Archive for: broadband

FCC And Broadband Providers Coming Together To Offer $9.99/Month Broadband Plan For Low Income Households.

  • November 9, 2011 12:27 am

At some point on Wednesday the FCC will reveal details concerning the rollout of the national broadband initiative in cooperation with various broadband providers and many other companies across various industries. The goal: bribing affordable broadband service to low income households.

The move is being made in an attempt to sign up as many of the nation’s 100+ million unconnected citizens as possible with plans as low as $9.99/month. For the record, Comcast began offering a $9.99/month broadband plan earlier in 2011 as part of an agreement when acquiring NBC.

In order to qualify, households can’t have recently had or currently have internet access, must have a child on the national school lunch program, and accept being limited to two years at the “promotional” $9.99/month rate. After two years cable providers in particular are hoping that customers will find the benefits of broadband too good to once again go without, and in turn pay for more expensive service.

The official (read: not Comcast’s) $9.99/month broadband service will begin rolling out in the spring of 2012 with national coverage coming sometime in September the same year.

It’s about time, we say. It’s one of the few times so many companies from different walks of life are coming together for a common goal and the greater good. See what happens when we all get along…?

And So It Begins: Sprint Moving To Tiered Data For Hotspot And Mobile Broadband.

  • October 21, 2011 8:16 am

Sprint’s plans to cap (literally) mobile hotspot users have been known for quite a while now. Mobile data card users, however, were thought to have escaped unscathed. Too bad they didn’t. A new chart from Sprint has leaked, showing that the current awesome deal of capped 3G and unlimited 4G will soon be replaced by the now standard (and terribly priced) data tiers in 2 GB, 5 GB and 10 GB flavors — no grandfathered options. Going over your allotted bandwidth will cost you $0.05/MB.

Now that hotspot and data card users are getting neutered service it’s only a matter of time before Sprint makes the same changes to smartphone data. Despite promises to the contrary, unlimited data won’t be around on Sprint’s network much longer. On a separate note, Sprint’s network has never been anything to write home about speed wise (on 3G). With the recent launch of the iPhone 4S and the certain flogging iPhone users are putting on Sprint’s network, we can’t imagine things have gotten any better.

Considering one of Sprint’s few redeeming qualities is their unlimited data options, will the drying up of said feature(s) cause people to move elsewhere?

Overall, killing off unlimited data and not giving current unlimited users grandfathered plans isn’t likely to win over anyone.

T-Mobile Re-Gimping 200 MB “Classic” Data Plan With Overages.

  • August 10, 2011 12:13 pm

Thinking of pulling a fast one on T-Mobile USA by subscribing to the cheaper 200 MB data plan and accepting the throttled speeds afterwards? While that is a great way to save a few bucks, the unfortunate problem is that a boatload of other people had the same idea. As such, T-Mobile USA claims to have had their “expectations exceeded” in demand for the cheaper tier and in turn will remove the sorta-kinda unlimited setup and returning to a traditional capped option with overages. Speaking of which, from here on out customers on the classic plan will have to deal with overages of $0.10/MB (maxing out at $30). Value plan customers will have to weather the same $0.10/MB overage fee but will get to enjoy a slightly larger cushion of of $35 max.

T-Mobile declined to comment about how the new change would affect their more generous 2 GB plan as well as older “unlimited” plans soft capped at ~ 5 GB.

Low Signal? New 802.22 Standard To Allow 62-Mile WiFi Range.

  • August 1, 2011 7:17 am

You may currently have issues hitting the remote corners of hour house with measly 802.11-based WiFi, but things will improve for the better once 802.22 networks and devices start popping up. The new 802.22 specification was just published meaning manufacturers can finally start building devices for “public WiFi”.

This new WRANs (wireless regional area networks) standard will run over the 54 MHz-698 MHz frequencies previously inhabited by good ‘ol fashioned analog TV signals. Now, however, it’s untapped potential.

In theory, 802.22 could blanket the U.S. in 22 Mbps wireless speeds with as little as 307 access points, though real-world scenarios will likely require many more. On top of that, the 22 Mbps while slow all things considered, is actually a theoretical speed itself meaning day-to-day speeds will be considerably less. Still, for people who only have access to dial-up (or no internet service at all), this new standard is a saving grace.

AT&T: “Unlimited Data Plans To Be Throttled Starting October 1st.” Data Cap Varies Month To Month.

  • July 29, 2011 4:31 pm

Wow. Just, wow. AT&T really, really wants you to hate them. Taking away unlimited data wasn’t enough. Now AT&T wants to screw over unlimited data users too.

Starting October 1st, AT&T will begin throttling data speeds “for the top 5% of data users on their network” in an effort to more effectively manage data consumption network-wide as well as ensure everyone has the best experience possible. (Read: AT&T wants more money.) What’s worse than the simple fact AT&T lied about protecting grandfathered unlimited data plans is that they don’t even give a set amount that the alleged “top 5%” use. Instead, AT&T states that because the amount of used data varies from month to month, so does the cap in which throttling is based on — epic failure.

For example, let’s say one month the heaviest 5% use 50 GB — yes, an extreme example — in one month. That 5% user base is going to be extremely small. But let’s say, for example, people actually start paying attention to their data usage and cut data consumption by large amounts. Suddenly that “top 5″ cap becomes 5 GB. And 5 GB is hardly difficult to reach, despite AT&T’s claims otherwise. (5 GB for the top 5% is unlikely, but still, the point remains.) And let’s not forget that the “top 5%” number could very well be the “top 20%”. AT&T is far from reliable or honest when it comes to consumer policies.

The real kick in the pants, however, is AT&T’s last paragraph in their press release:

But even as we pursue this additional measure, it will not solve our spectrum shortage and network capacity issues. Nothing short of completing the T-Mobile merger will provide additional spectrum capacity to address these near term challenges.

First: The “spectrum shortage” is not nearly as bad as AT&T claims. Second: the merger will do nothing but harm competition in the U.S. and allow AT&T to once again create the giant monopoly they once enjoyed.

Any unlimited users on AT&T feeling a bit boiled by AT&T’s new stance?

AT&T To Begin Throttling Unlimited Data Users Starting In October.

  • July 28, 2011 2:16 pm

If you’re one of the many millions of AT&T Wireless users who have protected their unlimited data plan tooth and nail, let it be known your day is also coming. 9to5Mac is reporting that starting this October, AT&T will begin throttling the heaviest unlimited data users on their network. It’s not yet known what the cutoff will be for reduced speeds nor what the reduced speeds will actually be. Though if we had to wager a guess we’d speculate something not too far over 2 GB.

Currently, T-Mobile is the only major U.S. carrier that makes use of wide-scale throttling. Speaking of which, we have a T-Mmobile Web Connect Rocket 2.0 3G card and use on average of ~50 GB/month — easily past the company’s 5 GB threshold for throttling. With that said, we still receive dl speeds of ~500 KB/s despite the company claiming EDGE speeds are all you’ll get after 5 GB. (And because of that, we’re certainly not complaining.)

How AT&T structures their throttling plan will be mighty interesting. Will they match the competition and carry the same 5GB threshold as T-Mobile or roll back to the same standard they now use on newer data plans capped at 2 GB? Regardless, AT&T claims over 95% of their users won’t be affected.

We’ll see…

The Internet Of Things Is Massive. Seriously. [Infographic]

  • July 18, 2011 8:47 am

Despite ISPs and media companies trying to restrict consumers and the global internet population as a whole, internet usage is exploding, and showing 0 signs of slowing down. A new “The Things Of The Internet” infograph put out by corporate tech giant, Cisco, dishes up a healthy dose of interesting internet related tidbits. While reading something that claims that 20 average late-2011 households will generate as much traffic as the entire internet in 2008 is certainly impressive, it is the number of IP addresses that IPv6 gives us — 340,282,366,920,938,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 — that is truly impressive. We were going to put that number in the title of the post but it ran off the page. Further highlighting the magnitude of the aforementioned IPv6 numbers, according to Cisco’s little infograph that’s enough to give every single atom on the face of the planet 100 of their own IP addresses. Think about that for a minute. There are hundreds of thousands of atoms spanning a single human hair. Multiply that by a bajillion and you’ve got a massive number.

Full-sized infograph after the break.

[Update] Canadian ISP Exempts Own Video Streaming Service From Data Caps. Competing Services Not So Lucky.

  • July 15, 2011 2:26 pm

We feel sorry for Canadians. Really. When it comes to mobile and landline broadband and internet services, positive remarks are seldom made. It’s probably because all the ISPs up there hate you. How else would you justify Candian ISP, Shaw, who has just introduced a new “Movie Club” plan that blatantly favors their own services over competitors…

AT&T Responds To Netflix Op-ed Criticizing Usage Based Billing.

  • July 14, 2011 1:28 pm

You didn’t think AT&T was going to sit back and let Netflix General Counsel David Hyman walk all over them without responding, did you? Today, AT&T General Counsel Wayne Watts rebuked (subscription) Hyman’s claims about usage-based billing while also calling out this obvious bias seeing as how Netflix accounts for up to 30% of heavy network load during peak hours.

The way we see it — both sides have valid points, though AT&T’s pedestal is much smaller. Wayne argues that AT&T is doing customers a favor by only charging them for what they use. The only thing he conveniently leaves out is that the prices attached to the various tiers are grossly over priced for the bandwidth/allotment they deliver.

Netflix’s David Hyman on the other hand has got it right when he calls AT&T’s tactics “bad for consumers and bad for the economy”. We’ll add that any claims made by a land-based telco of bandwidth shortages are false. Internet speeds continue to rise, prices continue to drop (albeit slowly), and coverage continues to expand all while the same companies report larger and larger profits each year. It doesn’t take a genius to see we’re being fed a basket full of lies.

But alas, you have to justify your bloated paychecks and fancy title somehow, right?