Thursday, January 29, 2015

Big cities in South getting edge on ultra-high speed broadband




Vox Media reports that Google is bringing ultra-fast broadband to four more cities:  Raleigh-Durham (and probably UNC-Chapel Hill), Charlotte, Nashville, and Atlanta, in addition to Austin, TX, Kansas City, and Provo UT.  It’s interesting two of the cities are the two largest metros in North Carolina (because of the large number of tech companies and major server facilities) as well as two other big cities in the mid South.  I guess the Atlanta Braves will be back this year (a new stadium being built).
  
For someone like me, in the future, if I relocate, the availability of broadband if this quality is a consideration.  I have film scripts to develop and North Carolina is one of the most important centers of independent filmmaking.
   
Vox argues that companies like Verizon and Comcast-Time Warner need to get hustling (Vox uses the word "terrified"), and suggests they have been guilty of crony capitalism in the past.  But they could do the same thing in most other cities.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FCC warns Marriott not to block 3rd party WiFi


FCC has warned Marriott hotels never to block WiFi signals from other carriers for guests in its hotels. 
  
When I stay at a hotel, I usually will use my Verizon iPad hotspot if possible.  It’s a little safer.  Hotel WiFi is probably not as risky for security as pundits say, but it isn’t always reliable.
  
CNN has a story by David Goldman here. Marriott said that it blocked third party WiFi in its conference centers to prevent hacking.  The FCC didn’t buy it. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

GOP controlled Congress may become more amendable to Net Neutrality, preferring not to let FCC have too much power in other areas (like political content)


Two prominent Republicans (Senator John Thune, R-SD and Representative Red Upton (R-MI) are calling for bipartisan support of network neutrality, as in an op-ed in Reuters here that also addresses mobile broadband as well as ground. 
  
Tim Lee, of Vox, reported this development with a commentary noting that, while FCC can implement rules in February by reclassifying itself, it would be better for Congress to act, because the FCC could act in a number of other undesirable ways more connected to phone service in the past, link here.  One possibility, noted by the Washington Times recently (my main blog, Jan. 12) is the idea that the FCC could give into new political pressures associated with the FEC to regulate blogs with partisan political content. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Washington Times maintains that FCC's net neutrality rules (TBA in February) will play favorites, especially with MPEG


The Washington Times, on Monday, not unpredictably (double negative!) criticized what it sees as FCC’s plan to impose “network neutrality” on its own, link here.    The title of the editorial “Blunting a radical agenda at the FCC: Congress can’t allow the commission to usurp congressional authority”.  It ties in to another op-ed column that I discussed yesterday on my main blog, claiming that the FEC was likely to try to start acting as “gatekeeper” for free political blogs, a possibility that was vetted ten years ago but that then the FEC backed down on, despite court sanctions that it could do so. 

TWT makes the valuable point that the FCC, despite its claim of neutrality, is still playing favorites, particularly for MPEG LA in Denver, which holds enormous licensing authority. I don’t recall seeing EFF mention this company. In the meantime, Comcast tells customers that it follows network neutrality, doesn't have paid fast lanes, and doesn't filter content.  

Saturday, January 03, 2015

FCC will go ahead with "stricter" net neutrality rules in February, but GOP-controlled Congress will contest it


Brian Fung reports in the Washington Post that the FCC will introduce and vote on its own “final” network neutrality rules in February.  The FCC is believed to be prepared to liberally interpret its regulatory power and will use Title II of the Telecommunications Act to treat ISP’s as “telephone companies”.  The link is here  for the story on p A16 in Economy and Business. 
  
But the GOP is likely to introduce legislation in Congress hindering such legislation and making it easier to ISP’s to maintain paid “fast lanes”. 

Think Progress has reported the story in social media as "The future of the Internet is on the line", here
     
My own experience with Xfinity is that Netflix downloads faster than either Amazon or YouTube.  Comcast offers a web tool to measure normal upload and download speed.