For years there has been repeated demand from numerous countries for a less U.S.-centric approach to Internet governance. Now, in an apparent response to growing tensions courtesy of the NSA scandal, the U.S. government is meeting some of those demands partway. In a sudden announcement by the NTIA
, the government says they're willing to give up control of the authoritative root zone file, which contains the names and addresses of all top-level domain names.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and United States Department of Commerce have controlled the core DNS system since control was shifted from government to private industry (and ICANN) back in 1997.
The NTIA now says they're interested in moving toward a "multistakeholder model" that maintains the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS. What caveats are included in the United States' proposal have yet to be made clear, but should be soon.
"The timing is right to start the transition process,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling. "We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan."
That "right timing" is courtesy of growing outrage over NSA spying as countries prepare for the upcoming ICANN meeting slated to be held in Brazil (a country that is particularly annoyed
) on April 2014.
With a growing number of ISPs playing content nanny (as seen in the "six strikes" copyright warning system), an equally growing number of users are turning to VPNs and proxies to hide their behavior from the ever-watchful eye of their Internet service provider. Others simply have on eye squarely fixed on true security. Torrent Freak has been taking an annual look
at which VPN services retain user information and logs, how they handle DMCA takedown notices, under which conditions they share user data with third parties, which payment systems they use and more. It's a pretty handy breakdown for VPN users and worth a read.
The thirteen largest multi-channel video providers in the US -- representing about 94% of the market -- lost about 105,000 net video subscribers in 2013 according to the latest data from Leichtman Research Group. According to the latest data from the firm
, annual net multi-channel video additions in 2013 were about 280,000 fewer than in 2012, when the industry added about 175,000 subscribers.
A 1.5 Mbps, 150 GB capped DSL line may cost AT&T very, very little to provide, but that isn't stopping the company from raising rates anyway. AT&T DSL users in the Southeast say they're getting a letter from AT&T
informing them the monthly cost of their 1.5 Mbps DSL lines will be bumped from $36.00 to $39.00 per month.
According to AT&T, the changes are necessary to provide the "best possible Internet experience" and to "better align our pricing structure across our entire service territory." Another user
points out that in fact all of the company's DSL lines in former-BellSouth territories (many of which are some of the least competitive in the country) are seeing $3 rate hikes:
Depending on your plan, monthly rates will increase by $3.00 or $3.05 per month. The new monthly rates will be as follows:
•AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Lite - $31.00
•AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Ultra - $39.00
•AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Xtreme - $44.00
•AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Xtreme 6.0 - $49.00
AT&T High Speed Internet Direct
•AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Direct Lite - $36.00
•AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Direct Ultra - $44.00
•AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Direct Xtreme - $49.00
•AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Direct Xtreme 6.0 - $54.00
Don't forget that AT&T already imposes a 150 GB cap on these DSL lines and charges users $10 per each additional 50 GB
. Also keep in mind that AT&T's actually interested in driving many of these customers to cable, as they're slowly in the process of shedding DSL territories
they're unwilling to upgrade.
Charter tells the New York Times
that the company is "keeping its options open" to still being able to potentially buy Time Warner Cable, despite Comcast's significantly higher and already approved offer. In the opening salvo of a hostile takeover, Charter nominated 13 directors to replace Time Warner Cable’s existing board, and still hasn't withdrawn those nominations. Given the Comcast deal still hasn't been approved by regulators or shareholders, Charter appears to be holding out some hope they may still have a chance when all is said and done.
Sprint today announced that the company has added another twenty additional LTE markets, as well as another two launch markets for their faster "Spark" network upgrades. According to a Sprint press release
, the new LTE launches continue Sprint's focus on smaller markets including Myrtle Beach, SC; Scranton, PA; Ocean City, NJ; Omaha, NE; and Sarasota, Florida. Sprint's Spark upgrades, which the company has promised will provide tri-band devices with speeds upward of 50 to 60 Mbps
, is now live in both Provo, Utah and Trenton, New Jersey. Sprint also says that their implementation of higher audio quality HD Voice is now live in Provo, with Trenton coming soon.