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The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Preserving a Free and Open Internet

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Preserving a Free and Open Internet | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
The Internet has been an engine of economic opportunity worldwide, but we cannot take its success for granted. As the free exchange of information and services across borders is increasingly threatened, trade commitments among countries can serve as a powerful tool to maintain the openness that has been the hallmark of the Internet’s success. And while much has been said recently about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one piece is often overlooked: TPP has first-ever commitments that will promote a free and open digital economy and serve as a template for 21st century trade agreements going forward.

Twenty years ago, less than 1 percent of the world’s population was connected to the Internet. Today, more than 40 percent have Internet access. That extraordinary growth has continued in recent years — since 2009, global Internet users have more than doubled, from 1.5 billion to 3.2 billion. Data flows have nearly quintupled. These trends show no signs of slowing down.

The Internet’s growth — and its power to reshape how we connect, share ideas and exchange information with the rest of the world — is largely due to its design. It has been borderless, lowering the costs of transmitting information, supporting freedom of expression, exchange of information and giving our entrepreneurs an open canvas on which to innovate and a level playing field on which to compete.

Not everyone shares this vision for the future digital economy.

Not everyone shares this vision for the future digital economy. Countries are taking steps to fragment the Internet along national borders, legitimize content controls and arbitrary website blockage, force the use of local servers and deploy “cyber-nationalist” policies that could balkanize the Internet and distort innovation.

That’s where the Trans-Pacific Partnership can help, by requiring countries to sign on to principles necessary for a free and open Internet. TPP contains a comprehensive set of commitments to promote a free and open Internet, including provisions to:

Promote the free flow of data. TPP preserves users’ rights to access and move data, subject to safeguards, which helps ensure the flow of information and data that drive the Internet and the digital economy.
Combat forced localization of server capacity. TPP ensures that entrepreneurs will not have to build expensive and redundant data centers in every market they seek to serve. The economies of scale of the digital economy, where capital- and energy-intensive data centers serve multiple countries, depend on this flexibility.
Prevent forced tech transfer. TPP ensures that countries can’t force an innovator to hand over its technology or IP as a condition for gaining access to their market.
Enhance transparency and public participation. TPP promotes public participation and transparency in the development of laws and regulations — including those affecting the Internet — by providing opportunities for the public to view and comment on laws and regulations.
Strengthen consumer protection. TPP requires countries to adopt and maintain consumer protection laws related to fraudulent and deceptive commercial activities online, and similar measures to protect privacy; it also requires countries to maintain and enforce anti-spam and anti-fraud rules.
Open markets for digital goods and services. TPP opens markets for services and digital products; ensures tariffs are never imposed on digital transmissions; and prevents discrimination against online provision of products traded and transmitted electronically, through measures such as outright blocking or other forms of content discrimination.
Establish duty-free treatment for IT goods. TPP abolishes all tariffs in TPP countries on IT products, such as computers, tablets and smartphones, telecommunications equipment, fiber-optic cable, semiconductors and related goods.
Promote competitive telecom markets. TPP includes requirements to promote competition and ensure access to national telecom networks, helping to improve prices, quality and choices for users.
Facilitate digital trade and e-commerce. TPP includes requirements that TPP countries enable secure online payment options, allow express delivery services and take other measures — often particularly important for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs — to secure the necessary tools for trade in the digital environment.
Achieve a balanced approach to IP. Recognizing the role a strong and balanced approach to intellectual property plays in the growth of the digital economy, TPP countries have obligated themselves to continuously seek to achieve an appropriate balance in their copyright systems through, among other things, copyright exceptions and limitations for legitimate purposes, including those for the digital environment.
With these important steps in TPP, we will strengthen the coalition of countries defending the integrity of the Internet and the economic opportunities of its users. These first-ever provisions for the digital economy are extremely powerful for those seeking a world where everyone has the ability to participate in the global economy and safely access knowledge online.

These first-ever provisions for the digital economy are extremely powerful for those seeking a world where everyone has the ability to participate in the global economy and safely access knowledge online.

The Administration is committed to the principles that have allowed the Internet to reshape our world: Preserving the open and “borderless” character of the global Internet; guaranteeing users’ freedom to move, store and manage data; enhancing the growth of the digital economy; and promoting public-interest policies that protect privacy and deter cyber-crime, including theft of intellectual property, and abuse.

Covering 20 percent of the world’s Internet users and over a third of estimated Internet data flow, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is an unprecedented opportunity to move beyond advocacy. It would take concrete steps toward preserving a free and open Internet at a time when the Internet’s underlying principles are in question — but when its future has never been brighter.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:

Alan Davidson of the U.S Department of Commerce puts forward a strong defense of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Where broadband access is unequal

Here's where poorer families can't get access.
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This graphic tool accompanies the #broadband investigation
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Charter explains why it doesn’t compete against other cable companies

Charter explains why it doesn’t compete against other cable companies | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
When Charter purchased Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, federal regulators forced the company to agree to some conditions designed to boost competition in the Internet service market. Charter, now the nation's second largest cable company behind Comcast because of the merger, is required to bring broadband of at least 60Mbps to at least 1 million homes and businesses where there's already a provider offering at least 25Mbps.

This is known as "overbuilding," something that happens infrequently enough that many Americans have only one choice for high-speed Internet. But when Charter fulfills the overbuilding requirement imposed by the Federal Communications Commission, it'll apparently do so without actually competing against other cable companies. Instead, Charter will enter the territory of phone companies like AT&T or Frontier, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said.

Why is that? Because Charter might want to buy more cable companies later. And the FCC is less likely to approve a merger between two companies competing against each other.

“When I talked to the FCC, I said I can’t overbuild another cable company, because then I could never buy it, because you always block those,” Rutledge said at the recent MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York. “It’s really about overbuilding telephone companies.”
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Why broadband is a ripe market for transitions.
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Google Fiber releases San Jose construction plan -- a major milestone for project

Google Fiber releases San Jose construction plan -- a major milestone for project | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
SAN JOSE -- In a major milestone to bringing Google Fiber to Silicon Valley, city leaders next week will sign off on the tech giant's construction plan to install fiber cables across San Jose -- a final step in launching the lightning-fast Internet service here.

"These are the last pieces they need before they begin rocking and rolling," said city spokesman David Vossbrink. "It's been two-and-a-half years of conversation and hard work with Google. This is a very positive sign and we're pleased to reach this point."

San Jose could become the second California city to get the fiber-based Internet service. San Francisco was listed as an "upcoming Fiber city" on Google's website, and San Jose is a "potential" Fiber City.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
New details on the important role of bringing fiber to more places across the country.
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Vice teams with Alphabet incubator Jigsaw on doc series ‘Blackout’

Vice teams with Alphabet incubator Jigsaw on doc series ‘Blackout’ | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
Vice and (Google parent company) Alphabet think tank and technology incubator Jigsaw are teaming up for a new documentary series examining free expression (or lack thereof) around the world.

The series, called “Blackout", will consistent of five episodes to air bi-weekly on Vicenews.com over ten weeks, starting in June. The first episode takes place in Pakistan, followed by Venezuela, Thailand, Belarus, and Eritrea.

“Vice and Jigsaw have been working together on one of the biggest issues of our times. It’s obvious that we are living in a period of unprecedented ‘liberation' of information. The revolution created by our digital media platforms and is truly awe-inspiring, and this ethos of liberating and democratizing communications extends — ideally — to everyone on the planet. But this radical freedom is seen by many as a threat to existing orders, to existing power structures, to status quo writ large. And as a result freedom of expression on the internet is being threatened by regimes across the world,” Vice chief creative officer Eddy Moretti said in a statement. “But we’re not just highlighting these stories, we are also working together to advance awareness and inspire real-world change amongst the communities battling censorship today."
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Google the media company getting involved in TV!
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FCC Broadband Facts Labels | BroadbandSearch.net | BroadbandSearch

In April 2016, the FCC developed a base “Nutritional Facts” label for cable internet providers to follow. Well, we have put together labels for what the top brands currently offer!
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
The Federal Communications Commission's broadband facts label has this group to assemble a comparison by providers at broadbandsearch.net
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FCC's Broadband 'Nutrition Labels': You Will Eat More Fat, Sugar and Salt

FCC's Broadband 'Nutrition Labels': You Will Eat More Fat, Sugar and Salt | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
When I look at a nutritional label on a can of soup to determine whether it has too much salt, or the label on a cereal box to parse how much sugar is added—I know that the aisles of the grocery store are filled with lots of items to pick from. And because there are lots of companies competing, prices remain more or less stable and I get to pick how much salt, fat, or sugar I intake, not to mention the total calories I will ingest.

In April, 2016, the FCC announced its “Consumer Labels for Broadband Services”. Here is the sample label for wired broadband. Compare it to the actual Time Warner Triple Play bill above and you’ll see there are a host of problems.



While the FCC has attempted to clean up the broadband bills, and this is being touted as similar to a nutritional label for food—at the end of the day it supplies nothing to fix the mess of the current billing, the deceptive practices, the addition of made up fees and additional expenses, and so it is really just a reminder—there is no competition in America today.

Even if some of the new label items are useful, if you find that the equivalent of additional fat, salt and sugar are over the top and harmful; too bad, you can’t simply ‘leave’ and find some other less offensive brand.

Moreover, as we will discuss, most customers buy broadband as part of a double or triple play package, combined with cable TV and/or phone service; this label, then, can’t be used for, say, the opening TWC bill.

Truth be told, our communications bills are now a dumping ground for added, made up fees and questionable charges. These are done as additions so that the companies (and regulators) can quote the ‘lower price’ and leave out the additional 10%-40% of the charges—many of them just additional, unmarked revenue.

Unfortunately, the task to clean up the bills was given to the FCC’s captured, Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) — Did you know that Verizon is one of the longest standing members on the CAC and has been on the Committee for over 15 years? And while there are many outstanding consumer groups and advocates on the Committee, anyone who cares about Truth-in-Billing and Truth-in-Advertising fixes wouldn’t pick this Committee to do anything. As I’ll discuss, they’ve been blocking the fixing of telecom bills since we were on the Committee back in 2003-2004. Moreover, it is no surprise that Verizon is joined by T-Mobile, CenturyLink and the cable association, (NCTA), and there are multiple ‘consumer’ groups and others with direct financial ties to the ISP broadband providers—Verizon, AT&T and the cable companies.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
The always-controversial Bruce Kushnick makes some excellent points here about tapping into and explicating broadband billing.
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I Have Seen the Future — And It Has a Swedish Accent — Backchannel

I Have Seen the Future — And It Has a Swedish Accent — Backchannel | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
Over spring break I went to Stockholm to visit the future. I’m not sure other people in the U.S. think of Stockholm as the future; I’m not sure people here think about Stockholm at all. But I had an inkling that the city’s ubiquitous and cheap fiber Internet access would be making a difference right about now. And what I found in the course of my recent week of interviews was both disturbing and comforting.
The troubling part is that Stockholm has become an experimental sandbox for 21st century life-changing technologies because it has something we don’t: a wholesale, passive municipal fiber-optic network. Because it took the step to install this facility more than twenty years, ago, Stockholm is already planning to implement at scale new ideas in energy management, eldercare, responsive city service delivery, and transportation. By being able to ship around enormous amounts of data with ease to everyone in the city, they’re ahead of us in many ways. (Here’s something to ponder: 67% of Stockholm’s two-year-olds are online.) And they’re using their well-developed design sense to enhance what they’re up to — I’ll have more about this part of the story in a later column.
The comforting part: When it comes to agility, collaboration (at least across the private sector), and risk-taking, American culture leads the way. But invigorating cold winds of change are blowing in Stockholm (both literally and figuratively — it was very cold while I was visiting, making me wish I’d brought one of those enormous puffy coats with me), and those low-ego, sensible Swedes seem to be catching up on the Silicon Valley ethos as well.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
How open access fiber optic networks incentive competition. Let's learn more from Sweeden!
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Raising Data Caps

Raising Data Caps | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
Brace yourself, because I am about to say nice things about Comcast. Last week Comcast announced that it was raising its month data caps countrywide to 1 TB (terabyte). This is an increase from the current caps of 300 GB that the company has implemented in a number of markets starting last year. This is good news for me. My household easily exceeds the 300 GB data caps. It’s a relief to know that I am not going to be seeing the small data cap.

There are probably a few reasons why Comcast decided to raise the cap. First, the FCC just required that one of the conditions for Charter’s purchase of Time Warner is that they impose no data caps on customers for seven years. In making that statement the FCC said that they had serious concerns about ISP data caps if those same ISPs also owned video programming, like Time Warner. In such cases, the ISP imposing data caps is favoring their own content over Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu delivered over the Internet.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Will other cable companies follow Comcast and raise data caps?
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Obama Administration to Help Five Small Communities Revitalize Downtowns through Broadband Service | USDA Newsroom

WASHINGTON – May 5, 2016 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of communities in five states that will participate in the Cool & Connected planning assistance program, an innovative initiative to help people use broadband service for downtown revitalization and economic development.

"Broadband has helped rural communities across the country gain access to improved health care, open the door to educational services and expand business and social opportunities," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The new Cool & Connected program will help these small-towns use broadband to provide new opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas."
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
"Cool & Connected" pilots bring broadband to infrastructure projects.
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Helen Brunner, Founding Director, Media Democracy Fund - PhilanTopic | PND | Foundation Center

Helen Brunner, Founding Director, Media Democracy Fund - PhilanTopic | PND | Foundation Center | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
Helen Brunner, founding director of the Media Democracy Fund and an advisor to the Quixote Foundation, recently was awarded the Council on Foundations' 2016 Robert Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking for her efforts to protect the public's basic rights in the digital age and to secure universal access to a free and open Internet. Central to that work was funding and organizing the successful campaign to preserve net neutrality that culminated in the Federal Communications Commission's 2015 decision to prohibit broadband providers from blocking or "throttling" — intentionally slowing — the flow of legal content or services and from offering "fast lanes" for a fee.

PND spoke with Brunner about the role of philanthropy in the ongoing debates over freedom of expression, data privacy, and the impact of social media on civic discourse.

Philanthropy News Digest: The supporters of net neutrality seemed to have won a decisive victory last year, but the issue is being adjudicated again, with Internet service providers suing the FCC over the rules it issued in 2015 to protect the "open" Internet. Given that the court hearing the complaint is the same one that blocked the commission's earlier rules on net neutrality, how hopeful are you the new rules will be upheld?

Helen Brunner: I'm extremely hopeful they will be upheld, because I think this time we got it right. One of the things the commission didn't do in 2010 was to actually reclassify the Internet so that it could be regulated the way the commission regulates telephony. The Internet originally was regulated as a telecommunications service, but then the FCC decided, for a brief period, to regulate it more as an information service. But then they realized the Internet was far too important in terms of driving the economy — and innovation — to hamper it in that way, that the openness and innovation engendered by the Internet wasn't as well protected as when it was regulated as a common carrier. So they switched back, and that is, in fact, the current classification that enabled us to argue for "open" Internet, or net neutrality rules, under the rule of law properly.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Great interview with Helen Brunner about how philanthropy, open internet issues, and broadband interact.
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Telecom, media firms see a culprit for FCC woes: Google

Telecom, media firms see a culprit for FCC woes: Google | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
Telecom, cable and broadcast companies have had a rough go of it at the FCC under Chairman Tom Wheeler’s tenure, and they’re increasingly pointing fingers at what they say is the problem: Google.

The companies and their trade groups have been openly criticizing what they see as the FCC's cozy relationship with Google, excoriating the agency's proposals on issues like broadband privacy and TV set-top boxes as a giveaway to the tech giant. AT&T, the National Association of Broadcasters and a coalition of cable firms and programmers accuse the FCC of boosting Google at the expense of their industries.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Google gets beat up a long by the telcos and cablecos....
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Google Fiber planning wireless home Internet where fiber is too pricey

Google Fiber planning wireless home Internet where fiber is too pricey | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
Google Fiber is testing a few wireless technologies in an effort to build a wireless home Internet service that would complement its fiber broadband, according to a company executive.

Craig Barratt, a senior vice president at Alphabet who oversees Google Fiber and other projects in the company's Access and Energy division, spoke generally about the plans in an interview with Re/code published today. Though Barratt didn't reveal a timeline or specifics on technology, he said Google Fiber wants to provide fixed wireless Internet to homes where it wouldn't make financial sense to build fiber.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Another take on this broadband news about Google Fiber and wireless efforts.
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Mayor Murray: Municipal broadband too costly; public-private deal is way to go

Mayor Murray: Municipal broadband too costly; public-private deal is way to go | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
The best way to expand Internet access in Seattle is through public-private partnerships, Mayor Ed Murray said at a regional broadband conference Monday.

The mayor reiterated the position he formed after a city-commissioned study released last summer showed it would cost between $480 million and $665 million to build out a municipal-broadband network across the city. That price tag is less than previously estimated, but the mayor said it was still too much to be feasible.


“When I came into office, I was very excited about the possibility of municipal broadband until the study came back and indicated it would be literally the largest tax increase in Seattle,” Murray said Monday at the conference, co-hosted by the nonprofit Next Century Cities and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The mayor’s office later clarified that financing a municipal broadband system would result in one of the largest tax increases in the city. The $930 million Move Seattle transportation levy approved by voters last fall may be bigger, depending on the exact cost of municipal broadband.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
From Seattle, a new endorsement of public-private partnerships for broadband.
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Rich people have access to high-speed Internet; many poor people still don't

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Virginia — Ever since Curtis Brown Jr. got his first Star Wars toy as a toddler, he has been fascinated by action figures. So much so that he has built a business customizing action figures for clients worldwide. But what could be a lucrative career has turned into an exercise in futility that traps Brown and his family in poverty.

That’s because Brown struggles every day with miserable Internet service. The only choice where he currently lives is an $80-a-month satellite connection. It’s slow and comes with such a low data cap that he exceeds it within a week or two. So Brown’s business comes to a halt. He can’t afford to buy more data. He can’t use his smartphone because the service is so bad he has to go outside to get a signal, and it’s too cumbersome to update the many websites he uses to conduct his business.

The constant interruptions limit Brown to about $400 a month in profit. Even with his wife Ashley’s income from an administrative job with the state’s education department, Brown and his three stepchildren have to rely on help from relatives and food stamps to make ends meet. Brown would move if he could, but houses with fast Internet connections are in areas where the rent is too expensive.

An isolated case? Not at all. An investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that even though Internet access has improved in recent years, families in poor areas are almost five times more likely not to have access to high-speed broadband than the most affluent American households. That means no access to online jobs, and no access to health care advice, education, government services and banking — everything needed to be a full participant in today’s society. This harsh reality has led to a new kind of segregation.

“Internet access,” says James Lane, superintendent of Goochland County Public Schools, “is the civil rights issue of our time.”
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Looking into the impact of the digital divide and its impact on broadband equity.
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A very bad sign for all but America’s biggest cities

A very bad sign for all but America’s biggest cities | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
Americans in small towns and rural communities are dramatically less likely to start new businesses than they have been in the past, an unprecedented trend that jeopardizes the economic future of vast swaths of the country.

The recovery from the Great Recession has seen a nationwide slowdown in the creation of new businesses, or start-ups. What growth has occurred has been largely confined to a handful of large and innovative areas, including Silicon Valley in California, New York City and parts of Texas, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Economic Innovation Group, a bipartisan research and advocacy organization that was founded by the Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Parker and small group of investors.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
This article shows that we need to be concerned about ensuring that broadband, and innovation, are available throughout the country.
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Announcing the 22 Digital Inclusion Fellowship City Hosts and Call for Fellow Applications - NTEN

Announcing the 22 Digital Inclusion Fellowship City Hosts and Call for Fellow Applications - NTEN | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
The Digital Inclusion Fellowship is expanding and applications are now open for 22 Fellowship positions!

Last year, we announced the first ever Digital Inclusion Fellowship (DIF), in partnership with Google Fiber. In an effort to increase digital literacy and broadband adoption in digitally divided communities, we placed 16 Fellows with locally-based organizations in eight cities across the country.

Applications for City Hosts in the second cohort of the Fellowship opened in February, calling for local organizations who would like to host a Fellow for a year with a focus on four core mission areas: adult literacy, digital inclusion, libraries, and public or affordable housing. Fellows in these organizations will have unique projects that reflect the missions, programs, and communities of each organization, but will share a common set of desired outcomes for adult digital literacy. As a network, both the City Hosts and Fellows will receive support, program guidance, training, and access to leading practitioners as they develop and implement critical programming locally.

Today, we are thrilled to announce, with the continued support of Google Fiber as well as new support from Capital One, we will have 22 Fellows in the next cohort of the Fellowship program starting this July. We have selected 22 incredible organizations in 11 different cities who will work with Fellows this year to launch and expand adult digital literacy programs.

Applications are now open and interviews may be scheduled on a rolling basis during the application period. Fellow selection may happen before applications close, so we encourage you to apply today! Fellow applications will close on May 13.

Learn more about the Digital Inclusion Fellowship, the available Fellow positions, and how to apply in the Community Call on Apr 28.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Today is the deadline for the National Digital Inclusion Fellowships!
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‘Gig Economy’: While U.S. Gains, Rural Shows Net Loss – Daily Yonder

‘Gig Economy’: While U.S. Gains, Rural Shows Net Loss – Daily Yonder | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
EDITOR’S NOTE: The nature of work in the U.S. may be changing from traditional employment to the “gig economy” – where people are self-employed, work as contracted labor, hire out through a temp agency, or freelance. A new study from researchers at Princeton and Harvard found that the percentage of workers engaged in such “alternative work arrangements” grew 10 points over the past decade.
We wondered how (and whether) this trend is playing out in rural America. So we asked Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D., to take a look. Gallardo is a frequent contributor to the Daily Yonder, where he’s had numerous articles on rural connectivity, economics, and demographics. He is an associate extension professor and leader of the Mississippi State University Extension Intelligent Community Institute.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
An important take on the role of geography and broadband.
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Digital Inclusion Day

Digital Inclusion Day | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
National Digital Inclusion Day
Join us Friday, May 13th for the first National Digital Inclusion Day as we focus attention on empowering under-connected communities through increased internet access and usage. NDIA invites you to participate in a nationwide Twitter Town Hall at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET to discuss the impact digital access and skills can have on society, families and individuals.

Twitter Town Hall (10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET)
You can join the Twitter Town Hall discussion by submitting questions and offering stories at #digitalinclusion. By joining the Twitter Town Hall, your organization will help to create a unified voice for digital inclusion programs and leaders around the country. More importantly, by participating in this day of action your organization will gain exposure as a leader in the digital inclusion movement. Discussion topics include: 

Home Broadband Access
Local Technology Training
Access to Low or No Cost Devices
Local Policies
Future of Digital Inclusion
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Information on National Digital Inclusion Day for #broadband, this Friday, May 13, at 1 p.m. ET, from NDIA!
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CenturyLink must expand fiber to ward off Google Fiber, cable competitors, says Wells Fargo

CenturyLink must expand fiber to ward off Google Fiber, cable competitors, says Wells Fargo | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) will need to continue to expanding its fiber networks to serve a mix of residential and business customers as it faces growing threats from upstart providers like Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) and cable operators like Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) building out into new areas.

Jennifer Fritzsche, senior analyst for telecommunications services at Wells Fargo, said in a research note that CenturyLink will face two scenarios: proactively build out fiber or work to satisfy the growing needs of its special access competitor customers.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Only one word: competition, competition, competition
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Schools get another round of bad broadband budget news

Schools get another round of bad broadband budget news | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
The state has received another round of bad budget news stemming from the defunct Idaho Education Network project.

But it’s not immediately clear how big the problem is this time, and what it could mean for schools across the state.

Last week, school districts began receiving word that they will not receive federally administered “E-Rate” dollars to help cover their technology costs. When the word began to reach state superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s office, she fired off a letter to school administrators Monday.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Problems on the eRate front.
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New Braunfels Takes Next Step In Texas | community broadband networks

New Braunfels Takes Next Step In Texas | community broadband networks | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
At a recent City Council meeting, New Braunfels council members approved $57,000 in funding for Phase II of a study to explore the feasibility of constructing a city-owned fiber network. The city's Industrial Development Corporation (4B Board), which helps guide the city's economic development initiatives, previously recommended moving on to this next phase of the project. 

Because state laws in Texas prevent municipalities from offering retail telecommunications services, New Braunfels must advance carefully. The city is proceeding with the consultant's recommendation to pursue a public-private partnership (PPP) for the proposed network. With this second phase of the study, the consultant will help the city release a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit interest from would-be private Internet Service Providers (ISP) for the city-owned network.
BroadbandBreakfast's insight:
Taking the next step for local broadband in Texas.
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The Internet Really Has Changed Everything. Here’s the Proof. — Backchannel

The Internet Really Has Changed Everything. Here’s the Proof. — Backchannel | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
This story is set on the speck of a map, a town haphazardly dripped onto the prairie, smack dab in the middle of the continent. In an era before devices quivered our limbs with nervous vibrations, back when neighbors phoned each other on rotary dials — here, on the great plains of Dakota, where I lived until the day I turned 18, stands a halfling of a town called Napoleon, a name so imperial that it can only be interpreted as a sarcastic joke to anyone who visits its restful streets.
Descriptions of Napoleon resemble a listless thesaurus recitation of the word remote, so I often resort to numbers to illustrate its lilliputian properties: zero stop lights, two bars, three gas stations, and four churches. The downtown of Napoleon stretches one block — one hardware store, one restaurant, one three-lane grocery store, one drugstore, and one bank. Except for the grain elevator and water tower, no building in town reaches over two stories tall.
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How broadband helps to alleviate distances in education, and in society at large.
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$32.5 million from "New Charter" for digital inclusion in California: A national model?

$32.5 million from "New Charter" for digital inclusion in California: A national model? | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
As the FCC nears a decision on the proposed merger between Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, digital inclusion advocates in California have negotiated a $32.5 million deal with "New Charter" that could support broadband adoption by hundreds of thousands of low income families in the state.

Now the big question is: Will the FCC make the California agreement a model for communities affected by the merger throughout the U.S.?

Under California law, the transfer of cable franchises required for the proposed merger must also be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) has led a statewide coalition calling on the CPUC (as well as the FCC) to withhold that approval unless the merged company, calling itself New Charter, agrees to a number of conditions to help overcome the digital exclusion of millions of residents in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside and other affected urban and rural communities.
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What are the merits of this agreement?
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The future of journalism in three words: collaboration, collaboration, collaboration | Charles Lewis

The future of journalism in three words: collaboration, collaboration, collaboration | Charles Lewis | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
he stark limitations of individual nation-state governments in the face of global problems have been glaringly apparent for many years. But perhaps never more so than with the recent publication of the Panama Papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – of which I am the founder – as well as the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Guardian, and more than 100 other news organisations around the world.

Based on a year-long analysis of 11.5m leaked records by more than 370 journalists in 76 countries, revealing “214,488 offshore entities connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories”, we now know in intricate detail what we’ve always cynically but correctly assumed. That, at the least, some of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful people have illegally hidden their money offshore and avoided taxes, or worse, laundered dirty money in all manner of illicit transactions, including bank fraud, political bribery, drug trafficking, terrorism, and business crimes. The founder and president of Global Financial Integrity, Raymond Baker, a decade ago aptly described the phenomenon of offshore dirty money as “capitalism’s Achilles heel”.
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Another great victory for a Charles Lewis-led organization!
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Officials firm up details on broadband Internet initiative

Officials firm up details on broadband Internet initiative | BroadbandPolicy | Scoop.it
Alexandria’s efforts to improve its broadband Internet and cable television offerings made progress last month, as a budget memo released by city staff revealed more details about the proposal.

The city issued a request for information last summer and received 10 responses, all from companies in the private sector. Officials look likely to replicate what has been done in neighboring jurisdictions and build a fiber optic network to connect city facilities like schools, libraries and recreation centers.
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Alexandria considering a public-private partnership for gigabit services.
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