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From: waitwatchwander9/3/2007 2:39:12 PM
   of 44083
 
Hi Frank,

I've got a question that I think you might be able to answer.

We have basic cable services (ie analog vs digital transmission). We've been away a lot this summer and note that during our brief times in the city, we get real crappy cable reception during the day which always seems to get better around 8 or 9 pm every night. It seems to start around 9 or 10 AM in the morning. I've call the cable company, numerous times and even made an appointment for them to come out. Peculiarly, our reception always seems to improve at night and I foolishly called back and canceled the service call. I'm now logging our reception to pick the best time for the cable service man to come and address our problem.

Given that we are at the end of our cable run, I get the impression that our problem is related to the cable company managing bandwidth for digital cable subscribers (or internet) on our run. We also have cable internet services but our usage there doesn't seem to effect our analog TV reception. We live in an area with a lot of senior folk who might well get up late and watch TV (digital) throughout the day and go to bed early. I offered this scenario to a few of the phone reps I was able to speak with at our cable service provider and they adamantly told me they were not doing anything that would affect our reception. I suspect this is a pile of BS because the first time I called about the problem, the rep did all sorts of stuff at his end and by the time he was done, the service became completely unwatchable. Unfortunately our service came back around 9:30 PM and I canceled that service call. Another peculiar item here is the TV guide station is always crappy but other than it being easier to decode (ie less movement) which "might" dictate that they can transmit it a lower power level, I can't think of any reason why this analog channel would always be affected. We've also gotten numerous serious "home" businesses set up in the area over the last few years.

So my question is ...

Do cable providers now play with their signal power (analog and digital) to redirect bandwidth to (or reduce interference with) their digital (and VOIP?) subscribers? It sure looks that way here and seems very dynamic in application. I'd be interested in what you say here before I get their service rep to visit and address our problem.

Thanx, Low Luddite on the Totem Pole

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To: waitwatchwander who wrote (22975)9/3/2007 4:55:07 PM
From: waitwatchwander
   of 44083
 
Google has the answer ...

symbioticdesign.com 

In addition to digital TV, out of control VOIP equipment also seems to be problematic for analog subs.

blogs.zdnet.com 

Yikes, luddite issues are always the least likely to get resolved amicable.

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From: Frank A. Coluccio9/3/2007 5:25:07 PM
   of 44083
 
[P2P] Food for thought ...
--

An Excess-Based Economic Model for Resource Allocation in Peer-to-Peer Networks

Christian Grothoff - Department of Computer Sciences, Purdue University
christian@grothoff.org

gnu.org 
grothoff.org 

Abstract.

This paper describes economic aspects of gnunet, a peer-topeer framework for anonymous distributed file-sharing. gnunet is decentralized; all nodes are equal peers. In particular, there are no trusted entities in the network. This paper describes an economic model to perform resource allocation and defend against malicious participants in this context. The approach presented does not use credentials or payments; rather, it is based on trust. The design is much like that of a cooperative game in which peers take the role of players. Nodes must cooperate to achieve individual goals. In such a scenario, it is important to be able to distinguish between nodes exhibiting friendly behavior and those exhibiting malicious behavior.

gnunet aims to provide anonymity for its users. Its design makes it hard to link a transaction to the node where it originated from. While anonymity requirements make a global view of the end-points of a transaction infeasible, the local link-to-link messages can be fully authenticated.

Our economic model is based entirely on this local view of the network and takes only local decisions.

1 Introduction

Resource allocation in collaborative peer-to-peer networks with untrusted hosts is a significant problem, since it is difficult to establish which nodes are worth spending resources on. Collaborative distributed systems are exposed to the Internet and are therefore subject to a wide range of attacks and abuse [AH00].

Most currently used systems do not monitor host behavior. This allows nodes to use the collaborative network without contributing back to it. These networks then become susceptible to denial-of-service attacks because the number of contributing peers is small. The possibility of using the network without contribution also discourages commercial use of these systems, as there is no incentive to invest. This paper presents a new approach to resource allocation in gnunet, an anonymous, decentralized peer-to-peer network.

The main requirement for the gnunet economic system is to prevent abuse of the network. This economic system is supposed to detect nodes that use the network without contribution and limit their impact by giving preferential treatment to nodes that do contribute. While trust (the currency in the gnunet economy) may potentially be mapped back to real-world assets, the primary purpose of the economic system is geared more toward resource allocation than actual payment. While the value of trust cannot be guaranteed, the economic model ensures that it is in the best interest of all participants to uphold and honor its value. The model guarantees that no node can gain anything by disobeying the protocol of the peer-to-peer network (described in more detail in [BG03]) or the rules of the economy.

The basic idea is simple. A node keeps track of transactions performed with other nodes in the past and learns which nodes behave well. Nodes that consistently contribute to the network earn the trust of their peers. If a node runs into a resource shortage it uses its trust records to determine which requests to serve, and which to ignore. The economic model presented in this paper is excess-based in the sense that it allocates resources in times of resource-shortage based upon prior behavior of peers, including times where resources were available in excess. These times where resources are available in excess are used to induce the economy with trust.

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To: waitwatchwander who wrote (22976)9/3/2007 5:48:34 PM
From: Frank A. Coluccio
   of 44083
 
re: "Lesson already known, but imparted to those of you who may not have realized: if your cable tv signal is getting funky, your VoIP may be as well. And, vice-versa."

Hi Trevor. The above quote is akin to saying, "If your car is having a hard time getting past the tree in the road, your van may have a hard time, as well."

One of the first things that many cable technicians do when they respond to trouble reports of noise and static is to replace connectors and any short cable runs on the side of the house. Over periods of time these elements experience corrosion resulting in powerline (and other forms of) ingress that show up as video and audio disturbances to the user. While the technique of immediately swapping out old connectors and cable sections with new ones is admittedly not very scientific, in many instances it proves highly effective, just the same.
--

As for the first piece you posted, I wouldn't pop the cork on that champagne bottle just yet, since many of the issues covered on the Web site you posted, while arguably valid ones when taken independently, may be beyond the scope of local performance parameters. Furthermore, I didn't detect any items listed that might account for time-varying (time of day) behavior, although I think I'd have to go back and take another look in order to be sure. Did you?

A couple of questions:

- how many other subscribers in your immediate area are experiencing the same issues?

- perhaps even more telling, potentially, are there any subs in your immediate area who are coming off the same cable system branch that are NOT encountering similar problems?

- which cable operator are you using, and how many cables is it bringing into your home (one or two)?

- assuming you are using a set top box, what is its make and model number?

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From: Frank A. Coluccio9/3/2007 6:16:09 PM
   of 44083
 
Free French Lessons
--
Free Unveils FTTH, Better Profits
Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor
Light Reading | September 03, 2007

[FAC: Noe the 100/50 down and up speeds cited below. I believe it's safe to view the latter in terms that are "effectively" (although not in actuality) for a 50Mbps/50Mbps down/up high-speed-Internet access split, with the remaining 50 Mbps in the downstream direction available for commercial grade video program sevices. Not bad. That ought to hold them for at least a few years, one should think.]

lightreading.com 

Iliad, which operates in the French triple play market under the brand Free , has unveiled its initial FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) services offering and reported improved profits and turnover for the first half of this year.

Iliad, France's third largest broadband provider after France Telecom SA and Neuf Cegetel Group, is offering its customers a 100-Mbit/s downstream and 50-Mbit/s upstream broadband service, with TV services and free fixed voice calls within France, for just €29.99 ($40.90) per month -- the same price as its DSL-based triple play service. (See Free Details FTTH Offer.)

Iliad, which has an ambitious plan to offer FTTH services across France, plans to launch the service in mid-September, starting in two districts in Paris. (See Iliad Updates on FTTH, 3G, Iliad Buys Into French FTTH and Iliad Plans €1B FTTH Build.)

That's an offer that has London-based Heavy Reading chief analyst Graham Finnie drooling. "I'll be on the Eurostar first thing tomorrow," he says, before adding that such a service isn't likely to become available in the U.K. "I anticipate we'll be getting a similar package to this in London in, err, let me think now, never?"

It's also an offer that lays down a challenge to Iliad's main French rivals, France Telecom and Neuf. The national incumbent, which had had nearly 6.6 million DSL subscribers a the end of June (a 49 percent market share), and Neuf Cegetel, which has more than 3 million DSL customers (nearly 23 percent market share), are also building out FTTH connections. (See FT Unveils NGN, FTTH Plans, FT Fleshes Out FTTH , Neuf Makes Acquisitions Count, and Neuf Launches 50-Mbit/s FTTx.)

France Telecom has priced its 100-Mbit/s FTTH service at €44.90 ($61.21) per month, while Neuf launched its triple play service in Paris in April for just €29.90 ($40.76) per month, though the maximum speed is 50-Mbit/s downstream and upstream.

At the end of June, Iliad had more than 2.6 million DSL customers, giving it a near 20 percent market share.

Revenues from those customers in the first six months of this year totaled €574.1 million ($783 million), an increase of more than 30 percent from the same period a year earlier. (See Iliad Reports 1H07.)

Net income was €78.9 million ($108 million), up nearly 35 percent from the first half of 2006, though that figure included a one-time gain of €13.9 million ($19 million) from the sale of Iliad's phone card subsidiary Kertel. Without that gain, net income would have been €65 million ($89 million), a year-on-year increase of 11 percent.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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To: Elsewhere who wrote (22969)9/3/2007 6:18:06 PM
From: Frank A. Coluccio
   of 44083
 
Analyst: Chinese Face Spy Scandal Fallout
Michelle Donegan, European Editor
Light Reading | SEPTEMBER 03, 2007

lightreading.com 

A report suggesting that the Chinese military has hacked into German government computers could have a negative impact on the prospects in Western markets of Chinese equipment vendors Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp., believes an analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort .

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported recently that computers in the German chancellery and the foreign, economic, and research ministries had been infected with Chinese spyware software, and German officials say they believe the hackers were linked to China's People's Liberation Army. (See China's Premier 'Gravely Concerned' by Hack on Germany and China to Use Computer Viruses as Cyberwarfare First Strike.)

The incident overshadowed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's state visit last week to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

But the ramifications could go far beyond international relations and even damage Chinese companies' prospects for IT and telecom contracts in the West, believes Dresdner Kleinwort analyst Per Lindberg.

"The ability of Huawei and ZTE to participate in, let alone win, telecom infrastructure tenders in the Western hemisphere may have lessened considerably following last week's shock report," writes Lindberg in a research note issued Monday. "It could trigger a return to national security clearance when it comes to procurement of telecom networks," he adds.

But Heavy Reading chief analyst Graham Finnie is cautious about the potential impact on the likes of Huawei and ZTE. He says the effect on Chinese vendors will depend on whether this incident is a "flash in the pan" or turns into something bigger.

"There has always been an issue in the U.S. that these companies have links with the Chinese government. But it hasn't been quite so much of an issue in Europe," says Finnie. "This is another stick that people can use to beat the Chinese suppliers with."

"It clearly would not be in either company's interest to be seen to be working for the Chinese government," he adds.

Both Huawei and ZTE have been gaining ground with Tier 1 contract wins in Europe and the U.S. this year. Huawei notably won HSDPA contracts with Vodafone España S.A. and Telecom Italia Mobile SpA (Milan: TIM - message board). (See Huawei Wins in Germany, Huawei Wins Vodafone Deal, KPN Picks Huawei, Alltel Uses Huawei Card, Huawei Wins at TIM, ZTE Wins Sprint WiMax Deal, ZTE Wins 3G Deal, and Huawei Gets Vodafone Award.)

But Dresdner says the spyware incident in Germany threatens to slow that momentum. "It could stifle China's telecom export push, trigger urgent replacement of 'unwanted' equipment, and put an end to price dumping tactics," writes Lindberg in his research note.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading

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From: Frank A. Coluccio9/4/2007 12:19:11 AM
   of 44083
 
[Subsea] Light Reading on Fujitsu Wins - Two Stories
--

Fujitsu Wins $1.5B FLAG Deal
SEPTEMBER 03, 2007 PR Newswire

lightreading.com 

LONDON, MUMBAI, TOKYO, and PARIS -- FLAG Telecom, a leading provider of international network transport and data services, today announced it has signed a multi-million dollar turnkey contract with Fujitsu (TSE:6702) for the construction of FLAG NGN cable, a multi-terabit, new generation DWDM submarine cable system. Anil D. Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Communications, said:

“At the beginning of the year, we announced our US$ 1.5 billion (Rs 6,000 crore) global expansion of FLAG’s Global Next Generation Network over the next few years. Today’s announcement is a major initiative in that direction. Worldwide the global market for enterprise and institutional data services is a U.S. $ 90 billion (Rs 360,000 crore) market. With completion of NGN cable, FLAG will be the only service provider to reach over 60 countries on a privately owned cable system coupled with the technology leadership to deliver broadband multimedia communications. We are poised to achieve leadership in global data communications leveraging Reliance Communications’ strength as India’s largest integrated and fully converged communications service provider, Yipes leadership in fast growing Ethernet services in the U.S. and FLAG’s leadership in global data services.”

Highlights of FLAG NGN cable

FLAG has always played a pioneering role in the global telecommunications business which began with FLAG Europe Asia, the world’s longest and first privately funded undersea fibre system commissioned in 1997. Such path-breaking milestones have been achieved at regular intervals by FLAG throughout its history. In 2006, FLAG created history with commissioning of FALCON the first private terabit cable system connecting all the countries in the Middle East and India to rest of world.

FLAG NGN cable is the latest initiative that will change how the world communicates and does business. FLAG NGN cable involves the construction of 4 new systems across Mediterranean, East Africa, Asia and Pacific regions. The extensions of each system will be finalized over next few weeks based on ongoing discussion with landing parties in each country.

FLAG NGN System 1: Asia: India to Hong Kong with potential interconnection to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Cambodia

FLAG NGN System 2: Africa: India to Kenya with potential extension to Republic of South Africa and Reunion. Further potential extension to Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mayotte and Mauritius. FLAG NGN System 3: Mediterranean: Egypt to France with potential extension to Syria, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta, Libya, Tunisia and Italy.

FLAG NGN System 4: Pacific: Japan to US West Coast.

FLAG has awarded a Supply Contract to construct the systems across Asia and the Mediterranean (System 1 and 3) to Fujitsu. FLAG has also awarded a Letter of Intent to construct the systems in the East Africa and Pacific regions (System 2 and 4) to Fujitsu. The Letter of Intent is a precursor to the Supply Contract to be awarded at a later date. Under the terms of the Supply Contract, won in open tender, Fujitsu, already a key supplier to FLAG Telecom, will manage all areas of the cable build, including installation, commissioning and testing. The initial system build will span over 10,000 km and offer significantly more high-quality capacity in the region to help address the growing traffic demands from the accelerating take up of broadband and multimedia services.

Hiroaki Kurokawa, President & Representative Director of Fujitsu Ltd., said: "We are very pleased to participate in this new project with FLAG Telecom contributing to the global deployment of NGN. Building on our track record in jointly constructing submarine cable system together with FLAG Telecom, we are confident that our close partnership will deliver an equally successful project this time. Leveraging cutting-edge Fujitsu photonic technology, we aim to contribute to the global roll-out of NGN and thereby enable users around the globe to fully enjoy the benefits of advanced broadband communications.”

--
Fujitsu Scores Massive FLAG Deal
Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading
SEPTEMBER 03, 2007

Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702 - message board; London: FUJ) has landed a monster $1.5 billion next-generation subsea network buildout deal from FLAG Telecom Ltd. , the two companies announced Monday. (See Fujitsu Wins $1.5B FLAG Deal.)

That's not Fujitsu's only new subsea deal, as it has also won a capacity upgrade contract from transpacific network operator Pacific Crossing Ltd. .

But it's the FLAG deal that's making the headlines, as Fujitsu has snapped up the entire rollout against fierce competition.

FLAG, part of India's Reliance Communications Ltd. , announced its plans in December to lay an IP network over an additional 50,000 kilometers of submarine cable in four systems around the world. (See FLAG Announces NGN.)

The buildout will nearly double the length of FLAG’s global network from 65,000 km to 115,000 km, and extend its reach to 60 countries.

Construction on the network is expected to be completed by early 2010 and will allow Reliance to compete for a larger share of the enterprise data market. The carrier last month acquired U.S.-based Ethernet service provider Yipes Enterprise Services Inc. , which will extend its international reach using FLAG Telecom's network. (See Reliance Bags Yipes for $300M.)

According to the statement released by FLAG today, Fujitsu has been awarded supply contracts for the networks connecting India to Hong Kong and Egypt to France, with possible interconnection to other countries in those regions. It has also received a so-called "letter of intent" for the systems in East Africa and the Pacific and will receive the supply contracts at a later date.

Fujitsu’s win is a blow to rival Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU - message board), which deployed FLAG’s Falcon cable system connecting India with the Middle East, as well as its cables in the Atlantic and North Asia. (See FLAG Picks Alcatel for Subsea Cable.)

Fujitsu also beat out Tyco Electronics and NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY - message board; Tokyo: 6701). The equipment vendor's share price closed 1.26 percent higher at 801 yen on the Tokyo exchange.

The Japanese firm has also signed a deal to help Pacific Crossing cope with the continuing rapid growth in data traffic volumes across the Asia/Pacific region. (See Fujitsu Wins PC-1 Deal.)

Under the agreement, Fujitsu will add 200 Gbit/s of capacity on each of the four segments of Pacific Crossing's PC-1 cable connecting Japan and the U.S. That will boost the lit capacity of PC-1 to at least 390 Gbit/s on each segment by the first quarter of 2008. The deal includes an option for an additional 100 Gbit/s by the second quarter. Pacific Crossing raised $50 million in January to help finance the upgrade. (See PCL Raises $50M.)

The Asia/Pacific region has seen plenty of subsea activity in recent months: Alcatel-Lucent won a deal to upgrade Southern Cross Cables Ltd. 's network linking Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.; Fujitsu was awarded a contract to upgrade the Japan-US Cable Network; a group of 17 carriers and government bodies has announced plans to build a $500 million Asia-America Gateway; and Telstra Corp. (Pink Sheets: TLSYY - message board) selected Alcatel-Lucent to lay a new submarine cable network directly linking Sydney to Hawaii. (See Southern Cross Picks AlcaLu, Fujitsu Wins Japan-US Cable Deal, Carriers Plan $500M Transpacific Link, Telstra Picks ALU for Subsea.)

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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To: tech101 who wrote (22853)9/4/2007 1:36:36 AM
From: Frank A. Coluccio
   of 44083
 
Post-YouTube: New Web sites try to recreate TV experience on your PC
By Associated Press | August 30, 2007

technologyreview.com 

NEW YORK (AP) -- Watching video online in small, fuzzy boxes is on its way out.

Some highly anticipated Web sites are being modeled on making the experience of watching video online more like watching television. These sites rely on software that enlarges the interface so that it fills your computer screen -- from edge to edge.

This new wave of applications is led by Joost and includes VeohTV and Babelgum. Though all are in beta (testing) phases, the hype has been mounting -- leading many to claim the next big advance in online video is imminent.

''The distribution problem is starting to get solved by many different people, but the experience of online video is still very poor,'' said Veoh founder Dmitry Shapiro. ''Companies like Veoh and Joost are trying to create a more TV-like experience for viewers.''

Of course, YouTube, which Google Inc. bought for $1.76 billion (euro1.29 billion) last November, is the site that braved the online video path. Though YouTube offers the option of a full-screen mode, video is typically watched in a smaller box that can be embedded in other sites.

These new sites, all of which are ad-supported and transmit video with peer-to-peer technology, are seeking to move beyond YouTube by improving video quality, attracting professionally produced content and expanding the viewing experience -- which is to say: to be more like TV.

Babelgum's slogan is: ''TV experience, Internet substance.'' Veoh touts: ''VeohTV makes watching Internet as simple as watching television.'' Joost simply states: ''The new way of watching TV.''

Each of the three work nearly the same way. You download the application from the respective Web site. When that is finished, you have a desktop icon that will launch the application. It then fills your screen with an on-demand-style choice of videos arranged in near broadcast-quality channels.

Joost -- founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom (the founders of the Internet telephone company Skype and the music-sharing service Kazaa) -- says it has created enough buzz to attract 1 million beta users.

Joost's strategy has been to sign deals with major content providers, making copyright lawsuits unlikely. (YouTube, on the other hand, is being sued by Viacom Inc. for more than $1 billion (euro730 million).) It has inked deals with Viacom, CBS, CNN, the NHL, Sony and others.

''The early stages of video content on the Internet was a lot of user-generated stuff, stuff like my grandmother and her cat,'' said Joost chief executive officer Mike Volpi. ''What we're trying to do is evolve that experience into something that the viewer doesn't view just out of interest, but actually builds an affinity with that particular programming content.''

Volpi notes users will not watch long-format video ''on a postage stamp-size thing.'' But altering viewing habits to watch more than 5-minute clips even on a full-screen application may be difficult.

A poll conducted last September by The Associated Press and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL found that only one in five online video viewers have watched or downloaded a full-length movie or TV show.

James McQuivey, a TV and media technology analyst for Forrester Research, believes people will grow more accustomed to long-form material as it becomes easier to download it.

But he cautions that Joost is ''an evolutionary step, not a revolutionary one.''

''If there's anything that Joost does, it moves the ball forward,'' said McQuivey. ''It tells people that the TV and the PC are not two separate worlds. But as long as we're still mimicking the TV on the PC, we're failing to appreciate the value of combining those two worlds.''

Babelgum bears many similarities to Joost, but is primarily focused on video from independent producers, rather than mainstream sources, said co-founder and CEO Valerio Zingarelli.

Zingarelli said Babelgum also plans to embed its platform in set-top boxes by the end of 2008, which would make its content viewable on traditional TV sets. Apple offers such a box for video purchased on iTunes, and more video companies are expected to follow suit.

Veoh has both a YouTube-like site at Veoh.com and VeohTV, which Shapiro called a ''video browser.'' Though VeohTV is pursing deals with the major TV networks and many Hollywood studios, its approach is to cull all the Internet's free video in one place -- ''like Google for video,'' said Shapiro. It also allows viewers to record video like a DVR.

Veoh even took the pre-emptive step of recently suing Universal Music to bar it from taking legal action against Veoh. Many content providers would prefer its material to be shown on its own platform, where it controls the surrounding advertising.

''For the consumer to try to figure out where to find video that they're interested in and navigate their interfaces becomes extremely difficult,'' said Shapiro.

The Internet and television are increasingly being portrayed as on a collision course, the two destined to fuse within 10-20 years when TV could become just another form of high-speed data. But those visions remain relatively far in the future. Online video is still in its infancy, Shapiro said.

''People are just starting to discover it and understand it,'' Shapiro said.

Joost, Babelgum and Veoh have several heavyweights to compete with, including Microsoft's LiveStation, Apple TV and the recently unveiled Hulu, a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp.

The analyst McQuivey doubts YouTube should be worried because its interactivity has ''created a social kind of viewing.''

Joost, in particular, hopes to accomplish something that similarly fosters discussion among viewers. Volpi says Joost will blend the viewing experience with real-time water-cooler conversation.

Joost plans to become available to the public before the end of the year, Babelgum is planning to launch in March, and Shapiro expects to keep VeohTV in beta no longer than a year from now.

------

On the Net:

veoh.com 

joost.com 

babelgum.com 

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To: Frank A. Coluccio who wrote (22977)9/4/2007 2:02:00 AM
From: Frank A. Coluccio
   of 44083
 
[P2P] More food for thought ... "tv watching minutes" as a form of sharing-community currency.
--
File-sharers forced to play fair
By Colin Barras | BBC News
2007/08/31

[FAC: I came across the article below on the Cook mailing list where Michael Spector posted it under the heading: "Bit Based Market Constraints on P2P File Sharers. Earlier in the uplinked post (Msg #22977), gnunet was seen using "trust" as currency. In the article below, the application "Tribler" uses bandwidth as currency, effectively, measured as "TV watching minutes." As an aside, it's becoming obvious, to me at least, that some of the literature and news coming out these days concerning emerging video over-the-Internet capabilities are assuming adequate connectivity to support the approaches being discussed, particularly those coming out of Tokyo, Amsterdam and Seoul. Whereas, I suspect a good many folks in NA (and maybe Uganda, possibly Antarctica) will come up short on that measure for at least a while longer, and for many others, for quite some time to come.]

Researchers have found a way to enforce good manners on file-sharing networks by treating bandwidth as a currency.

The team has created a peer-to-peer system called Tribler in which selfless sharers earn faster upload and download speeds but leechers are penalised.

The technology is being assessed by a European broadcasting body looking at ways of piping TV across the net.

Tribler has also been used to turn Sony's PlayStation 3 into a video-sharing device.

Fair sharing

While file-sharing networks are good ways to help lots of people get hold of large files often they have far more people taking from the system than they do giving.

Peer-to-peer networks can become sluggish if too many users download content without sharing with others.

Using bandwidth as a kind of currency helps to encourage better habits said Dr Johan Pouwelse, an assistant professor at Delft University of Technology and co-creator of Tribler.

Dr Pouwelse has been working with associate professor David Parkes from Harvard University to add an accounting system to Tribler to encourage users to upload as often as they download.

"In our model your TV would use "TV watching minutes", our form of P2P currency, to download content," said Dr Pouwelse.

"The TV would connect directly to the internet and provide video on demand in HDTV quality.

"After you watch a program on TV, the system would automatically share this program during the night with other people, until your 'TV watching minutes' credit is healthy again," he said.

"If we get this right, it would mean quite a change in the TV business," said Dr Pouwelse.

Using bandwidth as a currency can remove some of the problems seen in file-sharing systems such as BitTorrent, said Dr Parkes.

"In peer-to-peer, I can build up credit by offering upload capacity and then use the credit for download in the future," he said.

"There is still a balance, but the balance is on the order of days rather than seconds and this time-shifting can be welfare enhancing, said Dr Parkes.

Future proof

Tribler has already caught the attention of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is trying to create a standardised internet broadcasting system across Europe.

"Tribler is a good candidate," said Franc Kozamernik, senior engineer at the EBU.

"We are in the process of testing it and checking whether it fulfils our requirements or not," he said.

The EBU has already tested a number of other P2P systems and is in the process of building a media portal which will allow EBU members to publish their radio and television channels across Europe.

Overlaid on Tribler is social networking technology that helps to police the system and encourage fair sharing.

A passionate community was as effective at policing content as a central administrator, said Dr Pouwelse.

"I was doing research back in 1999 looking at an obscure website called Slashdot," he said. "It was a technology-related news website controlled by volunteers and it actually worked. A few people would post bad things but 99% of users were nice."

Peers can "gossip" or report on the behaviour of malicious users.

And because content is not stored on a central server, it is harder for malicious users to attack a P2P network, said Dr Pouwelse.

"One user cannot bring the network as a whole down," he said. "Just as the electric grid has no central elements, Tribler has no central element and should be more robust.

"The only danger is what is sometimes called a 'cascading failure'. It happened to Skype a few days ago. But in four years, Skype broke down just once."

Story from BBC NEWS:
news.bbc.co.uk 

Published: 2007/08/31 10:21:55 GMT

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From: Frank A. Coluccio9/4/2007 3:20:04 AM
   of 44083
 
On the FCC's Rejection of M2Z: Two Articles
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FCC rejects free Wi-Fi start-up's spectrum plans
Anne Broache | September 1, 2007

news.com.com 

A Silicon Valley start-up that sought permission to build a "free, family-friendly" wireless Internet service on a stretch of unused radio spectrum has been shot down by federal regulators.

Late Friday, the Federal Communications Commission rejected a nearly 16-month-old petition by Menlo Park, Calif.-based M2Z Networks to receive an exclusive, 15-year license to build and operate such a network in the 2155MHz-to-2175MHz band, in return for depositing a portion of its revenues into the U.S. Treasury. In the same order, the FCC also rejected a similar proposal from a company called NetFreeUS. (Click here for a PDF of the FCC's order.)

The FCC said it wasn't persuaded that allowing a single company to control the slice of spectrum without first seeking broader comment on how the band should be used would serve the public interest. The regulators concluded that it's preferable to conduct their usual rule-making process to set parameters for the spectrum's use--a move that would begin "shortly," they said.

"Many have suggested that we should auction this spectrum, while still others suggest that due to the high demand for this spectrum we should consider unlicensed use of the band," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement. "Each of these proposals has merit, and consideration of either would be inappropriately foreclosed by granting forbearance in this instance."

M2Z's plan was to offer a free, ad-supported network--plus the cost of a "reception device"--that would include a mandatory filtering system designed "to block access to sites purveying pornographic, obscene or indecent material." Users who didn't want the filters or wanted speeds faster than 384 kilobits per second down and 128Kbps up could upgrade to a "premium" service, at an unspecified cost, that would give subscribers access to 3-megabyte-per-second speeds.

Some politicians heralded the plan because of the filtering features and what some perceived as ambitious "build-out" goals--that is, reaching 95 percent of the American population within a decade of the project's start. Some public safety officials also endorsed the plan because M2Z pledged to let them hook up whatever devices they pleased to the free network.

The regulators, in their order, said they were unimpressed by the "relatively slow speed" M2Z planned to offer its users and said the company's proposed network construction benchmarks were not "particularly aggressive."

The wireless industry had strongly opposed the idea, arguing it was a self-serving attempt on M2Z's part to sidestep the ordinary process for auctioning off vacant spectrum.

A loose coalition of public interest groups also recently voiced reservations (click for PDF) about M2Z's commitment to requiring network filters on the free service, arguing such a plan raises First Amendment concerns. The filing, penned by the Media Access Project, said the group wasn't convinced the band even needs to be licensed, but if it is, the group urged the FCC to impose Net neutrality requirements on those who license that slice of spectrum and require that they sell it on a wholesale basis.

M2Z's next steps weren't immediately clear. The firm's chief executive, John Muleta, told Bloomberg News that he would be active in whatever proceedings follow but hadn't yet decided whether to appeal the FCC's decision.
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FCC rejects M2Z's free Wi-Fi plans
By Jose Vilches, TechSpot.com
Published: September 3, 2007

techspot.com 

Late Friday, the FCC rejected a petition by M2Z Networks to receive an exclusive, 15-year license to build and operate a national wireless network in the 2155MHz-to-2175MHz band that would offer both free 384Kbps broadband with the option of paying for higher speeds. In return for the free spectrum, M2Z offered to pay the US Treasury 5 percent of its gross revenues each year.

The FCC said that it wouldn’t allow a single company to control the slice of spectrum without first seeking broader comment on how it would be used to serve the public interest. Furthermore, it pointed out that the 384Kbps downstream speed was quite slow and wouldn't even be considered broadband if a new law that seeks to raise the current benchmark from 200kbps to 2Mbps is passed:

"In addition, we also note that the construction benchmarks proposed by M2Z are not particularly aggressive and are misleading as far as the actual extent of their coverage. As a result, we find that M2Z’s proposal does not serve the public interest, and in fact, that granting its application would prevent, rather than facilitate, widespread broadband deployment."

AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the two biggest US mobile phone carriers, will no doubt be satisfied with the decision as they had strongly opposed M2Z's plan, saying the airwaves should be licensed through the regular auction process. M2Z has complained that the FCC was slow to act on their request out of loyalty to wireless broadband operators and is deciding whether to challenge the decision in court.

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