India’s ~600M broadband > U.S. + Western Europe

The remarkable rise of Reliance Jio, to 383 million 4G users in four years, has brought India to the #2 position in the world Internet. Bharti has 143 million broadband subs and Vodaphone 118 million. (Trai data).Some people still have two sims but that’s become less important as caps are more generous and other charges approaching unlimited.

The U.S. population is 329 million. Western Europe is 222 million.  All Europe, minus Russia is under 600 million. India’s Internet growth is slowing but still substantial.  It will be several years before India, like China, has more Internet users than the U.S.

One consequence is that Internet institutions, like ICANN and 3GPP, are not appropriate to lead if they remain dominated by the U.S. and Europe. Some are uncomfortable with the UN/ITU, but unless existing institutions change, what other choice do we have?

The Internet is for everyone, no matter their place of birth or skin color.   

YMTC 128 layer memory chip 230

Yangtze Memory proves Chinese semiconductors can be competitive

YMTC 128 layer memory chip 230YMTC’s 128-Layer 1.33Tb QLC 3D NAND memory is close to the state of the art. Samples are widely available and volume production is set for this year. It is currently shipping a 64 layer version by the millions. It just broke ground on a new building that will “triple its output capacity to 300,000 wafer equivalents a month.” The Wuhan site has an investment budget of US$24 billion, some provided by the province of Hubei. It maintained production despite being in the early world center of the pandemic.

While most of its 2000 engineers are trained in China, it’s led by Dr.Simon Yang. Western-educated, he was previously at Intel and CTO of leading foundry Chartered Semiconductor (Now Global Foundries.) A huge percentage of leading chip engineers are Chinese and many are being offered lucrative deals to work in China. 

SMIC, China’s leading foundry, skipped two generations and now is producing 12-14nm chips. It’s N+1 process, expected by the end of the year, is not the same as the 7nm at TSMC but it incorporates many of the Improvements of that generation. The US for now is forbidding ASML in the Netherlands from delivering the EUV machine needed to do better than that. It will take time for China to develop EUV technology of its own, a major obstacle.

There’s a myth that China cannot build advanced chips. There’s nothing about being born in Taiwan or Oregon that makes you more able to manufacture chips. 

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2+2 Does Not = 5 and Copper Coax is Not Fibre

Sorry, Paul McAleese, Shaw’s cable network doesn’t match the capabilities of the Bell or Telus fibre to the home. That you offer a gigabit download to 99% of your customers is a great advance, worth trumpeting. It’s especially welcome where the telco hasn’t upgraded to fibre. But coaxial cable is not fibre; calling it fibre+ is simply false advertising.

Shaw’s upstream is “up to 25 Mbps.” Where Telus has fiber to the home, the upstream can go up to 940 Mbps. Neither company releases actual speeds, but I can tell by the network design what customers can expect. Shaw customers will get 20 Mbps upstream at least 90% of the time. Telus fibre customers will get 400 Mbps upstream at least 90% of the time. (Almost all networks are shared, but a decently designed network rarely see serious degradation. All the Canadian networks are well-designed.)

Telus took Shaw to court on the misleading claim. In the U.S., advertisers are allowed some “puffery,” so I don’t know what the court will decide. Shaw is defending vigorously, mostly by confusing the issue with irrelevant technical datapoints. It would have been smarter to concede the semantics and point to the facts of upgraded cable – including that it’s available in many locations where the telcos don’t offer fibre.

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“TCP/IP is unsuitable” Telcos want to take over through “deterministic networking”

I’m sure Vint Cerf – and the vast majority of Internet architects – remain certain that TCP/IP with minor improvements is the right way forward. But the European and Chinese telcos, backed by their suppliers, want a replacement called “New IP Networking.” ETSI, the very powerful European standards group, calls it “non-IP.:They claim, as you can read below, “A fundamental change is needed.” Deutsche Telecom and suppliers are key proponents.  

Update July 20: 

Current status of deterministic networking:

  • IETF RFC moving forward with support from Cisco, Ericsson, and Huawei
  • ETSI Special committee formed to move Non-IP forward
  • ITU Focus Group 2030 included it in final architecture, likely to be rubber stamped by Study Group 5. US may make noise that will lead to same result with slightly toned down wording.
  • Internet Society Opinion piece but no active engagement visible

Highly likely result, unless something dramatic is done: will replace TCP-IP over 5-15 years in favor of telco system. End update

Since the 1980’s the telcos in the U.S. have been fighting to control the Internet, a war described as Bellheads vs Netheads. (Ask Vint Cerf or Dave Farber about this or “protocol wars.”) The telcos are back big time, with proposals called “Deterministic Networking” (IETF, Ericsson, Cisco) New IP (ITU, China,) and Non-IP (ETSI, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom.)

Telcos have an enormous advantage because they control the physical network. They are businesses dedicated to making money; of course they would like to erect a “tollbooth on the Internet.” The problem they face is that Internet connectivity is very cheap to deliver. The local and long-distance phone networks were enormously profitable. 

The telcos continue to be among the most profitable companies on Earth. Verizon’s net income has averaged over US$20 billion the last three years. But they are not providing investors the promised increased profits.

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European Telcos Echo the Call for “New IP.” Bellheads Want to Take Over

 The Bellhead vs Nethead war is back with a vengeance. The European standards committee ETSI launched a new “Group on NON-IP Networking.” The telcos want to own the new 5G services. It has very strong support from the European telcos for major changes in IP networking. Those who remember the bellhead vs nethead wars will recognize what is going on.

The telcos – again – want strong control and quality of service, claiming it will be much more efficient. I believe Vint, David Isenberg, and many on this list discredited that argument 20 years ago, but it’s back with a vengeance.

China Mobile at the ITU made similar suggestions under the meme “New IP.”  I don’t think that anyone would be surprised the Chinese government is strongly supporting central control. Some uninformed reporters think this is about China trying to take control of the Internet and restrict freedom of speech in China. That’s nonsense; China already has the tools for censorship domestically and doesn’t need help from the ITU.

This is a telco versus the net battle, with the net advocates almost invisible. Traditional allies, like Google, are now so big they are conflicted.

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Right Does Right

My analysis of U.S. telecom in 2020 & 2021 is dominated by the power of the T-Mobile build at 2.5 GHz.Verizon added $billion to keep up. David Evans and Jeff Eisenach included it in T-Mobile merger filings long before I separately came to the conclusion.

Opening 1200 MHz at 6 GHz for Wi-Fi will be one of the most important policy moves of the new decade. It took smarts and courage.

Pai refuses Free Press dumb idea TV stations should censor Trump 

Modi’s Gov refuses telco demand to raise and fix prices 

Germany, UK hold some 3.5 GHz spectrum for non-telco users

I can respect those who don’t share my progressive politics. Send me suggestions.

AT&T Cuts 4,000 Jobs in Q4, 20,000 in 2019

Randall Stephenson testified AT&T would add 7,000 jobs if Trump’s tax cut passed, worth $billions to them. Instead, he has cut 37,000 positions. Randall’s going away, but his successor John Stankey is committing to even more cuts. 

Almost everyone ignored the 2016 company plan to shed 80,000 positions, although my primary source was a top company executive to the NY Times. That’s a cruel, heartless cutback, possibly the largest since Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.

It’s probably a good strategy for shareholders, however. Many other telcos are losing fortunes trying to grow in a low growth industry. Much of the 5G hype comes from Nokia & Ericsson trying to persuade telcos to invest in products unlikely to pay off. Until the DirecTV and Warner purchases, AT&T was avoiding stupid investments.

AT&T’s shareholders have been hit by the $20-30 billion dollar overpayment for the TV companies. Randall is a financial wizard and has long obscured AT&T’s underlying business. It now is borrowing money to raise the dividend and buy back stock. Top analyst Craig Moffett has a very rare sell on the stock.

America is a very cruel country to anyone over 40 who loses a job.

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Breaking: $1,135,000,000 to Internet Society if .org Deal Goes Down

Tim Berners-Lee, over 10,000 at, slews of reporters, 3 ISOC Chapters and almost all well-informed independents are strongly opposed to the deal. The Internet Society just revealed it would get 1.13 Billion from very rich US investors for .org. That is enough money that honorable people have decided the damage to the Internet from the deal should be overridden. The deal will die if Pennsylvania or ICANN blocks or even delays.

If I were on the board, I might have voted for the deal. I’ve been among the most skeptical, partly because the amount and many other key details were totally secret. I would have demanded much more information and public discussion. 

I’m strongly advocating ISOC now take extraordinary steps to heal the rift with the chapters and restore the public perception of ISOC. 

IGF Talkfest: Crisis, Chaos, or Just Evolving

“The Internet Governance Forum does need to evolve,” ICANN & ISOC-NY board member Avri Doria emails. “Speaking personally, I do not believe the IGF would disappear. If something were to happen, or if in the future it was not renewed by the UN General Assembly, then it could be recreated in a bottom-up manner as an international place to bring the various groups together. I also said that I considered the National and Regional Initiative one of the greatest outcomes of the IGF because they brought “Internet Governance” to the national and regional level.” 

The most common criticism of the IGF is that all it does is talk, talk, talk. That’s valuable, but many hope for IGF to have direct results. Monika Ermert, the best-informed commentator on “Internet Governance,” writes, “In Berlin, the hosts want to work hard to lead the IGF out of the crisis, which has been around for a few years because it only debates and does not act. … Die Machtlosigkeit ist dabei ein Geburtsfehler.” Ermert describes a highly chaotic program.

From the beginning, governments did not want to give away power. I’ve reported that the non-government participants have come overwhelmingly from the US and allies, as well as some others in general agreement. The non-government attendees rarely spoke from the point of view of the global south, which now represents the strong majority of Internet users. Two-thirds of the world want a more internationally representative group in charge, presumably the ITU. 

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Shame on the Regulators By Doug Dawson

10’s of millions of Americans have only second rate Internet because our regulators have no courage. The US Broadband Plan found 44/100ths of 1% have truly brutal costs, $10,000 or much more per home. Everyone assumed the last 1% would be served by satellite, although we couldn’t say that for political reasons. But all the others poorly served are a failure of the politicians. In the US, that’s 5-10 million homes who have no decent offering. Almost half the country has at most one decent choice, the cableco.  

The situation is the same or worse in countries like Germany, where DT offers only lousy service to about 20%. In Germany and the US, the most important reason for the lack of service is the possibility of getting government money, not high costs. In 2008, it became clear the government would pay for rural deployments in the US. Promptly, the telcos essentially cancelled their previous plans to cover most of the poorly and unserved homes. They weren’t stupid; if the government was going to pay for it, why spend the money? Result: the prospect of subsidies actually resulted in fewer unserved connected. Really.

Shame on the Regulators

By Doug Dawson

It’s clear that even before the turn of this century that the big telcos largely walked away from maintaining and improving residential service. The evidence for this is the huge numbers of neighborhoods that are stuck with older copper technologies that haven’t been upgraded. The telcos made huge profits over the decades in these neighborhoods and ideally should not have been allowed to walk away from their customers In the Cities. Many neighborhoods in urban areas still have first or second-generation DSL over copper with fastest speeds of 3 Mbps or 6 Mbps. That technology had a shelf-life of perhaps seven years and is now at least fifteen years old.

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