Speaking recently at the IP Summit in London, Former Senator turned MPAA boss Chris Dodd pronounced his love
for forcing ISPs to block and filter websites accused of aiding copyright infringement. Despite the fact filters can be easily bypassed by anyone with a modicum of technical knowledge, often accidentally filter legitimate content
, and appear to have done nothing to slow piracy, Dodd believes filters are the "most effective tools anywhere in the world" at fighting piracy.
To prove it, the MPAA released a report this week supporting their own thesis: Internet filters are a really great idea
. While their findings run in contrast with previous studies and the MPAA doesn't show their methodology, the group insists that:
“Recent research of the effectiveness of site blocking orders in the UK found that visits to infringing sites blocked declined by more than 90% in total during the measurement period or by 74.5% when proxy sites are included,” it reads.
Unlike the UK the MPAA has struggled to get laws passed that encourage filters here in the States, though TorrentFreak argues
that the MPAA is preparing a new push to have the US voluntary six strikes initiative
A TiVo support note
first spotted by Dave Zatz
is the first to highlight Comcast's looming migration away from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4. According to the note, Comcast is transitioning its systems in Augusta, Georgia, from MPEG-2 format to MPEG-4, meaning "that cable channels in this region will not be viewable on older equipment that is incompatible with the new format." I contacted Comcast who confirmed that they were migrating HD channels from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 in Augusta (SD channels will remain on MPEG-2), which the company notes will provide a "much more efficient use of bandwidth." The company could not offer any information on upgrade timelines for other markets.
On the heels of a recent RootMetrics study
that lauded Verizon as having the fastest, largest and most reliable network, the company is again receiving praise from JD Power and Associates. According to a new JD power study
(pdf), Verizon ranked highest in wireless network quality in five geographic regions (Northeast, Southeast, North Central, Southwest and West), while AT&T ranked highest in one geographic region (Mid-Atlantic).
Sixty-five consumer, social justice and media reform groups have fired off a letter
voicing their opposition to Comcast's planned $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The letter, sent just as the FCC's open comment period ended earlier this week, complains that the Comcast deal will "inevitably lead to unprecedented gatekeeper control over our nation’s telecommunications and media landscape." Given Comcast's history of failing to meet NBC merger conditions (many of which they themselves recommended
) the groups argue that "no amount of promises or conditions would be good enough to assuage concerns about this merger" and that the "deal needs to be rejected outright."
The New York Times took ample heat this week after it refused to endorse Democratic candidate for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, but wouldn't endorse his Democratic challenger and Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout. Gawker had plenty to say about the Times being effectively complicit in Cuomo corruption
, complained the Times was arguing that "rather than risk the possibility of failed reform," (by supporting a less experienced Teachout) "voters should resign themselves to the certainty of failed reform."
Fast forward a day however, and the Times came out in support of Teachout's running mate, Tim Wu for Lieutenant Governor
After months of speculation bordering on the nauseating, we appear to have a somewhat hard date for the release of the new iPhone(s) and Apple's long-awaited iWatch: September 9. ReCode had already discovered that the two different-sized iPhones would be revealed on that date
, and now states the iWatch will be unveiled as well at the same media event
. The iWatch is expected to have significant integration with Apple’s HealthKit health and fitness platform, as well as with Apple's home device integration platform HomeKit
Back in April, Netflix started offering 4K TV streaming
of a select catalog, delivered at a bitrate of 15.6 Mbps using the HEVC/h.265 codec. Not to be outdone, Amazon announced their original programming would be shot and eventually streamed in 4K -- though they didn't specify when. A Samsung press release
spills the beans, noting they'll start supporting Amazon's Prime Instant Video UHD streaming on most Samsung 4K TVs starting in October. For now 4K content via Amazon appears to be an exclusive to Samsung, though it's unlikely to stay that way as adoption of the standard speeds up (and bandwidth caps everywhere begin to be trampled).
Add NewWave Communications (see our user reviews
) to the growing list of ISPs large and small that are promising to soon offer 1 Gbps speeds -- albeit to a tiny portion of their overall subscribers. The company has announced
that they're planning to offer 1 Gbps to a handful of rural markets starting next year, and will be utilizing the still unfinished DOCSIS 3.1 standard to make it happen. The company will begin deployments late this year and will offer the speed selectively early next year starting in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and Monroe, Rayville, Delhi and Tallulah, Louisiana. The company has yet to state prices for the speeds, but the CEO believes it should come it at less that $100 a month.
On the heels of yesterday's tweaks to the company's Simple Starter plans
, T-Mobile has made a few more changes, including expanding the company's Simple Choice family plan to 10 lines, as well as doubling your allotment of data if you add a tablet. T-Mobile previously capped their Simple Starter plans at 5 lines per account, charging $10 a month for each additional line.
The FCC this week announced that Time Warner Cable has paid $1.1 million to settle an FCC investigation into Time Warner Cable's network outage reporting practices. According to the FCC statement
, Time Warner Cable "failed to file a substantial number of reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and Voice over Internet Protocol network outages." FCC rules require ISPs file reports on major outages within thirty minutes of the outages, and provide a follow up report dissecting the outage causes. "TWC admits that its failure to timely file the required network outage reports violated the Commission's rules," the FCC said.
The writing has pretty clearly been on the wall as Comcast slowly but surely has expanded their usage-cap trials throughout less competitive Southern markets
. In Comcast trial markets, users pay the same price users in unlimited markets pay, except they get a 300 GB cap, and have to pay $10 for every 50 GB beyond that they travel.
Netflix became the latest company to formally object to Comcast's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. In their hand delivered filing with the FCC yesterday
(pdf), Netflix argues that a larger Comcast would result in the company turning the "consumer’s Internet experience into something that more closely resembles cable television." Netflix proceeds to argue that "through access fees charged at the interconnection points and by other means" Comcast and Time Warner Cable have incentive and capability "to harm Internet companies, such as online video distributors (“OVDs”), which Applicants view as competitors."
On the heels of a nationwide Charter DNS outage over the weekend, Time Warner Cable is the latest ISP to suffer a nationwide outage. According to user comments in our forums
, the ISP early this morning suffered a routing problem, knocking all of the company's customers offline. "At 430am ET this morning during our routine network maintenance, an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services," Time Warner Cable said in a statement. "As of 6am ET services were largely restored as updates continue to bring all customers back online."
After several years of delays, Verizon says they're going to be launching higher-audio-quality voice over LTE service (VoLTE) in the "coming weeks
." While Verizon's behind other carriers with their launch, company executives state they wanted to wait and launch the service as nationally as possible for a more unified experience. The upgrade will come to an unspecified number of handsets, with users able to turn VoLTE on and off in their phone's settings and utilize only CDMA 1X voice service if LTE coverage is shaky. If your phone supports Verizon LTE, the report claims you'll need to also turn on the feature via your online account.
The New York Post
claims that AT&T has struck a deal with the Department of Justice that would allow AT&T's $48.5 billion plan
to acquire DirecTV to move forward. The report fails to specify what precise conditions the DOJ will place on the deal, though it does suggest that regulators are leaning toward approval with DOJ approval coming as soon as October.
Insiders tell Fierce Wireless
that a major carrier is considering buying Sprint MVNO FreedomPop. While the major carrier has not been named, the report states that talks are in the "formal" stage and may or may not result in an actual buy. "There is some inbound inquiries there," FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols tells the website. "We are actually taking it seriously and looking at it." The "freemium" carrier was one of several to launch a few years ago with a focus on offering a base level of free services and highly-customizable service plans (see one of our recent user reviews
AT&T has been very interested in overseas expansion, investigating possible acquisitions of Vodafone (at least the wireless assets), European carrier EE, as well as part of Spain's Telefonica SA. Unfortunately for AT&T, it's believed that their coziness with the NSA ruffled political feathers during election season
, forcing AT&T to step back earlier this year and wait. With those worries settled down, rumors have again emerged of an AT&T Vodafone bid
, though the report notes AT&T's ambitions could be challenged by a counter offer from China Mobile.
Back in 2012
Verizon unveiled their "Home Fusion" fixed LTE service, which involved installing a "cantenna" on the side of the house, then offering users the choice of 10, 20 and 30 GB monthly allotments for $60, $90 or $120 respectively, per month. User Pittpharm
writes in to note that Verizon for some reason has ditched the Home Fusion brand entirely, and is now calling this service "LTE Internet (Installed)
." The somewhat less creative name doesn't appear to be hand in hand with any other changes, and the pricing appears to have remained the same. Verizon aims the product at rural customers usually stuck on satellite, and it will also fill in the gaps where Verizon backs away from offering DSL services
This weekend, the UK's largest broadband provider and former incumbent, BT, is expected to raise prices for millions of households. A hike at BT usually immediately precedes price rises at the other big providers but if that happens this time it'll mean a double whammy for internet and calls customers: the other members of the UK's big four – Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – have all increased prices or announced upcoming increases for at least some customers over the past few weeks. story continues..
The Wall Street Journal
has an interesting article exploring complaints on how Google Fiber (and responding, highly-selective deployments by CenturyLink, AT&T, and others) may fuel a digital divide by only upgrading select residents in certain cities. That said, the article claims that Google Fiber's ability to deploy fiber to just select locations helped save them 20% over traditional builds like Verizon's FiOS. "If Verizon resumes expansion, the company would consider Google's build-to-demand model because it has the potential to be more profitable," Verizon executive Chris Levendos tells the paper.
·more stories, story search, most popular ..
Recent news contributors