To get their merger approved by regulators, one of Comcast's key arguments is that the company faces so much competition on so many fronts that this competition will keep them honest
. Most people know that Comcast enjoys little to no competition on the last mile, with AT&T and Verizon's retreat from many DSL lines
making things less competitive than ever.
To get around this obvious truth and logic logjam, Comcast has insisted that pretty much every company in existence is competition
, from Google Fiber (whose limited footprint barely scratches Comcast) to Hulu (which Comcast co-owns). Wireless LTE is also being trotted out as an example of "fierce competition," something the Consumerist's Kate Cox does a nice job dismantling this week
by examining usage caps:
Our math says that trying to use your mobile data the same way you use your home wi-fi will cost you about twenty times more per month than your wired broadband bill. You’d have to be Walter White to be able to afford to watch all of Breaking Bad over your wireless network...
Using traditional home, wired broadband — cable or DSL — to watch all of Breaking Bad in one billing cycle would cost the average user between $30 and $100.
Using most wireless broadband — satellite or mobile — to watch all of Breaking Bad in one billing cycle would cost the average user between $1200 and $2200.
So comparable! Even Verizon has admitted that LTE is really nothing like a fixed-broadband connection
. This is all of course before you remind people that Comcast and Verizon these days are marketing partners selling each others' services
, not really competitors.
New Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure insisted last week that better prices would be one of his first priorities
, and the company this week has introduced their first attempt at that promise. According to a company announcement
, Sprint's new "Sprint Family Share Pack" allows a family to share 20 GB of data, unlimited text and voice for $100 a month under a limited-time promotion.
While Comcast certainly has its faults
, the cable giant has led the way when it comes to IPv6 deployment while many larger ISPs have napped. Comcast recently announced they've officially completed their residential IPv6 deployments
, and around 30% of their customers are now actively running IPv6.
Verizon tinkered with wireless pricing over the weekend, offering a new $60 plan for individuals
that offers unlimited text, unlimited voice and 2 GB of data. Obviously this precludes being able to add additional devices like tablets to the plan, and the overages remain steep at $15 per each additional gigabyte consumed. Users who participate in Verizon's EDGE early handset upgrade program can grab $10 off the plan cost per month. There's oodles of additional detail provided by Verizon in a new FAQ
posted to the company's website.
Anti-Piracy firm Rightscorp has historically targeted non "six strikes" ISP customers with legal threats unless a $20 fine is paid
. As it stands, the firm tracks user behavior and then forwards on the warning letters used by ISPs, who then forward those warnings (and a request for payment) on to the end user.
The Wall Street Journal
notes that Time Warner Cable's existing relationship with Bright House Communications complicates Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Bright House is currently its own company, but Time Warner Cable has an ownership interest and historically handles programming, some engineering and technology acquisitions for the company (they even historically shared the "Road Runner" branding).
Chalk this up as yet another fine example of Cox Communications customer support. After a homeowner ordered Cox TV/Internet, a Cox employee came by the house to install the service. story continues..
A few years ago, the courts shut down a dirt-cheap broadband TV service named Ivi
, arguing that over the top video services weren't technically cable companies, and couldn't just start paying retransmission fees to become them. Fast forward to the Supreme Court's recent ruling on Aereo
, which seemingly argued the exact opposite -- that Internet services could be cable operators if they pay retransmission fees.
Amazon's new smartphone isn't selling particularly well
, a politely worded study
by Chitika Insights noting that the phone's sales are "steady but flat." Amazon keeps sales numbers secret but the firm came to that conclusion by tracking ad impressions generated by the phone's users. The fairly tepid sales are in large part thanks to the exclusive sales arrangement with AT&T, something we noted at launch
didn't exactly scream cutting edge. Still, the phone itself didn't exactly set the phone on fire either, with numerous features reviews complained were more gimmick than game changing.
T-Mobile took a shot at Sprint, AT&T and Verizon today with a new promotion that gives the company's Simple Choice plan users unlimited LTE data for a year if they bring another user over to T-Mobile. If the Simple Choice plan users already have unlimited data, users will receive a $10-per-month credit for a year. story continues..
Comcast's historically abysmal customer customer service has many causes, not least of which is the company's fairly obvious lax standards when it comes to subcontractors, which over the years has resulted in installers falling asleep
, murdering people
, digging in the wrong yard
, blowing up laptops
or even animal cruelty
. But to hear many Comcast insiders tell it, another major reason for Comcast's problems is the fact that the company has spent much of its existence growing for the sake of growing.
Time Warner Cable's decision to raise rates substantially for competitors (DirecTV, AT&T, etc.) to gain access to the company's SportsNet LA channel, has resulted in a blackout that has left 70% of the area's Dodgers viewers unable to watch the majority of games this season
-- despite paying an arm and a leg for cable TV.
Last month, FCC Boss Tom Wheeler sent a tough-sounding letter to Time Warner Cable insisting he was "troubled by the negative impact that your apparent actions are having on consumers and the overall video marketplace." Wheeler insisted that he'd be watching the situation closely and would intervene should it be needed.
Though TV subscriber declines had eased off the last few quarters, cable operators again lost subscriber at a faster rate during the historically slow second quarter. According to the latest data from Leichtman Research Group
, the thirteen largest pay-TV providers in the US -- representing about 95% of the market -- lost about 300,000 net video subscribers in the second quarter.
Late last year Comcast began testing an IPTV service
called Xfinity on Campus
, which provides around 80 channels, premium channels, and VOD services over campus broadband networks. Multichannel News
notes that Comcast this week took the service out of trial status and began deploying it to select college campuses nationwide.
Add Time Warner Cable to the list of companies that are now getting paid by Netflix for direct interconnection. Time Warner Cable confirms to Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM
that the deal was completed back in June, on the heels of previous deals with AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.
Last year, Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter stated that people don't really need 1 Gbps, and that the 3 to 6 Mbps most of her customers can get was just fine for most people
. Last month, trying to downplay the fact said 3-6 Mbps is painfully uncompetitive, Wilderotter called Google Fiber "hype" that "confuses customers
," and that even talking about 1 Gbps services was something that was "disrespectful" to the customer base.
The same week it was revealed that Netflix has started paying Time Warner Cable for direct interconnection
, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has penned a missive over at Wired insisting we can "save the net" by "not giving in to big ISPs." Hasting's commentary
reiterates earlier complaints that large ISPs are forcing Netflix to pay for direct interconnection thanks to their anti-competitive grip on the last mile:
Netflix connects directly with hundreds of ISPs globally, and 99 percent of those agreements don't involve access fees. It is only a handful of the largest U.S.
A new report by RootMetrics
effectively declares Verizon the king when it comes to mobile network coverage, reliability, speed, and overall performance. The study, which collected data from 5.6 million test samples while driving some 234,000 miles across the country, gave the crown to Verizon for all metrics except text message performance, which Verizon closely lost to AT&T.
Stop the Cap
amusingly notes how New York State Assembly Leader Joe Morelle's enthusiastic support of Comcast's Time Warner Cable merger was so enthusiastic
-- his letter of support sent to the New York Public Service Commission copies previous Comcast statements on the merger almost verbatim. "They provided a draft letter of support for our consideration. We made several edits of the letter. This is common practice for any organization asking for an elected official’s support to provide a sample letter," insists Morelle's office when asked about the plagiarism from local news outlets
. They're right -- this has been common practice for a decade; it's just that usually the politicians in question at least pretend
to be having original and unique thoughts.
Users in our CenturyLink forum
note that the company is now offering 1 Gbps service in parts of Denver, though they also note that the company won't reveal where
in Denver. The Denver launch comes as part of a somewhat ambiguous announcement earlier this month
that CenturyLink would be offering 1 Gbps speeds in select portions of sixteen cities. Other cities where 1 Gbps is selectively being offered include Boise, where customers say
users can pay $120 a month (plus a $60 installation fee) for the service with no usage caps. "Residential and business customers in the cities where we are offering ultra-fast broadband connections can go to https://www.centurylink.com/fiber/
to find out if broadband speeds up to 1 Gbps are available to them," is all the company will say when it comes to specific 1 Gbps availability.
Verizon has a long history of trying to operate their own app store they hope will challenge iTunes and Google's Play Store, and failing miserably at it
because as a legacy company they're simply not very good at being disruptive or innovative. Not to be daunted, reports indicate that Verizon is working on yet another attempt at their own app store
, this time in conjunction with other carrier and hardware partners:
The Information claims that this new effort is a response to recent cutbacks from Google in revenue sharing with carriers and hardware makers for apps sold through the Google Play Store.
AT&T's Sponsored Data -- which exempts a company's content from AT&T's arbitrary caps if they pay AT&T a fee -- so far hasn't seen much interest from major companies
. While a few smaller outfits have signed up, larger companies either don't want to pay -- or don't want to take part in the neutrality controversy surrounding AT&T's idea.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed suit against the FCC's for it's upcoming "incentive auction" of 600 MHz spectrum, claiming the auction as currently designed would harm broadcast television and cost the broadcast industry millions of dollars. The FCC's auction rules allow broadcasters to voluntarily give up spectrum to be auctioned off to wireless carriers. story continues..
by Revcb 07:29AM Monday Aug 18 2014
by Revcb 07:29AM Tuesday Aug 19 2014
Cincinnati Bell will join the 1 Gbps speed club on September 8 when the company officially begins offering 1 Gbps speeds to residential subscribers. The company's website
for their "FiOptics" service is quick to point out this "20X faster than Time Warner Cable’s fastest internet speeds for residential customers" (TWC's "Maxx" upgrades currently top out at 300 Mbps). Cincinnati Bell has yet to mention specific pricing details or even deployment neighborhoods for next month's launch; the company tells the Cincinnati Enquirer
that the focus is currently on marketing the service and "creating awareness that this is the new Cincinnati Bell."
With several cities directly and clearly asking the FCC to act on protectionist bills prohibiting them from improving their own broadband infrastructure, it's put up or shut up time
for FCC boss Tom Wheeler, who has promised action on the subject several times over the last few months. Senator Edward J. Markey and Representative Mike Doyle this week fired off a letter to the FCC
nudging Wheeler forward on his promise. "What the broadband market needs today are more options and greater local choice, not barriers that prevent cities and towns from participating fully in the global economy. I encourage the Commission to use its authority to ensure municipalities have the power to make decisions about their broadband infrastructure,” said Senator Markey.
Add Jacksonville to the growing list of AT&T markets where the company will selectively deploy 1 Gbps U-Verse "Gigapower" service. According to the latest AT&T announcement
, Jacksonville will join the list of planned AT&T cities, which so far includes Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Charlotte, Houston, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham, and Winston-Salem and Miami. As with all the announcements, AT&T says that "specific locations of availability and pricing for the Jacksonville market will be announced at a later date." As noted previously
, these deployments will primarily focus on a very select number of high-end development communities, though AT&T's getting ample marketing mileage in their PR battle with Google Fiber. Update
: Cuppertino in Silicon Valley
is also being named as a Gigapower market.
Dump yer shiny thoughts into the box below.
We recently noted how the UK's effort to force ISPs to filter porn by default wasn't working very well, with simple chrome proxy extensions
allowing porn hunters to easily bypass the filters. Worse perhaps is the fact that the filters aren't even really working, not only failing to filter a significant number of major porn sites, but accidentally filtering sexual education and rape support websites
Remember: we're willing to pay community members or guest contributors who'd like to write content for the front page! Contact me
if you're interested. Topics can range from networking tips or your review of a new router, to your experiences as a cable installation technician, involvement with the transition to IPv6, or your effort to get your town wired with better broadband service. Be creative and pitch me a topic. Examples of community content range from Bill Neilson
's exploration of the ongoing blame game when it comes to soaring programming costs
, to spamster
's impressions of FreedomPop.
by Revcb 07:21AM Wednesday Aug 20 2014
by Revcb 06:53AM Friday Aug 22 2014