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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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U.S. Now 27th Globally With Average Speed of 33.9 Mbps | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

U.S. Now 27th Globally With Average Speed of 33.9 Mbps | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Data pulled from Ookla suggests that the average downstream US connection speed has jumped 10 Mbps in the last year to 33.9 Mbps. That said, the US improvements were only enough to push it to 27th among the 199 countries ranked by average downstream speed.


Globally, the average downstream speed is currently 22.3 Mbps. While the US is ahead of the UK (30.18 Mbps), Germany (29.95 Mbps), Spain (28.28 Mbps), Russia (27.7 Mbps) and Ireland (27.29 Mbps), it remains well behind Asian countries like South Korea (84.31 Mbps) and Japan (60.49 Mbps).

According to the data, the fastest average US states are Washington (45.6 Mbps), Missouri (41.21 Mbps), New York (40.86 Mbps) California 40.8 Mbps, and Utah 40.47 Mbps.

The top ten cities in terms of average broadband speeds were Kansas City, MO (96.66 Mbps), Austin, TX (74.65 Mbps), Huntington Beach, CA (58.2 Mbps), New York, NY (53.3 Mbps)
and North Hollywood, CA (53.04 Mbps).

The US jump is thanks largely to the relatively inexpensive upgrades cable operators are making to DOCSIS 3.0. Cable operators are just starting to explore upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1, which should result in a number of 1 Gbps cable deployments starting in 2016. Google Fiber -- offering the fastest average connection among ISPs at 230.69Mbps (compared to 42.27Mbps for Verizon FiOS) can also be thanked for much of the improvement.


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Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years now, we've been warning about the problematic "ISDS" -- "investor state dispute settlement" mechanisms that are a large part of the big trade agreements that countries have been negotiating. As we've noted, the ISDS name is designed to be boring, in an effort to hide the true impact -- but the reality is that these provisions provide corporate sovereignty, elevating the power of corporations to put them above the power of local governments.


If you thought "corporate personhood" was a problem, corporate sovereignty takes things to a whole new level -- letting companies take foreign governments to special private "tribunals" if they think that regulations passed in those countries are somehow unfair. Existing corporate sovereignty provisions have led to things like Big Tobacco threatening to sue small countries for considering anti-smoking legislation and pharma giant Eli Lilly demanding $500 million from Canada, because Canada dared to reject some of its patents noting (correctly) that the drugs didn't appear to be any improvement over existing drugs.

The US has been vigorously defending these provisions lately, but with hilariously misleading arguments. The White House recently posted a blog post defending corporate sovereignty, with National Economic Council director Jeff Zients claiming the following:


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ESPN will cost $36.30 per sub in a la carte world priced by 'reach', analyst says | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable

ESPN will cost $36.30 per sub in a la carte world priced by 'reach', analyst says | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a video programming business that will be increasingly dominated by over-the-top distribution and skinnier bundles, "reach"--the actual percentage of viewers that watch a channel over a set time period--will have a much greater role in defining consumer pricing.

And using some complex mathematical formulas, MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson arrived at some interesting per-subscriber price projections for major cable networks operating in a world where channels get paid based more purely on the amount of people who actually watch them.

As it is with previous speculative models for a la carte pricing, Disney's ESPN is a prime example in Nathanson's study, currently distributed in the vast majority of pay-TV homes and commanding a per-subscriber fee averaging out to around $6.10.

In an a la carte scenario, Nathanson postulates that ESPN's distribution dwindles to about 16.81 percent of TV homes, matching its reach. With the smaller distribution footprint, advertising revenue also goes down.

Disney would have to charge a per-sub fee of $36.30 to maintain its current margins, Nathanson postulates. TNT would cost around $8.95 a sub in this scenario. Disney Channel ($8.25), USA Network ($5.45) and Nickelodeon ($4.99) would also be pricey.


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WiFi, User Interfaces and “The New Comcast for the Internet” | Mitchell Shapiro | Quello Center | Michigan State University

WiFi, User Interfaces and “The New Comcast for the Internet” | Mitchell Shapiro | Quello Center | Michigan State University | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In an earlier post in this series I discussed business issues and opportunities related to a potential launch by Comcast of a WiFi-based service that could:

  • further monetize the company’s investments in millions of in-home dual-SSID WiFi gateway devices;
  • provide it with a relatively low-cost, high-margin entry into the wireless market space;
  • give it a powerful position in the emerging market for nomadic, multiscreen multimedia services and;
  • strengthen its overall market power in the communication sector as a whole.


In this two-part post I’m considering this same topic, but from a public policy perspective.

Viewed in very broad strokes, we have on one hand the potential benefits from what could be a new and attractively priced competitive option in the wireless sector. On the other hand, we have a range of complex and intertwined public policy issues related to the continued expansion of Comcast’s market power across multiple sectors of the communications industry, and the prospects for anti-competitive impacts of that expansion.


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Obama administration continues to ignore US need for ubiquitous FTTP | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Obama administration continues to ignore US need for ubiquitous FTTP | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Obama administration continues to ignore the need for ubiquitous fiber to the premise infrastructure serving all American homes and small businesses.

The administration instead is pursuing a PR campaign to shift attention to mobile wireless service that can't accommodate growing premise bandwidth demand as well as pointless activities such as "broadband mapping" and measuring "broadband speeds" that will do nothing to construct the FTTP infrastructure the nation should have been putting in place a generation ago.


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An Alternate Web Based Upon Mesh | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

In a blog last week I talked about an alternate model for the Internet that can make it safer to communicate with others. The idea that I explored last week was to base web transactions on block chains, which is a technology that decentralizes communications without needing to pass through centralized servers.

Today, I want to talk about mesh networks as another idea on how to develop safer communications. There is now a movement within the country to create mesh networks as an alternate to the traditional web. Mesh networks have been around a long time. The concept of a mesh is simple. Today’s Internet relies solely upon making every connection for every transaction through an ISP. The ISP, using a series of servers and routers, then directs your traffic to where it’s supposed to go.

But it is these servers and routers that are the weak points in today’s web. First, the ISP is recording everything you do and mining every piece of data you send through them. These servers and routers are also where malicious entities get access to your data, making you vulnerable to everybody from hackers to the NSA.

The idea of a mesh network is to skip these intermediate checkpoints whenever possible. In a mesh network every device in the mesh is able to communicate directly with the other devices within the mesh. Picture, as an example, a neighborhood where all of the households meshed their WiFi networks together. In such a network you could communicate with anybody in the neighborhood and exchange data with them without having to go back to the ISP network. It would function as if you were all on the same WiFi network within a home. Granted there is not generally that much traffic exchanged with your neighbors, so such a network would be of limited use. But it’s an example of how a mesh works.


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Hudson Developing Plans for Muni Fiber Open Access Network in Ohio | community broadband networks

Hudson Developing Plans for Muni Fiber Open Access Network in Ohio | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Hudson, OH is moving ahead with plans to develop a publicly owned fiber network, reports the Hub Times. The City Council recently approved a contract with a consultant to develop a conceptual design, implement the plan, and recruit service providers interested in operating over an open access network.

In January, the town of about 23,000 conducted a residential and business survey to determine the overall state of broadband in the community. At a February meeting, the Council reviewed the survey results. Almost 1,000 residents and 133 businesses answered the survey which revealed that Internet services were lacking in coverage, speed, performance, and reliability. From a February Hub Times article:


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Despite Throwing Money At Congress, Comcast Finds Merger Support Hard To Come By | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Despite Throwing Money At Congress, Comcast Finds Merger Support Hard To Come By | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Poor Comcast. Despite throwing millions of dollars at think tanks, consultants, PR reps, editorial writers, various front groups and a myriad of other policy tendrils, genuine, meaningful support for the company's $45 billion Time Warner Cable acquisition is still apparently hard to come by.


You might recall that last year top Comcast (lobbyist) "Chief Diversity Officer" David Cohen proudly crowed that support for the company's merger was "pouring in" -- though he failed to mention that Comcast was paying people for that support, and that said support largely consisted of regurgitated form letters.

Despite the money spent however, it appears that actual support in Congress for the deal is tepid to non-existent. Comcast's hometown paper the Philadelphia Inquirer points out that whereas the NBC deal saw major support efforts by members of Congress, politicians appear to want nothing to do with this latest merger attempt:


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Philadelphia: City Council Resolution Calling for Hearings on Historic Comcast Communications Franchise | Hannah Sassaman | Cap Comcast!

Philadelphia: City Council Resolution Calling for Hearings on Historic Comcast Communications Franchise | Hannah Sassaman | Cap Comcast! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today, Councilman Bobby Henon introduced, and City Council passed, a resolution authorizing the committees on Public Property and Public Works, and on Technology and Information Services, to hold hearings on a once-in-a-generation negotiation with the Comcast Corporation.

This resolution is passed at a time when myriad community groups are pushing the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) to release a long-awaited summary of a comprehensive needs assessment they conducted; an assessment surveying Philadelphia residents on their communications needs. In their survey, OIT, working with an independent contractor, asked Philadelphians many questions about their experiences with Comcast. Thousands of people responded to the city’s needs assessment survey, on paper, by phone, or online.

As Comcast’s 15-years-old cable franchise agreement with Philadelphia expires in 2015, the data respondents provided to the City will inform officials as they begin negotiations for a new contract between Comcast and the City; a contract that could allow Comcast to secure near-monopoly access to Philadelphia homes and businesses for another 15 years.

The statement below, released in response to the introduction and passage of this resolution, can be attributed to Hannah Sassaman, Policy Director at Media Mobilizing Project.


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Where are the results of Philadelphia's Comcast survey? | Jeff Gelles | Philly.com

Where are the results of Philadelphia's Comcast survey? | Jeff Gelles | Philly.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The last time you phoned Comcast - yes, I know, this will tickle at least a few readers - did you reach someone within 30 seconds? What's your total monthly Comcast tab? If you've quit Comcast, was it because of cost, service problems, or some other reason?

Nearly two years ago, Philadelphia officials said they were posing those and similar questions to city residents - including to a random sample of 800 Comcast customers and nonsubscribers. They had good reason: All four of the city's Comcast cable franchises expire later this year. Facing a once-in-15-years opportunity, city officials said they were "seeking community feedback" as they prepared to negotiate renewals with Philly's 1st Corporate Citizen.

So where are the results - or the long-promised "needs assessment" they're part of? Seems they've been bottled up in the office of Mayor Nutter, though officials can't really explain the delay.

"All I can say is that it's still in process. We hope to get it out shortly, though I can't put a specific date on it," Mark McDonald, the mayor's spokesman, told me Wednesday.

Are they getting pressure from Comcast to change the report, after sharing a draft with the company? McDonald said the city wanted to know if Comcast objected - "If you have a beef, let's hear it" - but promised that the city's findings would not be edited or redacted at Comcast's request.

"The report is the report," he said. "What they get is the courtesy of knowing what they need to be prepared to answer."

Comcast officials declined to comment. But company critics and at least one Council member are among those urging the report's release.


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Facebook Is Slowly Taking Over the News Business. Here’s Why No One Will Stop It. | Will Oremus | Slate.com

Facebook Is Slowly Taking Over the News Business. Here’s Why No One Will Stop It. | Will Oremus | Slate.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Facebook’s plan to take over the media was first articulated in October, by the New York Times’ David Carr. The social network had become a dominant source of online news for its billion-plus users. But it found that those users were frustrated by the experience of reading news on Facebook, especially on their phones. It required clicking links to third-party media websites, whose pages were slow to load, riddled with ads, and often failed to match the promise of their clickbait headlines.


Facebook has tried to solve this problem from a number of angles, many of which I’ve written about in the past. But the ultimate solution was the one Carr laid out: Facebook would simply host news’ sites content on its own platform, then share a slice of the ad revenue that resulted.

I wrote in depth in January about Facebook’s plan to cut out the middle man, explaining how it might work and why publishers would feel compelled to participate. At the time, Facebook had just published a blog post encouraging publishers to post videos natively on its platform, so that they could play automatically in users’ feeds. (Facebook’s algorithms heavily prioritize native video posts over, say, YouTube videos.) But I predicted that we’d eventually see Facebook nudge media outlets to post full news stories directly to Facebook as well—perhaps by “late 2016.”
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That prediction suddenly looks far too conservative. The Times reported on Monday that Facebook “has been quietly holding talks with at least half a dozen media companies about hosting their content inside Facebook rather than making users tap a link to go to an external site.” And it will start testing the new scheme “in the next several months,” with the New York Times, National Geographic, and BuzzFeed among the likely partners at launch. No doubt others will be lined up to follow their lead.

Skeptics are howling that this is a Faustian bargain—that the media are mortgaging their long-term futures for short-term gain.


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Apple co-founder on artificial intelligence: ‘The future is scary and very bad for people’ | Peter Holley | WashPost.com

Apple co-founder on artificial intelligence: ‘The future is scary and very bad for people’ | Peter Holley | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Super Rich Technologists Making Dire Predictions About Artificial Intelligence club gained another fear-mongering member this week: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Wozniak joined original club members Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk by making his own casually apocalyptic warning about machines superseding the human race.

"Like people including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have predicted, I agree that the future is scary and very bad for people," Wozniak said. "If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they'll think faster than us and they'll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently."

Doling out paralyzing chunks of fear like gumdrops to sweet-toothed children on Halloween, Woz continued: "Will we be the gods? Will we be the family pets? Or will we be ants that get stepped on? I don't know about that … But when I got that thinking in my head about if I'm going to be treated in the future as a pet to these smart machines … well I'm going to treat my own pet dog really nice."

Seriously? Should we even get up tomorrow morning, or just order pizza, log onto Netflix and wait until we find ourselves looking through the bars of a dog crate? Help me out here, man!

Wozniak's warning seemed to follow the exact same story arc as Season 1 Episode 2 of Adult Swim's "Rick and Morty Show." Not accusing him of apocalyptic plagiarism or anything; just noting.


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Jaakko Kuosmanen's curator insight, March 26, 4:31 PM

http://www.prosessipaivat.fi

Scottie Joe McMullan's curator insight, March 26, 8:39 PM

It seems to be a growing trend that IT industry professionals/veterans are beginning to say that the computers and A.I. we create are going to supersede the human race.

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Virginia Beach, VA: Region needs cheap and high-speed Internet | Editorial | PilotOnline.com

Virginia Beach, VA: Region needs cheap and high-speed Internet | Editorial | PilotOnline.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week, Virginia Beach agreed to study ways to bring ultra-high-speed Internet service to the city, and possibly the region.

The move is essential if the Beach expects to lure biomedical research and health care businesses.

Councilman Ben Davenport, who made ultra-high-speed access a campaign issue last fall, noted that cities across the country have invested in the next-generation technology to improve economic development, and that Virginia Beach will quickly fall behind if it doesn't.

In fact, last week, Huntsville, Ala., announced plans to become "Gig City" to satisfy the needs of its defense and aerospace industries and to provide ultra-high-speed Internet coverage at a reasonable cost for residents and businesses that want it.

Huntsville's mayor compared the service to basic utilities. Moving data at high speeds is becoming as essential to a city's economic survival as water, sewer and roads, Tommy Battle said.

In recent months, 46 cities and towns in Connecticut have formed a public-private partnership to provide Internet service connections as much as 100 times faster than the state has now. The localities provide infrastructure but are not retail service providers or network operators; those jobs fall to private partners.

The goals, according to the Connecticut State Broadband Initiative: Target commercial corridors "to foster innovation, drive job creation and stimulate economic growth." Provide free or heavily discounted Internet service to underserved and disadvantaged areas. Deliver gigabit Internet service at prices "comparable to other gigabit fiber communities across the nation."

That's what Virginia Beach needs.

Davenport suggests using the Virginia Wireless Service Authorities Act, which allows localities to create broadband authorities to deliver Internet access. The Eastern Shore already has established an authority to build the backbone of a fiber optic network between the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and Maryland. Virginia Beach could join it or create one for the region.

"We have $46 million of fiber optic infrastructure in the ground already," Davenport noted.


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Showtime, HBO Working With ISPs To Make Their Streaming Services Cap Exempt | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Showtime, HBO Working With ISPs To Make Their Streaming Services Cap Exempt | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As we just got done saying, while the new net neutrality rules are certainly a great step forward, there are probably more questions than answers in terms of just how far the FCC will be willing to go when it comes to policing anti-competitive behavior.


For example, while the agency says it will keep on eye on "interconnection" fights, we won't know what the FCC will determine as "anti-competitive" until we see the agency act.


Similarly, while numerous countries including Canada, The Netherlands, Chile, Slovenia and Norway all have neutrality protections that outright ban "zero rated" apps (letting apps bypass user caps), the FCC so far seems to think zero rating is perfectly ok.

That's potentially a problem, given the bad precedents set by programs like AT&T's Sponsored Data and T-Mobile's Music Freedom, which the FCC has indicated are ok under their interpretation of the rules.


These programs profess to be boons to the consumer, yet by their very nature automatically disadvantage smaller internet players. As such, the future of neutrality involves violations accompanied by skilled sales pitches that result in consumers not understanding -- or in some cases even cheering -- when the idea of net neutrality is compromised.

First case in point is HBO and Showtime, which appear eager to determine just where the FCC intends to draw the line. According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, both companies are working closely with ISPs on deals that would not only give their upcoming streaming video services delivery priority, but would exempt them from carrier usage caps:


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Tennessee fights for its right to squash municipal broadband expansion | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Tennessee fights for its right to squash municipal broadband expansion | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The State of Tennessee is fighting for its right to enforce a law that prevents municipal broadband networks from providing Internet service to other cities and towns.

Tennessee filed a lawsuit Friday against the Federal Communications Commission, which last month voted to preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories. The FCC cited its authority granted in 1996 by Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, which requires the FCC to encourage the deployment of broadband to all Americans by using "measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment." (Emphasis ours.)

In Tennessee, the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga offers Internet and video service to residents, but state law prevented it from expanding outside its electric service area to adjacent towns that have poor Internet service. Tennessee is one of about 20 states that impose some type of restriction on municipal broadband networks, helping protect private Internet service providers from competition.

Tennessee isn't going to give up its restriction on municipal broadband without a fight. "[T]he FCC has unlawfully inserted itself between the State of Tennessee and the State’s own political subdivisions," Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery wrote in the state's petition to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. "The State of Tennessee, as a sovereign and a party to the proceeding below, is aggrieved and seeks relief on the grounds that the Order: (1) is contrary to the United States Constitution; (2) is in excess of the Commission’s authority; (3) is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act; and (4) is otherwise contrary to law."

It's no surprise that the FCC is facing a lawsuit over its decision, as this is the first time the commission has tested its Section 706 authority by preempting state laws restricting municipal broadband.


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Congress wants to open up vast troves of federal airwaves for your cellphone | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Congress wants to open up vast troves of federal airwaves for your cellphone | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every time you send a text or receive a mobile phone call, you're using wireless spectrum — invisible airwaves that transport all those bits and bytes from local cell towers to people like you and me. As more Americans become data-hungry consumers, that'll put an incredible load on the nation's cellular networks, which is why carriers such as AT&T have lately spent billions on additional spectrum to upgrade their service.

Now, Congress wants to open up even more spectrum to meet that demand, by looking to the vast swaths of radio frequencies controlled by the federal government. A bill from Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) will seek to do just that on Thursday. In the Senate, Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) are introducing an identical bill Thursday. The resulting auction of government airwaves could be a boon for industry, consumers and federal coffers.

"This legislation would create the first-ever incentive auction for federal agencies and — for once — offer revenue to federal spectrum users," said Matsui in a statement. "It is a game-changer."

The legislation, which was previously considered in the last Congress and has backing from key committee lawmakers such as Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), directs the Federal Communications Commission to set up a sale of federal spectrum. And there's a lot of it: Agencies such as NASA use spectrum to talk to space probes. Same with NOAA, which uses spectrum for weather satellites. The Pentagon uses spectrum for secure radio communications and intelligence gathering.

"Spectrum is the oxygen of the wireless ecosystem, but the surging growth in today’s data-intensive devices and applications is leaving our mobile economy gasping for air," said Markey in a statement. "As demand for wireless devices and services increases, so does the need for additional spectrum for commercial use."

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Canada: Bell censorship: the status quo can't endure | Peter Nowak | AlphaBeatic.com

Canada: Bell censorship: the status quo can't endure | Peter Nowak | AlphaBeatic.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Well, well, well. Bell has been caught censoring the news again.

This means two things. One: there is panic within the company. Two: action is needed to prevent further incidents and to protect the integrity of news reporting in Canada.

If you missed the news, it can be summed up thusly: upset at the CRTC’s big TV decision last week that will force channel unbundling, Bell Media president Kevin Crull issued a ban on CTV journalists airing interviews with Jean Pierre Blais, the regulator’s chairman. The edict rankled some principled individuals at Bell-owned CTV, and they blew the whistle to The Globe and Mail (which is ironically partly owned by Bell as well).

University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist does an excellent job of summing up that first point above, about the company being in panic mode, with this nifty Twitter slideshow titled “What on Earth is happening at Bell?”

Among the reprehensible, anti-consumer things Bell has done in the past two years alone:


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Unions Try To Pressure Verizon Into Expanding FiOS | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Unions Try To Pressure Verizon Into Expanding FiOS | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Labor unions have launched a new campaign taking aim at Verizon's stalled (read: stopped) FiOS deployment. As noted previously, Verizon's FiOS expansion has been over for several years, with the exception of franchise build out promises for major cities. Still, some of the forgotten regions in Verizon's footprint (like Alexandria, Baltimore, Buffalo & Boston) continue to hold out hope that the company will eventually decide to extend FiOS a little bit further.

Company executives however continue to state there's no expansion plans. And even in major cities like New York (where Verizon promised 100% coverage by last year), people are only now starting to realize those goals will never be even remotely met. Even though the warning signs in Verizon's contract language were there for those who were paying attention.

Obviously impacted by Verizon's decision to back away from its fixed-line networks, the Communications Workers of America have launched a new "Where's My FiOS? campaign aimed at putting public pressure on Verizon to expand FiOS further -- and therefore spend a little more money on installations and union employees.


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LA: Lafayette Considers Expansion, One Nearby Town Strikes Itself From List | community broadband networks

LA: Lafayette Considers Expansion, One Nearby Town Strikes Itself From List | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We have long applauded communities that have built their own fiber networks and then elect to expand them to neighboring communities. In Louisiana for example, Lafayette could hoard its network, forcing people that want the best connectivity in the region to move within its borders. But instead, it is preparing to expand the network.

City-Parish President Joey Durel announced that the municipal network would begin expanding beyond Lafayette city limits. An article in The Advocate quoted Durel:

“As I have traveled this parish, one of the most common things I am asked is, ‘When will we get fiber?’ That answer depended in large part on making fiber successful in Lafayette. We’re there,” Durel told the crowd that filled the Cajundome Convention Center.

Durel noted that municipalities that make agreements with Lafayette based on future annexation will be considered if they are willing to pay for the cost of expansion in their communities. Youngsville is reported to be the first town be consider Lafayette's proposal for bringing better local residential and business connectivity.

Any expansion of municipal networks has to answer some of the same important questions of any partnerships - how to allocate risk and benefits. It doesn't seem appropriate for Lafayette to assume the full risk of expanding the network to Youngsville, for example. Those who receive the benefits should assume some risk, and those who assume risk should be compensated in some measure.

One community, Broussard, is balking. Apparently, the town of 6,800 people located just outside Lafayette city limits does not want to contribute to the cost of fiber in their community, reports The Advocate. Understanding these fights from afar is always challenging because neighboring communities have often developed animosity over decades from both real and imagined slights.

Broussard has taken a hard line:


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Map: The state of broadband in the states | Niraj Chokski | WashPost.com

Map: The state of broadband in the states | Niraj Chokski | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Broadband speeds are expanding nationwide and the conditions seem good for even more growth.

All but seven states saw average peak connection speeds grow between the third and fourth quarters of 2014, an indication that Internet connection capacity is growing across the country, according to a new State of the Internet report from Akamai Technologies, which hosts content online.

Delaware held onto its top ranking among the states, with average peak speeds of 75.4 megabits per second. Virginia jumped four spots to claim second place at 73.5 Mbps. D.C. was third at 65.9 Mbps, followed by Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Kentucky unseated Arkansas as the state with the slowest average peak speeds, clocking in at 34 Mbps. Akamai argues that the average peak connection speed is most representative of Internet connection capacity.

Speeds have gained over the past few quarters and that trend is expected to continue, Akamai reports.

“Many of the efforts to increase connection speeds are being taken at a local/municipal level and may not have an immediate state-wide impact upon completion, but are part of ongoing initiatives that are becoming more widespread across the country,” the company noted.

Throughout the fourth quarter a number of municipalities announced the rollout of gigabit-speed Internet, including those in Arizona, California, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Oregon.

At the state level, Kentucky partnered with a private company to build a $250 million to $350 million in fiber backbone throughout the state and a public/private initiative in Connecticut aims to connect roughly half the population to gigabit-speed, fiber-optic Internet, according to the report.

“The fact that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has pushed to change the definition of ‘broadband’ to 25 Mbps from 4 Mbps is also indicative of the continued march towards faster connectivity in more and more places,” they note.


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Hands on: AT&T Velocity hits the WiFi hotspot | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.com

Hands on: AT&T Velocity hits the WiFi hotspot | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I’m using the ZTE-built AT&T Velocity WiFi hotspot as I write up my quickie review of the device here, and sure enough it’s providing me with ample speed as I fact check on the web during this process.

The basic purpose for the device is to provide you with 2.4- or 5-GHz WiFi Internet access – via an AT&T 4G LTE connection -- when you can’t find free or safe WiFi in the wild. You just need to make sure you’re not somewhere that blocks usage of such devices – a practice frowned upon by the FCC.

The product was actually introduced by AT&T this past October, but when ZTE offered out of the blue this month to send us one to try, I figured I should since I’ve been too cheap to invest in a hotspot device of my own (the almost-blooper reel of an unboxing video here). I've been using it off and on for about a week.

The hotspot is designed to connect up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices, and I tried it with up to four (a Windows PC, a MacBook Air, an iPad and an iPhone). I didn’t notice any drop-off in download or upload speed, though according to an Ookla test my speed is actually much faster when connected to the wire or using our in-house WiFi. But it wasn’t as if I was doing any real heavy lifting in terms of what I was accessing on the Web, so like I say, the speed was quite fine, even for watching video.

I found the Velocity simple to get going right out of the box, which in addition to the hotspot device includes a plug-in USB charger and quick start instructions.


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Iowa: iWireless to launch LTE in 2H15 via T-Mobile roaming | TeleGeography.com

Iowa-based mobile service provider iWireless has announced plans to invest over USD35 million in upgrading its 2G and 3G networks, and launching Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the second half of 2015.


The operator will roll out LTE in the cities of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Marshalltown, Muscatine, and the ‘Quad Cities’ (Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline and Rock Island) via a roaming deal with parent company T-Mobile US.


CEO Craven Shumaker commented: ‘It’s an exciting time for iWireless, and we are pleased to bring LTE technology to our customers both urban and rural.’

Earlier this month, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Nokia Networks had been awarded a technology evolution contract by iWireless under which Nokia is modernising the operator’s existing networks and deploying its end-to-end LTE infrastructure.

Headquartered in Urbandale, Iowa, iWireless is a partnership between mobile giant T-Mobile US and Iowa Network Services (INS). The latter is privately owned by a group of 127 independent telephone companies that together serve 500,000 rural Iowans.

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AT&T opposes TN municipal broadband bill | Jamie McGee | The Tennessean

AT&T opposes TN municipal broadband bill | Jamie McGee | The Tennessean | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For many rural Tennesseans, the bills that would allow municipal broadband providers to expand services is a step toward faster Internet. For the telecommunications industry, it is unwanted competition.

AT&T Tennessee President Joelle Phillips has emailed Tennessee employees, encouraging them to reach out to legislators and oppose two bills filed in the General Assembly, versions of which have been killed in at least three previous legislative sessions.

"Government should not compete against the private sector, which has a proven history of funding, building, operating and upgrading broadband networks," she said in the emailed statement. "Rather than delivering more broadband, we believe that this policy will discourage the private sector investment that has delivered the world-class broadband infrastructure American consumers deserve and enjoy today."

Chattanooga, Clarksville, Jackson, Bristol, Morristown, Pulaski, Tullahoma and Columbia are among Tennessee cities that provide broadband access to residents and businesses, but they can connect only those within their electric service limits. The bills, filed by Republican legislators Sen. Janice Bowling of Tullahoma and Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland, would allow the government-owned providers to serve homes outside those boundaries.


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Net neutrality rules let FCC police future ISP conduct | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Net neutrality rules let FCC police future ISP conduct | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules allow the agency to police future network management practices and business models rolled out by broadband providers, raising concerns among critics that an activist commission will inject itself into ISP board rooms.

The so-called future conduct standard in the FCC’s new rules leave questions about what ISP practices the agency will allow, critics say. Following the FCC’s publication of the new rules last week, the future conduct standard has raised perhaps the most objections, other than complaints about the agency’s decision to reclassify broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service.

“We don’t really know where this is going to go, but the FCC is going to sit there as a referee,” Republican FCC member Ajit Pai said Wednesday, during a Senate hearing. “The problem is, nobody even knows what the game is, what the rules are.”

The future conduct standard will create questions about investing in the broadband market, Senator Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican, said during the hearing. “How can any business that’s trying to innovate have any kind of certainty that they’re not going to be regulated by the FCC under what I view as a very vague rule?” she said.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other supporters of the net neutrality rules have defended the future conduct standard, saying it’s an attempt by the agency to keep an eye on ISPs without adopting overly restrictive bans on business plans.

The net neutrality regulations contain so-called bright-line rules prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or throttling legal Web traffic and from charging Web-based services from paying for prioritized traffic, but the future conduct standard gives the FCC the authority to prohibit other practices going forward.


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US federal government will have provide substantial funding for Internet infrastructure construction | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

US federal government will have provide substantial funding for Internet infrastructure construction | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Obama: This federal council will jumpstart broadband - CNET: Obama first introduced this idea in January, when he traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa to announce his plan to promote "Broadband that Works," a public-private effort to help more Americans get access to speedier broadband.

As part of this new push, he urged the FCC to strike down state laws to ensure communities could build or expand their own 1 gigabit-per-second networks, which offer downloads 100 times faster than conventional connections.

The new council will include 25 federal agencies and departments that will work with private industry to understand how the federal government can help communities increase broadband investment and reduce barriers to deployment. The council will be co-chaired by the U.S. Commerce and Agriculture departments. The council will report back to Obama, within 150 days, with the steps each agency will take to advance these goals, including specific regulatory actions or budget proposals.

The biggest barrier to Internet infrastructure investment is private market failure on the sell side. That's been patently obvious for more than a decade; it doesn't take more than two dozen federal agencies and departments to ascertain that.

What will be truly interesting is what regulatory actions and budget proposals will be recommended. On the regulatory front, the Federal Communications Commission has already acted by deeming the Internet as a common carrier telecommunications service. That leaves it up to fiscal strategies, which should include substantial technical assistance and infrastructure funding for the states along the lines of existing block grant and federal highway programs.


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