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by Bill Neilson 12:30PM Thursday Oct 23 2014
Over the last few years, arguably the biggest factor for rising cable bills can be attributed to the price of sports programming. DirecTV is spending close to $1.5 billion annually to offer the NFL Sunday Ticket. Time Warner Cable spent $8 billion acquiring SportsNetLA, a Los Angeles Dodgers only channel.

Now, Disney and Time Warner are paying the NBA $24 billion for nine additional years of TV rights. One research company (The Diffusion Group) notes that the deal by itself will likely “raise the average American’s pay-TV bill by a couple dollars per month.”

Based off the continued sky-rocketing prices being paid by the TV providers for sports programming, is it any wonder why so many are cutting the cord? As the research company notes, the overall price of sports TV deals, like the NBA deal, will likely “lead to greater incumbent subscriber loss."

The NBA deal does in fact show some forward thinking in that it anticipates a new OTT service that would make NBA games available to viewers outside of the pay-TV (TV Everywhere) framework. Currently, those with the NBA’s existing League Pass service are forced to deal with restrictive blackout rules and the exclusion of all national broadcast games.

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by Karl Bode 10:34AM Thursday Oct 23 2014
For many years Verizon has wanted to offer an Internet TV service outside of the company's traditional FiOS and DSL footprint, earlier this year paying $500 million for Intel's failed dreams and streaming TV technology. Efforts on this front so far haven't gone as planned; the company was forced to shutter their underwhelming streaming joint venture with RedBox due to low interest.
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by Karl Bode 09:13AM Thursday Oct 23 2014
Bruce Kushnick laments how cable promotional offers can very quickly become costly, illustrating how his $90 Time Warner Cable Promotional bundle quickly ballooned to $190.77. Most readers will quickly and correctly state that this is how promotional offers work.
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by Karl Bode 08:23AM Thursday Oct 23 2014
While T-Mobile's tactics may not yet be truly hurting Verizon, AT&T's latest earnings report indicates they're feeling the pesky upstart's assault. AT&T's latest earnings missed Wall Street estimates, and the company had to lower growth projections due to what has largely been superficial price competition with T-Mobile. Still, AT&T posted net income of $3 billion on revenues of $32.9 billion, adding a healthy 785,000 postpaid wireless subscribers. AT&T also sports a 0.99% churn rate, suggesting that the majority of the company's customers are staying put, unswayed by John Legere's sultry advances.

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by Karl Bode 08:11AM Thursday Oct 23 2014
Comcast's latest earnings indicate the company's third-quarter net income jumped nearly 50% courtesy of income tax "adjustments," leading to profits of $2.59 billion on revenue of $16.79 billion on the quarter. Comcast lost 81,000 net video subscribers on the quarter, but managed to add 315,000 broadband users and 68,000 voice users. Those voice additions are down from 169,000 the previous quarter, and most analysts expect voice totals to slow then start to reverse as users look for ways to reduce soaring TV costs (read: cut digital voice and go cell only). The average Comcast customer bill climbed 4% to $137.24 per month, largely courtesy of early 2014 price hikes for most users.

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by Karl Bode 05:21PM Wednesday Oct 22 2014
The FCC today announced that the regulatory agency is pausing the 180-day "shot clock" on both the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers. According to the FCC's order, eight content companies including Disney, Time Warner, CBS, Twenty First Century Fox and Viacom raised opposition to competitors and other companies being able to see confidential carriage agreement details, even though companies that view this information must sign non-disclosure agreements.
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by Karl Bode 03:17PM Wednesday Oct 22 2014
Back in May Cox Communications stated that they'd be bumping the company's Preferred & Premier tier speeds to 50Mbs & 100Mbs respectively, at no additional cost (for the time being). They've been deploying these speed increases on a market-by-market basis ever since, with users in Nebraska, Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nevada already seeing the bump. Last week, DSLReports forum users in Connecticut and Rhode Island said they were now seeing the increases. This week, customers in San Diego say they're seeing the upgrade (also see this press release). This leaked upgrade schedule we posted in September will let you know if your neighborhood is next.

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by Karl Bode 12:23PM Wednesday Oct 22 2014
For years many of our more "serious" rural users have chosen to give their business to Verizon Wireless reseller Millenicom, since they've continued offering larger data allotments and unlimited options (they're a "no drama" company to quote one of our forum users). The plans were particularly popular among more rural users, whose only alternative is often very expensive and heavily capped satellite service, heavily capped LTE, or dial-up.
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by Karl Bode 10:52AM Wednesday Oct 22 2014
Last November we noted that Time Warner Cable, historically a bit sluggish when it comes to next-gen broadband upgrades, was considering a brand refresh named "Maxx" that would include significant speed and TV improvements. In addition to bumping select markets to 300 Mbps (Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Hawaii, Kansas City, Raleigh, San Antonio and San Diego), that will include a fancy new DVR that the company unveiled this week in Los Angeles and New York City.
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by Karl Bode 09:13AM Wednesday Oct 22 2014
The Broadband Forum's G.fast certification program has offered up more testing schedule and testing details for G.fast, a standard many hope will be able to deliver 1 Gbps speeds over copper lines. At the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam this week, it was announced that the University of New Hampshire InterOperablity Laboratory (UNH-IOL) will be the first and only testing lab for the Broadband Forum's G.fast certification program.
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by Karl Bode 08:33AM Wednesday Oct 22 2014
If you've followed the recent net neutrality debate, you'll recall that most consumer advocates believe the most sensible way forward is to reclassify ISPs as utilities and regulate them under Title II. Combined this with forbearance, argues groups like the EFF, and you've got a system that will protect consumer effectively while at the same time keeping the FCC from aggressively over-reaching.
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by Karl Bode 08:17AM Wednesday Oct 22 2014
Eager to expand government coffers, Hungarian politicians have pushed forward a new draft bill to be debated in 2015 that would tax Internet service providers for traffic carried. A report in Reuters indicates that the upcoming proposal sets forth a tax of 150 forints (60 US cents) per gigabyte of data traffic, though the report also notes the laws would allow companies to offset corporate income tax against the new levy.

The news was immediately received poorly, with possible protests planned for Sunday. One firm estimates Hungary's annual traffic to be 1.15 billion gigabytes on fixed line networks and 18 million gigabytes via wireless, which would generate around 175 billion forints (around $725 million) for the Hungarian government annually.

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by Revcb 06:57AM Wednesday Oct 22 2014

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by Karl Bode 06:18PM Tuesday Oct 21 2014
Verizon's latest earnings were released this morning, the company seeing a net income of $3.79 billion on revenue of $31.6 billion. While Verizon slightly missed Wall Street estimates, competition from T-Mobile didn't dent big red much: the company added 1.5 million wireless customers in the third quarter, 1.1 million of which were tablets.
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by Karl Bode 04:43PM Tuesday Oct 21 2014
According to a new schedule posted to their website, CableLabs is prepped to host a DOCSIS 3.1 "plugfest" in "a multi-vendor environment" during the week of December 1. The company also plans to host a follow up interoperability testing session during the week of January 19, 2015. Most of the 1 Gbps promises you're seeing made by companies like Cox or Comcast will rely on the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, which isn't expected to see significant commercial deployment until sometime in 2016. Back in September CableLabs said they were slightly ahead of schedule with development of the standard, which will take significantly less time to deploy than it did to design.

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by Karl Bode 02:57PM Tuesday Oct 21 2014
Sprint's latest promotion has the company waiving tablet access fees -- if you're signing up for enough data. The company has announced they're now selling the Apple iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3, and interested individuals can add the tablets to the company's Sprint Family Share Pack for an access charge of $10 per month per line. Sprint stated the company will be waiving that $10 monthly fee "throughout 2015" if users sign up for a data plan of 20 GB or larger. It's worth noting the Air 2 supports Sprint's faster Spark upgrades, while the Mini3 does not. User IPPlanMan See Profile writes in to note that users only have ten days left if they want to sign up for Sprint's double data promotion.

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by Karl Bode 12:31PM Tuesday Oct 21 2014
Dish customers are the latest to lose access to channels they're paying for thanks to yet another retransmission fee dispute. Turner Broadcasting channels including CNN, Cartoon Network and Headline News were pulled from Dish's lineup yesterday after the two sides failed to agree to terms.
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by Karl Bode 10:34AM Tuesday Oct 21 2014
Already under investigation in West Virginia for possible mishandling of government subsidy money, Frontier Communications is now facing a new class action in the state for failing to offer the services they advertised. According to the Charleston Gazette, the suit complains of frequent outages and accuses Frontier of failing to deliver speeds paid for.
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by Karl Bode 09:17AM Tuesday Oct 21 2014
In December of 2011, right after the cable industry struck their massive spectrum and marketing arrangement with Verizon, Sprint filed suit against Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CableOne, and Cox for supposedly violating Sprint VoIP patents. In early 2013 Comcast returned the favor, suing Sprint for violating numerous patents related to core network services, SMS/MMS, and 3G modem technology. After a four day federal trial, this week Sprint was forced to pay $7.5 million to settle the case. Sprint's original suit, which resulted in this counter-suit, isn't expected to see a court room until next year.

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by Karl Bode 07:58AM Tuesday Oct 21 2014
The Department of Justice is taking a very hard look at the anti-competitive impact of the Comcast merger, notes Reuters. The report notes that the DOJ is "digging deep" into a wide variety of issues, from programming negotiations and interconnection deals, to Comcast's growing overall share of the broadband market and the use of data caps. Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer tells Reuters the DOJ asked a lot of questions about the Netflix peering feud in particular. "The majority of the inquiries are around very technical data showing congestion, the timing, showing the impacts on our customers," said Schaeffer. "They're very in the weeds."

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