Items tagged with ISP

The future of television is upon us. With pay-TV transforming, slowly but surely, service providers have little choice but to come to grips with the realities surrounding their business. More and more individuals are growing up on a steady entertainment diet of Netflix and YouTube, and once they grab jobs and own homes, they aren't as likely to pull the trigger on cable as their parents were. Now, a handful of smaller pay-TV companies are planning to bake Netflix into their offerings, and it could trigger a domino effect that'll sweep across the industry. Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and RCN won't match Comcast in terms of subscriber count, but these companies certainly have sizable... Read more...
The FCC has confirmed that it will hold a May 15 vote on a new set of policies governing net neutrality and ISP behavior -- but according to the Wall Street Journal, the commission's proposed regulation will effectively kill the idea of a level playing field. The Wall Street Journal reports that the proposed rules would prevent ISPs from blocking specific websites, but would allow them to charge services like Netflix an additional fee for better access to end users. The paper claims that all "commercially reasonable" agreements would be permitted, with deals investigated on a case-by-case basis to ascertain whether the terms are reasonable. This is the opposite of what the FCC attempted to do... Read more...
It looks like rumors that hit the Web a couple of months ago have proven true: Comcast has just upgraded its Blast package from 50Mbps to 105Mbps - an increase of 6.25MB/s to 13.13MB/s in megabyte terms. As a free upgrade, this kind of jump is nothing short of "awesome", although some might balk at the lack of an upload increase - it remains at 10Mbps (1.25MB/s). Earlier rumors said that a couple of Comcast's other packages would be seeing a boost as well, but so far, those haven't been reflected. Performance, the package that offers 25Mbps speeds, was said to jump to 50Mbps, and Extreme, from 105Mbps to 300Mbps. One change we did see is that Extreme has become Extreme 150 - exhibiting a bump... Read more...
Over the past 12 months, Netflix performance has been dropping steadily across most of the major ISPs. Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable have all recorded significant performance drop-offs. The issue has been particularly acute on Verizon, where measured bandwidth rates have fallen a high of 2.3Mbps in October 2013 to 0.97Mbps in January, 2014. Now additional information suggests that Verizon and the backbone carrier Cogent are in the middle of a nasty dispute over who should pay for carrying bandwidth. We've seen this play out before between Level 3 and Comcast; that argument eventually ended with Level 3 backing down and agreeing to Comcast's terms. In this case, however, Netflix and... Read more...
The fight over net neutrality is ongoing, and the most recent punch thrown took the form of a letter that several U.S. senators, including Senator Al Franken, wrote to new FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, urging him to act quickly to fight back against a recent court ruling that vacated the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking portions of the order. “The Court’s ruling threatens the freedom of innovators to compete on an open, neutral platform,” reads the letter. “Without rules to preserve fair competition--rules to bar Internet networks operators from discriminating against one content provider over another--deep-pocketed incumbents will have the ability to enter into arrangements... Read more...
Over the past few weeks, net neutrality has seen serious challenges from the likes of Verizon and AT&T. Verizon won a court case in which the FCC's rules on net neutrality were effectively gutted, while AT&T introduced a new pricing plan for content providers called Sponsored Data, which pushes companies like Netflix to pay an additional per-user fee to have video streams not count against that users' bandwidth. Everyone has been curious about how Netflix might respond to this, and now the company's CEO has tendered his answer in a letter to shareholders. CEO Reed Hastings has challenged the decision to strike down net neutrality in strong terms, writing: In principle, a domestic ISP... Read more...
Not all ISPs are built alike, a fact that's been proven time and time again ever since the broadband era began. But today, that matters more than ever. We're streaming video, music, and in some cases, even games. We need reliable Internet, and we need an ISP that's willing to deliver that. Finding a good ISP isn't too difficult nowadays, what with the vast amount of information online, and not to mention services like Speedtest.net. But, another source of information can never hurt, right? Especially when that source is Google, which sends mind-boggling amounts of bandwidth to millions of people every single day. The service responsible for the biggest chunk of Google's bandwidth output is YouTube,... Read more...
You’d think that if you lived in Mountain View, home of Google, you’d have killer Internet access. And if you were living there several years ago you’d be right, as the search giant installed free WiFi all over the city in 2006. It was no doubt a delightful perk, at least until last year when the citywide WiFi reportedly suddenly began flaking out. "The city has received many complaints in recent months regarding the performance and reliability of the free Google Wi-Fi system in Mountain View, particularly at our library," Kimberly Thomas, assistant to the city manager in Mountain View, told IT World. City Hall’s WiFi is apparently also down, as are other spots around... Read more...
Google is shaking up the ISP field in a big way with its Google Fiber service, and some of the fruit it has shaken loose pertains to AT&T launching a competing service in Austin, which Google has slated as one of the cities to get its gigabit Internet and TV service soon. AT&T is launching a 100% fiber network that promises gigabit speeds under its U-Verse brand (with GigaPower) along with high-end TV services that include HD-ready whole-home DVR (for up to 8 TVs), which is a step toward competing directly with Google’s Internet-and-TV package. AT&T is looking to beat Google to the punch, though; the service provider says that it will launch its U-Verse with GigaPower option... Read more...
Months after Google surprisingly selected Provo, Utah as one of the first cities to get the Google Fiber treatment, and weeks after the city officially closed the deal with Google, the search giant-come-ISP said in a blog post that service is coming by the end of the year. Before that happens, though, Google needs to upgrade Provo’s existing fiber network--the city’s expensive fiber-optic “iProvo” network was in need of rescue--and also work with managers of larger properties to get everything hooked up. “We’re spending a lot of time talking with property managers and owners of large apartment building and condominiums. Planning for and installing Google Fiber... Read more...
Anyone who has tried to host their own website from home likely knows all-too-well the hassles that ISPs can cause. Simply put, ISPs generally don't want you to do that, preferring you to move up to a business package (aka: more expensive). Not surprisingly, the EFF doesn't like these rules, which seem to exist only to upsell you a product, and it's making its complaints very public. This time around, Google's Fiber service is targeted, as it's the latest ISP of the bunch to say "No!" to running your own "server" from home. The problem, though, is that all ISPs are deliberately vague about what qualifies as a "server". Admittedly, when I hear the word "server", I think of a Web server, one... Read more...
At the moment, the rollout of gigabit Internet services, arguably spearheaded by Google last summer, has been modest. However, as we discussed just last week, it does seem to be picking up in pace, and with a fantastic side-effect: other ISPs are taking notice, and that's bound to mean good things for the consumer. With an announcement made by Verizon earlier today, this is already becoming evident. How does 500Mbit/s down and 100Mbit/s up sound? That's what Verizon is planning to rollout to seemingly all of its FiOS markets in the near-future, and it's sure excited to tell you all about it; the company has even created a neat-looking graphic that explains the whys and hows of its service versus... Read more...
We've covered the NSA revelations and subsequent government petitions at some length, but here's a new twist to the story of the government's pervasive monitoring program -- a view of the activity from an ISP's perspective. According to Pete Ashdown, the CEO of XMission, a Utah ISP, the company received its first FISA warrant "request" in 2010. There's no way to challenge FISA warrants and no legal recourse -- so Ashdown had no choice but to install a server, one of the NSA's own machines, in their data center. The technical aspects of the situation are remarkably straightforward. The NSA sent over a server (Ashdown was only allowed to take technical notes on how the unit was to be deployed).... Read more...
When Google first unveiled its 1Gbit fiber Internet service last summer, it seemed unlikely that such speeds would become common anytime soon. However, there was great hope that with Google's pressure, other ISPs would be pushed towards offering their own 1Gbit services. This past April, we did see some evidence of that, with AT&T promising to roll out its own 1Gbit service in the Austin, Texas area. Things don't stop there. It seems that some of the biggest ISPs are being seriously slow to catch onto the 1Gbit option, with Verizon charging a staggering $210 in some areas for a 300Mbit/s connection. The gotcha here is that the upload is 65Mbit/s (as someone with 0.5Mbit/s home upload, it... Read more...
Whether or not Google launched its Google Fiber Internet service as a legitimate business venture or as a massive trolling measure to shake up the broadband market (as some believe), its effect has been evident in how ISPs are competing. Leveraging a partnership with the city of Seattle and its fiber optic network, Gigabit Squared (or “GB2”, for short) is rolling out “ultra high speed fiber” gigabit Internet service to several Seattle neighborhoods in 2014. The cost will be $80 per month, and with that subscription GB2 will waive the $350 construction fee. That’s $10 more per month than Google’s gigabit Internet plan, but it’s significantly less than... Read more...
You know, this is finally starting to feel like a trend. And it's certainly a trend we're happy to get behind. The trend of high(er)-speed Internet is seemingly sweeping the developed world, with fiber-based solutions and ISPs offering 1Gbps+ speeds becoming less of an exception compared to yesteryear. Now, even customers Down Under will soon be able to enjoy the blistering speeds that folks in Kansas City already have access to. Australians will soon be able to thank NBN for installing 1Gbps access, as the network is set to go live prior to the end of 2013. To put this in perspective, a 1Gbps connection could download an entire movie in just seconds. It'd be "several hundred times faster" than... Read more...
A few years ago, when Google was determining which city to launch its pilot Google Fiber program, cities all over the country went all-out trying to persuade the search giant to bring all that fantastical bandwidth to their neck of the woods. And with good reason: Google Fiber offers gigabit Internet speeds and even TV service, all at prices that meet or beat the competition. In fact, the lowest tier of Google Fiber service (5Mbps down, 1Mbps up) is free once users pay a $300 construction fee. Eventually, Kansas City was the lucky locale chosen for the Google Fiber launch, and by all accounts things are going swimmingly, and Google is slowly but surely rolling out service to nearby areas, including... Read more...
We've said it in the past, and we'll say it again: if there are two mainstream tech industries that could use a disruption, it's cable TV and broadband Internet. Google is actually doing a fair job of disrupting both, and if you had any worries about Google investing in Fiber for Kansas City and then forgetting all about it... let this calm those fears. Google has just announced that its Fiber initiative is going over so well, that it'll soon be expanding. Olathe, Kansas is a nearby suburb of the metro Kansas City region, and it's actually known as "Silicon Prairie" in some parts. This week, the Olathe City Council approved an agreement to bring Google Fiber to their city. Olathe has become one... Read more...
Google Fiber is, in a word, awesome. In addition to bringing unprecedented Internet speeds to a few lucky areas in Kansas City (at an attractive price point no less), the presence of the service has apparently been attracting startups to the area and has people calling it the “Silicon Prairie”. Google is also on the record as saying that Google Fiber is not just a one-off thing; it will spread to more locales and will no doubt foster growth in those places, as well. And perhaps it’s obvious, but Google Fiber may be a problem for competing ISPs. For example, The Consumerist posted a letter from a Time Warner Cable subscriber named Rob from Kansas City who lives so close to a... Read more...
Content delivery company Akamai has just issued its Q3 2012 "State of the Internet" report, and with it comes some promising signs that "high broadband" Internet connections are on the up. The report doesn't mention what caused the growth, but between Q2 and Q3 of last year, the number of people equipped with a 10Mbit/s+ connection rose 8.8% to settle in at 11%. A major gain for certain, and one that leads us to highly anticipate the company's next report to see if the trend continues. Overall, however, things are still a little depressing on the speed front. 41% of the the users Akamai was able to monitor were equipped with ~4Mbit/s connections - just enough to stream a modest HD 720p movie... Read more...
It's a well-known fact, outside of China's walls, that China is one of the tougher places to truly indulge in the full Internet. A nationwide filter prevents easy access to places like Twitter and Facebook, as well as certain images that the government deems unsuitable for citizens to view for one reason or another. In other words, surfing in China is like surfing a partial Internet. Sadly, China's ways aren't entirely unique, as many other nations in the Middle East utilize similar filtering to blind its citizens from certain things. But now, it appears that surfing the 'net in China is about to become even more restrictive and difficult. Just this past week, the nation initiated tighter Internet... Read more...
For too long, the download/upload speeds advertised by ISPs fell far short of real-world performance, but things have been improving of late. According to the FCC’s “Measuring Broadband America” 2012 report, ISPs were delivering an average of 96% of advertised speeds during peak traffic times, which is up significantly from the 87% speed found in the the August 2011 report. The good news doesn’t stop there; the report found that five ISPs were actually “routinely meeting or exceeding advertised rates”. Average Peak Period and 24-Hour Sustained Download Speeds as a Percentage of Advertised, by Provider—April 2012 Test Data Download speeds, broken down... Read more...
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