Displaying items by tag: US

White House moves to repeal broadband privacy rules

Written on Sunday, 02 April 2017 10:31

US President Donald Trump is moving to repeal broadband privacy rules put in place during the Obama-era, according to reports. Republicans in Congress passed the repeal of the privacy rules on Tuesday, March 28, and didn’t receive any support from the Democrats.

The net privacy argument in the US sets the stage for a much larger issue later this year over Republican plans to overturn the net neutrality provisions which were adopted by the former administration of Barack Obama in 2015. White House spokesman Sean Spicer has not yet indicated when President Trump plans to sign the bill.

The privacy bill introduced during the Obama-era by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires internet service providers (ISPs) to do more to protect customers’ privacy than websites such as Alphabet’s Google or Facebook. The Trump administration plans to repeal these regulations.

The new rules, according to a Reuters report, would require internet providers to obtain consumer permission to use precise geo-location, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing.

The move benefits the likes of AT&T, Comcast Corp and Verizon. Websites must meet less restrictive privacy rules overseen by the Federal Trade Commission.

Republican commissioners have argued that the rules would unfairly enable websites to harvest more data than ISPs.

The vote was “Terrible for American ppl, great for big biz,” tweeted Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

The next step for the Republicans is to overturn net neutrality provisions that in 2015 reclassified providers and treated them as a public utility.

The new Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, said in December that the era of net neutrality will soon come to an end. The rules prevent ISPs from slowing down consumer access to web content and prohibit giving or selling access to faster internet to certain internet services – essentially providing a “fast lane” to the web’s “information superhighway”.

The rules have been criticized for allowing the potential of government rate regulation, tighter oversight, and would provide fewer incentives to invest billions in broadband infrastructure.

Pai is in favor of a “free and open internet,” he told Reuters in February, “and a free and open internet and the only questions is what regulatory framework best secures that.”

Published in Government

US tech giants Apple have seen a ban prohibiting the company from selling its iPhone 6 phones in China overturned following a legal hearing. A Chinese court ruled in its favor in a patent dispute between the Californian based company and a domestic phone-maker. The legal row began in May last year, when a Beijing based patent regulator took the decision to order Apple’s Chinese subsidiary and local retailer Zoom-Flight to immediately stop selling iPhones after Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services lodged an official complaint with the regulatory authority.

The company claimed that the patent for the design of its mobile phone 100c was being infringed by the iPhone sales. Apple strongly objected to both the claims and subsequent decision to ban the sale of iPhone 6 devices by the regulatory authorities. Management at Apple and Zoom-Flight launched legal proceedings and took the Beijing Intellectual Property Office’s ban to courts.

At the hearing, the court decided to revoke the ban imposed on Apple and Zoom-Flight and declared that both organizations did not violate Shenzhen Baili’s design patent for 100c phones. The court said that the regulator did not follow due procedures in ordering the ban. In addition to this, the court said there was a distinct lack of sufficient proof to claim the designs constituted a violation of intellectual property rights.

It has not yet been disclosed whether or not representatives of Beijing Intellectual Property Office and Shenzhen Baili will appeal the decision by the court, and a spokesman representing both organizations said they would take time before making a decision in relation to the legal ruling. In addition to this, the same court denied Apple’s demand to strip Shenzhen Baili of its design patent for 100c phone.

Apple first filed the request to the Patent Reexamination Board of State Intellectual Property Office. The board rejected the request, but Apple lodged a lawsuit against the rejection. The Beijing Intellectual Property Court on Friday ruled to maintain the board's decision. It is unclear if Apple will appeal.

Published in Government

Uber has suspended its autonomous vehicle fleet in the US following an accident in the state of Arizona which left one of its Volvo SUVs flipped on its side when it was in self-driving mode. The ride-sharing company suspended the pilot project in Arizona immediately after the crash happened, including other regions where the pilot is happening: Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

“Our vehicles in Arizona remain grounded while we continue our investigation,” said an Uber spokesperson. “Our vehicles are grounded in Pittsburgh and SF today as well.”

According to the spokesperson, suspension of the self-driving car pilot will continue throughout the duration of the investigation into the crash. However, the suspension period does not have a specific time period, so it’s not clear how long all self-driving Uber vehicles will be grounded.

The company has been testing 12 cars in Phoenix, Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After a dispute with regulators in California, Uber had to pull out its autonomous vehicles in the state, until earlier in March when Uber was granted a permit to test two autonomous cars.

Although the Arizona crash raises suspicion about the safety of autonomous vehicles, it has been reported that the self-driving Uber vehicle was not at fault. In fact, the other vehicle in the incident, according to the Wall Street Journal, “failed to yield.”

Published in Internet of Things

US telecoms giant AT&T successfully completed the first of a multi-phase trial testing 400 gigabit Ethernet data speeds. This brings AT&T one step closer to quadrupling network speeds for businesses.

In the field trial, AT&T established a 400GbE connection between New York and Washington, D.C. This proved the AT&T nationwide software-centric network is ready for next-generation speeds.

400GbE end-to-end service was transported across the network, which was carrying live traffic. A software-defined network (SDN) controller created a service along the direct path between the two cities, and through software control rerouted the service to a second path to simulate a response to a network failure.  

Late last year, AT&T announced its intention to be the first in the industry to demonstrate 400GbE service across our production network, aligning with its shift toward a software-centric network.

Traffic on the AT&T network continues to grow. 400GbE speeds will allow AT&T business customers to transport massive amounts of data faster than ever. That also means faster uploads and downloads and ultra-fast video streaming.

"Our approach to roll out the next generation of Ethernet speeds is working. We continue to see enormous data growth on our network, fueled by video. And this will help with that growth," said Rick Hubbard, senior vice president, AT&T Network Product Management.

Next-generation speeds like 400GbE can help transform the way AT&T’s customers do business.

The company is moving on to the second phase – a 400GbE end-to-end service transported across the AT&T OpenROADM metro network to the customer. This will show the network is ready for 400GbE to serve customers in metro areas.

Phase 3 will test the first instance of a 400GbE open router platform. The "disaggregated router" platform uses merchant silicon and open source software – another industry first.

Published in Telecom Operators

US tech giant Apple has unveiled their latest version of its popular iPad tablet – and it’s set to retail at the lowest-ever price for a full-sized tablet from the company. The newly updated product will be available to order from Friday and has a starting price of $329. In addition to this, Apple also disclosed that its smaller iPhone SE model will be available in 32 and 128 gigabyte (GB) versions which will subsequently replace the 16GB and 64GB models.

The tech colossus also revealed that the hardware updates in the product are incremental improvements that were announced without a major media event to publicize the new technologies. It has also been reported in recent months that Apple is set to unveil an update to its flagship iPhone this autumn that may have a series of new features such as wireless charging, 3-D facial recognition and a curved display. The new iPad model starts at 32 GB of storage and replaces the iPad Air 2. It will be slightly less expensive than the smaller iPad Mini 4, which starts at $399 for a 128 GB model.

Apple also unveiled a new app for creating videos which also enables you to share them with friends on its iOS devices. This new feature, coupled with extra iMessage features released in the last number of years have ensured that the organization is competing with features in social networking applications such as Snap Inc. Their new app has been named ‘Clips’ and it allows users to add captions and speech bubbles to videos which they can subsequently share on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Apple’s own messaging app, where videos can be sent to contacts with a single tap. But unlike applications like Snap or other messaging apps, users can add captions to videos using their voice.

Published in Devices

US computer chip giant Intel announced on March 13 its plans to purchase Israeli technology firm Mobileye for over $15 billion. The deal is the largest ever cross-border acquisition for an Israeli technology firm, according to Israeli media. The two firms have already collaborated with German automaker BMW to develop autonomous vehicles.

"The combination is expected to accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles," said a statement by the two companies which added that the deal was worth approximately $15.3 billion.

"Intel estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market opportunity to be up to $70 billion by 2030," the statement added.

BMW announced last year its plans to join with Mobileye and Intel on an autonomous vehicle project for "highly and fully automated driving" planning to go commercial by 2021. BMW said in January that it would deploy 40 self-driving cars for tests in the US and Europe.

In August, Mobileye and UK-based auto-equipment maker Delphi said they were teaming up to develop an autonomous driving system which would be ready for vehicle-makers in 2019. Mobileye, which also develops systems for accident avoidance, has concluded an agreement with Volkswagen on road data technology as well.

Published in Finance

Wholesaler Angola Cables has selected Ciena's GeoMesh and Blue Planet solutions to support its new service launch on the MONET subsea cable. This 10,556 km route will provide more than 25 Tb/s of traffic on Angola Cables' network between the U.S. and Latin America's major business hub of São Paulo, Brazil.

Angola Cables' wholesale customers can utilize this additional connectivity to support surging bandwidth demands driven by on-demand applications such as over-the-top (OTT) video and cloud computing.

As a major investor in the West Africa Cable System (WACS) consortium, Angola Cables is one of the leading capacity providers for the African West Coast and plays a fundamental role in supporting the African continent's ever-growing needs for network connectivity.

Angola Cables is also an operator of the MONET subsea cable, an open system, where each consortium member can select the submarine line terminals for its cable fiber pairs, providing customers with greater flexibility and choice of technology. The system is expected to be in service in the second half of 2017.

According to Frost and Sullivan, Brazil's cloud computing market revenue is expected to reach USD $1.1 billion this year. To handle these and other network demands between the U.S. and Latin America, Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, equipped with the WaveLogic Ai coherent optical chipset, will provide wavelengths at capacities greater than 200G between Angola Cables' point-of-presences and without the need for regeneration.

Additionally, Ciena's GeoMesh spectrum sharing capability provides cost-effective connectivity while enabling wholesale customers to manage network traffic without potential disruption from other users on the open cable system.

"Hosting major sporting events like the Olympics and World Cup helped reinforced Brazil as a global network connectivity hub that plays a key role in bridging the gap between nations," said Ian Clarke, Vice President, Global Submarine Systems, Ciena. "The arrival of new submarine cables like MONET is an important next step, and helps position the country to support the ongoing transition to an on-demand society."

With Ciena's Blue Planet Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) software and cloud-based SLA Portal, Angola Cables can better manage and maintain bandwidth and provide customers a real-time view of network behaviors that impact service level agreements. Angola Cables will also utilize Ciena Specialist Services for training and NOC supervision.

Published in Infrastructure

German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom, which has a stake in Britain's BT, saw its profits fall for 2016, because of BT's loss in value after the Brexit vote. Deutsche Telekom's profits were down 18 percent to 2.67 billion euros ($2.8 billion), according to the company's results. This pales in comparison to analyst predictions of 4.54 billion euros.

Deutsche Telekom's 12 percent stake in BT was the main reason behind the company's 2.2 billion euro loss which was a "result of declines in the BT share price and in the pound sterling following the Brexit referendum," said Deutsche Telekom. Britain's June vote to leave the European Union affected the global markets sparking uncertainty.

Deutsche Telekom has insisted that the fall in profits won't affect its payout of shareholder dividends, which it plans to increase by 5 euro cents to 0.60 euros per share. Operating, or underlying profit at the group slightly outpaced its own forecasts, adding almost 8.0 percent to reach 21.4 billion euros.

Thanks to its American unit T-Mobile USA, Deutsche Telekom saw its revenues increase 5.6 percent in 2016 to over 73 billion euros - more than analysts predicted. The unit alone added 8.2 million customers last year in the teeth of a highly competitive and saturated US mobile phone market. T-Mobile USA's revenues grew 16 percent to $37.3 billion, while profits doubled to $1.5 billion.

However, in Europe, the company's revenues in Germany and the rest of the region fell as its fixed-line phone business continues to decline. Looking ahead to 2017, Deutsche Telekom aims to increase revenues to achieve an operating profit of around 22.2 billion euros -- 4.0 percent higher than 2016's figure.

Published in Telecom Operators

ZTE has suffered fresh woe just hours after it disclosed details of its settlement with the US government in which it was found guilty of breaching US export control rules in North Korea and Iran from 2010 - 2016. The Chinese vendor released its forecasted loss for 2016 - and it makes grim reading for stakeholders - ZTE have forecast a loss of $343m for 2016.

The latest financial announcement comes hot on the heels of US Justice, Commerce and Treasury department imposing a whopping fine of $892m on ZTE - with a further $300m suspended for seven years. That projected loss reflects the financial provision the company made against the $892m penalty payable as part of the settlement of the US case. It has since emerged that without that financial provision, the Chinese telecommunications colossus would have reported a net profit of CNY3.83 billion in 2016 - which would have represented a 19% increase from results in 2015.

ZTE had issued a warning almost a month ago in relation to the outcome of the US trade sanctions and what impact they would have on its financial results - and they indicated that a settlement would subsequently result in a heavy fine.

For the first quarter of 2017, ZTE expects its net profit to be between CNY1.15 billion and CNY1.25 billion, an increase of between 21 per cent and 31.7 per cent from a year earlier. Revenue is forecast to increase between 10 per cent and 20 per cent from a year earlier, driven by higher revenue in its carrier networks and consumer businesses, the company said in a statement.

CEO Zhao Xianming said that coupled with recent efforts to streamline operations and its leadership around 5G, "ZTE will be well-positioned for positive overall performance. The company anticipates continued growth and business expansion over the next several years as we continue to work with our partners around the world."

Published in Finance

Chinese telecom giants ZTE have received the largest criminal penalty in US history in relation to an export control case - following its admission that it violated the terms and conditions of US export controls in selling goods to both Iran and North Korea. ZTE pleaded guilty to the charges and the organization will immediately pay $892m - while another $300m in penalties will be suspended for a period of seven years. Some of the charges against ZTE included obstructing justice for hiding information from government investigators. The settlement reached between ZTE and US authorities is subject to court approval.

It emerged at the court case that from January 2010 to March 2016, ZTE shipped $32m in US cellular network equipment to Iran - and in addition to this made 283 shipments of cell phones to North Korea, with the full knowledge of the highest levels of company management. It was also disclosed that the company 'conspired to evade the long-standing and widely known US embargo against Iran' and conducted business with entities affiliated with Tehran to supply, build, operate and implement large scale telecommunications networks in the country whilst using US equipment and software.

The conclusion represents the end of a lengthy 5-year investigation by the US government into ZTE's activity and actions. The investigation was conducted under Barack Obama's presidency - but the outcome presents an opportunity for Donald Trump to flex his aggressive rhetoric on trade policy which was a consistent theme he used under the category of 'national security' on his campaign trail.

US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said any countries that breach their export control laws will suffer the consequences and will not go unpunished. He said: "We are putting the world on notice: the games are over. Those who flout our economic sanctions and export control laws will not go unpunished -they will suffer the harshest of consequences. Under President Trump's leadership, we will be aggressively enforcing strong trade policies with the dual purpose of protecting American national security and protecting American workers."

ZTE issued a statement in relation to the settlement and acknowledged that it had made mistakes and was fully willing to take responsibility for their actions. Chairman and CEO of ZTE,

Dr. Zhao Xianming said: "ZTE acknowledges the mistakes it made, accepts responsibility for them, and remains committed to positive change in the company." He added that ZTE had made alterations to its personnel in order to eradicate the wrongdoings of a previous regime.

ZTE's CEO added: "Instituting new compliance focused features and making significant personnel changes has been a top priority for the company. We have learned many lessons from this experience and will continue on our path of becoming a model for export compliance and management excellence. We are committed to a new ZTE, compliant, healthy and trustworthy."

He concluded the statement by thanking customers, employees, stakeholders and partners for standing by them during this hugely difficult time for the organization. He said: "The agreements we reached will enable us to move forward in a stronger position than ever before. We are grateful to all our customers, partners, employees and stakeholders who have stood by us throughout this difficult time. With this agreement now behind us - we can confidently grow our business with suppliers, continue to provide innovate technology solutions to our partners, and execute our growth strategies as a new ZTE."  

Published in Government
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