Jon Brodkin

AT&T and Frontier have let phone networks fall apart, California regulator finds

AT&T and Frontier have let their copper phone networks deteriorate through neglect since 2010, resulting in poor service quality and many lengthy outages, a report commissioned by the California state government found. Customers in low-income areas and areas without substantial competition have fared the worst, the report found. AT&T in particular was found to have neglected low-income communities and to have imposed severe price increases adding up to 152.6 percent over a decade.

Comcast reluctantly drops data-cap enforcement in 12 states for rest of 2021

Comcast is delaying a plan to enforce its 1.2TB data cap and overage fees in the Northeast US until 2022 after pressure from customers and lawmakers in multiple states. Comcast has enforced the data cap in 27 of the 39 states in which it operates since 2016, but not in the Northeast states where Comcast faces competition from Verizon's un-capped FiOS fiber-to-the-home service. In Nov 2020, Comcast announced it would bring the cap to the other 12 states and DC starting in Jan 2021.

House Republicans propose nationwide ban on municipal broadband networks

House Republicans have unveiled their plan for "boosting" broadband connectivity and competition, and one of the key planks is prohibiting states and cities from building their own networks. Rep Billy Long (R-MO) is the lead sponsor. The bill "would promote competition by limiting government-run broadband networks throughout the country and encouraging private investment," without explaining how limiting the number of broadband networks would increase competition.

Cox cuts some users’ uploads from 30Mbps to 10Mbps—here’s how to avoid it

Cox's "Ultimate" Internet plan with 300Mbps download and 30Mbps upload speeds was changed to a 500Mbps download, 10Mbps upload package early in 2020. At first, Cox let customers on the 300Mbps/30Mbps version keep it, without any nudges to change their plans or upgrade their modems. But that changed with the email Cox sent to other customers recently. Cox said customers can keep their 30Mbps upload speeds if they upgrade to a newer modem.

Department of Justice drops suit against California net neutrality rule, but broadband providers are still fighting it

The Biden administration has abandoned a Trump-era lawsuit that sought to block California's network neutrality law.

SpaceX plans Starlink phone service, emergency backup, and low-income access

A new SpaceX filing outlines plans for Starlink to offer phone service, emergency backup for voice calls, and cheaper plans for people with low incomes through the government's Lifeline program. The details are in Starlink's petition to the Federal Communications Commission for designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) under the Communications Act. SpaceX said it needs that legal designation in some of the states where it won government funding to deploy broadband in unserved areas.

Why victims of AT&T unlimited-data throttling get only $22 in settlements

AT&T has agreed to a $12 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit over its throttling of "unlimited" mobile data plans. As usual, refunds to individual customers amount to a fraction of what the customers paid for the hobbled service. The paltry nature of expected per-person payments was explained by plaintiffs in a filing that asked the US District Court for the Northern District of California to approve the settlement.

Mediacom warns “excessive” uploaders, says network can’t handle heavy usage

Mediacom is telling heavy uploaders to reduce their data usage—even when those users are well below their monthly data caps. Mediacom's fastest Internet plan offers gigabit download speeds and 50Mbps upload speeds with a monthly data cap of 6TB.

Massachusetts State Reps try to ban Comcast data cap and price hikes until pandemic is over

In response to Comcast imposing a data cap on Massachusetts residents, state lawmakers have proposed a ban on data caps, new fees, and price increases on home-Internet services for the duration of the pandemic. The legislation was filed on Jan 26 by Democratic state representatives Andy Vargas and Dave Rogers.

CenturyLink, Frontier missed FCC broadband deadlines in dozens of states

CenturyLink and Frontier Communications have again failed to meet broadband-deployment deadlines in dozens of states after taking money from the Federal Communications Commission. The deadline to hit 100 percent of the required deployments passed on December 31, 2020. Both CenturyLink and Frontier informed the FCC that they missed the deadline to finish deployment in numerous states. The carriers won't face the possibility of punishment yet.