News tagged: Bright House
Over the years we've seen a number of ISPs
and even hotels
run into user backlash and PR problems when they've decided to use deep packet inspection and ad injection to force their ads into user content. Many users don't like any ISP hijacking of site code, much less advertising injection -- especially if users aren't being told the system is being used. Content and ad companies also dislike the practice for obvious reasons. There's also security and net neutrality questions that arise with the interception and manipulation of traffic by a third party.
Comcast is the latest to apparently think this approach is a good idea, Ars Technica
Comcast tells ars that the messages, which pop up roughly every seven minutes and some of which promote Comcast services, are a "courtesy":
A Comcast spokesman told Ars the program began months ago. One facet of it is designed to alert consumers that they are connected to Comcast's Xfinity service. Other ads remind Web surfers to download Xfinity apps, Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas told Ars in telephone interviews. The advertisements may appear about every seven minutes or so, he said, and they last for just seconds before trailing away..."We think it's a courtesy, and it helps address some concerns that people might not be absolutely sure they're on a hotspot from Comcast," Douglas said.
The ads are only injected via Comcast's traditional hotspots, not user home routers that have been recently modified
to offer public Wi-Fi access.Update
: Users direct our attention to the fact that Bright House Communications appears to have been doing something very similar for some time
An analysis of monthly cable bills by SNL Kagan found that while all cable TV bills are high (and increasing, sometimes twice a year) Cablevision customers have it the worst in terms of high rates
. Cablevision customers on average now pay the company $152.72 a month, significantly higher than the next most expensive cable operators -- Comcast ($137.24 per month on average) and Verizon FiOS ($122.57 per month on average).
The Wall Street Journal
notes that Time Warner Cable's existing relationship with Bright House Communications complicates Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Bright House is currently its own company, but Time Warner Cable has an ownership interest and historically handles programming, some engineering and technology acquisitions for the company (they even historically shared the "Road Runner" branding).
While Verizon's legal victory over the FCC did gut the agency's net neutrality rules, it kept some of the FCC's authority over ISPs intact -- specifically the agency's transparency rules
-- which require that ISPs be straightforward about the "network management practices, performance, and commercial terms" of their broadband services.
In a statement issued today
, the FCC "reminded" wireline and wireless ISPs alike that those rules are still intact and need to be adhered to, lest the agency lightly slap a wrist or two -- maybe.
Starting last Wednesday, users in our Bright House forum
started complaining that they weren't able to use the company's e-mail services, and some users continue to complain of problems as of today. "Some Road Runner email customers are experiencing service issues," the company said in a prepared statement issued last week.
Joining the race established by Google Fiber and a few key municipal broadband providers, Bright House Communications now says they too will start offering 1 Gbps connections to select Florida customers sometime this year. According to a Bright House announcement
(pdf), Bright House is working with Metro Development Group to deploy 1 Gbps service to very select MDS housing developments.
Users in our Bright House forum
indicate that the company is sending out notices that their modem rental fee will be increased once again, this time from $3.50 to $4.00 a month. The hike comes on the heels of a hike last year just around this time
that bumped the modem rental fee from $2.00 to $3.50 a month.
Netflix has released their latest rankings
for average ISP streaming speeds, with Google Fiber, Cablevision, Cox, Suddenlink and Charter rounding out the top five. In a blog post
Netflix notes that Bright House and Comcast tumbled five spots in the rankings while refusing to specifically state why (though Reddit users have their theories
in regards to Comcast).
As part of the rather creatively-named CableWiFi initiative, the majority of major cable broadband customers are now allowed to access the Wi-Fi hotspots on most other cable operators. Those hotspots, of which there are now around 200,000 nationwide, are available for free to users to subscribe to existing cable services. There have been some cooperative stragglers in cooperation; for example despite saying they were part of the intitiative back in 2012, Cox and Bright House have only just now announced
that they've finally enabled access to one anothers hotspots, providing users in Orlando, Tampa, Daytona, Northern Virginia, Connecticut and Indiana with some additional connectivity options.
DSLReports reader briansgs2
directs our attention to the fact that Florida customers are annoyed that Bright House Communications has been cashing their checks for cable and broadband service -- over and over again
. Numerous Florida customers have complained about the problem, one user noting that a $175.03 check mailed to Bright House was somehow cashed four times. "Corrective actions are underway and duplicate payments will be reversed and funds will be replaced," the company said in a statement. Bright House appears to be implying that the blame lies with third party payment processing vendor Bill2Pay, with a "defective file" being sent out to user banks and credit unions.
Time Warner Cable, Bright House Communications and Al Jazeera have finally struck a distribution deal
, the first new deal since the news channel was started. Time Warner Cable took significant heat
back in January for dumping Current TV from their channel lineup after the channel was bought by Al Jazeera to be converted into a news outlet, with critics accusing the cable operator of making a political statement (something they repeatedly denied). Al Jazeera says they're in talks with other cable operators; they're currently in a legal fight with AT&T
after the telco dropped the channel from their U-Verse TV lineup.
Many cable operators have been very wary about implementing usage caps and per byte overages ever since Time Warner Cable's rather disastrous effort back in 2009
to force low caps and high overages on consumers. Since then, companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have spent their time "experimenting" with different options and caps as low as 5GB
-- while being cautious (so far) to ensure these options are voluntary for users.
CableLabs is expected to formally issue the specification for DOCSIS 3.1 sometime this month, according to comments made at the DOCSIS 3.1 engineering pre-conference symposium this morning in Atlanta. The new standard is expected to make cable broadband networks not only faster but more efficient, though consumers could have some time to wait before they begin to see the benefits in the real world. story continues..
You might recall that in 2011 Verizon struck a deal with the cable industry to not only obtain $3.6 billion in cable industry spectrum
, but to cross-market one-another's services, with cable ops not pushing Verizon Wireless as a bundle option. As part of that deal, Verizon and companies like Comcast also promised that they were cooking up "magical experiences
" that would involve video services that worked across both wireless and wired platforms.
Bright House Networks (see our user reviews
) tells users in our forums
that the company is expanding their new 90 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up tier into the Detroit market shortly. The tier offers users 90 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream for $15 more if you're already signed up for the company's Lightning 60 tier. Turbo customers can add Lightning 90 starting at $30 more per month, plus tax and equipment. The faster tier was introduced in the Florida market back in April. Detroit-area Bright House customers interested in the faster option can head here
to sign up for more details.
Time Warner Cable this week was reported to request the FCC's help in their feud with CBS over retransmission fees, which has resulted in millions of Time Warner Cable, Dish, DirecTV and Bright House customers being unable to view CBS content on TV or online
. Despite the fact that these fee battles have grown increasingly disruptive to paying consumers
, the FCC this week stated they won't intervene in the fight because they lack the authority, and crafting new rules governing such disputes would "take too long
Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn has said the agency lacks the authority to intervene, and rewriting rules for settling such disputes would take too long to end the current disruption, according to Paul Gallant, Washington-based managing director at Guggenheim Securities LLC.
The TV content blackout resulting from Time Warner Cable and CBS's retransmission fight
is impacting more than just Time Warner Cable customers. While Bright House Communications and Time Warner Cable are separate companies, Time Warner Cable is leading the negotiations for both companies (they both used to offer service under the Roadrunner brand), meaning that Bright House customers in our forums are complaining that they're not getting CBS channels like Showtime
either. Dish and DirecTV customers are being impacted by the fight as well
, given CBS has blocked Time Warner Cable customers from accessing CBS content online, and both satellite companies bundle Time Warner Cable broadband service in some markets.
In most areas cable has already won the broadband wars, with inexpensive DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades allowing them to offer speeds that cash-strapped, smaller telcos simply can't match. As I noted the other day
, things are looking even brighter for most cable operators given that AT&T and Verizon have all-but stopped next gen upgrades, and are willfully driving DSL customers they don't want to cable, strengthening cable's dominance across most of America over the next five to ten years.
Earlier this year story continues..
Netflix began ranking the quality of video streaming performance for each of the nation's largest ISPs. HD streams have variable bitrate but can potentially top out at around 4800 kilobits per second, and the data, gleaned from 36 million Netflix members who view over 1 billion hours of TV shows, provides a bird's eye view by ISP of sustained throughput available from a given ISP over time.
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