Senate Majority Leader Offers Support for Open Internet Rules

Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Democrat Harry Reid explained in a letter Monday that he would support “any Open Internet rules” passed by federal regulators. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed rules that would allow companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to charge more for faster Internet access. Meanwhile, opponents view such arrangements as a direct threat to net neutrality. Reid’s letter could help provide cover for the FCC in regulating Web services similar to a utility. Continue reading Senate Majority Leader Offers Support for Open Internet Rules

FCC Chair Reminds ISPs to Adhere to the Transparency Rule

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a statement to remind Internet Service Providers that they must remain clear about anything that impacts a consumer’s broadband experience. Any ISP that defies the transparency order is subject to censure and fines from the FCC. Wheeler did not direct the message at any specific provider, but claimed that the FCC has recently received numerous complaints. The agency did not make any comments about ongoing investigations. Continue reading FCC Chair Reminds ISPs to Adhere to the Transparency Rule

Tech Companies Argue the Internet Should Be a Public Utility

Tech companies of all sizes are urging the Federal Communications Commission to enforce net neutrality by reclassifying the Internet as Title II. This reclassification would mean that Internet providers would have to abide by the same laws as public utilities and there would be no Internet “fast lanes.” Representatives from Kickstarter, Spotify, Vimeo and others met with the FCC to discuss the issue last week. Netflix also submitted a filing to the FCC about the proposed net neutrality laws. Continue reading Tech Companies Argue the Internet Should Be a Public Utility

YouTube Takes Cue from Netflix, Blames ISPs for Slow Video

YouTube recently started pointing at Internet service providers when it comes to problems with video playback. When a YouTube video experiences buffer or playback issues, a message that reads “Experiencing interruptions?” now appears under the video. Clicking “Find out why” takes users to a new Google page that lists video playback quality for ISPs of different countries. Last month, Netflix posted alerts blaming a crowded Verizon network when customers experienced grainy video. Continue reading YouTube Takes Cue from Netflix, Blames ISPs for Slow Video

FCC Investigates the Speed and Quality of Internet Service

Netflix and other entertainment companies have started paying Internet providers for faster service, a concept that some believe will adversely affect competition. In order to discover whether the consumers are getting the speed and quality of service that has been promised, the FCC has opened an investigation. The agency begins this process just as it decides whether it actually holds jurisdiction over their businesses as no laws give the FCC the power to enforce Net neutrality. Continue reading FCC Investigates the Speed and Quality of Internet Service

Streaming Delay Messages: Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix

Last week it was reported that Netflix had begun posting on-screen messages blaming Verizon for congestion that was slowing video streams. While Netflix claims the message was simply one step in notifying customers about how an ISP can impact the viewing experience, Verizon described the move as “a PR stunt” and suggested the message “is not only inaccurate, it is deliberately misleading.” Later in the week, Verizon sent a cease and desist letter to Netflix. Continue reading Streaming Delay Messages: Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix

Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

SoftBank’s Sprint unit is reportedly poised to make a $32 billion offer to acquire T-Mobile that could take place early this summer. According to people familiar with the matter, the two telecoms have agreed on the broad outlines of a merger, but are still working on a formal contract. If completed and approved, the deal would combine the country’s third- and fourth-largest wireless operators, and potentially establish stronger competition for industry leaders Verizon and AT&T. Continue reading Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

FCC Comments Site Slows After John Oliver’s Commentary

During Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, John Oliver devoted more than 13 minutes, nearly half his show, to explaining the FCC’s proposed Net neutrality rules in a humorous yet detailed fashion. Toward the end of the commentary, he passionately called upon Internet commenters to direct their “indiscriminate rage” toward the FCC’s online feedback system. Viewers responded, and the next day the FCC tweeted that its site was experiencing technical difficulties due to the heavy traffic. Continue reading FCC Comments Site Slows After John Oliver’s Commentary

Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed to allow broadband providers to charge fees for high-speed Internet for faster delivery of video and other data, essentially allowing a premium Internet fast-lane for companies that can pay. Small content providers may not be able to compete because they do not have the resources to pay for high delivery speeds. The regulations would also prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing down individual websites. Continue reading Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

FCC Chair: “When Competition is High, Regulation Can Be Low”

The FCC’s new chairman, Tom Wheeler, spoke on Monday about usage-based pricing for Internet bandwidth, which has been strongly debated among public interest groups. Wheeler expressed his support for remaining steady with current Net neutrality rules. During a Q&A session at Ohio State University, he also suggested the marketplace should be allowed to “evolve” before coming to an ultimatum about whether providers should charge consumers based on bandwidth usage. Continue reading FCC Chair: “When Competition is High, Regulation Can Be Low”

Netflix Makes Super HD and 3D Options Available to All Users

Netflix is starting to provide all of its subscribers with access to Super HD and 3D content. The company announced that it is no longer obligatory for a subscriber to have Open Connect to access higher bitrate HD streams, as well as 3D titles. Netflix may face challenges convincing ISPs to adapt Open Connect; issues related to peering and local content caching are not completely resolved. Netflix also plans to unveil Ultra HD, with four times the screen resolution of HD, in 2014. Continue reading Netflix Makes Super HD and 3D Options Available to All Users

Akamai Hopes to Put Your Wireless Data in The Fast Lane

Links on mobile devices take an average of 5-6 seconds longer to load than those opened on desktops. Massachusetts-based company Akamai is out to help solve that problem, at least for companies willing to pay. Because the truth is, some consumers abandon slow-moving mobile transactions if they take too long. Akamai aims to create a “fast lane” on the radio waves on which wireless services are offered. Continue reading Akamai Hopes to Put Your Wireless Data in The Fast Lane

FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces His Resignation

Julius Genachowski, a Democrat who has served as chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission since 2009, announced he will resign his post in the coming weeks. His departure will open a second vacancy on the five-member agency, and he avoids leaving behind a 2-2 partisan tie, since Republican Robert McDowell also announced that he is set to resign in the coming weeks. Continue reading FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces His Resignation

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