QuickLinks - Internet access and use
QuickLinks - Internet access and use
Issue no. 383 - 27 January 2008
- Grownups' encroachment
Young people are increasingly uneasy about how much adults are moving in on their "technological turf".
Issue no. 381 - 8 December 2007
- Tim Berners-Lee Warns of 'Walled Gardens' for Mobile Internet
(New York Times)
On the opening day of Mobile Internet World in Boston, Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the World Wide Web told a packed hall that the mobile Internet needs to be fully and completely the Internet, nothing more and nothing less. It needs to be free of central control, universal, and embodied in open standards. The title of his talk was "Escaping the Walled Garden: Growing the Mobile Web with Open Standards." The "walled garden" is the metaphor that describes today's cable TV and cellular data networks, where subscribers can only use devices authorized by the carrier, and can only access content and services authorized by the carrier, the exact opposite of the World Wide Web running over the IP-based Internet, which cell phone users access from their home and work PCs.
Issue no. 380 - 30 September 2007
- UK - Ofcom looks to future of fast net
Regulator Ofcom has added its voice to the growing debate about how the UK should roll out super-fast broadband. It has launched a consultation, running until December, to probe ways to keep UK net services up to speed with those of other nations. Current broadband speeds have a natural limit which are unlikely to satisfy growing consumer demand for bandwidth. see also Ofcom opens door for 10 times faster broadband connections (Guardian).
- US - Justice Department backing for two-tier internet
The US Justice Department has said that internet service providers should be allowed to charge for priority traffic. The agency said it was opposed to "network neutrality", the idea that all data on the net is treated equally. The comments put the agency at odds with companies such as Microsoft and Google, who have called for legislation to guarantee equal access to the net.
Issue no. 379 - 2 September 2007
- File-sharers forced to play fair
Researchers have found a way to enforce good manners on file-sharing networks by treating bandwidth as a currency. The team has created a peer-to-peer system called Tribler in which selfless sharers earn faster upload and download speeds but leechers are penalised. Overlaid on Tribler is social networking technology that helps to police the system and encourage fair sharing. Tribler has already caught the attention of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is trying to create a standardised internet broadcasting system across Europe.
Issue no. 378 - 5 August 2007
- '$100 laptop' production begins
Five years after the concept was first proposed, the so-called $100 laptop is poised to go into mass production. Hardware suppliers have been given the green light to ramp-up production of all of the components needed to build millions of the low-cost machines. See One Laptop Per Child.
Issue no. 377 - 5 July 2007
- Overdoing it?
Internet-service providers are worried that new online-video services, such as a television-over-internet service called Joost, will overload their networks. Many ISPs have taken the less drastic measure of "throttling" the download speeds available to their heaviest users at peak times, which are between 4pm and midnight - in other words, prime-time for television. Virgin Media, a British ISP that recently introduced throttling, offers a maximum download speed of 20 megabits per second, but this is reduced once a three-gigabyte limit has been exceeded. If the connection is running at full capacity, that will take 20 minutes.
- Two-tiered net could be coming
Net providers (ISPs) may start charging some websites for faster access to customers, a report has predicted; It could create a 'two-tiered internet' which, while making money for providers would risk alienating consumers, Jupiter Research said. ISPs currently operate on incredibly tight margins in order to offer cheap broadband deals to the public. One way of creating a new revenue stream would be to supply faster, prioritised access to a select group of websites willing to pay.
Issue no. 376 - 10 June 2007
Issue no. 374 - 1 April 2007
- One Laptop Per Child manufacturer to sell $200 laptop in developed countries
Quanta, the company manufacturing the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project's XO laptops, plans to begin selling low-cost budget mobile computers for $200 later this year. The company plans to leverage the underlying technologies associated with OLPC's XO laptop to produce laptop computers that are significantly less expensive than conventional laptops. The OLPC project hopes to bring inexpensive Linux-based laptops to the education market in developing countries.
Issue no. 372 - 25 February 2007
- Tagging 'takes off for web users'
Tagging or labelling online content is becoming the new search tool of choice among web users. As more and more people put their own content online, they are also being invited to tag it with descriptive keywords to help organise their data. The business of intelligently tagging content is seen as a crucial element for a next-stage, so-called "semantic web".
- The mash-up future of the web
The way we use the web is changing and the future lies in mixing, mash-ups and pipes, says columnist Bill Thompson.
- US - Tagging
A survey has found that 28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online such as photos, news stories or blog posts. On a typical day online, 7% of internet users say they tag or categorize online content. The report features an interview with David Weinberger, a prominent blogger and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
- Berners-Lee calls for Web 2.0 calm
Five years after the first internet bubble burst, we're now witnessing the backlash against Web 2.0 and a plethora of me-too business plans, marketing pitches and analyst reports exploiting the nebulous phrase. Tim Berners-Lee has become the most prominent individual so-far to point out that the Web 2.0 emperor is naked. He dismisses Web 2.0 as useless jargon nobody can explain.
- Boeing exits in-flight broadband
Boeing is scrapping its in-flight high speed broadband service because of lack of interest from leading airlines. The discontinuation of its Connexion service will cost the plane maker $320m (£169m) in one-off charges. It invested heavily in the satellite based system but most carriers have opted for cheaper internet services using cellular networks.
Issue no. 365 - 15 August 2006
- AOL to offer free e-mail access
AOL, the internet arm of Time Warner, is to give away e-mail, instant messaging, software and other services for free to high-speed internet users.
Issue no. 363 - 25 June 2006
- Tim Berners-Lee on Net Neutrality: "This is serious"
One clue to this Net Neutrality debate is to watch what kind of souls are on each side of the debate. The pro-NN contingent is filled with the people who actually built the Net - from Vint Cerf to Google to eBay - and those who profit from the competition enabled by the Net - e.g., Microsoft. The anti-NN contingent is filled with the entities that either never got the Net, or fought like hell to control it ? telecom, and cable companies. see also Tim Berners-Lee blog.
Issue no. 362 - 11 June 2006
- CN - Mob rule on China's Internet: The keyboard as weapon
(New York Times)
There is a growing phenomenon which the Chinese call Internet hunting which morality lessons are administered by online throngs and where anonymous Web users come together to investigate others and mete out punishment for offenses real and imagined.
- Here come the 'Family 2.0' sites
by Stefanie Olsen. A growing number of parent-entrepreneurs who are putting their time and money behind their familial interests and starting a new generation of Web sites for parents and older people - sites that borrow many of the social networking concepts, such as photo-sharing and the wiki.
- Social sites wrestle for top spot
Community websites MySpace and Bebo are fighting to see who is most popular among young people. Analysis by Nielsen NetRatings shows the two companies have regularly swapped the top spot in sites that give people space to blog and post pictures. Nielsen said the pair are the fifth and sixth biggest brands on the net when measured by page views.
- The viral video online revolution
Within 15 months, Youtube.com has become one of the internet's most watched websites, with 25 million hits a day. More than 40 million original clips and TV segments have been uploaded by visitors. It is entertaining, addictive and viral. Many more video sites popping up, some even offering cash for contributions.
Issue no. 361 - 23 May 2006
- Will video break the Internet?
If people start watching streaming video like they watch TV - for hours at a time - that puts a strain on the Internet that it was not designed for, ISPs say, and beefing up the Internet's capacity to prevent that will be expensive. To offset that cost, ISPs want to start charging content providers to ensure delivery of large video files, for example. Internet activists and consumer groups are vehemently against those plans, saying they amount to tilting the Internet's level playing field, one of the things that encourages innovation. They want legislation to guarantee a "neutral" Internet, but prospects appear slim.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
- Among the audience
The era of mass media is giving way to one of personal and participatory media, says Andreas Kluth. That will profoundly change both the media industry and society as a whole.
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
- UK - BT goes after broadband gluttons
BT is targeting customers who it says are regularly breaking their monthly broadband download limits, downloading between 100 and 200 gigabytes per month.. They will be given the choice to pay for their high use or risk losing their connection altogether.
Issue no. 356 - 27 February 2006
- E-mail changes spark two-tier fears
Fee-based systems for commercial e-mails raise the spectre of the two-tier internet, writes internet law professor Michael Geist.
- Net video explosion triggers traffic jam worries
More than 60 percent of Internet traffic is being taken up by peer-to-peer swaps, and about 60 percent of those swaps involve video content. And there is a growing amount of legitimate content from companies such as Apple Computer, MovieLink and Google Video. Big ISPS such as AT&T have already argued that they should be able to charge companies such as Google or Yahoo for an extra tier of service, ensuring their content arrives swiftly at its destination. Web companies and civil libertarians have bitterly criticized this idea, calling for "network neutrality" that doesn't relegate other content to a slow lane, or pass along costs to consumers.
- US - Vint Cerf condemns two-tier internet
Vint Cerf told Congress that ideas proposed by telecoms companies for a two-tier internet were fatally flawed and, if necessary, legislation should be passed to make it impossible. Giving evidence to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, Cerf called for a 'net neutrality' law to force broadband providers to give equal access to any website or application. see also The End of the Internet? by Jeff Chester and Senators Mull an Internet With Restrictions by Celia Viggo Wexler and Dawn Holian (The Nation).
Issue no. 355 - 5 February 2006
- FR - Ce que cachent les offres d'accès internet haut débit
Des appels illimités gratuits qui n'en sont pas, débits fluctuants, réception de la télévision capricieuse... les offres d'accès à l'internet à très haut débit peuvent réserver quelques mauvaises surprises. On vous dit tout ce qu'il faut savoir avant de choisir votre "box".
Issue no. 354 - 31 January 2006
Issue no. 353 - 15 January 2006
- Civil Technologies: The Values of Nonprofit ICT Use
SSRC publishes a new report, Civil Technologies: The Values of Nonprofit ICT Use, by Ken Jordan and Mark Surman (who wrote Commonspace). The report explores exemplary instances of nonprofit ICT adoption by civil society groups from around the world, and draws attention to ways the values of civil society are reinforced and extended through their use of digital tools.
- New video craze hits the internet
From the Internet counter-culture which spawned blogs and podcasts comes the newest thing in new media: vlogging. In short video diaries and homemade reality shows, vloggers are using the power of cheap online technology to invite strangers into their lives. Vlogs are an offshoot of 'blogs', or weblogs - diaries posted on the Internet which sparked a new wave of 'citizen journalism' - and their audio equivalent, podcasting. Vlogging's time has come thanks to a new generation of cheap cameras, editing programs and simple software - plus fast broadband connections needed to download content.
Issue no. 347 - 19 October 2005
- The serious side of games
If you find yourself looking for any of the leading thinkers on the social, intellectual, economic or legal aspects of online games this week, you probably won't find them unless you're in New York City. That's because they'll all be in the Big Apple for the third annual State of Play conference, a gathering of game players, game developers, law professors, journalists and others interested in what's happening on the digital frontier of virtual worlds such as "Second Life," "City of Heroes" and "EverQuest.".
- CNET News.com's Blog 100
With more than 14 million blogs in existence and another 80,000 being created each day, how is a person supposed to find the ones worth reading? That is the question CNET News.com is attempting to answer with our first Blog 100 list.
- The life and soul of the internet party
David Sifry, the founder of Technorati, is betting on a change in the nature of the internet. Technorati is a pioneering search engine for blogs, which allows the surfer to connect to online chatter on topics that might interest him.
- UK - Brighton rocks
Want to see the future? Go to Brighton, where it is being created through a blend of anarchy and civic pride. A partnership between the free Wi-Fi movement and the local council has now delivered wireless broadband via a new WiMax service.
- US - Land of the cable free
Officials in Philadelphia have signed an agreement with Earthlink to build a municipal high-speed wireless internet network that would blanket the city. The service would be the first of its kind in the United States. But the prospect of making the internet more widely available in a city that was the birthplace of American democracy is not pleasing everyone. The telephone and cable companies that have spent billions of dollars upgrading their networks for broadband are crying foul, fearful that their businesses could take a substantial hit.
Issue no. 337 - 13 April 2005
- EU - Commission recommendation on high-speed internet access via the electricity grid
Using electric power supply lines to offer low-cost high speed internet access will be made easier thanks to a Commission recommendation. The recommendation, which is addressed to the Member States, aims to clarify rules on using electric power cables to carry electronic communication data. The Commission thereby intends to boost competition by opening up the market to new suppliers of high-speed "broadband" connections via the electricity grid. Internet access via power lines has so far taken hold in only a few urban areas, but the potential is huge: the EU has 200 million power lines running directly into houses, schools and businesses.
- US - How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else)
Blogs are like personal telephone calls crossed with newspapers. Here we offer a few simple precautions to help you maintain control of your personal privacy so that you can express yourself without facing unjust retaliation. If followed correctly, these protections can save you from embarrassment or just plain weirdness in front of your friends and coworkers. see also FAQ: Blogging on the job (CNET News.com) by Declan McCullagh and Alorie Gilbert.
Issue no. 330 - 30 January 2005
- AOL Pulls Plug on Newsgroup Service
America Online has quietly announced that it will discontinue providing member access to Usenet newsgroups. The Usenet dates back to around 1980. Now that blogs and instant messaging have supplanted older Internet technologies such as newsgroups and IRC, it's unlikely that AOL users will create much of an uproar over the decision. But the event nonetheless represents a milestone in Internet history.
Issue no. 324 - 21 November 2004
- FR - The Explosion of Broadband in France
France is in the midst of a broadband explosion during the last 12 months with the French Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (ART) playing a significant role in opening market access to new players. In a recent press briefing on the state of broadband access in France (PPT) , (ART) explains that the number of broadband subscribers has doubled in one year.
Issue no. 321 - 10 October 2004
- UK - The BT broadband scam
BT has spent the summer trumpeting the news that all is well in the land of fat pipes, following its announcement that 99.6 per cent of the British population will have access to broadband by 2005. Much of the media, including the Economist, has bought this story. But the truth is that, mired in the molasses of monopoly, Britain's development as a broadband society has been unnecessarily retarded and the potential gains in economic growth put off for many years. Far from being in the vanguard, we are lagging behind most of the other OECD nations.
Issue no. 318 - 5 September 2004
- UK - Price cut fuels broadband battle
Internet service provider Wanadoo has launched the latest salvo in the broadband price wars in the UK. Wanadoo, formerly known as Freeserve, is offering a one megabit service for £17.99, undercutting its rivals. Internet providers in the UK are locked in a fierce battle and this could even lead to broadband being offered with no monthly subscription at all.
Issue no. 317 - 22 August 2004
- UK - ISPs cry foul at BT broadband price hike
ISPs have reacted with anger to a surprise price hike on some of BT's broadband products, even claiming that it could put some of them out of business. From 1 September the price of BT's wholesale IPStream Office services will increase by between £2 and £14 per month, excluding VAT. The telco blamed the rise on regulatory pressures from Ofcom over price margins. Ofcom stated: "We are not going to pass any comment until we publish our statement on the review of wholesale broadband access". "BT has taken a commercial decision in advance of publication of our statement. Our focus is on sustainable competitiveness and one issue is the price margin between IPStream and DataStream."
Issue no. 316 - 1 August 2004
- Broadband prices crash around the globe
The cost of subscribing to a broadband Internet service is falling all over the world and the price difference between cable and DSL services has almost disappeared.
- UK - Broadband unbundler targets public sector
Up to 100 UK local telephone exchanges will be upgraded to offer symmetrical broadband services by the end of the year by Updata, a new entrant to the UK telecoms sector. Updata, which cut its teeth in the Danish telecoms market, announced this week that it is targeting the UK education market with a range of managed broadband services.
Issue no. 315 - 18 July 2004
- US - A simple electric plug becomes a dream ISP
(Internationak Herald Tribune)
As a concept BPL, for broadband over power lines, or HomePlug has been around for a long time. What is new in the past two years is a series of technical breakthroughs, mainly in chips designed by Intellon, a small company based in Ocala, Florida. These chips have made power-line transmission fast enough, cheap enough and reliable enough to merit serious attention. A standards-setting group called the HomePlug alliance has also played an important role.
Issue no. 314 - 24 June 2004
- 'Naked DSL' - much more important than many realise.
Ovum Consulting analyst Jan Dawson warns that offering naked DSL services has the potential to seriously dent incumbents' revenues - and not just in the US. 'The phrase 'naked DSL' is used to refer to the situation where DSL is provided to an end user without a PSTN voice service running over the same copper wire. Both Verizon and Qwest have begun offering it because customers resent having to pay for a voice line they don't need just in order to have DSL service. Cable operators providing broadband, by contrast, make no such requirement, and it is precisely to fend off this threat that Verizon and Qwest are quietly acceding to their customers' requests.
Issue no. 311 - 31 May 2004
- UK - Broadband access leaves communities unhappy
The decision by BT to accelerate delivery of broadband to almost all rural areas should have been met with applause. Instead, it has left some communities furious.
- UK - BBC's Olympic coverage 'could crash web'
The BBC's new media chief has voiced fears that the corporation's online coverage of the Olympics could cause the internet to grind to a halt this summer if it proves too popular. But the BBC is already working with internet service providers to try to find a solution to the problem by "multicasting" the events.
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