Posts Tagged net neutrality

E.U. lawmakers phasing-out roaming charges by end of 2015

Taking your favorite Android phone on a tour around Europe is set to get a whole lot more affordable, with the European Parliament giving initial approval to legislation limiting roaming fees for voice, SMS, and data across the EU. The vote on the draft also includes a nod to net neutrality, with lawmakers voting to include rules that would prevent internet providers from blocking or slowing Skype or other VoIP services.

ISPs would “still be able to offer specialized services of higher quality” the EU clarifies, including video-on-demand and “business-critical data-intensive ‘cloud’ (data storage) applications.” However, providing those services would not be allowed to have a knock-on slowing affect on others.

In fact, despite that flexibility, ISPs would have even fewer reasons to limit connection speed under the modified rules, which saw ministers pare back some from the “OK” list. In effect, deliberate slowing or blocking would only be allowed in order to enforce a court order, to preserve network security, or to prevent temporary network congestion.

“MEPs underline that internet access should be provided in accordance with the principle of “net neutrality”, which means that all internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender, recipient, type, content, device, service or application”

As for roaming charges, the EU wants any extra fees for placing a call, sending a text message, or accessing the internet to be done away with as of December 15th, 2015. That would apply to any cellphone account used in another European member state (though not, of course, to a device with North American service taken to Europe).

Capped charges could still be leveled if roaming services “are abused” it’s suggested, but only in exceptional circumstances.

The draft “telecoms package” and roaming fee abolishment will now go forward to the next Parliament, with a new batch of MEPs expected to be elected in May 2014.

Cross-European parity on tech equipment and services has been a key push by the EC over the past years, also affecting how smartphones and cellphones are charged. Last month, the Parliament backed a universal charger connecting, opting for microUSB.

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The Droid Life Show Episode 46 is the 12th Man This Weekend

Plans to watch both the AFC and NFC Championship games this weekend? We have your pre-show right here. On the Droid Life Show episode 46 from Wednesday, we talked Google adding free agent Nest to its roster, an appeals court giving the FCC a stiff arm over net neutrality, asked if anyone would change their warm-up music to Beats Music, and gushed over Dennis Woodside’s fandom of DL. We also talked apps and games, T-Mobile’s ETF program, and why on Earth we need a Moto G Google Play Edition.

It was another fantastic show with all of your favorite team members. And for those who missed last week’s CES recap, this wasn’t a bad start to our first official show of 2014.

We regularly gather on Wednesday nights at 6PM Pacific (9PM Eastern) to record the DL Show live. If you can’t make Wednesdays, we have all sorts of ways for you to subscribe below. 

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FCC faces setback in net neutrality case

In a US Appeals Court, the FCC lost their case regardning net neutrality. The court has essentially deemed that all ISP’s are not created equally, and shouldn’t be treated that way, either. It’s a poignant step backwards in the FCC’s efforts to have the web on common ground, but probably not the end of the journey.

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The court essentially deemed that ISPs are not like older telecommunications providers, which are classified as “common carriers”. Via the ruling, ISPs don’t have to service information equally, and can instead push certain information to you faster, or disable it entirely. The FCC’s Net Neutrality rules were aimed at having all providers treat all information equally. Sadly, at least for now, that isn’t going to be the case.

The ruling was in the case of Verizon v. FCC, which was challenging rules put in place in 2010. That case essentially held the aforementioned criteria, save for the fact that an ISP would have to notify you when they were pushing information faster, or disabling it. To our mind, the clearest example could be found with AT&T’s new sponsored data program, in which certain information is free of charge to you. With this ruling, that nfo could also be fed to you faster, due to AT&T’s ability to choose which data is pushed where — and how fast, or slow.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to the ruling by saying “I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment.” He went on to say they’ll consider an appeal, further pursuing their vision of an open Internet. With so many nuances and wrinkles to both sides of the argument, it’s hard to say if there is a right choice. An even playing field, however, is the best place to start, and that’s what the FCC is really trying to accomplish.

VIA: Reuters

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AT&T says “Sponsored Data” does not violate FCC Net neutrality rules

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On Tuesday, AT&T announced their Sponsored Data program. It allows companies to pay for your data use when using their services; therefore, it will not count against your data limit. But many are taking issue with the program’s potential violation of the FCC’s Net neutrality rules. These people believe that it will raise costs for companies, thus costing consumers more as well. Also, it puts the control into the content creator’s hands.

AT&T executive Jim Cicconi said that “it allows any company who wishes to pay our customers’ costs for accessing that company’s content to do so. This is purely voluntary and non-exclusive. It is an offering by that company, not by AT&T.” Despite companies being able to pay for data with their services, it will not change consumers’ monthly bills. AT&T has customers on tiered plans, meaning the bill can only go up (if they go over their data limit). There is no way for them to be refunded the data that is not used.

This is likely not the last time we will here about this kind of program. Verizon has reportedly talked with ESPN about creating a similar model. ESPN’s WatchESPN and ESPN3 services garner more than 400 million minutes of viewing each month. Having ESPN covering some data use for consumers would be huge since streaming is one of the biggest contributors to consumers going over their data limit.

People also believe that AT&T is essentially choosing what consumers do on their network instead of just connecting them. Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge says “the FCC needs to protect consumers and creators from Internet service providers (ISPs) who want to pick winners and losers online.” For now, it seems like it is the FCC’s move to make in order to protect consumers.

Source: CNET

Come comment on this article: AT&T says “Sponsored Data” does not violate FCC Net neutrality rules

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European Commission proposal would end some roaming fees, enshrine net neutrality

European Commission VP Neelie Kroes

The rumors were on the mark — as part of a larger telecom plan, the European Commission’s Neelie Kroes has proposed regulation that would largely scrap roaming fees. The measure would ban all charges for incoming calls within the EU after July 1st next year, and give carriers incentives to drop many other roaming fees altogether. Companies would either have to let customers use “roam like at home” plans in EU countries or offer a choice of roaming providers with cheap rates. Outbound, mobile-to-mobile calls within member states would cost no more than €0.19 per minute.

The strategy also includes rules for enforcing net neutrality across the EU. The proposal bans internet providers from blocking and throttling content. Firms could offer priority services like IPTV only as long as these features don’t slow down other subscribers, who could walk away from contracts if they don’t get their advertised speeds. There’s no guarantee that the European Parliament will vote in favor of the new measures, but it’s already clear that the Commission is far from happy with the telecom status quo.

[Image credit: The Council of the European Union]

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Via: Dominic Laurie (Twitter)

Source: European Union

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Net neutrality, VoLTE, and the future of carriers – Talk Mobile

In the coming years we can expect mobile operating systems to become more efficient, more capable, and more flexible, and there’s little doubt that the phones they run on will last longer, be thinner and faster, and have better cameras, screens, speakers, and build quality. The platform and device builders have the most to lose – competitors can spring up out of nowhere, they can pivot quickly, and they can easily attract mind and market share.

Carriers, on the other hand, tend to be slower moving beasts, mostly protectionist and reactionary. With most customers locked into two- or three-year contracts, customer retention is a long-term game. Improving coverage and service for a network operator is a multi-billion operation.

So where do carriers go from here? Can we move to an era of net neutrality and dumb pipes, or is it a pipe dream? Will VoLTE free up enough spectrum to make it worthwhile? And what’s the deal with all these carriers merging and buying each other out?

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Telia scraps plans to charge extra for mobile VoIP in Sweden, hikes overall rates in compensation

Telia scraps plans to have cellphone users pay extra for VoIP in Sweden, hikes overall rates in compensation

Telia raised hackles in March when it proposed charging Swedish subscribers extra if they wanted to use voice over IP. On top of the net neutrality issues, the proposed price premium would have been a slap in the face to Skype, the country’s homegrown VoIP pioneer. While Telia’s Spanish subsidiary Yoigo has no problems with such a split, Telia itself must have had a change of heart: as of now, all regular plans will continue to treat internet telephony as just another set of data packets. Only a new, ultra-basic Telia Flex Bas plan excises the option. Unfortunately, most everyone will have to pay the price for equality — new subscriptions will have their data plans “adjusted” to compensate for increasing data use, and those paying daily will see their maximum rates jump from 9 SEK ($1.40) to 19 SEK ($2.90). As painful as the price hike might sound, however, we’d still endure it to avoid carving the mobile internet into pieces.

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Telia scraps plans to charge extra for mobile VoIP in Sweden, hikes overall rates in compensation originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Sep 2012 02:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Verizon Files Appeal Against FCC, Says Net Neutrality Violates the Carrier’s Free Speech

Net Neutrality has far reaching implications considering that the internet has an influence on almost every gadget released these days. The deal is far from being settled, it’s going to be a few years before we get an understanding of what can be censored on the web and what can’t, but right now, Verizon thinks the [...]

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AT&T stockholders vote down net neutrality proposal

AT&T stockholders vote down net neutrality

AT&T stockholders took to the ballot box today at their annual meeting and voted not only to reelect the entire board of directors, but also on a number of measures concerning how the company should conduct business. Chief amongst them was a provision that would have required the carrier to operate its network according to the tenets of net neutrality. Unfortunately for you (unless you’re an AT&T exec), the proposal was voted down by a pretty stunning margin. 94.1 percent of shareholders opposed, with only 5.9 casting their voice in favor of true network neutrality. For more info check out the PR after the break.

Continue reading AT&T stockholders vote down net neutrality proposal

AT&T stockholders vote down net neutrality proposal originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 27 Apr 2012 16:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SEC sides with Beastie Boys’ Mike D, says AT&T must allow shareholder vote on net neutrality

Michael Diamond may be best known as Mike D of the Beastie Boys, but he’s also an AT&T shareholder, and he’s now played a central role in forcing a shareholder vote on net neutrality. He, along with his wife Tamra Davis and John P. Silva of Silva Artist Management previously submitted a proposal to AT&T arguing that shareholders should be allowed to vote a resolution that recommended the company “publicly commit to operate its wireless broadband network consistent with network neutrality principles.” AT&T unsurprisingly rejected that proposal, stating that it would “directly interfere with its network management practices,” but the SEC has now stepped in and said that net neutrality has become a “significant policy consideration,” and that it can no longer be excluded from shareholder ballots. As Bloomberg Businessweek notes, companies can challenge the SEC’s findings in court, although it remains to be seen if AT&T or other carriers will take that step. No further word from Mike D on the matter, so we’ll take this opportunity to share another important message of his after the break.

[Image credit: Fabio Venni / Wikimedia Commons]

Continue reading SEC sides with Beastie Boys’ Mike D, says AT&T must allow shareholder vote on net neutrality

SEC sides with Beastie Boys’ Mike D, says AT&T must allow shareholder vote on net neutrality originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 19:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Bill In US Senate Wants To Force Carriers To Say Just How Fast And Expansive Their "4G" Is, Carriers Respond Predictably

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4G. The acronym is probably the most abused term in tech industry since "HD." And if you spend as much time reading up on mobile phone news as us (we hope you don’t, that’s what we’re for!), you probably have come to the same conclusion: it’s almost without meaning, constantly misrepresented, and defined on a completely subjective basis. We don’t like any of this.

Neither do some of the members of congress, apparently. Today, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would require carriers to disclose the following information to consumers about their supposed "4G" services:

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    Bill In US Senate Wants To Force Carriers To Say Just How Fast And Expansive Their "4G" Is, Carriers Respond Predictably was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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    FCC Files Motion To Dismiss Verizon’s Net Neutrality Suit

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    The FCC has filed a motion to dismiss Verizon’s lawsuit against the FCC’s net neutrality order. We told you guys a few days ago how Verizon was simply “not having it” with the guidlines set in the FCC’s “Open Internet” rules going into effect on November 20th. According to Verizon, the FCC has overstepped its bounds and is “deeply concerned” over the FCC’s new regulation of the internet and broadband networks. Verizon believes that their suit is valid because the FCC modified its radio licenses.

    Of course, the FCC doesn’t quite see it that way. They stated that statutes exist that give it (the FCC) the authority to create and enforce such rules. The FCC further went on to explain,

    “Verizon’s theory of jurisdiction is that the FCC modified its radio licenses within [certain statutes] because the Open Internet Order cited the agency’s authority to modify licenses, among numerous other statutory bases of authority.”

    “Notice of Appeal, however, applies only when this Court is asked to review an FCC order that modifies specific individual licenses. It does not apply to review of generally applicable commission orders that, like the Open Internet Order, regulate a broad camp of licensees as a class. Jurisdiction over the Open Internet Order thus lies only under [a specific section] and Verizon’s notice of appeal in Case 11-1355 should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction."

    Check and mate. Can’t say I ever wanted the government to have to step in like this but let’s hope this shuts up Big Red (at least for a little while).

    [FCC via PhoneScoop]


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    Verizon Doesn’t Like The Idea Of “Open Internet” – Appeals FCC Net Neutrality Decision

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    Verizon doesn’t like the idea of “open internet.” At least not the idea of it potentially cutting into their profits. Today, Verizon filed an appeal in federal court claiming the rules of “Net Neutrality” are unnecessary and will create confusion for investors.  Verizon released this statement on their website:

    Verizon is fully committed to an open Internet. We are deeply concerned by the FCC’s assertion of broad authority to impose potentially sweeping and unneeded regulations on broadband networks and services and on the Internet itself. We believe this assertion of authority is inconsistent with the statute and will create uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.

    The Net Neutrality ruling just became official last week and if you haven’t been keeping up to date with your tech news, says that carriers can’t block legit law-abiding sites (or apps) that directly compete with their service. For instance, it would be like AT&T blocking you from visiting competing carrier Sprint’s website. Not cool, right? Here’s what the FCC had to say about the new Net Neutrality regulation that goes into effect November 20th.

    First, transparency: fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services. Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services. Third, no unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.

    The internet should be free and open (we like that word around here). Anyone that disagrees well, probably has the title of CEO somewhere in their name.

    [Phonescoop via Gizmodo]


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    Engadget Mobile Podcast 093 – 06.25.2011

    If we had to make one Seinfeld joke about this week’s Engadget Mobile Podcast, it would be “WHAT is the DEAL with Nokia?!” The gentle Finnish giant had a lot of weird and wonderful things up its giant-sized sleeve, and it’ll take the giants of Mobile Tech podcasting to run through it all, so you’ll be clicking that play/download link presently…if you don’t want us to come let our anaconda loose in your house.

    Hosts: Myriam Joire (tnkgrl), Vlad Savov
    Guest: Brad Molen
    Producer: Trent Wolbe
    Music: Daestro – Light Powered (Ghostly International)

    00:01:30 – Nokia N9 first hands-on! (update: video)
    00:19:50 – Editorial: Dear Nokia, you cannot be serious!
    00:22:17 – Nokia’s first Windows Phone: images and video, codenamed ‘Sea Ray’
    00:27:05 – Nokia’s Android flirtations revealed
    00:37:00 – Atrix 4G bootloader unlocked: you can hack it up today or wait for official Gingerbread update
    00:43:42 – HTC EVO 4G+ official, but is it destined for Sprint?
    00:49:30 – Sharp Aquos SH-12C 3D smartphone hands-on (video)
    01:05:12 – Verizon’s ‘DataGate’ plans leaked in excruciating detail
    01:18:13 – Dutch net neutrality first in EU, mobile operators side-eye KPN
    01:22:18 – Prototype dual-screened 2-in-1 Android smartpad from Imerj preview


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    Engadget Mobile Podcast 093 – 06.25.2011 originally appeared on Engadget Mobile on Sat, 25 Jun 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Editorial: That Verizon Tethering FCC Complaint? It’s Not Going To Do Anything, Here’s Why

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    If you’ve been watching the blogosphere over the last few days, you might have seen an article or two about a "complaint" filed with the FCC over Verizon’s block on tethering applications in the Android Market.

    The complainant’s argument goes something like this: Verizon purchased the 700MHz spectrum ("block C" of the spectrum) back in 2007, and that spectrum is now used by Verizon for its 4G LTE service. That purchase, ala Google and other net neutrality lobbyists, came with one seemingly large caveat: Verizon (or AT&T, or anyone who bought in that spectrum) could not "deny, limit, or…

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    Editorial: That Verizon Tethering FCC Complaint? It’s Not Going To Do Anything, Here’s Why was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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    Dutch telco KPN using deep packet inspection to monitor mobile customers, throttle services

    KPN

    KPN set off some alarms in Holland last month when it announced a plan to start charging customers separate fees for using VoIP, streaming video, and sending instant messages. But, the question remained: how exactly would it keep mobile data users honest? The answer turns out to be deep packet inspection, which examines network traffic to identify what you’re sending and where it’s going. It’s been suspected that the secret ingredient in KNP’s service-throttling sauce was DPI, but it was finally confirmed in a presentation to investors recently. In fact, Mark Fisher, the director of KPN Mobile, bragged that it was the “very first” provider to be “able to identify by deep packet inspection what is actually the destination as data packages go along.” Predictably, privacy and net neutrality advocates are up in arms, with some claiming it is a violation of the Dutch Data Protection Act. We just hope someone nips this in the bud soon — we don’t need American carriers knowing about our Scottish Fold obsession. Check out the source link for an audio clip of Fisher’s confession.

    [Thanks, Daan]

    Dutch telco KPN using deep packet inspection to monitor mobile customers, throttle services originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 12 May 2011 17:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    The Engadget Show returns next Thursday, April 21st — win a ticket to the taping!

    Attention humans, the Engadget Show will be taping next Thursday, April 21st at 6:00pm! We’ll be sitting down with Engadget founder Peter Rojas who will help us wade through the increasingly muddy tablet waters. We’ll have on hand the new BlackBerry PlayBook, the Motorola Xoom, the Notion Ink Adam, and a few other slates to boot. We’ll unfold the Kyocera Echo, take a look at the current status of net neutrality, go for a crazy ride on a militarized scooter, and have a chat with Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally to find out when we’ll finally get our flying car. And of course we’ll have the usual fun, excitement, giveaways, and surprises!

    The Engadget Show is sponsored by Sprint and will take place in a new, more intimate NYC studio this month’s show, so if you want to get in you’ll need to win a ticket in advance. But don’t worry, if you can’t get there in person we’ll have a download up soon after taping.

    If you want to be one of the lucky ones to meet us in person, Sprint is offering guaranteed tickets to The Engadget Show taping to the first entrants who text “ENGADGET” to 467467 or enter online! Standard text messaging rates apply. Click for the Official Rules and see how to enter online, and as always you don’t have to be a Sprint subscriber to enter!

    If you live outside of the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT), you can enter online for a chance to win a trip for two to New York City to attend The Engadget Show. Standard text messaging rates apply. Click here to enter.

    Here’s all the details if you win a ticket:

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    The Engadget Show returns next Thursday, April 21st — win a ticket to the taping! originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Verizon and MetroPCS objections to FCC net neutrality rules dismissed in case of premature litigation

    The FCC wants to put new rules in place ensuring access to the web is, like justice, blind to where a person is coming from and indifferent to where on the web he is going to. Verizon’s first reaction to these new directives was to publicly decry them as overreaching, and its second was to file a lawsuit, one that was swiftly echoed by MetroPCS. Only problem with their plans? The rules haven’t yet been published in the Federal Register, which renders the legal challenges from the two eager mobile carriers “incurably” premature. Such was the determination of the US Court of Appeals, which refused to make a substantive ruling and just threw the cases out due to the technicality. Verizon isn’t discouraged, however, and promises to bide its time until all the dominoes have fallen into place before launching another legal attack. Hey, whatever keeps those lawyers in their fancy suits.

    Verizon and MetroPCS objections to FCC net neutrality rules dismissed in case of premature litigation originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 04 Apr 2011 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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