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by Karl Bode 02:33PM Thursday Nov 20 2014
The New York Times recently explored the statewide protectionist bans paid for by incumbent ISPs that hinder or outright prohibit communities from building their own networks. As we've long covered, these bans don't really care if ISPs aren't willing to service these same areas, and some even block public/private partnerships. The FCC has hinted they may fight to overturn some of these bills to help accelerate broadband deployment.

CenturyLink, which has a very long history (both currently and as Qwest) of passing such laws and suing muni-operations, justifies this behavior to the Times by insisting consumers don't want fiber upgrades anyway:
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“We build our network to meet customer expectations,” said Bill Hanchey, a CenturyLink regional vice president who oversees government affairs. But customers are not clamoring for the speed provided by fiber, he said. “It does us no good to go out and build networks that customers don’t need or aren’t requesting."
The idea they don't want to be upgraded might be interesting news to the CenturyLink users in our forums still stuck on increasingly-antiquated and capped DSL connections. In reality, CenturyLink's stagnation when it comes to upgrading the lion's share of its market simply comes from the fact the have no competitive incentive to do so.

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by Karl Bode 12:11PM Thursday Nov 20 2014
As part of the company's attempt to shore up lagging customer service (or to at least shore up the perception of lagging customer service) Comcast today unveiled a new app that will let customers track where a technician currently is located. Waiting all day for a technician that never shows up is a large reason for the cable industry's abysmally low customer satisfaction rankings, and Comcast and their new "Customer Experience" VP Charlie Herrin hopes the new app helps to change that.
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by Karl Bode 10:08AM Thursday Nov 20 2014
T-Mobile continues to slowly but surely expand market availability for the company's "wideband" 15x15 MHz channel LTE upgrades, which should dramatically improve speeds in launch areas. According to a T-Mobile announcement, the company's latest launch market is Boston and the surrounding areas, including Springfield, Worcester as well as Providence and Warwick, Rhode Island.
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by Karl Bode 08:24AM Thursday Nov 20 2014
Sandvine's latest Global Internet Phenomenon report (spotted over at Ars Technica) offers up some interesting insights into the traffic loads on Sandvine's client networks (aka large ISPs). While the idea that Netflix traffic comprises up to 30 to 35% of global Internet traffic during peak hours, the report also notes that Netflix surprisingly (or not) also utilizes around 9.5% of upstream Internet traffic during peak hours, second only to BitTorrent at 25.49%.
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by Karl Bode 08:08AM Thursday Nov 20 2014
Charter board member and minority stake holder John Malone says that he'd push to have Charter Communications make another pass at Time Warner Cable if regulators block Comcast's attempted acquisition. "Oh yes," Malone said when asked if a Charter buy would still be on the table in such a scenaior. "That said, we're happy with the deal that was negotiated. In many ways it's a better deal than going after 100% of Time Warner Cable." To get regulatory approval, Comcast's current deal involves spinning off 2.5 million subscribers to create a company named Greatland Communications that's co-owned by Comcast and Charter.

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by Revcb 07:02AM Thursday Nov 20 2014

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by Karl Bode 06:28PM Wednesday Nov 19 2014
Dish Network customers lost access to some Turner channels including CNN last month, and as with other retrans fights, both sides have been busy using websites to try and direct consumer ire toward the other guy (See Turner's SaveMyShows.com website and Dish's DishStandsForYou.com website). The two sides have ramped up their PR battles as the December 5 deadline for a new contract nears, and Turner is issuing warnings that Dish users could soon lose access to the rest of the Turner channel lineup, including TNT and TBS.
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by Karl Bode 04:11PM Wednesday Nov 19 2014
After launching on November 13, the auction of AWS-3 spectrum today broke the record for spectrum auction prices and shows no sign of slowing down. Total bids for the spectrum today soared past $18,567,380,500 ($2 billion of which covered the NY market alone), and should cross the $20 billion mark with ease. While specific bids of the 70 participants are anonymous, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Dish are all expected to be the top bidders in this auction, all hoping to add to their LTE spectrum holdings. BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk notes bidding topped $1.04/MHz/POP and reached $2.50/MHz/POP in several large markets. Dish stock was up 9% today at one point based entirely on the success of the auction.

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by Karl Bode 02:02PM Wednesday Nov 19 2014
Not only was Kansas City the first market to get Google Fiber's symmetrical 1 Gbps service, but a smattering of competitors are responding by offering similar (or better) options. A company by the name of Consolidated Communications this week announced that they'll soon be offering everyone within range of their fiber footprint symmetrical 1 Gbps connections for $70 a month with no installation or other fees.
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by Karl Bode 12:10PM Wednesday Nov 19 2014
Just a few years ago, 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 (who want things to remain precisely as they are) 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.
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by Karl Bode 09:30AM Wednesday Nov 19 2014
While many argued that the USA Freedom Act didn't go far enough after being watered down in negotiations, as the EFF explores it was the best chance yet at enacting some meaningful reform in the surveillance community. While it didn't reform the non-transparent FISA court process, and it contained loose language sure to be abused by government lawyers, it did aim to appoint a special advocate to argue for citizen rights before the FISA court and was at least a step in the right direction.
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by Karl Bode 08:27AM Wednesday Nov 19 2014
Netflix streamed roughly 6.5 billion hours of video or 19,500,000 terabytes of data during the first quarter of this year. At that rate, it's estimated that Netflix will stream 78,000,000 terabytes of data in 2014 alone. That's quite the jump from last year, when Netflix is estimated to have streamed 4 billion hours of video or 12,000,000 total terabytes of data during the first quarter. These numbers are based on consuming around 3 GB per hour for HD programming, so the numbers will jump significantly should Netflix see meaningful consumption of their new (and more expensive) 4K offerings, which eats around 7 GB every hour.

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by Karl Bode 07:36AM Wednesday Nov 19 2014
On the heels of the company's recent launch of 1 Gbps service in Phoenix, Cox Communications is also ramping up the deployment of Wi-Fi to complement the service. According to a company announcement, Cox now offers around 500 new hotspots around the Phoenix region, and plans to offer 1,200 hotspots before the end of this year, and 2,500 throughout the area before the end of 2015. Nationwide, Cox now offers subscribers access to 25,000 hotspots free with their broadband and cable TV subscriptions. The company also offers access to more than 300,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the country through a partnership with other cable providers.

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by Karl Bode 07:35AM Wednesday Nov 19 2014
Remember: we're willing to pay community members or guest contributors who'd like to write content for the front page! Contact me if you're interested. Topics can range from networking tips or your review of a new router, to your experiences as a cable installation technician, involvement with the transition to IPv6, or your effort to get your town wired with better broadband service. Be creative and pitch me a topic. Examples of community content range from Bill Neilson See Profile's exploration of cities impacted by Comcast's looming departure, to pjsutton See Profile's fight to get Verizon to finally wire his town with broadband.

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by Karl Bode 06:28PM Tuesday Nov 18 2014
Not to be outdone by Time Warner Cable's recent "Maxx" upgrades, New York-area overbuilder RCN today announced they're going to soon start offering a 330 Mbps tier of their own. According to the company announcement, the 330 Mbps down, 20 Mbps up tier will be made available to the company's entire New York City footprint starting in December. According to RCN, the service will run new customers $65 per month, with no long-term contracts and a three-year price assurance. "With our new 330Mbps service running across our fiber-rich network, RCN customers will enjoy seamless and smooth Internet connectivity, which is essential for streaming, uploading and downloading without interruptions,” proclaims the company.

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by Karl Bode 04:15PM Tuesday Nov 18 2014
In yet another retransmission dispute where customers get to pay the same money for less content, CBS and Dish appear stuck in negotiations ahead of a contract expiration at the end of the month. "Dish has been deliberately dragging its feet for months," CBS is warning customers. "Now, as the deadline nears, Dish appears willing to drop the most popular programming in its entire channel lineup because it won’t negotiate the same sort of deal that other cable, satellite and telco companies have struck with CBS." Dish, meanwhile, insists that "only CBS can force a blackout of its channels."

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by Karl Bode 02:15PM Tuesday Nov 18 2014
The latest analysis of pay TV subscriber trends by the Leichtman Group indicates that the top pay TV operators collectively lost 150,000 subscribers during the third quarter. While many third quarters statistically see a boost in subscribers as kids return to school, this was the biggest loss in third quarter TV statistic history, notes the firm.
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by Karl Bode 12:07PM Tuesday Nov 18 2014
AT&T and Verizon continue to tinker with pricing and promotions on their most expensive tiers as they try to counter T-Mobile disruption without entering into an all out price war. According to AT&T's latest announcement, the company is bumping the data allotment of their 10 GB Mobile Share plan to 15 GB at no additional cost. The plan currently runs users $100 a month (plus assorted fees and service charges) for 10 GB of data, unlimited voice and unlimited SMS. The promotion is available to new and existing AT&T customers starting today, and is running for an unspecified "limited time."

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by Karl Bode 10:37AM Tuesday Nov 18 2014
Claiming to be the fastest and largest Free Wi-Fi deployment in the world, New York City this week announced LinkNYC, an initiative the city promises will provide Wi-Fi at speeds of a gigabit. The initiative will replace the city's aging pay phones with Wi-Fi hotspots and device charging stations, with the project funded by bright display ads that will pitch services to passers by.
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by Karl Bode 08:30AM Tuesday Nov 18 2014
Midcontinent Communications is the latest ISP to throw their hat in to the 1 Gbps ring, unveiling a plan to bring gigabit Internet access to homes and businesses in hundreds of communities in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. Unlike many such release MidContinent's announcement is specific in terms of deployment scope, noting the deployments will make 1 Gbps speeds available to 600,000 homes and 55,000 businesses through a fiber network that will span roughly 7,600 miles.

According to the company, the first cities with access to gigabit service will be the metro areas of Sioux Falls and Rapid City in South Dakota -- and Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks in North Dakota.

"We won't cherry-pick the communities or neighborhoods we will access with our gigabit services," president and CEO Pat McAdaragh said in a statement. "We won't limit it to a few neighborhoods in the largest cities."

Prices have yet to be announced by the company, which states the 1 Gbps deployment should be completed by the end of 2017.

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