Comcast is planning to test a new system that would allow consumers to replace their set top box with any Internet-ready device, including gaming consoles or laptop computers. Starting this fall, Comcast will start test cycles at MIT to use its broadband network to deliver content using VoIP. Instead of using the same technology that currently allows a user to watch select television shows on his or her computer, this new venture has Comcast streaming their entire lineup over the Internet. While Comcast has maintained that it has no plans to offer this new system in areas it does not serve, it is technically feasible to do so, and probably has competitors like TimeWarner and Cablevision feeling pretty nervous.
Fon, manufacturer of Fonera WiFi routers, which broadcast dual signals (one encrypted, one public but reserved for registered Fon users), recently announced that it has sold more that 4 million hotspots worldwide. This is an increase of more than 30%, and up from 3 million hotspots, since the beginning of 2011. “Four million hotspots is an amazing figure and proof that the Fon model works,” said Fon CEO and founder Martin Varsavsky. “Together with the spike we are seeing–one million new hotspots this year alone–the Fon network is achieving the footprint and rapid growth we have dreamed of.” The firm also builds the dual-signal technology directly into its Telco partners’ equipment.
For more information, go to http://www.fiercewireless.com/press-releases/fon-tops-four-million-wifi-hotspots-enjoys-strong-growth
A couple of firsts occurred recently, both having to do with Netflix. First, the streaming and DVD-rent-and-mail company became the largest single consumer of Internet tubage in the world, its user accounts slurping up almost 25% of all domestic broadband traffic. Second, for perhaps the first time, paid content has surpassed free content in terms of web usage. What this portends for the future of entertainment, the Internet, and all of the pieces in between is anybody’s guess, but it sure looks like ISPs will have as big a say in it as anybody else. For a more in-depth look at this phenomenon, see our recent white paper, “The Rise of Netflix and Its Impact on Broadband.”