The US is falling way behind other countries in the speed and cost of broadband access because of a lack of competition. Elsewhere in the world, the company that owns the physical internet backbone must sell access to a range of independent ISPs on the wholesale market. The result is a panoply of companies competing on service, quality, and price. But, a recent Scientific American article argues, back in 2002, the FCC reclassified broadband as “information service” instead of “telecommunications service,” and Mr. Local Monopoly has been partying it up ever since. [More]
Ten years ago, 5% of the country had access to broadband Internet. Now over 95% of the country has access. In other technology markets, notes the authors of a new study, prices tend to drop significantly once a technology matures–but with broadband, prices since 2004 have dropped by less than 10% in most markets, if at all. So what’s going on? [More]
Koji would like to sign up for AT&T DSL. However, some evil force at AT&T doesn’t want him as a customer, and keeps sneaking into the computer system to cancel his account activation and otherwise destroy any hope that he might have of DSL. Why is this happening? No one at AT&T knows. [More]
Just like you’ve suspected/known all along, the “up to” broadband speeds providers offer – “up to 10 mbs!” – are nigh unattainable. A new FCC report finds that broadband users are, on average, only getting half of the advertised “up to” speeds. [More]
If you’re having trouble getting a signal on your smartphone, the White House feels your pain. The Obama administration has endorsed an FCC plan to nearly double the bandwidth available for wireless devices by freeing up additional wireless spectrum. But don’t expect blazing speeds or better signals overnight. The plan will take several years to implement, require congressional approval, and is tied to a bandwidth auction to get the carriers to pay for the right to use the spectrum. [More]
The Charter Communications CSR who spoke with Dustin has some pretty astounding news about what’s on the horizon for all of us. It looks like starting May 1st, cable companies will have total, FCC-sanctioned control over streaming video and will take down all competing services. [More]
The FCC has released a scan (PDF) of the five-page executive summary of the National Broadband Plan that it will present to Congress in two days. Although the summary is packed with recommendations, here’s a couple that a lot of broadband customers might be interested in: the FCC wants to develop “disclosure requirements for broadband service providers” so that consumers can make the best choice for service, and it wants to map broadband services across the country to better identify “specific geographies or market segments” where there’s not enough competition. [More]
Last Thursday, the FCC started collecting information from consumers about the quality of their broadband service. If you’ve got a PC that can run Java, you can go to Broadband.gov and run the test now. (The FCC will collect your IP address and physical address, but not your name or email address, reports Wired.) If you’ve got an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can download an app to measure your connectivity and report it. [More]
While President Obama was busy attempting to get his plan for a national health care system rolling, those folks at the FCC announced they will unveil their National Broadband Plan — which will provide Internet access to 93 million Americans who can’t currently look at home videos of cats — to Congress on March 17. [More]
The Walker family, who live in a 150-person village in England, would like to upgrade their dialup Internet connection to broadband. Unfortunately, in order to do that, British Telecom insists that they would need to install higher capacity equipment for the entire village, and send the Walkers the Â£45,000 ($69,788) bill.
It probably goes without saying that BT has a monopoly.
Knowzy.com, the website that’s been tracking which Jack in the Box stores were offering free Wi-Fi, reports that the restaurant chain has pulled the plug. The Wi-Fi offer came with the installation of HDTVs that displayed ads in the dining area, but those are gone too: “In mid-2009, the TVs and the Wi-Fi began disappearing. By the time McDonald’s made their free Wi-Fi announcement in December, Jack had completely dismantled his Wi-Fi network.” [More]
Alex from Rochester, NY, says every year around this time his Road Runner high speed access slows to a crawl, and stays that way until April. It occasionally happens at other times throughout the year, too. Unfortunately, Time Warner won’t fix the problem. Alex says one technician who came out to look at the issue told him, “The wires were installed when Adelphia provided service, and they haven’t been upgraded since.” Another one told him, “The problem has been going on for years, and management knows about it, but enough people don’t complain.” [More]
Are you planning to sign up for Verizon FiOS service? If you wait until this Sunday to sign up, you’re going to be liable for a higher early termination fee. The fee for ending a two-year contract will more than double, from $179 to $360. [More]
Matt owns his own cable modem, and it’s worked fine so far with his $165-a-month Comcast Triple Play package. He wanted to check into how he could reduce that ridiculous $165/mo burden, so he chatted online with someone from Comcast to see what his options were. Then he ended the chat and went back to whatever it was he was doing, and Comcast killed his cable modem. Update: Comcast says the end of life (EOL) event was not related to Matt’s chat with the CSR. [More]
How much bandwidth does the average consumer need? Well, according to the totally unbiased folks at America’s major Internet service providers, more than they’re probably using now. According to Time Warner, Grandma needs Roadrunner with PowerBoost in order for you to send her photos. And AT&T thinks you need at least 3 mpbs to use Facebook. What? [More]
Comcast has settled a $16 million class-action lawsuit accusing the Internet provider of preventing customers from sharing files via BitTorrent. The suit alleges that Comcast sold users “unlimited” internet access that was, in fact, quite limited. Comcast still admits no wrongdoing, and affected customers will receive up to $16 each as part of the settlement. Ka-ching! [More]
Lucky Comcast customers in the Portland, OR, area got a new treat today: The cable giant rolled out a test of its new web-based bandwidth-usage meter, so that customers on metered access plans can see just what they’re getting for their money. Comcast says the online meter is “designed to be simple and easy to use and will help customers better understand how much data they consume in a month.”
In the net neutrality debate, there are a surprising number of grassroots organizations (well, surprising to me at any rate) that have filed statements against the FCC’s recent draft of rules. Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica just published an interesting article where he looks at some of these groups and tries to figure out whether AT&T is secretly influencing them, or whether they really do think net neutrality will hurt those they represent–frequently minority groups–in the long run.