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by Karl Bode 10:32AM Wednesday Sep 17 2014
Cisco, Intel, IBM and more than a dozen other ISP industry hardware vendors have sent a letter (pdf) to the FCC and Department of Commerce urging them to avoid reclassifying ISPs under Title II, insisting that doing so would stifle innovation and investment in the broadband sector.

Title II classification -- with forbearance applied to keep the FCC in check -- is something consumer advocates argue is the only sensible way forward if consumers are to be protected, particularly on the net neutrality front. Obviously most of the letter's signees profit from selling the intelligent network gear used in all forms of network management, good and bad.

The companies insist that the current broadband market with "hands off" regulation has been an "unqualified success." "Because Title II allows for so little flexibility and innovation, it would undercut substantially the broadband providers’ incentives to make the investments necessary to fund network deployments and upgrades," states the letter.

That may be a surprise to the wireless industry, where carriers are classified under Title II, yet has seen unprecedented innovation and investment in the last decade. Verizon's FiOS service is also often classified under Title II, at least when there's tax benefits to be had -- with no issues for companies or consumers. Groups like the EFF argue that Title II reclassification with forbearance is the only way to protect consumes from "quasi-monopolistic industry power."

Assn Title II Letter FINAL

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by Karl Bode 12:26PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
While Netflix launched in France this week, it isn't yet available in Australia, either because the market isn't large enough to take priority in Netflix's international expansion efforts, or because the company can't secure licensing agreements with Australian broadcasters. Consumers aren't waiting; a growing number of Australians are using VPNs to dodge region restrictions so they can pay Netflix for content while living Down Under, a trend that in recent months has been making broadcasters and Australian Netflix competitors uncomfortable.
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by Karl Bode 04:10PM Monday Sep 15 2014
Tom Wheeler spoke to Multichannel News in an interview that touches on a number of subjects, covering everything from net neutrality and the reclassification of ISPs under Title II, to the possible renaming of the Washington Redskins. Wheeler doesn't show his hand on most of the subjects related to neutrality and Title II, given the agency is still fielding comments (and about to have a series of roundtable discussions on the matter over the next two months.
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by Karl Bode 12:26PM Thursday Sep 18 2014
In a speech made yesterday before the U.S House of Representatives Committe on Small Business, FCC boss Tom Wheeler declared that the United States should stop funding the deployment of any speeds slower than 10 Mbps downstream. The speech is part of Wheeler's recent push to raise the minimum broadband definition from 4 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up -- something that has been greeted with a significant amount of hand-wringing from incumbent ISPs.
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by Karl Bode 10:31AM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
Google Fiber has launched us into an era where everyone has become obsessed with the 1 Gbps watermark, even if the actual number of people who can get these speeds remains relatively small, and the need for that type of speed remains dubious. Incumbent ISPs have indeed been quick to piggyback on the idea that nobody needs 1 Gbps, but they're largely just hoping to shift the conversation away from their aggressively uncompetitive high prices.
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by Karl Bode 05:58PM Wednesday Sep 17 2014
Both AT&T and Verizon have been downplaying T-Mobile's recent embrace of Wi-Fi calling, telling anybody in the press who'll listen that the carrier is only rushing toward Wi-Fi calling because it's traditional cellular network isn't up to snuff. Speaking at the recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said Verizon's in no rush to offer Wi-Fi calling, and like AT&T took not-so veiled shots at T-Mobile's network:
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(Shammo) said Verizon needs to do "some technological work in our network to make it available," and it should come around the middle of next year. However, he said Wi-Fi calling was "never a top priority" for Verizon. "We built our voice platform so extensively [that] there was never a need for us to tell our customers, 'Oh, our network is not good enough so you need to go on Wi-Fi to complete your call.'"
T-Mobile's CEO has denied the offer is about a lower-quality network, insisting that T-Mobile is offering the option just because it makes sense. It may prove useful to those rural or heavily-wooded-area users currently relying on separate femtocells because their cell signal is poor (something that's certainly not an exclusive issue for T-Mobile).

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by Karl Bode 12:43PM Monday Sep 15 2014
On the heels of T-Mobile's announcement last week that they've started a heavy push toward Wi-Fi calling, AT&T says they'll also be offering Wi-Fi calling starting in 2015. AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega stated last week the company will be offering it next year, but hasn't been in a rush because, they claim, their network coverage is good enough (unlike T-Mobile's, the CEO implied).
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by Karl Bode 10:30AM Monday Sep 15 2014
A report over at DeepDotWeb claims that Comcast has contacted some users telling them that they risk disconnection if they continue using the privacy-minded Tor browser. Tor (as our recent report explores) is an entirely legal browser used by 1.2 million people, only some of whom use the browser to buy narcotics and other black market goods.
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by Karl Bode 06:55PM Thursday Sep 18 2014
To get their acquisition of NBC approved by regulators, Comcast proposed a merger condition requiring they provide $10, 1.5 Mbps broadband to all of the homes that qualify for the National School Lunch Program. This "Internet Essentials" program has seen significant criticism (and even protests) over the years for being a political show pony that in reality was intentionally hard to qualify for.
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by Karl Bode 06:38PM Monday Sep 15 2014
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam says the CEO won't rule out further expansion of the company's FiOS services, but eager customers probably shouldn't hold their breath. FiOS just passed its ten year anniversary, though with the exception of the finishing up of promised deployments in major cities, the expansion of FiOS has been frozen for several years now. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference last week, McAdam stated that he's not ruling out the possibility, but it would need to be a unique opportunity:
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"Expansion into other areas I wouldn't rule out, but it would have a very high bar," McAdam said. "If you look at some of the things that Google is doing around fiber, I think that's opened up a new model for us."
That's code for the fact that Google Fiber has made cherry picking deployment neighborhoods acceptable. Verizon might jump in and offer new FiOS deployments to upscale developments, universities, and MDUs -- but the not-small number of east coast cities waiting for serious investment (Alexandria, Baltimore, Buffalo, Boston) will likely still be waiting a very, very long time.

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by Karl Bode 08:59AM Wednesday Sep 17 2014
Residents of North Kansas City are unable to get Google Fiber, but they will soon have the option of getting 1 Gbps connections for free from another company -- after an initial $300 installation fee. Earlier this month the City Council of North Kansas City voted to approve a 10-year agreement with DataShack for the operation of the city's liNKCity fiber optic network. While the taxpayer-funded network will still collect revenue from business, it will soon offer 1 Gbps connections for free to residential customers after a $300 installation fee (users also have the option of paying $100 for 100 Mbps or $50 for 50 Mbps), after which they won't pay another dime for a decade. "For the longest time, our taxpayers have been paying in to fund liNKCity," states liNKCity's Mellissa Hopkins. "We decided it was the right time to give something back to our residents."

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by Karl Bode 09:01AM Monday Sep 15 2014
The slow and small but steady phenomenon known as cord cutting isn't going away. A new survey of 2,400 TV subscribers aged 24-34 indicates that around 5% of them plan to cut the cord sometime in the near future.
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by Karl Bode 04:09PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
Representatives of state and local governments in Hartford, New Haven and Stamford have joined forces to try and bring faster broadband networks to Connecticut. The collective group has issued an RFQ to promote the deployment of gigabit broadband networks and services in "targeted commercial corridors" and locations "with demonstrated demand." They've also put the call out to any additional under-served communities, who can add an addendum to the RFQ to get involved.
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by Karl Bode 02:36PM Thursday Sep 18 2014
Apple this week announced that the company will no longer unlock the company's phones and tablets at law enforcement and intelligence community demand. The announcement was made this week alongside the unveiling of a new privacy policy and the company's new iOS 8 operating system.
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by Karl Bode 08:34AM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
Apple apparently thought they had engaged in a feat of marketing genius last week when they automatically gave all iTunes users a free copy of U2's new album -- Songs of Innocence. There were several problems with the marketing ploy, however. One being that many people simply didn't want the album and didn't think it was very good. The other problem was that it was seemingly difficult to impossible to remove the unwanted album from all your Apple devices. Apple has since listened and has offered up a removal tool to remove what the company called the "biggest album release in history."

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by Karl Bode 02:13PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
T-Mobile has sued telecom carrier Huawei, claiming the Chinese gear manufacturer stole T-Mobile trade secrets. Specifically, T-Mobile is claiming that Huawei has stolen software, specifications and other secrets for a cellphone-testing robot nicknamed "Tappy." In a lawsuit filed at the beginning of the month, T-Mobile alleges that Huawei employees "illicitly photographed the device," tried to smuggle components out of T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington lab, and when caught and subsequently banned from the facility -- tried to sneak back in. Huawei is "using T-Mobile’s stolen robot technology to test non-T-Mobile handsets and improve return rates for handsets developed and sold to other carriers," claims the lawsuit.

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by Karl Bode 06:54PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
While it's certainly still not guaranteed, Time Warner executives recently made their strongest statement yet that they'll offer a standalone streaming version of HBO that doesn't require you have a traditional cable subscription. Historically HBO and Time Warner have stated it doesn't make economic sense to offer such a product, as it could damage their cozy, subsidized relationship with traditional cable operators.
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by Karl Bode 02:26PM Wednesday Sep 17 2014
AT&T's attempted acquisition of DirecTV appears to getting lost in the furor over Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, something AT&T likely anticipated. Out of the gate AT&T was misleading about the benefits of the deal, which, unlike the Comcast merger, will actually eliminate a pay TV competitor from the field.
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by Karl Bode 12:30PM Wednesday Sep 17 2014
Google has replaced current Google Fiber boss Milo Medin with ex-Qualcomm executive Dennis Kish, notes the Wall Street Journal. The report notes that Medin will remain a Google vice president for access services and adviser to the Google Fiber team, but will now focus on other initiatives within Google.
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by Karl Bode 08:06AM Wednesday Sep 17 2014
Canada last week launched hearings on the possibility of imposing new rules on the TV sector that could force TV operators to offer a la carte television options. While these rule-making efforts began as a way to do something about soaring TV rates and the lack of flexible purchase options for consumers, they've since morphed into an effort by incumbent Canadian cable operators to impose new regulations on to companies like Google and Netflix (something Canadian law Professor Michael Geist doesn't think will happen).
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by Karl Bode 09:13AM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
The FCC has now received roughly three million comments on net neutrality, up from the 1.1 million received just a month ago, and a significant number of which came during last week's "Internet Slowdown" protests. Now that the FCC is awash in public opinion (the majority of which clearly support meaningful neutrality protections), the agency says it's going to hold a series of open round table discussions during the next two months.
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by Karl Bode 04:16PM Wednesday Sep 17 2014
While Canada may be going full speed ahead with a possible plan to finally force cable carriers there to offer a la carte TV packages (or even simply more flexible, cost conscious options), consumers here in the States shouldn't hold their breath for such a regulatory requirement anytime soon. A report in The Hill notes that Senate Lawmakers backed away from provisions included in the Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act that would have made a la carte TV a reality.
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by Karl Bode 08:06AM Thursday Sep 18 2014
Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media Conference this week, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts stated he was "cautiously optimistic" his company's mega-merger gets regulatory approval, despite the growing chorus of opposition to the deal. "All of the cable deals have always gone through," Roberts said. "The process is underway in earnest and we've got many states and local communities to already approve of the transfer." Comcast has set up this website and this list of people throwing their support behind the merger, and has worked hard to recommend voluntary conditions to regulators, such as a several year adherence to the FCC's defunct (and never very tough to begin with) net neutrality rules, and a continuation of Comcast's low-income "Internet Essentials" program.

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by Karl Bode 04:46PM Thursday Sep 18 2014
In a sane world, protecting the Internet marketplace from giant ISPs who've all-but purchased the government would be a bi-partisan issue, since everybody benefits from a healthy, vibrant broadband industry. But this isn't a sane world, and net neutrality over the last decade has become a highly toxic, partisan issue with Republicans generally against neutrality rules, and Democrats generally in favor of them (even if neither side understands half of the technical issues being discussed).
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by Karl Bode 02:22PM Monday Sep 15 2014
Janko Roettgers over at GigaOM scoops the news that Dish's long-in-gestation Internet TV effort is likely to use the "NuTV" brand name. The information came courtesy of a series of trademark filings for the new brand, filed for by Dish back in February of this year. Dish boss Charlie Ergen recently stated that the company should launch the service before the end of the year, though securing proper licensing has -- as always -- been a challenge. Rough estimates suggest the service should cost somewhere between $20 to $30, with the company specifically targeting younger cord cutters with the effort.

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by Karl Bode 08:52AM Thursday Sep 18 2014
You can add Atlantic Broadband (see our user reviews) to the list of ISPs now offering a smattering of 1 Gbps services in highly select areas. The company has announced they've beaten AT&T to the punch and will soon offer a symmetrical 1 Gbps service to one relatively-small community in the Miami, Florida area.

Like so many announcements in this era of fiber to the press release, Atlantic fails to offer a price, schedule, or specific deployment metrics for their upcoming offering, though in a press release the company is quick to take a veiled shot at AT&T and pat itself on the back for its entirely-ambiguous offering:
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“Atlantic Broadband is proud to be the first company to deliver 1 Gigabit Internet service to its customers here in the Miami Beach area,” said Atlantic Broadband’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of South Florida, David Keefe. “While other companies are talking about what they will be doing, Atlantic Broadband moved forward and started offering this service in one of its communities. We look forward to extending access to our Gigabit Internet service to other properties and communities within our Miami footprint.”
As it stands, the only Atlantic customers who can currently get the 1 Gbps speeds reside in Indian Creek Village, a wealthy island resort community comprised of "a golf course and 40 beachfront properties."

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by Karl Bode 10:37AM Thursday Sep 18 2014
In a new blog post Verizon hopes to somehow assure consumers and the public that they really are great lovers of an open Internet, despite a very long and clear history of proving the exact opposite. Verizon has spent $100 million to lobby Congress on net neutrality since 2009, and successfully sued to overturn FCC neutrality rules they themselves helped write just in case the FCC ever seriously decided to help consumers.
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by Karl Bode 08:36AM Monday Sep 15 2014
Back in May TDS Telecom (see our user reviews) became the latest company to throw its hat into the 1 Gbps broadband ring, offering 1 Gbps speeds for $100 a month (if bundled) to residents of Hollis, New Hampshire and London, New Hampshire. Now the company states that Waterford, Wisconsin will be the latest town to get the 1 Gbps treatment, either later this year or in early 2015. Like so many other ISPs, TDS is hoping to grab some of the press attention received by Google Fiber with very selective deployment of similar speeds (they've even mirrored Google's "Fiberhood" efforts with something they're calling "Fiberville").

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by Karl Bode 08:28AM Friday Sep 19 2014
Following on the heels of Apple's announcement that moving forward they won't unlock devices for law enforcement or intelligence agencies, Google has stated that they too will soon leave devices encrypted irregardless of law enforcement requests and warrants. The new functionality is coming as part of Google's next operation system, which has been in the works for months. "For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement,” Google told the Washington Post. “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won't even have to think about turning it on.”

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by Revcb 08:11AM Monday Sep 15 2014

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by Karl Bode 09:01AM Friday Sep 19 2014
Cox Communications says the company is on schedule to deploy 1 Gbps services in the Phoenix area sometime before the end of the year. Back in May Cox announced that they'd soon offer 1 Gbps fiber in parts of Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha, with most of the company's other areas getting such speeds starting in 2016 once the DOCSIS 3.1 standard sees commercial launch.
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by Revcb 07:46AM Wednesday Sep 17 2014

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by Revcb 07:55AM Thursday Sep 18 2014

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by Revcb 08:20AM Friday Sep 19 2014

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