Broadband Companies Want FCC to Hide Data on Internet Speeds

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Internet providers have successfully persuaded the FCC to remove unfavorable data that shows their advertised speeds are typically higher than their actual speeds.

Internet experts and former FCC officials said the setup gives the internet companies enormous leverage. “How can you go to the party who controls the information and say, ‘please give me information that may implicate you?’ ” said Tom Wheeler, a former FCC chairman who stepped down in January 2017.

Jim Warner, a retired network engineer who has helped advise the agency on the test for years, told the FCC in 2015 that the rules for providers were too lax. “It’s not much of a code of conduct,” Mr. Warner said.

So it seems these companies regularly lie about their internet speeds. Shocking, I know.

AT&T Raises Price of DirecTV Again

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Despite losing millions of customers the last time it did this, AT&T decided to once again raise the price of DirecTV. Monthly rates will increase by US$8/mo starting on January 19, 2020.

The $8-per-month increase will apply to the DirecTV Premier plan that currently costs $189. A $7 increase will apply to the Ultimate package that costs $135 and to the Xtra package that costs $124; a $5 increase will apply to the Choice plan that costs $110; a $4 increase will apply to the Select package that costs $81 a month and to the Entertainment package that costs $93; and increases of $1 or $3 will apply to basic plans.

AT&T, T-Mobile Rolling Out Call Authentication

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AT&T and T-Mobile are starting to roll out the call authentication feature based on T-Mobile’s SHAKEN/STIR technology.

Call verification won’t eradicate the issue, but it’ll give subscribers the choice not to answer potentially illegal calls, which could be scams or attempts to steal their identity…An AT&T spokesperson also told us that the carrier is testing a way for the SHAKEN/STIR protocol to work for everyone at no extra cost. To be precise, the company is developing a way to make the protocol work with AT&T Call Protect, which can block fraudulent calls for free.

It better be free. Security shouldn’t be an optional purchase.

Which Carrier Really Has 'America's Best Network"?

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Every carrier at one point seems to be crowned “America’s Best Network” but which one is actually the best? It turns out that the companies that perform these tests use different methodologies and so reach different conclusions.

In recent weeks, three key studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the top four nationwide carriers, which includes Sprint. But reports by RootMetrics, OpenSignal, and PCMag that, respectively, gave top honors to Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T aren’t wrong—not if you understand how they were put together.

AT&T Robocalls to Be Blocked in the 'Coming Months'

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AT&T robocalls will be automatically blocked, the carrier announced. New customers have the service now, and existing customers will have it “in the coming months.”

AT&T’s Call Protect service does three things: it detects and blocks fraudulent calls entirely, flags telemarketers and spam calls as “Suspected Spam” when the phone rings, and allows you to maintain a personal block list to specifically block individual numbers.

It’s about damn time that carriers start using robocall-blocking technology. And I mean automatically; they all have their various blocking apps.

Why I Love T-Mobile

· · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Dr. Mac didn’t much care for AT&T Wireless, but he loves T-Mobile, his current wireless provider. Find out why in this week’s thrilling episode (#328 for those keeping track) of Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves.

AT&T Sells its Stake In Hulu to Disney (and Comcast) for $1.43B

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The Verge writes:

[It’s a] move that will now give Disney (which already had gained a controlling interest in Hulu through its Fox purchase) even more control going forward….

Disney gaining even more control over Hulu could also mean a radical shift in what Hulu even is.

Now, Disney owns 66 percent of Hulu. The remaining stakeholder is Comcast which, as a result, now owns 33 percent. Comcast owns NBCUniversal, and it might only be a matter of time before Comcast pulls its Hulu content back to its own streaming service. Soon, it appears, each and every studio will have its very own exclusive subscription service.

Sprint Brands AT&T 5G 'Fake' in New York Times Advert

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Sprint took out a full-page advert in Sunday’s New York Times hitting out at AT&T’s 5G claims. MacRumors reported that the advert branded AT&T’s claims as “fake 5G”, saying it was not faster than Sprint’s 4G LTE network. In February, Sprint filed a lawsuit against the 5G claims.

In the letter [PDF], Sprint calls AT&T’s 5G Evolution “fake 5G” and clarifies that AT&T is not, in fact, offering faster speeds than other carriers who deliver the same 4G LTE advancements that AT&T has enabled such as three-way carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, and 4×4 MIMO…AT&T first started upgrading customer iPhones to read “5GE” in the iOS 12.2 beta, and the misleading branding will become much more widespread when iOS 12.2 sees a public release.