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Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant. If you would like to receive Telecom Daily emailed daily to your desktop, please click here: TelDailyEmail.

Monday, February 8...

Critics Claim Verizon Wireless' Go90 Service Violates Net Neutrality
Verizon Wireless' Go90 video-streaming app is being criticized for what some people consider a direct violation of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Open Internet legislation. This app allows Verizon customers to stream an unlimited amount of select TV and Web-based programs, concerts, and sporting events - notably NBA basketball games via Verizon's NBA League Pass - without accruing traditional data charges. At issue is Verizon's continuing to charge data rates for streaming other services - specifically those that do not maintain streaming agreements with Verizon - that, under the FCC's Net Neutrality rules, are supposed to be treated equally. According to Re/code, which cited an unnamed Verizon spokesperson, Go90 uses a form of "sponsored" data under its FreeBee Data 360 service to pay for customer-use fees associated with this content. "Go90 has decided to take advantage of Verizon's FreeBee Data 360 service, which allows them to pay for customer's data usage associated with watching videos on the Go90 app," an unnamed Verizon spokesperson told Re/code. "FreeBee Data 360 is an open, non-exclusive service available to other content providers on a non-discriminatory basis. Any interested content provider can use FreeBee Data 360 to expand their audiences by giving consumers the opportunity to enjoy their content without incurring data charges." Verizon's Go90 app is currently available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play, and further information is available via the Go90 Web site.

The Guardian: Apple Confirms "Error 53" iPhone Message is Due to Third-Party Repairs
Apple has clarified that the dreaded "Error 53" screen experienced by some iPhone 6 users is due to phone repairs using third-party parts or components. According to The Guardian, "non-official" fixes made to the iPhone 6's home button - which has touch ID fingerprint recognition embedded within - have rendered such smartphones as unusable due to the use of different, often cheaper components. The issue, it seems, becomes apparent upon updating to iOS 9, even if the smartphone functioned properly for weeks or months after the physical repair. "When an iPhone is serviced by an unauthorized repair provider, faulty screens or other invalid components that affect the touch ID sensor could cause the check to fail," an unknown Apple spokesperson told The Guardian. "With a subsequent update or restore, additional security checks result in an 'Error 53' being displayed. If a customer encounters an unrecoverable Error 53, we recommend contacting Apple support." According to The Guardian, some "tech experts" believe that Apple knew this issue could arise but failed to warn its customers.

Report: BlackBerry Laid Off Some of Waterloo Workforce
BlackBerry is believed to have laid off a portion of its headquarters-based workforce in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. In particular, MobileSyrup - citing "multiple sources with knowledge of the company and the Waterloo region" - is reporting that as many as 200 employees may have lost their jobs with the cuts. The Web site also noted that the news comes in addition to reports of 75 staffers being released from the former RIM's Sunrise, Florida location, per the Sun-Sentinel. Meanwhile, while the struggling smartphone manufacturer declined to comment on the number of cutbacks, it did issue a statement to MobileSyrup, saying "As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce ... As a result, a small number of employees have been impacted in Waterloo and Sunrise, FL ... For those employees that have recently left the company, we know that they have worked hard on behalf of our company and we are grateful for their commitment and contributions."

... Brady Hicks, Faulkner Information Services

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