Back in October we noted
that thirty-two cities had joined forces to form the "Next Century Cities
" coalition, tasked with improving local broadband services. "The leaders whose communities participate in Next Century Cities know that reliable, affordable, and fast Internet is no longer a luxury," states the organization. "Like electricity and plumbing, it is now essential infrastructure." The Washington Post
notes that the coalition topped 50 members this week, and has been funded by numerous foundations -- and Google.
Back in April, AT&T stated they were in advanced talks
with the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) to offer Gigapower over the region's core fiber ring, which was constructed with the cooperation of numerous companies. By June, AT&T said they had ratified an agreement with the City of Winston-Salem
to offer 1 Gbps service in parts of the Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions, with pending ratification looming for Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.
Verizon's experiment in technology blogging appears to be over. At the tail end of October news broke that Verizon would be entering the blogging business via a new website dubbed SugarString
While Seattle residents wait for Comcast and CenturyLink to follow through on promises of eventual 1 Gbps speeds, Wave Broadband appears to be the first in line to light up portions of Seattle with ultra-fast service. The Seattle Times
notes that Wave has started offering 1 Gbps service in several select neighborhoods for $80 per month.
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.
AT&T has announced a significant expansion across North America with the company's $2.5 billion acquisition of Mexican provider Iusacell. According to AT&T's announcement
, Iusacell currently serves around 8.6 million subscribers but covers roughly 70% of Mexico's nearly 120 million residents. The deal, notes AT&T, makes their network the first in North America to cover 400 million combined Mexico & U.S. consumers and businesses. "This is an opportunity for us to provide Iusacell the financial resources, scale and expertise to accelerate the roll-out of world-class mobile Internet speeds and quality in Mexico, like we have in the United States," insists AT&T in their statement.
T-Mobile's latest earnings
again confirm that being the pesky kid on the block is working in terms of adding new subscribers. The company added 2.3 million customers total and 1.4 million new postpaid subscribers on the quarter, though the company's expansion of its LTE network continues to drag on earnings. T-Mobile expects to add around 4.3 million to 4.7 million new customers this year as users respond to the company's more customer-friendly approach to doing business. "Despite our competitors' best efforts, the Un-carrier revolution made huge advances in the third quarter with record net new customers," CEO John Legere said in a statement. "More proof of the resurgent strength of our brand and the massive momentum behind the Un-carrier consumer movement."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is promising to spend $500 million to improve broadband in upstate New York if he's re-elected, notes the Albany Times Union
. Cuomo, fresh from his defeat of Zephyr Teachout and net neutrality champion Tim Wu in the Democratic primaries, states he'd like to see private industry match that investment. "The next big challenge, especially for upstate New York in my opinion, is the availability of broadband," Cuomo stated, adding that "broadband availability is going to be what the interstate road system was in the '50s." Many upstate New York communities only have the choice of either Time Warner Cable (Cuomo hasn't publicly stated whether he supports the Comcast merger) or Verizon DSL -- if they're lucky.
Sprint has slowly but surely been expanding the company's "Spark" LTE upgrades, which combine the company's 2.5 GHz, 1900 MHz and 800 MHz bands for improved regional capacity and speeds Sprint promises should top out around 60 Mbps. According to a Sprint announcement
, the company just added Cincinnati, Ohio and Rockford Illinois to the list of markets where Spark has been deployed. You can find a list of all Spark deployed markets here
, and all of the Sprint smartphones that support Spark here
. You can find Sprint's master list of deployed LTE markets here
While Comcast certainly has its faults
, the cable giant has led the way when it comes to IPv6 deployment while many larger ISPs have napped. Comcast recently announced they've officially completed their residential IPv6 deployments
, and around 30% of their customers are now actively running IPv6.
100% of Europeans now have access to broadband, the European Union commission announced earlier this month. Total coverage was one of the 2012 goals of the EU's Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) and has been achieved, where the market wasn't providing already, largely by forcing networks to increase coverage from 3G and LTE networks and funding affordable access to satellite broadband. story continues..
Back in May TDS Telecom (see our user reviews
) became the latest company to throw its hat into the 1 Gbps broadband ring, offering 1 Gbps lines to residents of Hollis, New Hampshire. TDS Telecom now says they're expanding their 1 Gbps service into a second community: London, New Hampshire. According to a company announcement
, the 1 Gbps down, 400 Mbps offering can still be had for "less than $100 per month with a bundle." According to TDS, they plan to announce additional market deployments in the "coming weeks."
Regulators have formally approved Frontier's acquisition of AT&T's networks and operations in the state of Connecticut. According to an announcement by the companies
, the $2 billion deal to acquire AT&T’s local wireline, broadband and video operations in Connecticut (originally announced last December
) has received approval from the FCC. The deal has already received approval from the Depatment of Justice, but is still awaiting approval from Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). AT&T is working to back away from millions of DSL users they don't want to upgrade under the guise of the "IP transition
Since 2012 Comcast has offered an ultra-fast speed option
that started at 305 Mbps, then was bumped to 505 Mbps in late 2013
. The service is technically a coaxial/fiber hybrid offering that isn't available to all users in a Comcast territory -- and it isn't cheap.
In April of last year when Google announced they'd be bringing Google Fiber to Austin
, the company stated they expected Austin users to start being hooked up around the middle of 2014. The halfway of the point has rolled on past, and Google now seems to be indicating the first Austin Google Fiber users will be hooked up sometime "later this year." To be fair mid-year wasn't a particularly hard deadline, and the company tells Multichannel News
that projects of this scale "takes a whole lot of time to plan for":
“Construction is underway, and we plan to open sign-ups and start hooking up our first Austin customers later this year,” Google Fiber spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said via email...“It’s a big construction project, so it takes a whole lot of time to plan for,” she added, according to the report. “We’re working as quickly as we can to get Fiber to Austin residents soon, and we hope to have more information to share soon. It’s a lot of work, and we want to make sure we are doing it right."
In the coming months the company should announce "fiberhood" rallies that will dictate which neighborhoods will be the first to get service.
For years the FCC has had a rather flimsy definition of what constitutes broadband, something that benefits the industry by making speed and penetration statistics look much better than they actually are. As a result, every time the FCC proposes to raise that bar -- whether that was the belated previous moves to 768 kbps or to 3 Mbps -- the all-too comfortable, uncompetitive broadband industry whines -- because it might force them to work just a little bit harder. story continues..
When it comes to broadband policy, both parties
of US government have made a habit of consistent failure. Whether it's ten years of blindly embracing deregulation
as the path to a magical telecom nirvana that never arrives (Powell, Martin) or paying endless lip service to consumer values but being too weak-kneed to risk upsetting campaign contributors
(Genachowski, Wheeler), these failures to address competition issues have had the same result: high prices, abysmal customer service, and anti-consumer policies.
While there has been some concerns over whether or not Google Fiber will leave some potential neighborhoods high and dry, the latest stats suggest
that 95% of Kansas City neighborhoods have now qualified for service. There's a large chunk of neighborhoods scattered around the Kansas City area that didn't qualify, and criticism continues over how Google's "fiberhood" approach excludes some. Google's quick however to point out that almost all of the area’s 20 poorest neighborhoods qualified for Google Fiber. "A lot of people in Kansas City want Google Fiber, and we’re going to do everything we can to get it to them by the end of the year," insists company spokeswoman Jenna Wandres.
Mobile operators in the UK could be forced to share infrastructure to improve signal in rural parts of the country. Networks should have to sign sharing, or roaming, agreements with one another so that their customers are never stuck in a 'not spot' and left without signal when there is coverage available from a different network or networks, Sajid Javid MP said
Long-time telecom analyst Bruce Kushnick has a good read
exploring how AT&T keeps making the same broadband deployment promises over and over again every time they want something from government, and nobody in the technology press can be bothered to notice. In 2004, in addition to 100 Mbps lines never provided, AT&T (then SBC) promised to deploy broadband to every home in their 22-state footprint in exchange for regulators locking the FiOS and U-Verse networks off from open access policies and competition.
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