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Facebook, Microsoft to Run Mega-Cable From Va. to Spain

MAREA will be the highest-capacity trans-Atlantic cable yet

(Newser) - Virginia Beach soon be tethered to Bilbao, Spain, thanks to what Computerworld calls "an epic shift that will change everything." A joint initiative between Facebook, Microsoft, and an overseas telecommunications company, the 4,100-mile-plus MAREA subsea cable will be the highest-capacity cable to span the Atlantic, with an... More »

15-Year-Old Boy Arrested in British Telecom Cyberattack

Data breach put 4 million customers of TalkTalk at risk

(Newser) - A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with a hack that put the 4 million customers of British telecommunications company TalkTalk at risk, the Guardian reports. British police arrested the teen on suspicion of violating the Computer Misuse Act Monday in Northern Ireland and searched his home, according to... More »

Experiencing the Least-Connected Country on Earth

Eritrea still hasn't reported Gadhafi's death: activist

(Newser) - Eritrea, the United Nations says, is the planet's least-connected country. Less than 1% of its people have landlines; just 5.6% have cell phones. As for the Internet, less than 1% use it, and connections are almost all dial-up. "Even after waiting half an hour, you might not... More »

Feds: Sprint Overcharged Us for Wiretaps

Firm accused of bilking agencies for $21M upgrade

(Newser) - Telecommunications companies that assist government wiretappers are allowed to claim back "reasonable expenses"—but the federal government says Sprint Communications padded its bill to the tune of $21 million. In a lawsuit filed yesterday, the government accuses the firm of having "knowingly submitted false claims " to... More »

Cable Titans Comcast, Time Warner to Merge

Comcast to buy Time Warner for $45.2B

(Newser) - Comcast is confirming plans to snap up Time Warner Cable in a deal that would merge America's two biggest cable operators into a behemoth with more than 33 million subscribers, reports the AP . The all-stock, $45.2 billion deal values TWC at around $159 a share, far above the... More »

Verizon, Vodaphone CEOs Strike Vast Deal—at the Gym

Verizon buys out Vodafone in 3rd-biggest deal ever

(Newser) - Things seem pretty cozy at the top in the world of telecommunications: Verizon has bought out its British partner Vodafone and the CEOs involved say the third-biggest corporate deal in history was forged in a San Francisco gym. "We got up early. We were both down at the gym... More »

Move Over, NSA: DEA Uses Bigger Phone-Call Database

AT&T workers embedded with anti-drug units

(Newser) - The Drug Enforcement Administration has been working closely with AT&T to access a database of American phone calls that dwarfs the NSA's controversial data-collecting efforts, the New York Times finds. In the "Hemisphere Project," which began in 2007, AT&T employees are embedded in anti-drug units... More »

The World's Last Telegram Will Be Sent Next Month

Yes, people still send telegrams

(Newser) - We're not sure if it's more surprising to learn that the last telegram in the world will be sent next month... or that people are still sending telegrams somewhere. They are, though: 5,000 telegrams are still sent every day in India. But that's all coming to... More »

Japan's SoftBank Snapping Up 70% of Sprint

$20.5B deal a record for Japan

(Newser) - Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has finalized a $20.1 billion deal to buy 70% of American wireless carrier Sprint, reports the AP . The deal announced in Tokyo today is the biggest-ever foreign takeover by a Japanese company and still needs to be approved by Sprint shareholders and American regulators. The... More »

Cell Phone Surveillance Surges

Carriers got more than 1.3M demands for info last year

(Newser) - Cell phone surveillance has exploded over the last five years, and carriers received more than 1.3 million demands for information from law enforcement last year, a Congressional report reveals. The carriers are dealing with thousands of requests a day from all levels of law enforcement, but some legally questionable... More »

Feds Suspect Cable Firms of Stifling Online Videos

DoJ conducting antitrust probe, sources say

(Newser) - Federal authorities suspect cable companies worried about competition from online video have acted improperly to quash their emerging rivals, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . The Department of Justice has opened a wide-ranging investigation, and officials have spoken to online video providers and cable companies, including Time Warner and Comcast,... More »

Verizon to Phase Out Unlimited Data Plans

'Grandfathered' customers will be shifted to data-share plans upon upgrade

(Newser) - Verizon is scrapping the $30-a-month unlimited data plan that it still gives to 3G customers who signed up for it before the company switched to a tiered system, reports FierceWireless . When the "grandfathered" customers upgrade their devices, they will be shifted over to Verizon's new data-share plan that... More »

Court OKs Warrantless Cellphone Searches

Phones not that different from diaries, judges decide

(Newser) - The police don't need a warrant to search a suspect's cellphone for its phone number in order to obtain a history of calls, a federal appeals court. The three-judge panel, ruling on the case of an Indiana man convicted of drug charges on the basis of call records,... More »

Ship Accidents Knock Countries Offline

Anchors cut undersea cables

(Newser) - At least nine countries have suffered telecom outages this month, following a pair of accidents in which ships severed essential undersea cables, the Wall Street Journal reports. In the most recent incident this weekend, a ship dragging its anchor off the coast of Kenya caught on and destroyed a fiber-optic... More »

Skype Buys GroupMe for $50M+

Group-texting firm will stay in New York

(Newser) - Skype has purchased group text-messaging firm GroupMe in a deal worth somewhere between $50 million and $100 million. The startup will remain independent but will likely play a major role in Skype’s mobile and social arenas. It’s a big success for the year-old firm, writes Ben Popper for... More »

Solar Storm to Hit Earth This Week

Could impact communications, GPS

(Newser) - If your GPS stops working in the next few days, blame solar storms. Following three large explosions from the sun recently, US government scientists are expecting a larger solar event this week—and warn that satellite, telecommunications, and electric equipment, including GPS, could be disrupted. "The magnetic storm that... More »

Verizon Ditching Unlimited Data Plans

New customers to be offered only tiered plans

(Newser) - Verizon is becoming the latest carrier to scrap unlimited data plans in favor of tiered ones. As of tomorrow, new Verizon customers will be offered options ranging from $30 for 2 GB per month to $80 for 10 GB per month, Fierce Wireless reports. Existing customers will be allowed to... More »

How Rebels Hijacked Gadhafi's Phone Network

System allows for critical battlefield communications

(Newser) - Until a week and a half ago, rebel forces in Libya were waving flags at each other to communicate on the battlefield, because Moammar Gadhafi had cut off their telephone and Internet service. But now that’s all changed thanks to a plan a Libyan-American telecom executive drew up on... More »

AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Bad News for Consumers

The consensus: 'Ma Bell is back'

(Newser) - Reactions to the surprise AT&T-T-mobile merger are pouring in, and, not surprisingly, most conclude this isn't a good thing for consumers:
  • The Bell telephone system—"aka AT&T"—was broken up in 1984 to increase competition, and the US telecommunications market was deregulated in 1996, again to
... More »

Google Voice Launches Number Porting

Users now allowed to move cell numbers to service

(Newser) - Google's Voice calling application is adding a long-promised feature: the ability to move a phone number from a cell phone to Google's service. Previously, Google Voice assigned each user a new number,making it more difficult to take advantage of its features, which include cheaper international calls and the ability... More »

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