Please tell us what you want for Christmas in the comment section below.
In a network build blog update
, Sprint says the company has reached all of its major milestones in 2014. According to Sprint Chief Network Officer John Saw, Sprint finished their Network Vision deployment (consolidating, removing/replacing gear), finished rolling out HD Voice by July, expanded the company's footprint across all 3 bands at 1.9 GHz, 800 MHz and 2.5 GHz and reached 100 million people with 2.5 GHz LTE by the end of 2014.
As part of the government's announcement this week that they'd be easing restrictions on Cuba, it announced that U.S. telecom firms will now be able to do business in Cuba. story continues..
T-Mobile has settled with the government over claims the wireless carrier aided cramming and turned a blind eye to the practice because it was profitable. Earlier this year the FTC sued T-Mobile over the practice
, and now the FTC says T-Mobile will pay at least $90 million to customer refunds.
CableLabs continues to push the DOCSIS 3.1 standard to completion, which means that significantly faster cable speeds are just over the horizon. According to a CableLabs announcement
, six unnamed hardware vendors have completed the first round of interoperability tests for new DOCSIS 3.1 products, gear that will someday be capable of offering 10 Gbps downstream and 1 Gbps upstream.
After months of heated battle between T-Mobile and AT&T over roaming costs, this week the FCC issued a declaratory ruling
that could open the door toward T-Mobile having to pay less to connect to incumbent networks. The FCC says they're not technically changing the rules, but says they'll provide guidance on what precisely constitutes a "commercially reasonable" data roaming agreement.
Relatively new Comcast "Senior VP of Customer Experience" Charlie Herrin blogs
that the company has introduced a new wrinkle for its customer support. According to Herrin, customers can now schedule a specific time for Comcast to call them instead of waiting on hold (and those hold times can sometimes be a killer
) using the company's new Xfinity "My Account" app. "Simply enter in your phone number, select the time you want us to call you (call times are available in 15-minute windows), and you're all set," claims Herrin.
Cox Communications says the company has begun the company's migration to digital television, starting with customers in parts of Connecticut
. As with other cable providers, the migration to digital will free up spectrum used by analog video -- that spectrum being repurposed for additional VOD options, more channels, and ultimately part of the company's DOCSIS 3.1 speed bumps. Cox has stated they plan to begin migrating most of their users to 1 Gbps, DOCSIS 3.1 connections starting sometime in 2016
. Cox says some additional markets will be migrated throughout next year, but has not provided a deployment schedule.
by Revcb 07:29AM Friday Dec 19 2014
Several CenturyLink customers have e-mailed me to note that the company is reaching out to users with a not-so-welcome holiday gift: rate hikes in the new year. According to the notification being sent out to users, standalone broadband customers can expect to start paying $2 more per month in the new year, while bundled phone and broadband customers will see a $1 increase. story continues..
AT&T today announced that the company will begin offering 75 Mbps downstream, 8 Mbps upstream U-Verse connections in select areas. According to an AT&T blog post
, AT&T U-verse "High Speed Internet 75" is launching today in "parts of" Monterey and Sacramento, California, Toledo, Ohio; and El Paso, Texas.
You might recall that back in February Blackberry CEO John Chen insisted he was "outraged
" that T-Mobile was running a promotion aimed at selling discounted iPhones to Blackberry users. A few months of subsequent snark resulted in Blackberry stating they wouldn't be renewing an expiring licensing arrangement with T-Mobile. Comments made by both T-Mobile and Blackberry
suggest that the companies are healing any rifts made by the verbal scuffle, even though it remains entirely unclear when exactly an actual deal could emerge:
Answering media questions after T-Mobile's Uncarrier 8.0 launch on Tuesday, Legere said that he's open to finding a way for T-Mobile customers to have BlackBerry phones, provided the handset maker cooperates. Chen then told CNet today at its BlackBerry Classic event that he was also open to it and should connect with Legere (although I imagine he'd like to do it in person and not over Twitter).
Chen's move was curious given that after the last few years, Blackberry still needs all the friends it can get.
A new study
by the Commerce Department confirms something FCC boss Wheeler has been repeating in recent months: competition for faster speeds in the U.S. barely exists because of lagging DSL networks.
As this site has written about for many years
, one of the biggest abuses found in the telecom industry continues to be the way that incumbent cable companies go about threatening lawsuits against cash-strapped cities if the cities allow for another cable company to enter the incumbent’s area.
The cable companies like to reference language found in most franchise agreements called the most-favored-nation provisions.
While there's a smattering of video services (like the BBC iPlayer), Netflix customers waiting for a day when they can download content instead of just stream it shouldn't hold their breath. Netflix director of corporate communications Cliff Edwards tells TechRadar
"it's never going to happen," oddly claiming poor Wi-Fi quality is the reason why (it's more likely broadcaster licensing restrictions and DRM-related issues). While it might be a nice feature for those worried about their cellular data allotments, Netflix insists it's a "short term fix for a bigger problem." Amazon, in contrast, states they support the concept and will be expanding offline viewing (aka downloading) across additional devices in the future.
Time Warner Cable and Boingo have announced that they've expanded a Passpoint roaming agreements the two companies first announced back in June
. According to the companies' press release
, this means that Boingo and Time Warner Cable customers can use and log in to the Wi-Fi hotspots of each company automatically without re-entering credentials for each.
by Revcb 08:07AM Thursday Dec 18 2014
Back in January we were the first to report
that Comcast was again doubling speeds on many of its tiers, starting first with the company's Midwest division. As noted then, upgraded Comcast users will see the company's "Performance" tier bumped from 25/5 to 50/5 Mbps, their "Blast" tier from 50/10 to 105/10 Mbps, and their Extreme 105 speeds bumped from 105/20 Mbps to 150/20 Mbps.
Dish Network appears to be the first major pay TV player willing to integrate Netflix into the company's set top box hardware. Reports recently emerged
that Netflix was making a refocused push to get Netflix on the set tops of the biggest cable operators.
We've discussed at length how AT&T's "IP transition" is being framed as some sort of evolutionary transition toward a "glorious all-IP future," but is really largely about AT&T gutting regulations in order to hang up on POTS (plain old telephone) and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade
. The name of the game is terminating these unwanted users and pushing them users toward significantly more expensive (and capped) LTE wireless service.
Add Tucows' MVNO Ting to the growing list of companies pushing into the 1 Gbps field after being inspired by Google Fiber and community broadband efforts. Ting was one of several companies to try and disrupt wireless industry pricing last year by incorporating a "free" tier of mobile data service, layered with a more civil treatment of its subscribers. story continues..
Users in our Shaw forums
point out that the company thought it was a good idea to not only raise rates for all its tiers, but in a roundabout way reduce speeds for users as well by eliminating the company's fastest 100 Mbps tier (for now). These two
Reddit threads appear to have leaked Shaw's plans. Users are calling these downgrades, and argue that what Shaw is basically doing to their usage tiers is this:
• Shaw 100mbps becomes Shaw 60mbps
• Shaw 50mbps becomes Shaw 30mbps
• Shaw 25mbps becomes Shaw 15mbps
• Shaw 10mbps becomes Shaw 5mbps
It appears that existing users will be grandfathered at their existing speeds for now, but everybody
will be getting the following price hikes, as this user's chart indicates:
Confirming the leaks over at the company's forums
, Shaw officials would like users to know you shouldn't see speed reductions and price hikes as a downgrade, because they provide "greater value for customers" by providing "more value per Mbps":
These new services will introduce faster download speeds and greater value for customers who have our most popular tiers by providing more value per Mbps (Megabits Per Second) download rate.
HS 10 improves to Internet 15
HS 25 improves to Internet 30
BB 50 improves to Internet 60
Whether you consider that a speed upgrade or downgrade, the fact you're paying more remains the same. Happy new year?
As part of a broader effort to appeal to would-be cord cutters and join the modern era, Comcast's NBC Universal is preparing to offer live streams of the company's programming. According to the Wall Street Journal
, the streams will be available on computer starting next Tuesday, with tablets and smartphones supported sometime next year. The catch? As with all cable industry "TV Everywhere" initiatives, you'll need to prove you're a cable customer and authenticate your credentials before gaining access to the streams. Despite this, the NBC mantra for marketing the new initiative will be "Watch TV Without the TV."
by Revcb 07:02AM Wednesday Dec 17 2014
In June of last year Google unveiled Google Loon
, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft.
The country's biggest ISPs (and their vast and assorted policy tendrils) have spent the last six months claiming that Title-II based net neutrality rules would destroy the Internet, crush sector innovation and stall network investment. That's why it was curious last week when Verizon stated at an investors conference
that Title II really wouldn't hurt the company much at all.
T-Mobile this morning unveiled their latest "Uncarrier" press salvo, announcing that the company will now be offering customers roll over data. According to a company announcement
, both new and existing T-Mobile customers will be given what T-Mobile's calling a "Data Stash," or a data allotment where they can store unused data at the end of each month.
HBO Go this week announced
that the streaming service has been made available to Amazon Fire TV owners today, with Fire Stick customers having access to the app sometime in the Spring. Of course if you head to activate your device
, you'll find that Comcast and Charter aren't supported.
The number of consumers that are skipping cable TV and only ordering broadband services from their ISP is accelerating, according to a new study by Marchex
. In a survey of 500 customers of large ISPs, the company found that 27% are now ordering just broadband from their provider, while just 22% now order just television services.
The $43 billion spent on wireless spectrum and increased pressure to compete on price has Wall Street nervous about the wireless industry. The Wall Street Journal
notes that the combination of the $43 billion spent this month on spectrum and increased competitive pressure resulted in the big four wireless carriers losing an estimated $45 billion in value. Wall Street's worries come on the heels of admissions by AT&T and Verizon that they're starting to feel the pinch of T-Mobile's uncarrier strategy
. Of course should you actually listen to the carriers, all four have made it clear the last thing they want is a price war
Under development for some time
, the FCC appears poised to vote to approve rule changes that would give over the top streaming operators the same rights as cable companies. Multichannel News
notes the FCC appears to have a Democratic majority on the vote, which should occur at the commission's January meeting. The rules mean that OTT players would technically be classified as MPVDs, meaning they'd get FCC-enforced access to vertically integrated programming, but they'd also have to negotiate retransmission consent with broadcasters.
T-Mobile today announced that the company's faster "wideband" LTE upgrades have gone live in New York City, the upgrades providing speed bumps of 50% and theoretical peak speeds of up to 100 Mbps downstream. According to a T-Mobile announcement
, the wideband upgrades are now available in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island and Northern NJ.
According to a 2003 class action lawsuit against Comcast, the cable giant's anti-competitive behavior in the Philadelphia area resulted in the company overcharging users to the tune of more than $875 million. The case has stumbled around the courts for several years now, though Comcast recently agreed to pay $50 million to settle the suit. The settlement gives roughly 800,000 current and former Comcast cable-TV subscribers in Pennsylvania $15 in credits, or Comcast services the value of which ranges from $30 to $43.90.
These services include "temporary Internet upgrades, six free pay-per-view movies, or two free months of the Movie Channel," notes the Phiadelphia Inquirer
Comcast Settlement 88281
Last week's raid by Swedish police of The Pirate Bay may have brought the purportedly "raid proof" website offline
, though overall torrenting numbers don't appear to have been impacted by the closure. According to data
from copyright file trading research firm Excipio, the total number of IP addresses engaged in P2P downloads of copyright material dropped from 99 million to 95 and 95.6 million for two days, before bouncing right back to around 100.2 million (the firm notes the daily average has been around 100.2 since November began). And so the game of whac-a-mole continues...
Remember: we're willing to pay community members or guest contributors who'd like to write content for the front page! Contact me
if you're interested. Topics can range from networking tips or your review of a new router, to your experiences as a cable installation technician, involvement with the transition to IPv6, or your effort to get your town wired with better broadband service. Be creative and pitch me a topic. Examples of community content range from Bill Neilson
's exploration of cities impacted by Comcast's looming departure
, to pjsutton
's fight to get Verizon to finally wire his town with broadband
Following through on previous promises, the FCC today voted along partisan lines to improve and modify the Universal Service Fund (USF) -- most notably requiring that ISPs provide speeds of at least 10 Mbps if they want to receive Connect America subsidy funding. According to the announcement
, the 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up standard is an increase from the 4 Mbps down, 1 Mbps standard set back in 2011. The FCC says they also made several other changes, including providing increased flexibility in build out requirements for program participants "while still ensuring that support recipients are reaching out to Americans that were previously unserved."
by Revcb 07:02AM Monday Dec 15 2014