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TR Daily


By Paul Kirby
4/29/2008 12:00 AM

Rivada Networks LLC considered bidding on the D block in the FCC’s 700 megahertz
band auction, but “couldn’t make the numbers work,” the company’s chairman and
chief executive officer said today.

“We ran the numbers,” Declan Ganley said during a Washington luncheon sponsored
by the Progress & Freedom Foundation. “We couldn’t make the numbers work. There
is absolutely no way that a new entrant can go in and build a viable, commercial
network as a late entrant and be able to compete credibly.” The FCC is mulling how
to reauction the D block, which drew only one $472 million bid from Qualcomm, Inc.,
- far below the $1.3 billion reserve price.

Elaborating on points company officials have been making in recent weeks in

Washington policy circles - including at a recent House hearing on the auction - Mr.
Ganley argued that there’s no need for a nationwide broadband network to meet
public safety’s interoperability needs. He said agencies should leverage the current
capacity of commercial wireless carriers, while using 10 MHz already allocated to
them. He suggested the Commission reauction the 10-MHz D block for commercial
purposes and that the proceeds of the sale be given to public safety - perhaps
through grants - “to build whatever they want to build in their piece of the
spectrum.” Such a diversion of funds has been suggested by some Republicans in
Congress and would take legislation to enact.

“There is massive amounts of state-of-the-art wireless infrastructure already out

there,” Mr. Ganley said. “It absolutely is basic common sense to leverage off the
infrastructure that is already there. You don’t build roads for fire trucks and police
cars - you don’t build them dedicated roads. We don’t need to do that for
communications.” He added that each community should be given the flexibility to
use the current public safety allocation as it sees fit, adding, “There isn’t going to be
a one-size-fits-all answer here, nor do those agencies want that forced on them.”

Rivada Networks says the solution it has deployed to public safety customers in 17
states, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state of Louisiana,
and the U.S. military’s Northern Command, makes use of air time from commercial
wireless carriers. If those networks are disrupted during major emergencies, Rivada
says it has the ability to ensure coverage by deploying its own infrastructure. “It
works and, you know what, it doesn’t cost billions and billions of dollars,” Mr. Ganley

Many public safety leaders often stress that commercial networks don’t offer the
reliability and redundancy they say they need for both day-to-day operations and
during major emergencies. They note that, under the rules the FCC drafted last
summer, the prospective D-block licensee would have to build the network to public
safety specifications.

When asked to respond to those concerns, Mr. Ganley replied, “That is a prejudice
that’s out there.” He added that if a public safety agency was worried about dead
spots in a commercial operator’s network, it could pay to bolster coverage.

In response to another question about how public safety agencies would be given the
same guaranteed access to the commercial infrastructure as they would under the
FCC’s current D-block rules to meet their broadband needs, Mr. Ganley suggested
that public safety would have enough spectrum with its 10 MHz and commercial

At today’s event, several panelists commented on Mr. Ganley’s remarks and asked
him questions. One was Hiram (Art) Contreras, former assistant chief of the Houston
Police Department and U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Texas who is an
adviser to Mobile Future, an industry-backed coalition whose membership includes
Rivada Networks. “The frustration, at least at the local level, is the time frame” it
would take for nationwide interoperability to be achieved under the public-private
partnership, Mr. Contreras said, adding that those agencies need “an immediate fix.”
Mr. Ganley suggested it would take at least seven years to build a nationwide

But some public safety leaders criticized Mr. Ganley’s speech. Charles Werner, chief of
the Charlottesville, Va., Fire Department, said auctioning the D block for commercial
purposes and giving public safety the proceeds won’t solve the problem. “To begin
with, such an auction would require an act of Congress since the FCC cannot making
a funding change like this on its on; and it is a virtual certainty that Congress would
not act on this anytime soon. Moreover, this one-time handout to public safety would
not be enough to fund a nationwide network, nor would it cover the yearly operating
costs of a public safety network - public safety needs a reliable, steady stream of
revenue to fund a public safety network,” he said. “Those who advocate this solution
are merely creating delay tactics in keeping public safety from getting the mobile
broadband network we so desperately need.”

Mr. Werner also said that the offerings of commercial wireless carriers “do not offer
the reliability provisions, priority access and network preemption capabilities,
customized customer care, or command and control elements that public safety
communications require while the FCC’s approach does.”

Harlin McEwen, chairman of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), said, “The
Rivada concept of patching together current public safety systems that are made up
of narrowband voice channels does not address the evolving needs of public safety
for reliable nationwide access to broadband data services. Rivada is only one of many
who offer solutions for improving public safety interoperability, but their solution is
not the silver bullet they claim it to be. The suggestion by Rivada that the D Block be
auctioned off for commercial use and the proceeds go to public safety is totally
unrealistic. The Congress settled that issue when they passed the Deficit Reduction
Act of 2005 by designating how the proceeds of the 700 MHz auctions will be used
and has already limited the amount that may go to public safety.”
During his speech, Mr. Ganley also said that Cyren Call Communications Corp.
Chairman Morgan O’Brien had told him he planned to create a mobile virtual network
operator (MVNO) to sell spectrum access to public safety agencies. A report issued
Friday by the FCC’s inspector general said that Reed Hundt, former vice chairman of
Frontline Wireless LLC, also said Mr. Hundt told him that he planned to create an
MVNO to resell commercial spectrum access to public safety at a profit. A Cyren Call
spokesman said yesterday that Mr. O’Brien did not propose such a plan but instead
outlined a regime in which the PSST would resell commercial minutes to public safety
agencies. Cyren Call is an adviser to the PSST. - Paul Kirby,

PC World

Mobile CEO: Public Safety Can Use Current Spectrum

By Grant Gross, IDG News Service
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:40 PM PDT

Public safety agencies should use existing mobile infrastructure for their communications instead of waiting
for the U.S. to re-auction an unsold spectrum band, a mobile networking vendor's CEO said Tuesday.

Public safety agencies such as police and fire departments would have access to a rapidly improving
network by using existing commercial spectrum instead of the nationwide public safety network envisioned
by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, said Declan Ganley, chairman and CEO of Rivada
Networks. In contrast, a stand-alone public safety network would likely not have enough money to make
frequent improvements, he said.

"It is absolutely basic common sense to leverage off the infrastructure that is already there," Ganley said at
an event hosted by the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank. "When you want to
get a fire truck from A to B, you don't build a new road to get it there."

The FCC had designed a 10MHz band of spectrum called the D Block for a combined public-safety and
commercial network during the 700MHz auctions, which completed in mid-March. That D block was to be
paired with another 10MHz controlled by public safety agencies, with the winning bidder required to build a
nationwide network shared by public-safety users and commercial customers.

But the FCC received one bid for the D block in the seven-week auctions, with the lone bid less than half of
the FCC's minimum price of US$1.33 billion.

Rivada, which helps public safety use existing commercial spectrum, looked into bidding on the D block, but
the company couldn't see a profitable business model, Ganley said. The nationwide network required by the
FCC would have taken at least seven years to build and cost tens of billions of dollars, he said.

"We looked at it, and we couldn't make the numbers work," he said.

The D block auction was watched closely because many lawmakers and public-safety officials pushed for a
nationwide network to be created after emergency responders couldn't communicate with each other during
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and more recent disasters. Police and fire departments in neighboring cities
often use different communication devices on different blocks of spectrum.

Instead of re-auctioning the spectrum with the same goal, the FCC should instead take the conditions off the
D block and auction it for the winner to use as it wants, Ganley said. The money from the auction could then
be given to public safety agencies for buying equipment and mobile service, he said. And public safety
agencies would still have 10MHz of spectrum if they found a company willing to build a new mobile network,
he added.

But building a new network from scratch makes little sense when mobile carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and
Sprint Nextel are spending billions of dollars a year upgrading and expanding their networks, Ganley said.
The stand-alone network wouldn't have the resources of those large carriers, he said.

"In five years' time, what [devices] you're going to have on your hip ... is going to be better than what that
public safety network is," he said. "Going down that path is a way to lock yourself into spending huge
amounts of taxpayers' money on something that's always going to be second best."

Rivada Networks, with offices in the U.S. and Ireland, has worked with U.S. federal and state agencies to set
up mobile networks through negotiated agreements with existing carriers. Rivada also provides networking
equipment that can be hauled into an area hit by a disaster and used to restore communications when other
networks are down.

That model could be one used by state and local public-safety agencies, although other models using
currently available spectrum exist, Ganley said.

Ganley's comments drew some skepticism. Some audience members suggested commercial spectrum can
get overloaded, especially in times of emergencies, and that many commercial services still have dead
spots. While working with state and federal agencies, Rivada has set up mobile towers to eliminate dead
spots and improve coverage, Ganley said.

Public safety agencies still need a nationwide network, added Charles Werner, chief of the fire department
for Charlottesville, Virginia.

Ganley's suggestion of auctioning the D block and giving the money to public safety agencies wouldn't raise
the money needed, Werner said in an e-mail.

"This one-time handout to public safety would not be enough to fund a nationwide network, nor would it
cover the yearly operating costs of a public safety network -- public safety needs a reliable, steady stream of
revenue to fund a public safety network," Werner said. "Those who advocate this solution are merely
creating delay tactics in keeping public safety from getting the mobile broadband network we so desperately

A patchwork of public safety networks across the U.S. will not work, Werner added. "The current realities of
emergency response demand a national approach. Terrorism, wildfires, weather disasters and crime know
no jurisdictional borders, so neither can first responders' communications networks," he said.
But Hiram Contreras, an adviser to Mobile Future, a wireless trade group, and former assistant chief of
police in Houston, said Ganley's idea was attractive because it could happen now instead of years in the
future. Ganley's idea is "an immediate fix," Contreras said. "They need it yesterday."

Washington Times (Online)

Planned safety network up in air

Whither the “D” block?

By Kara Rowland
April 30, 2008

The fate of a yet-to-be-built national public safety communications network is

still up in the air weeks after airwaves earmarked for the project — referred to as
the D block — failed to sell in a government auction. The lack of such a network
has lawmakers and regulators alike calling for a second shot at auctioning the
spectrum and setting up a public-private partnership that requires the winning
bidder to build an interoperable network.

But not everyone is convinced it's needed.

"When you want to get a firetruck from 'A' to 'B', you don't build a highway just
for that firetruck; you use the highway that's already there, you put lights on,
you put a siren on, that's how you clear it, and there you go," said Declan Ganley,
chief executive of Rivada Networks. "There is massive amounts of state-of-the-art
wireless infrastructure already out there."

Mr. Ganley's company specializes in public safety communications in the U.S.

and Europe. He spoke yesterday about the fate of the D block at a lunch
sponsored by the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a D.C. nonprofit that
supports a free-market policies.

In its auction of spectrum being vacated next year by TV broadcasters switching

to digital signals, the Federal Communications Commission put the D block slice
of wireless airwaves up for sale with a minimum price of $1.3 billion. The media-
regulating agency attached conditions to the block, requiring the winning bidder
to negotiate with emergency responders to allow them to pre-empt commercial
wireless service in the event of a disaster.
The FCC deemed the plan the best option absent congressional funding for the
project that would enable emergency officials to build their own network.

But according to Mr. Ganley, a new national network would be doomed to fail
regardless of what conditions were placed on it.

"There is absolutely no way that a new entrant can go in and build a viable
communications network as a new entrant and be able to compete credibly with
somebody who's able to spend $3 or $4 billion a year, like Verizon," he said.

"The answer is take some of that spectrum and sell it for as many dollars as you
can get" and then give the money to public safety officials. "Let them decide
amongst themselves what they need it for, because the NYPD's needs are
different from the needs of the sheriff of Tombstone, Arizona."

Mr. Ganley's plan involves negotiating agreements with incumbent carriers

throughout the country. Safety officials would merely use those networks during
day-to-day operations, and in the event of an emergency, Rivada makes a private
deployable cellular system capable of providing voice and data services if the
commercial networks are overloaded or if service is not available in a given area.

The company provides interoperable emergency communications to public

safety agencies in 17 states, he said.

"There isn't a single capability that I can think of that [the D block network] was
promising to deliver that you cannot have today by leveraging off what's already
there," he said.

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin last week said he is seeking comment on what the
agency should do. He and other commissioners recently testified before
Congress that, absent any specific appropriations, a public-private partnership is
the only way to ensure the network is built.

RCR Wireless News

An early look at AT&T Mobility’s MediaFLO mobile TV service

REVIEW: $15-a-month offering needs more content
4/29/2008 12:00 AM

AT&T Mobility’s MediaFLO-based mobile TV service has not yet officially launched;
after a couple of false starts, the carrier appears set to launch the service, along with
a pair of devices, in the coming weeks. However, RCR Wireless News obtained an LG
Electronics Co. Ltd. Vu handset that supports the service. After popping in our AT&T
SIM card, we were able to purchase the AT&T Mobile TV with FLO service as an add-
on for $15 a month. The service launched immediately and was working without
error in our Los Angeles office. Unsurprisingly, the service offers many of the same
features and functions as Verizon Wireless’ MediaFLO-based mobile TV (which runs
on the same Qualcomm Inc.-built network).

But what's holding our attention right now is a channel on the AT&T programming
guide with "CNCRT" as its call letters. "Coming soon. Concerts exclusively on AT&T
Mobile TV with FLO," the screen reads alongside a stock photo of Avril Lavigne. No
sound, no moving pictures yet, just that single image staring back at us.

AT&T declined to comment on what content will make its way to the channel once it's
live, but we've seen a few ads on the channels indicating bands like U2 and Dave
Matthews Band might be hitting our LG Vu's touchscreen soon. AT&T promises we'll
know more once the service launches.

We also had fun comparing the service with our at-home programming. Network
shows are re-broadcast multiple times throughout the day on the MediaFLO deck, for
instance. CNN and ESPN frequently use larger, full-screen text blocks to make news
nuggets easier to read. And, audio and video quality has been consistent when there
is a solid signal for the service while some pockets we visited in the Los Angeles and
Orange County area went completely dark. At times, one channel would come in
clear, then another would take awhile to acquire a signal.

After waiting more than a year since Verizon Wireless launched MediaFLO services
last March, we've been holding out hope that AT&T had something more compelling
up its sleeve to throw into the mix. And so, we're anxious to see what AT&T has in
store for the concerts channel. It was nice to see CNN recently added to the lineup
(it's election season, and we're news junkies after all), but we're having a hard time
watching PIX, Sony Pictures Television's channel. We've seen "Christine,"
"Ghostbusters," and "Flatliners" re-aired numerous times and hope the company
plans to include much more of its extensive catalog before the service goes

From what we've seen, we think AT&T has a solid broadcast mobile TV offering that
can compete and perhaps outpace the reach of Verizon Wireless' Vcast Mobile TV.
With the concerts channel and (hopefully) more services like datacasting on the way
from MediaFLO, mobile TV just might strike the chord it's failed to strum thus far.

Interestingly, AT&T’s mobile TV effort lands in a somewhat crowded space. Players

range from SlingPlayer Mobile to MobiTV Inc. and GoTV Networks Inc., all of which
run over carriers’ current cellular networks. And then there are TV broadcasters that
might launch their own, independent service. Even Dish Network Corp., which is
affiliated with Sling Media, has made a bet on wireless spectrum and announced a
mobile TV trial soon .
As for MediaFLO, the service has suffered continued delays as Qualcomm waits for
TV broadcasters to clear up the spectrum and move to digital-only broadcasts.
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs lamented the sluggish pace of MediaFLO at a conference
last month.

Dow Jones News Service

IN THE PIPELINE: Aiming For More Personalized Mobile TV

By Roger Cheng
4/29/2008 12:00 AM

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Get ready to tune into your mobile device.
Mobile broadcast TV has so far been merely a latest gimmick for the tech savvy. But
there are big plans for the service as carriers and technology backers see an
opportunity to add targeted ads and interactive features that could improve the
viewing experience while generating additional revenue.

"The business is not just providing TV on mobile devices," said Olivier Coste,
chairman of mobile broadcast activities for Alcatel-Lucent (ALU). "Mobile TV can be
seen as part of a wide range of services which cross fertilize each other.

The business case is attractive enough to spur DISH Network Corp. (DISH), better
known for its traditional satellite TV service, to hop into the mobile arena. DISH on
Thursday said it would hold trials over the summer for mobile TV service using gear
from Alcatel-Lucent.

Indeed, the market for mobile broadcast TV - live television streamed to many
people and not specifically requested video clips - could grow to 20 million
subscribers by 2012, according to Michelle Abraham, an analyst at research firm In-
Stat. At the end of 2007, there were likely fewer than 100,000 customers.

Growth so far has been limited because only one service provider offers mobile
broadcast TV - Verizon Wireless - and it offers a limited selection of handsets. AT&T
Inc. (T) plans to launch a similar service next week.

Further interest should be generated by new entrants, some of whom plan to offer
mobile broadcast TV on devices beyond the cellphone. Gadgets such as portable
media players, in-car navigation screens, and gaming devices could conceivably carry
live TV.

With mobile TV as the hook to get customers staring at the screen, technology
backers envision additional features complementing and supporting the service.

The personal nature of the cellphone allows for more targeted ads to be delivered.
The two-way communication capability of the phone allows users to participate.
Consumers will soon vote via text message on reality shows that they can watch on
their phones, or purchase a song or program related to the show that is being
"It provides the consumer with additional interactivity," Coste said.

Alcatel-Lucent and DISH are tinkering with a mobile broadcast technology called
DVB-SH, an offshoot of a mobile TV standard used in Europe. The key distinction is
its ability to work with both broadcast towers on the ground and satellites in space,
allowing for wider coverage.

Another company using the technology, ICO Global Communications Holdings Ltd.
(ICOG), plans to blanket the nation with mobile broadcast TV with just a single
satellite and many towers on the ground.

ICO plans to market its service primarily to car navigation screens, and will use an
interactive system created by Hughes Network Systems LLC, a subsidiary of Hughes
Communications Inc. (HUGH) to augment its TV offering. The company plans to run
trials in Raleigh, N.C. and Las Vegas in the summer with service starting next year.

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), which created the MediaFlo technology that runs Verizon
Wireless and AT&T's mobile TV offerings, also plans to add interactivity to the

The company has been working to offer a feature called data-casting, which consists
of bits of relevant information sent out at the same time as the TV feed. This could
include the batting average of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez when he steps up to
the plate, or the powers and history of the Cheerleader character on NBC's hit show
"Heroes," according to Gina Lombardi, who heads up Qualcomm's MediaFlo unit.

Like Coste, Lombardi has plans to use more targeted ads. Qualcomm will eventually
send different ads to customers based on age and gender, which would then be used
to replace the ads that are running off the broadcast feed, Lombardi said.

Qualcomm is also talking to advertisers about the possibility of adding data-casting

features on TV spots, which allow subscribers to click for more information or
coupons when they see an ad.

"It allows us to make the advertising platform interactive and more compelling," she

The rollout of MediaFLO has been hampered by its inability to offer it in all of the
major U.S. markets. Qualcomm plans to make a nationwide push early next year.

The adoption of MediaFlo has been "underwhelming," according to Roger Entner, the
head of the communications group at IAG Research. In a broader sense, there is no
guarantee consumers will embrace mobile broadcast TV.

"The jury for that is still out on whether it will be successful," Entner said.

Verizon is still on a roll

April 28, 2008 8:52 AM PDT
Posted by Marguerite Reardon

Verizon Communications' hot streak continued during the first quarter of 2008.

The company said Monday that first quarter profits jumped about 10 percent to $1.64
billion, fueled by demand for its mobile phone service and fiber-to-the-home service
called Fios.

Revenues grew about 5.5 percent to $23.8 billion, the company said. About $11.7 billion
of that revenue came from its wireless business, an increase of about 13.2 percent from
the first quarter of 2007.

There's no question that Verizon Wireless, which is jointly owned by Vodafone, has a
good reputation as a wireless provider. Its network is considered to be highly reliable, and
the company has always done well retaining customers.

And now Verizon is getting those customers to use more of its data services, such as
picture messaging, text messaging and Internet surfing. In fact, it looks like mobile data
is driving growth in the highly profitable wireless business with revenue from data
services jumping 48.9 percent from the previous year generating about $2.3 billion in

Verizon reported that its customers sent or received more than 58 billion text messages
and 1.1 billion picture/video messages during the quarter. And customers completed 34.6
million music and video downloads. On average, Verizon's wireless customers spent
$11.94 a month on data services, an increase of about 33 percent from a year earlier.

Mobile data accounted for about 20 percent of all wireless sales for the quarter, but the
company hopes it will eventually account for a bigger chunk of the revenue pie in the
future. About 58 percent of Verizon's retail customers had broadband capable devices at
the end of the first quarter, the company said.

Wireless operators, such as Verizon, are counting on consumers to use even more data in
the future. That's the reason Verizon spent $9.3 billion on new wireless spectrum licenses
in the Federal Communications Commission's recent 700MHz spectrum auction. The
company has already said that it plans to use this spectrum to build its 4G wireless
broadband network that will deliver even faster data speeds to its customers using a
technology called LTE.

The company is also trying to spur innovation by opening its network to a faster
certification process for new devices and applications. The hope is that streamlining the
process will allow developers to get products and services that use the Verizon network
on the market faster than before offering customers new and cool devices and
applications first.

But wireless isn't the only shining light for Verizon. The company also saw big growth in
its fiber-to-the-home service called Fios. This service, which includes high-speed
broadband access, telephony and TV service, competes head-to-head with cable
offerings. Verizon said it added 263,000 new TV customers in the first quarter bringing
the total number of Fios TV customers to 1.2 million. In terms of broadband, the
company said the majority of its new broadband customers were for Fios. The company
added 262,000 Fios broadband connections during the quarter for a total of 1.8 million
Fios broadband customers.

As expected, Verizon continued to see declines in its traditional telephony business,

which fell 2.5 percent during the quarter. The company cut about 6,500 workers in 2007
and more job cuts in the traditional telephony business are expected throughout the year,
company CFO Doreen Toben said.

Verizon's bets on wireless and fiber seem to be paying off. But as the overall U.S.
economy softens it will be interesting to see if the company's strong growth will
continue. My gut feeling is that Verizon is in good shape. Cell phone, TV, and
broadband service are three things that most people won't want to live without
even if they are crunched for cash. But the big question is how much more will
people be willing to spend on the extras, such as mobile music downloads,
mobile TV service or the highest level TV and broadband packages? That's the
big question that will likely determine how much growth Verizon will
experience in the future.

Daily Mail (UK)

The internet is headed for 'gridlock' as demand for online video

and music grows
Last updated at 23:37pm on 29th April 2008

The internet is facing 'gridlock' as a result of the huge demand for online video
and music, new figures have warned.

As a result of the spiralling visitor numbers to sites like YouTube, many of us are not
getting the broadband speeds we are paying for.
Such is the scale of the slowdown some internet service providers are supplying as little
as 26 per cent of advertised download speeds.

Research for Channel 4 News by company Broadband Expert, which checked speeds of
18 providers, came up with shocking findings.

It discovered on average customers who think they are getting 'up to' 8 mega-bits per
second, are only getting 41 per cent of expected download speeds.

Speaking to C4 the British Chambers of Commerce has called for the existing broadband
system in the UK to be "upgraded".

It is calling on the government and providers like Virgin and BT to fund an overhaul or
risk "substantial" harm to the British economy.

The programme's research show 02 was the best performer with an average download
speed of almost six megabits (5.89Mbs, or 74 per cent of the expected speed).

BT customers got less than half the expected speed (43 per cent, or 3.44Mbs).

This was just ahead of Orange at 41 per cent or 3.26Mbs.

Toucan was the slowest of all with an average download speed of just over two megabits
per second.

This was hardly more than a quarter - 26 per cent - of the advertised speed.

New services like the BBC's recently launched iPlayer service, which lets you watch its
shows online, have added to the problem, it is claimed.

David Frost, director general of the BCC told the programme: “It is clear that the internet
is currently slowing down because of increased demand.”

He added: “The system needs to be upgraded; whether that is by the service providers or
government, to ensure economic growth.”

Mr Frost went on to say: “The money has got to be found for improvements, if not the
harm to the economy will be very substantial indeed.”

Dr Ian Waldon, professor of Information and Communications Law at Queen Mary,

University of London, said "net neutrality" – the idea the internet is equal to all users –
will become a thing of the past as customers are forced to pay extra for the web capacity
they take up.

He told the programme: "We get onto the internet through access networks – and there's a
possibility that the capacity of those networks will be exceeded soon."
Dr Waldon added: “Certain applications won't work, and certain services won't be
functioning as their providers initially intended them to."

There are now a growing number of companies that offer online speed checks to test your
connection speed.

These typically provide an upload and a download connection speed result.

The biggest threat of a meltdown comes from copper wires which link customers and
businesses to the main networks, experts say.

These wires were only ever intended for voice calls, and provide the key link to the main

The Wash
The Washington Post

As Congress Examines FCC, Chairman May Be Asked to Defend

His Leadership
The Washington Post
4/30/2008 12:00 AM

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin might be called to

defend himself in a hearing on his leadership after a congressional investigation
turned up complaints about the way he runs the agency, according to a memo
obtained yesterday by The Washington Post. Martin has been criticized by FCC staff
members for pushing his proposals to loosen media ownership rules and
requirements for a la carte pricing of cable television through such tactics as
suppressing agency studies that do not support his agenda.
"The bottom line is that the FCC process appears broken and most of the blame
appears to rest with Chairman Martin," Commerce and Energy Committee staff
members wrote in the April 28 memo to Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of
the committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the subcommittee on
oversight and investigations.

A committee spokesman declined to elaborate on the findings, saying only, "No

hearings have been scheduled." An FCC spokesman also declined to comment on the

The memo to Dingell and Stupak said the investigation is ongoing and proposed
holding hearings on the findings in June. According to the memo, more than 30
current and former FCC employees were interviewed, along with telecommunications
industry representatives and private citizens. The memo was the first indication that
the investigation, launched in December, has turned up material to support
complaints against Martin.

The bipartisan investigation intensified in early March, when the committee

requested a trove of e-mails, memos, handwritten notes and meeting schedules
dating back three years from Martin, a Republican, the four other commissioners and

In a letter to Martin then, the committee said the investigation related "to
management practices that may adversely affect the commission's ability both to
discharge effectively its statutory duties and to guard against waste, fraud and