An ongoing question among skeptics is whether the data speeds promised by big ISPs are actually delivered. In New York, the Attorney General has weighed in with his answer – in the form of a lawsuit.
The AG, Eric Schneiderman, this week sued Charter and its Time Warner Cable subsidiary. The company, the suit says, "allegedly conduct[ed] a deliberate scheme to defraud and mislead New Yorkers by promising Internet service that they knew they could not deliver," according to Ars Technica.
The story says that the state conducted a 16-month investigation and found that the premium plans promising services of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps), 200 Mbps and 300 Mbps were in reality as much 70 percent slower. The suit says that the bad behavior dates from 2012 – before Charter acquired Time Warner Cable – to the present.
Could Net Neutrality, in Some Form, Survive?
The assumption when Ajit Pai was named Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by President Trump was that net neutrality rules put in place during the previous administration were certain to change. That is still likely so, but the new top man may be finding that change is not easy.
Pai, who had earlier said that his desire was to use a weed whacker on the net neutrality rules, is being more circumspect, according to Computerworld, which reported that Pai wouldn’t say what is in store for net neutrality, and suggested that Congress may take it upon itself to settle the issue:
Lawmakers will likely push for legislation, similar to a proposal from early 2015, that would write basic net neutrality protections into law, Senator John Thune, the Republican chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, said recently. A law passed by Congress would supersede any actions taken at the FCC.
Pai’s reluctance to speak overtly and Congress’ possible action suggest that net neutrality could survive. Whether it does so in anything resembling today’s form is still a long shot, however.
Bad News Continues for Tablets
The end of 2016 brought no good news for the tablet sector as IDC reports that it experienced its ninth consecutive quarterly decline.
The firm found that during the fourth quarter, 52.9 million tablets were shipped, which was 20.1 percent less than the year-ago quarter. For the year, shipments were 174.8 million, a decline of 15.6 compared to 2015. Commentary in the press release is that traditional tablets – those without detachable keyboards – are in decline globally.
The top five vendors (in order, Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Lenovo and Huawei) had mixed results. Apple shipped 16.1 million devices during the fourth quarter of 2015 and 13.1 million during the fourth quarter of last year. Samsung also declined. It shipped 9 million in the fourth of 2015 and 8 million in 2016.
There were two winners: Huawei gained 1 million, from 2.2 million to 3.2 million last year, and Lenovo upped shipments from 3.2 million to 3.7 million between the two years’ fourth quarters. Amazon stayed at 5.2 million devices shipped in both year’s fourth quarters.
The “other” category lost a great deal: It shrunk from 30.5 million tablets shipped in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 19.8 million during last year’s fourth quarter.
Organizations to Follow Voluntary Privacy Rules
A number of ISPs and other companies have pledged to adhere to a set of privacy principles without regard to ongoing action by the FCC. The rules, WirelessWeek says, were written by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and were “the law of the land” before the FCC acted on privacy issues last year. They seem to focus on simplicity and directness:
They include commitments to transparency in providing customers with clear, comprehensible, and accurate notice about the data collected, how it’s used, and what is shared with third parties; data security to protect the information collected; and sending out notifications “without unreasonable delay” when data breaches occur.
Companies and groups saying that they will follow the guidelines include Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, the CTIA, Comcast, Charter, USTelecom, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association and WTA-Advocates for Rural Broadband.
Globalstar Gets Go-Ahead from the FCC
Globalstar has been given the all-clear by the FCC to create a terrestrial broadband network in the 2.4 GHz spectrum that it holds, according to TVTechnology.
The spectrum is between 2.4835 and 2.495 GHz. The December Report & Order from the FCC says that no Broadcast Auxiliary Spectrum operations will need to move. The order, according to the story, does not address other requests from Globalstar. StreetInsider reports that GlobalStar has asked for permission to provide services in three countries.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at email@example.com and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.