Items tagged with ISP

Comcast is one of only two companies to be voted "Worst Company in America" multiple times, having come away with Consumerist's title in 2010 and again in 2014. The cable giant is aware that it has an image problem, one that largely stems from poor and sometimes downright horrid customers service, and it's going on a hiring spree as part of a plan to change the customer experience. One of the core elements of Comcast's plan is to create 5,500 customer service jobs over the next few years. Comcast hopes that this investment in workers will allow the company to always be on time for customer appointments, which is more than a desire, but a goal it aims to meet by the third quarter of this year.... Read more...
If you have an opinion that many would deem illogical, what do you do? You go find other people who think just as illogically, of course. Power in numbers, as they say. That can go for a sibling battling with another sibling over who took the last of the cupcakes just as well as it can for mega corporations like Comcast which argue that a monopoly is a good thing. Comcast's desire to absorb Time Warner Cable has been a hugely debated topic, with many believing it'd harm innovation and work against consumers, while others -- those on Comcast's side -- state the exact opposite. I say if you have any doubt about which side you're on, just consider how Comcast handles itself now. Need examples? You... Read more...
Charter Communications this week said it's planning to acquire Bright House Networks, the sixth largest cable company in the U.S., for $10.4 billion. However, there are several contingencies, one of the biggest of which is government approval for rival Comcast to acquire Time Warner Cable, as Charter has a vested interest in the side deal. If Comcast is able to buy TWC, it has agreed to shed 1.4 million subscribers to Charter in exchange for $7.3 billion to help nudge regulators to approve the deal. Comcast said it would also divest 2.5 million subscribers as part of a spinoff into a new cable company called GreatLand Connections, of which Charter would own a stake. Should all of this... Read more...
What we had hoped for has come true: The Federal Communications Commission has approved net neutrality rules. Make no mistake, this is a hugely important move, and an almost surprising one given just how much it caters to keeping the Internet open. With these rules, ISPs will be unable to throttle the data that passes through their pipes, and they certainly can't charge companies for "fast lane" privileges. The Internet will be open, free... period. Well, you know, we can just ignore the fact that the government will continue to do whatever eavesdropping it wants - but that's totally unrelated to what net neutrality is about. Today's ruling means that Internet access in the US will fall under... Read more...
Dan Gilbert, majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is no stranger to making bold claims. After LeBron James left the Cavs to sign with the Miami Heat several years ago, he made a personal "guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former 'King' wins one," a statement he typed in all caps for emphasis. It didn't work out that way, though he's still making big promises, the latest of which is that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) he's launching will deliver speeds on par with or faster than Google Fiber. His new ISP is called Rocket Fiber and it will soon roll out to downtown Detroit, Michigan, where he's buying dozens of buildings. According... Read more...
In a perfect world, none of us would have to call customer service, but alas, the world is far from perfect. And so too is the customer service we're talking about. No one likes having to deal with the hassle of ringing up customer service for help or a request, but that dislike gets amplified when the company behind this customer service is a cable or Internet provider. Unless you've somehow managed to avoid the Internet these past few years, you're probably well aware of the enormous number of horror stories that have stemmed from the customer service departments of companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Just earlier this month, we learned that some exemplary Comcast employee decided... Read more...
We reported earlier this week that the FCC was expected to issue a new net neutrality proposal this week, and as we can now see, it hasn't taken long to get a follow-up. In fact, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has gone the extra mile by penning his own piece for Wired so that we could learn about this new proposal in layman's terms. As we hoped, the FCC will in fact be proposing that our Internet access will be classified as Title II, which would put it in the same category that power companies fall into. As far as many people are concerned, including myself, Title II is the only way we can guarantee that our Internet remains "open", free of so-called fast lanes. Flickr: Stephen Melkisethian In his... Read more...
Well, here's some long overdue progress. It's expected that on Thursday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will issue a proposal that works in net neutrality's favor, and fortunately, a vote will take place just a few weeks later. Wheeler's proposal would make our Internet access a Title II utility. That means that it'd be regulated in much the same way as public utilities, such as power, but it's expected that this proposal will stop short of having any oversight on pricing. Flickr: Stephen Melkisethian One of the greatest benefits of putting our Internet access under Title II is that fast lanes will not be allowed, which is to say that companies will not be able to pay ISPs more for improved traffic... Read more...
The concept of net neutrality has been a hot-button topic over the past few years, particularly as evidence by fundamental ISP misconduct that has grown more prevalent. In addition, an increasing number of customers have found themselves caught in the crossfire between two huge corporations (ISPs and content providers especially) with little to no recourse... Net neutrality is an attractive concept, particularly if you've followed the ways the cable and telco companies have gouged customers in recent years, and I'm a fan of the idea on some level -- but only to a limited extent. There are two problems with net neutrality as its commonly proposed... Net Neutrality Won't Fix ISP Throttling, Here's... Read more...
On Wednesday morning, every single Time Warner Cable Internet subscriber found themselves without access to the World Wide Web. Internet downtime isn't entirely uncommon, of course, but it is when we're talking this kind of scale. The worst of it in this particular event is that the downtime wasn't caused by hardware dying; rather, a maintainence worker accidentally submitted a bunk configuration, which propogated across the entire network. Given the fact that this incident was completely avoidable and that it affected such an enormous number of people, TWC has found itself in hot water over this. This is especially the case given that the Comcast merger the company is hoping for is already shrouded... Read more...
A couple of hours before folks on the east coast could see this past Wednesday's sunrise, some found themselves battling to get webpages to load, or found themselves without Internet entirely. It'd be understandable in this situation to jump to the assumption that a DDoS has taken place, since it's become (far too) common lately, but this partial outage had nothing to do with that. Instead, it hinged entirely on aging networking equipment. BGP is a virtually unknown acronym to the end user - even those who might know a little bit about general networking - but it's integral to making the Internet work. As its Border Gateway Protocol name may suggest, BGP routers have the job of making Internet... Read more...
Those who place a high value on in-home Internet have long envied the portion of the United States population within a Verizon FiOS footprint. While the fiber-based service stopped expanding to new areas years back, Verizon has continued to push its existing areas to new heights. Now, it's doing so once again, and we're certainly hopeful that it triggers a cascade of followers throughout the ISP industry -- but, of course, we aren't holding our breath. In order to better compete with cable companies that are boosting Internet speeds, Verizon has announced plans to offer symmetrical connections. In other words, uploads will match downloads. This is a watershed moment for U.S.-based home Internet... Read more...
From the beginning, the anti-net neutrality argument has been built on a single premise: Give companies free rein to charge more money for services, and they'll respond by improving the customer experience, rolling out service to more people, and aggressively adopting faster technology. Over the past few months, Netflix has served as an unofficial test drive for this theory -- the company has begun paying both Comcast and Verizon directly to improve Netflix performance. The result?  Comcast, at least, has improved dramatically. Verizon, on the other hand, continues to crater -- its FiOS service fell two spots to 12th place.   Verizon, naturally enough, has attempted to blame Netflix... Read more...
There’s a complicated battle that persists between prolific copyright violators, ISPs, and rights holders who want to take the violators down. The Internet has been the ideal place to pirate and distribute digital wares, and thus managing the issue has been problematic. However, according to TorrentFreak, a privacy monitoring firm called Rightscorp has been aggressively encouraging ISPs to disconnect those subscribers who are repeat (and presumably, particularly egregious) offenders. The company identifies certain offenders and contacts them via the ISP, and it asks the ISP to send along settlement demands. In the most severe cases, Rightscorp asks the ISP to disconnect the pirate. How... Read more...
After Netflix posted a message on broken video streams stating that Verizon’s congested network was to blame, the former went ballistic, going as far as sending Netflix a cease and desist letter. The FCC has now stepped in to investigate (and possibly mediate) the spat. However, it’s not just Netflix that’s taking swipes at ISPs; YouTube is joining the fray. Quartz spotted a new message on YouTube videos that are performing slowly. There’s a blue bar beneath the video that asks “Experiencing interruptions?” with a button you can click that says “Find Out Why”. The link takes you to Google’s new Video Quality Report website.   Credit:... Read more...
So it’s not just us then. While we seethe over NSA spying allegations here in the U.S., ISPs across the pond who believe they were spied upon by the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks are taking action. According to BBC News, seven Internet providers, in conjunction with Privacy International, have filed a lawsuit against GCHQ. "These widespread attacks on providers and collectives undermine the trust we all place on the internet and greatly endangers the world's most powerful tool for democracy and free expression," Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, told the outlet. GCHQ The allegations are severe and include assertions that... Read more...
Netflix and Verizon are in a bit of a spat at present. The issue is that some Netflix users on Verizon networks started seeing an error message when experiencing a laggy connection that said “The Verizon network is crowded right now” followed by a note that said Netflix was “Adjusting video for smoother playback”. It certainly seemed to be a direct shot at Verizon by Netflix, and the former was (predictably) none too pleased. In addition to a scathing blog post penned by Verizon’s David Young--”This claim [of the Verizon network being the cause of lag] is not only inaccurate, it is deliberately misleading”, he wrote in part--the company actually sent... Read more...
There's a lot of funny business taking place on the web's back end these days. Just ask Netflix, the popular streaming video service, which reluctantly inked a mulit-year agreement with Comcast to ensure that its video would be delivered to Comcast's subscribers without a speed degradation. Prior to inking the deal, Comcast subscribers would complain of long buffers, poor quality video, and dropouts. Is your ISP playing hardball like Comcast? There's a way you can find out. "Starting today, if you’re in the U.S., you can use the Google Video Quality Report to see the level of video quality your Internet service provider can play YouTube. If you’re regularly seeing videos buffer, this... Read more...
Is the FCC trolling ISPs (on our behalf)? The agency is considering raising the standard minimum speed for what is considered “high-speed Internet”, which would potentially force ISPs to work faster to roll out better service to more areas. Currently, broadband Internet speed is defined as 4Mbps, but according to an anonymous FCC official that spoke to the Washington Post, the FCC might bump that number up to 10Mbps or even 25Mbps. 4Mbps is nothing; you can’t even stream Netflix in HD at that speed, and forget about having a second user gobbling up bandwidth. The new definitions would also set a higher limit on upload speeds, which would jump to 2.9Mbps from the current 1Mbps.... Read more...
Google’s push for gigabit Internet service has, directly or indirectly, created pressure on ISPs to explore the same, and Cox is the latest company to dip its toe in the gigabit waters and plans to get the service out to its first residential customers as early as Q4 this year. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cox president Pat Esser said that the company was investing hundreds of millions of dollars in gigabit service implementation, and the first locales to get the blazing fast pipe upgrades will be Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Omaha. This follows Esser’s comments earlier this month. Omaha, Nebraska skyline Esser did not reveal pricing, but he told the WSJ that it would be competitive;... Read more...
No need to brace yourself for this one, but in case you were wondering, Americans are typically dissatisfied with their cable and Internet service providers (ISPs). That won't be shocking to most, but lest there was any doubt, numbers from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index show that cable companies and ISPs are doing a poor job keeping their customers happy. The survey pings users for their experience regarding picture quality; high definition picture quality; ease of use of remote controls, cable boxes, and onscreen menus; interactions with the call center; and other topics that can make or a break a customer's opinion about a company. Image Source: Flickr (Michael Dougherty) On a 100-point... Read more...
More or less as expected, the FCC voted to advance the new net neutrality rules that would allow ISPs to charge certain web companies more for “fast lanes” for content. It’s a decision that net neutrality advocates are unhappy with because they see it as an unhealthy compromise, while net neutrality opponents are annoyed at the open provisions these rules leave open. The vote went 3-2 along party lines, with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler apparently doing enough to convince the other two democrats on the committee to vote along with him. Tom Wheeler This is by no means the end of political wrangling, though. This vote opens up four months of commentary and reviews, a subsequent second... Read more...
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