Five US internet providers have been accused of "deliberately harming" the web experience for their customers, with claims that the companies are purposefully keeping things congested so as to extract cash from content providers. The US ISPs - described as "large Broadband consumer networks with a dominant or exclusive market share in their local market" - and one European ISP are not named by "internet middleman" Level 3, though the company has previously requested that the FCC look into AT&T's handling of networks.
Cable-cutting -- the act of cancelling your cable or satellite subscription to join the ranks of occasionally holier-than-thou set-top-boxers -- is a slowly growing change to how many get their daily entertainment fix. Benefits abound for cutting the cable, and you've likely heard the tropes by now: lower cost, better access to content in the moment, and the reality that cable-cutting better fits with many viewers' schedules (if you're time-shifting all your shows around your work schedule, there's little point in keeping a traditional cable subscription, after all).
Giving in to incessant requests, Nest, which is now owned by Google, has finally brought its Learning Thermostat to the UK. But due to differences in how heating works in the country across the pond, Nest's smart thermostat works a little differently from those that have already been in the market in the US and Canada.
Earlier this month, word surfaced that Facebook would be acquiring Titan Aerospace, maker of drones, to help bring Internet access to under-connected areas around the world. Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook's Connectivity Labs is working on building drones, among other things, to accomplish that goal.
You may call it a face-saving effort, but it looks like the Obama administration is taking some good measures to do damage control after the NSA disclosures fiasco. Presently, the Commerce Department of the U.S. government has a hold over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. This is a body that manages Internet names and addresses and other technical functions that assist computers across the globe to find correct servers and websites. When their contract expires in 2015, the governing agency plans to give up its control and put into place a neutral alternative.
Opera has announced a way for mobile data consumers to get free access to the web while on the go. The new offering is called the sponsored Web pass and it is a service that allows advertisers to sponsor the cost of the data user's mobile internet access. The advertiser would provide the user with free mobile data in exchange for looking at ads.
Today is the 11th annual Safer Internet Day, and upon it Microsoft has released its 2013 Computing Safety Index report, which details various means consumers take to stay safe online. Using the data from this latest report, the company has also augmented its Internet safety campaign of sorts called Safer Online, which invites Internet goers to hop on board.
The internet as we know it is in peril. Verizon's victory in the court of appeal this week, seeing the FCC's attempts to regulate broadband providers in the name of Net Neutrality defeated, has the potential to change how we access the internet and web services like Netflix, Hulu, and others more fundamentally than 2013's SOPA threatened to. In question isn't whether internet access should be a free-for-all, but what it is fundamentally, legally classified as, and who therefore has control over what gets shuttled through: Verizon and the broadband providers, in control of the "pipes", or the FCC as protector of infrastructure that uses public rights of way. For all both sides are claiming some degree of victory this week, we're still no closer to settling that fundamental question.