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As I've been discussing a lot lately
(because it's the most important issue facing the broadband sector right now), both AT&T and Verizon are in the process of gutting regulations that require they continue offering copper landlines -- and by proxy DSL -- to tens of millions of Americans. Both companies insist that they're simply interested in "modernizing regulations" and ushering us into an "all IP age." In reality, both companies simply want to exit the fixed-line market in areas they're unwilling to upgrade.
That's a move that has serious repercussions in the form of increased broadband coverage gaps, higher prices, stronger cable monopolies and lower-quality service. What happens to these users is part of one of the biggest shifts this industry has ever seen. The FCC this week simply noted that they'd be taking a closer look at this transition
, in the form of "Pilot programs" that can study the transition from the copper PSTN to wireless and/or VoIP.
This modest proposal outraged AT&T, who'd very much like to sever tens of millions of in-use DSL lines nobody wants to buy -- and they don't want to upgrade -- without anyone studying the way this would impact you. In a piece over at CNET
, contributor Larry Downes channels this bogus carrier outrage in a dubious piece that trots out all the industry's usual bogeymen, such as the well-worn yarn that the government simply studying an issue stifles network investment:
The notice was disappointing to advocates who see the IP transition as a potential catalyst in connecting more Americans to the broadband ecosystem, a goal far more likely with the switched network definitively shut off in favor of native IP technology. According to Fred Campbell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a former bureau chief at the FCC, Friday's notice is "more likely to discourage future investment in Internet infrastructure than to accelerate it."
Yes, nothing "connects more Americans to the broadband ecosystem" quite like killing off regulations requiring they keep providing DSL and POTS lines.
According to a company insider, additional Verizon customers impacted by Sandy will soon be informed -- some seven months after the fact -- that they too will never have their DSL lines repaired. As we've seen in New York and New Jersey
, the telco is foisting a service upon those customers called "Voice Link," which connects user home phones to the Verizon wireless network.
As noted last week, Verizon is informing Sandy victims who've been waiting for seven months that they'll never have their DSL lines repaired
. Instead, users are being given Voice Link, a service that connects home phones to the Verizon Wireless network but has a few kinks and fails to offer data.
A few weeks back, in response to Google Fiber, AT&T announced a plan for fiber to the press release in Austin
. That is, the company issued a very weaselly-worded statement claiming they were "prepared to build" an "advanced fiber optic infrastructure" technically capable of 1 Gbps if
they saw the precise perks they wanted from regional regulators.
CenturyLink users report that the company is suffering what appears to be a nationwide broadband outage across a significant portion of the company's 38 state footprint. Users in our forums
in locations ranging from Olathe, Kansas to Fort Hood Texas say they're unable to get any broadband connectivity whatsoever, and that the company's support lines have been busy for the last few hours.
It has been interesting to watch the responses of the two companies impacted most by Google Fiber's deployments: AT&T and Time Warner Cable. Both companies have fought competition tooth and nail over the years, and now that they're finally staring a little bit of it in the face, their responses have very much matched their corporate character. story continues..
To get their $2.7 billion acquisition of Verizon's New England networks approved by regulators, in 2007 Fairpoint promised they'd create 675 jobs
, though soon after the deal closed, the scope of the acquisition (and the huge debt Fairpoint signed off on) resulted in bankruptcy and service disruption. Though Fairpoint has since climbed out of bankruptcy, they've been shedding employees like winter clothes.
AT&T's video streaming services have been decidedly "me too" affairs, ranging from a video portal that was effectively a Hulu clone
to the U-Verse Screen Pack
, which was touted as a "Netflix killer" but suffers from a limited catalog and is only available to U-Verse users for an additional $5 a month. However, a new survey being sent to U-Verse customers indicates AT&T is pondering expanding these options. Variety
notes that the survey hints that the service might not be directly run by AT&T:
A customer survey sent out March 14 to AT&Ts U-verse subscribers asked whether they would be interested in signing up for, or even inquiring about, a new video and Internet service that would: Stream to customers own devices without a receiver box; include local broadcast channels and popular sports and entertainment cable channels; the option to bundle one streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime; and better picture quality and shorter wait times for streaming, All this would be offered at a significantly lower price than traditional pay TV services and without usage charges for streaming.
As we noted recently
, U-Verse users currently aren't being charged for overages but AT&T DSL users are. AT&T's curiosity in such a project comes after Verizon recently launched a streaming video service in conjunction with RedBox
The FCC still has around $185 million out of the $300 million broadband funds available from phase one of their Connect America Fund, dedicated to shoring up broadband coverage gaps. While companies like Frontier took $71.9 million to wire some 92,000 homes
, other companies like Windstream balked at taking full funding, saying that getting $775 per install wasn't enough for their liking
Earlier this month CenturyLink confirmed to us
that the company now imposes usage caps of 150 GB for 1.5 Mbps lines, and caps of 300 GB for anything faster. Users who exceed those caps get on-screen warnings and are urged to upgrade to faster tiers or business-class service.
Verizon is telling some New York City residents that they will never have their DSL lines replaced, and is telling those users they only have the option of wireless service going forward. Stop The Cap
notes that Fire Island, New York residents who lost service during Sandy haven't had broadband service since last October.
AT&T appears poised to begin offering new U-Verse speed tiers that should offer a belated speed increase for bandwidth-hungry users. Earlier this year AT&T promised users
they'd eventually see 75-100 Mbps using line bonding, though the company was somewhat murky on deployment time -- or upstream speeds.
by Revcb Thursday 14-Mar-2013
Windstream isn't having a very good few weeks in the peach state. First the company's anti-community broadband bill failed
after locals noticed Windstream was trying to stop others from expanding broadband -- in areas they refused to.
Verizon and AT&T want to get out of maintaining or upgrading the tens of millions of users they currently have on aging DSL -- so they can focus on higher profit wireless services. Literally hanging up on these users creates a multitude of problems nobody is discussing, like the fact that many users are fleeing to cable creating a stronger cable monopoly
, many of those DSL users will be forced to pay much more money for heavily capped LTE service, and many more won't be able to get LTE service at all when DSL lines are cut, creating connectivity gaps at a time we profess to be interested in eliminating them.
Independent California ISP Sonic.net has announced that they've teamed with former rival DSLExtreme to help bring the company's bonded ADSL2+ services to Los Angeles. According to a company press release
, Fusion should now be available to businesses and residential customers throughout greater Los Angeles and Sacramento. Fusion
offers users 20/2.5 Mbps speeds alongside home phone service for $40 a month, with some users able to get faster speeds with line bonding. "Our DSL Extreme partnership is actually the ninth ISP launch, so including our Sonic.net retail offering there are now ten ISPs on the open Fusion network platform," Sonic CEO Dane Jasper tells Broadband Reports.
Given Verizon's FiOS expansion has stopped in most places (unless you're somewhere with franchise obligations), the only way DSL users will be getting FiOS is if your regional core infrastructure is upgraded and
your line is perennially problematic. During yesterday's earnings call Verizon stated
they migrated some 223,000 "troublesome" lines from copper to fiber, most of those in regions impacted by Sandy.
Copyright troll Voltage Picture's attempt to extort money out of Canadian Teksavvy customers will have to wait a little longer. As we recently noted
, Voltage Pictures is trying to get TekSavvy to hand over the identities of thousands of BitTorrent users in order to send them "copyright-violation-o-matic" letters scaring those users into settling for copyright infringement of Voltage films.
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , telcodad