News tagged: alternatives
Anonymous sources tell Bloomberg News
that the FCC will be taking a much stronger oversight role when it comes to the interconnection deals struck between companies like Netflix and ISPs. The FCC has been investigation such deals
ever since Netflix, Level 3 and Cogent began claiming that large ISPs were intentionally letting peering point capacity degrade to force companies like Netflix into direct interconnection deals.
ISPs, in contrast, have tried to argue that these are just run of the mill peering disputes, and that it's Netflix (and its users) that are the villain because they utilize more than 30% of Internet traffic during peak hours. Nobody's been truly able to fact check either way, since none of the companies involved have been willing to release sensitive raw network performance data.
Bloomberg's details are incredibly vague, but the report claims the agency's new Title II-based neutrality rules won't ban such deals, but will incorporate a new procedure that will allow a company like Netflix to have specific deals reviewed if they feel they'r anti-competitive:
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has decided the rules, scheduled for a vote next month, will permit the agreements but include a procedure for companies to ask for agency review, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because the plan hasn’t been made public.
One problem? If worded poorly, ISP lawyers could use this kind of process to bog down complaints indefinitely. The FCC is scheduled to vote on and announce new net neutrality rules at the agency's February 26 meeting.
AT&T's fourth quarter earnings
indicate that the company's U-Verse related growth is slowing rapidly as the company shifts the lion's share of attention (and money
) toward wireless. AT&T said the company added just 73,000 U-verse TV customers in the fourth quarter, down from the 216,000 added in the third quarter and the 194,000 subscribers added during the quarter a year ago. AT&T fared much better on the broadband front, adding 405,000 net broadband users during the fourth quarter.
Just when you think you can go a month without a Comcast support horror story making headlines, a Comcast support horror story makes headlines. The Consumerist
notes that one Comcast customer was surprised to see that his first name had been changed to "a**hole" when he received his monthly bill.
You can add TracFone to the large list of wireless operators who simply don't understand what the word "unlimited" means. The FTC's complaint
(pdf, via The Consumerist
) notes that starting in 2009, TracFone advertised and sold a number of "unlimited" data offers under the Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, and Telcel America brands, but failed to inform consumers that these plans would be throttled after a certain amount of usage.
"In numerous instances, TracFone failed to disclose or adequately disclose its practice of enforcing fixed limits on the amount of mobile data service its customers could use in a thirty-day service period," the FTC said in a statement.
"In fact, until at least September 2013, TracFone did not state in most of its advertising or terms and conditions that it would suspend or throttle its customers’ mobile data service if they used more than a fixed amount of mobile data in a thirty-day service period."
As part of a settlement with the FTC TracFone is handing out $40 million in consumer refunds, which impacted customers can head here
As we noted earlier this month
, things haven't been going particularly well for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile's mobile payment platform, SoftCard. Already struggling for brand attention, the company had to change its name from ISIS due to the Islamic extremist group of the same name, and is now laying off employees as part of a reorganization.
Rumors had existed for years that Google was planning to get into wireless service, though last week Google's plans to launch an MVNO became notably more solid
. What we know so far: Code named "Nova," Google's MVNO will have a heavy emphasis on free Wi-Fi calling and will use both the Sprint and T-Mobile networks.
HughesNet today announced new satellite broadband plans the company claims will usher in "a new generation of performance-enhancing innovations in downloading, browsing and data usage management." According to the company announcement
, the new plans come alongside an improvement to the company's SmartFetch and SmartCompression technologies that try to create the impression of faster speeds.
The company appears so proud of their new plan specifics and pricing, they've hidden them behind a prequal wall
Confirming rumors that began bubbling forth earlier this week
, Google today confirmed that Charlotte, Raleigh Durham, Atlanta, and Nashville will be the next deployment locations for the company's speedy Google Fiber service. According to a Google blog post
, the company is also still considering potential deployment to Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose.
Last year, AT&T backed off their European expansion ambitions in part because European regulators weren't thrilled with AT&T's ties to the Edward Snowden leaks
. Since then AT&T has shifted their attention to Mexico, buying Mexico's Iusacell for $2.5 billion
, giving AT&T domain over 400 million combined Mexico & U.S.
Last Friday we reported
how indications are that Google was getting ready to announce new Google Fiber build locations in Charlotte and Raleigh. Now additional reports suggest that up to four new Google Fiber cities may be announced as soon as tomorrow.
The FCC this week announced
that Verizon will be paying $5 million to settle an investigation into the company's failure to investigate and repair rural phone call completion issues. According to an FCC investigation, Verizon failed to respond to a spike in call completion complaints during a several month stretch in 2013. Verizon has agreed to pay a $2 million fine, and spend another $3 million on shoring up the company's internal reporting systems. Verizon has increasingly been looking to offload rural POTS and DSL users it's not interested in upgrading, and this effort frequently involves trying to pretend these users (or the employees that support them) exist
We've noted how
the FCC has been working hard to increase the minimum definition of broadband from 4 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up to 25 Mbps down to 3 Mbps up. As part of that push the agency has been making the rounds noting how roughly two-thirds of American households don't have more than one choice at speeds above 25 Mbps.
With the exception of major city franchise obligations (and even those have lots of wiggle room
), Verizon all but ended their FiOS expansion plans around five years ago. With so many un-served cities still begging to be upgraded Verizon continually has to remind folks that they're simply not interested in upgrading their fixed line networks any more.
Like many outlets I was given an early look at Dish's new Sling TV streaming video service, which the company announced back at CES
. The service won several awards at the show, and it's an the vanguard at a slew of offerings scheduled to be released in 2015 that finally appear ready to challenge the traditional cable TV paradigm.
Cablevision this week jumped face-first into the Wi-Fi calling pool, unveiling a new service they're calling "Freewheel." According to the Freewheel website
, the service will offer non-Cablevision users unlimited data, texts and voice for $30 a month starting in February. If you're a Cablevision customer, that price tag falls to $10 a month.
A new survey of Computer World readers
suggests that T-Mobile is making huge strides in customer satisfaction thanks to the company's "uncarrier" efforts. Verizon usually sits on top of most surveys when it comes to overall satisfaction, and does so again here with 69% of Verizon customers satisfied (compared to 67% for AT&T, 54% for T-Mobile, and 39% for Sprint).
AT&T will likely have a hard time crying spectrum poverty after reports suggest the company gleaned the lion's share of spectrum at the AWS-3 spectrum auction. The auction tallied more than $45 billion in proceeds for the federal government, and estimates analyzing AT&T's financial moves suggest that AT&T alone may have spent between $20 and $22 billion
. One analyst firm AT&T likely purcharsed the J Block ($18.2 billion) and part of the G Block ($2.6 billion); while Verizon purchased the H Block ($8.4 billion) and I Block ($8.4 billion); With T-Mobile nabbing 30% of the G Block ($2.2 billion) and Dish nabbing the 15 MHz of unpaired uplink spectrum (for around $2 billion)."
As we noted yesterday
, news reports indicate that Google's longstanding interest in being a wireless provider may soon be coming to fruition. The search giant appears to have struck deals with both T-Mobile and Sprint to operate some form of MVNO that likely fuses Wi-Fi and cellular service.
Speaking on the company's earnings conference call this week, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stated that customers waiting for Verizon to follow the industry trend of roll over data plans shouldn't hold their breath. Long a seemingly common-sense idea, Southern carrier C Spire was the first to offer the option of pooling and keeping unused bits and bytes in early December
AT&T might dump the DirecTV brand name if AT&T's acquisition of the satellite company is approved, says AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. "We haven't decided yet on how we are going to brand it," Stephenson told reporters
at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We're testing the DIRECTV brand. We're testing the AT&T brand, so we're doing a lot of thinking." Of course that's assuming regulators approve of AT&T's elimination of one of its biggest competitors in the television space. That's certainly not a given, though Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable appears to be getting the lion's share of media attention.
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