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News tagged: AT&T


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by Karl Bode 02:56PM Wednesday Jul 23 2014
While Verizon's legal victory over the FCC did gut the agency's net neutrality rules, it kept some of the FCC's authority over ISPs intact -- specifically the agency's transparency rules -- which require that ISPs be straightforward about the "network management practices, performance, and commercial terms" of their broadband services.

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In a statement issued today, the FCC "reminded" wireline and wireless ISPs alike that those rules are still intact and need to be adhered to, lest the agency lightly slap a wrist or two -- maybe.

"Consumers deserve to get the broadband service they pay for," FCC boss Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "After today, no broadband provider can claim they didn’t know we were watching to see that they disclose accurate information about the services they provide."

"We expect providers to be fully transparent about the details of their services, and we will hold them accountable if they fall down on this obligation to consumers," continues Wheeler.

Will they? The transparency rules Wheeler mentions are also supposed to govern pricing, requiring that ISPs are transparent about monthly pricing and various fees tacked on to user broadband bills.

Yet as I've noted numerous times over the last decade, ISPs consistently are allowed to bury all manner of nonsensical fees below the line, allowing them to covertly jack up consumer broadband bills while leaving the advertised price the same. This is technically false advertising, but I've never seen the FCC (or any other regulator) seriously address the practice.

The practice not only fools consumers into paying more for service, it skews telecom policy debate and discussion.
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by Karl Bode 05:01PM Friday Jul 11 2014
Senator Al Franken has been a very vocal opponent of Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and now the Senator is taking aim at AT&T's attempted acquisition of DirecTV. In a letter (pdf) to regulators concerning the merger, Franken warns to take AT&T promises like offering standalone broadband services with a grain of salt.
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by Karl Bode 09:10AM Wednesday Jun 25 2014
Though AT&T states that the increased programming negotiations leverage they'll gain from acquiring DirecTV should generate 20% cost savings for the company, AT&T wasn't able to promise lawmakers that consumers would see any price reductions if the deal is allowed to continue. When asked if any of these cost savings would be passed on to consumers, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said no, in a convoluted fashion.
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by Karl Bode 02:32PM Tuesday Jun 24 2014
Antitrust panels in both the House and Senate met today to "debate" (that term is used loosely) AT&T's proposed $48 billion acquisition of DirecTV. According to statements made by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (pdf), the deal is about "meeting consumer demand." Stephson reiterated AT&T's position that eliminating a pay TV competitor somehow creates more competition, and that the deal would somehow expand broadband penetration.
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by Karl Bode 09:39AM Tuesday Jun 17 2014
Confirming earlier leaks, the Wall Street Journal indicates that Amazon's new smartphone will indeed be an AT&T exclusive, and may be the first example of AT&T's controversial "Sponsored Data" idea. While the Journal doesn't discuss this, previous leaks have suggested that Amazon is offering something called "Prime Data" for the device, which might allow users to access things like the Amazon store without impacting their usage cap.

Superficially some might find such a deal appealing, but it sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to AT&T power over the application and content ecosystem. We should get more detail tomorrow after the official announcement.

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by Karl Bode 08:27AM Thursday Jun 12 2014
Back in April, AT&T stated they were in advanced talks with the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) to offer Gigapower over the region's core fiber ring, which was constructed with the cooperation of numerous companies. AT&T now says they've ratified an agreement with the City of Winston-Salem to offer 1 Gbps service in parts of the Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions, with pending ratification looming for Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.
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by Karl Bode 05:42PM Tuesday May 20 2014
Among AT&T's rather shaky proposed benefits of a DirecTV acquistion comes another one: AT&T claims that acquiring DirecTV will help the company speed up a planned broadband video streaming product. AT&T recently announced they'd be pouring half a billion dollars into a Netflix clone, news that came on the heels circulated among U-Verse users last year inquiring about their interest in such a product.
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by Karl Bode 02:09PM Tuesday May 20 2014
For years DirecTV has paid billions for the exclusive, out of market rights for NFL games, allowing the company to offer every game via their costly Sunday Ticket option. The exclusive deal has historically kept the NFL in the dark ages in terms of joining other leagues (MLB) in the modern era and offering broadband game streams.
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by Karl Bode 09:23AM Monday May 19 2014
A new report by the FCC (pdf) on the cost of television services in the United States found that prices have risen four times the price of inflation over a one year span. The report notes that basic cable prices jumped 6.5% during 2012 while expanded basic cable prices rose by 5.1%.
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by Karl Bode 08:06AM Wednesday May 14 2014
AT&T's spectrum treasure trove grows on the news that the company will be buying all of Sprint's 19 2.3 GHz WCS licenses covering Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, and Georgia. AT&T has been working for some time on the ability to use the WCS band for LTE services, and has been working on a long string of deals to accumulate as much WCS spectrum as possible. AT&T didn't disclose how much they paid for the spectrum or what they intend to use it for specifically, though it could fuel AT&T's recently announced push into in-flight broadband services.

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by Karl Bode 09:00AM Tuesday May 13 2014
Anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal that an AT&T acquisition of DirecTV could be announced in as little as two weeks. The insiders claim the deal will be worth around $48 billion, and AT&T will pay for the transaction primarily with stock.
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by Karl Bode 04:23PM Thursday May 08 2014
Over the years several communities have gotten upset about the AT&T VRAD cabinets required to deliver the company's U-Verse FTTN/VDSL service. In some areas, complaints involved anger of AT&T ignoring easement rights or childhood traffic dangers, while in other markets the complaints have been aesthetic or property-value driven.
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by Karl Bode 12:20PM Tuesday May 06 2014
There has been a recent rash of proposed deals in the wake of Comcast's attempted takeover of Time Warner Cable, including AT&T's rumored takeover of DirecTV, as well as Sprint's unflagging interest in acquiring T-Mobile. Regulators choosing poorly in terms of which deals they let through will have a major impact on user wallets.
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by Karl Bode 10:36AM Tuesday Apr 29 2014
Aircell's GoGo has so far managed to dominated the slow-starting U.S. in-flight broadband market, but it appears that they will soon have some deep-pocketed competition.
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by Karl Bode 06:14PM Wednesday Apr 23 2014
AT&T's first quarter 2014 earnings indicate that the telco giant posted a quarterly profit of $3.7 billion on revenues of $32.5 billion. That's obviously again thanks to wireless, with AT&T brushing off T-Mobile pesky "uncarrier" marketing push by adding 625,000 postpaid wireless subscribers -- many of which continue to be drawn by the better overall coverage of the larger two carriers. Wireless revenues jumped 7% over last year thanks largely to the company's shared data plans and their "Next" handset upgrade program. The company today stated that 46% of their wireless customers are now on plans of 10 GB or larger (whether they actually need those sized buckets isn't clear).

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by Karl Bode 09:16AM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
Back in June of 2010, you might recall that a security hole in AT&T's website allowed two individuals to gain access to the e-mail addresses of 114,000 owners of 3G Apple iPads, including "dozens of CEOs, military officials, and top politicians." A group calling itself Goatse Security at the time claimed responsibility for the "hack," which in addition to e-mail addresses resulted the group obtaining user ICC-IDs -- used to identify their specific iPad on the AT&T network.

One of those two individuals responsible for obtaining the data was Andrew Auernheimer (aka "Weev") an Internet-famous troll who was recently convicted of accessing a computer without authorization and identity fraud, and sentenced to serve 41 months in prison.
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by Karl Bode 09:18AM Thursday Apr 10 2014
Currently only available in a small portion of Austin at speeds of 300 Mbps, AT&T has recently hinted that their "1 Gbps Gigapower" U-Verse upgrade will soon be coming to portions of Dallas and San Antonio. Now AT&T is hinting that the faster service could appear in portions of the Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions of North Carolina.
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by Karl Bode 09:14AM Thursday Mar 20 2014
Back in June of 2010, you might recall that a security hole in AT&T's website allowed two individuals to gain access to the e-mail addresses of 114,000 owners of 3G Apple iPads, including "dozens of CEOs, military officials, and top politicians." A group calling itself Goatse Security at the time claimed responsibility for the "hack," which in addition to e-mail addresses resulted the group obtaining user ICC-IDs -- used to identify their specific iPad on the AT&T network.

One of those two individuals responsible for obtaining the data was Andrew Auernheimer (aka "Weev") an Internet-famous troll who was recently convicted of accessing a computer without authorization and identity fraud, and sentenced to serve 41 months in prison.
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by Karl Bode 12:34PM Friday Mar 14 2014
As we've frequently discussed, AT&T and Verizon are in the process of going state by state gutting consumer protections on DSL and landlines in preparation of hanging up on users they don't want to upgrade. This has been pitched by the carriers as part of the "IP transition" and states are often told by killing consumer protections they'll see better and greater networks than ever.
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by Karl Bode 02:12PM Friday Feb 28 2014
AT&T today announced that their first "IP transition" trials as the company eyes shutting down its copper networks will occur in West Delray Beach, Florida (Kings Point) and Carbon Hill, Alabama. According to an AT&T announcement, these locations will be the sites of multi-year trials with FCC oversight aimed at studying the impact of migrating away from copper networks and the PSTN.
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