Kaltura to Offer Cloud-Based TV Services on Microsoft Azure

Video technology provider Kaltura has announced its partnership with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure to offer a new scalable, end-to-end OTT platform. Kaltura has integrated with Azure to encode, store and deliver OTT TV content via the cloud. According to the company release: “Microsoft Azure enables operators and media companies to leverage Kaltura OTT TV to launch OTT services while quickly scaling, with pay-as-you-go services. Microsoft is committed to protecting subscriber data, enhancing control of premium content and privacy.” Continue reading Kaltura to Offer Cloud-Based TV Services on Microsoft Azure

Cable and Telecom Companies Lobby Against FCC Proposals

Last month, 60 lawmakers signed a letter objecting to an FCC regulation that would open up the cable TV set-top box market. More recently, Democratic congressman Bobby Rush’s staff pushed his colleagues to sign another letter, this one opposing an FCC proposal to limit how broadband providers can share users’ personal data. These are just recent efforts by the cable industry to oppose what it sees as unfair advantages enjoyed by tech companies such as Google in the light of new FCC proposals. Continue reading Cable and Telecom Companies Lobby Against FCC Proposals

Global Smartphone Sales Slow, India and China Still Promising

Research firm Gartner states that global smartphone sales will dip into single digits following a continued slowdown. The company expects sales to grow 7 percent this year, reaching 1.5 billion units, down from 14.4 percent growth in 2015. In the mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and parts of Asia/Pacific, smartphone penetration is now at 90 percent. That, along with consumers in these regions not replacing or upgrading phones as quickly as before, are the root causes of the slowdown. Continue reading Global Smartphone Sales Slow, India and China Still Promising

Latest T-Mobile Promotion Offers Stock Shares to Customers

T-Mobile chief executive John Legere says he will give away a share in the company to every account holder with a voice plan, a deal that’s also good for new customers. Those who have been T-Mobile customers for at least five years will also get two shares for every new customer they refer. T-Mobile says it has more than 30 million postpaid phone customers. The stock is currently trading at $43.07 per share, which would value the promotion at $1.3 billion if every customer takes Legere up on his offer. Continue reading Latest T-Mobile Promotion Offers Stock Shares to Customers

Messaging Service WhatsApp Temporarily Shut Down in Brazil

As the result of a court order, Facebook-owned WhatsApp was shut down in Brazil yesterday. In an effort to obtain user data for a criminal investigation involving drug trafficking, Judge Marcel Maia Montalvão ordered telecoms to suspend the popular messaging service for 72 hours throughout Brazil. In March, Judge Montalvão ordered the arrest of Facebook exec Diego Dzodan, who was briefly taken into custody for refusing to turn over WhatsApp data (a higher court ordered the release of Dzodan after one night). WhatsApp says it has cooperated to the “full extent of [its] ability with local courts.” Continue reading Messaging Service WhatsApp Temporarily Shut Down in Brazil

European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

European officials have charged Google with violating competition rules by favoring Android over rival mobile software. Europe’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager accused the tech giant of unfairly promoting its own mobile search and Chrome browser with phone makers. “We believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players,” said Vestager. From Brussels, the European Commission issued a release stating that Google has “abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.” Continue reading European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

Amazon and Google have recently made efforts to connect Internet users with home and local service providers, taking on companies such as Angie’s List and Yelp in the process. Now, Facebook is testing its own feature that directs social media users to the top-reviewed service providers in their area. The new site is only available on desktop, but Facebook offers the ability to find local businesses on mobile via “Nearby Places.” In addition to home services, Facebook’s feature highlights restaurants, bars, nightclubs and travel-related businesses such as hotels, sightseeing and tours. Continue reading Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

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

FCC Calls for Safeguards as Telecoms Upgrade Copper to Fiber

U.S. regulators have proposed a new rule that would require major carriers such as Verizon and AT&T to maintain their current levels of service while they update aging copper networks with new fiber. The FCC’s proposal would require that the big carriers offer “reasonably comparable” services and conditions for their new technologies as well, in an effort to prevent an immediate impact on smaller carriers. The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the proposed rule next month. Continue reading FCC Calls for Safeguards as Telecoms Upgrade Copper to Fiber

Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

Customer satisfaction with cable TV, Internet and phone service providers has fallen to a seven-year low, according to a study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. When surveyed about satisfaction involving 43 industries, consumer response placed television and Internet companies tied for last place. Recent merger talks have placed TV and Internet providers under particular scrutiny, while disappointing customer service and rising prices have taken on a different dynamic in an era of streaming options such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

Gartner Predicts About 25 Billion Connected Devices by 2020

Research firm Gartner recently made a number of interesting forecasts related to the Internet of Things, notably that there will be 4.9 billion connected devices in use this year, up 30 percent from 2014. We should expect 25 billion connected things by 2020. The research firm also anticipates that by 2020, connected kitchen appliances will contribute at least 15 percent savings in the food and beverage industry. And Gartner says there will be 250 million connected vehicles with automated driving capabilities within the next five years. Continue reading Gartner Predicts About 25 Billion Connected Devices by 2020

Google Invests in SpaceX to Push Worldwide Internet Access

SpaceX recently landed a $1 billion investment from Google and investment firm Fidelity. Google’s commitment to SpaceX is part of the company’s ambitious plan to facilitate Internet connectivity on a global scale in order to serve more areas of the world, reach consumers more directly, and ultimately get its products into more hands. In addition, Google has plans to offer a wireless service through deals with Sprint and T-Mobile, which could lead to rivals lowering their prices and improving connectivity speeds. Continue reading Google Invests in SpaceX to Push Worldwide Internet Access

Cisco is Offering Real-Time Analysis of Network Sensor Data

Cisco Systems is now selling analytics that provide insight into the information gathered by the company’s hardware. Cisco’s “connected analysis” will rely on sensor data from its customers’ pre-installed data transmission networks, providing rapid analysis of consumer activity in a stadium or retail store, for example. Business customers will have the ability to respond to new patterns quickly because the analytics are relayed in real time. General Electric is also planning to relaunch its analytics service. Continue reading Cisco is Offering Real-Time Analysis of Network Sensor Data

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

Sprint Ends Pursuit of T-Mobile, Plans to Replace Chief Exec

Facing opposition from regulators, Sprint has opted to bow out of its pursuit of T-Mobile. The deal would have valued T-Mobile at $32 billion and provided a stronger rival to Verizon and AT&T. Sprint, the country’s third largest wireless carrier, will now have to rebuild its declining subscriber base on its own, and is currently testing new price plans. The company also decided during a board meeting yesterday to replace CEO Dan Hesse with billionaire entrepreneur Marcelo Claure. Continue reading Sprint Ends Pursuit of T-Mobile, Plans to Replace Chief Exec

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