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.

Denmark's TDC weighs bid for Swedish cable firm Com Hem: sources

Almost 40 percent of Swedish households are connected to Com Hem's network


LONDON (Reuters) - TDC, Denmark's biggest telecoms network operator, is weighing a bid for Swedish cable firm Com Hem, as it seeks to expand across the Nordic region, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

TDC is sounding out banks to fund a deal that could value the cable operator at more than 11.7 billion Swedish crowns ($1.56 billion) based on its current market price, the sources said.

U.S. House subcommittee postpones hearing on net neutrality

FCC's Wheeler had hoped to set the new rules before the end of the year


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A key House panel has delayed a hearing on the Federal Communications Commission's efforts to write new Internet traffic rules aimed at assuring "net neutrality."

The U.S. House of Representatives Communications and Technology subcommittee had been expected on Dec. 10 to quiz all five FCC commissioners about so-called net neutrality rules that would regulate the how Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic that travels through their networks.

At China online coming-out party, Beijing spells out Internet control ambition

Limited media access at summit reinforces concerns that Beijing offers only lip service


WUZHEN, China - China showed governments and the planet's biggest tech firms last week its vision for global Internet governance - clean, controlled and choreographed.

Public officials and firms worth $2.5 trillion in market value, from Apple Inc to Facebook Inc, got first-hand exposure in the postcard-perfect town of Wuzhen as China showcased its first 'World Internet Conference' (WIC).

AT&T says fiber spending pause affects only new commitments

Follows Obama's call for stricter regulations that would treat ISPs like public utilities


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - AT&T Inc sought to clarify to U.S. regulators its plans to pause investments in high-speed Internet connections until "net neutrality" rules are settled, saying in a letter on Wednesday that the plans related to new and not existing commitments.

The Federal Communications Commission earlier this month pressed the company to explain its plans to stop investing in high-speed Internet connections in 100 cities until the agency sorts out new "net neutrality" rules for how Internet service providers manage web traffic on their networks.

Telecom firms call for change to BT's business broadband 'monopoly'

Openreach continues to dominate the business end of the market


LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's biggest telecoms service providers have filed a complaint to media regulator Ofcom demanding greater competition in the business broadband market, where they say BT has an effective monopoly.

The UK Competitive Telecommunications Association (UKCTA), said other companies should be allowed to lay their own cables in BT ducts and use their own equipment to control BT cables, saying it would improve service and encourage innovation.

NSA chief warns Chinese cyber attacks could shut U.S. infrastructure

Threats persist for power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China and "probably one or two" other countries have the ability to invade and possibly shut down computer systems of U.S. power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, said on Thursday.

Testifying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on cyber threats, Rogers said digital attackers have been able to penetrate such systems and perform "reconnaissance" missions to determine how the networks are put together.

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