CRTC Asks for Volunteers to Test Broadband Speeds

The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is asking volunteers to help test Internet speed across the country. The goal is to measure the performance of home broadband Internet services offered by various service providers, ten of whom are partnering in the project. The telecom regulator says the results will tell Canadians their “actual connection speeds” and whether the services are “delivering speeds as advertised.” The CRTC also believes this data will help to improve its broadband policy-making, according to a recent news release. The measurements will be taken by SamKnows, a company that specializes in broadband speeds. 6,200 volunteers will

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Facebook’s Internet.org Opened Up to All Developers

Amid criticism that Internet.org – Facebook’s project to provide free Internet to new users – violates the principles of net neutrality, the service is now being turned into a platform for all developers. Facebook, along with its operating partners from Internet.org, have faced accusations of taking a “king maker” role by picking the services included in the free internet portal, thereby giving an unfair advantage to a selected number of companies. Opening up the platform will hopefully even out the competition. “Our goal with Internet.org is to work with as many developers and entrepreneurs as possible to extend the benefits

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Microsoft’s New Project Spartan Browser Available This Year

Microsoft is coming out with a new web browser called Project Spartan in the hopes of revolutionizing the way people use the Internet. The new browser was first made public in January, but was recently discussed in more detail in a blog post by corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore. “Project Spartan is designed to work the way you do, with features enabling you to do cool things like write or type on a webpage,” Belfiore wrote. “It’s a browser that is made for easy sharing, reading, discovery and getting things done online.” Though still in “an early, incomplete state,” Project

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AT&T U-Verse Brings Super-Fast Internet to Apple’s Hometown

AT&T recently announced the launch of an enhanced Internet service called U-verse with AT&T Gigapower in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, California. This new service will provide Internet download speeds of up to 1Gbps in some residential and business areas. An upgraded residential gateway will support the latest Wi-Fi technology, meaning faster home and office Wi-Fi. TV service will also be available to Gigapower customers, with the ability to watch and record up to five HD programs at the same time. Customers will also have the ability to record up to 900 hours of SD programs, or 330 hours of HD

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U.S. Wi-Fi Innovation Act Seeks More Airwaves Alongside Smart Cars

Legislation requiring regulators to quickly test how shared radio frequencies could exist alongside those used for communications between smart cars was recently revived by two U.S. senators, in an attempt to allocate more airwaves to public Wi-Fi. U.S. Senators Cory Brooker, a New Jersey Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, are re-introducing a piece of legislation that aims to direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to study how more spectrum can be freed up for public use without interfering with connected vehicles. The Wi-Fi Innovation Act was originally visited last year. The bill is supported by cable and wireless

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Netflix Moves Down Under

In a recent announcement, Netflix confirmed rumors that it plans to launch its television internet service in New Zealand and Australia. By March, consumers will have access to the globally popular video streaming service. Cliff Edwards, director of communications and technology at Netflix said the company aims to get at least 10 percent of households with broadband to subscribe. However, he did not give a timeframe for that goal to be achieved. In New Zealand alone, Netflix will be competing with local services such as Sky TV and Quickflix. Within an hour of the announcement, Sky TV shares dropped 9

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More Canadians Accessing the Internet from Mobile Devices

Canadians now spend half of their Internet hours on mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized our ability to access the web. As of August, there are 27.8 million Canadian adults who have access to the Internet. The majority of hours during the day are spent on PCs, while mobile device use peaks during the evening. Both the U.S and Canada follow this trend of spending time streaming video, scrolling through social media and reading the news. A study conducted by ComScore shows the average Canadian adult spends 39 hours a month on the internet on their PCs alone. With

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Mesh Networks and Firechat Prevent Hong Kong Government from Switching Off Internet

The Firechat app has recently played a huge role in organizing political protests in Hong Kong. It has been downloaded 4 million times from one Chinese app store alone, and for good reason. The Firechat app does not function in the same way as mobile phone networks, but instead each phone running the app acts as a node in a mesh network. Messages pass from node to node, not through a centralized service, so they cannot easily be blocked by the government. Mesh networks such as Firechat take advantage of peer-to-peer networking, allowing mobile devices to communicate directly with each

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The Role of Cable Companies is Changing

A few decades ago, it seemed unfathomable that a cable company’s core offering would be anything but TV service. But that’s all changed according to the Leichtman Research Group, which reports the number of cable broadband subscribers has officially exceeded the number of cable TV subscribers in the United States. “With the addition of more than 30 million broadband subscribers over the past decade, cable providers have clearly expanded well beyond their roots in cable TV service,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc., in a press release “As of the end of 2Q 2014,

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AT&T Launching GigaPower in Miami

Residential and small business customers in Miami can expect to soon benefit from symmetrical broadband speeds of 1-gigabit per second as AT&T prepares to roll out its GigaPower network. Miami isn’t alone – the company has said it is also looking at other nearby areas including Hialeah, Hollywood, Homestead, Opa-Locka and Pompano Beach. The move comes on the heels of an upgrade in Austin, Texas, where AT&T is facing stiff competition from Google Fiber and Grande Communications. Just how fast is the service? To put it in perspective, a user can download 25 songs in one second, an entire TV

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