Broadband bottleneck widens

So, the Commerce Commission didn't buy Telecom's argument that allowing the regulated Unbundled Bitstream Service run at full DSL speeds would increase noise to the point that some customers would miss out on broadband. This means that instead of a maximum of 3.5Mbit/s, regulated UBS customers could see speeds of up to 7.6Mbit/s.

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- Broadband bottleneck widens

- Google/Comcast court ailing AOL

- You look just like my brother

What are you, retarded? It’s the Napoleon Dynamite and Bill Gates spoof from PDC 2005.

- Broadband bottleneck widens

So, the Commerce Commission didn’t buy Telecom’s argument that allowing the regulated Unbundled Bitstream Service run at full DSL speeds would increase noise to the point that some customers would miss out on broadband. This means that instead of a maximum of 3.5Mbit/s, regulated UBS customers could see speeds of up to 7.6Mbit/s.

This is in theory of course, because with a puny 128kbit/s upstream, it’s nigh impossible to hit more than 3-4Mbit/s download speeds. And, the amount of bandwidth guaranteed for each user is still pretty low, and can drop below dial-up levels if things get busy on parts of the network with many customers. For business users, the regulated UBS is only so and so, again due to the low upstream speed. This limits sharing of the connection and its overall usefulness.

The final determination on TelstraClear’s application for a regulated UBS will probably be out sometime early November and Telecom has to have the service ready four weeks after that. However, don’t expect the service to be available around Christmas like some media have reported. TelstraClear was pretty emphatic that it wouldn’t be ready to sell the “RUBS” because it hasn’t got the backhaul in place yet and its provisioning systems don’t talk to Telecom’s yet. There’s also the issue of Telecom meeting the target of 30% of all broadband connections being sold by third-party providers, something it can only do with TelstraClear flogging UBS in large numbers. Having had to take the slow regulatory road because Telecom didn’t offer good enough terms for wholesale broadband, I don’t see why TelstraClear would want to give the incumbent a leg-up which in turn would help it avoid further regulation.

It will be interesting to see if Telecom will improve its commercial UBS (“CUBS” anyone?) or keep it on par with the regulated service. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Telecom offer CUBS with 256 and 512kbit/s upstream, but perhaps its network would drown in DSL noise if it did….

- 'Unconstrained broadband' for TelstraClear

- Google/Comcast court ailing AOL

Not a week goes by without Google buying something, and we’ve almost stopped noticing. However, Google teaming up with broadband provider Comcast to buy an unknown sized chunk of America Online is quite another matter, because if it goes ahead, it would create an “online behemoth” with millions and millions of users who could eyeball ads while accessing different kinds of web content.

Or would it? Online audiences are notoriously fickle, and while AOL was at one stage almost an internet subcontinent, under Time Warner’s ownership it has steered itself into irrelevance and lost some six million subscribers in the past three years. Instead, it looks like the purchase is a defensive move to stave off Microsoft’s MSN.

AOL traffic accounts for around eleven per cent of Google’s revenue. If Microsoft gets in bed with AOL, it is likely to make sure user traffic is steered towards the MSN search engine and not Google. That could be the thin end of the Microsoft wedge driven into Google’s core search engine business.

We’re talking about some seriously big money as well: despite losing subscribers, AOL still has a shade under US$9b a year in revenue and is valued anywhere between US$12 to US$21b. A minority stake could cost Google and Comcast as much as US$5b.

- Google and Comcast vie for AOL stake, reports say

Spanking for spam king

Ahh… the smell of fried spammer is nice. The FBI raided Alan Ralsky’s home last month (the warrants were not unsealed by the court until last week) and seized the spammer’s computers and financial records. The raid put an end to the 100 million or more a day mortgage and pill spams Ralsky was sending, but… it probably won’t make much of a dent in the overall amount of spam.

Still, the Ralsky raid and before that, Robert Braver’s US$10m win against spammer Robert Soloway, offer some consolation to email users worldwide whose inboxes are bursting at the seams with unsolicited rubbish. It also lends further weight to what Microsoft’s “anti-spam czar” Ryan Hamlin was saying during his visit here to brief the NZ government on the way overdue anti-spam legislation: it should be possible for Kiwi netizens and companies to sue spammers, and hit them hard as well. The way to stop spam isn’t through technology but via legal means that quite simply make it too expensive for spammers to carry on.

- FBI puts stop to spam king

‘"I'm not a spammer," Ralsky said. "I'm a commercial e-mailer."’

- Oklahoma Man Wins $10 Million Judgment Against a Spammer

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