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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Lenovo Offers No Contract Mobile Broadband Service

June 13, 2012 -

PC maker Lenovo revealed this week a new "no-contract" mobile broadband service, available exclusively to owners of select ThinkPad laptops. The cloud-based service is called Lenovo Mobile Access and comes with ThinkPad Classic and ThinkPad Edge brand laptops. According to the company, this service provides "pre-connected, always-on, customizable connectivity to the Internet and corporate networks" and is available in multiple territories including the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

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President Obama to Sign Executive Order to Accelerate Broadband Construction

June 13, 2012 -

The White House announced this morning that President Obama will sign an Executive Order tomorrow that makes building out broadband in the United States faster and cheaper as it relates to Federal land and highways. The White House also announced the US Ignite broadband initiative with the help of one-hundred "partners."

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Comcast To Test New Pricing Tiers for Broadband Users, Temporarily Suspend Caps in Some Areas

May 18, 2012 -

Comcast says that it will soon raise the monthly cap of 250GB that customers currently suffer under to 300GB as part of a new tiered pricing plan, according to a CNET report. While it will beta test this new tired pricing model in some areas, the good news is that in areas where it is not testing it the data caps will be temporarily lifted.

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Seventy-Five Percent of Rural Residents Think Broadband Improves 'Quality of Life'

May 14, 2012 -

According to a new survey from NetAmerica Alliance that polled 800 rural residents, three out of four respondents said that having access to high speed internet is important to maintaining their quality of life. The contents of the survey was revealed to Telecompetitor.

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Public Knowledge Calls on Government to Regulate Data Capping

April 25, 2012 -

Internet advocacy group Public Knowledge is taking aim at data caps and the companies that love them with the release of a new white paper and letters to several companies asking them to release information about their data capping processes. In a white paper released earlier this week the group called for government oversight of mobile and wired broadband providers who use data caps, noting that these companies should disclose detailed information about data caps. Public Knowledge wants U.S.

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Senator to FCC: Slow Down on National Broadband Plan

April 9, 2012 -

US Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) asked the Federal Communications Commission on Friday to slow down its plans to make changes to the National Broadband Plan, claiming that it would reduce the amount of resources available to broadband internet investment in rural telecommunications. His specific objections to the plan are related to the Universal Service Fund, which was originally established to fund the growth of telecommunications services in rural and underserved areas.

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Is Sprint the Most Gamer-friendly Carrier?

August 25, 2011 -

Clearwire, the conglomerate behind WiMax - broadband wifi technology - which has a majority ownership from Sprint Nextel, added 1.5 million new customers last quarter. This, following a well-received advertising campaign featuring their CEO, Dan Hesse, in which the brand points out that they alone offer consumers unlimited plans and no caps, unlike rivals Verizon, AT&T/T-Mobile, through their Simply Everything plan.

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Rep. Matsui Introduces 'The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011'

June 15, 2011 -

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill yesterday called "The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011." The bill would deliver high speed Internet access to lower income households to close what she calls the "the digital divide." Matsui introduced an identical bill in 2009. She is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Matsui said that low-income Americans need access to affordable high-speed internet as much as anyone else, to succeed in our modern and connected society:

"Income should not hinder the ability of hard-working American families to attain broadband services that have become a necessity, not a luxury in our technologically driven economy. If you don't have it, you are simply at a competitive disadvantage," Matsui said in a statement.

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Senator Al Franken & The Guild's Felicia Day Talk Net Neutrality at SXSW

April 5, 2011 -

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and The Guild's Felicia Day kicked off a Monday SXSW session schedule by getting straight to the point about internet freedom. Like a wet blanket on a camp fire, Franken warned attendees that the days of unfettered internet access may soon be over.

"The party may almost be over. There's nothing more motivated than a corporation that thinks it's leaving money on the table," said Franken. "An Open Internet: The Last, Best Hope for Independent Producers." Franken continued, "They're coming after our freedom and openness on the Internet. Net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time."

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FCC Workshop on Broadband and Education Streams Into Second Life Today

August 20, 2009 -

As it did a few weeks back, the Federal Communications Commission will simulcast a live workshop into Second Life.

Today's event takes place at 1 pm Eastern and will focus on broadband and its implications for education. Betterverse has more:

The goal of this workshop is to identify potential impact of increased broadband access on education outcomes and how broadband policies can help improve those outcomes. The FCC hopes to learn about ways in which broadband can impact education at the early childhood, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels in a cost-effective manner.

 

The workshop will look at current programs, such as e-rate and evaluate how such programs can be improved, for example, to take advantage of new technologies that have arisen since it was established. The workshop will also look at what applications and devices might be used to improve educational performance.

Via: New World Notes

1 comment

ESA Exerts Lobbying Influence on Many Issues in D.C.

August 20, 2009 -

The Associated Press reports that the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, spent $1.2 million on government lobbying efforts during the period April-June, 2009.

Looking beneath the surface, GamePolitics has obtained an actual copy of the ESA's latest federal lobbying report. The document shows that Big Gaming has its fingers in a surprising number of legislative and governmental pies. The following are issues which the ESA reports that it lobbied on in Q2:

  • Media regulation
  • First Amendment protection
  • Entertainment industry ratings
  • Parental control technology
  • Content/video game sale regulation
  • Retailer enforcement of ratings
  • Piracy
  • Copyright Act (believed to be the DMCA)
  • Anti-circumvention
  • Patent modernization
  • Intellectual property enforcement
  • Customs reauthorization
  • PRO-IP Act appropriations
  • Dept. of Justice appropriations
  • Dept. of State reauthorization
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Special 301 Designated Countries
  • Trade Policy Reform
  • Domestic regulatory & administrative issues
  • Trade enforcement
  • Doha Round Proceedings (trade talks)
  • Trade Promotion Authority
  • Internet Governance
  • Virtual worlds
  • Online gaming
  • Highly skilled workforce
  • H1-B visas
  • Green cards
  • Immigration reform
  • ISP management
  • Copyright Enforcement
  • Broadband deployment
  • Broadband policy
  • Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act implementation

Agencies lobbied by the ESA include some surprising entities. Here's the list:

  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Senate
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • National Telecommunications & Information Administration
  • U.S. Copyright Office
  • U.S. Customs & Border Protection
  • U.S. Trade Representative
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Justice
  • Patent & Trademark Office
  • FBI
  • National Security Council

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab your own copy of the ESA's lobbying report... (9-page PDF)

What Game Companies Should Tell the FCC About Broadband

August 11, 2009 -

The Federal Communications Commission is holding a series of public workshops this month regarding the development of a National Broadband Plan.

Steve Augustino, a Washington, D.C. attorney who specializes in communications issues relating to video games, believes that the game biz needs to make its voice heard at these events. He offers advice to various game industry segments in his latest column for Gamasutra:

For mobile game developers, Augustino suggests:

I would tell the FCC the explosion of the Apple iPhone shows that quality devices can and will drive adoption and use of mobile broadband services.  I would add that six of the top paid iPhone applications for 2008 were games... I would tell them that mobile games also are popular on "feature phones," although the "walled garden" effect hinders their growth...

 

There is a need to improve the consumer experience in finding, downloading and buying mobile games.  Users should have the right and ability to access mobile games from the provider of their choice...

For PC game developers, Augustino's focus is a bit different:

I would [remind the FCC] that PC gaming has played a significant part in both the advancement of computing capabilities and in adoption of broadband by consumers...  Gaming is the ultimate social experience, whether one plays Texas Hold 'Em, Farmville, Diner Dash or World of Warcraft...

We expect to see more of in-game voice, video and other communications technologies as broadband capabilities increase...

For game industry organizations, venture capital firms or major game publishers, Augustino suggests:

The [FCC] should consider the potential effects of broadband in expanding the market for interactive entertainment, venture backing of content creators and the game development job markets in this country... more broadband is good for the entertainment industry...

I would discuss the rise of "serious" games and describe the many ways in which game technology is used by businesses, hospitals, government and others for these purposes.  I also would discuss the efforts of non-profit groups to increase the use of interactive media to educate children.  Games offer a new frontier of possibilities in these fields...

11 comments

FCC Workshop on Open Government Will Simulcast into Second Life

August 6, 2009 -

New World Notes reports that the Federal Communications Commission will provide the Second Life community with an interactive simulcast of today's workshop on open government and civic engagement.

SL users will have a special channel to forward questions and responses to workshop attendees in Washington, D.C. NWN notes that the event is part of the National Broadband Plan and will help government officials understand how high-speed Internet access "can improve transparency and citizen participation in government..."

FCC spokeswoman Jen Howard commented on the SL simulcast:

In developing our nation’s National Broadband Plan, we are committed to finding innovative, cutting-edge ways -– both online and offline -- to reach out to the public and elicit suggestions, questions, and insight regarding our nation’s broadband future. We are delighted that this first workshop will have an aperture into Second Life and that staff is experimenting in such ways to reach all stakeholders.

3 comments

Digital Britain: More Than Just Game Ratings

June 16, 2009 -

The release of today's Digital Britain report  is a milestone, and not just because of its video game-related news.

The BBC has a rundown of other key policy items in the document prepared by Lord Stephen Carter (left). They include:

  • three year plan to boost digital participation
  • universal access to broadband by 2012
  • fund to invest in next generation broadband
  • digital radio upgrade by 2015
  • liberalisation of 3G spectrum
  • legal and regulatory attack on digital piracy

Some of these will impact gamers as well as the general public, especially universal broadband (which the Entertainment Consumers Association has been lobbying for here in the U.S.).

As regards piracy, the British Government appears committed to taking a hard line, as the BBC reports:

The Government believes piracy of intellectual property for profit is theft and will be pursued as such through the criminal law.

Ofcom is to get powers that will make ISPs inform persistent pirates of the illegality of their actions. It will also allow these people to be identified and pursued if that action does not stop them. ISPs will also be encouraged to use bandwidth reduction and protocol blocking to stymie persistent offenders.

However, despite the changes, The Telegraph reports that the music and movie industries don't believe that the Government is being firm enough against pirates. The newspaper quotes Geoff Taylor, head of the British Recorded Music Industry:

Evidence shows that the Government’s ‘write and then sue’ approach won't work. And Government appears to be anticipating its failure by lining up backstop powers for Ofcom to introduce technical measures later. This digital dithering puts thousands of jobs at risk in a creative sector that the government recognises as the driver of the digital economy.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The Entertainment Consumers Association is the parent company of GamePolitics.

23 comments

Video Standards Council to Play Enforcer Role In New UK Game Ratings Scheme

June 16, 2009 -

Although our initial coverage of today's Digital Britain report focused on the long-awaited decision regarding ownership of U.K. video game ratings, there is much more to the story.

In relation to PEGI's big win over BBFC, gamesindustry.biz reports that Britain's Video Standards Council will be given tough enforcement powers to ensure that game publishers and retailers conform to content rating guidelines. The VSC will be empowered to fine companies which do not adhere to the PEGI system and, in extreme cases, may even ban titles from being sold in the U.K.

Of the VCS's role in enforcing the new system, EA's Keith Ramsdale told gi.biz:

The VSC will be an independent body, as is the PEGI system, and while I'm sure there's some joining up to do, it's a tough system.

We've gone further than the recommendations and PEGI will impose fines for non-compliance and possible exclusion from the PEGI system for non compliance...


Of course there will be checks on what content people put in, and there will be highly punitive measures should publishers not comply.

Obama Advisor To Make Second Life Appearance

June 8, 2009 -

Kevin Werbach, who served on the FCC segment of the Obama transition team, remains with the Administration as a part-time advisor on broadband issues.

Over at New World Notes, Wagner James Au reports that Werbach, who is a veteran of the Second Life metaverse, will make an SL appearance later this week:

Werbach will be back in-world this Wednesday at 1pm Pacific to appear on the Metanomics show, for an extremely apropos topic: "The Age of Obama: Virtual Worlds, Open Government, and Policy"...

 

Kevin tells me he can't discuss the particular policy advice he gave the Administration about virtual worlds, but I suspect he'll provide some great insider perspectives on how they're being shaped. 

Werbach and his Second Life avatar appear at left.

8 comments

ESA Lobbies for Broadband Deployment

March 3, 2009 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has been lobbying for Universal Broadband for some time. Now, game publishers' trade group the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) appears to be moving in that direction as well.

Congress Daily reports that ESA CEO Michael Gallagher sees affordable high-speed Internet access as "connective tissue" that member companies need to weather the widening recession.

It's not hard to see why. Modern gaming staples such as DLC and online multiplayer require fat pipes. Gallagher elaborated on the issue:

We're the only form of entertainment online that's interactive -- movies and music are linear. We're very pleased with the president's strong embracing of broadband deployment as a high value goal for our country.

 

The administration and Congress have a huge amount to contribute to make sure that resources are available and make sure that rules of the road encourage investment and give companies and customers access to it at reasonable prices and terms.

Gallagher also dished on piracy and legislative issues.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The Entertainment Consumers Association is the parent company of GamePolitics.

9 comments

Universal Broadband Funding Axed from Obama Stimulus Package

February 9, 2009 -

A $2 billion allocation intended to push universal broadband service into rural areas of the United States has been cut from President Obama's economic stimulus package, according to Gizmodo:

Those jokers down in Washington finally compromised on the economic stimulus bill, with the Republican minority succeeding in cutting out huge swathes of spending. Among the casualties is the $2 billion for universal broadband...

 

Sorry, "real America," you're gonna keep getting screwed.

GP: Support for the Obama stimulus package is largely split along party lines. However you feel about the stimulus bill, universal broadband would be a big win for gamers in areas with poor quality Internet access.

ECA: Net Neutrality, Universal Broadband Sections of Stimulus Package Are Good For Gamers

January 26, 2009 -

Congress is currently considering President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package, a measure which contains some extra goodies for gamers and Internet users.

Because Net Neutrality and Universal Broadband provisions contained in the bill will stimulate the online gaming experience, the Entertainment Consumers Association is providing gamers with an easy way to let their elected officials in Washington, D.C. know that they support the stimulus package.

To that end, the ECA has launched an action campaign at its website. Members and non-members alike can use the page to send a letter urging their congressional representatives to get behind the stimulus legislation. From the ECA site:

Net Neutrality and Universal Broadband are not only great for America; they allow us to play the games we want at high speeds!

Now is the time to act and let our voices be heard.  The new stimulus package... would provide for $2.8 billion in grants to develop broadband connections in underserved and rural populations... the bill also requires that any infrastructure built with the grant money has "open access basis" which would be defined by the new administration's FCC, but which seems to mirror Network Neutrality guidelines...

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

71 comments

ECA Partners with Connected Nation to Promote Universal Broadband

July 10, 2008 -

Connected Nation, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to broadband services, issued a press release today announcing that it is partnering with the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) to promote univeral access to broadband Internet connections.

The issue seems like a no-brainer for gamers, especially those who play online. But beyond that, Connected Nation maintains that the US economy will increase by $134 billion when everyone has the access to broadband. Connected Nation CEO Brian Mefford is quoted in the press release:

Connected Nation aims at promoting greater adoption of broadband services to improve the overall standard of living in our communities and the quality of life of citizens across America. We’re eager to partner with a preeminent organization such as ECA to work together to add the voices of hundreds of thousands of citizens to the call for programs and policies that will accelerate the impact of broadband in the United States.

ECA Director of Government Affairs Jennifer Mercurio was also enthusiastic:

We are thrilled to collaborate with Connected Nation to promote consumer rights and make the Internet accessible to all. Our Gamers for Universal Broadband initiative was created in direct response to member outcry over limited broadband access across the country. Now is the time for consumers to get involved to ensure that we have a powerful voice in shaping the future of the Internet.

The ECA also maintains the Gamers For Universal Broadband Facebook group. Under terms of the partnership, ECA will join Connected Nation’s Advisory Committee. 

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

 

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Matthew Wilsonalso, it looks like sony finally got a clue http://www.vg247.com/2014/11/26/sony-comes-to-senses-at-last-admits-playstation-is-going-to-save-it/11/25/2014 - 10:56pm
Matthew WilsonI wont say them, but there are other sites beyond youtube. it was a good move by HBO.11/25/2014 - 10:55pm
Papa Midnighthttp://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-to-move-from-gfwl-to-steam-a-month-later-than-expected/11/25/2014 - 10:30pm
Papa MidnightMatthew Wilson: Considering ContentID, I can't imagine that would necessarily be a problem for HBO.11/25/2014 - 10:19pm
Matthew Wilsonthey know if they dont, someone will.11/25/2014 - 8:40pm
Sora-ChanIt's a HBO show, which to be honest, considering it's HBO, it's actually surprising they even put any up on youtube.11/25/2014 - 8:36pm
Andrew EisenI imagine they hope the clips they do host (some of which are rather long) are enough to entice viewers to watch the show on whatever channel it airs on.11/25/2014 - 5:54pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's odd that these videos are missing from the official Last Week Tonight page.11/25/2014 - 5:51pm
Andrew EisenRelevant or not, the guy's pretty darn entertaining.11/25/2014 - 4:58pm
WonderkarpJohn Oliver : Corporations On Twitter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG_7xur1iRc I feel like this is relevent11/25/2014 - 4:53pm
WonderkarpBurt Macklin, Anthropologist. I look forward to Jurassic Parks and Recreation.11/25/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenYep.11/25/2014 - 4:16pm
E. Zachary KnightDid Jaws 3 take place in a theme park?11/25/2014 - 4:14pm
Andrew EisenHey, they're remaking Jaws 3. Sweet! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFinNxS5KN411/25/2014 - 3:22pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/25/sony-to-refund-vita-customers-in-ftc-settlement-over-false-ads/ Sony is offering a refund to Vita owners who fell for their false advertising during the Vita launch.11/25/2014 - 2:49pm
Matthew Wilsondoes not shock me. people have been representing this as right vs left, but in truth its more like left vs even more left. better put is social libertarianism vs liberal moralism.11/25/2014 - 2:36pm
WonderkarpOfficial Occupy WallStreet Twitter Supports GamerGate https://twitter.com/OccupyWallSt/status/536928387869474818 heh11/25/2014 - 2:11pm
Matthew WilsonI saw that given that the gc adapters have been sold out everywhere, I thought it was higher.11/25/2014 - 11:49am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/25/smash-bros-sells-over-490k-on-wii-u-in-three-days/ Some good Nintendo news for a change.11/25/2014 - 11:48am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.865821-Irrational-Games-Rises-From-The-Dead-is-Hiring-Again11/25/2014 - 10:20am
 

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