Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • The UK to Borrow for its High Speed Broadband

The UK government will be borrowing to try to encourage investment in high-speed fiber broadband networks and 5G technology. The government is said to be spending over £1BN (in the United States that’s 1 billion dollars) by 2020-2021 to continue to build the country’s digital infrastructure.

“Our future transport, business and lifestyle needs will require world class digital infrastructure to underpin them. My ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in 5G — that means a full fiber network, a step change in speed, security and reliability. So we will invest over £1BN in our digital infrastructure to catalyze private investment in fiber networks and to support 5G trials,” said Chancellor Philip Hammond.

The UK does well in ranking when it comes to the top 10 countries for average broadband speeds, according to Akamai’s 2016 report. However, the gap between urban and rural broadband speeds remains problematic.

Telecommunications company, BT, whose Openreach subsidiary owns and manages access to the UK’s primary broadband infrastructure, has its focus on its efforts of squeezing higher speeds out of the existing copper based infrastructure. This infrastructure has very limited full fiber to the home rollouts.

This allows rival broadband network providers, such as Virgin Media, to typically focus on urban areas where the volume of paying customers makes the infrastructure expenditure worthwhile. The result of that focus is just two percent of UK premises have access to full-fiber connections.

What’s the government’s plan? They plan to improve that figure by encouraging smaller, alternative players to push in with full fiber offerings. There will be £400M (US – $495,480,000) for what it dubs “gold standard” fiber broadband, with funds needing to be matched by broadband providers, so a potential £800M (US –$998,600,000.) to fund rollouts.

  • President-elect Trump Appoints Two New People to FCC

President-elect Trump has appointed two anti-Net Neutrality opponents to his transition team. Their task will be overseeing his FCC and telecommunications policy agenda.

Jeff Eisenach, one of the two newly appointed advisers, is an economist who has previously worked as a consultant for Verizon.

In 2014, Eisenach testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee. “Net neutrality would not improve consumer welfare or protect the public interest,” said Eisenach.

The anti-net neutrality opponent worked for the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and in a blog post he wrote, “Net neutrality is crony capitalism pure and simple.”

Mark Jamison, the other newly appointed adviser, has a long history of battling against net neutrality oversight. Jamison formerly worked on Sprint‘s lobbying team and now leads the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center.

These two men can be considered leading adversaries of net neutrality who worked hard to prevent the rules from being passed last year. Net neutrality prevents companies internet providers from discriminating against any online content or services. For example, without net neutrality rules, internet providers like Comcast and Verizon could charge internet subscribers more for using sites like Netflix.

 

  • Wi-Fi Rules Five Ways Rules

What would we do without Wi-Fi? The invention has made it so immensely easier for everyone to stay connected. Here’s five ways in which Wi-Fi has assisted us.

  1. People can stream ALL of the movies they want. Streaming subscription services have been able to revolutionize the way we consume movies and TV shows. Most of the top services require at least a 5.0 Mbps connection speed for the best viewing experience.
  2. It helps gamers to level up. “Lag” is a word can strike terror into the hearts of devoted gamers on the verge of completing the final level of their favorite game. Wi-Fi assists any gamer with reaching the highest levels with some ease.
  3. For communication in the workplace. Wi-Fi is glue that holds most businesses and companies together nowadays. Companies would be lost without a good connection. Just like when a power outage occurs, we take Wi-Fi in the workplace for granted. We just assume that it’ll be working properly that is, until it fails.
  4. When you work from home. If you’re self-employed, Wi-Fi is something that runs your business. Having no Wi-Fi for even one day could be a major setback with communicating with interested buyers, sellers, or business contacts.
  5. Because you can’t live without it. Wi-Fi has become something like water, in the sense that you just can’t live without it. The connection is becoming a base necessity for civilization. It’s no wonder, President Barack Obama spearheaded the 2010 National Broadband Plan, designed to get internet into every American household.

 

  • A New Battery Could Charge in Seconds and be used for Days

 

Battery technology plays a major role in our digital lives. While it has certainly been refined over the past few years, there is always room for improvement.

Scientists from the University of Central Florida have developed a supercapacitor battery prototype that works as if it were new even after being recharged as many as 30,000 times. If successful, the research could mean the development of super fast-charging batteries that could last a whopping 20 times as long as today’s lithium-ion batteries.

In other words, you could charge your phone in only a few seconds and not need to charge it again for an entire week,” said Nitin Choudhary, postdoctoral associate at UCF, in a report from Engadget.

The reason that supercapacitors can be charged so quickly is that they store electricity on the surface of a material, instead of having to store it through chemical reactions, as happens in lithium ion batteries. These material sheets are able to hold a ton of electrons.

The research is still in early development and it is nowhere near ready for commercialization just yet. Although it certainly looks promising. Presently, the technology is just a proof of concept. The team behind it is now figuring out the best way to patent the technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INFORMATION GATHERED

1.)

 

 

1.) https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/23/uk-to-put-up-1bn-for-full-fiber-broadband-and-5g-400m-extra-for-vc/

 

UK to put up £1BN for full fiber broadband and 5G, £400M extra for VC

Posted 5 minutes ago by Natasha Lomas (@riptari)

 

The UK government has confirmed it will be borrowing to try to encourage investment in high speed fiber broadband networks and 5G technology — with a plan to spend over £1BN by 2020-2021 to bolster the country’s digital infrastructure.

Giving his Autumn Statement today, Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “Our future transport, business and lifestyle needs will require world class digital infrastructure to underpin them. My ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in 5G — that means a full fiber network, a step change in speed, security and reliability. So we will invest over £1BN in our digital infrastructure to catalyze private investment in fiber networks and to support 5G trials.”

The UK continues to rank well outside the top 10 countries for average broadband speeds, according to Akamai’s 2016 report. While the gap between urban and rural broadband speeds remains problematic.

Incumbent telco BT, whose Openreach subsidiary owns and manages access to the UK’s primary broadband infrastructure, has focused its efforts on squeezing higher speeds out of existing copper based infrastructure — with only very limited full fiber to the home rollouts. While rival broadband network providers, such as Virgin Media, typically focus on urban areas where the volume of paying customers makes the infrastructure expenditure worth their while. The result: Just two per cent of UK premises have access to full-fibre connections.

The government’s plan to improve that figure is to encourage smaller, alternative players to push in with full fiber offerings. There will be £400M for what it dubs “gold standard” fiber broadband, with funds needing to be matched by broadband providers — so a potential £800M to fund rollouts.

Today Hammond also said that from next April there will be 100 per cent business rates relief for a five year period on new fiber infrastructure — “supporting further rollout of fiber to homes and businesses”.

A further £750M will be made available to fund 5G trials.

The chancellor added that the government will be asking the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) for recommendations on the UK’s future economic infrastructure needs — and signaled an intention to increase the proportion of GDP spent here, to between 1% and 1.2% of GDP every year from 2020, up from around 0.8% this year.

£400M to try to help UK startups scale before being bought out

The Autumn Statement also contained a measure specifically aimed at supporting UK startups to scale up, with the Chancellor announcing plans to put £400M into venture capital firms via the British Business Bank — “unlocking £1BN of new finance for growing firms” as, in his words, “a first step to tackle the long-standing problem of our fastest growing startup tech firms being snapped up by bigger companies, rather than growing to scale”.

Eileen Burbidge a parter at VC firm Passion Capital, which has received investment money via the British Business Bank, welcomed the move.

 

“I think it’s an excellent decision,” she told TechCrunch. “Passion isn’t more likely to be a future beneficiary than anyone else (our existing/prior BBB commitments have been done/in the past, 2011 and 2015) but as a previous beneficiary we can attest to how valuable the BBB support was to attracting other investors in support of our fund and activities.

“The BBB was absolutely crucial for us in launching our first fund since we were first time fund managers. Their commitment helped to secure funding from across European and South East Asian family offices and high net worths. So I think it’s brilliant the BBB will be given more funding to support even more fund managers or to greater degrees.”

Asked about the government’s overarching aim of prevent promising homegrown startups from being bought by overseas acquirers before they have a chance to get really big she described it as a “noble aim”, but added: “I see it all as good activity (acquisitions, mergers) and that it’s a good thing the world recognises Britain as a place to scout for great talent, innovation and technology.

“I’ve no doubt as our digital/tech ecosystem continues to mature that we’ll have more and more British ‘tech giants’ as well.”

Another measure announced in the statement is a commitment to spent £390M to build on what Hammond dubbed the UK’s “competitive advantage in low emission vehicles and the development of connected autonomous vehicles”. He also said there will be 100% first year capital allowance for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Also mentioned: support for plans to boost transport links between Oxford and Cambridge, with a view to capitalizing on knowledge sharing between the two universities.

“This project can be more than just a transport link — it can become a transformational tech corridor drawing on the world class research strengths of our two best known universities,” he said, backed the NIC’s interim recommendations on creating an Oxford, Cambridge “growth corridor”, including £110M in funding for East-West rail, and a commitment to deliver an Oxford to Cambridge.

In the speech the chancellor also reiterated the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week of a £2BN per year funding boost for R&D by 2020. And confirmed the corporate tax rate will drop to 17 per cent next April — although Theresa May has also said the government will be reviewing the rate to see if a further cut is possible.

He flagged up, in passing, what he described as “the raft of investments in the UK” since the Brexit referendum — name-checking Softbank, Nissan, Google and Apple, among others.

End: WordPress Article Content FEATURED IMAGE: CHRIS RATCLIFFE/GETTY IMAGES

2.)

http://www.gizmodo.in/news/Trump-Names-Two-Opponents-of-Net-Neutrality-to-Oversee-FCC-Transition-Team/articleshow/55551806.cms

 

 

Trump Names Two Opponents of Net Neutrality to Oversee FCC Transition Team

Michael Nunez

| Gizmodo Media

Nov 22, 2016, 02.42 AM IST

 

DONALD TRUM

Image: AP

President-elect Donald Trump has appointed two new advisers to his transition team that will oversee his FCC and telecommunications policy agenda. Both of the new advisers are staunch opponents of net neutrality regulations.

Jeff Eisenach, one of the two newly appointed advisers, is an economist who has previously worked as a consultant for Verizon and its trade association. In September 2014, Eisenach testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee and said, “Net neutrality would not improve consumer welfare or protect the public interest.” He has also worked for the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and in a blog post wrote, “Net neutrality is crony capitalism pure and simple.”

Mark Jamison, the other newly appointed adviser, also has a long history of battling against net neutrality oversight. Jamison formerly worked on Sprint’s lobbying team and now leads the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center.

Both Eisenach and Jamison are considered leading adversaries of net neutrality who worked hard to prevent the rules from being passed last year. For the uninitiated, the rules passed last year prevent companies internet providers from discriminating against any online content or services. For example, without net neutrality rules, internet providers like Comcast and Verizon could charge internet subscribers more for using sites like Netflix. The FCC’s net neutrality rules would protect consumers from paying exorbitant fees for internet use.

President-elect Trump has also been a vocal opponent of net neutrality. In 2014, he tweeted:

Follow

Donald J. Trump

‪@realDonaldTrump

Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.

1:58 PM – 12 Nov 2014

 

 

 

The latest news from Trump’s transition team spells bad news for more than just the open internet. In addition to opposing net neutrality, Jamison has also publicly opposed FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s attempts to open up the cable industry’s monopoly on set-top boxes. Jamison recently wrote that chairman Wheeler’s reason for revisiting cable set-top box rules relied on “bad math and falsehoods masquerading as facts.”

The appointments should be startling to regular internet users because both advisers are like for deregulation. As it stands, most Americans have only one or two choices for broadband providers. With less regulation, it could encourage companies that are practically running monopolies to start price-gouging consumers. Back in February, four million people sent emails to the FCC in favor of passing net neutrality rules-but it now appears that those rules could soon be revised by a new administration.

 

 

Five ways Wi-Fi rules the world

We’ve come a long way from the early days where internet was all about information and entertainment — the new mantra is all about speed and quality of connectivity. We now expect instant and reliable connection to the internet, for a reasonable price. While mobile data services have improved for the AYCE (All-You-Can-Eat) model for the TV streaming and first-person shooter binges, there is no cost-effective replacement for good old Wi-Fi.

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But, sufficient Wi-Fi speed has been challenging as our devices get faster and our HD/Ultra-HD video streaming subscriptions take over TV; and as broadband speeds have zoomed up to 100-1000 Mbps, the need for a reliable Wi-Fi has never been so important. If your phone or laptop lags or connection lags in certain areas of the house or you see your 200 Mbps Internet service going down to a trickle in that new TV room with the 65 inch 4K screen, hit the pause button before upgrading your speed (and shelling out cash to your internet service provider). Your router has a lot to do with your Wi-Fi experience, so make sure yours is up for the movie/gaming night challenge.

New tech, such as the NETGEAR Orbi a tri-band Wi-Fi system that delivers consistent speeds through concrete walls and canvases up to 4,000 square feet, is the gold standard of dependability and coverage. The NETGEAR Orbi Wi-Fi system uses an Orbi Router and Orbi Satellite to provide you whole home Wi-Fi coverage and speed. Better Wi-Fi benefits us all, in more ways than we might realize. We’ve got five reasons Wi-Fi is already ruling the world.

 

 

  1. You can stream ALL of the movies

Streaming subscription services have revolutionized the way we consume movies and TV shows. Imagine being at a buffet with all your favorite foods, but no fork to eat any of it. That’s the frustration of a slow connection: Top streaming services require at least a 5.0 Mbps connection speed for the best viewing experience. Can you imagine a world where you watched videos, TV shows and movies without Wi-Fi? And what if your roommates want to watch soap operas on the TV, while you’re keen on watching the football game on your laptop? Better triple those figures above — all the more reason to make sure your Wi-Fi is up to snuff.

  1. It helps you level up

Lag. That single word strikes terror into the hearts of devoted gamers on the verge of completing the final level (for the 238th time). Whether you’re a first person shooter or role playing gamer, those teenagers from Costa Rica on your gaming network will show no mercy when your spotty router delivers an ill-timed blip. Especially on nights when friends descend on your living room, consoles in hand, you’ll want the best connection possible to complete the mission and reach legendary status among the global gamer microcosm, whose company is entirely dependent on your Wi-Fi.

 

 

  1. For communication in the workplace

Mere frustration becomes serious anxiety when the Wi-Fi cuts out at work. Especially for corporate types and people who communicate between regional offices, the tedium of reconnecting to a dropped conference call is nothing to laugh about at the water cooler. And for creatives, public relations communicators and anyone who already stresses over deadlines, a slow or dropped signal means utter failure (and convincing the client that it wasn’t your fault, which is never a good time). Just like a power outage, Wi-Fi in the workplace is something you don’t even think about — until it fails.

 

  1. When you work from home

If your cubicle looks more like a bed frame, you’re probably dependent on your internet for your livelihood. You don’t want to try telling clients and employers you couldn’t get on a video conference call because your Wi-Fi went out. They’ll say, “Oh, did your dog eat your homework, too?” Cut the excuses — and the cords — and make sure your home wireless experience is reliable as you are.

  1. Because you can’t live without it

Like water, oxygen and TV streaming, Wi-Fi is becoming a base necessity for civilization — it’s no wonder President Barack Obama spearheaded the 2010 National Broadband Plan, designed to get internet into every American household. And Wi-Fi is continuing to streamline our home lives, with smart home tech such as Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, appliances, security cameras and more becoming the norm. The future is the NETGEAR Orbi’s 200 Mbps internet connectivity throughout your home. The future is now.

 

4.)

Charge your phone in seconds, use it for days? A new battery may make it possible

By Christian de Looper — November 22, 2016 10:40 AM

 

Battery technology plays a pretty major role in our digital lives and while it has certainly been refined over the past few years, there is always room for improvement. Scientists from the University of Central Florida have developed a supercapacitor battery prototype that works as if it were new even after being recharged as many as 30,000 times.

If successful, the research could mean the development of super fast-charging batteries that could last a whopping 20 times as long as today’s lithium-ion batteries. In other words, you could charge your phone in only a few seconds and not need to charge it again for an entire week, according to postdoctoral associate Nitin Choudhary, in a report from Engadget.

More: Tips to make your iPhone battery last longer (and a common myth busted)

The reason that supercapacitors can be charged so quickly is that they store electricity on the surface of a material, instead of having to store it through chemical reactions, as happens in lithium ion batteries. Those material sheets can hold a ton of electrons.

Much of the research with batteries involves using graphene. However, the team at UCF chose to go a different route — it wrapped 2D metal materials, which are only a few atoms thick, around tiny conductive wires, which essentially allows electrons to pass from the core to the shell quickly and easily. The result was a fast-charging material with a lot of energy and power density.

It’s important to note that the research is still in early development and it is nowhere near ready for commercialization just yet, however it certainly looks promising. Currently, the tech is just a proof of concept and the team behind it is now figuring out the best way to patent the tech. While it could go nowhere, like a lot of other battery ‘breakthroughs,’ we could also hear a lot more about supercapacitor research in the near future.

Net Neutrality – Careful what you ask for!

As a long-standing tree hugger I subscribe to CREDO, an organization that helps me stay current with issues related to my interests and that helps me take action to influence decision-makers.

CREDO sent me an e-mail asking me to take action to tell the FCC to stop delaying and enact strong net neutrality provisions ASAP.

I sent their corresponding e-mail to several of my friends and received some eloquent replies that I want to share with you. It seems too simple and easy to take sides when it is pointed out that doing nothing would be the best solution.

From Vaughn, the founder of a successful ISP, IT engineering and outsourcing company

The best way to maintain no regulation is to only accept “no regulation”, including any regulation designed to say “no regulation”.

Net Neutrality (from the ISP side of the world) is being seen as a nefarious victimless crime used as a winding key for the mechanical town crier’s call for new tough laws to make sure that none can step on this newly discovered slippery ice other than the federal government (and even that initially in a well intentioned effort to make sure that nobody else steps on).

Once we reach that destination though, there will be clarifications (lawyers) and revisions (slipping on the ice) and compromise (so we can let a few folks on the ice, but protect them so that nobody can knock them down (imagine 8a for ISP’s)). Once it starts the outcome is inevitable – the government gets duped into favoring one party or the other, and then sets about (again mostly well meaning) to fix it. Before you know it we will have a virtual tax code… where the well resourced have time to figure out how to pay nothing, while the middle dolts – too busy working to scheme – pick up the tab, and the bottom struggles in abject poverty.

The FCC is maneuvering and actually does (read comments from the current leadership and shudder – really!) desire to use Net Neutrality as a means to control the publishing of content the way they currently regulate radio broadcasters (sounds like Google in China?). The regulators intentions are not all white hat either. Though there is only 5% arsenic in all rat poison, there is also 95% wheat germ in most – it is what gets them to eat it. The giants in the industry, hungry to create a barrier to entry (and having the resources to find loopholes and use them) are more than willing to create the sense of urgency needed by floating just such trial balloons as you have seen today with Google/Verizon knowing full well that they would be rejected by the market because of competition… as long as it exists anyway.

The current FCC leadership is a radical “use government for social change” bunch, that will care very little if they irreparably damage our industry and as a by-product eliminate all of the small players in 18 to 36 months… it’s “collateral damage” to them. Don’t take my word for it. Research the current commission’s leadership and look for some of their quotes as relates to “making the communications on the Internet politically neutral”. This is bigger than just my industry. Hugo Chavez created a group called the “responsibility in media” commission (or something like that), that sounded very good. Its charter was to make sure that all political information was “fair”. Now, less than a decade later, there are no radio stations left in Venezuela that disagree with Chavez. The efforts that the FCC leaders have proffered as example of what they have in mind for Net Neutrality actually include reference to granting them the right to license content – with exception made of course for the lowly citizen. But what if a few citizens pool their resources and form an association (like CREDO)? Where will they fall? It depends as I see it on who has control of the white house and thereby the FCC and whether or not those organizations agree with them. Not good! It won’t start out that obviously, but it will end up there.

The big Telco and content players want protection on the ice, so they can execute impossibly profitable maneuvers – or sustain them – without the inconvenience of market rejection or commoditizing competition. The commission wants to use regulation to “manage free speech in a responsible way”. This combination of negative liberties is a marriage made in Hades, and if we don’t stop the wedding ensuring that NEITHER Google or Verizon (or anyone like them) gets any official standing when it comes to the Internet, we are all headed for something very bad.

I am not an alarmist (I think so anyway), but this one really worries me. We can’t give the FCC a sword and then get surprised when they use it. Let Verizon and Google marry. Without the Government officiating, it will be like the marriage of Time Warner and AOL. Remember how frightened everyone was then? “Could they end up controlling content on the Internet?”, and “Will they be able to put a stranglehold on rates?”, and “are they going to join with MCI-Worldcom’s Bernie Ebbers and create a new tiered Internet?”. SO where did that go? Let the market reject them both. They really don’t have any power to force the market to change (without the gov). There are still too many small players. Why? Because without regulation they can compete! With it, they will have to consolidate or fade because of the choking need for resources in order to figure out how to stay “compliant”. I am student of history, and this is how I see it going down.

Best,
~V

From Jack “The Dude” a very senior major telco executive.

Claude,

Your note compels me to comment on the so-called “Net Neutrality” debate.

This subject is grossly misunderstood by the general public and many, if not the majority, of the stake holders in the debate.

First, the Google/Verizon proposal is just that, a proposal designed to “bridge” the two sides of “the debate”. The proposal is flawed in my opinion because it treats differently wireline vs. wireless “broadband” services. While I understand why the difference, the proposal raises the hackles of the wireless user lobby by suggesting that wireless not be regulated in similar fashion to the wired infrastructure.

This debate is in reality not about “broadband” or the internet per se. It’s about the “last mile” of telecommunications service, including the services, applications and management/regulation thereof, to the end user..

Not about Broadband or the internet? That’s right. The internet today is already “broadband” and is provisioned by a consortium of carriers worldwide. In order to access/use the internet, you and I need to do business with a Tier 2 Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, etc. Those providers offer us a variety of wired and/or wireless services including access to the internet. Those providers in turn contract with the real internet carrier for access to the internet. When we do business with the ISP, we’re buying a service, internet access for example) at a specific speed as delivered by the ISP’s infrastructure, not the internet per se. When the service we purchase is above a certain speed (used to be 56kb, now its 1mb and above) above the capabilities of a dial access copper telephone line, the industry and public deem that “broadband” service. If we purchase wireless internet access, we still use and transition the ISP’s wireless (and wired) infrastructure to access the internet.

The reason that “broadband” and Internet access creep into the debate is simple and relates to the demand, both current and future, for bandwidth across the “last mile”. Bandwidth, or the delivery thereof, is not limitless. That reality applies to both Wired and Wireless last mile connections. The investment required by the ISP’s is tremendous and continuing and very much is determined by the types of services they offer over the “last mile”. Video, streaming video, P2P, Games, Facebook or the so-called social networking services all compete for the same bandwidth when delivered to the end-user. In the wired world, coax and fiber (e.g., Verizon”s FIOS, have mitigated the last mile bandwidth problem for ISP’s and subscribers. The so-called “broadband” wireless infrastructure is still fighting the bandwidth demand problem due to the relative immaturity of the available “wireless” technology. Compounding this problem is the advent of new generation wireless phones every 5 minutes that have the capability of saturating a wireless network with various wireless applications.

The FCC’s role to date has been limited to wired, inter-lata telecommunications, i.e., those telecommunications services that are enabled by Federal Tariff. Also, the FCC says grace over the radio frequencies assigned various types of communications, including TV and “cellular” communications. The FCC has never been involved with below the line ISP operations, including internet access.

So, in order for the FCC to regulate “net neutrality”, they must assume a universal (intra and inter lata) regulatory role for ISP operations and policy, including of course the “last mile” of ISP service. Stand by for the howling from each states PSC.

The morale of the story?

Be careful what you wish for

“The Dude”

Seriously ATT vs. GoogleVoice is a nice way of Asking the FCC for Help

Telling taies out of school let me say that I think alot of the discussion about GoogleVoice is way off track.

Intercarrier Compensation

Here are some of the per minute rates for the same call based on the rules.
As a result of Apple and Google debate, the discussion of GoogleVoice got ATT in a strange position. That of being the only one in the battle the FCC had the ability to really petition about the issue.

That lead to ATT pointing out that GoogleVoice was in an interesting position, while neglecting to mention they were truly a secondary service and not a primary solution, we also ended up with interesting issues of when does an enhanced service start stop or apply.

But none of this is what is on ATT’s mind. They are focused on the right issue. Intercarrier compensation. They are pointing out the blocked calls not to point at Google, but to point at the craziness that the commission needs to address.

This does get complicated because entwined are the issues of high cost providers, phantom traffic and traffic pumping, but if Google can choose to avoid the cost for a free service, the question that should be asked is what is the harm?

The harm may be to the consumer behind the high cost carrier and therefore competitiion is the answer.

The time is right given the BTOP process to stare down the advocates of the status quo and make a decision.Intercarrier Compensation - source ATT

If I Had SIX Billion Dollars

If I Had SIX Billion Dollars
Barenaked Broadbands
In honor of the stimulus package and with apologies to the BareNaked Ladies.

If I had six billion dollars
(If I had six billion dollars)
I’d used unlicensed spectrum
(I would used unlicensed spectrum)
If I had six billion dollars
(If I had six billion dollars)
I’d buy you Femtocells for your house
(Maybe a nice Samsung or something from Thomson)
And if I had six billion dollars
(If I had six billion dollars)
Well, I’d buy you mobility for your Car
(A reliable signal to your car)
If I had six billion dollars
I’d buy your access
If I had six billion dollars
I’d build a network for your yard
If I had six billion dollars
You could help, it wouldn’t be that hard
If I had six billion dollars
Maybe we could put like a little tiny social network up there somewhere
You know, we could just go up there and hang out
Like open discussions and stuff
There would already be laid out tools for us
Like little pre-wrapped widgets and things
They have pre-wrapped wrapped but they don’t have pre-wrapped networks
Well, can you blame ’em
Uh, yeah
If I had six billion dollars
(If I had six billion dollars)
Well, I’d buy you some fiber
(But not a lot of fibers that’s excess)
And if I had six billion dollars
(If I had six billion dollars)
Well, I’d buy you an PVR
(Yep, like a TiVo or a Slingbox)
And if I had six billion dollars
(If I had a six billion dollars)
Well, I’d buy you some computers
(Ooh, all them crazy media player boxes)
And If I had six billion dollars
I’d buy you access
If I had six billion dollars
We wouldn’t have to walk to the store
If I had six billion dollars
Now, we’d use telepresence ’cause it costs more
If I had six billion dollars
We wouldn’t have to worry about bandwith costs
But we would use bandwidth 
Of course
we would, we’d just use more
And buy really expensive IP phones with it
That’s right, all the fanciest devices smartphones, iPods! 
Mmmmmm, Mmmm-Hmmm
If I had six billion dollars 
(If I had six billion dollars)
Well, I’d make sure it was green 
(But not so green that you had to peddle, that’s cruel)
And if I had six billion dollars
(If I had six billion dollars)
Well, I’d buy you some camera (A Logitech or a Sony)
If I had six billion dollars
(If I had six billion dollars)
Well, I’d buy you video system 
(Haven’t you always wanted a video system)
If I had six billion dollars 
I’d buy you access
If I had six billion dollars,
If I had six billion dollars
If I had six billion dollars,
If I had six billion dollars
If I had six billion dollars
We’d be connected.

The day Jeff Pulver would have spoken

If I were in Boston, we would be hearing about Social Networks and new ventures from Jeff Pulver, but I would want him to talk about the Pulver Order at risk.

To be clear no one in Washington is saying that the Pulver Order is at risk.
Imho, the Pulver Order, which I thought was redundant because of the Enhanced Service Provider exemption, is going to be isolated.
Here is a reminder of the background.  Back in the days when data communications was mostly dial up and before the Internet became commercial, companies like IBM ran the communications lines for their customers.  For some bell heads, this meant that the computer operators should be treated as telcos and subject to different rules.  The FCC decided that was not the goal and made the distinction that data networking, which almost always consisted of some storing of data in the network, or some change in the format in the network (have times changed!) was exempt from having to file tariffs, being treated like a telco since it was an enhanced service.
Decades later Jeff tells me he is filing this petition and I tell him he does not need it.
The Code of Federal Regulation [CFR] in 61.38 protects VoIP, but he files anyway.
At VON in describing what has been filed Bob Pepper (who is a PHD) is intrigued at the order and goes back to the FCC.  The petition becomes an order, but it shakes my world.  From my perspective it should be the law of the land already.  From the commissions perspective its not so clear and it wins by 3.5 votes.  (viva la half vote!).

Jeff of course was happy.

Today, the commission is exploring the idea of eliminating the enhanced service provider [ESP] exemption.  What do we care right?  The Pulver Order is in place so things like Skype are safe!
Well, here is the thing, the impact can be very harmful to the rest of the community for a couple reasons.
1) The distinguishing characteristic is being based on numbers (or equivalents).  If you use a phone number to reach someone, the assumption is that a number is connecting to the phone network.  Is that correct? What if the URI does the routing? What happens when you use Internet Technology in a closed network that uses phone numbers as identifiers?
2) If the phone number is being reached via the Internet, or vice versa, will the entire call be subject to regulatory rules.  Right now the way it works, is that the local gateway is consider part of the regulatory regime.  But many of the battles about “phantom traffic” stem from a desire to determine the source and charge rates based on origin.
Do we really want to create an Internet Wheatstone Bridge on the gateways so that end points are quantified?  Skype’s supernodes do not pay any attention to anything other than traffic management and ignore geography.  The impact is that I could be connected to a supernode in Estonia while touching a gateway in my same neighborhood. Should Skype have to track me to charge me differently?
Imho the Pulver Order has lost its legs.  Where before it was table stakes and the service gateways between the PSTN and the Internet were undefined, now they are considered part of the PSTN and only the Pulver Order is left isolated as the only regulatory ambiguous area.
As Jeff would say “addition by subtraction”.

The Problem with the Embarq Petition

Aswath,

Thank you for looking at what I sent you.  I must apologize for not making things clear.  I will ask you to revisit the Freedom2speak website.

The FCC has several petitions and actions going on simultaneously and it’s easy to lump them all together, but they deal with different aspects of what it means to provide service.

The Embarq petition has nothing to do with VoIP per se, but everything to do with Intercarrier compensation.

As you know the history of telecom was that long distance subsidized the cost of the local loop with termination charges to local terminating carriers.

Before VoIP came along the rates for these settlements were put in place.  They had much more to do with regulatory objectives than real costs, both on the local loop side and on the interoffice, interLATA, International side.

The FCC had done excellent work, at one point, harmonizing the International settlements rates and many local rate plans benefitted as well.  It is one of the key reasons bucket of minute pricing is available on all phones services.

The issue is that traffic rates for local and state termination have stayed stagnant since before the VoIP revolution.  The termination charges with these local tariff rates are out of sync with the market realities today.

Whenever there is an anomaly like this the opportunity exists for arbitrage.  The traffic that is terminating into these local carriers represent more than the volume that VoIP traffic represents and includes traffic from wireless and wireline services.  However, often the traffic origination is not known since it is coming based on clearinghouse and competitive carrier relations and may be deliberately masked for competitive reasons.

The Embarq petition would want all traffic to be terminated at the rates that were set before the advantages of fiber, VoIP and competition came into being. And the rate has no relevance to cost.  In fact, the cost of per minute billing systems is often considered not worth the hassle especially if bucket of minute pricing is applied.

The hope would be that a cohesive nationwide rate would apply based on real costs.  Major carriers are advocating bill and keep and or a nationwide rate that is in keeping with the overall market and their experience of cost recovery.

If the Embarq petition is allowed to stand the implication is that competition may again be reduced by the cost prohibitive nature of compliance with per minute billing being applied to all carriers.

Of course the legacy carriers, have these systems so the status quo will get to stay that way.  The more things change the more you get the same old POTS.

And that is the issue that Freedom2speak is all about.  Like you, Regulators see the services that “quack like a duck” and want to apply the standard rules.  The issue is that the revocation of the enhanced service provider exemption lumps everything that is displayed Freedom2speak.org as telecom.  And given how many jurisdictions are looking for someone to tax, it is going to become burdensome.  This is the point of reaching out.

Please reconsider and add your voice to show that VoIP is more than another duck.

Freedom2Speak.org Launched

Jim Kohlenberger has shared this information with me.  Included in this site which highlights the innovation of VoIP is the ability to petition to keep VoIP as an enhanced service.

With the FCC poised to vote November 4th on a key decision that will impact the future of Internet communication, today VoIP leaders are launching a new voice activated web site and online campaign to educate consumers and policymakers about the power and potential of VoIP:  www.freedom2speak.org

An incredible transformation is making its way across the Internet — helping to bring voice to the net. These innovative Internet voice applications are changing the way we communicate, stay connected to our friends, family and colleagues. Together these technologies have the potential to deliver extraordinary new benefits.

We want to introduce you to some of the exciting new voice tools now just emerging. This new web site contains nearly 300 different cool tools — each unique — that are stretching the horizon of voice on the net.

But the future of some of these exciting technologies is not all assured. There are an unfortunate set of policy proposals by special interests that could limit your ability to speak and be heard on the Internet. And that’s why we’re asking you to get involved. Stand up — speak up — and fight for your freedom to speak on the Internet!

The web site:

1.    Highlights the amazing things that are happening when voice is integrated with the Internet.  Providing examples of nearly 300 innovative new voice enabled tools that are emerging on the Internet. These voice enabled Internet applications are giving voice to blogs, connecting friends together on MySpace and Facebook, empowering people on the campaign trail, transforming video games, integrating voice and video into instant messaging, allowing one telephone number to reach all your phones at once, ushering in a new era of voice recognition based information retrieval tools, integrating click to dial functionality into mapping and other web sites, and doing things never before possible.

2.    Demonstrates the extraordinary benefits that VoIP enabled tools can deliver.  The site includes a state by state map of benefits; highlights the broader benefits for consumers, the economy, the environment, homeland security, etc.; and provides examples of exciting and beneficial ways the technology is being put to use.  For example, at a time when families are struggling to pay their bills, VoIP enabled competition is poised to save consumers an astounding $110 billion over the next 5 years.

3.    Enables users to take specific actions to protect their freedom to speak on the net.  The FCC is poised to vote on November 4th on a key decision that will impact the future of these technologies.  The site describes key policy issues that could impact the growth of these technologies, and gives people the ability to take specific actions to protect their freedom to speak on the Internet.  With just a few clicks, the site allows users to file comments at the FCC or talk directly with policymakers.  Its critical because some proposals could subject voice enabled web sites to a patchwork of potentially conflicting state rules, or reverse key policies that would apply per minute fees to Internet commutations and voice enabled web sites.

4.    Using the medium as the message.  Voice enabled tools are incorporated throughout the site, including into voice blogs, a virtual VoIP debate between Obama and McCain, a tool to call members of Congress, and a voice broadcast tool tell their friends about the site.

VoIP is not another flavor of telephone service.  It’s a new frontier in communications for individuals and businesses alike, and it requires forward-thinking regulatory approaches.  If policymakers reflexively subject these new voice enabled Internet tools to yesterday’s telephone regulations without first understanding the variety of tools emerging, consumers and business users could miss out on the new services, increased choices and new ways to communicate that VoIP can deliver.

Jim Kohlenberger
Executive Director
The Voice on the Net Coalition

About the VON Coalition:
The Voice on the Net or VON Coalition consists of leading VoIP companies, on the cutting edge of developing and delivering voice innovations over Internet. The coalition, which includes AT&T, BT Americas, CallSmart, Cisco, CommPartners, Covad, EarthLink, Google, iBasis, i3 Voice and Data, Intel, Microsoft, New Global Telecom, PointOne, Pulver.com, Skype, T-Mobile USA, USA Datanet, and Yahoo!  works to advance regulatory policies that enable Americans to take advantage of the full promise and potential of VoIP. The Coalition believes that with the right public policies, Internet based voice advances can make talking more affordable, businesses more productive, jobs more plentiful, the Internet more valuable, and Americans more safe and secure. Since its inception, the VON Coalition has promoted pragmatic policy choices for unleashing VoIP’s potential. http://www.von.org