Verizon’s Full Court Press

To everything there is a season. A time to propose Open Internet rules. A time to seek relief from these arbitrary and capricious rules in the courts, specifically the DC Court of Appeals.

Let’s say it’s not a complete surprise that a carrier, Verizon in this instance, has decided to challenge the FCC’s recent rules on the Open Internet. Continue reading

Cisco’s umi: Not for mi

Cisco’s marketing department has continued their cuddly product naming  with the announcement of umi (pronounced you-me) last week. It’s basically Skype or in Cisco-speak, “telepresense,” for regular folks.

And by regular folks they mean TV-watchers with an Internet connection but without a laptop and video camera.  I’m sure Cisco business development crunched the numbers and decided there’s a ton of money selling  $600 set top boxes with a $24.99 monthly charge to this segment.

The other perpetrators involved in this scheme include BestBuy, which will sell the gear, and Verizon, which plans to resell the service to its Fios customers.Continue reading

"Sergey, I am your father"

Is this what Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg metaphorically whispered into the Google founder’s ear?  I’m still reeling from the Google-Verizon non-aggression pact and what it will mean for a  competitive and open Internet.  Some have pointed out that the proposal is merely a regurgitation  of the FCC’s six freedoms for an open Internet.

True, but up to a point.Continue reading

Meet Our New Regulators: Verizon and Google

So there wasn’t an agreement between Google and Verizon, as reported by The New York Times, on price tiers. Instead the two companies released a modest proposal and legislative framework for an open Internet.  I like the boldness of their end-run around that puny regulatory agency, the FCC, by directing their demands, oops I mean request, to Congress.

Google-Verizon has more advice for the FCC after the jump.Continue reading

Verizon's Good Deal: 1 Mbps for $20/month, forever

Carriers have always loved to meter. They are utilities after all.  Of course, then came the Internet,  dirt cheap bits,  and a generation of consumers brought up on free.  Wanting to charge on a piecemeal basis but fearful of consumer outrage on being nickel-and-dimed, the telecom industry has been adopting pricing tiers (see AT&T) as a compromise solution.

With tiers, the meter isn’t running. Instead, customers pay a fixed amount for a given level of service (speed, capacity, quality, etc.)   This has traditionally been the arrangement in business telecom—of course, in that world you’re protected by service level agreements that pay out for disruptions, excessive latency, and packet errors.

I was excited to learn about an interesting variation on the pricing tier model that was revealed in a  letter from Verizon.  In its latest  marketing campaign, Verizon promises to lock in a  stingy 1 Mbps broadband for its subscribers at $19.99 per month, forever: “...low price you can count on, month after month, year after year.”
Continue reading

The Road to UTOPIA

In the National Broadband Plan, there is hardly any mention of a wholesale or “unbundled” model of fiber-to-the-home. That’s unfortunate. There are many examples of successful deployments of fiber in which the physical part is built by the public sector (or through public-private partnerships), with private providers stepping in to resell access for voice, video, and data at the retail level. For a nitty-gritty description of one European city’s experience laying fiber under cobblestones and into canals,  you can read about Amsterdam’s CityNet project, written by the company’s CEO.

The US does have many open access projects in which municipalities in underserved areas take the lead in financing fiber’s significant sunk costs.  There’s one deployment that stands out, linking together over 16 cities in Utah and serving about 40,000 households. It’s called the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, which acronymized becomes UTOPIA.Continue reading

Verizon Blinks

As we all know, Verizon went public on Tuesday with its agreement to allow Skype’s VoIP application to run on its network. There are still a few gotchas for Verizon subscribers who want the service, but in the world of telecom this is momentous. Faced with the FCC’s proposed rules for net neutrality and a new fifth principle of non-discrimination, Verizon (along with AT&T) has relented.