AT&T’s GigaPower service will soon be available in 38 new cities, including Detroit and Los Angeles

 By M8 Trix Communications | 10 December 2015

On Monday, the Dallas-based telecommunications giant said it would soon be   expanding its GigaPower service that uses fiber-optic lines to significantly  improve the broadband speeds it can offer. Service will spread to a total of 56  metro areas, including markets in Los Angeles and Detroit. Next year, the company intends to more than double the availability of the service.

The GigaPower service will see super-fast broadband service being made available to many more consumers across the U.S. The broadband will be capable of downloads and uploads at speeds of 1 gigabit per second. The fast pace will enable downloads of 25 songs in less than a second, a TV show in under three seconds and a favorite HD movie in under 36 seconds.

Brad Bentley, chief marketing officer of AT&T’s entertainment group said, “The faster speeds offered through AT&T GigaPower keep consumers and small businesses connected as they are accessing more content on more devices”. Indeed, Americans are increasingly relying on the Internet for increasing amounts of content, from just browsing the Web and answering emails to taking college classes and streaming movies remotely.

Despite the new markets, this kind of high-speed service is currently only available to a small portion of the US’ 318 million people. Chief analyst at Jackdaw Research said, “There’s a long way to go before these speeds reach a significant portion of the United States.”

However, Dawson also said that “Gigabit speeds remain more of a marketing gimmick than a must-have for the vast majority of American consumers, with 30 to 40 megabits per second perfectly adequate for most households.”Dawson added that it would make more sense for AT&T, Google and other broadband providers to roll out faster speeds at more mainstream rates to most of their existing service areas.

Several of the cities on AT&T’s list are cities in which rivals are deploying a fiber network. At least four cities on AT&T’s list are also communities where Google intends to have a presence: San Jose and San Diego in California, Louisville and Oklahoma City. Other cities on AT&T’s list are also being served by others, including C Spire in Jackson, Mississippi (a new market for AT&T).

AT&T’s experience as one of the principal telecommunications providers in the U.S., however, gives it an edge over Google and smaller regional players. As Dawson put it, “AT&T has already established a significant early lead.”

Unknown CFO says Verizon may explore Yahoo’s Internet business

 By M8 Trix Communications | 10 December 2015

Yahoo’s board met last week for three days of meetings to reflect on a number of options for the company, including selling its struggling Internet business. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s attempts to revive Yahoo’s struggling search and display ad businesses (that account for most of its total revenue) have yielded little results.

Last month, activist investor Starboard Value LP asked Yahoo to drop plans to spin off its stake in Alibaba as a result of tax concerns, and urged the company instead to sell its core business that includes Yahoo Mail, Yahoo News, the social network Tumblr, sports sites and advertising technology. Yahoo’s stock soared following reports that the company’s board was considering selling its Internet business.

Verizon’s chief financial officer, Frank Shammo was speaking at the UBS annual global media and communications conference in New York on Monday and said that the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier may look at acquiring Yahoo’s core business.

In an interview following his presentation, Shammo said, “If we see there is a strategic fit and it makes sense for our shareholders and we can return value, I mean we’ll look at it, but at this point it’s way too premature to talk about that one.” Shammo added, Yahoo’s “board and investors have not decided what they’re going to do with that asset. I think right now they are trying to figure out exactly what they are going to do.”

Earlier this year, Verizon bought AOL for $4.4 billion to push into targeted advertising and mobile video. In October, Verizon launched an ad-supported mobile video streaming service go90 aimed at millennials to tap new revenue.

Other companies mentioned as possible homes for Yahoo include Comcast, AT&T, CBS and Disney.

In a note last week Citi analyst Mark May wrote that selling the core business is “a viable and attractive option” for Yahoo. “Not only could this outcome be a more effective way of unlocking value of its stake in Alibaba, but also the core Yahoo! business could achieve a higher value than what is currently implied given its scale and strategic value to what we believe is likely a number of potential buyers,” he continued.

Yahoo has so far declined to comment.

InUnknown  FCC Filing, Level 3 Argues That ISPs Must Reveal and Improve Poor Performance

By M8 Trix Communications | 10 December 2015

Level 3 may act as an intermediary between residential consumer service providers and content providers such as Netflix or Hulu, however, it has told the FCC that traditional ISPs should deliver information to consumers on broadband network performance.

In a recent FCC filing, Level 3 said that making information available to consumers on whether they are getting the same user experience as others in their community is essential. In the filing Level 3 says, “Too few consumers have a real choice for broadband service at their home. But for those who do, disclosures should help them make that choice”. It also noted, “Consumers should have access to data that tells them, for each provider, whether the provider offers consistent, high-speed performance to Internet broadly, or whether the provider offers inconsistent performance, with better connectivity to some resources than to others.”

In particular, Level 3 stated that ISPs shouldn’t be allowed to hide inconsistent, poor performance behind methodologies that give a misleading “average” performance statistic.

One of Level 3’s key areas of attention is interconnection. The service provider has already been establishing a number of new interconnection agreements with Verizon and Comcast. In the event an ISP does not measure across interconnections, Level 3 explained that consumers should be able to gain access to information to determine if they are getting an “FCC-validated” speed to “all or substantially all” of the Internet.

Last week, the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) recommended that ISPs should be measured for issues such as download speed, upload speed, packet loss and latency during the evening peak time period. In the FCC filing, Level 3 suggested that in addition to providing CAC data, ISPs should have to report a color-coded “Connectivity Rating”, which includes three main designations:

Green: Seeing 0-5 events a month, consumers would see that their service performance is rarely impacted by internetworking connectivity issues.

Yellow: Reporting 6-20 events per month, consumers might see its last-mile connection performance impacted to some of their favorite sites impacted occasionally due to internetwork connectivity problems.

Red: With over 21 events a month, consumers should expect that there is a significant likelihood that performance to at least some destinations on the Internet will be impacted by network connectivity problems.

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Petition for Reconsideration of Copper Retirement Order – FCC Seeks Comment

 By M8 Trix Communications | 10 December 2015

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice seeking comment on a petition for reconsideration filed on November 18 by U.S. TelePacific Corp. of the Copper Retirement Order released on August 7 by the FCC.

In the Copper Retirement Order, the FCC took certain measures to “ensure that consumers are able to make informed choices and that new retail services meet consumers’ fundamental needs” during the changeover of legacy time-division multiplexing (“TDM”) facilities to Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks, incorporating requiring incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) to give notice of removal of copper facilities, as well as specific measures to “ensure competition thrives as our networks continue to transition.”

U.S. TelePacific’s petition requests “clarification regarding the interplay between the Section 251(b) retirement process and the Section 214(a) discontinuance process in the event that an ILEC copper loop retirement leads to a [competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC)] having to discontinue provision of service to a community or part of a community.”

U.S. TelePacific states that as there is “no explicit requirement that an ILEC file a Section 214 discontinuance application when its copper retirement results in a CLEC discontinuance of service,” if an ILEC retires copper but does not discontinue TDM services in the relevant community, it is possible that the CLEC would be forced to discontinue its retail services while still completing its Section 214 discontinuance application and transitioning customers to alternative service providers.

Oppositions to U.S. TelePacific’s petition need to be filed within 15 days of the publication of the Public Notice in the Federal Register (which is pending); replies to oppositions need to be filed within 10 days of when oppositions are due.

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