TelecomTV *Raw

The best of TelecomTV, plus (un)related junk from the site’s Director of Content

Internet For The Other 3 Billion

From Martin Sauter’s blog. testing out new reblogging tools.

Internet For The Other 3 Billion: “

Heise News reported recently about O3b Networks, a new satellite operator who’s mission statement is to connect ‘The Other 3 Billion’ to the Internet. Hence, their name O3b. It was probably worth a post as one of the investors is a certain Google Inc. The company’s web site doesn’t yet contain a lot of material but what they’ve already put there makes some interesting reading. Heise reports that the company aims to put 16 satellites built by Thales Alenia aerospace into orbit with a total of 2300 transponders. Each transponder has an uplink/downlink bandwidth of 216 MHz, which delivers a throughput of 600 MBit/s in each direction. The company targets fixed line and mobile networks in the developing world for backhaul services and says there system is designed for significant savings over previous backhaul transport in regions where laying a fiber is no option. It would be interesting to get some hard numbers in terms of dollars per month. Latency of the system is given at 65 milliseconds, quite important for real time services such as voice and interactive services such as web browsing. The company also positions itself for emergency scenarios and says they can get bandwidth to any place around the globe +/- 45 degrees of the equator within 10 minutes. The satellites have yet to be brought into orbit which is foreseen around 2010. An ambitious and exciting project!

(Via Martin Sauter’s Mobile Technology Page.)


Monday, 15 September 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blogwatch: Is Telecom Cool?

From ambient awareness to the economics of the cloud; how the web gurus are trying to make telecoms cool.

Cool or uncool? Let’s face it, we all want to be cool, or to be seen to be working in a cool industry. Or at least, that what our kids want. But can the industry that brought us synchronous optical networking and time division multiplexing really become hip and trendy?

Rudolf van der Berg asks this question on his Internet Thought blog.

Top Gear, the hugely successful BBC car program, has an item called the Cool Wall. Its the most subjective way of dividing cars up from subzero, via cool, uncool to seriously uncool. I thought I do the same for the telecom industry.

So what’s on Rudolph’s Cool Wall?

Free (France): 30 euro a month buys you 28mbit/s DSL (design their own DSL modems), free calling in France and to fixed numbers in 50+ countries, IP-TV, HD-TV, recorder, TV-Perso + native IPv6 (thanks Jap), etc. It has redefined the French broadband market by teaching marketeers that its not about new services that generate new revenues, but that it’s about delivering more for the same money.

Internet Exchanges (mostly Europe and Asia): Most internet exchanges are cool… People working for Internet Exchanges are also good for having a beer with that’s bonus points.

Internet Network Geeks: Beards, T-shirs and Sandals. Most of these men are great to have a beer with. They know why the network works.

And Seriously Uncool?

Incumbents: Almost by definition they’re uncool. Some even seriously uncool. They’ve been given this great asset and a perennial monopoly, that is impossible to crush. But instead of using it in a benevolent anti-competitive way (the way KPN works) most of them are just plain evil.

Mobile companies (and the GSMA): In Europe all of them are money hogging, price fixing, cartel supported, marketing companies. It’s not even about telecoms anymore.

Deutsche Telekom: In 1994 my student room had more bandwidth (10mbit/s) to the internet than all German universities together.

Strong stuff (the views of the author do not reflect blah blah blah…) From cool wall to cool names. Ambient Awareness is the tallest cool phrase of the moment, according to the New York Times. It’s all to do with RSS feeds and how to get the most out of the myriad of different news sources all fighting to be heard on the Web. The article suggests it all started with Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg:

He developed something he called News Feed, a built-in service that would actively broadcast changes in a user’s page to every one of his or her friends. Students would no longer need to spend their time zipping around to examine each friend’s page, checking to see if there was any new information. Instead, they would just log into Facebook, and News Feed would appear: a single page that — like a social gazette from the 18th century — delivered a long list of up-to-the-minute gossip about their friends, around the clock, all in one place. “A stream of everything that’s going on in their lives,” as Zuckerberg put it.

There’s a collection of readers views on ambient awareness over at the NYT website. Meanwhile TechDirt adds its views to the debate:

It’s not so much about telling everyone everything you’re doing, or knowing everything that everyone is doing, but it does give you an amazing ambient view into what’s going on in the lives of whoever you follow, and in an odd way makes you feel much more connected to them than you might otherwise.

The GigaOM site continues the cool theme, with the Ten Laws of Cloudonomics. Yes, economics, wikinomics and now… cloudonomics. Putting aside the ridiculous name (perhaps we should also jump on the bandwagon — how about telecomonomics?), the article, by Joe Weinman of AT&T, posits that public utility cloud services differ from traditional data centre environments (and private enterprise clouds) in three fundamental ways:

First, they provide true on-demand services, by multiplexing demand from numerous enterprises into a common pool of dynamically allocated resources. Second, large cloud providers operate at a scale much greater than even the largest private enterprises. Third, while enterprise data centers are naturally driven to reduce cost via consolidation and concentration, clouds benefit from dispersion.

He then argues that these three key differences enable “the sustainable strategic competitive advantage of clouds through what I’ll call the 10 Laws of Cloudonomics”. So there. Warning, he cites the “classic military strategist” Carl von Clausewitz in the same article as physicists Einstein and Minkowski…

From 10 laws of speculative musings, to 20 top research reports for development telecoms. Lirne Net picks up on a new list from the GSMA Development Fund.

The GSMA Development Fund… has compiled and published a list of the best research reports on the economic and social impact of mobile communications in developing countries. Selection was based on content, relevance, originality and credibility. GSMA notes that although not an exhaustive and scientifically developed list, “it illustrates the work that we feel is most important at the moment and highlights key conclusions on the impact of mobile technology in developing countries.”

Apple watchers don’t miss out this week. IntoMobile has a report on Apple’s latest patent filings for a multi-touch and gesture-based interface, complete with tantilizing sketches.

Apple proposes, in their latest patent application, that future multi-touch technologies will integrate almost all foreseeable input modalities to complement touch-based multi-touch. Mechanical manipulations could be assigned to touch-based commands, while voice commands are relegated to functions that require choosing an option from a list. Futhermore, Apple envisions future multi-touch setups incorporating finger-recognition that would allow the user to assign different functions to each finger – which would allow for more complex commands to be issued. Gaze-vector tracking could allow your future laptop or mobile phone to recognize which menu you’d like to select and automatically drill down to the appropriate category.

And finally, in the week that the UK Broadband Stakeholders Group revealed that it would cost an incredible £29 billion to roll out Fibre to the Home to every citizen (that’s about XXXXXXXX per head), the Communications Breakdown blog came across a bizarre announcement from New Zealand operator TelstraClear.

This is a remarkable statement coming from an alternative operator, TelstraClear of New Zealand. The telco says the main result of faster broadband links to the home may be more downloads of pornography and movies rather than improvements to productivity, quotes the New Zealand Herald. “At the moment we don’t believe that putting fibre into every home is economic or necessary.”

Site author Tim Poulus comments that FTTH is the only viable future route, and cites these reasons (among others);

Cablecos are upgrading to DOCSIS 3.0. If you want to keep up, you might as well leap ahead of them and acknowledge that FTTH is the end-game; The build-out of a nationwide FTTH network takes at least 10 years to reach a good portion of the population. So, you better start today; Many applications require symmetric connections. Only FTTH will be able to offer that.

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Friday, 12 September 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Blogwatch: You wait years for an Apps Store, then 3 come at once

On Blogwatch this week; Google keeps on dominating the blogs, with news of its Android Application Store and Cloud browser, and the evolution of 3G comes in for scrutiny.

It was inevitable that having seen the success of Apple’s iPhone Apps Store, that rivals would seek to emulate the model. First up, Google. The Internet giant announced its plans for an application store this week. Silicon Alley Insider investigates the difference between the “Android Market” and the Apple store.

The big difference: Apple runs it own store with a pretty firm hand. If you want in, you’ve got play by their rules. But Google has an open door policy: Developers who want to put their program on the market just register, upload, and they’re in business. Good news for developers, right? Open access to a platform supported by the biggest player in tech? You bet. But there is a downside: While everything on Apple app store has the Steve Jobs seal of approval, Google’s shop is going to be a caveat emptor proposition. Which means that a bunch of Android users are likely to get some bum apps. If that happens too often, that’s going to diminish Android’s appeal, and have developers begging for a firm hand.

Rival site Valleywag has it’s own take on the news:

Don’t call it an app store — it’s an open content distribution system. Android Market will be Google’s version of the iPhone App Store. A PR-speak description of the site emphasizes that posting apps for sale will be a lot like uploading videos to YouTube. But with iPhone app developers already posing as punk-rock heroes, how much more developer-friendly does Google really need to be? A screenshot from the not-yet-launched store seems designed to appeal to wonky coders, not the mass market of non-technical buyers Google will need to attract.

This from Googlewatch:

All the pieces are coming together. Several programmers have written Android apps. Two weeks ago, Android launched an SDK and OS road map, and unveiled Market, a place to buy the apps. What’s missing? Oh yeah, the devices. Until the HTC Dream and other Android-based smart phones of its ilk come to the fore in the fall, it’s hard to get too excited about these supporting ecosystem moves. I look forward to the first gadgets based on Android and hope for Google’s sake that they are comparable to the first iPhone in user experience. If they are subpar, Android will be deemed a failure and Google will swallow a bitter pill. Gadgetheads are a merciless lot and will show the search engine no quarter if Android phones aren’t as good as, if not better than, the best handhelds from Apple, Nokia, RIM, Palm and Microsoft.

MoCoNews adds its two cents:

On the business side of the house, details are foggy. Google said that the first phones will have a beta version of Android market, and at the minimum, it will support free applications. After launch, Google will work towards adding paid content and more features, such as being able to upload a new version of the application. But who knows what kind of revenue splits we are talking about.

Not to be outdone, news breaks that Microsoft (remember them?) is also getting into the game. Anyone want a job with the “Skymarket”? If so, time to brush up your CV and get your skates on, as Apple Insider believes Microsoft is hiring:

The project, tentatively called “Skymarket,” was revealed in a job listing Microsoft posted earlier today at for a Senior Product Manager to oversee a marketplace service for Windows Mobile. According to the job listing, Microsoft doesn’t plan to commercially launch Skymarket until the release of Windows Mobile 7, slated for late 2009. However, the company does hope to find someone who can handle “driving the cross group collaboration for the initial launch of the marketplace offering to the developer community this fall.” The posting also indicates Microsoft hasn’t made much progress so far about its conceptual goals for the store. It calls for an applicant who can assume responsibilities for “definition of the product offering, pricing, business model and policies that will make the Windows Mobile marketplace ‘the place to be’ for developers wishing to distribute and monetize their Windows Mobile applications.”

The full report is lengthy, and we recommend you pop on over to AppleInsider and read it in full.

Meanwhile, Dean Bubley’s Disruptive Wireless blog notes that the GSMA is now “toning down the rhetoric towards reality”. Strong words Dean, but we know what you mean. The whole industry is guilty of “bigging up” the abilities of new technology. Remember when the ITU claimed that 3G (or rather, IMT-2000) would give us an incredible 1Gbit/s of bandwidth in static mode? Well yes, but only if you were the sole user on a desert island, standing right next to the tower, and theoretical mathematics magically became reality. But back to Dean…

I saw this headline (“Mobile to reach 100Mbps before fixed-line, claims GSMA“) and was about to write a pithy response, mentioning awkward facts such as HongKong Broadband Network’s residential Symmetric Gigabit service having been available for a year or so. Then I read the full article, which includes sensible commentary from Dan Warren saying “obviously you never get the top speed and they vary with distance from the base station and interference”. Further, the GSMA’s recent press release of 50m HSPA subscribers cites “peak data speeds over HSPA are currently between 3.6Mbps and 7.2Mbps. This translates to an end user speed of more than 1Mbps”. In other words, the GSMA is actually being realistic about real-world speeds for mobile broadband

He’s also written a piece on the threat that 3G in the 3.5GHz band poses to WiMAX. Incidentally, the WiMAX community should be banged to rights over its ludicrous hyping of the technology as some kind of 3G-killer. But I digress…

One thing that 3GPP has been very good at is rolling out support for new frequency bands – arguably too good, some might say, as the number of available 3G/LTE bands now far outstrips the ability of chipsets to support all of them. The latest in line is 3500MHz (and also 2300MHz), which until now has been the preserve of WiMAX and other similar fixed-wireless technologies. I suggested last November that this was a likely counter-strike by the invasion of the 2.5/2.6GHz band by WiMAX. With the continued push towards a TDD profile for LTE, my view is that the WiMAX community is in danger of being further squeezed in some markets in terms of spectrum allocation.

Sticking with next-generation wireless, Martin Sauter has an update on LTE. He’s spotted an air interface primer on Agilent’s website that is worth a look:

Lots of interesting material can be found at Agilent’s LTE Network Testing web page. I especially like the LTE (Air Interface) introduction whitepaper. Although I am already aware of many things discussed in the paper, its always good to read about things from an author that looks at the topic from a different perspective.

And finally, some personal news. I have finally managed to receive a Broadband Migration Authorisation Code from my local ISP, the increasingly-bad Pipex. It only took six premium-rate phone calls and an email before I could speak to a human being — at a total call cost estimated at around £27, which is more than a month’s fee for my 8Gbit/s (reality = 2.1Gbit/s on a good day) uncapped service. Note the “uncapped”.  Strange then, that I can only access a web page at home for about 30 seconds every five minutes…. Is someone Throttling My Package? My apologies to all the long-serving staff of Pipex, if there are any left, as I point the finger of blame at new parent company Tiscali. Meanwhile, one call to tiny independent ISP Andrews and Arnold was answered in seconds by a (shock horror) knowledgeable and friendly person who gave me a lot of information and advice and seemed genuinely pleased that I was about to give them my business. There is a moral in this story; it’s just a shame that most telecoms companies couldn’t give a toss.

Friday, 5 September 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog Watch: Friday August 29th

Jay FairesImage via Wikipedia

Money for old rope, throttling the 3G package, and twits all round… when will the silly season end?

Dan Rayburn writes about a new Content Delivery Network that has received funding this week. Yes, another one! According to Dan, VC funding for CDN and P2P delivery networks has already exceeded $325 million in the past 18 months. Enter Conviva, formerly Rinera Networks, which has raised $20 million:

The one thing I really dislike, more than anything else, is a company that talks a big game while delivering nothing more than marketing speak. Instead of Conviva quietly raising the money and not coming to the market and pitching editors on the company until after they have a real story, customers, and product to talk about, they make a big deal now about the company, even though there is nothing to talk about.

And for marketeers reading this (‘marketeers’; what an awful word), why not crib some of the buzzwords in Conviva’s product details on their web site. As Dan Rayburn says:

It reads like a dictionary of the most popular buzz terms in the market today. They manage to get nearly all of them into just a few sentences including “greater brand loyalty”, “engage audience”, “site stickiness”, “monetize perishable content”, “target advertising”, “new platform” and “real-time Intelligence”.

Over at AppleInsider, it’s red faces at Orange. 3G iPhone users in France have accused Orange of intentionally capping 3G download speeds.

Many were furious, arguing that artificial limitation was in direct violation of the service agreements shared between the carrier and its iPhone customers, which theoretically should have allowed HSDPA speeds approaching 7.2Mbps. When contacted by FranceInfo, an Orange representative reportedly confirmed that that the carrier has been deliberately limiting speeds for all 3G capable phones on its network to 384Kbps, saying the move was aimed at ‘preserving the stability of the network.’ Following a meeting on Monday at its Paris headquarters, Orange said it will raise the download cap for iPhone users from 384Kbps to 1Mbps by September 15th.

Meanwhile, in Hollywoodland… The hit AMC series ‘Mad Men‘ is at the centre of an interesting case of viral marketing. Some of the fictional 1960s characters, including Dan Draper and Peggy Olson, are apparently Twittering away like crazy. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told the Silicon Alley Insider website that it has received DMCA takedown notices.

We’re assuming that means the notice was sent from AMC, and that the cable channel lodged some kind of copyright infringement claim. But can you claim a copyright on a character’s name? What if someone whose name is Don Draper actually wanted to use a Twitter account himself? Someone liked ‘Mad Men’ enough to create Twitter aliases for the show, and to proselytize on its behalf — and that AMC wants it stopped.

Happily, big bad Hollywood soon called off the dogs and saw sense. In an update:

Deep Focus, the Web marketing group that works for AMC, tells us that they gently nudged their client into rescinding the DMCA takedown notice they’d sent to Twitter. See, in Web marketing parlance, the Twitterers assuming the names of Mad Men characters are actually ‘brand ambassadors’ meant to be cultivated, not thwarted. “Better to embrace the community than negate their efforts,” says a Deep Focus spokesman. We agree!

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Friday, 29 August 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The Annual TelecomTV Treasure Hunt

Conclusive winners of the first annual TelecomTV staff treasure hunt fun day out. Congrats to Sean, Martyn and myself, who finished first by a country mile. In fact, we’re now sitting outside the Three Tuns in Great Halmead sipping our victory beers whilst waiting for the next team to arrive. For the record we finished at 12.59. It is now 1.16 and not a sign of any of the other teams. Says a lot about the people we employ!!!! And by the way, we are here with our 2m cannabis plant (legal) and a live crayfish (caught with a length of string and a paperclip! Cheers. UPDATE: next team to arrive get here at 2.20!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

EXCLUSIVE: US adviser’s Iraq warning – Progress too slow!

BaghdadImage via Wikipedia

Full story on the main TelecomTV website, but here’s the highlight:

26/08/2008 12:33:00 – by CommsDay

A leading US adviser to the Iraqi telecommunications network reconstruction effort is circulating an extensive critique of progress there, charging that Iraq badly lags on development of core fibre infrastructure, faces a massive ICT training shortfall and has erred in rewarding politically-influential US vendors with supply contracts.

Bob Fonow, who completed a 18-month stint as senior consultant, telecoms and IT at the US State Department in Baghdad earlier this year, also charges that the recent military surge has seen the US Department of Defense command excessive influence in telecom reconstruction, often in areas where it has insufficient expertise.

(((Incidentally, this was reposted using the WordPress “Press This” bookmarklet, by way of a test. Only a selection of text from the page was chosen. It was later re-edited in WordPress, in order to use the added extras offered by Zemanta. By the way, adding a new tag within the Press This stage didn’t work…)))

TelecomTV – TelecomTV One – News.

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Tuesday, 26 August 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Blog Watch: Friday August 21

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase, source unknown

It’s been a busy week on the blogging front, with a vast amount of reporting on news from Google.

The Googlewatch site provided some analysis of Google’s campaign to reuse analogue TV spectrum in the US. It has launched a “Free the Airwaves” website, specifically to use the “white spaces” between bands. According to Google:

Today more than three-quarters of those radio airwaves, or “white space” spectrum, are completely unused. This vast public resource could offer a revolution in wireless services of all kinds, including universal wireless Internet. The FCC will soon decide whether to open this unused spectrum for general usage, and your voice matters — a lot. So if you agree that freeing the white spaces represents a vote for the future of the Internet, please sign our petition and help spread the word about this campaign.

Google of course has a strong interest in increasing web usage, especially with its forthcoming Android platform:

We also want to be transparent about our involvement: Google has a clear business interest in expanding access to the Web. There’s no doubt that if these airwaves are opened up to unlicensed use, more people will be using the Internet. That’s certainly good for Google (not to mention many of our industry peers) but we also think that it’s good for consumers.

Meanwhile, Android developers are on the point of rebellion, according to Macworld.

The company’s actions — including restricting access to key development tools and allegedly treading on open source principles — have created, if not a full-fledged revolt, at least a sense of disappointment and disillusionment among many in the tightly knit Android development community, which numbers perhaps 2,000. Some developers have threatened to shift their attention to other mobile platforms.

The reason for the discontent: the Android Software Developers Kit. As Macworld says, in a very lengthy report which is well worth reading:

In July, Google announced that the latest SDK would be released first to the 50 winners of its Android Developer Challenge, a US$10 million contest that the company is using to find the best and most innovative Android applications — “cool apps that surprise and delight mobile users,” as Google says. While many developers cried foul, Google claims its SDK decision was designed to help the development community.

AppleInsider, one of the many Apple blogs keeping a watchful eye on Android, picked up on a New York Times report, that suggested a HTC-manufactured handset would be on sale at the end of this year:

The HTC-manufacturered handset, know amongst Internet circles as the “Dream,” will go on sale by the holidays — possibly even earlier depending on how long it takes the Federal Communications Commission to weigh in with approval. It’s expected to be the only Android phone available in the U.S. this year and will be sold exclusively through T-Mobile.

AppleInsider ran a video of the supposed device making the rounds on the Internet is said to match the one seen by the Times’sources, confirming its authenticity.

Salvation for mobile Twitterers may be at hand. The Mashable blog notes that alternative provider 3jam is stepping up to the plate:

3jam, a company specializing in Web and SMS communications, is launching a new service tonight that they sent us the scoop on. The service is looking to act as a replacement to the recently deceased capability for Twitter to send messages to users’ mobile devices. As Don Reisinger noted, “Twitter said that it simply can’t afford to support long-distance SMS Twittering anymore and the company claims “it could cost Twitter about $1,000 per user per year to send SMS outside of Canada, India, or the US. At the moment, the site doesn’t appear to be live yet, but they say it’ll be available at this URLbefore the night is up.

With the weekend ahead, time to brush up on economic theory. Wired editor Chris Anderson recently had a piece in Newsweek about the role of technology on inflation. However, Anderson says that:

Newsweek’s website does such a poor job with magazine content that it’s practically unfindable.

And so he helpful reprints the entire essay, “Unleash The World’s Engineers”, on his personal blog. He believes that the price-cutting power of technology can still bring nations relief if only bureaucrats will allow it to.

And finally this week, our thanks to Wired for picking out a site that provides a bit of fun for Manga fans. Face Your Manga does exactly what it says on the tin.

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Thursday, 21 August 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Mobile Phones in Afghanistan

We’ve got a new video up at TelecomTV. We’re going to be uploading extended sequences from the Mobile Planet documentary, throughout the year, with added up-to-the-minute information and footage. These will be part of the Assignment video series (following last month’s feature on Google’s Android).

First up, Afghanistan. An incredible place, and I really do hope that mobile and communications play a positive part in helping the country become more secure and stable. We meet some wonderful people during our stay.

Anyway, here’s the blurb:

Decades of war and civil unrest had virtually destroyed telecoms in Afghanistan. During Taliban rule, only one person in a hundred had access to a telephone. There were no reliable landlines, and no mobile networks. Given the mountainous terrain, mobile was the only solution for rapidly providing Afghanistan with a modern communications system. Exclusive TelecomTV report from Kabul, Afghanistan

Watch it here

Tuesday, 19 August 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog Watch is Back

Last year, TelecomTV published a daily “Best of the Blogs” post, highlighting some of the most interesting and thought-provoking articles that we come across as we research the top stories of the day. The Mobile Planet documentary film put paid to that. But now that colossal project is nearing completion, it’s time to resume normal service, albeit on a more civilized weekly basis.

The conflict in Georgia starts us off. Dean Takahasi on Venture Beat has an excellent summary of how the five day Georgia-Russia war spilled over into cyberspace:

Georgian web sites buckled under overwhelming waves of bogus traffic, sent from huge swarms of compromised computers. The attacks began as probes as early as July 20, according to Internet experts. As the war began on Friday, millions of extraneous requests — a so-called Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack — took down Georgia’s banking and government sites … The first attacks reported by the Russian press noted that the web site of the South Ossetian government had been hit with a DDoS attack, just hours after the shooting started on Aug. 8. On Aug. 9, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site was defaced, with photographs of Georgian president Mikheil Saaskashvili juxtaposed with Adolf Hitler’s image. A group called the South Ossetia Hack Crew claimed responsibility for the defacements.

He included a comment from Gadi Evron, a security expert, who wrote a post-mortem on the Estonia experience.

“Does an Internet attack warrant a reaction from NATO? What about the UN? Is there such a thing as a ‘just’ Internet war and what is a country’s right to defend itself against one?”

Moving away from malicious attacks on the Net to just plain-old traffic overload; will the ISPs really buckle under the weight? According to a report from Cogent, highlighted on the DSL Reports blog, no they won’t. Or at least, not at the moment, as Cogent has just seen its first ever quarterly traffic volume decline.

The decline is blamed in part on normal lower seasonal use, but the company says they also “saw a series of video and social networking sites exhibit much more modest traffic growth than they had been.” Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer even goes so far as to proclaim “we’ve not seen a massive migration of video consumption over the Internet.” He notes that the average consumer still watches online video for 4.5 minutes per day and traditional broadcast television for 4.5 hours per day.

One for aspiring start-ups now. VC blogger Fred Wilson knows a thing or two about investing in young Internet firms. On a trip to the UK this week, he asked a group of entrepreneurs from the North of England to list their top funding questions. Full notes and comments over at his blog, but the list (as Fred remembers it) is as follows:

1) How do you evaluate a new investment opportunity?
2) What is going on with the US economy and how will it impact the global economy?
3) What do you make of technology platforms and software as a service business models?
4) How do you evaluate management teams before and after you invest in them?
5) What’s next for the web and web-based businesses?
6) What are the limits of advertising based business models and are they sustainable?

There is clearly a great deal of unease in the entrepreneur community about the economy and the reliance on advertising based business models. I got a distinct sense that everyone is looking for other areas and business models for inspiration.

Paid Content’s Rafat Ali interviewed Jim Keyes, the CEO of bricks and mortar DVD movie rental company Blockbuster. With online rental services, such as iTunes and Netflix, growing in popularity, a drop in trading numbers for Blockbuster comes as no surprise. But the former boss of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain still has faith in physical distribution.:

Q: This is a hypothetical one. Would you be ever interested in buying Netflix?

Keyes: Not really. Netflix doesn’t really have or do anything that we can’t and don’t already do ourselves. So, there’s really no advantage in buying. We think we can compete and play effectively on our own because what they don’t and couldn’t have very easily anyway is the depth of physical presence that we have. This is the key question: is everybody going to buy everything electronically in the future or for quite some time into the future, is there going to be a good balance between physical and electronic? If physical still has a role or any period of time into the future, we’re far better positioned to leverage that advantage.

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Friday, 15 August 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Dumbest Event of the Year

DhakaImage via Wikipedia

Congratulations and Good Luck to Terrapin, who are busy advertising their latest telecoms conference, Telecoms World. They’ll need the luck, as they are hosting it in Bangladesh in October.

Here’s what I learned from filming in Dhaka in October last year — 12 months exactly from their event dates:

  1. Dhaka is one of the most crowded cities on the planet
  2. It has extreme poverty
  3. Add the above together and you get terrible logistical problems, travel in the city is very difficult
  4. Watch out for Ramadan. This year it’s in September and the event just misses it. This triples the effect of point 3 above
  5. There are only a couple of really good hotels in Dhaka
  6. Even then, you can still get robbed: our hotel room safe was broken into and money and jewelery stolen — and this was the Sheraton, on the Club Floor! — and they still haven’t admitted liability… Shame on you, Sheraton Dhaka. You’ve lost a previously loyal customer.
  7. The airport is a hell hole. Do not, under any circumstances, arrive at the airport more than two hours before your flight — they don’t let you into the building, and you’ll have to wait with 10 million locals who all crowd around outside.
  8. Pay heed to point 7 and burn it into your brain
  9. It will probably rain. A lot.
  10. The roads are terrible. Leave the city and you’ll find out. If you suffer from a bad back, don’t go.
  11. The drivers are even worse than the roads. There are no lanes, left or right, take your pick.
  12. Buses and trucks travel fast and DO NOT SLOW DOWN. Just get out of the way fast.
  13. Lovely people (except for one, who I can’t mention for legal reasons….), struggling to make the most of what they’ve got. But I’m afraid that can’t make up for the other 12 above.

So there you are. 13 reasons why I won’t be attending. And I’m not spending two birthdays in a row in Dhaka, thank you very much.

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Wednesday, 6 August 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment