Internet addresses set for change
The internet regulator has approved plans to allow non-Latin-script web addresses, in a move that is set to transform the online world. The board of Icann voted at its annual meeting in Seoul to allow domain names in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts. More than half of the 1.6 billion people who use the internet speak languages with non-Latin scripts. It is being described as the biggest change to the way the internet works since it was created 40 years ago. The first Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) could be in use next year. FULL STORY_BBC News 10/30/09
Internet governance goes global as U.S. loosens grip on ICANN
A deal with Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers allowing the U.S. to review the group expired Wednesday. ICANN now will be reviewed by a group of stakeholders from around the world. One sign of increasingly international influence to watch for: Domain names now end in things like .com, .org and .gov, but they can only end in the sort of Latin characters seen on Western keyboards. ICANN is working on making it possible for domain names ending in non-Western characters, like Chinese or Arabic. Full Story_ Los Angeles Times_ 10/1/09
FCC asks us all: what, exactly, is broadband?
The FCC has put out a Public Notice asking for help to define "broadband." The agency wants "tailored" or "targeted" comments on a "fundamental question:" how the National Broadband Plan that the agency is writing up should "interpret" the word—as used in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. "If we want to decide who has and who does not have broadband, we actually need to agree on what we mean by broadband," the latest entry explains. "If we want to ensure that consumers have a clear and accurate view of what they are getting for their money, we need to decide what are the important metrics, and how to measure them." FULL STORY_Ars Technica_8/21/09
Google access disrupted in China
Access to Google has been disrupted in some parts of China, amid a row over what Chinese citizens should be allowed to view over the internet. Users reported they could not access either Google's search engine or its Chinese-language version. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang accused Google of spreading pornography and breaking Chinese law.
The move came as the US called on China to scrap its plan to put net-filtering software on all new computers. FULL STORY_BBC News_6/25/09
U.S. home broadband Internet use on the rise
The American appetite for high-speed Internet hasn't been stalled by the recession. Among U.S. consumers surveyed, 63 percent now have broadband access at home, up from 55 percent a year ago. The study, released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, found that home broadband adoption has bounced back from 2008's relative period of stagnation. FULL STORY_CNET News_6/19/09
U.S. Rep Rick Boucher (D-Va.), FCC acting Chairman Michael Copps to keynote "Broadband Policy Summit V: Building Out America"
Boucher and Copps will keynote Pike & Fischer's "Broadband Policy Summit V: Building Out America" (www.broadbandpolicysummit.com) at The Sheraton Crystal City, Arlington, VA, on Thursday and Friday, June 18-19, 2009. During the two-day Summit, business and government leaders will define and debate the trends, issues and problems shaping policy decisions that will foster or inhibit the high-speed Internet, Voice-over-IP, and IP video sectors. Full Story Pike & Fischer News Release_ 5/11/09
Rural America not ready for broadband? Hogwash, say ISPs
They came from across the country, invited by the Benton Foundation to extol the virtues of independent broadband at the National Press Club HQ in Washington, D.C. And how did they answer a question about a study that suggested rural America doesn't want broadband? "It clearly is a myth," declared Gary Evans of Hiawatha Broadband Communications, a rural ISP based in Minnesota. "When we started our project," said Tim Nulty, of ECFiber, a Vermont ISP, "the towns in question each had to have a referendum to join the project. Twenty-two towns [in total]. The worst vote we got was 78% percent in favor. Eight towns were unanimous." Full Story ars technica_ 5/10/09
U.S. net neutrality fight has test run in Europe
As European lawmakers debate how to keep access to the Internet free and equal — so-called network neutrality — they are inundated, not unsurprisingly, by lobbyists. But the corporate envoys roaming the halls of Brussels trying to make their case, more often than not, do not represent the Continent’s myriad telecommunications and Internet companies, but rather those from the United States. Europe has become the world’s technology regulator. So the AT&Ts and Verizons are pitted against the Googles and Yahoos to shape European law in the hopes that American regulators will follow suit. Full Story New York Times_ 3/8/09
U.S. Cybersecurity chief Rod Beckstrom resigns
The U.S. government's director for cybersecurity resigned on Friday, criticizing the excessive role of the National Security Agency in countering threats to the country's computer systems. Beckstrom headed the National Cybersecurity Center, which was created last March to coordinate all government cybersecurity efforts and answers to the Department of Homeland Security. Full Story Reuters_ 3/7/09
Stimulus first step in Obama's broadband goals: aide
The $7.2 billion in funding to promote high-speed Internet in the stimulus package is just the first step in the Obama administration's effort to fuel expansion of telecommunications services, said Blair Levin, an adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama on telecom matters during the transition and now an informal adviser. One public interest group had called for $44 billion to build networks to connect rural and other unserved parts of the U.S. to the Internet to help bridge the digital divide. Full Story Reuters_ 2/16/09
Boosting public broadband, one library at a time
This week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $7 million grant to invest in the expansion in broadband access in libraries across seven states. The foundation awarded $6.9 million to Connected Nation, a nonprofit group advocating bridging the broadband digital divide, and the American Library Association’s Office of Information Technology Policy. The bulk of the funding – more than six million dollars – will go to Connected Nation to launch state initiatives in Arkansas, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia, then organize a broadband summit to bring relevant stakeholders together. The balance of the grant, meanwhile, will go to the ALA, so they can help provide broadband strategy expertise to libraries in the seven states. Full Story PBS_ 12/19/08
IBM plans broadband over power lines for rural America
IBM said Wednesday that it has struck a $9.6 million deal with International Broadband Electric Communications under which it will deploy high-speed Internet service that runs over power lines in rural U.S. markets underserved by traditional broadband technology. IBM will use IBEC's Broadband over Power Line (BPL) equipment to roll out BPL service to customers of electrical cooperatives that provide electricity for much of rural America. With BPL, consumers can simply plug their computers into any electrical outlet to receive broadband service at speeds comparable to those offered by DSL and cable Internet Service Providers. Despite its promise, BPL has received mixed reviews to date and as a result has largely failed to flourish. Full Story Information Week_ 11/12/08
Cyber attacks on McCain and Obama teams 'came from China'
US government cyber experts suspect that an attack on the Obama and McCain campaign computer networks this summer originated from China, according to a US official. Earlier this summer, the Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Barack Obama's and John McCain's campaign teams that their computer networks had been compromised by foreign hackers. The official cautioned that they had not ascertained whether they were government-sponsored, or just unaffiliated hackers. Details of the incident were first revealed by a Newsweek. The Bush administration has ramped up cyber security over the past year as networks across the government increasingly come under cyber attack. The Chinese military last year hacked into the Pentagon system serving Robert Gates, the defence secretary, stealing information from an unclassified network in the most serious breach of the military's computer network. Full Story Financial Times_ 11/7/08
Global broadband services market seen at $900 billion by 2012
The global market for high-speed Internet services will be worth nearly $1 trillion by 2012, according to a report by research firm Yankee Group. The broadband market, which includes revenue from services to consumers and businesses, as well as the amount spent on equipment for the underlying infrastructure, is currently worth $590 billion, Yankee Group said. By 2012, the market will grow to more than $903 billion, it projected. Emily Green, president and chief executive of Yankee Group, noted that it took 10 years for the Internet to reach one billion people. The Internet will double its reach by 2012, she said. Full Story Dow Jones/Morning Star_ 9/4/08
Start-up wants to provide free broadband
M2Z is a small wireless start-up with a big goal: free broadband for the masses. Milo Medin, M2Z's chairman and co-founder and a broadband pioneer, wants the ad-supported service to ultimately be available to 95% of the USA. The free service, if it launches, would run at 768 kilobits a second, 10 times faster than dial-up. Big wireless carriers currently charge a lot more — $60 to $80 a month — for a lot less, 400 to 500 kilobits or so. Premium services at higher speeds — 3 to 6 megabits initially, Medin guesses — would start at just $20 a month.
Full Story USAToday_ 9/2/08
Broadband is far cry in India
India may have emerged as the fastest growing telecom market in the world, however, in terms of Internet access and broadband numbers, the country has some major catching up to do. With almost close-to-zero broadband penetration, India is far behind most economies of the Asia-Pacific region. On the other hand, the region is the world’s largest broadband market with a 39% share globally. The Asia Pacific region as a whole is home to almost half the world’s fixed telephone subscribers. It has 42% of the world’s Internet users, and with 1.4 billion mobile cellular subscribers, it also has the largest mobile phone market. India has close to 50 million Internet users while its number of broadband users is abysmally low at 4.5 million. Full Story Financial Express_ 9/2/08
Further delay to Australia's
national broadband network plan
Australia Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd's government will fail to deliver its second-biggest election commitment
on time after announcing yesterday that tenders for its $4.7 billion national
broadband network will not be due until the end of the year so it has time
to collect more information for bidders. Optus head of government and corporate
affairs Maha Krishnapillai blamed Telstra for delays. "Telstra has been
the root cause, not only in delaying the release of this information, but in
holding Australia's broadband future to ransom to protect its own interests
and its 50 per cent-plus margins on fixed networks." But Telstra spokesman
Jeremy Mitchell said Telstra had done everything possible to provide the information
sought by the Government and to make it available to other bidders. Full
Story The Australian_ 7/19/08
Rural broadband customers
to be offered 400mbps
The new technology is called Bonded
DSL Rings (BDR) which relies on existing copper wire infrastructures. It
is a patent pending technology from Genesis Technical Systems of Calgary, Canada.
With BDR, telcos can deliver up to 400mbps to customers at one twentieth of
the cost of fibre networks. Rural broadband has so far not kept up with bandwidth
speeds in urban areas because there has not been an economical way for telcos
or cable firms to deliver high bandwidth broadband services to rural customers.
Bonded DSL Rings combines DSL and Resilient Packet Rings (RPR) technology to
provide greater bandwidth and higher quality services. Full
Story Computer Weekly 7/14/08
Massive Internet security flaw uncovered
Security researchers on Tuesday said they had discovered an enormous flaw that could let hackers steer most people using corporate computer networks to malicious websites of their own devising. But there are two pieces of good news: First, no bad guys are known to be using the flaw yet. And second, in a possibly unprecedented display of industry cooperation, virtually every major software company affected is issuing patches to fix the problem. System administrators will have 30 days to apply those patches -- from the likes of Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Red Hat Inc. and others -- before the details of the flaw are disclosed at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. "This is about the integrity of the Web, this is about the integrity of e-mail," said Dan Kaminsky of security firm IOActive Inc., the man who discovered the flaw. "It's more, but I can't talk about how much more." Full Story Los Angeles Times_ 7/9/08 (logon required)
Strategy Analytics: Worldwide broadband subscriptions to reach 415 million this year
Worldwide broadband subscriptions will reach 415 million in 2008, representing one billion discrete broadband users, according to "Broadband Forecast: 1H 2008," a report just released by Strategy Analytics. The number of broadband subscriptions will continue to grow to 621 million by 2012. While DSL remains the dominant access technology, accounting for two-thirds of worldwide subscriptions, newer access technologies are taking hold. "Fiber and WiMax will increasingly displace traditional broadband access technologies, such as DSL and Cable," said Ben Piper, Director of the Strategy Analytics Broadband Network Strategies service. "This phenomenon is punctuated by the Asia Pacific region, where WiMax is expected to grow from 4.8 million subscriptions in 2008 to 23 million by 2012." "Global household penetration rates will continue to grow at a steady pace, approaching 35% in the next five years," said John Lee, Analyst in the Strategy Analytics Digital Consumer practice. "Latin America and Asia Pacific will make up half of all global broadband subscriptions by 2012." Full Story Centre Daily_ 5/28/08
Start-up Sezmi provides new way to deliver TV content
If you're fed up with cable or satellite TV service, you may have another, potentially cheaper choice within the next two years, thanks to a local start-up.
Belmont-based Sezmi plans to offer a fairly standard TV lineup with a combination of broadcast, standard cable and premium channels along with Internet-based video. But it's the way the company plans to distribute its offerings that is unusual and could make it cheaper. It will partner with local TV stations to serve up much of the content, and use consumers' existing high-speed Internet connections to deliver the rest. That means Sezmi won't have to launch any new satellites or roll out any new cables, both of which can cost millions or even billions of dollars. Without those and other overhead costs, the company thinks it can roll out its service quickly and charge customers half what they would pay for cable or satellite services.FULL STORY San Jose Mercury News_5/2/08
Video distributor study: All broadband providers disrupt P2P
The eight biggest Internet service providers in the U.S.—which collectively serve more than 54 million broadband users—all “artificially interrupt” peer-to-peer traffic to some extent, according to a study by P2P video distributor Vuze. The study, released April 18, found that AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Qwest Communications International and Verizon Communications regularly send false commands, designed to slow down file transfers, to BitTorrent-based peer-to-peer software. Comcast has borne the brunt of attention on this issue, with the Federal Communications Commission currently investigating the operator for its practice of selectively blocking P2P transmissions that traverse its network. Vuze’s software uses the BitTorrent-developed peer-to-peer protocol to distribute promotional and ad-supported video files over the Internet from more than 100 content partners. It formerly was known as Azureus. Full Story Multichannel_ 4/22/08
FCC calls for mobile alert system
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has moved to set up a system that would send text alerts to people on their mobile phones in case of natural disasters and other emergencies. With an order released Wednesday, the FCC adopted technical requirements for transmission of the alerts, which would require the cooperation of mobile operators. However, no government agency has yet been named to collect and transmit the alerts to mobile operators. The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) would be designed to reach U.S. residents regardless whether they have access to a TV, radio or electricity. More than 250 million people in the country have mobile phones today, FCC commissioners noted. The system would send out three types of alerts: Imminent Threat Alerts, with information on emergencies that may pose an imminent threat to peoples' lives or well-being, Child Abduction Emergency/AMBER Alerts concerning missing children and Presidential Alerts, which would preempt any other pending alerts. The alerts initially would be text only, though with vibration and audio signals for people with disabilities. They eventually might include audio and video content. FULL STORY_PC World4/10/08
Comcast adjusts its Internet traffic management
Slowing down the bandwidth 'hogs'
Comcast, the country’s largest residential Internet provider, said on Thursday that it would take a more equitable approach toward managing the ever-expanding flow of Web traffic on its network. The cable company, based in Philadelphia, has been under relentless pressure from the Federal Communications Commission and public interest groups after media reports last year that it was blocking some Internet traffic of customers who used online software based on the popular peer-to-peer BitTorrent protocol. Comcast said it would change its fundamental approach to playing Internet traffic cop. Instead of interfering with specific online applications, it will manage traffic by slowing the Internet speeds of its most bandwidth-hogging users when traffic is busiest. “In the event of congestion, the half percent of people who are overutilizing an excessive amount of capacity will be slowed down subtly until capacity is restored,” the chief technology officer for Comcast, Tony G. Werner, said. “For the other 99.5 percent, their performance will be maintained exactly as they expect it.” Mr. Werner said he hoped to have the new system in place by the end of the year.
FULL STORY_New York Times 3/28/08
Stelera Wireless receives $35 million loan to deploy broadband in rural U.S.
Stelera Wireless, a privately-held company specializing in wireless broadband services has received $35 million from the Department of Agriculture in the form of a low interest loan. The funds will be used to invest and grow the most technologically-advanced wireless broadband service available--3.5 generation HSUPA (High Speed Upload Packet Access). According to CEO Ed Evans, Stelera Wireless is the first in the nation to introduce this advanced technology and is unique in the deployment of a wireless network that is purely focused on broadband services. "Plenty of carriers are offering voice services and some data services, but we have built a network optimized for the broadband experience," Evans said. Rural customers, typically the last to receive service and the very last to enjoy the latest technology, will instead have access to services unavailable as yet in the largest cities in the U.S. as Stelera Wireless customers. The Department of Agriculture loan will allow Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based Stelera Wireless to launch 55 cities in 2008, with an initial focus on communities with less than 20,000 residents where broadband choices are limited and sometimes non-existent. The immediate planned locations are in Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Oregon and Arizona. Larger markets will be included as growth continues. "This is only the beginning," said Evans. Full Story News Release_ 3/11/08
Google bypasses corporate IT departments ....again
Microsoft’s pursuit of Google’s online advertising business may earn the headlines. But the search giant is quietly trying to steal business customers from Microsoft, as a new product release shows.Google today is adding a feature to its Apps package – which already includes online spreadsheets, word processing, email and other tools targeted to businesses – that will let people build Web sites where they can post anything from contact information to presentations to videos. Google says this will make it easier for workers to collaborate on projects. Setting up sites like this has traditionally required help from the information-technology department. Google boasts in its press release that workers can set up a site “without having to burden IT for support.” We love that phrase: It’s a bit like showing a teenager how to sneak out of the house and calling it a way to go out without burdening parents by letting them know. It also speaks volumes about Google’s strategy for breaking into businesses. The company is intentionally bypassing tech departments, which might object to Google hosting their business’s sensitive information. Instead, the company is appealing directly to the average worker, who doesn’t want to have to wait months for IT to have the time and money for their project. So while it will probably fill IT pros with visions of sensitive corporate data flowing out of their businesses, Google’s business model isn’t dependent on winning techies over. Google hopes that it will be enough to appeal to workers’ desire to collaborate now. FULL STORY_Wall Street Journal 2/28/08
Vietnam to invest $1 billion on broadband
Vietnam's largest telecommunications company plans to invest US$1 billion (euro670 million) to upgrade the country's broadband Internet network and keep pace with economic growth. Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group will expand and improve the network over the next two years, said Bui Quoc Viet, spokesman for the state-owned firm. The improved network will provide faster connections for Vietnam's nearly 19 million Internet users, he said. Roughly one-fifth of the country's 85 million people use the Internet. Full Story AP/Yahoo_ 2/25/08
Domain name for Asia up for grabs
The so-called landrush for the latest domain name suffix - .asia - has begun. DotAsia, the organisation overseeing the registration, is expecting huge demand for the first domain name extension for the Asia Pacific region. But some in the industry are concerned about the proliferation of domain name suffixes in recent years. While others think that the business of buying domain names has become more about protecting brands than promoting them.Work to create the .asia domain began in 2000 with the DotAsia Organisation winning official approval to set up the domain in 2006. A so-called sunrise period, where companies can reserve domains to match their trademarks, has been ongoing since October. Now the process has been opened up for anyone to register and the first .asia domains will go live on the internet in March. Thomas Herbert, a product manager from UK hosting firm and registrar Hostway, believes the nature of buying domain names has changed, largely due to the lucrative businesses of cybersquatting. "People are willing to pay big money for a domain and with domain name reselling on the increase, it has become a matter of protecting your trademark," he said. FULL STORY_ BBC 22/1/08
Microsoft bids $44.6 billion to buy Yahoo
Microsoft Corp made a bid to buy Yahoo Inc for $44.6 billion, seeking to join forces against Google Inc in what would be the biggest Internet deal since the Time Warner- AOL merger. Yahoo would give Microsoft dominance in Web banner ads used by corporate brand advertisers. It also attracts more than 500 million people monthly to sites devoted to news, finance and sports, and Yahoo Mail is the No. 1 consumer e-mail service. Speculation of a tie-up has swirled in the markets for more than a year, as investors looked to Microsoft to team up with Yahoo against an ever more powerful Google, which owns about two-thirds of the global Web search market. But critics say Microsoft and Yahoo have very different corporate cultures and worry about a clash like the one that marred AOL's $182 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc in 2001, which is seen as the worst merger in recent history, with many of the promised synergies never materializing. Full Story Reuters_ 2/1/08
Third undersea Internet cable cut in Mideast
An undersea cable carrying Internet traffic was cut off the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, officials said Friday, the third loss of a line carrying Internet and telephone traffic in three days. Ships have been dispatched to repair two undersea cables damaged on Wednesday off Egypt. FLAG Telecom, which owns one of the cables, said repairs were expected to be completed by February 12. France Telecom, part owner of the other cable, said it was uncertain when repairs on it would be repaired. Stephan Beckert, an analyst with TeleGeography, a research company that consults on global Internet issues, said the cables off Egypt were likely damaged by ships' anchors. Officials said Friday it was unclear what caused the damage to FLAG's FALCON cable about 50 kilometers off Dubai. Full Story CNN_ 2/1/08
FCC auction opens door to open access
A sudden spurt of bidding has turned what was shaping up as a bust into the most robust auction of wireless spectrum the federal government has ever conducted, salvaging hopes for a new generation of mobile networks that are open to any device and any service. The weeklong auction cleared a crucial stage on Jan. 31 as the combined bids for the five swaths of spectrum being sold reached $15.64 billion, which is 14% more than the record $13.7 billion raised in 29 days of bidding during the Federal Communications Commission's last auction a year and a half ago. Most of the blocks, each of them broken into multiple biddable chunks, have now drawn the minimum bids set by the FCC, including one of the two blocks being sold with unprecedented requirements that their eventual owners open their networks to devices and services from other companies. FULL STORY_BusinessWeek 2/1/08
Two communications cables in the Mediterranean are cut
Two undersea telecommunication cables were cut on Tuesday evening, knocking out Internet access to much of Egypt, disrupting the world’s back office in India and slowing down service for some Verizon customers. One cable was damaged near Alexandria, Egypt, and the other in the waters off Marseille, France, telecommunications operators said. The two cables, which are separately managed and operated, were damaged within hours of each other. Damage to undersea cables, while rare, can result from movement of geologic faults or possibly from the dragging anchor of a ship. Hundreds of undersea cables often owned and managed by international consortiums keep telecommunications running worldwide. A surge in phones and Internet connections in Asia and to new financial hubs like Dubai has increased traffic on many of these cables. Most disrupted communications were quickly rerouted through other cables. FULL STORY_New York Times 1/31/08
Top bids $2.78 bln as US wireless auction opens
Top bidders put up a total of almost $2.78 billion on Thursday in the opening rounds of the Federal Communications Commission's auction of coveted U.S. government-owned airwaves. The figure represents the highest bids received for five separate blocks of spectrum at the beginning of the auction, which is eventually expected to net the federal government at least $10 billion. Companies qualified to bid include major carriers AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless, as well as possible new competitors like Internet company Google Inc., EchoStar Communications Corp and Cablevision Systems Corp. FULL STORY_ Reuters_1/24/08
$200 million cable brings Australia 'faster and cheaper broadband'
A new undersea internet cable would break open Australia's broadband market, bringing faster download times and lower prices, federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said today. The $200 million Pipe Networks PPC-1 cable will rival Telstra and Optus pipelines, linking Sydney to the Pacific island of Guam to provide a third international broadband link to Australia's east coast. It is due to open in June next year and Pipe Network executive director Lloyd Ernst today said PPC-1 was undercutting its competitors' prices by 50 per cent. Full Story Sydney Morning Herald_ 1/14/08
Comcast welcomes FCC traffic management inquiry
Cable-modem service provider Comcast said Wednesday that it would welcome a U.S. Federal Communications Commission investigation into its broadband traffic management practices. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, said the commission would investigate complaints that Comcast was blocking some peer-to-peer (P-to-P) traffic. An Associated Press investigation published in October found that Comcast was slowing traffic connected through the popular BitTorrent file-sharing program. A Comcast spokeswoman said Wednesday that the company had not yet received information requests from the FCC. Comcast, in a statement, also defended its practice of sometimes slowing P-to-P traffic during peak traffic times. Full Story IDG News Service/PCWorld_ 1/9/08
TV Converter Boxes Offer Escape From Analog TV; 'untethered' households heading for a blank screen
Do you still get your TV reception via rabbit ears or a roof-top antennae? If so, you've got about a year to procure a digital-to-analog converter box and prepare your television for the impending digital TV revolution. As mandated by federal law, on February 19, 2009 over-the-air television broadcasts will switch from analog to digital. If you're stuck with an analog-only TV, don't worry: Converter boxes will be available. LG and Philips will be showing off some of the first at this year's CES, (Consumer Electronics Show) and the boxes will go on sale for around $60 in the first quarter of the year. To help ease the transition, starting January 1, you'll be able to request a $40 coupon subsidy from the federal government. If you've already upgraded to a high-definition TV, you won't be affected by the coming transition. Nor will you feel an immediate impact if you receive you're a cable or satellite subscriber: The FCC requires cable and satellite providers to continue providing an analog signal until 2012. The 2009 transition will impact only the small percentage of Americans who get their TV signal over the air using an antenna, explains Jason Oxman of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). "We call these "untethered" households--about 11 percent of the nation's households," Oxman says. "As of today, we estimate there are 13.5 million such households." When the switch takes place in 2009, the analog signal--and these untethered households--will go dark. FULL STORY_PC World 1/2/08