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Netflix may have just voluntariliy lost access to Viacom's library
, but the streaming operator hopes to counter those losses with the news that they've struck a deal with DreamWorks
to develop content exclusively for Netflix. According to Netflix, this is the largest deal they've every struck for exclusive new content, the results airing as a suite of new television shows that should premiere sometime next year. The new series will be "inspired" by previous Dreamworks Animations characters including "Shrek" and "The Croods." The streaming landscape got increasingly more fractured this week with the news that Downton Abbey is now an Amazon exclusive
New incoming FCC boss Tom Wheeler is expected to have his confirmation hearing today before the Senate Commerce Committee. Wheeler's ties to wireless and cable companies
aren't expected to be much of an obstacle for his hearing, and in fact are likely why Wheeler was chosen (in order to see as little resistance from an industry-friendly Congress as possible).
If you're a Verizon customer that's having some Netflix performance issues lately, the likely culprit appears to be a peering spat between Verizon and Cogent Communications. GigaOM
has managed to sniff out the dispute, quoting Cogent as saying Verizon is intentionally allowing the ten peering points they share with the company to degrade. Verizon isn't really commenting on the feud outside of issuing some basic quotes about their superior network, so the GigaOM
story lacks any technical detail coming from Verizon's side. Cogent is certainly no stranger to disputes over peering
, which involve companies exchanging equal (or quite often not so equal, resulting in these feuds) amounts of bandwidth for free.
We've now seen two
that have shown that AT&T's LTE network is the fastest, even though Verizon's tends to have broader coverage and be more reliable. That's effectively what PC Magazine's new analysis of the fastest wireless networks found
, the company working with Sensorly to collect data in thirty cities. "In our first truly fair fight between LTE networks, AT&T came through with faster upload and download speeds overall than Verizon Wireless, although Verizon offered better reliability and greater rural coverage than its competitor." Another trend we're seeing in these studies: T-Mobile's LTE (where available) is faster than Verizon, while Sprint's average LTE speeds fail to impress. It will be interesting to see if these numbers change as both AT&T and T-Mobile see greater user loads on their LTE networks.
Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt recently crowed before investors that the company's new and unpopular modem rental fee
had room to grow
. He now appears to have carried through on that promise, with the news that the company's $4 modem fee -- is now a $5 modem fee for new users
. Alongside the new higher modem fee, Time Warner Cable is charging news users a $20 "one-time charge" simply for signing up for certain promotions. Given Comcast charges $7 for modem rentals you can expect Time Warner Cable's charge to continue growing in time (users are strongly recommended to buy their own modem
instead of throwing more money at their cable operator). As for the new $20 charge, it's just one more way these companies jack up your advertised price post sale.
AT&T recently annoyed users by blocking Google Hangouts video chat
, just a year after taking heat for blocking Facetime
. AT&T pretended the move was about network logistics, but they were actually using the blockade to force grandfathered unlimited users on to metered plans (the Facetime block was ultimately removed for metered users).
Earlier this month Sprint tried to scrap Dish's proposed takeover of Clearwire by arguing that the proposal was technically illegal under Delaware law
. Now Sprint has filed a new lawsuit against both Dish and Clearwire
in an effort to prove it and derail the deal once and for all. According to the lawsuit, Dish has "repeatedly attempted to fool Clearwire's shareholders into believing its proposal was actionable in an effort to acquire Clearwire's spectrum and to obstruct Sprint's transaction with Clearwire." The fuss over Clearwire's spectrum has resulted in the Wall Street Journal
calling the historically dismally-performing Clearwire the "darling of telecom" in a report yesterday.
Security contractor turned leaker Edward Snowden continues to make governments uncomfortable, this week leaking more information to the Guardian
that the UK government spied on diplomats attending the country's G20 Summit in 2009. According to Snowden, conference attendees had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted.
writes in to direct our attention to the fact that Sprint has announced
that they've launched LTE service in another twenty two new markets, including Miami, New Orleans, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida. As always the usual Sprint launch caveats apply: many users had seen signal in these locations for some time as Sprint brings signals online for testing well before a commercial launch. Said launches aren't always what you'd call comprehensive
either; only around 40% of towers have been LTE approved in the Miami launch market. The launches bring Sprint's LTE market total to 110. The company aims to offer LTE to 200 million people by the end of this year.
According to a report in the Globe and Mail
, both AT&T and Verizon are contemplating buying a stake in the Canadian wireless market. According to sources speaking to the paper anonymously, both companies have held talks to acquire one or several of the struggling Canadian upstart operators, including Wind Mobile. The source claims Verizon in particular is taking a "hard look" at buying either Wind or Mobilicity, then bidding on spectrum at Canada's upcoming spectrum auction in order to create a stronger fourth wireless carrier. The move wouldn't be a new one for Verizon, who was a major investor in Telus until 2004.
Earlier this month news emerged
that Google was planning on experimenting with broadband by hot air balloon or blimp (affectionately called "blimpband" around these parts). Now Google has come out with more details about the project and given it a name: Google Loon
As we've noted previously
, despite serious advancement in broadband speeds, many ISPs have been having serious problems offering a consistent YouTube streaming experience over the last years -- including faster options like Verizon FiOS. By and large I've noted that given this is a problem across numerous ISPs, it would appear to be an unspecified peering or YouTube issue that causes the problems.
HughesNet has announced
that the company is now offering their satellite broadband customers the ability to bundle in voice services. The company's website
doesn't get specific on pricing, only stating that plans start out at around $20 per month. "HughesNet Voice customers enjoy high Quality of Service (QoS) calling as a result of new technology Hughes developed in its latest HughesNet Gen4 service delivery system, which establishes dedicated bandwidth for voice traffic, eliminating interference with data running over their satellite Internet connection," insists the company. While the company's new Gen-4 broadband service has been well hyped, many customers state HughesNet has struggled to deliver promised performance
with the new service.
As the PRISM story from last week mutates, it has been interesting to see how many of the Internet companies have fought NSA requests, completely unlike what we saw with AT&T and Verizon when it was exposed
that they were allowing the NSA to split network fibers and monitor all traffic in real time. Google for example recently went out of their way to point out they refused NSA attempts to install their own gear on network
, and now the New York Times
reports that both Yahoo and Twitter also tried to fight secretive rubber-stamped FISA court requests.
Let us know what you're up to this weekend in the comment section below. Unless it's rather gross and or unseemly, in which case don't.
by Revcb Friday 14-Jun-2013
One of the benefits of having little to no competition in your markets is you can jack up prices and add all the little obnoxious fees you'd like with no repercussions, since most of your customers have no other options. One of the benefits of lobbying and enjoying regulatory capture in uncompetitive markets
is you can engage in this kind of behavior repeatedly and be confident that United States regulators simply won't give a damn.
LTE signal for T-Mobile's shiny new LTE network keeps popping up in numerous cities ahead of official commercial launches. TMONews
points out that users started seeing LTE signal last week in Boston, Dayton/Akron, Ohio, San Diego, Anaheim, Fresno and across San Bernardino county. This week the signals are popping up in Dallas, Denver, Wichita and Indianapolis. T-Mobile has stated they plan to cover 100 million POPs (potential customers) by the end of summer but only officially offers LTE in seven markets, meaning we should be hit by a flood of official launch announcements shortly.
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