Court fines AT&T for data speed throttling

In a decision that is already having an impact on the industry, the FCC won in court against AT&T for throttling data charges on plans that were termed “unlimited data”. While AT&T has plans to appeal the $100 million dollar fine, Sprint has already announced that it will end the practice for its customers that are on contract plans that include unlimited data. This is a milestone decision in the push towards regulations to preserve net neutrality. Carriers will continue to fight against throttling restrictions, but the wording of the advertising may have to change across the industry.

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What happened to unlimited?

Back in the heyday of no contract phones the biggest difference between their service and the major carriers were that they offered monthly packages based around unlimited phone, text and data access. This was quickly copied by the contract companies and the struggle began for market share. The problem was that with so many people adopting Internet capable phones, offering them unlimited data access began to be an issue. While insiders say there is a point at which the sheer volume of traffic will slow down speeds naturally, carriers were looking at other impacts. The data packages for cell phones were designed to allow people to check the news, weather and emails. With the rise of the smartphone and feature phone, people are playing games, watching movies and shopping. That not only is a massive increase on bandwidth use, but it shows how much time and money are willing to spend online. For major carriers, this represented a lost potential for income.

Throttling unlimited accounts

The backdoor solution was to place a data cap on unlimited accounts. While many carriers were upfront about this with their customers – at least in placing the cap notice in the terms and conditions – others like AT&T served their customers no notice of the action. This is why they were fined. When consumers found out that their unlimited accounts were capped they were understandably angry. Activists raised the concern of control of access to the Internet being placed in the hands of companies who also rely on advertisers for their income. Net Neutrality is the move to define access to the Internet as a basic right, and that throttling access speeds sets up a form of discrimination that will close off access.

The other battle rising

Another practice that major telecommunications companies are pushing for is what they term preferential speed. This is almost a code word for throttling data speeds on certain customers. The definition of this cap wouldn\’t be triggered by bandwidth usage, but it would identify certain sites as having full speed access. The sites, coincidentally, coincide with the major advertisers behind the communication company\’s funding.

4 old school technologies we wish we still had

This is the age of the tablet and mobile device, and they do make a lot of things easier – but there are some old school technologies we long for to come back. They had some advantages over the modern day devices that just may give some designer somewhere an idea. Here are 4 of the old school technologies we at Transparent Solutions (Top Vancouver IT Companies) wish we still had.

#1.Devices with multiple ear-phone jacks

Most devices that are designed to play music files now come with a sharing option, but they don’t come with multiple ear jacks. Some of the old Sony Walkman and analog recorders had this feature and it made life much easier. If the reason you are listening isn’t to dance, there are some benefits to being that close – and being able to privately plug in. It reduces the number of devices brought out in a meeting, which can reduce the number of distractions too. It also allows for users to know that what they are hearing is exactly what the other is hearing too.

#2. Calculator watches

Calculator watches were one of Casio’s big claims to fame in the 80s. Sure, we may have calculator apps on phones but they can be a process to use. The advantage of the calculator watch is it put a fully featured calculator on your wrist with real buttons that was easy to use. You didn’t have to flip through screens to get to it.

#3. Beepers

Beepers make the list because they do something that no mobile phone on the market does today, let you stay connected and screen your calls without a major disruption. The beauty of the beeper is that it was small, and could be passed around. That made it perfect for offices with on-call responsibilities and onsite ones too. Using the company phone is just too cumbersome, and expensive.

#4. Pocket-TVs

Pocket TVs? It all comes down to a dedicated gadget. Being able to pull a pocket TV out to watch the game was perfect. Unlike watching it on a mobile phone, you didn’t have to pay for extra streaming (just batteries), and best of all – no one could call through or text you in the middle and interrupt what you were watching. The life of the batteries also makes it still a winner compared to the battery draw of watching on a mobile device.