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ISPs split over UK open internet code of practice

Several leading UK internet service providers have refused to sign a code of conduct designed to guarantee "full and open access" to the net.

Ten ISPs including BT, O2 and Talktalk backed the agreement promising not to restrict or block content unless there was a reason to deploy "reasonable traffic management practices".

But Virgin Media said the principles set out were too vague while Vodafone said the code was "impractical".

Everything Everywhere also opted out.

The Open Internet Code of Practice builds on an earlier traffic management agreement - which the three hold-outs did agree to - adding three new commitments:

ISPs promise open and full access to the net across their range of products.

Firms cannot market a subscription package as including "internet access" if certain kinds of legal content or services are barred.

Members must not target and degrade content or applications offered by a specific rival.

Exceptions to the rule include sites or services blocked by a court order; the need to manage congestion on the network if too many people are using data-hungry services at once; the imposition of data caps that are part of a user's contract; and the use of parental blocks deployed to keep children safe. More...

07-25-2012 00:22

U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors

The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.

The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype “Internet in a suitcase.”

Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet.

The American effort, revealed in dozens of interviews, planning documents and classified diplomatic cables obtained by The New York Times, ranges in scale, cost and sophistication.

Some projects involve technology that the United States is developing; others pull together tools that have already been created by hackers in a so-called liberation-technology movement sweeping the globe.

The State Department, for example, is financing the creation of stealth wireless networks that would enable activists to communicate outside the reach of governments in countries like Iran, Syria and Libya, according to participants in the projects. More...

06-12-2011 15:12

AT&T, Verizon Forced to Let Rivals Use Networks for Data

AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless must let smaller competitors use their networks for mobile Internet service under rules approved today by a divided Federal Communications Commission.

The agency voted 3-2 with Democrats approving and Republicans dissenting to require large wireless carriers to strike commercial agreements with smaller carriers. Such agreements are voluntary now.

The rule extends to data traffic the network-sharing arrangements that already are mandatory for voice calls. The measure was opposed by Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless provider, and Dallas-based AT&T, which would vault to No. 1 if it completes its proposed $39 billion purchase of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE)’s T-Mobile USA Inc.

“Roaming deals are simply not being widely offered” and the requirement will spur investment and promote competition, said Julius Genachowski, the agency’s chairman.

“The commission simply does not have the legal authority” to adopt today’s rules, said Robert McDowell, a Republican commissioner who voted against the measure. More...

04-07-2011 21:04

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