Tracks what is developing about net neutrality, the right to access the internet and information, and other multi-media news, mail, print, technological, radio, wifi, trends and any communication system.A watchful eye on communication policy is kept to report new developments and organized citizen efforts to push back and protect citizens' communication systems from government and corporate over reaching.
A total of 46 Connecticut cities and towns have now signed on to a project to bring ultra-high-speed Internet service to their communities, according to state Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz.
The goal is to provide Internet service connections that are as much as 100 times faster than what Connecticut Internet users now have. Advocates of the project say ultra-speedy World Wide Web service has triggered dramatic economic growth in several of the U.S. cities already.
New Haven, Stamford and West Hartford leaders joined with state officials in September to announce the plan, and they invited other Connecticut municipalities to get on board the effort to bring upgraded Internet service to the state.
“The response from the state’s towns has been overwhelming,” Katz said in a prepared statement Friday. “I’ve heard over and over that municipal officials are frustrated with available Internet speeds and the cost to their towns of upgrading Internet networks.”
“That so many Connecticut cities have joined this effort is heartening and confirms for me the pent-up demand for high-capacity digital connectivity in support of commerce, research and 21st Century life in our state,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.
The next step in the project is to obtain formal proposals from Internet service providers interested in taking part in the cooperative public-private effort. Those proposals are due to be handed in by Jan. 13 to New Haven’s city purchasing department, which is administering the project.
William Vallee, who is the Office of Consumer Counsel’s broadband policy coordinator, said two international investment banks have already expressed interest in becoming involved with the high-speed Internet project. One of those financial institutions, Macquarie Bank, is also an owner of Aquarion Company, Connecticut’s largest water company, Vallee said.
The controversial Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger hinges on regulatory approval from the FCC and the Department of Justice, both of which are based in Washington, DC. It will come as no surprise that Comcast is trying to ingratiate itself to the DC elite by passing out cards with "priority assistance" codes to select staffers, journalists, and other influential citizens of the nation's capital, which can help expedite service for the select few who posses the cards.
In an excellent report by Luke Mullins of the Washingtonian detailing how former Meet The Press moderator David Gregory lost his job, Mullins notes how Comcast is a much more hands-on corporate parent for NBC than GE ever was. Comcast executives show up to Washington events — something that GE executives rarely did — including the White House Correspondents' Dinner, where Comcast execs "mingled with lawmakers, Capitol Hill aides, and media muckety-mucks."
Comcast also had an even more personal way of sucking up to Washington. Its government-affairs team carried around "We’ll make it right" cards stamped with "priority assistance" codes for fast-tracking help and handed them out to congressional staffers, journalists, and other influential Washingtonians who complained about their service.
A Comcast spokeswoman says this practice isn’t exclusive to DC; every Comcast employee receives the cards, which they can distribute to any customer with cable or internet trouble. Nevertheless, efforts like this one have surely helped Comcast boost its standing inside the Beltway and improve its chances of winning regulatory approval for its next big conquest: merging with the second-largest cable provider in the country, Time Warner Cable.
As The Verge reported back in August, Comcast has been passing out these cards for years, and the company is using them to target Washington power players, perhaps in the hopes that it will shift negative opinions of the company and its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable that will create an even larger conglomerate which will supply internet access to more than a third of US broadband subscribers.
What is it about the net neutrality debate that inspires so many uninformed opinions and misguided comparisons?
Monica S Mcfeeters's insight:
This is an interesting article with interesting comments....He is wrong about the black and white..NET NEUTRALITY IS THE BASIC WAY THE INTERNET WEB WAS DESIGNED...without it we are wiser to get rid of the whole thing. .I think the Man the invented the WEB Tim Berners-Lee has it right. It is time for a internet Bill of Rights and the Verizon suit proves the government has no authority to enforce any rights if the internet is not re-classified under the watch of the FCC.or some equal group set up just for the WEB...But the WEB is combined now into all our other communication systems so why would we separate it?
Concerns are growing that the supposedly benign philosophy behind the new wave of internet star names such as Airbnb and Uber simply disguises a rapacious business model You can not only find someone online willing to rent you a room in their...
The Washington Post reports that Facebook has complied with a Russian government demand to block access to a page supporting Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny:
In a sign of new limits on Facebook’s ability to serve as a platform for political opposition movements, Russian users appear to have been blocked from accessing a page calling for a protest in support of a prominent dissident.
In 2011, Facebook was hailed by opposition movements during the Arab Spring and in Russia as a powerful new tool to spread information beyond the control of repressive governments. That may no longer be the case, at least not in Russia. Russian Internet regulators said Saturday that they had sent Facebook a “demand” that it block access to a page calling for a demonstration in support of Alexei Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin….
“At the moment, the demand” to block the page “is being fulfilled” by Facebook, Vadim Ampelonsky, a spokesman for the Russian Internet regulator, told the Interfax news service.
Facebook should be ashamed of cooperating with this demand for censorship by Russia’s repressive government, and should rescind that cooperation immediately. In fairness, the Post article quotes a Facebook spokeswoman to the effect that the company is studying the matter. But she didn’t deny the Russian government’s claim that Facebook has “fulfilled” its demand, and the site does indeed seem to be blocked for Russian users.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $500 million broadband expansion program is set to get underway after his 2015 State of the State address, said David Salway, director of the New York State Broadband Program office.
The expansion, announced Oct. 8, would create a “NY Broadband Fund” that would offer grants to any broadband company that offers to match public funding to expand and improve existing infrastructure.
The program will aim to accelerate economic development, according to the press release accompanying the announcement, which cited “the growth of the technology sector, education’s shift toward digital learning, and and the increase in consumer demand for greater internet connectivity at home” as the spurs for its development.
Salway will oversee development of the proposal’s blueprint and timeline.
In a Wednesday interview with Capital, he said the broadband fund will follow the same guidelines established by Cuomo’s 2012 “Connect NY Fund,” which initially offered $25 million in grants for largely the same purpose. That program operated as a public-private partnership, in which the state worked with vendors and companies to implement upgrades and expand services.
Salway said the broadband program office aims to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) by 2018, and said this “unprecedented” effort has made Cuomo a “national leader” in expanding broadband services.
As Cuba closes its gap to the U.S., one big task will be modernizing its telecommunications links with the outside world, which have languished amid tight control of information access on the island and the U.S.