Displaying items by tag: Internet

Huawei to deploy high-speed internet in Northern Canada

Written on Thursday, 25 July 2019 05:39

Tech titan Huawei has revealed its plans to deploy high-speed wireless internet in a number of remote, underserved communities in the North of Canada.

The Chinese tech firm has planned to deploy mainly 4G technology. This comes amid Huawei and the US’s controversial relationship. The US has imposed sanctions on the company as they have deemed the company a potential threat to their national security. Also, Canada and China are still in the midst of a diplomatic crisis concerning the detention of a Huawei executive.

Huawei has revealed that it will partner with Ice Wireless and Iristel to ensure that the rural communities will be connected by 2025. They also stated that alongside the remote areas of northeastern Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador, around 25 communities in Nunavut territory would also benefit from the deployment.

“We strongly believe that everyone should be connected to 4G LTE, no matter where they live in Canada, even in areas where high-speed service may not be economically viable,” said President of Huawei Canada, Eric Li.

Huawei officials have stated that they will deploy wireless internet in some of the coldest places on earth, which are located in Canada.

VP of Ice Wireless and Iristel, Jean-Francois Dumoulin, said, “We need to use highly reliable, world-class equipment to minimize physical intervention and to avoid outages that risk making our communities isolated once again. That’s why we partner with Huawei Canada.”

In fact, this comes as the US has been pressuring its allies to avoid using Huawei to deploy their 5G networks and have claimed that Huawei has links to the Chinese government and may partake in cyber-espionage on their behalf. However, there has been no proof of this allegation being true.

Also, Canada and Huawei have also been at odds due to the arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Neng Wanzhou, in December in Canada at the request of the US. Washington believes that she committed fraud by violating Iran sanctions and lying to US banks about it, which is why they want to put her on trial for fraud charges.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Vodafone’s network was down across Europe on Thursday with thousands of customers unable to use the internet or make phone calls.

Issues began at around 14:42 BST according to network monitor Down detector. Customers all over the UK reported issues and so did customers in Spain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece and Portugal.

Many customers took to Twitter to express their frustration on the matter.

Vodafone then acknowledged the outage and tweeted, “We are currently investigating a potential outage to our fixed and mobile services. We thank you for your patience as we work to get this resolved.”

The company has around 19.5 million UK customers and around 444 million globally.

Initially, it looked more like an isolated issue with customers in some UK cities thought to have been among those affected; however, Economics Correspondent Paul Cogan at Virgin Media TV noticed that Down Detector showed more maps with even more outages.

He stated, “Vodafone’s problems don’t seem to be restricted to just Europe. Down Detector outage maps show problems in India, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.”

The global disruption was then confirmed when Vodafone Ghana tweeted, “Vodafone Ghana wishes to apologize for the intermittent network challenges experienced by some of our mobile customers. Resolving it remains our topmost priority. We shall keep you updated. Thanks for your patience.”

Vodafone then apologized for the inconvenience and said the services were back to normal. “This issue has now been fully resolved and normal service has been restored to customers. We thank you for your patience and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused.”

The network outage comes a month after Vodafone set its launch date for its new 5G network in seven UK cities.

The company last experienced an outage in October 2018.

Published in Telecom Operators

Facebook stores millions of user passwords

Written on Tuesday, 26 March 2019 09:17

Facebook revealed that it has kept a record of hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text.

The social media giant’s Vice President of Engineering, Security and Privacy, Pedro Canahuati, wrote in  a blog post that hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users will be notified about this and so will the millions of Facebook and Instagram users.

Facebook Lite is a version of Facebook which is used in areas with weak connectivity.

According to Canahuati the mistake they made was noticed in January but did failed to comment on why an announcement wasn’t made about the issue at the time. Instead, the announcement came over two months later.

“As part of a routine security review in January, we found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems,” said Canahuati.

He also stated that the passwords which were stored were never visible to anyone outside Facebook and that they were not abused or improperly used by any of the staff.

“This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable.

We have fixed these issues and as a precaution we will be notifying everyone whose passwords we have found were stored in this way.”

Published in Apps

Trump reconsiders 5G nationalization plan

Written on Thursday, 07 March 2019 08:04

US president Donald Trump revisited a previous plan to nationalize 5G in the US after it had been previously scrapped in 2018 due to industry backlash.

President Donald Trump’s 2020  re-election campaign backtracked on the prospect of 5G wireless technology after it seemed to contradict the White House’s administration policy.

Trump’s admin began to discuss this prospect in January 2018 in an attempt to one-up their main competitor, China.

Politico reported that this plan would ensure the government have full control over the 5G spectrum to create a wholesale market where operators could buy capacity.

“A 5G wholesale market would drive down costs and provide access to millions of Americans who are currently underseved,” said Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign to Politico on Friday. She added “this is in line with President Trump’s agenda to benefit all Americans, regardless of geography.”

The resurgence of the campaign put it in an unfavorable position with White House administration officials who have been adamant on dropping the original plan of a free market approach after the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), Ajit Pai’s,  criticism against the matter.

5G technology is not yet readily available for the public.

Axios reported that Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, believes that promoting a nationalized system could potentially general more votes from citizens in rural areas who want faster internet.

According to Business Insider, 5G is “next generation, super-fast wireless technology [which] has become a real, tangible thing that people can actually use.. Right now, only a tiny number of eople across a very limited spread of locations have access to 5G. For most of us, 5G is still a mystery, full of tantalizing promise but few details.”

Some members of the Trump administration such as Larry Kuldow, are wary of the nationalization of 5G as it would mean that private companies like Verizon and AT&T would be able to build it out.

Last month, trump expressed his concerns about 5G and its dominance by telling US operators to “step up their efforts” and criticized them for “lagging behind on something that is so obviously the future.”

As an attempt to reiterate his opposition to the prospect of network nationalization, Pai reposted a tweet from January 2018 which stated “The market, not the government, is best-positioned to drive innovation and investment.”

Similarly, some FCC commissioners such as Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr both expressed their opposition to the idea on social media while others even went as far as comparing it as a “China-like nationalization” of 5G networks.

In early February, Trump tweeted:

“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”

“I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.

“We must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!”

Published in Government

Internet behemoth Google deemed the overhaul of the bloc’s online copyright law to be damaging for Europe for “decades to come” as it urged the European parliament to resist its approval.

European lawmakers have until next week to vote on the landmark legislation. This legislation that is aimed at modernizing copyright for the digital age has caused a lobbying war in Brussels.

This reform has been debated for the past few years by EU member states, tech giants and artistic creators. Google has tried to approach MEPs to discourage the law from being passed this month.

The biggest issue as of yet is the request for illegal content to be deleted off YouTube (owned by Google) and various other platforms using automatic filters otherwise, there would be liable.

According to Google’s senior Vice President of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, the reform “creates vague, untested requirements” that would mean that many websites would end up “over-blocking content”.

“This would be bad for creators and users who will see online services wrongly block content simple because they need to err on the side of caution and reduce legal risks,” he said.

The “unintended consequences” could potentially “hurt Europe’s creative economy for decades to come” he added.

Another issue is the provision to devise “neighboring rights” for media publishers.

News organizations are in favor of this legislation to be passed because they feel that tech giants such as Facebook have made billions from advertising that is very often tied to news stories, while the publishing industry suffers.

In reference to the implications of this planned reform on the publishing industry, Walker said that it “hurts small and emerging publishers, and limits consumer access to a diversity of news sources.”

He warned: “Under the directive, showing anything beyond mere facts, hyperlinks and ‘individual words and very short extracts’ would be restricted.”

Due to the controversy around the issue, the outcome of the vote remains uncertain.

Published in Infrastructure

US regulator settles $17 million dispute with Verizon

Written on Thursday, 19 October 2017 08:13

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a settlement with Verizon for possible violations of the FCC’s competitive bidding rules for the E-rate program, which provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable internet access. 

Verizon agreed to pay $17.68 million to resolve parallel investigations by the FCC and U.S. Department of Justice, $17.325 million of which will be repaid to the Universal Service Fund (USF).  Verizon has further agreed to withdraw any rights it may have to hundreds of millions of dollars in requested and undisbursed E-rate support.

This settlement follows an investigation into Verizon’s involvement with New York City schools’ use of the E-rate program.  The Commission’s Enforcement Bureau conducted its investigation in parallel with the US Department of Justice Civil Fraud Section and US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. 

In related actions, former New York City Department of Education consultant Willard “Ross” Lanham was convicted by a federal jury sitting in the Southern District of New York.  In December 2015, the Commission settled a related investigation with the New York City Department of Education. 

The Schools and Libraries Universal Service Program, known as E-rate, subsidizes telecommunications, Internet access, and Wi-Fi services for schools and libraries.  E-rate is funded by the Universal Service Fund under rules established by the FCC. 

The program is designed to bring modern broadband connectivity to students, teachers and library patrons.  Program applicants must seek competitive bids from prospective service providers and must treat the price-eligible products and services as the primary factor when selecting amongst competing service providers. 

To resolve the FCC and Justice Department investigations, Verizon will pay $17.325 million to the Universal Service Fund through the FCC settlement and $354,634 to the US Treasury through the Justice Department settlement. 

In addition, Verizon will surrender any claims against the Universal Service Fund it may have to approximately $7,303,668 in undisbursed E-rate support for products and services provided to the New York City Department of Education between Funding Years 2002 and 2013. 

Furthermore, Verizon will surrender any appeal rights before the Universal Service Administrative Company and the FCC in connection with more than $100 million in E-rate support for which the New York City Department of Education has withdrawn requests for support through its 2015 settlement with the FCC.  As part of the FCC’s settlement, Verizon will also operate under a compliance plan for three years. 

While the Commission adopted the consent decree in May 2017, it has not been released until now in order to allow for a global settlement which includes the US Department of Justice.  The Department of Justice settlement with Verizon was submitted to the Court for approval in the Southern District of New York on October 17.

Published in Finance

Telcos and OTTs shouldn’t be subject to same rules

Written on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 12:26

It’s no secret that telecom operators have struggled against the popularity of over-the-top (OTT) applications like WhatsApp and Skype, who have challenged traditional voice and SMS revenue streams. Some operators have called for regulators to subject OTTs to legacy telecommunications regulations in order to even the playing field. But such suggestions are misguided, according to the ITU.

Telecom operators are stuck in a predicament regarding OTT services who utilize their networks. They have little control over the growth of OTTs because users should be free to use the internet as they please. The network carrier only carries the IP packets from source to destination. They might be aware of the packets and their contents, but cannot do much about it. Carriers have had to roll with the punches and figure out how to adapt.

Ultimately, using VoIP (voice-over-IP) is a cheaper alternative to making expensive phone calls because the user doesn’t have to pay to use the dedicated phone line and instead utilizes an internet connection without any extra costs. As is the case with most VoIP services, calls made using the internet are often free while calls made to a cellular network require a payment. The advanced communication functions of modern smartphones have played a role in the rapid growth of OTT services.

The question is: what can network carriers do about it? Telecom carriers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue to VoIP services, statistics show. Some network carriers reacted, of course, by imposing restrictions on VoIP services. AT&T did this when Apple released its iPhone and the US telecom operator didn’t want its network being used for VoIP calling. AT&T lifted the block in 2009 after pressure from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

AT&T had an agreement with Apple to ban apps that would enable iPhone users to make phone calls using a wireless data connection. The scandal was revealed when the FCC requested that the companies explain why Google’s Voice app was rejected for the iPhone app store. The FCC was led to investigate if AT&T and Apple were colluding to prevent competition, sparking the beginning of a sour relationship between telecom providers and OTTs.

Can telcos come out on top?

For decades, telecom operators had free reign to charge rates for voice, data and SMS largely in excess of their marginal cost, which created a market ripe with innovation. The International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) recent report ‘The State of Broadband 2017’ highlights the struggle telecom operators have faced since that period began to wane, as online applications became increasingly popular with consumers around the world who wished to interact in ways not possible through traditional communications channels.

Communication has been transformed by the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Skype, WeChat, Google, WhatsApp and Viber. These OTT services have “transformed the way people build communities and search for information, and made valuable contributions to health, education, finance and entertainment,” ITU claims in the report. “Online applications now generate a significant proportion of the socioeconomic impact of digitization and utilization of the internet itself.”

The demand for OTT services has driven the telecom industry to a new era, and some telecom operators – in defense of their traditional revenues – have sought to “handicap” the growth of OTT players, the report suggests. It’s important to note, however, that these OTT services, however disruptive they may be, are driving demand for telecom operators’ broadband services. Without the content and services that OTTs provide, consumers would be less willing to pay operators for internet access, ITU claims.

“The operators’ complaints make as much sense as cable operators that sell access to cable channels complaining that people are watching too much TV, driving up the demand for their own services,” the report says, “Or a restaurant complaining that too many people want to eat its food driving up food costs. Operators sell access – not content – but people only want that access to use online content.”

Telecom operators, according to the report, claim they cannot invest in their networks because online OTT services have limited their ability to generate revenue. The ITU says this is “inaccurate” and “misguided”.

Some telecom operators have called upon regulators to apply the “same rules for the same service” by encouraging authorities to subject all online OTT services to legacy telecommunications regulations. ITU rejects this, emphasizing that OTTs don’t offer the “same service” as telecom operators, and that subjecting them to the same rules would be “entirely inappropriate”.

OTT services like Facebook and Google, for example, don’t provide equivalent services as telecom operators, the report points out. Operators provide access to the internet and some vertically integrated services that take advantage of, and are bundled with, general access. Online OTTs, on the other hand, provide interactive experiences for internet users that go beyond traditional voice and SMS, including payment services, chat services and photo/video sharing.

The fundamental differences between the telecom sector and online OTT services has led to the establishment of different rules, the report highlights. For instance, telecom regulations are intended to ensure that established operators – who own network infrastructure with high barriers to entry and face limited competition – do not use these privileges to the disadvantage of consumers. OTT services, by contrast, don’t control network infrastructure and must compete fiercely to retain customers who could easily be swayed.

There’s also the perception that OTT payers get a “free ride” on telecom network infrastructure which is financed by operators. But in truth, OTT players invest billions of dollars annually in a combination of physical facilities, according to the ITU, including data centers, fiber networks, servers and routers, which form an “essential part of the physical fabric of the internet”. In fact, according to the report, online OTT players invested an average of US$33 billion per year in infrastructure from 2011-2013.

ITU argues that telecom operators should recognize how much online OTT players drive consumers’ willingness to pay for internet access, which then provides more opportunities to generate revenue and finance new infrastructure. According to the report, consumers who demand the most data tend to spend more money on mobile contracts that feature high-speed data – revenue that goes directly to the telecom operators.

“Regulatory authorities do not have to choose directly between the interests of online application providers and telecom operators,” the ITU report concludes with. The most important aspects of internet usage that regulatory authorities should focus on, the report suggests, are adhering to customer needs, ensuring that the internet is widely available, and prioritizing connectivity, competition and innovation.

Published in Reports

British telecommunications colossus BT has announced that it will invest £600m in faster broadband services in rural parts of the United Kingdom. BT believe the investment will enable them to provide all households in Britain with access speeds of at least 10 megabits per-second, which will allow users to be able to stream content from OTT services such as Netflix and YouTube.

Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley has said that the UK government will take into consideration the voluntary offer from BT, whilst also weighing up whether a regulatory approach may be the best way of achieving its ambition to enhance broadband services to all homes and business in the UK.

The proposal tabled by BT consists of a plan from the telecommunications provider to fund the investment themselves, and it would recover costs by charging access to its local networks. BT’s chief executive, Gavin Patterson, claimed that he expected close to 95% of all homes and businesses in the UK would enjoy enhanced broadband speeds by the end of the year.

Patterson said, “We already expect 95 percent of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps or faster by the end of 2017. Our latest initiative aims to ensure that all UK premises can get faster broadband, even in the hardest to reach parts of the UK."

In addition to this, the UK government said that BT’s plan foresaw taking coverage of at least 10Mbps to around 99% of homes and businesses by 2020, with the project estimated to be completed within two years after that. However, the proposal was criticized by representatives of the UK government’s opposition, The Labour Party for not being ambitious enough and called for the proposal to be reexamined.

Published in Telecom Operators

The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called "Juncker Plan", has backed a €150 million EIB loan agreement with Cosmote, a Greek telecommunications operator, to upgrade its mobile broadband network. This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The loan agreement will help to finance Cosmote's plans to enhance and expand its mobile broadband network, significantly increasing the network's performance in terms of speed, capacity and coverage. It will, in particular, improve the networks performances in more rural and remote areas of the country.

“This agreement demonstrates yet again the valuable role the Juncker Plan can play in mobilizing investment to support and expand growth-enabling infrastructure in Greece,” said Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs.

“The agreement also serves as testament to the Commission's broader strategic objective of seeking to fully exploit the opportunities offered by digital technologies to promote innovation, productivity and growth,” Pierre added. “The Commission remains committed to supporting investment that will act to secure Greece's economic recovery.”

The Juncker Plan is working to boost investment, support jobs and spur growth in Greece and across Europe. As of June 2017, operations approved in Greece under the EFSI represent a financing volume of over €1.1 billion and are expected to mobilize over €3.3 billion in investments.

This project contributes to meeting Europeans' growing connectivity needs, promoting access to high quality networks and boosting Europe's competitiveness, as foreseen in the Digital Single Market strategy. Some 10% of EFSI investments are in the digital sector.

Published in Telecom Operators

Vodafone launches WiFi as a service for businesses

Written on Thursday, 21 April 2016 07:37

Vodafone has launched WiFi as a service that allows business customers to offer, in their facilities, WiFi internet access to visitors and employees.

Powered by a centralized authentication and web traffic analysis platform, the service provides a rich set of features including a customized landing page, wide range of end user authentication methods, usage reports and footfall analysis.

With this platform, end users get internet access, while companies may extract end users' data that are relevant for their business depending on their network's traffic. For instance, the owner of a restaurant can find out the number of times a customer visited its restaurant and create special offers based on this data.

The product also provides data about WiFi users’ density, which can be used by local authorities for public areas in order to effectively manage security services. For example, the number of security personnel can be increased in agglomerated locations and surveillance cameras can be integrated for improved security.

WiFi as a service takes all the pain away from business customers by designing, building and operating their WiFi. Delivered as a scalable solution due to the centralized cloud infrastructure, new Hotspots can be easily added. The solution is presented without any implementation costs, with the customer paying a monthly fee for the duration of the contract. The service provides organizations with highly secure premium internet bandwidth with speeds of up to 1Gbps. 

By enriching their managed services portfolio, Vodafone Qatar positions itself as a one stop shop for all enterprise customer communication needs, ranging from mobile, fixed, IOT, datacenter solutions and WiFi. 

Published in Telecom Operators
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