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The Privacy Nightmares of CISPA | The Dissenter

The Privacy Nightmares of CISPA | The Dissenter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A cybersecurity bill that many believe poses clear dangers to digital freedom is drawing the ire of digital freedom and civil liberties groups. The legislation, the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing Protection Act (CISPA), should be a major story all week.

 

In anticipation of headlines that might be made as members of Congress propose amendments to the bill and it continues to take shape before being voted on by the House on April 23, I recorded an interview on CISPA with Trevor Timm, who is a digital freedom activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The interview was done to provide an overview of the possible effect or impact of this legislation if the bill were to pass and Timm described multiple privacy nightmares that could occur if the bill is passed in its current form.

 

Listen to the interview by clicking on the embedded player below or by going here.

 

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At Capitol, GOP vows to serve rural concerns under fire from outstate | Patrick Condon | Minneapolis Star Tribune

State House Republicans started the legislative session setting high hopes for an agenda aimed at what ails rural Minnesota: the lack of housing options and job training for small-town workers, the scarcity of high-speed Internet connections in remote areas and state aid payments that are a lifeblood to many tiny communities but failing to keep pace with inflation.


Now, as lawmakers speed toward conclusion of the session, the centerpiece of the GOP agenda is a $2 billion tax cut plan that has left few resources for those rural-geared initiatives. Outstate advocates are criticizing House Republican plans, and even some GOP legislators are fretting about the message to voters in what has become the party’s most important base of support.


House GOP leaders are “trying to satisfy the wants and requests of everyone,” said Rep. Debra Kiel, R-Crookston, an assistant House majority leader. “There’s a lot of give and take at this point. It might look like there’s not. My emphasis is rural, but I realize we need to look at all the citizens of Minnesota.”


Last November, 11 Republicans unseated House Democrats — 10 of which represented far-flung rural districts. With the GOP increasingly reliant on rural votes, and a projected state budget surplus that had swelled to $1.9 billion, outstate interest groups saw a prime opportunity.


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The FCC just dealt the Comcast merger a big blow | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

The FCC just dealt the Comcast merger a big blow | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Another day, another apparent blow for the Comcast merger.


Staffers at the Federal Communications Commission have recommended that the $45 billion deal be reviewed by a judge — a further sign that the firm is facing stiff skepticism over its proposal to merge with the nation's second-largest cable company, Time Warner Cable, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Such recommendations have played a role in killing major deals in the past, such as a controversial merger between AT&T and T-Mobile just four years ago. If the FCC decides to kick the Comcast merger over to an administrative law judge, Comcast would have a chance to argue for it. But some policy analysts say a hearing could effectively bring about the merger's demise.


Being referred to a judge sets up a fight with skeptical regulators and can dim the prospect of regulatory approval, the analysts said. That procedural move by the FCC helped convince AT&T and T-Mobile to call off their $39 billion merger in 2011, after the Justice Department sued to block the deal. The same tactic derailed another deal in 2002 involving DirecTV and EchoStar.


Comcast met Wednesday with the FCC, which is studying the deal to determine if it would serve the public interest to approve it. Comcast also met with antitrust officials at the Justice Department.


Officials at both agencies are particularly concerned that the merger with Time Warner Cable could give Comcast the ability to harm independent online video providers, according to people familiar with the matter. Because Comcast would wind up controlling more than 30 million high-speed Internet subscribers as a result of the deal, regulators fear Comcast could become a gatekeeper — hindering access to rival streaming services or forcing them to accept Comcast's preferred terms.


Comcast has argued that the deal would not harm other programming, in part because its content arm, NBCUniversal, is already subject to restrictions that were agreed upon in 2011 when Comcast bought NBCU.


Comcast declined to comment on its meetings with the FCC and Justice Department, saying it was inappropriate to share the content of those meetings publicly. Comcast will be submitting a regulatory filing disclosing its FCC meeting on Friday.


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ID: Ammon Brings Local Connectivity to Idaho Schools as State Education Network Goes Dark | community broadband network

ID: Ammon Brings Local Connectivity to Idaho Schools as State Education Network Goes Dark | community broadband network | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The City of Ammon's municipal fiber network recently stepped in to provide primary broadband access for School District 93 as the state's educational network went dark reports Local News 8. Watch the video of local coverage below.


When a judge ruled last year that the Idaho Education Network (IEN) contract between the state Department of Administration was void, an education broadband crisis loomed across the state. As the drama played out, however, local networks such as Ammon's muni, have come to the rescue to keep students connected.


Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham described an attitude characteristic of municipal networks:


"I think it's just something we do in the spirit of collaboration, and I think that's always important because when we talk about the school district and the city it's all the same people, and so anytime we can keep costs down it benefits everyone involved," Kirkham said.


CenturyLink and Education Networks of America (ENA) were providers under the contract voided last year. As CenturyLink and ENA cut off service to schools, forcing them to negotiate their own contracts, they have discovered better, more affordable broadband from local providers like Ammon.  A recent Idaho State Journal reported on several school districts:


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Facebook’s focus on the future of communication continues to grow | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

Facebook’s focus on the future of communication continues to grow | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Facebook doesn't just want to be your social hub, it also wants to be a bigger part of how you communicate in general.  Now Facebook's gone a little further with the introduction of a new app, Hello.


The new program, introduced Wednesday, was designed by the company's Messenger team but is essentially a calling, caller ID and search app for your phone. Available only on Android phones, the app pulls Facebook data to identify callers -- it can do this even if they aren't in your address book, thanks to Facebook's bank of phone numbers  -- and will also let you search for businesses that have put their phone numbers on the social network.


The Hello announcement came shortly before the company released mixed results for its first-quarter earnings. Facebook reported lighter-than-predicted revenue of $3.54 billion for the quarter versus analyst expectations of $3.56 billion.


The firm beat analyst predictions for earnings of $.41 per share, by one cent. And the company's focus on mobile has also continued to pay off, with 73 percent of its advertising revenue coming from smartphones and tablets. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg called it a "good quarter and a good start to the year" in the company's earnings call with analysts.


But most of his remarks focused on Facebook's future plans for expansion, including in the world of messaging.


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Comcast Merger With Time Warner Is Scrapped | Donald Kaufman | Techdirt.com

Comcast Merger With Time Warner Is Scrapped | Donald Kaufman | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last year, Comcast announced its plan to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion dollars and merge the two cable providers into one. On Friday, however, the companies said the takeover was off. The deal’s collapse—a huge blow to Comcast, which had spent some $237 million on efforts to get it approved—comes shortly after outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder told regulators at the Department of Justice that they had his approval to challenge the merger.


Regulators had expressed fears that the deal would harm competition and consumers alike.


The New York Times reports:


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The FCC chairman is a former cable lobbyist. And he just helped kill the Comcast merger. | Brian Fang | WashPost.com

The FCC chairman is a former cable lobbyist. And he just helped kill the Comcast merger. | Brian Fang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nobody can claim that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is an industry puppet anymore.

Comcast's spectacular failure to close its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable undercuts the age-old Washington wisdom that money and political connections — of which Comcast has a great deal — are the keys to power.


But it also upends a longstanding narrative about the tendency of private sector officials like Wheeler to favor their former colleagues when they enter public service.


The collapse of the Comcast merger is a landmark moment for Wheeler, a former chief lobbyist for a leading cable industry association. Seventeen months into his tenure, Wheeler's FCC has emerged as one of the most aggressive regulators the industry has ever seen.


"It is a tribute to Tom Wheeler for demonstrating willingness to take on the politically powerful cable industry," said Andrew Schwartzman, a law scholar at Georgetown University. "There has been, and there [will] be, a lot of political heat for doing this."


Many consumer advocates were on edge when Wheeler, who declined to be interviewed for this article, took office. They believed he would begin pushing policies that would benefit the industry he once represented. Instead, Wheeler took a series of surprising actions that have now culminated in the collapse of the biggest cable merger regulators have ever faced.


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After Comcast’s failed bid, Charter wants to give Time Warner Cable another try | Celilia Kang & Brian Fang | WashPost.com

After Comcast’s failed bid, Charter wants to give Time Warner Cable another try | Celilia Kang & Brian Fang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable, blocked from merging with Comcast this week by federal officials, may have a new suitor: Charter Communications

Charter, the nation’s fourth largest cable company, has begun exploring a bid for Time Warner Cable, an industry official familiar with the matter said Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public announcement has yet been made. Charter declined to comment.


Charter had pursued a takeover of Time Warner Cable in 2013. It first offered to buy the company for nearly $130 a share. Officials at Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second largest cable company, rebuffed the figure, leading Charter to increase its bid to $132 a share.


Comcast then swooped in with a bid of nearly $159 per share, leading to a merger announcement in February 2014. Fourteen months later, however, the deal fell apart as regulars moved to block the deal. Federal officials had concluded that the combined company would hold too much sway over the entertainment and television industries.


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Comcast Hints At the Price of Its New 2Gbps ‘Not for Your Average Joe’ Fiber Internet: Around $400 a Month | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Hints At the Price of Its New 2Gbps ‘Not for Your Average Joe’ Fiber Internet: Around $400 a Month | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Florida wakes up to news that Comcast will deliver its 2Gbps broadband service in the cities of Jacksonville, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, the rest of the country is learning the estimated price of the service, targeted to the “techno-elite.”


Cindy Arco, spokeswoman for Comcast in Jacksonville told the Florida Times Union final pricing hasn’t been established yet for 2 Gigabit Pro for Florida, but it likely will be in the range of the highest residential broadband tier, which amounts to $400 a month for 505Mbps.


“It’s the type of thing for early adopters — those people who want to have the latest, newest tech gadget and the latest everything related to tech,” Arco said.


In Florida, the residential customers will need to live within a third of the mile of the fiber optic service lines offered by Comcast.

Arco downplayed the relevance of the arrival of 2Gbps service from Comcast.


“It’s exciting, but it’s not for your average Joe,” Arco said.

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FCC Staff Recommends Sending Comcast/TWC Merger to Seventh Level of ‘Deal-Killing’ Hearing Hell | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

FCC Staff Recommends Sending Comcast/TWC Merger to Seventh Level of ‘Deal-Killing’ Hearing Hell | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The staff at the Federal Communications Commission decided Wednesday to make a non-decision decision regarding the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and are recommending turning over the matter, including millions of pages of company documents and 14 months of investigative findings to an administrative law judge to sort out.


The procedural move, dubbed by many regulatory experts as a “deal-killer,” is known officially as a “hearing designation order.” But executives at Comcast know it really means the FCC is sending a strong signal it does not believe the merger is in the public interest.


The sudden recommendation by the FCC is seen by some observers as a coordinated move with the U.S. Department of Justice to let Comcast CEO Brian Roberts know the deal is in serious peril. In 2011, the Justice Department declared its opposition to another blockbuster merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, and the FCC announced its own opposition just a few hours later. The merger was declared dead shortly thereafter.


Placing the matter in the hands of an administrative law judge would mean a drawn-out, complicated hearing that would probably last longer than the 1995 trial of O.J. Simpson. Few companies bother. Even if Comcast decides it will fight, if the Justice Department successfully challenges the merger in court, the hearing designation order is moot and the merger fails.


Most observers expect Comcast will call off the merger before dragging the matter out in a court or hearing room.


The Wall Street Journal broke the story last night, calling it a “significant roadblock.”


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Bloomberg: Analyzing The Decision by Comcast to Drop Time Warner Cable Bid | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Bloomberg News reports the decision has already been made, with an official announcement as early as tomorrow that Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable is over and dead.


Bloomberg reporters analyze the reasons the deal collapsed and what has changed in America’s regulatory climate.


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MI: Could Google be moving out of downtown Ann Arbor? | Nathan Bomey | Detroit Free Press

MI: Could Google be moving out of downtown Ann Arbor? | Nathan Bomey |  Detroit Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet giant Google has signed a lease for new office space south of downtown Ann Arbor as the company considers the future of its presence in the city's central business district.


Google signed a deal for 30,000 square feet of the South State Commons II building northeast of the corner of South State Street and Eisenhower Parkway in the Briarwood Mall area, said Jeff Harshe of MAVDevelopment Company.


"I think it's an indication of the vibrant business climate in this area," said Harshe, who declined to discuss terms of the new lease. "My experience with them is they continue to grow, and they're good corporate citizens."


But a person familiar with Google's local presence but not authorized to speak publicly said the company has not yet decided whether to stay in downtown Ann Arbor. The person said the company needed the new office as overflow space to accommodate job growth.


It's still possible Google could renew or adjust its current lease. Google officials were not available to comment.


The company currently leases about 85,000 square feet of the McKinley Towne Centre office complex at the corner of Liberty and Division in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. The office primarily handles sales for Google's AdWords search advertisements, its primary source of revenue, and had about 300 employees as of two years ago.


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In one KCK neighborhood, the present and the future collide | Rick Montgomery | Kansas City Star

In one KCK neighborhood, the present and the future collide | Rick Montgomery | Kansas City Star | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

To three generations, the neighborhood west of State Line Road at 45th Street was known as Spring Valley.


Now the tech world and geeks crowding in call it Kansas City Startup Village, where they’re encouraged to dream up apps and online businesses. Being just down the road from the Google Fiber offices, it was among the first residential hamlets anywhere to be wired for ultra-fast Internet.


The natives, though, are restless. They have recently begun to work with the young arrivals to reach an understanding of what neighborhoods are supposed to be.


From her front porch 14 steps above Cambridge Street in Kansas City, Kan., Jean Flaherty can point to homes owned by neighbors who grew up in them. But anymore, with all these techies coming and going, she said, “we don’t know who’s not supposed to be here.”


Too many strangers. Cars parked all along the narrow side roads. On occasion a tour bus rolls through.


So Flaherty and a longtime neighbor, Jane Vogl, circulated a petition a few weeks back when owners of two residential properties that house startup ventures sought to renew special-use permits.


Nearly 70 residents signed the petition, adding comments such as “Afraid of what our neighborhood will become” and “Love startups but this is residential.”


True, Spring Valley is residential — zoned for single-family housing.

But Startup Village is all business, much being conducted in houses. Hopeful entrepreneurs, mostly millennials and sometimes several under one roof, while away their workdays at laptops.


They came from as far away as Boston and Portland, Ore.


They started doing so in late 2012, when the enclave of quaint houses drew global media attention for being the first “fiberhood.” Google made fiber service available only to homes, not to commercial properties.


Startup Village co-leaders Adam Arredondo and Matthew Marcus say that their eyes have opened to the collision of Spring Valley and Startup Village and that they want to see both prosper.


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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/technology/article18882093.html?__scoop_post=d97739c0-e7af-11e4-ef16-842b2b775358&__scoop_topic=287150#__scoop_post=d97739c0-e7af-11e4-ef16-842b2b775358&__scoop_topic=287150#storylink=cpy
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MN: Wireless internet is not the medium or long-term answer to connecting our rural citizens and businesses to the internet | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I am pleased to share the following letter with permission. Jan has been working with her community in Claoquet Valley for a few years. They have made progress, but it is very incremental, which really means show. Her letter explains eloquently what it’s like on the frontlines…


Dear members of the MN House Committee on Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance:


I am a Supervisor for the rural, out-state Town of North Star, and I represent a joint powers board of 7 rural townships called the Cloquet Valley internet Initiative.  We have been working since 2012 to bring broadband internet to our rural outstate citizens and businesses.  We have learned a great deal about broadband providers during our campaign.


Wireless internet is not the medium or long-term answer to connecting our rural citizens and businesses to the internet….wireless is only a short-term incremental solution to helping people get a “taste” of what the internet can do.


My township only has access the internet via wireless options…we have no wired access.  Satellite and cell phone based internet is very very expensive, because both of them have data plans.  If you have 2 or more people using the internet at the same time in a household or business, especially if they are using anything for video, such as health care, education, social connectivity, or if there is a need to update software, there is HUGE data use that results in having to purchase more and more data before the end of the month.  


It is very common to spend well over $100 per month of cell or satellite internet.  Both types of internet are FAR more expensive than people see in urban areas where they have cable or fiber, or some kind of wired systems.


Wired systems (DSL and fiber) typically have unlimited monthly data use for a fixed price.


Tower based wireless has a different set of limitations.


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Bush-Era Docs Show Official Misled Congress About NSA Spying | Jordan Robertson | Bloomberg.com

Bush-Era Docs Show Official Misled Congress About NSA Spying | Jordan Robertson | Bloomberg.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales misled Congress by downplaying a dispute between George W. Bush’s White House and the Justice Department over the legality of the National Security Agency’s warrantless spying program, according to previously classified documents.


The documents released Saturday from the inspectors general of the Defense Department, Justice Department, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence concerned their investigations of the surveillance programs initiated by then-President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


They show that intelligence and law-enforcement agencies had mixed views toward Bush’s emergency order authorizing the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone and Internet data. For example, agencies other than the NSA had difficulty accessing information on terrorism suspects because of secrecy surrounding the program, lack of training and the large volume and confusing structure of the data.


The report, which was dated July 10, 2009, concerned programs that ran under Bush’s emergency authorizations from 2001 to 2007. Some programs have continued under different legal statutes.


The stepped-up surveillance has been documented by press accounts and the leak of classified materials in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.


The Snowden revelations touched off a debate around the world about the scope of the U.S.’s intelligence gathering and whether the surveillance undermined crucial civil-liberties protections, especially Fourth Amendment defenses against unreasonable searches and seizures. Surveillance records of U.S. citizens are included in the data sweeps.


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Cablevision actually wants you to cut the cord | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com

Cablevision actually wants you to cut the cord | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Here's the clearest sign yet of the decline of cable television: Cablevision is offering a new broadband Internet package aimed at getting users to cut the cable cord.


On Thursday the cable and broadband Internet provider announced monthly broadband Internet packages between $35 and $45 that come with a digital antenna for free local broadcasting and access to WiFi hotspots in its service area of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania. With the new broadband offering, users can add HBO Now for $15 a month and additional streaming subscription services. By picking and choosing streaming services, the company said, consumers will be able to replace the cable television bundle of hundreds of channels.


Cablevision's announcement comes amid a dramatic shakeup of the traditional cable television industry, with Verizon FiOs also departing from the big cable bundle with new, slimmer packages at lower cost. The cable firms have seen users steadily drop cable subscriptions, and the pressure is on to adapt to new competition online as cable programming from the likes of ESPN, HBO and  Viacom offer their own streaming services.


“As a connectivity company, Cablevision is reimagining its relationship with its customers,” Kristin Dolan, chief operating officer of Cablevision, said in a release. “Our new ‘cord cutter’ packages take a modern approach to traditional triple-product bundles and provide real alternatives that fit new consumer lifestyles."


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Detroit's '2.0 Mode' Can Open Doors for Minority Entreprenurs, Advocates Say | Alan Stamm | Deadline Detroit

Detroit's '2.0 Mode' Can Open Doors for Minority Entreprenurs, Advocates Say | Alan Stamm | Deadline Detroit | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Carla Harris, a senior executive at Morgan Stanley headquarters in midtown Manhattan, sees "an interesting opportunity" for Detroit to become to be a model city for minority business start-ups.


Harris, who moderated a Techweek panel at the Detroit Athletic Club last week, is among influential backers of an effort to make Detroit the American city that attracts and nurtures minority tech entrepreneurs, Sarah Schmid reports at the Xconomy national news site.


Morgan Stanley sponsored a three-day PowerMoves@Detroit event with boot camps and public pitches by minority business developers from Michigan and beyond.


Schmid, Detroit editor for the site reporting on business, life sciences and technology news, quotes Harris, vice chair of global wealth management and senior client adviser:


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The rise of Amazon Web Services | Amrita Jayakumar | WashPost.com

The rise of Amazon Web Services | Amrita Jayakumar | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nearly a decade after it started as an internal project for a group of engineers, Amazon.com’s cloud services unit has turned into the online retailer’s fastest-growing business.


The company gave a rare glimpse into the growth of Amazon Web Services on Thursday, saying that during the first quarter, it had reached $1.57 billion in revenue, up nearly 50 percent from the same period last year. It had operating income of $265 million, up from $245 million last year. It was the first time Amazon has released such details about what many investors consider the most lucrative part of the retailing giant.


“Amazon Web Services is a $5 billion business and still growing fast — in fact it’s accelerating,” Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s founder, said in a statement. (Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)


Seattle-based Amazon Web Services is widely known for providing computing power to start-ups and companies such as Netflix and Airbnb, and media organizations, including The Washington Post.


At its D.C. office, which opened last fall, the mood is more like a start-up than a multibillion-dollar business. A single elevator leads to the top floor, where you’re greeted by a mural of dogs. (A photo of the late Rufus, Amazon’s office dog, also adorns the wall.)


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And it’s official: Comcast has announced the Time Warner Cable deal is no more | Brian Fang | WashPost.com

And it’s official: Comcast has announced the Time Warner Cable deal is no more | Brian Fang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast has officially called off its $45 billion proposed merger with Time Warner Cable.


"Today, we move on," said Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts in a statement. "I couldn't be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what's next."


The mega-deal would've joined the two biggest cable companies in America, creating a massive player that regulators feared could exert undue leverage over not just others in the cable business, but over other industries in the media and entertainment space.


The Federal Communications Commission effectively killed the deal this week when staffers at the agency recommended that the merger be designated for a "hearing" — a procedural move that would have led to years of fruitless legal wrangling, analysts said.


"Once you have even the implication of [a hearing], you have no choice but to walk away," said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG.


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Comcast chief’s last-minute pleas to a former ally fell on deaf ears | Cecilia Kang & Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Comcast chief’s last-minute pleas to a former ally fell on deaf ears | Cecilia Kang & Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Monday, the chief executive of Comcast made a Hail Mary call to Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Brian Roberts told the regulator that his intention to buy Time Warner Cable was for the good for the entire country because it would bring faster Internet speeds to millions. His cable and media company would of course become a behemoth, but Roberts promised to behave and to not use his company’s power to unfairly thwart competitors.


The two men knew each other well. Wheeler, 69, was the former head of the cable industry’s leading lobbying organization. Roberts, 55, had spent his entire career at Comcast, where he once climbed telephone poles and sold cable subscriptions door-to-door. Both had been major fundraisers for President Obama’s campaigns.


But whatever history the two men had was now irrelevant as they talked. Roberts’ plea had come too late.


By the time of the phone call, Wheeler and his staff at the FCC had already decided to block the $45 billion megadeal, one of the largest ever to come before Washington regulators, people familiar with the matter said. On Wednesday, Comcast executives were summoned to a meeting in a nondescript conference room at the agency to hear the verdict: No amount of concessions would save the deal. Comcast and Time Warner would simply be too big and threatening to an array of competitors, particularly online video providers.


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BREAKING Bloomberg News: The Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger is Dead | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Corp. is planning to walk away from its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News, after regulators decided that the deal wouldn’t help consumers, making approval unlikely.


A formal announcement on the deal’s fate may come as soon as Friday, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information.


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States can't do it alone -- federal funding needed to modernize U.S. telecom infrastructure | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

States can't do it alone -- federal funding needed to modernize U.S. telecom infrastructure | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Coalition seeks overhaul of Maine broadband plan - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram: A coalition of Maine businesses, towns and nonprofit groups on Tuesday threw its support behind a bill to overhaul the state’s broadband policy for the first time in nearly a decade, a component of which suggests financing the expansion of high-speed Internet service through a new tax on cellphones.

The proposal, introduced by state Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, would require an updated strategic plan to expand broadband access in Maine and stronger efforts to support community broadband planning efforts.

Members of the Maine Broadband Coalition – a collection of more than three dozen towns and cities, businesses and nonprofit organizations – said expanding access to high-speed Internet service is expensive, but necessary for economic development.

“This is not a million-dollar problem. It is far larger,” said Fletcher Kittredge, chief executive officer of Great Works Internet and a member of the coalition.


Kittredge nails it. State telecommunications infrastructure financing programs provide funding in the modest millions for infrastructure that costs billions to deploy. The United States needs to revamp its telecommunications for the Internet age just as it financed electrical distribution facilities and highways in the 20th century.

Given the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has deemed Internet telecommunications a common carrier utility -- one that plays a vital role in supporting interstate commerce  -- the federal government clearly has a stake. It should appropriate comprehensive funding to get the job done and not leave it solely to the states that lack the economic resources to do it themselves. Federal funding for telecom infrastructure modernization would produce a multiplier effect that will return much of it to the U.S. Treasury through increased economic activity.

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Telco Trade Group USTelecom 'Supports' FCC Neutrality Rules, Just Not The FCC Actually Being Able To Enforce Them | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Telco Trade Group USTelecom 'Supports' FCC Neutrality Rules, Just Not The FCC Actually Being Able To Enforce Them | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Despite the endless, breathless proclamations about "outdated, utility-style regulation" or the death of innovation, there's really only one reason ISPs don't want to be reclassified as common carriers by the FCC: the billions to be made by abusing the uncompetitive broadband last mile. The very threat of a regulator actually doing its job and establishing what are relatively thin consumer protections (just ask ISPs like Frontier, Cablevision, Sprint or Sonic.net) is really only a problem if you plan to make money off the backs of a captive audience that can't vote with its wallet.

Not too surprisingly, "we want the absolute right to aggressively abuse an uncompetitive U.S. broadband market" isn't a very sexy or compelling sales pitch. As such, ISPs have worked very hard to paint Title II as a bogeyman of mammoth proportions; an implementation of outdated regulations that will utterly demolish an amazing, hyper-competitive broadband landscape that doesn't actually exist. We've debunked these claims time and time again, but expecting to find a middle ground with lobbyists paid to be intractable is a bit like playing whac-a-mole with an army of invincible undead.

Enter USTelecom, an AT&T-dominated trade group that filed one of five lawsuits last week against the FCC's net neutrality rules. Trying to justify the group's lawsuit to the media, USTelecom boss Walter McCormick this week proclaimed that the group really was ok with the FCC's rules -- it just wasn't ok with the agency having the ability to enforce them:


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What Washington Didn’t Like About the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

What Washington Didn’t Like About the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal: Comcast is planning to walk away from its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable, people with knowledge of the matter said, after regulators decided that the deal wouldn’t help consumers, making approval unlikely.


Bloomberg’s Peter Cook, Scarlet Fu, Alex Sherman and Cory Johnson have more on “Street Smart.”


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Google's wireless service leaves bandwidth rationed business model undisturbed | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Google's wireless service leaves bandwidth rationed business model undisturbed | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google's soft launch today of its Project Fi mobile wireless offering won't be a game changer for homes and small businesses unfortunate enough to be located outside the limited footprints of landline Internet service providers (or not in a Google Fiber "fiberhood") and reliant on wireless premise Internet service such as Verizon's 4G Installed service offering.

While Project Fi does allow the creation of wireless hot spots at a customer premise, it retains the metered pricing schemes of existing wireless providers wherein end users must purchase monthly bandwidth allowance levels, referred to as "bandwidth by the bucket."

That make the service a poor value for premises service. It's easy to blow through the bandwidth allowances and end up with a large bill via software updates and video streaming. Parents in homes with teenage children who stream video such as Netflix have been shocked by jaw dropping bills. Or who do class work online, which has been spotlighted by Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as a key issue in America's Internet access disparities.

The Project Fi Plan and Pricing FAQ states:


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Just how hackable is your plane? | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

Just how hackable is your plane? | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Chris Roberts knows a lot about hacking planes. But not because he's trying to make them fall out of the sky. In fact, his job as a security researcher is to figure out how bad guys could hack computer systems so that companies can fix them.


But a tweet joking about "playing" with a plane's on-board communications systems made while Roberts was on a United Airlines flight last week landed him in hot water: The FBI  questioned him for several hours after he landed and confiscated his laptop and hard drives. And then, over the weekend, he was blocked from boarding another United flight while on the way to speak at a security conference.

Roberts was able to book a last-minute flight on another airline. But his research raises bigger questions: Just how hackable are the planes millions of travelers rely on to get around the world? The answer, it turns out, is up for debate.


Planes are increasingly designed to give passengers more access to digital systems, mostly for entertainment purposes via in-flight WiFi. But this connectivity may have a dark side: Last week, the Government Accountability Office released a report saying that security researchers have warned that this trend leaves planes less secure by providing a "direct link" between an aircraft and the outside world that could be leveraged by hackers.


Keeping flight-related and entertainment systems separate can be one way to limit an attacker's access, but not all planes seem to be designed with that in mind. In 2008, the FAA expressed concern that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner combined some of that digital infrastructure — saying that the design "may result in security vulnerabilities."


Modern planes use digital defenses called firewalls to protect cockpit systems against intrusions from someone connecting through other parts of the aircraft, like in-flight entertainment systems, the report said.

Some cybersecurity experts worry that isn't enough, arguing that "because firewalls are software components, they could be hacked like any other software and circumvented," according to the report. But some critics of the report say it may have overstated the risks.


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