Add Nickelodeon to the growing number of broadcast properties looking to launch a standalone streaming video option in 2015. As we've noted, one of the broadcaster markets hit particularly hard by Netflix is children's programming
, since parents (and kids) find it immeasurably more convenient not to have to watch TV on a schedule, and kids are less likely to need to see the "latest and greatest." Nickelodeon has been particularly hard hit by Netflix
over the last year.
Nickelodeon's solution is to offer a standalone streaming service of their own
launching sometime in February:
More details about the service will be revealed when Nickelodeon hosts its upfront meeting with advertisers next month. U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory in the upfront market, and TV networks that cater to children typically lead the salvo.
The new Nickelodeon service will be aimed specifically at consumers who use mobile devices, Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman said during a call held to discuss Viacom’s financial performance. He suggested the service would have a different name or brand, and said it “will be very attractive to parents and children."
While it's nice to see more Internet streaming options, consumers are only going to be interested in shelling out so much each month in fees. Consumers are still going to want the best bang for their buck, and will congregate wherever they can get the broadest selection of content. Right now that's Netflix or Amazon, and a streaming service only offering Nickelodeon content isn't likely to change that.
The FCC is apparently slated to release and vote on its new Title-II based net neutrality rules on February 26, and the GOP is not happy that the agency refuses to share the rules ahead of time. Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton, who are busy promoting the broadband industry's own neutrality rules aimed at derailing more meaningful protections
, state that they want the FCC's rules made public because they very much care about the public's participation
in the conversation:
“Given the significance of the matter and the strong public participation in the commission’s proceeding to date, we believe the public and industry stakeholders alike should have the opportunity to review the text of any proposed order or rules prior to commission action,” Senate committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), House committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) — the head of the House Communications Subcommittee — said in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Thursday.
“Limited access to information is beneficial to no one — not to the consumers directly affected by commission action, not to the industries regulated by the rules and not to the commissioners seeking to make information decisions taking public feedback into consideration," they added.
On the one hand yes, the FCC's rules should be made public so that everyone can have a conversation about the specific wording. On the other hand, you can understand the FCC's logic in that revealing the rules to neutrality opponents -- who will fight them no matter what
the "public conversation" entails -- only acts to give them a running start in undermining them.
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.
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.
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)."
Google is of course considering whether or not to deliver Google Fiber to a possible 34 potential cities
, of which only a few are likely to be chosen. Right before Christmas Google delayed the announcement
of the next city (or cities), but stated they'd be announcing the next Google Fiber city early next year.
Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton are spearheading a new attempt to pass weak net neutrality rules before the FCC can vote to craft tougher, Title II based rules on February 26. The press is being incredibly polite about this effort, often painting it
as an honest, bipartisan solution to net neutrality from two gentlemen that have changed their tune.
As we noted earlier this week
, CEO of T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom made a few comments recently casting doubt on T-Mobile's survival chances in the market. Tim Hoettges stated he wasn't comforted by AT&T and Verizon's likely haul of spectrum at recent auction, and didn't see T-Mobile as a sustainable enterprise long term given the money they're having to spend to keep up with the nation's duopoly. Traditionally outspoken T-Mobile CEO John Legere apparently wasn't too impressed with these reports
Of course it's not really clear what's "bullshit" about the owner of the company Legere works for clearly stating he doesn't think T-Mobile's expensive war on the wireless duopoly is sustainable long term, but Legere tried to repeatedly downplay the comments when asked about them on Twitter:
Reporters like Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin have offered to interview Legere on the subject
to clear up what Legere believes is being misinterpreted, but the wise-cracking CEO doesn't appear to have replied to the offer yet.
In an interesting turnaround, Sprint today officially threw their support behind the reclassification of ISPs under Title II and the creation of meaningful Title-II based net neutrality rules. In a filing with the FCC
(spotted via GigaOM
), Sprint declares that they're ok with the process as long as the rules are smart enough to protect reasonable network management (which thus far has never been an issue).
Back in October we noted that Marriott agreed to pay a $600,000 fine to the FCC
for blocking user access to their own tethered phones or mobile hotspots, instead forcing convention center attendees to use Marriott's pricey Wi-Fi. At the time we noted how this was a pretty clear example of Marriott simply using technology in an uncompetitive fashion, though in filings since Marriott has attempted to argue they were only looking out for the welfare and security of their customers.
CenturyLink says that the growing telco is considering offering an over the top streaming video service -- maybe. "We're also looking at over-the-top video applications potentially that we could offer our customers, which would be different than the Prism products that we offer today," CenturyLink CFO Stewart Ewing told attendees
of the Citi 2015 Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference.
Both AT&T and Verizon have grand ambitions of getting LTE service more closely integrated into automobiles so consumers are eating more data than ever. AT&T's already struck in-car LTE deals with a number of manufacturers including GM, Audi and Subaru
, with AT&T customers now able to add their cars to their shared data allotments as just another device.
Last week Google Fiber argued to the FCC that despite all the incumbent ISP hand-wringing by bigger ISPs about Title II reclassification, the shift might be a good thing in that it would streamline Google's rights to attach to utility poles
, in the process potentially expiditing Google Fiber deployment. Google had run into a bit of a wall with AT&T
, who initially made Google jump through a few hoops if it wanted access to the 20% of Austin utility poles AT&T owns.
As most of you know, AT&T has been waging a quiet war on unlimited data users ever since the company grandfathered many of them after switching to shared data plans. This has at times involved going so far as to block Facetime from working
unless users upgraded to capped plans, or even throttling users to 5 GB of usage -- even when the network wasn't facing any meaningful congestion.
According to the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report
, only about one in five (19%) of US households have connections capable of handling 4KTV streaming (or a consistent average throughput of about 15 Mbps). The latest report found that the average US connection is capable of speeds around 11 Mbps, a mark that's unchanged from the quarter before but a marked 21% increase from the previous year -- largely thanks to continued cable DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades. The report states that the United States is now 12th globally when it comes to average broadband speeds.
At the same time India's government may be busily demanding the blocking of up to 60 websites
on terrorism-fighting grounds, the government has also launched a new fiber deployment initiative that will bring discounted broadband to millions of the country's residents. According to the India Times
, the new effort will deliver speeds of 15 Mbps to around twelve million households at a price of around 150 Rupees per month (or roughly $2.40). ISPs currently offer those same speeds for around $18 a month. The project will be run by a state-owned company named Andhra Pradesh Fibre Corporation, and is expected to be completed sometime next year.
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