Friday, October 31, 2014

A first hand account of ATT's "throttling" on unlimited data plans


Timothy Stenovec has a detailed article in the Huffington Post, “I experienced the dreaded AT&T ‘throttling’ firsthand”, link here

The writer does say that most Internet-related functions on his smartphone became useless after the slowdown.

I don’t use smart phone apps as much as others (for shopping, paying parking meters, or various apps offered by many news content providers), but I can see how this could make an independent contractor on a supposed “unlimited” plan unable to do his job. 

  

FCC has recently sued AT&T over the practice.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

I get a "settlement" from my telecomm provider, but it's not about cramming


I got a notice at my business address today from Verizon, about a tentative settlement of "Gordon v. Verizon Communications et al" in New York County (Manhattan).  I thought this must be about cramming, but I saw that it had to do with an acquisition problem that supposedly stiffed shareholders.   So I suppose I'll get a very small check for it.

But indeed, there are "cramming" lawsuits against T-Mobile (Time magazine) and ATT Landline (settled in late 2013) here.

In the meantime, my XFinity bill seems to grow all the time.  The Cable section, while it offers everything, is rather high.  I wonder what happens if all the major channels follow HBO with "Go" services.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Vox Media lays out network neutrality debate in cardstack format; how the FCC's discretion is at the center of it


The FCC in 2005 decided to classify “broadband services” (as by Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon) as information services, because the Supreme Court allowed it to do so.  Then in early 2014 the Federal Circuit ruled that, since FCC had classified broadband services this way, the FCC couldn’t impose network neutrality regulations on broadband carriers, at last not in a straightforward fashion. That’;s the nutshell of the legal question, as summarized on Card 9 of Tim Lee’s explanation of the network neutrality debate in Vox “cardstack” format starting here.  It’s worthy of note that the FCC can still change its mind, but doing so could subject broadband services to other requirements, like screening fro obscene content (perhaps measures that could run afoul of Section 230 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act).

On Card 11, Lee explains that Comcast offered Netflix a whole new connection, not just a faster lane.  That doesn’t violate the meaning of neutrality, Comcast says.  My own experience is that Netflix instant play never stalls, but Amazon has stalled once or twice (but films usually appear on Amazon sooner and often must be rented separately, even under Prime). Long rented YouTube videos sometimes stall. 

On Card 12, Lee explains why the network neutrality debate has been less controversial or contentious with wireless networks than with conventional land broadband.  

This cardstack is a nice resource in following this debate (the topic for this blog), because the concepts in the network neutrality tend to get mushy in most conventional news reporting.