In recent months, both AT&T
have started offering consumers a $40 to $50 bundle that includes 18-25 Mbps broadband, twenty or so basic cable channels and HBO. The catch? The introductory price balloons quickly after six months to a year, and doesn't include a myriad of fees (or the cost of HD content or DVR rental).
Not to be outdone Verizon has joined the not-quite-a-deal HBO bundle festivities. DSLReports reader Darknessfall
directs our attention to the Verizon website
, where Verizon is offering 50 Mbps broadband, HBO or
Showtime, and an assortment of basic cable for $50, or $75 for a broader selection of cable TV content.
According to the fine print, the $50 package jumps to $73 a month after twelve months, and then to normal rates after 24 months. The $75 package jumps to $122 after twelve months and normal rates after 24 months. Again, neither includes the cost of DVR rentals, HD content or the bevy of assorted fees Verizon will add below the line.
While Verizon would probably like people to think this is a song being sung to cord cutters, like the AT&T and Comcast offers these really are aimed at luring new customers, then upselling them as soon as their in the door.
Some users in our Suddenlink forum
indicate that the cable operator will soon be offering a 300 Mbps tier to some users. According to a letter
sent to one user in Georgetown, Texas, the company states they'll soon be offering the 300 Mbps tier, but fails to get specific about price or upstream speed. The upgrades appear to be coming at the same time as the removal of analog channels. I've dropped a line to SuddenLink to get more specific details on which markets will be seeing the upgrade.
While Sprint's attempt at acquiring T-Mobile isn't looking likely, at least one analyst claims that if the companies don't merge -- one or both of them will fail. According to analysis from New Street Research
, the companies have to merge if they're ever going to effectively compete with AT&T and Verizon.
Less than a week after Charter CEO Tom Rutledge publicly admitted that their current TV service offerings simply weren't very good
, Charter last November announced plans for a brand refresh for the company's broadband and TV services. Like AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS, Comcast Xfinity, and Cablevision Optimum, Charter has announced they'll be re-branding the company's broadband and digital video services under the name "Spectrum" in the hopes of changing public perceptions.
For much of the last decade Seattle has explored the idea
of building their own ultra-fast broadband network. Much of that motivation was fueled by the sub-standard service provided in the region by regional telco Qwest (now CenturyLink), which in turn resulted in regional cable operator Comcast not working very hard.
T-Mobile's latest "uncarrier" sales pitch? Selling LTE-capable tablets for the same price as Wi-Fi only versions, and offering users a year of "free" data. One, according to a T-Mobile announcement
, all of the company's LTE-enabled tablets are on sale to match the price point of their Wi-Fi only counterparts (so a $639 iPad Air with LTE will run you $499). Two, in addition to the 200 MB of free data new T-Mobile tablet buyers have received since last November
, new customers get $10 off for signing up for T-Mobile's $20 1GB mobile internet plan, plus another $10 off as part of this promotion, meaning new users get the $20, 1GB data plan free through the end of the year.
Back in January we were the first to report
that Comcast was again doubling speeds on many of its tiers, starting first with the company's Midwest division. As noted then, upgraded Comcast users will see the company's "Performance" tier bumped from 25/5 to 50/10 Mbps, their "Blast" tier from 50/10 to 105/10 Mbps, and their Extreme 105 speeds bumped from 105/20 Mbps to 150/20 Mbps.
Charter's hopes to acquire Time Warner Cable were squashed when Comcast made a higher offer for the company, but falling Time Warner Cable stock price since the merger announcement has left the door open for a Charter counterbid. Executives are still considering such a play, anonymous sources tell Bloomberg
, though the company is way of a bidding war that would result with them getting nothing at all. The company is apparently worried that they could annoy Comcast executives too much with an ongoing fight, resulting in them failing to even get the 3 million Time Warner Cable customers Comcast plans to divest as part of a merger condition.
Dissatisfied with service from the likes of Time Warner Cable, last fall the city of Los Angeles used an innovative approach to get 1 Gbps connections to all city residents: they simply asked if any companies wanted to come to town to build and fund an all fiber network. As we noted at the time this was a fairly obvious pipe dream
, experts noting that the city wasn't really bringing any inducements to the table to lure companies to invest.
We've discussed at length how AT&T's "IP transition" is being framed as some sort of evolutionary transition toward a "glorious all-IP future," but is really largely about AT&T gutting regulations in order to hang up on POTS and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade
. After Verizon used Sandy as an excuse to refuse to upgrade their own unwanted POTS and DSL customers, the FCC stepped in to mandate two small IP transition trials
to help analyze what kind of problems we can expect as users are cut off from the PSTN and pushed on to wireless.
There's a growing number of wireless companies that have recently started trying to offer cell phone services that rely heavily on Wi-Fi, most of them riding on the Sprint network (Scratch, Republic Wireless). Recently rumors emerged suggesting that Google was thinking about doing something similar
; namely a wireless phone service offered only in Google Fiber markets that piggybacked on Wi-Fi networks, using Google Voice heavily and relying on cellular networks only as a last resort.
In a new SEC filing
, Sprint has stated that the company will be shuttering its existing WiMax network by the end of 2015. Most of Sprint's operations currently ride on the back of their new (and under-performing
) LTE network, with the exception of former Clearwire customers (who Sprint has tried to push elsewhere via rate hikes
) and Sprint's pre-paid subsidiaries, who'll be migrating their services to LTE. The shutdown will involve the elimination of roughly 6,000 cell sites, with Sprint working to upgrade the remainder of acquired Clearwire sites to TD-LTE.
With a 180-page filing
(pdf) and a blog post
, Comcast today formally made their sales pitch to regulators regarding approval of Comcast's planned $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Most of what's included in the sales pitch are things Comcast has argued repeatedly already in the court of public opinion; namely that the two companies combined will create amazing synergies that will benefit consumers in a myriad of ways, and that the merged company can't possibly engage in bad behavior because relatively tiny operations like Google Fiber will somehow keep them honest.
For the second time in as many months, HBO's online streaming platform HBO Go has struggled to keep up with capacity demand. The service appears to have choked on the hit HBO show "Game of Thrones," as millions of users flocked to the streaming platform to watch the show via the Internet. "HBO GO did experience issues due to overwhelming demand around the premiere of Game of Thrones. The service was fully restored on all platforms by midnight ET," an HBO spokeswoman stated Monday
. HBO Go, only made available to users who also subscribe to traditional cable, also had trouble meeting capacity demand
for the recent finale of the HBO show "True Detective."
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.
After announcing they'd be offering 1 Gbps on the heels of Google Fiber in Autsin, AT&T stated the company would also be expanding the faster service to Dallas
, though in neither instance did the company give hard numbers on how many users would receive the ultra-fast service. Now San Antonio radio 1200 WOAI
states AT&T is "eyeing" San Antonio for possible expansion of the Gigapower service, though again without getting too specific about how many customers we're actually talking about:
At next week's City Council meeting, council will consider granting AT&T the same deal that Google was granted last month, the right to use city property, mainly exiting police and fire stations and libraries, to erect 'prefabricated communications equipment shelters' and to string fiber along existing city rights of way.
Google's recent deal with San Antonio
only lays the groundwork for the potential placement of fiber huts; there's no guarantee San Antonio actually sees Google Fiber service. AT&T's promise seems similarly ambiguous in nature; AT&T's core concern is to manage the perception that they're not being outperformed in their core industry in their home state by a search engine company -- even if they are.
Matching recent T-Mobile moves, Sprint today announced that the company would pay up to $350 in early termination fees through a prepaid Visa card to customers who switch from another carrier to one of Sprint's Framily plans. According to the press release
, Sprint says the company will also pay up to $300 to users who trade in their existing phone. The offer matches an offer launched by T-mobile last January, though Sprint's offer is set to expire on May 8. "We are seeing great momentum with the Sprint Framily plan, and we want to make it as easy as possible for customers to join our Framily," insists the company.
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