Ever since Ryan Block recorded a Comcast support representative refusing to let him cancel service
, we've seen a swarm of recorded videos showing precisely why Comcast has the worst customer support rankings across any
industry. Earlier this week Comcast was recorded defending $182 in phantom charges
until a customer provided a recording of them promising the user wouldn't be charged. None of this stuff is unique or out of context: these are things customers have complained about for a decade or more.
The latest video going viral is a customer who was left on hold with Comcast's customer retention department for three hours in an attempt to cancel service. He had tried to have his service repaired unsuccessfully for a month, and simply wanted to leave the company. Guess what? He couldn't:
Comcast has again been forced to issue a statement insisting that this isn't how the company does business, even though it's pretty clear by now this is precisely how Comcast does business:
We’re investigating this situation and certainly want to apologize to the customer. This isn’t how our customer service representatives are trained to operate."
Surely merging with Time Warner Cable and having to integrate all of that company's employees and support systems will make everything better?
Hi there. Come here often?
In June of last year Comcast announced
that the company was launching a new, Fon-like effort that involved new router firmware that turns your gateway into a publicly-accessible hotspot. More specifically, updated routers would now offer two signals: one being yours, and the other being a "xfinitywifi" SSID signal providing free Wi-Fi to other Comcast users in your general area.
One of Verizon's big arguments against net neutrality rules is that if you have a truly neutral network, the bits managing grandma's pacemaker or services for the deaf
will somehow get lost in the shuffle. That of course is a massive red herring, given that informed neutrality supporters obviously don't oppose reasonable network management, as long as it's fair and transparent.
Netflix has released the company's latest ISP streaming rankings
, which is based on 1 billion hours of TV viewing from 50 million Netflix members worldwide. Most of the list's leaders remain static, with Cablevision, Cox, Suddenlink, Charter and Comcast rounding out the top five.
AT&T has announced that the company has officially started selling symmetrical 1 Gbps Gigapower connections in select parts of their home town of Dallas. According to a company press release
, 1 Gbps speeds are only available to residents and small businesses in the Highland Park and University Park neighborhoods.
ViaSat is offering a new tier of satellite service they're promising will provide historically-heavily capped satellite broadband users a "virtually unlimited" service. According to a company announcement
, ViaSat's new "Freedom" plan provides users with "at least 150 GBs of monthly data without a strict data allowance" for $70 a month ($60 if you bundle phone service).
directs our attention to a leaked memo sent to T-Mobile staff
that indicates T-Mobile is going to start clamping down on customers who use their T-Mobile LTE connections for peer-to-peer file sharing. The memo notes that starting August 17, T-Mobile will begin reaching out to these users to remind them to read terms and conditions, which prohibits a number of behaviors including P2P.
According to a new report by Experian Marketing Services
, "cord-cutters" grew by 44 percent in the past four years, with 7.6 million households using broadband for streaming or downloading videos instead of traditional cable or satellite television. The report found that 48 percent of all U.S. adults and 67 percent of young adults watch streaming or downloaded video during a typical week. "While we are seeing the way we view video drastically changing, television is likely to remain the primary device for consumer video; we just are witnessing the transition of the definition of television," states the company.
For years our users have complained of phantom Comcast charges -- especially Comcast's tendency to charge customers modem rental fees
even when they own the modem. Another classic Comcast blunder is the tendency to charge users for unreturned equipment fees -- even when all of the equipment has very clearly been returned.
After Google Fiber announced their expansion plans to Austin, AT&T rushed to announce that they too would be offering 1 Gbps service in the weird city. There were of course caveats for AT&T's service, including a bevy of fees not included in Google Fiber connections and a $30 surcharge
if you refused to have your online behavior tracked and monetized.
New Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure is scheduled to hold a company-wide "town hall" meeting on Thursday as he outlines his plan to revamp the sometimes-struggling wireless carrier now that the acquisition of T-Mobile has been scrapped. According to Bloomberg
, Claure's number one priority appears to be cutting costs. "In the short term, our success will come from our focus on becoming extremely cost efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace," the new CEO stated in a memo to employees. The Bloomberg piece quotes analysts that believe those cost cuts will come in the form of trimming some of Sprint's 36,000 employees.
Deployment of higher-fidelity VoLTE services has come in fits and starts lately after many delays, but it will be a few years before adoption is widespread enough to have a serious impact. Speaking at investor invent this week Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stated the company will begin offering voice calls over its LTE network toward the end of the year. The first Verizon Wireless smartphones to run voice calls exclusively over the 4G LTE network won't hit the market until the first half of 2016, predicts the CEO
. "For us, when we launch a new technology, we have to make sure our quality is strong because the CDMA network was so strong," Shammo stated. "We don't go before we know it's ready."
Last November, then-acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn admitted that the NFL blackout rules -- which prevent games from being televised locally when tickets remain unsold -- were incredibly outdated and benefit nobody other than NFL owners. Now, the NFL is threatening the FCC by claiming that if the blackout rules are not left in place, they will be forced to charge the public $60-$80 per month for games. story continues..
T-Mobile took significant heat this week after a leaked internal memo
indicated that the company would broadly be throttling "unlimited" LTE users who trade files via P2P. Aside from the whole "unlimited should be unlimited" argument, criticism has increased in recent years for the practice of using network management as a tool to drive users to metered plans (the memo indicated that metered users who use P2P would not
A new map
created by a company named Broadview Networks offers up insight into the broadband speed peaks and valleys across the United States. According to a blog post by the company
, Virginia is the fastest state in the union, offering an average of 13.7 Mbps, while Alaska is the slowest, providing an average speed of 7 Mbps. Silicon Valley, heart of the country's technology universe, clocks in at 10.9 Mbps. Most of the data here was pulled from Akamai's latest State of the Internet report
(pdf), which offers significantly more detail.
Reports story continues..
this week emerged that Comcast was contributing $110,000 and Time Warner Cable was contributing $22,000 to sponsor the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual dinner in September. The dinner, which promotes diversity in the cable industry, will this year honor FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.
Syracuse, New York is the perfect example of a broken American broadband industry. On the one hand, Verizon has refused to install FiOS in the city itself -- leaving the majority of the city's customers on outdated and very expensive DSL lines. story continues..
While Microsoft proclaimed they wanted the Xbox One to be the broadband-powered heart of the home TV universe
, the company hamstrung the device in numerous ways that prevented that from ever happening. One such way was by intentionally excluding some pretty basic functionality seen in nearly every media device. Microsoft this week announced
they'll be fixing some earlier missteps by adding the ability to stream videos from USB and from a DLNA server
. By the end of the year, claims Microsoft, the Xbox One will support streaming of dozens of new file formats -- including mkv.
In what marks the end of an era (of a sort), users note that they're receiving this e-mail from SpamCop noting that the service is going to be shut down:
"For over 12 years, Corporate Email Services has been partnering with SpamCop to provide webmail service with spam filtering via the SpamCop Email System for our users. Back then, spam filtering was rare.
If you've been having problems accessing DSLReports.com and a flood of other websites this week, you're not alone. The problem, as it turns out, was experienced by tier-one and last mile ISPs alike across much of North America. story continues..
The US broadband industry has spent years now trying to argue the United States broadband market is secretly flawless, awesome and highly competitive, despite the fact that absolutely every independent source of broadband data (from Akamai
and the FCC
to the OECD
and OOkla's Net Index
) suggests we're absolutely and utterly mediocre at every metric that counts.
Thanks to napping regulators, apathy, and a poorly-informed public, the lack of competition continues to be the primary reason for our mediocrity.
A few days ago we noted that Suddenlink was the latest to throw its hat into the 1 Gbps ring, insisting that the company would be offering 1 Gbps to 90% of its customers
by 2017. The move is an aggressive one for a company not historically known for aggressive upgrades, leading one to wonder how exactly Suddenlink hopes to manage this feat. While DOCSIS 3.0 can achieve a lot via channel bonding, we're several years out from seeing reliable 1 Gbps on cable, especially upstream.
The as-yet unfinished DOCSIS 3.1 standard might be able to get part of the way there when it's finished two years or so from now, but Suddenlink insists that's not what they'll be using
Given that DOCSIS 3.1, an emerging CableLabs spec that is targeting multi-gigabit speeds, is about two years away from scaled deployments, I asked the MSO if Operation GigaSpeed “hinged on” the 3.1 technology, and the answer was no. And the company declined to answer if FTTP would factor into Operation GigaSpeed, particularly in greenfields.
2017 isn't really that far away, leaving you to wonder if Suddenlink has developed a miracle technology they're keeping hidden in the wings, or if their promise is hot air designed largely to deflect criticism for lagging behind in the age of Google Fiber.
Before the recent bill making cell phone unlocking legal again was passed, the FCC got carriers to agree to a suite of voluntary commitments
requiring they make cell phone unlocking easier and clearer (at least for those out of contract). T-Mobile seems slightly ahead of the curve in releasing a new unlocking app
in the Google Play store that makes unlocking your phone a breeze (providing both temporary and permanent options). The catch? So far the app only works on the Samsung Galaxy Avant.
Add Suddenlink to the list of companies claiming that they too will someday offer 1 Gbps services. In a clear response to Google Fiber and the excitement around 1 Gbps service, Suddenlink has launched what they're calling "Operation GigaSpeed." In an earnings update
, Suddenlink claims that Operation GigaSpeed will bump the company's 15 Mbps tier to 200 Mbps, and the company's 107 Mbps tier to 1 Gbps.
There's no mention yet as to whether the company's usage caps and overage fees
will be coming along for the ride.
Project GigaSpeed will "include expenditures to upgrade data network headend equipment, replace any remaining deployed DOCSIS 2.0 customer premises equipment with DOCSIS 3.0 equipment, and complete our all-digital video conversion. We expect to complete these enhancements in a phased, market-by-market approach, focusing first on our largest and most competitive markets.”
The ISP insists they'll offer the speeds to 90% of their footprint by sometime in 2017, a promise I'm sure users in our Suddenlink forums
will want to keep an eye on.
Earlier this week Comcast stated they were "insulted
" by concerns that the company (alongside Time Warner Cable) was helping to fund a dinner to honor an FCC Commissioner currently deciding on the fate of their planned merger. Comcast was contributing $110,000 and Time Warner Cable was contributing $22,000 to sponsor the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual dinner, which promotes diversity in the cable industry.
As noted recently
, the FCC decided to dump all of the comments they received on net neutrality out in the open in the form of six XML files, allowing analysis of what people and companies were thinking on the issue. Initial dissection of that data was largely superficial, with stories exploring things like the fact that people sure like to say the f-bomb a lot
AT&T's flurry of cities where the company will offer limited deployments of 1 Gbps speeds continues, with the announcement
that Miami will also be a GigaPower market. As with previous announcements for Dallas, San Antonio and Nashville
, the announcement lacks any meaningful detail, AT&T simply stating that "specific locations of availability and pricing for the Miami market will be announced at a later date." Before Miami locals get too excited, you might want to read why these latest announcements by AT&T are a bit of a bluff
, and will focus primarily on only a select few high-end developments, college dorms and apartments.
Earlier this month Moody's investment service predicted that the cable industry's broadband subscribers should pass the total number of cable industry TV customers sometime next year
. But according to the latest data from Leichtman Research Group
, that has already happened -- at least when analyzing subscriber data from the largest cable operators.
You might think that after more than a decade of analyzing and discussing the key issues surrounding net neutrality that the government would have gathered enough information to have a yeoman's grasp of the subject. Not so! According to the FCC, the agency has scheduled a a series of roundtable discussions on the subject
that are to be held throughout the month of September.
The topics and dates for those interested:
• September 16 (a.m.): Policy Approaches to Ensure an Open Internet
• September 16 (p.m.): Mobile Broadband and the Open Internet
• September 19 (a.m.): Effective Enforcement of Open Internet Requirements
• September 19 (p.m.): Technological Aspects of an Open Internet
• October 2: Economics of Broadband: Market Successes and Market Failures
• October 7: Internet Openness and the Law
Holding these conversations out among us plebeians and away from AT&T, Verizon and Comcast lobbyists was a bridge too far
, notes the EFF, who laments that all the discussions will take place in DC.
CBS CEO Les Moonves announced on an earnings call last week that the network has started working on television series that will air exclusively on streaming video services
. "...Shortly, you're going to hear us being in business with some of the [streaming video services] with original program[s]," stated the CEO, who added that the company "will be producing more and more shows for more and more outlets, including major streaming companies and other emerging distributors." Moonves did not specifically name any streaming companies.
If a position flip flop by a Connecticut CWA union boss is any indication, Frontier's takeover of AT&T's landline operations in Connecticut just got quite a bit easier. CWA Local 1298 President William Henderson now says he supports the deal after opposing it previously
, complaining the two companies didn't offer much information.