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Last Wednesday, the New York Public Service Commission ordered Verizon to provide the public with un-redacted cost information about providing phone service on Fire Island, New York. The directive denied Verizon’s request to be exempt from disclosing cost documents.
As this site reported a month ago, Verizon handed over 300 documents with heavy redactions to cover up how much it would actually cost to install Voice Link
, a cellular-based system, instead of copper-line phone service because according to Verizon repairing copper lines was too costly.
Consumer advocates complained Verizon was simply hiding the fact they were looking to get rid of those users anyway in order to focus on more profitable wireless service, and that Sandy itself was a red herring. Verizon ultimately dropped the request amid protests
and said FiOS would be run to Fire Island after all.
“The information claimed by Verizon to be trade secrets or confidential commercial information does not warrant an exception from disclosure and its request for continued protection from disclosure is denied,” the Commission said in Monday’s ruling.
Attorney Richard Brodsky, who is representing Fire Island customers, said after the ruling that Verizon has enjoyed this kind of secrecy for too long
“Verizon has been hiding and failing to disclose basic information about the way they run the system for years," Brodsky said.
TDS Telecom has announced that the company is now offering speeds of 300 Mbps across the company's footprint in Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Minnesota. Though the company's press release
fails to mention price, users can expect to pay around $100 and up for the service depending what kind of additional services they're willing to bundle. The company announced they'd be expanding their fiber to the home offerings last July
, using a Google "fiberhood" approach to generate interest among potential communities. Locals interested to see where TDS has planned fiber upgrades should check out the companies expansion map here
. You can also check out our reader reviews of TDS Telecom here
Nearly two months after announcing that they'd be offering 1 Gbps service to a select few development residents in Las Vegas
, CenturyLink has announced that they've started lighting up their first ultra-high-speed customers. The company's announcement
goes out of its way to avoid specifics of any kind, only stating that 1 Gbps connections are being offered to "select northwest Las Vegas communities" in the Northwest area of the city.
Cox has launched a fiber to the home trial in Orange County, California
, joining a growing number of companies that are offering fiber to the home service -- albeit only in select higher-end developments where the cost of deployment is minimal. Cox's first fiber to the home trial is estimated to cover just 1,000 homes at the moment, though that total will reach 14,000 as Cox runs fiber to the entire development over the next year or two. Even though there's fiber, Cox says the services and data speeds being offered "are similar to what Cox offers over traditional HFC." AT&T has done something similar with their FTTH U-Verse deployments, capping them at the same speed
as their copper-based offerings to deliver a "consistent experience."
"As I understand it, Google Fiber is basically a science experiment," cable overbuilder RCN tells Ars Technica
in a piece on why most carriers aren't matching Google Fiber's 1 Gbps speeds (spoiler: limited competition). "I have no doubt that there will come a day that gigabit speeds are necessary in our daily lives, but I'm not sure that day is here yet," insists RCN. "When it's here, RCN will be offering it." As I've noted a few times
, carriers would prefer the national conversation be focused on why you don't need 1 Gbps
, instead of why their services are slow and very expensive (spoiler: limited competition).
UK budget broadband provider TalkTalk, added 47,000 fibre customers over the previous quarter, financial results released by the company lasy week
(pdf) show. TalkTalk fibre has grown sluggishly over the past few years, fueling speculation that budget-conscious UK consumers were going to seriously impede the network's take-up and therefor stifle potential additional investment in the fiber optic service.
On the heels of re-opening sign ups for Google Fiber in Kansas City
, Google has now shared some additional details on how Austin users can sign up for the speedy 1 Gbps service ahead of a launch in the Texas city next year. According to the Google blog
, like Kansas City, Austin Google Fiber deployment will depend in large part on "fiberhood" rallies, with greater neighborhood support resulting in getting Google Fiber faster (which may or may not work out well for lower income neighborhoods
). The company's still being largely vague on any real timeline, though they reiterate the process will involve 100 Austin locations (picked by the city) getting 1 Gbps service free for ten years.
It has been nearly four years since Google announced Google Fiber
, though to date the service remains unavailable in any volume outside of Kansas City. While those totals should ramp up a little next year with launches in Austin and Provo (and a fourth unspecified Western state launch market I keep hearing whispers about for 2014), we're reaching the point where Google has had enough time where we can at least begin
to measure Google Fiber's real-world impact.
Back in April Google announced the company would be buying the old iProvo/Veracity network in Provo, Utah for all of $1
, with the intent of launching Google Fiber there. In early October sign ups began for service
, the company noting that users already on the existing Veracity network would be the first in line to get symmetrical 1 Gbps service. Yesterday Google began actual physical installs, posting a picture to Twitter
of the company's installers getting to work. Google Fiber in Provo is offering symmetrical 1 Gbps service for $70, 1 Gbps broadband and TV service for $120, and free 5/1 Mbps service for just a $30 installation fee (which is $300 in other Google Fiber locations).
Last week news reports emerged
that Los Angeles was planning to build a fiber to the home network that would connect every home, business and government office in the city with a 1 Gbps connection. Closer analysis of the program however reveals that what Los Angeles really wants is for someone to come to the city, build a 1 Gbps network almost entirely on their own dime, and then let other ISPs have open access to the network in order to compete.
Netflix has updated their rankings of ISP Netflix streaming performance
with October data. The Netflix ISP Speed Index pulls data from more than 37 million Netflix members viewing over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix per month.
According to Government Technology Review
, the city of Los Angeles is expected next year to launch a plan that would bring 1 Gbps speeds to every home, business and government building within city limits. The city has yet to select a vendor for the $3 billion to $5 billion fiber network build, which is part of a broader IT plan to modernize the city's infrastructure. The plan certainly won't be a big hit with Time Warner Cable, with whom the city has had a somewhat contentious relationship since their messy 2007 takeover of Adelphia
After being one of the only towns or cities to hold up Google Fiber because of liability concerns
, Overland Park this week appeared poised to do a 180 and approve the deal
, which city officials tell me remains identical to other deals in the region. Unfortunately for the city, locals who attended a town meeting Monday night informed me that instead of accepting the deal, Google stated
that their deployment to Overland Park was going to experience an "indefinite continuance."
While Overland Park is home to Sprint -- and local incumbent Time Warner Cable certainly has a history of scuttling competition using underhanded tactics
-- there has been no evidence that Overland Park's trepidation was anything other than the city looking out for its own best interests.
You might recall that Google Fiber took a lot of criticism back in July for language in their terms of service that technically bans servers. The criticism originated with a user who filed a complaint with the FCC
, claiming that Google's language aimed to prohibit Google Fiber users from doing commonplace things like running Minecraft servers or using Slingboxes.
As noted at the time
, the hysteria was a little overblown in that nearly all ISPs contain this language to protect themselves from extremely heavy users trying to run a business on a residential line, and in many instances the language is never even enforced. Google primarily took heat because they professed to be offering a service that's different from the status quo, and the status quo is rights-eroding and ambiguous fine print.
Fast forward to last week, when Google Fiber appears to have quietly updated their terms of service and acceptable use policy
with new language that clarifies that they're not interested in prohibiting most reasonable uses of the connection:
However, personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.
As with most ISPs, you'll likely only gain the attention of Google Fiber's engineer team if you're pushing numerous terabytes monthly as you attempt to run a porn and poker empire out of your bedroom closet.
When Verizon signed their franchise deal with New York City back in 2008, the company promised to deploy FiOS to "the entire city by mid-year 2014
." However, as I noted at the time
, leaks suggested their deal (negotiated entirely in secret and to this day not fully viewable by the public) came with a number of loopholes, phrasing and caveats guaranteeing that Verizon could either buy or wiggle their way out of their "entire city" promise.
As 2014 nears, people are remembering Verizon's promise, noticing that many New York City residents (even in affluent areas of Manhattan) still can't get service, leaving many NYC residents under the monopoly control of Time Warner Cable, despite the city's repeated professed dedication to cutting-edge technology.
According to a CenturyLink press release
, the company says they'll be expanding the "pilot" for 1 Gbps service into Las Vegas. The announcement comes on the heels of a similar announcement that the company would be offering 1 Gbps service to a small subset of users in Omaha (the the back of old Qwest Choice TV infrastructure), though none of those users have been connected yet
Updated with Google comment at bottom story continues..
. Google got a lot of press
for the fact that Google Fiber lured a number of startups to Kansas City, a number of which were buying homes in the city just to get 1 Gbps connectivity.
A new Verizon ad for FiOS
uses Boston as a backdrop -- despite the fact that Verizon has refused to upgrade the city with FiOS. The new commercial, named "Here’s The Truth about FiOS in Massachusetts,” features Boston native and one time teen pop idol Donnie Wahlberg, who informs viewers that "this is New England, where people tell it straight," and where there's "no phonies, no fakers, no shortcuts."
It's ironic that Verizon would use Boston as a backdrop for PR effect, given that Boston's one of numerous Eastern cities that were left unupgraded by Verizon.
While FiOS is considered cutting edge, Verizon's provisioned Wi-Fi gateways have long been considerably less so. For some time the only way that FiOS customers could even get anything faster than 802.11g was to buy a 802.11n router from somebody else. story continues..
As noted on Monday
, Google is gearing up to deliver 1 Gbps service to the first customers in Provo, Utah starting this month. Given that Google Fiber's launch in Provo comes on the back of the existing iProvo and Veracity fiber to the home service there, Google says their Provo launch will obviously be somewhat different than Kansas City or Austin, with some existing Provo FTTH customers being able to sign up for Google Fiber much more quickly.
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