Entries with tag internet access.

Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

Cisco Systems has weighed in on the Net neutrality debate by saying that increased network activity requires some types of traffic to receive priority over other types. Net neutrality holds that service providers should treat all Internet traffic equally. The subject has been controversial, as service providers say that they should be able to handle their networks as they see fit. They also say content providers that provide large amounts of traffic—such as Netflix—should pay more for the higher volumes they create and higher speeds at which they want their material delivered. Opponents say this creates a two-tiered system in which only big, rich companies can afford to pay to have their traffic delivered at higher speeds, which would put other firms at a disadvantage. —Cisco says Web-based video services, home health monitoring, and public-safety applications are among the types of traffic needing priority access, while other types, such as email, could be delayed. “Different bits do matter differently,” stated Jeff Campbell, the company’s vice president for government and community relations. “We need to ensure that we have a system that allows this to occur.” Cisco continues to petition the US Federal Communications Commission for rules that allow broadband providers to manage their own traffic. “It's going to be more and more important to manage the traffic on the network in a way that does not treat all bits the same,” Campbell said. “That means using the intelligence of the network to ensure that those bits receive the quality of service they need.” A US court recently ruled that FCC rules don’t allow the agency to enforce the Net neutrality rules it adopted in 2010. The FCC is considering rule changes that would enable it to do so. (SlashDot)(Computerworld)(Reuters)

Google Planning Satellite Constellation for Internet Access

Google is planning a comprehensive satellite network to provide Internet connectivity to areas without such access. The plan calls initially for 180 small, high-capacity satellites in low Earth orbit, with more possibly launched in the future. Previous attempts to launch similar projects were reportedly fraught with both financial and technical problems. Google hired Greg Wyler, founder and former CEO of satellite-communications startup O3b Networks, to lead the venture, estimated to cost between $1 and $3 billion, a price tag that could increase based on factors including the number of satellites ultimately used. (SlashDot)(MarketWatch)

Comcast: Data Caps Probable in Five Years

Comcast executive vice president David Cohen predicts bandwidth caps will be in place within five years. Cohen, who made the comments in an investor call, says the company is reportedly determining what the best possible “usage based billing” or cap should be before instituting any changes. Comcast told Ars Technica in 2012 ”98 percent of our customers nationally don’t use 300GB/month,” which the publication speculates may mean an eventual increase of the monthly limit  to 500 GB. The company has established caps in several of its southern US markets, including Atlanta and Memphis. Customers exceeding the limit pay an additional $10/month for 50 GB. As the new caps are rolling out, Comcast is allowing users to exceed the cap for three of 12 months without any additional fees. (SlashDot)(Tech Crunch)(Ars Technica)

Google Exploring Expanding Fiber to More US Markets

Google has announced it is talking to officials in 34 different cities in nine US markets to determine whether it can expand its broadband Internet service. Google Fiber fiber-optic networks are now in Kansas City, Mo.; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. The company is in discussions with officials in Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; Salt Lake City; Phoenix; San Antonio; Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta; as well as Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. Several states have or are considering legislation that would limit public broadband infrastructure growth following intensive lobbying by phone and cable TV company interests. Google Fiber reportedly is able to provide transmission speeds of 1 gigabit per second, which is 20 times faster than the 50 mbps top-end service sold by Verizon Communications and Comcast. Google says it should know by year’s end which areas might be actually receiving Google Fiber. “While we do want to bring Fiber to every one of these cities,” writes Milo Medin, vice president of Google Access Services, “it might not work out for everyone.” (Investor’s Business Daily)(USA Today)(Google Official Blog)

Proposed Laws Would Keep Government-Funded Broadband Providers from Expanding into Markets Served by Private ISPs

Several US states—including Kansas and Utah—are considering legislation that would limit government-funded broadband networks built to serve specific communities from expanding to compete with private ISPs. Established providers say they have had to decrease prices to match those of these public-private backed services, such as in those communities with Google Fiber, and do not think private telecom firms should be forced to compete with taxpayer-funded services. For example, Utah’s proposed Interlocal Entity Service Prohibition law would prevent an open-access regional fiber consortium of cities known as UTOPIA (Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency) from extending its network beyond its 16 member communities. UTOPIA says “the incumbent telecoms are welcome to join our network, but have elected not to.” Similar legislation proposed in Georgia failed to pass. (SlashDot)(The Consumerist -- 1)(The Consumerist -- 2)(Ars Technica)

African Schools Gain Internet Access

Nine sub-Saharan African countries are taking part in a project that will provide Internet access to half a million teachers and students in schools across the region. The British Council, Microsoft, and Bharti Airtel funded and launched 18 digital hubs, information and communications technology centers with Internet access, serving about 100 Kenyan primary schools. Completing installation of the digital hub and training teachers to use the technology took about a year. When completed, the project will have a total of 127 digital hubs on the continent. (BBC)(AllAfrica) 

Cuba Eases Internet Restrictions

The Cuban government announced it will begin offering Internet access in June via public-access computers. There will be 118 official outlets throughout the island, including at the state telecommunications office. Access will be monitored, according to the government, which stated that users could not “endanger or prejudice public security, or the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.” Internet access is now limited to specific institutions and professionals. There are also access points at tourist hotels catering to international visitors. It is estimated that only 2.6 million of the nation’s 11.2 million residents can get online. Even when public access is granted, it will be too expensive—the equivalent of $4.50 an hour in a country where the average monthly salary is $20—for most Cubans, observed Reuters’ Jeff Franks. (Reuters)(BBC)

US Launches Piracy Warning System

US ISPs have launched a system designed to flag customers committing online piracy and possibly limit repeat offenders’ Internet access. AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon have adopted the Copyright Alert System, which will let movie and music studios send notices to individuals thought to be using peer-to-peer services to illicitly download protected content. Proponents say the citation system, which the Center for Copyright Information created, would educate users about piracy. In some instances, a user would receive information about legal alternative sources of content. Participating ISPs could reduce Internet-access speeds for users who get six piracy warnings or interrupt service for those who don’t respond to alerts. Users who think they were issued alerts erroneously could have their cases reviewed independently. The Center for Copyright Information planned to launch the Copyright Alert System earlier, but Hurricane Sandy delayed testing and deployment when it hit the US East Coast last October. (PhysOrg)(USA Today)

India Tops List of Spam-Originating Nations

India has now become the world’s leading spam creator. Security vendor Sophos found that 11.4 percent of all global spam is now sent from Indian-based computers, an increase from 7 percent in 2010. Sophos attributes the uptick to the growing economy and middle class, and better local broadband access. An average of 7 million India-based computer users—many using insecure technology such as pirated software or outmoded operating systems—gain Internet access each month. According to Sophos, the leading spam-relaying countries and the percentage of global spam they send between April and June 2012 were:

1. India: 11.4 percent
2. Italy: 7.0 percent
3. South Korea: 6.7 percent
4. US: 6.2 percent
5. Vietnam: 5.8 percent

(PhysOrg)(The Los Angeles Times)(Sophos Naked Security Blog)

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