Everyone here at Broadband Reports wishes you a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving holiday and weekend!
Comcast continues to blaze a trail in terms of IPv6 deployment, a company blog post
this week stating that 75% of the Comcast network now has native IPv6 support, and that the company expects to finish their IPv6 deployment entirely by sometime early in 2014. "Today, over 25% (and growing) of Comcast’s Xfinity Internet customers are actively provisioned with native dual stack broadband Internet service," says the company. The Internet Society (ISOC) measurements
confirm Comcast now leads the industry with the largest IPv6 deployment. The milestone comes nearly eight years after the company began their IPv6 upgrade plan, and about four years after they began consumer IPv6 trials.
The retransmission fees broadcasters charge pay TV operators to carry their content have been the source of increasingly obnoxious conflict
the last few years resulting in all manner of content blackouts and bad behavior
by both sides. And it's only going to get worse. According to a report released last week by SNL Kagan
(pdf), retransmission fees are expected to soar 130% by 2019, at which point pay TV operators will shell out $7.6 billion annually (compared to $3.3 billion this year). Granted it's no skin off of cable operators' teeth since all of those costs are passed directly on to you, increasingly in the form of below the line fees on top of
the usual rate increases (also blamed on programming cost increases).
Back in April, wireless carriers and the government announced
that they'd be collaborating on building a new nationwide database to track stolen phones (specifically the IMEI number, not just the SIM card ID). The goal is to reduce the time that stolen phones remain useful, thereby drying up the market for stolen phones and reducing the ability of criminals to use the devices to dodge surveillance.
Some years ago Verizon froze FiOS expansion to focus on making more money off of FiOS users (rate hikes), improving uptake rates in existing FiOS areas, and converting stubborn DSL users in those areas to FiOS. Speaking recently at an investor conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo estimated that the 300,000 DSL to FiOS migrations Verizon performed this year saved the company about 600,000 truck rolls and $100 million
in repairs and maintenance in 2013 alone.
Tablets are among the coolest and most widely-used handheld devices ever created, right up there with electric razors, cordless drills and digital cameras. A Pew report this past summer
revealed one in three adults in America own a tablet. The tablet – just one of many sci-fi items that made its way to reality – made fictional debuts in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey
, novels such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation
, and in several episodes of Star Trek
, in many shapes and forms.
It's cool that tablet technology is here.
Google's interest in Africa as a developing market with huge earnings potential has been exemplified by their White Space broadband experiments there
, though the search giant has turned up the speed a notch on the news they'll be deploying a significant amount number of fiber connections to African cities. According to the Google Blog
, the company's "Project Link
" initiative will begin with Google deploying fiber throughout the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
Suddenlink executives recently suggested that the company is seeing a sharp uptick in the number of broadband-only customers who aren't taking TV service. Similarly Charter CEO Tom Rutledge recently expressed surprise
at the fact more customers are going broadband only and forgoing traditional television services.
The NSA has used the Internet data collected from their myriad of sources to track porn consumption among individuals in order to discredit "radicalizers," according to the latest leaked documents by whistleblower Edward Snowden. According to the Huffington Post
, an NSA program was designed to specifically target the "personal vulnerabilities" of specific targets, including the “viewing of sexually explicit material online" and "using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls."
The government notes that such activities are standard intelligence procedure to shame or even turn potential targets:
Stewart Baker, a one-time general counsel for the NSA and a top Homeland Security official in the Bush administration, said that the idea of using potentially embarrassing information to undermine targets is a sound one. "If people are engaged in trying to recruit folks to kill Americans and we can discredit them, we ought to," said Baker. "On the whole, it's fairer and maybe more humane" than bombing a target, he said, describing the tactic as "dropping the truth on them."
Others, however, note that many of the targets were simply activists not involved in terrorist plots, and groups like the ACLU worry that the broad collection of American citizen browsing habits allows for the potential for the broader abuse of such tactics against peaceful activists.
Senator Chuck Schumer has come rushing to the defense of AT&T and Verizon in a letter to new FCC boss Tom Wheeler, urging the agency not to impose restrictions that could cap the amount of spectrum the nation's dominant carriers can obtain at auction. There has been a growing push (in part by T-Mobile and Sprint) to impose new ownership limits on the largest carriers ahead of next year's auction in order to prevent the carriers from spectrum squatting and thereby limiting the number of competitors that can come to market.
According to Schumer's letter
, capping the amount of spectrum AT&T and Verizon can own moving forward would "lower the potential return and disincentivize broadcasters from offering their spectrum for auction."
Back in April, the Department of Justice warned the FCC
that they should potentially cap the amount of spectrum AT&T and Verizon can acquire moving forward to prevent the two companies from hoarding spectrum anti-competitively.
"Today, the two leading carriers have the vast majority of low-frequency spectrum, whereas the two other nationwide carriers have virtually none," wrote the DOJ. "This results in the two smaller nationwide carriers having a somewhat diminished ability to compete, particularly in rural areas where the cost to build out coverage is higher with high-frequency spectrum."
AT&T executives have railed against that recommendation publicly ever since, claiming in an April letter to the FCC
(pdf) that such restrictions would be "unlawful."
Last week reports emerged
that the FCC was considering rule changes that would allow users to have cell phone conversations above 10,000 feet. It didn't take long for a significant public backlash to the idea to emerge, the Washington Post
stating one agency staffer received hundreds of e-mail complaints saying the changes could create "unbearable noise pollution."
A petition has also appeared on the White House Website
complaining about the potential pitfalls of being forced to listen to others "inane" conversations in a confined space:
On the tail of a wonderful move allowing electronics throughout the use of the flight, the FCC seeks to go TOO FAR in this instance.
Cable operators have made their dislike of broadcast industry retransmission fee hikes very clear, and as you'd expect those price hikes are being passed on to you. Curiously though, instead of just raising the price of services (which they do anyway), cable operators have taken to placing these fees below the line, where they can jack up customer prices further -- but keep the advertised rate the same. story continues..
Rumors of cable consolidation have been heated for much of the year, thanks largely to Charter board member John Malone and investors looking to cash in on the gossip-inflated stock gains. Said rumors exploded last week with a report claiming that both Comcast and Charter had contemplated a joint bid for Time Warner Cable
According to the latest Speedtest.net data from Ookla
, the United States has fallen to 31 in mean downstream broadband speed, behind such countries as Uruguay, Estonia, and Latvia. Ookla notes they collect the data from millions of user connections, measuring the "rolling mean throughput in Mbps over the past 30 days where the mean distance between the client and the server is less than 300 miles." Lack of competition plays a role in the poor U.S. showing, as does the country's significant geographical mass (Russia is ranked 35, Canada is ranked 37). As our commenters are quick to note, many users also may not subscribe to the fastest connection available, often due to cost.
AT&T is sending an e-mail to customers
) informing them that the company will no longer allow Xbox 360 users to use the game console as a video set top box starting December 31. The company stated that they will be issuing a credit for impacted customers that needed to get an Xbox Live Gold subscription to make the service work. Numerous companies including Comcast and Verizon (FiOS) had allowed the Xbox 360 to be used as a set top, albeit with limited video quality and channel lineups to prevent cannibalization of set top rental revenue. There has been no word of similar Xbox One support from AT&T or Microsoft, though Verizon has announced
their FiOS TV app is coming to Xbox One.
Dish has offered up a little more detail on an already-announced plan to offer fixed wireless broadband service. Dish announced back in May
that the company would be offering fixed LTE services in a new partnership with nTelos.
Following right on the heels of a similar offer announced by AT&T back in October
, Verizon is now offering users the ability to buy an LTE "day pass" for tablets. According to the Verizon announcement
, the company's new $5 Daily Plan provides 300 MB of data to tablets and connected devices (like the Samsung Galaxy Camera). The prepaid allotment expires after twenty four hours or after you've consumed 300 MB, whichever comes first. After that, you can buy additional allotments of 300 MB for another $5.
Earlier this month Blackberry scrapped plans for a sale
and forced out their former CEO, replacing him with former Sybase executive John Chen. Chen recently penned a letter to customers
promising them that Blackberry had enough financial strength to stick around for the "long haul." This week finds Blackberry doing a thorough scrubbing of the executive ranks, the company announcing
they've jettisoned Blackberry's Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Operating Officer.
indicates that Intel is looking for around half a billion dollars for their broadband TV streaming project that recently hit a progress wall courtesy of broadcast licensing restrictions
. Reports had already indicated
that both Liberty Media and Verizon were interested in acquiring the technology, though Bloomberg confirms existing rumors
that Verizon would like to offer an IP-based TV service outside of the company's traditional FiOS or DSL footprints, and would integrate Intel's technology into their own solution:
Verizon, one of the biggest US phone and wireless operators, runs the FiOS fiber-optic pay-TV service that competes with cable companies. OnCue would let Verizon sell pay-TV outside the current FiOS footprint. The company has been asking media companies if a streaming service would require new contracts for shows, or whether existing FiOS TV agreements could be amended to include the additional rights, the people said.
Even with Verizon's size and leverage it's not clear they'd have any greater luck at getting broadcasters to loosen their iron grip on programming rights, since they remain terrified of just the kind of disruptive services Intel and Verizon were interested in developing. That's fundamentally the only reason such services haven't seen more traction in recent years, regardless of the company (Google, Apple, Microsoft) attempting it.
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs says that he'd like to see LTE technology deployed on unlicensed spectrum, though he's a bit ambiguous on how exactly they plan to accomplish this. "We’ve been working on this for a while which is, we’re actually putting LTE into the unlicensed bands," Jacobs said in an article at Electronics Weekly
. "Up till now Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have mostly used unlicensed bands. There is a tremendous amount of spectrum that’s been allocated around the world in unlicensed bands." Fierce Wireless
theorizes the technology could use the 3.5 GHz band, which is being eyed for small cells here in the States.
by Revcb 07:03AM Monday Nov 25 2013
Last month we were the first to note
that Comcast was trying something a little different on the promotions front, offering users a bundle of 25 Mbps broadband, about 20 TV channels and HBO for around $40 to $50 depending on the market. Unfortunately for users that promo offer only applied to new customers, and ballooned to $60 to $70 after twelve months, then to $70 to $80 for the last six months of a two-year agreement.
Cable operator Suddenlink's recent earnings
indicate that the company lost 3,000 TV subscribers last quarter but added 21,900 broadband and 18,000 net phone subscribers. Those broadband adds are a stark improvement to the 9,000 broadband subscribers the company lost last quarter, the company taking a bit of a PR hit earlier this year for new usage meters
that didn't accurately track consumer bandwidth usage. According to statements made by company executives on their earnings call, the company is seeing an uptick in non-TV broadband customers, who now account for 20% of the company's total customer relationships.
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.
Back in January Cox announced
that they'd be offering users access to a network of more than 750 Wi-Fi hotspots (you can find a network of their hotspots here
and their Wi-Fi FAQ here
). In addition to offering users access to their own hotspots, Cox also belatedly joined the "CableWiFi" initiative that allows users to access shared hotspots in Comcast and Cablevision territories.
by Revcb 07:03AM Tuesday Nov 26 2013
by Revcb 07:12AM Wednesday Nov 27 2013