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Resist: Don't Sign That AT&T Contract
February 1, 2018
This is a call for resistance that has nothing to do with politics. It's coming from someone who unwittingly walked into a virtual jail cell that was disguised as a DirecTV contract. I'll be behind bars for another 23 months, and I'm counting the days. Please don't take this as a rant or as an attempt to pressure AT&T, DirecTV's parent company, into appeasing me. That ship has sailed.
AT&T Raises Eyebrows With Call for Internet Bill of Rights
January 25, 2018
In an open letter and a series of full-page ads in major newspapers, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has urged Congress to enact an Internet Bill of Rights and to bring the Net neutrality debate to an end. Although AT&T supported the FCC's December vote to repeal its Net neutrality rules, the company has called on legislators to establish new laws to regulate the Internet.
Study: Community-Owned Broadband Beats Commercial ISPs on Price
January 16, 2018
Community-owned fiber-to-home broadband networks generally charge less for entry-level service than private providers, according to Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Despite lower "teaser rates" private providers offer during the first year of service, publicly-owned fiber-to-the-home networks in 23 of 27 communities examined offered lower-priced service.
Top 5 Data-Driven Mobile Services for a Competitive Edge
January 12, 2018
The mobile data market has been approaching saturation in major industrialized nations. Mobile data consumption has increased steadily over the past several years, but consumers have found new ways to avoid paying extra for services they don't need or use -- and intense competition among mobile carriers has allowed consumers to switch from fixed-data to unlimited plans and pay less in the process.
IoT and 5G: New Revenues, Use Cases, Value-added Services
January 8, 2018
The 5G standards target billions of new devices that will connect to operators' networks over the next decade and beyond. Each device type serves a use case that can be high-volume with low throughput requirements, or low-volume but high-value from a customer's point of view. The list of use cases keeps growing as new types of devices are added to the network, and as existing devices find new use cases with embedded mobile connectivity.
Verizon's Reawakening
January 5, 2018
Verizon is finally snapping out of the doldrums it has been stuck in for the last several years. It seems to be on a comeback trail, thanks to its new advertising campaign. All of a sudden, it is blowing its own horn again. Verizon and Verizon Wireless in recent years have made many high-profile missteps, goofs and errors, but it looks as though the company is finally taking a different route.
The FCC Screwed Up! My Firsthand Experience Without Net Neutrality
December 19, 2017
As a high-tech industry analyst, I have worked from home for more than a decade. As someone who tracks new technology and is always on the lookout for a better communications solution, I migrated to a Voice over Internet Protocol service through Vonage early after its introduction. The service was great. I had great call quality and the flexibility to take the service anywhere.
FCC Votes 3-2 to Upend Net Neutrality
December 14, 2017
The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era Net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from blocking, throttling or otherwise giving preferential treatment to customers. Backers of the repeal characterized it as promoting greater technological innovation and freedom to conduct business. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spearheaded the reversal of the Title II Net neutrality regulations.
Internet Pioneers Urge Cancellation of Net Neutrality Repeal Vote
December 13, 2017
A group of 21 leading technology pioneers, including Apple Computer cofounder Steve Wozniak and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, signed an open letter to key congressional leaders asking them to pressure FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel Thursday's planned vote to repeal Net neutrality. The process is severely flawed, they argued, and a rules repeal poses an imminent threat to the Internet.
Counting Down to ASC 606
October 19, 2017
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do.
Evolution of the 4th Utility: Fixed Broadband
October 17, 2017
In-home broadband has become "the fourth utility" in United States households, many of which have multiple connected devices and viewing screens. More than 85 percent of U.S. homes have broadband service, according to Parks Associates, 93 percent of those have DSL, fiber or cable high-speed, fixed-line Internet services. Fixed broadband demand is a key contributor to operators' ongoing profits.
Companies Cheer Completion of Open-Design Transatlantic Internet Cable
September 23, 2017
Microsoft on Friday announced completion of the Marea undersea cable, which stretches 4,400 miles between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain. A joint project of Microsoft, Facebook and global telecommunication infrastructure company Telxius, the cable lies more than 17,000 feet below the ocean's surface. It is the first cable to link Virginia and Spain.
Kari's Law: A 911 Fix That Will Make the US Safer
August 22, 2017
The 911 emergency number was created back in the day when telephones were connected by wires, before cellphones or Voice over Internet Protocol in the home, and before Multi-Line Telephone Systems in the enterprise. In the early days, anyone could dial 911 for police, fire or medical emergencies. When consumers dropped land lines and started using Internet phone services, a 911 problem surfaced.
Comcast, Google Can Publish Users' Email Contents
August 2, 2017
Comcast's Terms of Service for its Xfinity Internet service gives it, its agents, suppliers and affiliates the right to "reproduce, publish, distribute and display" the content worldwide. It also lets third parties copy, republish or distribute material posted or transmitted using Xfinity Internet. This would include confidential information sent by a company employee or an independent contractor.
Major Tech Firms Pressure FCC to Stay the Net Neutrality Course
July 18, 2017
The Internet Association, which represents 40 leading technology companies -- including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others -- on Monday filed comments with the FCC, urging it to maintain Net neutrality regulations enacted during the Obama administration. The rules have created a level playing field that has helped fuel innovation in the broadband Internet space, according to IA.
Vendor Exposes Millions of Verizon Customers on Amazon Cloud
July 17, 2017
Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., has confirmed that data belonging to about six million of its wireless customers was exposed after the information mistakenly was allowed to remain unprotected on an Amazon cloud server. The disclosure follows reports that an engineer at Nice Systems allowed the data of 14 million Verizon customers to reside on an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket.
Microsoft Aims to Boost Internet Connectivity in US Heartland
July 11, 2017
Microsoft has unveiled an ambitious plan that would use technology found in the television white space spectrum to develop affordable broadband Internet access for at least 2 million consumers. The aim is to bridge the technology gap between urban and rural American communities. The spectrum is a currently unused portion in the 600 Mhz frequency range.
Netflix Climbs the Growth Wave as Cable TV Slides
June 22, 2017
A few short years ago, Netflix was nothing more than a mail order Blockbuster-type video rental business. Since then, it has been growing rapidly and changing. Believe it or not, Netflix today has more U.S. subscribers than cable TV. That's an amazing accomplishment for Netflix -- and a major hit to traditional cable television. Netflix and cable TV are on opposite sides of the growth wave.
OTA Report: Consumer Services Sites More Trustworthy Than .Gov Sites
June 22, 2017
The Online Trust Alliance on Tuesday released its 2017 Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll. Among its findings: Consumer services sites have the best combined security and privacy practices. FDIC 100 banks and U.S. government sites are the least trustworthy, according to the audit. The number of websites that qualified for the honor roll is at a nine-year high.
Verizon Makes New Oath
June 19, 2017
Verizon last week completed its US$4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo's operating business assets, merging it with its existing AOL business to create Oath. The new subsidiary encompasses more than 50 media and technology brands -- including HuffPost; Yahoo Sports, Finance and Mail; AOL.com; Makers; Tumblr; TechCrunch; Flickr; and Build Studios.
The Best Wireless Service and Smartphone
June 8, 2017
During a recent grocery checkout conversation, the cashier asked me which was the best wireless service and best smartphone. This is a question I get frequently, and though it seems straightforward, it's difficult to answer. As I told the cashier, it depends. "On what?" she asked. That's when I realized that the industry's marketing doesn't answer the big question: "Which carrier is best for me?"
Comcast Rolls the Dice With Xfinity Instant TV
May 24, 2017
Comcast has led the way in cable television ever since it acquired AT&T Broadband a decade ago. However, in recent years, new technologies from new competitors have been eating away at Comcast's growth. That's why Comcast not only has introduced Xfinity Mobile, which is its new wireless service, but also is getting ready to launch its own IPTV service, Xfinity Instant TV.
Federal First Responder Project Presents Juicy Telecom Opportunity
May 16, 2017
Competition in telecom price and service packages has been getting a lot of attention lately. However, network providers also have been pursuing other opportunities that consumers might miss if they're exposed only to traditional advertising. AT&T's cooperation with the U.S. government in developing a national emergency responder network is a case in point.
Charter's Wireless Play
May 15, 2017
Charter Spectrum has announced it will resell Comcast's Xfinity Mobile wireless service to customers inside its region. The good news is that this deal lets Charter get quick access to wireless without competing with Comcast. Comcast and Charter Communications last week said they had reached an "operational agreement" about working together.
Hulu Aims to Reinvent Live TV Experience
May 4, 2017
Hulu has announced a new live-streaming television service for $39.99 per month, which will place the company in direct competition with newly launched services from DirecTV Now, YouTube and other OTT content providers. The Hulu with Live TV beta will offer 50 channels of live-streaming television -- including sports, news, entertainment, children's programming and local network affiliates.
C Spire's Place Among Cable TV Challengers
April 27, 2017
Cable TV has been facing mounting attacks from new technologies and new competitors. C Spire recently joined the action, announcing plans to enter the pay-TV space. It's not yet clear what C Spire TV will be, or how it will impact the marketplace. What we know so far is that C Spire is a regional player in Mississippi, so the service won't be available throughout the U.S.
Reversing Net Neutrality
April 3, 2017
When one side or the other in a political debate refused to accept a decision, it used to be simply annoying, but lately it has become dangerous to business and to the economy. The current administration's wants "to jettison the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, which were intended to safeguard free expression online," Steve Lohrmarch wrote last week.
House Votes to Kill Privacy Rules Binding ISPs
March 30, 2017
The House of Representatives has approved the Congressional Review Act, undoing privacy restrictions imposed on ISPs during the Obama administration. The Senate passed the CRA last week in a 50-48 vote along party lines. The White House has expressed support for the CRA. "This is one time I believe the White House," remarked John Simpson, privacy project director at Consumer Watchdog.
Consumer Advocates Bemoan Senate Vote to Lift ISP Privacy Restrictions
March 25, 2017
Privacy advocates and consumer groups are fighting back against the U.S. Senate's Thursday vote to undo privacy restrictions on Internet service providers. In a 50-48 party line vote, the Senate approved the Congressional Review Act, S.J. Res. 34. If the House of Representatives gives it the green light, it then will go to the president to be signed into law.
Verizon Wakes Up to Join Mobile TV Race
March 17, 2017
Following decades of slow movement due to cable companies facing no competition, the television world is changing rapidly. Lots of challengers have arisen in the pay-TV space in recent years. One of the latest comes from Verizon, which has improved its FiOS mobile app to offer data-free streaming. AT&T's DirecTV started this ball rolling with its wireless TV, or mobile TV, offering.
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If the FAA approved the use of autonomous drones as passenger "air taxis" for short commutes, how interested would you be in riding in them?
Very -- too much of my life is wasted in clogged traffic.
Not interested -- even if they were safe, they would be ridiculously expensive.
I'm looking forward to them -- smart machines will save human lives.
I'm skeptical -- but if they proved reasonably safe, I'd get on board.
I'd use them -- human pilots could take over remotely if necessary.
No way -- I would want a human on board to take over in an emergency.