05/02/2010

Application for a variation to 3G licences (and consequent proposal to vary draft 2GHz MSS/CGC Base station licences) | Ofcom

Application for a variation to 3G licences (and consequent proposal to vary draft 2GHz MSS/CGC Base station licences) | Ofcom

Ofcom is holding a consultation on raising the power limits on 3G basestations which the mobile network operators(MNO) have requested in order to increase mobile coverage.

The MNOs have requested to increase the EIRP limit to 65dBm while Ofcom are suggesting 68dBm, the current limit is 62dBm EIRP i.e. an increase of 6dBm which is about 1585W going up to 3981W almost double the power.

Though Vodafone made the original request Ofcom are proposing that the limits be increased for all operators.

This will allow bigger cell sizes and therefore will be good for rural areas, though (if there any any) health risks will be increased too.

The consultation closes on 19/03/2010.

Facebook get's Hip and Hop

Facebook Rocks the PHP World with HipHop - Application Development from eWeek

Facebook have introduced their HipHop technology which allows PHP code to run more efficiently. It's not a compiler but a language translator, PHP is translated to C++ which is compiled using the g++ compiler. There's a C++ runtime to go the with compiled code.

Some elements of PHP have been removed, but the core elements and various extensions are supported.

Facebook say that the code runs 50% more efficiently (which is massive reduction for a site like Facebook which delivers 400 billion pages every month).

HipHop is being released as open source and was made available on GitHub servers yesterday for all to get access too.

PHP is still used on many sites and it will take a while for HipHop to be adopted, though high volume sites will probably looking at using it in the very near term if it will save CPU's, though it wont be for all as PHP is very easy to understand and make modifications to (as it's interpreted any modifications will be actioned next time the page is viewed). Now much more formal procedures will be required as in change the PHP source, translate to C++, compile and send to the the server. Larger sites will have some kind of source/update control in place anyway so they'll just need to incorporate the extra steps into their processes.

01/02/2010

Carphone Warehouse to split into TalkTalk and New Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse (CPW) the telecoms and broadband operator is to demerge its two operating units by the end of March. TalkTalk will deal with all telecoms and broadband services, while New Carphone Warehouse will deal with the retail outlets (incorporating 50% of Best Buy Europe and 47.5% of Virgin Mobile France). Both TalkTalk and New CPW will be traded on the London Stock Exchange.

Charles Dunstone will become Chairman of both companies while Dido Harding will be CEO of TalkTalk and Roger Taylor (who is current CEO of the combined entities) will become CEO of New CPW.

This should allow both companies to specialise in their particular areas and both can feed each other at arms length.

There's a new play on words and it's called SeeSaw

The quite cleverly named new IPTV player has gone into private beta. The service is called SeeSaw (get it?) allows TV programs from the BBC, 4oD and Five to be delivered on your PC.

There are various categories: -

Comedy
Drama
Factual
Lifestyle
Entertainment
Sport

Or you can select by channel: -

BBC
4oD
Five

There's quite a lot of content available with new shows like Skins from 4oD and also a lot of Dr Who from the BBC (both past and present) and things like the Gadget show from Five, there also lots more. The content uses DRM and Flash Video.

If SeeSaw manage not to annoy too many people (like BSkyB) and keep the service going there'll be compelling content for viewers (it seems you have to be in the UK to view it). How the commercial models will work is yet to be seen. Hopefully it wont go the same way as its predecessor Kangaroo.

There's a private beta request sign-up on the front-page.

2.6GHz Spectrum Auction delayed until 2011

2.6GHz was going to be the figurehead of Ofcom's spectrum auction policy. It would be auctioned on a technology neutral basis with at least a national license allowing the possibility for innovative new 3G services, LTE or even WiMAX (i.e. a technology neutral basis). Ofcom would be the regulator that other countries would strive to follow. This was all going to happen in 2007.

The 2.6GHz band was originally allocated as a IMT-2000 (i.e. 3G) 'expansion band' and Ofcom might have allocated it to a 6th operator had the 5th 3G operator (i.e 3) failed.

Unfortunately things didn't go to plan and T-Mobile and O2 (both UK bits) challenged Ofcom that a realistic price could not be set unless Ofcom determined what would happen with GSM spectrum refarming (the current licenses only allow 900MHz to be used for GSM, the GSM operators wan to use it for 3G and the PCN operators i.e. Orange and T-Mobile think they should get some of it). The situation is further muddied as the MNO's with 900MHz spectrum say they should have access to 800MHz spectrum if they give up some of their valuable 900MHz. The reason 900MHz (and 800Mhz which is currently analogue TV) is so valuable is that it has very good transmission characteristics and goes into buildings well, while 1.8GHz (PCN) and more so 2.1GHz (3G) radio signals tend to get absorbed by concrete etc.

The situation has subsequently got even more complicated with the proposed merger of Orange and T-Mobile which would break existing spectrum caps.

BT are also interested in the 2.6GHz band as they could deploy WiMAX in rural areas and 3G services in urban areas. The WiMAX service would allow them to provide high speed broadband connections to communities where fibre/VDSL wont reach and in urban areas where they have good broadband coverage, they could offer their own 3G services to compete in the mobile business markets.

It was hoped that the auction would take in 2010, but now it seems 2011 is the earliest possible date and Ofcom still have a lot of mess to clear-up.