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Monthly Archives: February 2015

27
Feb
2015

FCC Reclassifies Broadband As A Utility And Preserves Net Neutrality

by Bill

Net NeutralityThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Thursday to approve very strong net neutrality rules in a landmark decision. The decision is particularly important because it comes as a final determination by the commission after month of powerful campaigning by opposition forces including big money Telecom and Cable interests along with wide support by Republican leaders in both houses of the Republican controlled Congress.

Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn (both Democrats) joined Chairman Tom Wheeler to approve the new rules, which include reclassification of all US consumer-broadband as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act. “The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules,” Wheeler said prior to the vote. Clyburn pointed out that “absent the rules we adopt today” ISPs would be “free to block, throttle, favor or discriminate … for any user, for any reason, or for no reason at all.”

The reclassification is very important, as the FCC intends to use authority under Title II to ban all forms of “paid prioritization” that carriers had hoped to use as a way to generate additional revenue for premium data fast-lane access. Another important aspect of the ruling is the clear declaration that these new rules apply to mobile access as well.

The FCC will begin enforcing these Internet rules via “investigation and processing of formal and informal complaints”, and for the first time ever, the FCC will now have the internal authority to address specific complaints at interconnection points, between ISPs and Internet users on an individual basis.

The two Republican commissioners on the FCC were in stark opposition to the rest of the commission and the vast majority of Internet users. Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai called the decision an “about-face” and said “We are flip-flopping for one reason and one reason only: President Obama told us to do so.”

According to the Huffington Post, reporters and others gathered in an FCC viewing room “gasped and burst into laughter upon hearing Pai’s remark.” President Obama did state his emphatic belief that Title II reclassification was a crucial step forward last November, and millions of comments from the general public in support of net neutrality gave the strong impression of widespread public support.

Many Tech Industry giants including Tumblr, Google, Facebook and others openly advocated for net neutrality protection. The big losers were bandwidth carriers like Verizon and Comcast. Verizon previously sued the FCC in 2011 over rules changes and there is a new specter of legal wrangling with this FCC decision likely headed to court. Verizon issued a press release issued saying the decision is “a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors” and went on to claim that the FCC “chose to use this order as an excuse to adopt 300-plus pages of broad and open-ended regulatory arcana that will have unintended negative consequences for consumers and various parts of the Internet ecosystem for years to come.”

However, Ms. Barbara van Schewick, a Stanford University law professor and net neutrality expert, was optimistic that the new FCC rules would eventually prevail in court, if they were challenged. “The agency’s decision to reclassify Internet service as a common carrier under Title II … puts the rules on a solid legal foundation,” she said in a statement.

While the future is always uncertain, at least for now, you can take comfort in the fact that data will continue to pass through all internet pipes in a way that is completely agnostic as to the identity of the sender or receiver, and as to the character of the content being communicated – just the way the Internet has already been working so successfully since its earliest inception

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11
Feb
2015

ARM Expects Smartphones To Be Many People’s Only Computer Within Two Years

by Bill

Cell PhoneTechnologists have talked about the growing importance of mobile computing for years, and the leaps forward in handheld computational power have been staggering over the last few years. Now, some are predicting that we may be getting within 24 months of the tipping point, when many consumers are ready to ditch their desktops entirely in favor of new mobile phones that can do it all for them instead.

 

ARM’s new mobile phone CPU provides more than 50 times the performance of chips sold just five years ago, and it does it all with 75% less energy required than was needed by comparable chips from three years ago. ARM is not alone in these accomplishments. Apple’s new A8 chip in the iPhone 6 is also more than 50 times faster than the chip they released in the original iPhone, and the new Apple GPU is actually 84 times faster. Meanwhile Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 (used by LG, HTC, and other Android manufacturers) is set to handle 4K video streaming and 3D gaming tasks as well. Given these mobile phone specs and the rapid rate of advancement, there is little reason to expect people to continue using outdated desktop devices.

 

ARM is launching a new Cortex-A72 processor and a Mali-T880 GPU to empower mobile devices capable of bridging the gap and bringing desktop traditionalists across the divide to the freedom of a full time wireless lifestyle. Where people once considered the possibility of living in a world as an ‘always on’ participant, we are now at the dawn of what may soon be called the ‘always on the go’ era of modern computing.

 

Most of the remaining obstacles that need to be cleared away come down to ports or wireless porting of data to larger screens when they are available. A way to display the information from your device in real time to a television screen or other ‘dumb screen’ on your desk if you feel like using a full size set of peripherals. These are tiny challenges to overcome when compared to the CPU and GPU milestones that have been reached, and while 2 years may be on the optimistic side, it is clearly a matter of when not a question of whether or not mobile will soon be the primary way people connect online and do all of their digital tasks each day.

 

Do your digital products and web presence sufficiently scale for mobile users to use them in a fully mobile world? Contact us to discuss the connectivity requirements and the many ways you can allocate resources efficiently to address specific devices or the coming lifestyle shift toward handheld input portals now and in the future.

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04
Feb
2015

Net Neutrality Final Debate Needs Your Support To Articulate New Regulations

by Bill

net neutralityIn less than 21 days the fate of the Internet will be decided by a new FCC regulation proposed by FCC Chairman Wheeler to protect the sanctity of net neutrality. Chairman Wheeler has gone on the offensive to generate support for the open policy he is proposing, by authoring a very informative editorial which would use new regulatory authority from Congress to keep the Internet agnostic as to which content is being served by which website to which end user.

 

In his editorial, Mr. Wheeler recounts his own personal experience at the helm of an early Internet startup named NABU which failed to compete with the rapid growth of AOL, even though it was able to provide much better connectivity, simply because they playing field was already far from level. Now as cable companies and big bandwidth consortiums apply lobbying pressure to the people whose votes will be counted less than 3 weeks from today – it is imperative that the voice of end users everywhere be heard on this crucial issue.

 

Grass roots websites like Battle For The Internet are already online to make it a few simple clicks to identify and contact your local government representatives.  All it takes is a few minutes of your time to have your voice counted and to leverage the enormous public sentiment that bandwidth throughput, load times and other fundamental aspects of digital data transfer should remain entirely neutral – whether that website is a paying sponsor of any particular carrier or not at this time.

 

The idea of net neutrality has been a lynch-pin of the entire Internet since its inception and any move to create ‘express lanes’ or ‘slow lanes’ for data traffic would have a profound impact on competition, consumer prices and the kind of content available online… not only for your web browsing experiences but potentially for the ways data is used and priced in the lives of future generations as well.

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