QuickLinks - Internet access and use
QuickLinks - Internet access and use
Quality of service
Internet access and use
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Issue no. 413 - 20 February 2011
Cloud computing - new spot market
February 14th saw the launch of SpotCloud, the world's first spot market for cloud computing. It works much like other spot markets. Firms with excess computing capacity, such as data centres, put it up for sale. Others, which have a short-term need for some number-crunching, can bid for it. Enomaly, the software firm behind SpotCloud, takes a cut of between 10% and 30%, depending on the size of the deal.
EU - Delivering investment and effective competition in broadband markets
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, ECTA Regulatory Conference, Crowne Plaza Brussels, 30 November 2010.
Level 3, a firm that slings terabits of data per second around the world on behalf of its customers, has accused Comcast, a residential broadband and television programming provider, of violating the principle of net neutrality by demanding fees to carry traffic from Level 3. Comcast retorted that Level 3 had massively increased the data flow over the two firms' connection, notably as the result of a deal to handle Netflix's streaming video delivery, and that it merely wanted to negotiate the price for bringing more data ports online to meet Level 3's needs. The crux of the matter is whether Comcast has the right to choose in what way—and at what price—other networks interconnect with its own.
UK - BT Content Connect service faces 'two-tier net' claims
BT has introduced a controversial service that some say could allow broadband providers to create a "two-tier internet". Content Connect, as it is known, allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that use BT's network to charge content firms for high-speed delivery of video. It could spell the end of so-called "net neutrality", where all traffic on the net is treated equally.
UK - Mark Thompson warns over 'two-speed' internet
The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, has warned broadband providers not to introduce charges for delivering the corporation's programmes to homes via the internet. Thompson said the continued success of online TV services such as the BBC's iPlayer could not be guaranteed if internet service providers introduced a "fast lane" that would allow them to charge customers for receiving content more quickly.
UK - Vaizey pressed on net neutrality by internet heavyweights
A coalition of internet and venture capital companies and pressure groups have written to communications minister Ed Vaizey calling for a clear political commitment from the government to preserve net neutrality. They say it must adopt five key principles – including openness, minimisation of data traffic management, and a strong regulatory framework. The open letter, which is signed by representatives from eBay, Skype, Yahoo, the music site we7, the software service The Filter, VOIP provider Truphone, the Open Rights Group, the National Union of Journalists, the reviews site Reevoo, the e-retail representative Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), Eden Ventures, Ariadne Capital, Consumer Focus, TechHub, the consumer group Which?, Article 19 and the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), says that it welcomes Vaizey's earlier statements on net neutrality.
Issue no. 412 - 28 November 2010
EU - Consultation reveals near consensus on importance of preserving open internet
There is a near consensus on the importance of preserving the openness of the internet, according to the results of a public consultation launched on 30th June by the European Commission on the open internet and net neutrality. A total of 318 stakeholders at every level of the value chain provided input to the consultation. These included BEREC, the body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications, operators, internet service providers, Member States' authorities, consumer and civil society organisations as well as individuals. The consultation did not reveal a widespread call for further EU legislation, but there is an expectation that additional guidance may be needed in the future. Discussions will continue on 11th November at the "Net neutrality summit" at which the Commission and the European Parliament will discuss a forthcoming Commission report on net neutrality.
EU - Net neutrality - the way forward
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Speech at European Commission and European Parliament Summit on 'The Open Internet and Net Neutrality in Europe', Brussels, 11 November 2010. I say to those people who are currently cut off from Skype: vote with your feet and leave your mobile provider. see also
UK to ISPs: Prioritize away! (so long as you tell users)
(Ars Technica) and
on net neutrality by Ed Vaizey, UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.
Social networking is undermining the web, says web inventor
Social networking, net neutrality deals and government monitoring are threatening the very future of the world wide web, the man responsible for creating it has said just days short of its 20th anniversary. Tim Berners-Lee said in an
in Scientific American, that the storing of data behind virtual corporate walls on social networking sites and the deals being cut between content companies and telecoms operators are threatening the founding principle of the web, which is that systems should all work together based on sets of agreed open standards.
Issue no. 411 - 3 October 2010
EU - Commission outlines measures to deliver fast and ultra-fast broadband in Europe
Three complementary measures to facilitate the roll out and take up of fast and ultra-fast broadband in the EU have been adopted by the European Commission. This package comprises a Commission Recommendation on regulated access to Next Generation Access (NGA) networks that provides regulatory certainty to telecom operators, ensuring an appropriate balance between the need to encourage investment and the need to safeguard competition, a proposal for a Decision to establish a Radio Spectrum Policy Programme to ensure, inter alia, that spectrum is available for wireless broadband and a Broadband Communication outlining how best to encourage public and private investment in high and ultra-high speed networks. See also
EU - Telecoms markets - working together for change
Neelie Kroes European Commission, Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Brussels, 23 September 2010.
Uk - Broadband target put back to 2015
The battle to close Britain's broadband divide suffered a blow when the government pushed back the UK's target for universal access to high-speed networks by three years. Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, said that it was not practical to meet the previous government's target of universal broadband coverage by 2012 – a commitment he had previously dismissed as "paltry". Instead, Hunt said it would take until 2015 before every home in Britain had at least a 2Mbps (megabits per second) connection. Speaking at the start of an industry day that was meant to find solutions to Britain's broadband coverage problems, Hunt claimed the previous government had not funded its 2012 commitment properly.
US - Verizon defends Net neutrality plan with Google
A Verizon Communications executive has lashed out at critics who have savaged the company's recent Net neutrality announcement with Google, calling the complaints misguided and based on mischaracterizations of the joint proposal. The actual
of the joint proposal to Washington regulators and politicians calls for "a new, enforceable prohibition against discriminatory practices" that would prevent wireline broadband providers from prioritizing traffic in a way that "causes harm to users or competition." Google and Verizon's proposal isn't suggested legislation but is instead a collection of concepts aimed at bringing some finality to discussions of what regulations that will be imposed on tomorrow's Internet. It recommends giving the Federal Communications Commission explicit regulatory authority, but it stops short of extending that power to wireless broadband. See also
Facts about our network neutrality policy proposal
(Google Public Policy blog) and
AT&T: Net rules must allow 'paid prioritization'
Issue no. 408 - 25 April 2010
EU - Net neutrality in Europe
Neelie Kroes Vice President of the European Commission Commissioner for the Digital Agenda. Address at the ARCEP Conference, Paris, 13th April 2010. I can announce my intention to launch a public consultation before the summer, in order to progress Europe's net neutrality debate. More specifically I will respect the following principles: 1. Freedom of expression is fundamental. 2. Transparency is non-negotiable. 3. We need investment in efficient and open networks. 4. Fair competition. Every player on the value chain should be free to fairly position themselves to offer the best possible service to their customers or end users. Any commercial or traffic management practice that does not follow objective and even-handed criteria, applicable to all comparable services, is potentially discriminatory in character. Discrimination against undesired competitors (for instance, those providing Voice over the Internet services) should not be allowed. 5. Support for innovation. See also
de Mme KOSCIUSKO-MORIZET, secrétaire d'État à la prospective et au développement de l'économie numérique.
Neutralité des réseaux : ce que je retiens du colloque de l'ARCEP
US - Court: FCC has no power to regulate Net neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission does not have the legal authority to impose strict Net neutrality regulations on Internet providers, a federal appeals court ruled. A three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. unanimously tossed out the FCC's August 2008 cease and desist order against Comcast, which had taken measures to slow BitTorrent transfers and had voluntarily ended them earlier in the year. Because the FCC "has failed to tie its assertion" of regulatory authority to any actual law enacted by Congress, the agency does not have the authority to regulate an Internet provider's network management practices.
Issue no. 407 - 28 March 2010
US - FCC announces Children's Agenda for Digital Opportunity
Speech by Chairman Genachowski. A recent Kaiser study found that children consume recreational media 7-and-a-half hours a day, and are consuming nearly 11 hours' worth of content. When the same study came out in 2004 and reported 6 hours of daily media consumption, experts said it was impossible for the number to go higher. Apparently, mobile phones and the Internet have pierced the space-time continuum. Instinctively, these numbers have us concerned. The finding that heavy media users are more than twice as likely as light users to have bad grades suggests that we should trust our instincts. So parents are left asking if they should be embracing these new technologies or worrying about them. The answer: We have to do both. The FCC will work to do both with our Children's Agenda for Digital Opportunity, which I'm happy to announce today. This strategy builds on four core pillars: digital access, digital literacy, digital citizenship, and digital safety. See also
US - Pipe dream - Not what was asked for
A year ago, Congress asked for a plan that would provide affordable broadband service to all America's citizens. On March 16th, the Federal Communications Commission responded with a non sequitur: a national wireless plan which is good in its way, but which largely fails to tackle the problem it was asked to solve. There is much to like in the FCC's proposal. It proposes to auction a large chunk of radio spectrum that could be used to provide data to wireless devices, and to encourage existing licence-holders, in particular broadcasters, to auction or sell any capacity they are not using. It also frees up more spectrum for tinkering on unlicensed space. None of this, though, will do much to make broadband access universal or more affordable. Almost uniquely among OECD countries, America has adopted no policies to require the owners of broadband cables to open their infrastructure to rival sellers in order to enhance competition. America relies almost exclusively on "facilities competition", the provision of rival infrastructures: a cable provider may compete, for example, with a network that runs optical fibre to the home. See
National Broadband Plan
Issue no. 403 - 24 November 2009
FR - 159.212 euros, la facture salée d'un abonné Orange
La médiatisation la semaine dernière du cas d'un habitant de Petite-Forêt, près de Valenciennes, qui a reçu une facture d'Internet de près de 46.000 euros pour le seul mois d'août a incité d'autres clients malheureux à sortir de l'ombre. Un médecin urgentiste, abonné à internet avec une clé 3G illimitée, a affirmé mardi être en contentieux avec Orange depuis six mois après avoir reçu une facture de 159.212 euros.
US - Commenting on the Berkman Center's broadband study for the FCC
It has been three weeks since the FCC posted for public comment the
Berkman Center?s study
(PDF) of international experience with broadband transitions and policy. The FCC recently upgraded its comment facility, and we want to encourage everyone who cares about the future of broadband, and the National Broadband Plan, to take advantage of this updated system and to add their comments to the appropriate FCC dockets. The comment period for the Berkman Center study closes November 16. In the meantime, comments in the blogosphere have also emerged, and we thought it would be appropriate to respond to the ones that have received the most attention. The study is long and dense, and we hope that P.I. Yochai Benkler's responses below, that highlight some key considerations of the study's methods, will be helpful for those who are reviewing it.
Issue no. 402 - 18 October 2009
GR - Greeks enjoy lightning fast mobile broadband
There is both good news and bad news in the latest announcement from Vodafone's mobile broadband headquarters. The good news is that they have again been pushing the mobile broadband boundaries with news that they are just about to launch a 21Mbs mobile broadband package. The bad news? It's Vodafone Greece not Vodafone UK who are launching the high speed mobile broadband product and there is no news yet on when these speeds are expected to hit UK shores. Vodafone Greece have long been renowned as the pioneers of high speed mobile broadband. Earlier this year residents of mainland Greece were the first people in Europe to be offered mobile broadband speeds of up to 14Mbs.
Issue no. 401 - 26 July 2009
CompuServe, Prodigy et al.: What Web 2.0 can learn from Online 1.0
Everyone's abuzz about Web 2.0, and it's no wonder. Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are some of the Internet's most popular destinations, offering users unprecedented freedom to share content, engage in conversations and exchange ideas like never before. How short our memories are. Before everyone connected to one massive Internet, a variety of smaller commercial online services with names like CompuServe, GEnie, Prodigy, Delphi and, of course, America Online (AOL) ruled the roost. Some were launched as long ago as the late 1970s, and many were text-based with nary a graphic to be found. Each charged hourly or monthly fees to a national (and sometimes international) audience in exchange for access to its private network. In addition, there were many smaller Bulletin Board Systems, or BBSs, that were also accessed by use of modems and phone lines. see also
Timeline: The evolution of online communities
Issue no. 400 - 5 July 2009
EU - Internet of things
An average European has now at least one object that is connected to the internet, be it a computer or mobile phone. But the number of connected devices that are hardly visible, more complex and more mobile around us will multiply a hundred or even a thousand times over the next 5 to 15 years. The European Commission has announced actions to make sure that Europe can play a leading role in shaping these new networks of interconnected objects from books to cars, from electrical appliances to food - in short the emerging 'internet of things'.
Issue no. 398 - 13 April 2009
EU - Better high-speed internet access needed to revitalise Europe's rural regions, says Commission
Connecting the 30% of the EU's rural population that has no high speed internet access should be a priority for achieving "broadband for all" by 2010, the Commission has said. Improved internet connectivity is a powerful tool to stimulate swift economic recovery. The Commission has outlined how it would use its own support programmes to boost internet networks and services in rural areas, and called on EU Member States to do the same. See
Communication on better access for rural areas to modern ICT
Issue no. 397 - 8 March 2009
EU - Better high-speed internet access needed to revitalise Europe's rural regions, says Commission
Connecting the 30% of the EU's rural population that has no high speed internet access should be a priority for achieving 'broadband for all' by 2010, the Commission has said. Improved internet connectivity is a powerful tool to stimulate swift economic recovery. The Commission has outlined how it would use its own support programmes to boost internet networks and services in rural areas, and called on EU Member States to do the same. See
Communication on better access for rural areas to modern ICT
The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time
Netbooks violate all the laws of the computer hardware business. Traditionally, development trickles down from the high end to the mass market. PC makers target early adopters with new, ultrapowerful features. Years later, those innovations spread to lower-end models. But Mary Lou Jepsen's design for One Laptop per Child trickled up. In the process of creating a laptop to satisfy the needs of poor people, she revealed something about traditional PC users. They didn't want more out of a laptop - they wanted less.
Issue no. 396 - 8 February 2009
EU - Commission earmarks 1bn for investment in broadband
The European Commission aims to achieve 100 % high-speed internet coverage for all citizens by 2010 as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan. 1 billion has been earmarked to help rural areas get online, bring new jobs and help businesses grow. On average, 93 % of Europeans can enjoy a high speed online connection but in some countries broadband covers less than half of the rural population. Broadband internet connection is expected to create 1 million jobs and boost the EU's economy by ?850 billion between 2006 and 2015.
EU - Net neutrality burns hot on EU telecoms agenda
Pushed by an AT&T lobbyist, some revised amendments to the Telecoms Package could usher in filtering, and have rocketed net neutrality from a non-issue to one of the hottest under discussion in the Telecoms Package trialogues. A raft of new "compromise" amendments to the Telecoms Package is circulating in Brussels. On the surface, they state that telcos, network operators and ISPs should be able to "address unjustified degradation of service", and impose "reasonable usage restrictions, and price differentiation" without any regulatory interference. The sub-agenda however, is that these legal texts could enable network operators to shrug off accountability for filtering, throttling and degrading user traffic, including access to content. With obvious implications for the neutrality of the network.
Issue no. 395 - 27 December 2008
DE - D Telekom switches tack on broadband
Deutsche Telekom has abandoned a contentious plan to build its own ultra-fast broadband network in its domestic market and has instead linked up with rival Vodafone to develop the next-generation network across Germany. The move follows years of criticism from the European Commission, which feared that DT's go-it-alone approach, linked to a demand to keep rivals off its network, would lead to a new monopoly in Europe's largest telecoms market.
Google backing off net neutrality with ISP deal? Not really
The Wall Street Journal, having obtained some paperwork on a potential deal between Google and major ISPs, concluded that the search giant is backing off its net neutrality stance, and
that many other major players are joining it. Fortunately, company counsel Richard Whitt describes the system in
on Google's Public Policy Blog. The plans are to have Google become its own edge-caching service provider, and do what commercial companies like Akamai are already engaged in: hosting copies of content at servers with high-speed connections to major regional networks. See also
Nuts and Bolts: Network neutrality and edge caching
(PFF Blog) by Brett Swanson.
Issue no. 394 - 7 December 2008
Surviving the exaflood
The internet: Predictions that an "exaflood" of traffic will overload the internet have been doing the rounds. But will it really happen? Video killed the radio star. Might its next victim be the internet? The popularity of YouTube, BitTorrent and other online-video services has prompted many gloomy prophesies that the net is on the verge of collapsing under the load.
US - Wireless at warp speed
How much would you pay for unlimited access to WiFi hotspots that stretched for miles instead of a few hundred feet, provided unbroken connections even deep inside buildings, and offered broadband speeds ten times faster than today's wimpy connections found in coffee shops, hotel lobbies, airport lounges and homes? How about nothing, or next to nothing? That could be on the cards within a couple of years, thanks to a decision taken by America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Issue no. 392 - 5 October 2008
EU - Broadband: Commission consults on regulatory strategy to promote high-speed Next Generation Access networks
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). NGA optical fibre-based networks enable bitrates several times higher than those currently available on traditional copper wire networks. NGAs are required to deliver high-definition content (such as high definition television) and interactive applications. The objective of a common regulatory framework for NGA is to foster a consistent treatment of operators in the EU and thereby ensure the necessary regulatory predictability to invest. The Commission is consulting on the basis of a draft Recommendation, addressed to the regulators in the 27 EU Member States and suggesting definitions for harmonized categories of regulated services, access conditions, rates of return and appropriate risk premiums. The public consultation will be open until 14th November 2008. The Commission will then finalise the Recommendation in the light of comments received and formally adopt it in 2009.
EU - Commission consults on transition to Web 3.0
Europe could take the lead in the next generation of the Internet. The European Commission has outlined the main steps that Europe has to take to respond to the next wave of the Information Revolution that will intensify in the coming years due to trends such as social networking, the decisive shift to on-line business services, nomadic services based on GPS and mobile TV and the growth of smart tags. The report shows that Europe is well placed to exploit these trends because of its policies to support open and pro-competitive telecom networks as well as privacy and security. A
has been launched by the Commission on the policy and private sector responses to these opportunities. The Commission report also unveils a new
Broadband Performance Index (BPI)
that compares national performance on key measures such as broadband speed, price, competition and coverage. Sweden and the Netherlands top this European broadband league, which complements the more traditional broadband penetration index used so far by telecoms regulators.
EU - Net Neutrality and Open Networks - Towards a European Approach
Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Conference 'Network Neutrality - Implications for Innovation and Business Online' Copenhagen, 30 September 2008.
Issue no. 391 - 31 August 2008
US - FCC formally rules Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent was illegal
by Declan McCullagh. Federal regulators voted 3-2 to declare that Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent traffic last year was unlawful, marking the first time that any U.S. broadband provider has ever been found to violate Net neutrality rules. The Federal Communications Commission handed Comcast a cease-and-desist order and required the company to disclose to subscribers in the future how it plans to manage traffic. Comcast had said that its measures to slow BitTorrent transfers, which it voluntarily ended in March, were necessary to prevent its network from being overrun. See
FCC News Release
. See also
Comcast and the Internet
Comcast and "network management"
by Susan Crawford. See further
Reactions to FCC's Comcast decision come fast and furious
(Ars Technica) by Matthew Lasar.
Issue no. 388 - 1 June 2008
EU - An unlimited source of Internet addresses to be on stream in Europe by 2010
Increasing demand for Internet based services means that there would not be enough addresses to support this expected growth, if no action is taken. Encouraging internet users and providers to adopt the latest Internet Protocol (IP version 6 or IPv6) will provide a massive increase in address space, much in the same way as telephone numbers were lengthened in the 20th century. The European Commission has set Europe a target of getting 25% of EU industry, public authorities and households to use IPv6 by 2010.
Is there a distinctive global culture of young people who have only known life in a digital age ?
(Digital Natives project)
Does it make sense to talk about a distinctive global culture of young people - Digital Natives - who have only known life in a digital age? An academic research team - joining people from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland - is working on a research project on Digital Natives. The focus of this research is on exploring the impacts of this generational demarcation between those born with these technologies and those who were not. See also
session at Berkman@10. List of 9 myths floating through the ether about how young people use new technologies.
Issue no. 387 - 12 May 2008
UK - Vodafone offers unlimited web access
New monthly mobile price plans from Vodafone will offer unlimited internet access as a standard feature in a bid to meet the growing demand for access to email and social networking on the move. Facebook, Google and the BBC are the top three internet sites on the Vodafone Mobile Internet, according to the company.
Issue no. 386 - 20 April 2008
US - Lessig: Action urged to keep net neutral
Tough action is required by US regulators to protect the principles that have made the net so successful, a leading digital rights lawyer has said. Professor Lawrence Lessig was speaking at a public meeting to debate the tactics some net firms use to manage data traffic at busy times. He said the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) should act to keep all net traffic flowing equally.
Issue no. 385 - 21 March 2008
MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning examines the effect of digital media tools on how people learn, network, communicate, and play, and how growing up with these tools may affect a person's sense of self, how they express themselves, and their ability to learn, exercise judgment, and think systematically. The full text of each volume in the Series is provided for free and open access thanks to the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation. Youth, Identity, and Digital Media; Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media; Digital Young, Innovation, and the Unexpected; The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning; Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility; Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth. See also
John Palfrey's blog about Digital Young, Innovation, and the Unexpected
Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain
(New York Times)
The prototypical computer whiz of popular imagination - pasty, geeky, male - has failed to live up to his reputation. Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites) are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of "The X Files." On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.
Issue no. 384 - 24 February 2008
Disruption after web cables cut
Firms across the Middle East, India and Bangladesh are experiencing disruption after undersea broadband cables were damaged between Egypt and Italy. India is home to an $11bn (£5.5bn) outsourcing industry, but UK firms say they have so far seen little impact. The disruption looks set to continue, with repairs to take another week, and after another broadband cable was cut between the UAE and Oman.
Quality of service
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
a free newsletter appearing approximately every two to three weeks. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list.
a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence