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For years Verizon has marketed their FiOS fiber to the home service as a superior alternative to cable. Part of that sales pitch has been the argument that the service doesn't require bandwidth caps -- though Verizon has historically always chosen their words very carefully to leave the possibility open
sometime in the future. That doesn't mean Verizon doesn't warn users whose usage can get borderline ridiculous. One user in our FiOS forum
proudly crows that he managed to get a warning phone call from Verizon for excessive use. How excessive? One month the user claims he clocked in over 75 terabytes
of data usage, and other users in the forum say they see similar usage resulting in similar phone calls
. Verizon would obviously like the user, who runs servers out of his home, to upgrade to a business-class connection.
In early 2011 MetroPCS joined Verizon in suing the FCC
to overturn the agency's already fairly-flimsy network neutrality rules. With MetroPCS and T-Mobile now merged, T-Mobile announced late last week that it would be withdrawing the lawsuit against the FCC they acquired as part of the deal.
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..
While there has been some twitching from the corpse of LightSquared in DC, it has been fairly clear to everyone that the company has been dead for quite some time
. Now insiders tell Bloomberg
that Charlie Ergen made a $2 billion "stalking horse" bid to acquire LightSquared's assets and spectrum. One problem with such a deal -- the FCC still hasn't given their approval for use of the interference-prone spectrum, the core reason that LightSquared died in the first place. LightSquared has until May 31 to accept the bid. Dish has slowly been engaged in a series of spectrum acquisition deals to aid the company's potential launch of their own LTE network.
Sprint raised its acquisition offer for Clearwire today
, offering $3.40 per share for the 50% of Clearwire Sprint currently doesn't own. The new offer, which temporarily delayed a Clearwire shareholder offer on the deal, values Clearwire's total value at around $10.7 billion. The higher bid comes as Dish has been trying to acquire Sprint itself
and thwart a rival offer from Japanese carrier SoftBank. Dish Corporation's Charlie Ergen has consistently offered that Dish's offer is a better value, while also trying to stir up some xenophobia
-- arguing that Dish is better suited because the company "speaks English."
After taking heat from consumer groups last year for blocking Facetime video chat, AT&T made waves last week by deciding to block the new cross-platform and device video chat functionality in Google Hangouts
from running over their speedy new LTE network. As they did during the Facetime debacle, AT&T made the obscure claim that they can block any application that comes pre-loaded on a device, even if technically Hangouts doesn't come pre-loaded (AT&T's just choosing language carefully to dodge wiggle through net neutrality rule loopholes).
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.
Verizon's attempt to hang up on their copper networks in Sandy-impacted areas
has gotten more complicated after the NY Public Service Commission last week indicated hesitation at letting Verizon disconnect users state wide without first understanding the repercussions. According to regional Long Island news reports
, the PSC has granted Verizon temporary approval to pull DSL on Fire Island, NY, replacing it with Verizon's Voice Link wireless service.
A new joint study by Aalborg University, Northeastern University, and the Copenhagen Business School has found that piracy of video games on BitTorrent networks has been unsurprisingly over-stated by industry
. The study analyzed a the BitTorrent trading of some 173 different computer games across 14 different gaming platforms over a three-month period between 2010 and 2011. "First and foremost, P2P game piracy is extraordinarily prevalent and geographically distributed [at least it was during the period analyzed]," said the researchers. "However, the numbers in our investigation suggest that previously reported magnitudes in game piracy are too high." The full study is available here
Amtrak has been offering Wi-Fi on board some of their trains for several years
(a full list is here
), though historically the quality of the connections have been ridiculed. Since earlier this year the company has been promising upgrades.
Earlier this week the government came under fire for hoovering up the personal call logs
of more than twenty lines belonging to the Associated Press. Initially Uncle Same claimed the snooping and violation of press rights was due to an immediate and pressing life-risking investigation, but as the week rolled on it became clear the government was simply embarrassed by internal leaks
and annoyed an AP story stole some public relations thunder.
For much of the last year, Verizon Wireless has been blocking Google Wallet
, claiming that its use of a device's "secure element" is what has prohibited them from letting consumers use the app. Numerous people have explained in great detail (including the lawyer that filed the original complaint with the FCC
) that this excuse is simply being used to keep Google Wallet permanently stuck in approval purgatory, while the wireless industry's own, competing Isis
platform sees no such restrictions.
It is very quickly becoming clear that if you want the FCC to avoid enforcing their network neutrality rules, all you have to do is throw some half-assed, vague-sounding technical jargon at the agency to bog them down in inactivity indefinitely. With yesterday's news that AT&T is blocking yet another video chat application
in order to drive users to more expensive data plans, it's rather clear that the FCC lacks the stomach to actually enforce the rules they designed.
In late 2011 after several delays, ViaSat finally launched their new KA-band satellite ViaSat 1, which allowed the company to finally start offering consumers some faster residential bandwidth speeds via the Exede brand. Now the company has announced
that they're hard at work on ViaSat 2, with plans to launch it sometime in the middle of 2016 (in satellite launch parlance, that means probably around 2018). According to ViaSat, the launch of ViaSat 2 will double their existing bandwidth capacity and expand coverage across much of North and Central America. While satellite broadband is still considered the black sheep of the broadband industry because of high prices, high latency and low caps, the faster speeds made availability by this added capacity has clearly been reflected in our user Exede reviews
Canadian wireless operator Telus today announced that the company would be buying smaller wireless competitor Mobilicity for $380 Million, the first of what's expected to be several similar deals. According to the Globe and Mail
, while Telus is looking for quick regulatory approval, the government has suggested they're not entirely thrilled with the erosion of competition and the accumulation of floundering upstart spectrum by incumbents. As for Mobilicity, they insist they looked high and low for other options before sleeping with the enemy. "We beat the bushes as far as they could possibly be beaten and as hard as they could possibly be beaten ... There was not a deal to be found with the other new entrants," said the company.
As part of many announcements at Google's I/O Conference this week, Google announced that they would now be integrating video chat within Google Hangouts
across platforms and devices. Well, unless you use AT&T.
Verizon today announced that they're increasing the usage allotments on the company's prepaid wireless offerings. According to the Verizon statement
, Verizon's $60 prepaid plan will offer users unlimited voice, texting and 2 GB of data per month -- up from the previous cap of 500 MB per month. Verizon's $70 plan will now provide users with unlimited voice, texting and 4 GB of data per month -- up from the previous cap or 2 GB per month. As noted previously, these plans are for EVDO connectivity, not LTE. According to Verizon Wireless this new pricing is available to existing customers now, and to new customers starting on June 6.
While there's absolutely no doubt that Google Fiber has been a positive thing for the industry, critics have singled out two problems with Google's ultra-fast offering. One, the company backed off of open access promises
that would have allowed multiple companies to come in and truly compete over the infrastructure.
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , telcodad , JKukiewicz , swintec