THE BROADBAND REPORT

The latest from the team at Broadband Now

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Choosing the Best Media Streaming Services and Devices

The number of cable customers “cutting the cord” from traditional cable in favor of over-the-top streaming services grows every year. 8.2 percent ditched cable in 2014 alone, driving big media players like Amazon and Google to step up their game in the battle for the box that sits on top of your TV. [1] With satellite and cable TV bills easily topping the 100 dollar mark monthly, it’s no wonder that consumers are opting for streaming services like Hulu (only $7.99 per month) and streaming devices like the Roku ($50 for the entry-level Streaming Stick device). The only drawback is that the wide selection of streaming services and devices sometimes makes it difficult to figure out which of the many… Continue reading →

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In Spite of Lobbyist Efforts, over 500 Community Broadband Networks Across US

Telecom lobbyists have been doing their best to block municipal broadband networks. In spite of their efforts, public-owned Internet options continue to spread in towns throughout the US. The data set below, based on records from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, shows 528 communities served by public-owned broadband networks in the US. Municipal broadband expanding despite restrictive state laws Considering that more than half of US residents only have one Internet service provider (ISP) to “choose” from, municipal broadband can be a game changer for rural areas where commercial ISPs can’t or won’t provide service. While the data is encouraging for municipal broadband advocates considering the FCC’s recent defeat in Tennessee and North Carolina, full-fledged city-wide networks like Chattanooga’s “smart… Continue reading →

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How to Determine Which Internet Plan Is Right for You

Getting a broadband connection to your house can be a frustrating process. Choosing an Internet plan used to be a simple question of comparing prices and speeds. But these days, the quickly-changing tech marketplace has introduced a number of other factors consumers need to be aware of before they sign on the dotted line. For starters, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) recently began implementing data caps (limits to the amount of data you can use in a month), which can have a big effect on your monthly bill if you go over. At the same time, the growing popularity of high-definition video streaming via services like Netflix is poised to eat up data like never before — meaning that your bandwidth… Continue reading →

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Municipal Broadband Roadblocks

34 million Americans don’t have access to broadband Internet. In fact, 62 percent of those who can get broadband only have one provider to “choose” from. [1] This means that, for the majority of the US, our only option is to pay up… or go without. Some municipalities have taken it upon themselves to fix this problem by building public-owned “municipal broadband” networks. Cities like Chattanooga, TN and Sandy, OR made headlines by providing gigabit-speed Internet at a low cost to their residents. As of 2016, over 185 communities nationwide have followed suit with some form of public broadband service.[2] Needless to say, incumbent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t like this idea, and have been lobbying at the state level for years… Continue reading →

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Cable, Satellite, IPTV & OTT Streaming: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the difference between Cable TV, Sattelite TV, IPTV, and OTT (over-the-top) streaming services can be tricky — particularly as content providers scramble to offer bundled services that blur the line between Internet and broadcast media. While cable subscription numbers have been tailing off in favor of alternatives like Netflix and Hulu, the video-consumption industry on the whole has only grown.  [1] There are more ways to tune into our favorite shows than ever before. More choices translate to more power for consumers, but only if you take a moment to understand the differences between the various types of TV connection available on the market today. Our goal in this post is to walk you through the basics of each “flavor”… Continue reading →

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Where the 2016 Candidates Stand on Broadband, Net Neutrality, and Internet Issues

Politicians have a well-earned reputation for misunderstanding the Internet. …So it’s no surprise that candidate stances on tech issues are all over the map as we approach the 2016 presidential election. From Clinton’s email server scandal[1] to Trump’s proposal of “closing that Internet up” to fight ISIS[2], Internet users have plenty of reason to be concerned about how either candidate might alter the landscape of “InternetLand” if they take office. There’s a lot more than our YouTube addiction at stake for the American public: Net Neutrality, municipal broadband, and data privacy are all on the chopping block. Let’s take a close look at where the candidates stand on Internet and broadband issues. I’ll start with a brief overview of each… Continue reading →

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What is Net Neutrality and why does it matter?

Discouraged that you don’t have another option for broadband Internet in your neighborhood? Tired of monthly bills that seem to creep a little higher each month? If so, understanding what’s at stake in the national debates about Net Neutrality is critical, because the outcomes will have a direct affect on your financial bottom line. With the 2016 presidential elections around the corner and the possibilities of major telecom mergers on the horizon, Net Neutrality has never been more important to the day-to-day lives of Internet users. (And these days, that’s pretty much everyone.) In this post we’ll unpack the issues at stake in the Net Neutrality debate to give you a clear idea of what Net Neutrality means for your… Continue reading →

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How to Design a Supercharged Home Network

Your home is your kingdom. What’s a kingdom without strong Wi-Fi? The cable guy’s default settings will only get you the basics. Luckily, it doesn’t take much time or money to supercharge your home network. This article goes over everything needed to strengthen your Wi-Fi, enhance security, and dispel the dreaded “buffering” symbol from your Netflix forever. We’ll also cover ways to extend and enhance your network using hardware like switches, security systems, and power line extenders. Stop: if you’re here because your network is slow or not working, do the following first: Restart your router and/or modem (if no restart button, just unplug for a few seconds) Try different DNS servers (video guide here) If you’re unfamiliar with the… Continue reading →

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How to Optimize your Home Network for Faster Speeds

It’s frustrating to run a speed test and discover that you’re only getting half the Wi-Fi speeds advertised for your broadband plan. Luckily, optimizing your Wi-Fi network for faster speeds isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a basic understanding of how your network operates. In most cases, you can boost your speeds significantly for little or no extra money. This post will break down the basics of how your Wi-Fi network operates and walk through some steps you can take to boost your Internet speeds. Home Network 101 Here are the three main pieces of hardware you need to understand: Modem: The “gatekeeper” between your ISP and your home network, connects to cable or DSL wall outlet. Router: The… Continue reading →

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Renting vs Buying a Modem: What’s Best for Your Budget

If you have broadband, you’re probably renting a modem or modem/router combo from your provider. But is the money worth the convenience? With rental fees from big ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner increasing by as much as 33% in the past year, many consumers are foregoing the monthly fee and buying their own modems. A modem that costs $150 pays for itself in a little over a year. After that, you stand to save $8–$10 per month for as long as the modem keeps ticking. [1] …The catch is that buying a modem isn’t always the best decision. Depending on your situation, installing and maintaining your own modem might be more expensive and time-consuming than it’s worth. In this… Continue reading →