Cloud: AWS 'nukes' VPC? FCC: Genagonski. China's $4Bn 'trial' LTE Net - Telco 2.0 News Review

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[Ed. At the risk of sounding immodest, the Executive Brainstorm in Silicon Valley last week was great, and there's loads to come from that just as soon as we straighten out from the jetlag. Next it's our EMEA Brainstorm, 5-6 June 2013 in London. The agenda features our analysis of the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce, Digital Entertainment, and the Internet of Things - and will of course cover much on Cloud, Broadband, Voice 2.0, and new business model strategies - we hope to see you there.]

The AWS Official Blog announces that Amazon EC2 is being integrated with their Virtual Private Cloud product, so most VPC features will be available by default to any new EC2 instance. Deployment begins with the APAC-Sydney and Latin America-Sao Paulo AWS regions, aka the newest ones, and will then proceed to the others. And it costs nothing so far.

ZDNet's Larry Dignan asks if this means the end for enterprise private cloud.

In the Cloud 2.0 Strategy Report, we argued that a key question is whether it's possible to provide all the feature-richness that enterprises might need as command-line options to AWS EC2 or a similar product, or whether the private or hybrid cloud would remain necessary. Our thinking was that the experience with PaaS vs. IaaS suggested that the private cloud would remain necessary.

It looks like AWS is going to force the issue, and we're going to find out soon enough. They wouldn't be AWS if they hadn't also got another feature-dump to drop, and you can now run the popular Node.js platform through Elastic Beanstalk.

Meanwhile, Oracle's Q3s drop, and they're not great, especially hardware sales. Is this the impact of the cloud?

Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth occasionally likes to boast that Ubuntu Linux is the "number 1 operating system in the cloud". They're also trying to be the number 1 in China, with a new flavour endorsed by the Ministry of the Information Industry that includes various Chinese web players where you might otherwise expect Google.

Here's a comparison of Google Compute Engine and AWS EC2. The take-home message seems to be that GCE is better for raw power, but EC2 offers a much more mature product with many more tools and libraries.

375 Pearl Street, Manhattan, once a typically forbidding cold-war era skyscraper central-office for Verizon, is now a giant data centre, although the architecture hasn't changed much. That said, COs tend to look like nuclear bunkers because that's precisely what they are - John Savageau argues that too many carrier hotels and data centres are in relatively flimsy sheds that won't withstand a natural disaster, fire, or terrorist attack. And when Hurricane Sandy hit Manhattan, it was precisely those built-for-the-ages COs that stood up to the test.

Do cloud providers show your data to the Feds? Why yes, they do. The EFF's blog even has some data from Microsoft.

Wired, meanwhile, looks at which other Google products might be killed now Google Reader's gone.

After four years, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is off. Broadband advocate and old pal from Gordon Cook's mailing list, Harold Feld, is quoted as saying that he's left a lot of unfinished business to his successor. He will be remembered for the US National Broadband Plan, and the fact it's still mostly a plan, passing a (weak) net neutrality measure, opening the tap on Universal Service Fund reform, and of course turning down the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Simultaneously, the chief Republican on the FCC is also stepping down.

ZDNet has a comparison of national broadband plans. Apparently, Aussie opposition politician Malcolm Turnbull has repented of his alternative plan (you may remember he wanted to replace the NBN by giving out wireless 3G dongles) and now thinks it "hasn't been compared to what other countries are doing". The comparison here suggests that if it were, he might get a surprise.

Plusnet is offering cheaper broadband to UK SMBs on a short-term basis.

James Enck's EuroTelco Blog is back, and angry. He argues that the UK consumer has been conditioned to expect desperately poor service at prices that seem cheap until you count in the ever rising line-rental, rather like Ryanair baggage charges, and the only way to get their attention is to suggest that fibre might boost the price of property. It's a cynical view but not obviously false. Here, he argues that BT's shareholders are just not the sort of people to fund a fibre roll-out - and the government's policy is not going to work, which is a pity as his argument suggests that the government is best placed to do it.

Here's a turn-up for the books: the Czech Republic's regulator called a halt to the 4G auction for fear that it might raise too much money. Compare and contrast the disappointing UK auction. What they're worrying about is a situation like the Indian 3G auction, where the carriers hugely overbid, and then either act as a cartel to recoup, or if they can't, flip into an uneconomic price war.

An experiment with multipath TCP.

A survey of UK broadband customers.

We mentioned the FCC's open questions. Here's one of them: The Voice of Broadband argues that the FCC ought to get started with a plan for the transition away from the PSTN. She thinks there ought to be a pilot program for carriers to try shutting off the old kit, and worries that the FCC's own Technology Advisory Council is being ignored.

From the voice of broadband, to the broadband of voice? Chris Kranky looks at the daily life of a softswitch salesman and asks a key question: do any of the OTT providers you're using to scare the customers buy any of your equipment themselves?

He also argues that spending money trying to defend traditional voice is futile, predicts that WebRTC will lead to a "flood of cockroach applications across the kitchen floor" over the next 3 years, and argues that Google is right to support the open-source high-definition Opus voice codec rather than the AMR-WB used in most "HD voice" deployments.

Among the cockroaches, expect a lot of web/callcentre integration.

For example, meet Telesmart, a virtual call centre, routing, analytics, and IVR provider that runs as a layer over Voxeo's Tropo.com platform.

Twilio, meanwhile, now has SIP integration, so companies developing apps with Twilio can pick up calls directly over the Internet and route them straight into the IP PBX. The blog post provides directions to set up a Freeswitch and demonstrate a SIP-based hello world. Among other things, you can send any data you like from the application that's using Twilio to the PBX as a SIP header.

You can also gut an old landline phone and put a RaspberryPi running Asterisk in it and point the trunk at Twilio. If you've got an otherwise dull afternoon.

Jason Perlow at ZDNet says Microsoft Lync is excellent, especially because of the integration between its conferencing features and Outlook.

France wants Skype to be a telco. T-Mobile USA's VoWLAN app is vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack, at least until the patch lands, but it's as nothing to the horror lurking in Polycom HDX videoconferencing systems, where just one crafted H323 packet suffices to get root access and do anything you like, including activating the camera and microphone.

And look out for Manx phone numbers masquerading as UK ones.

China Mobile is going to spend £4.4bn on LTE base stations, although it doesn't have a licence yet. Officially the network is just a trial, but those with longer memories will remember that they built a "trial" UMTS network long before the official start of 3G in China and started providing service on it, so they may well be creating facts on the ground. Last time, the MII came in and forced them to give the network to someone else, though...

Reuters works through the options for Vodafone and Verizon. The big question is surely whether you can expect market disruption in the US before Europe's forever-delayed economic recovery.

That said, T-Mobile USA is doing its best to kick off the disruption, offering an "unlimited" plan with no contractual bind at $50 a month. This is possibly the most creative use of the word "unlimited" yet, as although they can now start offering LTE speeds, the data bucket is 500MB/month. It's the voice and messaging that are "unlimited", although you do also get T-Mobile WLAN thrown in.

Meanwhile, a survey suggests VZW has more LTE coverage but AT&T is faster where it's available.

SMS retention policies, leaked!

Morgan Stanley has officially called the BlackBerry comeback, advising clients to go "overweight" on the shares, and suggesting that the business will be back in profit this year. Meanwhile, the company briefed a friendly blogger that an undisclosed partner had ordered 1 million Z-10s. On the other hand, the shares dived after another analyst said the first-day sales seemed "lacklustre", although this was admittedly on the basis of walking around a few shops.

BlackBerry's ad campaign includes a BlackBerry emulator in the browser!

Android founder Andy Rubin unexpectedly quit as head of Android, although he's apparently staying at Google. The project is taken over by the current head of Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichai.

Here's some information on the beginnings of Chromebook.

A teardown of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is available, suggesting that the margins aren't as squashy as Apple's, and that the HSPA+ version gets the fancier "octo-core" CPU while the LTE one sticks with a Qualcomm unit.

Is this an actual NFC use-case?

The European Commission is scrutinising Apple contracts with mobile operators. Meanwhile, there's a horrible bug in Apple's password-recovery form. David Galbraith discusses the design considerations for an "iWatch".

Huawei USB modems are insecure.

The Register attended the launch briefing for the UK's intercarrier advertising/payments platform, Weve, and notes that the "advertising" element is getting played up vis-a-via the "payments" element.

Horace notes that Apple has traditionally said that iTunes is operated at breakeven, but increasingly it's slipping into profit. Some people have the best problems. He also looks into the detail and notes that Apple recognises the full selling price of music, video, etc. as revenue, and then pays the rightsholder, but only recognises its own share of app pricing as revenue. Meanwhile, Apple has acquired a WLAN-based indoor positioning firm.

EBay is changing its pricing to win back merchants from Amazon.

Google says sorry about the Googlecar WLAN-snooping incident and promises to write a blog post saying so.

What do you need for effective online TV? Great search, recommendations, and UX.

An interesting look back over the early years of UK GSM and mobile content.

And finally, the BBC test card in HD.