Tag Archives | Broadband

Verizon Wireless Looks to Launch LTE This Year

verizonmainlogoVerizon Wireless will likely lead the charge towards LTE, with the company already testing the technology in the Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio and Northern New Jersey. This would put it roughly a year ahead of its closest competitor — AT&T — which anticipates launching LTE service in 2011.

Trials will expand throughout the country later this year, and if all goes well, nationwide rollout would begin in 2010 in about 25 to 30 markets. The completion of the rollout is expected in 2015, according to chief technology officer Dick Lynch.

LTE promises super-fast speeds of up to 60MBps, although Verizon cautions that was in field trials and not in real life situations. The technology uses the 700MHz spectrum acquired in an FCC auction last year.

This is the same spectrum being used by analog television signals, so obviously a pushback in the transition to digital is obviously affecting Verizon’s plans (now you see why they were against it!).

If you want to take a look at Lynch’s PowerPoint presentation at 3GSM, Verizon has posted it online.

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Does the Internet Feel Slow? Google’s M-Lab Wants to Help

googlelogoToday, Google is partnering with the New America Foundation (a non profit that is chaired by Google CEO Eric Schmidt) and a group of academics to develop an open platform for creating Internet connection measurement tools.

Google says the platform, called Measurement Lab (M-Lab), will help researchers create tools that help determine the root cause of sluggish Internet application performance. Over the course of the yea, Google will deploy 36 servers in 12 locations in the U.S. and Europe as a distributed backing infrastructure. A limited number of users will be supported initially.

Data aggregated by M-Lab will be freely available researchers, according to a blog post co-written by Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, and Stephen Stuart, the project’s principal engineer. Google wishes for M-Lab to be a community-based effort, and invites anyone that wants to donate servers, tools, and other resources to participated, they noted.

“At Google, we care deeply about sustaining the Internet as an open platform for consumer choice and innovation. No matter your views on net neutrality and ISP network management practices, everyone can agree that Internet users deserve to be well-informed about what they’re getting when they sign up for broadband, and good data is the bedrock of sound policy. Transparency has always been crucial to the success of the Internet, and, by advancing network research in this area, M-Lab aims to help sustain a healthy, innovative Internet,” they wrote.

With companies such as Comcast (which prompted an FCC investigation) and Cox Communications prioritizing network traffic, this is good news for consumers and consumer advocacy groups. M-Labs could be a valuable research to help detect bandwidth throttling and let people confirm that they are truly getting what they are paying for.


Should the U.S. Roll Out Free Nationwide Wi-Fi? It Depends on Which Administration You Ask.

The lame duck Bush administration is flapping its wings in opposition to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) free, national wireless Internet plan. Meanwhile, U.S. President- elect Obama is assembling a team to execute a plan to broaden the availability of high speed Internet access in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the White House stands in opposition to the FCC’s proposal to auction off the U.S. airwaves (formerly used for terrestrial television) for a nationwide wireless broadband service. Under the plan, the winner of the auction would be required to roll out a nationwide service on a dedicated portion of those airwaves within a specified number of years. Outgoing FCC chairman Kevin Martin, appointed by President Bush, is an advocate of the plan.

But the Journal says that the administration is at odds with its FCC appointee: It believes that the winner of the spectrum auction should not be beholden to a price or product mandate. Given the failure of other municipal Wi-Fi projects, I would hope that the FCC has does its homework and has come up with a model that works. But I hope the plan doesn’t die because it falls short of perfection.

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Technology in the Obama Era

obamabidenSo it’s official: Come January 20th, Barack Obama will be president of the United States of America. What will that mean for technology? The Obama campaign site has a tech section that provides some clues.

A very quick summary:

–Obama will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer.

–He’ll support Network Neutrality. (Which is a somewhat squishy concept, which the Obama site doesn’t define. And it doesn’t say how he’ll support it.)

–He’ll encourage broadband deployment through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.”

–He’ll “give parents the tools and information they need to control what their children see on television and the Internet in ways fully consistent with the First Amendment.” (Free copies of Net Nanny for every household?)

—He’ll use unspecified “cutting-edge technologies” to make government more transparent.

–He believes we must “update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.”

–He will “ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration.” .

–He will “invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.”

There’s nothing in there I disagree with. Come to think of it, there’s very little in there that anyone might disagree with. There’s also little in the way of detail. The idea of a cabinet-level CTO is an interesting one, and the right person could make a big difference. ((Me, I vote for Vint Cerf.) I’d love to see that CTO devote intense, sustained attention to broadband-related issues: It’s truly a national embarrassement that broadband in America is as slow, expensive, and spotty as it is.

More details to come, presumably. The president-elect will have his hands full from the moment he enters the White House; I hope he remembers those campaign promises and fleshes them out…and makes sure that they don’t remain mere promises.


Sprint Next to Attempt Throttling With XOHM

Do these companies ever learn? The blogosphere was abuzz Monday with the latest company to try to throttle the bandwidth usage of its users–Sprint’s WiMax venture XOHM. The service launched in Baltimore today, but hidden within its “Acceptable Use Policy” was the fact that it was reserving the right to throttle bandwidth.

Sound familiar? That’s because we’ve been through this drill so many times before.

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