March 19, 2008

“Competition? We Don’t Need No Steenking Competition!” [5:08 pm]

Or maybe we do — Competition Fuels Broadband Use in Europe

Fierce competition from new providers has pushed the level of broadband subscriptions in eight European countries above the levels in the United States and Japan, according to figures to be released Wednesday.

[...] “We have four countries that are world leaders — Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland,” said Viviane Reding, the European telecommunications commissioner. “We have eight countries which have higher penetration rates than the U.S. and Japan. We are not doing badly at all.”

In addition to the three Nordic countries and the Netherlands, four others — Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg and France — had surpassed the United States by July 2007. By January 2008, Germany had also done so.

[...] In an interview Tuesday, Ms. Reding vowed to press ahead with an effort to give regulators powers to force the so-called incumbent telecommunications companies to run their businesses in a way that would make it easier for new competitors to enter the market. In countries like Germany and France, former state monopolies have fought fiercely against such a move.

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Spectrum Auction Results (updated) [5:06 pm]

Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $19 Billion

The spectrum licenses are being surrendered to the government by broadcasters as they complete their conversion to digital television by early next year. The licenses are coveted because they will provide the winners with access to some of the best remaining spectrum — enabling them to send signals farther from a cell tower with far less power, through dense walls in cities and over wider territories in rural areas that are now underserved.

[...] While Google was not expected to post a winning bid, it has already achieved an important victory by influencing the auction rules. The commission forced the major telephone companies to open their wireless networks to a broader array of telephone equipment and Internet applications. It remains to be seen whether a variety of technical and regulatory issues can be resolved to make the promise of more open networks a reality.

Something else to quiz the presidential candidates about.

Later: Verizon and AT&T win big at airwave auctionpdf

Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T were big winners in the U.S. government’s auction of wireless licenses that raised a record $19.59 billion, the Federal Communication Commission said on Thursday.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture with Vodafone Group Plc, won the nationwide “C” block of the auction, giving it control of a major piece of the airwaves being vacated by television broadcasters as they move to digital signals in early 2009.

AT&T won 227 licenses from among the “B” block of regional licenses, but Internet leader Google Inc, while it submitted a serious bid for the C block, in the end won no licenses, the FCC said.

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Think Different [9:05 am]

Apple talking to labels about unlimited music: reportpdf

Apple Inc is in talks with major music companies to offer customers free access to its entire iTunes music library in exchange for paying a premium for its iPods and iPhones, the Financial Times said.

Citing people familiar with the talks, the paper said the negotiations hinged on a dispute over the price Apple would be willing to pay for access to the labels’ libraries.

The FT article — Apple in talks to sell iPod and iPhone with unlimited musicpdf

Later: The LATimes’ article — Apple may offer music subscription servicepdf

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