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Wednesday Morning Links - - Wed, 22 Nov 2017

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hits President where it hurts most, warns Trump that full net neutrality repeal could inhibit tweets
Without Net Neutrality, What Happens to My Netflix?
Why net neutrality s peril could boost the prospects for global satellite broadband
The Citizens of Detriot Are Building Their Own Internet
Verizon is on the hook for Mayer's Yahoo Search deal with Mozilla, could cost telco 'hundreds of millions' on top of $4.5 billion acquisition cost
FCC will also order states to scrap plans for their own net neutrality laws
5G: Maybe We re Getting Ahead of Ourselves
Charter Plans In-Home Small Cell Gateway
Altice USA Opens First Experience Center
AT&T s antitrust fight with Justice Dept. lands with judge who approved Comcast-NBC deal
AT&T and Verizon still the best networks for highway travel

NY AG Investigating Bogus Net Neutrality Support at FCC - - Tue, 21 Nov 2017

For much of the year we've noted how the FCC's proceeding to kill net neutrality rules has seen more than its fair share of dubious and fraudulent behavior. From the FCC's decision to apparently make up a DDOS attack to downplay public opposition to its plan, to a wave of fake, bot-crafted comments providing phony support for the attack, the odor eminating from the entire proceeding is substantial, and will likely play a starring role in the inevitable lawuits that will be filed against the FCC when it votes to kill the rules in December.

Even with dead people mysteriously supporting the agency's plan, the FCC has refused to lift a finger to crack down on the fraud. Nor has it been willing to help anybody trying to investigate which individual or organization is responsible.

Today, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that his office has been investigating the net neutrality comment fraud for the last six months. And in a letter sent to FCC boss Ajit Pai, he points out that the agency has ignored nine requests for data from the AG's office during that period.

"Such conduct likely violates state law -- yet the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed," notes Schneiderman. We reached out for assistance to multiple top FCC officials, including you, three successive acting FCC General Counsels, and the FCC s Inspector General. We offered to keep the requested records confidential, as we had done when my office and the FCC shared information and documents as part of past investigative work."

"Yet we have received no substantive response to our investigative requests," stated the AG. "None."

While the FCC likely wasn't dumb enough to engage in this comment fraud itself, it obviously benefits from turning a blind eye to it. By discrediting the validity of the one chance for public feedback, it's easier to downplay the massive, public opposition to the FCC's blatant hand out to the telecom industry. The likely culprit is any number of covertly ISP-funded proxy groups that have engaged in this kind of behavior in the past, and which the current FCC has a vested interest in protecting.

Regardless of the culprit, if looming lawsuits against the agency can prove the FCC cut procedural corners or turned a blind eye to fraud to aid the telecom industry and its sockpuppets, its "victory" in gutting these essential and popular consumer protections could prove short lived.
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3 Million Dish Customers Lose CBS Channels Ahead of Thanksgiving - - Tue, 21 Nov 2017

3 million Dish customers this morning lost access to 28 CBS-owned local stations in 18 markets because Dish Network and CBS executives couldn't agree on a new licensing contract like responsible adults. Such retransmission fee disputes have only increased as broadcasters increasingly demand higher and higher rates for the same content -- oblivious or immune to growing consumer concern about soaring cable bills, or that this frustration is increasingly driving them to piracy or alternative streaming options.

This latest standoff comes just days before CBS will air the latest Thanksgiving NFL game, this year between the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Chargers.

As such, the blackout is calculated to put as much pressure on Dish as humanly possible to pony up more money to CBS. CBS issued a statement that's almost gleeful at the fact that annoyed customers will be calling their cable TV provider when they try to tune in to the big game.

"Dish subscribers are in jeopardy of being without CBS over the Thanksgiving holiday, which would mean they would miss CBS Sports NFL and SEC football coverage beginning Thursday," CBS said in a statement.

Dish, in turn, issued a statement indicating it would be handing out free over the air antennas to impacted subscribers so they wouldn't miss the big game. Dish also says it's offering the option for customers to ditch all local broadcast channels entirely and save $10 per month off of their monthly bill. Dish was also quick to point out that CBS hopes to boost the money it charges for its channels from $250 million in 2012 to a forecasted $2.5 billion by 2020.

CBS is attempting to tax DISH customers on programming that s losing viewers, tax DISH customers on programming available for free over the air, and tax DISH customers for content available directly from CBS, said Warren Schlichting, DISH executive vice president of Marketing, Programming and Media Sales. Our customers are clear: they don t want to pay a CBS tax. It s regrettable and unnecessary that CBS is bringing its greed into the homes of millions of families this Thanksgiving.

There's a full breakdown of the blacked out CBS channels here.
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It's Official: FCC Reveals Plan to Kill Net Neutrality - - Tue, 21 Nov 2017

The FCC today made it official: it's ignoring the will of the public and will vote to kill popular net neutrality rules on December 14.

FCC Boss Ajit Pai is circulating his plan among fellow commissioners, and is expected to make the rules public either Wednesday or Friday in a shallow ploy to minimize press and public criticism of the plan. Insiders say the plan is a full repeal of Title II classification and the consumer protections, and while it does retain some conditions of transparency, insiders who've already seen the plan tell me the restrictions are intentionally so watered down as to be useless. We should have more detail in a day or two.

The 2015 rules, which are extremely popular among consumers, protect consumers from large ISPs looking to abuse the lack of competition via additional tolls, throttling, zero rating, and other "creative" efforts.

And while the US' rules are modest and notably less extensive than similar rules in Japan, India, Canada and elsewhere, the industry has spent years demonizing the rules as "heavy handed regulation" (patently false), while insisting they devastated sector investment (also repeatedly proven to be untrue).

"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet," FCC boss Ajit Pai said in a statement today. "Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate."

Pai is likely intentionally making himself among the least popular people on the internet as part of an intentional two-step plan to demolish the rules.

Step one is to play bad cop as an unelected bureaucrat. Step two will be the introduction of a new net neutrality law, literally written by the industry itself, so full of loopholes as to be useless. Such a law would, however, prohibit the FCC from revisiting the subject down the road once Trump and Pai leave office. Expect all manner of lobbying support for said law to heat up in the new year, with plenty of ISP allies falsely claiming it provides a "solution" to the longstanding debate. The problem is it's election season, and few lawmakers will be eager to side with some of the least-liked companies in America.

the FCC is about to deliver a cornucopia full of rotten fruit, stale grains, and wilted flowers topped off with a plate full of burnt turkey.
-Mignon Clyburn
Needless to say, groups and individuals that actually care about consumers, small businesses, and a healthy competitive internet remain thoroughly unimpressed with Pai's myopic plan.

"In just two days, many of us will join friends and family in celebrating the spirit of Thanksgiving," said Pai's fellow FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

"But as we learned today, the FCC is about to deliver a cornucopia full of rotten fruit, stale grains, and wilted flowers topped off with a plate full of burnt turkey. Their destroying internet freedom order would dismantle net neutrality as we know it by giving the green light to our nation's largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services."

"Today, for the first time, Chairman Pai proposes to leave internet subscribers completely unprotected by the FCC," added consumer group Public Knowledge. "Chairman Pai s radical Carriers First, Consumers Last approach puts broadband subscribers at the mercy of local cable companies whose innovations have more to do with gouging consumers and crushing competition than with providing new services."

Once the FCC votes to repeal the rules on December 15, it will be subject to numerous lawsuits from consumer advocates and smaller companies negatively impacted by the repeal. Those lawsuits should prove interesting thanks to the numerous scandals and fraud that have plagued the FCC's proceeding so far, from made up DDoS attacks to the dead people mysteriously in favor of Ajit Pai's plan to give a giant hand out to the broadband industry.

The broadband industry and its water carriers honestly think they're securing a victory with this giant, blatant middle finger aimed squarely at American consumers. In reality, they've just thrown gasoline on the fire.
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Tuesday Morning Links - - Tue, 21 Nov 2017

Verizon to offer deal on FIOS: From midnight on Thanksgiving night running through Cyber Monday, all new Gigabit customers can get internet, TV and phone for a guaranteed $79.99/month for two years (with contract, of course)
Will Congress Bless Internet Fast Lanes?
Microsoft is using its TV White Spaces tech in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
Increases in average broadband speed have not brought a commensurate decrease in average web page load times
J.D. Power: Wireless Router Satisfaction Declines, But Problems are Few
NYC releases RFI for types of strategies for public/private cooperation it should consider in an effort to deliver "universal gigabit-class broadband" throughout the five boroughs
How Hulu Live, YouTube TV Are Helping AT&T, Dish Streaming
Gates and Knight-backed Oak Hill Capital continues to pull cable industry strings with MetroNet investment
Virtual MVPD services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now collectively added 962,000 users in Q3, offsetting a loss of 872,000 by traditional linear video services
Liberty Media chief confirms that Altice, Verizon, SoftBank and an unnamed fourth company have made acquisition overtures to Charter
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Colchester Business Deployment Wins 2017 EU Broadband Awards - Wed, 22 Nov 2017

european broadband awards logo
The European Commission (EC) has this week named the five winners of their annual 2017 European Broadband Awards, which saw Colchester’s 1Gbps open access passive fibre network in the UK (Essex) pick-up one of the awards for their deployment to 850 SMEs and 1,100 homes. The event aims to highlight innovative projects that are helping […]

B4RN Fear 10Mbps UK Broadband USO May Hamper Rural FTTH Rollout - Wed, 22 Nov 2017

b4rn rural field ftth build nov 2017
The boss of rural ISP B4RN, which is rolling out a 1Gbps community-built and funded fibre optic (FTTH) broadband network to homes in Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, has warned that the UK Gov’s proposed 10Mbps USO may force them to “retrench within our current boundaries.” B4RN has been a wonderful success story. The […]

BT Broadband TV Advert Banned Over Difficult to Read Small Print - Wed, 22 Nov 2017

bt uk isp logo
The Advertising Standards Authority has told UK ISP BT not to re-run one of their TV adverts for broadband connectivity, which occurred because some of the on-screen text that accompanied their promotion was found to be “not sufficiently legible.“ The advert itself, which appeared during May 2017, promoted a “welcome discount on BT Unlimited Broadband” […]

Mother Angry After School's Robocall Keeps Mispronouncing Daughter's Name As A Racial Slur - Thu, 02 Nov 2017

Mother Angry After School's Robocall Keeps Mispronouncing Daughter's Name As A Racial SlurNicomi Stewart, a mother in Rochester, New York, is “disgusted” after an automated call sent to her phone from the city’s school district mispronounced her daughter’s name as a racial slur.

Twitter tests longer character limit - Thu, 28 Sep 2017

Twitter tests longer character limitYou may soon get to say a lot more on Twitter. The social media giant announced it is testing a longer character limit. The change will extend the current 140 characters to 280 for all languages except Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Users won’t see this change right away, though. Only a small percentage will be testing it at first, and according to the company, it is just a test and there is no guarantee this change will be available to everyone. Via Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider. ...

Mac OS High Sierra makes the Mac a teeny, tiny bit better — for free - Tue, 26 Sep 2017

Mac OS High Sierra makes the Mac a teeny, tiny bit better — for freeMac OS High Sierra (macOS 10.13). As the new name suggests, it’s just a refinement of last year’s Mac OS Sierra. In fact, you could sum up what's new in an article about as short as this one.

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