Last year we noted how
CenturyLink was unveiling a new "Non Telecom Surcharge" on the bills of customers who receive Voicemail (a rather telecom-ish "non telecom service") or Lineguard -- a $4.50 per month insurance program CenturyLink has a history of signing users up for without asking
. The fee came on the heels of an equally nonsensical nonsensical $1 "Internet Cost Recovery Fee"
introduced to user bills last year.
The Denver Post notes that the fee is arriving in Colorado next month
, with the company giving a rather feeble justification for the price hike in sheep's clothing:
“CenturyLink instituted a surcharge rather than a rate increase to reduce the number of changes to customers’ bills,” the company said. “The surcharge is applied at the customer-account level, rather than on individual services. A surcharge also can be more easily reduced or eliminated if future circumstances permit."
As we've long noted, ISPs impose these fees to jack up consumer costs without increasing the advertised rate. As the Post notes out, the fee also allows CenturyLink to raise rates on customers supposedly locked into "price guarantees." It's a guarantee until CenturyLink says it isn't.
Netflix today released their latest ISP streaming rankings
, which, as the name suggests, track the average performance of all Netflix streams on each ISPs network. The latest report shows that Verizon (both FiOS and DSL), AT&T U-Verse and Mediacom all slipped in the rankings, while Time Warner Cable, Bright House, Windstream, Centurylink and Clearwire all saw performance improvements.
The United States' largest community broadband effort is Utah's UTOPIA, which has been under assault by large incumbent ISPs like Qwest
(now CenturyLink) since before the first customer was even connected. UTOPIA has for much of a decade successfully fended off both these ISPs and a good deal of managerial incompetence on their own part, and is on the cusp of securing a significant cash boost
from an Australian investment firm.
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.
Nearly two months after announcing that they'd be offering 1 Gbps service to a select few development residents in Las Vegas
, CenturyLink has announced that they've started lighting up their first ultra-high-speed customers. The company's announcement
goes out of its way to avoid specifics of any kind, only stating that 1 Gbps connections are being offered to "select northwest Las Vegas communities" in the Northwest area of the city.
With all the quarterly earnings reports in, telecom analyst firm MoffettNathanson notes that the Pay TV industry lost about 113,000 subscribers on the quarter
. Cable operators lost 687,000 subscribers in Q3, and while telcoTV and satellite providers added 574,000 subscribers, it couldn't prevent the industry from seeing a net loss -- attributed to the slow and small but steady growth of cord cutters.
Netflix has updated their rankings of ISP Netflix streaming performance
with October data. The Netflix ISP Speed Index pulls data from more than 37 million Netflix members viewing over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix per month.
For much of the last decade Seattle has explored the idea
of building their own ultra-fast broadband network. Much of that motivation was fueled by the sub-standard service provided in the region by regional telco Qwest (now CenturyLink), which in turn resulted in regional cable operator Comcast not working very hard.
According to a CenturyLink press release
, the company says they'll be expanding the "pilot" for 1 Gbps service into Las Vegas. The announcement comes on the heels of a similar announcement that the company would be offering 1 Gbps service to a small subset of users in Omaha (the the back of old Qwest Choice TV infrastructure), though none of those users have been connected yet
CenturyLink appears to be doling out some notable speed increases to customers across the company's thirty-eight state footprint. According to this thread in our CenturyLink forum
, users on the company's 12 Mbps tier are seeing their service suddenly clock in at 15 Mbps.
Back in May CenturyLink announced plans to offer a small fiber to the home pilot in Omaha 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
hit smaller, regional incumbent CenturyLink even harder
, since CenturyLink's aging copper infrastructure, strained coffers and history of pampered government protectionism
leaves them ill-prepared to seriously compete.
It's always rather amusing to watch some Wall Street analysts get "bullish" on rural telco stocks for companies like Frontier, CenturyLink and Fairpoint -- given those companies' utter lack of resources or willpower to seriously upgrade their networks any time in the next decade. As a result they're being beaten badly about the head and neck by cable operators that offer legitimate triple play services and significantly faster broadband. story continues..
Last week I noted
that CenturyLink had tacked on a new and absurd $1 "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" to user bills starting in July. The fee, like all fees of this kind, allows carriers to jack up prices using below the line fees while keeping the advertised price the same.
One of the benefits of having little to no competition in your markets is you can jack up prices and add all the little obnoxious fees you'd like with no repercussions, since most of your customers have no other options. One of the benefits of lobbying and enjoying regulatory capture in uncompetitive markets
is you can engage in this kind of behavior repeatedly and be confident that United States regulators simply won't give a damn.
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.
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.
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.
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