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The Cost of Connectivity 2014

October 31, 2014 Comments off

The Cost of Connectivity 2014
Source: Open Technology Institute (New America Foundation)

The Cost of Connectivity is an annual report that examines the cost and speed of broadband Internet access in 24 cities in the United States (U.S.) and abroad. Overall, the data that we have collected in the past three years demonstrates that the majority of U.S. cities surveyed lag behind their international peers, paying more money for slower Internet access. The report presents the 2014 Cost of Connectivity data, which was collected between July and September 2014.

The 2014 report includes:

  • A literature review of other studies that rank and compare broadband speeds, pricing, and market factors domestically and internationally, which explains how the Cost of Connectivity fits among other reports produced by international organizations and independent think tanks and contributes new data and analysis.
  • A detailed methodology, which explains both the data collection process and the methods used to conduct the analysis for our findings. The data from this and past reports is also publicly available online for researchers and other interested parties to view and download.
  • Specific findings from our data set for both home and mobile broadband pricing, as well as additional observations about the data. We include the following rankings and comparisons:

- The fastest home broadband speed available in each city,
– The fastest home broadband plan available for under $40 in each city,
– The range and median prices of broadband services in the U.S. compared to Europe,
– The cost of 3 GB of mobile data in each city,
– The mobile data cap available for under $40 in each city,
– The average cost of all plans in each city based on a range of speed or data caps,
– The average speed or data cap available in each city in a particular price range,
– The relationship between speed and price for home broadband plans in each city,
– Trends in wireless data, and
– The prevalence of data caps and modem fees.

  • Key takeaways from this analysis and further research questions based on our data and observations.
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Telecom — The World in 2014: ICT Facts and Figures

October 29, 2014 Comments off

The World in 2014: ICT Facts and Figures
Source: International Telecommunications Union

The World in 2014: ICT Facts and Figures features end 2014 estimates for ITU’s key telecommunication/ICT indicators. The brochure highlights the latest global ICT facts and trends and includes figures on mobile-cellular subscriptions, Internet use, trends of fixed and mobile broadband services, home ICT access, and more.

FTC sues AT&T for limiting “unlimited data”

October 28, 2014 Comments off

FTC sues AT&T for limiting “unlimited data”
Source: Federal Trade Commission

“Unlimited data” sounds great, right? Browse the Internet, stream videos, use GPS, even make video calls – all to your heart’s content. But what if you bought an unlimited data plan and then weren’t able to do all those things? That’s what happened to some AT&T customers.

From 2007 until 2010, AT&T offered unlimited data plans for smartphones. Even after it stopped offering unlimited data, AT&T allowed customers who already had unlimited plans to renew them.

But here’s the catch: AT&T then began slowing the data speed for “unlimited” customers who used large amounts of data. As a result, those customers with “unlimited” plans no longer had the bandwidth to do everything they wanted to do on their phones. That’s called data throttling.

Data throttling isn’t always illegal, but when it’s done in a way that’s deceptive or unfair, it most certainly is.

TeBIT 2014 Executive Report: Paving the Paths to New Revenue (telecom)

October 21, 2014 Comments off

TeBIT 2014 Executive Report: Paving the Paths to New Revenue
Source: Boston Consulting Group

The best strategies leverage both good ideas and good timing. While traditional telecom services are facing challenges (which by now are traditional, too), new offerings, in new areas, are showing promise. Keeping the momentum going (and growing) means investing in IT that can spur and support innovation—and doing it now.

Even if the idea and the timing look right, what are the specifics? Where should telcos focus their investments? Can they buck the usual trend of their IT operating expenses increasing along with their capital expenditures? Can increasingly popular levers—such as outsourcing and commercial off-the-shelf software—be leveraged more efficiently? Will moving to less complex solutions and operating models always bring cost advantages? These are some of the key questions addressed in TeBIT 2014, a telco IT benchmarking study jointly developed in 2010 and conducted annually by The Global IT Association for Telecommunications (ETIS) and The Boston Consulting Group.

The report that follows highlights the insights unveiled by this year’s TeBIT study. The idea is not only to identify the IT challenges telcos face, but how they can address them. Just as importantly, the report examines how IT can best be leveraged to help telcos seize the opportunities today’s market presents. As it did last year, the study analyzes how telcos are steering their top capital-expenditure initiatives, how levers like outsourcing and commercial off-the-shelf software are being implemented, and how, perhaps, those levers could be optimized still. New this year is a close look at the relationship between complexity and costs. While one might think less complexity means lower costs, the link is not always clear cut.

Who’s making money on the Internet? Comparing ROIC across Internet sectors

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Who’s making money on the Internet? Comparing ROIC across Internet sectors
Source: American Enterprise Institute

One of the background questions in Internet policy debates concerns what and who contributes value to the overall system and who extracts profits. In a perfectly functioning market, profits will reward innovation, investment, and the creation of value for users; unfortunately, there exist very few perfect markets. A number of things distort market efficiency; government policy is certainly one such thing, and market power is another.

Return on invested capital (ROIC) is a very good way to evaluate competition, profitability, and leverage in capital-intensive industries.

According to Morningstar, firms with 15 percent or more ROIC for a number of years are most likely have a “moat” that protects them from competition.

So let’s look at three sectors: content creators such as Disney and Viacom, who create the movies and TV shows that we stream into our homes; network services firms such as Comcast and AT&T, who provide us with broadband networks; and Internet “edge services” such as Netflix and Google, who connect network users with content and services.

The Price of Silence: When No One Asks Questions During Conference Calls

October 6, 2014 Comments off

The Price of Silence: When No One Asks Questions During Conference Calls
Source: Social Science Research Network

We document economically significant indirect costs of providing conference calls — increase in information asymmetry and more negative immediate market reaction — when managers fail to elicit questions during the calls’ question-and-answer (Q&A) session. We establish this result by focusing on earnings calls where managers fetch either zero questions or “too few” questions when they open the floor for questions. We extend the literature on conference calls as an important corporate communication medium by examining hereto unexamined costs, and propose remedies for firms to avoid such indirect costs of corporate communication.

Hat tip: PW

Dialing Back Abuse on Phone Verified Accounts

September 26, 2014 Comments off

Dialing Back Abuse on Phone Verified Accounts (PDF)
Source: George Mason University

In the past decade the increase of for-profit cybercrime has given rise to an entire underground ecosystem supporting large-scale abuse, a facet of which encompasses the bulk registration of fraudulent accounts. In this paper, we present a 10 month longitudinal study of the underlying technical and financial capabilities of criminals who register phone verified accounts (PVA). To carry out our study, we purchase 4,695 Google PVA as well as pull a random sample of 300,000 Google PVA that Google disabled for abuse. We find that miscreants rampantly abuse free VOIP services to circumvent the intended cost of acquiring phone numbers, in effect undermining phone verification. Combined with short lived phone numbers from India and Indonesia that we suspect are tied to human verification farms, this confluence of factors correlates with a market-wide price drop of 30{40% for Google PVA until Google penalized verifications from frequently abused carriers. We distill our findings into a set of recommendations for any services performing phone verification as well as highlight open challenges related to PVA abuse moving forward.

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