On the heels of launching $70 per month, 1 Gbps "G1GABLAST" services in a few development communities in Phoenix
, Cox Communications this week announced they're also bringing the speedy service to portions of Virginia. According to a Cox announcement
, the company will be offering 1 Gbps speeds to "new developments across Virginia," though failed to specify precisely how many users will see the speeds. The company has previously stated they're going to offer 1 Gbps speeds to everyone else using the DOCSIS 3.1 standard -- but those deployments aren't expected to begin until early 2016.
A report in the Wall Street Journal
states that the FCC is considering a "hybrid" approach to its upcoming net neutrality rules that would attempt to expand the FCC's authority, but would fall well short of consumer advocates demand to simply reclassify ISPs as utilities under Title II of the Communications Act. According to the report, Wheeler's shifted his thinking since his original proposal, the Journal stating this new "hybrid" effort would work as such:
The plan now under consideration would separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content.
On the heels of similar announcements by both HBO
, Starz now says that the premium cable channel is also considering offering a standalone online video streaming service. According to a report in Variety
, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht called the move to such a service a "no brainer" and that companies should give consumers "what they want." "This is a tide that has to turn," said Albrecht. "I don’t think it cannibalizes the existing business. It is a way to innovate and create real value." The CEO didn't state when US consumers could see such a service, only stating they'd be launching the platform in "select international territories" sometime next year.
Looking to better understand the recent traffic slowdowns experienced during interconnection feuds, M-Lab has released a new study
(pdf) that analyzed transit and connection points between large last mile ISPs and transit operators such as Level3 and Cogent. While the report is clear not to affix specific blame for the sort of Netflix streaming issues seen by customers of Verizon and Comcast, they do clearly point out that the problems were the result of choices made by ISPs in their business relationships, and not congestion.
"As an industry, we need a competitor - a serious competitor - to Netflix and Amazon," News Corporation Rupert Murdoch stated
at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D conference in Laguna Beach, California. The problem? The company that drove MySpace into the ground has had problems competing with Netflix via services like Hulu, because to succeed they need to be disruptive -- and if they're truly disruptive they would ultimately cannibalize traditional TV viewers. As a result of this timidity, services like News Corp's Hulu wind up being little more than a glorified ads for traditional cable
, unwilling to take the extra step to truly step into the ring with the rising Internet video services.
At the beginning of the month story continues..
the FCC announced that they were considering allowing over the top (OTT) video providers FCC-enforced access to vertically integrated programming. That sounds dull but it's a landmark shift that could potentially give Internet video companies the same rights as traditional cable operators.
It's pretty clear at this point that while consumers complain a lot about high cable prices, it's really not driving consumers away from traditional cable on a grand scale. While this won't be the case long term, users appear to be willing to pay a lot of money and even tolerate bi-annual rate hikes -- if they're treated relatively well. story continues..
Comcast today settled a decade-old lawsuit accusing the company of violating sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act by gobbling up competitors, then using the firm's market power to aggressively raise rates on users in Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston
. The preliminary settlement involves Comcast paying $16.67 million in cash
and another $33 million in service discounts to current and former subscribers in Philadelphia and four nearby counties.
The settlement comes as Comcast works to soothe regulator worries that the company's planned $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable will result in even more consolidated power.
Comcast Settlement 88281
For a moment there Apple's new AppleSIM -- which allows iPad users to easily compare plans and switch carriers without swapping out the SIM -- looked like it might be immensely disruptive
. It becomes less impressive once you notice that Verizon isn't supporting the technology at all and AT&T is preventing it from working as intended
Chatter in our Bright House Networks forum
indicates (and a press release
confirms) that the company is preparing to bump the speeds available to most of their subscribers for free. The company's 10 Mbps customers are being bumped to 15 Mbps; 30 Mbps customers are being bumped to 35 Mbps; 60 Mbps customers are being nudged to 75 Mbps; and 90 Mbps customers will be pushed to 150 Mbps. Upstream speeds are staying the same. A Bright House representative in our forums states
they should be completed by the end of December, and also confirms
that the company is also working on deploying a faster 300 Mbps tier, though so far they haven't specified how much you'll pay for the service.
Last week saw Frontier's acquisition of AT&T's DSL and landline customers in Connecticut get final regulatory approval, but customers already are complaining about a sloppy handoff. According to the Middletown Press
, the midnight weekend transfer of ownership of hundreds of thousands of customers didn't go particularly well, with an undetermined but significant number of customers losing DSL and TV service well into Monday afternoon.
AT&T has been slowly expanding the partner list of companies involved in their "Sponsored Data" program, wherein partners' content won't count against a user's mobile usage cap. The program has been controversial among net neutrality advocates because the concept gives companies with money to burn a potential leg up against smaller competitors
T-Mobile's latest earnings
again confirm that being the pesky kid on the block is working in terms of adding new subscribers. The company added 2.3 million customers total and 1.4 million new postpaid subscribers on the quarter, though the company's expansion of its LTE network continues to drag on earnings. T-Mobile expects to add around 4.3 million to 4.7 million new customers this year as users respond to the company's more customer-friendly approach to doing business. "Despite our competitors' best efforts, the Un-carrier revolution made huge advances in the third quarter with record net new customers," CEO John Legere said in a statement. "More proof of the resurgent strength of our brand and the massive momentum behind the Un-carrier consumer movement."
The Donahue Report
(via Multichannel News
) notes that Comcast filed the trademark for the term "True Gig" on October 20, suggesting that a 1 Gbps offering from the company is likely in the works. Earlier this year company stated they'd offer 1 Gbps and higher services "as soon as possible
" as the company looks to quickly deploy the DOCSIS 3.1 standard once it's complete. Comcast's current top offering is a 505 Mbps down, 100 Mbps up fiber/coaxial hybrid tier
that runs users around $300 a month, comes with a $1,000 ETF, a $250 activation fee, and
a $250 installation fee.
Amazon's earnings last week confirmed what most analysts have been guessing for several months: Amazon's smartphone is a dud. A combination of uninteresting gimmicks and AT&T exclusivity hindered the phone out of the gate
, and while Amazon isn't sharing the number of units sold, the company did say they took a $170 million charge on inventory commitments last quarter because of the device and is sitting on another $83 million in unsold phones.
For years there has been a concerted push by the broadband industry to try and insist that the United States broadband market is secretly flawless, awesome and highly competitive, despite the fact that absolutely every independent source of broadband data (from Akamai
and the FCC
to the OECD
and OOkla's Net Index
) suggests we're absolutely and utterly mediocre at every metric that counts. That's not to say we're not improving in some very select regions
(thanks to things like Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS and DOCSIS 3.0), but overall we're quite indisputably, utterly average when it comes to broadband worldwide -- especially on price.
FCC boss Tom Wheeler has been talking a lot lately
about raising the standard definition of broadband to at least 10 Mbps (for government-subsidized rural options) and 25 Mbps for everybody else. He's also been talking about how when you look at speeds of 25 Mbps higher there's little to no competition -- as most DSL providers struggle to offer that speed in any volume.
While Netflix and Verizon have sparred over poor (but now improved
) streaming performance to the point of threatening lawsuits
, that disagreement only appears to go so far. In a research note BTIG Research
(registration required) indicates that Verizon is now offering new FiOS customers a $150 VISA prepaid gift card and a free year of Netflix service if they sign up for the FiOS triple play. It's an interesting move given the animosity many larger cable operators have had toward something they see as a competitor (while Netflix insists they're just a supplement to traditional cable and a competitor to services like HBO).
: Verizon reached out to me to note that this is a trial offer currently only being made available in the New York City market, and is only running from 10/22-11/1.
Viacom has taken their retransmission fight with Suddenlink to a new, decidedly more mutated, level. According to the Charleston Gazette
, Viacom has taken to using actors dressed up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to shame Suddenlink at public events after the two sides couldn't come to terms on retransmission fees.
Last year, Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter stated that people don't really need 1 Gbps, and that the 3 to 6 Mbps most of her customers can get was just fine for most people
. Last summer, trying to downplay the fact said 3-6 Mbps is painfully uncompetitive, Wilderotter called Google Fiber "hype" that "confuses customers
," and that even talking about 1 Gbps services was something that was "disrespectful" to the customer base.
·more stories, story search, most popular ..
Recent news contributors