Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Telstra Appoints Two Executives

Telstra announced the appointment of two new executives.

Brendon Riley has been appointed Chief Operations Officer, replacing Michael Rocca. Riley comes to Telstra from IBM, where he served as General Manager, Northeast Europe.

Paul Fegan has been appointed Group Managing Director of a new business unit, Strategy & Corporate Services, which will bring together strategic and key corporate functions from 1 February 2011. Fegan was previously the Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of St. George Bank Limited.

Verizon Files Appeal of FCC Net Neutrality Order

Verizon Communications is challenging the Federal Communications Commission's Report and Order on rules dealing with the issue of net neutrality. The company has filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

"Verizon has long been committed to preserving an open Internet and meeting the needs of our customers. We have worked extensively with all players in the Internet and communications space to shape policies that ensure an open Internet and encourage investment, innovation and collaboration with content providers and others to meet the needs of consumers. Today's filing is the result of a careful review of the FCC's order. We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself. We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers."
  • On 21-December-2010, The FCC approved new rules governing the management of Internet traffic, with the three Democrats on the commission voting in favor of the measure and the two Republicans voting against.

    Key elements of the new Order include:

    Rule 1: Transparency -- A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.

    Rule 2: No Blocking -- A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management. A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider's voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network

    Rule 3: No Unreasonable Discrimination -- A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer's broadband Internet access service. Reasonable network management shall not constitute unreasonable discrimination.

    Significantly, "reasonable network management" is defined as follows: "A network management practice is reasonable if it is appropriate and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management purpose, taking into account the particular network architecture and technology of the broadband Internet access service. Legitimate network management purposes include: ensuring network security and integrity, including by addressing traffic that is harmful to the network; addressing traffic that is unwanted by users (including by premise operators), such as by providing services or capabilities consistent with a user's choices regarding parental controls or security capabilities; and by reducing or mitigating the effects of congestion on the network."

    The FCC rules go on to say that "Pay for Priority" delivery of packets on wireline broadband networks is likely to run afoul of the "no unreasonable discrimination" clause because it would represent a significant departure from current practices.

    Mobile broadband is largely exempt from the "reasonable network management" clause, as the document acknowledges that this market is an earlier-stage platform than fixed broadband, and it is rapidly evolving.

Amazon to Acquire LOVEFiLM agreed to acquire the remaining shares in LOVEFiLM International,
a European subscription entertainment service offering movies and games rental-by-post as well as streaming films and TV shows instantly over the Internet. LOVEFILM operates in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Amazon already has a significant minority shareholding in the company.

EU Spent EUR 1.8 Billion for Broadband Projects in 2010

In 2010, the European Commission authorized over EUR 1.8 billion of public funds for broadband development. The public funds are aimed to ensure that all citizens have access to high speed Internet access in the European Union, including in rural or remote areas.

Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaqu�n Almunia commented: "Smart investments into high and very high speed broadband infrastructures are crucial to create jobs, increase economic performance and to unlock the competitive potential of the EU in the long term. The Commission is committed to help EU countries to accelerate private and public investments in this sector."

Ofcom Seeks Price Cuts from BT Wholesale in Rural Areas

Ofcom, the telecom regulator in the UK, proposed significant reductions in the prices that BT Wholesale can charge ISPs in parts of the country where it is the sole provider of wholesale broadband services -- mainly in rural areas. The proposed price reductions are between 10.75% and 14.75% below inflation.

Ofcom expects this will benefit about 12% of UK households or around 3 million homes and businesses.

Cisco: Cybercriminals Shifting to Mobile Platforms

Cyber criminals have begun shifting their focus away from Windows-based PCs to other operating systems and platforms, including smart phones, tablet computers, and mobile platforms in general, according to the newly released Cisco 2010 Annual Security Report. This shift is due in part to strengthened security in PC operating systems -- especially Windows -- as well as to the rapid proliferation of other connected devices. Cisco said third-party mobile applications in particular are emerging as a serious threat vector.

Some highlights of the Cisco Annual Security Report:

Spam: 2010 marks the first year of declining spam volume in the history of the Internet. Despite this good news, 2010 saw an uptick in spam in developed economies where broadband connections are spreading, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, for example, spam volume rose almost 99 percent from 2009 to 2010. The good news is that Brazil, China and Turkey — all of which figured high on last year's list of spammed nations — showed significantly lower volumes in 2010. In particular, Turkey's spam volume dropped 87 percent. This reduction is due in part to the high-profile takedowns of botnets like Waledac and Pushdo/Cutwail, attributed largely to researcher Thorsten Holz (see the Cisco Cybercrime Showcase) and ISPs restricting malicious e-mail from broadband networks. In addition, authorities are taking the spam problem more seriously and are looking to take down egregious offenders.

Money Muling: As the cybercriminal economy expands and criminals gain access to even more financial credentials, there is a growing need for money mules — people recruited to set up bank accounts, or even use their own bank accounts, to help scammers "cash out" or launder money. Money muling operations are becoming more elaborate and international in scope, and Cisco security experts anticipate they will be a major focus of cybercriminal investment in 2011.

Trust Exploitation: Most cybercrime exploits hinge not only on technology but also on the all-too-human tendency to misplace trust. The Cisco Annual Security Report lists seven "deadly weaknesses" that cybercriminals exploit through social engineering scams — whether in the form of e-mails, social networking chats or phone calls. The seven weaknesses are sex appeal, greed, vanity, trust, sloth, compassion and urgency.

Cisco Global ARMS Race Index: Cisco's Global Adversary Resource Market Share (ARMS) Race Index was designed to track the overall level of compromised resources worldwide and, over time, to provide a better picture of the online criminal community's rate of success at compromising enterprise and individual users. According to data collected for the 10-point index, the level of resources under adversarial control worldwide at the end of 2010 was down almost a half a point from the December 2009 level of 7.2 reported in the Cisco 2009 Annual Security Report.

The 2010 Cisco Cybercrime Showcase: The second annual Cisco Cybercrime Showcase presents two awards for 2010 — one acknowledging the outstanding contributions of a security professional in the fight against cybercrime (the "Good," Thorsten Holz, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany/LastLine), the other the most threatening malware (the "Evil," Stuxnet).

Cisco Cybercrime Return on Investment (CROI) Matrix: The Cisco CROI Matrix, which made its debut in the Cisco 2009 Annual Security Report, analyzes types of cybercrime that Cisco's security experts predict profit-oriented scammers will channel their resources toward in 2011. Based on performance in 2010, the matrix predicts that the data-theft Trojans such as Zeus, easy-to-deploy Web exploits, and money mules will continue to rise in prevalence in 2011. The "wait and see" moneymakers include mobile malware, with Zeus already being adapted for the mobile platform in the form of SymbOS/Zitmo.Altr ("Zitmo" stands for "Zeus in the Mobile"). Social networking scams, on the other hand, will not be a significant area for cybercriminals to invest resources in 2011, despite ranking in last year's report in the Potentials category. That does not mean that social networking scams are declining; they are simply a small part of a bigger plan — launching Web exploits like the Zeus Trojan.

PandaLabs Details Cyber-Criminal Black Market

Researchers from PandaLabs published an investigative look at the growing online cyber-crime black market, in which stolen bank details along with other types of stolen data are sold in more than 50 dedicated online stores.

PandaLabs tracks how he cyber-crime black market has diversified and now sells a much broader range of hacked confidential information including bank credentials, log-ins, passwords, fake credit cards and more. Access to the market typically can only be gained by personally contacting the hackers who are promoting their information for sale on forums and in chat rooms.

Notably, PandaLabs finds significant competition in cyber-crime, and the rule of supply and demand ensures that prices are competitive, and operators even offer bulk discounts to higher-volume buyers. They will offer free "trial" access to stolen bank or credit card details, as well as money back guarantees and free exchanges.

More information is available in the PandaLabs Blog.

T-Mobile Bets on HSPA+ as it Plans a Turn Around

T-Mobile USA will return to growth and become a leader in mobile data services, said company executives and Deutsche Telekom officials at an investor conference. The company will take a more aggressive marketing stance as it positions its HSPA+ network against LTE and WiMAX. It currently ranks as the fourth largest mobile operator in the U.S. Rene Obermann, Deutsche Telekom's CEO, expects T-Mobile USA will return to growth this year and increase its revenue by $3 billion by 2014.

T-Mobile's HSPA+ network is currently available in 100 major metropolitan areas across the U.S., reaching approximately 200 million people nationwide. It currently supports peak downlink rates of 21 Mbps and an upgrade to 42 Mbps will occur this year. The company enables it claim the "4G" moniker and compete against Verizon's LTE.

One example is the newly-announced, T-Mobile exclusive, Samsung Galaxy S 4G -- its first smartphone capable of delivering theoretical peak download speeds of up to 21 Mbps. The phone is powered by Android 2.2 (Froyo) and features a Super AMOLED touch screen display. T-Mobile calls it the "fastest smartphone running on America's largest 4G network."

Some other notes from the T-Mobile USA investor day:

  • The HSPA+ network will provide a cost-effective and technically-flexible path to LTE. When it is time to upgrade to LTE, T-Mobile USA's deployment will be driven by the need to increase capacity, not because it needs to boost end-user speed or increase coverage. In fact, the believes that peak downlink performance for HSPA+ will keep pace with or even exceed LTE downlink performance.

  • A test in Las Vegas, found its HSPA+ network performed comparably to Verizon's LTE.

  • T-Mobile expects that global deployments of HSPA+ will significantly outpace LTE for the next several years, leading to a stronger ecosystem for the technology.

  • Its aggressive, "4G" advertising campaign will continue.

  • The company will consider selling some of its non-strategic assets, including towers, to generate cash.

  • T-Mobile USA believes it has sufficient spectrum for the next few years. It will look to acquire more spectrum in the long-term, possibly 2014 or 2015, from auctions (700 MHz AWS) or from the secondary market. It might also look for partners.

  • Backhaul is competitive advantage for the company. It also nearly 75% of sites on fiber already and this number will climb to 87% by Q3.

  • Growth in the U.S. market will come mostly from mobile data.

  • T-Mobile's growth strategy calls for "affordable" data services, a focus on both consumers and business, and better customer support.

  • Its first 4G tablet is expected this Spring.

  • No comment on the selling the iPhone, instead it will "go big" with Android.

  • The company currently has 34 million subscribers.

  • T-Mobile USA expects to save $1 billion in operational costs through "process reinvention." This include Zero Waste (moving to eBills, reducing handset return rates), Self-Service Automation, Simplifying products, and Network Efficiencies (transitioning 100% to all-IP, roaming overbuilds).

A full-presentation is on the investor page of Deutsche Telekom's website.

NEC Introduces iPASOLINK 400 for 4G Backhaul

NEC Corporation introduced its iPASOLINK 400 designed for mobile backhaul, including LTE. It features an all-in-one, converged design comprising four universal slots that enable operators to swap in and out different backhaul technologies, such as microwave or packet transport as per their requirements. Carrier Ethernet and TDM technologies enable the aggregation of both data and voice traffic with greater efficiency.

"The NEC iPASOLINK 400 enables operators to adopt an ultra-flexible approach in the migration to an LTE, all-IP network. By combining multiple functions into a converged unit, the NEC iPASOLINK 400 allows operators to take an incremental approach by investing gradually in the transformation of their networks - from today's hybrid TDM and Ethernet backhaul towards the full IP transport required by 4G," said Hiroyasu Ishii General Manager of Global Network Division, NEC Corporation.

NEC launched its PASOLINK business in the early 1980s. PASOLINK has been widely adopted as a microwave communications system between base stations, with shipments of more than 1.5 million units throughout 145 countries. NEC noted that its iPASOLINK 200, the first product in its next generation series, to date has received a total of 23,000 unit orders in 18 countries .