Mobile Carriers Are Trying To Control Your Texting

mom-textWho owns your telephone number? According to Section 251(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, you own your number and can move it to the carrier of your choice. But who owns your texting phone number? It’s the same number, just used for a different purpose. The law says nothing about texting so the major wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) are claiming that number is theirs, not yours, even if you are the one paying a little extra for unlimited texting. And the way they see it, unlimited is clearly limited, with carriers and texting services not offered by the Big Four expected soon to pay cash to reach you.

Did the NSA help kill UWB?

2-UWB-1Revisionist history is looking back at past events in light of more recent information. What really happened? And no recent source of information has been more important when it comes to revising the history of digital communications than former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Today I’m really curious about the impact of the NSA on the troubled history of Ultra Wide Band (UWB) communication.

I stumbled on this topic with the help of a reader who pointed me at a story and then a paper about advances in secure communication. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts came up with a method of optical communication that they could […]

Net neutrality is dead, but it probably doesn’t matter

 

powellLast week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia shot holes in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s version of net neutrality saying the Commission was wrong not in trying to regulate Internet Service Providers but in trying to regulate them as Common Carriers, that is as telephone utilities. The FCC can’t have it both ways, said the Court, and so the Feds get to try all over again. Or will they? I think events are moving so quickly that by the time this particular argument is worked out all the players will have changed and the whole argument may be moot.

If you read the court’s near-unanimous decision they leave the […]

700 MHz opportunity down the toilet (no, make that stolen)

Today, if you have a few million bucks to spare, the Federal Communications Commission will be auctioning wireless licenses in the 700 MHz band — primo space in many respects because it is lower on the RF spectrum and offers longer range. But Auction 92, as it is called, is anything but primo, since it is for licenses that either received no bids in the previous Auction 73, held in 2008, or were sold in that auction to organizations that never paid in full. That earlier auction, which I covered at the time, is a sad story of opportunity lost, especially for Google.

Remember how that freed-up spectrum was up […]

By |July 19th, 2011|2011|68 Comments

Netflix too big to fail?

The Intertubes are alight this week with old news — that Netflix is the largest user of U.S. Internet bandwidth. Most stories cite a Sandvine report I won’t link to because you’d have to subscribe and I like you too much for that. Better still, look at the very interesting graphic above, courtesy of Arbor Networks. This chart has been floating around the net for a couple of months and shows the result of an Arbor study of several U.S. ISPs illustrating how we Americans spend our Internet bandwidth. There are three lessons I think we can learn from this chart: 1) that BitTorrent is no longer (or perhaps never was) the threat were were […]

By |May 19th, 2011|2011|51 Comments