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Syria regains Internet connectivity after 19 hours, outage believed to be caused by 'optical cable malfunction'
Internet connectivity is returning to normal in war-torn Syria. Multiple different sources have confirmed that connectivity has returned to the region, though a specific cause can't be determined as of yet. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency is reporting that the outage was a result of an optic cable malfunction.
Of course, being a state-run media, it's very possible this report could be inaccurate. What I still find extremely scary is the fact that an entire country can drop off of the Internet just like that. This is a case where we need to come up with a more redundant and reliable network.
Google has announced that Grandview, Missouri will join the growing list of cities in which Google Fiber will be available. This announcement comes just five days after Google announced that Shawnee, Kansas residents could expect Google Fiber to become available in the coming months and years.
Like the last announcement, the details were a bit on the light side. Residents know that they will be getting Fiber, but they don't know when. Grandview is located just south of Kansas City, the first city to get Google Fiber. This will make the expansion easy and makes logical sense as to why Google picked it for Google Fiber.
Google shows no signs of slowing down Fiber roll out. In fact, the announcements seem to be speeding up, suggesting that Google ultimately wants to be an ISP. Keep your fingers crossed that Fiber soon makes its way to your city.
Apple has never been very good when it comes to Internet-based activities. MobileMe and other offerings by Apple have often fallen by the wayside as Google and others produced better--and cheaper--alternatives. Apple's iMessage service makes use of the Internet to transmit text messages between iPhones and other Apple devices.
Apple's iMessage is also suffering from an interesting, if not too problematic, glitch that results in the last word of phrases to be replaced with spaces. The glitch only affects certain phrases and it's not clear why the glitch is even occurring. Even more interesting, if you copy the message and paste it into the compose window, the full, unadulterated phrase will be shown.
To trigger the bug, you have to use certain phrases with a trailing space. For instance, "I could be the next Obama" results in Obama being removed and replaced with spaces. You can also try "the best prize is a surprise". If you find any other phrases that trigger the bug, let us know!
We covered T-Mobile's 4G LTE launch and Uncarrier event pretty closely. At the time, all of the other major networks in the country already had operating LTE networks in multiple markets. T-Mobile now believes that it could end up being the first carrier to roll out 5G LTE-Advanced.
In a recent interview with Venture Beat, T-Mobile's head of radio network and evolution strategy, Yasmin Karimli, said that this is due to their slow rollout of 4G:
I think we'll probably be able to move faster [to LTE-Advanced] because we have the latest hardware in place. Others may have hardware that's two years old, so they may have to rip and replace.
We don't fully know what it will take for the other networks to roll out 5G LTE-Advanced, though what Karimli says makes sense. 5G LTE allows for theoretical speeds of up to 300Mbps, around three times faster than LTE. T-Mobile plans to cover 100 million people by mid-2013 and 200 million by the end of 2013 with 4G LTE.
Sprint is a bit behind the other major US carriers in terms of LTE availability because they originally went with WiMax as their 4G technology. Not wanting to be left behind, Sprint has been pushing out LTE as quickly as possible. We previously announced that Sprint was ready to bring LTE to 21 new markets and now they have officially announced its availability.
Joining the ranks of LTE-enabled markets are the following:
- Albemarle, N.C.
- Bloomington, Ind.
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Contra Costa County, Calif.
- Denison, Texas
- Greeneville, Tenn.
- Joplin, Mo.
- Kerrville, Texas
- Lafayette, Ind.
- Lincolnton, N.C.
- Los Angeles
- Mankato/North Mankato, Minn.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Newport News, Va.
- Palm Bay, Fla.
- Port St. Lucie, Fla.
- Rochelle, Ill.
- Salisbury, N.C.
- Shelby, N.C.
- Tullahoma, Tenn.
- West Palm Beach, Fla.
These new additions bring Sprint's total LTE market count up to 88, still far behind the other carriers. Sprint has said that there will be more than 170 markets getting LTE in the coming months as they play catch up. Some cities, such as San Francisco, already have LTE, though they haven't been officially announced.
Google seems to be expanding their push to roll out Google Fiber. Just days after announcing that Austin, Texas would be Google's second Fiber city, ArsTechnica is reporting that Google is working to acquire iProvo, a fiber-based ISP owned by the city of Provo, Utah.
In order to bring Fiber to Provo, we've signed an agreement to purchase iProvo, an existing fiber-optic network owned by the city. As a part of the acquisition, we would commit to upgrade the network to gigabit technology and finish network construction so that every home along the existing iProvo network would have the opportunity to connect to Google Fiber. Our agreement with Provo isn't approved yet-it's pending a vote by the City Council scheduled for next Tuesday, April 23. We intend to begin the network upgrades as soon as the closing conditions are satisfied and the deal is closed.
Provo has a lot to gain from this. Not only would the city no longer have to finance the build-out of the network, Google is offering the same free 5Mbps/1Mbps connection as they have in Kansas and Austin. Google is also offering up free Gigabit connections to 25 different local public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and libraries.
Comcast has decided to start encrypting even their basic cable channels, forcing customers to use a settop box on every TV where they want to watch cable TV. Previously, basic cable channels would just require hooking a TV up to the coax jack in the wall.
We are beginning to proactively notify customers in select markets that we will begin to encrypt limited basic channels as now permitted by last year's FCC B1 Encryption Order. While the vast majority of our customers won't be impacted because they already have digital equipment connected to their TVs, we understand this will be a change for a small number of customers and will be making it as convenient as possible for them to get the digital equipment they may need to continue watching limited basic channels.
Comcast will provide up to two DTAs free for two years, provided that the customers do not currently have equipment on their account. Customers will also have to request the settop boxes during the offer period around the time of encryption. Comcast has put up this FAQ about what to expect from the new encryption.
According to a Google study, the mobile internet pipes are getting faster. Google used their Site Speed reports from Google Analytics and opted-in web publishers to get an idea of the speed of websites around the world. Google has again aggregated that data into the following graph:
As you can see, on the desktop side of things, not much has improved from 2012 to 2013. Speeds are just slightly better, but not by enough to really have much significance. On the mobile side of things, however, the mean time to load has decreased by about two seconds. The median time has decreased by about one.
Google credits most of these speed increases to LTE/4G roll outs as well as increased processing power in mobile devices. Read the full Google report.
Sony has launched the world's fastest home Internet service in Tokyo, Japan. The new fiber-based service is capable of 2Gbps download and 1Gbps upload, besting that of Google Fiber. Not only is Sony's new Internet faster, it's also cheaper, coming in at just $51 per month.
The new service is called "Nuro" and is available to homes, apartments, and small businesses in Tokyo and six surrounding prefectures for $51 per month, with a two-year contract, and a $535.49 installation fee, which is currently being waved for people who apply online. The price includes the rental of an optical network unit.
Xbox Live suffered an outage over the weekend, with thousands of users reporting various issues when trying to sign onto the service. The problem is, the outage came and ruined gamers' weekends, yet again.
The outage took out most of the Xbox 360's functions, including Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu and YouTube - not to mention the thousands of games that Xbox Live Gold subscribers love to, and pay to, play. The service is now working, but it should serve everyone - I'm looking at you, Microsoft - as a stark reminder of the dark path that is always-online consoles.
Sure, we (see: most of the first world) have Internet access, but it does go out from time to time. So do the services themselves, in this case: Xbox Live - and when it does, those thousand-dollar (console + games + Xbox Live Gold access) devices are rendered next to useless. Expensive, Internet-less paperweights. Microsoft, see the light please, before it is too late.