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FCC & the end of PSTN, NFC wars, Facebook’s Skype phone: Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed. There are a few things to update you on this week. First, we’ve just published an introduction to our updated research agenda ‘M-Commerce 2.0: How Personal Data will Revolutionize Customer Engagement’, including more details of our next Brainstorms in in New York (5th-6th October) and London (9th-10th November) run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. There’s more excellent background in this guest post from Professor John Clippinger of Harvard The Privacy Bomb - How to Tame and Feed ‘Big Data’. Last but not least, don’t forget to check out the Best Practice Live! online videos now available on demand.]

The FCC is holding consultations on the possible shutdown date of the PSTN. Michigan Telephone raises the awkward questions of what happens to the open access and common carrier provisions that are attached to the copper wires. Famously, “broadband” isn’t considered a telecommunications service in the meaning of the 1934 Act. There’s more at DSLReports.

The “Operator Carrier Exchange” is an initiative, currently in stealth mode, which hopes to provide a single interface for multiple CDNs run by telcos. This would permit requests for video content to be routed to the right CDN nodes in each network (there’s an interesting Cisco presentation here, served out of Brightcove’s CDN). You can see why Akamai is keen to license its software these days.

It won’t be easy, though - one of the biggest accounts, Facebook, just went to independent CDN Ooyala.

Netflix users were reporting problems with Apple TVs and their service this week. See also improving the mobile cloud experience, plus we’ll be publishing more on Mobile CDN strategies over the summer.

Another operator opportunity is discussed in detail here, as NFC Times reports on the emerging competition between Google and the telcos for NFC-based mobile wallets. This is also a topic we’ll be researching and covering at our upcoming M-Commerce 2.0 brainstorms.

Facebook promised to announce “something awesome” this week and it turned out to be a video chat function, provided under their alliance with Skype. Phil Wolff at Skype Journal issues a highly detailed list of open questions about the project. It seems to be a purely browser-based experience, which makes us wonder if there’s an unannounced Skype Web API or whether they’re using an in-browser SIP client like Phono. But Facebook IM is based on XMPP, and there’s no known use of that protocol in Skype. It may be time to fire up Wireshark and dump the packets.

XConnect, meanwhile, is a company that provides an interconnect hub for video-conferencing services.

ComScore estimates that LinkedIn is now the second biggest social network in the US, tearing past the sinking hulk of MySpace.

Better voicemail startup Youmail reports that it’s handled its billionth message.

Apple wapped GetJar this week with a cease and desist order, demanding that the indie app store stop distributing iPhone apps. They refuse and issue a rant about Twisted Sister (among other things). And it’s off to the courthouse everyone goes.

On the other hand, HTC has given some details of its plans to unlock the bootloader on its smartphones, permitting users to run a different operating system on them as you can on a PC. The first ones will be the global (i.e. UMTS) edition of the Sensation, the US Sensation 4G, and the Evo 3D. More detail is here. This essentially opens the door to projects like Maemo/MeeGo and Openmoko being more widely deployed and also to the possibility of “ForkDroid” - a version of Android stripped of Google-owned intellectual property, something that carriers, vendors, and hackers alike would be delighted by.

Motorola, however, has shipped the Droid 3 without the open bootloader it was expected to have. Is the Google pushing back? Meanwhile, will Samsung accept Microsoft’s demand for a patent fee on Androids?

Best security story ever: there’s a zero day vulnerability in Apple iOS, and it’s the one the amazingly ill-advised jailbreakme.com is using. The only problem is that you can’t patch the bug unless you first jailbreak the phone to give yourself root privileges, in a mind-jarring bout of circular logic.

Orange announced another ultra-cheap Android device, codenamed Stockholm, which will retail for £80. No doubt there’s a canny bit of subsidy in there, but it’s getting remarkably close to the old GSMA Emerging Market Handset price points.

Horace Dediu notes that the current rate of smartphone adoption in the US suggests that a majority of users will be smartphone users by August, 2012. Fortunately, he also reckons that the smartphone market will continue to support multiple platforms.

RIM updated the WebWorks SDK, and we published our thoughts on RIM’s current performance and options in RIM: R.I.P. or ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’?

Without giving away the answer to our own question on RIM, we’d like to point out that it’s traditional in some parts of the media that if a headline ends with a question mark, the answer is usually “no”. For example, the Register asks Is Facebook worth more than Google? More seriously, Eric Schmidt agreed to testify before the US Senate’s anti-trust subcommittee.

This is a must-read analysis of the legalities of services like Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music. Highly recommended.

Google Maps gets a feature that only Nokia Ovi Maps had for years - you can now pre-load and store mapping, so as to use it off the radio network or avoid roaming charges.

And here’s the least likely tale of the week. Google+ claims it ran out of disk space, leading to a storm of duplicate notifications. Disk space? At the company where your other computer is a data centre?

Here’s a nice HOWTO make use of the Redis caching/datastore/messaging library in high performance web applications. The Hacker News discussion is pretty good as well. Here’s an example of using it with voice, from Tropo.

Data Center Knowledge has a presentation from Yahoo! on their lessons learned from World IPv6 Day. Power-saving innovations for your WiFi.

Customers want network quality, not fancy pricing schemes. No wonder. VHA discovers that its volume pricing was only counting port 80 (i.e. non-encrypted web) traffic, and that its users had already worked this out. Whoops.

Verizon Wireless announces the end of its unlimited data plans.

The Register reports Wall Street Journal claims that Cisco Systems and ‘other ‘western companies’ are providing the networking kit for “Peaceful Chongqing”. A name like that invites further investigation, and it appears that the project is a truly epic CCTV network (500,000 cameras) for Chongqing city. The possible complication in this story is that since the Tiananmen Square massacre, it’s been illegal for American companies to sell crime-control equipment to China. So does networking equipment count? Cisco’s General Counsel Mark Chandler expresses Cisco’s case and values on their blog.

If the Prime Minister had had this iPhone app, he wouldn’t be in this fix. BeenVerified lets you run an automated background check on anyone you bump into. Not creepy at all!

An effort to come up with something like HADOPI in the US. The GSMA’s annual report on mobile money is out. Felten in Tehran - what’s the betting Tehran gets FTTH before we do? Amazon Web Services’ new sneakernet interface is powered by big red vans.

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