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News tagged: alternatives


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by Karl Bode 06:28PM Wednesday Aug 27 2014
Add Canadian cable operators Rogers and Shaw to the latest in a long list of incumbent ISPs who believe they can offer a Netflix killer that will keep cord cutters in house. According to the companies' announcement, the service will be dubbed "shomi" and will emerge as a beta exclusively for Rogers and Shaw customers in November.

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Shomi will include 11,000 hours of past seasons of the most popular TV shows for $9 a month. The press release is quick to point out that 30% of the content made available on shomi will be Canadian. Shaw and Rogers insist the service is tailored specifically to what consumers want.

"We've taken the time to talk with Canadians to find out what they want and to create an unbelievable user experience," said Keith Pelley, President, Rogers Media. "They told us loud and clear – they want all the past seasons of the most popular, current TV shows and they want it to be easy."

Historically, incumbent TV/ISP streaming movie services don't tend to make much of an impression. The companies' involved have a tendency to be unwilling to offer real innovation and pricing for fear of cannibalizing existing pay TV subscribers.

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by Karl Bode 02:40PM Wednesday Aug 27 2014
On the heels of yesterday's tweaks to the company's Simple Starter plans, T-Mobile has made a few more changes, including expanding the company's Simple Choice family plan to 10 lines, as well as doubling your allotment of data if you add a tablet. T-Mobile previously capped their Simple Starter plans at 5 lines per account, charging $10 a month for each additional line.
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by Karl Bode 08:38AM Wednesday Aug 27 2014
Netflix became the latest company to formally object to Comcast's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. In their hand delivered filing with the FCC yesterday (pdf), Netflix argues that a larger Comcast would result in the company turning the "consumer’s Internet experience into something that more closely resembles cable television." Netflix proceeds to argue that "through access fees charged at the interconnection points and by other means" Comcast and Time Warner Cable have incentive and capability "to harm Internet companies, such as online video distributors (“OVDs”), which Applicants view as competitors."

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by Karl Bode 04:26PM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
TiVO this week expanded their device portfolio with a $50 unit that the company hopes appeals to cord cutters. The new TiVO Roamio OTA DVR features four tuners, a 500 GB hard drive and the ability to record and manage over the air broadcasts. TiVO's obviously not the first to this idea; a company by the name of Simple.TV has been offering a similar product for years, though their current device comes in at nearly $200. "TiVo is devoted to making the best possible cable TV user experience available through our operator partners and in retail, but we recognize some viewers opt not to receive the benefits a subscription with a cable provider offers," states the company.

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by Karl Bode 03:03PM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
After several years of delays, Verizon says they're going to be launching higher-audio-quality voice over LTE service (VoLTE) in the "coming weeks." While Verizon's behind other carriers with their launch, company executives state they wanted to wait and launch the service as nationally as possible for a more unified experience. The upgrade will come to an unspecified number of handsets, with users able to turn VoLTE on and off in their phone's settings and utilize only CDMA 1X voice service if LTE coverage is shaky. If your phone supports Verizon LTE, the report claims you'll need to also turn on the feature via your online account.

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by Karl Bode 12:30PM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
T-Mobile continues to tinker with data allotments and pricing in the face of a freshly ambitious Sprint, quadrupling the data allotment on the company's "Simple Starter" plan. According to a T-Mobile announcement, the company's Simple Starter plan will now provide unlimited talk and text and cost $45 ($5 more) but will deliver 2 GB of data as opposed to the previous 500 MB. On Simple Starter, once you've reached the 2 GB your service is suspended and you'll need to buy a one day, 500 MB day pass for $5, or a 7-day, 1 GB pass for $10. This new higher-allotment version of the plan will be available September 3.

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by Karl Bode 09:57AM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
While the company lead the speed race a few years ago, a certain complacency has fallen over Cablevision in recent years. The company has stopped competing as fiercely on price against Verizon FiOS (which has stopped competing on price in turn), with executives recently stating they weren't going to get caught up in "speed contests."

However, users in our forums notice that Cablevision is up to something with their speed tiers, even if it's nowhere as interesting as Verizon's recently decision to make all FiOS tiers symmetrical.
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by Karl Bode 08:21AM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
The New York Post claims that AT&T has struck a deal with the Department of Justice that would allow AT&T's $48.5 billion plan to acquire DirecTV to move forward. The report fails to specify what precise conditions the DOJ will place on the deal, though it does suggest that regulators are leaning toward approval with DOJ approval coming as soon as October.
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by Karl Bode 04:30PM Monday Aug 25 2014
Back in 2012 Verizon unveiled their "Home Fusion" fixed LTE service, which involved installing a "cantenna" on the side of the house, then offering users the choice of 10, 20 and 30 GB monthly allotments for $60, $90 or $120 respectively, per month. User Pittpharm See Profile writes in to note that Verizon for some reason has ditched the Home Fusion brand entirely, and is now calling this service "LTE Internet (Installed)." The somewhat less creative name doesn't appear to be hand in hand with any other changes, and the pricing appears to have remained the same. Verizon aims the product at rural customers usually stuck on satellite, and it will also fill in the gaps where Verizon backs away from offering DSL services.

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by Bill Neilson 02:38PM Monday Aug 25 2014
AT&T and DirecTV have told the FCC that Public Knowledge and the Community Broadband Networks Initiative should not be given extra time to file comments and petitions on the proposed merger because the FCC has an obligation to review the deal "as expeditiously as possible." AT&T and DirecTV claim that these groups would offer no "meaningful input" to justify a 30-day extension and therefore would result in a "significant and unjustified" delay.

In reality, AT&T and DirecTV simply don’t want to deal with anymore criticism of the merger and want to get it pushed through as fast as possible.
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by Karl Bode 02:50PM Friday Aug 22 2014
Way back in 2005 we profiled the Massachusetts towns of Shutesbury and Leverett, two shining examples of the kinds of U.S. towns that exist in broadband connectivity black holes courtesy of limited competition.
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by Karl Bode 12:26PM Friday Aug 22 2014
After unveiling the company's new cheaper shared data options earlier this week, Sprint has also now unveiled a new, cheaper plan for single lines. According to the Sprint announcement, users this week can now get unlimited data, voice and text for $60 a month.
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by Karl Bode 07:59AM Friday Aug 22 2014
Add Jacksonville to the growing list of AT&T markets where the company will selectively deploy 1 Gbps U-Verse "Gigapower" service. According to the latest AT&T announcement, Jacksonville will join the list of planned AT&T cities, which so far includes Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Charlotte, Houston, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham, and Winston-Salem and Miami. As with all the announcements, AT&T says that "specific locations of availability and pricing for the Jacksonville market will be announced at a later date." As noted previously, these deployments will primarily focus on a very select number of high-end development communities, though AT&T's getting ample marketing mileage in their PR battle with Google Fiber.

Update: Cuppertino in Silicon Valley is also being named as a Gigapower market.

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by Karl Bode 12:21PM Thursday Aug 21 2014
T-Mobile took a shot at Sprint, AT&T and Verizon today with a new promotion that gives the company's Simple Choice plan users unlimited LTE data for a year if they bring another user over to T-Mobile. If the Simple Choice plan users already have unlimited data, users will receive a $10-per-month credit for a year.
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by Karl Bode 07:21PM Wednesday Aug 20 2014
Users in our CenturyLink forum note that the company is now offering 1 Gbps service in parts of Denver, though they also note that the company won't reveal where in Denver. The Denver launch comes as part of a somewhat ambiguous announcement earlier this month that CenturyLink would be offering 1 Gbps speeds in select portions of sixteen cities. Other cities where 1 Gbps is selectively being offered include Boise, where customers say users can pay $120 a month (plus a $60 installation fee) for the service with no usage caps. "Residential and business customers in the cities where we are offering ultra-fast broadband connections can go to https://www.centurylink.com/fiber/ to find out if broadband speeds up to 1 Gbps are available to them," is all the company will say when it comes to specific 1 Gbps availability.

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by Karl Bode 06:10PM Tuesday Aug 19 2014
A few years ago, the courts shut down a dirt-cheap broadband TV service named Ivi, arguing that over the top video services weren't technically cable companies, and couldn't just start paying retransmission fees to become them. Fast forward to the Supreme Court's recent ruling on Aereo, which seemingly argued the exact opposite -- that Internet services could be cable operators if they pay retransmission fees.
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by Karl Bode 03:55PM Tuesday Aug 19 2014
Comcast's historically abysmal customer customer service has many causes, not least of which is the company's fairly obvious lax standards when it comes to subcontractors, which over the years has resulted in installers falling asleep, murdering people, digging in the wrong yard, blowing up laptops, dishwashers and homes or even animal cruelty. But to hear many Comcast insiders tell it, another major reason for Comcast's problems is the fact that the company has spent much of its existence growing for the sake of growing.
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by Karl Bode 05:46PM Monday Aug 18 2014
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).
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by Karl Bode 03:27PM Monday Aug 18 2014
Verizon tinkered with wireless pricing over the weekend, offering a new $60 plan for individuals that offers unlimited text, unlimited voice and 2 GB of data. Obviously this precludes being able to add additional devices like tablets to the plan, and the overages remain steep at $15 per each additional gigabyte consumed. Users who participate in Verizon's EDGE early handset upgrade program can grab $10 off the plan cost per month. There's oodles of additional detail provided by Verizon in a new FAQ posted to the company's website.
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by Karl Bode 09:05AM Monday Aug 18 2014
Anti-Piracy firm Rightscorp has historically targeted non "six strikes" ISP customers with legal threats unless a $20 fine is paid. As it stands, the firm tracks user behavior and then forwards on the warning letters used by ISPs, who then forward those warnings (and a request for payment) on to the end user.
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