An effort in the legislature may define broadband and how we count it in the U.S.: The FCC was handed a ridiculous, incumbent-favoring methodology for counting broadband some years ago, and it's made us a laughingstock in the world community. Our "broadband" penetration rates are terrible, even by our own definitions, in which a 200 Kbps connection in one direction qualifies as broadband, and the entire area of a Zip code is counted as having broadband if there is a single subscriber. As I wrote in January, the British regulator Ofcom, in contrast, requires counting actual installed broadband lines and 512 Kbps is the minimum they count.
The legislation under consideration by a Senate committee would require defining areas into nine-digit Zip codes (ZIP+4), and to define second-generation broadband as allowing full motion high-definition video. (It's unclear if that's 480p or higher; I believe 2 Mbps downstream would be required to meet a minimal level of that definition.) Sen. Trucks McTubes (R-Alaska) suggested that Congress shouldn't define this stuff for the FCC, because "compression technologies" could improve. Maybe he can teach us how to get a free home renovation, next?
Verizon strikes deal with Broadcom for patent bypass: Verizon will pay $6 per handset up to $200m to be excluded from the import ban on 3G chips that use Qualcomm technology. Broadcom won a ban from the International Trade Commission; the U.S. trade representative will decide by Aug. 6 whether to overturn the ban. Verizon is hedging its bets. The firm agreed to not attempt to overturn the ban and to withdraw its motion for a stay. Verizon is Qualcomm's strongest U.S. partner, and apparently thought $6 handset was a small price to avoid defections and deferred purchases.
IEEE group adopts extraordinary voting rules: The IEEE has a large flaw in its standards process. Every qualified attendee gets a vote. You qualify to vote by attending enough meetings. Meetings are held worldwide. Thus, companies who choose to spend millions to send academics and their employees around the world, can outspend competitors who oppose them. This is precisely what I am told by reliable sources happened in 802.15.3a, that led to the dissolution of that group, which was to adopt ultrawideband standards for personal area networks. The 802.20 group looking at mobile broadband standards hit a snag when its chairperson was discovered to be in the pay of Qualcomm as a consultant without having disclosed that fact, which he later did. The new rules will allow each entity a single vote, rather than each qualified voting member.
Duke says Cisco at fault for iPhone thrash: Although an assistant IT director at Duke was very clear in pinning the blame on Cisco access points crashing to errant iPhones, Cisco and Duke say the problem has been resolved, and it had to do with "multiple network protocols" running over their wireless network. One security expert suspects that the network uses LEAP, which is not supported by the iPhone, and that triggered some errant condition. That seems unlikely, because the problem surfaced after iPhone's authenticated to the network, according to the initial report.