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Reversing Net Neutrality
April 3, 2017
When one side or the other in a political debate refused to accept a decision, it used to be simply annoying, but lately it has become dangerous to business and to the economy. The current administration's wants "to jettison the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, which were intended to safeguard free expression online," Steve Lohrmarch wrote last week.
House Votes to Kill Privacy Rules Binding ISPs
March 30, 2017
The House of Representatives has approved the Congressional Review Act, undoing privacy restrictions imposed on ISPs during the Obama administration. The Senate passed the CRA last week in a 50-48 vote along party lines. The White House has expressed support for the CRA. "This is one time I believe the White House," remarked John Simpson, privacy project director at Consumer Watchdog.
Consumer Advocates Bemoan Senate Vote to Lift ISP Privacy Restrictions
March 25, 2017
Privacy advocates and consumer groups are fighting back against the U.S. Senate's Thursday vote to undo privacy restrictions on Internet service providers. In a 50-48 party line vote, the Senate approved the Congressional Review Act, S.J. Res. 34. If the House of Representatives gives it the green light, it then will go to the president to be signed into law.
Verizon Wakes Up to Join Mobile TV Race
March 17, 2017
Following decades of slow movement due to cable companies facing no competition, the television world is changing rapidly. Lots of challengers have arisen in the pay-TV space in recent years. One of the latest comes from Verizon, which has improved its FiOS mobile app to offer data-free streaming. AT&T's DirecTV started this ball rolling with its wireless TV, or mobile TV, offering.
FCC Reverses Course on Internet Privacy Rules
March 2, 2017
The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday issued a joint statement following the FCC's temporary stay of data security regulations. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen issued the statement to address the FCC's decision, in essence, to overturn rules designed to bolster broadband consumer privacy.
Ode to Sprint: Somebody Calls You, You Answer Quite Slowly
February 7, 2017
As I write this, I'm listening to twangy guitar music that calls up vague images of big spiny cactus, dust, and a riderless swaybacked horse. Lots of dust. I've been listening to the same few bars for 43 minutes and counting. Every few seconds, the music is interrupted by this: "We apologize for the wait. We are currently experiencing higher than normal volumes and long hold times. ..."
Wireless, Telecom and Pay TV: The Future Is Coming Into Focus
February 2, 2017
Wireless, telecom and pay TV -- including cable, satellite and Internet services -- are all on a growth trajectory, but each company is taking a different path. That means comparing them will be more difficult going forward. In the past, the companies in these sectors in many respects looked the same and offered nearly the same basic services. Looking forward however, things appear very different.
Softbank Pumps $1B Into Global Web Access Race
December 20, 2016
Softbank has cut a check for $1 billion to OneWeb, which plans to build a constellation of satellites to provide Internet access to underserved parts of the world, the companies announced Monday. Helmed by satellite industry veteran Greg Wyler, OneWeb raised a total of $1.2 billion in its latest round of funding. The company will deploy 650 Ku band satellites into orbit at a height of 750 miles.
FCC's Tom Wheeler Hitting the Road
December 15, 2016
United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Thursday announced that he will leave the agency he helmed for the past three years on Jan. 20, the day President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in. "Serving as FCC chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life," Wheeler said.
AT&T, Time Warner Defend Merger to Lawmakers
December 10, 2016
AT&T and Time Warner executives this week appeared before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee to respond to lawmakers' concerns about their $84 billion merger. Their testimony came at a time of high public skepticism of institutional power. Rival content and mobile providers applied further pressure with questions about the impact the deal would have on competition and pricing.
Pay TV's Newest Innovation: Giving Users Control
November 21, 2016
With the launch of Stream Saver, AT&T Mobility has given users control over their streaming video quality. Stream Saver is similar to Sprint's video optimization and T-Mobile's Binge-On plans. Now, the only major carrier not offering a video optimization service is Verizon Wireless. Stream Saver lets users choose. They can use it or not depending on their particular circumstances.
Can Charter Turn a Frog Into a Prince?
November 4, 2016
Charter intends to revive the damaged Time Warner Cable image and brand in the minds of the customer and investor, which is both a challenge and an opportunity. Charter and Comcast are two of the companies American consumers hate the most. However, the pay-TV industry has begun a complete transformation. In the coming new world, both Charter and Comcast may have a second chance.
Tech Industry Lambasts New FCC Privacy Rules
November 1, 2016
The U.S. FCC last week adopted privacy rules for both wired and wireless broadband ISPs aimed at giving consumers greater control over their data, more privacy, and stronger security safeguards for that data. The rules implement Section 222 of the Communications Act. They establish a framework of customer consent required for ISPs to use and share their customers' personal information.
AT&T, Time Warner Brace for Regulatory Firestorm
October 24, 2016
AT&T and Time Warner on Saturday announced they had reached a merger deal, setting off alarm bells across the industry. AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. At least a year's worth of regulatory scrutiny, public hearings and political maneuvering is expected. The deal essentially would create the industry's first vertically integrated mobile provider of premium cable.
T-Mobile Fined $48M for Pulling Wool Over Customers' Eyes
October 21, 2016
The United States Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced that T-Mobile has agreed to a penalty of $48 million for misleading customers about restrictions on its so-called unlimited data plans. The company failed to inform subscribers to unlimited plans on its wireless networks and those of MetroPCS, which it owns, that their data bandwidth would be throttled when they hit a preset ceiling.
FCC Slaps Comcast With $2.3M Overbilling Fine
October 13, 2016
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Comcast would pay a record $2.3 million fine to settle its investigation into whether the cable operator improperly charged customers for services and equipment they never approved, a practice known as "zero billing option." Federal law bans cable operators from charging customers for unauthorized equipment or services.
Who's Riding the New TV Wave?
October 7, 2016
There is a generational shift occurring in the television industry. Traditional cable TV, which dominated the last several decades, is going away. Companies like Comcast, Charter and Cox are facing something new: new technological innovation and competition. Which companies will survive, and which will not? Traditional cable TV is on the verge of an extinction event.
Comcast Takes the Wireless Plunge
September 21, 2016
CEO Brian Roberts on Tuesday announced that Comcast will enter the wireless phone market by mid-2017 as a mobile virtual network operator. A 150-strong Comcast Wireless team, headed by Greg Butz, is "getting ready next year ... to launch a WiFi and MVNO-integrated product," Roberts said at the Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference in New York.
Google Pursues Both Fiber and Wireless Broadband Ambitions
September 16, 2016
Google Fiber is reaching its tentacles into North Carolina's Research Triangle, a move that seems to contradict the gloom-and-doom rumors of layoffs and low consumer interest. The Triangle is Google Fiber's eighth incursion. It's already available in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.
It's Time for Comcast to Get Off the Wireless Fence
September 8, 2016
Comcast tried to give wireless a go several years ago. It failed. It pulled out of wireless, sold its spectrum and was done. Now, wireless has expanded and changed, and competitors like AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV are using wireless to deliver television programming. I'll bet Comcast now wishes it never sold off its wireless spectrum. So, what can we expect from the company going forward?
Google Fiber's Long, Tough Road Is Full of Twists and Turns
September 6, 2016
Alphabet has been facing significant roadblocks in expanding Google Fiber into new U.S. cities, in part due to significant competitive and legal challenges from incumbent broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast. The companies currently are embroiled in a dispute over access to utility poles in Nashville, Tennessee, and the city council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a controversial proposal.
Is This the Beginning of the End for the Set-Top Box?
August 12, 2016
C Spire started out as a privately owned wireless competitor in Mississippi. Since then, it has expanded in several directions. Its focus last year was on installing high-speed Internet in a few Mississippi cities. Now it is partnering with MobiTV to offer a new television service for the home. The service will not use the set-top boxes common with cable TV.
Time Warner Cable Really Doesn't Like Me
August 9, 2016
After surviving well over a year as a cord-cutter, I recently returned to the cable fold -- and after less than a month, I'm having major regrets. The problem isn't with the service itself or even with the pricing. The problem is with the lies. I wasn't entirely happy with my cord-cutting solution, but I wasn't eager to go back to a high-priced cable service either.
Time Warner Bets Heavily on Hulu
August 4, 2016
Time Warner on Wednesday announced it has entered an agreement to buy a 10 percent stake in online-streaming service Hulu, in a bid to leverage its lineup of television and film content on multiple viewing platforms. With the new investment, Time Warner will join a joint venture that includes some of the nation's largest media companies, including The Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and Comcast.
Aquila Test Flight Carries Facebook's Internet Ambitions Aloft
July 26, 2016
Facebook has carried out the first full-scale test flight of Aquila, a high-altitude solar-powered unmanned aircraft designed to provide Internet access to remote regions. The company had flown a one-fifth scale version of the airplane for several months. The full-sized craft has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 -- 46 yards -- but reportedly weighs less than 900 pounds fully laden.
Uber by the Billions
July 20, 2016
Uber just celebrated its two-billionth trip in a 147-way tie, CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday. Each of the drivers and riders who began their trip at 4:16 a.m. GMT on Saturday, June 18, got a $450 gift from Uber -- the number is significant because Uber now operates in 450 cities across the globe, Kalanick said. The company's growth trajectory is impressive.
Twitter to Carry Live Convention Coverage on the Web
July 11, 2016
Twitter will stream CBS News' live coverage of the Republication and Democratic National Conventions, the companies announced Monday. Twitter and CBS previously partnered on one of each party's presidential primary debates. In both instances, CBS' coverage included real-time metrics and curated tweets, and questions Twitter users submitted during the broadcasts were put to the candidates.
Google Opens Faster Big Data Pipe Between US and Japan
July 1, 2016
Google on Wednesday unveiled its latest investment in long-haul undersea fiber optic cabling. Dubbed the "Faster Cable System," it is the highest-capacity undersea cable built to date, providing 60-Tbps bandwidth between the United States and Japan. It is about 10 million times faster than an average cable modem, Google noted. Google is one of six members of the Faster Consortium.
Clinton Issues Clarion Call to Boost Tech in the US
June 30, 2016
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential candidate, this week unveiled a technology and innovation agenda that calls for a broader commitment to improving computer science and STEM education, expansion of broadband Internet to the entire United States, and deployment of 5G wireless networks. Clinton's plan calls for advancing high-tech training in American schools.
Webpass Buy Lets Google Fiber Extend Its Tentacles
June 24, 2016
Google Fiber, the high-speed Internet unit of Alphabet, has agreed to buy Webpass, a San Francisco-based broadband service provider that operates in five major metropolitan areas of the U.S., Webpass announced Wednesday. The deal will allow the combined companies to accelerate the growth of high-speed Internet across the U.S., said Webpass President Charles Barr.
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What's most likely to cost a company your customer loyalty?
a major product fail
major unethical corporate behavior
public advocacy of social or political views I oppose
a really bad customer service experience
stagnation -- I'm attracted to innovation
none of the above -- I'll stick through thick and thin