WiMAX network operator Clearwire is facing the legal ire of customers upset over what they deem deceptive practices. At issue is the company's throttling practices that leave users without the bandwidth they paid for. Many are also assessed an early termination fee when they try to leave. The customers have a compelling case, and Clearwire's response has thus far been lacking.
Do you spend you days and nights lusting after Verizon’s 50Mbps Fiber to the home service? Well if Internet access was like a game of poker, Hong Kong would see your Fios, and raise you another 950Mbps. Yes, you read that correctly. Citizens of Hong Kong can now subscribe to gigabit internet if they so choose. Of course speed comes at a price right? Wrong! 1Gbps fiber service from a scrappy new company called Hong Kong Broadband Network costs less than $26 per month on average. This leaves us not just jealous, but wondering, would this even be possible in North America?
ISPs are often issuing dire warnings about the unsustainable course the Internet is currently on. They would have us believe they can't afford to make the necessary network improvements. In many places around the world, these companies are making nose about changes in billing and network management that they'd like to see. For the good of all of us, of course. According to ArsTechnica, four major European ISPs have commissioned a study to "A Viable Future Model for the Internet." As you might expect, this involves pretty much everyone giving the ISPs more money.
The study calls out four changes that need to happen for ISPs to remain sufficiently flush with cash to keep us online. First, consumers have to pay more per month. Specifically, about $8 (€6) per month more. Second, large internet companies should pay ISPs about $0.07 (€0.05) per gigabyte of traffic delivered to their network. For traffic delivered to mobile networks, that charge would be an astounding $4 (€3.03) per gigabyte. Next, the ISPs will need to be allowed to do paid traffic shaping for service like Netflix. A site that offloads lots of data would basically be forced to pay so their bits don't get held up. Finally, ISPs should set up more "managed services" that operate from within the ISPs network.
The report is available here (PDF), and it is worth a look. We’re not sure about this supposed unsustainable level of economic pressure on ISPs. After all, one American ISP has enough money to just buy NBC-Universal. The entire thing seems tailor made to fit into the ISPs' vision of the future, and that's really its value here. This report lets us know how these businesses think. This is a look into the intentions of your ISP.
The only Egyptian Internet service provider (ISP) to have survived last week’s government-ordered Internet blackout has finally been taken down, according to internet monitoring firm Renesys. The hesitance in pulling the plug on Noor Group was due to the fact that it services several critical financial institutions. But Google refused to watch from the sidelines as Egypt was being cut off from the internet by Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
Over the weekend, engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow -- a company the internet giant bought just last week -- extended a lifeline to the restive Arab country by coming up with the “idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection.”
“It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet,” Google announced in a blog post Monday.
Canadians have been faced with deteriorating bandwidth caps for years now, but a recent decision by countries telecommunications regulator has put the final nail in the coffin for heavy users. Most of the countries large established Cable and DSL providers have been offering caps that range anywhere from 25-80GB for quite some time now, but those in search higher limits have always had the option to turn to the smaller ISP’s which offered higher or unlimited plans to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Last week however, the CRTC sided with Bell Canada who asked the regulator to implement the same caps on smaller wholesale customers, which essentially ends the era of unlimited bandwidth in Canada. To put this in perspective, a typical 5Mbps plan from a DSL reseller in the Toronto area cost about $40 for unlimited service as of last week, a plan which has been replaced today by a $32 package which grants a mere 25GB per month.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada joins Australia and New Zealand as one of three member countries where unlimited Internet service is practically impossible to find, and a lack of competition means this won’t be getting better anytime soon. Bandwidth caps in the US haven’t yet reached this level of oppression, but it’s the start of a disturbing trend that could very well make its way across the border eventually. Canadians who wish to fight the decision should check out the Open Media petition which, at last count, was over 137,000 strong.
Video streaming and disc rental service Netflix has come out swinging with an analysis of various ISPs' ability to reliably stream Netflix video, Cnet reports. When all the numbers were in, smallish ISP Charter Communication was the winner, barely edging out Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox. Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon were in the middle of the back, and wireless ISP Clearwire was dead last.
This report seems aimed at making ISPs nervous. Netflix has a product that many people love, and the idea that their ISP isn't giving them the best Netflix experience could sway consumers. It only makes sense with the wrangling over bandwidth access fees. Some ISPs have made it known they don't like having to pay to pass all the Netflix data to their customers. Netflix seems to be saying Don't mess with us. We're watching.
The data was acquired by averaging the sustained download rates of each ISP across their entire footprint for a three month period. The newer DOCSIS 3 cable internet connections likely helped cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner to boost their scores here. Companies that rely mainly on DSL didn't really have a chance. How well does your ISP handle that Netflix stream?
Remember when AOL used to distribute those trial CDs back in the 1990s? You probably still have half a dozen packed away with your other tech remnants from yesteryear, and maybe you're still using one as a coaster. The rest ended up in the garbage bin, but what you may not have realized at the time was how much AOL was actually spending to get those CDs into your hands.
AOL co-founder and former chief executive Steve Case, along with a few other execs from AOL's heyday, revealed some interesting numbers in a sit down with Quora.com.
"I don't remember the total spending but do recall in the early 1990s our target was to spend 10 percent of lifetime revenue to get a new subscribers," explains Steve Case, co-founder and former chief executive. "At the time I believe the average subscriber life was about 25 months and revenue was about $350 so we spent about $35 to acquire new subscribers."
Jan Brandt, another former chief, had a better recollection of the exact figures, saying AOL spent "over $300 million. At one point, 50 percent of the CDs produced worldwide had an AOL logo on it. We were logging in new subscribers at the rate of one every six seconds."
In the wake of the Comcast dispute with Level 3, many have been wondering about the ISP's future bandwidth management plans. Some idea that's been floated often is the idea of usage-based pricing. Users would be charged based on the amount of data they use each month. According to Reuters, Comcast has denied that such a scheme is in the works.
"Right now we have no plan in place to activate usage-based pricing," said Comcast president Neil Smit. The FCC recently announce that ISPs would have some leeway in network management, provided they are transparent about their practices. Comcast currently has a single tier for residential customers with a 250GB data cap.
Comcast maintains almost all users never get near the monthly cap, although some have taken umbrage at having the cap at all. Would you welcome the opportunity to pay for a particular data cap, os is the one size fits all approach best?
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.