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The US Broadband Thread of "I can't believe these effers"
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The Final Dakar
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Sep 8, 2014, 04:12 PM
 
Given my penchant for posting news on the telcos, I figured I should start a thread dedicated to the (usually) outrageous news. Kicking us off:

AT&T and Verizon say 10Mbps is too fast for “broadband,” 4Mbps is enough | Ars Technica

"Consumer behavior strongly reinforces the conclusion that a 10Mbps service exceeds what many Americans need today to enable basic, high-quality transmissions," AT&T wrote later in its filing.
Basic and high-quality are at odds here. SD video is basic. 1080p is high quality.

“The Commission should not change the baseline broadband speed threshold from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream because a 4/1 Mbps connection is still sufficient to perform the primary functions identified in section 706 [of the Telecommunications Act]—high-quality voice, video, and data,” the NCTA wrote.

About 47 percent of Comcast subscribers get at least 50Mbps, the company says.
The cable companies have a big advantage here – which verizon and AT&T can mitigate with fiber, but Verizon got cheap.

The FCC in 2010 changed its definition of minimum broadband speeds from 200Kbps downstream to 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream. Under that definition, the commission found that 94 percent of Americans had access to fixed broadband service in 2012, AT&T noted.
Holy crap. That definition was way out of touch. I mean way.

Verizon wants cellular to be considered broadband on par with wired service, which would put even less pressure on the companies to make sure rural areas have access to fast wired networks. Verizon and AT&T offer "fixed wireless" service that provides home Internet access from each company's cellular network, but the services are subject to monthly data caps of 10GB to 30GB. That's well below the 100GB data cap minimum specified by the FCC in regard to the Connect America Fund.
Not to mention its more expensive in general, and conveniently out of the jurisdiction of the FCC's net neutrality rules.

AT&T also said “the Commission’s central assumption that consumers need 7Mbps to access high quality video is unsupported and inconsistent with the public positions of major streaming video providers that tell their customers that less is required.”
The commission might be banking on you guys not delivering advertised speeds.

There is also debate over the place of satellite in the broadband definition. Satellite provider Hughes Network Systems supports the 10Mbps broadband definition, but it wants the FCC to adopt a more forgiving latency requirement. "Signals traveling at the speed of light from geostationary satellites cannot physically traverse the distance from earth to space in less than 100 milliseconds," Hughes wrote. "The Commission’s proposed latency threshold thus results in a categorical exclusion of a satellite broadband technology."
No.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 8, 2014, 04:32 PM
 
You must have missed this chestnut.

AT&T complains about unfairness of municipal broadband to FCC | Electronista

GONs (municipal broadband) should not be utilized where the private sector already is providing broadband or can be expected to do so in a reasonable timeframe
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 8, 2014, 04:40 PM
 
I posted that in another unrelated thread, but yes, they are bastards. They also note that municipal broadband shouldn't get the same tax breaks either.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 18, 2014, 11:06 AM
 
Sorry, AT&T and Verizon: 4Mbps isn’t fast enough for “broadband” | Ars Technica

Wheeler responded: “We have proposed increasing the throughput in order to get Universal Service funds from 4Mbps to 10Mbps for precisely the reason that you mentioned, that you can’t have a digital divide. When 60 percent of the Internet’s traffic at prime time is video, and it takes 4 or 5Mbps to deliver video, a 4Mbps connection isn’t exactly what’s necessary in the 21st century. And when you have half a dozen different devices, wireless and other connected devices in a home that are all going against that bandwidth, it’s not enough. What we are saying is we can’t make the mistake of spending the people’s money, which is what Universal Service is, to continue to subsidize something that’s subpar.
The money in question comes from the Connect America Fund, paid for by phone customers through bill surcharges. AT&T and Verizon declined a combined $67.5 million of the funding in 2012, while FairPoint, CenturyLink, and Windstream accepted funding, FierceTelecom reported at the time.

AT&T changed its mind in 2013, deciding to accept $100 million after the FCC made some changes to the program. AT&T said the money would let it “deploy broadband to approximately 129,000 locations that lack any fixed broadband service of at least 768 kbps/200 kbps.”

By accepting that funding, AT&T had to provide at least 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to customers who previously had no access to broadband speeds. AT&T was required to deploy service to two-thirds of the locations within two years and to all of them within three years.
     
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Sep 21, 2014, 07:38 PM
 
AT&T also said “the Commission’s central assumption that consumers need 7Mbps to access high quality video is unsupported and inconsistent with the public positions of major streaming video providers that tell their customers that less is required.”
Around here, connections are often advertised as "7-10 Mbps", these being the same tiers that they used to call just 10 Mbps. I suspect that it is some sort of standard, that they should be able to guarantee 7 if theoretical peak is 10.

Fun fact, btw: When using a cable modem, the bandwidth of a single NTSC channel is about 38 Mbps. This is the root of the common cable speeds 35, 75 and 105 Mbps - you are paying for 1, 2 and 3 channels respectively. The corollary to this is that if you are paying for something less than 35 Mbps downstream, your cable provider is artificially throttling your connection without saving any capacity in the cables.

For PAL, that same unit is 50 Mbps.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 23, 2014, 09:23 AM
 
Did I really **** up the title? I can't believe I didn't notice that til now.
Comcast to FCC: We already face enough competition, so let us buy TWC | Ars Technica
“For many consumers, wireless is a viable substitute for fixed broadband,” Comcast wrote. “This provides consumers with another option to switch away from Comcast or simply use less Comcast broadband service (which could mean downgrading to lower speeds or foregoing upgrades), if they are unhappy.”
     
osiris
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Sep 23, 2014, 09:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
...The corollary to this is that if you are paying for something less than 35 Mbps downstream, your cable provider is artificially throttling your connection without saving any capacity in the cables.
Interesting. The larger plans may be throttled as well - TWC has 100, 200, and 300 Mbps plans, and only recently did they lump all 10, 25, 50 Mbps plans into the 100. In some cases throttling worked out well - as I only pay for 25Mbps but got tossed onto the 100Mbps bandwagon for the same price. Sorry to you, The Final Dakar.
( Last edited by osiris; Sep 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM. )
"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 23, 2014, 09:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
The corollary to this is that if you are paying for something less than 35 Mbps downstream, your cable provider is artificially throttling your connection without saving any capacity in the cables.
No different than back in the day when Apple was using the same chip in iMacs but one was under clocked.
     
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Sep 23, 2014, 12:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
No different than back in the day when Apple was using the same chip in iMacs but one was under clocked.
Same thing today, except Intel does the locking down and disabling. Three months after launch, 95% of Intel's chips are "top bin" and can be sold as the most expensive model - but very few of them are. Intel disables features and lowers the clock to pay off its investment costs. My point was rather that if the FCC were to mandate this, cable companies investments would be zero.

Originally Posted by osiris View Post
Interesting. The larger plans may be throttled as well - TWC has 100, 200, and 300 Mbps plans, and only recently did they lump all 10, 25, 50 Mbps plans into the 100. In some cases throttling worked out well - as I only pay for 25Mbps but got tossed onto the 100Mbps bandwagon for the same price. Sorry to you, The Final Dakar.
100 Mbps is 3 channels, close enough. You probably get something like 105-110 Mbps in a 100 MBps plan - it's just neater to sell it as an even 100 Mbps.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 23, 2014, 12:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Same thing today, except Intel does the locking down and disabling. Three months after launch, 95% of Intel's chips are "top bin" and can be sold as the most expensive model - but very few of them are. Intel disables features and lowers the clock to pay off its investment costs. My point was rather that if the FCC were to mandate this, cable companies investments would be zero.
Sorry. Thats a very good point.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 23, 2014, 12:41 PM
 
[QUOTE=The Final Dakar;4292638]Did I really **** up the title? I can't believe I didn't notice that til now.
Comcast to FCC: We already face enough competition, so let us buy TWC | Ars Technica


My favorite part was the bit about the caps and how they were so successful and good for the industry!
     
osiris
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Sep 23, 2014, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
100 Mbps is 3 channels, close enough. You probably get something like 105-110 Mbps in a 100 MBps plan - it's just neater to sell it as an even 100 Mbps.
107Mbps, spot on!
"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 23, 2014, 01:30 PM
 
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 23, 2014, 01:48 PM
 
Stop posting links in the forum to stories i'm actually writing at the time.

YOU'RE IN MY MIND!
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 23, 2014, 01:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by EstaNightshift View Post
Stop posting links in the forum to stories i'm actually writing at the time.

YOU'RE IN MY MIND!
EstaNightshift brutally murders member of forum known for gaming content, tiresome jokes, pacemaker. Forum member subego comments: "I think his moderation was a little heavy handed."
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 24, 2014, 11:51 AM
 
Comcast: Everyone secretly knows our Time Warner merger is good for customers | Ars Technica

Virtually all commenters recognize and concede—either explicitly or through their silence—that the transaction will deliver substantial consumer welfare and public interest benefits to residential and business customers and in the advertising marketplace,” Cohen wrote.
Ah yes, the old "You know you want it" line, most noted for being uttered by date rapists. But that's not evil enough.


Some of the commenters fail to account for the most important economic reality of these transactions—that Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter [which is involved in a related transaction] do not compete in any market, which means that there will be no reduction in competition or consumer choice for any of the services we offer.
     
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Sep 24, 2014, 01:50 PM
 
Cox and CenturyLink are both claiming Phoenix will have 1GB "soon." I'll be happy when CL's VDLS2 hit my neighborhood. I have 20MB down, but stuck with 896KB up until then. Uploading videos to YouTube and FaceBook is a PITA.
     
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Sep 24, 2014, 02:28 PM
 
I think they should let them merge, and then reclassify the new entity under Title II. Kills two birds with one stone, and ultimately I think that's what will happen.
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The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 24, 2014, 03:24 PM
 
This proposed merger is great, if only because these guys are admitting everything we keep complaining about.
Comcast says it’s too expensive to compete against other cable companies | Ars Technica
Comcast has made many arguments in support of its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), but it keeps circling back to one: since the two cable companies don’t compete head-to-head in any city or town, there would be no harm in approving the deal.

...

In short, Cohen said it’s too expensive to compete against other cable companies—even though Comcast is spending $45.2 billion to purchase Time Warner Cable. Comcast and TWC aren’t likely to start competing against each other even if they remain separate, Cohen explained
In the unlikely event that this transaction is not approved, I think it’s very clear we’re not going to overbuild Los Angeles or New York [where Time Warner Cable provides service and Comcast does not].
i.e., you can't make us compete.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 24, 2014, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
I think they should let them merge, and then reclassify the new entity under Title II. Kills two birds with one stone, and ultimately I think that's what will happen.
That'd kill the merger nicely, offering, "Okay, you guys get to merge, but we then turn you into a utility."
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 24, 2014, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
Cox and CenturyLink are both claiming Phoenix will have 1GB "soon." I'll be happy when CL's VDLS2 hit my neighborhood. I have 20MB down, but stuck with 896KB up until then. Uploading videos to YouTube and FaceBook is a PITA.
Total PR talk. Everyone is focused on googlefiber, and unless you use their service, you don't realize their customers likely have as limited options as you do.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 29, 2014, 01:52 PM
 
AT&T’s congestion magically disappears when it’s signing up new customers | Ars Technica
AT&T's throttling hits “unlimited” customers even when they use less data than subscribers on limited plans. New AT&T customers who buy ”Mobile Share Value” plans can normally get 15GB to 50GB of data per month for two to 10 lines.
But AT&T’s ability to give far more unthrottled data to new subscribers than it provides to its longest-standing customers, the ones who specifically pay for unlimited data, illustrates how arbitrary the limits are.
     
subego
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Sep 29, 2014, 02:32 PM
 
That's a weird headline.

AT&T is satan, I'm not questioning that part, but bandwidth "magically" appears when I pay for it? Alert the media!
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 29, 2014, 02:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
That's a weird headline.

AT&T is satan, I'm not questioning that part, but bandwidth "magically" appears when I pay for it? Alert the media!
The key word is new. If you're on the old plans, **** you then.
     
subego
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Sep 29, 2014, 02:50 PM
 
Not really. Sign up for a new plan and you get the new deal.

Looking at the article, it's being sarcastic. It's bringing up arguments AT&T have tried to float in the past: unlimited data subscribers must be throttled or their POS network couldn't keep up.

These new plans are the "proof" AT&T is full of shit on that one.

However, no one believed it at the time, which was at least a couple years ago, if not more.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 29, 2014, 02:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Not really. Sign up for a new plan and you get the new deal.
If you signed up for a new plan you wouldn't be on an old plan. WTF?
     
subego
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Sep 29, 2014, 03:03 PM
 
Isn't luring you off of old plans onto new plans SOP for service providers? Does this deserve an article?
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Sep 29, 2014, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Isn't luring you off of old plans onto new plans SOP for service providers? Does this deserve an article?
If they're actively degrading service to trick you in doing so how is it not?
     
subego
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Sep 29, 2014, 03:14 PM
 
Allow me to rephrase. They've been doing this shit since they killed unlimited, which was back around the iPad 2 launch.

Keep your unlimited and get throttled, or give up unlimited, which has no throttle, but you pay by the bit.

I was pissed off about it at the time, but to me, it's water under the bridge at this point. There's only so much energy for so long I can expend on hatred.
     
Shaddim
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Oct 8, 2014, 11:08 AM
 
If your company works for Comcast don't ever file a complaint against them, they'll have you fired.

Man claims Comcast cost him his job after service complaints : T-Lounge : Tech Times
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
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The Final Dakar  (op)
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Oct 8, 2014, 11:16 AM
 
I didn't post the story because I feel like there's some missing info about the guy. I don't think Comcast would go all internet detective on you for being a thorn. He must have done something questionable.
     
Shaddim
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Oct 8, 2014, 12:34 PM
 
I dunno, something tells me that they really are that petty and vindictive.
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Oct 8, 2014, 01:46 PM
 
The fact that this sort of story even gets published is evidence of how ill-liked Comcast is.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 8, 2014, 02:21 PM
 
The implication is that to get better service, he name-dropped his employer, which his employer frowns upon. However, there's no release of evidence, emails, etc to that effect... so, yikes?
     
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Oct 8, 2014, 02:25 PM
 
Apparently as an accountant, he kept detailed records on everything. And Ars posted the documents. My take is it's going to go one of two ways.

1) Comcast better produce recordings showing he made threats and tried to leverage his employer, as well as explain all the complaints.

2) Comcast folds if they can't produce explanatory records.

If Comcast can't produce evidence that he brought up his employer first, then this story will be the one remembered while regulators discuss the merger. Hence why Comcast will have to fold and give him what he wants.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Oct 8, 2014, 02:27 PM
 
I do love the waiting room pick. 100 tickets behind at 3 pm. Jesus.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Oct 8, 2014, 04:02 PM
 
     
Shaddim
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Oct 8, 2014, 08:57 PM
 
knew it, dirtbags.
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The Final Dakar  (op)
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Oct 9, 2014, 08:35 AM
 
They didn't admit to getting him fired… yet.
     
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Oct 9, 2014, 09:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
They didn't admit to getting him fired… yet.
I reckon that won't be easy to prove, though ... but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. And the fact that most people wouldn't put it past Comcast to do such a thing says a lot.
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Oct 13, 2014, 03:18 PM
 
Since Netflix paid Verizon, video speed on FiOS has doubled | Ars Technica

Although Verizon FiOS led all large ISPs in Netflix performance, Google Fiber is still No. 1 among all ISPs regardless of size with a 3.54Mbps average in September.

In August, Netflix streamed at an average of 2.41Mbps on Verizon FiOS, ranking tenth out of 16 major ISPs. In July, Netflix speed on Verizon FiOS was 1.61Mbps and in June it was 1.58Mbps, ranking 12th in both months. The Netflix/Verizon deal was announced in late April.
     
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Oct 13, 2014, 05:35 PM
 
Artificial shortages can lead to higher revenue.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Oct 17, 2014, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
If your company works for Comcast don't ever file a complaint against them, they'll have you fired.

Man claims Comcast cost him his job after service complaints : T-Lounge : Tech Times
He filed the lawsuit, let's see where this goes.
     
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Oct 17, 2014, 07:50 PM
 
And while we fool around with high priced / slow internet, South Korea is moving ahead with 10-gigabit home service. Not quite available yet, but on schedule.
“In the 1960s the world watched NASA send men to the moon and many of us grew up amazed at the constant advancements of the Americans,” said Natsuki Kumagai. “Now the Americans watch us.”

“In my travels to the United States, it is very plain they have lost their way in advancing broadband technology,” said Pyon Seo-Ju. “Internet access is terribly slow and expensive because American politicians have sacrificed Americas’s technology leadership to protect conglomerates and allow them to flourish. Although unfortunate for America, this has given Korea a chance to promote our own industry and enhance the success of companies like Samsung that are well-known in the United States today.”
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Oct 22, 2014, 04:16 PM
 
Semi-related:

FCC suspends review of Comcast/TWC and AT&T/DirecTV mergers | Ars Technica
These organizations filed their request for an extension after content companies refused to allow access to confidential carriage agreements, despite the FCC issuing a joint protective order requiring limited disclosure. The content companies that objected to providing confidential information included CBS, Scripps, Disney, Time Warner, Twenty First Century Fox, Univision, Viacom, Discovery, and TV One.
     
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Oct 28, 2014, 02:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Allow me to rephrase. They've been doing this shit since they killed unlimited, which was back around the iPad 2 launch.

Keep your unlimited and get throttled, or give up unlimited, which has no throttle, but you pay by the bit.

I was pissed off about it at the time, but to me, it's water under the bridge at this point. There's only so much energy for so long I can expend on hatred.
The FTC is suing AT&T for throttling its unlimited data customers - The Washington Post
AT&T allegedly knew that its throttling practice was unfair, because its internal research told them as much, according to the FTC. From the complaint:

When it implemented its throttling program, Defendant possessed internal focus group research indicating that its throttling program was inconsistent with consumer understanding of an 'unlimited' data plan. The researchers concluded that, '[a]s we'd expect, the reaction to [a proposed data throttling program] was negative; consumers felt 'unlimited should mean unlimited[."]' The focus group participants thought the idea was 'clearly unfair.' The researchers highlighted a consumer's comment that '[i]t seems a bit misleading to call it Unlimited.' The researchers observed that '[t]he more consumers talked about it the more they didn't like it.' This led the researchers to advise that '[s]aying less is more, [so] don't say too much' in marketing communications concerning such a program.
     
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Oct 29, 2014, 09:37 AM
 
Study: Comcast and Verizon connections to Cogent dropped below 0.5Mbps | Ars Technica
“The three degraded Access ISPs [Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon] failed to achieve median download throughputs above 4Mbps when connecting over Cogent in New York City for most of the period between Spring 2013 and March 2014,” M-Lab wrote. “While daily median download throughput overall hovered around 4Mbps, performance degradation was much worse during peak use hours. For much of the time between Spring 2013 and March 2014, download speeds during peak use hours remained well below 4Mbps. By January 2014, the download throughput rate during peak use hours for Comcast and Verizon traffic over Cogent’s network was less than 0.5Mbps, the minimum rate necessary for web browsing and email according to the FCC. Note that only between 2:00 AM and 1:00 PM were the three affected Access ISPs able to attain speeds above 4 Mbps across the Transit ISP Cogent.”
Pay us!
     
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Oct 29, 2014, 10:43 AM
 
what do you think, verizon is going to be offering free netflix to new subscribers?

Funny, that.

Surprise: Verizon FiOS Now Offering Free Netflix Subscription To Some New Customers – Consumerist
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Nov 5, 2014, 12:51 PM
 
Verizon: ISPs will sue unless government adopts weaker net neutrality rules | Ars Technica

But after protest from consumer advocates, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is reportedly close to proposing rules in which ISPs would be treated as utilities. This wouldn't outlaw fast lane or "paid prioritization" deals but would make it easier for the government to block arrangements deemed harmful to consumers. In a blog post today, Verizon General Counsel Randal Milch said the plan "fairly guarantees litigation."
Verizon claimed that the FCC can avoid litigation if it scraps Title II and instead uses Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act as it did in the 2010 rules and in its proposal from May. Verizon's blog neglected to mention that it sued the FCC when it used Section 706 in 2010, anyway.
The surest way to avoid Title II would have been to accept the 2010 rules, as all major ISPs but Verizon did. ISPs are reportedly furious at Verizon because its lawsuit has raised the possibility that they could face utility regulation over broadband service.
Don't half-ass this Wheeler. The hybrid plan was shit and I didn't think you had the balls anyway.
     
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Nov 6, 2014, 09:09 AM
 
     
 
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