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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. We saw something similar in Pennsylvania when Verizon wiggled their way out of similar obligations after netting huge tax reductions and subsidies
Like in PA, New Jersey now appears poised to let Verizon off the hook; the state Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) pushing a stipulation agreement that would forget that Verizon ever made any such promises as the company effectively freezes FiOS expansion to focus on wireless. More than 1,000 comments have been filed in response to the stipulation, though people are noticing the support seems somewhat manufactured
"You wrote about the Verizon/Department of Public Utilities settlement a week or so ago. I just started noticing a lot of form letters in support of this settlement on the 24th.
"If Google/Linkedin.com the names and email addresses of the people in support of this settlement you will find quite a few of the people are either direct employees of Verizon or have some connection to Verizon. Perhaps Verizon made up this form letter and sent it out to employees and contacts.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
by Revcb 07:57AM Tuesday Apr 15 2014
by Revcb 07:03AM Monday Apr 14 2014
• If Comcast gets TWC, three out of four Americans could get a broadband cap
• Qualcomm joins Mimosa, others in pushing FCC to open 10 GHz for mobile broadband
• Obama Lets N.S.A. Exploit Some Internet Flaws, Officials Say
• Keeping the Internet free - for now: The Commerce Department has second thoughts about surrendering America's online oversight
• Are Google and Facebook just pretending they want limits on NSA surveillance?
• Fire TV Sells Out Due To High Demand, Unit Sales Figures Not Disclosed
• Analysts: Sprint/T-Mobile must merge or one will fail
• COMPTEL, Level 3, tw telecom say FCC should not approve AT&T's IP experiments
• Big carriers remove Samsung’s ‘Download Booster’ from the Galaxy S5 - AT&T, Sprint, Verizon don't want you on their networks while you've got Wi-Fi
• “Brightest Flashlight” Android app disclosed location of 50 million people, but FTC imposes no fine
• At Feds’ request, GoGo in-flight Wi-Fi service added more spying capabilities
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 breaks on deployment themselves).
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.
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.
by Revcb 08:01AM Wednesday Apr 16 2014