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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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Patent shows Apple's interesting mobile Wi-Fi hotspot idea | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com

Patent shows Apple's interesting mobile Wi-Fi hotspot idea | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent application today that suggests the company has explored a new kind of mobile hotspot technology that is easier to set up, provides a more reliable connection, and has a longer battery life.

The patent application, first reported by Apple Insider, is for a small, cylindrical Wi-Fi hotspot device consisting of two pieces: one containing the networking hardware, the other a battery pack. Screw the two pieces together and you have a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.

The description of the technology in the application points out that some of the available options for mobile hotspots – i.e. separate devices like a laptop – are not very convenient to carry everywhere the user would like to connect to Wi-Fi, like when jogging or hiking. The application also mentioned security concerns with connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots, a concern anyone who has spent any time working in a coffee shop has shared. This portable, private Wi-Fi network could solve that issue.


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FCC Reform Bill Passes in Contentious Markup | John Eggerton | Multichannel

FCC Reform Bill Passes in Contentious Markup | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A divided and sometimes contentious House Communications Subcommittee has approved all seven Federal Communications Commission process-reform bills.

That came in a markup Wednesday (May 20) that featured some sparks between the chairman and ranking member, a passionate attack on the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision on political campaign financing, and Democratic amendments defeated along party-line votes.

The summary of the markup is that all of the bills were favorably reported to the full committee, including all legislation proposed by both Democrats and Republicans.

But the story was far more complicated and contentious.


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Wave Raises $130M for Fiber Build | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com

Wave Raises $130M for Fiber Build | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Wave Broadband, the Kirkland, Wash.-based broadband and pay TV provider, raised about $130 million in debt to help fund and aggressive buildout of its fiber optic communications network and aimed at bringing higher-speed connectivity to business customers.

The $130 million in bond debt – led by Deutsche Bank and supported by Wells Fargo, SunTrust and RBC Daniels – will allow the company to add about 1,500 route fiber miles to its gigabit Ethernet fiber network this year. Wave’s current network has about 5,000 route fiber miles.

The planned expansion includes entry to new markets, increased capacity and redundancy in existing markets, as well as infrastructure development to support additional future growth.


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FCC's Wheeler: No Near-Term Plans To Review Political Ad Disclosures | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC's Wheeler: No Near-Term Plans To Review Political Ad Disclosures | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler signaled Thursday that he has no current plans to revisit the FCC's political ad disclosure rules.

That came in response to a question following the FCC's May meeting about the fact that a bill that would require the FCC to boost those disclosures for ads from Super PACs was not getting traction in the House, while legislators had said the FCC could make the changes on its own initiative.

Currently, the disclosure rules require identifying the PAC, but not the money that might fund it. The name of the Democratic-backed bill, the Keep Our Campaigns Honest Act (or KOCH Act, as in Republican super-donors the Koch brothers) suggests where the Democrats are coming from. They want the funders of the PACs also to be named in broadcast and cable TV and radio ads.

Wheeler suggested the FCC is not going there, at least not now, given everything else on its plate at the moment.


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Quiz: Just how Kafkaesque is the court that oversees NSA spying? | Alvaro Bedoya & Ben Sobel | WashPost.com

Quiz: Just how Kafkaesque is the court that oversees NSA spying? | Alvaro Bedoya & Ben Sobel | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Edward Snowden first went public, he did it by leaking a 4-page order from a secret court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court. Founded in 1978 after the Watergate scandal and investigations by the Church Committee, the FISA court was supposed to be a bulwark against secret government surveillance. In 2006, it authorized the NSA call records program – the single largest domestic surveillance program in American history.

“The court” in Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial is a shadowy tribunal that tries (and executes) Josef K., the story’s protagonist, without informing him of the crime he’s charged with, the witnesses against him, or how he can defend himself. (Worth noting: The FISA court doesn’t “try” anyone. Also, it doesn’t kill people.)

Congress is debating a bill that would make the FISA court more transparent. In the meantime, can you tell the difference between the FISA court and Kafka’s court?


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LD 1185 Proposes Planning Grants for Munis in Maine | community broadband networks

LD 1185 Proposes Planning Grants for Munis in Maine | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In late April, LD 1185 and several other broadband bills came before the Maine House Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee. We have seen a flurry of activity in Maine this year as local communities deploy networks, develop plans, or begin feasibility studies. Likewise, the state legislature has been active as House and Senate members try to defibrillate the barely beating heart of the state listed as 49th for broadband availability.

The national providers in Maine - Time Warner Cable and FairPoint have little interest or capacity to invest in high quality services in Maine. Time Warner Cable is more focused on major metros and being acquired. FairPoint is laying off workers and also, positioning itself to be acquired. Fortunately, these big companies aren't the only option for improving Internet connectivity in Maine.

LD 1185, presented by Representative Norm Higgins, seeks to establish $6 million this year in funds for local communities that wish to deploy municipal networks. Maine already has the middle mile Three Ring Binder in place; the focus of this proposal is to help communities get the infrastructure they need to connect to it. In an effort to get the word out about the bill and grow support, Higgins and his team created this graphic explaining the proposal (a 2-page printable edition of the graphic is available for download from the link below):


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ACLU & Tea Party: NSA reform bill has gaping holes | Anthony Romero & Matt Kibbe OpEd | USAToday.com

ACLU & Tea Party: NSA reform bill has gaping holes | Anthony Romero & Matt Kibbe OpEd | USAToday.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court took a close look at the National Security Agency's collection and data-mining of Americans' phone records and concluded that the program was unlawful.

Rather than stop it, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit noted that Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision the NSA relies on for the program, would sunset on June 1. So the court decided to let Congress determine whether Section 215 should die, be revised, or extended without alteration.

Last Wednesday, the House passed a bipartisan reform bill that would prohibit the NSA's nationwide bulk collection of Americans' phone records. While the bill would stop spy agencies from engaging in some of the most egregious forms of abuse — such as collecting the information of an entire state, zip code, or service provider — it would not stop them from demanding vast amounts of information about Americans who have no connection to terrorism. Moreover, there is no requirement that the government immediately delete information that is irrelevant, or that belongs to innocent people — meaning those records could end up in intelligence databases for years. Clearly, this reform does not go far enough.

As the bill moves to the Senate, we urge all senators who care about privacy and the rule of law to insist upon stronger reforms that truly end bulk collection. Otherwise, they should simply pull the plug and let Section 215 expire. By wiping the slate clean, our country can have a much-needed debate about how much privacy we are willing to give up in the name of security.


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Verizon's 'Pick Your Own Cable TV Channels' Is Just Another Bait & Switch -- Read the Fine Print | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Verizon's 'Pick Your Own Cable TV Channels' Is Just Another Bait & Switch -- Read the Fine Print | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It amazes me how many media stories have decided to just cut and paste Verizon's supplied information about their new FiOS "customized TV plan" without examining the 'fine print'. I guess everyone is just desperate to get anything that smacks of ala-carte pricing for cable TV service, where the customer can pick and choose which cable programming they want to buy -- and is supposed to save some money.

No One Bothered Reading the Fine Print.

The diagram above uses an excerpt of the "fine print" that you can find at the bottom of Verizon's FiOS TV, cable, High-speed Internet and phone advertisements, including their $74.99 special Triple Play which includes Verizon's "customized TV plans" that offer 'slim' packages of specific cable programming channels. (This excerpt is from May 21, 2015.) For example, the packages include the "Lifestyle Pack", with Bravo and Lifetime, and a "Kids Channel Pack", with Disney XD and the Cartoon Network.

And wouldn't you know it -- it's one, big deceptive campaign as the advertised price of the service has nothing to do with the actual costs -- it's missing about 61% of expenses, and when all is said and done, the savings from picking a smaller package of cable channels isn't really there. At the end of the day, it doesn't really let you pick and choose the channels you want to watch. Worse, the $74.99 basic price for the service climbs an additional $45.00 a month after the 'promotion' is over, not counting all of the related taxes, fees and surcharges.

But this is nothing. We found that Verizon's basic 'slim' package, which is advertised at $10 bucks and focuses on the original over-the-air programming, has an additional 220% of expenses hidden in the fine print -- and it ends up costing about $32.00 a month. I'll get to that.

Unfortunately, this Verizon plan is identical to the deceptive practice I detailed previously about my own Time Warner Cable basic Triple Play, where the advertised price is $89.99, but no customer can ever actually only pay that price as it doesn't include many of the actual costs, from the taxes, fees and surcharges, as well as the hard costs, like the cable TV set top box. On top of that, after the 'promotion' period is over, the bill went to a whopping $190.77 -- and continues to rise as there is nothing to stop these increases; there's no real competition.

There are some reporters that actually did investigate Verizon's new cable offerings. An article in USA Today featured one reporter's findings when he called about these new 'slimmed' down bundles; the plan would save a whopping $6.34 on a bill that is currently $210.00. That's it.


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FirstNet deems 'Industry Day' a success as financial challenges loom | Monica Alleven | Fierce Wireless Tech

FirstNet deems 'Industry Day' a success as financial challenges loom | Monica Alleven | Fierce Wireless Tech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

More than 425 representatives from federal, state and local jurisdictions, as well as vendor community participants, showed up either in person or via webcast for the First Responder Network Authority's (FirstNet) first "Industry Day."

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss FirstNet's Special Notice and draft Request for Proposals (RFP) documents. It was held at FirstNet's headquarters in Reston, Va., on May 14. FirstNet began accepting requests for one-on-one meetings with vendors on May 15.

The event was a key next step in FirstNet's ongoing efforts to consult with interested parties on acquisition matters regarding the development of a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN), according to the organization. It included interactive conversations and an overview of the Special Notice and draft RFP documents by FirstNet officials, as well as questions and feedback from participants.


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Comcast Blames Victim's Family, Not Its Alarm System, for Failure to Alert Police Their Son Was Being Tortured | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Blames Victim's Family, Not Its Alarm System, for Failure to Alert Police Their Son Was Being Tortured | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast has blamed its customer for the failure of its home security system to detect a break in and alert police before intruders terrorized and tortured their son.

Last fall, Stop the Cap! told readers about the plight of the Rawat family, in Kirkland, Wash., who depended on home security services provided by Comcast and now wished they didn’t.

In November 2013, police say Vincent Sisounong and Blessing Gainey planned a home invasion to steal vehicles, electronics, and money from the family. To achieve their plan, the 21 and 19-year old had to defeat Comcast’s Xfinity Home security system. According to a lawsuit now being heard in a bench trial this week, the two men didn’t have to do anything because the system never worked properly.


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FCC Chairman Gives Green Light for More Cable Mergers; Calls and Reassures Cable Execs Some Deals Are Okay | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

FCC Chairman Gives Green Light for More Cable Mergers; Calls and Reassures Cable Execs Some Deals Are Okay | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler personally called the chief executives of some of America’s largest cable operators, including Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, to reassure them that the agency does not object to future cable industry consolidation.

Wheeler said any new merger deal would be assessed on its own merits, and cable executives should not assume the agency is against future cable mergers just because it objected to the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal.

The Wall Street Journal reports Wheeler sought to “clear the air” in response to industry hand-wringing over whether future buyouts and acquisitions could get passed the FCC. Wheeler reassured executives they were over-reading the commission’s intent.


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Deregulation: New Jersey Regulators Unanimously Vote to Let Verizon Do Pretty Much Anything It Wants | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Deregulation: New Jersey Regulators Unanimously Vote to Let Verizon Do Pretty Much Anything It Wants | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) unanimously approved an agreement this week exempting Verizon from most basic landline service regulations, prompting immediate outrage from consumer, senior and labor groups who predict it will lead to rate increases and deteriorating service.

The agreement removes pricing oversight regulations for residential basic telephone service, single-line business telephone service, nonrecurring charges for residential service connection and installation, and residential directory assistance services. That will allow Verizon to charge whatever the market will bear after a transition period. While that may not be a big problem for cell phone users and those who have dropped Verizon for cable company phone service or a broadband-powered Voice over IP alternative, it will leave rural New Jersey residents vulnerable if Verizon abuses its pricing privileges in areas where there are no alternatives.

“Today’s back room deal is bad for seniors, bad for workers at Verizon, and bad for the millions of businesses and homes that rely on affordable, reliable phone service,” said Seth Hahn, the CWA’s New Jersey legislative and political director. “In fact, it’s bad for everyone in New Jersey except Verizon. Something changed between 2011 when Governor Christie said seniors need protections and now I fear it’s the hundreds of thousands of dollars Verizon has funneled to various entities to help Christie’s political ambitions.”

Under the new deal, Verizon will cap its current basic residential rate of $16.45 for what it calls a five-year transition period. Verizon can increase the cost by only $6 during the first five years. After that, the sky is the limit.


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Verizon FiOS launches global triple-play bundle | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Verizon FiOS launches global triple-play bundle | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon has launched a new global FiOS triple-play bundle as a way to appeal to customers that want custom international programming.

With the ability to customize their international TV programming, customers can choose from seven different languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi or Punjabi Programming.

In addition to the programming, customers can get 300 minutes of international calling per month from their home to landline and wireless phones in more than 100 countries worldwide at no additional cost.

For customers that are willing to sign up for a two-year agreement for a new FiOS triple-play bundle that includes Internet, TV (including Custom TV, Extreme HD and other bundles) and telephony, the offer includes either a $300 Visa gift card, 24 months of the Spanish Language TV Package, or both the World Plan 300 international calling plan for 12 months and one of the TV programing packages free of charge for 12 or six months depending on the package selected.


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FCC Source: Both Walden’s, Eshoo’s DA Figures Are Correct | John Eggerton | Multichannel

FCC Source: Both Walden’s, Eshoo’s DA Figures Are Correct | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

During a House Communications Subcommittee markup of Federal Communications Commission process reforms Wednesday (May 20) there was a bit of a flare-up between subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and ranking member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) over how many decisions the agency made on delegated authority (rather than votes by the commission).

Walden and Eshoo offered up very different numbers. Eshoo said there were 950,000 such decisions last year, while Walden said there were 1,845. Both said they had gotten them from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler — Eshoo from his testimony at a hearing, Walden from a copy of a Wheeler letter following up on a March letter to the committee following up on some questions.

According to an FCC source on background, they were both right, though during the hearing there was some confusion and heated words over the dueling figures.


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FCC Proposes Extending Emergency Alerts to Second Screens | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Proposes Extending Emergency Alerts to Second Screens | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed to make TV Everywhere emergency information "accessibile everywhere" as well.

At its May open meeting Thursday, the FCC voted unanimously (with some partial dissents from the Republicans) to require cable operators and other MPVDS to make emergency alert information accessible to the sight-impaired when their traditional programming lineups are accessed on second screens like tablets and phones.

Cable ops had been lobbying to confine that second-screen requirement to second screens in the home, but the FCC chose not to limit it. "The new rules apply when MVPDs permit consumers to access linear programming on tablets, smartphones, laptops, and similar devices over the MVPD’s network as part of their MVPD services," said an FCC spokesperson. "This more clearly delineates the services subject to the rule than a formulation that focuses on whether the services are provided “in the home.”

The tablet and smart phone emergency alert accessibility requirement does not extend to video that originates over-the-top, only to second-screen access to traditional cable service.


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Comcast Tags More ‘Gigabit Pro’ Cities | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Comcast Tags More ‘Gigabit Pro’ Cities | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast said it has begun to rollout “Gigabit Pro,” its fiber-fed symmetrical 2 Gbps residential broadband service in Houston and Denver, while also introducing a new DOCSIS 3.0-based 250 Mbps service that’s delivered on the MSO’s hybrid fiber/coax plant.

In Houston, Comcast said it will launch Gigabit Pro this summer and make it available to 1.5 million homes. The new D3.0 service, Extreme 250, is available now.

Notably, AT&T launched its 1-Gig residential service, “GigaPower,” to parts of Houston in April, starting at $110 per month.

In Colorado, Comcast said it will offer Gigabit Pro to nearly 1 million homes in the metro Denver area and Colorado Springs this summer, along with widespread availability of the new 250-Meg service. Comcast’s primary wireline competitor there is CenturyLink, which has already launched a 1-Gig service in the Denver area. That summer deployment will also reach into Fort Collins, Loveland and Longmont, according to The Denver Post.

Update: Comcast also announced it has begun to deploy Gigabit Pro in Utah (Google Fiber is operating in Provo); Washington State (including Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Everett); to 650,000 customers in Oregon and southwest Washington; to more than 600,000 homes in Minneapolis/St. Paul; and, starting in June, to about 190,000 customers in Knoxville, Tenn., and its surrounding communities.

Comcast plans to make Gigabit Pro available to 18 million homes by the end of the year. The service, which relies on targeted fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) deployments, will be available to residential customers who are within “close proximity” (about a third of a mile) of the MSO’s fiber network. Deployments are also underway in Chicago and northwest Indiana; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Atlanta; parts of Florida, including Miami and Jacksonville; and certain areas of California.


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Secretary Of State: We Must Have A Secure Internet; Homeland Security Secretary: A Secure Internet Makes Us All Less Safe | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Secretary Of State: We Must Have A Secure Internet; Homeland Security Secretary: A Secure Internet Makes Us All Less Safe | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech in South Korea this week about the importance of an "open and secure internet." Of course, that sounds a little hypocritical coming from the very same government that is actively working to undermine encryption, so it seems worth contrasting it with comments made from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, in which he whines about a secure internet making things better for terrorists. Kerry's speech is mostly good (with some caveats that we'll get to), in talking about the importance of not freaking out over moral panics and FUD:

Freedom. The United States believes strongly in freedom – in freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of choice. But particularly, this is important with respect to freedom of expression, and you believe in that freedom of expression here in Korea. We want that right for ourselves and we want that right for others even if we don’t agree always with the views that others express. We understand that freedom of expression is not a license to incite imminent violence. It’s not a license to commit fraud. It’s not a license to indulge in libel, or sexually exploit children. No. But we do know that some governments will use any excuse that they can find to silence their critics and that those governments have responded to the rise of the internet by stepping up their own efforts to control what people read, see, write, and say.

This is truly a point of separation in our era – now, in the 21st century. It’s a point of separation between governments that want the internet to serve their citizens and those who seek to use or restrict access to the internet in order to control their citizens.

That sounds good... until you compare it to Kerry's cabinet partner Johnson, who was doing exactly what Kerry said governments should not do:

“We are concerned that with deeper and deeper encryption, the demands of the marketplace for greater cybersecurity, deeper encryption in basic communications,” Johnson said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday. “It is making it harder for the FBI and state and local law enforcement to track crime, to track potential terrorist activity.”

Let's not even bother with the question of just what is "deeper and deeper encryption" or why we should have someone who clearly doesn't understand encryption in charge of Homeland Security. But it seems clear that Kerry and Johnson's views here are quite different. Kerry is saying that "governments will use any excuse they can" including bogus claims about "terrorism" and "criminals" -- and yet that's exactly what Johnson is doing.


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Why Is The Attorney General Making Claims About PATRIOT Act That Her Own Agency's Report Says Are Not True? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Why Is The Attorney General Making Claims About PATRIOT Act That Her Own Agency's Report Says Are Not True? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We already posted about the new DOJ Inspector General report analyzing the FBI's use of the PATRIOT Act's Section 215 "business records" collection. Among the various things in the unredacted sections of the report is yet another claim (following on many similar statements) that the Section 215 program has never been shown to actually be that useful:



That wasn't all that interesting on its own, given how many times others (including many with the security clearance and access to know) have made the same point. But what's incredibly troubling is that the very same day that this report came out, Attorney General Loretta Lynch was making the rounds claiming the exact opposite.


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FCC Chairman Wheeler Does Not See AWS-3 Re-Auction | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Chairman Wheeler Does Not See AWS-3 Re-Auction | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said Thursday he thought the FCC's decision, one way or the other, about whether Dish-connected designated entities deserved $3 billion in bidding credits (discounts) in the AWS-3 auction would delay the upcoming incentive auction.

He was asked by Todd Shields of Bloomberg following the FCC's May meeting Thursday whether a decision against Dish and the DE's could mean having to re-auction the spectrum, and thus potentially delay the planned early 2016 broadcast incentive auction.

Wheeler said he did not think there would be a delay of the incentive auction, saying that the "question that exists" in the AWS-3 auction is the DE discount. "If there is a decision made that that is inappropriate," he said, "the issue is $3 billion more dollars" rather than re-auctioning the spectrum.

He later conceded that the ultimate penalty — some have suggested Dish and the DE's colluded, though Dish and those DE's have said the rules clearly allowed their collaboration — could be re-auctioning the spectrum, but he said that "the rules as they stand right now are: 'pay three billion dollars more.'"

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Our Shifting Viewing Habits | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

Our Shifting Viewing Habits | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nielsen did a huge survey earlier this year where they asked 30,000 viewers worldwide questions about how they view video content. The responses show how quickly people are changing their viewing habits in response to the proliferation of new options.

Even as recently as a little more than a decade ago, options to view video other than at the scheduled broadcast time time were rare. I was an early adapter to TiVo and got my first set in 2000. At that time almost nobody watched TV on a time-delayed basis. But TiVo let me watch things on my own time schedule and I quickly invested in a CD burner that would let me capture content from the relatively small TiVo hard drive to further expand my options to watch on a time delay.

The cable companies responded to TiVo by introducing video on demand, which provided watch-anytime capabilities to a subset of their programming. I am probably somewhat unusual in that I can’t recall as an adult having ever watched a network TV series by watching at the scheduled time. I just have never been able to structure my life in that manner (or even remember what day of the week it is).

But today we have a huge array of options and this survey shows that people are using them. We can, of course, still watch TV live and sit and surf the channels. But the cable company video on demand offerings are much larger than in the past. The large cable companies and networks have also provided on-line delayed viewing for most of their popular content that is available with a cable subscription. There are the huge libraries of content at Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services. There is some pretty decent content today being produced only for the Web, along with an absolute mountain of content on YouTube. And for those willing to hunt, there are huge piles of older movies, newsreels, and offbeat content all over the web.

Here are a few of the more interesting findings of the Nielsen survey:


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FCC Makes DBS Pay Per-Sub User Fee | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Makes DBS Pay Per-Sub User Fee | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has decided to charge DBS providers a regulatory fee based on a per-sub basis, as it does cable and telco MVPD's.

That came in an order released Thursday, where the FCC said in seeking comment on its proposed fees for 2015 ($339,844,000) that it had decided to add DBS to the cable and IPTV category.

The commission also asked, in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, whether it should reduce the cable per-sub fee for 2015 to reflect that DBS has joined the group.

The American Cable Association and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association have been asking the FCC to treat DBS the same when it came to fees.

Back in September 2014, the FCC adopted a number of changes to how it collects regulatory fees ($339,844.00 for 2014) from MVPDs, broadcasters and others. As part of that, it also adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking, the proposal being to start charging DBS operators a per-sub fee, as it does cable operators. Satellite companies now pay a per-license fee.

In issuing its new fee proposal for 2015, the FCC said:


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - May 15 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - May 15 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Community Broadband Stories, by State:

California

A Disconnected Valley: SCV's high-speed technology crawls by Jana Adkins, Signal Santa Clarita Valley

Why Santa Monica Built its Own Internet Service: It all comes down to how well you connect, and when you do - word travels quickly by Jana Adkins, Signal Santa Clarita Valley

Massachussetts

Hyper-fast Internet coming to parts of Westfield, but it's not from a company you'd guess by Dan Glaun, MassLive.com

Minnesota

How the Legislature is cheating Greater Minnesota on broadband by Brian Lambert, MinnPost

North Carolina

North Carolina sues FCC over Wilson community broadband decision by Rick Smith, WRAL TechWire

"Rural areas in North Carolina already suffer from some of the slowest speeds in the nation because the big telecom giants see no financial reason to connect them," the Institute said. "The FCC ruling will help communities that will never be covered by these corporations to finally have Internet access beyond dial-up service."

NC Attorney General appeals FCC municipal broadband ruling, Associated Press


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New Leak Shows NSA's Plans To Hijack App Store Traffic To Implant Malware And Spyware | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

New Leak Shows NSA's Plans To Hijack App Store Traffic To Implant Malware And Spyware | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Proving there's nowhere spy agencies won't go to achieve their aims, a new Snowden leak published jointly by The Intercept and Canada's CBC News shows the NSA, GCHQ and other Five Eyes allies looking for ways to insert themselves between Google's app store and end users' phones.

The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals…

The main purpose of the workshops was to find new ways to exploit smartphone technology for surveillance. The agencies used the Internet spying system XKEYSCORE to identify smartphone traffic flowing across Internet cables and then to track down smartphone connections to app marketplace servers operated by Samsung and Google.


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WSJ Editorial Board So Clueless It Thinks That We're Now 'Rushing' Through A Surveillance Debate That's Been Going On For Two Years | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

WSJ Editorial Board So Clueless It Thinks That We're Now 'Rushing' Through A Surveillance Debate That's Been Going On For Two Years | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the Senate does its little song and dance today over surveillance reform, kudos to the Wall Street Journal's editorial board for producing what has to be one of the most ridiculous opinion pieces on this debate to date. It's called The Anti-Surveillance Rush, and its main argument is that the Senate shouldn't be "rushing" through this debate, and that it should instead simply do a clean extension of section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to allow for further debate. This is wrong and it's clueless. The WSJ editorial board can be nutty at times, but the level of cluelenssness displayed here really takes it to another level. Let's dig in.

The Senate is supposed to be the cooling saucer for political passions, but surveillance opponents want it to be a slip ’n slide instead: They want the Senate to accept wholesale revisions to counterterrorism programs with little if any debate before Congress skips town for vacation at the end of the week. We hope Senators show more respect for their institutional dignity.

Little if any debate? Are they serious? This round of debate started almost exactly two years ago when Ed Snowden revealed the extent of the phone metadata collection program under Section 215. There have been numerous hearings, tons of public debate, articles, books, movies and more discussing this very topic. To pretend that this is a last minute debate is simply ridiculous. As for the claim that these are "wholesale revisions," most everyone admits that the changes are really not that major, but rather a small step towards actually respecting the 4th Amendment, but without any real changes to overall capabilities.


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Strong prospects court will stay FCC Internet order says legal expert | Kathryn Bachman | Katy on the Hill

Strong prospects court will stay FCC Internet order says legal expert | Kathryn Bachman | Katy on the Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Getting a court to issue a stay is always an uphill legal battle, but the chances that the D.C. circuit court of appeals will grant a stay of the Federal Communications Commission’s open Internet order are strong.

“[A stay] has a good chance for success,” said Constitutional expert Kathleen Sullivan, a partner with Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan and former dean of Standford Law School. She is also serving as the attorney for USTelecom, which has filed a motion to stay the order along with other cable and telecom groups.

Sullivan, speaking on a press call hosted by the Internet Innovation Alliance, explained that the court will look at two things in making its decision to stay the order: whether the order will cause irreparable harm and whether the challengers’ case is likely to succeed on the merits.

Telecom and cable companies filed a motion to stay the order with the D.C. circuit court of appeals, days after the FCC denied to stay the agency’s own order. The court has ordered the FCC to rebut the petitioners’ motion Friday. Petitioners will have a week to reply, due next Thursday. Without a stay, the order goes into effect June 12.

The petitioners, said Sullivan have a strong case. “The order will require small providers to suddenly face regulatory burdens face by large companies. That is an existential threat. Even for large telecoms, it’s a threat,” Sullivan said.


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