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When Internet Speed Kills Reliability
April 2, 2015
What's more important when it comes to an Internet connection -- quality and reliability, or speed? This is a question I'm pondering as I sip a latte at Starbucks. I have come to the conclusion that while speed is sexy and sells, quality and reliability are more important. Like countless others, I spend an hour or two every day working in Starbucks -- just me, my latte and my laptop.
FTC Goes to Bat for Duped DirecTV Customers
March 16, 2015
The Federal Trade Commission last week charged DirecTV with deceptive advertising practices in a complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. DirecTV, which has been in discussions over a potential merger with AT&T, currently has more than 20 million subscribers across the United States.
FCC Drops Net Neutrality Rules on Dissection Table
March 12, 2015
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has released the final version of its controversial open Internet rules. In the introduction to the some 400 pages of new rules, which cover both wired and wireless broadband, the commission stated its "carefully tailored rules" would prevent specific practices that are harmful to Internet openness, such as blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.
Google's MVNO Approach May Show Up Carriers
March 2, 2015
Google on Monday confirmed that it plans to launch a mobile virtual network operation, or MVNO, later this year. Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who heads up operations for Android and Chrome, commented on the undertaking in a Q&A following his keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Google in essence will provide the same service as a wireless carrier.
AT&T Puts a Price on Privacy
February 23, 2015
Users who want to sign on to GigaPower by AT&T, the carrier's 1-gigabit-per-second Internet service that just become available in Kansas City, Missouri, have an interesting choice. They can pay $70 with the understanding that their online movements will be tracked for commercial purposes -- or they can pay an additional $29 a month to avoid the monitoring.
Cablevision Freewheels Into WiFi-Only Phone Territory
January 27, 2015
Cablevision on Monday announced plans for Freewheel, an all-WiFi mobile phone service offering unlimited data, talk and text to residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The prepaid service will connect to Cablevision's Optimum Online WiFi network of 1.1 million hotspots. Optimum Online is Cablevision's high-speed Internet service.
Google to Add Mobile Carrier Hat to Its Collection
January 23, 2015
Google reportedly is planning to set up shop as an MVNO, purchasing bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile in order to offer its own wireless service. Details are sparse, but Sprint is said to be putting a volume trigger into its contract that would allow for renegotiation if Google's customer volume should exceed a predefined number. The project, led by Nick Fox reportedly bears the code-name "Nova."
FreedomPop's $5 WiFi Plan Whittles Wireless Bills
January 22, 2015
FreedomPop on Wednesday announced a new plan that provides Android smartphone users with access to 10 million WiFi hotspots across the U.S. for $5 a month. That sum will give any smartphone or tablet -- regardless of any carrier service it might have -- unlimited talk, text and data on FreedomPop's WiFi hotspot network. Users will have to download FreedomPop's Android app.
Verizon Offers Connected-Car Service Even Beaters Can Use
January 21, 2015
Verizon last week unveiled a new connected-vehicle service at the Detroit auto show. Verizon Vehicle, which will go live this spring, will be compatible with nearly every vehicle made since 1996. It will be available directly to consumers regardless of their mobile carrier. Designed to enhance driver safety, Verizon Vehicle will provide diagnostic technology and live assistance with GPS accuracy.
Everything's Coming Up Broadband
December 4, 2014
Comcast and AT&T. Broadband started as a service for people to surf the Web. Generally, it was a separate service offered by the telephone and cable television companies. However, things are changing and growing. The changes that are occurring in the industry are groundshaking, but they don't get as much attention as they should. Understanding these changes is important.
FCC's Spectrum Cash Cow Produces Rich Milk
November 25, 2014
Bidding for wireless spectrum in the United States Federal Communications Commission's latest auction has gone through the roof, raising more than $36 billion as of Tuesday morning. A total of 70 qualified bidders are seeking 1,614 licenses in the 1695-1710 Mhz, 1755-1780 Mhz and 2155-2180 MHz bands. The auction almost certainly will raise even more money over the next few weeks.
FCC Chair Asserts Independence in Net Neutrality Fracas
November 13, 2014
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has responded to the White House's proposal for Net neutrality rules by reasserting his agency's independence in a meeting with executives of Google, Yahoo and other Internet companies following President Obama's Monday call to action. The president urged the FCC to ensure Net neutrality by interpreting Title II of the Telecommunications Act to govern ISPs.
AT&T Paves the Wireless Future's Way
November 13, 2014
AT&T shared plenty of powerful information and insights about growth for the company and the industry in general at last week's industry analyst meeting. The wireless, telecom, television and Internet businesses will continue to grow and to change in 2015 and beyond. Whether you are a customer, a worker, an investor or a partner, understanding how change will come will be key to success.
Battered Aereo Takes a Couple More Blows
October 28, 2014
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan last week granted broadcasters' request for a temporary restraining order against Aereo. This is the latest setback for the would-be cable-killer service, which was suspended following a Supreme Court ruling this summer. Aereo had utilized small dime-sized antennas to capture over-the-air TV signals and stream the content to subscribers over the Internet.
Toll Fraud Can Take a Big Toll on SMBs
October 22, 2014
Toll fraud -- the hijacking of a phone system to dial out to premium numbers in distant countries at several dollars a minute -- costs companies more than $4.7 billion a year, up nearly $1 billion from 2011. Major carriers, such as the companies that make up the CFCA, have sophisticated fraud systems in place to catch hackers, and they can afford to credit customers for fraudulent charges.
No More Wireless Mergers? No Problem
October 16, 2014
Big news: The new wireless world in the United States, which has been led by AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, will stay exactly the same. That's right -- Iliad no longer is interested in T-Mobile. There will be no changes -- for now, anyway. So can we finally forget about all the merger distractions and focus on competing again? Please!
PayPal, eBay Headed for Splitsville
October 1, 2014
eBay on Tuesday announced that its 12-year marriage to PayPal was coming to an end. The move comes mere months after eBay beat down an attempt by corporate raider Carl Icahn to peel PayPal from the online auction site. "For more than a decade, eBay and PayPal have mutually benefited from being part of one company, creating substantial shareholder value," said eBay President and CEO John Donahoe.
Comcast Blasts TWC Merger Foes
September 25, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday lashed out at critics of its $45.2 billion bid for TWC, accusing Discovery Communications of making "extortionate demands." Netflix also drew Comcast's ire. The proposed merger is in the public interest, Comcast maintained. "It is not extortion to demand that Comcast provide its own customers the broadband speeds they've paid for," said Netflix spokesperson Cliff Edwards.
FCC Chews on the Mobile Net Neutrality Question
September 17, 2014
The FCC on Tuesday hosted a roundtable discussion on the possibility of Net neutrality rules being applied to mobile networks. Participants in the talk included representatives from The Center for Media Justice, Consumers Union and CTIA. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this year suggested that the 2010 rules, which exempted mobile services from Net neutrality provisions, should be reconsidered.
DoD Ramps Up Security as It Drifts Toward Cloud
September 12, 2014
DoD is committed to pursuing cloud-based services and steadily has been improving its capabilities to utilize the technology. The latest evidence of its embracing the cloud is approval of a protocol that will facilitate the use of the technology at higher security levels. DISA has granted provisional authorization for the use of cloud services to levels 3 to 5 of its Cloud Security Model.
Comcast Ad Tinkering Could Muck Up WiFi Security
September 10, 2014
Comcast has begun using JavaScript injection to serve ads for its services to devices connected to its publicly accessible Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the U.S. The ads are fleeting, but they can appear roughly every seven minutes. The program reportedly began months ago. "This practice is definitely concerning for multiple reasons," said the Electronic Freedom Foundation's Jeremy Gillula.
Americans Mad as Hell Over Proposed Net Neutrality Rules
September 4, 2014
More than 99 percent of the 800,000 or so comments on Net neutrality the FCC released last month were in favor of an open Internet, according to the Sunlight Foundation's analysis of the comments. At least 60 percent of the comments, or more than 484,000, were form letters written by organized campaigns, although that is a lower percentage than is common for high-volume regulatory issues.
TWC Bungle Could Jeopardize Comcast Merger
August 28, 2014
Time Warner Cable suffered a massive service outage in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, leaving an unknown number of its nearly 12 million customers nationwide without service for hours. "As of 6 a.m. ET, services were largely restored ... . As of 8 a.m., all services were back to normal," said TWC's Eric Mangan. Well, not quite all -- Downdetector's statistics showed outages continued.
Comcast: Friendlier Attitudes Aren't Enough
August 28, 2014
Comcast has been trying to improve customer care. It has made some headway, but reliability is a big issue. I like Comcast people. During the last couple of years, their performance has gotten better. However, the quality of Comcast's service is still unreliable, at best, and problems just don't go away. Think of Comcast as a family-owned company that happens to be the largest in the industry.

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