Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some webmasters till have to use dialup still

CNN has a story this morning (March 16) “A webmaster without the high-speed web, about Kelli Fields, who still runs a website from a rural home in Oklahoma with dialup. High-speed fiber-optic cables have not yet reached her residence, although she could get high speed access through a relatively expensive satellite connection. She does use broadband at work. It's dangerous to run a website now with dialup only because automatic security updates are so difficult.

Lack of broadband access would also make it difficult for some people to apply for jobs, especially at major companies, or start small businesses.

The story by John D. Sutter is “A webmaster without the high-speed web” here.

Ceclia Kang has a story on the front page of the Washington Post Tuesday March 16, “FCC plan would greatly expand Internet connections,” link here. This follows on to a similar New York Times story documented here Saturday, March 13.

Mid-size telecomm providers might benefit the most from the FCC plans, which involve using funds originally intended for rural telephone service to be directed to broadband. Congress, especially GOP members, want the FCC to stay focused on brining broadband to everyone. This seems to be a bipsartisan priority.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

FCC wants broadband to become a comprehensive utility nationwide for all

The New York Times has an important front page story Saturday March 13 by Brian Stelter and Jenna Wortham, “Effort to widen Internet access sets up battle: A 10 Year Plan by the FCC; Industries at odds over making broadband the top medium”, link here.

This approach would make broadband an essential utility, and move it away from being viewed as a disposable luxury in “Suze Orman” financial smackdowns. It could affect the business models of network television and movie studios. But it also depends on stable infrastructure, being hardened to storms. It also raises security and privacy concerns (as with the issue of smart power grids, as recently discussed by EFF), as tightly integrated utilities could be vulnerable to a variety of attacks.

Broadband becomes more essential as security updates from computer operating system vendors (Microsoft and anti-virus packages) require it to work well.

It’s not clear how dependent the broadband would be on landlines, or whether wireless would fit in more (using previous laws for providing telephone service). Some telecommuting jobs require landlines, as companies trust wireless less (for dependability and security).

The Obama administration is pushing making broadband like a “right” (like “health insurance”) but is waffling in the approach to protecting speakers from unreasonable “turf-oriented” behavior by legacy music and movie industries regarding possible copyright and trademark issues, which could affect network neutrality policies.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

NY cable dispute seems to pull plug on Oscars for cable viewers

NBC Washington is reporting that three million cable customers in New York will not be able to access the Oscars through cable because of a dispute between Disney and Cablevision, which had to pull the plug last night on Disney programs. Maybe it will get settled Sunday. In apartment buildings, rabbit ears, even digita,l don’t work. This is shameful corporate behavior. Why can't Disney (owning ABC) serve its customers and take legal action later to demand payment from NY Cablevision?

Story on Cinemaretro here.

This is the second such dispute in recent memory.

Update: Service was restored 14 minutes into the Oscar broadcast (various reports).

Friday, March 05, 2010

EFF petitions to close loophole in FCC net neutrality rules regarding alleged copyright infringement enforcement

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in San Francisco has submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission on the proposed rules for network neutrality.

The EFF believes that the FCC should not make copyright infringement or any issue related to the content of speech (when challenged by third parties) as a form of “reasonable network management”. The EFF believes that lawful, non-infringing speech will get caught in the crosshairs; supposed infringement or pending DMCA takedowns should not be related to bandwidth access.

Here is a link to a PDF of EFF’s comments.

EFF says it has accumulated more than 7000 signatures on its petition demanding that the FCC close this loophole in proposed net neutrality regulations.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"Peering" competes with centralized Internet routing, complicated net neutrality debate

The Science Times section of The New York Times has an interesting long article by John Markoff, “Striving to Map the Shape-Shifting Net” today March 2, link here.

The article discusses a neo-novel technique called “peering” , linking different businesses or entities in a “meet-me” environment without depending on centralized server routing to big players like ATT, Comcast, Mae-East and West, and the like. On the other hand, the huge centralized servers have become necessary to handle the enormous increase in video traffic and on-demand movies (as from Netflix). The newspaper page is well illustrated with drawings of blobs ("it crawled out of the woodwork" from "The Outer Limits") that resembled depictions of "branes" used to theorize parallel universes.

The complexity of the environment is going to challenge the very meaning of “network neutrality” rules as recently developed by the FCC.