Google Reportedly Wants to Launch Its Own Wireless Network

Google is reportedly considering running its own wireless networkSources tell The Information that company executives have been discussing a plan to offer wireless service in areas where it’s already installed Google Fiber high-speed internet. Details are vague, but there are hints that it’s interested in becoming a mobile virtual network operator or MVNO, buying access to a larger network at wholesale rates and reselling it to customers. Sources say that Google spoke to Verizon about the possibility in early 2014, and that it talked to Sprint about a similar possibility in early 2013, before the company was officially acquired by Softbank.

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AT&T thinks increased bandwidth costs are Netflix subscribers’ problem

The Netflix Original Series

[Image credit: Getty]

Editorial:  I should write a new blog based on all of the recent activities around Netflix.  I applaud Reed Hastings for bringing this issue back to the forefront of policy discussion.  The access providers or ISP are providing Internet access based on certain speeds that are generally much higher than a typical HD video stream, but subscribers received a reduced quality of experience (QoE) at peak periods of the day.  If the ISP is a cable company their video streams are not impacted because they are delivered outside the ISP pipe.  There is a bit of conflict of interest here.  Setting that aside for a moment. 

The ISP provide a best-effort service so if they can prove that they are providing the advertised bandwidth and not directly blocking any site, then they have met their terms of service.  The problem is that customers are not being served because they cannot fully enjoy the services that they purchase from other service providers.  In a competitive market, consumers would purchase Internet access from a competing provider that could deliver over-the-top (OTT) services properly, but we are stuck with a duopoly in most markets in the United States.  

The congestion happens at peering points when one provider interconnects with another provider.  Increasing bandwidth at peering points costs real money, but it is a cost borne by both the ISP and interconnection company.  The interconnection company builds that cost into their costs to their customers like Netflix.  This sharing of the burden is one of the major principles of the Internet.  The ISP benefits from providing a better quality service, but that argument works best in a competitive environment.  In our duopoly, the ISP act like cartels and band together to reduce their costs and protect their competing services.  Customers can’t walk because the other provider is no better than their current provider.

True last-mile competition is the ultimate answer, but that is the long-term solution.  In the meantime the Thomas Wheeler and the FCC Commissioners have to wrestle with this issue while being heavily influenced by lobbyists.  I like Reed Hastings’ proposal and do not feel that it is an undue burden on the ISP because the cost per bit is continually rapidly decreasing.  As a way to recoup some of these charges ISP should be allowed to sell managed services (i.e. QoS) to OTT providers like Netflix.  As I said at the beginning of this article, I should really write out the full proposal with cost-based arguments.

AT&T’s swinging back at Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ recent assertion that ISPs (internet service providers) should shoulder the cost of increased bandwidth demands. In a post on AT&T’s Public Policy Blog, Senior EVP Jim Cicconi denounced Hastings’ desire for a “cost-free delivery” agreement with ISPs, saying that it unfairly shifts the burden of infrastructure cost to AT&T and its subscribers rather than to Netflix’s own customer base. As Cicconi views it, that subscriber base is the very one responsible for the increased traffic demands and resulting need to build out additional facilities, and should therefore bear the brunt of a fee hike.

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Telecom reps offer testimony at rural broadband hearing

Editorial: There is no question that opening up spectrum for rural access will help create more broadband access competition.  The problem is that they are still working within the current duopoly business models and regulatory structures.  Rural access will benefit from economies of scale.  If towns and counties build a common fiber infrastructure and lease it to the communications providers, then the economics of building rural wireline networks greatly improves.

Testimony

Mark Meyerhofer, the director of government relations for Time Warner Cable’s Western New York office, delivers testimony during the rural broadband field hearing. Meyerhofer testified that geographic isolation and topographic issues make it economically infeasible for Internet service providers to reach many rural areas.

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 12:00 am
By Jim Krencik jkrencik@batavianews.com

ALBION — Congress came to Orleans County Thursday, as a field hearing called by Rep. Chris Collins drew testimony on rural broadband from national, regional and community-level telecommunications firms.

The House Small Business Subcommittee hearing held in the Orleans County Legislative Chambers lacked the scale of a full Congressional panel, but not in importance.

Representatives of Time Warner Cable, Frontier Communications and Rural Broadband Association offered testimony on FCC regulations, service expansion challenges and the industry’s future opportunities.

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Mayors: Every classroom needs Wi-Fi

Highlighting Broadband Access at Kent Island H...

Highlighting Broadband Access at Kent Island High School (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

Editorial:  The USCM is asking the federal government to address a local problem unless they would like a federal takeover of education like Common Core has started.  Education is a local issue and should be addressed at the local level just like broadband access.  The mayors state that broadband access is just as important as a “chalkboard and textbooks” but the federal government doesn’t purchase those supplies either.  School districts should work with their city and county governments that grant franchises to telephone and cable companies to provide inexpensive broadband access to schools.  Instead of continuing the outdated concept of Community Access Channels, they should redirect that money to low-cost educational access.  Another alternative would be to build their own municipal broadband infrastructure, and build in the cost of educational use into the least price of the network.  There are several solutions that municipalities can implement without resorting to asking the FCC to add another tax on communication services.

A group of mayors is urging the Obama administration to bring high-speed Internet to more schools and libraries around the country.

Students at every U.S. school should have access to Internet speeds of 100 megabytes per second right now, and one gigabyte per second by 2017, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) said in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The mayors also called for each classroom to have Wi-Fi connectivity. 

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Amid political pressure, FCC to propose Net neutrality fix

  Marguerite Reardon
by  | February 11, 2014 3:33 PM PST

FCC Commissioners in 2014

As politicians put on the pressure, Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler says he’s about to reveal his plan for keeping the Internet open for everyone.

On Monday during a speech at the University of Colorado Law School, Wheeler said that the FCC, which suffered a legal defeat last month when a federal appeals court threw out its Open Internet rules, is working on a plan that will re-instate Net neutrality protections. Wheeler indicated that the agency was encouraged by the court’s decision, which rejected the regulation on a legal technicality, but upheld the agency’s authority to regulate broadband networks to encourage adoption and investment. He said details would be made public soon.

“In its Verizon v. FCC decision, the Court of Appeals invited the Commission to act to preserve a free and open Internet,” he said. “I accept that invitation, and in the coming days, I will be outlining how I propose to proceed.”

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Broadband access gap in Iowa shrinking: Connect Iowa

Internet Access Here Sign

Internet Access Here Sign (Photo credit: Steve Rhode)

I am personally delighted to see my home state of Iowa increasing broadband penetration.  Like any big data gathering project, the results are only as good as the data put into the database.  I believe that some providers are a little over optimistic on their service availability especially just outside of metropolitan areas.  I honestly think that there are more than 2.3% of the households that are not served by wired Internet.  Just look at the number of households in Warren county outside of Des Moines with no service.  The next step should be to improve the quality of data.  In any case the numbers are very high which for a state that has very long loop lengths area-wise.

New research unveiled today by Connect Iowa shows that the broadband availability gap in the state is shrinking, with 93.5% of Iowa residents now having access to fixed broadband of 3 Mbps download or higher, compared to 92.5% last year.

Nonprofit Connect Iowa has been working since 2009 to ensure that Iowans have access to the economic, educational, and quality of life benefits derived from increased broadband access, adoption, and use.

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Hundreds facing financial losses from MN muni-broadband network

Lake Maria State Park, Monticello, MN

Lake Maria State Park, Monticello, MN (Photo credit: PugnoM)

By Tom Steward | Watchdog Minnesota

Bill McKenzie’s email was short and to the point.

“I am (an) individual bondholder.  Why doesn’t the city go to the reserve funds and pay the bond interest due on these bonds?  You are hurting bondholders who loaned the city this money,” McKenzie wrote in frustration.

The plea went out last week from the 70-year-Tucson retiree who with his wife lives more than 1,700 miles from the Monticello, Minn., City Council members he attempted to contact.

City officials’ response?  No reply— same as before, he said.

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