FCC ▪ October 28, 2014

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced that it is suing AT&T for “deceptive and unfair data throttling”. The FTC’s announcement seems to target AT&T’s practice of lowering data transfer speeds for customers with unlimited data plans versus customers with tiered data plans now offered. From the FTC’s press release:

“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”

AT&T has called the FTC’s allegations baseless adding that the carrier has been “completely transparent” with its subscribers.

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FCC ▪ July 30, 2014

verizon-4g-lte

Following the recent revelation that Verizon Wireless would begin throttling some 4G LTE customers on unlimited data plans, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has sent a letter to the carrier (full text below) expressing his disdain with the policy and question the necessity of throttling only customers on unlimited plans.

In the letter, Wheeler asks Verizon CEO Daniel Mead why exactly the company feels the need to only throttle customers on certain plans, rather than throttling based on the needs of the technology that powers the network. Wheeler says he is “deeply troubled” by Verizon’s claims that the policy is necessary to “optimize” the network, when in his opinion, it appears to more likely be a ploy to get customers off of unlimited plans.

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FCC ▪ July 12, 2014

FCC ▪ July 11, 2014

FCC ▪ May 16, 2014

FCC ▪ April 8, 2014

Apple-TV-Concept-03

There has been no shortage of indicators that a new version of the Apple TV set-top box is incoming. We reported last year and earlier this year that Apple is progressing on new Apple TV hardware that will include new content, such as an App Store or “Game Store,” references to a new model have appeared in iOS 7 code, and numerous other reports have said that a new box is incoming from Apple.

Today, a filing from Comcast and Time Warner Cable pitching their planned merger to the FCC references Apple’s development of a new set-top-box. Here’s the notable quote from the filing (via Daisuke Wakabayashi):

Today, Google competes as a network, video, and technology provider, and 8 out 9 of the next Google Fiber markets the company announced are in Comcast or TWC areas.  Apple tablets are viewing platforms for cable services even while Apple offers an online video service, Apple TV, and explores development of an Apple set-top box.  Microsoft just announced that it will feature ads on the Xbox One, creating a new video advertising platform.  And just last week, Amazon announced its own set-top box while it continues to leverage its unequaled sales platform and family of competitive tablets to promote its burgeoning Prime Instant Video business.

The bolded portion (emphasis ours) of the above quote says that Apple is exploring development of a new set-top box. The quote comes in context of the cable behemoths explaining why their merger is important amidst growing content competition from the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. While it is possible that the companies are just speculating based on rumors about the next version of the Apple TV, several reports have indicated that Apple has been in direct talks with Time Warner Cable and Comcast regarding a new set-top box…

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