Network Neutrality – FCC issues NPRM

I wrote earlier about FCC chairman Julius Genachowski’s plans for regulations aimed at network neutrality. The FCC today came through with a Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Here are the relevant documents from the FCC website:

Summary Presentation: Acrobat
NPRM: Word | Acrobat
News Release: Word | Acrobat
Genachowski Statement: Word | Acrobat
Copps Statement: Word | Acrobat
McDowell Statement: Word | Acrobat
Clyburn Statement: Word | Acrobat
Baker Statement: Word | Acrobat

The NPRM itself is a hefty document, 107 pages long; if you just want the bottom line, the Summary Presentation is short and a little more readable than the press release. The comment period closes in mid-January, and the FCC will respond to the comments in March. I hesitate to guess when the rules will actually be released – this is hugely controversial: 40,000 comments filed to date. Here is a link to a pro-neutrality advocate. Here is a link to a pro-competition advocate. I believe that the FCC is doing a necessary thing here, and that the proposals properly address the legitimate concerns of the ISPs.

Here is the story from Reuters, and from AP.

Dual mode phone trends update 3

I last looked at dual mode phone certifications on the Wi-Fi Alliance website almost a year ago.

Here’s what has happened since, through the first three quarters of 2009:
Wi-Fi Alliance Dual-Mode Phone Certifications 2005-2009

There are still no certifications for 802.11 draft n, and almost none for 802.11a.

Here’s another breakdown, by manufacturer and year. Click on the chart to get a bigger image. This shows that the Wi-Fi enthusiasts have been pretty constant over the years: Nokia, HTC, Motorola and Samsung. Then more recently SonyEricsson and LG. Note that the 2009 figures are only through Q3, so the growth is even more impressive than it seems from this chart.
Wi-Fi Alliance Dual-Mode Phone Certifications 2005-2009 by OEM

The all-time champion is Samsung, with a total of 84 phone models certified for Wi-Fi, followed by Nokia with 68, then HTC with 54. This changes if you look just at smartphones, where Nokia has 61 total certifications to HTC’s 34 and Samsung’s 29.

3G network performance test results: Blackberries awful!

ARCchart has just published a report summarizing the data from a “test your Internet speed” applet that they publish for iPhone, Blackberry and Android. The dataset is millions of readings, from every country and carrier in the world. The highlights from my point of view:

  1. 3G (UMTS) download speeds average about a megabit per second; 2.5G (EDGE) speeds average about 160 kbps and 2G (GPRS) speeds average about 50 kbps.
  2. For VoIP, latency is a critical measure. The average on 3G networks was 336 ms, with a variation between carriers and countries ranging from 200 ms to over a second. The ITU reckons latency becomes a serious problem above 170 ms. I discussed the latency issue on 3G networks in an earlier post.
  3. According to these tests, Blackberries are on average only half as fast for both download and upload on the same networks as iPhones and Android phones. The Blackberry situation is complicated because they claim to compress data-streams, and because all data normally goes through Blackberry servers. The ARCchart report looks into the reasons for Blackberry’s poor showing:

The BlackBerry download average across all carriers is 515 kbps versus 1,025 kbps for the iPhone and Android – a difference of half. Difference in the upload average is even greater – 62 kbps for BlackBerry compared with 155 kbps for the other devices.
Source: ARCchart, September 2009.