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by Karl Bode 06:53PM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure defended the company's support of Title II-based net neutrality rules this week, proclaiming that the company won't be able to survive in a fight against AT&T without some tougher rules of the road. Back in January, Sprint surprised the industry by throwing its support behind reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II. While companies like AT&T and Verizon claimed the new neutrality rules would kill sector innovation and stall investment, Sprint's basically been just short calling its industry compatriots liars.

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"Unless there is light-touch regulation that oversees AT&T and Verizon, they are going to drive us out of business," Claure stated at the Competitive Carrier Association's trade show this week in Atlanta. "I'd rather there be light-touch regulation than a complete free-for-all," he added.

Back in February Sprint Stephen Bye repeatedly shot down the notion that Title II would harm the industry, or that tougher net neutrality rules would somehow stifle investment. "Our competitors are going to continue to invest so they are representing a situation that won't play out," Bye noted at the time.

Of course Sprint's public support of net neutrality isn't entirely altruistic. Given they're in fourth place among the major carriers there's little risked by supporting a policy that most consumers are behind. Similarly, Sprint's support of Title II helped to highlight the fact that T-Mobile -- with a reputation as being a consumer darling -- initially balked at the idea of Title II net neutrality rules.

It may also go without saying, but given the fact that Sprint's network often ranks last in speed, latency, coverage and reliability in most of the current industry studies, net neutrality might just be the least of the company's problems at the moment.

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by Karl Bode 03:56PM Thursday Mar 26 2015
AT&T today announced that the company's faster 75 Mbps U-Verse tier has arrived in portions of Houston. The announcement comes after AT&T unveiled they'd expanded the speedier tier's footprint to seven additional markets (Baton Rouge, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Mobile, New Orleans, and South Bend) earlier this month.
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by Karl Bode 01:39PM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Dish continues to beef up the channel lineup for its new broadband streaming TV service, Sling TV. According to a company blog post, they've now added A&E, HISTORY, H2 and Lifetime to the company's "Best of Live TV"$20 core package, which now includes twenty channels.
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by Karl Bode 11:12AM Thursday Mar 26 2015
While net neutrality opponents in Congress have spent weeks shaming the FCC for standing up to ISPs, and the ISPs themselves have launched new lawsuits to kill the rules entirely, there's growing concern that the rules may have too many truck-sized loopholes for ISPs to skip through. Despite being portrayed breathlessly as "heavy-handed regulation of the Internet," the actual rules don't apply most of the heaviest aspects of Title II onto broadband providers.
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by Karl Bode 09:47AM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Labor unions have launched a new campaign taking aim at Verizon's stalled (read: stopped) FiOS deployment. As noted previously, Verizon's FiOS expansion has been over for several years, with the exception of franchise build out promises for major cities.
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by Karl Bode 08:04AM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Just a few years ago, TV viewer tracking firm Nielsen proclaimed that the idea of TV cord cutting in favor of Internet video alternatives was "purely fiction." Subsequent Nielsen reports have often quite adorably gone out of their way to downplay cord cutters to make TV executives (pleased with the status quo) happy. All that time Nielsen, a company tasked with tracking TV viewing habits didn't see fit to actually track Internet video viewers, making them probably the last organization one should ask regarding television's evolution.

That officially changed this week, with Nielsen finally stating they'd be tracking Netflix viewing patterns sometime by the middle of this year:
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“That will be the last significant portion of overall television content viewing that we don’t already measure,” Barns said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We really will have a full set of capabilities in the market to measure what we call the total audience across all screens, devices and platforms."
Netflix meanwhile has consistently refused to disclose viewing numbers, and has repeatedly stated that viewer totals don't matter for ad-free subscription services. The company called such a practice an "outdated mode of doing business."

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by Karl Bode 07:25AM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Numerous users have sent in this Consumerist piece highlighting one man's failure to get broadband deployed to his new home -- a new home CenturyLink and Comcast insisted they already served pre-sale. Not only were CenturyLink and Comcast not able to service the home, the customer spends months running a gauntlet of what can only be called absurdist art disguised as customer service. What should have just been a "sorry we don't serve that address" evolves into a Kafka-esque exploration of modern American broadband. I won't add more of a synopsis, it's a story you should really read for yourself.

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by Revcb 07:17AM Thursday Mar 26 2015

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by Karl Bode 05:20PM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
Earlier this year we noted how Portland was changing its tax code and a number of city ordinances in order to lure Google Fiber to the city. So far that seems to be working, with Portland on deck to be a potential launch market sometime later this year.
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by Karl Bode 03:15PM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
When Comcast originally announced its planned $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable in February of last year, the company predicted that they'd see DOJ and FCC approval sometime before the end of 2014. With early 2015 now quickly headed for mid 2015 and opposition to the deal causing doubts about approval, Comcast has been forced to shift their planned approval date to mid year.
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by Karl Bode 12:56PM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) this week unveiled the Surveillance State Repeal Act (pdf), which would dramatically reform the nation's growing intelligence surveillance apparatus.
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by Karl Bode 11:01AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
T-Mobile owned MetroPCS this week took the wraps off a new prepaid plan that offers users unlimited voice, text and data for $30 a month. According to the press release, the new plan started yesterday (Tuesday) and sets a "new standard in value" when compared to comparable offerings from Boost Mobile and Cricket. It's worth noting that only 1 GB of your "unlimited" allotment is at 4G speeds -- after that you're throttled back to an unspecified data rate for the remainder of your billing cycle. MetroPCS also notes that LTE phones won't quality for the new discounted rate, and the phone you use needs to be purchased from a MetroPCS store.

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by Karl Bode 09:18AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
Data pulled from Ookla suggests that the average downstream US connection speed has jumped 10 Mbps in the last year to 33.9 Mbps. That said, the US improvements were only enough to push it to 27th among the 199 countries ranked by average downstream speed.
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by Karl Bode 08:26AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
As Radio Shack moves to auction of its assets in bankruptcy auction -- a unique asset is up for sale as part of the process: the customer data of some 117 million customers. This data was supposedly protected by a privacy policy claiming "we will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time," resulting in a legal challenge by the states of Tennessee and Texas.

Joining them in their legal challenge is AT&T, who filed an objection in Delaware bankruptcy court stating they wanted the data returned or destroyed:
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In a filing Friday, Dallas-based AT&T said details of its agreement with RadioShack, which has been in effect since June 29, 2005, and other confidential information, belong to AT&T and its customers. That information was in RadioShack’s hands to fulfill their obligation under the almost 10-year-old agreement, “and not so that they could provide or sell this information to third parties, including AT&T competitors."
Bloomberg notes that some 13 million e-mail addresses and 65 million customer names and physical address files are going to be part of the sale process unless these challenges succeed.

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by Karl Bode 08:14AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
As we noted last month, Dish Network has been taking heat for some creative shenanigans at the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction. One, despite spending $13.3 billion at auction Dish appears to have used a legal "small business" loophole to save themselves around $3 billion.
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by Revcb 06:47AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015

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by Karl Bode 05:50PM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
For years Comcast has had a nasty habit of charging some of its customers a modem rental fee -- even after the customer buys their own modem. Our forums are consistently filled with more than a few complaints by users saying that getting Comcast to stop charging rental fees for owned equipment can take months or longer, just one small reason that Comcast has the worst satisfaction ratings of any company in the United States.
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by Karl Bode 04:03PM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
The NFL certainly hasn't been as cutting edge as Major League Baseball when it comes to Internet video -- in large part thanks to the company's exclusive arrangement with DirecTV (soon to be AT&T). But the league appears to be taking baby steps next season with the news they'll be taking bids to exclusively stream the week seven Jacksonville Jaguars-Buffalo Bills game to be played in London. The effort may eventually lead to an Internet video company winning bids to a suite of season games, though what this will look like (and how much it will cost) remains entirely unclear.

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by Karl Bode 01:47PM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
Google Fiber today confirmed that the company will be expanding its ultra-fast broadband service into Salt Lake City, Utah. According to a company blog post, Salt Lake City was chosen because of the city's "booming technology sector, world-renowned universities and a vibrant local culture." The city will be joining recently announced expansion cities including Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Nashville, and Atlanta -- all currently in the network design phase.
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by Karl Bode 11:49AM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
Back in February you'll recall that the FCC voted 3-2 to dismantle portions of state broadband laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that restricted towns and cities from deciding their own broadband policies for themselves. The laws are usually written by the broadband industry with one goal: protect incumbent ISP revenues from competition -- whatever form that competition takes.
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