New Internet rules set up industry's next battle

Some European telecoms executives believe that the region will take a more accommodating stance


BARCELONA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - New rules that aim to protect the openness of the Internet will allow telecom and cable groups to prioritize and earn potentially vast income from some types of data, setting up likely clashes with regulators in the future.

Telecom companies such as AT&T and Vodafone have convinced U.S. and European regulators, finalizing so-called "net neutrality" rules, to allow them to dedicate network capacity to services such as providing connectivity to driverless cars and facilitating the exchange of medical data between patients and health professionals.

Italy government pushing for broadband solution

Sector regulator AGCOM favors 'fiber-to-the-cabinet' architecture


MILAN (Reuters) - The Italian government is pushing to speed up the roll-out of ultrafast broadband networks to help its ailing economy, fuelling speculation it could force incumbent Telecom Italia into a costly overhaul of its existing infrastructure.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meets on Tuesday to approve an 6 billion euro ($6.7 billion) plan to build a nationwide fiber optic network by replacing the aging copper wires that run into subscribers' homes.

Cablevision loses video subscribers for 10th straight quarter


(Reuters) - Cablevision Systems Corp reported a drop in video subscribers for the tenth quarter in a row, raising concerns about the company's prospects as customers increasingly shift to lower-priced bundled services from telecom carriers.

Cablevision's shares fell as much as 5.5 percent after the company also posted a 3.4 percent drop in adjusted operating cash flow, a closely watched metric for the cable TV industry.

On U.S. net neutrality rules, 11th-hour push against vague rule

Shared concern by industry groups and activists is a rare example of the two sides being aligned


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote on new rules for high-speed Internet service, one aspect of the rules is drawing criticism from both opponents and proponents of tighter regulation.

The FCC, which is set to vote next week to regulate Internet service providers more like traditional telephone companies, has introduced a so-called "general conduct" provision in the latest version of the rules that aim to ensure net neutrality, the principle that all web traffic should be treated equally.

Rocket Internet raises fresh capital after food spending spree

Disbelievers question emerging markets strategy unpredictable places


FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Rocket Internet went to investors with a capital hike just four months after its stock flotation, asking for fresh funds following a 1 billion euro spending spree that targets online food takeaway businesses as the next big thing.

The Berlin-based company, Europe's biggest Internet player thanks to its stakes in more than 100 start-ups ranging from fashion to finance, raised 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in its October IPO. It added a further 588 million euros on Friday that it said would allow it to continue to look around.

For Google, new FCC rules may bring unfamiliar government oversight

Company says new rules will not affect decision to invest in Fiber


SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of Google Inc's major business operations could fall under the day-to-day jurisdiction of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for the first time, potentially subjecting the fast-moving Internet company to regulations it has often criticized.

Aiming to set "net neutrality" rules that guide how Internet service providers manage traffic on their networks, the FCC will vote Feb. 26 on whether to impose tighter regulations by classifying them more like traditional telephone companies.

China's internet population hits 649 million, 86 pct on phones

Huge part of China's potential remains untapped in smaller cities and rural areas


BEIJING (Reuters) - China had 649 million internet users by the end of 2014, with 557 million of those using handsets to go online, said a government report on Tuesday, as the world's biggest smartphone market continues its shift to mobile.

While growth is slowing, China's total internet population still rose by 31 million in 2014, said the report by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

Growth in mobile internet users was faster, at 57 million.

Cablevision to launch WiFi phone service for data-hungry users

Such services could pose a challenge to traditional telecom carriers


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Cablevision System Corp said on Monday it would launch in February a wireless Internet phone service to give users an alternative to pricier data plans from cellular companies such as AT&T and Verizon.

The "Freewheel" phone service, which runs on any WiFi connection, is an attempt by Cablevision to retain and potentially add subscribers at a time when cable companies are losing out to lower-priced, bundled TV and Internet services from telecom firms.

Italy's digital future seen at stake in battle for Metroweb

Servicing homes with fiber optic cable is a tough and costly task


MILAN (Reuters) - A small company renting out optical fiber cables in Milan has become the subject of a fierce takeover battle between Telecom Italia and global mobile giant Vodafone, with a national high-speed fiber network seen as the ultimate prize.

Both companies have set their sights on buying a controlling stake in Metroweb that infrastructure fund F2i is selling.

Vodafone says other carriers should be allowed to take Metroweb stake

Also asked that all Metroweb shareholders be allowed to appoint board members


MILAN (Reuters) - The Italian arm of mobile phone group Vodafone believes that so-called other licensed operators (OLO) should be allowed to take a stake in Metroweb if infrastructure fund F2i sells its controlling holding in the Italian fiber optic network firm, Vodafone said in a letter to Italy's competition watchdog AGCM.

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