Update: Net neutrality – Is legislation necessary?

Posted on Mar 30 2010 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Update: Net neutrality – Is legislation necessary?

According to the FCC the answer is yes!

Back in November 2009 we covered the FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission) plans to introduce legislation to enforce net neutrality – the theory that all Internet users and traffic should be treated equally and without bias.

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

The proposals had caused an uproar amongst ISPs in the US as they required network operators to be more transparent about the management of their networks and stopped them from blocking or slowing down certain types of legal traffic e.g. P2P. Obviously the ISPs were far from happy about this and argued that they had invested heavily in the development of their networks only to have their managerial power removed.

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ACTA secrecy breeds suspicion

Posted on Mar 02 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on ACTA secrecy breeds suspicion

Meddling Mandelson faces furore from MPs

The secrecy surrounding the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) talks is causing fury amongst MPs across political parties. The Government (Lord Mandelson and David Lammy) has refused to place the documents regarding the ACTA talks in the House of Commons Library because of other countries requests for secrecy, much to the annoyance of the UK MPs.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

This is particularly important because whilst Mandelson and Lammy are involved in the secret ACTA talks they are also negotiating the Digital Economy Bill’s entry into UK law. If the leaked details of the ACTA talks are to be believed these new agreements will have a significant impact on the DEB which is already causing large amounts of controversy.

So what is the ACTA?

The ACTA is a proposed trade agreement between participating countries to establish international standards on protecting intellectual property from copyright infringement. The UK is joined in the talks by the US, Japan, the EC, Australia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and several others.

David Lammy defends the government’s secrecy by explaining how publicising details of the ACTA discussions could damage the UK’s relations with the rest of the involved nations, stating “this would harm our ability to protect, promote and secure an outcome in the UK’s interest, and the premature release of documents that are not agreed and not fully developed may also have a negative effect on the government’s reputation.”

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Google finally stands up to China

Posted on Jan 13 2010 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment

Is it the end of the road for Google.cn?

Yesterday on the official Google Blog, David Drummond, Google’s Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer announced that following a cyber attack in December Google is now considering withdrawing its operations from the Chinese market. Clearly there’s more to this though and we think market leaders should make a stand against the restriction that Chinese government censorship applies to Chinese web users.

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

Through a thorough investigation since mid December Google allegedly has evidence to suggest that the attack originated in China and its aim was to access the Gmail accounts of several US, European and Chinese based human rights advocates. The company also has evidence to suggest that the attacks did not only affect Google, advising that an additional 20 large corporations in various industries including the Internet, media, finance and chemical sectors were also affected.

The Register reports that one of these additional companies was possibly Adobe, although the company has not confirmed whether or not the two incidents were related. Adobe also announced news of its attack via its corporate blog advising that they had become aware of “a computer security incident involving a sophisticated, coordinated attack against corporate network systems managed by Adobe and other companies.”

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Poll: The Government’s IMP is…?

Posted on Jan 11 2010 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: The Government’s IMP is…?

The UK’s mobile operators have recently united against the government’s planned IMP (Improvement and Modernisation Programme) which will require all ISPs and operators to collect and store all IP communications.

We would like to know what you think about the government’s plans and have created a poll to capture your thoughts.

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Bono – stick to singing!

Posted on Jan 05 2010 by Darren Farnden | 6 Comments

In a recent opinion article of his own within the New York Times, U2 front man Bono warned all creative types to beware of the evils of the Internet, especially us greedy ISP types.

He states “The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files. The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of “24” in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free.” A tad over dramatic but he’s probably right on that one.

However he continues “A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.”

This statement just goes to show why multi-millionaire Bono should stick to singing and campaigning for poorer nations and leave the economics of Internet service provision to the professionals. Those of us within this supposedly swollen, profit rich Internet industry are more than aware of the reality. Consumer demand for the cheapest, fastest broadband continues to increase resulting in even lower profit margins for us “greedy” ISPs.

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2009 – The good, the bad and the ugly!

Posted on Dec 09 2009 by Elsa Chen | Comments Off on 2009 – The good, the bad and the ugly!

As we approach the end of an eventful year I thought it would be apt to take a look back over the main industry talking points of 2009 to evaluate what happened, why we were discussing it and where we are currently at. When we have completed that let’s take a stab at predicting what we will be discussing in 2010.

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Elsa Chen, General Manager

The ‘hottest’ topic of 2009 was undoubtedly illegal file sharing

We first covered this subject back in April with an article discussing the Pirate Bay case. The four founders of the website ‘The Pirate Bay’ were found guilty in a Swedish court for assisting the illegal downloading of copyrighted material.  They were each sentenced to 1 year in jail and ordered to pay £2.4million in damages to the entertainment industry. This was the catalyst that started the raging debate between the entertainment industry, the government and ISPs which continues to this date. The entertainment industry and a number of high profile MPs, in particular Peter Mandelson, are calling for a three strikes and you’re cut-off policy. However, ISPs have continuously raised concerns regarding the accuracy of correctly identifying offenders and the fact that cutting a user off is presuming guilt before a fair trial with minimal and potentially flawed evidence.

This topic continued to be covered for several months and was once again inflamed with the release of the Digital Britain Report which actually advised against a three strikes policy, much to the annoyance of the entertainment industry.

So where are we at now?

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Net neutrality – is legislation necessary?

Posted on Nov 11 2009 by Neil Watson | 3 Comments
Tags :
Categories : Featured, Net Neutrality

Last month the US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) announced plans to enforce net neutrality through new legislative proposals and a couple of weeks ago these proposals took a step closer to adoption, moving into the stage of public input.

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

The new proposals would force broadband providers to be transparent about the management of their networks and the services they are providing and would stop them from blocking or slowing down certain types of lawful traffic such as P2P. Unsurprisingly the proposals have met with opposition from several American ISPs and support from net neutrality advocates.

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ISPs vs BBC iPlayer – Missing the point?

Posted on Jun 25 2009 by Neil Watson | 5 Comments

The last month has seen substantial media coverage of the latest row that has erupted between BT Retail and a number of content providers including the BBC. However, we think a fundamental issue is being missed. Instead of BT Retail focusing attention on the BBC et al to contribute to its increasing costs, it should instead be tackling its wholesale provider to reduce the price of bandwidth. Here I explain why this has a wider significance to ISPs and the industry as a whole.

June 2009 proved to be a turbulent month for two of the UK’s industry giants, BT and the BBC. The month began with reports that BT was throttling its option 1 customers’ connections to the BBC’s iPlayer service (and other bandwidth hungry services including YouTube) during peak times, reducing speeds to less than 1Mbps on the advertised up to 8Mbps service. This, according to the BBC, notably affected the iPlayer’s service quality.

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

The argument escalated when the BBC claimed that BT’s advertising of its option 1 package shied away from detailing this level of throttling. Instead it states that the package is capable of 25 hours of iPlayer streaming and only refers to the throttling in its FUP.

By mid June the plot thickened with a request from BT for content providers to pay towards the cost of delivering customers to their sites, claiming that the “free ride for content providers was over”.

“We can’t give the content providers a completely free ride and continue to give customers the [service] they want at the price they expect,” said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail’s consumer business.

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