Home to one of the most successful experiments in municipal funded broadband, Tennessee is working diligently to prevent that experiment from improving data and energy infrastructure throughout the rest of the state. Now a new bill will fund ISP’s through tax payer funds, instead of expanding on city funded fiber? Why?
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Competition folks. I want more competition. AT&T is pushing forward with their GigaPower fiber internet roll out, and it looks like a major ISP finally has their sights on the Los Angeles Metro area.
“Fast, affordable Internet is essential for today’s cities,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Having high-speed digital communications infrastructure is as important as ensuring that we can efficiently deliver electricity, transportation, clean water, and lighted streets to Angelenos. The ultra-fast AT&T Gigapower service will help L.A.’s students, entrepreneurs, and families succeed and help our city’s economy grow.”
Starting with West Palm Beach, Big Blue will be expanding their gigabit footprint over 2016 for businesses and residential areas. This expansion follows their merger with DirectTV which U-Verse customer can subscribe to for multimedia content.
We’ve gone years with “Unlimited” plans which have restrictions on data usage or speed throttling based. In light of recent concerns facing AT&T and T-Mobile unlimited plans, Sprint reacted quickly to customer complaints regarding their new All In plan, which offers unlimited talk, text, and web for $80 a month.
The issue? A video streaming throttle of 600Kbps. With more consumers streaming high quality video, watching Youtube and Netflix, or broadcasting with apps like Periscope, it makes sense why the nation’s fourth place carrier would want to put some limit on the bandwidth people might use. However, we’re all a bit more sensitive about what the word “unlimited” means. We’ll have to see how Sprint might manage potential network congestion issues moving forward…
Internet Service Providers are challenging these new rules, claiming they overstep the FCC’s authority and violate federal law. The United States Telecom Association requested a hold on implementing these rules as they try to fight them in court, but a three judge panel Appellate Court in DC denied their stay. We will see an accelerated time table for litigation however, in two weeks the Telecom Association and the FCC will present schedules for additional briefing.
In the meantime however, Net Neutrality will be the law of the land. The real test will come from this first year of implementation, to see if any of the doom and gloom predictions of the Telecom industry come true.
Yesterday the FCC quietly released the full set of rules to the public, and including the dissenting opinions from the Republican members, the document is 400 pages long.
We’re currently reading through the rules now to see if there are any surprises, but so far no red flags or severe changes from the initial summary. The rules seem focused on preventing ISP’s from throttling services, and blocking any actions towards creating a tiered internet with “fastlanes”.
It was a landmark day yesterday for the FCC and advocates of a free and open internet. Two major rulings were delivered. One defending Tennessee and North Carolina efforts to build tax payer funded broadband, and the second reclassifying the entire Internet as a utility under Title II regulations. If you have questions about the announcements, Enobong Etteh from Booredatwork and I are here to answer them!
Second, approving rules which will reclassify broadband internet as a common carrier utility under Title II regulations. Thankfully, unlike the OIO, these new rules will also apply to mobile networks, not just wired ones. The vote was 3-2 in favor, on party lines with the Democrat majority winning the day.
“While I see no need for net neutrality rules, I am far more troubled by the dangerous course that the Commission is now charting on Title 2 and the consequences it will have for broadband investment, edge providers and consumers,”
-Republican FCC member Michael O’Rielly, who voted against the new rules.
It’s a day many supporters of Net Neutrality thought we’d never see, and while there will still be a number of battles to fight over who regulates the internet, and what those actions should resemble, we can at least call today a victory for pretty much anyone who uses any kind of commerce or data driven service online.
The FCC has a five page write up, detailing the new rules.
The fastest way to improve an industry’s service or pricing is to introduce more competition. For the broadband industry, we’ve been watching traditional cable and DSL providers scramble to improve their offerings in areas where Google or publicly funded efforts are rolling out fiber to home internet.
AT&T has announced plans to match Google’s price and performance in areas around Kansas City. Gigabit broadband will cost $70, and combined with a basic TV package will increase that rate to $120.
It’s interesting to note that AT&T will also be courting businesses as Google currently only offers their fiber solution to residential areas. AT&T is already operating their “Gigapower” version of U-Verse in Austin, and there has been talk of expanding to more areas around the country this year. Moving to Kansas City is a clear shot at the area Google started their fiber roll out.
With Google announcing more cities on their list for gigabit internet, it would seem the broadband market might be heating up a bit, especially as cable providers like Time Warner and Comcast seem ill-equipped to offer competitive speeds and pricing compared to fiber providers.