CenturyLink Faces Billing Fraud Lawsuits

    CenturyLink is facing serious legal issues related to alleged overbilling of customers, according to FierceTelecom.

    A customer service and sales agent brought cases of such behavior to the attention of CEO Glen Post at a company Q&A session. She was fired shortly afterwards and filed a lawsuit.

    A subsequent class-action suit over the practice has been joined by seven states. Arizona was the latest. The attorney handling the case, Bob Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos, told the site that the plan is to file in every state. Minnesota has filed its own suit, which cites 37 examples of supposed overbilling.

    “Day of Action” to Protect Net Neutrality

    People and parties concerned about the fate of net neutrality held a “Day of Action” on Wednesday. The goal, according to CNET, was to “stir up grass roots support” for regulations that are considered to be under threat.

    The story outlines the dangers of eliminating the rules and provides samples of what some companies did to “celebrate” the day. For instance, Mozilla shared messages from users whenever anyone opened Firefox, The Internet Association prepared GIFs illustrating the importance of net neutrality, and Twitter created the “spinning wheel of death” emoji to illustrate a Web without net neutrality.

    In a commentary at Capitol Weekly, Michael Kleeman, a senior fellow at the University of California San Diego, noted that the issue has swung back and forth depending on which party controls the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

    It doesn’t have to be this way, he wrote:

    While more advocacy is sure to continue on both sides, what will really protect net neutrality is a settlement that will survive changes of control at the FCC. That can happen if the companies, nonprofits and experts who know something about the Internet show some leadership and start putting their political and intellectual capital behind a workable agreement.

    Pai: We Will Attack the Digital Divide in Four Ways

    Things are lining up nicely for rural advocates of rural broadband: Two technologies, 5G fixed wireless and white space, will go a long way toward bringing broadband to previously neglected areas. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrote that the FCC will use public/private partnerships to spur development, remove barriers to investment, create tax incentives, and work to promote competition.

    The comments were made in an op-ed piece posted at Herald Mail Media, a site in Hagerstown, Maryland.

    IBM Doubles Down on Watson

    IBM has placed a big bet on distributed artificial intelligence (AI) or, more specifically, the Watson platform.

    Big Blue is making Watson even more central. It says that its Global Technology division will use it to anticipate customer equipment problems, according to Bloomberg. The story was based on an interview with Bart van den Daele, the general manager of IBM Global Technology Services, which is headquartered in Europe.

    The technology, at least in IBM’s telling, is a win for organizations:

    Van den Daele said one large food services distributor, which he said he could not name due to customer confidentiality, had been able to reduce critical issues across a network of 4,000 servers by 89 percent and it had reduced the time needed to resolve the remaining issues to just 28 minutes from an average resolution time of 19 hours before the AI-based system was used.

    The idea is that the offering will help the company retain its position as it continues the transition from a hardware to a software and services orientation. The story points out that IBM recently reorganized its global salesforce; part of the goal of that move was to focus on AI.

    Quantum Weirdness Secures Chinese Network

    It is thought that quantum mechanics, and specifically, something called quantum entanglement, can create a network that can’t be hacked. The short version is that any attempt to manipulate the subatomic particles, even slightly, will crash their ability to interact and, according to Network World, cause an error that would raise a yellow flag to administrators. Nobody really understands the long version.

    A Chinese network is using the approach in the city of Jinan in Shandong Province. Authorities claim that the network has been running since May and can encrypt 4,000 pieces of data per second. The story notes that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers says that China has built a quantum network backbone from Beijing to Shanghai.

    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 and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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