Cable group is outraged at the idea of the FCC being transparent

For years, large broadband players such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast let peering points saturate to kill settlement-free peering and extract new fees from a variety of video streaming sites. Essentially, major ISP’s were refusing to upgrade interconnection points to intentionally cause a degradation of Netflix service, in turn forcing Netflix to pay for direct interconnection. Cogent CEO admitted as such. Additionally, Level 3 called out Verizon in 2014 for this very same issue. The State of New York has even begun to investigate whether ISP’s agreed to interconnection deals and STILL didn’t provide anywhere near their advertised speeds.

Network services provider Level 3 has therefore asked the FCC to “mandate information about congestion at interconnection points (as) a requirement of its enhanced disclosure provisions of new Open Internet rules.” Basically, Level 3 wants ISP’s to supply basic information about the management of their networks.

As BroadcastingCable reports, cable operators are not happy and through their top lobbying organization, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) are begging asking the FCC to reject this request by claiming that such a request was “erroneous and unwarranted.”

According to cable operators, even though the FCC included interconnection issues within their reach thanks to Net Neutrality, the FCC didn’t include specific rules about such interconnection issues, instead opting to make it a case-by-case situation. This means, again according to cable operators, that the FCC has already rejected Level 3’s request.

The cable operators want no part of this request because it would mean that their backdoor shenanigans with peering points would be exposed. For years, we heard fixed and wireless operators claim that they needed to force customers onto data caps due to “network congestion” issues. Granted, we never saw a single piece of evidence backing up any of these claims. Fast forward to today and the same providers quietly admit that usage caps are, and always have been, about milking consumers out of as much money as possible.

If only we had had access to network management reports when data caps were first forced onto customers.

Be wary of Verizon’s 5G push

Verizon wants the FCC to hurry up and make “spectrum bands above 24 GHz available for mobile broadband.” Meaning, Verizon is continuing a PR push so that everyone knows that they plan on being the first wireless company to offer customer “5G” speeds.

(Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam) asked for the Commission to move quickly to adopt an order and to make this spectrum available for 5G deployments. McAdam reiterated Verizon’s commitment to to be the first U.S. company to roll out 5G wireless technology and described Verizon’s work with its 5G Technology Forum partners, including its plans to field test 5G in early 2016.Verizon announced plans earlier this year to roll out field trials of its 5G wireless technology by next year. – Wireless Week

That sounds great except we have no idea what offering 5G means yet. The definition of 5G has yet to be defined. By some estimates:

  • 5G may be 40 times faster than 4G speeds.
  • Or, 5G could be just 4 times faster than 4G speeds.
  • Or, 5G may be able to reach speeds of 1 GBs.

But that hasn’t stopped companies from guessing on when this imaginary 5G network would be ready for public consumption. Some are guessing that 5G networks could be ready for public consumption around 2020-2021. Others think it could be before 2020….Other think it could be well after 2021.

One thing we know for sure is that Verizon, AT&T and others will do everything in there power to water down the definition of 5G so that at the end of the day, a basic 4G upgrade is enough to be deemed 5G ready.

We saw this when 4G networks were introduced.

Back in October of 2010, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) declared that LTE technology wasn’t technically 4G, and that no major wireless carrier was technically deploying 4G networks. According to the ITU, only technology like LTE-Advanced, capable of speeds over 100 Mbps, could be considered 4G.

Carriers ignored the declaration with T-Mobile arguing their HSPA+ build was the “largest 4G network,” and Sprint & Verizon also made 4G part of marketing for their respective LTE networks (technically, LTE and Mobile WiMax). The ITU then decided to expand the definition to include the current generations of those technologies: WiMAX 802.16e and LTE.

So, what the ITU did was basically allow carriers to technically call anything they do as 4G as long as it offers a “substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities” over existing 3G networks. AT&T has been particularly egregious on that front, marketing devices as 4G even if they couldn’t upload at 3G speeds.

The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 plan, includes roughly $172 million for 5G research and development. However, even they are troubled by the fact that nobody can precisely state what 5G even means:

When it comes to wireless technology, carriers will say or do anything to promote upcoming standards or next-generation wireless technology. Moving forward, consumers should be aware of the wireless industry trying to dumb-down the idea of what 5G speeds entail. Then, when a company such as Broadcom insists their new Wi-Fi gear is 5G ready, customers can be intelligent enough to know that the product being offered has nothing to do with 5G.

ISP’s are right….net neutrality is destroying their business

Today, net neutrality is being argued in court. The FCC will claim that they have the authority to define ISP’s are common carriers under Title II’s definition of “telecommunications services.” ISP’s, on the other hand, will argue that the FCC has no such power.

For months, ISP’s have spent many millions trying to convince the public and government that net neutrality would destroy the broadband business. ISP’s have told us that if net neutrality was put into law, super secret new taxes would jump onto consumers bills, network investment would suddenly fall off a cliff and their financial bottom lines would suffer significantly.

Almost a year after net neutrality was successful put in place by the FCC, we have seen no secret taxes and network investment continues to break new ground with record amounts of money being spent during spectrum auctions and/or mergers.

To be fair, I am guessing that the ISP’s are seeing drastic decreases in profits and revenues.

Let’s ask Cable One CEO Thomas Might how his business is doing after net neutrality was introduced:

Speaking at the Wells Fargo Securities Technology, Media & Telecom conference in New York, Might said that operating cash flow margins for “product B” (high-speed Internet) are in the 50 percent range. “It’s new math,” Might said. – FierceCable

But frankly, even those absurd financial numbers are not enough. Cable One has recently announced ANOTHER price increase for broadband customers, this time charging consumers $5 per month for simply using the internet.

Maybe we are simply focusing on one company. Let’s see how the broadband business services are dealing with net neutrality.

AT&T is also rumored to have more than $10 billion ready to go during the next spectrum auction.

Honestly, can someone explain to me how these companies are able to work under such atrocious conditions?

Verizon tells a customer to deal with months of overcharging, until local media gets involved

As we have written about countless times, one of the most common stories written by local news outlets is one in which a broadband/wireless customer is improperly charged large amounts of money by their carrier and told by that carrier that there is no way to get around paying this fine/fee/bill. That is, until the local media (or national media) gets involved and the issue magically disappears. We have written about situations like this before involving a variety of wireless and broadband carriers.

Today, we have yet another situation where Verizon charged a New Jersey woman $1,500 for something she never wanted or ordered, a second landline. She cancelled this landline in 2000 and had not been charged for it between 2000 and 2010. Then, Verizon decided to just start charging her for it again at random times the last few years.

After not realizing that she had been paying for a second landline for months, she recently contacted Verizon and asked for a refund for a number of these charges. Seems like a simple fix.

Hollyer says she called Verizon in early June both to end the improper billing and to receive a refund for the five years she had been charged improperly. Getting the charge dropped was easy, but the person she spoke to could only authorize a refund for three months of the added fees she had paid. – Motley Fool

Like other carriers, Verizon has quite the sketchy past with charging customers phantom things. Verizon was part of the illegal cramming activities (i.e. allowed 3rd party companies to put small charges on customers bills to which Verizon got a part of that amount charged) that went under the radar until the FCC investigated and fined Verizon and Sprint a combined $158 million dollars.