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Broadband News 2006-2007

December, 2007

Microsoft OKs open-source license

Microsoft, whose software powers about 95 percent of the world's personal computers, reached an agreement on licensing terms that will allow open-source products to connect to the Windows operating system.  Microsoft will license proprietary information on how Windows shares files and printers with the non-profit Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, which will make the data available to open-source developers working on a file and printing system called Samba.  The agreement will "allow Samba to create, use and distribute implementations of all the protocols" to allow so- called workgroup servers to connect with Windows, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft said in a statement Thursday.  The accord furthers Microsoft's bid to resolve legal disputes worldwide that have been weighing on its shares. The company in October gave in to European Union demands to license the protocol data.  In the past, Microsoft refused to license its technology to open-source software makers. Programs such as the free operating system Linux and the Samba system are distributed under terms requiring access to the source code, or underlying operating instructions.  FULL STORY_San Jose Mercury_12/21/07

Some airlines to offer in-flight Internet service
In-flight Internet access is finally taking off in the United States.  Starting next week and over the next few months, several airlines will begin taking the first steps toward offering Internet service on their planes.  On Tuesday, JetBlue Airways will begin offering a free e-mail and instant messaging service on one of its aircraft, while American Airlines, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines plan to offer a broader Web experience in the coming months.  “I think 2008 is the year when we will finally start to see in-flight Internet access become available, but I suspect the rollout domestically will take place in a very measured way,” said Henry Harteveldt, an analyst with Forrester Research. “In a few years time, if you get on a flight that doesn’t have Internet access, it will be like walking into a hotel room that doesn’t have TV.”  FULL STORY_New York Times 12/7/07

U.S. House passes broadband statistics bill

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would provide for more detailed measurements of broadband availability in the U.S., a move applauded by groups that say current statistics are inaccurate. The Broadband Census of America Act, approved by the House Thursday, would require the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to collect information on the number of broadband subscribers in each postal ZIP code. It would also require the FCC to separate broadband service into speed tiers when it reports broadband availability in annual reports, instead of classifying everything above 200Kbps as broadband. The bill, along with similar legislation pending in the U.S. Senate, addresses long-time criticisms about the FCC's measurements. Currently, the FCC counts a ZIP code as served by broadband if just one residence has service, but critics say many ZIP codes are only partially served by broadband.  Full Story  InfoWorld/Yahoo!_ 11/14/07

Privacy groups seek "do not track" Web list
Nine privacy and consumer organizations asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to create a "do not track" list for Internet users who don't want their online activities tracked, stored and used by advertising networks.  Such a list would function much like the FTC's "do not call" registry that consumers can join to prevent telemarketing phone calls, according to the groups, which include the Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Consumer Federation of America.  Internet advertising companies and marketers increasingly are collecting information about individuals' Web activities and preferences so as to tailor their advertising messages.  In recent months, Google Inc, Yahoo and Microsoft Corp have all struck deals to acquire online advertising companies.  Executives from the three companies and other Internet firms are scheduled to address an FTC public meeting on behavioral advertising practices on Thursday and Friday.  The "do not track" list would require advertisers that place electronic cookies or tags on consumers' computers to register with the FTC all domain names of the servers involved in such activities, according to the groups.  FULL STORY_Reuters 10/31/07

WiMax gets boost from United Nations' telecommunications agency

The United Nations telecommunications agency in Geneva gave the upstart technology called WiMax a vote of approval, providing a sizable victory for Intel and something of a defeat for competing technologies from Qualcomm and Ericsson. The International Telecommunication Union’s radio assembly agreed late Thursday to include WiMax, a wireless technology that allows Internet and other data connections across much broader areas than Wi-Fi, as part of what is called the third-generation family of mobile standards. That endorsement opens the way for many of the union’s member countries to devote a part of the public radio spectrum to WiMax, and receivers for it could be built into laptop computers, phones, music players and other portable devices. The approval, which came in the form of a consensus of the radio assembly ahead of the World Radiocommunication Conference next week in Geneva, gives WiMax a leg up on Ultra Mobile Broadband, an alternative technology from Qualcomm, and Long-Term Evolution, an equivalent from Ericsson.   Full Story   New York Times_ 10/20/07 (logon required)

Company will monitor free phone calls to send tailored ads

Pudding Media, a start-up based in San Jose, Calif., is introducing an Internet phone service today that will be supported by advertising related to what people are talking about in their calls. The Web-based phone service is similar to Skype’s online service — consumers plug a headset and a microphone into their computers, dial any phone number and chat away. But unlike Internet phone services that charge by the length of the calls, Pudding Media offers calling without any toll charges. The trade-off is that Pudding Media is eavesdropping on phone calls in order to display ads on the screen that are related to the conversation. Voice recognition software monitors the calls, selects ads based on what it hears and pushes the ads to the subscriber’s computer screen while he or she is still talking.  Full Story   New York Times_ 9/24/07 (logon required)

New Zealand baby-boomers slow to try broadband

A report prepared by technology company Ericsson and the University of Sydney surveyed the post-war baby boomer generation - those aged between 46 and 61 - to discover why they were among the least likely to have broadband. Around 50 per cent of New Zealand internet users now have broadband rather than dial-up connections. Ericsson's Colin Goodwin said this market was a growth area for broadband but internet service providers needed to understand what drove baby-boomers to turn off dial-up and switch to broadband. Goodwin said baby-boomers were mainly interested in broadband to stay in touch with family and friends, and to have internet available to help their children at school.  Full Story   New Zealand Herald_ 8/27/07

72% of U.S. adults have broadband access - Consumer Electronics Assn. (CEA)

Seventy-two percent of U.S. adults have access to a broadband connection and more than half of American households now subscribe to broadband, according to new research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. Broadband in America: Access, Use and Outlook reveals 57.8 million U.S. households subscribe to broadband at home, an increase of 21 percent in the last 12 months. 75 percent of households with Internet access subscribe to broadband. For these households, 65 percent decided to upgrade for a faster Internet connection. For non-subscribers, 15 percent say price is the number one reason they don't have broadband in the home. Many Americans without broadband at home, are accessing broadband connections from work, public libraries, and schools as well as even through portable devices like wireless phones.   Full Story News Release_ 7/24/07

New rules could rock U.S. wireless world

Coming soon could be a wireless broadband world in which consumers get to pick any smartphone or other device and load any software on it — not have to take what the wireless carrier wants to sell. That's the goal of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin, who will propose sweeping new rules for wireless airwaves the government is auctioning early next year. The 700 MHz spectrum, being vacated by TV stations as they go digital, is coveted for its ability to penetrate walls and other obstacles.Under Martin's proposal, to be circulated in the agency as early as Tuesday, mobile services in these airwaves would have to allow consumer choice. What this would mean in practice: "You can use any wireless device and download any mobile broadband application, with no restrictions," Martin explained. The only exceptions would be software that is illegal or could harm a network.  Full Story  USA Today_ 7/10/07

Broadband providers could win net neutrality debate

Regulation around the thorny issue of net neutrality is more likely to be decided in favour of broadband providers than proponents of neutrality like Google, analyst IDC has predicted.   While the debate rages in the US, its outcome could shape the future internet experience for the rest of the world.  Net neutrality advocates have warned that broadband providers could use their power over the “last mile” to block services they don’t favour and also discriminate between content providers. This could also lead to a tiered service model imposed by broadband providers that would see providers profit from their control of infrastructure.  Internet players like Google have been staunch opponents of any moves to curb the freedom of movement on the internet. Internet protocol co-inventor Vint Cerf is a proponent of neutrality.  Two years ago Cerf wrote in his official Google blog : “The internet was designed with no gatekeepers over new content or services. A lightweight but enforceable neutrality rule is needed to ensure that the internet continues to thrive.”  FULL STORY_ SiliconRepublic.com 6/29/07

Backing for tool to battle spam
A tool that could help in the battle against spam and phishing attacks has received industry approval.  The DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) system is a method of validating the identity of the sender of an e-mail.  Spammers hide their identity by using a false, or spoofed, address in the millions of messages they send out.  DKIM uses encrypted digital signatures to prove a message's origin and a draft standard has been accepted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).  The IETF is the umbrella group representing firms such as Yahoo, Cisco, Sendmail and PGP Corporation.  The firms have pledged to work with ISPs, businesses and financial institutions to roll out the technology as soon as possible. 

FULL STORY_BBC News 5/24/07

House passes new anti-spyware bill

The House of Representatives has passed a bill designed to toughen penalties on spyware vendors and criminalize the act of installing potentially dangerous software on a user's machine.  But the bill must pass the Senate as well, and Congress' record of crafting useful legislation to combat Internet threats is mixed at best.  The House cleared the "Internet Spyware Prevention Act" (aka "I-SPY") on a voice vote on May 22. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who sponsored the bill along with Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), hailed it as a success for consumers.  "[I-SPY] is a bipartisan measure that identifies the truly unscrupulous acts associated with spyware and subjects them to criminal punishment," Lofgren said. "It targets the worst forms of spyware without unduly burdening technological innovation."  I-SPY prohibits "intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization, or exceeding authorized access, by causing a computer program or code to be copied onto the protected computer, and intentionally using that program or code" in order to obtain personal information, which the bill defines as a Social Security number, bank account number, credit card number, and so on.  The bill also authorizes disbursements of $10 million a year through 2011 to the Justice Department, in order to fund efforts to combat spyware, phishing, and pharming.  FULL STORY_Consumer Affairs 5/23/07

Estonia hit by 'Moscow cyber war'
Estonia says the country's websites have been under heavy attack for the past three weeks, blaming Russia for playing a part in the cyber warfare.  Many of the attacks have come from Russia and are being hosted by Russian state computer servers, Tallinn says. Moscow denies any involvement.  Estonia says the attacks began after it moved a Soviet war memorial in Tallinn. The move was condemned by the Kremlin.  A Nato spokesman said the organisation was giving Estonia technical help.  "In the 21st century it's not just about tanks and artillery," Nato spokesman James Appathurai told BBC News.  The head of IT security at Estonia's defence ministry, Mikhail Tammet, told BBC News that the attacks had affected a range of government websites, including those of the parliament and governmental institutions.  He said the country was particularly vulnerable as much of its government was run online.  "Estonia depends largely on the internet. We have e-government, government is so-called paperless... all the bank services are on the internet. We even elect our parliament via the internet," Mr Tammet said.  The Estonian government says its state and commercial websites - including a number of banks - are being bombarded by mass requests for information - overwhelming their computer servers.  Targets of the so-called denial-of-service attacks have also included the Estonian foreign and defence ministries and leading newspapers and banks.  The defence ministry says that the cyber attacks come from all over the world, but some have been hosted by Russian state servers. FULL STORY_BBC News 5/17/07

Northern Vermont breaks ground for $10 million broadband project

Calling broadband "a basic utility," U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy joined officials from the Economic Development Council of Northern Vermont at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for a $10 million fiber-optic network intended to provide the infrastructure. The ceremony kicked off construction on the first 75-mile leg of the 375-mile North-Link network, a public and private venture that will serve as the backbone from which Internet service providers can offer broadband access to consumers. The fiber-optic cables on the first leg of the route will be hung on Vermont Electric Cooperative power poles. Designed by Northern Enterprises, the network will be "vendor neutral," meaning private companies offering high-speed Internet access, telephone service or other telecommunications services will be able to use it for a fee, instead of building their own infrastructure, officials said.  Full Story AP/Burlington Free Press_ 5/5/07

Deaf could use video mobiles to chat with friends in sign language
Video compression tools made by US researchers make it possible to send live pictures of people signing across low bandwidth mobile networks. The system cuts down on the bandwidth needed by only sending data about which parts of each frame have changed. The researchers are talking to mobile firms about how to get the technology in to the hands of deaf people.   Full Story   BBC News_ 2/16/07

U.S. data centers consume 45 billion kWh annually, says AMD
By now, we have learned that power efficiency has become one of the dominant cost factors impacting the operating of computer systems. A new study, commissioned by AMD, is putting numbers on the power consumption of data centers in the U.S. and around the world.  AMD presented the findings of the study during the LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit in New York today. Following up on the firm's ongoing marketing campaign to highlight the power efficiency of its own processors, corporate vice president revealed findings, from what he said was the first study that provides "credible estimates" of the energy consumed by national and global data centers annually. According to AMD, data centers and their infrastructure swallowed the entire power production of by five 1000 MW power plants in 2005.  The study, which was authored by Jonathan Koomey, Ph.D., staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories and a consulting professor at Stanford University, concluded that total data center electricity consumption in the U.S., including servers, cooling and auxiliary equipment, was approximately 45 billion kWh, resulting in total utility bills of about $2.7 billion - or 1.2% of all U.S. electricity sales. The global power bill caused by data centers is estimated at about $7.2 billion - or 0.8% of global electricity sales. The global 2005 power consumption of data centers is estimated at about 122 billion kWh.  FULL STORY_ TG Daily 2/15/07

Concern over net security patches
The firm that makes hardware for much of the backbone of the internet has released three patches for security holes in its products.  Cisco has issued the fixes to internet service providers who are expected to roll out repairs in the coming days.  But there is concern that malicious hackers could exploit the flaws in the routers before the problems are fixed.  At least one of the holes could lead to e-mail and internet access issues, according to security experts. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer with F-Secure, said: "There's not much consumers can do themselves; these patches affect only the internet infrastructure itself, the routers which companies are using to pass on net traffic.  "Some sites and services might be down."  However, Cisco has said it is not aware of "any current exploitation of these vulnerabilities".  In a statement the company said: "Cisco is aware of multiple vulnerabilities that may impact Cisco IOS and IOS XR devices and has published three separate security advisories about them.  "In all cases, Cisco has made free software available to address the vulnerabilities for affected customers."   FULL STORY_BBC 1/24/07

China soon to be world's biggest internet user
China could overtake the US as the country with the most internet users within two years, according to its government, which released figures showing that the nation's online population had increased to 137 million people in the last 12 months.mmStatistics from the China Internet Network Information Centre show that more than a 10th of the country's 1.3 billion people now use the internet, with the figure increasing by 23.4% last year. "We believe it will take two years at most for China to overtake the United States," the official China Daily newspaper quoted a centre official, Wang Enhai, as saying. 

FULL STORY_ The Guardian 1/25/07

Man convicted under US anti-spam law
A man faces a sentence of up to 101 years in federal prison after being the first person in the US convicted under a federal anti-spam law, authorities said.  Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 45, was found guilty on Friday of running a "phishing" scheme that tricked people into believing they were giving personal information to a legitimate business. Prosecutors said Goodin then used the information to go on a spending spree.  Goodin is the first person in the US convicted under the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act, the US attorney's office said. The law forbids e-mail marketers from sending false or misleading messages and requires them to provide recipients with a way to opt out of receiving future mailings.  During trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Goodin used several compromised internet accounts to send e-mails to America Online users. The e-mails appeared to be from the company's billing department and told customers to update their billing information or lose service.  The e-mails referred people to one of several web pages controlled by Goodin where they could enter their personal information, prosecutors said.  In addition to the anti-spam conviction, Goodin was convicted of 10 other counts, including wire fraud, misuse of the AOL trademark and attempted witness harassment.  Goodin is scheduled to be sentenced June  11.  FULL STORY_MSN 1/18/07

U.S. voters use Internet more, big role seen in 2008
Americans turned in growing numbers to the Internet for political news and information during the 2006 U.S. congressional campaign, as Web videos and blogs became more widespread, a report on Wednesday said.  Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they relied on the Web for the bulk of their political news in 2006, up from 7 percent in the 2002 congressional campaign but down 2 points from 2004, when there was also a presidential race. Presidential contests tend to draw more intense interest.  "We might begin to see 2008 as the year when the distinction between 'virtual' politics and 'real life' politics becomes much less meaningful," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project and co-author of the report.  Still, the Internet trailed the top three sources of news, television with 69 percent, newspapers with 34 percent and radio with 17 percent, the survey found. Respondents were permitted two answers.  FULL STORY_ Reuters 1/17/07

December, 2006

Asia slowly recovering from internet outage

Asia is bouncing back from a massive communications outage, with phone and Internet providers cobbling together new networks after an earthquake off southern Taiwan clipped connections. By Thursday, less than 48 hours after the magnitude 6.7 quake damaged two crucial undersea cables, telecommunications companies from South Korea to Singapore had restored most services to millions. They did it by borrowing surplus transmission capacity from other companies and using satellites, confounding predictions of weeks of communications chaos. Meanwhile, the Taiwan company at the heart of the crisis, Chunghwa Telecom, said four repair ships were heading to the damage site, and were expected to arrive Tuesday. Chunghwa said repairs would take up to three weeks. The Asian communications outage reminded stock traders and others of the Internet's importance. Employees at China's biggest phone company, China Telecom Corp., said Internet and phone connections were still slow. South Korea's biggest carrier, KT, said more than half of its 92 damaged lines should be fixed soon. In Japan, major carriers KDDI Corp. and NTT Communications said most fixed-line phone services were running. Tim Dillon, senior research director at U.S.-based Current Analysis, which studies the telecom industry, said customers in Asia will have to get used to slow service for some weeks.  Full Story  AP/CNN_ 12/29/06

Satellite & Broadband Expo expanding to the western U.S.

Basing the decision on repeated requests by attendees, distributors and manufacturers, the Satellite & Broadband Expo (SBE) will be hosting it's first ever West coast show in October 2007. The satellite and broadband industry tradeshow has been held in the Eastern portion of the United States since it's launch in Memphis, TN. The 2006 show was held at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, GA and will return to the same venue for the spring show in April 2007. SBE 2007 West will be held at the Reno-Sparks Convention center in Reno, Nevada, Oct. 10-13.  www.SBEshow.com   Full Story  PRWeb/Yahoo_ 12/22/06

Broadband lines reach 264 million worldwide

The worldwide total of broadband lines reached 263.8 million at the end of September, with a total of 16.9 million lines added over the quarter. Figures from analyst Point Topic show that the world's total of DSL lines reached 173 million, with 10 million lines being added over the quarter. DSL still dominates the market with 65.6% of the broadband lines installed, outstripping technologies such as cable modems and fibre. Eastern Europe had the highest broadband growth in Q3, with growth of 12.7%. Coming second in growth terms was the Middle East & Africa region (MEA), with a quarterly growth rate of 11.9%. Western Europe and South-East Asia were the only two regions to report a drop in growth rate in the period.  Full Story  Computer Weekly_ 12/19/06

Ericsson says it won broadband contracts in Columbia and Germany

Swedish telecommunications equipment maker LM Ericsson AB said Tuesday it won contracts in Colombia and Germany to supply broadband services. Colombian fixed-line operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota chose Ericsson to supply high-performance broadband services, while in Germany, Versatel chose Ericsson to meet its broadband requirements, the company said in a statement. Specific financial details of the agreements weren't disclosed, but Ericsson described the German contract as a "multimillion euro deal."  Full Story AP/Yahoo_ 12/5/06

Ericsson, Intel to collaborate on mobile broadband
Ericsson today announced a joint effort with Intel Corporation to accelerate deployment of services and applications on mobile PCs, powered by Ericsson's mobile broadband and IMS solutions and Intel Core Micro-architecture for mobile clients and servers.  The joint effort aims to accelerate the market uptake of mobile broadband and multimedia services usage, through a more convenient and attractive experience for consumers and enterprises.  Ericsson said in a statement that both companies would work together on integrating solutions for mobile operators, enabling them to provide mobile broadband service packages for both enterprises and consumers using the mobile PC.  FULL STORY_CIOL 12/1/06

Broadcom claims first universal DVD chip

Consumer and communications chip supplier Broadcom Corp. Thurs. (Nov. 9) introduced what the company labeled the first single-chip solution to support both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD standards.  The battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, competing next-generation DVD standards with powerful backers, has been billed as the next VHS versus Betamax in some corners. But as EE Times reported recently, insiders believe that universal players supporting the standards will be introduced next year, taking some of the steam out of the fight. Such universal devices would presumably be powered by chips that support both standards, which are beginning to trickle into the market.  FULL STORY_EE Times 11/10/06

Danes lead broadband penetration

Three northern European countries show the world's highest broadband penetration rates, with Denmark leading the pack, according to statistics released Friday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Denmark had a broadband penetration rate of 29.3 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, followed by the Netherlands with 28.8 and Iceland with 27.3. Long-time leader South Korea dropped to fourth place with a penetration rate of 13.2. While the country appears to have reached its saturation point, it and Japan are moving rapidly to the next step – FTTP (fibre to the premise), the OECD said. Japan leads in FTTP connections with 6.3 million subscribers, outnumbering total broadband subscribers in 22 of the 30 OECD countries. The US, with a penetration rate of eight subscribers per 100 population, has the largest number of broadband users at around 57 million, representing 36 percent of all broadband connections in the OECD, up from 31 percent in December 2005. Greece was ranked at the bottom of the OECD list, with a penetration rate of 2.7. The most used broadband technology in the period reviewed by the OECD was DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) at 63 percent, followed by cable at 29 percent. Other technologies, including satellite, fibre and fixed wireless, accounted for 8 percent.  Full Story  PCAdvisor_ 10/15/06

American Fork, Utah to sell, lease portions of its broadband fiber-optic  network to Sweden-based PacketFront Inc. for $2 million

PacketFront will invest $8 million into the system, upgrading it and making it profitable -- something the city couldn't do. The company will honor the wholesale agreements the city already has in place with vendors, and will interview existing city broadband employees as part of a good-faith hiring process, said Councilman Dale Gunther. It will also eventually offer the so-called triple play service -- Internet, cable television and telephone services. The city now offers only Internet service. In 2002, American Fork purchased its fiber-optic system from SwitchPoint for $6 million, floating a bond to fund the purchase. City officials had said the system, which has 1,400 subscribers, could bring in profits of $300,000 a month but instead the system has lost $1.2 million annually, Councilwoman Heidi Rodeback has said.

  Full Story  Daily Herald_ 10/11/06

Free anonymising browser debuts

Program hides your data in a crowd of other users
Web users worried about privacy can now use a modified version of Firefox that lets them browse the net anonymously.  The Torpark browser has been created by a hacking group and uses technology backed by digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Torpark uses its own network of net routers to anonymise the traffic people generate when they browse the web.  The browser can be put on a flash memory stick so users can turn any PC into an anonymous terminal.  The Torpark tool has been created by Hacktivismo - an international coalition of hackers, human rights workers, lawyers and artists.  Torpark uses the Tor network of internet routers set up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that already has tens of thousands of regular users.  Whenever any computer connects to the net it freely shares information about the address it is using. This is so any data it requests is sent back to the right place.  The Tor network tries to stop this information being shared in two ways. First, it encrypts traffic between a computer and the Tor network of routers - this makes it much harder to spy on the traffic and pinpoint who is doing what.  Second, the Tor network regularly changes the net address that someone appears to be browsing from - again this frustrates any attempt to pin a particular browsing session on any individual. 


UK city Milton Keynes gets high speed net
Milton Keynes looks set to become the first British town to get a high-speed wireless network based on so-called Wimax technology.  Net connection firm Pipex is creating the network which should cover most parts of the town by the end of 2006.

Unlike wi-fi technology, Wimax offers high-speed net access over long distances, instead of just a few metres.  Pipex said it hoped to have Wimax deployed in eight UK towns by 2008.  Wimax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) gives users access to the net at multi-megabit speeds over areas many kilometres in size.  Pipex said the Wimax network in Milton Keynes would be used to take broadband to those in the town that could not get it.  FULL STORY_BBC 8/22/06

Boeing: In-flight Internet didn't fly on low demand

Boeing on Thursday scrapped its in- flight Internet service, saying there was insufficient demand.
Anecdotally, in research and according to the German airline Lufthansa, which has deployed the service more than any other carrier, passengers adore the option of staying connected while flying. The problem, it seems, is the number, rather than the enthusiasm of users.The service is much like that in a Web café, with passengers gaining access to the Internet through a high-speed wireless network. The system, which is also used by executive jets as well as oil rigs and vessels at sea, bounces the Internet connection off a series of satellites. The cost to airline passengers is $9.95 an hour or $26.95 for an entire flight, and revenue is shared between Boeing and the airlines.  Full Story International Herald Tribune_ 8/17/06

July, 2006

AMD to buy chip-maker ATI for $5.4B
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. plans to pay $5.4 billion for top graphics chip maker ATI Technologies Inc., a bold move that could help the world's No. 2 maker of PC microprocessors match — or even exceed — the capabilities of larger rival Intel Corp.
The acquisition would instantly turn AMD into a leading supplier of graphics chips, which render images for computer games and Internet video, and so-called chipsets, which connect a PC's processor to other system components. Intel, which in the past year has lost ground in microprocessors to AMD but is showing renewed vigor, has long supplied both.  Shares of ATI rose almost 18 percent on the news, while AMD's stock fell almost 6 percent.  The acquisition of ATI "would make AMD a bigger player with a more diversified portfolio," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with research firm Insight 64. It "would certainly put AMD on a more equal footing relative to Intel."  FULL STORY_AP 7/24/06

Malaysia scraps wireless-broadband license tender

Malaysia canceled on Tuesday a tender for its first wireless broadband license, delivering a setback in the country's ambitions to become a leader in mobile high-speed Internet access by the end of 2006. At least three companies -- DiGicom, Redtone International and NasionCom Holdings -- were in the running for the tender to win a WiMax license for the 2.3 GHz spectrum, which was originally due to close on Tuesday. "The tender has to be recalled because the specifications are not according to ministry policies," Communications Minister Lim Keng Yaik told reporters at an industry conference. Lim said he was disappointed with industry regulator the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), adding that the conditions for the tender did not take into account the building of infrastructure and content. But he did not say when the tender would be reissued.  Full Story Reuters/Washington Post_ 7/18/06

June, 2006

If approved, U.S. planes could become Wi-Fi hot spots as early as next year

AirCell and a unit of JetBlue said Monday that they plan to turn airplanes into Wi-Fi hot spots as early as next year. If the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration approve, the services would let fliers use laptops to e-mail, tap corporate networks, surf the Web, play games and possibly even watch movies on domestic flights, all for about $10 a trip. They also might make cellphone calls, though that faces tougher regulatory hurdles and consumer resistance to chattering neighbors. AirCell was the high bidder in an FCC auction of air-to-ground airwaves that ended last week, agreeing to pay $31.3 million for 3 megahertz of spectrum. AirCell, based in Louisville, Colo., won the spectrum as part of a joint venture with private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings. JetBlue's LiveTV entertainment unit bid $7 million to snag a smaller 1 megahertz slice of airwaves. It may offer e-mail and Web surfing to customers of its existing satellite TV service on JetBlue and Frontier Airlines aircraft, says Jeffrey Frisco, vice president of LiveTV. Passengers' Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, BlackBerrys or other devices would link with a small airplane antenna that sends the broadband traffic to towers on the ground. Verizon Airfone and United Airlines last year won FAA approval to install Wi-Fi networks on Boeing 757-200 series aircraft.  Full Story USAtoday_ 6/5/06

May, 2006

$900 million Australian broadband plan unveiled

The federal government plans to use a $900-million fund to entice telcos to roll out several big broadband internet projects in regional and remote Australia. The Government originally envisioned its $878 million Broadband Connect fund would be used to provide per-service incentive payments to providers. But Communications Minister Helen Coonan today said the fund, linked to a new blueprint for the sector, would instead be used to subsidise several key broadband projects. She said such a network would extend broadband into regional and rural areas and might include a mix of technologies, including fibre, copper, wireless, broadband over powerlines, and in more remote areas, satellite.  Full Story  Herald Sun_ 5/15/06

Internet2 network aims to boost capacity

By sending data using different colors of light, operators of the ultrahigh-speed Internet2 network are hoping to boost capacity by as much as 80-fold to enable researchers to connect telescopes around the world and perform other bandwidth-intensive tasks.  The new network should be in place by fall 2007, said Douglas Van Houweling, Internet2's chief executive.  He announced the plans this week as researchers set a new networking speed record - 8.8 gigabits per second, nearing the Internet2's current theoretical limit of 10 Gbps, which is thousands of times faster than standard home broadband connections. 

FULL STORY_ AP 4/26/06

Internet population hits new high in U.S.
The U.S. online population has hit an all-time high: 73 percent of adults, or 147 million, now use the Internet.  The figures represent an increase from 66 percent, or 133 million adults, in January 2005, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.  But only 42 percent of all adults, or 84 million, have the home high-speed connections important for viewing video and treating the Internet as an always-on reference. Looking only at home Internet users, 62 percent have broadband.  In a report Wednesday, Pew noted that Internet use still varies with age and income.  FULL STORY_AP 4/26/06

Americans using Internet to make major decisions
Americans are relying on the Internet more and more to help with big decisions in life, a new survey shows.  Some 45 percent of Internet users, or about 60 million Americans, said they sought online help to make big decisions or negotiate their way through major episodes in their lives in the previous two years, according to researchers with the Pew Internet & American Life Project.  Other surveys by the researchers confirm the obvious, that the Internet is gaining in popularity. On a typical day at the end of 2005, 44 percent of the adult population went online, compared to 36 percent in January 2002.  During that time, the number of people who said the Internet played a major role in helping them cope with a major illness rose by 54 percent. Those who relied on the web to make big financial decisions increased 45 percent. Similar increases were found in people using the web to pick schools and buy homes.  Full Story_ Fox News 4/19/06

Net clocks suffering data deluge
D-Link routers clog the time line

Home network hardware supplier D-Link has been accused of harming the net's ability to tell the time accurately.

Detective work has found that many D-Link routers, switches and wireless access points are bombarding some net time servers with huge amounts of data.  Time servers help many net functions run smoothly. For instance they have a role in deciding who made the last bid in eBay auctions. D-Link is now taking action after protests from time server overseers. The problems caused by D-Link hardware came to light thanks to Danish contractor Poul-Henning Kamp who runs Denmark's time server. Typically the time servers have links with atomic clocks to ensure they are as accurate as possible.  Mr Kamp said his time server started getting hit with a lot more traffic than usual in August 2005. Initially he thought it was a web attack as some viruses use web clocks to co-ordinate their activities. However, digital detective work by Dr Richard Clayton from the security research lab at the University of Cambridge revealed that all the unexpected data was coming from D-Link hardware.  Mr Kamp said a new line of products sold by D-Link has the list of the net's time servers written into the software that keeps the devices running. Further detective work has revealed the 25 or so D-Link products checking the time using this list. The data flood is causing Mr Kamp problems because his time server is run on a non-profit basis and is allocated a small amount of bandwidth for the 2,000 or so Danish organisations that use it to tell the time. The data flood has seen his bandwidth bill rocket and Mr Kamp is contemplating shutting the server down as he cannot afford the continuing costs. Now, up to 90% of his daily traffic comes from D-Link devices. FULL STORY_BBC News 4/13/06

Study: Iceland tops in broadband use

Iceland had the highest concentration of broadband Internet users in 2005, but the United States still leads in absolute numbers, a survey showed on Wednesday.  In Iceland, 26.7 percent of citizens have a subscription to an always-on broadband Internet connection, compared with 25.4 percent in South Korea, 25.3 percent in the Netherlands and 25 percent in Denmark, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a study.  The number of broadband connections in Iceland grew to 78,017 by the end of 2005, from a penetration rate of 18.2 percent a year earlier, when it lagged Korea, the Netherlands and Denmark.  FULL STORY_ CNN 4/12/-6

Phone, cable may charge dot-coms that want to race along the internet

As Internet traffic starts to clog, the telephone and cable companies that control the nation's telecommunications networks are considering charging dot-coms such as Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. extra to make sure their data gets special treatment — zooming along faster and more reliably than anyone else's. The idea has ignited a sort of online road rage in the technology and entertainment industries and in Congress. Although differential pricing is widespread — think first-class airline tickets or box seats at the theater — it defies the Internet's egalitarian tradition. "It is one of those debates that has a world war sense about it," said analyst Blair Levin at investment banking firm Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. "Everyone is implicated and billions of dollars are at stake." In Washington and Silicon Valley, the debate is over the long-held tenet of network neutrality — the notion that access to all the Internet's offerings should be free from interference from the companies that own the vast fiber-optic and copper-wire networks linking the world's computers. Those companies — phone and cable companies, mostly — counter that they are entitled to offer expedited delivery services because the growth of online video, music and games is jamming their lines. Already, they charge companies for premium offerings such as private networks.  Full Story Los Angeles Times_ 4/9/06 (logon required)

Australia's take-up of broadband losing pace

The switch to broadband internet connections is slowing, despite the take-up of services approaching 3 million, according to an ACCC report. The Snapshot of Broadband Deployment revealed that at December 2005 there were 2.78 million broadband services connected across Australia. Of these, more than 2 million were ADSL connections. But total quarterly growth in broadband for the December quarter was down to 12.1 per cent from 18 per cent growth in the September quarter. ACCC commissioner Ed Willet said the take-up of broadband services rose 85 per cent last year, an increase of over 1.25 million customers. In September Australia was ranked 21st on home penetration estimates, with South Korea at the top of the list.  Full Story   The Age_ 4/5/06

March, 2006
Google patents free Wi-Fi

More evidence has emerged that Google is getting ready to blanket the U.S. with free Wi-Fi, as Business 2.0 senior writer Om Malik reported last year. Now, the company has filed for three patents related to offering wireless Internet access. Search Engine Roundtable points out that the patents all have to do with serving up advertising through a wireless Internet connection maintained by a third party, whose brand Google would include in the presentation of those ads. Sounds a lot like Google's latest plan to unwire San Francisco, where it has teamed up with EarthLink. By teaming up with partners who would build the actual Wi-Fi infrastructure, Google could complete a nationwide Wi-Fi network much more quickly than if it had to build it itself.   Full Story  CNNMoney_ 3/28/06

Combined AT&T-BellSouth would cut up to 10,000 jobs

AT&T Inc. plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs, mostly through attrition, if its $67 billion purchase of BellSouth Corp. goes through, AT&T's chief financial officer said Monday. The work force reduction would take place over three years, AT&T's Rick Lindner said on a conference call. The acquisition is expected to close next year, pending approval from shareholders and regulators. Before the cuts, the combined company would have around 317,000 employees, including Cingular Wireless LLC, which is now an AT&T-BellSouth joint venture. The 10,000 planned cuts are in addition to the 26,000 job cuts AT&T has already announced -- 13,000 due to SBC's acquisition of AT&T Corp., which closed in November, and 13,000 due to "operational initiatives." The merged company would have 70 million local-line phone customers, 54.1 million wireless subscribers and nearly 10 million broadband subscribers in the 22 states where they now operate.  Full Story AP/Washington Post_ 3/6/06 (logon required)

February, 2006

Survey: U.S. rural broadband users closing gap

The use of high-speed Internet services is growing fast in rural America, partly closing the gap between country and city, a survey shows. Last fall, 24 percent of rural Americans had broadband Internet access at home, more than double the 9 percent rate reported in 2003, according to a survey released Sunday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. By comparison, 39 percent of urban and suburban dwellers had broadband last fall, up from 22 percent in 2003. The main reason for lower rural broadband adoption appears to be availability, the study said. But Pew also noted that country dwellers are on average older, less educated and poorer than urbanites and suburbanites, factors that are associated with lower levels of Internet use.  Full Story AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer_ 2/26/06

UK broadband growth speeds forward

Broadband now accounts for 64% of all net connections in the UK, according to figures for December released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Dial-up appears to be in terminal decline, with connections down by a third compared with last year. The growth of broadband has been fuelled by its widespread availability and competitive prices. It has been a remarkable period of growth for high-speed net access. In January 2001, when the ONS began compiling net data, broadband accounted for less than 1% of connections.  Full Story  BBC News_ 2/21/06

January, 2006

Alone on the Internet? hardly

Study finds Web helps build communities

The cyber-world expands people's social networks and even encourages people to talk by phone or meet others in person, a new study finds. The Pew Internet and American Life Project also finds that U.S. Internet users are more apt to get help on health care, financial and other decisions because they have a larger set of people to which to turn. Further rebuking early studies suggesting that the Internet promotes isolation, Pew found that it "was actually helping people maintain their communities," said Barry Wellman, a University of Toronto sociology professor and co-author of the Pew report. Full Story_ CNN 1/26/06

No booze or jokes for Googlers in China
Google's new China search engine not only censors many Web sites that question the Chinese government, but it goes further than similar services from Microsoft and Yahoo by targeting teen pregnancy, homosexuality, dating, beer and jokes. In addition, CNET News.com has found that contrary to Google co-founder Sergey Brin's promise to inform users when their search results are censored, the company frequently filters out sites without revealing it. Some of the blackballing appeared to be a mistake. The University of Pennsylvania's entire engineering school server--which hosted one Falun Gong site--was blocked from Google's Google.cn China site. So was an Essex County Web site, which sports the word "sex"--as in "Essex"--in its domain name. Google.cn also doesn't display search.msn.com to someone who's hunting for the rival Microsoft service. And the results can be haphazard. A search in English on "Tiananmen Square" turned up some sites but not others. Tsquare.tv, a site devoted to the protest and subsequent massacre, was filtered out, but Wikipedia's write-up appeared. And an image search revealed the iconic photo of a student blocking a column of tanks before the 1989 massacre. Search results also appear to vary depending on whether they're done in English or in Chinese characters. Full Story_CNet News 1/26/06

Iran blocks BBC Persian website
The Iranian authorities have started to block the BBC's Persian language internet site, for the first time.  The BBC says the level of traffic to the site from within Iran has dropped sharply over the last three days.  No official explanation has been given. The BBC has expressed concern at the action, saying it deprives many Iranians of a trusted source of news.  The BBC said it would be approaching the Iranian government at an official level about re-instating access. BBC Persian.com is the most popular of the BBC's non-English language websites, receiving about 30 million page impressions a month - about half of which are from inside Iran. Full Story_ BBC News 1/25/06

Hungary's Magyar Telecom plans to double broadband subscriptions with a $230 million expansion loan

The goal is to double the customer base to 600,000 in only one year. The service provider, majority owned by Deutsche Telekom (DT) and doing business under DT¡¦s ¡§T-Com¡¨ brand name, signed an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the long-term loan granted through Deutsche Telekom International Finance B.V. as a financial intermediary. The loan, which matures in January 2013, is to be repaid in five equal installments starting in 2009, after two years grace period. Magyar Telecom hailed the loan deal as ¡§significant,¡¨ pointing out that this is the first time in several years that the EIB had invested in telecom projects in Hungary. Full Story Telecomweb.com_ 1/14/06

Microsoft and BSkyB bid for UK broadband dominance

Microsoft is to join Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB in developing a video-on-demand (VoD) service for the software giant’s Media Centre users. In a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said: 'They've got over eight million subscribers in the UK who will be able to do those downloads and use those great capabilities.' In October, BSkyB acquired ISP Easynet in a £211 million takeover deal in a bid to ramp up its broadband offerings and the deal with Microsoft is believed to be the start of a major online drive in 2006. Microsoft will to collaborate with Murdoch's News Corporation-owned DirecTV in the US in a similar scheme. Separately, search engine Google will let consumers buy video over the internet from US broadcaster CBS, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and other providers, according to reports.  Full Report Monstersandcritics.com_ 1/7/06

City-wide wi-fi rolls out in UK
A UK company that has created wireless hotspots in stations, coffee shops and hotels around the UK is planning to launch city-wide wi-fi this spring.  The Cloud will bring wireless broadband to nine cities including London, Manchester and Birmingham. Hundreds of hotzones will be rolled out across the cities, giving access to the internet for anyone using a wi-fi enabled computer or mobile phone.  More cities are expected to be announced during 2006.  The first phase will see hotzones set up in Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford, Cambridge and three London boroughs - Islington, Kensington and Camden.  It is expected that the new wireless internet network will reach more than 4 million people. Full Story_ BBC 1/5/06

Consumer Electronic Show promises more hybrid gadgets

Flat-panel televisions with built-in digital video recorders. Pocketable satellite radio receivers that can bookmark songs for online purchase. High-definition TVs engineered to play video or display photos from any computer on your home network.  The new offerings from LG Electronics Inc., XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. are just a tiny sampling from this year's International Consumer Electronics Show, an annual showcase of technologies soon to hit the market.  Spread out over 28 football fields of real estate when the doors open Thursday will be a dizzying array of new products from small startups, dot-com boom retreads and such longtime players as Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.'s Panasonic.  Full Story_CNN 1/4/06

The year of the digital citizen
2005 was arguably the year citizens really started to do it for themselves. Raising mobiles aloft, they did not just talk and text, they snapped, shared and reported the world around them.  Twelve months ago, it was clear the mass consumer was going to have at his or her disposal many more gadgets with greater capacity to record, store and share content.  It was going to be a year in which people started to challenge those who traditionally provide us with content, be it news, music, or movies.Crucially, what 2005 proved was that far from these techno tools being purely dumb funnels for the same paid-for content from mainstream media, they had the chance to become powerful tools for political expression and reportage.  Full Story_ BBC 1/4/06

FCC chief Kevin J. Martin wants cheap broadband everywhere

For Martin, 39, who took over in March as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, the key to delivering the future of telecommunications is a high-speed, or broadband, network available to everyone. Getting affordable broadband service to every household must be the commission's top priority, he said in an interview. There are political differences over how to reach that goal, but the Republican Martin has forged a working relationship with the FCC's two Democrats. That has helped lead to unanimous approvals of three telephone mega-mergers, rules requiring broadband phone companies such as Vonage Holdings Corp. to provide emergency 911 service and other difficult issues.  Full Story  Los Angeles Times/St. Louis Post-Dispatch_ 1/3/06


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