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The other day we noted how Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam insisted that the "most important" thing that people needed to understand when talking about net neutrality was that heavy users should pay Verizon more. As we noted at the time
, the idea that heavy users must pay more -- or that there's some kind of pay inequity in place despite the fact that everybody
pays a lot for bandwidth already -- is the cornerstone of justifying low usage caps and per-byte fees, which until now aren't being imposed on FiOS.
Not helping Verizon's case any, Verizon spokesman Edward S. McFadden told the Huffington Post
yesterday that "some who stream a lot of movies and use data-intensive applications may pay a bit more." While I think
Verizon was largely talking about recent Netflix peering developments
, many took the comments to mean usage caps would be reaching FiOS any day now.
Verizon has since reached out to me to insist they have no intention of imposing usage caps on FiOS for the time being. In addition, McFadden posted a blog entry
reiterating that FiOS won't be capped:
Verizon’s fiber to the home high-speed broadband network, FiOS, doesn’t cap usage in any way. But I noted that, in general, the usage-based pricing model also already is in use nowadays. As an example, I noted: “But as you know, wireless customers already pay for the data they use.
Some time back C Spire wireless raised net neutrality eyebrows by requiring that some users pay an additional sum if they wanted to stream video on their wireless connections. The company's $80 per month for Unlimited Lite plan, for example, offers users unlimited voice, text and picture message, but restricts data usage by content type -- allowing you to browse the Internet and play online music, but not video. story continues..
If there's one thing I've probably griped about more than any other in the now thirteen-plus years I've written here, it's probably buried below the line fees. For years ISPs have buried the ordinary cost of doing business below the line in itemized fees. story continues..
A company by the name of Comporium has beaten Time Warner Cable to the punch in their own backyard, offering some locals 1 Gbps connections for $99 a month. According to the company announcement
, the company is offering the service to downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina this summer, with expansion to new businesses and residents of the Bleachery area down the road. Time Warner Cable, meanwhile, has promised to deploy a top speed of 300 Mbps at an unspecified price
sometime before 2015, plans that could potentially be shifted around depending on their planned merger by Comcast.
Back in October T-Mobile unveiled the latest part of their "uncarrier" PR strategy: free international data
while traveling (it's EDGE speeds, but still welcome). As their latest attempt at countering T-Mobile's punches, AT&T today announced that they're adding free text messaging to 190 countries as part of their Mobile Share Value Plans. According to an AT&T announcement
that includes free picture and video messaging as well, though to a smaller total of 120 countries. A new AT&T World Connect Value option ($5 monthly) is also promising penny per minute calls to "over 35 countries" including Canada and Mexico.
You might recall that the biggest criticism of the recent swath of "early handset upgrade" programs was that users were effectively paying for their handset twice. Carriers are on record stating they historically jacked up the cost of service to counter handset subsidies, yet when they introduced plans eliminating these subsides, the price of services initially remained the same. story continues..
Oregon's Bend Broadband says the company is increasing their internet usage caps on all of their packages, with a price increase to match. According to this FAQ
, broadband tier prices will be bumped between $1 to $3, and the company's broadband caps now range from 150 GB to 500 GB. The company says they're boosting the caps because of user complaints, and because Internet streaming and gaming have slowly made their older caps unreasonable. There's some additional detail (and the usual bevy of justifications) in this blog post
at the Bend Broadband website.
Users in our Time Warner Cable forum
inform us they too are taking part in rate hike season festivities, the cable operator informing users that prices will be going up for many users starting March 1 for both cable TV and broadband services (not to mention set top box rentals).
Time Warner Cable is also starting to charge users a $2.25 "Broadcast TV" fee next month, which as we've been discussing
is something most cable operators have been doing as a way to sneakily bury retransmission fee hikes from broadcasters in below the line fees.
Cox is informing customers in numerous markets that they'll be seeing rate hikes on both TV and broadband services starting on March 1. The company is telling users in Virginia
the Cox TV Essential package will jump 7.4% to $68.
Users in our AT&T U-Verse forums
tell us that AT&T is sending out a notice
informing them of a suite of new rate hikes that have arrived for U-Verse customers. According to AT&T, the company's U-family, U200, U300, and U450 TV packages will all be seeing price hikes (to $62, $77, $92, and $124 per month, respectively).
by iansltx 12:38PM Wednesday Feb 12 2014
GVTC, Texas' largest telephone cooperative and a cable and FTTH overbuilder in a few cities near their footprint, has revised some of their internet tiers to allow for what appears to be internet-only service where the company previously required a phone line in most, if not all, cases (though the result may just be that very basic phone service is bundled in, a la Windstream's "Greenstreak" service).
The new tiers start at a somewhat steep $55 for 5M down, 512K up but become a little more reasonable when you pay $10 more, delivering 12M down, 1.5M up for that price. 20M down, 3M up and 40M down, 10M up remain at $80 and $100 per month, respectively, but 80M down, 20M up (the fastest upload speeds in Central Texas outside GigaPower at the moment) now sits at $130 rather than $200.
The price-performance ratio on GVTC's plans is nothing to write home about in the era of $70 per month gigabit connections, but considering the city size and dentiy of the areas the company serves, the connectivity prices aren't bad for what you get, since the company is at best competing with Time Warner Cable, which has similar prices.
As we noted last week, Verizon Wireless has worked very hard to avoid publicly competing with T-Mobile's recent price moves
, the company sticking to a long-standing claim that their network is just so good
-- they don't have to compete on price. Except that Fierce Wireless
notes that Verizon has started quietly giving some existing customers a loyalty offer of $60 for unlimited voice, text and 2 GB of data (tethering is not allowed). "We've had programs like this in place for a while--terms may change, but we always try to work with our long-time, loyal customers," Verizon claims, though the company refuses to state when exactly these loyalty offers were launched.Update
: It looks like Howard Forums has a long thread discussing this offer here
Sprint's Boost brand is running a new lower-cost LTE promotion until March 31. According to the Boost website
, the company is offering LTE smartphone users $35 for unlimited voice, texting and data.
Verizon recently has been backing away from FiOS promotions with a dedicated focus on raising user rates
and fees, but today bucked that trend slightly by announcing a new two-year FiOS price lock guarantee for new users. According to a company announcement
, new customers who order FiOS Internet, TV and voice service before April 19 can get locked into a fixed price for two years.
You might recall recently that HBO and Cinemax complained intensely
about a recent NPD Group study suggesting they were losing subscribers. The premium cable operators protested by noting that the companies actually added 1.9 million subscribers on the quarter, two-thirds of those for HBO.
by iansltx 08:24AM Thursday Feb 06 2014 story continues..
Wave Broadband, an overbuilder owned by the same holding company that owns Grande Communications (mentioned the other day
), has embarked on a similar set of upgrades for its own cable internet packages. On the low end is a 5M down, 1M up tier with a 100GB cap available for as low as $10 per month via short-term promotions.
Cable One is in the process of informing customers that they'll soon be paying $5 per month more for most of the company's TV services. The company tells the Sun Herald
that broadcaster retransmission fees are to thank for the increases being passed on to consumers. "In the past three years, local broadcast stations and cable networks have increased their rates by an average of 40 percent," notes the company, who predicts similar hikes in 2014. On a barely-positive note, at least CableOne is including the hikes in the cost of service; many companies are now trying to bury retrans increases below the line
to misleadingly keep advertised prices the same.
Sprint MVNO Ting was one of several companies to try and disrupt wireless industry pricing last year by incorporating a "free" tier of mobile data service before layering on additional options. The efforts haven't paid off in scale yet, with the company recently announcing some fairly unimpressive subscriber numbers
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