Posts Tagged ‘High-speed

28
Jun
10

Gov’t plans to double available wireless spectrum

NEWS
Gov’t plans to double available wireless spectrum

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Obama administration says it intends to nearly double the available amount of wireless communications spectrum over the next 10 years in an effort to keep up with the ever-growing demand for high-speed video and data transmission to cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices.

The White House said President Barack Obama will sign a presidential memorandum on Monday committing the federal government to auctioning off 500 megahertz of federal and commercial spectrum.

Revenue from the auctions would be spent on public safety, infrastructure investments and deficit reduction.

National Economic Council director Lawrence H Summers will explain the new policy in a speech on Monday at the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank.

In an excerpt released by the White House, Summers said, ‘This initiative will catalyse private sector investment, contribute to economic growth and help to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.’

The administration said it hopes to encourage the spread of wireless broadband across the country, including rural areas.

The auction is intended, in part, to counter fears of a potential ‘spectrum crunch’ as smart phones and laptop computers become more popular and new wireless devices hit the market.
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07
Apr
10

Federal court curbs FCC authority on Web traffic

NEWS
Federal court curbs FCC authority on Web traffic

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to force Internet service providers to keep their networks open to all forms of content, throwing into doubt the agency’s status as the government guardian of the Web.
The FCC has long sought to impose rules requiring Internet providers to offer equal access to all Web sites, a concept known as network neutrality. But in a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the agency lacked the power to stop cable giant Comcast from limiting traffic to a popular file-sharing site called BitTorrent.

While the Comcast case centered on the issue of network neutrality, the court’s ruling could hamper other agency initiatives, including an ambitious plan to expand high-speed Internet service nationwide and enforce new rules that hold carriers to promises of certain speeds for consumers.

The decision could spur the FCC or Congress to rewrite rules or laws to more concretely make the agency a regulator of Internet services.

The agency had intentionally kept its authority over broadband services vague, in hopes of spurring growth by keeping the market for Internet services largely deregulated. A reversal of that framework — which consumer groups have urged — would be strongly opposed by companies that operate Internet networks.

“Comcast swung an ax at the FCC to protest the BitTorrent order and they sliced right through the FCC’s arm and plunged the ax into their own back,” said Ben Scott, police director for public interest group Free Press.
The FCC’s predicament stems from Comcast’s challenge of sanctions the FCC issued against it in 2008.

In a 3-2 vote, the agency found that Comcast had violated open-Internet guidelines by slowing traffic to the BitTorrent file-sharing site. Those guidelines were meant to force broadband providers to treat all traffic equally on their networks, so as not to put any application at a disadvantage.

Comcast appealed the FCC sanction, saying the agency’s order was outside its scope. The court on Tuesday agreed.

Sena Fitzmaurice, a Comcast spokeswoman, said the company was “gratified” by the decision.

“Our primary goal was always to clear our name and reputation,” she said.

As a practical matter, the court ruling will not have any immediate impact on Internet users because Comcast and other large Internet providers are not currently restricting specific types of Web content and have no plans to do so.

The decision came as Comcast is pursuing agency approval of its proposed $30 billion merger with NBC Universal.

The cable giant has opposed FCC efforts to impose rules requiring that Internet providers offer equal access to all Web sites. The company argues, as it did in the BitTorrent case, that it needs to be able to limit some users from activities that could slow network operation for many customers, such as downloading massive movie files.

But in hearings on the merger, some lawmakers have said net neutrality rules would ensure that the combined company would not unfairly use its weight against competing Web sites.

Other companies such as Google and Facebook have supported government efforts to push net neutrality. Tuesday’s ruling may encourage the FCC to respond with what Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett calls the “nuclear option” — moving broadband providers into the same category as phone providers, which would subject them to many more rules.

That “would have sweeping implications far, far beyond net neutrality … and would bring back a raft of regulatory obligations from the days of monopoly telecommunications regulation,” Moffett said.

The decision puts in doubt dozens of policies the FCC hopes to roll out as part of the national broadband plan it released last month. It may complicate some reallocation of $8 billion in phone subsidies to build new broadband networks and hinder creation of a wireless public safety network for first responders, public advocacy groups say.

The FCC did not say specifically how it plans to respond to the court’s decision. Agency spokeswoman Jen Howard said it was important that the FCC’s broadband agenda rest on a “solid legal foundation.”

Michael Copps, a Democratic FCC commissioner, said in a statement: “It is time we stop doing the ‘ancillary authority’ dance and instead rely on the statute Congress gave us to stand on solid legal ground in safeguarding the benefits of the Internet for American consumers.”
• Source(s): Federal Communications Commission and Cisco Systems, Inc.

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26
Mar
10

Google says 1,100 communities are vying for its broadband network

NEWS
Google says 1,100 communities are vying for its broadband network

Friday, March 26, 2010

••• More than 1,100 communities across (and more than 194,000 responses from individuals) the United States have expressed their interests to be the test sites of Google Inc.’s ultra high-speed broadband networks, the U.S. Internet company said on Friday.

Google announced in February that it plans to test broadband networks in one or more trial locations in the United States, claiming that the networks will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans are using today.

The company has set March 26 as the deadline for local governments in the country to submit information on their interests to join the Google network trials and about existing facilities and resources in their communities.

Over 1,100 communities have responded by Friday morning, hours before the submission deadline, according to Google.

The enthusiasm by local governments to bring ultra high-speed broadband networks to their communities clearly showed that ” people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access,” Google noted in a blog posting.

“We’ve seen cities rename themselves, great YouTube videos, public rallies and hundreds of grassroots Facebook groups come to life, all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities,” Google said.

And that proved Google’s point: That Americans are clamoring for faster Internet access.

Antics to draw Google’s attention included the mayor of Duluth, Minn., who jumped into the icy waters of Lake Superior, and the mayor of Topeka, Kan., who renamed the city Google for the month of March. Rancho Cucamonga even got a Web makeover as Rancho Googlemonga. Closer to Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, folks in Palo Alto boogied to the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” in front of City Hall.

“We’re not going to be able to build in every interested community,” said Google, which plans to reach up to 500,000 people with the experiment. “Wherever we decide to build, we hope to learn lessons that will help improve Internet access everywhere. After all, you shouldn’t have to jump into frozen lakes and shark tanks to get ultra high-speed broadband.”

The company said it will announce target community or communities of the network trials by the end of the year.




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