Jon Fingas


New York isn’t just asking Charter to clean up its act. The state has reached a settlement with Altice (Optimum’s owner), Frontier, RCN and Engadget parent company Verizon that will have them adhere to stricter standards for advertising internet speeds. They’ll have to back up their claims with regular speed testing, ensure they have enough network capacity to handle advertised third-party services and make clear that speeds on WiFi won’t be the same as with a wired connection.

The companies will also have to make “direct financial commitments” to both improve their networks and offer compensation for some customers. These include a $25 million investment on Frontier’s part to boost its upstate capacity, while Altice will pay $5 million to subscribers who didn’t get equipment capable of fulfilling expected speeds. All of the providers will have to ensure they provide modems and routers that can handle advertised speeds, including free replacements.

This is just a New York agreement focused on major providers, and there are still areas where you might not get everything you’d like. Just because you can stream Netflix doesn’t mean you’re getting every last megabit, for instance. Nonetheless, it might benefit residents if the state is diligent in enforcing the terms. It’s no secret that ISPs tend to oversell their performance while skimping on capacity and foisting outdated gear on subscribers — this could raise the baseline quality of service for millions of people.

Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company, Oath (formerly AOL). Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

Publication: Engadget| New York sets tougher standards for marketing internet speeds

Microsoft hasn’t been in the webcam game for a long time, but it might come roaring back — and with some thoroughly modern hardware, to boot. Sources talking to Paul Thurrott (well-known for his Microsoft connections) claim Microsoft wants to return to webcams in 2019 with two 4K models, “at least one” of which would support Xbox One consoles in addition to Windows 10. This wouldn’t necessarily replace the Kinect (you’d need depth sensing for that), but it could offer multi-user automatic sign-ins, Skype video chats and other features that largely went away along with the old peripheral.

The insiders also said that one of the webcams would support Windows Hello authentication. If so, it’d be the first time Microsoft has offered the feature in a separate camera. You’ve so far had to buy a Surface computer if you wanted the company’s official approach to face recognition.

It’s not certain just when the cameras would ship, although one of them is apparently “enterprise-focused” and might be a companion to the Surface Hub 2. However things shake out, Microsoft’s return might be welcome. Logitech is currently the biggest name in town when it comes to webcams, and this could give it some fresh competition.

Publication: Engadget| Microsoft’s First Webcams in Years Might Include Xbox One Support

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