
What impact does this have on the (incumbent) wireline carriers? What would your stragegy recommendation going forward be if you worked for such a carrier (as you someday may do)? To help you think this through, it woudl be valueable to consider what your assets are and how you might leverage them in novel ways.
Technorati tags: Telecommunications, Economics, Wireless, Business
While we have yet to discuss this in depth, some of the main questions with universal service are:
- What is included in the definition of universal service?
- Through what mechanisms is universal service achieved? This usually revolves around some kind of subsidy.
- Who is eligible to recieve subsidies?
How does this article fit in to that framework? How about municipal networks? Do you think that broadband should be part of the universal service package?
Telecommunications, Regulation, Broadband, Universal Service
24 October 2005
"This is interesting, thanks for posting it. In areas where traffic density is very low, even anonymity as promised by Missouri would be of much help. A reasonable observer would be able to deduce who is going somewhere if there are only a few residences on a street ...
"On the other hand one could make the case that this is not an unreasonable privacy loss for a public good (basically, echoing Scott McNealy -CEO of Sun- who said something like "You have no privacy anymore. Get over it"). Furthermore, users can always turn their phone off, which would prevent them from being tracked ...
What I would like to point out from the BusinessWeek article is that different cultural values may make a service tenable in one country (or even region) than in another. Can you think of other instances where this has occurred? And where it hasn't? In each case, what were the features that made a technology or service transferrable (or not)?
Technorati Tags: Telecommunications, Wireless
Is he right in this assertion? Why or why not?
Also today you can find Scott Woolley's article The Next 4000 Days, in which considers the future in telecommunications in light of the past. This is an interesting adjuct to Friday's WSJ article.
21 October 2005
Is this a reasonable strategy? Should government be involved in this transition, or should it be left to the private sector? What would be the problems of doing the latter, and the risks of doing the former?
Technorati Tags: Telecommunications, Spectrum, Television
19 October 2005
NCLR has since called Portland's remarks defamatory and "patently false," Claiming the statements were made via school e-mail and therefore endorsed by the university, the group threatened to file suit by as early as today if the remarks aren't detracted.
Portland is the women's basketball coach at Penn State. If she sends an e-mail, does that mean it is endorsed by the University?
To see the complete news article:
I wonder what the incumbent carriers who provide broadband have to say about this? This is framed as a industrial policy -- helping Taiwanese notebook manufacturers. To me this adds weight to my growing belief that a strong motivation behind the municipal networks movement is big business ...
Technorati Tags: Telecommunications, Municipal, Wireless
Second, this article provides a concrete example of why some countries feel the need to equalize governance. Notice that the question of the scope of governance is not mentioned in the article, though the Senator's press release begins to address this. It would be a difficult to topic to introduce into the public sphere, but it seems as though doing so is important at this point in the history of the Internet.
Internet Governance (in the broad sense) comes up in many different places, see for example this item. Should a case like this be resolved by an "Internet Governance" body? Would the ITU be an effective venue for this? Should this be a local matter, or should there be a single venue for this kind of dispute resolution?
Also, I came across this blog aggregator in case you want to follow this more closely.
Technorati Tag: WSIS
18 October 2005
How aggressive should localities be about pushing this kind of service? Should they be providing resources (such as financing, rights of way) for free? Is it appropriate for cities to be biased towards wireless (as they appear to be)? Would you anticipate regulatory favoritism on the part of a city toward its own initiative (whether municipal or not)?
Technorati Tag: Telecommunications, , Municipal
Technorati Tag: Telecommunications Regulation
How does this tie in to the upcoming WSIS? Should an issue such as this be included in the idea of "Internet Governance", as we discussed in class?
How (if at all) does this tie in to the Instant Messaging interconnection? Do we see a consolidation happening in Internet search and portals? Is this domain subject to the same economics as infrastructure industries?
17 October 2005
Check today's Pitt News to read the latest regarding the Recording Industry Association of America's new lawsuits against file sharers:
It's been interesting to follow the RIAA as they attempt to stop the sharing of copyrighted music. While recent activity has focused on lawsuits, early attempts included putting messages on user (filesharers) screens stating: "When you break the law, you risk legal penalties. There is a simple way to avoid that risk: DON'T STEAL MUSIC."
Hacking was also addressed: "On July 25, 2002, California representative Howard Berman proposed a bill in Congress which would allow the recording industry to legally hack into systems suspected of sharing copyrighted material." The bill included allowing "disabling, interfering with, blocking, diverting, or otherwise impairing the unauthorized distribution, display, performance, or reproduction of his or her copyrighted work on a publicly accessible peer-to-peer file trading network."
13 October 2005
12 October 2005
11 October 2005
How does this theory apply to the EU website? What regulatory objectives might the EU have in mind? Is this superior or inferior to price regulation?
07 October 2005
When we get into international interconnection, some there are some aspects of this that are showing up in the WSIS preparatory documents. What might you imagine these to be?
06 October 2005
Is this standards war different from others that we have seen in the past? If so, how?
05 October 2005
- Rural areas can be support WiMax in the 5GHz band
- Urban areas require licensed spectrum in the 3GHz band, much of which is owned by Sprint-Nextel (from its merger)
- Verizon's Seidenberg considers it a niche technology due to spotty availability and improvements in 3G technologies
- Others consider it a technology that could disrupt the established broadband duopoly in the US
04 October 2005
Read about how a "Showdown looms over bloggers and their rights" in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05277/582101.stm
"Quite simply, it may cost more to operate the Internet backbones than the carriers earn - and running at a negative profit margin, as we all know, eventually results in bankruptcy."
This article is part of a series that she has written (links are in the article), and are quite appropos to the leadup to WSIS. How do governance models affect profitability? Is Google seeking to effectively separate itself by subsidizing an end-to-end network with ad revenues (through GoogleNet)?
What do you think about the merits of the case? If there is no apparent evidence that the defendants actively tried to deter entrants using their market power, do you think that the mere fact of dominant market share is grounds for a suit like this?
30 September 2005
"The European decision to back the rest of the world in demanding the creation of a new international body to govern the Internet clearly caught the Americans off balance and left them largely isolated at talks designed to come up with a new way of regulating the digital traffic of the 21st century.
"It's a very shocking and profound change of the EU's position," said David Gross, the State Department official in charge of America's international communications policy. "The EU's proposal seems to represent an historic shift in the regulatory approach to the Internet from one that is based on private sector leadership to a government, top-down control of the Internet."
Do you think the locus of control should be private and based in the US?
28 September 2005
- How would the draft telecommunications bill (or alternative ideas, such as those proposed by the PFF) help?
- Should Verizon have more flexibility (and less friction) to carry out this business plan?
ZD Net noted the following:
"Maybe Google Ads, tied to mobile presence?
"Say they know you are in NYC's Bryant Park. Bryant Park is right next to the main branch of the New York Public Library. That's a place frequented by lots of educated readers, computer users, researchers - and hmm, Google users, too.
"OK, let's think about it some more. Maybe if I am a Google salesperson in the NYC office, I visit nearby merchants and sell them Google AdWords?
"Google AdWords or Google AdSense tied to mobile presence? Definitely.
26 September 2005
I find it ironic that, after a decade of privatizing communication networks throughout the world, that this tred exists.
22 September 2005
20 September 2005
I am doubtful about this claim, because backbone providers are willing to peer with others only when traffic flow is symmetric. Going to a separate network, as these articles suggest, would enable Google to bypass backbone providers entirely for at least a portion of thie search. Is this a reasonable strategy? Is this a way for Google to leverage network economics to its advantage? Would Google be able to offer new services? Is this effectively a replay of the Western Union/AP deal of the 1860s?
19 September 2005
16 September 2005
Here is the PFF's first response.
15 September 2005
I would like to draw your attention to an ongoing review of Canadian Telecommunications Policy. The second round comment period ends today. The submitted comments are all available on line.
I would like to point out some procedural elements that are noteworthy. First, the publication of a consultation paper. Second, the publication of terms of reference. Third, the availability of two comment periods -- one for initial comments and the other for clarification/rebuttal. Why and how are each of these elements useful and important? You might also take a sampling of some of the submitted comments; do they reflect the positions you might expect? Were you able to think of a viewpoint that was not represented?
14 September 2005
The FCC has created a website to facilitate recovery efforts.
The report in theURL points to growth in GSM use in Latin America due to the decline in TDMA. The last paragraph of the report is significant, and why both AT&T wireless and Cingular (prior to their merger) independently chose to migrate to GSM from TDMA (and not CDMA) -- cheaper handsets. This is primarily because GSM is a simpler technology, therefore cheaper to implement. Scale economies also play a role, as GSM has the larger market share worldwide by a large margin (over CDMA).
The primary advantage of migrating from TDMA to CDMA is that the migration to 3G is less disruptive and (potentially) less expensive for the service providers.
13 September 2005
Another interesting question is what the wireline carriers should do in response to this trend. Should they abandon their infrastructure and write it off (eg. shrink as a company)? Should they transform their infrastructure in some way? If the latter, how?
12 September 2005
The report at this URL is of interest to you as students in this course.