Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cablevision says News Corp may cause widespread World Series blackout

Here we go again. A consumer advocacy group says that News Corp (Fox) has pulled 67 professional sports teams off the air, when it snubbed a negotiation arranged by the FCC with Cablevision (which Cablevision agreed to).  There is a full page ad on p A14 of the Thursday Oct. 21 Washington Post (“News Corp’s ugly October surprise”), and the website for the petition is here. According to Cablevision, 20 million people could have the World Series blocked.
News Corporation also owns 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.  The news business is known for its conservative viewpoints, but those don't seem to extend to the movie studio or programming tastes of its stations.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hotels vary in how good the WiFi is for business travelers; university-owned may be the best

Here’s an article from New Years Day this year (2010) to the effect that cheaper chain motels are better at offering WiFi than a lot of five star hotels around the world. The TechCrunch article (by Sarah Lacty: “Hotel WiFi should be a right, not a luxury”) is here.

But of course, the quality of the WiFi is also an issue.  If you pay for it, some hotels will give you a more secure, encrypted connection (although you should have a good firewall on our travel laptop anyway, and always use https for business transactions).  Generally, you get a logon id and password, and the first time you may be prompted to install a secure-connect application. (Whether you need it may depend on your operating system and what security updates XP or Vista may have already sent you.)  Hotels owned by universities or colleges typically use the campus system, which is typically of high quality but may be stricter as to acceptable usage policies.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Verizon will refund to millions for "accidental Internet use" charges

Verizon Wireless is going to refund up to $90 million (up from $50 million) to about 15 million customers who were incorrectly charged for “Internet use” without having data access plans. There are many accounts, such as one from Mashable yesterday, here.

Apparently these were customers who had not signed up for Internet use plans.

Typically, sophisticated cell phone or Blackberry users do sign up for Internet access (which they can also use on their PC’s, especially when cable access fails, as a backup, as during power failures with laptops). But typically these are restricted to about 5 gig a month, althouh newere MiFi plans from several companies (especially Virgin Mobile) will offer much more usage, especially for travelers.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

FCC approaches "put up" time on its own plan for net neutrality

Rob Pegoraro has an interesting perspective in the Washington Post on Sunday, Oct. 3, Business, p G5, “It’s put up or shut-up time for FCC’s net neutrality advocates”, link here.

Pegoraro argues that while startups might rightfully fear the effect of communications providers charging more for the “passing lane” (or HOV lane), in practice no providers seem to want to do this for legitimate uses, although they may want dedicated lines for medicine or very limited prime services, and they may want the ability to charge for really excessive use, especially P2P.

The FCC has indeed proposed that it can impose net neutrality by reversing a 2005 decision that had put telecomm companies under looser regulation than phone companies. This is called a “Title II Reclassification” related to the Telecommunications Act of 1934.