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

T-Mobile Adds Music Streaming, Stops Hiding Slower Speeds

Cellular company T-Mobile announced last week that it has added 14 new streaming services that will not count towards its customers’ data caps. Google Play Music and other specialty music services are now part of the Music Freedom program, but the deal raises questions about T-Mobile’s role in net neutrality. The FCC also told the company that it needs to be more transparent about throttled Internet speeds for customers who have exceeded their data allowance. Continue reading T-Mobile Adds Music Streaming, Stops Hiding Slower Speeds

Verizon Will Not Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality, Despite History

Verizon now says it will not sue the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality rules as long as broadband providers are not reclassified as utilities. However, Verizon did sue the FCC (and won) the last time net neutrality rules were introduced, which is one reason the FCC is presently considering reclassifying broadband. “We are going to be sued,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week. In response, Verizon EVP Randal Milch e-mailed that Verizon would not sue if the FCC uses Section 706. Continue reading Verizon Will Not Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality, Despite History

Industry Leaders Join Forces to Form Streaming Video Alliance

In an effort to develop universal standards and best practices for high-scale Internet video services, 17 content companies, service providers and technology vendors have gathered to create the Streaming Video Alliance. Together, these companies hope to improve the online video experience. SVA will initially focus on open architecture, quality of experience, and interoperability. Formation of the group comes as net neutrality continues its path as a complex and controversial issue. Continue reading Industry Leaders Join Forces to Form Streaming Video Alliance

Comcast Updates X1, Critics Concerned About Net Neutrality

Comcast introduced a new version of its television operating system, X1, at a media event in San Francisco on Wednesday. The system runs apps, records content to the cloud, and personalizes recommendations for users. The remote control features voice command, and the software also allows users to summon a technician to fix a problem if needed. These advanced technologies bring criticism that Comcast could become a gatekeeper of TV content, thereby violating net neutrality in the process. Continue reading Comcast Updates X1, Critics Concerned About Net Neutrality

President Obama Calls for New Rules Protecting Net Neutrality

In a statement and video posted on the White House website, President Obama formally announced his support of an open Internet, urging the FCC to treat consumer broadband service as a public utility. The president is proposing a strict net neutrality policy that opposes any need for content providers to pay broadband companies extra for faster access. Service providers including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon were quick to respond, suggesting that the proposal would not stand up in court. Continue reading President Obama Calls for New Rules Protecting Net Neutrality

Verizon Could Sue the Government Over Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission may reverse its rules about net neutrality after consumer advocates argued that the “fast lane” deals between various companies and Internet service providers were characterized as unfair. Verizon reportedly plans to sue the government if the FCC adopts stronger net neutrality rules. Under the FCC’s plans, ISPs would be treated as a utility in their dealings with content providers, but their Internet service to consumers would be only lightly regulated. Continue reading Verizon Could Sue the Government Over Net Neutrality Rules

Battle for the Net: Internet Slowdown Generates Big Numbers

Public interest groups and tech companies participated in an Internet “slowdown” yesterday to raise awareness of the potential impact to net neutrality and an open Internet if slow lanes were to result from proposed FCC rules. It was not an actual throttling of Internet speeds, but a campaign in which sites featured messages about the issue and symbolic “loading” icons. Thousands of websites urged their users to take action. As a result, the FCC received a record 1,477,301 public comments. Continue reading Battle for the Net: Internet Slowdown Generates Big Numbers

CTIA 2014: FCC Chair Talks Net Neutrality, Spectrum Auction

CTIA, The Wireless Association, kicked off its Mobility Week in Las Vegas with a keynote address by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler who spoke candidly about net neutrality, competition and the upcoming spectrum auction. Wheeler, who was CEO of CTIA from 1992-2004 and has been criticized by some consumer groups for his previous alliance, made it clear that in an environment where a vast and growing majority of Internet access is via mobile that a free and open Internet is vital. Continue reading CTIA 2014: FCC Chair Talks Net Neutrality, Spectrum Auction

Verizon Settlement is Largest in FCC History Involving Privacy

Following an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission regarding the use of customer information for marketing campaigns, Verizon has agreed to pay a settlement to the federal government. The FCC investigated allegations that Verizon used personal information without notifying customers or obtaining their consent. To end the investigation, Verizon will pay $7.4 million to the U.S. Treasury and notify its customers of their opt-out rights on every bill for the next three years. Continue reading Verizon Settlement is Largest in FCC History Involving Privacy

Netflix Signs Paid Peering Deal with TWC for Faster Streaming

Time Warner Cable signed a direct interconnection deal with Netflix, which makes it the fourth of the biggest ISPs to sign such an agreement with the video service. The deal should improve the Netflix experience for TWC broadband subscribers. Netflix signed similar deals with AT&T, Comcast and Verizon in recent months after fighting with the providers. Despite signing the paid peering agreements, Netflix continues to argue before the FCC and publicly that such arrangements violate net neutrality. Continue reading Netflix Signs Paid Peering Deal with TWC for Faster Streaming

Sprint Introduces $12 Wireless Plan for Use of Specific Apps

Sprint is in the process of introducing Virgin Mobile Custom, a cheaper wireless plan that allows users to access only specific websites. For $12, subscribers can choose between sole access to either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. For $22, users can have unlimited use of all four. For an extra $5, subscribers can have access to a music app with unlimited streaming. The program is expected to help customers that have less money afford wireless Internet access.

Continue reading Sprint Introduces $12 Wireless Plan for Use of Specific Apps

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