Archive for the ‘AT&T’ Category

FCC panel wants to tax Internet-using businesses and give the money to ISPs

December 12th, 2018
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Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Christian Michaels)

A Federal Communications Commission advisory committee has proposed a new tax on Netflix, Google, Facebook, and many other businesses that require Internet access to operate.

If adopted by states, the recommended tax would apply to subscription-based retail services that require Internet access, such as Netflix, and to advertising-supported services that use the Internet, such as Google and Facebook. The tax would also apply to any small- or medium-sized business that charges subscription fees for online services or uses online advertising. The tax would also apply to any provider of broadband access, such as cable or wireless operators.

The collected money would go into state rural broadband deployment funds that would help bring faster Internet access to sparsely populated areas. Similar universal service fees are already assessed on landline phone service and mobile phone service nationwide. Those phone fees contribute to federal programs such as the FCC's Connect America Fund, which pays AT&T and other carriers to deploy broadband in rural areas.

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Posted in amazon, AT&T, FCC, google, Netflix, Policy | Comments (0)

AT&T/Verizon lobby misunderstands arrow of time, makes impossible claim

December 6th, 2018
Illustration of a clock and arrows pointing to the right.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | D3Damon)

The telecom industry lobby group that represents AT&T and Verizon has consistently claimed that net neutrality rules hurt broadband investment. Yet the same lobby group has released data showing that fiber deployment grew significantly while net neutrality rules were in effect.

Even more surprising: the lobby group, USTelecom, also recently claimed that an increase in broadband network investment that happened before the net neutrality repeal was somehow caused by the repeal that hadn't yet taken effect.

USTelecom released a new analysis last week, saying that, "from the end of 2015 to mid-2017, US fiber deployment grew from 21 percent to 29 percent of homes and competitive availability of wired broadband at 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload [speeds] increased from 31 percent to 55 percent." Fixed wireless deployment has also helped expand broadband access, USTelecom wrote.

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, broadband, Net Neutrality, Policy, ustelecom, verizon | Comments (0)

AT&T makes it more expensive to cancel DirecTV or Internet service

December 3rd, 2018
A broken piggy bank covered with AT&T's logo.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Aurich)

AT&T will start charging customers for the full month after they cancel TV or Internet service, ending its customer-friendly practice of providing a prorated credit for the final month.

Even if you cancel on the first day of a new billing period, you'll be charged for the full month and service will continue for the rest of the month whether you want it or not. To avoid paying for a month of service you don't want, you'd need to cancel by the last day of the previous billing period.

The change will take effect on January 14, 2019 and apply even when a customer is paying on a month-to-basis and no longer under contract.

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, DIRECTV, Policy | Comments (0)

Wireless throttling: Senators ask four major carriers about video slowdowns

November 15th, 2018
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Enlarge (credit: Verizon)

Three US Senate Democrats today asked the four major wireless carriers about allegations they've been throttling video services and—in the case of Sprint—the senators asked about alleged throttling of Skype video calls.

Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent the letters to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, noting that recent research using the Wehe testing platform found indications of throttling by all four carriers.

"All online traffic should be treated equally, and Internet service providers should not discriminate against particular content or applications for competitive advantage purposes or otherwise," the senators wrote.

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Posted in amazon, AT&T, Netflix, Policy, skype, Sprint, t-mobile, throttling, verizon, wehe, YouTube | Comments (0)

AT&T CEO: State net neutrality and privacy laws are a “total disaster”

November 13th, 2018
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson speaking and gesturing with his hand while being interviewed at a tech conference.

Enlarge / AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson yesterday urged Congress to pass net neutrality and consumer data privacy laws that would prevent states from issuing their own stricter laws.

"There are a number of states that are now passing their own legislation around privacy and, by the way, net neutrality," Stephenson said in an interview at a Wall Street Journal tech conference (see video). "What would be a total disaster for the technology and innovation you see happening in Silicon Valley and elsewhere is to pick our head up and have 50 different sets of rules for companies trying to operate in the United States."

There was a single US standard for net neutrality passed by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015. But AT&T and other ISPs opposed it and sued the FCC in a failed effort to get the regulation thrown out by a court.

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Posted in AT&T, Net Neutrality, paid prioritization, Policy, Privacy, zero-rating | Comments (0)

AT&T steps up copyright enforcement, kicks customers off network

November 6th, 2018
An AT&T logo above the entrance to an AT&T store.

Enlarge / The entrance to an AT&T store in San Francisco, California. (credit: Getty Images | Robert Alexander )

AT&T is terminating the broadband service of more than a dozen customers who were accused multiple times of copyright infringement, according to a report by Axios today.

"It's the first time AT&T has discontinued customer service over piracy allegations since having shaped its own piracy policies last year, which is significant given it just became one of America's major media companies [with the purchase of Time Warner]," Axios wrote.

Axios' report is based partly on anonymous sources, but AT&T also confirmed the news in official statements to Axios and Ars. The allegedly pirating customers will receive their disconnection notices within a week or so; each one already "received at least nine separate notifications with allegations of copyright infringement from content owners," Axios wrote.

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, copyright infringement, piracy, Policy | Comments (0)

AT&T—owner of HBO and DirecTV—lets HBO go dark on Dish in money fight

November 1st, 2018
The HBO logo on a TV screen with static.

Enlarge (credit: HBO)

AT&T-owned HBO and Cinemax have been pulled from Dish's satellite TV service and the Dish-owned Sling TV streaming service over a money dispute, marking the first-ever blackout for HBO in its 46-year history.

In June, US District Court Judge Richard Leon allowed AT&T to complete its purchase of Time Warner Inc., the owner of HBO and Cinemax, saying there was no reason to believe that AT&T would use its market power to harm rival TV providers or consumers. AT&T is also the owner of DirecTV, Dish's primary competitor in the satellite TV business.

Dish said AT&T pulled HBO from Dish and Sling TV, while HBO said that Dish pulled the channel from its services as a negotiating tactic. Dish said that its customers will get bill credits for the time they cannot access HBO or Cinemax.

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, DIRECTV, DISH, HBO, Policy | Comments (0)

Ajit Pai slams carriers for slow restoration of cell service after hurricane

October 16th, 2018
A Verizon logo at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Enlarge / A Verizon logo at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Wireless carriers' failure to fully restore cellular service in Florida after Hurricane Michael "is completely unacceptable," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said today in a rare rebuke of the industry that he regulates.

Verizon in particular has been under fire from Florida Governor Rick Scott, who says Verizon hasn't done enough to restore service. By contrast, Scott has praised AT&T for its disaster response.

The FCC will open an investigation into the post-hurricane restoration efforts, Pai said. Pai and Scott urged wireless carriers to immediately disclose plans for restoring service, waive the October bills of affected customers, and let customers switch providers without penalty.

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, Florida, hurricane, Hurricane Michael, Policy, verizon | Comments (0)