Late last month we noted how
Google Fiber had announced they were working with 34 cities in nine regions on how to best prepare themselves for faster fiber broadband. While the press generally misread the announcement as saying that these cities would be getting Google Fiber, it seems like only one or two actually will by the time this new initiative is over.
The new plan's primary goal appears to be to share a little bit of what Google has learned about fighting the status quo from their work in Provo, Austin and Kansas City. Another goal, made obvious be Google's mention of South Carolina, is to draw greater attention to some of the protectionist bills being passed by incumbent ISPs
to block competitors and/or towns and cities from improving infrastructure themselves.
Some of you might be interested in taking a look checklist they're sending to potential partner cities
(pdf). In it, Google also notes they're discussing the option of broader Wi-Fi coverage with these target cities:
Google Fiber is also exploring the possibility of deploying Wi-Fi in future Google Fiber cities. Requirements related to Wi-Fi are not included in this checklist, but we will be discussing our Wi-Fi plans and related requirements with your city as we move forward with your city during this planning process.
While Google Fiber gets all the attention, Google has rather quietly been expanding free Google Wi-Fi to select locations in California, Georgia, and Oklahoma
. May first was the deadline for cities to respond to items on Google's checklist, which is effectively a best practices document outlining how to make improving a cities broadband infrastructure a speedier and more efficient process.
Google's expected to have more detail on this effort (as well as potential new Google Fiber cities) by sometime before the end of the year.
AT&T today announced that their first "IP transition" trials as the company eyes shutting down its copper networks will occur in West Delray Beach, Florida (Kings Point) and Carbon Hill, Alabama. According to an AT&T announcement
, these locations will be the sites of multi-year trials with FCC oversight aimed at studying the impact of migrating away from copper networks and the PSTN.
NBC insists that the network worked with Olympics officials to thwart some 45,000 pirated streams
of the recent Sochi winter games. Though they didn't show their math to support their claims, the network also insists it stopped 5,000 illegal streams of live Olympics events.
Kevin Fitchard has a good breakdown over at GigaOM
on the current state of LTE networks. The short version: Verizon's still the LTE king thanks to an early start and ample spectrum, T-Mobile's very quickly up and coming, AT&T's patchy spectrum means that while they've got a decent network they won't hold the LTE speed crown for long, and Sprint, well, Sprint is promising a lot with their Spark speed upgrades
, but still needs a lot of work. Nothing most of our readers don't know, but an excellent breakdown in case you've been on a Pacific island the last six years and just came ashore confused and clinging to your Treo 700w.
The FCC today voted unanimously to begin conducting voluntary trials to ensure a relatively smooth and reasonable transition away from the PSTN and copper networks. The push for such trials began in earnest after Verizon refused to repair the DSL and copper POTS lines of hurricane Sandy victims, instead forcing them to instead use an inferior wireless-based product
known as VoiceLink, which doesn't work with alarm systems, has numerous glitches, and doesn't provide data connectivity.
Google Fiber today announced they were opening up registration for their speedy 1 Gbps service in Provo, Utah. Pricing for services will be the same as previous launches ($70 for symmetrical 1 Gbps, $120 for 1 Gbps with TV, and 5 Mbps service for free for 7 years) with one exception: because of the pre-existing Veracity infrastructure there, the install fee for the free tier is just $30. story continues..
The former UK incumbent has signed off on what the company is calling "by far the most ambitious and challenging rural broadband roll-out BT has undertaken anywhere in the UK": to bring fibre broadband to 84% of premises in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, some of the UK’s most remote homes and businesses.
The three specialist contractors signed on to carry out the underwater work
- Global Marine Systems, Orange Marine (who irrelevantly, but brilliantly, will carry out the work using a ship named Rene Descartes) and A-2-Sea Solutions – have a window of, at most, just six months to lay twenty cables before they succumb to the Scottish weather.
So says David Clark, president of The Weather Channel, currently in a carriage dispute with DirecTV. He urges customers to appeal to Congress to intervene in the dispute. story continues..
As recently noted
, Aereo likely won't meet the company's promise of launching their live TV streaming service in twenty markets before the end of this year, with most of those markets (including Washington DC, Chicago, Minneapolis and Austin) coming online in early 2014. While many assumed that the company's ongoing fight with broadcasters was to blame for the lagging deployment, company CEO Chet Kanojia tells TechCrunch
that regulatory and technical hurdles are to blame for the delays, which he insist won't be long lived. Aereo last week agreed to have their case heard before the Supreme Court
Sprint today announced
that the company has launched an additional 70 LTE markets, bringing the company's total LTE market deployment to more than 300 as the year draws to a close. As is usually the case with Sprint, their list of 70 new launches
is mostly smaller markets, though San Diego, Green Bay, Orlando and St. Louis are also going live. Sprint this month also announced their "Spark
" upgrades for existing markets, where Sprint is combining the company's 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz LTE spectrum to provide what the company promises will be real-world downstream speeds of 50-60 Mbps.
Verizon this week once again put a nail in the coffin of any chance of FiOS expansion anytime soon -- if ever. "...There might be a couple of things on the fringe (but) going in and digging up yards and deploying fiber in a lot of new markets isn't in the cards," Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told investors at this week's Annual Global Media & Communications Conference
. "More and more things are going mobile and I think there are more opportunities to partner out of market with companies that are there vs. us going in and deploying FiOS." Read: we'd prefer to partner with cable
so they sell our wireless service than deploy any more fixed-line broadband ourselves.
Some years ago Verizon froze FiOS expansion to focus on making more money off of FiOS users (rate hikes), improving uptake rates in existing FiOS areas, and converting stubborn DSL users in those areas to FiOS. Speaking recently at an investor conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo estimated that the 300,000 DSL to FiOS migrations Verizon performed this year saved the company about 600,000 truck rolls and $100 million
in repairs and maintenance in 2013 alone.
T-Mobile's "uncarrier" strategy
may be making waves with pricing, but the party will be short lived if the company can't improve network coverage and capacity. To that end, T-Mobile is in the middle of raising $3.65 billion via stock and debt offerings, which the company is expected to use toward a spectrum purchase. Anonymous sources tell Reuters
that T-Mobile has already approached Verizon about buying some of the company's spectrum, quite possibly in the A Block. Verizon has been rather flush with spectrum courtesy of the 2008 700 MHz AWS auction (spectrum that's only just starting to be deployed
) and their 2011 massive spectrum and marketing deal
with the cable industry.
Verizon has ceased deploying FiOS to new areas (unless you're in a major city that's part of a previous franchise obligation), with their focus being on converting "stubborn" DSL users in their FiOS footprint to the company's more reliable and cheaper-to-maintain fiber network. According to statements made by Verizon this week, the company converted 250,000 homes to fiber so far this year -- on pace to reach 300,000 by year's end. story continues..
Back in September 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.
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