Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Ed Whitacre, AT&T’s chairman and chief executive, warned on Monday that internet content providers that wanted to use broadband networks to deliver high-quality services such as movie downloads to their customers would have to pay for the service or face the prospect that new investment in high speed networks “will dry up.”Ok, Ed has learned something since his last statement - he has been told not to blame his customers, so he is turning around blaming the other side.
“We have to figure out who pays for this bigger and bigger IP network,” said Mr Whitacre, who was in New York ahead of AT&T’s annual presentation to investors and analysts on Tuesday. “We have to show a return on our investments.”
“I think the content providers should be paying for the use of the network – obviously not the piece from the customer to the network, which has already been paid for by the customer in Internet access fees – but for accessing the so-called Internet cloud.”
I always thought the customers are paying and Internet is end-to-end. IMHO a content provider is also a customer somewhere to an ISP. Content providers are not connected to the "so-called" Inrernet cloud by magic.
The traffic is assymetric? Ok, this is the problem between AT&T and the other ISP, and I also assume AT&T is serviing some content providers having customers in other networks.
Consider Walmart blaming customers buying too much.
David S. Isenberg is pointing on his blog to a book of his friend Bruce Kushnick, a "man on a mission". In The $200 Billion Broadband Scandal, Bruce writes:
. . . in the early 1990's . . . every Bell company . . . made commitments to rewire America, state by state. Fiber optic wires would replace the 100-year old copper wiring. The push caused techno-frenzy of major proportions. By 2006, 86 million households should have had a service capable of 45 Mbps in both directions . . . In order to pay for these upgrades, in state after state, the public service commissions and state legislatures acquiesced to the Bells' promises by removing the constraints on the Bells' profits as well as gave other financial perks . . . The phone companies collected over $200 billion in higher phone rates and tax perks, about $2000 per household.Remark: in German we call this "über den Tisch ziehen", in Vienna "a Legerl".
The manipulations, deceptions and broken promises are documented in detail in New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, California and Massachusetts. A synopsis of the book can be found here.
Buy the book (ebook only) here, $20.00 cheap.
A special blog has been set-up on this issue: 200 Billion Broadband scandal
Monday, January 30, 2006
Ok, one argument was that it is more efficient to distribute the signal locally and not drag it via the whole international IP backbone. Yes, but locally I do not need a telco to recieve TV, I get it over the air, via cable or satellite.
The only reason why I need TV via the Internet is abroad, e.g. if I want to watch Austrian (or at least European) TV while in the US (for obvious reasons). The only problems here are DRM.
VoD need not to be watched in realtime, so it is better compressed and also may buffer out the hiccups. Side remark: many professional TV signals are already transmitted via IP, as on can easily the by watching closely, especially the fragmentations. So much for QoS.
Today Bertelsmann subsidiary Arvato announced according to heise.de that they will sell Warner Bros movies using the P2P technology (!) GNAB developed from Arvato, a combination of centralized servers and peer-to-peer technology. The service will be available from March 2006 onwards in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, offering movies such as "Harry Potter" and "Batman Begins".
The vision these guys have is indeed bizarre. They are taking the Internet's protocols and using them in the most non-Internet way. The irony is that most of the protocols are being overstretched by far, as if they were optimal for things where they are a bad fit. They buy into the IP religion, especially the SIP cargo cult, without really understanding why. The IMS/TISPAN effort is architectural nonsense.Sad, but true.
Commercial Mobile Wireless, though, has enforced scarcity, and therefore is profitable. So others, like wireline operators, may turn to them for guidance. Like a cargo cult, they see the rich foreigner, see the box he left behind, and assume that the box is the source of the foreigner's obvious wealth.
Ok, I provoked him by pointing him to the slides from the Copenhagen workshop ;-)
Sunday, January 29, 2006
First of all: Isenbergs piece on Internet: Freedom or Privilege?
then Rolling into 2006 from Doc Searls' IT Garage, especially the part on Unbundled Awakening on the "unbundling" of information, media and broadcast.
I also considered Dual-mode handsets done right an interesting read also for service providers
and last, but not least Martin Geddes back again with Disappearing telephony about VoIP 2.0, group thinking and presence
which closed the circle back to Tello and iotum.
For those who do not know it yet, from the Tello webpage:
The Tello service is an innovative new approach to simplifying, unifying, and delivering on the promise of real-time IP communications technology. Today's communications climate is characterized by a plethora of choices that provide a variety of different ways to communicate - VoIP, IM, Video, etc. - but that remain as unintegrated and closed environments. This lack of interoperability and interconnectivity results in individuals, both within and outside the enterprise, spending valuable time trying to find colleagues and then figuring out the most effective way to communicate and collaborate with them instead of increasing business agility and facilitating faster and better communication.So basically a Uber-presence service bridging selected applications.
Using the Tello service eliminates thinking about how to communicate and lets you just communicate quickly and effectively. The solution is delivered as a hosted Instant Communications and Collaboration network service, Tello Connect, and is available with complementary Desktop and Mobile Client applications. It provides a Real Time Communications Presence & Connectivity Hub that allows people to instantly locate, contact, and connect with friends, colleagues, and partners using the devices and applications that they already know. Using the Tello Desktop and mobile applications, individuals can, at a glance, easily determine the availability of their contacts at any time anywhere in the world and initiate rich media multi-modal communications with the click of a button.
As Jeff pointed out today, word spread out in the press:
Some of the business press that first picked up on the launch of Tello included: Business Week, Wall Street Journal, Silicon Beat, Forbes, Associated Press and Om Malik. (Aha, Om is press already ;-)
and especially in the blogospere:
When news of Tello first broke, it was picked up by a number of bloggers including: Alec Saunders, Andy Abramson, Bruce Stewart, Michael Eisenberg, Staysafe Security systems, TechCrunch, Mathew Winggram, Techdirt, Tom Keating, MobileCrunch, Stowe Boyd, Business2blog, Al Brendenberg, Irwin Lazar, Nitin Badjatia, Cynthia Brumfield,Daniel Davenport, viola39, Raymond Weklar, Ron Jeffries, John Cook and Rob Robinson.I did not mention Tello yet on my blog, because all what could be said from the information on the webpage and on the press release was already said (pro and con), and I first wanted to get my hands on the application.
But I am still sitting and waiting to get the allowance to use the 30-day free trial of Instant Web sharing. To do so, you need to register, filling out an endless form and after this you get an response that you will be contacted within 72 hours. I registered on Tuesday.
Nothing learned from Skype, eh?
Please do not steal my time.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
For several years, people in the telecom industry has been working over this question: "What's the Killer App for 3G?". Over the years, numerous applications has been tout as the killer app, the most famous one being "Video Call", a standing joke in the industry that everyone will try to do but no one in the right mind actually believe it will actually take off.1
Then comes the "Content is King" crowd with 3G = Girls, Games and Gambling. To be exact, they have some sort of success here. Porns drive the world around so TV streaming become popular with it. Even some non-porns content sell well like Big Bro on 3G mobile which allows you to access the other 6 camera anytime.
But today, while having lunch with Georg Serentschy (he was in town for a day), he shared with me an interesting story: Austria just completed their 3.5G HSDPA roll out and one of the hottest things in town was the HSDPA PCMICA card. In fact, 50,000 was sold over the christmas period. So perhaps, the Killer Apps for 3G maybe just as simple as data?
Okay, 'sold' was probably a wrong word as these cards are actually given for free (or for very little cost) with 18 months contract. This is a sharp contrast to the PCMCIA card we can get in Singapore that cost S$1088 (haha, sure :-)...or get from auction one for S$800..and those arent even HSDPA.
Maybe when HSDPA come to Singapore (erm when?), the operator will figure it out by then. You can bet I will be the first to sign up (if the pricing make sense :-)2
1 People arent used to seeing each another while making phone calls yet. Once the user mindset is ready for it, it will take off ... just not now.
2 No, I am not on 3G yet. The pricing plans in Singapore still does not make any sense. Why pay nearly 2x as much as my current broadband and get 1/2 the speed?I fully agree with James regarding video calls.
I only ask myself, who will need HSPDA in Vienna if all households are connected via FTTH (and have WiFi). As an add-on if I am sitting in the Park in Vienna? If I currently leave the town and sit in Mühlviertel, I am back to good, old and slow GPRS.
Only joking: yes, that is all what I need from a mobile provider: fast access to the Internet while on the road. I do not need any additional services, I have them already on the Internet.
I do not need IMS, and walled gardens, bottle necks and somebody eplaining to me what is good for me and what not.
So schauts aus.
Friday, January 27, 2006
James Enck: Currently sitting through some interesting case studies from around the world, the first being from Vienna itself, which is looking to start phase one (50k premises) of a 950k home/70k SME deployment in the city this spring. Some seriously fascinating photos of robotically-deployed fiber in narrow sewer passages, as well as fiber in the sewer access pipes into individual homes and businesses.
Daniel Sokolow has a more detailed report on heise.de (in German), which translates roughly into English like this:
Interesting that I received this translation via an US Mailing list, which received it via Canada.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
On January 23, DENIC has switched the administration of ENUM domains over to regular operation. Following a successful trial phase, in which around sixty companies and numerous other interested parties were involved, and a positive appraisal by Germany's Federal Network Agency, the new full-scale ENUM service is now available to anyone holding a telephone number in Germany. It is possible to arrange for registrations through many of DENIC's members.....
One of the main things that customers wishing to use ENUM will notice with the move into regular operation is that they will have an increasingly wide choice of new product solutions from ever more suppliers. Currently, more than sixty DENIC members are already able to handle requests dealing with ENUM domains, and more than 4000 such domains have already been registered in Germany. This figure is deceptively low, since one ENUM domain is sufficient for operating whole telephone installations with unlimited numbers of extensions, which means that the number of subscribers already using ENUM is very much higher. One good example is the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, which is already using ENUM for all its extensions.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
After the announcement from Andreas Bäß at the German ENUM Day in September 2005 that ENUM in Germany is now ready for commercial operation and to be started latest January 1th, 2006, everbody was wondering what happened after the start of this year.
Today Dr. Klaus Herzig from DENIC press announced via the German DENIC mailing list that the responsible ministry (Wirtschaftsministerium) has accepted the proposals from DENIC regarding ENUM operation and production is starting immediately.
So last September they seemingly meant the Chinese New Year ;-)
Since all delegations done during the trial will be taken over (different as in Austria), they will start with about 4000 delegations already in. Many delegations in the German trial where for companies with Direct-Dial-In (Germany has like Austria variable number lenght), so the real E.164 number count is much higher.
This announcement is not yet available (neither in German or English) on the DENIC webpage, but the policies kann already be found, although only in German:
This is a very important step forward for User ENUM, especially for Austria, because from our perspective ENUM is now finally going International, increasing the usability by a factor of 10.
Of course the UK and the US are still missing.
BTW, today Slovenia (+386) requested a delegation with RIPE.
Over 7 million subscribers from the UPC Netherlands, Casema, MultiKabel, Essent and CaiW Dutch Cable Consortium will use Kayote Networks and XConnect for true end-to-end IP Communications, as announced in today's press release by XConnect and Kayote Networks.
The Netherlands is one of the most highly saturated cable marketplaces, with more than 97% cable penetration in the country. Leading Dutch cable operators, otherwise known as Multiple Systems Operators (MSOs), include UPC, MultiKabel, Casema, Essent and CAIW, totaling more than 450,000 VoIP subscribers, or more than 6% penetration of the 7 million homes passed. See also James Enck on Fingers in the Dike.
This landmark agreement enables all participating operators to share VoIP traffic directly over their IP networks, completely bypassing traditional phone networks and thereby eliminating PSTN interconnection fees.
Congratulations to Eli Katz and his team.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The ETP is a consultative body which was formed in Brussels on 4th February 1998, following the opening of the European telecommunications market on 1st January of that year.
It combines the Open Network Provision Co-ordination and Consultation Platform (ONP-CCP), founded in 1991, and the European Interconnect Forum (EIF), which during the run-up to liberalisation had both been advising the European Commission as representatives of the telecommunications industry.
The ETP deals with the needs of the European telecommunications market from the point of view of industry. Its remit includes: the European regulatory framework, its implementation, the converging communications sector, and the global information society.
The goals of the ETP are to promote self-regulation by the industry, encourage the ongoing development of competition and clarify operational and strategic business issues.
The published document on NGN analyses the Next Generations Networks along these lines, and although I do not completely agree with every detail, I consider this paper as a very valuable input to the current discussion within Europe regarding an update of the New Regulatory Framework and the current market definitions.
I will comment here after reading it in detail.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Update: the original Blue Ball Machine can be seen here. in reverse - or an even cooler version here -or another version.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
John Horrocks (DTI), chairman of TRIS and vice-chair of TISPAN WG4, organized a joint workshop between TRIS and TISPAN WG4 on Wednesday. Since TISPAN WG had also a joint session with representatives from the GSM Association (GSMA) on Tuesday, speakers and partizipants from GSMA where also available. The workshop was attended by 60 people and had to close registration early because of limited floor space. Both the speakers and the audience represented an interesting cross section of the European Telecomunicatuons scene, including regulators, operators, ISPs and manufacturers. There was even an representative from NTT Japan present.
The agenda is available from the ERO webpage, it contains also links to all the presentations. In addition, all presentations can be downloaded in one zipped file.
John Horrocks opened the workshop by setting the scene with an Overview of NGN – its services and interconnection, including “simulation” and “emulation” and the numbering options.
Tim Wright (BT Wholesale) continued with a presentation of BT’s 21C network and its roll-out, migration and interconnection options.
Jean Craveur (France Telecom) followed with the plans of France Telecom on PSTN renewal, NGN and triple play offers, IMS and fixed-mobile convergence.
Back to UK, Paul Rosbotham (C&W) presented the other side of BT's 21CN, the effects of incumbent migration to NGN on new operators and interconnection, including the options considered in UK and effects on numbering and number portability.
John Horrocks presented the ideas currently discussed at TRIS to consider a new model for interconnection.
The last presentation before lunch was done by Niall Halpenny (GSM Association) on the current GSMA plans and developments on IP Interworking (IPI), including the current SIP Trials and the future plans to enhance the current GPRS Interconnect Network (GRX) to the IPX, a network of networks open to interconnect with the CRX, fixed operators and everybody. Basically a second and better Internet ;-) - see also the afternoon presentation from Kim Fullbrook.
The morning presentations gave the big picture, the afternoon presentations where more technical and more related to specific numbering, interconnect and QoS issues.
John Horrocks (DTI) started again with an overview on numbering and naming for call routing, this time presenting the models currently discussed at TISPAN WG4.
I followed with the developments around Infrastructure ENUM and also on VoIP Peering and Interconnect within the IETF, reporting from the re-chartering of the ENUM WG to include Infrastructure ENUM and also the WG-to-be SPEERMINT (Session PEERing for Multimedia INTerconnect.
Kim Fullbrook (O2 & GSMA) presented more in detail the plans from GSMA on IPX and Carrier/Infrastructure ENUM. In essence he was telling the same like anybody else setting up an Infrastructure ENUM tree: there can only be one global Infrastructure ENUM tree and why not ours?
Rob Borthwick (Vodafone) reviewed the TRIS Interconnection models and presented new charging models for MMS and premium services interworking.
The last two sessions concentrated on one of the central points the NGNs are marketed to be different from the Internet: QoS.
John Horrocks presented: Delivering end-end quality – the state of the art (what we know and what we do not know) and priorities for the future
and Andy Reid (BT) Traffic management and congestion control.
The workshop was well organized and gave an excellent overview on the current status of discussion on NGN Interconnect.
1. I had re-booked my flight to Vienna already yesterday via Vienna on the phone
2. I still had my boarding pass from the 2nd cancelled flight yesterday at 8pm.
The departure hall in terminal 3 was completely full with people desperately waiting for check-in, but with my old boarding pass I managed to get into the terminal. At the star-alliance lounge again the number drawing game was going on: 250 was up, I drew 485 and when I finally left for the gate, the current number was 300. At the gate I finally got my boarding pass. Boarding was only 1 hour late, most planes had between 2 and 3 hours.
Nevertheless, I would have never made it otherwise and so did obviously many others, because the plane was only 70% full.
Ok, now I was in the plane, but still not safe, because I had in the back of my mind the story of the two fuming guys from Munich who where hold hostage yesterday in the SAS plane to Munich for 5 (FIVE) hours waiting for de-icing and after the plane finally made it second place for de-icing, the crew announced that their allowed working time is over and cancelled the flight.
Since this was an Austrian plane, we where air-borne at noon, I relaxed and arrived in Vienna at 1:30pm. I was also lucky because at some time during the re-booking I got upgraded magically to business class ;-)
There where rumors all over the place that this chaos was primarily not caused by the weather, the major reason was man-made by the working conditions in Denmark. So there was basically no reason yesterday to close the airport at 8pm, the Danes just decided that this was enough for the day. It was also curious that some planes where still leaving afterwards.
Lesson1 : Avoid CPH, especially in winter
Lesson2: Avoid SAS (SK)
Lesson 3: Only travel with handluggage (I think to sort out the checked-in luggage mess will take another week to sort out)
Friday, January 20, 2006
Basically it started to snow slightly yesterday evening when we went back to the Hotel. Today in the morning when I looked out of the window, it had stopped and you could see about 10 cm of snow. No wind. In Vienna this may happen twice a week in January, no problems.
When I left the hotel after 11am for the airport, my first impression was that the city of Copenhagen was completely taken by surprise. No snow removal on the sidewalks, no snow removal on most of the streets, only some main streets where salted, increasing the mess.
The next surprise was at Norreport station: all trains to Kastrup Airport where cancelled (maybe I should have taken this as a warning), so I had to take a taxi.
At the airport I checked in, got my boarding pass for the 2:40pm flight and waited. The only curiosity was, that nearly all SAS flights where canncelled, others where arriving and leaving.
Finally my gate numer showed up, no delay yet, I went to the gate, waited 10 minutes for boarding to start, then a 20 minute delay showed up. The plane was already docked. At 3:10pm they declared the flight cancelled, because of no-show of the crew. Please go to the transfer-desk. This was of course an SAS flight.
At the cattle-class transfer desk there where of course hordes of desperate people crawling over each other, and it was displayed that you should draw a number, but the machines where broken.
So I moved on to the SAS lounge, also hordes, also number drawing, but at least I got one (533).
Up was number 480. At least they called the numbers, so you could sit down and wait with a drink. After two hours I was finally called und booked the 8pm flight to Vienna. At this time the number drawing was over 900 already. But it finally did not matter anyway.
At 8:00pm the display still showed "Wait for Gate" for my flight, when they announced by PA that CPH is closed for the evening, all flights cancelled, but the display still showed some flight with gate and wait for gate (I think they display is now still showing this, because seemigly every airport staff including the computers left already.
Since there was no way to find out anything in CPH direct without a proper number, I finally tried to find out via Vienna what is going on with this plane, they first had no idea at all, and after 30 minutes they located the plane in Hamburg (so definitely no reason to wait any longer for a gate to show up). I also did not use my second spare number, I re-booked via Vienna (I should have done this earlier anyway) for tomorrow at 10:40am. We will see.
So the next problem came up: how to get a hotel? Since in the meantime both hordes (cattle and frequent flyers) had moved on to the next desk to get a hotel), this was not a good idea, so I called back at Kong Arthur and got a room, so I could by-pass the crowd filling up the arrival hall.
Getting out, the next hordes are waiting for a taxi (they also must still be waiting), so I checked the train and they said they where running normal.
Ok, I do not know what is normal for Danish railways, the display always showed a train arriving within the next 5 minutes, only to be replaced by another train after this time, accompanied by some Danish announcements, but finally a train back to Norreport showed up (I have no idea what happened to the no-show trains and I do not want to know it - they are coming from Malmo and maybe they dropped into the sea).
Back in CPH Norreport, it was again slightly snowing, no wind, the streets and sidewalks where still covered with snow. This had the advantage that I could see the additional snow of today, about 3 cm. Nebbich.
Now I am sitting at Kong Arthur Hotel again and hoping, that I will finally get out of here tomorrow.
I just wonder what will happen here if it really starts snowing, say 40 to 50 cm with strong winds. Maybe they close down Copenhagen for the rest of the winter and wait for warmer weather.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Tesco offers free Internet Calls
Tesco today entered the internet calls market, offering customers the chance to talk to friends and family via their computers for an upfront cost of less than £20.
The supermarket giant claims the move will bring voice over internet protocol (Voip) - calls made over broadband - to a mass market ....WalMart, Media Markt/Saturn, Aldi/Hofer, Lidl, Tschibo/Eduscho and SPAR to come
This will be a great phun to see the national and international technical bodies, currently taken over by the laywers from the telcos and other service providers, now also joined by the laywers from these companies.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Ok, it started and played for some time, but after some minutes the picture got jerky and finally froze. I tried it on my laptop and it worked with PowerDVD direct from the DVD without any problem, but if I copied it on disk and run it from there, it crashed.
Since I did not want to watch the concert on my laptop, but on my TV, I used ShrinkDVD and copied it over to another DVD, which played of course without any problem on my Panasonic
So, the only way for me to watch a properly purchased DVD with copy protection is basically to break the copy protection and copy it.
Did I now violate any copy protection laws or not?