On the heels of launching $70 per month, 1 Gbps "G1GABLAST" services in a few development communities in Phoenix
, Cox Communications this week announced they're also bringing the speedy service to portions of Virginia. According to a Cox announcement
, the company will be offering 1 Gbps speeds to "new developments across Virginia," though failed to specify precisely how many users will see the speeds. The company has previously stated they're going to offer 1 Gbps speeds to everyone else using the DOCSIS 3.1 standard -- but those deployments aren't expected to begin until early 2016.
When asked this week by an analyst whether over the top video services would ultimately drive Time Warner Cable toward usage-based broadband models, company CEO Rod Marcus stated the company has no plans to abandon offering an unlimited broadband options. You'll recall Time Warner Cable took a public relations beating for pushing mandatory low caps (as low as 5 GB) and high per byte overages (as high as $5 per additional gigabyte) on consumers back in 2009
A new report from the Open Technology Institute
states what most of our readers know all-too-well: the United States lags behind numerous developed nations on broadband speed and prices because a notable lack of meaningful competition in most markets. The study took a look at broadband speeds and prices in 24 US cities and around the world, ranking cities based on both price and speed.
A report in the Wall Street Journal
states that the FCC is considering a "hybrid" approach to its upcoming net neutrality rules that would attempt to expand the FCC's authority, but would fall well short of consumer advocates demand to simply reclassify ISPs as utilities under Title II of the Communications Act. According to the report, Wheeler's shifted his thinking since his original proposal, the Journal stating this new "hybrid" effort would work as such:
The plan now under consideration would separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content.
On the heels of similar announcements by both HBO
, Starz now says that the premium cable channel is also considering offering a standalone online video streaming service. According to a report in Variety
, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht called the move to such a service a "no brainer" and that companies should give consumers "what they want." "This is a tide that has to turn," said Albrecht. "I don’t think it cannibalizes the existing business. It is a way to innovate and create real value." The CEO didn't state when US consumers could see such a service, only stating they'd be launching the platform in "select international territories" sometime next year.
Time Warner Cable's earnings
this morning indicate that the company lost 184,000 video subscribers on the quarter, more than most Wall Street analysts expected. The company did add 92,000 broadband and 14,000 voice subscribers on the quarter, but lost 24,000 triple play customers overall. Overall company revenue fell 6% as a result. While the company is offering its Maxx upgrades
to key locations, much of the company's footprint remains in a holding pattern as it awaits regulatory approval of their $45 billion sale to Comcast -- something company CEO Rob Marcus today admitted is taking longer than he anticipated.
Looking to better understand the recent traffic slowdowns experienced during interconnection feuds, M-Lab has released a new study
(pdf) that analyzed transit and connection points between large last mile ISPs and transit operators such as Level3 and Cogent. While the report is clear not to affix specific blame for the sort of Netflix streaming issues seen by customers of Verizon and Comcast, they do clearly point out that the problems were the result of choices made by ISPs in their business relationships, and not congestion.
Sprint today announced that the company's faster Spark LTE upgrades have arrived in seventeen new markets. According to the company's announcement
, the seventeen markets include Denver, Seattle, Columbus, Sacramento, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. The company's Spark upgrades combine Sprint's 2.5 GHz, 1900 MHz and 800 MHz bands for improved regional capacity and speeds Sprint promises should top out around 60 Mbps. Sprint says the Spark upgrades are now available in 46 markets across the country, and should be available to 100 million potential customers by the end of the year.
It's pretty clear at this point that while consumers complain a lot about high cable prices, it's really not driving consumers away from traditional cable on a grand scale. While this won't be the case long term, users appear to be willing to pay a lot of money and even tolerate bi-annual rate hikes -- if they're treated relatively well. story continues..
According to the latest data from ComScore
, while traditional TV still rules the roost, Millenials are increasingly moving away from the classic definition of the boob tube. The survey of 1,159 TV watchers found that 24% of Millennials don't pay for traditional TV, and 46% time shift their content. 77% of younger folks are more likely than average to never have had traditional TV, and 67% are more likely than average to be a cord cutter. Unsurprisingly, older folk are more traditional. 84% of consumers between 35 and 54 spend the majority of their time watching traditional scripted shows on TV, a number that jumps to 90% among consumers who are 55 years or older.
After mocking other 1 Gbps deployments as "hype" that "confuses customers," Frontier Communications last week quietly started offering 1 Gbps service under the FiberHome brand to a few development communities in Durham
. According to Frontier, the 1 Gbps service will run users $220 a month.
Chatter in our Bright House Networks forum
indicates (and a press release
confirms) that the company is preparing to bump the speeds available to most of their subscribers for free. The company's 10 Mbps customers are being bumped to 15 Mbps; 30 Mbps customers are being bumped to 35 Mbps; 60 Mbps customers are being nudged to 75 Mbps; and 90 Mbps customers will be pushed to 150 Mbps. Upstream speeds are staying the same. A Bright House representative in our forums states
they should be completed by the end of December, and also confirms
that the company is also working on deploying a faster 300 Mbps tier, though so far they haven't specified how much you'll pay for the service.
AT&T has been slowly expanding the partner list of companies involved in their "Sponsored Data" program, wherein partners' content won't count against a user's mobile usage cap. The program has been controversial among net neutrality advocates because the concept gives companies with money to burn a potential leg up against smaller competitors
The Donahue Report
(via Multichannel News
) notes that Comcast filed the trademark for the term "True Gig" on October 20, suggesting that a 1 Gbps offering from the company is likely in the works. Earlier this year company stated they'd offer 1 Gbps and higher services "as soon as possible
" as the company looks to quickly deploy the DOCSIS 3.1 standard once it's complete. Comcast's current top offering is a 505 Mbps down, 100 Mbps up fiber/coaxial hybrid tier
that runs users around $300 a month, comes with a $1,000 ETF, a $250 activation fee, and
a $250 installation fee.
Amazon's earnings last week confirmed what most analysts have been guessing for several months: Amazon's smartphone is a dud. A combination of uninteresting gimmicks and AT&T exclusivity hindered the phone out of the gate
, and while Amazon isn't sharing the number of units sold, the company did say they took a $170 million charge on inventory commitments last quarter because of the device and is sitting on another $83 million in unsold phones.
For years there has been a concerted push by the broadband industry to try and insist that the United States broadband market is secretly flawless, awesome and highly competitive, despite the fact that absolutely every independent source of broadband data (from Akamai
and the FCC
to the OECD
and OOkla's Net Index
) suggests we're absolutely and utterly mediocre at every metric that counts. That's not to say we're not improving in some very select regions
(thanks to things like Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS and DOCSIS 3.0), but overall we're quite indisputably, utterly average when it comes to broadband worldwide -- especially on price.
FCC boss Tom Wheeler has been talking a lot lately
about raising the standard definition of broadband to at least 10 Mbps (for government-subsidized rural options) and 25 Mbps for everybody else. He's also been talking about how when you look at speeds of 25 Mbps higher there's little to no competition -- as most DSL providers struggle to offer that speed in any volume.
Please carefully deposit your most interesting thoughts into the receptacle provided below.
As noted recently
, the most interesting thing about Apple's latest round of announcements was probably the AppleSIM
, which allows users to use their new iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 on different services without swapping out the SIM card. As also noted that's an idea that likely terrifies the biggest carriers, as keeping people's devices locked down goes a long way toward keeping real competition at bay.
Last year, Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter stated that people don't really need 1 Gbps, and that the 3 to 6 Mbps most of her customers can get was just fine for most people
. Last summer, trying to downplay the fact said 3-6 Mbps is painfully uncompetitive, Wilderotter called Google Fiber "hype" that "confuses customers
," and that even talking about 1 Gbps services was something that was "disrespectful" to the customer base.
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