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Drones, Balloons May Help In Next Hurricane, Beaming Wi-Fi From The Sky | Huffington Post

Drones, Balloons May Help In Next Hurricane, Beaming Wi-Fi From The Sky | Huffington Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Call it Wi-Fi from the sky.

 

As Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast, power outages wreaked havoc on telecommunications networks, knocking out wireless service for thousands of cell phone users.

 

If a future hurricane triggers similar failures, regulators say they have a potential solution. It has the hallmarks of science fiction: floating wireless antennas from balloons or drones.

 

The Federal Communications Commission is exploring the use of such airborne technology to restore communications after disasters. Beaming 3G or Wi-Fi signals from the sky may be especially useful to emergency responders in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, when repair crews are unable reach damaged equipment because roads and bridges are impassible, experts said.

 

"It sounds futuristic, but the technology is absolutely there," said Daniel M. Devasirvatham, a chief technology officer at Science Applications International Corp.

 

This spring, the Federal Communications Commission asked for public comments on the potential for deploying wireless networks via small drones or weather balloons, saying it could "further strengthen and enhance the security and reliability of the nation's communications infrastructure."

 

"We know this technology can work," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement in May.

 

Genachowski added it "would have been remarkably useful" after Hurricane Katrina, when dozens of 911 call centers were inoperable and more than 3 million customers lost telephone service.

 

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Deceptive Accounting Used by Verizon: Wired 'Access Lines' Have Been Dramatically Increasing, Not Decreasing | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Deceptive Accounting Used by Verizon: Wired 'Access Lines' Have Been Dramatically Increasing, Not Decreasing | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon, in just New York State, may have added the equivalent of 41 to 65 million wired access lines to handle Verizon Wireless's cell site buildout and traffic, from just 2010 to 2012. And yet, Verizon has been claiming over and over that the company has been losing access lines. In fact, the US Telephone Association, (quoting Verizon), stated that "In 2000, (Verizon NY) had over 11 million access lines. Today they have 2.9 million access lines."

Here's a snapshot (graphic above) of what triggered our new investigation.


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MA: City pushes for fast Internet but Verizon says it'll be a while | Grant Welker | Lowell Sun

MA: City pushes for fast Internet but Verizon says it'll be a while | Grant Welker | Lowell Sun | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

City officials want to bring the fastest Internet available to Lowell, even though the service the city is looking for isn't likely to come any time soon.

City Manager Kevin Murphy wrote last month to Verizon executives urging the company to offer its FiOS service in Lowell.

"In order to grow and sustain our economy and improve the lives of our residents, we need a world-class communications infrastructure," Murphy said. "Unfortunately, Verizon has chosen to bypass the city of Lowell in the deployment of all-fiber FiOS network."

Verizon, though, doesn't have any timetable for expanding FiOS to any new communities, not only Lowell.

"We need to build out in the communities where we already have franchise agreements," Verizon spokesman Phil Santoro said this week. The company has such agreements in 112 communities in Massachusetts and in nine states overall, he said.

Only after that point, Santoro said, might Verizon begin looking at new communities to offer FiOS, which includes Internet, TV and phone services.

Lowell isn't the only area city without FiOS -- Boston doesn't have it, either, despite lobbying for the service. Haverhill, Quincy, Fall River and New Bedford also don't.


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In a dark corner of the Trans-Pacific Partnership lurks some pretty nasty copyright law | David Post | WashPost.com

In a dark corner of the Trans-Pacific Partnership lurks some pretty nasty copyright law | David Post | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The extent to which our international obligations interact with — and may sometimes override — domestic law is a pretty fascinating one, and is, for any number of pretty obvious reasons, increasingly in the news.


Here’s a rather small footnote to the very large controversy over the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, involving a narrow (but actually quite important) bit of U.S. copyright law, that nicely illustrates how complicated these questions can be — a synecdoche, as it were.

The copyright issue relates to so-called “orphan works.” As a consequence of many factors — the absurdly long term of copyright protection [life of the author plus 70 years — see my comments here on the liberation of Sherlock Holmes, after a lo-o-ong time, from his copyright shackles], along with the elimination of copyright notice, or copyright registration, requirements as preconditions for copyright protection — there are literally millions upon millions of works — books, letters, songs, articles, poems . . . — created in the ’30s, ’40s, or ’50s that are (a) still protected by copyright, and for which (b) it is virtually impossible to ascertain who owns the copyright, or even whether the copyright is still in force. Consider this scenario:


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Minority, public TV viewers face greatest threat in FCC auction | John Lawson Opinion | Current.org

Minority, public TV viewers face greatest threat in FCC auction | John Lawson Opinion | Current.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The news that Sesame Street is migrating from PBS to HBO is not the only indicator this summer that an economic divide may be widening within the American viewing public.

Audience data indicate that two segments of the U.S. population will be hit especially hard by the upcoming FCC auction selling off television airwaves to wireless carriers: minorities, especially Latinos, and public television viewers. Where these two large groups of Americans overlap will be “ground zero” of this government-engineered shift from free, over-the-air television to a data plan near you.

By “clearing” today’s TV station from the airwaves, or spectrum, the FCC auctions will deprive millions of Americans of the option of receiving free over-the-air (OTA) television from at least some of the stations they now watch. The threat to minorities and public television viewers comes from the fact that both groups rely on OTA more than other Americans. For viewers that are both minorities and public TV viewers, the impact could be devastating.


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FTC CTO: Full Disk Encryption Is Important In Preventing Crime | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

FTC CTO: Full Disk Encryption Is Important In Preventing Crime | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While the FBI and NSA continue their campaign to fight against allowing encryption for devices, it's clear that not everyone in the government agrees. It does appear that there's a bit of a fight going on within the administration over where to come down (as President Obama himself admitted), and in a recent blog post, it seems pretty clear where the FTC comes down in this debate.


The FTC's CTO, Ashkan Soltani, who has long been a strong user-privacy advocate (and before joining the FTC helped in some of the reporting on the Snowden documents), wrote the blog post celebrating the virtues of full disk encryption and other "end user device controls." It starts out by noting that when he recently lost his own laptop, he wasn't that worried, thanks to the fact that it was encrypted.


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The myth of the cybersecurity skills shortage | Ira Winkler Opinion | NetworkWorld.com

The myth of the cybersecurity skills shortage | Ira Winkler Opinion | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Everyone seems to think that there’s a lack of qualified security professionals, and that the reason is that there aren’t enough people entering the field with the required skills. There is a fallacy behind that thinking, though. People think that security is a stand-alone discipline, but it is actually a discipline within the computer field. Treating it otherwise is a mistake.

Most of the people who have been in the security profession for more than a decade, including me, entered the field without a cybersecurity degree. We might have certifications, but we don’t claim that those certs are the source of any expertise we may have.


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Can You See Us Now? Verizon Revamps Logo | Maureen Morrison | Advertising Age

Can You See Us Now? Verizon Revamps Logo | Maureen Morrison | Advertising Age | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google's not the only company changing its logo this week. Verizon is also adopting a new look, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company launched the change internally today and was expected to publicly announce it Thursday. Verizon said that design agency Pentagram created the new logo. Landor Associates crafted the old Verizon logo back in 2000, when Verizon Communications was formed after the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE Corp.

The new design, which comes after Verizon acquired AOL for $4.4 billion in late June, truncates the large lighting bolt mark and moves it to the right. It also elminates the red "z" in the company name.


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The FTC is cracking down on video makers who don’t disclose who’s paying the bills | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

The FTC is cracking down on video makers who don’t disclose who’s paying the bills | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The average American watches around 14 hours of online video per month. But how much do we know about who's paying for all of it?

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday announced it will settle with Machinima, an entertainment company that produces content for gamers, for not being clear about how some of its videos were being funded. According to the FTC complaint, Machinima did not properly disclose that some videos were paid for by Starcom MediaVest Group, an ad agency hired by Microsoft to promote the Xbox One. The agency said that a "small group of influencers" were paid thousands of dollars to create endorsement videos for the console and video games, but were not told to disclose where that money came from.

“When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they’re looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch,” said Jessica Rich, the FTC's Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the release. “That’s true whether the endorsement appears in a video or any other media.”


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CO: Rio Blanco County Has Big Plans for Open Access Network | community broadband networks

CO: Rio Blanco County Has Big Plans for Open Access Network | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In Rio Blanco County, you’re almost more likely to find a dinosaur fossil than a human being. This rural county in northwestern Colorado has about two people for every square mile, but its sparse population is not stopping it from advancing an ambitious open-access broadband initiative.

More than a year into the rollout of the network plan, Rio Blanco County (RBC) has already succeeded in soliciting $2 million in matched funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), contracted a network operator, and secured easements (land-use rights) from the county’s two largest municipalities to begin construction on the FTTx network. The bulk of the funding will come for the County budgeting for the infrastructure.

The network will initially touch every block and ultimately be expanded to deliver a fiber connection to each premise in the two towns.

Rio Blanco’s network will be a four-tier open access arrangement. The county will own the infrastructure - from the data center to the optical network terminal (ONT) within the home and everything in between. A private company, Colorado.Fiber.Community, will operate the network. And a combination of independent middle-mile Internet service providers and last-mile value-added resalers will offer services directly to residents.


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The Phone Company and the Feds — a Buddy Movie from Hell | Susan Crawford | Backchannel | Medium.com

The Phone Company and the Feds - a Buddy Movie from Hell - Backchannel - Medium

This month’s news that AT&T has evidenced “extreme willingness to help” the NSA collect, filter, analyze, and disseminate billions of communications by Americans wasn’t particularly surprising. After all, the giant phone company has been tightly involved with America’s national security operations for decades.

The obvious next question: Who will get to boss whom around? I offer three data points that may help us find an answer.

The first involves antitrust, and the strange resolution of the executive branch’s balancing of two different government interests involving the phone company.


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Workers risk business data with gambling apps on their phones | Lucian Constantin | ComputerWorld.com

Workers risk business data with gambling apps on their phones | Lucian Constantin | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you work for a large, global company, chances are some of your peers have installed gambling apps on the mobile devices they use for work, and that's bad news for IT security.

A study has found that the average company has more than one such gambling application in some employee devices, putting corporate data stored on those devices at risk.


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FCC Approves Good-Faith Retrans Review Item | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Approves Good-Faith Retrans Review Item | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has voted, unanimously according to a source there, to issue its rulemaking proposal revisiting its definition of good faith retransmission consent negotiations.

The item is in response to a congressional directive and looks at what should be included in a totality of circumstances test that goes beyond the per se violations already enumerated—although commenters are hoping the FCC will update/clarify some of those as well.

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Our view: Feds can do more to expand broadband | Editorial Board | Duluth News Tribune

Our view: Feds can do more to expand broadband | Editorial Board | Duluth News Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Driving from Ely to Duluth this week, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar suddenly lost cell service. How fitting that in addition to a book signing and other commitments and appointments, she was scheduled to chat with the News Tribune editorial board about the pressing need to expand high-speed broadband Internet service deeper into rural Minnesota.

Far beyond the convenience of a senator or anyone else being able to make a phone call, reliable broadband is becoming an increasingly critical need for farmers, rural business owners and others attempting to operate and compete globally. More and more, too, health care is going high-tech, and broadband is needed to deliver quality care to areas outside of large cities.

“This is the rural electrification issue of our time. And it’s the perfect time to move on it. We’re no longer governing from crisis,” Klobuchar, D-Minn., told editorial board members. “It’s no longer just about access. It’s how fast it is. Can you compete?”


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Sen Franken Broadband Roundtable: Everyone wants it but who pays for it, who builds it, who manages it? | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Sen Franken Broadband Roundtable: Everyone wants it but who pays for it, who builds it, who manages it? | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday Senator Franken met with dozen or so people yesterday all representing different stakeholder in the broadband world. Everyone agrees broadband is important. It’s like electricity. It helps economic development. It’s as important as textbooks in education. A home without access to broadband loses its value. A farm that loses connectivity can’t run – even milking machines are online!


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Intel to Invest $50 Million in Quantum Computers | Don Clark | WSJ.com

Intel Corp. is joining the race to develop quantum computers, a long-discussed break from conventional electronics aimed at solving problems that are far beyond the reach of today’s hardware.

The chip giant said it is investing $50 million as part of a 10-year collaboration with QuTech, an institute in the Netherlands formed in 2013 by Delft University of Technology and the Dutch Organization for Applied Research. Intel also plans to provide its own engineering resources to accelerate advancements in the field.

Scientists have been trying to apply quantum physics to computing for decades, with researchers at companies such as International Business Machines Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. also actively working in the field.

The term quantum refers to the unusual properties of matter at the subatomic scale, which may only be observable when materials are cooled to temperatures approaching absolute zero, or minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit.


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VOD Totals 35 Percent of TV/Video Viewing | Michael Balderston | TV Technology

VOD Totals 35 Percent of TV/Video Viewing | Michael Balderston | TV Technology | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report and the big winner this year is video on-demand.


According to the report, VOD now represents 35 percent of all TV and video viewing. The report also revealed new numbers on viewership on smartphones and for user-generated content.

Ericsson found that consumers are spending on average six hours per week watching streamed on-demand content; more than double what it was in 2011. Including recorded and downloaded content, the report claims that every third viewing hour is spent watching VOD.

The report also indicated a growth in the number of people watching content on their mobile devices.


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NC: City-run ISP makes 10Gbps available to all residents and businesses | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

NC: City-run ISP makes 10Gbps available to all residents and businesses | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A municipal Internet service provider in Salisbury, North Carolina, announced today that it is making 10Gbps service available throughout the city, to both businesses and residents.

The city-run Fibrant, which has deployed fiber throughout Salisbury, was created five years ago after city officials were unable to persuade private ISPs to upgrade their infrastructure. Gigabit download and upload speeds have been available to residents since last year for $105 a month, while customers can pay as little as $45 a month for 50Mbps symmetrical service. TV and phone service is available, too.

Fibrant officials don’t actually expect much, if any demand from residents for the 10Gbps download and upload service. The big speed upgrade is mainly targeted at businesses, but the announcement said 10Gbps service is now "available to every premises in the city," including all homes.

While business pricing varies based on the deployment, residents would pay about $400 a month for 10Ggbps service. Someone running a business from their home might want more bandwidth than a typical person, but there definitely won't be a hard sell to residents, local officials said.


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How the Federal Reserve’s Economic Recovery Plan Fueled the Tech Bubble | Alexander Kelly | Truthdig.com

How the Federal Reserve’s Economic Recovery Plan Fueled the Tech Bubble | Alexander Kelly | Truthdig.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The $3.6 trillion the federal government has pumped into the U.S. economy since the 2008 financial crisis fueled a tech bubble that led to startup valuations that far exceed those of successful established companies in traditional industries.

The hospitality tech company Airbnb, for example, is valued at $24 billion, which exceeds the stock value of the company Marriott, which runs over 4,000 hotels. The transportation company Uber is valued at $15 billion, while Snapchat, an enabler of ephemeral picture-sharing, is valued at $16 billion, despite having produced no profits.

Economics journalist Doug Henwood writes at The Nation:


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Big Phone and Cable’s Summer Hack-a-thon | Tim Karr | Free Press

Big Phone and Cable’s Summer Hack-a-thon | Tim Karr | Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the last few weeks at least five anti-Net Neutrality Op-Eds have appeared in newspapers around the country. These pieces strike suspiciously familiar notes — and in some cases use identical language.

All of this begs the obvious question: Did the phone and cable lobby orchestrate this wave of commentary opposing the Federal Communications Commission’s rules?

You be the judge. As evidence, I offer recent articles from David Balto, Clayola Brown, Joshua Davidson, Pat Ford and Pat Fong Kushida. You’ll see that each seems to have been written from an industry cheat sheet. Unfortunately, all of their talking points are wrong:

Crib Note 1: The FCC rule is an antiquated relic of the Ma Bell era.


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Union says Verizon spends $3.50 per year maintaining each landline | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Union says Verizon spends $3.50 per year maintaining each landline | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A union representing Verizon workers has called for investigations into whether the company is allowing its copper phone and DSL networks to deteriorate.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) said it is sending letters to regulators in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, DC. The union, which is trying to pressure Verizon while it negotiates a new contract, pointed to a Verizon statement that the telco has spent $200 million on its copper network since 2008.

"$200 million represents 0.39 percent of the $50.7 billion Verizon spent on its wireline network from 2008 to 2014," the CWA said.

Nearly all of the $50.7 billion was spent building Verizon's fiber network, a project the union supports. But Verizon still has more than eight million customers on its copper network, and "where Verizon has refused to deploy its all-fiber FiOS network, Verizon has the statutory obligation to maintain its copper plant to provide safe, reliable service," the union said.


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The Boston Globe Will No Longer Let John Sununu Shill For Telecom Companies Under The Pretense Of Objectivity | Karl Bode | Techdirt

The Boston Globe Will No Longer Let John Sununu Shill For Telecom Companies Under The Pretense Of Objectivity | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Like so many industries, the telecom industry employs a literal army of paid "consultants," fauxcademics, fake consumer advocates, ex-politicians and other talking heads to parrot industry policy under the pretense of objective analysis. Usually this sockpuppet army is used to build a sound wall of illusory support for shitty policy.


This practice has worked for decades, in large part, because very rarely can newspapers or websites be bothered to disclose the fact that these individuals are paid to spew total and absolute nonsense by anybody interested in hiring their services via a third party (usually a law firm or lobbying group).

Case in point: the Boston Globe apparently has declared that it will no longer allow former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu to proudly shill for telecom companies within the publication's hallowed halls.


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No, The FCC Is Not (Intentionally) Trying To Kill Third-Party Wi-Fi Router Firmware | Karl Bode | Techdirt

No, The FCC Is Not (Intentionally) Trying To Kill Third-Party Wi-Fi Router Firmware | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For a few months now a rumor has been circulating that the FCC is intentionally planning to ban third-party custom router firmware. Wi-Fi hobbyists (and people who just like a little more control over devices they own) have long used custom, open source firmware like DD-WRT or Open-WRT to bring some additional functionality to their devices, with the added bonus of replacing clunky router GUIs. Custom firmware is also handy in an age when companies like to force firmware upgrades that either eliminate useful functionality, or add cloud-features and phone-home mechanisms a user may not be comfortable with.

But at last July's BattleMesh 8 event, Wi-Fi enthusiasts noticed the clunky wording of an FCC NPRM (notice of proposed rulemaking) discussing the FCC's plan to modify the rules governing RF devices. The NPRM in question (pdf), like all NPRMs, is basically the FCC's way of fielding questions about potential rule changes. It's important to understand no rules have actually been passed yet before committing gadget-nerd seppuku.


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Salisbury, NC Offers 10 Gigabit Speeds to All Residents | Karl Bode | DSL Reports

Salisbury, NC Offers 10 Gigabit Speeds to All Residents | Karl Bode | DSL Reports | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sure, most people can barely put a 100 Mbps connection to full use, but wouldn't it be nice to have ten gigabits per second? The town of Salisbury, North Carolina certainly thinks so, and has announced that it's the first municipal broadband provider in the nation to offer all homes and businesses in its territory access to ten gigabit speeds.

Dubbed "Fibrant," we've discussed for years how the five-year network build was, like all muni-efforts, born out of frustration with offerings from local incumbents like Time Warner Cable.

The company says it's now offering 10 gigabit speeds for around $400 a month. Fibrant already offers gigabit speeds for $105 a month.


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For future wearables, the network could be you | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

For future wearables, the network could be you | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

People who wear networked gadgets all over their bodies may someday become networks themselves.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have found a way for wearables to communicate through a person's body instead of the air around it. Their work could lead to devices that last longer on smaller batteries and don't give away secrets as easily as today's systems do.

The proliferation of smartphones, smart watches, health monitoring devices and other gear carried close to the body has led to so-called personal area networks (PAN) that link the gadgets together and provide a path to the Internet through one that has a Wi-Fi or cell radio. Today, those PANs use short-range over-the-air systems like Bluetooth.


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Verizon Expands its NFL Mobile Play | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Verizon Expands its NFL Mobile Play | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Expanding on its NFL mobile exclusive, Verizon Wireless announced that all current and legacy price plans will include live streaming of Sunday local NFL games as well as Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football matchups. That also includes mobile streaming access to NFL Network.

Verizon said there’s no extra monthly charge for the NFL element and that the app is free to download, though cellular network data usage applies.

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