According to an FCC announcement
(pdf), T-Mobile and the FCC have struck an agreement that will involve T-Mobile making the company's throttling practices clearer. As in stands, T-Mobile doesn't charge overages -- but instead throttles capped users at 64 kbps or 128 kbps for the remainder of their billing cycle once they cross their usage limit. Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced they'd be exempting speedtests from their usage caps, resulting in throttled users not being able to actually see they were throttled.
The move resulted in consumer groups like Public Knowledge complaining
that the company was being misleading, and that by exempting speed tests from caps, users weren't able to get an accurate picture of the state of their connection.
The FCC appears to have agreed, stating in their announcement this practice has resulted in general confusion among customers. As a result, the FCC states that T-Mobile has agreed to do the following within the next 60 days:
•Send customers a text message once they hit their monthly high-speed data allotment linking to a speed test that customers can use to determine their actual reduced speed;
•Provide a button on customer smartphones linking to a speed test that will show actual reduced speeds;
• Modify the text messages it currently sends to customers once they hit their monthly high-speed data allotment to make it clear that certain speed tests may show network speeds, rather than their reduced speed. The modified texts also will provide more information about the speeds that will be available after customers exceed their data cap; and
• Modify its website disclosures to better explain T-Mobile’s policies regarding speed test
applications and where consumers can get accurate speed information.
“The FCC is committed to ensuring that broadband providers are transparent to consumers. I’m grateful T-Mobile has worked with the FCC to ensure that its customers are better informed about the speeds they are experiencing,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement. “Consumers need this information to fully understand what they are getting with their broadband service.”
Last month HBO finally acquiesced to a decade of consumer demand and announced
they'll be offering a standalone HBO streaming service (one that doesn't require a traditional cable connection) starting next year. All indications are the new service should run consumers around $15 a month, though HBO hasn't officially unveiled prices.
After breaking records for bidding in a spectrum auction, the AWS-3 auction has since roared onward, with more than $34 billion in bids now collected
. That well exceeds the previous record of $18.9 billion raised during the 2008 auctions, and the AWS-3 auction may still continue for another week or two. Frequencies being bid on by companies like AT&T, Dish, Verizon and T-Mobile include two blocks in the 1695-1710 megahertz band, and four paired sets of frequencies at 1755-1780 and 2155-2180 megahertz. The next auction isn't expected until the delayed
600 MHz incentive auction occurs sometime in 2016.
Back in June T-Mobile announced
the company's "Music Freedom" plan, which exempts a select number of music streaming services from impacting consumer caps. While T-Mobile proclaimed that the idea was pro-consumer, the company faced some criticism
at the time for violating net neutrality -- since very small companies suddenly found themselves the only ones counting against usage caps.
The EFF this week unveiled Let’s Encrypt
, a new certificate authority (CA) initiative the company is building alongside Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, IdenTrust, and researchers at the University of Michigan. According to an EFF blog post
, Let's Encrypt aims to speed up the deployment of HTTPS by automatically issuing and managing free certificates for any website that needs them.
Back in October Verizon began a promotion
that gave new FiOS customers a $150 VISA prepaid gift card and a free year of Netflix service if they sign up for the FiOS triple play. At the time, Verizon stated that the offer was a limited NYC trial, though Verizon this week confirmed to me it has since been offered nationwide -- at least until sometime in January.
Windstream has announced that the company plans to eliminate 350 positions by December 1. According to the telco, around 120 of the affected positions are being eliminated through a voluntary buyout initiative. Windstream currently has 13,000 employees, slowly trimmed back from the 14,500 of a few years ago
. "Today's actions are difficult, but necessary to effectively manage costs," states the company. "While we are eliminating certain roles across the company, we continue to invest in strategic areas of our business to grow revenue, better serve customers and create value for shareholders."
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by Revcb 08:06AM Monday Nov 24 2014
Put something below and be quick about it.
As noted yesterday
, consumer advocates are concerned that they'll lose grass roots momentum for Title II if FCC boss Tom Wheeler delays voting on new net neutrality rules too long. The FCC has made clear they're not voting in December, with the next FCC meeting after that not occurring until almost February of next year.
We've discussed at length how AT&T's "IP transition" is being framed as some sort of evolutionary transition toward a "glorious all-IP future," but is really largely about AT&T (and Verizon) gutting regulations in order to hang up on POTS and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade
. After Verizon used Sandy as an excuse to refuse to upgrade their own unwanted POTS and DSL customers, the FCC stepped in to mandate two small IP transition trials
to help analyze what kind of problems we can expect as users are cut off from the PSTN and pushed on to wireless (or nothing at all).
In June of last year Google unveiled Google Loon
, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft.
In a move that's not at all surprising after the Supreme Court ruling
and the recent slate of layoffs
, Aereo has announced that the streaming operator has filed for bankruptcy. In a blog post
, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia states that the Supreme Court ruling has "has proven difficult to overcome," and that filing for bankruptcy will allow the company to "maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts":
While we had significant victories in the federal district courts in New York and Boston and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the reversal of the Second Circuit decision in June by the U.S.
The Washington Post
notes that Southern States have among the lowest adoption rates in the nation, thanks in large part to lower incomes and expensive broadband service. Historically, opponents of shaking up the status quo like to argue that these people are disconnected by choice, though the Post notes that data points to income and expensive service (courtesy of limited competition) as the reason Southern adoption rates lag.
Dish and CBS have announced a temporary extension
to avoid Dish customers losing access to CBS content as the two sides hash out a new carriage contract. According to Variety
, the biggest sticking point isn't retrans fees (as is usually the case) but Dish's plans to launch an over the top streaming TV service, planned before the end of the year.
by Revcb 07:18AM Friday Nov 21 2014
When President Obama issued his surprisingly clear but annoyingly belated support
for Title II reclassification network neutrality advocates clearly felt empowered. Even though the FCC is an independent agency, Obama was clearly calling out FCC boss Tom Wheeler to leave legally dubious Section 706 rules and his hybrid
solution behind and clearly and quickly go the Title II route.
It has been interesting to see lately how Apple and Google have effectively started competing on privacy -- both companies announcing recently
that new encryption standards used on their latest OS's and devices mean they'll no longer unlock devices at the behest of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Not too surprisingly this shift has annoyed law enforcement and intelligence agencies, who've been escalating their rhetoric in opposition to the shift.
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.
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