Friday, February 29, 2008

BackChannel has new products and a new website

Just a quick note to say thanks very much to those of you who were able to provide feedback on the new BackChannel website it was valuable, valid and consistent.

So, we learnt a lot and made some changes. Thanks to one particular mega value reviewer for his excellent critical analysis - " you really know how to mangle a metaphor !?" Regular readers will also have spotted I can't spell ether.

The release of the new product is driving this change, beta trials at number of carriers have been completed and initial feed back is that it both saves a great deal of the sales peoples time in gathering customer intelligence and reveals a lot of otherwise un-knowable detail on the use of IP Services by large organisations and within Fiber served buildings.

We will of course be continuing with our regular free reporting and market intelligence services: when you're monitoring nearly a million companies you learn some interesting stuff.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Google take stake in Unity TransPacific Fibre

Google has taken a stake in the Unity TransPacific super fibre linking the US Westcoast to Japan.

This is the Google that purchased a 270,000sq ft interconnect facility in New York in 2005. The Google that has a division engaged in acquiring dark national, international and metro-fiber. Is investing heavily in consumer WiMax, a mobile phone platform, mobile applications, oh and spectrum

Still think Google is a search engine and advertising company? Read on...

In 2006 Google was recognised by the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN) as an ISP, when it was granted a large allocation of IPv6 addresses.

At the time of the allocation ARIN's director of external relations , Richard Jimmerson, said. "Any organization that has received (IPv6 addresses) has met that criteria -- and that would include Google,"

Note: IP v6 will enable the Internet address space to several trillion, trilion addresses, more than enough to absorb the current 4 billion IPv4 Internet addresses several times over. They must be planning an awfully big grid network, or is there more to it than meets the eye?

Nervous now? Get in line behind Microsoft; a queue is forming.

Friday, February 22, 2008

UK ISPs to face legal sanction's over downloads

The British government has given ISPs till April '09 to "get on board or face legal sanctions".

The moves follow similar legislation in France due to come into force this summer.

The Media folks will identify the file down-loader by joining BitTorrent storms, then pass lists of offenders to the ISPs and then require them to identify repeat offenders and cut them off from the Internet, probably by invoking breach of contract.

As Tiscali found - If it goes wrong, (surely not) you're on your own.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Judge in WikiLeaks driven Dyna"dotty" as archives go P2P

The Wikileaks train now seems unstoppable. As due to massive pressure on their remaining servers the Whistle Blower has posted it's archives on a number of P2P sites including the notorious Piratebay.

Some good comment over on El Reg regards the Julius Baer/Dynadot/Wikileaks debacle, which shows that the judiciary have no clear understanding of how the Internet works, or even that its geography extends beyond the bounds of their jurisdiction.

Being a working guy, and unlikely ever to need their services, I had hardly heard of Julius Baer and their spat with Wikileaks. If you want to know more about the "due process" take a look at Cryptome it has chapter and verse including all the legal two'ing and fro'ing

This is the kind of viral marketing JB could do without.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ISP Executives in firing line as Governments move on online privacy

Senior Executives within ISPs will be calling in the lawyers this week.

Why? well it's been an interesting week for on-line privacy, freedom of speech and data protection; with the ISPs being moved firmly centre stage again.

In the UK, the Labour government has presented a Green Paper that will coerce ISPs to monitor their customers Internet traffic for illicit content. Recidivists will have their connection cut off, and to stop them doing it again, their names could be entered into a central database of law breakers, to be circulated to other ISPs, government agencies and potentially even to the owners of the content.

In the USA, the Protect America Act has been passed allowing the NSA to filter the day to day emails and web content of both Foreign and US Citizens, in the ongoing search for Al Queda.

Finally, Tiny Californian ISP Dynadot which hosts whistle blower site Wikileaks was forced to hand over the site, contents, supporting literature and all log data to the courts.

So what is the potential fall out for the service providers?

The US government has stated that ISPs who voluntarily co-operate will be protected from litigation by their customers. But we know from experience that won't stop the lawyers having a bash at a few multi-billion$ class actions.

The UK Government has also promised protection for the ISPs. But refusal by the media industry to indemnify the likes of Tiscali against costs involved in fighting prosecution, has already caused that company's attempt to implement the "three strikes" proposal to collapse in disarray. As the process is equivalent to asking the postal service to open and vet every package and letter in the system, there is surely plenty of scope for litigation.

Even after the legislation I foresee many IT Illiterate parents carted away as their kids continued to download music without their knowledge, as well as the media industry choosing to pursue teenagers for individual criminal actions.

It's just a matter of time before ISPs find themselves under siege from the lawyers of those prevented from accessing the Public Internet, email and possibly even phone services, or for abetting the media companies in malicious prosecutions.

Dynaspot shows that ISPs will increasingly being held accountable for the content and themes of web sites that they host, and the authorities will support action against them.

So why should the Senior Executives worry; well there is currently little protection in law that will protect them from irate customer. Reviewing the 2002 Electronic Communications Act (figleaf) passed to protect ISPs who remove content from customers websites.

The Dynaspot case is the final proof that if ISPs don't co-operate they will face court action, heavy fines and even jail.

Oh you're outside the US / UK! "Don't get comfortable folks" - the gaming industry thought they were safe until their CEOs started finding themselves held in US jails for wire fraud and racketeering.

Those ISPs in hosting havens like Finland and Norway should bare in mind that a US arrest warrant cost Swedish Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom $100m, he can afford it, but can you!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Managed Hosted Service in USA: Comparitive strength of vendor

As part of a wider survey of the use of Internet services by over 500,000 organisations in the USA we surveyed the Messagelabs/Postini/MS Frontbridge market for Managed AntiSPAM - AntiVirus services.

Courtesy of our friends at ManyEyes (IBMs visualisation business) Here is something for you play with; just click on the charts title.

The Control is the normal distribution of organisations by state.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Pipex Business to lose prime asset - It's name!

Tiscali's acquisition of the Pipex Broadband last year, has had an interesting knock on. It appears that as part of the deal Tiscali acquired the PIPEX brand; so the business end of the operation has got to change it's name. The new name for PIPEX Business is apparently Vialtus .

It's been a long journey for the PIPEX name, since the Monday morning in 1991 when
the original founder, Peter Dawe, bounced into my office and said "hey Steve; Public IP Exchange - PIPEX, what do you reckon?!" I doubt it mattered what I thought, but he was clearly excited. For weeks he had been struggling to find a really "meaningful and pointy" name for the UKs first commercial Internet services provider.

Despite many changes of hands, PIPEX has remained a benchmark of the UK internet scene; justifiably known for it's quality products, support and services ethos. Pipex continued to grow business customers even as it became better known for its consumer offerings.

Losing such an established brand identity is a big issue for any business. But for an established ISP, ouch!! Ofcom reference over 500 ISPs in the UK; even when you take out those who are just reselling other peoples services, it's still over 170 competitors servicing UK business.

The market is overcrowded, economic situation is tightening and competition for corporate customers is now from international players like AT&T, Colt, Verizon and Rackspace. Even with a big bag of money from the sale of the consumer business; it's a brave time to launch a new brand.

So what next, well with the PIPEX name gone we think another power brand is likely to step in and pick up the business; as well as a lot of customers it has some very desirable physical assets.

Cable & Wireless, THUS, and Oakley Capital have all been named as possible suitors. Given their stated strategy of shedding customers, it would be mixed signals to the city from C&W, Oakley would probably want it for "parts", increasingly successful UK operator
THUS would seem to make much more sense.

Who knows, BT might even re-enter the fray; our latest research data, published next week, shows it could sorely use a couple of percent more market share in it's ongoing battle for corporate IP customers with US giant Verizon.