Republican commissioners ask for special treatment, delay on historic vote
Following the lead of Republicans in Congress, the two GOP commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are doing their bit to try to stop or at least slow down a planned vote this week on FCC Chair Tom Wheeler's net neutrality proposal, which fixes the current hodge-podge of neutrality exceptions and violations by removing the power to "gatekeep" the Internet from big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through Title II "public utility" regulation.
Utility classification accompanied by calls to improve speeds, digital skills education
Internet access must be classified as a public utility, a report from the upper house of the United Kingdom parliament has declared, with speeds and the teaching of "digital skills" also a priority. Echoing the similar Title II discussion in the United States, the UK's House of Lords calls for the government to "define the Internet as a utility service, available for all to access and use," citing the prevalence of the Internet in everyday life.
Launch of AT&T GigaPower in Google Fiber home tainted by privacy issues
AT&T has expanded its U-verse with GigaPower gigabit Internet service to Kansas City, the initial launch city of Google Fiber. While AT&T is trying hard to compete against Google's own service in the city, including offering a voice service that Google lacks, potential customers may feel wary about signing up, as the company is offering some plans at a lower price in exchange for an erosion of privacy.
Specific plans, implementation of order not clear; order taps DHS
Potentially side-stepping some failed legislation, President Obama has announced a new executive order mandating enhanced cyber security for the US. The order, which will be driven by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is intended to streamline the process of sharing information about threats between US businesses, law enforcement, and the US government itself.
Bringing your 'brains' with you, safely and efficiently
You may have noticed that people rarely use the term "getting away from it all" when they talk about vacations anymore. Unless you are going camping in the middle of absolutely nowhere, or trying to do a cruise ship on the cheap, chances are you are in fact bringing some of "it" with you -- probably in the form of your iPhone, iPad or Mac (or all three) and a connection to the Internet. As jet-setting journalists, we have come up with a few tips for this over the years, which we now pass on to you.
French ISPs have 24 hours to block content following government request
The French government is now able to order Internet service providers to block websites relating to terrorism and child pornography. The new law, brought into effect following its publication in an official journal and in development since mid-2014, forces ISPs to prevent access to specific content discovered by government officials within 24 hours of a request.
Proposal to be submitted for FCC discussion before end of the week
Officially launching what will become a highly-contentious fight in Washington DC, US Federal Communications Commission commissioner Tom Wheeler has officially stated that he is submitting "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC," which calls for the banning of paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. The move by the chairman was expected, with AT&T and Verizon both threatening lawsuits to block the regulation.
Regulation will be proposed, but using model of 1993 cell carrier agreement
A few new details appear to have leaked out of the new proposal by Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler, which would call for Title II regulation of Internet service by broadband providers and may also include a similar reclassification for cellular data, which up till now has been exempted. The move would increase the FCC's ability to regulate providers, but uses the "light touch" model that was adopted for mobile phone service in 1993.
Chromium-based Vivaldi has tab grouping, Quick Commands pop-up panel
A new browser is aiming to take on heavyweights Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari by offering useful functions for power users. Created by a team backed by former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner, Vivaldi launched in technical preview last week, and though many features are reminiscent of other browsers, it also adds in a few extra tricks.
Vote of FCC commissioners to change broadband definition passes 3-2
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has changed its definition of broadband, after commissioners voted 3-2 in favor. The previous definition of 4Mbps download, 1Mbps upload minimum speeds have been increased to 25Mbps down, 3 Mbps up, a move which pushes higher the proportion of households in the United States declared to be incapable of receiving broadband Internet access.
Gigabit Internet service construction to commence in new cities in coming months
Just as expected, Google has revealed the next locations it will be launching Google Fiber, following its existing installations in Kansas City, Provo, and Austin. Confirming earlier reports, the high-speed Internet service will be rolling out in Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte in North Carolina.
Claimed lack of justification for proposed FCC broadband speed definition
Cable companies do not believe customers need to have connection speeds faster than 25Mbps, according to a letter sent by a cable lobbying group to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The letter from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) asks that the FCC avoids defining broadband as a 25Mbps downstream, 3Mbps upstream connection, due to a lack of justification.
Requests spectrum above 24GHz range to be allocated for networking purposes
Google has asked for the Federal Communications Commission FCC to open up spectrum for Internet services from balloons and drones. The search giant sent a letter to the Commission, suggesting that a new spectrum band above the 24GHz range could be "useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles.
Spotify adds darker theme, Your Music, new Browse option to Windows Phone app
Spotify has updated the Windows Phone version of its music streaming app, bringing it in line with the Android and iOS apps. Using a darker theme and an updated user interface, the app now includes Your Music, allowing users to manage their favorite tracks and albums, while the Browse function is said to offer more localized and personalized content, such as playlists based on the time of day.
Google principle target of move to 'level playing field' for content producers
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, EU Commissioner of Digital Economy & Society Gunther Oettinger discussed the possibility of taxing internet companies like Google for displaying material to which they don't own the copyright. Despite two failed attempts in Germany and Spain, content producers believe search and news aggregators like Google profit off the content without licensing.
Increasing focus on FCC in ongoing struggle to codify access to broadband
February might not shape up to be such a great month if you're a large national Internet provider in the US. Not only will the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) be voting on the adoption of net neutrality rules FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, all but confirmed would be Title II-based in an interview at CES last week, but it's also possible the commission will be voting on petitions supported by President Obama to overturn laws in several states that are purported to block the build-out of broadband Internet access on the municipal level.
Webcast on Friday will discuss tests to be performed this year
Every decade, the US Census Bureau conducts a study that is used to lay out Congressional districts and guide government spending on things such as infrastructure. This year, the bureau will be researching new methods it believes will be more cost effective, saving up to $5 billion by allowing citizens to fill out their census forms online, and having on-the-ground census takers use smartphones, starting with a webcast on Friday, January 9.
New service highlighted by ESPN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network
Dish today announced specifics of its Internet television service. The new pay-as-you-go service, known as Sling TV, includes ABC Family, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, and the Travel Channel. However, possibly the biggest draw for the nascent service is ESPN and ESPN2. Initial compatibility is the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Roku, select smart TVs, and Amazon Fire TV products, including the Fire Stick. Apps will be made available for Android, and iOS, with compatibility with the Apple TV provided through AirPlay.
'We're not even close to where we need to be,' President says
Last Friday, at President Barak Obama's year-end press conference, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico asked the first question. Her inquiry was whether Sony had done the right thing in canceling the release of the Seth Rogan comedy The Interview, and what a "proportional" US response to the North Korean-led cyber-attack on Sony would look like. While discussing the answers to those questions, President Obama called on Congress to help create stronger cyber-security laws.
Internet restored as accusations and promises of retaliation on all sides
North Korea's connection to the rest of the Internet, which had been knocked offline this weekend, has been restored according to a new report. Over the weekend, Internet service in the country dwindled to nothing, after DDoS attacks against its Internet infrastructure increased.
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?
Letter From National Association of Manufacturers claims net neutrality 'slowing business'
The U.S. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and leaders in Congress to oppose the possible, and much more strict, proposals for Internet regulation as put forth by the FCC. The letter, which claims that the current standard of net neutrality "severely threaten continuing growth," functions as a rebuttal to a similar letter from the opposite point of view sent last May by over 100 tech companies, who argued that net neutrality was the only option that would protect Internet growth and well-being.
Scheme providing public Wi-Fi from customer homes is security risk, increases costs, claims lawsuit
Comcast is being sued by subscribers of its Internet service for hosting a public hotspot within their home. Joycelin Harris and Toyer Grear filed with the US District Court of Northern California over the company's decision to allow home routers to open up the routers of its own customers to other users, something the suit claims was performed without authorization and is a potential risk to systems on the home network.
Believes Internet should be split into two channels to secure quality for special services
While members of the European Union and the US fight net neutrality and Internet traffic equality battles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded in during a conference in Berlin to explain her outlook for the Internet. Instead of looking towards maintaining a neutral playing field for all, Merkel says that the Internet should be split into two tiers to accommodate special services.
Group including Dish, Writers Guild of America and more urge DOJ, FCC to reject merger
A new opposition group emerged today to declare war on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, stressing the negative effects such a deal would present to cable and Internet markets, competition and consumers. The Stop Mega Comcast Coalition proposes in a manifesto that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reject the merger.
Google accepts sign-ups for Fiber service in Austin
Google has started to accept sign-ups for the Google Fiber "fiberhoods" in Austin. Starting with areas in the south and south-east of the city, residential customers can sign up for plans offering Gigabit Internet and TV services for $130 per month, Gigabit Internet alone for $70 per month, or a 5Mbps connection for no monthly charge but a $300 construction fee, with a business plan providing Gigabit Internet for $100 per month. Other parts of the city will be brought into the Google Fiber sign-up process in the future.
Proposed security bill will force Internet providers to log IP address allocations for one year
The UK government is proposing a law which would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to keep records of IP address allocations and provide them to the police. Part of the "Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill," the measure is said to help law enforcement officials identify and track devices used for online crime, terrorism, and to help protect vulnerable people.
Advertising-covered LinkNYC kiosks could replace phone booths across city
Citizens of New York City will soon gain access to a city-wide Wi-Fi network, expanding its existing installations considerably while staying free for all to use. The LinkNYC project, which plans to provide gigabit connections to all five boroughs from the end of next year, will consist of up to 10,000 kiosks designed to replace the aging public phone system.
Cruz doesn't think government should pick 'winners and losers' from the 'big boys'
After President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) to consider Title II regulation of Internet service providers in order to treat them like a utility, numerous individuals and companies spoke in opposition. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was one such politician, equating net neutrality to "Obamacare" for the Internet. Though Cruz explained his reasoning during a talk in Austin, Texas late last week, his "don't mess with the Internet" sound bite seems confused. Does his stance on the way the Internet should be treated add up?
Roberts believes merger on track for completion in March, working on net neutrality
The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is moving along, according to recent statements from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Roberts said that his company is moving "full steam ahead" with the $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable, an acquisition that would bring an additional 11 million customers to Comcast's Internet and television services.
FCC should create net neutrality-protecting rules, insists Obama
President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify Internet services under Title II of the Telecommunications act. Wading into the net neutrality debate again, Obama has issued a statement asking for the FCC to "answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality."
Protests, widespread criticism forces Internet tax reversal in Hungary
A proposed tax on Internet data transfers in Hungary has been quashed, following a vast amount of criticism and protests in the country. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has backed down from the plans, which would require companies to pay 150 forints ($0.60) per gigabyte of Internet traffic, in order to help close the national budget deficit.
Proposed Internet tax could help Hungary with national budget deficit
Internet providers in Hungary may find their costs will increase, as the government mulls a possible tax on Internet traffic. A draft tax bill for 2015 has been submitted to the country's parliament, one which would require companies to pay for data transfers, as the country attempts to deal with a national budget deficit in alternative ways.
Worcester, MA city council advises city manager not to allow Comcast transfer
A city council has declared it does not want Comcast to provide service to its residents. The council of Worcester, MA has voted against the transfer of the city's cable license from Charter to Comcast over the cable giant's "substandard consumer service practices," as well as believing it lacks the management experience to maintain the service for the region.
Fiberhood sign-up system will be reused for deciding Austin construction priority
Residents of Austin won't have much longer to wait before they can start using Google Fiber. The search company revealed in a recent planning meeting at the Texas capitol that it would start to launch its delayed fiber network in the region from December, though not all areas will gain access to the high-speed Internet connection at first.
Administration has made it clear to FCC that rules don't create tiered Internet
During a question-and-answer session at Cross Campus in Santa Monica last week, US President Barack Obama reaffirmed his stance on net neutrality, which he has held since first running for office. Holding that the concept of an open Internet is important to innovation, the President said that he expects that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will not end up creating a tiered Internet.
Dueling regulatory boards fight over future of ISP regulation
Allegedly concerned about protecting the American consumer, US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) head Maureen Ohlhausen has come out as strongly against Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality provision -- specifically, the possibility of Title II regulation of ISPs. The comment against the possibility of regulating Internet providers as a utility is the FTC's second in September.
Gogo 2Ku satellite Internet could provide Virgin passengers with shared 70Mbps connection
In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo is expanding to Europe, with Virgin Atlantic set to become the first airline operating in the region to offer the service to passengers. The airline will reportedly retrofit its entire fleet to work with the Internet service as part of the deal, and while the two sides are still discussing the finer points of the agreement, the principal terms have already been settled.
Jury awards Personal Audio $1.3 million, less than the $7.8 million sought
Podcasters may not be in the clear of potential patent violations after a ruling this week in a Texas court. Six jurors found that CBS Corporation, home of the television network with shows like The Big Bang Theory and Person of Interest, infringed upon the patent by streaming episodic content of its television shows on the Internet. The trial only lasted four days, with CBS failing to prove the patent owned by Personal Audio LLC should be invalidated.
Senator pushes for more citizen input days after FCC commenting period closes
There is still some fighting left to do for the United States Senate when it comes to net neutrality, as Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that there would be hearing in the near future. The senator, who is also the chairman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, is calling the hearing for September 17 in order to take testimony on the importance of keeping the Internet free and open.
Minority leader concerned with both FCC behavior, ISP policies
House Minority Leader (D-CA) Nancy Pelosi has called for broadband to be reclassified as a public utility under Title II legislation. Instead of railing against the Internet Service Providers themselves, Pelosi wants the reclassification, as she is concerned that upcoming Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rulings will result in discrimination against consumers and innovators relying on an unfettered Internet to survive.
Letter to FCC alleges that government owned networks hold undue power
Given the opportunity to petition against the expansion of municipal broadband expansion in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina, AT&T has taken the opportunity to remind the government of its role in the state of Internet connectivity in the US. In its filing with the US Federal Communcations Commission, the telecom giant lays out its case against why local broadband, or "Government-Owned Networks" (GON), shouldn't be allowed.
Time Warner Cable blames issue during scheduled maintenance for Internet failure
Time Warner Cable's nationwide outage of its Internet and phone service earlier today was caused by a problem during routine maintenance, the company claims. The multi-hour fault, which affected a large proportion of its 15 million subscribers including 11.4 million Internet customers, has been rectified for the majority of affected subscribers.
Gigabit Internet will become available in Cupertino
AT&T has become the first major telecommunications provider to declare it will offer a gigabit Internet service in Silicon Valley in the future. The high-speed service will roll out in Cupertino, Apple's base of operations, though the company has not yet revealed when it will roll out the network in the area, when it will be available to customers, nor how much it will ultimately cost.
BGP tables hitting 512K limit, could mean more outages as capped machines surface
Since yesterday, the Internet has hit some bouts of turbulence as a widespread issue slowly works its way across infrastructure. The issues aren't tied to any sort of fiber issues or due to the exhaustion of iPv4 address, but rather the exhaustion of memory inside of some hardware such as routers and switches. Starting on Tuesday, border gateway protocol (BGP) tables, the tables responsible for keeping track of a map of the Internet, started to hit their limit in older hardware, making chunks of the Internet inaccessible in the process.
Reminds consumers Internet currency is a target for hackers, comes with additional cost
The US Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a warning on virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin on its website today. In the warning, the CFPB sounds off some well-known issues that generally circle around Internet currencies, such as the risk of hacking, fraud and lack of regulation in holding houses.
Extra undersea cable to provide 60Tbps of Trans-Pacific bandwidth
Google has backed a project to install a Trans-Pacific cable system between major West Coast cities in the United States with two locations in Japan. The $300 million project, optimistically called the Faster cable network, will hopefully provide a speed boost for Internet connections, with construction starting now with a view to being "ready for service" by mid-2016.
Most recent version of Internet Explorer required for updates, support for IE8 dropped
Microsoft announced last week that it would be changing its support policy in regard to Internet Explorer. Outlined in the change is migration guidance for versions of Windows past XP, which excludes any further support for Internet Explorer 8. The software giant is urging users to enable Windows Updates to keep up with the most recent updates to Internet Explorer.
Nearly 4.5 billion records in total collected, 542 million unique emails addresses
The New York Times reported earlier this week that a hacker group has collected 1.2 billion unique username and password credentials from 420,000 websites. The records, which were verified by a security firm, is thought to be one of the largest collections of Internet identity information reported. The publication had the data analyzed by another expert, who verified the authenticity of the collection but has not commented on the validity of the data.
New measures attempt to make Comcast Internet Essentials cheaper for low-income families
Comcast is attempting to make it easier for low-income families to have Internet access, by lowering the cost even further. The telecommunications giant will be providing its Internet Essentials tier free for up to six months to new eligible users, while qualifying families unable to take part due to existing debts to the company will be able to benefit from an amnesty program.