AT&T is annoyed by a City of Austin plan aimed at making it easier for Austin-area competitors. The Austin City Council planned to vote this week to change rules requiring AT&T allow Google use of its utility poles for Google Fiber. The City Council argued this change is necessary to minimize disruptions, and prevent redundant pole installations as Google begins to install its 1 Gbps network.
The city of Austin owns about 80% of the city's telephone poles, and AT&T owns the other 20%. Austin appears well within their right-of-way rights to require AT&T share their poles, and Google says they're happy to pay. At the same time, AT&T appears well within their rights to argue Google technically isn't a telecom company
, and therefore that under current laws AT&T doesn't have to share their poles:
The proposed action has ruffled feathers with AT&T officials, as the telecommunications company says shouldn't have to allow the Internet giant access to its poles across the city...Tracy King, AT&T’s vice president for public affairs, said in a written statement that Google "appears to be demanding concessions never provided any other entity before."
While AT&T's arguing an accurate technicality, the telco (with a history of anti-competitive behavior in its back pocket) has every motivation to slow Google's build since they're deploying their own, competing fiber to the press release service to select high-end developments
. AT&T this week announced
they will offer those users 1 Gbps service for $70 -- if
they're willing to have all of their web behavior monitored with deep packet inspection (it will be $100 otherwise).
Regardless, AT&T's protests now appear irrelevant as Google and AT&T are close to hammering out a pole attachment agreement
without the need for Austin to change any rules
. Just not before a little whining from AT&T.
JetBlue has launched a new, faster in-flight Wi-Fi service powered by ViaSat's Exede satellite broadband service. Dubbed "Fly-Fi
," JetBlue and ViaSat are promised 12 Mbps to each connected passenger, roughly the same speeds seen by their Exede
users on the ground.
As noted yesterday
, the FCC has agreed with carriers to impose unlocking policies requiring they make their unlocking policies clear, among other things. JimThePCGuy
writes in to note that users who signed the White House petition to support cell phone unlocking have received this letter
, which applauds the FCC move but urges users concerned about this issue to support the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act
T-Mobile has deployed a 20x20 MHz LTE network in Dallas, providing improved capacity and faster speeds as the company moves to offer wider channels around the country. According to All Things D
, T-Mobile turned on the faster speeds in North Dallas just before Thanksgiving, and T-Mobile intends to deploy the upgrades to 90 percent of the top 25 U.S. markets on an unspecified timeframe. The upgrades are courtesy of combining existing AWS spectrum owned by T-Mobile with newer spectrum received after their acquisition of MetroPCS.
by Revcb 07:53AM Friday Dec 13 2013
You might recall that Cablevision faced a long and hard battle against broadcasters, who tried to keep the company's network DVR from consumers by claiming it violated copyright. Cablevision ultimately won that fight after the Supreme Court
refused to hear their case, their network DVR recently going so far as to win an Emmy
, the nation's largest deployment of municipal broadband service, has been turning heads for a wave of non-disclosure agreements they've made the mayors of the network's 11 partner cities sign. According to the Standard Examiner
, the NDAs require that Utopia partners remain quiet about a "possible major new partner and project." That partner isn't named, but the story calls said partner an "Internet giant."
After Google acquired the Provo, Utah municipal network
for a song, obvious speculation leads to wondering if Google would be interested in acquiring Utopia as well and integrating the two networks.
In late January, unlocking your cellphone technically became illegal
after the Librarian of Congress removed it from the DMCA exception list. It technically remains legal for you to jailbreak your phone, but you can't unlock it without carrier permission.
Southeast has added a new wrinkle to the company's Wi-Fi and TV service (which one of our regulars gave high marks to back in August
). In addition to the company's $8 per flight gate-to-gate Wi-Fi and TV service, the company is now offering users the ability to send iMessage text messages for $2 per day. In a blog post
, Southwest insists that iOS 4 or later is supported now, with Android device coming soon (they fail to offer detail on which Android message platforms will be supported, raising unanswered questions on precisely how service and content filters will be implemented on the network). Southwest's in-flight Wi-Fi service is powered by Row 44's satellite broadband and is available on 435 Southwest planes.
As the FCC today prepares to vote to begin eliminating the rules governing in-flight cell phone calls, new FCC boss Wheeler continues to defend his push to a public that isn't particularly pleased with the idea of a chattier cabin. Wheeler already explained
that with data now showing devices don't interfere with aircraft, the FCC's role as a technology-based agency is done -- and it's now up to the FAA and airlines to govern the social implications of in-flight cell calls.
Private-equity firm Centerbridge Partners LP has managed to swoop in and thwart Dish's attempted acquisition of LightSquared with a possible last minute offer for the beached LTE provider. According to the Wall Street Journal
, Centerbridge has proposed paying roughly $3.3 billion plus another $1.7 billion in various liabilities, though anonymous sources state the deal could still fall apart at the last second. Centerbridge's acquisition is likely speculative in nature, with hopes to sell the acquired LightSquared spectrum to the deepest pocketed carrier available. Dish had hoped to use the spectrum to build their own LTE network, despite its history of interference with GPS services
by Revcb 07:25AM Thursday Dec 12 2013
Verizon is currently in the process of using the AWS spectrum obtained at auction in 2008 to supplement the company's existing LTE deployment, which should result in improved capacity and overall speeds for users in many markets. Speaking at an investor conference this week, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam confirmed New York (their most heavy usage market) is the first to see the upgrades
, where he admits a dozen of some 300 cell sites have been suffering capacity issues. According to McAdam, Verizon intends to augment its LTE network in 50 different cities with AWS spectrum during the first half of 2014. McAdam insisted Verizon's LTE capacity constraints were a "short-term blip" and that "we're now back to where we want to be."
According to Twenty-First Century Fox CEO Chase Carey, the consumer demand for a la carte TV programming options is a "farce," and existing TV bundles provide all the value consumers need. "It’s a farce" and "a la carte isn't the answer," Carey told attendees of an investment conference this week
. "The bundle is still a great proposition for the consumer when you compare it to the a world of $5 lattes and cell phone bills," Carey said. Farce is an upgrade from last summer, when Carey proclaimed a la carte TV to be a "fantasy
." In both instances Carey seemed to ignore the fact folks like Carey have spent the last ten years fighting
not only a la carte pricing, but any
substantive creative price movement on channel bundles and TV content.
Annoyed with the amount of press Google has been getting for disrupting the U.S. broadband market (even if the reality of that disruption is limited in scope
), cable operator Mediacom has launched a new initiative dubbed Gigabit+
AT&T has officially announced that the company's first 1 Gbps fiber to the home users (who'll initially see 300 Mbps until next year) have come online in Austin. The "GigaPower" service was announced one day after Google Fiber announced they were coming to Austin
, though AT&T to this day Google Fiber played no role in this announcement.
As we noted yesterday
, Sprint has launched their new "Spark" LTE network upgrade in Chicago, which combines the company's 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz LTE spectrum to provide more capacity and faster speeds to users -- if you have a triband device. Sprint has previously claimed these upgrades would provide users with real world speeds of 50-60 Mbps, though CEO Dan Hesse has decided to up the ante.
DirecTV may announce streaming TV ambitions at an investor conference later this week insists Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet
. "If management does unveil this platform, we expect limited testing in 2014 and rollout to ethnic niches and/or multi-dwellings shortly thereafter," Bazinet said. "If deployment proceeds smoothly and data caps don't restrict rollout, we could see broader U.S. deployment in the future." Reports last month suggested
DirecTV was considering a Aereo-like service as a way to battle soaring retransmission fees, which the company called "not sustainable."
AT&T last week unveiled their new mobile share value plans
, aimed at getting users off contract and driving them to larger, more expensive data plans. The service was in response to T-Mobile, though AT&T continues to insist that T-Mobile is having no effect on their pricing strategies.
by Revcb 08:41AM Wednesday Dec 11 2013
Sprint today announced that the company's faster "Spark" LTE upgrades have gone live in Chicago. Last month Sprint announced
they'd be combining the company's 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz LTE spectrum to provide what Sprint promises will be real-world downstream speeds of 50-60 Mbps.
One year after launching a limited beta, NimbleTV
today announced that they've launched their live streaming TV service in the New York City market. New York residents can head here
to sign up for the service, which allows users to watch live TV on a variety of mobile devices and set tops.
Calculating the impact of shifting an entire industry to an a la carte TV pricing model is probably impossible, but that doesn't stop investment analysts Needham and Co. from trying. story continues..
For much of the last decade Seattle has explored the idea
of building their own ultra-fast broadband network. Much of that motivation was fueled by the sub-standard service provided in the region by regional telco Qwest (now CenturyLink), which in turn resulted in regional cable operator Comcast not working very hard.
For years story continues..
competitors have complained about AT&T and Verizon cornering the special access market, allowing them to jack up prices on competitors for backhaul and other cross connectivity. For just about as long, the FCC has stated they'd investigate
the potential anti-competitive ramifications, with nothing much coming of it.
Verizon this week once again put a nail in the coffin of any chance of FiOS expansion anytime soon -- if ever. "...There might be a couple of things on the fringe (but) going in and digging up yards and deploying fiber in a lot of new markets isn't in the cards," Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told investors at this week's Annual Global Media & Communications Conference
. "More and more things are going mobile and I think there are more opportunities to partner out of market with companies that are there vs. us going in and deploying FiOS." Read: we'd prefer to partner with cable
so they sell our wireless service than deploy any more fixed-line broadband ourselves.
Last month AT&T and Verizon shareholders pressured the two companies into detailing their cooperation with the NSA
, arguing that their relationship with the agency harmed consumer trust, and therefore the companies as a whole. AT&T's response to those investors? It's none of your business. In a letter sent to investors this week
, AT&T stated that its dealings with the NSA were "ordinary business matters" not subject to shareholder approval, and that "protecting customer privacy is a management function" not involving shareholders. As such, AT&T says they'd prefer it if any mention of the NSA was excluded from the ballot for AT&T’s annual shareholder meeting next spring.
According to the New York Times
, the nation's largest TV provider and ISP (Comcast) has hired the nation's largest bank (JPMorgan Chase) to advise on a possible bid for Time Warner Cable. The deal, which could be worth upwards of $40 billion, likely wouldn't make it past regulators concerned with Comcast's growing vertical integration. Last week Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai stated he didn't think the current FCC would approve such a deal
, and sources have suggested that a joint bid between Charter and Comcast -- used as a way to ease regulatory concerns -- wasn't something Comcast executives were interested in.
Last week reports emerged
that the FCC was considering rule changes that would allow users to have cell phone conversations above 10,000 feet. The FCC responded to consumer complaints about the move by arguing they agency's job is to simply govern technology issues
, and with no evidence of interference, allowing voice calls now falls within the jurisdiction of the airlines and FAA. The FCC is expected to approve a notice of proposed rule-making relaxing in-flight cell phone voice calls on Thursday
, after which they'll be fielding consumer comments on the rule elimination.
The cable industry has historically tried to argue that cord cutters either don't exist or are so lame they aren't relevant
. That same industry, as it faces a very real trend of growing user defections, has now launched a strange new media campaign intended to change the mind of intended cord cutters.
Last Wednesday, the New York Public Service Commission ordered Verizon to provide the public with un-redacted cost information about providing phone service on Fire Island, New York. The directive denied Verizon’s request to be exempt from disclosing cost documents. story continues..
It was rather clear that Google TV landed with a bit of a thud, though it was made clearer when Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca in 2012 stated their launch of the Google TV powered Revue was "a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature," and that Google's product was a glorified beta
Now reports indicate that Google is working hard on the next chapter of this effort, a new TV set top that will fall under the Nexus brand.
TDS Telecom has announced that the company is now offering speeds of 300 Mbps across the company's footprint in Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Minnesota. Though the company's press release
fails to mention price, users can expect to pay around $100 and up for the service depending what kind of additional services they're willing to bundle. The company announced they'd be expanding their fiber to the home offerings last July
, using a Google "fiberhood" approach to generate interest among potential communities. Locals interested to see where TDS has planned fiber upgrades should check out the companies expansion map here
. You can also check out our reader reviews of TDS Telecom here
In a blog post
, new FCC boss Tom Wheeler states that the agency will be postponing the planned June 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum incentive auctions until mid-2015. "Only when our software and systems are technically ready, user friendly, and thoroughly tested, will we start the auction,” stated Wheeler, so said the agency also wanted to further hammer out the rules for how the auction will be conducted. The incentive auctions aim to pay broadcasters as incentive to give up some of their lower frequencies, with the proceeds of the auction going toward construction of the FirstNet nationwide emergency LTE network.
Google, AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and other companies named as previously cooperating with the NSA's PRISM program
have launched a new campaign urging global governments to reform their surveillance practices, and are asking the United States to take the lead. A new Reform Government Surveillance
website will operate alongside ads placed in numerous papers calling for governments to begin designing rules for surveillance oversight, while being more transparent about what kind of data is being collected. Empty PR gesture to deflect attention from themselves, or a serious call for reform?
by Revcb 10:07AM Monday Dec 09 2013