On the heels of promising VDSL2 upgrades, Windstream is also (rather ambiguously) promising that they'll soon be offering 1 Gbps service in at least one upcoming market. Maybe. The company's 1 Gbps "announcement" is amusingly ambiguous:
quote:"We're looking at areas where we have made fiber investments in the past and how we might leverage those fiber investments to provide 1 Gbps service to our customers," Thomas said. "We will launch a market in 2015--at least on a friendly basis if not a full launch--with 1Gbps service."
What precisely a "friendly basis" means isn't clear, though Windstream customers likely shouldn't get their hopes up. Of course that's not likely given that so many users currently struggle to get 1 Mbps thanks to a core network in desperate need of upgrades (as our user reviews will attest). Again though, with so little competition in many Windstream territories, none of this is likely to change anytime soon.
Google today announced that the company has expanded Google Fiber business-class service into Provo, Utah and additional markets in Kansas City. According to a Google Fiber blog post, customers in available markets can now head here to sign up for the $100 per month service. Google Fiber launched business class service in November of last year, after taking a little heat from startups running into the residential Google Fiber terms of service regarding server operation.
While Netflix has been an incredibly vocal supporter of net neutrality and a massive opponent of usage caps here in the States, apparently those positions didn't make the ocean voyage to Australia. Janko Roettgers at GigaOM notes that Netflix will be launching in Australia on 24, much to the pleasure of those who've had to use VPNs to access out of market Netflix content.
Verizon just got done selling all of its fixed-line network assets in California, Texas and Florida to Frontier Communications, and the company is giving every indication that more deals may be in the works. Speaking to investors during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference 2015, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told attendees the company will consider additional deals if they are at the "right price" and geographically make sense:
quote:"For the right price and right terms, if there's an asset we don't believe is strategic to Verizon and can return shareholder value, we'll dispose of that asset," Shammo said.
Google Fiber isn't coming to Portland just yet, though Google recently announced the city was one of several options that should be announced later this year. To sweeten the pot, Oregon is push a change in state tax code to help further lure Google Fiber to the Pacific Northwest:
quote:An Oregon Senate committee has proposed an unusual tax break, designed to help lure Google Fiber or other hyperfast Internet services to the Portland area. The language would cap property valuation when it comes to a thorny element of Oregon's tax code, "central assessment," which makes telecom companies liable for the worth of their brand and other intangible assets.
Google Fiber's Milo Medin recently told cities that they can either eliminate barriers to faster deployment, or "enjoy your Time Warner Cable." As Overland Park, Kansas found out, if you don't give Google what it wants -- the company is quick to move on to one of the countless other cities that are begging the company for better service.
Frontier Communications and TiVO have struck a new deal that may give Frontier customers access to TiVO hardware and service. According to a company announcement, Frontier will begin to market and deploy co-branded versions of TiVo's suite of whole-home products and services -- including an industry-first deployment of the TiVo Roamio DVR with over-the-air (OTA) support -- starting sometime in the middle of this year. Frontier's going to target cord cutters with these services; the company never particularly bullish on offering TV services -- even though they just acquired Verizon's DSL and FiOS assets in CA, FL and TX.
Even with new, tougher Title II based net neutrality rules, Comcast remains a huge threat to Internet video, argues Dish Networks. "Even if the net neutrality rules are upheld in court, there are innumerable ways that Comcast-Time Warner could sabotage over-the-top," Jeff Blum, senior vice president and deputy general counsel of Dish Network Corp told attendees of a conference call this week. "And over-the-top is a reality. It’s something that is good for consumers." Licensing is the biggest weapon for a larger Comcast, argues Blum. "For example, Comcast-Time Warner [could say], 'OK, Discovery, you want carriage on Comcast-Time Warner -- our 30 million homes -- we'll give it to you, but you can’t grant the following over-the-top rights to Netflix or Sony or Dish,' " Blum said.
In June of 2013 Google unveiled Google Loon, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft.
T-Mobile will be among the first carriers to utilized unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum to help supplement the company's LTE network, the company announced today. According to a press announcement by Alcatel Lucent, T-Mobile will be deploying Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) in 5 GHz spectrum sometime in 2016.
Confirming numerous rumors from earlier this year, Google has announced that the company will soon formally unveil their foray into wireless services. Speaking at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Google's Sundar Pichai told attendees that their MVNO would be launched sometime in the "coming months."
Those hoping for Google to jump into the wireless market with both feet may wind up being disappointed.
As we noted last month, Dish Network has been taking heat for some creative shenanigans at the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction. One, despite spending $13.3 billion at auction Dish appears to have used a legal "small business" loophole to save themselves around $3 billion.
As we've explored, one of the broadcaster markets hit particularly hard by Netflix is children's programming, since parents (and kids) find it immeasurably more convenient to watch TV on their own schedule. Kids are also less likely to need to see the "latest and greatest," resulting in what's often been a 15% or greater viewership dip quarter to quarter over the last year.
Grande Communications has announced the company has started deploying 1 Gbps broadband services in San Antonio. According to a company announcement, the company says they'll first be offering their 1 Gbps "Power 1000" broadband tier in Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills. The company says they'll be offering the service for $65 a month, though the tier will top out at 400 Mbps in areas not yet upgraded to a gig. Grande's also offering 50Mbps at $35, 200Mbps for $45, and 300Mbps for $55 a month. "We understand our customers' needs for more Internet speed options with low and mid-range pricing and we strive to deliver a better value than our competitors," proclaims the company.
Lafayette Louisiana's LUS Fiber faced very sleazy efforts by Cox and BellSouth years ago when trying to launch; efforts that went so far as the two companies hiring push pollsters to try and tell locals taxpayer money would be used to fund pornography. Some pollsters even tried to tell locals that if they approved the municipal broadband project, the government would restrict their television watching to just a few days a week.
Qualcomm today unveiled a new wireless standard they claim can utilize unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum alongside traditional LTE wireless technology. According to the Qualcomm press release, the company's new FSM 99xx chipset for small cells (in addition to new transceivers) will use Licensed Assisted Access -- or LTE-Unlicensed -- to take advantage of unlicensed bands.
A few weeks back Sprint engaged in a clever marketing move by throwing their wholesale support behind Title II net neutrality rules. Sprint doesn't lose all that much if they back away from the rules moving forward (the CTIA is already against the rules, after all), but the announcement put a bright spotlight on the fact that T-Mobile has so far refused to support tougher neutrality rules, despite benefiting hugely from a reputation as a fierce consumer advocate.
Last week we examined how Lenovo was under fire for including "Superfish" malware in the company's consumer-grade laptops. The malware in question encrypted Web sessions and -- because the private encryption key accompanying the Superfish-signed Transport Layer Security certificate appears is the same for every Lenovo machine -- made Lenovo users vulnerable to HTTPS man-in-the-middle attacks that should be relatively easy for attackers to carry out.
While some ISPs have spent months complaining that Title II net neutrality rules would harm them in numerous and immeasurable ways, they've simultaneously been busy telling investors the rules aren't that big of a deal. Of course there's a number of ISPs, including Sonic, Sprint, Frontier and Cablevision, that have also publicly stated repeatedly they don't think the new rules change all that much.
Months after Aereo's ambitions fell apart due to the Supreme Court ruling, TiVo appears to have acquired the remnants of Aereo's operations, including the brand name. Jeff John Roberts at GigaOM notes that TiVo and other bidders were able to pick up these assets for a mere $2 million at auction, a significant distance from the $90 to $100 million invested in the company. It's not a particularly flattering end note for a company that at one point has revolutionary ambitions. "We are very disappointed with the results of the auction. This has been a very difficult sales process and the results reflect that," an Aereo attorney said in a prepared statement.