AT&T's chief technology officer Hossein Eslambolchi says WiMax broadband wireless networks are almost certainly in the company's future. Ma Bell spends $8.5 billion a year now for access to local networks. Setting up WiMax systems would be far less expensive, he said. No solid plans announced yet, though.
SBC Communications will speed up its rollout of fiber optics-based broadband connections ?? but only if the federal government plays ball. The company's top executive says he's looking for decisions from the Federal Communications Commission on how much of the network SBC will have to share with rivals. There's a vote coming up that might force the company to share just a phone line ?? not even the whole broadband pipe ?? with other companies.
I understand SBC's need to get a return on investment, but the company has a history of dragging its heels with new technology until … Read more
EarthLink is offering free Internet phone calls to its subscribers. Which is great, as long as you're calling other EarthLink subscribers on the same service. It works a little like Skype's Net voice service, and is thus limiting for now.
But this is death by a thousand cuts for the old phone system. Today it's just EarthLink subscribers, tomorrow everyone on the Net, and the day after that everyone will be on the Net anyway and nobody will remember what an old-style phone call was.
If that doesn't make your jaw drop, I??m guessing you've got it wired shut. A gigabyte per second would transform the Net. Forget cable TV, forget ordinary phones, hello videoconferencing and virtual realities. With that much bandwidth, people would figure out how to have the Star Trek holodeck in their bedrooms.
But no, I'm perfectly happy … Read more
AOL's plan (Wall Street Journal subscription required) for reversing its bleed of customers to broadband networks is to add "a lot of content" to keep members "in the fold," according to Don Logan, the Time Warner executive who heads the division. That content will ultimately be available to non-subscribers too, Logan said.
SBC Communications said it has turned on a new service called "Unified Communications" that will let customers get their voice mail through e-mail, or let e-mails be read to them on the phone.
Great idea, but awfully slow getting there. I was a big fan of OneBox.com's service that did this for a while, until they got bought and started charging, and I moved to a cell phone anyway. Ultimately, this is going to be how all phone voice mail boxes work, it's too obviously a good idea not to happen that way. The idea ?? … Read more
A column in our sister publication, ZDNet UK, has a plan for cutting down on unsecured Wi-Fi access points. These are trouble because they can enable others' illegal activity, it says ?? a neighbor downloading music or software from Kazaa, for example.
The way to stop this is put Wi-Fi scanners in police cars, let them sniff out unencrypted networks, and issue fix-it tickets when they find them. If people don't secure their networks, maybe the next calls they get will be from the Recording Industry Association of America, the article says.
This might be that droll English sense of … Read more
The federal government has put funding on hold for the E-Rate program, which pays for computers and high-speed Net connections for schools, the New York Times says.
The Federal Communications Commission is apparently looking into what has been a real problem with fraud in the program, and ?? along with the White House ?? has imposed stricter rules on how the money can be used.
But the complete suspension of payments means that as much as $1 billion in payments to states is on hold, and administrators are being forced either to take money from other educational programs or stop payments to … Read more
Broadband blogger Om Malik has a piece noting that for all the seemingly good news around new technologies, the telecommunications industry is still in the midst of a funk. Jobs are being cut or moving overseas, there's still a bandwidth glut, and frankly, hype doesn't pay the bills. It's a sobering reminder not to slip back into bubble-think.
USA Today put on its futurist hat today, looking at a yet-to-come Net that percolates quietly in the background, fulfilling your every need before you ask, instead of making you come to it.
The most critical part of this is delinking the Net from the PC, people in the article say. The future is about turning everything into a piece of the network, including devices, TVs, medical gadgets, kitchen appliances. Make sure everything has a little computer intelligence in it, and then the Net really will make our lives easier, it says.
The idea isn't as new as the … Read more