FCC Chairman: Agency Must Police Broadband Competition

September 26, 2012 -

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has to do more to police and ensure mobile and broadband competition across the country, said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a speech earlier this week.

He also said that the agency must resist calls for various corners of government and the private sector to eliminate or phase out regulation of broadband and mobile carriers.

"Competition is the lifeblood of our free-market economy, driving private investment, innovation and consumer value," he said. "The more competition, the less need for regulation."

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Reps. Darrell Issa and Anna Eshoo Stump for the 'Declaration of Internet Freedom'

September 18, 2012 -

In an opinion piece on Politico, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA.) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA.) make the case for open internet policies. They open the opinion piece by noting that both political parties have some language paying homage to the concept of a "free and open Internet" and explain what it all means in terms of what is going on in Washington. You may remember that Congressman Issa was at the forefront of fighting against SOPA when it was in committee.

Open Internet Groups to File Formal Complaint with FCC against AT&T over FaceTime App

September 18, 2012 -

Open Internet groups are banding together against AT&T for its new policy on Apple's FaceTime application, and they say that they will take the fight directly to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a formal complaint. They claim that AT&T forcing customers to sign up for a new shared data plan to use the popular video to video call app violates net neutrality rules. AT&T changed its policy because FaceTime used to be a Wi-Fi only app but recent changes in the program now allow it to work over phone networks.

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Verizon, Sprint Learn From AT&T's FaceTime Stumble, Won't Charge More to Use It

September 13, 2012 -

While AT&T might be willing to take a lot of public heat for its stance on Apple's FaceTime application, Verizon Wireless is taking an entirely different tact. The company says that it will enable Apple's popular video communication apple on all data plans.

"All Verizon Wireless customers will be permitted to use the data-intensive application with no additional charges, including those remaining on unlimited data plans," said a company spokesperson. Sprint has also said it won't place any limits on FaceTime use.

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FCC Defends Net Neutrality Rules at the U.S. Court of Appeals

September 12, 2012 -

The Federal Communications Commission defended itself against challenges to the legitimacy and constitutionality of the net neutrality rules it put in place in late 2010 in a 79-page page brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The FCC's brief is a response to challenges by MetroPCS and Verizon who claim, among other things, that the FCC doesn't have the authority to enforce the rules, that the rules violate their First Amendment rights, is arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of its discretion.

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FCC Backs Off Broadband Internet Tax Proposal

September 10, 2012 -

The Federal Communications Commission has started backpedaling after a loud and public outcry from rights groups and netizens about their proposal to tax broadband Internet services. Democrat and Republican commissioners at the agency are now pointing fingers at each other for bringing up the hot-button issue in the first place.

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Democrats Add Internet Freedom to Party Platform

September 5, 2012 -

Like Republicans last week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Democrats are adding a new set of ideas to their national platform as they kick off their own convention this week in Charlotte, North Carolina: Internet Freedom. Of course, neither Democrats or Republicans believe in real Internet Freedom (you know, just leaving the Internet the way it is and not trying to regulate it).

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Ireland Wants Minimum Broadband Speeds of 30Mbps

August 31, 2012 -

While America continues to flounder when it comes to broadband connection speeds, politicians in Ireland are doing everything they can to make things better for its citizens. According to this Ars Technica report, Ireland's Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte has outlined a new broadband plan for Ireland that calls for a "minimum of 30Mbps for every remaining home and business in the country—no matter how rural or remote."

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HBO Tries Different Approach to Streamed Content in Europe

August 31, 2012 -

Premium pay TV network HBO (owned by Time Warner) is using a different business model than it does in America to provide HBO Go-style streamed content in parts of Europe. Apparently HBO is more "cord-cutter" friendly across the ocean. HBO will offer a streaming service in Mid-October that does not require consumers to have a cable subscription. The rollout of this new HBO model will target only a few European territories.

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FCC Seeks Public Comment on Broadband Speeds and Data Caps

August 24, 2012 -

The FCC issued a notice of inquiry this week asking the general public about what constitutes a reasonable data cap and what speed constitutes a "broadband connection." The agency is doing some soul searching and may want to change the definitions on these issues. If data capping and broadband connection speeds are important to you, then this is a golden opportunity to give the agency you opinion and possibly have an effect on future policy.

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Report: Republicans Adding 'Internet Freedom' to Party Platform

August 24, 2012 -

Conservative political news site The Daily Caller reports that the Republican Party platform will include a new section on Internet Freedom, to be approved sometime before the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida next week.

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Free Press CEO Takes AT&T to Task Over FaceTime App

August 23, 2012 -

A scathing editorial on Huffington Post from Craig Aaron, CEO and President of online rights advocacy group Free Press, calls AT&T out for its handling of the FaceTime app and for violating Net Neutrality rules. The editorial is in response to AT&T's restrictions on using Apple's FaceTime app for iOS devices, which Aaron calls a "clear violation of Net Neutrality."

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FCC: 119 Million Americans Lack Access to Broadband

August 22, 2012 -

Of the estimated 314 million Americans, 119 million have no access to broadband connections. A new report by the Federal Communications Commission reveals that an estimated 19 million Americans have no option to buy or access to broadband Internet service. An estimated 100 million Americans that do live in areas that offer broadband are not subscribers.

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Rights Groups Say AT&T's New Policy for FaceTime Violates Net Neutrality Rules

August 21, 2012 -

Two internet rights groups have cried foul on AT&T's plans for the video chat application FaceTime. The groups say that the iPhone app will violate net neutrality rules put in place by the Federal Communications Commission in late 2011. AT&T announced last week that it would only allow consumers to use the app on its 3G network if they subscribe to new shared data plans. Those subscribers who use the old individual data plans would only be allowed to use it via Wi-Fi networks.

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Demand Progress Urges Political Parties to Make 'Internet Freedom' Part of their Platforms

August 15, 2012 -

Internet advocacy group Demand Progress launched a campaign this week to urge Democrats and Republican lawmakers to make a commitment - in writing - that they will protect internet freedom when creating new legislation and to make the issue part of their respective platforms.

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U.S. Wary of Proposed Internet Changes to Be Discussed at UN's ITR Meeting in December

August 3, 2012 -

While some hay is being made over the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union meeting in Dubai in December, most believe it is much ado about nothing. The way the Internet is regulated internationally will face a review in December, but the United States is already pointing out a number of changes that it will absolutely not allow under any circumstances. The regulations under review are from 1988.

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Verizon Wireless Fined by FCC for Blocking Tethering Apps on 4G Network

August 3, 2012 -

Earlier this week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined Verizon Wireless $1.25 million for limiting its customers’ use of applications on its 4G network. In 2011, Free Press filed a formal complaint with the FCC against Verizon after reports indicated that Verizon had allegedly urged Google to remove some apps from its Android Market. These apps allowed Verizon subscribers to use tethering. Before these apps were available customers spent as much as $30 extra a month to tether.

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Public Knowledge Files Petition with FCC Protesting Comcast Content Discrimination, Data Capping

August 1, 2012 -

Internet advocacy group Public Knowledge has filed a formal petition asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to look into Comcast's violation of the agreement it signed when it merged with NBC Universal, according to an Ars Technica report. The group argues that Comcast gives preferential treatment to its own video services over other video services on the Internet by not having its usage count against customer data caps.

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Survey: 33 Percent of Cord Cutters Will Not Return to Traditional Cable

July 31, 2012 -

According to a recent survey conducted by TechBargains.com (as reported by CED Magazine), 33 percent of cord cutters would not return to cable, even if the cost was drastically reduced. Cord cutters are consumers who have ditched traditional cable television viewing in favor of using online video services such as Netflix and Hulu.

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Comcast to Begin Usage-Based Billing Trial Run in Nashville August 1

July 31, 2012 -

If you live in Nashville, Tennessee then you probably use Comcast for most of your internet needs, but a new trial in the region that begins tomorrow will change the way you use your internet connection for gaming and entertainment. Starting Wednesday, August 1, Comcast will test a new usage-based broadband policy on its Nashville customers. The company will data cap its customers at 300 GB a month and anyone that goes over that threshold will be charged an additional $10 per 50 GB of additional data used.

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Michael Geist: European Commission's Assurance on CETA Don't Add Up

July 26, 2012 -

As more details emerge on the secretly negotiated trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, online rights activists are voicing their opinions on why it is a bad idea and why they are getting a strange sense of déjà vu. Critics of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which was ultimately voted down by the European Parliament, have warned that those forces in Europe and other parts of the world behind such treaties will continue to push parts of that treaty that most citizens do not want.

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Majority of UK Internet Service Providers Sign Net Neutrality-Like Code of Practice

July 25, 2012 -

While most of the major internet service providers are signing on to a voluntary "code of practice" that would bind them to providing open access to the Internet, not everyone believes in the idea of solidarity. The code pledges that signatories will vow to offer open and full access to the internet, not prioritize traffic to its own products and services or prohibit access to legal content. So far, BT, O2, TalkTalk, Sky, Be, Kcom, Giffgaff, Plusnet, Tesco Mobile, and Three have signed the code.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 10

July 11, 2012 -

We hit a milestone this week - our 10th episode of the show (although we could argue that it is actually the 11th or 12 episode of the show if you count the lost episodes we determined to be not suitable for public consumption)! This week Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about patent wars, the European Court's ruling that digital games can be resold, Verizon's claim that net neutrality violates its first amendment rights, the controversy over Blizzard banning some Linux-using Diablo III players, and a whole lot of other interesting topics.

Free Press Quietly Drops Legal Challenge to FCC's Net Neutrality Rules

July 10, 2012 -

Advocacy group Free Press has quietly dropped its legal challenge to the FCC's net neutrality rules, according to a report in BroadCastingCable.com. Unlike Verizon and MetroPCS who want to see the rules eliminated, the Free Press legal challenge went in the opposite direction noting that the new rules were not strong enough. Free Press's legal brief in the case was due on July 2 but Free Press quietly let that deadline pass.

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Ron and Rand Paul's New Fight: Internet Freedom

July 6, 2012 -

While Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has not yet conceded the race to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the soon-to-be retiring Texas Congressman has teamed up with his son Rand Paul (Senator R-Kentucky) to take on a new crusade: Internet Freedom. Similar to his fight against ending the Federal Reserve, the Paul father and son team are taking the fight to government regulation of the Internet, but their perspective on it is decidedly Libertarian, which means that they do not believe the government should regulate anything related to the Internet.

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UK's Ofcom Proposes Caps for BT's Leased Line Prices

July 6, 2012 -

British telecommunications regulator Ofcom announced plans to sets caps on broadband service provider BT's internet line prices it charges other telecom companies who provide internet access outside London. Ofcom said that the proposed caps on pricing would lead to "real-terms price reductions" for internet service providers and other firms who are at the mercy of BT such as O2, Vodafone and Plusnet. Ofcom's proposal anticipates that the savings these companies enjoy will in turn be passed on to customers. BT is at the top of the leased lines market in the country.

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South Carolina Bill Makes Municipality-Owned Broadband Harder

July 2, 2012 -

Most citizens probably think that letting a municipality or township run local broadband services would be a good idea. There's even some anecdotal evidence that having low-cost broadband in a major metropolitan city controlled by the local government keeps broadband costs down, which in turn entices businesses that use it to set up shop which leads to job creation and local commerce. But it also means that broadband companies lose out on market.

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UK Lawmakers to Repeal Site Banning Provisions from the Digital Economy Act

July 2, 2012 -

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom seem to be having a change of heart about two key parts of an anti-piracy law. Lawmakers said at the end of last week that they plan to abandon legislative plans to block websites allegedly involved in distributing or sharing copyrighted materials.

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Report: Justice Department Investigating Broadband Providers over Data Caps

June 14, 2012 -

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Justice Department has launched an investigation into the practice of cable broadband providers using data caps. The investigation, according to a source "close to the situation," will focus on whether cable providers are using broadband data caps to promote their own video services while discouraging customers from using services such a Netflix which count against their data caps.

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U.S. Lawmakers Issa and Wyden Unveil Digital Bill of Rights

June 12, 2012 -

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) joined with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or.) revealed what they are calling the "Digital Bill of Rights" at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City. 

A draft version of the Digital Bill of Rights is also live on Rep. Issa’s personal site, KeepTheWebOpen.com. The Digital Bill of Rights is comprised of ten key tenets, but chances are that the document will ultimately take into account and implement feedback from the Internet community.

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Andrew EisenYes, the Wii U upscales but rendering in a higher resolution looks a hell of a lot better.08/01/2014 - 10:35pm
Andrew EisenIt's pretty. Lots of videos of it floating around. Just search "Xenoblade dolphin" and you'll find them.08/01/2014 - 10:32pm
ZippyDSMleeThe WII upscales tho. Matthew: It might be becue cartoonish desings do not age as fast as presudo realisim.08/01/2014 - 10:29pm
Matthew WilsonPeople who have run the Mario Galaxy games on a emulator have said they look better then most xb1/ps4 games when upscaled, so it would be interesting to see a upscaled version of Xenoblade08/01/2014 - 9:24pm
Andrew EisenHeck, it would probably sell better to newbies anyway. Even with its awesome art direction, the game looked dated when it came out years ago. I imagine an SD version would be a tougher sell.08/01/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenBecause it would be cool, would serve the game's fantastic art direction well and encourage people who've already played it to buy it again.08/01/2014 - 7:42pm
ZippyDSMleeWhy bother with an HD relese just repack the damn thing and promote it since it will play on the WIIU anyway....08/01/2014 - 7:04pm
Andrew EisenPlus, with Nintendo carrying the Wii U almost all by itself, it could help plug one of the unfortunately inevitable release schedule gaps.08/01/2014 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenAn HD re-release would be cool though. It's a great game (and quite the looker, especially when up-rezzed) and more people should play it (the game had a limited release at a time when the Wii was all but dead an buried).08/01/2014 - 3:21pm
E. Zachary KnightSo no, people are not going to need to play the Wii game to undstand or enjoy the Wii U game.08/01/2014 - 1:27pm
E. Zachary KnightFrom what I understand, the two games have as much to do with eachother as Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy 2.08/01/2014 - 1:26pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's my secret hope that Nintendo announces Xenoblade HD to be released in the leadup to Xenoblade Chronicles X, or at least a mass market version of the first game so that people aren't going into this one blind.08/01/2014 - 12:40pm
PHX CorpI'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenYes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenCool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenStill a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew EisenInteresting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelanteIt certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenI imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelanteI wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
 

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