Comcast subscribers east of the Mississippi River (and in Minnesota) can't seem to catch a break. Following a major outage that affected East Coast customers a week ago, CNet now reports that some subscribers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota are also without service.
The ISP confirmed via its Twitter account, "Comcastcares," that this current outage is due to a DNS related issue, just like the last one.
"OK confirmed we are still having trouble today, will keep you all posted," Comcast tweeted less than an hour ago.
For customers who can't wait for Comcast to resolve the issue, the ISP reports that using a third-part DNS service, like Google or OpenDNS, will get users back online.
Verizon on Monday announced it has gone and tripled the speed of its FiOS service to 150/35 megabits per second (Mbps), making it the fastest mass-market broadband service in the country.
"The new 150/35 Mbps FiOS Internet offer establishes a new benchmark for high-speed Internet in America, and paves the way for a flurry of emerging bandwidth-intensive applications to reach mainstream status," said Eric Bruno, Verizon vice president of product management.
We have to call out Verizon for touting this as a mainstream option, because at $195/month (with a one-year service agreement), the little old lady who lives down the street isn't going to jump on this, nor will most other residents around the block. But for those who do pony up for the fastest Internet service around, Verizon says they will be able to download 20 high-resolution photos (100MB) in less than a five and a half seconds. Uploading those same photos would take less than 23 seconds.
"Our new 150/35 Mbps offer will also support burgeoning bandwidth-intensive applications such as Internet video to TV and PC, 3D TV and movie downloads, high-definition and real-time video conferencing, and online data backup," said Bruno.
In an attempt to rally up the troops (and no doubt generate some marketing buzz), Virgin Mobile today issued a call to consumers far and wide to "demand an end to misleading broadband advertising." According to the self-anointed savior of broadband, Virgin claims that many ISPs advertise speeds of up to 20Mbps or 24Mbps but only deliver an average speed of 6.5Mbps.
"People are paying for superfast broadband but receiving a service stuck in the slow lane. Broadband providers need to stop advertising speeds that not a single customer can receive and we’re asking people to support our call for change by signing up to stopthebroadbandcon.org," said Jon James, executive director of broadband, Virgin Media. "Faster broadband means better broadband, whether you’re surfing the Web, watching TV online or downloading music and UK consumers deserve superfast broadband they can trust, rather than having to rely on the fairy tales and broken promises of current broadband advertising."
The new website launches today and includes plenty of propaganda, a petition, and a link to SpeedTest.net to see if you're getting the broadband speed you're paying for.
So what about Virgin Mobile? Are they providing the broadband speeds they advertise, or is Virgin being a hypocrite here? We'll warn you to consider the source, but according to Virgin, subscribers are generally getting what they pay for. You can view the typical speeds at least 66 percent of Virgin subscribers are getting compared to the service tier they're paying for here.
Are you getting the broadband speed you pay for? Hit the jump and sound off!
The produces of The Hurt Locker aren't the only ones going after file shares. According to reports, three adult film producers are getting ready to send subpoenas to ISPs across the United States to obtain the identities of subscribers they claim illegally shared movies over the Internet.
Kenneth Ford, the attorney representing the film makers and who also operates an antipiracy company called Adult Copyright Company, has already been granted motions for early discovery by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, resulting in 5,000 lawsuits.
"My intention is to file suit against several thousand more illegal downloaders in the next week or two," Ford said. "The coming lawsuits will name in the neighborhood of 10,000 Doe defendants."
This week, a Federal Judge in South Dakota sided with ISP Midcontinent and quashed one of the many Hurt Locker subpoenas seeking subscriber information. The ISP had, on August 9, received the subpoena via fax instructing them to hand over the details on people connected to several IP addresses. Midcontinent Decided thatrather than comply, they would take the case to the local Federal Court.
The legal action stems from claims made by the US Copyright Group on behalf of a number of indie movie companies, including Hurt Locker makers Voltage Pictures. This legal group is issuing huge numbers of "Doe" subpoenas to force ISPs to divulge the real identities of those believed to have shared the film online.
While the ISP in question made a number of arguments as to why they should not have to comply, Judge John Simko decided to stop the subpoena right there because of "Federal Rule 45", which addresses how subpoenas must be handled with regard to geographic location. Simko believed that the Subpoena did not fulfill any of the four requirements, so it was quashed. The Judge also more or less called the US Copyright Group lazy for sending the document by fax instead of courier, or registered mail. Do you think this will affect other pending subpoenas in the case?
There's a huge difference between 100Mbps and 64Kbps, and throttling the former to the latter has earned Austrian ISP "Optus" a date with a judge.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Optus misled consumers with its "Supersonic" and "Think Bigger" broadband plans, violating the Trade Practices Act in the process. The ACCC points out 11 television, print, billboard, and Internet advertisements claiming the Supersonic services are "four times faster than standard broadband," but fail to disclose the almost dial-up speeds for users who chew through their monthly data limit.
The data caps sit at 50GB for peak hours (12am to 12pm) and 70GB for off-peak hours (12pm to 12am), and those who go over will see their supersonic 100Mbps throttled to a super slow 64Kbps. Absent, however, are any excess usage charges.
Even so, the ACCC "alleges that Optus engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false representations in relation to the advertising of certain broadband plans." To help with their case, regulators plan to call in an expert to examine the practical differences between 100Mbps and 64Kbps by going over what services and apps can be realistically be used on each speed grade.
This isn't the first time Optus' advertising practices have landed the company in hot water. Back in June, the ACCC took Optus to court on similar charges for using the word "unlimited" to describe voice and data plans that had usage caps and prices.
A few months back, Voltage Studios (the indie studio that made "The Hurt Locker") began legal proceedings against those seen illegally sharing the movie online. 5,000 "John Doe" lawsuits were filed by the film's producers. Voltage Pictures has now started moving ahead with the next phase of the legal process. Several ISP customers have received notices that their provider has been subpoenaed, and must turn over their names to Voltage's lawyers.
A number of small movie studios have been working with the law firm of Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver. This firm is managing the cases in exchange for a portion of any settlements of judgments that result. The ACLU and EFF have both strongly opposed this action. Some ISPs have even objected due to the huge number of subpoenas they are likely to get.
Some alleged infringers have already been offered settlement offers of several thousand dollars. When faced with the possibility of huge legal fees, many individuals may choose to settle. This strategy didn't work out so well for the RIAA, do you think the producers of The Hurt Locker have a better chance of success?
One of the world's largest botnets responsible for as much as 10 percent of all spam suffered a temporary setback this week when several ISPs took action by unplugging infected servers, according to security firm M86 Security.
Known as the Pushdo or Cutwail network, this top 5 botnet specialized in sending out spam for fake AV software, designer goods, and pharmaceutical products, said Ed Rowley, product manager for M86 Security. But for the next couple of weeks, you can expect less of these emails in your inbox.
Security experts with the security company LastLine took it upon themselves to start contacting ISPs found to be hosting the command-and-control infrastructure of the botnet. All told, there were about 30 servers at 8 different ISPs keeping the botnet alive, 20 of which have since been taken offline.
According to Rowley, LastLine's efforts "will almost certainly have a positive effect for two to three weeks," but "the spammers will be able to find other hosting providers where they will be able to get their systems up and running."
Maybe sooner. Leaving at least 10 servers online is a major concern, as Pushdo is capable of generating random domain names, which can then be registered and activated.
Many ISPs around the world have taken to instituting restricting bandwidth caps, but Belgian ISP Telenet has a fairly amicable system. Lower priced, slower service is capped between 50 and 80GB pr month, but higher packages are governed only by fair use. Telenet recently posted to their forums a list of the 25 top downloaders in the last month. The top user in that list used an astonishing 2.7TB (down and up) during that billing cycle.
The list doesn't appear to have any personally identifiable except what appear to be forum usernames for some users. Below the 2.7TB top end, it drops off quickly to a respectable 1.9TB, then to 1.5 and 1.3TB. The last user on the list used 430GB of total bandwidth. Telenet reserves the right to throttle users down to 512Kbps is they engage in excessive usage, it is unclear if any of these users will feel the sting of a slowed connection.
It's hard to see how these users managed to use so much data unless they were running torrents or Usenet downloads constantly. There's certainly nothing saying users cannot use those protocols, but Telenet says the connection is only to be used for " legal data". By stipulating the fair use limits, they're free to complain about this sort of usage. While we might secretly root for these giants of data usage, none of us would want to live in their neighborhood and share their pipes.
In a Verizon statement today, the company announced that a recent field test of their fiber optic network showed near gigabit speeds. The test was carried out in Taunton, Mass with the help of a business customer. The customer saw speeds of 925Mbps when connected to the local Verizon office. Drop off was not as bad as you might expect. Speeds as high as 800Mbps were recorded with test servers over 400 miles away.
This is Verizon has been able to demonstrate these speeds in a real-life scenario. Google attracted a lot of attention when they started searching for a community to hook up with experimental 1Gbps broadband service. Verizon's accomplishment is different because it uses an existing network, with new gigabit passive optical network (GPON) switches.
Verizon's current FiOS service is offered at 50Mbps, and no word is available on if faster speeds will be rolled out in the wake of this test. Some feel the Taunton test was done mainly to demonstrate that the fiber network could handle future uses like 3DTV. How fast is your home internet service? Are FiOS-level speeds even available to you?