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According to a report in the Globe and Mail
, both AT&T and Verizon are contemplating buying a stake in the Canadian wireless market. According to sources speaking to the paper anonymously, both companies have held talks to acquire one or several of the struggling Canadian upstart operators, including Wind Mobile. The source claims Verizon in particular is taking a "hard look" at buying either Wind or Mobilicity, then bidding on spectrum at Canada's upcoming spectrum auction in order to create a stronger fourth wireless carrier. The move wouldn't be a new one for Verizon, who was a major investor in Telus until 2004.
Earlier this month news emerged
that Google was planning on experimenting with broadband by hot air balloon or blimp (affectionately called "blimpband" around these parts). Now Google has come out with more details about the project and given it a name: Google Loon
HughesNet has announced
that the company is now offering their satellite broadband customers the ability to bundle in voice services. The company's website
doesn't get specific on pricing, only stating that plans start out at around $20 per month. "HughesNet Voice customers enjoy high Quality of Service (QoS) calling as a result of new technology Hughes developed in its latest HughesNet Gen4 service delivery system, which establishes dedicated bandwidth for voice traffic, eliminating interference with data running over their satellite Internet connection," insists the company. While the company's new Gen-4 broadband service has been well hyped, many customers state HughesNet has struggled to deliver promised performance
with the new service.
One of the benefits of having little to no competition in your markets is you can jack up prices and add all the little obnoxious fees you'd like with no repercussions, since most of your customers have no other options. One of the benefits of lobbying and enjoying regulatory capture in uncompetitive markets
is you can engage in this kind of behavior repeatedly and be confident that United States regulators simply won't give a damn.
The Justice Department appears poised to take a closer look at the cable industry after their admission this week that they pay or threaten content companies
to keep content away from Internet video competitors. An anonynmous source now tells the New York Times
the Justice Department is "looking into the issue as part of a broad investigation into cable and satellite company practices." After Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt oddly decided to admit such practices at a cable industry trade show
this week, the company then turned around and tried to argue that paying and threatening companies to crush smaller competitors was just good spirited, healthy, competitive fun
. Perhaps Britt's planned retirement at the end of the year may be magically stepped up a few months.
Dish says that the company has started testing a fixed LTE product capable of delivering speeds up to 50 Mbps. In a press statement
, Dish insists that they've seen speeds of 25-30 Mbps downstream using 2.5 GHz BRS spectrum in Virginia tests with their partner nTelos, who they recently announced a new fixed LTE partnership with
. Dish has offered up this video
with a few produced consumer impressions of the service, though the company has yet to announce an plans for expansion beyond the Virginia test sites, or prices (or cap) plans for when/if the service sees full commerical deployment. Unless the price and caps are outrageous, this could be a promising option for users stuck on satellite broadband.
Time Warner Cable has issued a longer statement in response to reports this week
disclosing that the cable company, along with many of its contemporaries, pay and/or threaten content companies to keep their content off of competing Internet video services. While this had long been suspected, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt for whatever reason decided to confirm it this week, as did sources speaking to Bloomberg news.
Complicating the Dish, Clearwire, SoftBank and Sprint romance further, Clearwire's board has officially rebuffed Sprint and appears to be favoring a deal with Dish Network. Clearwire's board this week rescheduled their shareholder meeting for June 24, and urged stockholders to vote against Sprint's latest offer to acquire the remainder of Clearwire Sprint currently doesn't own. story continues..
According to the Financial Times
, Japanese carrier SoftBank has upped their offer for Sprint to $21.6 billion, after being pressured in that direction by a counter-offer from Dish Network. That $1.5 billion increase appears to have all but sealed the deal for SoftBank, Sprint having now cut off talks with Dish while stating that the special committee examining the offers "is not reasonably likely to lead to a 'superior offer." SoftBank this week appears to have leaked information to the press
suggesting they'd acquire T-Mobile if the Sprint deal went through, adding some additional pressure to accept the offer that came through shortly after the leaks went public.
Comcast, like most of their contemporaries, in late 2010 started offering a home security and automation platform
under the Xfinity brand. Xfinity Home Security has slowly been deployed nationally since, and offers users two packages ($30 and $40 per month) of combined security and automation tools ranging from window sensors to remote climate and lighting controls. Now Comcast says they're offering just a stand alone package of home automation tools
starting at $10 a month and requiring a $100 starter pack. The platform offers users all manner of options including the ability to receive a text when windows open or close, though in many cases users can save a lot over time by buying and installing third party options themselves.
claims that SoftBank is in talks with Deutsche Telekom to acquire T-Mobile if their bid for Sprint falls through. The news outlet claims that three different sources have confirmed the talks, which intensified after Dish made a $25.5 billion counterbid to acquire Sprint. Some analysts believe the sudden leaks to the press are more political than serious. "It seems to me that this is more SoftBank posturing to perhaps pressure Sprint's special committee to not delay the vote next week to continue its negotiations with Ergen," said BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk.
AT&T has followed Verizon's lead and has increased the amount of time before customers under contract qualify for a new smartphone. Back in April Verizon announced
that the company was increasing their upgrade eligibility window to a full 24 months, the move coming just a few years
after Verizon bumped the window from 12 to 20 months and killed their "new every two
" program. On their consumer blog, AT&T says they're matching the move made by Verizon
and announcing a 24-month upgrade policy across all of AT&T's wireless products and services. AT&T's at least kind enough to avoid bogus explanations why (like it "improves the customer experience" and the like).
You might recall that late last year Intel started leaking details of a new Internet TV service
they were working on they claimed would (like every new Internet TV service before it) revolutionize television. The press and tech blogs then did their usual unskeptical dance praising the service, many ignoring that much more innovative and aggressive companies than Intel (Google, Apple) had already tried this but run face first into the broadcast industry's licensing wall, designed specifically to keep such disruptive services at bay.
Microsoft has released more details on the DRM embedded in the Xbox One
to stop piracy, and the reality is almost-but-not-quite as bad as most of the worrisome leaks predicted. According to Microsoft, the new Xbox One is a revolution in cloud computing, TV watching and gaming, but the changes will all come at a very steep price tag for consumers (in more than just the literal sense).
In continuing what is not a particularly great week for the government's surveillance programs, hacker group Anonymous last night leaked a cache of internal DOD documents
(pdf). The documents are from 2008, shortly after the NSA began its just-unveiled PRISM spying program
, and outlines key portions of the DOD's "strategic vision" for monitoring and controlling information online.
You can add AT&T to the growing list of companies considering shelling out money to acquire Hulu. Sources tell the All Things D
blog that AT&T is pondering entering into a joint acquisition bid for Hulu alongside the Chernin Group.
We can't go more than a week now before someone proclaims that their set top box is the one that's going to revolutionize television. It doesn't matter that attempt after attempt (by the likes of Apple, Google and others) runs face-first into restrictive TV licensing that's designed to inhibit evolution -- each new release breathlessly insists it's the one that's going to finally change the game. story continues..
As I've been covering in detail
, Verizon has been going around telling many Sandy victims who have been waiting almost eight months for DSL repair -- that repairs will never happen. In its place, Verizon is giving those users "Voice Link," a service that lets users connect home phones to the Verizon Wireless network.
by Revcb Friday 31-May-2013
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , Linklist , SrsBsns