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Paul Merrell

Lawmakers Change Their Tone on AT&T and Time Warner Deal - The New York Times - 0 views

  • When AT&T and Time Warner announced their $85.4 billion deal in October, lawmakers greeted the acquisition frostily. Now their tone is changing.At a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that was being closely watched for how mega-mergers will be viewed in the coming Trump administration, members of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that oversees regulatory agencies that decide on mergers said the deal merited tough scrutiny. The chief executives of AT&T and Time Warner were grilled at the hearing about a range of issues related to the deal.But in a change from previous comments, lawmakers also questioned whether traditional ways of evaluating mergers are growing outdated as Silicon Valley companies like Facebook and Google become massive media platforms that threaten the television industry. Their tone was more circumspect than those that immediately followed the deal’s announcement, when lawmakers had been more critical.
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    I think it plain that we need a flat ban on the same company controlling both an ISP and a content company. Comcast, the ISP/content company has proved that it's willing to misuse its ISP powers to disfavor other content companies such as Hulu and Netflix via network throttling. AT&T plus Time Warner would undoubtedly do the same. And Comcast led the charge against net neutrality, attempting to expand its revenue base from its ISP subscribers to include new charges on content providing companies. We need a clean separation between ISPs and content companies.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

AT&T has £65 billion deal to purchase Time Warner Inc. (and with it, HBO) | A... - 0 views

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    "Owning Time Warner would boost AT&T media ambitions, raise competition concerns. Jon Brodkin (US) - Oct 22, 2016 11:35 am UTC"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Nashville Council Member Admits AT&T & Comcast Wrote The Anti-Google Fiber Bill She Sub... - 1 views

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    "from the hired-marionettes dept We've been talking about how the next great battlefield in broadband is utility pole attachment reform. In many cities, the incumbent broadband provider owns the utility poles, giving them a perfect opportunity to hinder competitors. In other cities, the local utility or city itself owns the poles, but incumbent ISPs have lobbied for laws making it more difficult for competitors to access them quickly and inexpensively. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

AT&T Is Happy To Remove Wireless Broadband Caps, But Only If You Sign Up For Its TV Ser... - 1 views

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    " According to a new company announcement, customers who sign up for both AT&T wireless service and AT&T U-Verse TV or DirecTV service can nab unlimited data for $100 per month, plus $40 per month for each additional device:"
Paul Merrell

NSA Spying Relies on AT&T's 'Extreme Willingness to Help' - ProPublica - 0 views

  • he National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed NSA documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”
  • AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the NSA access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T. The NSA’s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to the documents. The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency. One document reminds NSA officials to be polite when visiting AT&T facilities, noting: “This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship.” The documents, provided by the former agency contractor Edward Snowden, were jointly reviewed by The New York Times and ProPublica.
  • It is not clear if the programs still operate in the same way today. Since the Snowden revelations set off a global debate over surveillance two years ago, some Silicon Valley technology companies have expressed anger at what they characterize as NSA intrusions and have rolled out new encryption to thwart them. The telecommunications companies have been quieter, though Verizon unsuccessfully challenged a court order for bulk phone records in 2014. At the same time, the government has been fighting in court to keep the identities of its telecom partners hidden. In a recent case, a group of AT&T customers claimed that the NSA’s tapping of the Internet violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. This year, a federal judge dismissed key portions of the lawsuit after the Obama administration argued that public discussion of its telecom surveillance efforts would reveal state secrets, damaging national security.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Carriers Tell U.S. 'No' to Plans for Internet Fast Lanes - 1 views

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    [# Another little freedom battle won by citizens...] "In recent letters, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon said they have no plans to seek deals with content providers that would give faster Internet performance in exchange for special payments."
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    [# Another little freedom battle won by citizens...] "In recent letters, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon said they have no plans to seek deals with content providers that would give faster Internet performance in exchange for special payments."
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    "In recent letters, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon said they have no plans to seek deals with content providers that would give faster Internet performance in exchange for special payments." [ # How Good it would be # ! ... if it were #true... # ! #Time Will '#Tell' # ! And, if real, it will be thanks to citizens' #coordinated #struggle...]
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    Too early to declare victory. The battle isn't over until FCC adopts regulations *forbidding* the carriers from charging extra for faster data transmission. Company statements using weasel words like they "have no plans" leave a wide open door to change their minds after a regulation is adopted that permits the surcharges to be made. It could be a ploy to dampen the number of emails the FCC, the White House, and Congress are receiving. In matters of the public interest law type, what the corporate side says is irrelevant and frequently is a lie. What matters is the wording of the final rule.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

With Comcast-Time Warner merger looming, AT&T will acquire DirectTV | Ars Technica - 0 views

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    # ! The bigger the Media Companies,the smaller the freedom of expresion... of choice... the lowerthe culture levels... "by Nathan Mattise - May 19 2014, 12:15am CEST Telecom 50 Today, AT&T announced that it will acquire DirectTV in a stock-and-cash transaction for $95 per share based Friday's closing prices, a transaction worth nearly $48 billion. The deal merges the second largest US wireless company with the second largest US pay-TV distributor."
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    # ! The bigger the Media Companies,the smaller the freedom of expresion... of choice... the lowerthe culture levels... "by Nathan Mattise - May 19 2014, 12:15am CEST Telecom 50 Today, AT&T announced that it will acquire DirectTV in a stock-and-cash transaction for $95 per share based Friday's closing prices, a transaction worth nearly $48 billion. The deal merges the second largest US wireless company with the second largest US pay-TV distributor."
Paul Merrell

AT&T Ends $39 Billion Bid for T-Mobile - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • AT&T said on Monday afternoon that it had withdrawn its $39 billion takeover bid for T-Mobile USA, acknowledging that it could not overcome opposition from the Obama administration to creating the nation’s biggest cellphone service provider.The company said in a statement that it would continue to invest in wireless spectrum, but could not overcome resistance from both the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Under the terms of the deal, AT&T will pay Deutsche Telekom $4 billion in cash and wireless spectrum as a break-up fee, and the two companies will begin a seven-year roaming agreement that will expand T-Mobile’s national coverage.
Paul Merrell

AT&T ups the ante in speech recognition | Signal Strength - CNET News - 2 views

  • It's developed a core technology platform, known as Watson, which is a cloud-based system of services that not only identifies words but interprets meaning and context to deliver more accurate results. The system itself is built on servers that model and compare speech to recorded voices. Watson is an evolving platform that with more data is able to adapt and learn so that it continues to improve accuracy and also cross reference data to use speech as input for getting to all kinds of communication and data. "We are really on the cusp of a technology revolution in speech and language technology," said Mazin Gilbert, executive director of speech and language technology at AT&T Labs. "It's no longer about simply trying to get the words right. It's about adding intelligence to interpret what is being said and then using that to apply to other modes of communication, such as text or video."
  • The system is designed to get more accurate over time as it learns the speech patterns of large numbers of users.
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