Archive for the ‘internet service provider’ tag
Comcast is planning to offer a new ultra-fast broadband Internet speed tier in markets shared by rival service Verizon FiOS, according to Broadband Reports.
Comcast’s new broadband tier would offer customers the option of getting downstream speeds of up to 305 Mbps. The new tier would also be competitive with the recently launched FiOS Quantum service from Verizon that offers speeds of 300 Mbps downstream/ 65 Mbps upstream for $205 a month. While we don’t know the pricing (or any other details, for that matter), Broadband Reports’ sources did indicate that Comcast will deploy the new, faster Internet tier in Verizon FiOS markets soon.
With a growing number of people using streaming video services to consume media, higher Internet speeds are becoming more of a necessity.
A handful of smaller broadband service providers are already offering ultra fast Internet speeds of up to 1 Gbps, such as California’s Sonic.net, Google’s fiber initiative in Kansas City, Kan., and startup Gigabit Square. Verizon, however, is the first widespread broadband provider to offer ultra-high speeds at the residential level. With Comcast being the largest cable TV and Internet service provider in the country, it makes sense that it wants to remain competitive.
And speaking of competition, if news of Comcast’s new ultra-fast tier is true, it actually may prove beneficial for Verizon. Federal regulators are currently conducting an investigation into Verizon’s spectrum acquisition deal with big cable companies (including Comcast) to assess whether it would lead to less competition in the broadband business.
Photo via cmorran123/Flickr
Apple is continuing its fight against a Russian hacker who is supplying a way for iPhone users to download in-app purchases without paying. The company is now including a unique identifier in all in-app purchase receipts, according to MacRumors.
Last week Russian hacker Alexey V. Borodin developed a way for iPhone users to steal in-app purchases without having to jailbreak their phones. The method involved installing two security certificates and change the DNS settings on the phone to download in-app purchases over a special connection. Apple soon came after Borodin, shutting down his IP’s access to Apple servers and asking his Internet service provider to take down his website, In-App.com. Borodin, however, dodged Apple’s efforts by setting up his website outside of Russia and devising a way to steal in-app purchases without going through Apple’s App Store servers.
However, Apple isn’t giving up just yet. As MacRumors observes, the company is now tracking the UDID associated with each in-app purchase. That is, Apple is watching the unique identifier associated with each phone that performs this transaction. It is then sending that data on the receipts to the developers.
Apple recently decided to start rejecting applications using UDIDs, since gathering data from them is a slippery privacy slope. MacRumors notes that this could be a placeholder for a new type of identification that will be associated with each in-app purchase, or it could be that Apple wants to know which users specifically are stealing in-app purchases using Borodin’s system.
For now, Borodin continues to use his YouTube account, ZonD80, to promote his tactics, though Apple had his first video introducing the hack taken down.
Apple is closing in on a Russian hacker giving people a way to steal in-app purchases. But while the company has issued take down notices and blocked his server access, he still has found a way to stay in business.
According to The Next Web, Apple has sent out a number of take-down requests for content associated with Alexey V. Borodin, known by his YouTube account name ZonD80. The issue arose Friday when the YouTube video surfaced showing iOS users how to avoid paying for in-app purchases. The hack worked on iOS versions 3.0 and up, on any of the iOS devices that could run those versions. In the video he used an iPhone 4S running iOS 6. Borodin explained that you only need to install two security certificates as well as change your DNS settings and you’d be set to steal in-app purchases.
Apple is now obviously targeting Borodin, and recently requested the Internet service provider shut down his website In-App.com, which served as a way for him to solicit donations. Apple blocked Borodin’s IP address so that he can no longer access Apple’s servers as well.
Apple also targeted his YouTube video, which explains the hack and how to install it. The video now says, “‘In-App.com Get in-app…’ This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Apple, Inc.” when you try to play it. However, Borodin has published a second video titled, “Reply to Apple. In-app purchases are still free and require no jailbreak.”
In the video, Borodin takes a slight poke at Apple. When you go to “buy” (read: steal) and in-app purchase, a push notification (see above image) used to say, “If you like in-app proxy click like button!” Now it says, “You want to love Apple, don’t you?”
The Next Web notes, however, that despite the shut downs and Apple blocking his IP, Borodin is still processing free in-app purchases. He has allegedly moved his operation to an international server — outside of Russia — in order to throw Apple off his scent. Borodin has also figured out a way to process the transactions without having to access the App store, and forces users to sign out of their iTunes accounts so there are no tracks between him and Apple.
At the time, Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison told VentureBeat, “The security of the app store is incredibly important to us and the developer community. We take reports of fraudulent activity very seriously and we are investigating.”
Beyond stealing from Apple and its developers, however, finding a way around paying for in-app purchases is taking away some of the lifeblood of free-to-play apps. That is, many free-app developers rely on advertising and in-app purchases revenue to run their business. Having one of those taken away would undoubtedly severely affect that company’s P&L.
via The Next Web
Previously, Comcast limited its residential Internet service subscribers to a 250GB data cap per month, meaning a person could use only 250GB of data before getting penalized through throttling or accruing additional charges. But justification of this data threshold was called into question last month by many critics, who accused the cable giant of disregarding Net Neutrality with its recently launched Xfinity TV Xbox Live app.
In Comcast’s defense, the majority of internet subscribers won’t come anywhere close to reaching the 250GB data cap. And Comcast has previously said that the data caps are there to prevent abuse from a small handful of subscribers, who degrade the experience of other customers due to their excessive data usage. But since data is not a utility in the same way that water and electricity is, most people rejected this notion.
Fortunately, Comcast now seems willing to adjust its practices.
“As the market and technology have evolved, we’ve decided to change our approach and replace our static 250 GB usage threshold with more flexible data usage management approaches that benefit consumers and support innovation,” Comcast writes in the post.
Over the next few months, the cable giant said it’ll be testing at least two new approaches to data capping in different markets (a.k.a. cities). In doing so, it’ll provide details about the trials, and their intended effectiveness.
The first approach will start with a data cap of 300GB per month for subscribers of its Internet Essentials, Economy, and Performance Internet service tiers (listed in order of speed performance). That’s 50GB more than the current data cap for the three lower-end tiers of service. Comcast’s two higher-speed Internet service tiers — Blast and Extreme — would have a larger data cap, although the exact threshold isn’t stated. Anyone who exceeds these data caps has the option of purchasing an additional allotment of data. Comcast uses the example of “50GB for $10,” but it’s unclear from the post if this would be the official pricing.
The second approach is similar to the first. Subscribers of all Internet service tiers would have a raised data cap of 300GB per month, as well as the option to purchase an additional allotment of data.
Comcast said it’ll suspend enforcement of its current data capping policy in all non test markets, while noting that the company will still contact a small number of customers with overly excessive data usage.
While the larger data limits are incremental improvement for consumers, there are plenty of critics (and competitors) who will likely continue pressing the Federal Communications Commission to force ISPs to justify imposing a data threshold on customers.
“Increasing the data cap is a small step in the right direction, but unfortunately Comcast continues to treat its own Internet delivered video different under the cap than other Internet delivered video,” a Netflix spokesperson told StopTheCap. “We continue to stand by the principle that ISPs should treat all providers of video services equally.”
We’re reaching out to Comcast for more specific details of its new data threshold testing, and will update the post with any new information.
Comcastic photo via cmorran123 /Flickr
Filed under: media
Members of The Pirate Bay confirmed the news with an update on their Facebook page, saying “We don’t know who’s behind it but we have our suspicions.” The group added, . “We believe in the open and free internets, where anyone can express their views. Even if we strongly disagree with them and even if they hate us. So don’t fight them using their ugly methods. DDOS and blocks are both forms of censorship.”
The Pirate Bay provides users with a way to find torrent files for software, movies, games, music, and more, which are usually being shared illegally. The site has become a symbols for piracy by both authorities and Internet users alike, despite it recent decision to stopped hosting actual torrent files on its servers in favor of offering “magnet links.”
So, who is to blame for the attacks? Well, there are two obvious suspects that would have a motive to shut the site down. The first of which is hacktivist group Anonymous, which The Pirate Bay criticized for the group’s role in DDoS attacks on Virgin Media last week. Anonymous’ attack on Virgin Media was a direct response to the Internet service provider’s decision to comply with a U.K. court order to block The Pirate Bay from its subscribers.
But while The Pirate Bay may not have condoned the actions of Anonymous, I find it pretty hard to believe that the group would collectively decide to push them. The Pirate Bay — as well as its Swedish founders — is the embodiment of the piracy/anti-censorship movement. I also rule out the large copyright holders, who wouldn’t want to risk jeopardizing credibility in lawsuits against individuals and companies accused of piracy or malicious online actions against them.
The more likely culprit for these attacks would be a governmental authoritative body working undercover. Now, obviously DDoS attacks wouldn’t seriously wound The Pirate Bay in any long-term sense — its users are far more resilient than that. However, authorities may be waiting to track users that access the torrent alternate methods to access the site, like using proxies that might not be secure. Likewise, Pirate Bay members have warned people to use proxies at their own risk, and not to login to the site unless they absolutely trust the proxy supplier.
At the time of publishing, the site remains down.
Aeria Games announced today that it has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Sony’s So-net Entertainment subsidiary. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based maker of multiplayer online games will use the money to expand further in the fast-growing free-to-play segment.
Aeria has quietly grown to more than 40 million users, and it continues to add about one million new players a month. It now has more than 300 employees and more than 30 free-to-play titles.
So-net, which is an entertainment-focused Internet service provider with more than 4 million subscribers, is now the second external investor in Aeria (in addition to NHN which invested in 2011). So-net is the largest shareholder of DeNA and the owner of Japanese game publisher Gamepot.
In March, Aeria announced that it planned to expand in the mobile game market with the establishment of its Aeria Mobile division. It has already launched four mobile games.
The company was founded in 2006, and it now has a presence in free-to-play online games in North America, Latin America, and Europe. In contrast to Zynga, which focuses on casual Facebook gamers, Aeria goes after hardcore players who enjoy intricate games in the action, role-playing, shooter, real-time strategy, and racing genres.
“We welcome So-net Entertainment Corporation as a strategic partner as we move forward to expand our relationships with global digital entertainment companies,” said Lan Hoang, Chief Executive Officer, Aeria Games. “Our track record and accelerated growth has enabled us to align with companies that will complement our portfolio, so we look forward to working with So-net and its partners to bring more highly sought-after content to our more than 40 million dedicated users.”
Aeria is expanding in regions such as Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Russia. The company has major development studios in Berlin and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Rivals include Nexon, GameForge, and Bigpoint.
The company was created by Hoang and Terry Ngo, two former Stanford University students. Hoang worked in Japan and often visited Ngo in the Bay Area. Both were active during the Internet boom and saw how the web was transforming many businesses. They felt hardcore game companies were ignoring Internet opportunities. In response, they started Aeria games using the free-to-play business model where users play for free and pay real money for virtual goods.
Today on Branding Strategy Insider, another brand strategy question from the BSI Emailbag. Bakhtier, a brand manager from a telecommunications company in Uzbekistan asks:
“The Backgound: We have a parent company, let’s say Parent Telecom. First, they founded an internet service provider PST (offering internet connections (xDSL) for B2B and B2C). The PST (let’s say Pure System Technologies) brand is very popular among B2C and has the second biggest market share. 3 years ago they also founded a wireless internet service provider REVO. They only offer internet connectivity through WiMax standard. They charge a premium price, where PST is perceived to be medium price. The Parent Telecom also provides services in Telecomunication (IP Telephone, VoIP, Interactive TV). The Parent Telecom brand is not very popular among customers.
The Question: Now Parent Telecom wants to unite the three brands under one brand. I am in charge of this process. Should I merge all three brands in one brand, Parent Telecom (or PT), or should I find another name for the unified brand?”
Thank you for your question, Bakhtier. When considering going from three brands to one, it is important to understand the awareness levels and associations for each of the brands for each of your organization’s target audiences. You will need to quantify this to determine which brand will be the most advantageous to use as the single brand. Sometimes one of the sub-brands has higher awareness and more positive associations than the parent brand and ultimately is the best candidate to become the singular brand. It is important that the brand that is chosen has positive associations (or at least does not have negative associations) in all product/service categories and with all target audiences. You will need to communicate heavily that the brands that people previously knew (that are going away) have taken on a new brand identity. This is no trivial matter. People will need to hear this message at least seven to twelve times for it to encode in the mind.
This can be accomplished through marketing communication alone or through that and a transitional brand identity system that signals the change. I don’t know if going to one brand is a “fait accompli,” but if it is not, you might consider a parent brand/sub-brand architecture or even an endorsed brand strategy (in which the sub-brand is endorsed by the parent brand). You mentioned that the parent brand is not very popular among customers. If that is because its awareness is low, that can be fixed fairly easily through increased communication. If it is because it has negative associations, that is more difficult to fix. Negative associations often have underlying product, service or operational problems that can’t be fixed by creating a new brand identity. In those situations, the underlying problems need to be addressed. I hope this helps. I wish you much success in your rebranding project.
Have a question related to branding? Just Ask…
Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop
The story spread like wildfire for obvious reasons, and at last Marriott has responded, saying the problem has been remedied and won’t happen again.
As soon as we learned of the situation, we launched an investigation into the matter. Preliminary findings revealed that, unbeknownst to the hotel, the Internet service provider (ISP) was utilizing functionality that allowed advertising to be pushed to the end user. The ISP has assured the hotel that this functionality has now been disabled.
While this is a common marketing practice with many Internet service providers, Marriott does not condone this practice. At no time was data security ever at risk.
We will continue to look into this matter and find opportunities to remind our hotels of Marriott’s high-speed Internet policies.
The company that apparently provides the wi-fi service, RG Nets Inc., has not made any statement. Their fate as the provider of this Marriott’s (and presumably others’) wi-fi is unknown.
Let this be a lesson to us all, though: this kind of behavior should not be tolerated, but it is up to savvy users like Justin not only to notice, but to care and investigate and follow through. Minor but real liberties like this will probably only increase in frequency, so be on the lookout and if you see something suspicious like this, tell an Internet.
What if your favorite social networks from the past hadn’t shut down? This timeline from Citizen Brando projects the user bases of social networks past and present, from the original version of the Internet service provider CompuServe in the 1960′s to Pinterest and Google+.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
The largest cable TV and Internet service provider Comcast said it has no interest in partnering with video rental service Netflix, the company told trade publication Fierce Cable yesterday.
It’s hardly surprising that Comcast isn’t interested in an alliance with Netflix. Last month the company launched a new complimentary streaming video service called Streampix, which is available for free to premium customers and $4.99 per month for those with a basic cable package. Streampix is Comcast’s answer to Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” streaming service, and part of the company’s plans to keep current subscribers from cutting the cord.
And with cable and satellite television subscriber rates showing new growth in the fourth quarter of 2011, Netflix is worried that big companies like Dish and AT&T could start hurting its subscriber growth by offering their own streaming video services — complete with access to exclusive original programming from HBO, Starz, and Showtime. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is even rumored to have started discussions with many of the traditional TV providers on a partnership.
Netflix is now trying to position itself as a premium channel that can be bundled together with a monthly cable TV subscription package, much in the same way HBO does. But unlike HBO, Netflix is available to anyone and doesn’t require that you go through a cable or satellite TV provider for access. That makes Netflix far less valuable to companies like Comcast.
Via New York Times