Subscription rates of both wired and mobile broadband have increased for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is comprised of 35 countries.
On the mobile side, the average in December 2015 was 91 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. That average increased to 99 subscriptions per 100 subscribers in December of 2016. There were 113 million new mobile subscriptions. As of December 2016, there were 1.275 billion subscriptions in a region with a population of 1.284 billion people. Eleven countries have penetration rates of more than 100 percent.
Fixed broadband subscriptions rose from 372 million to 387 million between December 2015 and 2016, which increased the penetration rate from 29.2 percent to 30.1 percent. The leading countries are Switzerland (at 50.1 percent), Denmark (42.4 percent), the Netherlands (41.9 percent), France (41.4 percent) and Norway (40.5 percent), the press release says.
Ransomware Surprisingly Small Percentage of Malware
Ransomware is a chilling form of malware that has garnered a lot of headlines during the past few months due to the WannaCry and Petya-related attacks. That level of notoriety makes it surprising that testing group AV-Test found that ransomware comprises less than 1 percent of the 600 million malicious programs that targeted Microsoft Windows last year, according to ZDNet.
That’s not to say that ransomware isn’t common. The Virlock strain of ransomware did hit the top echelon, however. AV-Test reports that it was the fourth most widely spread malware family last year. The story also says that Microsoft reports that Windows gets 500 million ransomware emails quarterly.
The Rural Broadband Price Tag: $80B
Last month, President Trump promised that rural broadband will be part of the administration’s $1 trillion nationwide infrastructure plan. Analysis by experts suggests, however, that the $25 billion set aside for that purpose won’t be enough.
The story says that broadband is defined by the government as download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps). Providing that speed ubiquitously would cost $80 billion, the analysts conclude. Today, that speed is reached in only 55 percent of rural areas, while urban areas have a 94 percent level.
Broadband would be a boon to rural folks, especially if it automates functions and reduces the amount of time-consuming trips they must take:
For example, farm equipment now comes with the option of remotely troubleshooting a problem with a tractor or combine -- but only if you’ve got the bandwidth. Farmers who lack broadband must haul their equipment to a repair shop and potentially lose days of planting or harvesting. They also can’t get real-time data on soil or moisture conditions, which can lead to over-applying seeds and fertilizers, raising costs, creating environmental damage and making their farms less profitable and efficient.
It is not mentioned in the story, but fixed wireless 5G could play a major role in changing the cost equation and allowing these areas to be better served.
Gartner: Device Shipments to Decline 0.3 Percent this Year
Gartner released research predicting that shipments of PCs, tablets and smartphones will decline 0.3 percent from 2016 levels and finish this year at about 2.3 billion units shipped. There is good news for companies in this ecosystem, however: Gartner says that shipments will grow 1.6 percent in 2018.
The firm said that traditional PCs will continue to decline through 2019, while premium ultramobiles will experience sharp growth. Basic and utility ultramobiles, which are broken out as a separate category, will decline between last year and 2017 and stay almost steady through 2019. Mobile phone shipments will rise from 2016 to 2018 but fall back slightly in 2019, the firm predicts.
Dangerous Android Malware “SpyDealer” Identified by Palo Alto Networks
Three researchers from Palo Alto Networks have identified malware that “exfiltrates” – steals – data from more than 40 apps as well as messages from communications apps. The malware, which the researchers have dubbed “SpyDealer,” can do damage in seven ways. These are explained in the very detailed post at the Palo Alto site.
The post says that SpyDealer is not known to be distributed through the Google Play store. The authors suggest that it may be reaching phones through compromised wireless networks. It is only fully effective on versions 2.2 to 4.4 of Android (which covers about one-quarter of Android users). SpyDealer can steal data from later Android versions, though it can’t take actions that require higher privileges, the post says.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.