Saturday, January 30, 2016

New technology for super-fast wireless Internet by Starry could destroy traditional cable


Tech Republic reports that a super-fast Gigabit wireless Internet, developed by a startup called Starry from the founders of defrocked Aero, may soon come to some markets, in a story by Conner Forrest, here. The technology would use millimeter waves in the EHF (extremely high frequency) spectrum. The economic model for the service could encourage the ending of data limits, now common on wireless, and could support video and Internet TV.

The product could mean that land-linked cable would eventually become unnecessary.  Is this an existential threat to Comcast?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Local stations could disappear to FCC auction; ATT brings back unlimited cell data but with a real catch


Brian Fung reports the steps on an FCC airwave auction, one deadline passing Tuesday night, meaning “Your local TV station may have just secretly decided to go off the air”, the Washington Post, p. A15, Thursday. Smaller market stations might consolidate to sell space, meaning fewer channels, but the new space could support more high-end 4G wireless in rural areas.

I can remember, back in the late 1950s, some smaller markets (like Huntsville AL) had more small local stations than did Washington DC.

ATT is bringing back an unlimited data wireless plan, but with a catch.  You have to subscribe to its DirectTV or U-Verse TV, as CNET (Marguerite Reardon) explains here.

That wouldn’t sound practical for someone that already has cable.  For example, XFINITY is (for pragmatic purposes) unlimited, compared to Verizon mobile as a hot spot.  But Xfinity is dependent on a physical wire to your house, which can go down and can require service.  In practice, I use the Verizon hotspot (with data limits) on the road or when Xfinity goes down.  It would be desirable if Verizon would combine FIOS service for TV with unlimited data cellular.   It is not easy for someone to change providers quickly when he or she as a lot of everyday work to do (as I do).  You wonder how Comcast deals with all this in its sales rep training, which it pimps in TV spots.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

EFF considers 2015 a decent one for net neutrality


Jeremy Gillula has a piece for Electronic Frontier Foundation, reviewing the world of network neutrality debates.  It notes that in early 2015 it applauded the FCC’s decision to classify “retail broadband Internet” as a “telecommunications service”.  It also says it is supportive of the FCC in remaining a “giuoco piano” approach to enforcing do not track (DNT) rules.  (Well, the FCC can use the “Two Knights Defense”.)

EFF also supports caution in regulating LTE-U (unlicensed frequencies) which telecommunications companies want to expand for faster service, but at a cost.