Broadband Access still a Dream for Many

by Matt Klassen on June 24, 2016

global internetIn today’s world you might think that the last people to be reached by broadband service would be those in remote or rural locations, particularly given the fact that many of us in North American urban centres likely consider broadband access and affordability to an inexorable and ubiquitous part of our very existence. In fact, I’ll admit that I’ve long considered city life and broadband access to exist hand-in-hand…but not so.

A new study conducted on behalf of the Wireless Broadband Alliance has found that the digital divide has really nothing to do with urban or rural living, and discovered that shockingly 57 percent of the world’s urban population remains unconnected, lacking either fixed or wireless broadband service.

To put in another way, in a classic tale of haves and have-nots, being part of the so-called unconnected billions—and by the study’s own numbers, it’s about 2.2 billion people unconnected in cities alone—has little to do with where you live within a given country, and everything to do with how much money you have while living there.

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IoT Won’t Deliver Additional Revenues for the Telecom Industry

by Jeff Wiener on June 24, 2016

iot_nexus1For more than a year now telcos and vendors have been championing the Internet of Things (IoT) as the greatest new vertical revenue stream for operators, arguing that the development of 5G network technology will open up a brave new world for ubiquitous, sustained connectivity of our entire digital existence. The sustained connection of ever-proliferating devices equals increased profits…or so the dream goes.

But unwilling to buy the hype, New Street Research partner Andrew Entwistle has bucked the mainstream and rejected both the notion that 5G will be the great enabler of IoT, or that IoT will unlock erstwhile untapped revenue sources for an increasingly beleaguered telecom industry.

As Entwistle said earlier this week, “I’m perfectly prepared to accept that the internet of things is extraordinarily interesting to equipment makers and vendors, to systems integrators, to policy makers, and to people concerned with the social role of communications services in our lives, but there is an awful lot of noise about the internet of things that doesn’t actually translate into, to put it strongly, a whole hill of beans for the telecoms operator who’s looking to sell services to achieve revenue per customer or revenue per device.”

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Internet as a Public Utility: A Canadian Case Study

by Matt Klassen on June 23, 2016

utility_thumbEven as Canadians attempt to sort out their own Net Neutrality regulations, repairing the debacle left by previous federal administrations, there is one Canadian city that is hoping to pave the way forward towards establishing high speed broadband service as a public utility, even if federal regulatory bodies are unwilling to define it as such.

For the last five years the City of New Westminster, located in the Greater Vancouver Regional District on the west coast of British Columbia, has been slowly deploying its BridgeNet strategy to bring high speed Internet connectivity to the city, hoping that it will be able to “leverage broadband Internet to promote health and social inclusion, with free Internet access, public computers and training.”

“BridgeNet is a key element in our Intelligent City initiative,” said New Westminster City Councillor Bill Harper. “This is part of a strategy to attract knowledge-based startups and high-tech companies into the city. There are a lot of pieces to this plan, but the idea is to come up with a cohesive strategy for building a health-care cluster.”

Frustrated by the slow upgrade schedule of the country’s main telecom companies, the city has decided to piggyback the installation of gigabit broadband service to its other public utilities, meaning that whenever a road is repaired or a new community created, Internet is now added as part of the infrastructure.

If you ever wondered what treating broadband service as a public utility looks like, well here it is folks.

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Will Google Close the Android Ecosystem?

by Matt Klassen on June 22, 2016

android-lockup1Over the years the one thing that as set Google’s Android operating system apart from Apple’s own iOS is that Android has always been open-sourced (sort of), available to all to tinker and modify…if they’re willing to live by Google’s rules of course. By contrast, Apple has always controlled its proprietary platform, not allowing anyone else to modify it or use it in any way. Two paths to success, both with significant positives and huge drawbacks.

For Android the greatest drawback has always been fragmentation, that with so many people deploying so many different versions of Android, that security and cohesion across all devices becomes a serious issue. For iOS, the problem has always been Apple’s draconian control, dictating everything with a “take it or leave it” attitude.

But as friendly and open as Android has appeared over these last few years, it seems Google may be poised to follow Apple’s path towards proprietary control, as rumours continue to circulate that given the company’s desire to gain better control over Android development that it will have to combat fragmentation, and the only way to do that would be to standardize a closed version of the platform.

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Domino’s Abandons T-Mobile Promo Due to Huge Pizza Demand

by Matt Klassen on June 21, 2016

dominos-button-02I’m still now sure how the general public feels about T-Mobile’s recent promotional campaign to give out shares in the company, but the carrier’s accompanying free giveaways are clearly a hit, evidenced by the fact that the Domino’s pizza chain, a partner for the first two weeks of T-Mobile’s promotion, has abandoned it’s participation in the campaign due to higher than expected pizza demand. Or to put in another way, we eat too much and Domino’s is losing money.

Proving that people are little more than trained seals, slapping their fins together when you toss them a free snack, T-Mobile acknowledge via Twitter late last week that it had lost Domino’s as part of the latest un-carrier promotion, explaining that the company simply couldn’t keep up with customer demand for the offered free two-topping pizzas.

But more to the point, this just goes to show you how woefully inadequate I am at gauging consumer behaviour, as once again I’ve attempted to give consumers the benefit of the doubt, arguing that they won’t be fooled by such woeful attempts at pandering, only to be once again surprised when they are.

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The Internet is a Public Utility. So has anything changed?

by Matt Klassen on June 20, 2016

utility_thumbAs we reported last week, a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s legal authority to implement and enforce Net Neutrality regulations, a landmark victory for the open Internet movement. With it the FCC has had its reclassification of broadband service as a public utility affirmed, and we now officially live in an age where Internet (like water, power, and phone service) is a publicly regulated service. So has anything changed?

The ironic thing about the entire fight over Net Neutrality is that the problems the regulations were conceived to battle, arbitrary network throttling, prioritized service, blocking traffic, have already been conceded by the broadband industry, with almost every ISP moving on to bigger and better (and not to mention far more complicated and convoluted) ways to manage Internet traffic the way they want.

What this means is after years of battling we finally have the regulatory structure in place to keep the broadband service providers from doing the things they were doing five years ago…practices they’ve long given up in favour of other, more nebulously ethical practices that fall outside the purview of the FCC’s rules.

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Getting Practical about Customer Service

by Jeff WienerJune 17, 2016

In the telecom world (heck, in every service industry) company CEOs love to talk about customer service. Oh my goodness they like talking about it! Nary has a quarterly conference call gone by without some talking head assuring investors that customers come first, that customer service is at the heart of everything they do, and […]

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Telecom Industry Promises Net Neutrality Fight is Not Over

by Matt KlassenJune 17, 2016

Earlier this week a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial Net Neutrality regulations and as expected it has generated a far amount of commentary on both sides of the fight. On the one hand many proponents of an open Internet see this as a landmark victory in the fight against ISP […]

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T-Mobile Tops Customer Satisfaction Survey

by Matt KlassenJune 16, 2016

While T-Mobile may not have scored the highest marks in a new report from Market Force Information regarding network coverage, for data speeds, or even for most reliable service, its ongoing un-carrier campaign has demonstrated, without a doubt, that none of those things really matter in generating overall customer satisfaction. In fact, in the recent […]

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FCC’s Net Neutrality Upheld in Appeals Court Decision

by Matt KlassenJune 15, 2016

For the first time in history the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial Net Neutrality regulations have withstood an attack, as a panel of judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday voted 2-1 in favour of upholding rules, maintaining the FCC’s legal oversight and regulation of both wired and wireless […]

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