TPP Trade Agreement Sparks Response from Tech Community

With the publication of the Trans Pacific-Partnership (TPP) international trade treaty, numerous technology and privacy rights groups are speaking up over a range of issues. Non-profit consumer rights organization Public Citizen decries what it says is “serious implications for online privacy.” Others note that the TPP would prevent member countries from requiring that companies from other member states hand over the source code of their products. And some activists believe TPP could help further net neutrality. Continue reading TPP Trade Agreement Sparks Response from Tech Community

FCC and Alamo Broadband Set to Face Off Over Net Neutrality

On December 4, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments against net neutrality brought by Alamo Broadband, a small Texas Internet provider, the latest to push to end net neutrality. In its filing, the Federal Communications Commission reiterated that the net neutrality rules issued this year that reclassified ISPs as “common carriers” do not violate First Amendment rights. Both the FCC and Alamo’s positions are clear in the filings they’ve recently made to the court. Continue reading FCC and Alamo Broadband Set to Face Off Over Net Neutrality

Facebook Continues its Push to Deliver Free Mobile Internet

Facebook plans to ramp up its efforts to provide free basic Internet on mobile devices, after successfully debuting the application through its Internet.org platform in 17 developing countries. The company will launch a dedicated portal for mobile operators to offer the service under Internet.org, which has brought nine million people online in the last year. Facebook hopes to bring an estimated 4.5 billion people online in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The platform offers free pared-down Web services and Facebook’s social network and messaging. Continue reading Facebook Continues its Push to Deliver Free Mobile Internet

Sprint Stops Throttling Speeds as Net Neutrality Takes Effect

The new net neutrality laws had a real-world impact when Sprint announced it would no longer throttle speeds for unlimited data customers. Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure made the move in reaction to customers disgruntled by the fine print of a new $80/month unlimited text, talk and data plan, noting that video would be delivered at lower speeds. The 600 kilobits/second speed recommended by a consultant to Sprint would have particularly impacted high definition video, which runs at three to four megabits per second. Continue reading Sprint Stops Throttling Speeds as Net Neutrality Takes Effect

Ad-Sponsored Data to Be Part of Verizon’s Internet TV Service

Verizon’s upcoming Internet TV service, expected to launch sometime this summer, may encourage brands to sponsor your binge watching. According to Verizon exec Marnie Walden — who described the new service as a “mobile-first video product” — the company plans to offer live and on-demand programming in addition to content from digital networks such as AwesomenessTV. Rather than passing the additional data costs for such a service to customers or programmers, Verizon is turning to advertisers. “Ad-sponsored data is part of the product offering,” said Walden. Continue reading Ad-Sponsored Data to Be Part of Verizon’s Internet TV Service

FCC Plans to Fine AT&T $100 Million for Slowing Data Speeds

The Federal Communications Commission has accused AT&T Mobility of misleading its wireless customers regarding unlimited data plans by slowing their service without notification. As a result, the FCC announced that it plans to fine AT&T $100 million. According to the agency, AT&T delivered slower service than advertised after its customers had used a certain amount of data. The slow-down impacted the ability to stream video, use mapping services and more. The move raises questions about future actions now that the FCC is treating Internet services more like utilities. Continue reading FCC Plans to Fine AT&T $100 Million for Slowing Data Speeds

Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

As part of the growing backlash to Facebook’s Internet.org project, 65 advocacy organizations from 31 countries released a letter of protest this week to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has partnered with wireless carriers and other organizations on the initiative that hopes to bring free Internet service to the developing world. However, the letter argues that the project “violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation.” Continue reading Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

Streaming TV Services Look to Bypass Internet Congestion

While the FCC has proposed that broadband companies cannot accept payments for access to an Internet fast lane, some streaming TV services want to be classified as “managed services,” much like digital phone services. This gray area of the net neutrality rules may provide media companies a fast lane opportunity. The FCC allows cable and phone companies to operate managed services, such as digital phone services or video-on-demand, on a special bandwidth so that consumers do not experience dropped calls or video buffering. Continue reading Streaming TV Services Look to Bypass Internet Congestion

FCC Rules in Favor of Regulating Broadband Internet as Utility

The FCC voted 3 to 2 yesterday to approve regulation of broadband Internet service as a public utility. The new rules, recently proposed by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, are designed to ensure net neutrality by discouraging content blocking and the introduction of “fast lanes” for Internet and media companies and “slow lanes” for others. Wheeler said the FCC was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers.” He added that Internet access is “too important to let broadband providers be the ones making the rules.” Continue reading FCC Rules in Favor of Regulating Broadband Internet as Utility

HPA Tech Retreat: Jim Burger Delivers a Washington Update

On the second day of the HPA Tech Retreat, Jim Burger, a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP in Washington, DC and copyright lawyer, gave his annual Washington Update. “Washington, as always, is a city under construction,” he said. “There’s a lot going on.” Burger discussed the potential impact of the Aereo decision on cloud storage, the latest regarding lawsuits against Dish Network, the FAA’s examination of drones, a very busy FCC and what’s next for net neutrality, and an update on the spectrum auctions. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Jim Burger Delivers a Washington Update

Verizon Could Face Investigation Over Mobile Supercookies

Last week, we reported that Verizon would offer users the ability to opt out of the company’s mobile ad-targeting program, which tags customers with unique codes to track online activity. The move followed complaints from privacy advocates regarding the use of the alphanumerical customer codes known as “supercookies.” Now, three Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation are calling for a formal investigation into Verizon’s tracking practices of its wireless subscribers. Continue reading Verizon Could Face Investigation Over Mobile Supercookies

FCC Chairman Announces His Plan to Ensure an Open Internet

Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has been working to create new rules to help guarantee net neutrality. Over the last year, a debate has unfolded involving the cable television and telecommunications industries, amongst others, while critics and Internet service providers have pointed to concerns regarding a potential shift toward stronger regulation. Wheeler’s plan, which was revealed yesterday and calls for Internet service to be regulated as a public utility, went even further than some analysts expected. Continue reading FCC Chairman Announces His Plan to Ensure an Open Internet

Google Continues Expansion of Ultrafast Fiber Internet Service

Google announced yesterday that it plans to deliver its Fiber Internet service with speeds of one gigabit per second (100 times faster than average U.S. broadband) to many of the neighborhoods in 18 cities of metro areas including Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee. As with its initial three areas, the company will offer its one gigabit Internet service for $70 per month, while an Internet and TV package will cost $120-$130, depending on the location. Continue reading Google Continues Expansion of Ultrafast Fiber Internet Service

FCC Chair Hints That Broadband is Likely To Be Reclassified

Speaking at CES, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler hinted that the agency could reclassify broadband as a public utility (telecommunications service). Those in opposition of such a move, fearing increased federal regulation, include the broadband industry as well as some Republican lawmakers and conservative groups. Wheeler also accused broadcasters of slowing plans for spectrum auctions. While he remains optimistic that auctions would still begin next year, he expressed disappointment “that the broadcasters have slowed things down by filing suit.” Continue reading FCC Chair Hints That Broadband is Likely To Be Reclassified

BitTorrent Starts Testing New Maelstrom Torrent Web Browser

BitTorrent, known for its peer-to-peer file sharing service, has unveiled a new Web browser, Maelstrom, that could take Web content from centralized servers to a network of shared torrents. A browser that utilizes a peer-to-peer network makes downloading large files faster and keeps files off a cloud that could be surveyed by the government or hacked by cyber criminals. Maelstrom could also supplement existing browsers to take the load off of other networks. Continue reading BitTorrent Starts Testing New Maelstrom Torrent Web Browser

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