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Facebook's stock price dives, and California could take hit | LATimes

Facebook's stock price dives, and California could take hit | LATimes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Facebook's stock has nosedived since the social media giant debuted on Wall Street earlier this month, and that's bad news for California's budget.

 

Gov. Jerry Brown was counting on about $1.5 billion in income taxes related to the company's IPO to help patch the state's swelling $15.7-billion deficit. But if the stock price remains low, a haul that big becomes unlikely.

 

The Brown administration pegged the stock at $35 per share -- lower than its $38 starting point but significantly higher than the $28.19 per share at the close of trading on Wednesday.

 

Jason Sisney at the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, which provides budget advice to lawmakers, said tax revenue from Facebook "could be hundreds of millions of dollars less than has been projected."

 

Of course, that assumes the stock price stays at its current level. And even if it does, Sisney said, there are other ways for the state to make up the difference. For example, the sale of Facebook stock would increase a California resident's tax bill.

 

The bigger question for the state budget, Sisney said, is how the overall stock market performs. That could sway tax revenue by billions, not millions.

 

H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance, said the administration does not plan to redo its revenue forecast based on the lower Facebook share price.

 

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Fourteen-year-old develops DIY tablet kits to educate and inspire | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com

Fourteen-year-old develops DIY tablet kits to educate and inspire | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Less than one year ago, 14-year-old Taj Pabari was like any other kid, toiling away on a 3D printer at school (ok, maybe not quite like any other kid). An assignment required the class to sandwich two pieces of plastic together, but where some students simply saw air, Pabari envisioned the makings of a new kind of educational toy.


Fast-forward some 10 months and he finds himself shortlisted for a Young Innovator of the Year award and pitching his product to potential investors. So what is it that has catapulted Pabari from the classroom to rubbing shoulders with industry leaders in the space of a year? Gizmag caught up with the Australian entrepreneur to learn all about his Lego-inspired tablet kits and how he plans on changing the face of IT education.


"I was in class and we had to stick two pieces of plastic casing together," explains Pabari. "So I thought, why not make this into a tablet? I pulled apart my Nexus, reworked the casing a little, cut out a display and built a computer in between."


Mix the possibilities of 3D-printing, a working knowledge of computer hardware and a dash of youthful optimism and you have the beginnings of MechTech Creations, Pabari's Brisbane-based tablet startup. Early iterations of its tablet kits were set to cost less than AUD$50 (US$46), among the cheapest available. However, a number of problems relating to personnel and suppliers prompted a change of direction, leading Pabari's team to pursue something a little more educational.


"Like most children, we loved Lego and that feeling of accomplishment when a creation comes together," says Pabari. "What we are trying to do is deliver that immediate satisfaction but with the long-lasting, educational benefits."


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Meet The Two Women Who Hold The Future Of The Internet In Their Hands | Sabrina Siddiqui & Ryan Grim | HuffPost.com

Meet The Two Women Who Hold The Future Of The Internet In Their Hands | Sabrina Siddiqui & Ryan Grim | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the most consequential decisions Washington is set to make in 2014 won't come out of the White House, Congress, or any of the nation's boardrooms, but rather from a nondescript federal building along the city's southwest waterfront. It's here, in the offices of the Federal Communications Commission, that the fate of the Internet will be decided.


The FCC is currently revising rules on "net neutrality" -- or the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally -- after a federal court in January struck down a regulation that forced Internet service providers to abide by the principle. But the court allowed the FCC to go back to the drawing board and craft new net neutrality rules under a different statute that would pass muster. In April, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler introduced a draft proposal that would still effectively end net neutrality, though he puzzlingly claimed in public that it would not.


Wheeler is looked to as the linchpin to the Internet's fate. But the FCC board is made up of five people: Wheeler, two other Democrats and two Republicans. This group will vote on the next version of the rules, and its members could enshrine net neutrality into law if they so choose.


The two Republican appointees to the FCC are unlikely to back Wheeler. Republicans of all stripes oppose net neutrality on principle -- a business, the thinking goes, should more or less be able to charge for anything the market will pay for.


Republican opposition means Wheeler will need the support of his Democratic colleagues on the panel if he does want to protect net neutrality. Normally, the votes of a chairman's fellow partisans are guaranteed at the agency level. But on an issue as high-profile as the Internet's future, that is anything but the case at the FCC. And that gives the Democratic commissioners who share the dais with Wheeler outsized influence.


Meet Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, the two women who hold the future of the web in their hands.


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Witness the future: The 1955 Video Phone | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

Witness the future: The 1955 Video Phone | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Archives blog recently featured a pretty cool clip showing one of the first “futuristic” video phones – from 1955, manual rotary dial and all.


 According to the blog:


 “Demonstrated for the first time, the videophone, with two-way picture screens enabling the parties to see, as well as speak to, each other. As simple to operate as today’s dial tone. The videophone included a small screen so that women could ‘primp’ before placing their calls. A mirror would have been less costly and more effective.”


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Should Twitter, Facebook and Google Executives be the Arbiters of What We See and Read? | Glenn Greenwald | The Intercept

Should Twitter, Facebook and Google Executives be the Arbiters of What We See and Read? | Glenn Greenwald | The Intercept | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There have been increasingly vocal calls for Twitter, Facebook and other Silicon Valley corporations to more aggressively police what their users are permitted to see and read. Last month in The Washington Post, for instance, MSNBC host Ronan Farrow demanded that social media companies ban the accounts of “terrorists” who issue “direct calls” for violence.


This week, the announcement by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo that the company would prohibit the posting of the James Foley beheading video and photos from it (and suspend the accounts of anyone who links to the video) met with overwhelming approval. What made that so significant, as The Guardian‘s James Ball noted today, was that “Twitter has promoted its free speech credentials aggressively since the network’s inception.” By contrast, Facebook has long actively regulated what its users are permitted to say and read; at the end of 2013, the company reversed its prior ruling and decided that posting of beheading videos would be allowed, but only if the user did not express support for the act.


Given the savagery of the Foley video, it’s easy in isolation to cheer for its banning on Twitter. But that’s always how censorship functions: it invariably starts with the suppression of viewpoints which are so widely hated that the emotional response they produce drowns out any consideration of the principle being endorsed.


It’s tempting to support criminalization of, say, racist views as long as one focuses on one’s contempt for those views and ignores the serious dangers of vesting the state with the general power to create lists of prohibited ideas. That’s why free speech defenders such as the ACLU so often represent and defend racists and others with heinous views in free speech cases: because that’s where free speech erosions become legitimized in the first instance when endorsed or acquiesced to.


The question posed by Twitter’s announcement is not whether you think it’s a good idea for people to see the Foley video. Instead, the relevant question is whether you want Twitter, Facebook and Google executives exercising vast power over what can be seen and read.


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CA: Downtown Launches Mobile Payment App In Palo Alto | TechCrunch.com

CA: Downtown Launches Mobile Payment App In Palo Alto | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Downtown wants to change the way you order and pay for food, starting with its launch today at the Palo Alto’s Coupa Cafe, a common startup meeting spot. 


Although it’s easy to make online purchases or order food on your phone for delivery, the way you pay for a meal when you’re inside a restaurant has relatively stayed the same. But with its iOS app that launched today, Downtown allows you to make in-store orders and purchases directly from your iPhone.


Then using iBeacon technology, the Downtown app lets the restaurant know exactly what table you’re sitting at so they can deliver your food directly to you.


Using iBeacon technology to place orders may seem like something you’d only find at a cafe known to be hotspot for startups testing new products and meeting investors, but Downtown co-founders Phillip Buckendorf, Xavier de Ryckel and Max Noelle already have plans to integrate with other food trucks and restaurants in the coming months.


The team first came up with the idea for Downtown last year when they made a $199 purchase at Apple from a mobile device. They wondered why they couldn’t do this for other, smaller purchases at other Palo Alto businesses.


“We realized it was more difficult to buy an ice cream than make a $199 purchase at Apple,” Buckendorf said. “We realized this seems very broken.”


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MA: In Somerville, a new hub of innovation is emerging from shuttered factory | Scott Kirsner | The Boston Globe

MA: In Somerville, a new hub of innovation is emerging from shuttered factory | Scott Kirsner | The Boston Globe | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The obituary of the Ames Safety Envelope Company was written in February 2010. The Somerville company had grown to about 600 employees in the mid-20th century, making sturdy envelopes, boxes, and file folders for medical records. But as the world started going digital, its business shrank, and eventually Ames was bought by a Wisconsin company rolling up similar manufacturers.


The last 150 jobs at Ames vanished in 2010. Most of the equipment was sold at auction, and the factory went dark.


Ames had once been among the biggest employers in the city — “an institution,” says Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. The question facing the city, he says, was “What do we do with all this land and these buildings?”


With the recession dragging on, the descendants of Ames’ founder considered selling the property, but weren’t sure they could find a buyer. And they fretted over filling the 290,000-square-foot complex with tenants. “I thought it was an almost impossible task,” says Arthur Fitzgerald, grandson of the company’s founder, John W. Fitzgerald.


Skip ahead four years: The final chunk of space in the Ames complex was leased this month. And what is now known as the Ames Business Park is not only fully occupied, it also has become the entrepreneurial epicenter of Somerville, home to a brewery, dozens of start-ups, a pinata maker, an electric guitar maker, a climbing gym, coffee roaster, t-shirt printer, artists, bicycle hackers, and a team building a giant, eight-legged walking robot called Stompy.


It’s a more diverse blend of people and ideas than you’d find in Kendall Square — in part because rent is cheaper — and it’s more densely-packed than Boston’s Innovation District. Curtatone calls it a “village of innovation,” and it has a neighborly, rooted vibe that you don’t typically find in a business park.


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Why hackers may be stealing your credit card numbers for years | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Why hackers may be stealing your credit card numbers for years | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While conducting a penetration test of a major Canadian retailer, Rob VandenBrink bought something from the store. He later found his own credit card number buried in its systems, a major worry.


The retailer, which has hundreds of stores across Canada, otherwise had rock-solid security and was compliant with the security guidelines known as the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS), said VandenBrink, a consultant with the IT services company Metafore.


But a simple configuration error allowed him to gain remote access. From there, he found the retailer was vulnerable to the same problem that burned Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, UPS Store and others: card data stored in memory that is vulnerable to harvesting by malicious software.


The problem is growing worse. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service warned last month that upwards of 1,000 businesses may be infected by malware on their electronic cash registers, known in the industry as point-of-sale devices.


So why are the data thieves winning? Security analysts say point-of-sale malware is neither new nor particularly sophisticated. Programs such as Backoff, BlackPOS and JackPOS hunt down clear-text payment card details jammed in a jumble of data in a computer’s memory, a process known as “RAM scraping.”


Merchants who handle card data are required to be PCI-DSS compliant or face liability if cardholder data leaks. But the latest security specification, PCI-DSS version 3.0, doesn’t mandate that merchants use technologies that encrypt card data from the moment a person’s card is swiped, referred to as point-to-point encryption.


Using that kind of technology would eliminate the in-memory malware problem, security experts say.


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Microsoft again defies US order to hand over data from overseas server | Jeff John Roberts | GigaOM Tech News

Microsoft again defies US order to hand over data from overseas server | Jeff John Roberts | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Microsoft continues to push back against a controversial search warrant procedure that the U.S. government, as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation, is using to demand emails stored in Ireland.


On Friday, Microsoft responded to a new court order by repeating its position that it would not comply with the data request, and insisting that the case go before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.


While the details of the dispute are largely procedural, the case is significant because it comes at a time of heightened European sensitivity over how U.S. companies treat data stored on servers located in the European Union. As a result, Microsoft and others are anxious to signal to Europe that they will resist certain data demands from the U.S. government.


The issue in the Irish narcotics investigation is whether a U.S. search warrant can let investigators obtain overseas data. Ordinarily, a search warrant only applies within the country’s physical borders but, in the case of data held in the cloud, the U.S. government has taken the position that such restrictions are not practical and do not apply — in part because obtaining emails from a server is not akin to a traditional physical search.


So far, a district court in New York has sided with the government, including a July 31 ruling that ordered Microsoft to comply with the warrant. That order was the subject of a temporary stay but, as a result of Friday’s ruling, that stay is no longer in force; however, in the latest legal twist, Microsoft on Friday also told Reuters it will still not comply with the order.


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Mobile Devices in Minnesota Education | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Connect Minnesota Recently released a report on Mobile Devices in Minnesota Education


"Across Minnesota, 90% of households with school-age children report that they subscribe to home broadband service. This means that more than 108,000 schoolage children in Minnesota still do not have broadband access at home. Almost one-half of parents or guardians who do not subscribe to broadband (46%) cite cost as their main barrier to adoption.


Outside of their homes, Minnesota students access the Internet using a variety of resources. Across the state, 84% of parents or guardians who have school-age children say that their children use the Internet while at school. In addition, 9% of parents or guardians report that K-12 students in Minnesota access the Internet at someone else’s home and another 9% say their children access the Internet at their local libraries for schoolwork.


Schools in Minnesota recognize the need for students to have broadband access and provide the necessary equipment for them to stay connected. Statewide, 22% of Minnesota parents or guardians with school-age children at home say that at least one child has a school-issued laptop or tablet device."


This year two of my kids will get tablets from school – but from two different schools. (One goes to a public high school; the other goes to a private school.) I will be watching closely to see what they actually do with them. I’m an advocate as you can imagine. If for no other reason, I’ll glad to see them not tote backpacks that I can’t lift. But I am hoping that the teachers are prepared to make good use of them

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The Harsh, Polarizing Language of a 'Kill Switch' for Smartphones | Joe Pinsker | The Atlantic

The Harsh, Polarizing Language of a 'Kill Switch' for Smartphones | Joe Pinsker | The Atlantic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

California passed a law this week that, depending on who you believe, will bring about either a drastic drop in violent crime or an increased risk of terrorism—apparently with the possibility of little in between. The law mandates that all California-sold smartphones include a “kill switch,” an anti-theft measure that allows someone to deactivate his or her phone, rendering it useless to a thief who hopes to sell it. Why is such a straightforward technology producing such extreme statements?


“It’s the phrase ‘kill switch’ that everyone has gotten excited about,” says Marc Rogers, a researcher at the mobile security company Lookout. “It’s not a technology that allows you to make magic smoke come out of your phone so it stops working.”


Even though the California law only requires a "kill switch"—which from now on I'll refer to, less threateningly, as "remote lock"—for phones sold in-state, California is a big enough market that manufacturers will probably start including it in all phones sold nationwide.


3.1 million phones were stolen in the U.S. in 2013 (many of them violently), and remote lock works in fighting this: After Apple introduced it last fall, iPhone robberies in New York dropped 19 percent, and during the same period thefts of Samsung products went up 51 percent. Larger declines in iPhone thefts have been reported in other cities.


Despite this, many telecoms opposed the mandate of remote lock until earlier this year. There was a theory as to why—wouldn’t a phone company want your phone to get stolen so that you have to buy a new one?—but it doesn't hold up to close inspection. A carrier gets a lot more money from you through a contract than when you buy a device. And the explanation that telecoms are loath to cede any of their mobile-insurance revenues might not tell the full story either.


The industry’s resistance was probably more due to a preference for the status quo. “The cellphone industry has always been pretty lightly regulated, and tends to resist almost all new forms of regulation almost as reflex,” says Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research. Once companies saw that the law wasn’t too demanding, most of them embraced it, even if building an effective remote-lock system can be resource-intensive.


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Can the FCC clear the way for cities to build broadband? Legal fight heats up over agency's powers | GigaOM Tech News

Can the FCC clear the way for cities to build broadband? Legal fight heats up over agency's powers | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gripes about internet speed are common across the country, but in certain towns the complaints have a special twist: the fact that local utilities want to offer faster broadband infrastructure, but state governments — at the apparent behest of the telecom industry — have passed laws to prevent them from doing so.


In response, cities in Tennessee and North Carolina are asking the FCC to sweep aside those state laws in favor of a national mandate to promote high-speed broadband connection. And on Friday, a bevy of interest groups filed comments to explain why the agency does or doesn’t have the legal authority to help local governments.


The outcome of the dispute, which turns on a single legal phrase, will not only determine the future of broadband in cities across the country, but will also be a test of strength for the FCC as it tries to regulate powerful cable and broadband providers.


The recent dispute at the FCC involves petitions from Chattanooga, Tennessee (pop. 170,000) and Wilson, North Carolina (pop. 49,000). Both places have ambitious plans for their municipal utilities to build up their local broadband infrastructure, in part to attract companies that rely on fast internet to create jobs and commerce.


State laws, however, restrict the state utilities from expanding their services to outlying areas. Supporters of the laws say ensure that taxpayers don’t get stuck with boondoggle infrastructure projects, and ensure that private companies aren’t forced to compete with government-backed rivals.


Skeptics, however, claim the state laws are no more than favors bought and paid for by telecom giants like AT&T. In this view, the corporations have shoveled money to state legislations to cut off potential competitors, while leaving many small-sized cities with pokey internet speeds.


The skeptics might have a point: in a withering investigative report this week, the Center for Public Integrity described a pattern in which AT&T and others browbeat local utilities into halting projects intended to give residents better internet. The pattern involves spending heavily on state-level lobbying, threatening towns with expensive lawsuits and leaning on politicians to pass laws that handcuff local utilities.


The city utilities have countered that they’re competent to run broadband services, and that their investments in fiber-related projects would not only result in faster internet options but spur the large corporations to invest in regions they would otherwise have ignored.


The FCC will now have to decide whether to step in and sort out the dispute by invoking federal power to override the state laws. The stakes are high, especially since not everyone believes the agency has the power to roll back the laws in the first place.


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FCC Hears Plenty From Comcast/TWC Opponents | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Hears Plenty From Comcast/TWC Opponents | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you hope to win any game of tug of war, it’s prudent to be able to size up the folks on the other side of the rope. Comcast—the country’s largest cable operator— already knew there would be plenty of opposition to its proposed buy of No. 2 operator Time Warner Cable, and what the deal could mean for traditional and online video distribution. Now that the proposal is officially on the FCC record,

however, Comcast can better view the opposition. It can also point to many supporters with strong hands on its side, weighing in on the record.


Dish Network, Netflix, Free Press, the Consumer Federation of America, the Writer Guild of America West, the Future of Music Coalition and WeatherNation TV were among those officially petitioning the FCC to block the deal.


And if the commission doesn’t block the deal, those companies all want plenty of conditions. Among the asks: Guaranteed protection of spot cable, mandatory à la carte, and favorable retrans conditions, to name but a few.


The deadline for asking the FCC to deny the deal passed on Aug. 25. Comcast pointed to over 200 groups and officials who weighed in with support. But its critics filed numerous requests to deny the deal—notably a group of 60 or so consolidation opponents that included Common Cause and Consumers Union. They cited everything from Comcast/TWC’s size, to its must-have sports programming, to its control of the weather (let’s call that a somewhat inflated reference to its ownership percentage of the Weather Channel).


Comcast has until Sept. 23 to reply, but executive VP David Cohen has already weighed in with a lengthy blog post responding to the critics, including saying that some of the programmers critical of the deal are ones who failed to renegotiate better terms in exchange for their support.


Here are some highlights from the massive data drop at the FCC last week.


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Q2 U.S.: Comcast strong. AT&T and other telcos weak | Dave Burstein | FastNetNews.com

DSL getting killed where not upgraded. AT&T lost 55K broadband customers. They want to abandon about 25% of their landline territory and go wireless only. The areas are profitable but rural wireless customers are extraordinarily profitable once the network is built. So they want to eliminate competition even from their own landlines. They stopped maintaining those lines years ago and many have 1999 technology 6 megabit DSLAMs.


AT&T and Verizon are best thought of as companies with two parts. The upgraded areas, FiOS and U-Verse, are doing fine against cable. They are getting clobbered where they haven't upgraded but allow that. They want to shut off most of those lines. Century/Qwest lost 2,000 customers and Windstream 17,000. 


Comcast added 203K subscribers to 21,271,000. Some received the $10 rate for poor families but I believe most at paying full rate. But Cablevision and Cable One actually lost customers. Telcos can compete just fine against cable; in Canada at Britain, telco DSL is beating cable.


Revisiting the debate on fiber versus DSL. AT&T lost 55K, Verizon added 46K. There have been several recent quarters where Verizon FiOS fiber home did noticeably better against the competition than AT&T's fiber/DSL. Verizon offered 25 and 50 megabits upstream, while DOCSIS is stuck at 1-5 megabits up. Fiber remains a magic word, with connotations of modernity and reliability. The glamour of Google's well-publicized gigabit fiber may be helping the (not so fast) Verizon variety. Different marketing and pricing strategies could explain the (relatively modest) difference in results.


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U.S. pay-TV penetration flat at 84% of homes … and Netflix has little to do with it, study says | FierceCable.com

U.S. pay-TV penetration flat at 84% of homes … and Netflix has little to do with it, study says | FierceCable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. pay-TV penetration has remained flat, with about five out of every six households currently subscribing to some form of pay-TV service, according to new figures released by Leichtman Research Group (LRG).


Despite an overall increase in the number of households--Nielsen simultaneously released research showing the number of U.S. TV homes has increased 0.5 percent over the last year to 116.4 million--pay-TV penetration has remained flat at about 84 percent since peaking in 2010, LRG's Cable, DBS & Telcos: Competing for Customers 2014 report says.


"The number of pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. remains about as high as it has ever been, but penetration of pay-TV services in consumers' homes has declined over the past few years, as subscriber growth has leveled-off, while occupied housing in the US has increased," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "Housing growth has been exclusively among renters, who tend to be more challenging for the pay-TV industry than home owners because of their comparatively lower income, younger age, and greater likelihood to move."


The study, which is based on surveys of 1,260 U.S. households in June and July, found that only 6 percent of those who don't currently subscribe to a pay-TV service plan on adding one in the next six months. About 35 percent of respondents without a pay-TV service have never had one. 


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New Association Launched to Support the Internet Governance Forum and its Essential Role in Addressing Internet Governance Issues | InternetSociety.org

New Association Launched to Support the Internet Governance Forum and its Essential Role in Addressing Internet Governance Issues | InternetSociety.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Internet Governance Forum Support Association was officially launched today at its inaugural General Assembly meeting in Istanbul. The IGF Support Association will support the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which brings people together from all stakeholder groups, and provides valuable opportunities for discussions on issues relating to the Internet and its future.


The launch of the IGF Support Association was held on the eve of the ninth annual IGF in Istanbul, where governments, civil society, the private sector and the technical community have convened to discuss best practice approaches to the global development of the Internet. The IGF offers an informal setting, free from binding negotiations, for productive work towards effective Internet policy solutions.  The IGF Support Association will contribute to the United Nations IGF Trust Fund and support activities such as Internet governance-related capacity building in developing countries, national and regional IGF initiatives, and fellowships for participation in IGF meetings at national, regional and global levels.


The establishment of the IGF Support Association is an initiative of the Internet Society, with the main objectives of promoting and supporting the global IGF, as well as the national and regional IGF initiatives. It was created to:


•    provide funds to maintain and strengthen the IGF Secretariat and national and regional IGF initiatives;
•    seek and promote exchange and collaboration with national and regional IGF initiatives;
•    identify new sources of funding and facilitate funding of the IGF;
•    make contributions to the IGF Trust Fund administered by the United Nations; and
•    award fellowships for participation at IGF meetings, including preparatory meetings.


“The collaboration that occurs at the IGF is extremely important to all of us who are committed to an open, thriving, and accessible Internet,” noted Markus Kummer, Internet Society Senior Vice President. “It is essential that we have a robust and sustainable income stream for the IGF to continue its growth and progress.”


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Chicago, IL: Regional Prosperity Through Innovation » SSTI Annual Conference • September 14-16, 2014 | SSTI.org

Chicago, IL:  Regional Prosperity Through Innovation » SSTI Annual Conference • September 14-16, 2014 | SSTI.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A changing landscape. That’s the phrase that keeps coming up as we talk with SSTI members and regional stakeholders across the country. But our communities are always changing, so what makes this time feel so different for those encouraging regional prosperity? Is it a period of transition or transformation?


Over two days, more than 300 practitioners, shareholders and policymakers interested in participating more effectively in this changed landscape will convene in Chicago to share best and promising practices in response to the new opportunities arising.


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Sunlight: 99 percent of net neutrality comments wanted stronger FCC rules | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Sunlight: 99 percent of net neutrality comments wanted stronger FCC rules | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Sunlight Foundation has just wrapped its weeks-long study of the more than 1 million initial comments filed to federal regulators on net neutrality. The top-line results are unsurprising, with less than 1 percent of 800,000 commenters calling for Internet providers to be regulated more lightly. That's consistent with a major push by consumer advocates to convince FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to adopt stronger rules on ISPs.


The study, published in a blog post Tuesday, comes with some important caveats. Out of the 1.1 million comments the FCC said it received, Sunlight was only able to process 800,000 because some comments were mailed in to the agency and weren't available online when Sunlight began looking at the comments. Others came bundled together in packs that Sunlight had to break apart to make sense of.


Despite the incomplete analysis, the research is the most credible one we've seen to date and shows an overwhelming bias toward stronger regulation. About two-thirds of the studied comments called for reclassifying broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act — a move that would allow the FCC to regulate ISPs more heavily but would likely provoke a strong political backlash.


The study sheds crucial new light on other important questions raised by the FCC in its proposed net neutrality rules, such as whether the policy should be applied to wireless carriers or the middle-mile of the Web, where companies send traffic to one another over the backbone. Even though these are slightly more esoteric issues, both promise to change the economics of the Web at a basic level. According to Jenn Topper, a Sunlight Foundation spokeswoman, the comments contained just 2,300 mentions of the wireless issue and 300 mentions of interconnection.


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Why T-Mobile's 'Music Freedom' may hurt net neutrality | Dwayne De Freitas VentureBeat.com

Why T-Mobile's 'Music Freedom' may hurt net neutrality | Dwayne De Freitas  VentureBeat.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Wednesday we reported that T-Mobile added six new streaming music services to its Music Freedom program. Music Freedom is a feature of T-Mobile’s smartphone, tablet, and hotspot mobile data plans that allows users unlimited access to mobile streaming music services without that streaming data consumption counting against their monthly mobile data cap.


On the surface, this looks a lot like carrier/content provider deals we’ve seen before. Sprint leveraged its low-cost Virgin Wireless brand to give users unlimited access to a choice of either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest for $5 each a month. Somewhat similar to T-Mobile’s Music Freedom, where users who choose the plan can engage with their selected service as much as they like with no data cap.


Perhaps more similar is AT&T’s Sponsored Data program, which allows users to “Browse, Stream and Enjoy” audio, video, and other rich media (paid for by sponsors) without penalty to their data caps. Like T-Mobile’s Music Freedom, AT&T Sponsored Data allows data-conscious users to indulge on content that they would normally eschew due to time and bandwidth-cap considerations.


Features and plans like these certainly allow lower income users to make affordable choices based on the services that they like most. The problem is that while the particular services chosen to participate are usually at the top of their game, they’re not the only ones that sit in their respective spaces. By promoting data plans with ties to specific content, it seems that Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile are giving incentives to users to choose certain online services over others.


In the Sprint model, choosing Facebook would mean spending less time on Twitter, because Twitter costs more. T-Mobile’s Music Freedom plan, likewise, has garnered some suspicion in the streaming music space.


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MA: Boston's Bolt launches hardware companies | Nick Barber | NetworkWorld.com

MA: Boston's Bolt launches hardware companies | Nick Barber | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Watch the first episode in our new series Breakout Startups here.


Tucked away in downtown Boston, Ben Einstein looks for the next multimillion-dollar idea. As the co-founder of Bolt, Einstein—who wouldn’t confirm or deny his relationship to Albert—is in charge of choosing hardware startups and launching them to success.


Bolt includes office space and a complete machine shop with more than a million dollars of prototyping equipment that the startups can use. Bolt invests in about one company each month and has a portfolio of about a dozen.


“Most of our companies are actually software companies,” Einstein said. “They just happen to sell a piece of hardware.”


Bolt’s machine shop in the basement of the facility includes many of the tools that Einstein used in previous roles as a product designer at various companies. The shop includes a vacuum former, lathe, nearly antique Bridgeport CNC mill, laser cutter, various 3D printers and other tools that would cost too much for a single startup to amass.


While Bolt’s machine shop is useful to rapidly prototype hardware, it’s not meant to manufacture anything in large quantities. Einstein said that Bolt helps extensively with manufacturing which includes “going to China, thinking through the supply chain aspects and cost.”


To help with business plans and product designs, Bolt employs a full-time staff of engineers and designers who have shipped millions of units of product. It also has a community of investors to provide funding for the startups.


Bolt is selective about the companies that it brings on because Bolt itself is backed by investors.


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No, Microsoft Is Not Suddenly 'Defying' A Court Order To Turn Over Emails | Techdirt.com

No, Microsoft Is Not Suddenly 'Defying' A Court Order To Turn Over Emails | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A very stupid story broke out over the weekend and got some buzz after some people read way too much into some legal maneuvering. As you may recall, back in April a court ruled that Microsoft had to hand over email data stored in Ireland based on a warrant issued in the US under the (incredibly outdated) Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Microsoft, quite reasonably, fought back, pointing out that a warrantonly applies within the US and not to foreign countries. The DOJ (and the original judge) claimed that an ECPA warrant isn't really like a warrant at all, but rather a "hybrid warrant/subpoena." But, Microsoft (rightly) points out that this is the DOJ wanting the best of both worlds -- while ignoring the protections of both. Here was the crux of Microsoft's argument:


The Government's interpretation ignores the profound and well established differences between a warrant and a subpoena. A warrant gives the Government the power to seize evidence without notice or affording an opportunity to challenge the seizure in advance. But it requires a specific description (supported by probable cause) of the thing to be seized and the place to be searched and that place must be in the United States. A subpoena duces tecum, on the other hand, does not authorize a search and seizure of the private communications of a third party. Rather. it gives the Government the power to require a person to collect items within her possession, custody, or control, regardless of location, and bring them to court at an appointed time. It also affords the recipient an opportunity to move in advance to quash. Here, the Government wants to exploit the power of a warrant and the sweeping geographic scope of a subpoena, without having to comply with fundamental protections provided by either. There is not a shred of support in the statute or its legislative history for the proposition that Congress intended to allow the Government to mix and match like this. In fact, Congress recognized the basic distinction between a warrant and a subpoena in ECPA when it authorized the Government to obtain certain types of data with a subpoena or a "court order," but required a warrant to obtain a person's most sensitive and constitutionally protected information -- the contents of emails less than 6 months old.


Unfortunately, as we noted at the end of July, the judge in the case, Loretta Preska, sided with the DOJ.

On Friday, Judge Preska did what was basically a procedural move. When she had made the original ruling, she had put a stay on the ruling, fully expecting Microsoft to appeal. This is fairly standard procedure. When a district court judge knows a ruling is likely to be appealed the judge will frequently "stay" the ruling pending the appeal. The DOJ claimed that this was a procedural error and that the particular order, for a whole host of boring legal reasons, is not an "appealable order" and that the stay is inappropriate for that reason. Everyone involved in the case -- the Judge, Microsoft and the DOJ -- knows that it's going to go to an appeal. There's just a very, very minor debate over the correct legal process to get it to appeal. Judge Preska agreed that the original order probably is not appealable, and thus the stay order makes no sense, since it was only pending the appeal. Thus, to speed things along, she lifted the stay, noting quite clearly that this was to help along the appeal process:


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Net neutrality activists are about to show you what an Internet 'slow lane' looks like | Eric Geller | DailyDot.com

Net neutrality activists are about to show you what an Internet 'slow lane' looks like | Eric Geller | DailyDot.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The realities of an Internet without net neutrality are about to become a bit more obvious.


In a move out of the anti-SOPA campaign playbook, Fight for the Future and other net neutrality activist groups have set up the Battle for the Net coalition, which plans to launch an “Internet slowdown day” later this month.


No actual traffic will be slowed down. Instead, participating sites will display embeddable modules that include a spinning “loading” symbol and information about contacting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the White House, and members of Congress.


“The Internet slowdown is a symbolic and creative action that empowers websites to show their users a message that gives them a sense of what the Internet could be like if we lost net neutrality,” Evan Greer, the campaign manager for Fight for the Future, told The Daily Dot.


The FCC is currently considering a net neutrality proposal that would allow broadband providers to offer Internet companies, like Netflix or Google, “fast lane” service to deliver content more quickly and at a higher quality than companies who do not opt into such an offering. 


Critics say this plan would divide the Internet into two tiers—a “fast lane” and a “slow lane”—and cripple technology startups that cannot afford to compete with larger, wealthier companies.


The net neutrality movement has been saddled by an opaque name and the technical complexity of the issue. It’s often difficult for open Internet advocates who geek out about the topic to explain it in layman’s terms to their friends and family. Fight for the Future hopes that the omnipresent loading symbol can help them make their case.


“The loading symbol is something that we all can understand,” Greer said. “It’s something we all get, and we know that we don’t like. It’s something that we’d see a heck of a lot more of if we lose net neutrality.”


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Cox Makes Its Own Campus Connection | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Cox Makes Its Own Campus Connection | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

School is in session, and so too are on-campus, IP-delivered multiscreen service options.

 

In the vein of Comcast’s new Xfinity On Campusand a platform being pushed by a startup called Philo, Cox Communications is also making some inroads with Campus Connect, a managed IP video service that is tailored for students and delivered via a school’s on-campus network. 

 

Cox confirmed that Tulane University (New Orleans) and Creighton University (Omaha, Neb.) are on board. Creighton conducted a limited test of Campus Connect last year, and is making it  available to the on-campus student body this fall, Cox spokesman Todd Smith said via email. Creighton went so far as to tweet about it. Tulane trialed it last year and has since rolled it out.

 

Cox said it made Campus Connect available to be sold in all of its markets in January 2014. “We’re actively talking to other universities,” Smith said.

 

It appears that Cox Connect is currently set up to deliver more than 50 live channels via IP to an array of devices.  As explained by the service’s primer, Cox takes the schools’ bulk video subscription, used to provide in-residence cable TV, and makes it mobile by enabling authenticated access on PC browsers, iOS devices (iOS 4.3 or greater), and  several  Android-powered phones and tablets.


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Sallisaw: The First Muni Fiber Network in Oklahoma - Community Broadband Bits Episode 114 | community broadband networks

Sallisaw: The First Muni Fiber Network in Oklahoma - Community Broadband Bits Episode 114 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sallisaw is one of many small municipal FTTH networks that most people are not familiar with. For a decade, they have been quietly meeting their community's needs with DiamondNet. For this week's Community Broadband Bits, we learn more about it in a conversation with Assistant City Manager Keith Skelton and Network Communications Supervisor Danny Keith.


Sallisaw built their network after incumbents failed to provide broadband in the early 2000's, becoming the first triple play municipal fiber network in the state. Nearly 2 out of 3 people take service from DiamondNet, which is operated by municipal electric utility.


They pride themselves on doing much more for the community than the incumbent providers do - particularly responsive customer service and creating lots of local content. They are also building a wireless network to serve people outside of town who currently have limited Internet access.


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In earthquakes, alerts may turn machines into action heroes | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com

In earthquakes, alerts may turn machines into action heroes | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory issued an alert about the recent earthquake in California's Napa Valley 10 seconds before it struck. That may not seem like much time -- unless you're a child of the 1950s and 1960s who was trained in school to duck and cover the second you saw a large bright nuclear flash.


Earthquake early warning systems can deliver alerts of impending seismic activity a few seconds to as long as four minutes before the tremors begin. The systems don't predict earthquakes, but a quake's energy waves move slowly enough to create an opportunity for a warning. The length of warning depends on the distance from the earthquake's center.


Even if it sends an alert just a few seconds before an event, an earthquake warning system can help save lives and prevent property damage. But the U.S. has yet to fund an earthquake early warning  system. That's not the case in Japan; that nation has a warning system that issued alerts that triggered the shutdown of the transit system when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck offshore in the Pacific Ocean on March 11, 2011. No trains derailed.


The cost of building and operating an alert system for the West Coast of the United States has been estimated at approximately $120 million for the first five years.


But investing in a fully built alert system that's integrated into schools, offices and other types of buildings could give rise to a new industry, said William Leith, a senior science adviser at the U.S. Geological Survey. Leith offered testimony on the subject of early warning systems to a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives last June.


"Consultants will advise users on how to use alerts to take protective actions," he said. "Mass notification companies will customize alerts for their clients. Automated control producers will make and install equipment to take actions and sound alarms at user facilities. Entrepreneurs will undoubtedly develop creative new applications specific to various industry sectors."


Joshua Bashioum, the founder of Early Warning Labs in Santa Monica, Calif., is in the vanguard of this industry. His year-old, privately funded company is building hardware systems that can interface with building operational systems and IT networks. What Early Warning Labs intends to do is take earthquake alert data, calculate the intensity at client locations and project the risk of damage at those locations. It will then push out machine-to-machine commands.


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Muni Fiber in Rural Massachusetts - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 113 | community broadband networks

Muni Fiber in Rural Massachusetts - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 113 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Though much of western Massachusetts has poor access to the Internet, the town of Leverett is in the midst of fiber build that will offer a gigabit to anyone who wants it. Peter d'Errico, on the town Select Board, has been part of the project from the start and Chairs the Broadband Committee. He joins us for Episode 113 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.


He and I discuss the great need for the project and inaccurate broadband maps that overstate availablility in the region. We discuss the role of the "municipal light plant" law that gave them the necessary authority to invest in the fiber.


But more interestingly, we talk about how they have structured the financing and prices for subscribers. The network will be repaid both with the revenues from subscribers and a modest bump in the property tax. The kicker is that many households will see their taxes increase a little but the amount they spend on telecom will decrease substantially, resulting in more money in their pockets each month.


We have written about Leverett often over the years, the archive is here. Read the Leverett FAQ here.


You can read a transcript of this discussion here, courtesy of Jeff Hoel.


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