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by Karl Bode 08:33AM Tuesday Sep 02 2014
Verizon's ActionTec routers have never been what you'd call cutting edge, the company taking an extraordinarily long time to even offer 802.11N Wi-Fi functionality (and when they finally did, only offering 2.4Ghz).

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Now Dave Zatz has noticed that Verizon FiOS customers will finally be getting newer gear, some FiOS Quantum customers getting the new Greenwave G1100. The G1100 offers everything up to 802.11ac, and looks to have integrated Zigbee home automation support.

Users in our forums suggest Verizon's purging old router inventory by providing their older ActionTec routers free with upgrades to 50 Mbps speeds or higher.


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by Karl Bode 10:39AM Tuesday Sep 02 2014
Retrans season is apparently heating up, and with it the now-all-too-familiar channel outages that plague consumers when broadcasters and cable operators can't agree on price. DirecTV users are the latest to face missing channels, as the company has reached a retrans fee negotiations impasse with Raycom Media, which owns 53 stations (predominately local network affiliates) in 37 markets across 18 states.

"Raycom Media is denying DirecTV customers and some of its own most loyal viewers access to its local broadcast stations unless they pay more than double just to receive the same broadcast shows that remain available over the air for free.,” DirecTV said in a statement. “We will always work to protect our customers and prevent them from enduring any unnecessary interruptions, no matter how brief. We appreciate their patience since it has a direct impact on their bill."

"We share their frustration and are committed to doing everything we can to resolve this issue and have been for the last 12 weeks of discussions," Raycom said in a statement of their own.


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by Karl Bode 07:41AM Tuesday Sep 02 2014
The FCC has moved to take aim at advertisements that are intentionally louder than the TV programming you're watching. The FCC recently announced (pdf) that they're taking additional action to further enforce restrict volume restrictions on television commercials under the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act. "It is our hope that these changes will result in a modest decrease in the perceived loudness of certain commercials," states the agency. The updated rules, which go into effect June 4, 2015, give the agency a wider variety of tools to measure commercial volume for enforcement.


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by Karl Bode 09:12AM Tuesday Sep 02 2014
SoftBank will take advantage of their new Sprint ownership stake by selling robots at Sprint stores sometime next year, notes Bloomberg. SoftBank's "Pepper" robot, available in Japan for 198,000 yen ($1,900), is about four feet tall, dances, makes jokes, and "estimates human emotions based on expressions" according to the report.

"We will sell Pepper in the United States within a year after gathering information in Japan," insists SoftBank robotics CEO Fumihide Tomizawa. "I won’t be surprised if Pepper sales will be half to business and half to consumers." There's no word yet on pricing for Pepper here in the States, though you can learn more about the robot here (the video of the June unveiling is worth a look).


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by Revcb 07:29AM Tuesday Sep 02 2014


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by Karl Bode 12:29PM Tuesday Sep 02 2014
Frontier's $2 billion attempt to acquire AT&T’s local wireline, broadband and video operations in Connecticut (originally announced last December) seemed to have been going swimmingly, recently gaining approval by the FCC and even union leaders that had originally opposed the deal. But the deal appears to have hit a snag in the form of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), which has denied a deal settlement the companies reached with state officials.

PURA argues that the deal's conditions don't mean much, and the deal doesn't do enough to benefit Connecticut consumers:
But the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said in a filing Thursday that the settlement, as drafted by Connecticut's Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz, does not do enough for state residents. Instead, regulators sent the parties back to the drawing board, saying the settlement's provisions contained "merit for further discussion in an effort to rehabilitate them wherever possible."...Proposed broadband internet investments lack specifics, they said...
The deal is still expected to ultimately move forward; meetings on hammering out updated technical specifics of the deal are expected this month.


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