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Sonic CEO Dane Jasper is one of a growing number of ISP executives
who've pointed out that the FCC's new net neutrality rules -- despite a lot of hand wringing from partisans and the mega-ISPs -- are really not a big deal. In fact, Jasper has stated, the only people they really impact are ISP executives interested in anti-competitive behavior
. ISPs already have to submit data to the FCC stating they're engaged in reasonable traffic management, and if you're not doing anything anti-competitive, Title II with forbearance really won't change things for you:
Today, Internet service providers are required to publish for the FCC a disclosure of traffic management practices. So we publish a disclosure. I think it says we don't touch your bits. We don't modify, we don't filter, we don't engage in deep pack inspection.
So, I think from a compliance perspective, if the assumption is that Title II will be by and large gutted, or rather they engage in forbearance of all provisions and begin to re-enable provisions that allow them to assure the traffic is treated equally, my expectation is those of use that treat traffic equally will have a pretty light regulatory burden.
That's one of the most respected CEOs in the industry, from one of the best reviewed ISPs
in the country, unequivocally stating the circulating claims that the FCC's new rules will saddle ISPs with numerous, onerous "burdensome regulations" simply aren't true. The rules also aren't, as so many neutrality opponents argue, an attempt to "regulate the Internet," Jasper argues in a new blog post
It is important to draw the distinction between regulation of the Internet, and regulation of carriers.
While some ISPs have spent months complaining that Title II net neutrality rules would harm them in numerous and immeasurable ways, they've simultaneously been busy telling investors the rules aren't that big of a deal
. Of course there's a number of ISPs, including Sonic, Sprint, Frontier and Cablevision, that have also publicly stated repeatedly they don't think the new rules change all that much
1 Gbps has of course been the marketing buzzword du jour for the last year, companies offering a smattering of 1 Gbps connections to developments -- then heavily marketing them to give the impression of significantly larger upgrades. Cincinnati Bell is no exception, the company late last year launching their own "FiOptics" 1 Gbps offering
for $90 a month.
Unlike many companies (who hide deployment totals to give the impression of greater rollouts) Cincinnati Bell is specific about how many homes the service reaches: around 335,000 (or roughly 40%) of homes and businesses in and around greater Cincinnati.
Speaking on the company's recent conference call, Cincinnati Bell CEO Ted Torbeck stated that the company's recent decision to sell their wireless assets to Verizon
has given the company the necessary resources to expand their FiOptics service further this year
"The completion of the wireless transaction and our strategy for monetizing Cyrus One has increased operational and capital flexibility and also provides us with the ability to focus on our fiber investments," Torbeck said. "Our Fioptics suite of products is currently available to 40 percent of greater Cincinnati and we plan to expand that coverage to 70-80 percent over the next few years."
In 2015, the company says it will spend between $80 million and $85 million to pass another 100,000 homes with the speedy service.
Senator John Thune, Rep Greg Walden and Rep Fred Upton, two of which are the largest recipients
of Comcast campaign donations in Congress, had been pushing a net neutrality "compromise" in the hopes of derailing FCC passage of tougher rules
. However, most realized the effort as a ploy to undermine the kind of consumer protections Internet activists have been all-but yelling for, resulting in Thune and Upton admitting this week their effort has failed
And Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as “Obamacare for the Internet,” now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the Internet became a reality.
If you stop by our Windstream forum
or the company's reviews
any given month, you'll notice a common refrain: customers say the company's network simply can't handle the load placed upon it, resulting in speeds significantly slower than what the company advertised. Similarly, a series of recent FCC studies
using volunteers with custom firmware-embedded routers has repeatedly found that Windstream's among the very worst U.S.
Last month Google officially announced
that the company would be expanding Google Fiber into Charlotte, Raleigh Durham, Atlanta, and Nashville. While it will be some time before users see actual connections in these cities, Charlotte took its first steps toward Google Fiber deployment by striking a 20 year lease with Google
for the placement of 1,400 square foot "fiber huts" (at around $2 per square foot over the life of the deal) to be scattered around the city. The huts will connect some 6,000 miles of fiber optic cables Google intends to deploy in Charlotte over the next two years.
Comcast has confirmed reports that the company is working on a Wi-Fi based calling service similar to Cablevision's recently launched
"Freewheel" service. That service offers Cablevision customers unlimited calling over Wi-Fi for $10 a month (it's $30 a month for non customers), but doesn't include cellular backup for when users are out of range of a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Dish boss Charlie Ergen this week actually managed to trash talk the company's own new Sling TV Internet video effort. Ergen's basically admitted this week that because Dish was an existing Pay TV provider it was afraid of cannibalizing its own traditional TV customer base, and as a result the company's $20 a month Sling TV service isn't truly disruptive
Earlier this month Frontier Communications announced it would be acquiring all
of Verizon's fixed-line assets in California, Florida and Texas in a deal worth $10.5 billion
. Before that, Frontier acquired all of AT&T's fixed-line assets in Connecticut in a deal worth $2 billion
Time Warner Cable has started notifying customers in San Antonio that the company's faster "Maxx" upgrades are on the way. The company says that the first phase of the deployment involves 750,000 subscribers getting upgraded through March
, with all San Antonio subscribers getting the improvements by July. In addition to set top GUI Improvements and the new 300 Mbps tier (replacing the previous 50 Mbps offering), the company's "Standard" 15 Mbps customers will get bumped to 50/5 Mbps, "Turbo" customers will move from 20 Mbps to 100/10 Mbps, and "Extreme" customers will see a bump from 30 Mbps to 200/20 Mbps.
Sprint today announced that the company has extended their faster "Spark" upgrades to dozens of new markets. The Kansas City Business Journal
received early word that Sprint's LTE network will soon go live in twenty-four new markets, including Flagstaff, Arizona, Washington DC, and Pueblo, Colorado. The company's faster Spark upgrades are similarly going live in another twenty four markets, including Providence, Rhode Island and Spokane, Washington. According to Sprint their LTE network now reaches 270 million potential customers, and their tri-band Spark offering (with theoretical top speeds of 50-60Mbps) reaches 125 million potential customers.
A new study by Point Topic
(hat tip to GigaOM
) claims that were U.S. broadband providers to see real competition (instead of the fractured geographical duopoly fiefdoms they enjoy today), it would likely cost major broadband ISPs around $2 billion in "lost" revenue per month.
Last year CenturyLink started offering 1 Gbps to a smattering of high-end development communities in places like Omaha and Las Vegas
, but has been pretty ambiguous about just how many users can get the service. Last August they stated they'd be offering 1 Gbps speeds in parts of sixteen cities
(including Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City), but again, specific build locations and total potential subscriber numbers have been nowhere to be seen.
T-Mobile may be getting most of the attention, though Sprint appears to be making strides in fixing the company's weakest link: an under-performing network. Sprint's consistently been showing up in last place in both LTE network speed and latency tests, usually behind Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile (in that order). story continues..
As part of the company's plan to offer Netflix streaming video service in 200 markets before the end of 2016, Netflix has announced
they're bringing the company's $8 a month streaming service to Cuba. After a slow start, Netflix now offers streaming video service in roughly fifty different countries nationwide.
AT&T says the company has extended their 75 Mbps U-Verse offering to 7 additional markets. According to the company's blog post
, the 75 Mbps downstream, 8 Mbps upstream offering is now being offered in parts of Augusta, Charleston, Cleveland, Columbus, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and St.
As we've noted, Verizon's been looking to offload its fixed-line assets for years
, since the company clearly finds wireless service (and caps and overages) a far-more profitable venture. As such they've spent the last few years actually raising rates and neglecting unwanted customers
in the hopes they'll leave to wireless, or leave to companies like Comcast (where they'll then be pitched...you guessed it...Verizon Wireless services as part of a co-marketing arrangement).
Time Warner Cable says that the company has begun its "Maxx" TV and broadband upgrades in the Dallas area. According to a company announcement
, Dallas area customers should start being notified this week regarding which areas will be first in line for the improvements.
Back in August Centurylink announced that the company would be offering 1 Gbps service in portions of Denver, though the company refused to say how many subscribers would see the service
, or just what neighborhoods would get the upgrades. In recent weeks they've started offering more detail, stating they're offering the service in sixteen neighborhoods in the Denver "city core."
CenturyLink is offering the 1 Gbps service for $151.95 a month with a two year commitment, or $124 a month when ordered with CenturyLink landline phone services. The specific neighborhoods, according to CenturyLink
Gigbit speeds are currently being offered in the Baker, Bonnie Brae, Belcaro, Cole, Congress Park, Corey Merrill, Overland, Park Hill, Platt Park, Rosedale, Stapleton, Washington Park East, Washington Park West, University, University Park and Villa Park neighborhoods, CenturyLink said.
The ISP's primarily focused on higher end housing developments where fiber's already in the ground and deployment costs are low. The company still isn't stating how many subscribers can get, or have signed up for, the faster service.
The FCC has released the results from the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction
(pdf), and as analysts had guessed AT&T wound up acquiring the lion's share of spectrum. According to the FCC, AT&T spent $18.2 billion for 251 licenses, Verizon spent $10.4 billion for 181 licenses, and T-Mobile spent $1.8 billion for 151 licenses. Sprint didn't participate, as they're more interested in the broadcast spectrum being auctioned off next year. Also heavily in the bidding mix was Dish, the satellite provider spending $13.33 billion as the company continues to accumulate spectrum for a potential wireless play (or a very profitable sell off down the road).
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