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by Karl Bode 01:47PM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
Google Fiber today confirmed that the company will be expanding its ultra-fast broadband service into Salt Lake City, Utah. According to a company blog post, Salt Lake City was chosen because of the city's "booming technology sector, world-renowned universities and a vibrant local culture." The city will be joining recently announced expansion cities including Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Nashville, and Atlanta -- all currently in the network design phase.

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"Over the coming months, we’ll work closely with these cities to map out just where to lay our fiber-optic cables," said Google's Devin Baer. "There’s a lot of work ahead; as the new Associate City Manager for Google Fiber in Salt Lake City, I can’t wait to see what the city does with superfast Internet."

When the company announced its latest expansion plans it stated that Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose were all likely targets for future Google Fiber deployments. Additional markets should be announced later this year.

As in existing launch markets of Provo, Austin and Kansas City, Google Fiber customers can nab a symmetrical 1 Gbps connection for $70 a month, TV and symmetrical 1 Gbps service for $130 a month ($120 for existing customers), or a symmetrical 5 Mbps connection for "free" after you've shelled out the $300 installation fee (at once or in installments).

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by Karl Bode 10:50AM Friday Mar 27 2015
When AT&T first launched their 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service in Austin late last year in response to Google Fiber, the company's pricing raised a few eyebrows. In addition to the $350 ETF, installation and activation fees (which Google doesn't charge), AT&T was only willing to truly match Google's $70 pricing point if you agreed to opt in to the company's Internet Preferences, which goes beyond Google-esque snooping to use deep packet inspection to track each and every website you visit, and for how long.
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by Karl Bode 09:18AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
Data pulled from Ookla suggests that the average downstream US connection speed has jumped 10 Mbps in the last year to 33.9 Mbps. That said, the US improvements were only enough to push it to 27th among the 199 countries ranked by average downstream speed.
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by Karl Bode 09:47AM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Labor unions have launched a new campaign taking aim at Verizon's stalled (read: stopped) FiOS deployment. As noted previously, Verizon's FiOS expansion has been over for several years, with the exception of franchise build out promises for major cities.
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by Karl Bode 07:25AM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Numerous users have sent in this Consumerist piece highlighting one man's failure to get broadband deployed to his new home -- a new home CenturyLink and Comcast insisted they already served pre-sale. Not only were CenturyLink and Comcast not able to service the home, the customer spends months running a gauntlet of what can only be called absurdist art disguised as customer service. What should have just been a "sorry we don't serve that address" evolves into a Kafka-esque exploration of modern American broadband. I won't add more of a synopsis, it's a story you should really read for yourself.

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by Karl Bode 11:49AM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
Back in February you'll recall that the FCC voted 3-2 to dismantle portions of state broadband laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that restricted towns and cities from deciding their own broadband policies for themselves. The laws are usually written by the broadband industry with one goal: protect incumbent ISP revenues from competition -- whatever form that competition takes.
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by Karl Bode 07:00PM Monday Mar 23 2015
A broadband industry trade group today filed suit in an attempt to overturn the FCC's new net neutrality rules. US Telecom, which represents AT&T, Verizon and other ISPs, filed a lawsuit in the U.S.
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by Karl Bode 01:39PM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Dish continues to beef up the channel lineup for its new broadband streaming TV service, Sling TV. According to a company blog post, they've now added A&E, HISTORY, H2 and Lifetime to the company's "Best of Live TV"$20 core package, which now includes twenty channels.
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by Karl Bode 05:50PM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
For years Comcast has had a nasty habit of charging some of its customers a modem rental fee -- even after the customer buys their own modem. Our forums are consistently filled with more than a few complaints by users saying that getting Comcast to stop charging rental fees for owned equipment can take months or longer, just one small reason that Comcast has the worst satisfaction ratings of any company in the United States.
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by Karl Bode 09:00AM Friday Mar 27 2015
Last week we noted how Canadian regulators were tired of waiting for cable operators to offer more flexible TV pricing options, so they effectively forced a la carte television on the Canadian market. The CRTC's ruling requires that operators offer a core TV package of channels for no more than $25 a month, above which consumers should have the option of adding either standalone channels or "small, reasonably priced" channel packages.
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by Karl Bode 07:59AM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
While the overall number of total pay TV subscribers is seeing a modest decline, the same can't be said for cable programming ratings -- which have been in free fall for several years. That's especially been true of children's programming, with parents (and kids) often finding better value with Netflix content.
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by Karl Bode 09:00AM Monday Mar 23 2015
As we noted yesterday, copyright troll Voltage Pictures was forced by a Canadian court to pay TekSavvy $21,500 for legal and other costs related to handing over the identities of 2,300 broadband customers. The goal is to make the sort of "settlement-o-matic" revenue streams too expensive for copyright trolls.
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by Karl Bode 12:56PM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) this week unveiled the Surveillance State Repeal Act (pdf), which would dramatically reform the nation's growing intelligence surveillance apparatus.
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by Karl Bode 09:20AM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
For forty years now, regulators have enforced a rule that blacks out local NFL games on television if locals didn't buy enough tickets to see the games. The idea at the time was to aid a young and struggling league, but as time has passed the rules have proven burdensome on communities, and an unnecessary "subsidy" for a hugely profitable NFL.
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by Karl Bode 05:26PM Friday Mar 27 2015
Speaking at Ohio State University today, FCC boss Tom Wheeler took direct aim at the nation's biggest ISPs, promising the FCC would be victorious in the legal fight over net neutrality. Wheeler's speech again tried to shoot down some well-worn narratives being circulated by the broadband industry, namely that the new rules will stifle sector innovation and investment.
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by Bill Neilson 12:33PM Monday Mar 23 2015
As this site has noted on numerous occasions, AT&T and Verizon continue going state-to-state whining about how unfair the rules and regulations governing landline networks are towards business. According to the telecom companies, we can fix this issue by simply dismantling government rules governing POTS and DSL -- in order to create a surge in "innovation" and "investment."

In reality, the telecom companies simply want to walk away from DSL and copper customers so that they can focus solely on higher-growth wireless customers.
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by Karl Bode 03:15PM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
When Comcast originally announced its planned $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable in February of last year, the company predicted that they'd see DOJ and FCC approval sometime before the end of 2014. With early 2015 now quickly headed for mid 2015 and opposition to the deal causing doubts about approval, Comcast has been forced to shift their planned approval date to mid year.
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by Karl Bode 05:20PM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
Earlier this year we noted how Portland was changing its tax code and a number of city ordinances in order to lure Google Fiber to the city. So far that seems to be working, with Portland on deck to be a potential launch market sometime later this year.
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by Karl Bode 06:53PM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure defended the company's support of Title II-based net neutrality rules this week, proclaiming that the company won't be able to survive in a fight against AT&T without some tougher rules of the road. Back in January, Sprint surprised the industry by throwing its support behind reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II.
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by Karl Bode 02:22PM Monday Mar 23 2015
Just a month or so after Comcast's former social media chief gave some tough advice to the company, Comcast appears poised to dramatically expand its social media support department. According to a Comcast blog post, the company says it's tripling the size of its social media team, as well as "giving them additional resources and support" needed to help customers on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere:
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With a much bigger team, we’ll be able to support customers across more platforms.
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by Karl Bode 11:01AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
T-Mobile owned MetroPCS this week took the wraps off a new prepaid plan that offers users unlimited voice, text and data for $30 a month. According to the press release, the new plan started yesterday (Tuesday) and sets a "new standard in value" when compared to comparable offerings from Boost Mobile and Cricket. It's worth noting that only 1 GB of your "unlimited" allotment is at 4G speeds -- after that you're throttled back to an unspecified data rate for the remainder of your billing cycle. MetroPCS also notes that LTE phones won't quality for the new discounted rate, and the phone you use needs to be purchased from a MetroPCS store.

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by Karl Bode 08:08AM Friday Mar 27 2015
Most TV operators aren't willing to offer a lower cost, standalone streaming TV offering for fear of cannibalizing their traditional, and far more lucrative, traditional TV subscriber base -- but can't ever candidly admit as much. Dish Networks boss Charlie Ergen apparently has no such compulsion.
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by Karl Bode 08:26AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
As Radio Shack moves to auction of its assets in bankruptcy auction -- a unique asset is up for sale as part of the process: the customer data of some 117 million customers. This data was supposedly protected by a privacy policy claiming "we will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time," resulting in a legal challenge by the states of Tennessee and Texas.

Joining them in their legal challenge is AT&T, who filed an objection in Delaware bankruptcy court stating they wanted the data returned or destroyed:
quote:
In a filing Friday, Dallas-based AT&T said details of its agreement with RadioShack, which has been in effect since June 29, 2005, and other confidential information, belong to AT&T and its customers. That information was in RadioShack’s hands to fulfill their obligation under the almost 10-year-old agreement, “and not so that they could provide or sell this information to third parties, including AT&T competitors."
Bloomberg notes that some 13 million e-mail addresses and 65 million customer names and physical address files are going to be part of the sale process unless these challenges succeed.

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by Karl Bode 07:22PM Friday Mar 27 2015
Please carefully place your most interesting thoughts into the repository conveniently provided below.

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by Karl Bode 03:56PM Thursday Mar 26 2015
AT&T today announced that the company's faster 75 Mbps U-Verse tier has arrived in portions of Houston. The announcement comes after AT&T unveiled they'd expanded the speedier tier's footprint to seven additional markets (Baton Rouge, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Mobile, New Orleans, and South Bend) earlier this month.
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by Karl Bode 11:12AM Thursday Mar 26 2015
While net neutrality opponents in Congress have spent weeks shaming the FCC for standing up to ISPs, and the ISPs themselves have launched new lawsuits to kill the rules entirely, there's growing concern that the rules may have too many truck-sized loopholes for ISPs to skip through. Despite being portrayed breathlessly as "heavy-handed regulation of the Internet," the actual rules don't apply most of the heaviest aspects of Title II onto broadband providers.
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by Karl Bode 02:49PM Friday Mar 27 2015
You might recall that back in 2011 the Obama Administration promised that the government would be dedicating itself to delivering "next generation" wireless broadband to 98% of the public within the next five years. As we noted at the time the promise was rather empty rhetoric, given that deployment of LTE to that percentage of the population was likely going to happen with or without White House help.
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by Karl Bode 08:04AM Thursday Mar 26 2015
Just a few years ago, TV viewer tracking firm Nielsen proclaimed that the idea of TV cord cutting in favor of Internet video alternatives was "purely fiction." Subsequent Nielsen reports have often quite adorably gone out of their way to downplay cord cutters to make TV executives (pleased with the status quo) happy. All that time Nielsen, a company tasked with tracking TV viewing habits didn't see fit to actually track Internet video viewers, making them probably the last organization one should ask regarding television's evolution.

That officially changed this week, with Nielsen finally stating they'd be tracking Netflix viewing patterns sometime by the middle of this year:
quote:
“That will be the last significant portion of overall television content viewing that we don’t already measure,” Barns said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We really will have a full set of capabilities in the market to measure what we call the total audience across all screens, devices and platforms."
Netflix meanwhile has consistently refused to disclose viewing numbers, and has repeatedly stated that viewer totals don't matter for ad-free subscription services. The company called such a practice an "outdated mode of doing business."

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by Karl Bode 04:07PM Monday Mar 23 2015
For those of you that struggle to nab a reliable hotspot connection at your favorite airport, you may find it worth noting that Verizon and T-Mobile have taken top honors in a new study that specifically examines wireless network performance at airports. According to the full RootMetrics study, the firm studied not only available speed, but overall network reliability across fifty different airports.
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by Karl Bode 10:10AM Monday Mar 23 2015
As we've noted previously, Google's expansion into Google Fiber isn't just about delivering 1 Gbps service, it's about using the platform to pioneer new ad technologies. For years cable operators and broadcasters have relied on Nielsen monitoring boxes to determine ad views, but Google is now pioneering new technology in Kansas City that will determine exactly how many Google Fiber TV customers ads are reaching.
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by Karl Bode 08:09AM Monday Mar 23 2015
Cox Communications (see our user reviews) says the company's all digital upgrades continue to expand into additional markets, eventually paving the way for faster 1 Gbps speeds. The company's migration to all digital kicked off last year in Connecticut, and has now expanded into Rhode Island and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the cable operator is reclaiming spectrum used by around sixty analog channels. Next in line is New Orleans and Cleveland, where the freed spectrum will make room for more digital channels, more VOD options, and the inevitable launch of its promised 1 Gbps, DOCSIS 3.1 offering sometime next year.

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by Karl Bode 08:14AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015
As we noted last month, Dish Network has been taking heat for some creative shenanigans at the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction. One, despite spending $13.3 billion at auction Dish appears to have used a legal "small business" loophole to save themselves around $3 billion.
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by Karl Bode 04:03PM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
The NFL certainly hasn't been as cutting edge as Major League Baseball when it comes to Internet video -- in large part thanks to the company's exclusive arrangement with DirecTV (soon to be AT&T). But the league appears to be taking baby steps next season with the news they'll be taking bids to exclusively stream the week seven Jacksonville Jaguars-Buffalo Bills game to be played in London. The effort may eventually lead to an Internet video company winning bids to a suite of season games, though what this will look like (and how much it will cost) remains entirely unclear.

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by Karl Bode 08:17AM Tuesday Mar 24 2015
Many of you might remember NebuAD, the since-deceased company that in 2007 found itself under fire for using deep packet inspection to monitor online user behavior (see our 2008 interview with the company's CEO). While the company ultimately imploded due to bad PR and lawsuits, some ISPs still face lawsuits over their participation in NebuAD's snoopvertising programs.
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by Karl Bode 04:34PM Friday Mar 27 2015
September of last year wireless operator C Spire issued a rather surprising announcement saying they were going to start deploying fixed-line broadband networks capable of 1 Gbps in several markets within their (mostly Southern) footprint. C Spire's initial focus will primarily be on Mississippi, where nine cities are currently in the running to be the first to get the speedier service.
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by Karl Bode 12:26PM Friday Mar 27 2015
Facebook and Google have been in a bit of a race toward drone and balloon broadband connectivity, professing a rather breathless interest in connecting developing nations (though obviously the real interest is in delivering ads to billions of new eyeballs). Speaking at its F8 conference, Facebook this week offered a tiny bit more detail on its broadband drone ambitions, which under "project Aquila" involve giant drones that deliver broadband from 60,000 to 90,000 feet via laser.
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by Revcb 07:17AM Thursday Mar 26 2015

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by Revcb 06:53AM Monday Mar 23 2015

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by Revcb 06:47AM Wednesday Mar 25 2015

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by Revcb 06:38AM Friday Mar 27 2015

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