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KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh recently examined FiOS customer complaints
) about dying batteries in Verizon FiOS ONT units. The batteries generally give users about eight hours of talk time during a power outage, but let out a repeated, shrill beep when the battery is depleted (usually after a year or two). Despite the fact that you don't technically even own the ONT and are paying to lease it, Verizon makes maintaining the device and replacing the battery the end-user's responsibility. They also ensure that responsibility is an expensive one.
Through Verizon, the battery costs $35 plus $9 for shipping. Verizon also offers users the opportunity to get "free" battery replacement if they sign up for a Verizon Protection Pak plan, starting at $20 a month. But Phillip Dampier at Stop the Cap
notes that Amazon offers a highly-rated replacement battery with the exact-same specifications for just $18
Some users who only have FiOS broadband and don't need the power backup functionality for voice have simply tried to remove the battery, only to find that many ONTs simply continue beeping.
Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference earlier this month, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stated that the company's earliest FiOS markets are now reaching penetration targets
and that most of their new customers are signing up for faster speeds.
In early 2011 MetroPCS joined Verizon in suing the FCC
to overturn the agency's already fairly-flimsy network neutrality rules. With MetroPCS and T-Mobile now merged, T-Mobile announced late last week that it would be withdrawing the lawsuit against the FCC they acquired as part of the deal.
Verizon's attempt to hang up on their copper networks in Sandy-impacted areas
has gotten more complicated after the NY Public Service Commission last week indicated hesitation at letting Verizon disconnect users state wide without first understanding the repercussions. According to regional Long Island news reports
, the PSC has granted Verizon temporary approval to pull DSL on Fire Island, NY, replacing it with Verizon's Voice Link wireless service.
Amtrak has been offering Wi-Fi on board some of their trains for several years
(a full list is here
), though historically the quality of the connections have been ridiculed. Since earlier this year the company has been promising upgrades.
As I've been discussing a lot lately
(because it's the most important issue facing the broadband sector right now), both AT&T and Verizon are in the process of gutting regulations that require they continue offering copper landlines -- and by proxy DSL -- to tens of millions of Americans. Both companies insist that they're simply interested in "modernizing regulations" and ushering us into an "all IP age." In reality, both companies simply want to exit the fixed-line market in areas they're unwilling to upgrade.
The Justice Department is under fire for obtaining two months of telephone records for twenty different lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press. Said data included phone numbers, names, calls made, and potentially call duration. story continues..
Verizon's launch of higher audio quality voice over LTE (VoLTE) has seen some delays, largely because initial implementations of the service gobbled up smartphone battery life
. Speaking at Genband's conference in Orlando, Verizon CTO Tony Melone stated
that they should have the network ready for VoLTE service this year, but it will be up to the company's marketing department as to when it actually gets launched. "When we do it, we want to make sure it reaches the same high-quality standards of our current voice network," Melone said. "We'll be network ready this year. How we decide to roll it out is still being discussed within our marketing organization."
Since last fall Verizon has been trying to justify their blocking of Google Wallet on Verizon phones
, insisting the app is blocked because Google Wallet uses the "secure element" on devices to store a user's Google ID. In response to complaints filed with the FCC by lawyer Jay Klimek, Verizon insists the unending blockade has nothing to do with the fact Verizon (in conjunction with AT&T and T-Mobile) is working on their own competing mobile payment platform named Isis.
By now AT&T's total disregard for privacy and wiretap laws in their cooperation with the government's warrantless wiretap program is fairly well established. As numerous NSA and AT&T whistleblowers have illustrated, the company dumps all voice and data from any carrier that touches their network directly into the lap of the NSA
-- with no warrants or transparency and only marginal government oversight.
Last week CISPA passed the house
courtesy of oodles of lobbying cash from companies like AT&T, Verizon, Google, Intel and Cisco. Those companies are thrilled that the bill protects them from privacy violations, as are security firms eager to net billions in government contracts to fight an endless parade of phantom "cybersecurity" menaces.
Numerous Verizon executives are on record stating that Verizon has more than enough spectrum to deploy LTE nationally -- before
Verizon nabbed another massive swath of spectrum from the cable industry. Studies
have shown Verizon has plenty of spectrum, particularly after re-farming spectrum currently being used for 2G and 3G (EVDO) services.
Verizon has released their first quarter earnings
, which show the company generated $29.42 billion in revenues and $1.95 billion in profit for the quarter, just slightly below Wall Street analyst expectations. The company's earnings were as usual fueled by wireless, with Verizon adding 677,000 contract users on the quarter.
Over the years the broadcast and cable industries have fought tooth and nail against not only offering a la carte (buying individual channels instead of bundles) pricing, but any variation from the current tactic of bundling a massive number of channels. You might recall that the industry offered two primary excuses for why it was simply impossible to offer a la carte pricing: story continues..
1: Smaller, more niche channels won't survive!
2: Offering consumer channel choice will raise everybody's TV rates!
Those justifications effectively stopped what at one point was a pretty deafening clamor for more channel pricing options.
A new report
from research firm OpenSignal found that T-Mobile LTE is currently live in nine United States cities ahead of the company's official network launch expected tomorrow. Only Kansas City and Las Vegas were specifically mentioned as launch markets, though the firm notes they've also seen significant LTE presence in Seattle, Denver, New Orleans, New York, San Diego, and the Bay Area.
Porn copyright troll Prenda Law has apparently run afoul of one very tough Judge. We've previously noted
how Prenda has been trying to scare broadband users into settling with the company en masse after they've been tracked downloading copyrighted porn films.
If you live in the United States, you may be familiar with the common sentiment that you generally cannot take your favorite cellular enabled device (tablet, smartphone, Sony PlayStation Vita, etc.) and use it on any carrier you like. With GSM carriers, this is referred to as a SIM lock. story continues..
The Baltimore Sun
(via Ars Technica
) notes that Verizon contacted police after they noticed a Baltimore Deacon was quite happily storing his significant child pornography collection in the cloud. The Deacon apparently thought it was a great idea to store this content in his Verizon Online Backup and Sharing account; Verizon noticed the content and contacted the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who in turn contacted law enforcement. 67-year-old William Steven Albaugh was released on $75,000 bond while the investigation continues. Aside from the obvious discussion on disgusting child porn, priests, and stupidity -- the incident raises some obvious questions about just how extensively Verizon monitors cloud content.
AT&T and Verizon have expended their share of the video on demand market, stealing that market share from companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Todd Spangler at Multichannel News
notes that cable operators saw their VOD total market share drop to 56% in 2012 from 60% in 2013. For some context however, keep in mind that video on demand comprises about 1% of all video viewing
according to a study released last year. That study blamed "inadequate advertising support and awkward program guides" for cable's recent stumbles in the VOD market, something telcos -- who are hungrier upstarts in the pay TV sector -- are clearly doing a better job with. What's your primary reason for not renting VOD titles? Quality? Selection? Price?
For years the music and film industries have been pushing to have broadband users disconnected from the Internet as the final penalty after repeated warnings for copyright violations. Those efforts have run into repeated problems not only thanks to heavy resistance from ISPs unwilling to lose paying customers but in the courts, where the lifetime or year-long loss of broadband is seen as excessive punishment. story continues..
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , JKukiewicz , swintec