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City council thinks what we're all thinking: 'Comcast is terrible – and NOT welcome here'

New England's second-largest city has hit out against a proposed deal that would take place should Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable go through. The city council of Worcester has voted not to approve the transfer of its cable television and broadband services from Charter Communications to Comcast as part of an agreed …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Oct 2014
xfinity wifi

Remember that tale of a fired accountant who blamed Comcast? It's kinda true, says telco

Updated Comcast has publicly apologized to Conal O'Rourke, the accountant who claims he was fired for moaning about the ISP's lousy service. "What happened with Mr O'Rourke's service is completely unacceptable," said Charlie Herrin, Comcast's recently appointed VP of customer experience, in a company blog post. "Despite our attempts to …
Iain Thomson, 9 Oct 2014
xfinity wifi

Strange tale of an angry bean counter, Comcast and a shock 'firing'

A Comcast customer who complained about being overcharged and crap service alleges someone at the ISP got him fired as a result. The punter, described by The Consumerist as an "experienced accountant at one of the nation’s most prestigious firms," signed up with America's largest ISP in 2013 at an introductory rate, but said …
Iain Thomson, 8 Oct 2014
Slow downloads

First gigabit-over-COPPER chipset lands

Israeli outfit Sckipio has revealed what it claims is the world's first G.fast chipset. G.fast is widely seen as a successor standard to VDSL, as it delivers broadband over telcos' existing copper connections, but can do so at up to a gigabit-per-second. That's a speed comparable with that achievable over hybrid fiber coax (the …

You folks probably don't have much to say on the Comcast-TWC merger ... FCC extends deadline for comments anyway

The FCC has extended the deadline for people wishing to send in comments on the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The commission said on Friday that it would give the public until 29 October to file their opinions on the proposed $42.5bn deal between two of the largest cable providers in the country. The …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Oct 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Vertigan hands Turnbull a knife, Turnbull carves Vertigan report

It would be hard to find a more doctrinaire document than the final Vertigan panel's Markets and Regulatory Report that was handed down yesterday. The panel has managed to produce a report so far off realpolitik that the government had no choice but to damp it down immediately. The document takes to heart Tony Abbott's notorious …
RFID_snail_trio

NBN Co to launch commercial FTTN in Q3 2015

The Federal Government's favoured “multi-technology model”, under which fibre-to-the-node would become the default build for NBN Co where the fibre build hasn't commenced, has finally got a landing date: 2015. NBN Co's latest product roadmap (PDF here) says commercial fibre-to-the-node services will launch in the third quarter …
An abandoned Telstra facility on the Stuart Highway

Telstra announces another national WiFi rollout

Telstra has announced that its re-entry into the wireless hotspot business will go into live trial before the end of the year, using public phone boxes to host WiFi in “iconic” locations. The system is being rolled out in partnership with Fon. Eventually, the commercial service will be free to people with a BigPond account, with …
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co: Melton trial document SMELLS BAD

NBN Co is still complaining about media and political attention being given to the leaked results of a deployment trial conducted in an area of the Victorian town of Melton. Speaking to the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network, NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow described the leak as having “a bad smell” and reiterated …
BT Openreach van outside Comedy Pub

BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE

BT has claimed that ultrafast modern broadband can be delivered using a decidedly old school method: copper wires. The telco has released research which found that combined downstream and upstream speeds of up to one Gigabit per second (1000 Mbps) is possible using a mix of fibre and copper. It admitted that many folk assumed …
Jasper Hamill, 26 Sep 2014
Google Loon balloon envelope

Google to go Loony within the year

Google reckons its Loon balloons are going to be delivering a service within the next year, and has revealed that it's abandoned the radio kit it first tested in favour of LTE. When it first started playing with its stratospheric connectivity in 2013, the Chocolate Factory would only reveal that it had a “3G-like” communications …

Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS

Comcast has branded Netflix, Discovery and others extortionists after they opposed the ISP's proposed merger with Time Warner Cable In a dossier to US watchdog the FCC [PDF], Comcast claimed companies lobbying against its merger are hoping to force it into making concessions that benefit them. Specifically, Comcast alleges …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Comms Alliance preps vectored VDSL2 connection rules

The Communications Alliance has published drafts two key standards associated with the introduction of vectored VDSL2 services to the Australian market. Once the standards are formally adopted, they will provide the specs permitting vectored VDSL2 modems to be connected to the network; and requires that line filters support the …

Net Neutrality? Hold my coffee, I got this: FCC says it's still considering all options for Open Web

The Federal Communications Commission says that – despite immense pressure from all sides – all options are still on the table for implementing its grand Open Internet scheme. That's the scheme that may or may not end up enforcing so-called net neutrality rules on the internet, and has had millions of comments from the public …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet

In surprising-no-really-it's-surprising research from NBN Co, Australians with slow internet services apparently get frustrated trying to work from home, so they unnecessarily condemn themselves to the frustration of commuting instead. In a study announced here, the network builder has slung some funds in the direction of Evolve …
Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley

Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has again unloaded on his predecessors in government, saying the swift planing process for the National Broadband Network made it “the riskiest and most complex project the Australian Government has ever attempted to carry out. In a speech delivered yesterday to the Corporate …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Sep 2014
Thurber-esque cartoon of fat mouse looking inquisitively at bicycle pump valve

Cable internet won't need dose of fibre to stop feeling bloated

CableLabs, the industry group that develops data transmission standards for cable television networks, is experimenting with Active Queue Management (AQM) to deal with the issue of bufferbloat in cable networks. Bufferbloat is one of the underground problems of Internet performance: the way that buffers in network kit add to …
Tor

Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it

Comcast has denied claims that it will cut off subscribers for using the Tor project's anonymizing web browser. "Comcast is not asking customers to stop using Tor, or any other browser for that matter," said Jason Livingood, VP of internet & communications engineering at Comcast in a blog post titled "Setting the record straight …
Iain Thomson, 15 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Tasmania offered possible pay-to-connect for NBN fibre

NBN Co boss Bill Morrow has told Tasmanians that communities might be able to preserve the fibre rollout – if they're prepared to kick the can for the installation. In an interview with The Mercury, Morrow said the network builder was investigating the possibility of using co-funding models under which “everyone can jointly …

Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress

This week's internet slowdown protest has been, as one might expect, declared a roaring success by its organizers, after US watchdog the FCC was once again forced to change its comment policy under a deluge of opinions. Organizing group BattleForTheNet said 2,039,500 people took part in the September 10th day-long campaign, …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Sep 2014
Ford Focus embedded into Edinburgh basement

ACCC gives thumbs up to TPG's NBN fibre-to-the-basement raids

Australia's Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has to do nothing about junior telco TPG's plans to compete with the nation's government-mandated monopoly telephony network provider NBN Co, but is still pondering whether other telecoms retailers should be allowed to resell services running on TPG's infrastructure. TPG plans …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co says Melton test not valid, likely uses processes developed there anyway

Far from being an “unrepresentative” document based on bad data, the NBN Co internal presentation which leaked last week was the outcome of five months' work, instigated to create a benchmark for future fibre rollout areas. The furore – Vulture South could even go as far as to call it a kerfuffle – began with the leak of an …

Virgin Media hit by MORE YouTube buffering glitches

Virgin Media has been battling another round of YouTube buffering glitches on its cable network. Register reader Michelle D’israeli flagged up the latest technical cockup with Google's video-sharing service. She told us that problems first appeared last Thursday (4 September). Subscribers moaned about YouTube being crippled …
Kelly Fiveash, 9 Sep 2014

Straight to video: Facebook to add 'view counts' to autoplay newsfeed vids

Facebook has apparently watched video views explode since the free content ad network decided to set them to play automatically on its News Feed. The Mark Zuckerberg-run company said on Sunday that an average of more than 1 billion vids had been watched every day since June this year. However, there's a potential side-effect to …
Kelly Fiveash, 8 Sep 2014
NBN FTTN cabinet

NBN Co correction: We're rubbish at broadband rollout and NEVER improved

NBN Co has issued a press statement assuring media that in spite of what looked like a favourable assessment of its fibre-to-the-premises rollout procedures, things really were dreadful until the new government commissioned the Strategic Review. Or perhaps things weren't dreadful, but they're really, truly, definitely better now …
NBN Co logo

'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin

Rod Tucker, a laureate emeritus professor at the University of Melbourne, IEEE fellow, and networking researcher has posted an article that offers very heavy criticism of the Vertigan Review's cost-benefit analysis of Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). Tucker's beef is with analysis provided by Communications Chambers …

You can thank Brit funnyman John Oliver for fixing US broadband policy, beams Netflix

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings thinks Americans owe a debt to British satirist John Oliver for the FCC's tough stance this week on broadband monopolies in the US. Hastings said in a personal Facebook post on Thursday: FCC Chairman Wheeler talks about importance of gigabit for everyone and how fiber and cable can get us there. Much …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Sep 2014

FCC boss Wheeler: Lack of broadband choice is screwing Americans

US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has issued his most damning indictment of America's broadband infrastructure to date – claiming more than half of citizens have only one ISP in their area offering 25Mbps or faster connections, and that competition has been crippled by a telecoms duopoly. "The simple …
Iain Thomson, 4 Sep 2014

Comcast merger-bait spinoff to be known as GreatLand Connections

US cable giant Comcast has provided further details on its plans for a spinoff venture designed to coax the Federal Communications Commission to approve its $45.2bn gobble of Time Warner Cable. The company said that the hypothetical spinoff – heretofore variously referred to as SpinCo and Midland Cable LLC – would officially be …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Vertigan killed FTTP but the battle for scalable FTTN has not begun

At a conference early this year, I attended a talk by a major Australian industry association. The talk's only good feature was its possible use as a cure for insomnia. I fled the room as soon as it was possible and polite to do so. As I left, I surprised to feel a tap on the shoulder from a representative of the association who …
Termination point

NBN predicts a million premises next year

NBN users are data-hungry beasts, and while the move from early-adopter to mainstream is expanding the number of users on lower-speed plans, around two-thirds of the 210,000 connected customers are on speeds above 25 Mbps. Announcing its annual results today, NBN Co's presentation slides show that nearly 20 per cent of its …

NYC, LA mayors hammer Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger

The mayors of the two largest cities in America have sent letters to US watchdog the FCC expressing their concerns over the proposed merger between cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC). The missives outline the issues both cities have with the cable giants and the problems they hope the FCC will work to remedy should …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Aug 2014
A boat full of Fail

Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline

Time Warner Cable is staggering back to its feet after wrestling with a major network outage that hit a number of big cities in the US on both the East and West Coast of the country this morning. A spike in users being kicked offline was reported by Down Detector around six hours ago. Most Americans who are Time Warner Cable …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Aug 2014
Communication Chambers chart 1

Government report: average Oz user will want 15 Mbps by 2023

Updated with reply from Communications Chambers With the launch of the report, communications minister Malcolm Turnbull seems to have taken a more generous view of the predictability of the future. In April 2013, Turnbull scorned predictions five to ten years in the future were uncertain, adding that he was ““knowledgeable enough and modest enough to know that you can't …

Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare

CloudFlare has carried the fail-bucket to Australia and dumped it on incumbent Telstra's doorstep. The cloud provider has published benchmark peering price comparisons which it says show that Telstra is staggeringly expensive as an Internet transit provider: “we pay about as much every month for bandwidth to serve all of Europe …
1950s style illustration - Smiling woman talks into rotary phone

BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes

BT's broadband and landline tariffs are set to balloon by more than 6 per cent, the one-time state monopoly has said. Customers are being told to expect prices to climb from December. It comes after rival Virgin Media informed its broadband-only subscribers of plans to jack up tariffs on its network. BT's price tags are set to …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Aug 2014
NBN Co logo

NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial

NBN Co, the entity building Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), has revealed the data transfer speeds obtained by folks connected to its test fibre—to-the-node network in the New South Wales Central Coast suburb of Umina. A canned statement quotes local small business owner Martin McInnes as saying he was able to …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Aug 2014

Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices

Virgin Media is once again hiking up the price of its broadband service, while at the same time championing its cable network. The telco has begun telling subscribers who are only signed up to Virgin Media's broadband offering that their bills will increase by £1.50 a month from October this year. It comes after the company, …
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Aug 2014
Netflix streaming service screenshot on Samsung

Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC

Netflix has inked yet another peering deal with a major US telco, this time signing an interconnect agreement with Time Warner Cable. The streaming video giant confirmed that it had put in place faster direct connections between its own network and those of the US cable provider. Netflix issued a brief statement on the matter, …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Aug 2014

ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US

One of the most powerful men in the US Senate has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to tour all of the United States of America to hear citizens' views, face to face, on net neutrality. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said in a letter to chairman Tom Wheeler that the FCC's decision to hold public debates on its …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Aug 2014

Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness

Updated Canadian ISP Shaw is experiencing a "nationwide outage affecting internet browsing", according to the polite phone robot put in place to discourage affected punters from overwhelming support systems. The issue appears to be multi-faceted. Your Canadian vultures have personally encountered numerous "rolling" outages over the …
Trevor Pott, 12 Aug 2014
US Broadband Map

America's hot and cold spots for broadband revealed in new map

Pic A new map of broadband speeds shows which Americans enjoy the fastest and slowest internet connections. The map, assembled by IT service firm OfficeSuite from data in Akamai's State of the Internet report, shows the top speeds are in Virginia, though New England and the Pacific Northwest also enjoy strong service. That Virginia …
Shaun Nichols, 8 Aug 2014