Archive for the ‘Telecommunications’ Category
Ringo and co. said it best, and now Beeline, Megafon, MTS and Rostelekom are getting a little help from their friends. Er, friend. Or maybe it’s the other way around? At any rate, the first four have just signed a deal with Yota to build out a nationwide LTE network that’ll work across the board. Rather than forcing each operator to do their own thing, the four in question will now have the option to buy 25 percent stakes in Yota; according to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, this unified effort will enable Russia’s economy to reap the benefits of a widespread 4G network while other nations (ahem, America) fight to see whether it’ll be WiMAX or LTE taking the lead. If you’ll recall, Yota was actually one of the first carriers on the planet to serve up commercial 4G, but last year it decided to make the switch from WiMAX to the suddenly popular LTE. The goal here is to have LTE in 180 cities with a total population of more than 70 million citizens by 2014, and we’re told that those situated on Little Diomede may actually be the first to get LTE in Alaska. Kidding. Maybe.
The FCC of the Obama administration has been very keen to highlight the fact that many Americans today still aren’t riding the information superhighway, a mission of awareness-spreading that was advanced a little more yesterday with the introduction of the National Broadband Map. Mostly the work of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, this $200 million project provides broadband data for thousands of providers with over 25 million searchable records — all of which can be visualized in map form, categorized by connectivity type, or downloaded in full to your computer. APIs have been made available for anyone interested in remixing / using the NBM elsewhere, while information updates are promised every six months. In terms of the maps’ content, we’re still seeing unsatisfactorily wide swathes of broadband-free countryside, but we suppose the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one.
The latest thrilling installment in BlackBerry’s Middle East saga has turned out not to be so thrilling after all. Having set an October 11 deadline for RIM to comply with its “telecommunications regulatory framework,” the United Arab Emirates is today reporting that the BlackBerry maker has managed to make the necessary changes with plenty of time to spare. Consequently, there’ll be no state-ordained curtailing of email, web, or BBM services within the UAE, which mirrors similar agreements that BlackBerry has managed to finagle with India and Saudi Arabia. Of course, the grand purpose of the UAE’s ultimatum was for RIM to allow the state access to encrypted messaging communications, and while the current announcement is pointedly missing details on what’s been done to appease the Abu Dhabi decision makers, we can’t imagine them giving up the fight without RIM making some type of concession. And the shady, undisclosed concessions happen to be our least favorite kind.
Well, this answers that. Back in early 2008, we wondered whether or not Ojo had gone dark once and for all, but it seems as if the video calling outfit has been brought back from the grave… for no apparent reason. The Ojo Vision Digital Video Phone is now on sale through the company’s revived website, offering a 7-inch color LCD, a video output and a design that simply had to have been ripped straight from 1994. Of course, it’s not like we haven’t been to this rodeo before — Verizon itself gave it a whirl (twice!), and promptly decided that its funds would be better spent elsewhere. We suppose not everyone is ready to move right along to mobile video calling, and if that’s you, the source link has all the details on monthly plans. Just grab a paper grocery bag to wrap the unit itself in, okay? Trust us, it’s for the best.
You know that “National Broadband Plan” that the world keeps yapping about? Sprint’s down with it, and has been since before it ever existed, apparently. Based on a glowing press release outed this week by the carrier, it has just wrapped up a five year initiative to free 35MHz of highly valuable spectrum needed for future broadband expansion. After spending a cool $750 million from 2005 to 2010, the company has now cleared 35MHz of broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) spectrum across the country, though there’s obviously some ways to go before Obama has 500MHz of cleared spectrum at his disposal. As it stands, Sprint has transitioned the broadcast auxiliary services to a new, more efficient spectrum plan in the 2GHz frequency band, and while the exact hows and whens have yet to be laid out, we’re hearing that this could provide access to “faster, cheaper broadband services” in the future. Huzzah?