Frontier Communications has agreed to expand its fiber-to-the-premises network and improve its poor service quality as part of a bankruptcy settlement in California. Frontier committed to deploy fiber to 350,000 homes and businesses within six years on a schedule that would require the first 100,000 by the end of 2022, 250,000 by the end of 2024, and the full 350,000 by year-end 2026. The settlement, filed in late December, is pending approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
Dozens of state lawmakers from Massachusetts urged Comcast to halt enforcement of its 1.2TB monthly data cap, saying the cap hurts low-income people during the pandemic and is unnecessary because of Comcast's healthy network capacity. The letter to Comcast Senior VP Mark Reilly, spearheaded by MA State Reps Andy Vargas and Dave Rogers, disputed Comcast's claim that a 1.2TB cap only affects a very small subset of customers it calls "super users." The lawmakers also wrote that "Massachusetts has experienced the largest relative increase of food-insecure individuals in the nation due to COVID-
Broadband and TV providers will finally be required to stop charging "rental" fees for equipment that customers own themselves, thanks to a new US law that takes effect on Dec 20. The bogus fees were outlawed by the Television Viewer Protection Act (TVPA), which was approved by Congress and signed by President Trump in December 2019.
OneWeb has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy under new ownership and says it will begin launching more broadband satellites in December 2020. Similar to SpaceX Starlink, OneWeb is building a network of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites that can provide high-speed broadband with much lower latencies than traditional geostationary satellites. After a launch in December, launches will continue throughout 2021 and 2022, and OneWeb is now on track to begin commercial connectivity services to the UK and the Arctic region in late 2021 and will expand to delivering global services in 2022.
The number of broadband "power users"—people who use 1TB or more per month—has doubled over the past year, ensuring that broadband internet access service providers will be able to make more money from data caps. More customers exceeding their data caps will result in more overage charges paid to ISPs that impose monthly data caps. Higher usage can also boost ISP revenue because people using more data tend to subscribe to higher-speed packages.
If you live in an area where AT&T has taken government funds in exchange for deploying broadband, there's a chance you won't be able to get the service—even if AT&T initially tells you it's available. AT&T's Mississippi division has received over $283 million from the Federal Communications Commission's Connect America Fund since 2015 and in exchange is required to extend home-Internet service to over 133,000 potential customer locations.
Comcast's broadband internet access service still has a heavy emphasis on download speeds, as even its gigabit-download service only comes with 35Mbps uploads. But that may not be the case forever, as the company announced a "technical milestone" that can deliver gigabit-plus download and upload speeds over existing cable wires.
Verizon and AT&T have agreed to pay a combined $127 million to settle lawsuits alleging that they overcharged California and Nevada government entities for wireless service. The lawsuit was filed in 2012 and resulted in a settlement approved on Sept 24. "Verizon will pay $76 million and AT&T $51 million to settle claims that, for more than a decade, they knowingly ignored cost-saving requirements included in multibillion-dollar contracts offering wireless services to state and local government users in California, Nevada, and other states," the announcement said.
Comcast says that a broadband reseller illegally sold Comcast Internet service in residential buildings in the Denver area and has terminated the connections to those buildings. The shutoff affected hundreds of people who live in buildings serviced by AlphaWiFi, "which installs and services Internet in approximately 90 apartment buildings across Denver." The shutoff came as a surprise to residents, including Kaley Warren, who has been working at home during the pandemic. "It is my entire lifeline," said Warren, who said that without warning her Internet service disappeared. "I felt lost.
President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Nathan Simington, who is currently a senior advisor in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, to replace Michel O'Rielly on the Federal Communications Commission.