Entries Matching: National Broadband Plan

Comcast’s Very Scary PSTN Filing


I’ve been sorting through the various filings at the FCC in the Phone Network to IP transition docket. I single out the 7-page filing by Comcast as the filing that scares the absolute bejeebers out of me.

Why? Because everyone else – no matter what their financial interest or political alignment – paid lip service to the idea that we ought to have at least some kind of regulation. Whether it’s a general nod to a “minimal and light touch regulatory regime” or a specific shopping list, the vast majority of commenters recognized that when you have something as big, complicated and utterly essential to people’s lives as the phone system, you need some kind of basic backstop for people to feel comfortable and to address problems that will invariably come up.

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What Do You Mean The “End of the Phone System?” I Gotta Call Home for Father’s Day!


A few weeks ago I went to a fascinating gathering of a few dozen academics, policy wonks, and others from the U.S.  and elsewhere to talk about the end of the phone system. While by no means a unanimous consensus, a very solid majority considered the phone system obsolete and ready for the scrap heap. This will come as a surprise to those of you who called home on Mother’s Day or who thanked God for a call center number when your broadband connection went down. But in fact, most of you are probably not using a phone service but a “phone service,” so we are half-way to shutting down the actual phone system anyway.

What is the PSTN and Why Should Anyone Care if We End It?

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If Data Caps Lack Clarity, Then Data Hogs = Flying Pigs

AT&T started throttling the cell phones of some of its heaviest data users (sometimes referred to as “data hogs”) a few months ago. Reports from the field indicate that those heavy network using “data hogs” are not that different from anyone else. 

AT&T says it only throttles the smartphones of customers who use “extraordinary level[s] of data usage.”  It turns out that these “extraordinary levels of data usage” on unlimited plans are actually a lot lower than amounts offered by the tiered plan at the same price.  What does this discrepancy mean?

First, the most current definitions of “throttling” and “data hogs:”

Throttling (verb)

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Data Caps Are Screwing Things Up


The story of Andre Vrignaud may well end up being the template for the soon-to-be-popular genre of “I just hit my data cap and now I cannot access the internet” stories.  The long version is here, but the short version is that Vrignaud got a call from his ISP Comcast last month.  The call informed him that he had hit his 250 GB monthly data cap.  He wasn’t really sure why (he has roommates, they all stream movies and music regularly) but he chalked it up to one of those things.

This month he got another call from Comcast telling him he hit his cap again.  Because this was the second time, Comcast informed him that they were cutting off his internet access for a year.

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AT&T Caps Off Broadband Plan Anniversary

AT&T commemorated the one-year anniversary of the National Broadband Plan in its own, unique way.  It levied bandwidth caps on its customers.  It then told its customers that it was a no-no to use data from their broadband data plan service to connect a Blackberry to a laptop.  Not all data is created equal.  Separate tethering plan required, it seems. That basically sums up the state of broadband in America.

And it bought T-Mobile, further shrinking competition in wireless broadband, further concentrating an already concentrated market.  Now instead of the big four wireless companies, there are the bigger three.

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