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by Karl Bode 10:30AM Monday Sep 15 2014
A report over at DeepDotWeb claims that Comcast has contacted some users telling them that they risk disconnection if they continue using the privacy-minded Tor browser. Tor (as our recent report explores) is an entirely legal browser used by 1.2 million people, only some of whom use the browser to buy narcotics and other black market goods.

According to the report, Comcast support employees informed a number of unidentified users that Tor "wasn't legal," and even demanded to know what sites users were accessing with the browser. The report fails to prove that this is a widespread Comcast behavior as opposed to a few, marginally incompetent first-level support reps. The site goes on to quote a Comcast support representative named "Kelly" who allegedly called a user and stated:
quote:
Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules. Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast, have a great day.
As the report goes on to note it's likely not Tor specifically Comcast is targeting, but the fact that users were running relay or exit nodes, therefore technically violating Comcast's no server restriction in their residential acceptable use policies (something most ISPs have, including the well-loved Google Fiber). Not that this is all that much better, but it is an important distinction from believing Comcast is threatening users simply based on their software preferences.
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by Karl Bode 12:43PM Monday Sep 15 2014
On the heels of T-Mobile's announcement last week that they've started a heavy push toward Wi-Fi calling, AT&T says they'll also be offering Wi-Fi calling starting in 2015. AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega stated last week the company will be offering it next year, but hasn't been in a rush because, they claim, their network coverage is good enough (unlike T-Mobile's, the CEO implied).
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47 comments


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by Karl Bode 04:10PM Monday Sep 15 2014
Tom Wheeler spoke to Multichannel News in an interview that touches on a number of subjects, covering everything from net neutrality and the reclassification of ISPs under Title II, to the possible renaming of the Washington Redskins. Wheeler doesn't show his hand on most of the subjects related to neutrality and Title II, given the agency is still fielding comments (and about to have a series of roundtable discussions on the matter over the next two months.
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80 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:01AM Monday Sep 15 2014
The slow and small but steady phenomenon known as cord cutting isn't going away. A new survey of 2,400 TV subscribers aged 24-34 indicates that around 5% of them plan to cut the cord sometime in the near future.
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by Karl Bode 06:38PM Monday Sep 15 2014
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam says the CEO won't rule out further expansion of the company's FiOS services, but eager customers probably shouldn't hold their breath. FiOS just passed its ten year anniversary, though with the exception of the finishing up of promised deployments in major cities, the expansion of FiOS has been frozen for several years now. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference last week, McAdam stated that he's not ruling out the possibility, but it would need to be a unique opportunity:
quote:
"Expansion into other areas I wouldn't rule out, but it would have a very high bar," McAdam said. "If you look at some of the things that Google is doing around fiber, I think that's opened up a new model for us."
That's code for the fact that Google Fiber has made cherry picking deployment neighborhoods acceptable. Verizon might jump in and offer new FiOS deployments to upscale developments, universities, and MDUs -- but the not-small number of east coast cities waiting for serious investment (Alexandria, Baltimore, Buffalo, Boston) will likely still be waiting a very, very long time.

38 comments


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by Karl Bode 10:31AM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
Google Fiber has launched us into an era where everyone has become obsessed with the 1 Gbps watermark, even if the actual number of people who can get these speeds remains relatively small, and the need for that type of speed remains dubious. Incumbent ISPs have indeed been quick to piggyback on the idea that nobody needs 1 Gbps, but they're largely just hoping to shift the conversation away from their aggressively uncompetitive high prices.
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67 comments


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by Karl Bode 12:26PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
While Netflix launched in France this week, it isn't yet available in Australia, either because the market isn't large enough to take priority in Netflix's international expansion efforts, or because the company can't secure licensing agreements with Australian broadcasters. Consumers aren't waiting; a growing number of Australians are using VPNs to dodge region restrictions so they can pay Netflix for content while living Down Under, a trend that in recent months has been making broadcasters and Australian Netflix competitors uncomfortable.
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69 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:34AM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
Apple apparently thought they had engaged in a feat of marketing genius last week when they automatically gave all iTunes users a free copy of U2's new album -- Songs of Innocence. There were several problems with the marketing ploy, however. One being that many people simply didn't want the album and didn't think it was very good. The other problem was that it was seemingly difficult to impossible to remove the unwanted album from all your Apple devices. Apple has since listened and has offered up a removal tool to remove what the company called the "biggest album release in history."

29 comments


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by Karl Bode 02:22PM Monday Sep 15 2014
Janko Roettgers over at GigaOM scoops the news that Dish's long-in-gestation Internet TV effort is likely to use the "NuTV" brand name. The information came courtesy of a series of trademark filings for the new brand, filed for by Dish back in February of this year. Dish boss Charlie Ergen recently stated that the company should launch the service before the end of the year, though securing proper licensing has -- as always -- been a challenge. Rough estimates suggest the service should cost somewhere between $20 to $30, with the company specifically targeting younger cord cutters with the effort.

13 comments


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by Karl Bode 02:13PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
T-Mobile has sued telecom carrier Huawei, claiming the Chinese gear manufacturer stole T-Mobile trade secrets. Specifically, T-Mobile is claiming that Huawei has stolen software, specifications and other secrets for a cellphone-testing robot nicknamed "Tappy." In a lawsuit filed at the beginning of the month, T-Mobile alleges that Huawei employees "illicitly photographed the device," tried to smuggle components out of T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington lab, and when caught and subsequently banned from the facility -- tried to sneak back in. Huawei is "using T-Mobile’s stolen robot technology to test non-T-Mobile handsets and improve return rates for handsets developed and sold to other carriers," claims the lawsuit.

28 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:13AM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
The FCC has now received roughly three million comments on net neutrality, up from the 1.1 million received just a month ago, and a significant number of which came during last week's "Internet Slowdown" protests. Now that the FCC is awash in public opinion (the majority of which clearly support meaningful neutrality protections), the agency says it's going to hold a series of open round table discussions during the next two months.
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by Karl Bode 04:09PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
Representatives of state and local governments in Hartford, New Haven and Stamford have joined forces to try and bring faster broadband networks to Connecticut. The collective group has issued an RFQ to promote the deployment of gigabit broadband networks and services in "targeted commercial corridors" and locations "with demonstrated demand." They've also put the call out to any additional under-served communities, who can add an addendum to the RFQ to get involved.
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23 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:36AM Monday Sep 15 2014
Back in May TDS Telecom (see our user reviews) became the latest company to throw its hat into the 1 Gbps broadband ring, offering 1 Gbps speeds for $100 a month (if bundled) to residents of Hollis, New Hampshire and London, New Hampshire. Now the company states that Waterford, Wisconsin will be the latest town to get the 1 Gbps treatment, either later this year or in early 2015. Like so many other ISPs, TDS is hoping to grab some of the press attention received by Google Fiber with very selective deployment of similar speeds (they've even mirrored Google's "Fiberhood" efforts with something they're calling "Fiberville").

12 comments


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by Revcb 08:11AM Monday Sep 15 2014

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by Karl Bode 06:54PM Tuesday Sep 16 2014
While it's certainly still not guaranteed, Time Warner executives recently made their strongest statement yet that they'll offer a standalone streaming version of HBO that doesn't require you have a traditional cable subscription. Historically HBO and Time Warner have stated it doesn't make economic sense to offer such a product, as it could damage their cozy, subsidized relationship with traditional cable operators.
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