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If you're a Verizon customer that's having some Netflix performance issues lately, the likely culprit appears to be a peering spat between Verizon and Cogent Communications. GigaOM
has managed to sniff out the dispute, quoting Cogent as saying Verizon is intentionally allowing the ten peering points they share with the company to degrade. Verizon isn't really commenting on the feud outside of issuing some basic quotes about their superior network, so the GigaOM
story lacks any technical detail coming from Verizon's side. Cogent is certainly no stranger to disputes over peering
, which involve companies exchanging equal (or quite often not so equal, resulting in these feuds) amounts of bandwidth for free.
We've now seen two
that have shown that AT&T's LTE network is the fastest, even though Verizon's tends to have broader coverage and be more reliable. That's effectively what PC Magazine's new analysis of the fastest wireless networks found
, the company working with Sensorly to collect data in thirty cities. "In our first truly fair fight between LTE networks, AT&T came through with faster upload and download speeds overall than Verizon Wireless, although Verizon offered better reliability and greater rural coverage than its competitor." Another trend we're seeing in these studies: T-Mobile's LTE (where available) is faster than Verizon, while Sprint's average LTE speeds fail to impress. It will be interesting to see if these numbers change as both AT&T and T-Mobile see greater user loads on their LTE networks.
AT&T recently annoyed users by blocking Google Hangouts video chat
, just a year after taking heat for blocking Facetime
. AT&T pretended the move was about network logistics, but they were actually using the blockade to force grandfathered unlimited users on to metered plans (the Facetime block was ultimately removed for metered users).
writes in to direct our attention to the fact that Sprint has announced
that they've launched LTE service in another twenty two new markets, including Miami, New Orleans, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida. As always the usual Sprint launch caveats apply: many users had seen signal in these locations for some time as Sprint brings signals online for testing well before a commercial launch. Said launches aren't always what you'd call comprehensive
either; only around 40% of towers have been LTE approved in the Miami launch market. The launches bring Sprint's LTE market total to 110. The company aims to offer LTE to 200 million people by the end of this year.
Dish says that the company has started testing a fixed LTE product capable of delivering speeds up to 50 Mbps. In a press statement
, Dish insists that they've seen speeds of 25-30 Mbps downstream using 2.5 GHz BRS spectrum in Virginia tests with their partner nTelos, who they recently announced a new fixed LTE partnership with
. Dish has offered up this video
with a few produced consumer impressions of the service, though the company has yet to announce an plans for expansion beyond the Virginia test sites, or prices (or cap) plans for when/if the service sees full commerical deployment. Unless the price and caps are outrageous, this could be a promising option for users stuck on satellite broadband.
As the hype machine for 3DTV dies off
, the hype machine for 4K (aka "ultra HD") television is starting to kick into overdrive, and cable operators insist they'll be ready. The first 4K TV channel was launched in Europe earlier this year, operating in progressive mode at 50 frames per second, encoded in MPEG-4 and transmitted at 40 Mbps in four Quad HD streams.
Last weekend's "Game of Thrones" series finale set piracy records, with the program being downloaded by more than a million people in one day. According to Torrent Freak
, the show set BitTorrent records specifically, with some 170,000 people sharing one copy of the show simultaneously. The massive, unprecedented piracy comes as HBO continues to refuse to make their streaming platform HBO Go
available to users without a traditional cable connection. The show is expected to surpass 5 million BitTorrent downloads over the next week, with most of those downloaders coming from Australia, followed by the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
The cable industry today announced that their creatively named joint "CableWiFi" initiative now offers access to more than 150,000 hotspots if you're a paying customer of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks, or Cox Communications. That number is up from the 50,000 offered just last year. The initiative piggybacked initially on the back of Cablevision's idea to deploy free Wi-Fi to paying customers across NYC commuter regions. Users simply have to look for the CableWiFi SSID and log in with their cable credentials. Time Warner Cable offers this hotspot location map
, as well as a Wi-Fi finder app available both via Google Play
or the iTunes store
AT&T has followed Verizon's lead and has increased the amount of time before customers under contract qualify for a new smartphone. Back in April Verizon announced
that the company was increasing their upgrade eligibility window to a full 24 months, the move coming just a few years
after Verizon bumped the window from 12 to 20 months and killed their "new every two
" program. On their consumer blog, AT&T says they're matching the move made by Verizon
and announcing a 24-month upgrade policy across all of AT&T's wireless products and services. AT&T's at least kind enough to avoid bogus explanations why (like it "improves the customer experience" and the like).
While the announcement was somewhat overshadowed by the continuing NSA snooping controversy(ies), President Obama this week announced a new initiative aimed at shoring up broadband connectivity at the nation's schools. According to a White House press release
, the new initiative calls on the FCC to modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program to help bring faster broadband services to schools within five years.
Long after this week's surveillance firestorm erupted, the White House has finally seen fit to grace the public with some justifications for their wholesale secret spying on pretty much everyone, everywhere, all the time. In a speech (full video here
), Obama effectively stated that spying on such a ridiculous scale is a "critical" tool in the country's arsenal, and that both
of the programs
exposed in more detail this week were approved by Congress, and therefore perfectly ok.
AT&T this week announced
that the company has extended LTE service into another twenty-two markets, while expanding LTE coverage further in ten existing markets. The new markets: Batesville, Ark.; Blytheville, Ark; Forrest City, Ark; Colorado Springs, Col.; Clewiston, Fla; Blackfoot, Idaho; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Pocatello, Idoha; Rexburg, Idoha; Columbus, Ind; Fort Wayne, Ind; Seymour, Ind; Muskegon, Mich.; Vineland, N.J.; Farmington, N.M.; Wooster, Ohio; Miami, Okla; Williamsport, Pa.; Texarkana, Texa; Heber, Utah; Olympia, Wash; and Spokane, Wash. This week's upgrades bring AT&T's total LTE market count to 261.
According to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers
, consumer spending on wireless data services is expected to pass consumer spending on fixed-line broadband services sometime this year. Last year in the United States, home Internet spending reached $46.5 billion compared to $44.5 billion for mobile data, but mobile data is expected to reach $54 billion this year while home access reaches $49.6 billion.
Upstart MVNO FreedomPop
will be expanding its free-based business model further, offering new plans this summer tied to certain Android phones that offer 200 free voice minutes, along with unlimited texting and 500 megabytes of data service. The company already offers users 500 megabytes of free data service -- though our users are quick to point out it's not technically free due to the $2 fee charged to warn you when you're getting close to your usage limits, or the $1 charged when you don't use your service enough
. According to a company press release
, the plans should drop "later this summer." "The quality of over-the-top VoIP services is now at a stage where we can deliver the major mobile services completely free to consumers," insists the company.
Washington Post owned Cable One has traditionally been one of the most aggressive ISPs when it came to usage caps, but today announced that they're backing off the practice. CableOne has a rather long history of tinkering with low caps and often confusing pricing plans, including imposing different usage restrictions at different times of the day
Canadian regulators this morning released a new code
for the Canadian wireless industry that should help save our friends to the north some significant cash, as well as some significant headaches. According to an explanation of the code by the CRTC
, the code was designed to tackle numerous consumer complains with wireless industry business practices, including confusing and/or misleading contracts and pricing, long term wireless contracts and early termination fees, roaming charges, device return windows and more.
Several users have been complaining that a new update released for Verizon's version of the Galaxy S3 has crippled LTE connectivity, alongside some other bugs. The update doesn't appear to be a problem for everyone
, but impacted users claim that it's not only preventing them from getting LTE speeds, it has somehow managed to reduce device battery life. The update also appears to be enrolling some users in some new bloatware by Verizon called Caller Name ID, which allows you to change what name others see when called -- for a $2.99 monthly fee. Again -- not all users are seeing the bugs and for some the update causes no problems whatsoever.
by Revcb Friday 31-May-2013
You can go to pretty much any broadband statistic warehouse (from Akamai
and the FCC
to the OECD
and OOkla's Net Index
) and find that the United States is indisputably and utterly mediocre in nearly every single meaningful broadband metric, whether it's price, availability or speed. There's no debate here.
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