30 November 2005

Israeli ISPs may not carry int’l calls over VoIP

Take a look at this story. Is it technically feasible for ISPs to enforce this? Do you agree with the reasons for this action that were given by Mr. Balashnikov? Do you think it is right to effectively protect incumbents ("licensed international carriers")?

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VeriSign, ICANN face antitrust lawsuits

This article is interesting ... what does this say about the experiment of "private regulation" that ICANN embodied? That is, ICANN was an attempt to encourage private sector leadership in the governance of the Internet. Does this governance require a single arbiter of names and addresses? If so, what is the relationship between this function and anti-monopoly laws? Can the two coexist? Does this suggest that governance should be modified, perhaps along the lines suggested by several parties at the recent WSIS meeting?

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New Public Consultations on the EU Regulatory Framework

Please take note of this announcement on a new series of pulic consultations with regard to the EU Regulatory framework. Why is this consultation being undertaken? What results would you expect from this process? Given what you know, what questions in the consulation document would you be able to answer, and what input would you provide to the EC?

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29 November 2005

The future of the Internet

In addition to the article referred to earlier on New Zealand, here are two articles that discuss some issues facing the Internet in the future. The first addresses potential abuses by the owners of the so-called "bottleneck facilities" -- the facilities we use to gain access to the content and applications that are provided on the Internet. These "bottleneck facilities" have almost always been the access network. The article goes on to address questions about the proposed legislation that is being discussed in Congress.

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?

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Funding for Rural Internet in the US

As a follow-up to our discussion of developing countries, here is an article (free registration required) describing the goals and problems faced by potential users of a program designed to bring broadband Internet to rural areas. While many rural areas in the US hardly qualify as "developing areas" (including the one described here), others might. What are the benefits of using a program such as this one? Could a program like this be implemented effectively outside the US (albeit with different funding agencies)? How would you overcome some of the problems described in the article?

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22 November 2005

More on municipal networks

I came across this article on municipal wireless that was published recently. I will try to get ahold of the paper that is referred to, for those of you who what to learn more.

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18 November 2005

Telecom Act re-write

As I have mentioned previously, there are several activities related to a revision of the Telcommunications Act of 1996 in the US. The article "Why Regulate? Lessons from New Zealand" (click on "Regulatory and Policy", below the picture of the helicopter) takes a look at what happened in New Zealand after regulation was abolished in New Zealand. Consider DACA proposal, for example, or the revision of the September draft. How well do you think New Zealand's experience translates to the US? Do you think the DACA proposal or the House staff discussion document reflect New Zealand's experiences?

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Universal Service

I came across this article (click on "Regulatory and Policy Issues" in the January 2005 IEEE Communications magazine. It is an excellent overview on this subject. Consider this in light of this article that appeared yesterday and the efforts to re-write the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in the US. How do you think universal service should be funded? How should the funds be distributed? Should schools and libraries be eligible recipients of these funds?

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Digital divide -- focus on Kenya

Much of the rationale for WSIS was to broaden the impact of the information society to developing countries. This article focusses on specific problems faced by Kenya. Keep this in mind as we look at developing contries next week ...

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17 November 2005

DSL Market insight

In this article, Om Malik points to the realities of the DSL market in the US. We have a tendency to look toward higher speed access, so it is interesting to get a reality check like this. Does this surprise you?

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Google (off-topic)

This article and its associated comments are interesting. And then, there is Cringley's long article ...

Google seems to be getting into everything these days ... are their motivations altruistic? Should we be worried? If so, what should we worry about?

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Pushing VoIP growth

This article provides some illumination as to one of the prime motivators to VoIP growth. Why would MSOs (i.e. cable companies) be pushing VoIP?

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16 November 2005

US retains hold of the internet

The BBC article decribes the US does not defeated by international pressure and is still charge of the Internet addressing system. The agreement was reacehd just before the WSIS to make the summit foucs on the solutions of digital divide. However, it does not explain how did they reach the decision. The other article provides some explanations of the context. But those reasons make me ponder "is it the best solution to keep the authorities of ICANN intact in this moment?"

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11 November 2005

3G statistics

There were two interesting articles off of the ITU website today. This article from the ITU is interesting ... One thing to pay attention to is the total number of subscribers for each technology type. What are the implications of these data? Do you think that network externalities are a factor here? Do you think this bodes poorly for W-CDMA?

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?

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10 November 2005

EC rules on Digital TV Transition

I have brought up the transition to digital television in an earlier posts on this blog (for example, this one. Yesterday, the European Commissionruled Berlin's subsidies to be illegal. In this ruling, they indicate the circumstances under which such subsidies could be considered legal. What implications (if any) might this have for the proposed US approach (remember the WTO)? Would the US plan be considered legal in the EU? What message does this ruling send to Berlin (and other regional government authorities), who wish to be innovative and on the leading edge (remember that Berlin has been widely cited and studied)? Would this affect leadership in municipal networks?

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West Kentucky Goes IP

In several earlier postings, I had suggested the conundrum faced by incumbent LECs, as wireless replaces wireline networks. As this article, also from Om Malik's blog, points out, this is not just a large telco phenomenon. Do you think that this is the start of a trend among ILECs?

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More on GoogleNet

Om Malik, in his blog, posted this news item today. Apparently, Google planning to apply the San Fransisco model to other communities. Note that this proposal was not solicited by the municipality! Does this make a difference to you?

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09 November 2005

WGIG Book: Reforming Internet Governance

The WSIS Working Group on Internet Governance will release a book on November 17. I suspect that it will be a worthwhile read for those of you with more interest in this topic. Right now, only limited parts are available (in PDF).

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07 November 2005

Kofi Annan Op Ed

UN Secratary-General Kofi Annan had this article in Satuday's Washington Post in which he attempts to defuse concerns about the UN's intentions. Does his argument satisfy you, given what you have learned about WSIS?

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04 November 2005

Control of access networks

This article (free registration required) relates to several earlier posts on this blog. First, it explains why an incumbent might want to control the access network. Second, it explains why Google might be motivated to build independent access networks.

May you live in interesting times ....

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Telecom "Triple Play"

This story reports on a recent deal in Telecom. This speaks to how telecom companies are positioning themselves in the future. How effective do you think a partnership like this will be, compared with the ownership-based strategy being pursued by Verizon and SBC (aka AT&T)? What are the pros and cons of each approach?

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03 November 2005

Asia-Pacific Region Takes Over Lead in Internet Usage

This article points to recent trends in internet use. It is easy to extrapolate the trends into the future. What impact, if any, does this have on your opinion about the Internet Governance debate at the upcoming WSIS?

Mobile technology and law enforcement

One of the factors associated with advancements in telecommunications technology has been its impact on law enforcement. In the US, the Congress passed the "Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act" (CALEA) in the early 1990s to ensure that law enforcement agencies are able to access networks appropriately for wiretaps. This has not been without controversy; see, for instance this site.

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

More on Internet governance

This posting provides an interesting historical view of Internet governance, through the lens of interconnection negotiations. If the root zone fragments, don't we face an interconnection problem similar (in some ways) to the the problems faced by the telephone companies (or at least telephone users) in the 1890s in the US?

01 November 2005

BW on the SBC/AT&T merger

In this article SBC CEO Edward Whitacre discusses the company's strategy in its acquisition. How does this tie in to the previous post about wireless/wireline substitution and the discussion we had in class last night?