| story continues..
Comcast is looking for any sort of good promotion these days. When they aren't throwing pizza parties
to promote their product or dealing with fallout
from their security system being terrible, they are continuing to finish near last
in customer satisfaction surveys.
Now, Comcast is taking heat for their decision to abandon Detroit and a number of other Midwest cities. Comcast is leaving these cities so that they can get below a 30 percent market share of US pay-TV homes, a requirement set by federal regulators if Comcast wants their acquisition of Time Warner Cable to be approved.
Those in Detroit, Minneapolis and elsewhere will become customers of GreatLand Connections Inc. GreatLand is a spin-off of Comcast customers to a company run and partially owned by Charter Communications.
In order for GreatLand to take the place of Comcast in a number of cities, those city councils must approve a new franchise agreement with GreatLand. Both Comcast and Charter are telling cities that they do not have that long to approve those franchise agreements with mid-December deadlines
Roku's over the top video platform and a la carte channel operations were supposed to be the exception to the rule -- or an example of how broadband can transform the viewing experience into a more democratic, consumer friendly process. But GigaOM
has an interesting report exploring how as the company grows and gets more successful, some of their behavior has started to look uncomfortably familiar.
One thing of particular note to our readers during Apple's unveiling of new iPads
yesterday is the new Apple SIM, which Apple didn't mention at all -- yet most analysts believe has a real chance to disrupt the industry. Installed on iPads with embedded Wi-Fi and cellular radios, Apple notes
their new Apple SIM allows users to float between carriers without having to replace the SIM card.
CBS today jumped into the increasingly-crowded streaming video fray by announcing that the company would be launching a streaming service of their own. CBS's new service will offer users access to 15 primetime shows the day after they have aired on broadcast and cable -- for $6 a month. story continues..
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
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.
It may have taken several years of prodding, but HBO is finally planning to offer a standalone version of their broadband video streaming service HBO Go -- one that doesn't require a traditional cable subscription. Speaking during Time Warner's investor presentationj, HBO CEO Richard Plepler stated that the service would be arriving sometime in 2015, but didn't specify precisely what the new service would look like or how much it would cost. story continues..
Without much if any fanfare, Google today unveiled the company's new Nexus 6 smartphone, their new Nexus 9 tablet, and the latest incarnation of their Android operating system: 5.0 Lollipop. The Motorola-made Nexus 6
sports a 5.96-inch, 2560×1440 display, and unlike the Nexus 5, will be available for all US carriers "in November" starting at $649.
A group of privacy-minded developers have launched a Kickstarter project for their new anonabox
-- a tiny, open-source embedded router that will redirect traffic via the Tor network. The developers, many of which say they've worked at large ISPs, were inspired when watching the recent wave of global government Internet censorship during protests.
Verizon Wireless this week made the company's Edge handset early upgrade program slightly worse, extending the time customers have to wait between upgrades. First spotted by Droid Life
, Verizon is increasing the number of monthly customer payments for a device from 20 to 24 months.
Fairpoint union employees appear to have started striking in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont after negotiations stalled on a new contract. The Portland Press Herald
notes that Fairpoint came to the negotiations table starting back in April demanding around $700 million in reduced health care coverage and a freeze in pensions.
Please deposit something incredibly interesting into the comment section below!
by pjsutton 10:18AM Wednesday Oct 15 2014 Whether it's a cable company demanding thousands of dollars for a hundred yards of coaxial or a telco refusing to provide DSL, customers all over the country work tirelessly to get carriers to put in a little extra effort to shore up connectivity gaps. DSLReports reader pjsutton shares his story trying to get Verizon to upgrade DSL in Pennsylvania, a state with a rich history of magically forgotten broadband deployment promises. story continues..
In this day and age of telephone companies ignoring their copper infrastructure and leaving it to rot in the ground, Pennsylvania has placed pressure on telcos to maintain and actually upgrade those areas of the state that lack broadband access.
Samsung claims they've found a way to boost the speed of Wi-Fi networks up to 4.6 Gbps, or about five times faster than the current maximum potential throughput. According to a Samsung announcement
, the company says their 802.11ad 70 GHz technology uses millimeter-wave circuit design and a wide-coverage beam-forming antenna to achieve these significantly faster speeds. "Unlike the existing 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz Wi-Fi technologies, Samsung’s 802.11ad standard 60-GHz Wi-Fi technology maintains maximum speed by eliminating co-channel interference, regardless of the number of devices using the same network," claims the company in a statement. The company did not say when they expected commercial availability of this new technology.
The California man who recently made the media rounds accusing Comcast of getting him fired from his job at PriceWaterhouseCoopers has unsurprisingly filed suit against the company. In the complaint
(pdf) filed in California on Thursday, Conal O’Rourke accuses Comcast of applying pressure on his employer resulting in his dismissal.
You can add Atlanta
to the growing list of cities where AT&T says they'll offer some users 1 Gbps "Gigapower" speeds. According to the company's announcements, these four locations will join Charlotte, Raleigh, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Jacksonville, Miami and Houston as areas that will see highly-selective 1 Gbps speed upgrades.
Massachussets has long struggled with the Verizon and Comcast duopoly -- Verizon's refusal to upgrade a few tiny portions of the state (like oh, Boston) giving Comcast what's effectively carte blanche monopoly power in many areas. That has resulted in the usual assortment of high prices and awful customer service seen by Comcast in many areas. story continues..
Netflix this year began offering subscribers a growing selection of 4KTV content, and now they're hitting those users with a price hike. HD Guru
was the first to notice that users who want to view 4K or "Ultra HD" content now have to sign up for the company's $12 a month "family" plan, which provides simultaneous streams of up to four programs at once. Customers previously could access 4KTV content via the company's standard, $9 a month streaming plan, which allows up to two simultaneous streams. The company tells Variety
that the hikes reflect the higher production and acquisition of 4K content.
It has been interesting to see lately how Apple and Google have effectively started competing on privacy -- both companies announcing recently
that new encryption standards used on their latest OS's and devices mean they'll no longer unlock devices at the behest of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Not too surprisingly this shift has annoyed the FBI; the agency's James Comey not so subtly insisting that both Google and Apple are putting people's lives at risks
Comey upped his rhetoric this week, complaining that Congress needs to pass new laws forcing companies like Apple and Google to hand over the encryption keys or else:
"We also need a regulatory or legislative fix to create a level playing field, so that all communication service providers are held to the same standard and so that those of us in law enforcement, national security, and public safety can continue to do the job you have entrusted us to do, in the way you would want us to."
Mike Masnick at Techdirt
does a pretty fantastic job breaking down Comey's claims this week, noting that the "level playing field" Comey lusts after has always historically slanted in favor of the FBI -- at the cost of privacy and often security. You'll recall this was the same agency that worked closely with AT&T to violate the law repeatedly
, and the same government that currently taps all communications, everywhere, constantly
. As Masnick notes, Apple and Google returning some privacy power back to the public is actually what's leveling the playing field out.
As noted yesterday in detail
, developers of a tiny, "100% open source" Tor-based mini router found themselves under fire after their Kickstarter claims for the project didn't hold up to scrutiny. Not only was neither the software or hardware open source (much of the device was made from parts from China), the device itself -- which the developers say required multiple prototypes and four years to build -- appears to be a copy of an already existing, $20 router
. A little while ago Kickstarter officially suspended the project
after it raised nearly $600,000 in funding.
Updated story continues..
with correction below. As noted yesterday
, most of the companies that are seeing significant improvement in Netflix's monthly ISP streaming speed rankings have struck controversial direct interconnection deals with Netflix after months of poor performance for ISP users.
After spending most of the last decade profiting off of cramming, AT&T this month was finally held accountable by the government and fined $105 million
by the FTC, FCC, and state governments. A similar investigation is ongoing again T-Mobile, and you can likely expect similar settlements in time with both Verizon and Sprint, who also turned a blind eye for years while scammers bilked their customers (why? because they netted 30-40% of the profits).
As recently noted
, the FCC is considering to provide over the top operations like Aereo the same rights as traditional cable companies, providing them FCC-enforced access to vertically integrated programming -- just as long as they're willing to pay for it. While Aereo's business model was originally designed around not paying these fees, in a filing with the FCC
(spotted by the Washington Post
) the company threw their support behind being called an MPVD -- and by proxy the paying of retrans fees.
Last fall the FAA lifted restrictions on in-flight electronics use during take offs and landing, and last January the FCC began rulemaking to lift the restrictions on in-flight phone calls. Wheeler and the FCC took a lot of heat for that move
(and is still fielding mostly negative comments
on the idea).
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 for months have suggested that Iliad was cooking up a more impressive offer.
A Google filing with the SEC this week
indicates that Google is exploring the possibility of a variety of wireless broadband technologies across a number of spectrum frequencies, including millimeter-wave. Google's interest in wireless hasn't been much of a secret; the company acquired wireless Seattle startup Alpental Technologies
back in June (founded by ex-Clearwire folks), and a report back in April
indicated that Google was interested in potentially forming an MVNO as a supplement offering alongside or instead of Google Fiber. This particular filing appears to hint at shorter distance technologies for last mile, likely as an inexpensive way to service MDUs or apartment buildings.
Security researchers at Google this week unveiled that they've found a new "POODLE" vulnerability in SSL 3.0 that allows an attacker to calculate the plaintext of encrypted communications. According to the Google announcement
(complete with a Zappa reference most won't get), notes that while SSL 3.0 is almost 15 years old (and supplanted by Transport Layer Security), it's still commonly in use as a browser backup option when other protocol versions fail.
Sprint this week launched a new program that allows users to lease a new iPhone for $5 a month, the company's latest effort to shore up its flagging fortunes. The $15 new "loyalty service credit" will also allow users to lease an iPhone 6 Plus for $10 per month. story continues..
Netflix third quarter earnings
released this week indicate that while the company's growth is slowing, international expansion continues to be successful, with Netflix now serving 53 million subscribers around the world. A letter to investors
(pdf) notes that Netflix continues to focus on original content and states the company continues to battle on the net neutrality front to prevent large ISPs from keeping customers "hostage."
The company blamed its price hike earlier this year
for new users for the slowdown in subscriber numbers.
With the Sprint deal dead due to skeptical regulators and the Iliad deal now dead
, can T-Mobile now finally just focus on being the best wireless competitor they can be? While Deutsche Telekom has expressed interest in offloading the US carrier for much of the last decade, company board members are starting to wonder if it's a good idea to offload that company's only growing asset
. T-Mobile CEO John Legere has also stated he's "sick and tired" about M&A speculation.
While everybody was busy speculating on who would be buying the under-performing T-Mobile, the company slowly but surely stopped under-performing, and while still facing plenty of challenges, is starting to pose a more serious challenge to incumbents AT&T and Verizon
“Now that you’ve flushed out that M&A speculation, the stock is actually attractive now on fundamentals,” Kevin Smithen, an analyst at Macquarie Securities USA Inc., said in a phone interview yesterday. “They’re doing very, very well in the current environment.” T-Mobile has done a good job understanding what consumers are looking for, including more simplified pricing plans, said Smithen, who has the equivalent of a buy rating on the stock and expects it to reach $34.
Legere seems ok with that:
“The company is doing extremely well so I can do whatever the f--- I want,” Legere said, when asked about his relationship with Deutsche Telekom.
Acquisition speculation isn't entirely
dead given Dish's supposed interest in acquiring a stake in T-Mobile. However, after years of speculation about Charlie Ergen's intentions it's still hard to tell if Dish is serious about wireless -- or if the company is just making a lot of noise to inflate the value of Dish spectrum ahead of a sale.
After Google Fiber announced deployment in the Austin market, AT&T rushed to declare they too would be offering 1 Gbps services in parts of the city. The company's rushed response meant that AT&T could "only" provide 300 Mbps when announced last December
, though that was remedied in August when AT&T stated they were upgrading those users to 1 Gbps
. Today AT&T announced
that those upgrades are complete, and every customer in Austin able to get Gigapower can now get 1 Gbps symmetrical speeds. AT&T still isn't saying how many Austin users can get -- or have signed up for -- Gigapower, but says that subscriptions "continue to exceed expectations."
In April of last year when Google announced they'd be bringing Google Fiber to Austin
, the company stated they expected Austin users to start being hooked up around the middle of 2014. The halfway of the year point rolled on past, without any new hard deadline for a launch or even the "fiberhood" system they use to determine deployment neighborhoods.
Netflix chief content office Ted Sarandos stated this week that the company has moved toward shooting all of the company's original content in 4K. If you're not excited by that prospect yet, insists Sarandos, you will be once you see what it looks like
(or can afford a 4K set and a broadband line capable of at least 15 Mbps
, apparently whichever comes first). "It will completely invert people’s expectations of quality of content on the Internet.” Sarandos said. It may also raise your bill: users recently noticed Netflix was forcing users to sign up for more expensive streaming plans
if they wanted to view this content.
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. This week, DSLReports forum users in Connecticut say they're now seeing the increases
. Based on the leaked upgrade schedule we posted back in September
, Cleveland, San Diego, and parts of Rhode Island can also look forward to the boost this month.Update
: Rhode Island users say they're also seeing the increase
DirecTV CEO Mike White recently proclaimed
that the satellite TV provider would aim to have 4KTV content available to subscribers before the end of this year. However, White expressed skepticism of the standard and stated the company was being cautious after the failure that was 3D television. TV Predictions
notes that DirecTV likely won't have their new satellite launched until December, and wouldn't be able to use that satellite for commercial transmissions of live 4K content for at least sixty to ninety days. As it stands, DirecTV will likely offer VOD in 4K first, then offer live 4K content no earlier than probably February.
by Revcb 07:02AM Friday Oct 17 2014
by Revcb 07:16AM Tuesday Oct 14 2014
The Wall Street Journal
reports that an Israeli firm is marketing new technology to wireless carriers that analyzes every single ad traveling on their networks to consumers, and will provide carriers with the ability to block these ads if wanted. The report states at least one US wireless carrier is investigating the technology, which the Journal states carriers hope to use in order to "block certain ads" and "bring the ad providers to the negotiating table to win a cut of the fees." If true, the Journal posits, ad delivery could very soon become a new frontier in the net neutrality debate. AT&T has is already busy experimenting with letting certain advertisers pay to avoid impacting a user's data cap
by Revcb 07:02AM Thursday Oct 16 2014
by Revcb 08:00AM Monday Oct 13 2014
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