Mo' betta DSL, p2p scourge, Cheeky crackers

As I predicted, the only provider big and rich enough to play the regulatory game has gone to the Commerce Commission and asked for better wholesale terms for DSL resale. TelstraClear wants the Commerce Commission crew to spell out the specs for Unbundled Bitstream DSL, and as the retail product seems to have any download speed Telecom wants it to have, so should the wholesale one.

Top Stories

- TCL wants mo’ betta DSL

- The Peer-to-Peer scourge

- Cheeky crackers peddle PIX code

- Golomb, my preciousss optimal 24-mark ruler

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- Project OGR

- TCL wants mo’ betta DSL

As I predicted, the only provider big and rich enough to play the regulatory game has gone to the Commerce Commission and asked for better wholesale terms for DSL resale. TelstraClear wants the Commerce Commission crew to spell out the specs for Unbundled Bitstream DSL, and as the retail product seems to have any download speed Telecom wants it to have, so should the wholesale one.

Telecom also has a business DSL product, Private Office Networking, that TelstraClear wants the right to sell. Apparently, negotiations have not been fruitful, so it’s off to the referee TelstraClear goes. It’s quite a gamble for TelstraClear, which will now not have a UBS product to sell for anywhere between six to twelve months. This is one of the catches built into the rather unique NZ legislation, presumably to stop those without deep pockets to seek determinations.

Meanwhile, Telecom can carry on with its retail DSL and now that the tunnelled Layer 2 UBS is working again, smaller ISPs can try to compete by selling that, even though a 256kbit/s service for about the same price as 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s speed from the incumbent doesn’t look like brilliant value.

Looking at today’s first quarter results from Telecom, the Jetstream DSL cake alone grew by 63.2% to $31 million, with 139,000 customers at the end of September. Only Telecom’s mobile data service outdid Jetstream’s growth rate with a 120% increase to $22 million; in fact, the voice call business is going backwards for Telecom.

I don’t think Telecom is going to share that profitable pie without a fight, unfortunately.

- TelstraClear wants a bigger piece of Telecom's DSL cake

- UBS relaunch expected on Monday

- Telecom New Zealand first quarter 2004 results

- The Peer-to-Peer “scourge”

What will the new broadband customers use their DSL connections for then? Well, chances are it will be for today’s killer internet application, P2P networking. Unfortunately, ISPs have major problems with P2P. That’s because their business model is built around a shared network that sees only bursts of traffic. However, P2P users “leech” all day long, at steady rates up and downstream.

As in the past, the idea that it is wrong for customers to use networks fully is the easy way out. Remember those naughty dial-up users whose modems were connected for much too long every day, and who were castigated by none less than Jim Anderton for spoiling it for everyone else through their hogging the lines?

Well, the same refusal to deal with reality and provide customers with the service they want prevails to this day. Instead of designing internetworks that can actually cope with punting data at the speeds they’re sold to customers as being capable of providing, providers restrict P2P traffic. While some providers choke P2P traffic outright, Telecom’s DSL does it more subtly, by sharply limiting the upstream speed — your P2P downloads aren’t likely to go faster than the upload speed.

When will internetwork architects grasp the nettle and realise that residential access needs to keep in step with at least local area network speeds? People who buy a 1Mbit/s connection expect to get that speed 24-7, not just occasionally when the network isn’t too congested. To excoriate customers for using the network is just plain wrong.

I’m not kidding here; the internet as in the NZ variety is becoming an expensive bottleneck. Forget about tens or hundreds of kilobits per second, even speeds in the single megabit/second range. 10Mbit/s is the starting point, with 100Mbit/s the standard. Fast internet access starts at 1Gbit/s. Hit those speeds, and providers should get their bursty traffic patterns back while at the same time keep customers happy.

Who’ll rise to that challenge?

- Cheeky crackers peddle PIX code

In between cursing insecure PHP webmail installations that serve as spam hydrants for Nigerian 419ers, I read that The Source Code Club is back in business. These IP pirates are flogging the source code for Cisco’s PIX firewall for US$24,000 plus other apps as well, like the Napster P2P client, and they’re doing it from an online store.

The Source Code Club’s last “e-commerce” attempt was in July, but that particular online store was shut down within days. Clearly though, the authorities were not able to apprehend the source code scoundrels who are now hoping governments and spy agencies will buy the stolen goods.

It’s brazen, cheeky and makes headlines; it’ll be interesting to see if the crackers again escape the authorities, who will undoubtedly renew their efforts to catch them.

- Hackers reopen stolen code store with Cisco source

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