Monday, November 16, 2015

"It's free" for some low-income plans with data usage from certain sites

The New York Times has a major editorial Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the Review section, p. 10, “Free Can Be a Problem on the Internet”, link here.  The online version inserts the word “why” in front of the title.

FCC rules prohibit large companies from paying telecomm providers to deliver their content faster than that of other companies.  (My own experience is that Netflix seems a little faster than the rest on Xfinity.)

But it is not illegal to offer telecommunication plans where some stripped down versions of some sites (like a stripped down Facebook) are offered without counting in data usage.  This is all part of a service called “Free Basics”. The NYTimes says that these ideas could distort how lower income consumers or especially those in developing countries perceive content on the Internet, with social and political consequences.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Controversy over Hurricane LTE-U; radio interference with home electronics

Dave Maass and Jeremy Gulila have an interesting story today about proposals to allow entrepreneurs to access the “unlicensed spectrum” for devices in a technology called Hurricane LTE-U (where LTE means the familiar “Long Term Evolution”, link here.  The concern is that US companies will ignore the “Listen Before Talk” protocol, and that ordinary WiFi for data will face interference.

This reminds me of an issue I am sometimes having with my Casio piano late at night;  it sometimes picks up radio conversations.  There’s a discussion here.   Probably a totally separate issue.

Picture (first):  A fracking tower in Pennsylvania (day trip last week).  They are usually smaller and thinner than cell phone or transmission towers.