Verizon's shaking things up by making all of the company's FiOS broadband tiers symmetrical, bringing upstream speeds in line with downstream offerings. When Verizon FiOS originally came out the company's fiber-based offering was the cream of the crop, though Verizon has dulled their market-leading edge in recent years with a seemingly endless series of rate hikes and annoying fees
. Now users in our forums
not Verizon's shaking things up by boosting upstream speeds so that all tiers offer symmetrical bandwidth.
The changes are already being reflected over at the FiOS website
The company's 15/5 tier is now symmetrical 25 Mbps; 50/25 is now symmetrical 50 Mbps; 75/35 is now symmetrical 75 Mbps; 150/65 is now symmetrical 150 Mbps; 300/65 is now symmetrical 300 Mbps, and 500/100 is now symmetrical 500 Mbps.
Oddly, while symmetrical 25 Mbps will be Verizon's base tier for new users, existing 15/5 Mbps customers will be bumped to only symmetrical 15 Mbps. The free upgrades are aimed squarely at cable companies, who despite DOCSIS 3.0 improvements often continue to lag when it comes to upstream speed.
Verizon states that if you aren't seeing the upgrades now, you will in the coming months. "Customer upgrades to equalized download and upload speeds will continue throughout the fall, starting with customers enrolled in My Rewards+
or who join the program now," notes the company.
You can find the full details in Verizon's news release
Several years back story continues..
Verizon implemented what they call "network optimization" for their 3G network, though their LTE network wasn't impacted. As Verizon explained it to me at the time
, the system de-prioritizes user packets if that user is in the top 5% of the heaviest users and if a local tower (or node) is suffering from congestion.
New FCC boss Tom Wheeler has now stated several times
he's going to take aim at incumbent-ISP state laws that ban or prohibit towns and cities from deploying their own broadband -- even in cases where nobody else will. Chattanooga utility EPB broadband
is ready for Wheeler to actually start following through with this promise any day now, and is giving the FCC boss the opportunity to show his rhetoric on the subject isn't empty.
It's no mystery that wireless carriers have pushed hard to get users on metered data plans, hoping to raise data revenues as the SMS and voice minute cash cows
head out to pasture. After introducing shared data plans carriers grandfathered unlimited usage users, but have used every trick in the book to get those users to switch to metered options.
Could the FCC soon have the ability to stop a large amount of regional sports network blackouts? Regional Sports Network (RSN) prices are out of control. Time Warner Cable wants every cable subscriber in Los Angeles to pay $3.84 in order to watch JUST
the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Verizon has been taking a hammering of late for their decision to tell Sandy victims, a year after the storm, that they will never see their POTS and DSL lines repaired
. Instead, Verizon foisted a wireless service called Voice Link upon those customers, a service that didn't include data, suffered from numerous feature shortcomings, and generally wasn't much of a replacement for DSL and POTS whatsoever.
Dissatisfied with service from the likes of Time Warner Cable, last fall the city of Los Angeles used an innovative approach to get 1 Gbps connections to all city residents: they simply asked if any companies wanted to come to town to build and fund an all fiber network. As we noted at the time this was a fairly obvious pipe dream
, experts noting that the city wasn't really bringing any inducements to the table to lure companies to invest.
A report over at ProPublica
breathlessly proclaims this week that there's a new advertising and tracking system that's "virtually impossible to block." The technology, being developed by a company called AddThis
, utilizes something called "canvas fingerprinting." Canvas fingerprinting, first discussed in a 2012 paper by Keaton Mowery and Hovav Shacham
(pdf), uses your computer's unique graphics rendering capabilities (graphics card, browser, driver variant) to track your movements across the Internet --without storing any data locally.
Reliability of canvas fingerprinting has been somewhat iffy; especially on wireless networks (where device hardware and software is far more uniform), and large scale Internet use is far off if it happens at all.
Verizon Wireless today announced that the company is now offering their customer rewards program (previously only tested in select markets) nationwide. Verizon's new "Smart Rewards
" program (see the FAQ
) lets Verizon Wireless customers earn points for paying their bills, upgrading phones, and other routine activities. In turn, users can use those points for gift cards or select Verizon goods and services. The catch: to participate you have to sign up for Verizon Selects
, a program that monitors your online behavior for advertisement and monetization purposes.
Back in March AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson insisted that AT&T's 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service would arrive in Dallas sometime this summer
, but like much of the company's 1 Gbps deployment, specifics (deployment areas, total cost, number of users) was left ambiguous. Today AT&T got a little more specific, stating the company would be offering the ultra-fast service in "Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding cities" before the summer is out.
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.
has uncovered an FCC filing that suggests TiVO and Comcast are working together on a new set top box that would eliminate the CableCARD. An FCC filing
doesn't get into technical specifics or illustrate clearly how this new implementation would work, but most assume it would involve some downloadable version of video security. "This agreement demonstrates that the marketplace is working to provide innovative device solutions for consumers to access MVPD services and thereby advance the Commission’s navigation device goals,” Comcast and TiVo state in the filing. Comcast says they'll offer the tech to other cable companies 'on commercially reasonable terms."
Insisting they're interested in protecting states rights, the rather official-sounding "National Conference of State Legislatures" this week sent a letter
(pdf) to the FCC, saying it intends to file a lawsuit if the agency acts to pre-empt state bans on community broadband builds.
FCC boss Tom Wheeler has lately proclaimed several times he intends to take actions against such bans
, which are usually written and lobbied for by incumbent ISPs, eager to thwart the faster, cheaper services such networks can provide.
AT&T has released the company's second quarter earnings report
, indicating the company posted a net profit of $3.55 billion on revenues of $32.6 billion. The company added 1 million net postpaid subscribers on the quarter, most of them being smartphone subscribers.
Verizon has announced that the company will be dropping the $5 monthly fee for the NFL Mobile app, allowing customers to get NFL news and watch games for free -- provided they're on Verizon's MORE Everything shared data plans. According to the announcement
, NFL Mobile provides live streaming video of Thursday, Sunday and Monday night NFL games as well as Sunday afternoon games in local markets, the latest news, schedules and scores from around the league. Verizon clearly hopes the offer will lure more users on to shared data plans (a study this week showed Verizon leads the industry
at getting users off of grandfathered unlimited plans), and that you'll eat more data by watching the games over cellular instead of Wi-Fi.
Netflix's latest earnings report
(pdf) indicates the company ended last quarter with 50.05 million global subscribers, up from 37.56 million in the second quarter of 2013. The company added 570,000 subscribers in the U.S. alone last quarter, bringing their subscriber total in the States to 36.24 million. Netflix imposed a price hike on streaming users back in April
, but that didn't seem to dent subscriber growth in the slightest (though existing customers rates were grandfathered for a year or so). That of course raises the question: just how far can Netflix raise their prices before they destroy the value proposition?
Before being deflated by the Supreme Court
, Aereo's solution to broadband TV viewing received plenty of attention in the press for the disruptive precedent, but it received significantly less attention from actual users in the real world. In paperwork filed with the U.S. Copyright Office, Aereo this week finally revealed subscriber numbers: just 77,596 subscribers overall
at the end of last year. 27,000 of those subscribers were in New York City, with 12,000 subscribers in Boston, and 10,000 in Atlanta. Earlier this year Aereo ran out of New York City
, leading CEO Chet Kanojia to insist his infrastructure in NYC could support 350,000 potential subscribers
Get it off your chest and into the comment section below.
Comcast released the company's earnings report
this morning, and while the company continues to make more than healthy profits (quarterly net income of almost $2 billion on revenues of $16.84 billion), the company's quarter video subscriber losses (144,000) were greater than Wall Street predicted.
Two straight quarters of subscriber growth had led analysts to think that Comcast had reversed the industry trend of cable defections, and the 144,000 reductions is the worst quarterly loss in a year.
Verizon's second quarter earnings
once again topped Wall Street expectations as the company posted a net income of $4.32 billion on revenues of $31.48 billion. The company added 1.4 million postpaid wireless connections on the quarter, most of which were tablet customers taking advantage of the company's shared data plans.
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.
Google announced back in February
that they were working with 34 potential new Google Fiber cities, requesting those cities fill out and agree to a fiber ready checklist
to make installation easier. Speaking on the company's earnings call last week
, Google SVP and CFO Patrick Pichette stated that the economics behind Google Fiber continue to improve, and that their work with those 34 cities continues. "Over the coming months we’ll actually be going through all of the details with them, whether it would be right away or permitting or otherwise, and that’s what we’re going to use to make decisions as to how broad a program will have," states Pichette. It remains entirely unclear how many of those 34 cities will actually see future Google Fiber builds.
After spending millions of dollars
over countless years on plans to implement "three strikes" anti-piracy measures on the ISP level, the UK government has finally come to the conslusion that having ISPs play content nanny does little to deter piracy. Instead of previous, more aggressive plans to boot repeat offenders off of the Internet, a new plan taking effect in 2015
would simply warn users four times that they're violating copyright -- with no follow up punishment:
Starting in 2015, persistent file-sharers will be sent four warning letters explaining their actions are illegal, but if the notes are ignored no further action will be taken. The scheme, named the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), is the result of years of talks between ISPs, British politicians and the movie and music industries. The UK’s biggest providers – BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky – have all signed up to VCAP, and smaller ISPs are expected to follow suit.
The UK's approach now more closely approaches the six strikes anti-piracy practices now established in the States
, where users are bombarded with "education material" and warned several times about copyright abuses, but are never disconnected -- with offenses untracked as users move between ISPs.
The concern now is that these data collection efforts will ultimately be used for either fines or legal action down the road as the entertainment industry pushes for expansion of these programs into the sort of heavy-handed territory they originally envisioned.
As I noted last month
, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been cooking up a new open-source firmware that the group claims will make it easier for users to more securely share their Wi-Fi connection. The EFF's new firmware is now available for download
, though the group warns the firmware (based on the CeroWRT fork of OpenWRT) is a "work in progress and is intended only for developers and people willing to deal with the bleeding edge." If any of our numerous bleeding edge readers are willing to experiment with the firmware, we'd love to pay you
to share your thoughts with the DSLReports community.
Last month Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced the "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act
(pdf), which aims to make unlocking one's cell phone technically legal again, even if it doesn't fully address the myriad of problems with the DMCA. In January of last year unlocking your cellphone technically became illegal
after the Librarian of Congress removed it from the DMCA exception list.
We've already noted many times how despite the chorus of cries when they were struck down -- the FCC's original network neutrality rules didn't actually do
much of anything. Crafted from language provided by AT&T, Google and Verizon
, the rules contained numerous loopholes letting companies do effectively whatever they wanted -- provided they offered up a flimsy, reasonable-sounding faux-technical justification
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:
"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
The inventory issues
that plagued Comcast's deployment of their newish X1 set top box late last year are a thing of the past, and the company is speeding up deployment of the more sophisticated set top. “Our X1 additions nearly doubled this quarter, and we are looking again at further increasing the eligibility,” Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said on this weeks earnings call with analysts and the media
. Comcast has long offered the set top to triple play customers, and recently started offering it to double play customers.
Historically, incumbent ISPs like to try and win debates by simply flipping arguments completely on their head, even if doing so frequently doesn't make any coherent sense. For example, if you're a cable company accused of violating free speech and net neutrality, you can claim that net neutrality rules violate your First Amendment rights