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Comcast Expands East Coast Wi-Fi - 2,500 New Hotspots in Mass. and New Hampshire | DSLReports.com

Comcast says the cable giant is expanding the number of free Wi-Fi hotspots available to the company's east coast customers. According to Comcast, they've activated 2,500 additional hotspots throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire in locations Comcast found to be the highest-traffic regions.

 

Comcast followed on the heels of Cablevision in 2010 and began offering free Wi-Fi to customers in the hopes of offering a little something extra to users in their battle against Verizon FiOS. Comcast customers can sign in wherever they see the "Xfinity WiFi" SSID.

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Want Gigabit Internet? A fistful of cities can now give it to you | Patrick Nelson Opinion | NetworkWorld.com

Want Gigabit Internet? A fistful of cities can now give it to you | Patrick Nelson Opinion | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At my home, I’d consigned Gigabit Internet to my back burner as a bucket-list wish. It’s something I’d like to see popup in my suburban pad in this lifetime — but I’ve not been betting on it.


My ISP is barely able to provide enough bandwidth for a stable Slingbox stream, so the idea that the duopolistic price-gougers are going to come along and actually provide an increase in value for my sixty-or-so bucks is not something I’ve been holding my breath over.


Slingbox is a device for personal, point-to-point streaming media, independent of Netflix and its ilk. It needs low latency and as much bandwidth as possible.


However, I may be wrong about the wait. There’s a surprising number of cities where you can order Gigabit Internet right now, or very soon.


What is it?


Gigabit Internet is about a 100 times faster than the measly kind of Internet our ISP gods ordinarily provide.


The term “gigabit” refers to a speed of one gigabit-per-second, or 1 Gbps. That 1 Gbps equates to 1,000 Mbps.


Where is it?


David Goldman, writing in CNNMoney, lists the obvious pipes at Kansas City, KS, which was Google Fiber’s initial market. He then also lists the driblet of Kansas City, MO and Provo, UT as being live. Austin, TX is about to launch Google Fiber, he says.


A delve into Google’s Official Blog produces a potful of cities that have been “invited” to “work with us to explore,” whatever that means.


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White House Nominates New IP Enforcer | Broadcasting & Cable

White House Nominates New IP Enforcer | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The White House has nominated Danny Marti as Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement Coordinator in the Executive Office of the President.


Marti has been managing partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Washington, including serving as co-chair of the firm’s Intellectual Asset Acquisitions & Transactions team.


The IPEC oversees the White House's efforts to combat intellectual property infringement, including the theft of copyrighted TV shows and movies, while protecting fair use rights.


Marti's predecessor, Victoria Espinel, pushed for legislation to clarify that live-streaming illegal copies of movies and TV shows was just as much a crime as downloading them.


Marti was getting plaudits from the industry.


“We are pleased that the President has appointed Danny Marti as the next U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and urge Congress to move quickly to confirm his nomination to this important position," said Kim Harris, general counsel of NBCUniversal. "We look forward to working with Danny and the administration on the important issue of protecting IP, which is a key driver of American innovation and economic growth.”


NBC has been a leading voice for intellectual property protection from the days when former NBC top exec Bob Wright carried the standard for the company.


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More 4K Sets Shipped In Q2 Than All Of 2013 | Multichannel.com

More 4K Sets Shipped In Q2 Than All Of 2013 | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Roughly 2.1 million 4K sets were shipped in the second quarter of 2014, surpassing the 1.6 million that were shipped in all of 2013, NPD DisplaySearch found in its latest 4K study.

 

While those totals still represent a small fraction of all TV shipments, the research firm noted that many brands introduced their 2014 models in the second quarter, “with a clear focus on 4K as the ‘must-have’ consumer feature for high-end television viewing.”

 

China’s share of 4K TV shipments dropped to 60% in the second quarter, off from 80% for all of 2013. NPD DisplaySearch noted that China lacks sources of 4K content, so TV-makers were largely marketing higher pixel counts to consumers.

 

“New 4K TV models from global brands have been introduced in all regions this year, and there has lately been increased 4K UHD content available from streaming providers,” the firm points out. Just this week, Samsung announced an expanded 4K ecosystem that includes a broader array of over-the-top Ultra HD content sources, including access to 4K fare from Amazon in October.


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Net Neutrality: What’s at Stake? | Bloomberg TV

Net Neutrality: What’s at Stake? | Bloomberg TV | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet Association CEO Michael Beckerman and Columbia University Senior Fellow Alec Ross discuss the internet experience in the U.S., efforts to protect a free internet and business in the sharing economy. They speak on Bloomberg TV's  ‘Market Makers.


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Netflix Petitions FCC to Block Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger | Issie Lapowsky | WIRED.com

Netflix Petitions FCC to Block Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger | Issie Lapowsky | WIRED.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix has been one of the most vocal proponents of net neutrality, and now, the video streaming company is taking its fight straight to the top.


On Tuesday, the company filed a Petition to Deny document to the FCC, asking the government body to block the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, two of the country’s largest internet service providers. It’s the first official appeal of its kind by Netflix, and yet, the lengthy 256-page petition echoes sentiments that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has been extremely outspoken about since news of a potential merger first broke. It states that such a merger “would set up an ecosystem that calls into question what we to date have taken for granted: that a consumer who pays for connectivity to the Internet will be able to get the content she requests.”


Netflix’s fear, shared by much of the internet community, is that if the two companies were to merge they would have unprecedented power to charge companies like Netflix more for faster service. As Hastings recently told WIRED for a story on this very topic, Netflix has already signed deals with Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, to ensure better service. And just this month, Netflix signed a similar deal with Time Warner Cable.


Hastings noted that it was only major ISPs charging these so-called interconnection fees, and not their smaller competitors. “Why would more profitable, larger companies charge for connections and capacity that smaller companies provide for free? Because they can,” Hastings wrote. “A combined company that controls over half of US residential Internet connections would have even greater incentive to wield this power.”


For large online video distributors like Netflix, such fees are troublesome, but ultimately, manageable. The greater concern, Hastings told WIRED, is that the proliferation of these fees will completely alienate smaller, leaner start-ups. “The next Netflix won’t stand a chance if the largest US Internet service providers are allowed to merge or demand extra fees from content companies trying to reach their subscribers,” Hastings wrote.


Netflix is far from alone in this fight. On Monday, DISH Network filed its own Petition to Deny to the FCC, citing many of the same concerns as Netflix. “As companies such as DISH innovate and invest to meet the growing consumer appetite for broadband-reliant video products and services, this chokehold over the broadband pipe would stifle future video competition and innovation,” the petition reads, “all to the detriment of consumers.”

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A (rather misleading) message from Comcast on net neutrality | Michael Hiltzik | LATimes.com

A (rather misleading) message from Comcast on net neutrality | Michael Hiltzik | LATimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
@hiltzikm.@richarddrake And what would you call it when a company goes from 3,800 jobs to 1,900? "Job creation?"

Say this for Politico and the daily Playbook emails it blasts out to a large circle of Washington opinion makers and their ilk: They make it easy to keep track of the latest lobbying balderdash put out by big corporations. That's because the lobbying messages show up as advertising messages in the Playbook emails.


In the past, we've highlighted a campaign of disinformation sponsored by BP in connection with its responsibility for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Now let's take a look at Comcast.


The big cable company, which is trying to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to approve its merger with Time Warner Cable, has been the Playbook email sponsor this week. On Monday and Tuesday, its message included the following assertion:


"[W]e are the only Internet Service Provider to agree to be legally bound by full Net Neutrality rules." (See accompanying graphic.) The company also incorporates this statement in its corporate publicity about the proposed merger. 


As a straight factual statement, this is correct as far as it goes. But it doesn't go nearly far enough to qualify as the whole truth.


What Comcast doesn't say is that it was required by regulators to make that agreement as a condition of its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011.


What Comcast also doesn't say is that its commitment remains in effect only until January 2018. After that, the shackles are off -- unless the FCC or Justice Department, which also will review the Time Warner Cable deal, make its extension a condition of their approval.


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NAB to FCC: Cable, DBS Should Join Political File Party | Broadcasting & Cable

NAB to FCC: Cable, DBS Should Join Political File Party | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Association of Broadcasters says it is fine with the FCC extending its online political file mandate to all video services, including cable and satellite and even broadcast radio, though there are some issues with the last that might require a phased-in approach.


The FCC earlier this month opened a docket (14-127) and sought comment on a petition by the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and Sunlight Foundation to require cable and satellite operators to make their political files part of a national searchable database, as is the requirement for all TV stations since July 1. 


"The Commission should...act expeditiously to proceed with a rulemaking to require all cable and DBS systems to post their public and political files online," said NAB.


The FCC phased in the requirement for TV stations, starting with the top four in the top 50 markets before extending it to all TV stations July 1.


NAB fought the mandate for TV, but has always said that if the FCC were applying it, it was unfair not to apply it to its cable and satellite competitors.


The political file includes contracts for political ad buys, including prices. They have always been public, but previously only had to be kept at the local station. The FCC requirement is that they be uploaded to a searchable FCC database, which campaign finance reformers — notably Sunlight Foundation et al. have used to keep track on ad buys, though they have been pushing for even more disclosure in those files.


"The rate disclosure and public file requirements of Section 315 of the Communications Act, as amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, apply not only to broadcast stations, but also to cable systems and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) operators as well," said NAB in its comments. "There is no reasoned basis for treating the public/political files of cable and DBS providers differently."


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IPv6 adoption starting to add up to real numbers: 0.6 percent | Ars Technica

IPv6 adoption starting to add up to real numbers: 0.6 percent | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a paper presented at the prestigious ACM SIGCOMM conference last week, researchers from the University of Michigan, the International Computer Science Institute, Arbor Networks, and Verisign Labs presented the paper "Measuring IPv6 Adoption." In it, the team does just that—in 12 different ways, no less. The results from these different measurements don't exactly agree, with the lowest and the highest being two orders of magnitude (close to a factor 100) apart. But the overall picture that emerges is one of a protocol that's quickly capturing its own place under the sun next to its big brother IPv4.


As a long-time Ars reader, you of course already know everything you need to know about IPv6. There's no Plan B, but you have survived World IPv6 Day and World IPv6 Launch. All of this drama occurs because existing IP(v4) addresses are too short and are thus running out, so we need to start using the new version of IP (IPv6) that has a much larger supply of much longer addresses.


The good news is that the engineers in charge knew we'd be running out of IPv4 addresses at some point two decades ago, so we've had a long time to standardize IPv6 and put the new protocol in routers, firewalls, operating systems, and applications. The not-so-good news is that IP is everywhere. The new protocol can only be used when the two computers (or other devices) communicating over the 'Net—as well as every router, firewall, and load balancer in between—have IPv6 enabled and configured. As such, getting IPv6 deployed has been an uphill struggle. But last week's paper shows us how far we've managed to struggle so far.


In an effort to be comprehensive, the paper (PDF) visits all corners of the Internet's foundation, from getting addresses to routing in the core of the network. The researchers also got their hands on as many as half of the packets flowing across the Internet at certain times, counting how many of those packets were IPv4 and how many were IPv6.


The authors focused on content providers, service providers, and content consumers. For each of these, the first step toward sending and receiving IPv6 packets is to get IPv6 addresses. Five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) give out both IPv4 addresses and IPv6 addresses. Looking at 10 years of IP address distribution records, it turns out that prior to 2007, only 30 IPv6 address blocks or address prefixes were given out each month. That figure is now 300; the running total is 18,000. IPv4, on the other hand, reached a peak of more than 800 prefixes a month in 2011 and is now at about 500. Although IPv6 is close on a monthly basis, IPv4 had a big head start and is currently at 136,000 prefixes given out.


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Top things to consider as you prepare for the transition to 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi | NetworkWorld.com

Top things to consider as you prepare for the transition to 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

his vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.


The move to 802.11ac gigabit Wi-Fi is picking up steam, seeing a 540% increase since 2013, for obvious reasons: 802.11ac is faster, more agile and more robust than any of its predecessors. Providing Wi-Fi at the speed of wired networks, 802.11ac is revolutionizing how enterprises support the large quantity of devices connecting to their corporate networks. With multiple product introduction waves expected in the coming years, adoption will only accelerate.


With all that 802.11ac has to offer, organizations need to make sure they are set up for success. Here are the top things to consider as you prepare for the transition:


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More items to consider when making the upgrade to 802.11ac WiFi

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NY: Guns, butter and broadband: How technology has finally emerged as a viable campaign issue | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

NY: Guns, butter and broadband: How technology has finally emerged as a viable campaign issue | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The New York Times has endorsed Tim Wu, the progressive candidate for New York lieutenant governor, in its editorial pages. The newspaper argues that the Columbia University law professor deserves the job despite his lack of political experience — largely due to Wu's promise to fight for consumers on access to broadband and other tech issues.


"Mr. Wu has an impressive record in the legal field, particularly in Internet law and policy," the Times wrote. "Widely known for coining the phrase 'net neutrality,' he has been an adviser to the Federal Trade Commission as part of his efforts on behalf of consumers to keep the Internet from 'becoming too corporatized.'"


The endorsement is a sign that technology, long relegated to the fringes of political discussion, has finally become a dinner-table issue and the basis for a viable campaign platform. As the Web keeps taking over ever larger chunks of the economy, the policies that govern it have become increasingly relevant to the average consumer.


Large, public debates like the one involving SOPA and PIPA, or cellphone unlocking, or net neutrality, have a direct effect on what Americans can do with their connected devices and the services layered on top of them. And that's made tech a hot-button issue.


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Why US net neutrality debate matters globally | Danielle Kehl Blog | The Hill

Why US net neutrality debate matters globally | Danielle Kehl Blog | The Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Istanbul next week, a multi-stakeholder group of representatives from around the world will gather to discuss the most pressing Internet policy issues of the day. Net neutrality will be high on the agenda, with one of the plenary sessions devoted to developing a common understanding of the issue. From a continent away, the conversation will invariably turn to what's happening here in the U.S. at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and how it impacts the global policy conversation.


It's been a busy year for net neutrality around the world. This spring, the European Parliament passed rules that outlaw network discrimination and prevent anti-competitive commercial agreements. A few weeks later, the final version of Brazil's Marco Civil was codified with a section on network neutrality, despite a fierce campaign by telecom lobbyists to gut the provisions in the months prior to the bill's passage. In capitals all over the world, debates continue about the net neutrality implications of practices like zero-rating and finding the appropriate balance between competitive interests and consumer protections.


Against this backdrop, policymakers and advocates in the United States are currently embroiled in a heated battle over the future of the FCC's Open Internet rules. In January 2014, the District of Columbia Circuit Court vacated the no-blocking and nondiscrimination rules that the FCC had enacted in 2010. Now the commission is in the middle of a rulemaking proceeding to consider new net neutrality rules, pitting large broadband carriers and those who argue that new rules are unnecessary against major Internet companies and public interest advocates who have urged the FCC to put strong obligations in place. Over a million commentshave already been filed in the net neutrality docket this year.


Meanwhile, several of the major U.S. Internet service providers have suggested that if the FCC chooses the "wrong" path on net neutrality, it could undermine American international policy objectives. AT&T, Comcast and Verizon all claim in their initial comments to the FCC that reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service subject to common carriage regulations would encourage foreign governments to enact similarly "restrictive" regulations over the Internet. What's more, they argue, reclassification would undercut the Internet Freedom agenda, making it more difficult for the State Department to push back against Internet-censoring countries like China and Russia and preserve the current multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance.


Verizon, for example, suggests that reclassification "would set a dangerous precedent at a time when the United States has needed to fight vigilantly against international bodies and even repressive regimes that seek greater control over the Internet." Comcast argues that the "United States' policy preference for competition over heavy-handed regulation has not been confined to domestic communications," adding that "imposing common-carrier regulation on broadband services could undermine the United States' resistance to greater oversight of the Internet by the UN's International Telecommunication Union." AT&T and Verizon made similar predictions during the first Open Internet proceeding in 2010.


The carriers are right that the path the FCC ultimately chooses matters beyond the domestic context — but for very different reasons. The global interest in the U.S. net neutrality debate is not borne out of fear that strong rules will enable a "U.N. takeover" of the Internet or bolster Chinese and Russian arguments for censorship and control. (They may try to use it in their rhetoric, but it won't convince anyone who does not already agree with them.) It's because the precedent we set here may influence whether and how governments in other countries choose to protect net neutrality on their own soil.


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Ecuador: President announces rural telecoms development fund | TeleGeography.com

Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has confirmed plans to create a fund for the development of telecommunications in rural areas, indicating that funding will be linked to plans to increase the amount taken from mobile operators’ profits by the government.


In a presidential communication on Saturday quoted on the website of telecoms ministry Mintel, Correa said the planned fund will emphasise promoting rural communities’ access to telephony and developing the ongoing Community Info-centres programme and computer access schemes which provide internet access to all citizens especially those on low incomes.


The President affirmed that he has sent to the National Assembly a draft amendment to the Telecommunications Act which would give the state a direct 12% slice of the profits of mobile operators, while a 3% slice would be distributed to the telecoms companies’ workers and their families.

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The FCC’s next CTO is a net neutrality expert | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com

The FCC’s next CTO is a net neutrality expert | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it has named a new chief technology officer: Scott Jordan, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Irving.


The FCC has a history of hiring CTOs that know their stuff, technologically speaking. Jordan is replacing Henning Schulzrinne, a once and future chair of the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University who started at the commission in 2011 and will stay on in an advisory capacity.


The role of CTOs in government can often be muddled, but at the FCC it is squarely a policy-making job. Schulzrinne, Chairman Tom Wheeler pointed out in announcing Jordan's appointment, played a major role in the commission's decision to require mobile carriers to support customers' abilities to contact 911 using text messages. Looking forward, Wheeler said in a statement, "Scott's engineering and technical expertise, particularly with respect to the Internet, will provide great assistance to the Commission as we consider decisions that will affect America's communications platforms."


Why that's particularly interesting in this case is that Jordan's "engineering and technical expertise" is, as Wheeler hints, a near-perfect overlap with many of the most complicated, most contentious issues facing the FCC today. In announcing Jordan, the commission highlight his work on "communications platforms, pricing, and differentiated services on the Internet," as well as the integration of "voice, data, and video on the Internet and on wireless networks." In short, much of the makings of the modern Internet.


And while it's generally dangerous to parse an academic's publishing record to deduce how he or she might make public policy, Jordan has done us the favor of actually filing comments with the FCC the last time the commission considered rulemaking on the open Internet question. It's a nuanced take, distilled in Jordan and a co-author's statements that "neither the extreme pro nor con net neutrality positions are consistent with the philosophy of Internet architecture" and "the net neutrality issue is the result of a fragmented communications policy unable to deal with technology convergence."


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How New Processing Technology Might Make Ultra HD and HDR Broadcasting A Reality | Hollywood Reporter

How New Processing Technology Might Make Ultra HD and HDR Broadcasting A Reality | Hollywood Reporter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

During the transition to HDTV, Yves Faroudja won three Emmys for processing technology that remains in use today. And now the award-winning engineer is using his experience to take aim at new formats including Ultra HD, or 4K, which is four times the resolution of HD.


"Bandwidth requirements for video are clogging the Internet, and we need to reduce the bit rate on the video system," he told The Hollywood Reporter, noting that today it commonly involves use of a 4K-capable compression scheme known as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding, or H.265). "But that doesn't work. It doesn't [keep up with] the increased popularity of video transmission, which is doubling every 2 to 3 years."


Faroudja — who came out of retirement to address this issue — is not aiming to create a new compression system, but rather to bring some additional power to HEVC or whatever compression scheme is adopted by the industry. His plan is to effectively pre-process the content before compression and decode it after the decompression at the receiving/display end of the chain (i.e. a TV or mobile device).


With his process, he believes he can cut in half the bandwidth requirements for video — not only enabling more video to be used, but also potentially opening up the promise of Ultra HD, as well as high frame rates (HFR) and high dynamic range (HDR) imagery.


"Whatever [compression scheme] is popular, we can give them a ratio of two in bandwidth reduction, which I think is going to eventually be required," he said.


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AT&T Patent Lawsuit Targets Cox | Multichannel.com

AT&T Patent Lawsuit Targets Cox | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has filed a lawsuit against Cox that claims that the MSO is infringing several patents that tie into the MSO’s IP voice service, use of set-top boxes and DVRs, as well as its DOCSIS 3.0-powered high-speed Internet platform.

 

The suit (here’s a copyposted by Ars Technica), filed August 28 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, alleges that Cox is infringing on several AT&T patents.

 

AT&T claims that in first contacted Cox in 2009 about alleged infringements on a number of patents, including several referenced in this complaint. “Despite years of protracted negotiations, Cox has sought to avoid payment for its infringement by repeatedly delaying and rescheduling negotiations,” the telco claimed. “Given every opportunity, Cox has failed to provide substantial arguments for either non-infringement or invalidity of AT&T’s patents.”

 

Cox said it doesn’t comment on active litigation.

 

Here’s a list of patents named in the suit:


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Comcast Discounts Market-Power Concerns in Defending Merger With Time Warner Cable | Bloomberg BNA

Comcast Discounts Market-Power Concerns in Defending Merger With Time Warner Cable | Bloomberg BNA | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Federal regulators should approve Comcast Corp.'s $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. because the proposed deal benefits consumers and won't harm competition, Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen said in an Aug. 25 blog post.


“We believe this is an approvable transaction and we expect to agree with regulators on conditions that will further enhance the public interest while not being unduly burdensome on our business or consumers,” Cohen wrote.


The success of the deal hinges, in part, on whether Comcast can convince the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice that the merger will serve the public interest and comply with federal antitrust laws.


The blog post came as stakeholders continued to advocate for and against the deal on the last day of the FCC's initial comment period. Reply comments are due Sept. 23 and final comments are due Oct. 8.


Cohen thanked the authors of more than 200 advocacy letters penned by state policy makers, community organizations, diversity groups, schools and universities.


Their comments reinforce the argument “that this transaction is pro-consumer, pro-competitive, and strongly in the public interest,” Cohen said.


Critics of the deal filed thousands of comments urging the FCC to reject the deal or impose conditions to ensure that diversity, competition and net neutrality are preserved.


Vocal opponents of the deal, such as Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), said it would enable Comcast to become a “veritable gatekeeper over vast swaths of the nation's telecommunications industry” and would lead to “higher prices, fewer choices and worse service.” If regulators approve the deal, Comcast will “operate in nineteen of the nation's top twenty markets and forty-three of the top fifty, controlling about two out of every five broadband Internet subscriptions and about a third of all television subscriptions in the country,” Franken said in his comments.


The American Antitrust Institute also panned the deal, which it said is “likely to result in myriad competitive harms and adversely affect consumers,” according to its filing. The deal “raises potentially significant competitive issues, little or no offsetting cost savings or consumer benefits and would be extraordinarily difficult to ‘fix' without structural or behavioral remedies,” the group said.


Consumers Union told regulators that they must conclude “the threat to competition, consumers and the public interest is too great to allow the merger because the harm would be beyond the ability of conditions to repair,” according to its filing.


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Proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable-Charter Merger/Swaps/Sales Spark Thousands of Filings at the FCC | BBKnowledge

Proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable-Charter Merger/Swaps/Sales Spark Thousands of Filings at the FCC | BBKnowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The proposed merger of the two largest cable operators in the country, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and the related system swaps and sales involving Charter Communications, have generated an enormous amount of press coverage (see the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times) and paper this last week. The deadline for the initial round of comments on the merger was Aug. 25, and more than 65,000 filings were listed in the FCC docket as of Aug. 27.


The FCC can approve the merger without conditions, deny the merger, or approve it with conditions to ensure it serves the public interest. This means the outcome of the proceeding could impact local programming and budgets, consumer protection, preservation of the open Internet, and access to regional sports programming, among other things. This filing deadline was intended to allow communities and the general public to weigh-in on the merger.


Among the filers were the mayors of Boston, Los Angeles and New York City, as well as the counties of Los Angeles and Montgomery, Md., together with Portland, Or. and the Ramsey-Washington Suburban Cable Commission. Their filings, and others like them, argued that if the merger is approved, it should be approved subject to enforceable conditions. The conditions proposed include:


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Austin, Minnesota Releases Fiber Network Feasibility Study Results | community broadband networks

Austin, Minnesota Releases Fiber Network Feasibility Study Results | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Austin has been thinking about getting a gig for a while now. The city of 25,000 near Minnesota’s southern border had campaigned to be picked for the initial Google Fiber deployment, but was disappointed when Google selected Kansas City instead in 2011. As with some other cities around the country, however, the high profile Google competition got Austin thinking about the benefits of a gigabit fiber network, and how they might bring it to their residents. Last month, a committee tasked with bringing such a network to every premises in Austin released a feasibility study they commissioned, with generally favorable results.    


The study recommended further exploration of a universal fiber optic network, but found the idea to be generally feasible. The cost of such a network was estimated at $35 million, and would cover the entire footprint of the Austin Public School District, which extends to rural addresses well beyond the city limits. The study recommended universal fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) for many of the same reasons we’ve been talking about it for years: its nearly unlimited data capacity and speed, future-proof and damage-resistant properties, and reliability.  


The study was commissioned by the Community Wide Technology committee of the Vision2020 campaign, a broader planning movement to revitalize the greater Austin area. The Technology committee has since launched the GigAustin website and campaign to advocate for a FTTP network.


The GigAustin team has representation from the Austin Public School District, the city public power utility, private companies and foundations, and other potential anchor institutions. Hormel, the food products giant headquartered in Austin (and the people who brought you the SPAM Museum), is a major employer in the area and their presence on the GigAustin team and support of the feasibility study is notable.   


This is no slam dunk, however. The study did not recommend a specific funding source, and there appears to be little appetite for significant public expenditure:


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Public access television: It could thrive if Congress lifted restriction | Mercury News

Public access television: It could thrive if Congress lifted restriction | Mercury News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Picture a hospital with no doctors or nurses but state of the art equipment; or a school with high-tech computers and smart boards but no teachers or support staff.


Is this what the cable act intended when it restricted how Public Education and Government fees could be spent by community media centers like CreaTV San Jose? All cameras, no staff? That's the way it is now, but it doesn't make sense.


Fortunately, there's a simple fix.


Earlier this year, California Assemblymember Roger Hernandez authored AJR 39, a joint resolution that encourages Congress to lift the restriction on how municipalities can spend the PEG fees, rent paid by cable systems for using the public rights of way. Federal law restricts the use of these funds to capital expenditures.


As a result, hundreds of media centers across the country like our own CreaTV San Jose are seriously hobbled. The resolution passed overwhelmingly out of the Assembly and State Senate and has been sent to our congressional delegation.


What would this mean for media centers in California serving our schools, nonprofits and media-making community? More jobs, more digital resources for schools and community groups, more local media content and a richer community conversation.


Community media centers, sometimes known as public access TV stations, act as information hubs. The intent of these centers is to provide equipment, training and cable channels purely for public and noncommercial use, enabling anyone in a city, including San Jose, to provide local perspectives on mainstream media.


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White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Is Kind of Right – but Mostly Wrong | Jon Oltsik | NetworkWorld.com

Poor Michael Daniel, the White House cybersecurity coordinator and the man who “leads the interagency development of national cybersecurity strategy and policy” is taking a beating in the press.  In a recent interview with federally-focused media outlet, GovInfoSecurity, Daniel defended his lack of security technology experience with the following statement:


"You don't have to be a coder in order to really do well in this position.  In fact, actually, I think being too down in the weeds at the technical level could actually be a little bit of a distraction.  You can get taken up and enamored with the very detailed aspects of some of the technical solutions and the real issue is looking at the broad strategic picture."


Security professionals are lambasting Daniel for dismissing technical skills in the highly technical cybersecurity arena while others credit Daniel for trying to bring cybersecurity up to a risk, policy, and program level. 


I pride myself on taking a position, but in this case I think both camps are right and both camps are wrong.  Allow me to elaborate:


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Australia: Google spreads its wings, moving into drone deliveries | CNET

Australia: Google spreads its wings, moving into drone deliveries | CNET | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google is working on a delivery system called Project Wing that will use what it's calling "self-flying" drones to bring goods to people.


The search giant has been working on the service for two years, and it is the latest project announced by Google X, the division of the company that works on Google's most ambitious projects. Other X initiatives include self-driving cars and the connected headset Google Glass.


Google has been testing the vehicles in Queensland, Australia, and has already made deliveries to locals -- including shipments of candy bars, dog treats, cattle vaccines, water and radios. Similar to the company's self-driving car project, the drones will be able to fly a pre-programmed route at the push of a button. The company said that it will be a few more years before the system is ready for commercial use.


Google is not the only tech giant experimenting with drones. Facebook has been working with drones through an effort called Connectivity Lab, announced in March. In December, Amazon announced it is developing a drone system that will bring products to customers. But while Amazon's efforts seem to be more focused on consumers, Google's early development of the system has been around disaster relief. For example, one early mission for the project in 2012 was delivering defibrillators to heart attack victims.


"Even just a few of these, being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation," Astro Teller, head of Google X, told the BBC.


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Microsoft finally cracks down on deceptive Windows Store 'crap apps' | Mark Hachman | NetworkWorld.com

Microsoft finally cracks down on deceptive Windows Store 'crap apps' | Mark Hachman | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So-called deceptive “crap apps” have always plagued the Windows Store. But now, Microsoft appears to be finally ready to do something about them.


In a blog post late Wednesday, Microsoft said that it had removed 1,500 deceptively named apps as part of a policy shift to crack down on developers “trying to game the system with misleading titles or descriptions,” the company said.


A year ago, Microsoft publicly said that the Windows Store has more than 100,000 apps, and it’s unlikely that that number has climbed higher than 200,000 apps by now. But as far back as Oct. 2012—before Windows 8 even launched—analysts were pointing out that the fate of the Windows 8 app store didn’t need a large number of apps to be successful. It needed quality, and that’s not what Microsoft delivered. Instead, consumers are faced with numerous clone apps and paid “alternatives” to freeware, both outcomes that give those users a bad taste in their mouths.


PCWorld first started looking at the problem more than a year ago, when the Windows Store was stocked with games of decent quality from developers looking to score with early Windows 8 adopters. But wander into the video apps section, and numerous YouTube clones started popping up.


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Canada: Rogers, Shaw Latest to Think They Can Build a Netflix Killer | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Canada: Rogers, Shaw Latest to Think They Can Build a Netflix Killer | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Add Canadian cable operators Rogers and Shaw to the latest in a long list of incumbent ISPs who believe they can offer a Netflix killer that will keep cord cutters in house. According to the companies' announcement, the service will be dubbed "shomi" and will emerge as a beta exclusively for Rogers and Shaw customers in November.


Shomi will include 11,000 hours of past seasons of the most popular TV shows for $9 a month. The press release is quick to point out that 30% of the content made available on shomi will be Canadian. Shaw and Rogers insist the service is tailored specifically to what consumers want.

"We've taken the time to talk with Canadians to find out what they want and to create an unbelievable user experience," said Keith Pelley, President, Rogers Media. "They told us loud and clear – they want all the past seasons of the most popular, current TV shows and they want it to be easy."

Historically, incumbent TV/ISP streaming movie services don't tend to make much of an impression. The companies' involved have a tendency to be unwilling to offer real innovation and pricing for fear of cannibalizing existing pay TV subscribers.


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Introducing Google’s exciting yet ambitious new Project called Loon | Technology-in-Biz.com

Introducing Google’s exciting yet ambitious new Project called Loon | Technology-in-Biz.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Loon is Internet access via a network of balloons traveling on the edge of Space.


Introducing the latest project from Google [x] called Project Loon.


Its where they intend to bring internet access to people in remote areas using network of balloons traveling on the edge of space.


To learn more, visit: http://google.com/loon.


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MI: Holland considers creating satellite SmartZone from Grand Rapids' Medical Mile | MLive.com

MI: Holland considers creating satellite SmartZone from Grand Rapids' Medical Mile | MLive.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the past decade, the area along Michigan Street NW in Grand Rapids has been transformed into a hotbed of medical and technology-based business startups.


The Medical Mile has benefitted from a SmartZone that brought together such entities as the Van Andel Research Institute, local colleges and economic development groups.

Now, Grand Rapids officials could work together with Lakeshore leaders in a similar SmartZone initiative that would center around Michigan State University’s Bioeconomy Institute in Holland Township.

Holland city, township and Ottawa County leaders Tuesday night heard a presentation on a proposal to create a satellite SmartZone that could spur the development of new high-tech businesses and potentially go as far as revitalizing Holland’s waterfront.

Lakeshore Advantage, the economic development organization for the Holland-Zeeland area, has jumped on board the initiative with MSU, and its new leader says it could spark the development of this generation’s G.W. Haworth or Edgar Prince.

“Our community grows great companies,” said Jennifer Owens, who took over three months ago as Lakeshore Advantage’s president. “What this SmartZone is really about is growing the entrepreneurial companies that will be the cornerstone of the future for this community.”

The state currently has 15 SmartZone districts, which allow local and state property tax dollars to be collected to be used toward projects to spur development and growth of tech-based businesses.


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