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Speaking at Ohio State University today, FCC boss Tom Wheeler took direct aim at the nation's biggest ISPs, promising the FCC would be victorious in the legal fight over net neutrality. Wheeler's speech
again tried to shoot down some well-worn narratives being circulated by the broadband industry, namely that the new rules will stifle sector innovation and investment.
September of last year wireless operator C Spire issued a rather surprising announcement
saying they were going to start deploying fixed-line broadband networks capable of 1 Gbps in several markets within their (mostly Southern) footprint. C Spire's initial focus will primarily be on Mississippi, where nine cities are currently in the running to be the first to get the speedier service.
You might recall that back in 2011 the Obama Administration promised that the government would be dedicating itself to delivering "next generation" wireless broadband to 98% of the public within the next five years. As we noted at the time
the promise was rather empty rhetoric, given that deployment of LTE to that percentage of the population was likely going to happen with or without White House help.
Facebook and Google have been in a bit of a race toward drone
broadband connectivity, professing a rather breathless interest in connecting developing nations (though obviously the real interest is in delivering ads to billions of new eyeballs). Speaking at its F8 conference, Facebook this week offered a tiny bit more detail
on its broadband drone ambitions, which under "project Aquila" involve giant drones that deliver broadband from 60,000 to 90,000 feet via laser.
When AT&T first launched their 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service in Austin late last year in response to Google Fiber, the company's pricing raised a few eyebrows. In addition to the $350 ETF, installation and activation fees (which Google doesn't charge), AT&T was only willing to truly match Google's $70 pricing point if you agreed to opt in to the company's Internet Preferences
, which goes beyond Google-esque snooping to use deep packet inspection to track each and every website you visit, and for how long.
Last week we noted how Canadian regulators were tired of waiting for cable operators to offer more flexible TV pricing options, so they effectively forced a la carte television
on the Canadian market. The CRTC's ruling
requires that operators offer a core TV package of channels for no more than $25 a month, above which consumers should have the option of adding either standalone channels or "small, reasonably priced" channel packages.
Most TV operators aren't willing to offer a lower cost, standalone streaming TV offering for fear of cannibalizing their traditional, and far more lucrative, traditional TV subscriber base -- but can't ever candidly admit as much. Dish Networks boss Charlie Ergen apparently has no such compulsion. story continues..
by Revcb 06:38AM Friday Mar 27 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
“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."
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
by Revcb 07:17AM Thursday Mar 26 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
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.
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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