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by Karl Bode 10:17AM Wednesday Apr 16 2014
Recently the New York Times ran a fairly standard article praising fiber to the home service, while lamenting the lack of overall fiber in the United States. Verizon Regulatory Affairs VP David Young has posted a rather odd blog response, taking the opportunity to pretend that people are somehow stopping the company from deploying more FiOS (even though they've put the brakes on deployment themselves). Verizon also insists that a company that made $5 billion in profit last quarter alone can't afford to keep DSL lines operational:
quote:
Unfortunately, there are some who for a variety of reasons are trying to put the brakes on fiber upgrades, and by extension, fiber deployment. They think that the old copper networks should be kept indefinitely. Needless to say, no existing telephone company will be able to make the investment necessary to build a new fiber network if it is forced to keep the old, redundant, and costly copper network running, too.
But what if the company that operates those copper networks has received billions upon billions of subsidies over an entire generation to build and maintain those networks? Verizon for obvious reasons doesn't discuss that. In Pennsylvania, Verizon received billions in tax breaks and subsidies to deploy 45 Mbps-capable broadband services to the entire state that were never deployed, and now the company's backing away from similar obligations in New Jersey.

I don't think anybody has ever bothered to audit how many billions in taxpayer subsidies and tax cuts Verizon has received from federal and state governments over the years and done a direct comparison to actual build and maintenance costs, but I'm fairly certain Verizon and Mr. Young wouldn't much like the publicized results of such a study.
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29 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:14AM Wednesday Apr 16 2014
According to a blog post by Verizon Wireless, the company is preparing another small tweak to its data pricing plans. Starting on Thursday, Verizon says that month-to month contract users, and users who bring their own phones to sign up for "More Everything" shared data plans, can save some money on the attachment fee Verizon charges per smartphone. Users that sign up for data buckets smaller than 8 GB can add a smartphone for $30 a month ($10 discount), while customers who sign up for plans with 10 GB or greater allotments save $15 per month (saving $25). If you're bringing your own phone it will of course need to be compatible with Verizon's network, which for many users isn't particularly likely.

4 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:13AM Wednesday Apr 16 2014
The Boy Genius Report has grabbed an exclusive leaked set of photos that claim to show what Amazon's upcoming entry into the smartphone market will look like. The device looks like countless other devices before it, though BGR claims Amazon "has spent years creating a unique and, at times, novel user experience." Amazon has not only been working on the phone, but they've also been testing their own wireless network, using MSS spectrum (specifically the "Big LEO" band at 1610-1618.725 MHz on the uplink, and the Upper Big LEO band at 2483.5-2500 MHz for the downlink) owned by Globalstar.

2 comments


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by Revcb 08:01AM Wednesday Apr 16 2014

1 comment


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by Karl Bode 05:49PM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
HBO's hit fantasy series "Game of Thrones" has historically been one of the most pirated TV shows on the Internet, thanks largely to HBO's stubborn refusal to offer streaming HBO content without subscribing to a traditional (and expensive) cable TV package. With the show's recent season four premiere, "Game of Thrones" is again lighting up BitTorrent distribution networks like a Christmas tree.
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67 comments


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by Karl Bode 03:36PM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
A company by the name of Quantenna Communications this week announced that they hope to offer a Wi-Fi chipset capable of offering 10 Gbps by 2015. According to the press release, the hardware Quantenna is using relies on an evolution in multiple antenna design known as MU-MIMO technology (multi-user MIMO), as well as adaptive beamforming and channel monitoring and optimization. According to Quantenna, they chipsets will first start showing up in enterprise gear sometime around 2015, though they're clear to point out they've got existing hardware relationships with residential companies like AT&T and DirecTV.

5 comments


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by Karl Bode 12:34PM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
A new report by consumer advocacy outfit Free Press notes that Comcast raised rates for the company's basic cable package by 68% over the last four years. Comcast also raised the cost of their top-tier premium TV package some 21% as well.
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38 comments


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by Karl Bode 10:26AM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
Google recently stated they were considering expanding Google Fiber to a list of 34 cities in nine metro areas. While New York City wasn't on the list, Geek.com has noticed that Google Fiber is advertising for a Google Fiber regional sales manager for the New York City region.
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30 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:16AM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
Back in June of 2010, you might recall that a security hole in AT&T's website allowed two individuals to gain access to the e-mail addresses of 114,000 owners of 3G Apple iPads, including "dozens of CEOs, military officials, and top politicians." A group calling itself Goatse Security at the time claimed responsibility for the "hack," which in addition to e-mail addresses resulted the group obtaining user ICC-IDs -- used to identify their specific iPad on the AT&T network.

One of those two individuals responsible for obtaining the data was Andrew Auernheimer (aka "Weev") an Internet-famous troll who was recently convicted of accessing a computer without authorization and identity fraud, and sentenced to serve 41 months in prison.
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14 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:31AM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
Include Mediacom as yet another cable company pushing the barrier on faster downstream speeds. Responding to customer inquiries, the company recently told users of their official forums that the company is testing a 305 Mbps down, 10 Mbps upstream tier in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa market that will run users $200 a month. According to the company representative, there's a four terabyte usage cap on the tier before you'll face overage fees (Mediacom has been very busy forcing users on to usage caps over the last few years). The company has no specifics on when the tier will expand into additional markets.

20 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:22AM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
In a move that's certain to ruffle the feathers of larger operators AT&T and Verizon, ReCode suggests that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating a proposal that would reserve two thirds of upcoming auction spectrum for smaller carriers. If the report is accurate, the agency is going to uncharacteristically do something that angers larger carriers for the sake of competition, heeding DOJ advice given last year that allowing AT&T and Verizon to gobble up all the spectrum could be a death blow to real wireless competition.

Granted whether the FCC sticks to its guns after AT&T and Verizon lobbyists get done whining isn't certain:
quote:
Details of Wheeler’s plan began leaking out Friday evening after FCC staff and company lobbyists were briefed on some details. Wheeler aides began briefing some lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill earlier this month. The FCC could vote on the plan and release details to the public as soon as mid-May, although some details may change in the coming weeks as industry lobbyists swarm the agency.
It would be an interesting policy move for an agency that traditional talks a lot about competition, but buckles whenever it's time to implement policy that upsets two of the biggest campaign contributors in the industry.

12 comments


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by Revcb 07:57AM Tuesday Apr 15 2014

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by Karl Bode 06:24PM Monday Apr 14 2014
A few weeks ago we noted how Facebook was considering buying drone maker Titan Aerospace, with a specific eye on using drones to deliver broadband in developing countries. Facebook won't be getting that chance, as the Wall Street Journal reports that Google has snapped up the company instead. A purchase price wasn't disclosed, but Google did state that the drone company would work closely with those involved in Google's broadband-by-balloon "Loon" initiative.

7 comments


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by Karl Bode 03:01PM Monday Apr 14 2014
On the third day of T-Mobile's latest "uncarrier" marketing salvo, the company proudly proclaimed that it would be getting rid of "predatory" overage fees -- sort of. According to a T-Mobile press release, the company announced they're "abolishing" overages, and is challenging other wireless carriers to follow suit -- in the form of a Change.org petition.
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53 comments


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by Karl Bode 12:29PM Monday Apr 14 2014
Netflix has released their monthly ranking of ISP streaming video performance, and not too surprisingly Comcast has seen huge gains in the rankings after signing a new interconnection deal with Netflix back in February. Comcast jumped a whopping six spots in the rankings to number five among major ISPs, and to number 28 if you view the extended list, which includes smaller ISPs.
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56 comments


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by Karl Bode 10:42AM Monday Apr 14 2014
Three individuals have been accused of milking $32 million from the Universal Service Fund to buy personal jets, luxury cars, and a 28-foot boat. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Leonard Solt, 49, Thomas Biddix, and Kevin Brian Cox, intentionally overstated the number of poor households served under the fund in order to grab additional cash under a net of five linked phone companies: American Dial Tone, Bellerud Communications, BLC Management, LifeConnex Telecom and Triarch Marketing. The government has long been criticized (by the GAO and others) for the USF being a poorly-tracked slush fund, though larger telcos (with significantly better lawyers and accountants) have historically been above reproach when it comes to accusations of fraud.

10 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:31AM Monday Apr 14 2014
Last month we noted how some New Jersey residents have been complaining that Verizon never delivered the 45 Mbps to 100% of the population the company promised back in the 90's. Verizon (then Bell Atlantic) was given billions in tax deductions in exchange for fixed-line broadband the company never delivered.
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14 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:16AM Monday Apr 14 2014
Some users in our Suddenlink forum indicate that the cable operator will soon be offering a 300 Mbps tier to some users. According to a letter sent to one user in Georgetown, Texas, the company states they'll soon be offering the 300 Mbps tier, but fails to get specific about price or upstream speed. The upgrades appear to be coming at the same time as the removal of analog channels. I've dropped a line to SuddenLink to get more specific details on which markets will be seeing the upgrade.

6 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:11AM Monday Apr 14 2014
While Sprint's attempt at acquiring T-Mobile isn't looking likely, at least one analyst claims that if the companies don't merge -- one or both of them will fail. According to analysis from New Street Research, the companies have to merge if they're ever going to effectively compete with AT&T and Verizon.
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55 comments


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by Revcb 07:03AM Monday Apr 14 2014

6 comments



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