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While ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T claim that the latest round of peering and interconnection fights (and poor Netflix performance) are just peering business as usual, Netflix and transit operators continue to accuse ISPs of anti-competitive shenanigans. Level 3 last May proclaimed
that six of the largest ISPs were intentionally creating points of "permanent congestion" by refusing to upgrade their side of transit-operator facing connection links -- only resolved through direct interconnection payments to ISPs.
Verizon recently denied any wrong doing
in a blog post, insisting that they'd done an internal review of their network and found absolutely no congestion. To hear Verizon tell it, the streaming problems plaguing only the customers of certain ISPs are Netflix's fault for intentionally choosing poor transit providers.
In a blog post
today, Level3 VP of Content and Media Mark Taylor says Verizon's recent denial (and Verizon's handy infographic, above) actually proves that they're intentionally throttling connections.
Verizon's infographic shows a red bar where companies like Level3 and Verizon connect to exchange traffic requested by Verizon customers. Taylor points out that Level3 has ample bandwidth on their end of that equation, and -- as mirrored in earlier posts -- accuses Verizon of failing to upgrade capacity on their
end of that connection -- intentionally. Level3 uses the Los Angeles interconnection point in Verizon's example to make their case:
All of the Verizon FiOS customers in Southern California likely get some of their content through this interconnection location.
Ryan Block and his wife Veronica Belmont simply wanted to cancel their Comcast service, but as the now-viral recording below illustrates, Comcast simply wouldn't allow it. According to Block
, this call actually begins some ten minutes into the process of trying to get Comcast to cancel service.
Colin Nederkoorn, CEO of software company Customer.io is a bit annoyed that his 75 Mbps FiOS connection can't stream a Netflix video. In a blog post
and accompanying test video
, Nederkoorn notes that his normally-speedy 75 Mbps FiOS connection struggles along at 375 kbps.
New FCC boss Tom Wheeler has now stated several times
he'd like to take aim at incumbent-ISP state laws that ban or prohibit towns and cities from deploying their own broadband. Chattanooga is ready for Wheeler to actually start following through with this promise any day now. The city wants to expand their successful 1 Gbps municipal broadband service to additional users, but finds themselves running up against protectionist Tennessee laws
bought by the likes of Comcast:
“We continue to receive requests for broadband service from nearby communities to serve them,” Bailey said. “We believe cities and counties should have the right to choose the infrastructure they need to support their economies."
We shouldn't have too long to wait to see if Wheeler's support of eliminating these protectionist laws has any substance to it.
In an emergency petition
filed with the FCC, T-Mobile accuses AT&T and Verizon of hoarding spectrum for anti-competitive benefit, then over-charging consumers via usage caps the company argues aren't technically necessary. To hear T-Mobile tell it, AT&T and Verizon then use their duopoly power to hoard spectrum to limit competitors, then charge those under-positioned competitors an arm and a leg for roaming connectivity -- jacking up prices for everyone in the process.
writes in to note that Netflix has offered their latest streaming performance rankings for broadband ISPs
. Cablevision, Cox and Suddenlink continue to take the top three spots among the largest ISPs (head here
and click on "expand results" to see smaller ISPs like Google Fiber included in the rankings).
Dish announced in May of last year
that the company would be offering fixed LTE services in a new partnership with nTelos. At the time, the companies stated they'd be ultimately offering the service in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky -- though hard details on the plan were hard to come by.
Comcast made the wrong kind of headlines this week after a support representative was recorded simply refusing to let a customer cancel
. Comcast was quick to insist that the company was "embarrassed" by the employee's behavior, claiming that the employee was "unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives." Except since the story broke, numerous Comcast employees have come forward to point out that obnoxious upselling is the rule, not the exception.
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.
Confirming earlier leaks
, Verizon has announced that they will soon be offering prepaid users access to the LTE network. Previously, prepaid users were allowed allowed on Verizon's EVDO/3G/CDMA network to reduce strain on the LTE network.
The war of words between Netflix and Verizon continued last week, with Verizon announcing they'd conducted a thorough review of their network
and found absolutely no possible cause for the Netflix streaming issues their customers are experiencing. In short, Verizon says the congestion isn't their fault, instead, blaming Netflix's choice of transit partners.
Deposit something interesting into the comment section conveniently provided below.
Back in May Cox Communications tried to jump on the 1 Gbps excitement bandwagon by announcing
they would offer 1 Gbps service to all users -- in a few years or more. As part of that announcement Cox announced something more immediate: a bump in Preferred & Premier tier speeds to 50Mbs & 100Mbs respectively, starting in July. Arizona users appear to be the first in line for the speed increases
, with the whole state upgraded by the end of July. Cox is murky on details beyond Arizona, though you can track the deployment progress via this thread
in our Cox forums.
A report in the Telegraph
claims that Google may be interested in someday expanding Google Fiber into the UK. Google has held talks with a British company by the name of CityFibre, though those talks broke down after the company began worrying a partnership would damage their relationships with UK incumbents.
The Internet Association -- a trade group representing 36 different Internet companies including Google, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Yahoo, and PayPal -- have filed a formal request with the FCC
(pdf) urging the agency to pass "simple, light touch rules" protecting the even and fair delivery of content and services across broadband networks.
The companies call on the FCC to subject broadband ISPs to nondiscrimination, no-blocking, and "robust" transparency requirements, while also ensuring ISPs aren't hindering competitors through peering or other shenanigans.
If at first you don't succeed, try again. And again. story continues..
New FCC boss Tom Wheeler has now stated several times
he'd like to take aim at incumbent-ISP state laws that ban or prohibit towns and cities from deploying their own broadband. To stop this, Rep.
As content companies and broadband video operators increasingly sign exclusive deals, the availability of content gets increasingly fractured, making it confusing for consumers to know which service offers which content. Case in point is a new deal between Viacom and Hulu
, which makes all episodes of the animated series South Park
a Hulu Plus exclusive. "This is a natural partnership for us,” Parker and Stone said in a prepared statement. "We are excited that the entire library will be available on Hulu and that the best technology around will power South Park Digital Studios." Granted some argue that restricting availability to content by platform ultimately results in driving many users to piracy.
The FCC last week voted along partisan lines to approve a plan that will take $2 billion in e-Rate funds to bring improved Wi-Fi connectivity to schools. According to the FCC announcement
, the subsidies should bring Wi-Fi to 10 million additional students in 2015 alone. Democrats originally wanted to earmark $5 billion on Wi-Fi and eliminate an E-Rate rule requiring funds be used for fixed-line services before being used for Wi-Fi, but weakened the proposal under Republican opposition. FCC Boss Tom Wheeler recently complained after visiting some schools
that he saw Ethernet jacks in many school rooms sitting unused; countless billions in previous subsidies having left the job incomplete.
The House this week quietly passed a permanent ban on Internet access taxes
, making permanent the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998, which was extended in 2007. "This legislation prevents a surprise tax hike on Americans' critical services this fall,” said House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte. "It also maintains unfettered access to one of the most unique gateways to knowledge and engine of self-improvement in all of human history." Should the ban also pass the Senate, states will have to work harder than ever to get their pound of flesh via other online transaction taxes.
Historically, unless you're willing to argue with DirecTV over whether you have satellite line of sight -- or you get it via some kind of promotion (like the Madden NFL game bundle
last year) -- it can be difficult or impossible to get a standalone version of NFL Sunday Ticket. Yesterday numerous press outlets breathlessly-proclaimed that this would be changing via the introduction of NFL Sunday Ticket Live Online
, which offers out of market NFL games via broadband -- without a cable TV subscription.
For months now we've seen endless reports stating that Sprint owner SoftBank and T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom were on the precipice of finalizing details on the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, yet an official announcement never seems to materialize. The latest "the deal is close and we mean it this time" leak comes courtesy of Japanese business publication Nikkei, which states
, the two companies are just ironing out a few, last minute wrinkles. The report claims SoftBank will buy more than 50% of T-Mobile shares through Sprint from Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank paying cash and using stock swaps to cover the estimated purchase cost of more than 1.7 trillion yen ($16 billion).Update
: Meanwhile Bloomberg
notes that SoftBank is asking banks to commit to financing for a "longer-than-usual amount of time," suggesting Masayoshi Son expects quite a protracted regulatory approval process.
To get their acquisition of Time Warner Cable approved, Comcast has been telling anybody who'll listen that the deal will somehow create more competition. They're making this claim at a time when AT&T and Verizon are looking to exit unwanted DSL markets, literally shoveling customers in Comcast's direction
, resulting in less competition than ever before across huge swaths of the country.
As noted yesterday
, today is technically the end of the first round of public comments on the FCC's new, controversial network neutrality rules. Unfortunately, it appears that the FCC's aging website couldn't handle the rush of the last minute load of commenters (or, just as probably, it couldn't handle several Reddit threads
that have been on the front page the last day).
T-Mobile states that they've turned on "wideband" 15x15 MHz channels in Las Vegas, making the city one of seventeen markets where the improved capacity and faster speeds are now available. "We have more capacity per customer than any other major national U.S. wireless carrier plus we continue to offer the fastest nationwide 4G LTE in the U.S. and deliver the most consistent LTE speeds," crows the uncarrier in a press release
. For these markets T-Mobile combines their AWS spectrum acquired from MetroPCS to offer theoretical peak download speeds up to 110 Mbps and theoretical peak upload speeds of 38 Mbps.
In addition to their plans to announce a potential merger, Sprint and T-Mobile are looking to join forces and collectively bid on spectrum at next year's incentive auction. The two companies are planning to form a joint venture
, via which they'll spend upwards of $10 billion to bid on 600 MHz television broadcaster spectrum. Reports suggest that T-Mobile would spearhead the spectrum acquisition effort, though this could change as details surrounding the two companies' merger get ironed out. The JV "would help the companies participate in the auction without running afoul of rules that discourage collusion," notes the Journal.
Last month Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced the "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act
(pdf), which aims to make unlocking one's cell phone technically legal again, even if it doesn't fully address the myriad of problems with the DMCA. In January of last year unlocking your cellphone technically became illegal
after the Librarian of Congress removed it from the DMCA exception list.
There's one day left for the public to comment on the FCC's controversial new net neutrality rules, which in their current form many argue will simply encode the kind of troll tolls and prioritized pricing schemes carriers have spent a decade dreaming about. The FCC itself says they've received some 650,000 comments so far
. If you've yet to add your two cents to the cacophony, click here to go directly to the FCC's form
(proceeding 14-28) or send an e-mail to the FCC’s dedicated neutrality address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've been writing about the dysfunction of the FCC's E-Rate program
for a very long time. The system, which you pay into via Universal Service Fund (USF
) fees, is designed to deliver broadband and technology services to the nation's schools and libraries.
The FCC's website has failed numerous times during the initial network neutrality comment period, something the agency is blaming on budget cuts. In a blog post
, FCC boss Tom Wheeler Congress has failed to provide a large enough budget for IT upgrades, insisting that additional funding would help to prevent similar problems in the future and that the agency currently operates under a budget that "would be unacceptable to any well-managed business." The complaints come as Congress votes this week on a bill that would reduce the FCC's already-slashed budget another $17 million. The FCC extended their neutrality comment filing deadline until Friday after the most recent website choke.
Verizon several months ago stated Wall Street speculation that the company would acquire dish was unfounded, and more specifically "fantasy
." That hasn't apparently stopped Wall Street analysts from perpetuating the rumor the last few months, causing Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam to again insist Verizon has no interest in a Dish buy
. Speaking to CNBC this week, McAdam stated Dish "has got some great spectrum" but that "buying the whole company doesn't make sense for us." Dish continues to insist they hope to use their spectrum to build an LTE network, but if the company every changes their tune and sells their spectrum assets, it's clear Verizon will be first in line.