JetBlue providing Amazon Prime Instant Video streaming to flights this week
Passengers of JetBlue will soon be able to stream from Amazon's Prime services during flights, as the airline makes it available via its Fly-Fi in-flight Wi-Fi service. Originally announced in May, the program will provide access to TV shows and movies on Prime Instant Video, as well as the option of renting or buying titles from the Amazon Video store for instant viewing, and listening to Prime Music, with non-Prime members able to sign up for a free trial during the flight itself.
Proposal requires UK Internet providers to hold browsing records for one year
The government of the United Kingdom is attempting to force Internet service providers to keep a record of a customer's online browsing habits, in order to assist the country's security services. The draft Investigatory Powers Bill, presented to Parliament earlier today, would require ISPs to hold onto logs of websites visited by its users for a 12-month period, letting the police and other security-related agencies legally see where suspects have been online.
BBC bringing iPlayer streaming app to fourth-generation Apple TV
The BBC has confirmed it is bringing iPlayer to the new Apple TV in the future, but not at the set-top box's launch. The popular on-demand video streaming service, which allows viewers in the United Kingdom to watch missed content from the broadcaster's collection of TV channels and radio stations, will be arriving on the fourth-generation Apple TV in the coming months according to BBC director-general Tony Hall.
Blog post falls short of full apology, launches optional program to streamline ads
In a blog post, Scott Cunningham, the senior vice president of technology at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), confessed to driving the state of Internet ads to near collapse. Saying that the rampant proliferation of Flash and similar technologies has "steamrolled the users, depleted their devices, and tried their patience", the vice president has launched the LEAN ads program, designed to lighten the impact on users, reduce the data footprint of ads, and guarantee viewer device safety simultaneously.
Google proposes installing free Wi-Fi hotspots in Indian railway stations
Google has revealed plans to increase the number of people going online in India, by providing high-speed Wi-Fi in railway stations. Working with Indian Railways and communications company RailTel, the scheme proposes the installation of the free hotspots in 100 of the busiest stations by the end of 2016, serving over 10 million passengers per day. The ultimate goal of connecting 400 of the stations across the country is accompanied by another to make it self-sustainable, enabling it to fund expansion into other areas.
European Aviation Network to use LTE, satellites for in-flight Internet service
A new joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and UK satellite company Inmarsat will allow passengers in flights across Europe to access the Internet in the future. The European Aviation Network promises to provide high speed Internet access during flights, using a combination of LTE-based connections from the ground and a network of satellites, similar to GoGo's existing service operating in the United States.
Trial has Comcast customers paying single fee to avoid excess data charges
Comcast is testing out an extra fee that will help Internet customers avoid paying out excess bandwidth-related charges on their monthly bill, in areas where a cap is enforced. The cable company is allowing customers in areas of Florida to pay $30 extra per month for unlimited data through the fiber network, letting subscribers go above their monthly usage allowance without worrying about receiving a higher than expected bill the following month.
National rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 on Comcast networks could take three years
Comcast is planning to bring its gigabit-speed Internet service to its entire fiber network within a few years, according to an executive. Robert Howald, vice president of network architecture for the cable company, explained in an interview that Comcast will be aiming to roll out the technology to get the high-speed connections across its US network footprint within the next two to three years, with the target being two years.
Permission no longer required for network switch, if customers are informed
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is making it easier for carriers to switch their copper networks for fiber versions, by changing the rules over the network upgrades. Accepted by commissioner vote yesterday, the new rules effectively give carriers the ability to upgrade without FCC permission in many cases, so long as affected customers are warned in advance of the changes, and service is not reduced in any way.
Extend hotel Wi-Fi or make an impromptu media server anywhere
We tend to travel, we like to go camping, and we also enjoy using our technology while we're out and about. As such, we have a deep and abiding interest in external charging devices; if they do something useful besides charge our phones and tablets, so much the better. On a related note, we've often had not-so-great experiences with hotel Internet access. That's where the HooToo TripMate Elite travel router comes in.
Open Internet considered victory for Internet consumers and innovators
Following a review period after publication in the Federal Register, on Friday, the FCC's Open Internet order went into effect. Service providers are now officially reclassified as Title II carriers, and will be governed with a "light touch." Opinions and debate swirls around the topic along industry and party lines. However, for now, Open Internet rule is in effect.
CNIL gives Google 15 days to implement search removal requests globally
Google is facing pressure to implement its "Right to be Forgotten" measures on all sites around the world, instead of just the European versions. French data protection regulator CNIL has demanded that Google allows European users to request the removal of certain search results in all global Google search sites in the next 15 days, or face the prospect of having sanctions imposed on the company's activities.
KitSound Storm launches as budget multiplatform gaming headset
KitSound has launched a gaming headset that can be used on PCs as well as Xbox and PlayStation consoles. The Storm Gaming Headphones can be used wirelessly using a 2.4GHz connection at a range of up to 10 meters (32 feet), with its seven-hour battery life making it useful for extended gaming sessions. Audio is derived from its 40mm drivers, with it having a frequency response of between 20Hz and 20kHz, while its detachable microphone allows it to be used purely as headphones. KitSound is selling the Storm for around £30 ($46).
Proposed changes would provide broadband to low-income households
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revealed plans to modernize an existing communications program to help low-income families have subsidized high-speed Internet access. Chairman Tom Wheeler shared the proposals to bring the FCC's Lifeline telecommunications subsidization program up to date by adding broadband to the phone-only scheme, as well as making sure the basic standards are in place for connections, in an attempt to minimize waste and costs by increasing competition and minimizing the potential for defrauding the program.
Charges for overuse of bandwidth may be scrutinized by FCC
Cox Communications will allegedly start testing overage fees for home broadband this summer in preparation for a nationwide deployment, according to a rumor. The potential extra costs to Cox subscribers arrives at the same time as another rumor claiming the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may start policing bandwidth caps of consumer broadband services.
Tom Wheeler suggests cable companies should work on competition
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler wants cable companies to drop their resistance to net neutrality and increase competition with each other. Speaking at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's (NCTA) Internet and Television Expo, Wheeler also expresses the belief that the concentration of promoting competition between providers will be better for consumers and the industry as a whole.
Work on Cox network infrastructure could lead to Gigabit Internet expansion this summer
Cox Communications is catching up with rivals Google Fiber, Comcast, and AT&T in offering gigabit Internet to more of its residential customers. Initially announced a year ago, the company's "G1gablast" service has gone live in parts of Phoenix, AZ; Orange County, CA; and Omaha, Nebraska, and Las Vegas, NV, earlier than the initially anticipated launch by the end of next year.
High-speed service coming to city Comcast sued to stop municipal fiber network
Comcast has announced a new location that will receive its 2Gbps fiber Internet service, one that it has a litigious history with. Chattanooga, Tennessee will be getting the new Gigabit Pro service starting in June, a city that at one time Comcast sued to try and prevent the city's municipal fiber network from being constructed and competing against Comcast itself.
Comcast bringing 2 gigabit Internet to California in June
Comcast will be bringing its 2 gigabit Internet service to California, following the "Gigabit Pro" initial announcement for the service in Atlanta. Part of a number of upgrades to service speed for customers in the area starting from May, including free speed increases and a new 250Mbps tier, Comcast will introduce its gigabit-level service to nearly three million homes in the state starting in June. Pricing for the service has yet to be announced.
Language of Oregon tax bill altered to benefit Google
Oregon has amended recently-altered state tax laws designed to help Internet services, correcting mistakes in the legislature. A second bill has been signed, correcting "wording issues" in an earlier bill that would have excluded Google Fiber from the very tax exemptions lawmakers were trying to put in place, removing the disincentives to setting up a gigabit Internet service in Portland.
Network changes by TWC reaches North Carolina before Google Fiber rolls out
Residents of Charlotte, North Carolina on Time Warner Cable (TWC) will soon enjoy improved Internet speeds, as the company rolls out changes to its network in the area. Last week's announcement is notable in that Google previously announced it would be rolling out Google Fiber in Charlotte, and TWC's changes could be a pre-emptive move to keep its customers from jumping ship.
Publication of regulation likely to redouble opposition efforts to regulation
The US Government has released the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet regulation package to the Federal Register. With publication, the net neutrality and Title II regulation, as laid forth by the FCC, are effective and enforceable starting on June 12.
Encrypt attachments before emailing them
People do tend to believe that a Word attachment is emailed out across the Internet as exactly that, a Word attachment: they don't realize that it's converted into something else for transmission. Similarly, people tend to think that an email leaves their computer and goes directly to their recipient's machine: they don't realize how many, many and three times many other computers that email may pass through on the way. In theory, someone using one of those computers along the way could intercept the email, and obtain a copy of that Word attachment. So that's what Privacy Envelope is designed to do: it is built to stop even the incredibly remote possibility of anyone getting their paws on your attachment.
Comcast trumps Google Fiber by offering double the speed
Comcast is attempting to trump Google Fiber's 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) connection speed, by offering residential customers a faster service. Starting from next month, the cable company will be selling Gigabit Pro, an Internet service that promises 2Gbps connections both for downloads and uploads, with Atlanta set to be the first market to receive it.
Bill giving tech companies tax incentives seemingly excludes Google Fiber
Google has revealed Salt Lake City, Utah will be joining the roster of seven other cities as Google Fiber locations. The announcement of the eighth Google Fiber location comes alongside news that Google is unlikely to bring its high-speed fiber Internet service to Portland, Oregon anytime soon, as a bill designed to draw the service to the city has seemingly backfired.
Hearing before Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today
US Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler is appearing before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today, to defend the agency's Title II and net neutrality regulation. In a prepared statement before the group, Wheeler calls the buildup to the decision "one of the most open and expansive processes" that the FCC has ever run, and decries accusations of improper influence by President Obama in drafting the Open Internet Order.
Sprint offers to pay entire early termination fee, remaining handset payments
Sprint is offering to pay all the early termination fees and remaining smartphone installment plan payments for customers switching to the carrier. Extending the previous offer where it provided up to $350 towards the cost of the early termination fee, the new offer does not have an upper limit, but does require customers to port their number, buy a new smartphone at full retail or under its payment plans, submit their current devices for return, and provide Sprint with a bill showing the refundable charges within 60 days of activation.
Bill floated by TN lawmaker, who previously sought to stop municipal broadband
Legislation has been filed opposing the US Federal Communication Commission's Title II and net neutrality vote. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is driving the "Internet Freedom Act" which if passed will block the FCC from implementing its net neutrality proposal, including Title II, and strip the agency of the ability to issue a new rule on the matter. The move is similar to one she took in July, trying to strip the FCC of regulatory powers, over a slightly different matter. Ironically, Blackburn represents a district that enjoys high competition, above-average speeds, and dramatically lower pricing than average.
Republican commissioners ask for special treatment, delay on historic vote
Following the lead of Republicans in Congress, the two GOP commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are doing their bit to try to stop or at least slow down a planned vote this week on FCC Chair Tom Wheeler's net neutrality proposal, which fixes the current hodge-podge of neutrality exceptions and violations by removing the power to "gatekeep" the Internet from big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through Title II "public utility" regulation.
Utility classification accompanied by calls to improve speeds, digital skills education
Internet access must be classified as a public utility, a report from the upper house of the United Kingdom parliament has declared, with speeds and the teaching of "digital skills" also a priority. Echoing the similar Title II discussion in the United States, the UK's House of Lords calls for the government to "define the Internet as a utility service, available for all to access and use," citing the prevalence of the Internet in everyday life.
Launch of AT&T GigaPower in Google Fiber home tainted by privacy issues
AT&T has expanded its U-verse with GigaPower gigabit Internet service to Kansas City, the initial launch city of Google Fiber. While AT&T is trying hard to compete against Google's own service in the city, including offering a voice service that Google lacks, potential customers may feel wary about signing up, as the company is offering some plans at a lower price in exchange for an erosion of privacy.
Specific plans, implementation of order not clear; order taps DHS
Potentially side-stepping some failed legislation, President Obama has announced a new executive order mandating enhanced cyber security for the US. The order, which will be driven by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is intended to streamline the process of sharing information about threats between US businesses, law enforcement, and the US government itself.
Bringing your 'brains' with you, safely and efficiently
You may have noticed that people rarely use the term "getting away from it all" when they talk about vacations anymore. Unless you are going camping in the middle of absolutely nowhere, or trying to do a cruise ship on the cheap, chances are you are in fact bringing some of "it" with you -- probably in the form of your iPhone, iPad or Mac (or all three) and a connection to the Internet. As jet-setting journalists, we have come up with a few tips for this over the years, which we now pass on to you.
French ISPs have 24 hours to block content following government request
The French government is now able to order Internet service providers to block websites relating to terrorism and child pornography. The new law, brought into effect following its publication in an official journal and in development since mid-2014, forces ISPs to prevent access to specific content discovered by government officials within 24 hours of a request.
Proposal to be submitted for FCC discussion before end of the week
Officially launching what will become a highly-contentious fight in Washington DC, US Federal Communications Commission commissioner Tom Wheeler has officially stated that he is submitting "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC," which calls for the banning of paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. The move by the chairman was expected, with AT&T and Verizon both threatening lawsuits to block the regulation.
Regulation will be proposed, but using model of 1993 cell carrier agreement
A few new details appear to have leaked out of the new proposal by Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler, which would call for Title II regulation of Internet service by broadband providers and may also include a similar reclassification for cellular data, which up till now has been exempted. The move would increase the FCC's ability to regulate providers, but uses the "light touch" model that was adopted for mobile phone service in 1993.
Chromium-based Vivaldi has tab grouping, Quick Commands pop-up panel
A new browser is aiming to take on heavyweights Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari by offering useful functions for power users. Created by a team backed by former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner, Vivaldi launched in technical preview last week, and though many features are reminiscent of other browsers, it also adds in a few extra tricks.
Vote of FCC commissioners to change broadband definition passes 3-2
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has changed its definition of broadband, after commissioners voted 3-2 in favor. The previous definition of 4Mbps download, 1Mbps upload minimum speeds have been increased to 25Mbps down, 3 Mbps up, a move which pushes higher the proportion of households in the United States declared to be incapable of receiving broadband Internet access.
Gigabit Internet service construction to commence in new cities in coming months
Just as expected, Google has revealed the next locations it will be launching Google Fiber, following its existing installations in Kansas City, Provo, and Austin. Confirming earlier reports, the high-speed Internet service will be rolling out in Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte in North Carolina.
Claimed lack of justification for proposed FCC broadband speed definition
Cable companies do not believe customers need to have connection speeds faster than 25Mbps, according to a letter sent by a cable lobbying group to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The letter from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) asks that the FCC avoids defining broadband as a 25Mbps downstream, 3Mbps upstream connection, due to a lack of justification.
Requests spectrum above 24GHz range to be allocated for networking purposes
Google has asked for the Federal Communications Commission FCC to open up spectrum for Internet services from balloons and drones. The search giant sent a letter to the Commission, suggesting that a new spectrum band above the 24GHz range could be "useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles.
Spotify adds darker theme, Your Music, new Browse option to Windows Phone app
Spotify has updated the Windows Phone version of its music streaming app, bringing it in line with the Android and iOS apps. Using a darker theme and an updated user interface, the app now includes Your Music, allowing users to manage their favorite tracks and albums, while the Browse function is said to offer more localized and personalized content, such as playlists based on the time of day.
Google principle target of move to 'level playing field' for content producers
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, EU Commissioner of Digital Economy & Society Gunther Oettinger discussed the possibility of taxing internet companies like Google for displaying material to which they don't own the copyright. Despite two failed attempts in Germany and Spain, content producers believe search and news aggregators like Google profit off the content without licensing.
Increasing focus on FCC in ongoing struggle to codify access to broadband
February might not shape up to be such a great month if you're a large national Internet provider in the US. Not only will the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) be voting on the adoption of net neutrality rules FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, all but confirmed would be Title II-based in an interview at CES last week, but it's also possible the commission will be voting on petitions supported by President Obama to overturn laws in several states that are purported to block the build-out of broadband Internet access on the municipal level.
Webcast on Friday will discuss tests to be performed this year
Every decade, the US Census Bureau conducts a study that is used to lay out Congressional districts and guide government spending on things such as infrastructure. This year, the bureau will be researching new methods it believes will be more cost effective, saving up to $5 billion by allowing citizens to fill out their census forms online, and having on-the-ground census takers use smartphones, starting with a webcast on Friday, January 9.
New service highlighted by ESPN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network
Dish today announced specifics of its Internet television service. The new pay-as-you-go service, known as Sling TV, includes ABC Family, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, and the Travel Channel. However, possibly the biggest draw for the nascent service is ESPN and ESPN2. Initial compatibility is the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Roku, select smart TVs, and Amazon Fire TV products, including the Fire Stick. Apps will be made available for Android, and iOS, with compatibility with the Apple TV provided through AirPlay.
'We're not even close to where we need to be,' President says
Last Friday, at President Barak Obama's year-end press conference, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico asked the first question. Her inquiry was whether Sony had done the right thing in canceling the release of the Seth Rogan comedy The Interview, and what a "proportional" US response to the North Korean-led cyber-attack on Sony would look like. While discussing the answers to those questions, President Obama called on Congress to help create stronger cyber-security laws.
Internet restored as accusations and promises of retaliation on all sides
North Korea's connection to the rest of the Internet, which had been knocked offline this weekend, has been restored according to a new report. Over the weekend, Internet service in the country dwindled to nothing, after DDoS attacks against its Internet infrastructure increased.
Double-talk from industry supports notion that some regulation would benefit consumers
Since President Barack Obama voiced his support for reclassification of ISPs as utilities, there has been much debate back and forth, and back again on the topic of "Title II" regulation of carriers. Would it be the dystopian nightmare anti-government zealots and the carriers proclaim, or would it provide a golden utopia of progress for consumers and American businesses alike?
Letter From National Association of Manufacturers claims net neutrality 'slowing business'
The U.S. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and leaders in Congress to oppose the possible, and much more strict, proposals for Internet regulation as put forth by the FCC. The letter, which claims that the current standard of net neutrality "severely threaten continuing growth," functions as a rebuttal to a similar letter from the opposite point of view sent last May by over 100 tech companies, who argued that net neutrality was the only option that would protect Internet growth and well-being.