The FCC has a dream, but it needs to dream bigger.
In the February issue of Maximum PC magazine, I wrote about the lack of true broadband speeds in Silicon Valley. My article didn't even come close to addressing the entire U.S. It was literally a rant about Silicon Valley, of all places, that lacked broadband speeds competitive with the rest of the world. Well, it looks like this situation is going to change for the better.
In the 2015 Broadband Progress Report, the FCC passed a vote that changes the minimum download speeds on broadband connections from 4Mbps to 25Mbps, and uploads from 1Mbps to 3Mbps.
Minneapolis is now home to ‘fastest service the world has ever seen’
A couple of months back, South Korean ISP (internet service provider) SK Broadband gave those attending the 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan a glimpse of its upcoming 10Gbps (gigabits per second) internet service while the rest of the world, including the U.S., looked on with envy. Well, not so fast. Minnesota-based ISP US Internet has just beaten the South Korean company to the 10Gbps punch by announcing the roll out of a 10Gbps fiber broadband service in Minneapolis.
Just in time for the back-to-school season, Comcast today announced it will hook up any new qualifying family who has not yet applied for Internet Essentials with up to six months of complimentary service. Families who are approved between today and September 20th, 2014 will receive the full six months of free service, even if they owe a past due balance, which Comcast is willing to wipe away.
Depending on where you live and what Internet service provider (ISP) you're subscribed to, there's a high possibility that your download speed is massively faster than your allotted upload speed. Such is the way it typically goes, though not so on Verizon's FiOS network. Effectively immediately, existing and new Verizon FiOS residential customers will receive upload speeds that match their download speeds.
It doesn't pay to be a jerk in this day and age of the Internet. Look at Donald Sterling, who was banned from the NBA for life over racist comments he made in a conversation with this girlfriend. At least in his case, he didn't know he was being recorded. As for a Comcast customer service rep who raked a subscriber over the coals when the called in to cancel service, he should have known better.
More than three times faster Internet service for no additional cost? Yes, please!
Charter Communications is building up some good will for itself in the St. Louis area, or so it would seem. Several Charter customers report having their base broadband service increased from 30Mbps to 100Mbps this week for free. It's not clear if Charter intends to roll out the same speed upgrade to other parts of the country (a forum users says it's limited to St. Louis), but as far as St. Louis goes, this appears to be a planned speed bump.
Netflix received a cease and desist order from Verizon's legal team last week due to a message the streaming service was posting to customers during times when network congestion resulted in lower quality videos. The message read, " The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjust video for smoother playback." Fast forward a few days and Netflix is backing off its shaming campaign, though it hasn't ruled out using the same or similar messages in the future.
NeoCities slows the FCC's Internet connection down to dial-up speeds
There's a lot of back and forth going on in regards to net neutrality and new rules proposed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler, who also happens to be a former lobbyist for cable and wireless companies. To show its opposition to the proposal, which is scheduled for a vote on May 15, 2014, web host NeoCities managed to throttle the FCC's connection to its website down to dial-up era speeds.
AT&T has developed a Credits System for the purpose of limiting file-sharing bandwidth as reported by TorrentFreak. The telecom company filed a patent on September 12, 2013 that revealed consumers would be given a number of credits to be used when downloading data. In turn, the data would be checked to see if it is permissible or non-permissible.
Over the years, there’s been talk on and off about a technology called Deep Packet Inspection, but apart from sounding like the title of sysadmin-themed porn, why should you care?
Technically, DPI is what happens when an ISP looks past the headers, or metadata, of the packets that carry information all around the Internet and into the content. On its own, looking doesn’t hamper the Internet, but only that packet header is required by the machines that need to pump the cats through the series of tubes.
Note: This column originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.