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Google, Facebook and Microsoft each secretly pay tens of millions of dollars to top broadband providers to ensure consumers avoid any Internet traffic congestion when accessing their content: Report variety.com
Why Google Wants to Lose This Race fool.com
NY Times Leaves Industry Disclosure Out Of Op-Ed Celebrating Broadband Mediocrity mediamatters.org
EarthLink re-enters wireless as a Clearwire MVNO offering WiMAX fiercewireless.com
Alcatel-Lucent unveils radical restructuring plan, will focus on LTE, small cells in wireless fiercewireless.com
Amazon Wants to Create Appointment TV Online, Not Follow Netflix Binging theatlanticwire.com
L.A. school board OKs $30 million for Apple iPads for all students latimes.com
Yahoo s Very Bad Idea to Release Email Addresses wired.com
Megaupload s former hosting provider Leaseweb deletes all Megaupload user data from 690 servers without warning torrentfreak.com
Microsoft Finally Offers To Pay Hackers For Security Bugs With $100,000 Bounty forbes.com
Sweden Makes It Illegal To Take Photos In 'Private Environments' Without Permission techdirt.com
The Next Mobile Frontier: The 'iCar'? huffingtonpost.com
Microsoft Backs Off Restrictive Xbox One Policies - Including Always Online, Used Game Blocks, and Region LocksWed, 19 Jun 2013 17:36:39 EDT
Microsoft appears to have backed away from their rather absurd and draconian DRM policies for their upcoming Xbox One console. According to a blog post by the company, the company will be backing away from the console's previous "online check in every 24 hours" requirement, as well as lifting many of the restrictions on used games. Microsoft's also backing off of the restrictions on game rentals, something that would have seriously harmed companies like Gamefly.com. Even region locks will be going away after consumer complaints.
According to Microsoft's President of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick, the following changes are going to be made after receiving "candid feedback":
•An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
•Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.
Last fall we noted that Facebook was tinkering with the idea of offering people free Wi-Fi at select locations, if users were willing to check in there. Facebook has very quietly been expanding the offer since then, Wired pointing out that they're now offering the free Wi-Fi in cafes in Palo Alto and San Francisco and even now offer the functionality in a line of Cisco's Meraki routers. You are the product every time you log in to Facebook, so at least, as Wired notes, in this instance "Facebook Wi-Fi has the virtue of at least offering the user something valuable in return for (your) location."
West Virginia Blames Everyone But Frontier For Broadband Woes - Despite Findings That Frontier Abused Taxpayer FundsWed, 19 Jun 2013 15:09:19 EDT
We've explored just how corrupt and dysfunctional West Virginia has been when it came to spending their $126.3 million in broadband stimulus funds. Local Charleston Gazette reporter Eric Eyre has been doing an absolutely fantastic job the last few years, highlighting how Verizon, Frontier and Cisco convinced the state to buy ridiculously overpriced, overpowered and unused routers, and ridiculously overpaid, redundant consultants who haven't actually accomplished anything.
Back in March the state buried a study on their spending of the stimulus money (which they spent $118,000 for) that leaked anyway, highlighting that how Frontier Communications did a sloppy job in tracking spending, may have overbilled taxpayers substantially, and only built a mish mash of geographically scattered fiber upgrades that the majority of state residents wouldn't benefit from in the slightest.
Eyre has another story out this week with yet more detail on the state's shenanigans, noting that the orginal $17,000 per mile fiber estimate by the state has ballooned to $47,500 per mile -- and what fiber that will be deployed will be significantly scaled back. Despite the previously suppressed report that shows Frontier's record keeping was poor and might have resulted in double billing, state officials have blamed everyone but Frontier for the magically soaring costs:
In an annual report posted online last week, state Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato blamed the rising fiber costs on "storms in late 2012" -- presumably Hurricane Sandy, which caused an estimated $14 million in damage across West Virginia. The state's report also cited environmental studies for the fiber construction's higher costs. The previous year, state officials blamed fallout from the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami for a sharp spike in fiber prices.
As we noted earlier this year, there have been a steady stream of rumors that AT&T is cooking up some speed increases, even though the timeline for deployment remains anything but clear. This thread in our forums is full of rumblings from those claiming to be AT&T techs, who say the faster speeds are being trialed in several markets with a rumored launch sometime this year. Such upgrades are long overdue, given that cable operators have been offering considerably faster speeds than AT&T's top offering for some time now.
Those rumors have spread to the official AT&T community forums now as well. People there claiming to be AT&T employees claim that speed bumps up to 60 Mbps downstream, 10 Mbps upstream may arrive sometime in July:
I have seen a lot of questions regarding 2013 upgrades. I have also seen a LOT of incorrect responses to these questions. Ill cover what I KNOW is on the way and what is being tested. The area I work in is a very well known test location for testing.
•Stream increase- U-verse is an IP based TV service that currently offers 4 streams per customer. Mid July there will be an increase to 6 streams.
•New Gateway- The NVG589 Gateway has been released already and is currently very limited and is for NEW installs only.
•Internet speed increase- The top is 24MB down 5MB up. July is the release for 48-60MB down and up to 10MB upload.
Last week I noted that CenturyLink had tacked on a new and absurd $1 "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" to user bills starting in July. The fee, like all fees of this kind, allows carriers to jack up prices using below the line fees while keeping the advertised price the same. According to CenturyLink, the fee was to "help cover the costs associated with building and maintaining the internet network," which is, of course, what your full bill should already be contributing to.
Now user uid://730983 writes in to note that CenturyLink is also informing some users of yet another fee.
"Beginning with your next invoice you will notice an additional item in the Optional Features/Services subsection of the Local Services portion of your bill, referred to as the Non-Telcom Services Surcharge," CenturyLink informs users. The fee appears applied to users who receive Voicemail (a rather telecom-ish "non telecom service") or Lineguard -- a $4.50 per month insurance program CenturyLink often signs users up for without asking.
According to the CenturyLink website, this new $1.55 fee is imposed " to reduce the number of potential increases to customers," which of course also makes absolutely no sense given it's a rate hike either way.
When you multiply the $1 "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" and the $1.55 "Non Telecom Services Surchage" times the millions of CenturyLink DSL and POTS subscribers, you'll understand that CenturyLink's making a pretty penny doing absolutely nothing. Well perhaps not "nothing"; they're engaging in false advertising and using nonsensical fees to jack up the below the line price, something U.S. regulators continue to ignore.
Dish appears to have given up on acquiring Sprint in order to focus their attention on trying to acquire Clearwire. After SoftBank increased their offer for Sprint to $21.6 billion earlier this month, Dish stated that it was "impracticable" to make a new offer and let the bidding deadline expire. Speculation is that Dish could still make a bid later on, but it appears that their primary focus is now the acquisition of Clearwire, a move Sprint filed a suit to thwart earlier this week.
Comcast this week expanded availability of their new X1 set top into Baltimore. The Pace-made device is a QAM/IP hybrid set top that brings a lot of IP-based functionality to users already seen in set tops deployed by telcoTV competitors (widgets ahoy). This thread in our forums offers some user impressions of the new set top, and while many users like it, there appear to be many bugs that still need ironing out. To lure users to the new platform, Comcast is offering a variety of new 12 month promotional offers (including this one that expires today) to new customers that involve free premium TV channels, the new X1 set top, gift cards, and the company's 20 Mbps broadband tier for $89.
NSA Wants Greater Immunity For Corporate Spy Pals - Response to Concerns About Secret Spying? More Secrecy!Wed, 19 Jun 2013 08:37:46 EDT
In what isn't a particularly surprising development, NSA boss Keith Alexander has been pushing for law changes that would give greater legal immunity for companies that help the NSA with their spy programs (with language as broad and ill-defined as possible). While some argue that giving companies some protection from lawsuits for doing things they're being forced to do makes sense, the problem is that this all just leads to greater secrecy, with the involved companies having no incentive to stand up against requests to bend or break the law. The argument is that individuals can sue the government instead, but we've repeatedly seen how that turns out.
FCC Chairman Nominee Says Broadband Is Top Priority - Wheeler less clear on other commission issues adweek.com
Texas becomes first US state to ban warrantless email snooping sophos.com
Millions Lost to Wireless Investment Scam wbay.com
Legal Squabbles Over the UK 4G Auction Result in Tougher Ofcom Rules ispreview.co.uk
NSA Implementing 'Two-Person' Rule To Stop The Next Edward Snowden forbes.com
Facebook s Wi-Fi Spreads in the Wild wired.com
Wi-Fi Alliance takes grid place, revs engine in race to 802.11ac theregister.co.uk
Hey mobile firms: About that Android thing... Did Google add a lockout clause? theregister.co.uk
Six nations ask Google for answers on Glass privacy - Canada, Oz, NZ, Mexico, Switzerland and Israel send 'Dear Larry' letter theregister.co.uk
Warning Letters Under UK's Three Strikes Plan Unlikely To Be Sent Out Before 2016... If Ever techdirt.com
Internet access just as important as food and sleep, study finds techspot.com
Verizon's Wireless 'Voice Link' as a Replacement of the Wires? The Downgrading and Disconnecting of America's Communications huffingtonpost.com
Experimentation with pricing structures will let the broadband providers and their customers test new business models without regulatory interference cio.com
Dish Exec Talks Advantages of Fixed-Wireless Broadband wirelessweek.com
Wireless charging on the go for the iPhone 5 nytimes.com
Ready for the Industrial Internet? GE Announces Predictivity Platform, New Partnership With Amazon Web Services allthingsd.com
Ubuntu phone OS has eight carriers signed on to boost development - Carrier list may put Ubuntu on phones throughout the world arstechnica.com
Apple's screw-up leaves tethered iPhones easily crackable - 24 seconds from pickup to pwned theregister.co.uk
Charter converts Texas systems to all-digital platform fiercecable.com
Microsoft, Ruckus and others form Dynamic Spectrum Alliance to boost TV white space fiercebroadbandwireless.com
GSMA: Every new car will be a 'connected car' in 2025 fiercebroadbandwireless.com
Apple iPhone gaming controllers are coming, and it's a whole new game fiercewireless.com
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.