| story continues..
The President this morning made it very clear: he's supporting the reclassification of ISPs under Title II in order to protect network neutrality. Historically there have been no-limit of ambiguous, mealy-mouthed promises to protect neutrality, though most indications were that the government and the FCC lacked the spine for a serious legal fight over reversing much of the last decade of deregulation.
However a lengthy Obama statement
just released couldn't be more clear: the government is going to war with the nation's broadband duopoly over Title II reclassification.
"The time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do," the President said in a statement and accompanying video
"To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services," stated Obama. "This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies."
Consumer advocates have been pushing for Title II for some time, arguing it offer the most legally sound path forward to protect net neutrality. Groups like the EFF and Public Knowledge had also urged for forbearance -- a process that helps prevent the FCC from over reaching
. ISPs have made it more than clear they plan to sue
should the government pursue this route, and with a GOP-controlled Senate, the path forward is an absolute minefield.
FCC boss Tom Wheeler had originally hoped to have net neutrality rules finalized by December, but the President's declaration yesterday that he unequivocally supports Title II reclassification
appears to have delayed final rules well into 2015. In a statement
responding to the President's request, Wheeler acknowledges that the agency needs more time to analyze the potential ramifications (including their legal footing against lawsuits) of rules that classify last-mile ISPs under Title II.
In what's quickly becoming yet another domestic spy scandal, the Wall Street Journal
reports that the government has been using gear placed on small Cessna planes to mimic cell towers, hoovering up the personal communications of criminals and innocent parties alike. According to the report, the U.S.
In response to the President's announcement this week that he unequivocally supports Title II reclassification to protect net neutrality
, AT&T has unveiled a rather amusing political ploy. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson this morning proclaimed that the company is halting investment in next-generation fiber networks until the government wimps out and backs off tougher rules to protect consumers.
With the debate coals already hot due to the President's surprisingly clear support for Title II
, Sonic.Net CEO Dane Jasper adds some wood to the fire in a blog post
suggesting we also take this opportunity to bring back unbundling. Net neutrality violations are only a symptom of limited competition, argues Jasper, something that could be fixed if the country returned to discarded rules requiring that incumbent ISPs open up their infrastrcuture to competitors.
A new survey
(pdf) by the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication found that support for neutrality is widespread and growing, and is increasingly seeing bi-partisan support from Democrats and Republicans alike. According to the study, 81% oppose "allowing Internet service providers to charge some websites or streaming video services extra for faster speeds," while only 17% are in favor of allowing such behavior.
A Louisiana woman is suing Cox Communications
(via Stop the Cap
) because she tripped over a coaxial cable left draped across her mothers' yard. The plaintiff claims Cox repeatedly failed to bury the cable despite repeated requests, and is now suing for unspecified damages after the pregnant woman "injured her arm, right side and received soreness and other bodily injuries" in the incident. Given the number of cable installs we've seen over the years where cable is simply draped over bushes, fences and across yards, it's kind of surprising there aren't more lawsuits of this type.
Comcast has spent the last few months as a public whipping boy for a series
of customer service missteps
-- missteps that come as the company's trying to win regulatory approval for their $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. For what it's worth, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts proclaimed he was "embarrassed" by the recent attention to his company's historically poor customer service.
What are you up to this weekend? Let us know in the comment section below.
While the President this week made it clear he unequivocally supports Title II reclassification of ISPs to protect net neutrality
, he also made it clear that the FCC is an independent agency that is technically free to make up its own mind on such issues (though not without political and career fallout). In his public statement
following the announcement, Wheeler too made it clear the FCC is an "independent regulatory agency," repeating that the agency remains invested in its "hybrid" approach of only reclassifying ISP to edge network connections under Title II.
Add Tesla CEO Elon Musk to the growing list of people investing in the idea of less-expensive satellite broadband technology. According to the Wall Street Journal
, Musk is working closely with satellite-industry veteran and former Google employee Greg Wyler on building a network of roughly 700 satellites, each weighing less than 250 pounds.
Sprint continues to tinker with pricing in an attempt to turn around the company's flagging fortunes, this week announcing they're reducing the data access charge on the company's $80 and $90 Sprint Family Share Pack Plans to $15 per month per line. According to the Sprint announcement
, the promotion will run from November 14 to January 15. The data access charge for those plans was previously $25 per month, per line. Earlier this month Sprint announced
that the carrier lost 272,000 subscribers on the quarter, and that the company would be trimming another 2,000 employees as it attempts to restructure under new owner SoftBank.
While Google has gotten a lot of PR mileage out of the idea that Google Fiber helps local businesses where it's deployed, the company doesn't actually offer Google Fiber for businesses. That has resulted in a bit of confusion as people have tried to use Google Fiber connections to offer the kind of startup-friendly workspaces
the company has gotten a lot of press for in Kansas City.
Back in October Netflix rather quietly raised rates
for anyone eager to view the company's growing catalog of 4K content. Users who want to view 4K or "Ultra HD" content now have to sign up for Netflix's $12 a month "family" plan, which provides simultaneous streams of up to four programs at once. Amazon this week stated that the company will be offering its first 4K TV streams later this year, and won't charge extra for the content
. Of course Amazon just got done raising the subscription price of their Amazon Prime service to $99 not all that long ago, so another price hike just to watch a smattering of 4K content likely wouldn't be particularly bright anyway.
Sony is preparing to begin testing its new "Playstation Vue" streaming video service later this month in New York on an invite-only basis for Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 customers. After that, notes the Wall Street Journal
, it will see staggered deployment across major U.S.
According to a company post to the Time Warner Cable blog
, the company has completed their "Maxx" upgrades in New York City and Los Angeles. Said upgrades involve not only improved video services and a new "Enhanced DVR
," but significantly faster speeds.
Consumer advocates intend to ramp up their pressure on the government ahead of an FCC decision on neutrality rules. Consumer advocates want ISPs reclassified as utilities under Title II, arguing it's the only legal tenable way forward to protect consumers from ISP anti-competitive behavior. story continues..
After getting burned by the hype machine surrounding 3D TV
, DirecTV has stated they're wandering cautiously into 4K content, starting first with a smattering of VOD 4K fare, followed up by live 4K streams sometime next year. The company says the initial 4K offerings will only be available on some hardware
, such as 4K TVs specifically made by Samsung. Users will also need to subscribe to DirecTV’s Genie HD-DVR. Once the company launches their DirecTV-14 satellite in December they'll offer live 4K options once the satellite is commercially functional -- likely February or March.
While locations like New York and San Francisco have been getting significant speed increases as part of Time Warner Cable's Maxx upgrades
, the cable company's now also throwing a small bone to users in all of the company's markets. Stop the Cap
notes that Time Warner Cable is boosting the company's "Basic" broadband tier, which usually runs $30 to $40 a month depending on the market, from 3 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up to 6 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up at no charge. Maxx markets, in contrast, see the company's 15 Mbps Standard Internet plan bumped to 50 Mbps, and the company's 100 Mbps Ultimate plan pushed to 300 Mbps -- for the same rates (which vary by market and regional competition).
The MPAA has launched a new website named WhereToWatch.com
that's intended to direct users away from pirated content and toward legitimate sources for movies and television, though it's unclear if any user who visits the Pirate Bay is going to be swayed by the website's guidance.
The MPAA was quick to compile a list
(pdf) of all of the nice things media outlets and users online are saying about the new website.
New York's Public Service Commission has postponed voting on the Comcast merger in New York State for the second time. According to the Albany Times Union
, the PSC was forced to delay their vote on the deal citing unspecified "complexities" in the transaction.
Less than a month after a controversial anonymizing router named anonabox was suspended from Kickstarter
for a misleading promotional campaign, it appears to have popped back up over at Indiegogo. DailyDot
notes that the router has already raised nearly $16,000 on Indiegogo
, the new promotion rather ambiguously stating the pulled kickstarter campaign received ample "scrutiny and criticism." The developers say they've learned from the original effort and have made a number of changes to the Tor-powered router:
• All new totally custom circuit board avalable nowhere else in the world
• Redesigned outer case and smaller form factor (images of the new case will be posted in the updates!)
• Hardened version of OpenWrt the Open Source Operating system,
• Latest version of Tor software and more secure configuration.
• Automatic updates of Tor software (no need to configure!)
The original campaign contained a number of claims that the device was a very unique and secure prototype, despite the fact it appeared to be a copy of an existing $20 router with some very standard off-the-shelf Chinese parts.
Netflix has released the company's October rankings
of the top ISPs for streaming Netflix performance. According to the company's announcement
, Bright House Communications has jumped into the third-ranked spot behind Verizon and Cablevision after Time Warner Cable (who manages a portion of Bright House's network) struck a direct interconnection deal with Netflix deal earlier this year.
Last month reports emerged
suggesting that policy folk and lawyers at larger ISPs like AT&T and Comcast were annoyed with Verizon for suing the FCC and successfully overturning the agency's net neutrality rules. Those rules, as we've noted repeatedly, omitted wireless and didn't really do much of anything outside banning the outright blocking of websites (something ISPs have no interest in).
Comcast says their merger with Time Warner Cable is on schedule despite potential new legal skirmishes over net neutrality rules. While Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus recently stated the deal was taking longer than he expected
, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts insists that the deal is still on schedule to meet its early 2015 completion projection. That's assuming that regulators don't block the deal, something most analysts don't see as likely. "We are in the final stages of public comment," states Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. "Sometimes things get slowed down in that phase," Roberts said, but "we are full steam ahead."
AT&T has announced a significant expansion across North America with the company's $2.5 billion acquisition of Mexican provider Iusacell. According to AT&T's announcement
, Iusacell currently serves around 8.6 million subscribers but covers roughly 70% of Mexico's nearly 120 million residents. The deal, notes AT&T, makes their network the first in North America to cover 400 million combined Mexico & U.S. consumers and businesses. "This is an opportunity for us to provide Iusacell the financial resources, scale and expertise to accelerate the roll-out of world-class mobile Internet speeds and quality in Mexico, like we have in the United States," insists AT&T in their statement.
In a blog post
responding to this week's declaration by the President that he clearly supports Title II, Comcast breathlessly proclaims that they're fans of net neutrality -- just not Title II. In the post, top Comcast lobbyist David Cohen notes that the cable giant supports 90% of what the President hopes for, including no blocking, no throttling, increased transparency and no paid prioritization.
September of last year wireless operator C Spire issued a rather surprising announcement
saying they were going to start deploying fixed-line broadband networks capable of 1 Gbps in several markets within their (mostly Southern) footprint. C Spire's initial focus will primarily be on Mississippi, where nine cities are currently in the running to be the first to get the speedier service.
by Revcb 08:02AM Monday Nov 10 2014
Back in April AT&T announced that they'd be trying to shake up GoGo's dominance of the in-flight broadband market by offering a competing product of their own
. At the time, AT&T stated the company would work with Honeywell to build "an innovative air-to-ground network in the continental United States" that would launch sometime in the latter half of 2015, with the ultimate goal of "transforming in-flight connectivity."
Apparently, said transformation won't be happening.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation last week filed a petition with the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend and expand six different exemptions to the DMCA, covering everything from the right to bypass car DRM -- to the right to continue tinkering with games no longer supported by the developers. In a blog post
the EFF notes the group also urged the Librarian of Congress “to extend and expand the exemption that allows you to ‘jailbreak’ your phone from those restrictions, without running afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).”
In January of last year unlocking your cellphone technically became illegal
after the Librarian of Congress removed it from the DMCA exception list.
Verizon has agreed to pay $1.37 million to settle an investigation into the company's FiOS billing practices in Maryland. According to the The Baltimore Sun
, the settlement settles a six-year investigation into misleading Verizon promotions (like those televisions the company had a hard time ponying up years back
) incorrectly charged early termination fees, and instances where Verizon failed to adequately outline equipment fees. "Verizon's activities when it was rolling out FiOS established it as one of our office's biggest complaint generators," Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said in a statement. "I'm pleased that Verizon is changing its marketing practices to accurately reflect the total cost of its services and that a significant number of consumers will receive restitution as a result of this agreement."
Several weeks ago, I wrote about
how the new NBA TV rights deal would likely raise everyone’s cable bill whether you watch the NBA or not. But slowly, TV providers are realizing that customers have in fact had enough with paying for absurdly expensive regional sports networks that only a minority of customers actually watch.
Despite the company's recent ugly retrans fight with Viacom, Suddenlink says the company isn't giving up on cable TV like we've seen among many smaller and mid-sized cable companies
. "We have confidence in our video business," Suddenly CEO Jerry Kent insists
. "We believe in the video business. We're not giving up on the video business." Suddenlink customers have been unable to get Viacom content either via TV or online
since early last month, though Kent claims they've seen no meaningful number of user disconnects.
by Revcb 07:17AM Wednesday Nov 12 2014
by Revcb 07:57AM Thursday Nov 13 2014