Five of the largest Internet service providers in the U.S. detailed their respective plans this week for implementing the “six strikes” Copyright Alert System. Comcast (CMCSA), AT&T (T), Cablevision (CVC), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Verizon (VZ) all plan to utilize the system in different ways. Despite the fact that the CAS allows ISPs to terminate service for repeat offenders, none of the major ISPs have chosen to go that far. Penalties will range from annoying pop-up and email alerts to throttled speeds depending on your provider. It should be noted, however, that the “six strikes” system only applies to wired connections and not services from Verizon Wireless or AT&T Mobility. More →
Comcast (CMCSA) may not have spilled a bunch of oil into the Gulf of Mexico or required a massive taxpayer bailout to survive, but it nonetheless finds itself listed along with BP and AIG as one of the 10 least reputable companies in the United States. Harris Interactive’s annual “Reputation Quotient” survey released last week showed that Comcast ranked as the 10th least reputable company in the U.S. with an overall reputation score of 61 out of 100, which Harris says qualifies as a “poor” reputation. Comcast’s reputation this year has actually improved from the previous year, when Harris ranked it as eighth least reputable company with a reputation score of just 59. More →
I was reading an article on ZDNet Tuesday morning about Google Fiber and had planned to write a quick post on it. But when I opened up the BGR dashboard, I found that I couldn’t access it because my wireless modem had crapped out… for the third time in less than two hours. Sadly, this is a fairly common occurrence — as a Boston resident, I’m basically stuck with Comcast (CMCSA) as my ISP because it has a regional monopoly. More →
“Innovative” is probably not the word you use to describe your cable company. But Reuters reports that major players such as Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) are trying to change all that by opening up a new research center in Silicon Valley. The research center will be headed up by CableLabs, “a nonprofit research and development consortium established by the industry,” and will “work on projects with startups and established firms; hire engineers; and engage leading universities such as Stanford in experimenting on new tech.” Charter Communications cofounder Jerald Kent told Reuters that the entire industry needs to “get re-energized” to figure out how to compete with Web-based video for viewers and how to improve its own technology to keep up with initiatives such as Google (GOOG) Fiber.
If you live in an area that’s been particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, you know it can be particularly difficult to find a working Internet connection. Fear not, though, because Comcast (CMCSA) may have you covered. Per New England Cable News, Comcast has opened up all its Wi-Fi hotspots to both subscribers and non-subscribers alike in ten states: New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Main (sorry, New Yorkers). Comcast says that non-subscribers “should search for the ‘xfinitywifi’ network name and click on the ‘Not a Comcast subscriber?’ link at the bottom of the Sign In page” and “then select the ‘Complimentary Trial Session’ option from the drop down list.” The free hotspots will be available through November 7th.
Many people may wonder why their home Internet services keep getting more expensive even though they aren’t getting much faster and even though carriers are implementing unpopular measures such as data caps. A new book called The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use “Plain English” to Rob You Blind by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston makes the case that phone and cable companies have rigged the game against consumers by colluding with one another to form telecom cartels that don’t really compete with each other for home broadband services. More →
The days of Comcast (CMCSA) customers living high on the hog with unlimited bandwidth are coming to an end. While the company briefly suspended its use of data caps earlier this spring, Ars Technica now reports that Comcast is testing out new bandwidth cap policies in Tuscon, Arizona and Nashville, Tennessee that start at 300GB per month. Ars says Comcast is experimenting with implementing a flat 300GB cap plan in Nashville while offering several plans than range from 300GB to 600GB in Tuscon. Comcast indicated that it intends to run trials of these plans for at least the next few months before it brings them to other markets. More →
After months of waiting, Verizon (VZ) finally seems poised to hit the spectrum jackpot. The Wall Street Journal reports that federal regulators are just about set to sign off on Verizon’s $39 billion deal to acquire AWS spectrum licenses from major cable companies such as Comcast (CMCSA) and Cox. Both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission are prepared to approve the deal, which the Journal says would only go through if the cable companies agreed “to limit the scope and duration of side agreements to sell each other’s services.” Verizon and Comcast have also agreed to ditch their plans to jointly market services in areas where the two companies already compete with each other for home Internet service. More →
As amazing as it may seem, corporations’ behavior can change when federal regulators decide to step in. TorrentFreak reports on a new study from Measurement Lab showing that Comcast (CMCSA) has dramatically reduced the amount of BitTorrent traffic shaping it does despite being one of the worst offenders in the industry just a few years ago. Overall, the study found that Comcast has throttled just 3% of all BitTorrent traffic on its network in 2012, a significant drop from the days when it would routinely throttle around 50% of BitTorrent traffic. More →
Comcast (CMCSA) customers now have access to roughly the same level of top-tier service as Verizon (VZ) FiOS customers if they’re willing to pay $90 more for it. As reported by GigaOm, Comcast on Tuesday unveiled its new “platinum” Xfinity broadband tier that promises speeds of up to 305Mbps, slightly higher than the 300Mbps promised by Verizon FiOS’ top tier. The catch is that the new Xfinity tier will set users back $300 a month, or $90 more than what FiOS subscribers pay for their top-tier service. GigaOm does say, however, that Comcast’s lower tiers are cheaper than comparable tiers from Verizon, as 50Mbps FiOS costs around $75 per month while 50Mbps Xfinity costs around $59 per month if bundled with other services. More →
As much as consumers hate having their mobile data capped, there’s no question that caps on wireline broadband services have the potential to be a far greater burden than mobile caps. Well, guess what: New Scientist reports that unless ISPs either make large investments in bringing fiber to the home or improvements to switching technology to ensure faster traffic routing, that’s exactly what users can expect in the near future. More →
Cable companies just love to sell bundled services for one important reason — it makes them buckets of money — but Comcast last year made an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission that it would actively promote an affordable standalone broadband option to customers as one condition of being allowed to purchase NBC Universal. Per GigaOm, it seems that Comcast didn’t live up to its end of the bargain because the FCC has slapped the company with an $800,000 fine for allegedly making it difficult for consumers to find its cheap standalone broadband plan. The FCC said in a statement that Comcast “was not adequately marketing its standalone broadband services.” In addition to paying its $800,000 fine, Comcast will agree to continue offering its cheap standalone broadband plan through at least February 21st, 2015, one year longer than in the original agreement. More →
The United States Department of Justice is trying to figure out whether cable companies are engaging in anti-competitive practices by not counting data consumed through their own homemade streaming services against customers’ monthly bandwidth caps while docking users’ caps for data streamed through third-party companies such as Netflix and Hulu. The Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation has been ongoing for months and that the DOJ has spoken with the major cable players as well as the major content distributors. The investigation stems at least in part from Comcast’s decision earlier this year to exempt data consumed through its Xfinity Xbox app from customers’ monthly data limits, as the DOJ is “examining whether Comcast’s Xbox policy violated legal commitments made by the company in 2011 to secure antitrust approval for its takeover of NBCUniversal,” WSJ reports. More →