AT&T Backs Off From Delays To Fiber Deployment, Following FCC Investigation

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made some controversy a few weeks ago — claiming all fiber deployment had been postponed — following President Obama’s support of Title II reclassification for broadband companies.

Title II reclassification could harm AT&T’s core broadband business, by imposing regulations that would stop things like fast-lanes, price-hikes and underdevelopment.

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Google Updates Project Loon, x10 Efficiency In 1 Year

Google’s Project Loon is quietly coming along, after a low amount of updates in the second half of this year, Google X team working on the Internet balloon project has updated us on progress.

For the best part of 2014, balloons have been flying around the world and delivering low-Internet speeds. Google is testing the balloons to make sure they follow a strict mapping route.

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Expects To Be Sued Regardless of Net Neutrality Decision

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has expressed clear desire to create its own net neutrality plan, outside the realm of President Obama or telecom’s own plans.

Even though nothing is set in stone, it looks like Tom Wheeler is nearing towards a more stronger set of rules against broadband companies, but they might not fall under Title II common carrier reclassification.

In a new announcement on Friday, Tom Wheeler said that no matter the decision the FCC make, the telecoms will still sue the FCC. This came after reports said Wheeler was scared of fighting the telecom, due to lawsuits.

The FCC is certainly trying to keep the peace by making the net neutrality debate about helping both parties. The only issue is neither wants to meet in the middle, especially if it means the telecoms can still get away with anti-consumer practices.

Plenty have already called for Wheeler to resign, after his failures in sorting out net neutrality and the various mergers, even before the final decision has been made on these issues.

The next six months will be crucial for the FCC and the future of the Internet. Decisions on mergers between AT&T, DirecTV and Comcast, Time Warner Cable loom over the cable and wireless industries.

Net neutrality laws in the U.S. could change for better or worse, depending on how the FCC handles the issue. It might get even harder for the FCC to push anti-telecom issues with a Republican Congress set to rule in 2015.

Whatever the case, Tom Wheeler is either siding with the telecoms or the public, 81 percent of which want stronger net neutrality laws and 72 percent do not want Comcast and Time Warner Cable to merge.

“Government should be laying broadband like Eisenhower laid interstates” according to John Hodgman

John Hodgman might be best known in the tech community as the “I’m a PC” guy on the Apple advertisements, but his career extends to all sorts of comedic and political bounds, making him an excellent source for the current Internet crisis in the U.S.

In 2006, Hodgman wrote on how Internet service providers would be able to content creators pay for faster speeds to the customers, before any of the net neutrality crusade started.

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AT&T Drops Perma-Cookies After Internet Backlash

Reports came out earlier last week, confirming that Verizon Wireless were actively adding perma-cookies. AT&T were also looking into adding perma-cookies to its own mobile phones, in the next year.

However – after the report hit the Web – the Internet unsurprisingly went against AT&T for the plans. It looks like the Internet annoyance was enough for AT&T to remove any plans to add perma-cookies.

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Verizon: “We Could Offer 1Gbps, But You Don’t Need It”

Verizon is criminal of a lot of anti-consumer activity, but one of the worst crimes (and Verizon aren’t the only ISP) is telling customers what they do and don’t need, regardless of offering the choice.

Time Warner Cable was the first to sprout this complaint – claiming users don’t want high-speed fiber, despite evidence of Google Fiber’s growth showing customers want to buy into 1Gbps Internet.

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Sony Announces PlayStation Vue Cloud-Based TV Service

Sony announced a new on-demand TV service – named PlayStation Vue – coming in 2015. The service will reportedly feature 75 channels, from popular programmers like CBS, Fox, NBC and Viacom.

The idea behind PlayStation Vue is to offer the three days of cable and satellite TV, from the specified channels. This is similar to other on-demand services, but subscribers will not need to own an active cable or satellite subscription.

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AT&T Stops Investing In Fiber, Until FCC Makes Net Neutrality Decision

In a move to turn the tides, AT&T has stopped investing in high-speed fiber Internet, until the FCC makes a decision on net neutrality laws in the U.S.

The move comes after Chairman Tom Wheeler decided to postpone the net neutrality proposal until 2015, after the “hybrid” plan got destroyed by public advocacy groups and broadband companies.

AT&T has been investing in a few neighborhoods and states, to expand fiber speeds to 300Mbps and 1Gbps. This expansion is mostly in areas Google Fiber it thinking about entering, but either way it is a nice change of pace from the norm.

No Investment

AT&T has a large say in the net neutrality laws – it controls two of the largest networks, both on broadband and mobile. If the FCC enacts Title II reclassification (and it passes) this could be a big problem for the future of AT&T.

Fast-lanes, perma-cookies and other new technologies being developed as new revenue streams for broadband and wireless networks would be void.

Lack of investment in fiber might be critical right now, but once Title II is employed, it may bring more growth in the broadband market. It would force broadband companies to either fight for customers or lose them to the incoming wave of municipal broadband and fiber optic options.

ISPs Fight Back

Even with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler goes with President Obama and most of the Internet and reclassifies broadband companies under Title II common carrier, it is only half the fight.

AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other ISPs have all stated they will challenge this reclassification in court – already prepared to fight the FCC out of the net neutrality debate.

The public is on the FCC’s side; if it sticks to the plan most public advocacy groups are pushing. The issue is Tom Wheeler is searching for a middle ground, when realistically he must choose a side.