Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why cable will always be King...

I've started investigating the feasibility of rolling out cable connections to clients following this:

The US telecoms giant AT&T has claimed that, without investment, the internet's current network architecture will reach the limits of its capacity by 2010.

Speaking at a Westminster eForum on web 2.0 this week in London, Jim Cicconi, vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T, warned the current systems that constitute the internet will not be able to cope with the increasing amounts of video and user-generated content being uploaded.

He said: "The surge in online content is at the centre of the most dramatic changes affecting the internet today. In three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire internet today."

Cicconi, who was speaking at the event as part of a wider series of meetings with UK government officials, said at least $55bn worth of investment was needed in new infrastructure in the next three years in the US alone, with the figure rising to $130bn to improve the network worldwide. He said: "We are going to be butting up against the physical capacity of the internet by 2010."

He claimed the "unprecedented new wave of broadband traffic" would increase fiftyfold by 2015 and that AT&T was investing $19bn to maintain its network and upgrade its backbone network.

Cicconi added that more demand for high-definition (HD) video will put increasing strain on the internet infrastructure. "Eight hours of video is loaded onto YouTube every minute. Everything will become HD very soon and HD is seven to 10 times more bandwidth-hungry than typical video today. Video will be 80 per cent of all traffic by 2010, up from 30 per cent today," he said.

The AT&T executive pointed out that the internet only exists thanks to the infrastructure provided by a group of mostly private companies. He said: "There is nothing magic or ethereal about the internet - it is no more ethereal than the highway system. It is not created by an act of God but upgraded and maintained by private investors."

Although Cicconi's speech did not explicitly refer to the term "net neutrality", some audience members tackled him on the issue in a question-and-answer session, asking whether the subtext of his speech was really around prioritising some kinds of traffic. Cicconi responded by saying he believed government intervention in the internet was fundamentally wrong.

He said: "I think people agree why the internet is successful. My personal view is that government has widely chosen to... keep a light touch and let innovators develop it. The reason I resist using the term 'net neutrality' is that I don't think government intervention is the right way to do this kind of thing. I don't think government can anticipate these kinds of technical problems. Right now I think net neutrality is a solution in search of a problem."

Net neutrality refers to an ongoing campaign calling for governments to legislate to prevent ISPs from charging content providers for prioritisation of their traffic. The debate is more heated in the US than in the UK because there is less competition between ISPs in the US.

Content creators argue net neutrality should be legislated for in order to protect consumers and keep all internet traffic equal. Network operators and service providers argue that the internet is already unequal and certain types of traffic - VoIP, for example - require prioritisation by default.

The US Department of Justice said in a statement last year: "However well-intentioned, regulatory restraints can inefficiently skew investment, delay innovation and diminish consumer welfare, and there is reason to believe that the kinds of broad marketplace restrictions proposed in the name of 'neutrality' would do just that with respect to the internet."

The BBC has come under fire from service providers, such as Tiscali, which claim that its iPlayer online-TV service is becoming a major drain on network bandwidth. In a recent posting on his BBC blog, Ashley Highfield, the corporation's director of future media and technology, defended the iPlayer: "I would not suggest that ISPs start to try and charge content providers. They are already charging their customers for broadband to receive any content they want."

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Monday, April 14, 2008

New Helderberg Base Station Part 1

This morning we met with a representative from the organisation that owns the portion of Helderberg that we had earmarked for a base station and signed a lease!

Everything within a 50m radius of this spot is ours for the next ten years!

The spot obviously needs to be cleared, but we have perfect line of sight of False Bay. We also have line of sight to Durbanville, the City Bowl and Stellenbosch. OK, so Stellenbosh is behind the water tanks, but it'll be visible from the top of a 30m mast..).

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Classifieds continue to grow

We had 21,842 impressions on our Cape Connect Classifieds site on 10 April 2007.

Of those, 3326 were requests to subscribe to the RSS feeds.

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Monday, April 7, 2008


It's been a bit of a learning curve, but I now have multiple RSS feeds on the main site and a consolidated RSS feed on the classifieds site.

The main site has six feeds that can be chosen from.

Top Stories
Business Report
Tech News
Motoring Stories
Travel Tales
Sports Report

Subscribing is a doddle: Click on the RSS button to the right in the address bar in Firefox 2.0 or higher, or click on the RSS button in the menu bar in IE7 or higher and pick the feed you'd like to subscribe to.

The classifieds site has 16 RSS feeds. The main feed will send you all adverts as they are placed on the site. I understand that you may not want to know about the swinging scene in Blauwberg but would be more interested in finding a new Hilux or jetski. You can access specific feeds by either using the browser integrated RSS buttons as described above or by accessing the new RSS page that I've created and selecting a specific feed. You can do this by clicking on RSS in the footer of each page.

One last thing. The advertisers who put their money where their mouths are and list their products and services in the banner spaces keep things free for the people who buy and sell goods and services.

A click a day keeps the classifieds free...

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Imagine what we could so with WiMax if it had legal recognition in SA...

WiMax could be used as a 'last mile' substitute tech for DSL broadband by 47 million people within five years, says a new report by analyst Juniper Research.

The report, entitled The Last Mile: Opportunities for WiMAX, 2008-2013, says the global opportunity for WiMax 802.16e to deliver local loop broadband connectivity is significant. It predicts the tech will begin to take off between 2009 and 2011, and says the market will be worth more than $20bn annually by 2013.

Report author Howard Wilcox said in a statement: "WiMax can deliver broadband not only to unwired areas but can also improve speeds for subscribers who are on the fringe of DSL coverage in metropolitan areas."

He added: "We anticipate that mobile usage will develop after initial demand for fixed and portable services - WiMax 802.16e is a flexible platform that can operate in all three modes of usage."

Juniper predicts the top regions for WiMax in the local loop will be the Far East, North America, Western Europe and Africa/Middle East. It anticipates WiMax will garner around 12 per cent of the forecast DSL subscriber base for 2013.

However the analyst said the success of WiMax is dependent on two factors: the availability of suitable devices and timely network construction.

The many well-publicised trials of WiMax must be translated into commercial networks offering reliable and attractively packed services, it added.

Even Zimbabwe has WiMax, so why won't ICASA legalise it?

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