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Saudi Arabia will drive LTE adoption across the region | Norconsult ...

Saudi Arabia will drive LTE adoption across the region | Norconsult ... | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Like many markets in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is sparsely populated areas outside the big cities. Saudi operators are unlikely to implement the fiber infrastructure outside of major urban and industrial areas, as economic activity is usually highly concentrated in these areas. Connecting to remote areas using fixed broadband technologies such as DSL or fiber is very expensive and have a very low return on investment (ROI). However, technologies such as HSPA and LTE can serve as a relatively cost-effective option of deploying high-speed broadband services in smaller towns throughout the country.

 

The use of a dense network in the 2.6 GHz band will not be cheap, especially if it is distributed throughout the country. But the strategy to use LTE in densely populated urban areas and HSPA at lower frequencies in the smaller towns and villages has a much greater chance of success. This type of strategy will also better than the backhaul point of view, it will be much easier to connect to the core of LTE network traffic in urban areas. We believe that this strategy will be replicated by other operators in the Middle East, and drive the number of LTE applications.

 

Despite the introduction of its network at the same time, all three operators have different attitudes, motivation and strategic partners for their implementation. Zain is working with Motorola, Ericsson and Huawei to offer LTE services in major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam. Zain’s plan to expand coverage to all major cities in Saudi Arabia by the end of 2012. Mobili is working with Samsung and Huawei deploy their networks. Mobily’s rollout strategy is the opposite of Zain’s, with the operator initially focusing on smaller cities before expanding its services to Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam at a later date. STC has partnered with Huawei and NSN, and its services will initially be available in Riyadh and Dammam. The operator plans to expand its coverage to a further 400 locations during its initial launch phase.

 

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Despite reports of hacking, baby monitors remain woefully insecure | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Despite reports of hacking, baby monitors remain woefully insecure | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Disturbing reports in recent years of hackers hijacking baby monitors and screaming at children have creeped out parents, but these incidents apparently haven't spooked makers of these devices.

A security analysis of nine baby monitors from different manufacturers revealed serious vulnerabilities and design flaws that could allow hackers to hijack their video feeds or take full control of the devices.


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Cable to FCC: Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Lifeline | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Cable to FCC: Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Lifeline | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable operators have definite opinions on how the FCC should revamp its lifeline subsidy program and they include widening the pool of eligible carriers by making it easier to apply, establish a third party to verify subscriber eligibility, and allowing subsidy recipients to use the money for more than the basic level of service.

That came in a filing at the FCC from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, where the cable trade group warned against a "one-size-fits-all" approach and said the FCC needs to increase choices for Lifeline users and make it easier for carriers to participate.

As preamble to its arguments, NCTA pointed out that cable operators were already doing a lot on their own to deliver affordable broadband to low-income families, including the Connect2Compete initiative from Cox, Suddenlink, Mediacom and others, and Comcast's Internet Essentials program.


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USTelecom Supports FCC Efforts to Reform Lifeline | Anne Veigle | USTelecom

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed some workable ideas for reforming the Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone service for eligible low-income consumers, USTelecom said in comments filed with the FCC. A more streamlined and efficient program will benefit companies and consumers, and allow more providers to participate. The FCC can facilitate this process by removing barriers to entry, such requiring the “eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC)” designation to provide Lifeline service, while ensuring sufficient safeguards to protect against waste, fraud and abuse.

There is sufficient competition in the voice marketplace to allow ETCs to opt out of providing Lifeline service, USTelecom said. Congress did not mandate that Lifeline service providers be ETCs, and the commission’s rules could be amended to permit, but not require, ETCs to participate in the Lifeline program.


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Hulu Offers Ad-Free Subscription Tier | Dade Hayes | Broadcasting & Cable

Hulu Offers Ad-Free Subscription Tier | Dade Hayes | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Continuing a newsy 2015, Hulu announced Wednesday it has added a new commercial-free subscription tier, confirming speculation from earlier this summer.

For $11.99, $4 more than the regular subscription fee, viewers get an SVOD experience comparable to that of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Just two years after yanking Hulu off the market after months of sale attempts, Hulu’s majority stakeholders (Disney, Fox and NBCUniversal) have been investing heavily and making aggressive moves in the war for SVOD attention against its even-deeper-pocketed rivals.


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CYC 2.0 comments support FCC action on Lifeline broadband option | Connect Your Community 2.0

CYC 2.0 Director Bill Callahan yesterday submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission supporting the agency’s proposal to create a low-income broadband option as part of the Federal Lifeline telephone program.

The FCC has asked for public comments on the idea itself, as well as on a long list of related questions laid out in a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking”. Yesterday was the deadline for initial comments. A second round of “reply comments” will be due at the end of September.

In a three-page letter addressed to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Callahan wrote:


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OH: More than 3,000 jobs created in Hamilton since 2013 | Wayne Baker | Journal-News.com

OH: More than 3,000 jobs created in Hamilton since 2013 | Wayne Baker | Journal-News.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New job opportunities are quickly replacing several years of stalled growth and closing companies in Hamilton — a product of a plan outlined — and questioned by many — when Joshua Smith was hired as city manager five years ago.

Many insisted Hamilton wouldn’t find its fiscal footing with Smith’s plan that called for patience mixed with aggressive steps to reinvent the city’s image and to improve infrastructure.

Still, some lament the loss of small businesses like Tom’s Cigar Store, which marked its final day of operation this past week after 98 years, and the city’s toughest neighborhoods still wrestle with crime and drugs.

“I took a look at some numbers since 2013,” Smith said. “We have created 3,064 net new jobs in Hamilton and that includes the Barclays announcement of 1,500 jobs coming with Barclays. Total corporate investment in Hamilton has been $176.5 million in the last five years and since 2010 there has been $65 million invested in downtown.”


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NE: Fiber to the farm: Yours for only $383,000 | Matt Olberding | Journal Star

NE: Fiber to the farm: Yours for only $383,000 | Matt Olberding | Journal Star | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nelson Schneider was unhappy with the home Internet service he was getting from Windstream, which he said was slow and unreliable, as was satellite service, so he decided to try a different route.

How much would it cost, he asked Windstream, to run optic fiber out to his farm about 3 miles from Ceresco, Nebraska so he could get business-class Internet?

Windstream's response: About $383,000.

Though extreme, the situation highlights the hurdles rural residents in Nebraska and elsewhere can face when trying to get high-speed Internet.


The $383,000 cost included $350,000 to run the line and about $33,000 for three years of business-class Internet service. 


Windstream spokesman Michael Teague confirmed the price and said it was so high because the request was unusual and would have required multiple miles of fiber installation.


Schneider eventually found another provider, Northeast Nebraska Telephone Co., which agreed to run a fiber line to his property for the relative bargain price of $42,000. Northeast's nearest installation is 3 miles away.


Gene Hand, director of the telecommunications division of the Nebraska Public Service Commission, said the issue is not necessarily an urban vs. rural one.


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LG Announces DirecTV 4K Compatibility, webOS 2.0 Updates | Ben Munson | CED Magazine

LG today announced that its webOS smart TV platform will now support DirecTV 4K video content without the need for an additional box.

Select 2014 and 2015 LG smart TVs will work with DirecTV’s Genie HD DVR for viewing Ultra HD video.

DirecTV’s 4K content is also accessible on compatible Samsung TVs and through the recently announced 4K Genie Mini, which enables viewing on other TV models.


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Comcast Tests ‘Unlimited Data Option’ | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Comcast Tests ‘Unlimited Data Option’ | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast will soon kick the tires on an “Unlimited Data Option” in parts of Florida that lets high-speed Internet subs upload data and stream all the video they want for an additional $30 per month.

The trial, spotted by DSL Reports and posted by Comcast here, is an enrollment option that applies only to Comcast subs in Fort Lauderdale, the Keys and Miami, Florida. Comcast will begin testing the new policy there on October 1, and is notifying customers in the area about a month in advance, a Comcast spokesman said.

“The Unlimited Data Option costs the current additional fee of $30 per calendar month, regardless of actual data usage. The 300 GB plan will not apply to customers who enroll in the Unlimited Data Option,” Comcast explains in the FAQ.


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What It Means for Kansas City to Be a Smart City | Aaron Deacon | Kansas City Digital Drive

What It Means for Kansas City to Be a Smart City | Aaron Deacon | Kansas City Digital Drive | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Smart phones. Smart watches. Smart thermostats. Smart homes. Smart TVs. It seems like everything is smart these days. Smart and getting smarter. Heck … why stop at all the things, why not just go for a smart city? Smart state? Smart universe?

It’s easy either to get overwhelmed by jargon and buzz words or to roll your eyes at the coming technotopia that accompanies the talk of a “smart city,” but if you do, you may miss the real opportunity that Kansas City has in front of us. And it’s a big one. But we have to unpack some of the language and history in order to put that opportunity into perspective.

Boyd Cohen—a leading academic who ranks smart cities every year for Fast Company, who developed the Smart City Wheel taxonomy, and who keynoted our Gigabit City Summit last January—cited Kansas City last week as an example of a city moving from Smart City 1.0 to Smart City 3.0, a city that…


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The wires behind wireless | Rick Wietfeldt | NetworkWorld.com

The wires behind wireless | Rick Wietfeldt | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Everybody loves wireless: It's the main impetus driving technology innovation and social and business communications today, and it will continue to drive innovation for years to come.


Yet an under-appreciated reality is that wireless is very dependent on wired connections. In fact, wireless is only as good as the wires that support it.


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Techdirt Podcast Episode 40: Is Silicon Valley Only Building Tech For The Rich? | Leigh Beadon | Techdirt

Techdirt Podcast Episode 40: Is Silicon Valley Only Building Tech For The Rich? | Leigh Beadon | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Technological innovation is solving all sorts of problems, from major issues to minor inconveniences — but one criticism that often comes up is that Silicon Valley has a "by rich young white men, for rich young white men" culture, with most of its efforts focused on solving problems for a small, affluent minority.


This week, Catherine Bracy returns as we try to understand this common complaint, how valid it is, and what can be done about it.


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Animated map reveals the 550,000 miles of cable hidden under the ocean that power the internet | Biz Insider UK

Animated map reveals the 550,000 miles of cable hidden under the ocean that power the internet | Biz Insider UK | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every time you visit a web page or send an email, data is being sent and received through an intricate cable system that stretches around the globe.


Since the 1850s, we've been laying cables across oceans to become better connected.


Today, there are hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber optic cables constantly transmitting data between nations.


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Aitkin County, MN: Broadbanding together | Adam Hoogenakker | MessageMedia.co

Aitkin County, MN: Broadbanding together | Adam Hoogenakker | MessageMedia.co | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There seems to be as many phone company providers in Aitkin County as there are Johnsons in the phone book. When it comes to the availability of broadband, Aitkin County is hoping to bring the providers to the table to discuss expanding the service throughout the county.

Ross Wagner, Aitkin County economic development, appeared in front of the Aitkin County Board of Commissioners at its Aug. 25 meeting to request the Economic Development Fund be renamed to the Broadband Development Fund, and to authorize $50,000 for a pre-engineering study to be completed.

In a memo to the commissioners, Wagner requests the $525,297.61 balance be used for broadband development.

“The Economic Development Fund was created with excess PILT payments and revolving loan fund payments,” wrote Wagner. “After the revolving loan fund was abolished, the funds remained, to be used for future economic development infrastructure projects.”

Wagner hoped to use the funds as a way to engage with potential partners and providers in developing a partnership moving forward – to show the county was putting skin in the game.


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AT&T Maps Out GigaPower Progress | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

AT&T Maps Out GigaPower Progress | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Taking a page from the Google Fiber playbook, AT&T has introduced a map that charts the deployment progress of its fiber-based GigaPower platform, highlighting cities that have the 1-Gig service today, have rollouts underway or are being “explored” for potential future launches.

Updated: AT&T pointed out that its new mapping system is more interactive in that it allows customers to view GigaPower markets but also drill down to the city level for more detail on where GigaPower is being deployed and where it will be deployed.

“Potential customers, city officials, gig seekers or anyone planning a move can use the new interactive map at att.com/gigapowermap to keep up on our progress as we add new cities,” Joey Schultz, AT&T’s vice president of home solutions, digital experience, expalined in this blog post.


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New York’s electricity market is a scam | David Cay Johnston Opinion | Al Jazeera America

New York’s electricity market is a scam | David Cay Johnston Opinion | Al Jazeera America | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you agree with legislators in about half the states that the most efficient way to provide electricity is through wholesale auctions, take a leap down the rabbit hole into world of the New York Public Service Commission.

Electricity should be cheap in New York because the state’s capacity to generate power far outstrips demand. Its surplus is huge, as much as 63 percent in May, and never less than 4.6 percent, New England Power Coordinating Council reliability reports show.

Prices should fall when demand is below capacity. But when capacity falls short of demand by even 1 percent, electricity market prices soar. Demand in New York is falling, primarily because of “a decrease in upstate industrial” electricity use, the Northeast Power Coordinating Council’s latest report shows.

Yet instead of enjoying cheaper power, New Yorkers pay 40 percent more than the average for the 48 contiguous states, federal pricing data show. Adjusted for inflation, electricity in New York costs almost 17 percent more than a decade ago (though it is down a bit from last year).


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Benton Tells FCC: Use Lifeline to Make Broadband More Affordable | Benton Foundation

Benton Tells FCC: Use Lifeline to Make Broadband More Affordable | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In comments filed at the Federal Communications Commission on August 31, the Benton Foundation said that broadband service is crucial to full participation in our society and economy which are increasingly dependent upon the rapid exchange of information. In its filing, Benton focuses on the potential benefits of broadband for low-income consumers, especially ones that have: a) schoolchildren, b) unemployed or underemployed adults, c) people with disabilities, and d) people affected by illnesses.

“By making broadband more affordable for low-income consumers through its Lifeline program,” said Benton’s Director of Policy, Amina Fazlullah, “the FCC will help facilitate better connections within these people’s communities, and to the world.”

Benton asks the FCC to establish minimum service standards for Lifeline voice, text messaging and broadband services with two main goals: 1) to ensure Lifeline recipients receive services that facilitate meaningful, functional use, and 2) to afford adaptability for the different needs of Lifeline-eligible populations in different geographical areas and markets. In setting the standards, Benton says, the FCC should encourage competition and consumer choice for both voice and broadband service wherever possible. When setting minimum service standards for broadband, the FCC must discourage providers from rolling out wired or wireless services that include data caps, Benton says, due to their pernicious effects on low-income households. Data caps often come with hidden financial costs that confuse consumers and potentially bump up their bills in unforeseen ways.


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VA: Danville's Incremental Strategy Pays Off - Community Broadband Bits Episode 166 | community broadband networks

VA: Danville's Incremental Strategy Pays Off - Community Broadband Bits Episode 166 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Danville, Virginia, has long been one of the municipal network approaches that we like to highlight. Built in a region hard hit by the transition away from tobacco and manufacturing economies, the open access fiber network called nDanville has led to many new employers coming to town and has shown the benefits of a low-risk, incremental investment strategy for building a fiber network.

Jason Grey, Interim Utilities Manager, is back on the show to update us on their approach. He introduced the network to us three years ago on episode 22.

Since we last checked in, Danville has continued expanding the fiber network to a greater number of residents and Jason talks with us about the importance and challenges of marketing to residents. We also discuss how they lay conduit as a matter of course, even in areas they do not plan to serve immediately with the fiber network.

Read all of our coverage of Danville here.


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Hamilton Partners With Local Provider to Serve Businesses in Ohio | community broadband networks

Hamilton Partners With Local Provider to Serve Businesses in Ohio | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Hamilton, Ohio, has entered into a partnership with local firm, CenterGrid, to use city-owned fiber to boost economic development. The firm will offer Internet access and data transport to local businesses via existing infrastructure as the two enter into a five-year pilot project agreement, reports the Journal-News.

The city's business incubator, the Hamilton Mill, is the initial pilot site where emerging businesses are already receiving high-speed connectivity:

“As the initial pilot site, CenterGrid’s service has resulted in the Mill receiving network connectivity that is better than 83 percent of Internet connections throughout the US — that is huge,” Chris Lawson, executive director of the Hamilton Mill said. “For the types of companies that we are attracting, this level of connectivity is imperative for them to be successful.”

A press release from CenterGrid describes rates as economical, competitive, and determined by individual business requirements. According to the press release, entrepreneurs at The Mill are already taking advantage of the service:


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Comcast Introducing Usage Caps in Florida, Then Offers $30 Option to Get Back Unlimited | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Introducing Usage Caps in Florida, Then Offers $30 Option to Get Back Unlimited | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast today quietly announced its broadband customers in Fort Lauderdale, the Keys and Miami, Fla., will find a broadband usage cap of 300GB per month imposed on their Internet access starting Oct. 1, 2015, along with the option of buying a new $30 insurance plan to protect against overlimit fees and restore unlimited access.

Stop the Cap! reader Jose from Hialeah informed us Comcast formally began notifying affected customers in e-mail earlier today and updated their website (thanks to DSL Reports):


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Nielsen: TV households stay the same | Media Life Magazine

Nielsen: TV households stay the same | Media Life Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The number of TV households measured by Nielsen will remain the same this season as it was last.

Nielsen says TV households will be flat to 2014-’15 for the coming season, at 116.4 million.

There was a 0.3 percent increase in the total number of people in those households, rising to 296.8 million.

While the total number of households did not change, there was some movement in how those households break down.


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Q2 Subscriber Losses Validate Cord-Cutting Fears | Michael Balderston | TV Technology

Q2 Subscriber Losses Validate Cord-Cutting Fears | Michael Balderston | TV Technology | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The trend of cord-cutting continues, as U.S. pay-TV companies loss 658,450 subscribers in the second quarter of 2015, according to IHS Inc. IHS also claims that it is the first time since satellite operators entered the pay-TV market in the early 90s that non-cable pay-TV operators loss subscribers.

A major influence in the overall drop of subscribers was the nearly non-existent growth of IPTV in Q2, posting a subscriber growth of less than one percent.


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Popular Belkin Wi-Fi routers plagued by unpatched security flaws | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Popular Belkin Wi-Fi routers plagued by unpatched security flaws | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If your Wi-Fi network is using the popular Belkin N600 DB router, be warned: it may have several vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to take it over.

Remote unauthenticated attackers could exploit the vulnerabilities to spoof DNS (Domain Name System) responses and direct users to rogue websites or trick users' browsers to change the device configuration, the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC) at Carnegie Mellon University said Monday in an advisory.


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The real reason everyone hates making phone calls today | Fredric Paul | NetworkWorld.com

The real reason everyone hates making phone calls today | Fredric Paul | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's a truism that people—especially young people—spend a lot less time talking on the phone now than they once did. I don't have good numbers to cite, but the personal and anecdotal evidence seems pretty compelling.


Where once I made and received dozens of calls a day, those have now been reduced to just a few. I roll over so many minutes on my mobile plan it feels like I could talk nonstop for the rest of the year and not run out. But I probably won't.

And it's not just me. This is true with most people I know, in both my personal and professional lives.

But why?


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DISH DE Debacle Part 2: So What Did The FCC Actually Do? | Harold Feld | Tales of the Sausage Factory | Wetmachine.com

In Part 1, I gave a rather lengthy explanation of the factual background why DISH now owes the FCC another $3.3 billion dollars more than the $10 billion it already owed for licenses won in the big FCC spectrum auction at the end of last year (the AWS-3 auction).


Here, I give my analysis of the Order denying SNR and Northstar applications for designated entity (DE) credits. Some thoughts on broader implications, what may or may not happen next, and my personal opinion on whether the FCC was right or wrong, I save for Part 3.

More below . . .


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