An Iranian Gran Ayatollah has declared that broadband -- specifically 3G connections -- are morally unsound
. Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, in a response to questions on his website recently, proclaimed that "all third generation [3G] and high-speed internet services, prior to realization of the required conditions for the National Information Network (Iran's own censored, internal network), is against Sharia and against moral and human standards." In 2009, Iran made it a criminal offense
to bypass the country's Internet filters using VPNs or any other technology.
Apple launched a few
new shiny baubles
today. Discuss them to your heart's content in the comment section below.
We've discussed at length how AT&T's "IP transition" is being framed as some sort of evolutionary transition toward a "glorious all-IP future," but is really largely about AT&T gutting regulations in order to hang up on POTS (plain old telephone) and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade
. The name of the game is terminating these unwanted users and pushing them users toward significantly more expensive (and capped) LTE wireless service.
T-Mobile has announced that as part of their "uncarrier 7.0" announcement, they'll be expanding the company's Wi-Fi calling initiative, offering a program called "Wi-Fi Unleashed" to nudge more users toward the feature. According to a T-Mobile announcement
, the company is enabling Wi-Fi calling and texting for every Simple Choice customer on every new smartphone sold by the company.
Political momentum to use what some in the telecom space call "the nuclear option" is growing. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has sent a letter to FCC boss Tom Wheeler
urging that he reclassify ISPs as utilities under Title II of the Communications Act.
With the entertainment industry's "six strikes" program now a year and a half old, the entertainment-industry organization behind the effort (Center for Copyright Information) says that the program is set to double in size this year
. That means not only more warnings, but more partner ISPs, and more content industries demanding that warnings be sent out to broadband subscribers:
In addition to sending more notices, the CCI will also consider adding more copyright holders and ISPs to the mix.
Deposit your carefully constructed comments into the comment section below.
For forty years now, regulators have enforced a rule that blacks out local NFL games on television if locals didn't buy enough tickets to see the games. The idea at the time was to aid a young and struggling league, but as time has passed the rules have proven burdensome on communities, and an unnecessary "subsidy" for a hugely profitable NFL. story continues..
Over the years we've seen a number of ISPs
and even hotels
run into user backlash and PR problems when they've decided to use deep packet inspection and ad injection to force their ads into user content. Many users don't like any ISP hijacking of site code, much less advertising injection -- especially if users aren't being told the system is being used.
Piggybacking on the launch of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Sprint has announced that they'll be offering owners of the new phones the options to pay $50 for unlimited voice, text and data. According to the Sprint website
, customers who take Sprint up on the offer will need pay for their new iPhone in monthly installments via Sprint's Easy pay program.
Sprint's also offering an "iPhone for Life" program whereby users can pay $20 per month for 24 months for a 16 GB iPhone 6 (normally $30 under their financing program), after which users can trade in the device for a new iPhone.
The iPhone 6 Plus will run users $25 a month under this program, compared to $35 per month via normal Sprint phone financing (see breakdown, left).
Sprint's also offering customers of AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon a $350 card if they're willing to switch to Sprint.
Last week FCC boss Tom Wheeler stated plainly and cleanly
that the United States broadband market isn't competitive, and that many people still unfortunately live in a duopoly market -- if they're lucky. While that sounds like an obvious observation, it's a big step for an FCC that has historically been unwilling to even state
whether telecom markets are competitive one way or the other.
For years the FCC has had a rather flimsy definition of what constitutes broadband, something that benefits the industry by making speed and penetration statistics look much better than they actually are. As a result, every time the FCC proposes to raise that bar -- whether that was the belated previous moves to 768 kbps or to 4 Mbps -- the all-too comfortable, uncompetitive broadband industry whines -- because it might force them to spend a little more money to make consumers happy. story continues..
DSLExtreme has launched a new, faster broadband option that appears to piggyback on AT&T's U-Verse platform. According to the company announcement
, DSLExtreme's new "TrueStream" is now available in 21 states across the country, offering speeds up to 75 Mbps.
Sprint has slowly but surely been expanding the company's "Spark" LTE upgrades, which combine the company's 2.5 GHz, 1900 MHz and 800 MHz bands for improved regional capacity and speeds Sprint promises should top out around 60 Mbps. According to a Sprint announcement
, the company just added Cincinnati, Ohio and Rockford Illinois to the list of markets where Spark has been deployed. You can find a list of all Spark deployed markets here
, and all of the Sprint smartphones that support Spark here
. You can find Sprint's master list of deployed LTE markets here
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs' Communacopia conference this morning, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega stated that (assuming their merger gets approved), AT&T would offer a wireless broadband, DirecTV bundle sometime late in 2015. AT&T has technology "ready to go" to deliver speeds of 15 Mbps or faster delivered over a dedicated swath of spectrum, claims the CEO. story continues..
Back in May Cox Communications stated
that they'd be bumping the company's Preferred & Premier tier speeds to 50Mbs & 100Mbs respectively, at no additional cost (for the time being). They've been deploying these speed increases on a market-by-market basis ever since, with users in Nebraska, Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nevada already seeing the bump.
A combination of uninteresting gimmicks and AT&T exclusivity has resulted in Amazon's new Fire smartphone not selling very well
. Now just two months after launching the phone at the fairly-standard $200 (plus two year contract) price point, Amazon is dropping the price of the device to just one dollar. An Amazon announcement
obviously doesn't specifically address why the dramatic price reduction, only saying the phone is "another example of the value Amazon delivers to customers." There remains no word on when AT&T's exclusivity arrangement with Amazon is set to expire.
Dish Network recently reached out to T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom to discuss a potential acquisition of T-Mobile, notes Bloomberg
. According to the report, Dish boss Charlie Ergen approached the company after Sprint's acquisition plan fell apart due to regulatory concerns, though Dish hasn't yet made a formal offer to acquire the company. Dish's interest may become more serious after a November spectrum auction is completed, the report claims -- though Dish has yet to hire the aid of any banks to advise it on the logistics of any deal.
AT&T has been chosen to power the in-car LTE service now being integrated by Audi, and an announcement back in March made it clear the privilege of the data integration isn't particularly cheap
(then again, if you can afford an Audi and Audi repairs, data plan overages may not be a worry). According to an Audi announcement
, customers can also now add their Audi to AT&T's Mobile Share data plan, allowing their vehicle to pull from their monthly data allotment.
Comcast this week announced that they're introducing a new wireless gateway for residential subscribers the company claims is the "industry's fastest." According to the Comcast announcement
, the new DPC3941T Xfinity Wireless Gateway integrates 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 3x3 MIMO design with 3 spatial streams that can provide up to 1.3 Gbps of raw throughput (700 Mbps actual, Comcast claims), 80 MHz wide Wi-Fi channel support, and 256-QAM modulation.
There's a discussion thread in our forums
, and users have found a guide
and some additional detail in the FCC database
There's no word on what you'll pay for the honor of using this new device, but users can also e-mail Comcast at AC_WirelessGateway@cable.comcast.com for more detail. Comcast says the device will be available "later this fall to customers in select markets and over time across our footprint."
DirecTV's exclusive arrangement with the NFL to offer out of market games is annoying to users in more ways than one; the company once again having troubles streaming games via broadband for the first weekend of the NFL season. According to Phillip Swann at TV Predictions
, a significant number of users ran into problems getting games to stream reliably, and owners of next-gen consoles like the Playstation 4 and Xbox One ran into problems getting streams to work whatsoever. DirecTV had similar streaming issues they had to apologize for during the opening of the NFL season last year.
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.
When the FCC's original neutrality rules were first created, they were based on draft language provided by Verizon, AT&T and Google. As an unsurprising result, they included all manner of loopholes including the premise that you can engage in all manner of anti-competitive behavior
, just as long as you pretend it's for the security and integrity of the network and provide some faux-technical justifications for your policies (right, Verizon Wireless?
New York State, emboldened by a new state law that requires mergers to benefit the public, is taking a tougher stance on Comcast's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, according to Bloomberg News
. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who the outlet notes has received more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from the companies, hasn't formally taken a position -- though the NY PSC is making it clear they'll likely want tougher concessions than most states. Of course the definition of "tough" is relative; Comcast has a long history of volunteering their own "tough" conditions
that even then they've historically had a tough time adhering to
CBS appears to be seriously considering offering a standalone Showtime streaming option that won't require a traditional cable subscription to use. Nothing in Showtime’s contracts with cable operators "restricts us from doing something direct to consumer," CBS COO Joseph Ianniello stated last week at an investor conference
. Ianniello proceeded to insist that teh company will have to "evolve as a business to be sure we’re where consumers want to be" and "give it to them on their terms." This is of course the same company that has historically sued Aereo
for trying to do just that, so the interest in a standalone option probably should be taken with a grain of salt.
A report at Bloomberg
states that CenturyLink is expanding the company's cloud position with a potential acquisition of Rackspace Hosting. According to the report the deal may or may not actually go through, but talks have been ongoing for some time. CenturyLink acquired hosting provider Savvis back in 2011
, and last year acquired Tier 3. Rackspace has been conducting an internal review of its options after being approached by numerous suitors earlier this year.
Global Capacity has announced that they've acquired Megapath's Network Services business unit for an undisclosed sum. According to the company announcement
, (pdf) the deal will "create a $300 million company focused on making it simpler, more cost-effective and more efficient for customers to buy network connectivity in today’s increasingly complex $318 billion global data connectivity market." MegaPath will in turn become Global Capacity's largest wholesale customer after the deal closes sometime next year. Roughly 300 Megapath network operations employees are expected to join Global Capacity, though the elimination of some redundant positions is likely.
AT&T is pushing their Digital Life
home automation and security services in a new direction in the hopes of expanding revenue: they're now offering in-home monitoring services marketed to those caring for the elderly. According to the company announcement
, the new product is called "Digital Life Care" and will be trialed in employee homes this year, and should see a broader commercial deployment sometime in 2015.
For a few years now Digital Rights Corp (aka Rightscorp) has been trying to turn copyright infringement notices into a revenue stream, sending accused pirates letters telling them they can avoid court battles if they just pay a $20 fee
. While most ISPs have agreed to turn over customer information quickly, some ISPs like Mediacom Communications and Windstream have been fighting these requests
for several years now.TorrentFreak notes
that Texas-based Grande Communications is another smaller ISP engaged in a battle with Rightscorp over the company's use of DMCA subpoenas -- a shortcut toward getting subscriber info that doesn't require a Judge's involvement. In telling the court it refuses to grant Rightscorp's request for data on 30,000 users, the company makes it clear they don't like being bullied:
“The Subpoena is part of an ongoing campaign by Rightscorp to harvest ‘settlements’ from Internet subscribers (who may or may not have been the users of their accounts at the times and dates in question) located across the nation through an abuse of the subpoena power of the federal courts in California..."
“As can be seen from the PACER listing, Rightscorp has avoided sending subpoenas to any of the national ISPs (such as Verizon, AT&T, or Comcast), but instead has sent subpoenas to regional ISPs in various locations around the nation,” Grande writes. “Presumably, Rightscorp is hoping that the regional ISPs, with smaller in-house legal departments, will be likely to simply comply with its subpoenas, especially given that those subpoenas bear the signature of the Clerk of the Court.”
Grande argues that Rightscorp is abusing the law to bypass the scrutiny of a Judge, which would result in said Judge finding problems with a "litany of issues" regarding Rightscorp's methods.
Raycom Media and DirecTV have ended their retransmission fee dispute
, and blacked out channels were turned back on just in time for last weekend's NFL games. As is usually the case in these kinds of disputes, details weren't released on what the financial settlement entails.
Back in July French telco Iliad lobbed a rather underwhelming softball offer
of acquisition at T-Mobile, offering $15 billion in cash to acquire 56.6 percent of T-Mobile. Deutsche Telekom wasn't impressed, though reports suggest that the company is still very much open to a deal to sell the freshly-disruptive US carrier, which the company has been trying to offload since 2011 or before. Reuters
indicates that Iliad is preparing to make an improved offer, "but has set specific limits on how much money it would raise to fund any deal." Deutsche Telekom spent a year negotiating a T-Mobile sale to Sprint, only to have it scrapped on fears that regulators would block the deal.
by Revcb 08:18AM Tuesday Sep 09 2014
If you recall (and many don't), Google was partially responsible for the lack of network neutrality protections we see (or don't see, as the case may be) today. Google worked hard alongside AT&T and Verizon to make sure the rules had ample loopholes and didn't protect wireless. story continues..
AT&T has sued Cox Communications, claiming that the cable operator has infringed on seven patents covering various DVR and modem technologies. In the complaint
(pdf, via Ars Technica
), AT&T alleges that Cox has avoided paying AT&T by "repeatedly delaying and rescheduling negotiations." "Given every opportunity, Cox has failed to provide substantial arguments for either non-infringement or invalidity of AT&T's patents," complains AT&T. "Cox’s conduct constitutes a steadfast refusal to take a license, even though Cox generates billions of dollars in revenue every year through its use of AT&T’s technologies."
Cox has joined Comcast in offering an over the top IP video TV solution aimed at college students that have cut the cord. Cox's "Campus Connect
" offers more that fifty live TV channels that are delivered over campus broadband networks, piggybacking on top of existing bulk cable TV relationships at universities. Comcast has been pushing their own "Xfinity on Campus
over the top video solution; both companies aim to gain brand recognition amid an age group that is growing up cordless, though don't offer similar over the top services to older customers for fear of cannibalizing traditional cable TV revenues.
by Revcb 08:26AM Thursday Sep 11 2014
by Revcb 09:15AM Monday Sep 08 2014
by Revcb 08:16AM Wednesday Sep 10 2014
by Revcb 08:10AM Friday Sep 12 2014