Double-talk from industry supports notion that some regulation would benefit consumers
Since President Barack Obama voiced his support for reclassification of ISPs as utilities, there has been much debate back and forth, and back again on the topic of "Title II" regulation of carriers. Would it be the dystopian nightmare anti-government zealots and the carriers proclaim, or would it provide a golden utopia of progress for consumers and American businesses alike?
Upgrade from 4Mbps definition in 2011 keeps 1Mbps upstream minimum
Over the objections of carriers and cable companies, the FCC on Friday voted to change the definition of the term "broadband" to require a minimum speed of 10 megabits (one megabit equals one-eighth of a megabyte) per second (Mbps) download speed -- an upgrade from the previous definition of 4Mbps -- while keeping the old definition's requirement of at least 1Mbps upload. Although the US is far behind many other countries in typical broadband speed (and US customers pay more for the slower speed that typical prices in many other places), AT&T and Verizon, along with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, argued that 4Mbps was sufficient for consumers.
Kansas town to expand fiber infrastructure to cover residents, AT&T's interests affected
Chanute -- a small Kansas town with a population near 9,000 -- is seeking to expand its current municipal fiber in order to offer broadband services to its residents. To do so, the town must abide by a law from 1947 to seek permission from the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to sell bonds for the funds to build out the infrastructure. However, AT&T holds concerns over the potential effects the municipal service will have on the area, large enough that the company asked for permission to intervene into the proceedings.
Carrier pulls $33 billion in revenue, added over 2 million mobile, broadband customers
AT&T's quarterly results fell short of industry projections when the company announced $32.9 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2014. The resulting earnings per share (EPS) was $0.63, missing the projected $0.64 EPS on $33.25 billion in revenue. While the company may have missed projections, it announced that it picked up more than two million mobile and broadband customers.
Comments opened after organizations in Tennessee, North Carolina petitioned agency
After receiving petitions from the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee and the City of Wilson in North Carolina, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is opening comments on the subject of preempting state laws. Based on Chairman Tom Wheeler's previous comments on municipal broadband, the FCC would get involved in the battle if it meant better serving consumers.
EPB asks agency to step in, overturn state law to allow service outside existing area
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could soon have a chance to act on Chairman Tom Wheeler's promise to overturn state laws when it comes to municipal broadband networks. Today, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB) filed a petition with the agency asking that they step over state law to allow them to expand access.
Notice on Open Internet Transparency Rule tells ISPs to give accurate service information
In a public notice to Internet service providers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reminded business that they cannot lie to consumers about the services they offer. The notice informs business and the general public that "every provider of broadband Internet access in the United States" is subject to the Open Internet Transparency Rule.
Bill aims to remove FCC regulatory power, seeks to protect 'state rights'
A bill sponsored by US Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has been passed, which aims to strip the Federal Communications Commission's ability to interfere with laws passed to limit municipal broadband networks. Passing 228-195, generally along party lines, the bill, if signed into law, would reinforce strictures that make it difficult in 20 states to offer municipal broadband services in opposition to services provided by for-profit giants like Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable.
Change in target speeds will affect federal money allocations for expansions
The US Federal Communications Commission is considering revising what it officially calls "Broadband Access." A proposal floated before the FCC will soon solicit comments on the definition of broadband, and is asking the public of 10Mbps or 25Mbps download and 2.9Mbps upload should be considered broadband.
Carriers appealed plan over moving telephone subsidies to internet, subsidy concerns
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) saw its 2011 proposal to expand broadband to rural areas upheld after a judge rejected arguments from carriers over the loss of telephone subsidy funds. The Connect America Fund, a $4.5 million initiative aimed at spreading faster Internet access to seven million people who live in rural areas, was under review by the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver after numerous telecommunication companies challenged the plan.
Providers urge Wheeler to stick to initial plan, avoid reclassification of broadband
Senators, Internet companies and citizens aren't the only groups issuing letters to the Federal Communications Commission over proposed changes to net neutrality. CEOs of major telecommunication companies have stepped in, issuing a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler and the FCC commissioners, asking that changes in policy stay away from the concept of possible reclassification of broadband as public utilities.
Changes address public, corporate concerns that rules would end net neutrality
The head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Chairman Tom Wheeler, is said to be according to the revising his proposal on broadband rules, according to the Wall Street Journal. The uncirculated first version has come under heavy fire recently by a wide variety of parties, from the public, tech companies and government officials to the other FCC commissioners, all of whom have registered objections. Changes to the proposal will include language that would allow for FCC oversight on deals, in order to keep providers from separating traffic into two lanes of speed based on paid agreements.
Nintendo prepares to shutter Wii, DS multiplayer services on May 20th
Nintendo has revealed it will be shutting down its online multiplayer servers for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii on May 20th. The global closure will stop multiplayer games from working online through the Wi-Fi Connection service, but it will still allow other online aspects, such as the Wii Shop and video-on-demand services, to continue working. Online play for games made for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U will remain unaffected by the closure.
Lets users check connection speed, aggregate national averages
The US Federal Communications Commission has refreshed a broadband speed-checking tool for iOS that was originally created in 2010, and updated it for iOS 7 and other modern technologies. The free FCC Speed Test is part of the Measuring Broadband America initiative, and is part of an FCC initiative to get a better "performance map" of US broadband. Users can view historical test data and current performance using the program.
Analog TV switch-off to free up bandwidth for faster connections
Time Warner Cable is planning to improve its Internet and paid television service in Los Angeles and New York under a new initiative, the cable company has revealed. Under the name "TWC Maxx," the company hopes to provide faster Internet speeds, a new TV experience, and a more reliable network, with work on the upgrades expected to start later this year.
Passengers could see faster Internet connections in transit before end of year
Transport companies in the United Kingdom could offer passengers faster Internet connections in the future, thanks to a recent decision by Ofcom. The UK regulator is permitting the use of satellite-based connections in travel, with Ofcom claiming passengers could end up seeing broadband speeds up to ten times faster than what is currently offered by airlines, ferries, and coach firms.
City drafts proposal requests for widespread fiber network rollout
Citizens of Los Angeles could receive broadband or even a gigabit connection in the future, according to new plans. The Los Angeles City Council is drafting a request for proposals from companies to develop the network, which will require "fiber to be run to every residence, every business, and every government entity within the city limits of Los Angeles."
Plan to cap speeds on fixed broadband connections stopped by German court
A court in Germany has ruled that Deutsche Telekom cannot throttle its home broadband service to a lower speed when a customer exceeds data allocations on a flat-rate package. Plans due to come into force in 2016 that would force customers down to a significantly slower connection than one they had originally paid for once they reach a data limit can no longer take place.
Search giant teams with industry players
Google has announced that it has teamed with other tech companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to advocate for cheaper Internet across the globe. The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) believes policy change is necessary to encourage innovation and reach the UN Broadband Commission's goal of entry-level broadband access priced at less than five percent of monthly income worldwide.
Adds 500Mbps download, 100Mbps upload speed tier with $310 monthly cost
Verizon is updating its FiOS broadband service with a new high-speed package for customers to buy. The new package will provide Internet users on the FiOS Quantum Internet Service a top download speed of 500 megabits per second, accompanied by an upload speed of 100 megabits per second, an increase from the previous top tier's 300Mbps download speed.
Bill introduces reforms to program to cut on waste and abuse
A new act was introduced to the House of Representatives yesterday seeks to update the "Lifeline" FCC program. The intent of the legislation is to expand the Lifeline program, and offer recipients the option of discounted telephone, mobile, and now, internet broadband access. The FCC chairman-supported bill was introduced on April 24 by representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Anne Eshoo (D-CA).
Deal worth $307M leaves Telefonica to work on 4G services
BskyB is acquiring Telefonica UK's landline and home broadband services. The deal, claimed to be worth around £200 million ($307 million) will see Sky become the second largest Internet service provider in the country, thanks to the addition of an extra 500,000 customers from Telefonica's Internet services, O2 and BE.
Fiber-to-the-home to reach 35M more households by Q4 2013
The Chinese government hopes to cover more than 70-percent of Internet users in the country with a 4M broadband service by the end of 2013. The announcement from Miao Wei, a minister working for China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is part of an initiative to increase the number of households with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) options by over 35 million.
Exede service boasts 12Mbps connection speed, capless periods
DirecTV has announced the packages for its satellite broadband service it has created with ViaSat. Dubbed Exede, the 12Mbps satellite connection is being aimed towards rural customers that lack cable or fiber broadband access, and is offering a $10 monthly discount and a refunded installation fee to initial sign-ups.
Middle-mile network offers 10Gbps connections to businesses
EarthLink has completed construction on its fiber optic network in Tennessee, a project it started in 2011. The Eastern Tennessee Middle Mile Fiber Broadband Project laid more than 500 miles of fiber in “underserved communities” across the state, running between Nashville and Knoxville from east to west, and between Blountville and Chattanooga.
University to spend three years making OOFDM commercially viable
Scientists are working on a way to improve broadband speeds to 2,000 times that of what is currently offered to users. A team of researchers for Bangor University in the UK have succeeded in creating a 20-gigabit fiber optic connection, and will spend the next three years working on making it more commercially viable.
Service hopes to bring broadband to rural US
Dish Network is set to launch its nationwide satellite broadband service in the US. Called dishNET, the service is a collaboration between Dish, ViaSat and Hughes, and hopes to offer the 14.5 million rural residents under-served by DSL and cable internet providers a satellite broadband connection, claimed to be as high as 10Mbps.
Low bandwidth caps, high excess charges hurting users
Broadband caps in Canada are too low and too costly, according to a Netflix executive. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos called out the Canadian Internet service providers at the Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment conference earlier this week, echoing other bandwidth-related comments against the country's ISPs earlier this year.
Connect America Fund beneficiary of additional funds
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is evaluating a plan to place a new tax on broadband Internet service. The move would generate funds for the Connect America Fund, a subsidy created from the Universal Service Fund in 2011 to expand Internet access to rural and underserved areas. The FCC issued a request for comment on the proposal in April.
Broadband to be bundled with TV service
Dish Network is reportedly preparing to rollout satellite broadband service to complement its existing television services. The company already offers satellite broadband in a limited number of markets, as part of a collaborative partnership with California-based communications company ViaSat, however the upcoming service is said to utilize EchoStar satellites and coverage across the entire contiguous US.
Per-GB price reduced
T-Mobile has announced that it is changing its prepaid mobile broadband offerings to include several additional data caps and a new pricing structure. The one-week pass has jumped from $10 to $15, however customers will be able to utilize 300MB of data instead of 100MB for the seven-day span.
Verizon HomeFusion LTE rolls out from pilot scheme
Verizon is making its HomeFusion residential LTE boadband available across the US from May 3. The service has moved from a pilot program to a full product as an alternative to typical cable and DSL connections.
Router and adapter extend home networks
Buffalo Technology is entering the Powerline-based broadband extension accessory markets later this year with the Airstation Nfinity PL-05H adapter and the WPL-05G300 router and wireless access point. The Powerline system can be used to extend a broadband network by transmitting data over household electrical wiring, allowing any room in a home to be used as an access point where a wireless network can be created. The new products are also faster than previous Powerline versions.
Rhode Island, Comcast fastest state and ISP
Pando Networks has announced its findings on US broadband speed averages, finding Austin the top city for fast internet downloading, with Rhode Island the fastest state and Comcast the fastest average ISP. The software consulting and analytics firm tested 10 million downloads (mostly games) of software using Pando's cloud-based distribution network. The Texas town has emerged as a tech hotspot with the recent additions of Samsung and Apple.
Tech to be introduced at CES
ViaSat has announced plans to offer new satellite broadband plans for residential customers in the US. The company's upcoming offering will enable subscribers sign up for 12 Mbps broadband service for $50 per month.
On-demand gaming for computers, TVs, tablets
OnLive has announced that its cloud-based gaming service is now available to customers in the UK. The initial launch, which will be formally introduced later today at the 2011 Eurogamer Expo, will enable users to access approximately 150 games via broadband connections and a television, PC or Mac computer, and iPads or Android-based tablets.
Agency sees big improvement since 2009 survey
A report issued today by the Federal Communications Commission shows broadband speeds in the U.S. are now significantly closer to what Internet service providers advertise than they were in 2009. The report found that actual download speeds provided by the majority of U.S. broadband providers were within 80 percent or better of companies' advertised speeds. In 2009, download speeds were more often around 50 percent of the advertised rate.
Company points to U-verse as superior tech
Speaking at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners gathering in Los Angeles, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson reportedly labeled his company's DSL broadband technology "obsolete." In a follow-up statement, the company suggests Stephenson's comments should not be taken as an indicator that AT&T does not "remain fully committed to the technology—even as we constantly look to bring innovation to the marketplace."
Plans now start at 30GB, raise to 500GB
Canadian Internet provider Telus has modified its broadband plans, raising the monthly data caps for the various levels of service. The High Speed Lite plan now allows customers to use 30GB, rather than limiting the entry-level option to just 13GB. The upgraded High Speed, Optik High Speed/High Speed Turbo, and Optik High Speed Turbo/High Speed Turbo 25 caps have been doubled to reach 150GB, 250GB and 500GB, respectively.
FCC says US behind on broadband
An FCC report has shown that the US continues to lag behind the leading countries in the OECD when it comes to the Internet. Out of 29 countries evaluated for their mobile and fixed broadband adoption rates, the US ranked only 9th and 12th, respectively. Fixed broadband has been adopted by 63 percent of US households leaving it behind adoption rates in countries such as the UK, South Korea and Iceland.
200MB plan to drop overage penalty
According to a source, T-Mobile may be adding a new 2GB mobile broadband plan. If confirmed, the new plan would cost $40 per month, and would be discounted to $32 per month when added to an existing voice contract. In addition, the source says T-Mobile plans to drop overage charges for the current $30/200MB plan and will instead throttle speeds when that limit is reached. Both changes are reportedly set to take effect Thursday, April 28.
Commission asks for input on "need for speed" info
The FCC is currently seeking comment on a proposal to simplify and standardize the presentation of broadband Internet plans to consumers. The Commission suggests many consumers are left uninformed regarding many of the essential differences between ISP offers, which tend to use a wide range of marketing techniques and inconsistent gauges for essential information such as connection speeds.
Startup must still disprove interference claims
Confirming a leak that emerged earlier this week, the FCC has officially approved a proposal from satellite-broadband startup LightSquared. The move will lift a requirement that barred companies from deploying terrestrial phone networks using spectrum originally allocated for satellite-based phone systems. The startup now will be able to lease portions of its airwaves for standard smartphones while the company expands its satellite broadband endeavors.
Goal tied with infrastructure spending
President Barack Obama has called for wireless broadband Internet expansion well beyond the goals previously set by the FCC's National Broadband Plan. The president has bumped the availability target up to 98 percent of all Americans. Moving toward the higher number is touted as a way to help boost the economic recovery through increased infrastructure spending.
Company to be granted waiver
The FCC is reportedly set to grant a waiver to a startup, LightSquared, that specializes in satellite-based broadband. The Commission has yet to formally announce its decision, however sources have told The Washington Post that the agency supports LightSquared's proposal, which is viewed as a way to promote competition in the wireless broadband market.
Company considering dynamic throttling
Charter Communications is reportedly planning to strictly enforce data caps for broadband customers, sources have told DSL Reports. Despite executives' promises that data caps would only be enforced in extreme situations, unnamed support representatives suggest the company will give two warnings before suspending service for up to six months unless customers switch to a business-level agreement.
Spectrum to be used for wireless broadband
The FCC on Thursday moved forward with its plans to reallocate satellite spectrum to be used for wireless broadband purposes. The Commission has focused on several proposals that aim to provide companies with more flexibility for land-based use of the satellite bands.
Site launches ahead of schedule
Best Buy has accidentally confirmed its Connect mobile 3G service ahead of schedule. The company quietly published a website for the new service, however the pages were quickly removed. Earlier reports suggest the offering is actually based on Sprint's network, but rebranded specifically for the retailer.
Grants and loans to be matched by $200m investment
President Barack Obama has promised an additional $800 million for loans and grants related to broadband expansion throughout the country. The funds represent a portion of the latest federal stimulus package, which totals approximately $800 billion.
Recommendations set for National Broadband Plan
The US is considering the possibility of providing free wireless Internet access, according to a statement (PDF) released by the FCC. The draft broadband plan, discussed at the recent Digital Inclusion Summit, outlines a variety of strategies aimed at expanding the percentage of connected Americans to 90 percent, from the current situation which leaves 35 percent without broadband.