Sorry, Tim, but I don't agree on this one. Sure, AT&T and most carriers operate like sociopaths, and try to extract as much profit from each user as they can, however, trying to paint this latest move as evil doesn't stick.
OK, so it's annoying that their bundled apps are limited. But so long as they let people download and install other apps that are not limited, that's still a neutral network.
We all know they want you to pay for the bigger data packages, then use as little as possible. That's good biz for them. So they bundle video apps that are crippled. Why would you expect you to offer "weapons" to forces that are not their allies? Do you think they are the CIA?
No surprise they do what they do. And no real scandal to talk about, since the fix is as easy as downloading a better option. I think that non-deletable bloatware in general is a bigger issue.
Voice is "unlimited" by some carriers because it is inherently limited.
A cellular voice line, connected and left on for 24 hours a day and one month, would use in the neighborhood of 3-4 GB of data. It cannot possibly use more, and most likely will use much, much less.
OTOH, a mobile data user is able to transceive tremendous amounts of data, not limited by the fact that the codec is 8-16 Kbps. And the more a carrier upgrades the network and the phone, the more data each subscriber can move.
They charged more for tethering, but they also blocked it, fought against it, and the OS and firmware installed made tethering apps hard to install, and only available to moderately skilled hackers.
In this case, they're just saying "You wanna stream video, you download the app."
If tethering had been that easy, there would never have been any tethering controversy at all.
PS: Their tethering stills sucks *even* when you pay for it. They put a complicated app on the phone to manage tethering, and it checks with the network to ensure that you have paid for tethering, then it pops up several useless warnings like "Tethering will turn on your Wi-Fi. Yes, no?" then it turns finally tethers. Probably about 15 seconds delay for what should be 2. That inserts complexity and delay. I'd rather use hacks, even though I paid.
"It seems they'd be much better served by having a visionary leader who looks at ways to embrace new opportunities and who has realized that they can help to better promote, to connect with fans and to monetize their works."
The current battle to allow unlocking by petitioning the White House and Librarian of Congress for an exemption to the DMCA is most def a copyright issue. But that's not the real problem.
The real issue is: "Why are the telcos allowed to lock our phones in the first place?" and that's a telecom issue. The very absurdity of being legally "allowed" to unlock our own property, but needing to ask the telco for the keys is preposterous (although their are hacker methods to unlock, most people just call their telco to request the keys, and they oblige under certain conditions that *they* deem fit).
Now, I'm usually the telco apologist on Techdirt, but in this case, there is no fair way the telcos can both foist Early Termination Fees and contracts on customers AND lock phones.
This practice diminishes the resale value of our equipment, and is an environmental issue, as more used and locked phones are tossed in a drawer for 3 years, then tossed in a landfill when deemed too old. Re-use would limit environmental impact.
I like the example of Belgium, where SIM-locking cellphones has been illegal for almost a decade. If their government is serving the citizen, whose is ours serving?
"Were there more competition, someone new would compete on price or value of service. As it stands, Verizon can use their faster service and low caps to further the aforementioned business model."
As much as I'd love MORE competition, we have enough right now to refute your premise: someone DOES "compete on price or value of service". Lots of someones.
Sprint offers unlimited all-in plans with a nationwide network of EV-DO and is currently upgrading to LTE. T-Mo offers plans with no subsidy and $50 for unlimited use. Republic Wireless, an upstart MVNO, is coming out with Wi-Fi-heavy phones that roam onto Sprint with $20/mo unlimited plans. Then there are various other MVNO options.
Now, some comments have already addressed their belief that Sprint or T-Mo don't offer as good network coverage or LTE speeds as Verizon. Well, OK. But don't go buying the Lexus, and complain to me that it isn't as cheap as the Hyundai. Any Verizon customer can switch out their carrier to cheaper options without limits, and take their phone number with them.
The fact is, putting in an LTE network is not cheap. Verizon did it first in the country (and very early for the globe), and has an advantage as a result of that gutsy early investment. There are rewards for moving the infrastructure forward with smart investments. We call those "profits". Right now, they can reap some, but eventually there will be more LTE from other carriers and prices will fall.
Don't bitch about VZW's pricing. If you honestly think it's a bad deal, go to a cheaper provider. They're out there.
Just running a Proxy server does not automatically mean that a company is decrypting your traffic.
Mike didn't mention the main reasons that companies provide this proxy browsing for mobile devices, so I'll list the top three:
- When your phone traffic goes through a proxy, the proxy detects the kind of phone you have, and its resolution. It then scales down images so that a bunch of unviewable data isn't transmitted unnecessarily. Also, heavy content like flash can be edited out if the device can't display it. This makes the browsing experience faster, without sacrificing any quality. Network operators also like the lighter traffic.
- Some proxies can detect when your browser cannot display some content, and can reproduce the content in a way you CAN see it. Like taking a streaming video and turning it into a series of JPGs. This can add to the capabilities of your limited phone.
- going to one proxy server is supposedly easier to manage for your phone than going to dozens of different TCP/IP connections to all the different servers and ad servers that make up a web page.
If you remove the spying aspect...this can be a win win for network operators AND customers.
The best thing about this, if it takes off, is that VZW, Sprint, and AT&T will eventually need to respond with a similar offer.
What could happen is that, if enough people choose the lower total-cost option of buying their own phone, we could end up with a vibrant market for phones, direct to customer from phone maker. The impact of this change would be that handset makers would START making phones designed to delight the end user. They don't currently do so. For now, they make phones to delight their actual customers...which are the carriers.
This would mean faster innovations, nothing "blocked" on the phone. Hoorah!
I think people need to understand the difference in political tendencies between the millionaire Hollywood creative individuals, and the Hollywood corporate interests.
Many wealthy individuals in Hollywood skew democrat, true. However, Fox news would have you believe it's 100%, because there's nothing better for viewership than a boogeyman.
Meanwhile, the big corporations, their chief executives, lawyers, MBAs, lobby groups, etc. skew GOP. They want less union power, more pro-IP legislation, and more international IP protection. This is generally seen as "pro business" and thus right wing.
Despite what Fox News wants to portray, Hollywood is not some liberal bastion. It is a mixed bag, like much of the nation. It probably has more voters that skew left, but the money goes to both parties.
Hmmm. Let's assume that we can't trust Mike, and just use logic.
Hollywood has tons of lobbyists. These lobbyists have a clear purpose, and are ever-present in DC and connected to congresscritters.
The GOP via RSC puts out a paper that suggests copyright reform in the direction that the Hollywood lobbyists don't want.
The lobbyists have, many many times in the past, lobbied against the positions taken in the RSC paper.
Now, the question:
If the RSC paper drops, would the Hollywood lobbyists
a) do nothing
b) raise a big stink, make a bunch of emergency phone calls, and let their voices be heard loud and clear by the GOP congresscritters?
Any fool with a brain can see that the lobbyists would jump on answer (b). It is specifically THEIR JOB to do just that. They have done it over and over in the past.
It's like finding a dog shit in your back yard after leaving your dog fenced in their all day. Where did that dog shit come from? Hmmmm. Lemme see. The dog shits back there every other day. We've seen him do it on occasion. He still eats. He had motive, access, and time. I'm gonna take the mental leap and say the dog did it.