We've discussed how while the fifth generation (5G) standard isn't even finalized yet, we're already subject to the hype insisting that the standard will cure cancer and save the world
, even though nobody's quite sure what it is yet. In an announcement about their October agenda
, the FCC says they'll start laying the groundwork next month for a shift to 5G by examining the possibility of operating networks in extremely high-band spectrum frequencies above 24 GHz. "Early studies show that these new technologies – what some are calling “5G” – can ultimately facilitate a throughput of up to 10 Gigabits/second, a speed that is orders of magnitude greater than that available today," notes FCC boss Tom Wheeler in a blog post
Suddenlink is threatening to pull Viacom channels from their lineup if the two sides can't reach a compromise on retransmission pricing by October 1. "...Despite our repeated requests for Viacom to reconsider, they refused to make a fair and reasonable offer for their channels," the company tells consumers over at the SuddenlinkOnYourSide.com website
. "Because it’s simply not fair to ask Suddenlink customers to pay a lot more for channels that, on average, they watch a lot less, we will – starting this Wednesday, October 1 – no longer carry the Viacom channels." Instead, says Suddenlink, they'll be replacing those channels with non-Viacom owned channels that vary by area (you can head here to plug in your zip and check
On the heels of tweaking plans earlier this year
, GVTC, Texas' largest telephone cooperative and a cable and FTTH overbuilder, has jumped into the 1 Gbps game. According to a company announcement
, GVTC says they've already brought 1 Gbps speeds to the 40,000 homes in the San Antonio area already connected to their 2,200 mile fiber network. According to the company's website
, pricing across the company's tiers is a bit higher than what we've seen elsewhere, with their 1 Gbps down, 100 Mbps up tier running $295 a month. The company also offers 20/3 Mbps ($80), 40/10 Mbps ($100), 80/20 Mbps ($130), and 200/50 Mbps ($200) options.
British Telecom, like many telcos here in the States, have been criticized for their refusal to upgrade wide swaths of copper network -- though the company says they've found an advancement that could deliver significant upgrades for those users. BT says they've been conducting trials of G-Fast technology
capable of delivering 800 Mbps downstream and 200Mbps upstream via fiber to the cabinet (aka fiber to the node, or FTTN here in the States).
Over the top video players get a lot of due credit for being disruptive disruptive, though restrictive Hollywood licensing continues to prevent streaming video operators from being anywhere near as disruptive to traditional business models as they could be. Case in point: Research firm KPMG this week released a new study
funded by NBC that studied the broadband streaming availability of the 808 most popular and critically acclaimed films.
Historically one of the biggest problems with Internet filters is over-reach; once the door is opening to censoring specific corners of the web, some individuals can't seem to help themselves when it comes to pushing the censorship envelope. This certainly seems to be true for the Internet filters GoGo is applying to their in-flight broadband connections, now available on the majority of airlines. story continues..
In June of last year 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.
At a speech
(pdf) given this week at net neutrality forum in Sacramento
both Democratic Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel unsurprisingly made it clear that they support the prevention of so-called Internet "fast lanes," and that they'd like to see network neutrality rules applied to wireless networks. The original rules, co-written by AT&T, Verizon and Google quite by design omitted rules to wireless, and in recent months FCC boss Tom Wheeler has hinted that could soon change.
New analysis from the Diffusion Group
(spotted via GigaOM
) indicates that Netflix users now watch, on average, 90 minutes of programming via the over the top streaming company every day. This usage equates to around 45 GB per month in data consumption, or about a third of what's a fairly standard 150 GB usage cap on a lot of DSL users. As Netflix expands its selection of 4K content
-- which the company states can consume up to 7 GB per hour -- you can expect those numbers to scale upward quickly. Will usage caps keep pace?
Last fall the FAA lifted restrictions on in-flight electronics use during take offs and landing, and last January the FCC began rulemaking to lift the restrictions on in-flight phone calls. Wheeler and the FCC took a lot of heat for that move
(and is still fielding mostly negative comments
on the idea).
AT&T executives must be loving Comcast right now, as the scrutiny of Comcast's $45 billion attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable has obscured AT&T's own attempt $48.5 billion effort to acquire DirecTV
. In many ways one could argue the AT&T deal is worse
in that it eliminates a company that has been a rather disruptive competitor in the pay TV market, and replaces it with a company that has a legacy of avoiding real competition by any means necessary
Comcast makes more money in one quarter off of the company's modem rental fees than it did for the entire Sochi Olympics, notes an analysis of Comcast's books
. The company's $8 per month modem rental fee has slowly but surely been jacked up over the years
, and now nets the company an estimated $300 million per quarter
-- income that doesn't correspond with Comcast really doing much of anything (not entirely unlike the bevy of new below the line fees
Comcast and others use to pad a user's bill).
Comcast seems to enjoy pushing their luck on the rental fee as hard as possible, and I've seen rumblings in our forums
that Comcast is looking to bump the rental fee to $10 per month Customers in Portland were the first to be notified
of the new $10 modem rental fee earlier this month, a hike that arrived even with the specter of possible added competition from Google Fiber:
Rates for other services and equipment are rising by varying amounts, with big percentage increases in the cost of high-definition video service, a DVR and the cost of renting a cable modem. The changes come as Google Fiber and CenturyLink prepare to offer new cable and Internet services in the Portland area, though both Comcast and local cable regulators say the modest size of this year's increases is unrelated to the prospective competition.
You can help avoid contributing to the Comcast executive retirement fund by buying a compatible modem of your own
. Still, it's worth noting that Comcast has a nasty habit of accidentally charging people who own their own modems rental fees anyway
A new study by the United Nations
ranks the United States 19th in the world in terms of the percentage of country residents that are online, behind other OECD countries like Germany (20th) and Australia (21st), but behind the UK (12th), Japan (15th) and Canada (16th). The report also notes that the U.S. fell from 20th to 24th place for fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, just behind Japan but ahead of Macao (China) and Estonia. Geography obviously continues to play a role here, as Korea continues to see the world's highest household broadband penetration at over 98%. The report predicts that over 50% of the world's population will have access to broadband by 2017.
ISPs have already been whining quite a bit
about the fact that the FCC wants to raise the current minimum definition of broadband from 4 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up -- to something ranging from 10 to 25 Mbps. Now AT&T and Verizon are whining about the possibility that the FCC would like to make sure bandwidth caps are considered when defining the quality of a broadband connection.
In the midst of bendgate
comes the news that Apple's latest iOS 8 patch came with numerous bugs, including one that caused problems with the iPhone's fingerprint sensor, and another that disrupted cellular functionality. After Apple's forums filled with complaints
and users struggled to roll back the update
, Apple wound up pulling the patch entirely. "We have received reports of an issue with the iOS 8.0.1 update," Apple said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal
. "We are actively investigating these reports and will provide information as quickly as we can. In the meantime we have pulled back the iOS 8.0.1 update.”
Dish announced in May of last year
that the company would be offering fixed LTE services in a new partnership with nTelos. At the time, the companies stated they'd be ultimately offering the service in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky -- though hard details on the plan were hard to come by.
Back in July Verizon announced
that the company would be making all of their FiOS tiers symmetrical, a move that was specifically aimed at cable operators struggling to keep upstream speeds on par with fiber offerings. Verizon this week took this same fight to cable operators on the small business side, announcing that they're now bumping the upstream speeds for business customers as well. According to the company announcement
, the upgrades should happen automatically for "nearly all" of the company's FiOS business customers.
Comcast last night filed their reply comments to the FCC as the agency considers approving the company's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The filing is filled with the sort of arguments we've seen countless times already
over the past few months, including Comcast's repeated claim that they face so much competition on every front
there's simply no way they'd ever engage in anti-competitive behavior.
In April of last year when Google announced they'd be bringing Google Fiber to Austin
, the company stated they expected Austin users to start being hooked up around the middle of 2014. The halfway of the year point has rolled on past, without any new hard deadline for a launch or even the "fiberhood" system they use to determine deployment neighborhoods.
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