Residents of North Kansas City are unable to get Google Fiber, but they will soon have the option of getting 1 Gbps connections for free from another company -- after an initial $300 installation fee. Earlier this month the City Council of North Kansas City voted to approve a 10-year agreement with DataShack for the operation of the city's liNKCity fiber optic network. While the taxpayer-funded network will still collect revenue from business, it will soon offer 1 Gbps connections for free to residential customers after a $300 installation fee
(users also have the option of paying $100 for 100 Mbps or $50 for 50 Mbps), after which they won't pay another dime for a decade. "For the longest time, our taxpayers have been paying in to fund liNKCity," states liNKCity's Mellissa Hopkins. "We decided it was the right time to give something back to our residents."
Canada last week launched hearings on the possibility
of imposing new rules on the TV sector that could force TV operators to offer a la carte television options. While these rule-making efforts began as a way to do something about soaring TV rates and the lack of flexible purchase options for consumers, they've since morphed into an effort by incumbent Canadian cable operators to impose new regulations on to companies like Google and Netflix (something Canadian law Professor Michael Geist doesn't think will happen
While it's certainly still not guaranteed, Time Warner executives recently made their strongest statement yet that they'll offer a standalone streaming version of HBO that doesn't require you have a traditional cable subscription. Historically HBO and Time Warner have stated it doesn't make economic sense
to offer such a product, as it could damage their cozy, subsidized relationship with traditional cable operators.
Representatives of state and local governments in Hartford, New Haven and Stamford have joined forces
to try and bring faster broadband networks to Connecticut. The collective group has issued an RFQ to promote the deployment of gigabit broadband networks and services in "targeted commercial corridors" and locations "with demonstrated demand." They've also put the call out to any additional under-served communities, who can add an addendum to the RFQ to get involved.
Google Fiber has launched us into an era where everyone has become obsessed with the 1 Gbps watermark, even if the actual number of people who can get these speeds remains relatively small
, and the need for that type of speed remains dubious. Incumbent ISPs have indeed been quick to piggyback on the idea that nobody needs 1 Gbps
, but they're largely just hoping to shift the conversation away from their aggressively uncompetitive high prices.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam says the CEO won't rule out further expansion of the company's FiOS services, but eager customers probably shouldn't hold their breath. FiOS just passed its ten year anniversary
, though with the exception of the finishing up of promised deployments in major cities, the expansion of FiOS has been frozen for several years now. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference last week, McAdam stated that he's not ruling out the possibility, but it would need to be a unique opportunity
"Expansion into other areas I wouldn't rule out, but it would have a very high bar," McAdam said. "If you look at some of the things that Google is doing around fiber, I think that's opened up a new model for us."
That's code for the fact that Google Fiber has made cherry picking deployment neighborhoods acceptable. Verizon might jump in and offer new FiOS deployments to upscale developments, universities, and MDUs -- but the not-small number of east coast cities waiting for serious investment (Alexandria, Baltimore, Buffalo, Boston) will likely still be waiting a very, very long time.
Back in May TDS Telecom (see our user reviews
) became the latest company to throw its hat into the 1 Gbps broadband ring, offering 1 Gbps speeds for $100 a month (if bundled) to residents of Hollis, New Hampshire and London, New Hampshire. Now the company states that Waterford, Wisconsin will be the latest town to get the 1 Gbps treatment, either later this year or in early 2015
. Like so many other ISPs, TDS is hoping to grab some of the press attention received by Google Fiber with very selective deployment of similar speeds (they've even mirrored Google's "Fiberhood" efforts with something they're calling "Fiberville
For forty years now, regulators have enforced a rule that blacks out local NFL games on television if locals didn't buy enough tickets to see the games. The idea at the time was to aid a young and struggling league, but as time has passed the rules have proven burdensome on communities, and an unnecessary "subsidy" for a hugely profitable NFL. story continues..
With the entertainment industry's "six strikes" program now a year and a half old, the entertainment-industry organization behind the effort (Center for Copyright Information) says that the program is set to double in size this year
. That means not only more warnings, but more partner ISPs, and more content industries demanding that warnings be sent out to broadband subscribers:
In addition to sending more notices, the CCI will also consider adding more copyright holders and ISPs to the mix.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs' Communacopia conference this morning, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega stated that (assuming their merger gets approved), AT&T would offer a wireless broadband, DirecTV bundle sometime late in 2015. AT&T has technology "ready to go" to deliver speeds of 15 Mbps or faster delivered over a dedicated swath of spectrum, claims the CEO. story continues..
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 (plain old telephone) and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade
. The name of the game is terminating these unwanted users and pushing them users toward significantly more expensive (and capped) LTE wireless service.
New York State, emboldened by a new state law that requires mergers to benefit the public, is taking a tougher stance on Comcast's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, according to Bloomberg News
. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who the outlet notes has received more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from the companies, hasn't formally taken a position -- though the NY PSC is making it clear they'll likely want tougher concessions than most states. Of course the definition of "tough" is relative; Comcast has a long history of volunteering their own "tough" conditions
that even then they've historically had a tough time adhering to
AT&T has been chosen to power the in-car LTE service now being integrated by Audi, and an announcement back in March made it clear the privilege of the data integration isn't particularly cheap
(then again, if you can afford an Audi and Audi repairs, data plan overages may not be a worry). According to an Audi announcement
, customers can also now add their Audi to AT&T's Mobile Share data plan, allowing their vehicle to pull from their monthly data allotment.
Comcast this week announced that they're introducing a new wireless gateway for residential subscribers the company claims is the "industry's fastest." According to the Comcast announcement
, the new DPC3941T Xfinity Wireless Gateway integrates 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 3x3 MIMO design with 3 spatial streams that can provide up to 1.3 Gbps of raw throughput (700 Mbps actual, Comcast claims), 80 MHz wide Wi-Fi channel support, and 256-QAM modulation.
There's a discussion thread in our forums
, and users have found a guide
and some additional detail in the FCC database
There's no word on what you'll pay for the honor of using this new device, but users can also e-mail Comcast at AC_WirelessGateway@cable.comcast.com for more detail. Comcast says the device will be available "later this fall to customers in select markets and over time across our footprint."
Back in May Cox Communications stated
that they'd be bumping the company's Preferred & Premier tier speeds to 50Mbs & 100Mbs respectively, at no additional cost (for the time being). They've been deploying these speed increases on a market-by-market basis ever since, with users in Nebraska, Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nevada already seeing the bump.
AT&T is pushing their Digital Life
home automation and security services in a new direction in the hopes of expanding revenue: they're now offering in-home monitoring services marketed to those caring for the elderly. According to the company announcement
, the new product is called "Digital Life Care" and will be trialed in employee homes this year, and should see a broader commercial deployment sometime in 2015.
Last week FCC boss Tom Wheeler stated plainly and cleanly
that the United States broadband market isn't competitive, and that many people still unfortunately live in a duopoly market -- if they're lucky. While that sounds like an obvious observation, it's a big step for an FCC that has historically been unwilling to even state
whether telecom markets are competitive one way or the other.
For years the FCC has had a rather flimsy definition of what constitutes broadband, something that benefits the industry by making speed and penetration statistics look much better than they actually are. As a result, every time the FCC proposes to raise that bar -- whether that was the belated previous moves to 768 kbps or to 4 Mbps -- the all-too comfortable, uncompetitive broadband industry whines -- because it might force them to spend a little more money to make consumers happy. story continues..
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