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.
Yesterday the FCC announced new, expanded rules enforcing net neutrality, and they’ve set aside the next 60 days for public debate. Get ready to hear all sorts of creative end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it arguments from opponents like AT&T. We’ve checked out the official document (pdf) and below we summarize the changes that are open to public discussion for the next two months.
Bonnie’s elderly parents switched from Verizon dial-up to Verizon DSL, but Verizon didn’t turn off their dial-up account when switching them to DSL. They somehow failed to notice when they continued to be charged for dialup. For two years.
Remember when you called up your ISP and, after an unholy modem screech, were billed for every minute you spent online? (Actually, it occurs to me that many Consumerist readers probably don’t remember this.) If ISPs’ current efforts pay off, we may all soon be paying for every little byte of Internet that we use.
Where does spam come from? Well, there are these things called botnets. They’re networks of hijacked computers that secretly do the bidding of their masters. Often, they send out spam. Comcast plans to offer an automated service that will inform you, within your browser, if your computer is behaving as if it has been compromised by malware.
Richard is annoyed at AT&T. Due to what we will optimistically call a mixup, he didn’t exactly get the DSL service he ordered and was paying for. While he has straightened things out with the company, he wants to keep other customers in his area from having the same experience.
The FCC today proposed new rules to protect and preserve “net neutrality,” the idea that ISPs must treat all users the same and not prejudice against different types of customers. In a speech, Chairman Julius Genachowski supported adopting the “Four Freedoms” first articulated by the FCC in 2004 (PDF) not just as principles but as formal rules, and adding two more: “non-discrimination” and “transparency.” The big networks are, naturally, incensed.
The government is finally cracking down on Net neutrality? Yes, it’s time! Tomorrow, the FCC plans to propose new rules for Internet service providers to prevent them from blocking certain types of traffic.
AT&T released a statement about their temporary blocking this weekend of troll haven 4chan for its customers. The company said the temporary block was to stop DDos attacks on one customer emanating from IP addresses associated with the site. After the threat was over, the block was lifted. Here’s the official release:
UPDATE: AT&T has a statement. They said the temporary block was to stop DDos attacks from IP addresses associated with img.4chan.org. After the threat was over, they lifted the block.
Earlier this week, we posted an email from a frustrated Qwest customer who said he couldn’t download YouTube and other online videos at a speed equivalent to the Qwest service he was paying for. Qwest wrote to us, and spoke to the customer, and swore they were not interfering with any download rates. Instead, it looks like the problem is with OpenDNS, a free service that usually speeds up downloading, but that seems to have an issue when it comes to certain video streams.
Graham’s roommate is moving out. The cable and Internet are in his name, so they called up Comcast to change the name on the account. Simple enough, right? Surprisingly, it was. Until they wanted to know why there was a $10 fee to change the name on the account.
While they’ve temporarily shelved metered broadband plans, Time Warner is cutting off, with no warning, the accounts of customers who they deem have used too much bandwidth. One such customer lives in Austin, TX, one of the original markets slated for metered broadband. Stop The Cap has the story, and an excerpt is inside.
Reader Jon in Washington state has some issues with his ISP, Broadstripe. Namely, the periodic outages he experiences, and how the company decided to make up for the most recent one.
Rochester, NY is one of the expanded test areas for TWC’s new metered broadband program, (along with Austin & San Antonio, TX, and Greensboro, NC.) The people of Rochester are especially upset about the change, including their representative, Eric Massa, who had strong words for Time Warner.
Google has assembled a suite of free tools (developed by researchers, not by Google itself) that let you measure things like BitTorrent throttling, upload/download speeds, and last mile snafus. In exchange for “free,” the test data is being made public to enable further study of broadband connections. You might want to bookmark the site for future reference when you’re trying to figure out what’s going on with your ISP.