Netflix's latest ISP streaming performance rankings continues to show specific and pointed improvements for companies that have struck interconnection deals with the company. Both Netflix and Level3 have accused AT&T, Verizon and Comcast of intentionally leaving peering points un-upgraded to force content companies like Netflix to pay them for direct interconnection to bypass these intentionally congested links. AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have insisted that these are just run of the mill peering disputes.
Whatever the cause and whoever is to blame, customers are seeing significant improvements if they're with major ISPs once these deals are struck. Notes Netflix:
quote:Verizon FiOS jumped nine spots to top the index with a speed of 3.17 Megabits per second (Mbps.) The rapid rise, which began last month, followed an interconnection agreement with the company that uncongested ports for mutual customers. Similar arrangements with Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-Verse also resulted in increased speeds in September of 2.87 Mbps and 2.77 Mbps respectively.
The improvements were enough to propel Verizon FiOS to the top among the nation's largest ISPs at 3.17 Mbps per second. Among all ISPs, Verizon FiOS comes in seventh place behind Google Fiber (3.54 Mbps), Grande Communications (3.33 Mbps) and RCN (3.24). It's worth noting while jumping just one spot, Verizon DSL customers continue to see the slowest streaming performance of nearly all ISPs ranked, including other DSL providers.
Again, you can head here to see the ranking of all ISPs in the US or other countries where Netflix streaming is available.
If you recall, Verizon worked very closely with Google and AT&T To craft the FCC's first set of net neutrality rules. As we discussed at length at the time, the rules by design were jam-packed with loopholes allowing all manner of anti-competitive behavior, just as long as companies dressed it up with faux-technical justifications (something Verizon's quite good at).
Back in 2012 Verizon and RedBox proudly joined forces to launch the creatively-named Redbox Instant by Verizon, which was supposed to be a significant competitor for Netflix. This year however reports began to emerge that the service wasn't doing very well, and I've noticed that Verizon hasn't worked very hard to promote the partnership.
Users in our forums note that Verizon has started pushing out a new software update for the company's FiOS TV set top boxes that again significantly revamps what was already one of the more popular guides in the industry. Users in the thread offer up numerous images illustrating the graphical changes in IMG 1.9.7, which an insider says is being deployed currently only on Cisco and Motorola boxes starting today in New York and Pennsylvania.
The cable companies that pioneered cable television continue to flounder in JD Power and Associates' latest TV customer satisfaction survey. According to the latest results from the firm, DIRECTV and Verizon FiOS (738) tied for top honors in TV customer satisfaction in the East region; AT&T U-verse (750) ranks highest in the North Central region; Verizon FiOS (751) ranks highest in the South region; and DISH Network (739) ranks highest in the West region.
Back in July Verizon announced that the company would be making all of their FiOS tiers symmetrical, a move that was specifically aimed at cable operators struggling to keep upstream speeds on par with fiber offerings. Verizon this week took this same fight to cable operators on the small business side, announcing that they're now bumping the upstream speeds for business customers as well. According to the company announcement, the upgrades should happen automatically for "nearly all" of the company's FiOS business customers.
Baltimore is one of a number of cities that Verizon skipped over when deploying FiOS, leaving most city residents with only the uncomptitive option of either sluggish Verizon DSL or Comcast (if they're lucky). They're also one of the countless cities who begged for Google Fiber attention to no avail.
Baltimore's now hoping to take matters into their own hands, and have hired a consultant to explore a number of possible ideas ranging from reworking their protectionist citywide franchise agreement with Comcast, to possibly building some or all of the kind of network nobody else wants to:
quote:"Baltimore is still in the exploratory stages of the initiative but the city will likely build out some of its own fiber infrastructure that it will use to lure new competitors to the area. Jason Hardebeck, the executive director of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, tells the Business Journal that the city may also consider making its own municipal Wi-Fi network that will be run more like a public utility."
Of course paying a consultant $157,000 is certainly no guarantee anything gets accomplished, but it's interesting how the one-two punch of Google Fiber and Wheeler's criticism of state protectionist broadband law has seriously reheated a subject that for a decade had largely flown under the radar.
Verizon today reminded us in a press release (and a video, below) that the company's FioS initiative is officially ten years old. The company refreshingly bucked timid industry trends a decade ago, then CEO Ivan Seidenberg bullishly spending $24 billion on fiber to the home services that offered unheard-of speeds with no usage caps of any kind.
It's fairly obvious that Google Fiber's entry into the broadband market has made significant waves. While the actual deployments have been limited (with only just Kansas City significantly online just yet), the service's very presence has rekindled debate over the abysmal state of broadband competition in the United States.
Verizon's ActionTec routers have never been what you'd call cutting edge, the company taking an extraordinarily long time to even offer 802.11N Wi-Fi functionality (and when they finally did, only offering 2.4Ghz).
Now Dave Zatz has noticed that Verizon FiOS customers will finally be getting newer gear, some FiOS Quantum customers getting the new Greenwave G1100. The G1100 offers everything up to 802.11ac, and looks to have integrated Zigbee home automation support.
An analysis of monthly cable bills by SNL Kagan found that while all cable TV bills are high (and increasing, sometimes twice a year) Cablevision customers have it the worst in terms of high rates. Cablevision customers on average now pay the company $152.72 a month, significantly higher than the next most expensive cable operators -- Comcast ($137.24 per month on average) and Verizon FiOS ($122.57 per month on average).
Last month Verizon made all FiOS tiers symmetrical at no additional cost to users, taking serious aim at its cable competitors whose upstream speeds have started to look more than a little dated. The company is slowly deploying the upgrade to all users over the next few months, and in the interim have started a new advertising campaign for the speed boost. According to Verizon's new commercials, they're calling the upgrades "SpeedMatch" and declaring that "cable can't touch" upgrades of this type.
A few months ago I noted how Verizon had been claiming that we shouldn't have tough consumer net neutrality protections -- because they could harm deaf people and the disabled. To hear Verizon tell it, banning the creation of "fast lanes" would in turn harm services for the deaf and disabled, though as I noted at the time this was quite the straw man and red herring (straw herring?) that even the disabled didn't agree with.
Now Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica directs your attention to the fact that some additional deaf and disabled groups have responded to Verizon's recent claims, and they're not particularly impressed with Verizon's use of their disability as a revenue-protection tool. In comments filed with the FCC, a number of deaf advocacy groups like the National Association of the Deaf make their positions clear:
quote:"We also take this opportunity to express our concern over the reported contentions of at least one broadband provider that the Commission should facilitate 'fast lanes'—essentially permitting paid prioritization—for the sake of accessibility. While we strongly believe that Internet-based services and applications must be made accessible, we also believe that doing so is possible on an open network and without the need for broadband providers to specifically identify traffic from accessibility applications and separate it out for special treatment."
Not only do the deaf groups disagree with Verizon's bogus contention that Verizon's fighting net neutrality on their behalf, groups ranging from the National Association of the Deaf ranging to the American Association of People with Disabilities also strongly support the reclassification of ISPS as utilities under the Communications Act, something Verizon and other large ISPs have vehemently opposed.
Billing glitches for Verizon's new "free" symmetrical FiOS upgrades are resulting in rate hikes for some users. Verizon recently announced that the company would be bumping FiOS upstream speeds so they match the company's downstream speeds, effectively making all FiOS tiers symmetrical.
While Verizon's legal victory over the FCC did gut the agency's net neutrality rules, it kept some of the FCC's authority over ISPs intact -- specifically the agency's transparency rules -- which require that ISPs be straightforward about the "network management practices, performance, and commercial terms" of their broadband services.
In a statement issued today, the FCC "reminded" wireline and wireless ISPs alike that those rules are still intact and need to be adhered to, lest the agency lightly slap a wrist or two -- maybe.
norm writes in to note that Netflix has offered their latest streaming performance rankings for broadband ISPs. Cablevision, Cox and Suddenlink continue to take the top three spots among the largest ISPs (head here and click on "expand results" to see smaller ISPs like Google Fiber included in the rankings).
In a blog post posted to the company's policy website, Verizon today proclaimed that they've had their engineers conduct a thorough review of every part of their network and have concluded that Netflix congestion issues experienced by customers are in no way the fault of Verizon. Companies like Netflix and Level 3 previously suggested that Verizon was letting peering points saturate in order to force companies to pay last-mile ISPs for direct interconnection.
A consortium of elected officials and consumer advocates have petitioned the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) to investigate why Verizon is raising prices while its wireline infrastructure allegedly deteriorates throughout New York state. To hear Ars Technica tell it, Verizon's neglecting copper customers in particular while it focuses on fiber and wireless -- yet at the same time they neglect DSL users, they're consistently raising rates on them.
Over the years we've seen a wide variety of causes for broadband outages ranging from beavers to gunshots. Network World sends a new one our direction, noting that one of their columnist's Verizon FiOS connection suffered an outage after ants ate through the fiber casing -- two times in five years.
As we noted yesterday Verizon is going to miss the company's deadline for providing FiOS to all of NYC, something that shouldn't surprise you if you actually understood the loophole-filled deal, closed-door deal Verizon and Mayor Bloomberg signed back in 2008. That agreement allowed Verizon to conflate the terms "homes served" with "homes passed," as well as wiggle around certain deployment obligations with some lawyer elbow grease.