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Frontier Communications executive Dana Waldo stormed out of a public meeting at the West Virginia Capitol on Wednesday, after he was asked if Frontier's broadband technology would provide households with basic DSL speeds in Tyler County, West Virginia. Waldo got angry while Council members were reviewing grant applications from a Frontier competitor that plans to bring broadband service to Tyler County.
Frontier has been under pressure ever since it was revealed that Frontier, Verizon and Cisco convinced the state to buy ridiculously overpriced, overpowered and unused routers
, and hire several ridiculously overpaid consultants who haven't actually accomplished anything
. Allegations also suggest Frontier over-inflated fiber deployment costs, and what money that was correctly spent was used primarily to benefit Frontier's internal networks, not to help connect the state's broadband have nots (the entire purpose of the fund).
Meanwhile, the state has been busy burying studies
confirming Frontier's behavior. Pressure has increased recently as regional IT company CityNet has been pushing for a real audit
of what Frontier has done with all the stimulus money (since they applied themselves). At this week's meeting, Citynet CEO Jim Martin asked Waldo if Frontier's broadband technology would provide households with 4-megabit-per-second download and 1-megabit-per-second upload speeds
"I'll have an engineer talk to you about the technology we use on that," said Waldo, senior vice president and general manager of Frontier's West Virginia operations.
When Martin alleged that Frontier's broadband DSL service does not offer the 1-megabit upload speed, Waldo was unable to actually answer the question and instead decided to get personal:
"That is not correct, Jim," Waldo said. "I wasn't going to bring this up, but I am absolutely beside myself.
DSLReports reader briansgs2
directs our attention to the fact that Florida customers are annoyed that Bright House Communications has been cashing their checks for cable and broadband service -- over and over again
. Numerous Florida customers have complained about the problem, one user noting that a $175.03 check mailed to Bright House was somehow cashed four times. "Corrective actions are underway and duplicate payments will be reversed and funds will be replaced," the company said in a statement. Bright House appears to be implying that the blame lies with third party payment processing vendor Bill2Pay, with a "defective file" being sent out to user banks and credit unions.
The retransmission fees broadcasters charge pay TV operators to carry their content have been the source of increasingly obnoxious conflict
the last few years resulting in all manner of content blackouts and bad behavior
by both sides. And it's only going to get worse. According to a report released last week by SNL Kagan
(pdf), retransmission fees are expected to soar 130% by 2019, at which point pay TV operators will shell out $7.6 billion annually (compared to $3.3 billion this year). Granted it's no skin off of cable operators' teeth since all of those costs are passed directly on to you, increasingly in the form of below the line fees on top of
the usual rate increases (also blamed on programming cost increases).
As noted last week
, the leaked draft of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement not only tries to foist wonky US copyright law upon the globe, it's pushing for numerous entertainment-industry initiatives like content filters, greater ISP liability, the disconnection of pirates from the Internet, and even language that could kill off Aereo.
It's all continually illustrative of how TPP negotiations have utterly excluded not only consumers, but all intelligent but discordant voices -- unless you're one of the 600 lobbyists invited to negotiations.
Wikileaks this week released a copy
of the latest version of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that has been under construction behind closed doors for years. As we've long noted
, the TPP attempts to take some of the worst aspects of U.S.
"We remain committed to delivering high quality products and services to the millions of people who rely on us globally," new Blackberry CEO John Chen stated this week in a letter to customers posted to the Blackberry website
. Chen was named new CEO last week
after the company announced they'd scrapped plans for a sale. "We also want our customers to know that BlackBerry has significant financial strength for the long-haul," promises Chen. That financial strength won't be helped by the continued lack of compelling next-gen product, including this week's Verizon-exclusive launch of Blackberry's Z30
Opinion story continues..
: Whether it's their treatment of Google Wallet
, the Nexus 7
or the Nexus 5
, Verizon Wireless is increasingly making it clear that they're using their position as gatekeeper to engage in anti-competitive behavior -- with few properly calling them out for it. In all of the above instances, Verizon is using network safety and faux-technical explanations to justify why they can't offer a pure Google product -- but can instead offer you one of their own, usually inferior, bloatware-riddled products and services.
A significant number of iPhone 4S users have spent much of the last month complaining
that iOS 7 update killed Wi-Fi on the device. Among those impacted by the glitch are Creative Commons co-founder and digital activist Larry Lessig, who blogs
that he went to discuss the problem over at the Apple support communities
and found his post censored, with only feeble justification as to why. A follow up post
gives an example of a second post that was deleted by Apple. Other complaints about the bug appear to be left alone, so this sounds like inconsistent moderation more than conspiracy.
Following on the heels of decisions to shut down their secure e-mail services by Lavabit
and Silent Circle
, CryptoSeal says they too will be shutting down their VPN service due to government requests for the company's cryptographic keys. The companies that have been closing have protested that government requirements have made their very existence as secure service providers untenable, while also claiming gag orders violate their free speech rights.
Rogers has been hounding Ontario resident Dave Johnson for three years about unpaid bills, resulting in credit collection agencies pursuing him and a ruined credit rating. The problem? Johnson has never had Rogers cable service. According to the CBC
, Dave Johnson was hounded by debt collectors even after making it clear to them he never had service with Rogers, the news outlet illustrating numerous similar problems with Rogers and their debt collectors. Rogers admits to the CBC they were pursuing the wrong Dave Johnson, but insists that "generally the system works" while foisting any blame on the shoulders of debt collection agencies.
A back door has been found in the firmware for a number of later-model D-Link router models, allowing an intruder to bypass user authentication. The backdoor was first found by Craig Heffner, a vulnerability researcher with Tactical Network Solutions, who was tinkering with the 1.13 version of the firmware for the D-Link DIR-100 revA router. story continues..
You might recall how last year, police in Pennsylvania busted a large group of individuals and a Comcast employee
that had been illegally offering users a lower monthly rate for a one-time fee of between $150 and $200. Comcast estimates the ring caused them more than $2.4 million in losses, with between 5,700 and 6,000 signing up for the offer between 2011 and 2012. The ring ultimately collapsed after they offered the discount to a skeptical customer that contacted Comcast. Now the man considered to be the second in command of the ring has plead guilty, according to the Montgomery News website
Back in August the Obama administration tried to get out in front of the NSA scandal by announcing a number of intelligence reforms
, including the creation of a high-level task force of "outside intelligence and civil liberties specialists" to review NSA procedures. That committee has been created, and groups like the EFF aren't too impressed that it's being lead by the NSA's James Clapper (accused of repeatedly lying to Congress) and a number of intelligence insiders
. "At the end of the day, a task force led by Gen. Clapper full of insiders – and not directed to look at the extensive abuse – will never get at the bottom of the unconstitutional spying," said Mark Jaycox, a policy analyst for the EFF.
Indie Canadian ISP TekSavvy
isn't having a very good summer, and it appears Canadian incumbent Rogers is to thank for much of it. You'll probably recall that over the last few years independent Canadian ISP has built quite a name for itself for being a more consumer-friendly sort of ISP.
Earlier this week Verizon performed a complete 180 and proudly announced they'd be bringing FiOS to the 600-person community of Fire Island, New York
, after previously telling the Sandy-ravaged locals (with no other communications options) they'd never have DSL lines repaired. Verizon had tried to argue that the Verizon Voice Link wireless service they foisted upon residents was good enough, despite the fact the service was less reliable and functional than a fixed line, and didn't include data connectivity.
Someone at AT&T's social media department today thought it would be a good idea to use the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to market the Blackberry Z10 smartphone. AT&T's official Twitter account Tweeted the image below, which featured a photo of the Blackberry Z10 taking a photo of the Tribute in Light memorial lights. story continues..
The rush to complete LTE deployments ahead of competitors has resulted in a significant spike in the deaths of wireless tower workers
. Wireless tower technicians have long had one of the most deadly occupations
when tracking the death rate per 100,000 employees, and these spikes as upgrade deployment projects accelerate are unfortunately not uncommon
. 10 workers have died in falls so far this year, with four falls so far this month. A source tells the Wall Street Journal
that OSHA is taking a "broad new approach to policing the tower-climbing business, ncluding taking a closer look at the role cell carriers play in accidents."
A new survey by the Temkin Group
polled 10,000 consumers on their opinion of 235 companies across 19 industries. According to the results, the cable industry was ranked dead last across all industries, with ISPs being ranked the second worst. Companies like Comcast, Charter and Time Warner Cable found themselves at the bottom of the rankings, but so were AT&T and Verizon, who have traditionally fared slightly better when rated by consumers for their TV services in other surveys. Healthcare providers, airlines and appliance makers also found themselves at the bottom of the rankings.
The Wall Street Journal
is the latest to join the NSA scandal fun with a bombshell report that once again shows the NSA has been lying to the press, public and Congress. According to the Journal, the NSA's surveillance apparatus has the ability to reach roughly 75% of all US Internet traffic, with inadequate safeguards leading to frequent over collection.
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