2016-01-16 The Command Line Podcast

old-newspaper-350376_1280This is an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

This time, I chat about some recent news stories that caught my attention, including:

You can subscribe to a feed of articles I am reading for more. You can follow my random podcast items on HuffDuffer too.

You can directly download the MP3 or Ogg Vorbis audio files. You can grab additional formats and audio source files from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

2016-01-03 The Command Line Podcast

This is an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

This time, I chat about some recent news stories that caught my attention, including:

You can subscribe to a feed of articles I am reading for more. You can follow my random podcast items on HuffDuffer too.

You can directly download the MP3 or Ogg Vorbis audio files. You can grab additional formats and audio source files from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Reducing Technical Reasons for Mobile Data Throttling

While the technology in this Technology Review piece is interesting and something I hope will make it onto cell towers, I am less convinced it will do anything to diminish the urge of mobile carriers to employ throttling.

Major carriers, arguing that their networks are clogged with smart-phone and tablet traffic, are increasingly implementing data throttling, the practice of targeting heavy users by slowing down data-transfer speeds. Now a gadget invented at Bell Labs—a programmable, pint-sized transmitter that requires no new traditional cell towers—could rapidly add capacity and thus help avoid data bottlenecks.

The article is full of a ton of technical reasons why these new components, called light radio cubes, are attractive–lower power consumption, increased capacity without expensive new rights-of-way. There is even good evidence for their adoption in some markets already.

The fact that the technology is related to another bit of kit that hasn’t seen as widespread adoption as initially promised, femtocells, has me skeptical they will change the current throttling practices of mobile carriers, at least here in the states. What it may do is more clearly reveal the lie that such throttling is about congestion and capacity rather than plain old rent seeking.

If light radio cubes enable abundant, cheap wireless in the bands and with the technologies (GSM, HSPDA, LTE, etc.) already in use, there is one less excuse for carrier who are simply not investing in keeping their capacity up with clear customer demand.

Tiny Transmitters Could Help Avert Data Throttling, Technology Review

Wholesale Provisions May Make a Comeback

Public Knowledge has news of a rumor that the FCC may be considering re-instating a requirement that carriers make their infrastructure available for lease by smaller, third parties. The basis for PK’s speculation is a study the FFC commissioned to look into the question of broadband competition.

It can be argued that a thriving market of dialup ISPs was enabled by the original wholesale provisions and that the decline in competitive offerings in the broadband space is a consequence of an absence of comparable requirements. It isn’t very surprising that this study’s findings are consistent with this view, one with which I happen to agree.

Based on my DSL experience, though, I will add a warning that the wholesale access alone may not be enough. The incumbents have proven adept at following the letter of regulation while still throwing up considerable barriers that may encourage consumers to choose the incumbent over their competitors regardless.