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According to a new report by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration
, gaps related to faster broadband availability continue to persist, especially in rural regions. According to NTIA data, while nearly 100% of urban residents can get speeds of at least 6 Mbps, 82% of rural communities can access those same speeds. As things get faster the numbers get worse -- 88% of urban residents can get speeds of 25 Mbps, while only 41% of rural consumers can get that same connectivity. Keep in mind that U.S. government data on broadband coverage is traditionally not very good and always tends to be overly optimistic
, often hallucinating competitors and speeds in areas they don't actually exist (read: the real numbers are probably much, much worse). The NTIA report offers no suggestions on how to shore up these coverage and speed shortcomings.
Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference earlier this month, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stated that the company's earliest FiOS markets are now reaching penetration targets
and that most of their new customers are signing up for faster speeds.
Cash set aside for broadband development in urban areas is sitting idle thanks to EU bureaucracy, according to those overseeing the project. Its likely that the £150 million, which was set aside for upgrading infrastructure to provide 80Mbps and up speeds, will instead be used to provide public wi-fi in city centres, for other projects that dont require EU approval or, if the opposition Labour party get their way, redirected completely to provide access for rural areas. story continues..
As we've seen with both Sprint and T-Mobile, LTE launch locations pop up well ahead of official launch markets as the companies run pre-commercial launch tests. Users now say that they're seeing T-Mobile LTE signals pop up in Detroit, Minneapolis and New York City
. Minneapolis is slated for a May launch, while both Detroit and New York City aren't officially expected to come online until June. T-Mobile previously stated they aim to cover 100 million potential customers with LTE by the middle of 2013, with 200 million potential customers covered by the end of this year.
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.
Back when the FCC's broadband plan came out in 2010 I noted that it had serious shortcomings
-- particularly when it came to seriously acknowledging this sector's biggest problem: high prices and bad behavior due to limited competition. A recent TechNet study subsequently found that while the plan focused primarily on "broadband adoption," we haven't seen much of an improvement on that front.
As promised, AT&T has seriously expedited their deployment of LTE service, and with launches this week now says they offer LTE in more than 200 markets (LTE arrived this week in Manhattan, Kansas, Sedalia and Warrensburg, Missouri, and Jacksonville and Palestine, Texas). That's still a far cry from the roughly 500 markets where Verizon currently offers LTE, though AT&T should be able to close that gap rather quickly. AT&T also seems to be winning the speed race, with early studies suggesting that AT&T's LTE implementation offers the best speeds
. The company says they intend to cover 250 million potential customers with LTE by the end of this year, with 77 markets
slated for summer launch.
As I noted last week
, CenturyLink has announced a very small trial whereby they plan to offer around 40,000 people in Omaha, Nebrasks fiber to the home connections. The trial, which appears to be piggybacking on older Qwest "Choice TV" discontinued hybrid coax trial technology, will run users $150 standalone, or $80 when bundled with existing television and phone services.
Back in 2008 Verizon negotiated a closed-door agreement with NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg that agreed to wire 100% of the city with FiOS by 2014
-- sort of. Fine print in the deal allows Verizon to back away from that promise if they pay a few small fines and/or aren't seeing the kind of TV subscriber uptake they'd like.
CenturyLink has announced plans to offer a small fiber to the home pilot providing speeds of 1 Gbps. While Google Fiber's expansion hits competitively-challenged AT&T and Time Warner Cable hard in a few markets, their recent announcement of expansion into Provo, Utah
hits smaller, regional incumbent CenturyLink even harder.
With the launch of six new markets last week (Flint, Michigan, Kokomo, Indiana, Morgantown, West Virginia, Petersburg, Virginia, Shelbyville, Kentucky and Springfield, Missouri), AT&T says that the company now offers faster LTE service in a total of 190 markets. AT&T continues to insist that they'll cover 300 million people with their LTE deployment by the end of 2014. Meanwhile, some of the markets AT&T had announced for a summer launch appear to be coming online ahead of scheduled as well. Chattanooga, for example, was slated for a summer launch but came online as of today
are conducting white space broadband trials in Africa aimed at bringing connectivity to the country's unserved. Last week we noted that Califnoria's Cal.net is the first in the United States
to embrace the technology, using it to service the more rural and hilly areas of California.
Getting Wi-Fi and cellular phone service into the NYC subway system started in 2007 has been a rather slow and clunky affair
. The network was projected to cost $150 million to $200 million to get all 277 stations wired within six years, with a company named Transit Wireless managing the project, then paying New York City Transit $46.8 million over 10 years for the honor.
Latest legal victory clutched tightly in hand
, streaming OTA broadband video operator Aereo this week announced that they'll be expanding into the Boston market starting on May 15. According to a company press statement
(pdf), the May 15 "Boston" launch date actually covers 4.5 million consumers in 16 counties across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. The May 15 launch date is also only for those who pre-registered with Aereo -- the service will be available in "Boston" to everyone else on May 30. Aereo is currently only available in the New York City area, though the company promised expansion into 22 additional markets after receiving $38 million in financing back in January
AT&T has announced that the company's LTE network has been extended into another seven markets
: Jackson, TN; Kalamazoo, MI; Napa, CA; Orangeburg, SC; Rocky Mount, NC; Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA; and Wilson, NC. The company this week also announced that they'll be bringing LTE to another major slew of markets by the end of the summer (you can find a full list here
). AT&T says that the company's LTE network is currently live in some 182 markets. AT&T hopes to reach 250 million potential customers with LTE by the end of 2013, and 300 million total potential customers by the end of 2014.
Verizon is working with the Bloomberg administration to speed up the deployment of fiber installs beneath the street of New York City. According to Bloomberg
, Verizon will begin testing "micro-trenching" or "saw cutting," which involves cutting shallower-than-usual grooves in the ground for fiber laying (video here
). Verizon will test the installation technology in twelve markets then discuss with the city whether to proceed from there. Verizon signed a franchise agreement in 2008 that is supposed
to bring FiOS to everyone in NYC by the end of 2014 (they're probably currently at around 50% or less). However, the agreement fine print allows Verizon to buy or wiggle their way out of 100% deployment
, which means a lot
of people across the five boroughs are going to wind up disappointed no matter how deeply Verizon digs their trenches.
Everyone in the mobile ecosystem, from app developers to your carrier, is now collecting every shred of mobile location data that isn't nailed down and are busily selling that data to whoever wants to buy it
, from civil engineers to marketing agencies. Consumer privacy protections here are virtually nonexistent, and the companies making billions off of your daily life have been busy arguing that there are no need for new protections because the data they collect is anonymized.
However, a new study
by MIT and the Catholic University of Louvain studied fifteen months' worth of "anonymized" collected data from 1.5 million people, and found that people's routines are unique and predictable enough that ferreting out their identity is incredibly easy using just for location logs:
In fact, in a dataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly, and with a spatial resolution equal to that given by the carrier's antennas, four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals. We coarsen the data spatially and temporally to find a formula for the uniqueness of human mobility traces given their resolution and the available outside information.
If that location data is poorly secured, combining it with other databases creates unique and new privacy violation possibilities the researchers say we haven't really even fully started to fathom yet. The scientists tell the BBC
they're not advocating that we stop collecting this data, though they do suggest we need to stop pretending it's truly anonymous, and consider additional privacy protections.
A new report
from research firm OpenSignal found that T-Mobile LTE is currently live in nine United States cities ahead of the company's official network launch expected tomorrow. Only Kansas City and Las Vegas were specifically mentioned as launch markets, though the firm notes they've also seen significant LTE presence in Seattle, Denver, New Orleans, New York, San Diego, and the Bay Area.
AT&T has been speeding up their LTE deployment of late, this week announcing that AT&T LTE is now available in 158 markets. That total includes launches this week in Sebring, Florida
, Athens, Georgia
, and Dyersburg and Ripley, Tennessee
-- on top of launches last week in Cleveland, Williamsburg, and Augusta. In addition to a faster pace on LTE deployment, AT&T is enjoying some awards for network performance. Rootmetrics was the latest to recently declare that AT&T's current LTE is notably faster
than LTE from either Verizon or Sprint -- hopefully a trend that continues as the network gets more saturated.
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , JKukiewicz , swintec