News tagged: Verizon FiOS
Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference this week, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam again reiterated that Verizon is interested in offering an "over the top" Internet video service outside of the company's traditional FiOS and DSL footprint. According to McAdam, the company continues to be in talks with broadcasters, and the over the top option could be delivered to both fixed-line and mobile customers.
"I have personally had discussions with the CEOs of the large content companies, and we would love to partner with them to see how we can take FiOS contact mobilely across the country." McAdam said.
This isn't the first time Verizon has hinted at such ambitions. I've seen similar reports since 2011 and earlier
. The problem is, like so many similar efforts before it, Verizon has struggled to get broadcasters to sign off on such a plan. If the length of negotiations are any indication, Verizon's leverage as a traditional pay TV provider doesn't appear to be helping much.
The deal comes on the heels of Verizon acquiring
Intel's failed over the top video service.
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.
For years we've noted how broadband ISPs have tried to pass off the idea of usage caps as one of "fairness," with it "only being right" that heavier users should pay more money. While logical on its surface, the problem with that rhetoric of course is that when you actually look at the "creative" pricing that gets introduced again and again (especially usage caps), it ends with everybody paying more, regardless of usage. story continues..
It looks like Verizon won't be too far behind Comcast, who over the weekend struck a deal charging Netflix for direct interconnection
to Comcast's users. "I'm not here to pre-announce and I'm not here to change my hand at the negotiating table, but I think there's a good opportunity here," Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam stated in an interview with CNBC
. "Both [Netflix CEO] Reed [Hastings] and I have talked about it and we think it's in both of our interests." McAdam revealed Verizon has been in talks about such a deal for much of the last year, as subscriber Netflix streaming performance has increasingly gotten worse.
Back in 2008 Verizon negotiated a closed-door agreement with then NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, one Verizon strongly suggested would result in Verizon offering FiOS to 100% of the city by 2014
-- sort of. Fine print in the deal allowed Verizon to back away from that promise if they pay a few small fines and/or aren't seeing the kind of TV subscriber uptake they'd like.
Several users have written in to note that Verizon appears to be slowly shuttering their FiOS retail stores, on the heels of having largely frozen any significant FiOS expansion. In conversations with Verizon, I've confirmed that the company will be closing their eight "Verizon Plus" stores in California, the remaining five stores in Texas, as well as three stores in Florida as of March 30. story continues..
According to a report in the New York Post
(via Multichannel News
), a Long Island, NY Verizon employee has been charged with sabotaging Cablevision's lines, resulting in a six-hour TV and broadband outage that impacted 6,000 users in Suffolk County back on January 7. Verizon employee Vincent Gargano was charged with criminal mischief and tampering for the $1,500 damage done to Cablevision lines. "Actions such as the police describe are not consistent with how Verizon conducts business," a Verizon rep tells the Post. "We are assisting the police in their investigation." Gargano was busted by a home security camera, and subsequently failed a police lie detector test, prompting his arrest.
While a lot of the focus lately has been on the dismal Netflix streaming performance on Verizon, Comcast users would apparently like you to know that their Netflix streaming experience lately has been equally abysmal. Both companies were recently hammered in Netflix's recent ISP streaming rankings
, though Verizon got most of the negative press attention courtesy of the recent (not really substantiated
) claims that they're intentionally throttling Netflix traffic, something even Netflix now says they don't think is happening
Last week we highlighted the seeming neutrality furor caused by a blog post
accusing Verizon of intentionally throttling Netflix traffic. iScan developer David Raphael alleged that because his home FiOS connection and his business FiOS connection received AWS data and different rates, Verizon was throttling traffic -- something a support rep claimed in a chat with Raphael.
Netflix today released their latest ISP streaming rankings
, which, as the name suggests, track the average performance of all Netflix streams on each ISPs network. The latest report shows that Verizon (both FiOS and DSL), AT&T U-Verse and Mediacom all slipped in the rankings, while Time Warner Cable, Bright House, Windstream, Centurylink and Clearwire all saw performance improvements.
As had been rumored for some time
, Intel has finally announced that the company has sold their floundering "OnCue" Internet TV service to Verizon
. Intel had promised to revolutionize the TV landscape, but ran face first into restrictive broadcast licensing restrictions -- just like a long line of efforts before it. Financial terms weren't disclosed; Intel originally wanted $500 million for the project
, while Verizon was rumored to be unwilling to pay more than $200 million. Verizon is rumored to be planning to use the technology not only to offer streaming video to existing customers (a la "TV Everywhere"), but also to potentially offer over the top Internet video services outside of their traditional FiOS TV footprint
Verizon has released the company's fourth quarter earnings
, which indicate that big red posted a net income of $7.9 billion on revenues of $31.02 billion. As always most of that money came courtesy of wireless, where Verizon added 1.7 million retail connections (including tablets and other devices) for a grand total of 102.8 million retail connections -- most of them now under Verizon's pricey shared data plans. On the wireline side, Verizon added 126,000 net FiOS broadband lines and 92,000 net TV subscribers for 6.1 million FiOS broadband and 5.3 million Fios TV customers. 46% of users subscribe to 50 Mbps or higher speeds. DSL defections resulted in a net gain of just 20,000 broadband customers.
Netflix has released their latest rankings
for average ISP streaming speeds, with Google Fiber, Cablevision, Cox, Suddenlink and Charter rounding out the top five. In a blog post
Netflix notes that Bright House and Comcast tumbled five spots in the rankings while refusing to specifically state why (though Reddit users have their theories
in regards to Comcast).
For a while Verizon and Cablevision competed intensely for users in the New York City area, offering a steady stream of bundle promotions in order to lure users to one side of the fence or the other. The last few years however both companies have rather quietly and unofficially agreed to stop competing quite so seriously, with Verizon raising prices on FiOS services whenever possible
, and Cablevision management openly stating
they now find promotional offers (and the savvy users who use them) to be a "dead end."
It's not only promotions and offers for new
users that are getting the axe, as users in our FiOS forum
point out that Verizon is also moving away from loyalty discounts when user contracts expire:
I have had a $20.
Back in May, Verizon informed FiOS customers that replacing the back up batteries in their ONT would no longer be gratis, the telco charging users $44 for a battery available on Amazon for $18
. Users grumbled (given they don't even technically own the unit) but either complied, or just let their batteries die and tolerated the occasional dead battery ONT beep most FiOS users know all too well.
Verizon and AT&T's silence during the recent NSA Snowden revelations was quite telling, neither telco obviously wanting to risk legal liability (or government contracts) for what numerous whistleblowers have now shown is incredibly deep
and often illegal
(at least until they lobbied to have the laws changed) cooperation with government. In fact, the only time Verizon spoke on the matter at all was to mock Google and Yahoo
for "grandstanding" as the companies fought for the right to disclose FISA court government data requests.
Verizon is the first ISP out of the gate to sign a partnership that will allow Xbox One customers to stream their television content. As with the Xbox 360 the usual caveats apply -- to stream up to 79 live channels (depending on your cable lineup) you'll need to subscribe to both FiOS Internet and TV service, and you need to be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber. You can of course also use the device's HDMI pass-through connectivity to hook the Xbox One to your cable box, but you still can't integrate the device with existing FiOS DVR set top capabilities. The announcements from both Microsoft
have a little bit more detail.
Verizon's FiOS expansion is ended, and the company has switched its current focus toward getting DSL users in upgraded FiOS markets to upgrade to FiOS -- as fiber is more reliable and costs less to maintain. After Sandy one FiOS install tech told us
interestingly that many customers resist these DSL upgrades, instead preferring the reliability of copper POTS (FiOS only has an 8 hour battery backup during power outages).
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