Informal Poll: Do You Have Broadband Internet at Home?

SAMSUNG CSCLast week the FCC redefined broadband internet, moving it from 4Mbps download / 1Mbps upload, to a far more modern 25Mbps down / 3Mbps up. With the stroke of a pen, now almost 20% of the population here in the United States no longer had access to “broadband” internet access?

Were you one of those folks? Has your service provider been able to keep pace with infrastructure and data needs? Drop us a comment below!

Sprint Sends Letter to FCC in Support of Title II Reclassification

sprint logoMaybe a surprising way to wrap a week full of Net Neutrality news, but the country’s fourth place carrier yesterday sent a letter to the FCC explaining its position on reclassifying the internet as a common utility under Title II.

They’re stance? It probably wont affect their products and services much.

Now to be sure, the letter does support a “light touch” regulation, where the FCC through forbearance might opt out of regulating certain aspects of the wireless industry, and give “mobile carriers the flexibility to manage our networks and to differentiate our services in the market”.

Of course, drawing that regulation line is a sticky subject between Title II supporters and opponents. Still it’s refreshing to see a carrier buck current industry trends to point out that it’s entirely likely reclassification might have only a small impact on the way broadband business is currently handled, and drawing on the history of the wireless industry, would probably be a positive move for the industry in allowing more competition.

When first launched, the mobile market was a licensed duopoly. This system was a failure, resulting in slow deployment, high prices and little innovation. In 1993, Congress revised the Telecommunications Act to allow new carriers, including Sprint, to enter the market. This competition resulted in tremendous investment in the wireless industry, broader deployment, greater innovation, and falling prices. It is absolutely true that this explosion of growth occurred under a light touch regulatory regime. Some net neutrality debaters appear to have forgotten, however, that this light touch regulatory regime emanated from Title II common carrier regulation, including Sections 201, 202 and 208 of the Communications Act.

Well done Lil’ Yellow. You can read the whole letter from Sprint’s Chief Technology Officer, Stephen Bye here (PDF Download).

US Government Acountability Office Wants FCC to Examine Home Internet Data Caps

gao-logoThe GAO released their report on Fixed Internet Usage and Usage-Based Pricing. The 41 page report details their testing and offers up their recommendations.

Their conclusion?

That the FCC should work with providers on educating consumers and developing a code of conduct for pricing and service. The FCC has already stated that they will be monitoring complaints to see if a more direct approach is necessary, but there hasn’t been much consumer uproar over capped home internet plans, especially as many groups are trying to influence the FCC’s “Fast Lane” proposal. With more of the focus on Net Neutrality and the upcoming Time Warner + Comcast merger, there’s probably far less noise being made about data caps.

This could become another battle soon however, as caps are another way ISP’s can enforce their policy and services to the detriment of their competitors, and it could have a chilling effect on consumer behavior. We’ve already covered Comcast’s horrifically bad “Flexible” plans, but it’s no surprise that more communities are following Chattanooga’s example and looking to build their own public data networks.

GAO Report: FCC Should Track the Application of Fixed Internet Usage-Based Pricing and Help Improve Consumer Education

Google Fiber Begins Signing Up Residents in Austin

austin_fiber_vanIt’s a happy week for High Speed Internet junkies in Austin!

Google Fiber is getting the ball rolling in the south and southeast areas of the city for homes, apartments, and small businesses. Full Gigabit broadband will start at $70 a month, $130 a month will land you over 150 TV channels, and the fantastic free option remains for customers who pay a one time $300 construction fee, with speeds topping out at 5Mbps.

If you’re in the area and want to sign up, make sure you check out Google’s deadlines as they focus on building out the fiber in small pieces of each city.  Congrats Austin! Hopefully someday, in my lifetime, the rest of us can join you in having truly fast internet access… Sigh… Someday…

Comcast XFINITY: Cut Your Internet Data Cap by 295GB, Save $5

comcast xfinity logoComcast has been flirting with data caps, and for customers in those markets, Comcast will be introducing new rates to save money on home plans, with new fees for going over your cap. These new rates however are raising some eyebrows.

The pricing on data has always been somewhat suspect. Each month you pay for a quantity of data, but if you don’t use it all, your remainder disappears at the end of the month. If you bought food this way, you’d be outraged by all the waste when your leftovers are thrown away. To date, no company has introduced any kind of rollover data for capped plans.

While XFINITY will be offering more data each month, moving Economy Plus customers from 250GB to 300GB, their cost savings scheme seems horrifically unfair.

If you live in Jackson Mississippi for example, 300GB of data, at up to 50Mbps speed, will cost you around $60 a month after promotional pricing. If you want to save some money on that monthly bill, Comcast is happy to lower your data cap and reduce your bill. If you reduce your monthly data rate from 300GB a month to 5GB a month you can save $5 off your plan.

You read that right. That was not a typo. To save $5 a month your plan will be cut from 300GB to 5GB. You will lose 295GB. That’s a 98% reduction in your data for a 12% price break. Continue reading “Comcast XFINITY: Cut Your Internet Data Cap by 295GB, Save $5”

AT&T Announces Chicago and Atlanta Next Two Cities to Get Gigabit U-Verse

Progress people! Big Blue is rolling out more gigabit fiber, and the next two cities on their list will be Chicago and Atlanta.

Gigapower U-Verse is currently available in the Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth areas, and will also be launched soon in Atlanta, Charlotte, Cupertino, Greensboro, Houston, Jacksonville, Fla., Miami, Nashville, Overland Park, Kan., Raleigh-Durham, San Antonio, St. Louis and Winston-Salem markets.

1000Mbps broadband folks. ONE THOUSAND! Remember that every time you see a cable or DSL ad…

AT&T PR below. Continue reading “AT&T Announces Chicago and Atlanta Next Two Cities to Get Gigabit U-Verse”

Cupertino Will Be First City In California to Get Gigabit AT&T U-Verse

Fiber roll outs are starting to spread!

AT&T is announcing plans to introduce their “Gigapower” U-Verse service to more areas. The first city in California to receive full duplex gigabit broadband?

Cupertino!

Yes Apple’s home town will be getting data speeds 10 times faster than the beefiest cable offerings around these parts. Specific locations and dates will be announced soon, and San Jose, CA is also in consideration for a future fiber roll out.

Any company want to light up Los Angeles? Any one?  Full AT&T PR below.

Continue reading “Cupertino Will Be First City In California to Get Gigabit AT&T U-Verse”

Portland City Council Unanimously Approves Google Fiber Franchise

Google-Fiber1It’s a critical first step to offering up Gigabit to the citizens of Portland Oregon.

The Oregonian is reporting that Portland’s City Council has approved Google’s franchise agreement. Google is looking to roll out gigabit broadband in the city and surrounding suburbs. Google will have until year’s end to decide whether it wants to start offering the service to residents, and that could depend on the other cities near Portland where Google also wants to offer Fiber.

Interestingly enough, part of the Franchise agreement depended on a joint Portland+Google legal defense strategy if other ISP’s get cranky about potential preferential treatment.

After that, Fiber could still be delayed by zoning and licensing issues, but it’s an encouraging step in the right direction for folks wanting more broadband competition.

(Via Oregon Live)