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by Karl Bode 12:21PM Thursday Oct 30 2014
The MPAA and the National Association of Theatre Owners have formally announced they're banning Google Glass and other wearable electronics from movie theaters, effective this week. In an updated policy statement, the MPAA insists the organization has a "long history of welcoming technological advances," something not supported by history given Hollywood's continued assault on a long list of emerging and disruptive technologies including the VCR -- which the MPAA in 1982 likened to the Boston strangler.

The full, updated policy:
quote:
The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have a long history of welcoming technological advances and recognize the strong consumer interest in smart phones and wearable “intelligent” devices. As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters, however, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown. As has been our long-standing policy, all phones must be silenced and other recording devices, including wearable devices, must be turned off and put away at show time. Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave. If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken.
This is the same organization that had a man interrogated by Homeland Security for simply donning Google Glass in a theater (he wasn't recording). At this point it appears pretty clear to most people that Google Glass is a bit of a dud, and isn't really even used all that much -- much less a serious piracy threat. Still, the MPAA is letting us know they're banning a barely-used technology because they love emerging technology so much.

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by Karl Bode 09:43AM Thursday Oct 30 2014
Looking to better understand the recent traffic slowdowns experienced during interconnection feuds, M-Lab has released a new study (pdf) that analyzed transit and connection points between large last mile ISPs and transit operators such as Level3 and Cogent. While the report is clear not to affix specific blame for the sort of Netflix streaming issues seen by customers of Verizon and Comcast, they do clearly point out that the problems were the result of choices made by ISPs in their business relationships, and not congestion.
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by Karl Bode 08:06AM Thursday Oct 30 2014
Apparently it's "huge telecom companies get in trouble for misleading behavior" week. On the heels of AT&T being sued by the FTC for misleading advertising and Comcast settling a class action for monopolistic over-billing comes the news that Verizon will be paying out $64 million for over-billing customers.
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by Karl Bode 08:06AM Thursday Oct 30 2014
"As an industry, we need a competitor - a serious competitor - to Netflix and Amazon," News Corporation Rupert Murdoch stated at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D conference in Laguna Beach, California. The problem? The company that drove MySpace into the ground has had problems competing with Netflix via services like Hulu, because to succeed they need to be disruptive -- and if they're truly disruptive they would ultimately cannibalize traditional TV viewers. As a result of this timidity, services like News Corp's Hulu wind up being little more than a glorified ads for traditional cable, unwilling to take the extra step to truly step into the ring with the rising Internet video services.

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by Revcb 07:50AM Thursday Oct 30 2014

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by Karl Bode 06:14PM Wednesday Oct 29 2014
At the beginning of the month the FCC announced that they were considering allowing over the top (OTT) video providers FCC-enforced access to vertically integrated programming. That sounds dull but it's a landmark shift that could potentially give Internet video companies the same rights as traditional cable operators.
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by Karl Bode 04:07PM Wednesday Oct 29 2014
Sprint today announced that the company's faster Spark LTE upgrades have arrived in seventeen new markets. According to the company's announcement, the seventeen markets include Denver, Seattle, Columbus, Sacramento, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. The company's Spark upgrades combine Sprint's 2.5 GHz, 1900 MHz and 800 MHz bands for improved regional capacity and speeds Sprint promises should top out around 60 Mbps. Sprint says the Spark upgrades are now available in 46 markets across the country, and should be available to 100 million potential customers by the end of the year.

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by Karl Bode 02:29PM Wednesday Oct 29 2014
It's pretty clear at this point that while consumers complain a lot about high cable prices, it's really not driving consumers away from traditional cable on a grand scale. While this won't be the case long term, users appear to be willing to pay a lot of money and even tolerate bi-annual rate hikes -- if they're treated relatively well.
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by Karl Bode 12:39PM Wednesday Oct 29 2014
Comcast today settled a decade-old lawsuit accusing the company of violating sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act by gobbling up competitors, then using the firm's market power to aggressively raise rates on users in Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston. The preliminary settlement involves Comcast paying $16.67 million in cash and another $33 million in service discounts to current and former subscribers in Philadelphia and four nearby counties.

The settlement comes as Comcast works to soothe regulator worries that the company's planned $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable will result in even more consolidated power.

Comcast Settlement 88281

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by Karl Bode 10:38AM Wednesday Oct 29 2014
For a moment there Apple's new AppleSIM -- which allows iPad users to easily compare plans and switch carriers without swapping out the SIM -- looked like it might be immensely disruptive. It becomes less impressive once you notice that Verizon isn't supporting the technology at all and AT&T is preventing it from working as intended.
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by Karl Bode 08:58AM Wednesday Oct 29 2014
Verizon is apparently getting into the news business, bankrolling a new technology news website called SugarString, which proclaims to cover "what millennials really care about today." Verizon's apparently hoping to take aim at websites like Wired and The Verge, hiring editors and writers to stock the website with content. However, as The Daily Dot points out, writers are being told they can't write about things like the NSA's domestic surveillance activities or net neutrality -- both things Verizon has more than a little role in:
quote:
News of Verizon’s publishing venture and its strict rules first came to light to multiple reporters through recruiting emails sent last week by author and reporter Cole Stryker, who is now the editor-in-chief of SugarString.
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by Karl Bode 08:02AM Wednesday Oct 29 2014
According to the latest data from ComScore, while traditional TV still rules the roost, Millenials are increasingly moving away from the classic definition of the boob tube. The survey of 1,159 TV watchers found that 24% of Millennials don't pay for traditional TV, and 46% time shift their content. 77% of younger folks are more likely than average to never have had traditional TV, and 67% are more likely than average to be a cord cutter. Unsurprisingly, older folk are more traditional. 84% of consumers between 35 and 54 spend the majority of their time watching traditional scripted shows on TV, a number that jumps to 90% among consumers who are 55 years or older.

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by Revcb 07:56AM Wednesday Oct 29 2014

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by Karl Bode 06:30PM Tuesday Oct 28 2014
After mocking other 1 Gbps deployments as "hype" that "confuses customers," Frontier Communications last week quietly started offering 1 Gbps service under the FiberHome brand to a few development communities in Durham. According to Frontier, the 1 Gbps service will run users $220 a month.
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by Karl Bode 04:25PM Tuesday Oct 28 2014
Chatter in our Bright House Networks forum indicates (and a press release confirms) that the company is preparing to bump the speeds available to most of their subscribers for free. The company's 10 Mbps customers are being bumped to 15 Mbps; 30 Mbps customers are being bumped to 35 Mbps; 60 Mbps customers are being nudged to 75 Mbps; and 90 Mbps customers will be pushed to 150 Mbps. Upstream speeds are staying the same. A Bright House representative in our forums states they should be completed by the end of December, and also confirms that the company is also working on deploying a faster 300 Mbps tier, though so far they haven't specified how much you'll pay for the service.

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by Karl Bode 02:10PM Tuesday Oct 28 2014
The FTC today announced they've filed a complaint against AT&T for the company's longstanding practice of promising "unlimited" data, only to significantly throttle back customer connections. According to the FTC press announcement, an FTC inquiry found that while AT&T advertised unlimited data, the company in 2011 began throttling data speeds for its unlimited data plan customers after they used as little as 2 gigabytes of data in a billing period.
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by Karl Bode 12:17PM Tuesday Oct 28 2014
Last week saw Frontier's acquisition of AT&T's DSL and landline customers in Connecticut get final regulatory approval, but customers already are complaining about a sloppy handoff. According to the Middletown Press, the midnight weekend transfer of ownership of hundreds of thousands of customers didn't go particularly well, with an undetermined but significant number of customers losing DSL and TV service well into Monday afternoon.
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by Karl Bode 10:25AM Tuesday Oct 28 2014
Broadcaster lawsuits have once again forced the FCC to delay their planned 600 MHz incentive auctions, this time until sometime in early 2016. According to an incentive auction progress report posted by the FCC, the agency states that "the court challenges to the auction rules by some broadcasters have introduced uncertainty" that requires the schedule shift.
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by Karl Bode 09:14AM Tuesday Oct 28 2014
An American Airlines flight from Los Angeles International Airport to London was delayed over the weekend -- because one of the plane's passenger's freaked out over another user's Wi-Fi SSID. According to Los Angeles ABC affiliate ABC7, a passenger on the flight became alarmed after seeing another traveler's hotspot named "Al-Quida Free Terror Network." A flight attendant was alerted, and the plane was diverted and held three hours under "security threat" and ultimately delayed until the next day. "After further investigation, it was determined that no crime was committed and no further action will be taken," the airport said in a statement.

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by Karl Bode 08:13AM Tuesday Oct 28 2014
AT&T has been slowly expanding the partner list of companies involved in their "Sponsored Data" program, wherein partners' content won't count against a user's mobile usage cap. The program has been controversial among net neutrality advocates because the concept gives companies with money to burn a potential leg up against smaller competitors.
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