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Time Warner Cable: Demand Not There for Google Fiber - Insists That if People Want 1 Gbps, They'll Provide it. | DSLReports.com

Time Warner Cable: Demand Not There for Google Fiber - Insists That if People Want 1 Gbps, They'll Provide it. | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

"If there is demand for [1 Gbps] service we will provide it," Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Rob Marcus told attendees of a conference this week while discussing Google Fiber. Speaking at the Broadcast and Cable/Multichannel News OnScreen Summit yesterday, Marcus stated that while the company may eventually have to raise speeds to compete with Google Fiber, so far the company hasn't had to.

 

Granted at the moment Google Fiber's footprint is minuscule. Marcus claims that Google Fiber's deployment currently only impacts about 100,000 broadband customers, and around 100,000 cable TV customers. The COO also spent plenty of time downplaying the need for 1 Gbps services, and questioning consumer demand for such speeds.

 

"It will be interesting to find out whether there are applications that will take advantage of a 1 Gbps service," Marcus said. "If there is, we will provide it. Our infrastructure has the ability to provide much faster speeds today. We're prepared to compete head to head with Google."

 

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Digital Set-Top-Box Users Growing For Netflix | Wayne Friedman | MediaPost.com

Digital Set-Top-Box Users Growing For Netflix | Wayne Friedman | MediaPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Digital set-top video players are becoming the way for consumers to view content on Netflix, with console-based video game systems increasingly taking a back seat.

A new report from researcher GfK shows video game systems are still the dominant way to access Netflix on a TV set for 43% of those surveyed, but that's down from 48% in 2013 and from 62% in 2011.

At the same time, 28% of those who stream Netflix on a TV set use set-top-box devices, such as Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast digital media players. This is nearly down that of a year ago when it was 15% and up from 6% in 2011.

Millennials ages 13-34 are still big videogame users when it comes to streaming Netflix via TV sets, at 47% -- with 27% saying they get it via digital media player. Only 19% stream Netflix through internal apps via their TV sets.


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Growling by Comcast May Bring Tighter Leash | David Carr | NYTimes.com

Growling by Comcast May Bring Tighter Leash | David Carr | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast has a long corporate tradition of smiling and wearing beige no matter what kind of criticisms are hurled at it. That public posture is in keeping with the low-key approach favored by Brian L. Roberts, the company’s chief executive, as he seeks to take over the world. It’s worked very well so far.


But in a filing submitted to the Federal Communications Commission last week in defense of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, the company lashed out uncharacteristically at its critics. And David L. Cohen, Comcast’s chief lobbyist, continued the salvo in comments to reporters and in his written remarks.


Watching Comcast’s ballistic response to opponents of its $45 billion takeover bid was a bit like watching a campaign debate go off the rails. The front-runner, ahead by 20 points, is besieged by ankle-biters who suggest he is a lout and a bully. He finally loses it and goes off on his opponents in a fury, generally acting like, well, a bully.


That’s one way to make a big lead go away.


In baring its teeth, Comcast sought to show that the companies now opposing the deal were using public interest arguments to advance private business agendas. It said these companies had privately sought $5 billion in concessions from Comcast before going public with their opposition.

In a thick document bristling with arguments on its own behalf, Comcast used quite a bit of ink and hot rhetoric on those who would lay it low, saying in part: “The significance of this extortion lies in not just the sheer audacity of some of the demands, but also the fact that each of the entities making the ‘ask’ has all but conceded that if its individual business interests are met, then it has no concern whatsoever about the state of the industry, supposed market power going forward, or harm to consumers, competitors, or new entrants.”

Gee, Comcast, don’t sugarcoat it. Say what you really mean.

The word extortion is usually applied to guys with names like Nicky who wear bad suits and crack their knuckles a lot. If this is how the company acts in the wooing stage, imagine how charming it will be once it actually gets what it wants.

The company named names, plenty of them: Netflix, for complaining about interconnection plans it freely negotiated with Comcast; Discovery, for asking for sweetheart carriage deals before its current contract is even up; and Dish, for whining about enhanced competition.

Its opponents were surprised by Comcast’s ferocity — and overjoyed. An air of inevitability has been hanging over the merger since it was announced in February — Comcast has a legion of allies in Washington, and a formidable advocate in Mr. Cohen — but the opposition that has built up in the ensuing months seems to have driven the company around the bend.


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Canada: CRTC is doomed to lose the fight it's picked with Netflix | Barrie McKenna | The Glove and Mail

Canada: CRTC is doomed to lose the fight it's picked with Netflix | Barrie McKenna | The Glove and Mail | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So Jean-Pierre Blais wants to take on Netflix.


He might want to reconsider. This is a fight the head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canada’s top broadcast regulator, will almost certainly lose.


Mr. Blais warned at a recent CRTC hearing that he would start regulating the popular U.S.-based video streaming service if Netflix refused to hand over extensive data on its Canadian operations.


Netflix, based in Los Gatos, Calif., balked, leaving Mr. Blais brandishing a threat he may be unable to enforce.

Even the government doesn’t have his back. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Heritage Minister Shelly Glover have made it clear they aren’t interested in taxing or regulating Netflix.

Another hitch that may not have occurred to Mr. Blais is the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, which preceded NAFTA. Any regulatory clampdown on Netflix could provoke swift and costly U.S. retaliation from Washington.

And that may well explain Netflix’s cocky defiance in the face of Mr. Blais’ demand for information about its business in Canada.

A little history: The last time Canada and the U.S. sparred over culture was in 1998. Then-Heritage Minister Sheila Copps pushed through Bill C-55, making it illegal for foreign magazines, such as People and Sports Illustrated, to sell their advertisements to Canadian companies. The law, backed by fines of $250,000, was designed to block foreign publishers from encroaching on the Canadian market.

The U.S. responded with retaliatory tariffs on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Canadian exports, including steel – a symbolic shot at what was once the main industry in Ms. Copps’ hometown of Hamilton, Ont.

Ottawa quickly caved in, and watered down the law.


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FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel: Let's Incentivize Spectrum Efficiency | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel: Let's Incentivize Spectrum Efficiency | John Eggerton |  Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed that the government put up 10 MHz of spectrum as a prize for the first person to come up with a way to make spectrum more efficient by a factor of 50 or 100 over the next decade.

That came in an op ed for the San Jose Mercury co-authored with Marty Cooper, inventor of the cell phone and a big proponent of focusing on making spectrum users more efficient.

"Ten megahertz of spectrum may not sound like much, but it could be sold or leased -- and spectrum auctions at the FCC bring in billions. Even a small slice of that revenue represents a pretty sweet incentive," they wrote.


At a Mobile Future forum in Washington Monday (Sept. 29) where Rosenworcel was a guest speaker, she talked about the need for getting more creative in freeing up spectrum including the contest and incentivizing government users to give up or more efficiently use spectrum.

She said the current method of trying to get spectrum from government users--who hold about 60% of spectrum, according to Mobile Future's Jonathan Spalter--is to knock on the door with a big stick and "urge, coax, and cajole" spectrum out of them, with the FCC eventually auctions what "scraps" it could get for new mobile broadband service. She said when government agencies open that door, all they see it loss, not gain.

Rosenworcel said it would be more efficient to use carrots, like an incentive program.


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WI: A municipal high-speed Internet network could help bridge Madison's digital divide | Jeff Buchanan | Isthmus.com

WI: A municipal high-speed Internet network could help bridge Madison's digital divide | Jeff Buchanan | Isthmus.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In late 19th century America, electricity was considered a luxury reserved for the rich. A dozen private electrical trusts controlled most of the country's electricity and cherry-picked the markets they served. It was not until the 1930s and the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt that communities began forming their own public utilities and residents came to view electricity as a necessity that yields economic and social gains.

Today, a similar fight is playing out in a different arena: high-speed Internet access. The market is dominated by a small group of carriers including Comcast and Time Warner Cable -- whose pending merger would result in further consolidation -- and, locally, Charter Communications. Around 100 million Americans do not have high-speed Internet access, and cost is the major reason.

"The parallels are striking," says Susan Crawford, an author and visiting professor in intellectual property at Harvard Law School. "When Roosevelt [came] into office in 1933, 90% of farmers didn't have electricity. Private-sector [carriers] left to their own devices will systematically leave out poor or rural sections of the country and overcharge richer sections by gathering monopoly power."

Fortunately for consumers, there's an alternative: Cities are tackling the connectivity problem by building municipal fiber-to-the-home networks. Political and business leaders in Madison seem to agree that the status quo is unsatisfactory. But they're split in how urgently they want to address the problem, with city hall favoring a wait-and-see approach and a younger class of technocrats wanting to implement short-term, low-cost solutions immediately.

Ald. Scott Resnick is proposing a $100,000 budget amendment to study the feasibility of creating a city-owned cooperative network that would provide wireless Internet to underserved neighborhoods and families.

Resnick, who is running against Mayor Paul Soglin in 2015, says the city can't wait to bridge the "digital divide," where low-income residents don't have access to or can't afford high-speed.

"We are doing one-fifth of what other communities are doing to try to cross the digital divide," says Resnick, who works in the tech field at Hardin Design & Development. "We are failing Madison's residents. I know that's not a positive statement, but that's the reality."


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The FTC doubles down on its net neutrality ambitions | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

The FTC doubles down on its net neutrality ambitions | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A top official at the Federal Trade Commission is warning that consumers will be hurt if a fellow agency, the Federal Communications Commission, pushes for strong net neutrality protections under Title II of the Communications Act.

It's the second time in as many weeks that the FTC has complained about the possible loss of authority under the FCC's net neutrality rules. Speaking on C-SPAN (and to The Washington Post), Republican FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen said that despite the "possibility" that Internet service providers would abuse their ability to control access to consumers, reclassifying broadband under Title II would put ISPs beyond the legal reach of the FTC, one of the nation's technology regulators.

"If an entity is a common carrier providing common carrier services, we can't bring actions against them," said Ohlhausen, appearing on "The Communicators." "If broadband service is reclassified as a common carrier service under Title II, I think that would seriously call into question the ability of the FTC to bring those kinds of actions. So my concern is really not so much for the FTC, but for the loss to consumers -- that they would lose out from having the FTC's active oversight."


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FCC Proposes Defining 'Linear' OVDs as MVPDs | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Proposes Defining 'Linear' OVDs as MVPDs | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to multiple sources, the FCC is working on an item that would define an online video provider (OVD) that delivers a linear stream of programming as an MVPD, similar to a cable or satellite operator. That means it would have access to content through the FCC's program access rules, but also have to negotiate retransmission-consent with broadcasters.


The idea is that over-the top providers would have an FCC-enforced access to vertically integrated programming.

The item reportedly asks what other MVPD rights and responsibilities beyond access and retrans carriage should extend to over-the-top providers.

An FCC spokesperson had no comment. But an FCC official speaking on background confirmed that the item proposed adopting a technology neutral definition of an MVPD.

That would mean reversing a tentative, bureau-level conclusion in the Sky Angel program access complaint that having a facilities-based transmission path was necessary to be an MVPD. The FCC tentatively concluded that an MVPD has to have control of both the content and the transmission path—copper, fiber, satellite signals to be delivering a channel—and that an OVD distributor lacks that path since it does not control a facilities-based channel to deliver it.

The NPRM tentatively concludes that the entity would not need to own the transmission path to be an MVPD as long as it provides a continuous linear stream of prescheduled programming--not like a Netflix or other on-demand video programmer without a linear lineup.


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FCC Releases Rural Broadband Experiments Application Form & Video on How to Apply | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

FCC Releases Rural Broadband Experiments Application Form & Video on How to Apply  | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Big news from NECA Washington Watch…

The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice on September 26, 2014, releasing the Rural Broadband Experiments application Form 5610 and providing additional information on completing Form 5610. The Bureau also announced a delay in the opening of the filing window and the corresponding deadline for the submission of rural broadband experiment applications to complete testing of the electronic submission system. The Bureau anticipates testing will be completed in four to six weeks. The Bureau will release a public notice announcing the revised deadline for applications at a later date. The Bureau also postponed the webinar originally scheduled for September 29 until October 9.

An just in time, I wanted to share video taken by Ron Corriveau at COS Systems at FTTH Council conference earlier this month in Minneapolis. He was able to capture the session on Preparing to File for the FCC Rural Broadband Experiments. It was complicated and detailed but if you are thinking about applying, I think it would be extremely valuable. One hiccup – I’ve been trying to get the middle piece to upload to YouTube with less than stellar success. But I figured I’d post what I can and add the third later if I can iron out the wrinkles.

I think the info from the sessions would be extremely valuable if you’re looking to apply. Pretty dry if you aren’t.


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Reliability Rather Than Rainbows — Why Title II Remains the Best Option for Net Neutrality | Tales of the Sausage Factory | Wetmachine

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a blog post describing the “rainbow of policy and legal options” available to protect the open Internet, contrasting them to other “monochromatic options.” Reading this blog post reminded me of the quote apocryphally (and incorrectly) attributed to Winston Churchill: “Americans will always do the right thing – after exhausting all the other alternatives.” While I applaud the FCC moving in the right direction on policy, I hope the FCC does not exhaust itself chasing the policy rainbow when the right thing – drab and monochromatic as it might be – continues to stare them in the face.

On the positive side, the FCC’s blog post reflects an understanding that the FCC’s original proposal from May, permitting paid prioritization (aka “Fast Lanes”) under a ‘commercial reasonableness’ standard will not do the job of protecting the open Internet. The political reality has also shifted, thanks to a tremendous public outcry in favor of recognizing that broadband is the essential service of the 21st Century, a fundamental service that everyone increasingly relies on and therefore – to use the legal expression – is affected with the public interest. Wheeler’s own writing on the network compact likewise recognizes this fundamental principle, which has made his resistance to embracing Title II and insistence on exhausting all other option all the more frustrating.

Judging by the FCC’s blog post, we have made progress since May. Title II has gone from a reluctant inclusion in response to public outcry to something “very much on the table.” But the FCC continues to look for something that will spare it the embarrassment of admitting the agency went down the wrong path ten years ago when it reclassified broadband as a Title I information service, and continues to be distracted by its bright shiny new Section 706 authority.


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Why the Internet of Things may never happen (Part 2) | Mike Elgan | ComputerWorld.com

Why the Internet of Things may never happen (Part 2) | Mike Elgan | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Internet of Things is great -- if, that is, you like the Internet and you also own some things.

Until this week, the Internet of Things vision had a fatal flaw. But now, it has two fatal flaws.

To avoid hyperbole, let me be clear that these flaws are fatal to the vision, but not necessarily to your things that are connected to the Internet.

Hoo-boy. Three paragraphs in, and I've already got a lot of explaining to do. But stick with me. The payoff is worth it.

I'm going to describe the vision, then the flaws. And then I'm going to tell you what I think is actually going to happen.


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Philippe Andre's curator insight, Today, 12:21 AM

This article describes two important problems of the Internet of Things: the lack of international standards and security. Two major problems to deal with. Maybe because I'm an optimist, I would be less pessimistic than the author of the article. Regarding standards, IEEE seizes the question. One might think that this body may happen to publish a standard accepted by all. But it will be long and the universal adoption of standard also long (just think about the interoperability of our electrical outlets in the world). About safety, I am also quite pessimistic. The safety of a single server behind a firewall, despite the treasures of deployed technologies is still threatened, then what about tomorrow and dispersed devices everywhere connected to the Internet?

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'World's smallest' 3G module will bring Internet to all sorts of devices | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

'World's smallest' 3G module will bring Internet to all sorts of devices | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has certified a 3G chip module that the manufacturer calls the world’s smallest, but that doesn’t mean the carrier is going after toddlers as its last untapped customer base.

The U-blox SARA-U260 module, which measures 16 by 26 millimeters, can handle voice calls. But it’s not designed for really small phones for tiny hands. Instead, it’s meant to carry the small amounts of data that machines are sending to each other over the “Internet of things,” where geographic coverage—3G’s strong suit—matters more than top speed. That means things like electric meters, fitness watches and in-car devices that insurance companies use to monitor policyholders’ driving.

The AT&T certification means device makers can now start building products around the U260 module for use on the carrier’s network. The U260 module is equipped for use on 3G networks with roaming to 2G where necessary, such as in rural areas. It includes features for various types of connected gear, including telematics devices, point-of-sale terminals, handheld devices and utility meters, according to U-blox. Along with A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System), it has a hybrid technology called CellLocate that uses cellular signals for a location fix indoors or in other locations where GPS isn’t available.

While 4G LTE is what most users are looking for on their smartphones now and 5G is garnering most of the network-technology headlines, 3G and 2G networks are still operating and are fast enough for many consumer and enterprise IoT applications. In the U.S., most 3G networks are expected to stay online at least until the end of this decade.


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MN: Connect Itasca Update – surveys to identify broadband need and opportunities | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Itasca County has been working with the Blandin Foundation and COS Systems to find broadband gaps and opportunities for partnership in the region through a tool developed by COS Systems. (I wrote more about the system in August when the project started.)

The Blandin Foundation recently posted an update on the project…


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Podcasts are back — and making money | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com

Podcasts are back — and making money | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

They were too clunky to download. The topics were sometimes a little too obscure. And they didn’t really make any money.

Podcasts, the short-form audio files that entered the mainstream with the original Apple iPod, have been around for more than a decade. But while Apple this year discontinued the classic version of its iconic device, the podcast is resurgent, drawing hard-core fans who want to listen to other people talk about, well, pretty much everything.

An average of 1.5 million listeners a month download “99% Invisible,” a program produced on a shoestring on the theme of design. Sports are such a popular topic that when ESPN suspended Bill Simmons for his podcast tirade against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, fans of his “B.S. Report” helped make #FreeSimmons a top trending term on Twitter. A new series from “This American Life” producer Alex Blumberg — about starting a podcast business — has quickly become one of the top 10 most-downloaded programs in the country.

And, importantly, podcasts are finally profitable.

“It’s sort of a renaissance. Podcasts are in vogue,” said Todd Cochrane, chief executive of RawVoice, a podcast data research firm.


Maybe it’s the intimacy of hearing soothing voices piped into your ears through a pair of headphones — or maybe it’s just how much time people need to kill listening to something. Americans spend more than three hours a day commuting, working out and doing household chores that can be accompanied by audio entertainment, according to census data studied by Matt Lieber, a former public radio producer who co-founded the podcast company with Blumberg.


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AT&T’s bid to buy DirecTV draws muted criticism | Brooks Boliek | POLITICO.com

AT&T’s bid to buy DirecTV draws muted criticism | Brooks Boliek | POLITICO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T is not used to flying under the radar, but that is exactly what is happening in Washington with the company’s $48.5 billion bid to buy DirecTV.

A deal that would combine the nation’s biggest telephone company and the nation’s biggest satellite TV provider seems like it would generate a lot of noise from public interest groups because it eliminates a major player in the pay-TV marketplace. But instead, critics of industry consolidation are focusing on Comcast’s $45 billion play for Time Warner Cable. Just last week, Comcast grabbed headlines when it accused companies opposing the acquisition of “extortion” — or attempts to gain concessions in exchange for either their silence or support of the deal.


While both mega-deals come with nearly the same price tag, there is a perception that Comcast’s purchase has larger implications — particularly for Internet service, a key offering as more people gravitate to online content and streaming video.


“The AT&T deal is probably benefiting from the fact that it’s happening at the same time as the Comcast merger,” said Paul Gallant, managing director of Guggenheim Securities. “The Comcast merger is drawing more fire around the issue of control of broadband. AT&T-DirecTV has more to do with the TV market than broadband.”


If AT&T’s bid for DirecTV wins regulatory approval, it would immediately turn the telecom giant into a major player in the television business. AT&T has an existing TV offering called U-verse, a fiber-based service with about 4 million subscribers, but buying DirecTV would add nearly 20 million viewers to the company’s portfolio.


Like all major telecommunications deals, the AT&T-DirecTV deal must win regulatory approval from the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission. It’s unclear where the review stands at Justice, but the FCC has set Oct. 16 as the deadline for AT&T to reply to opponents. Earlier this month, the FCC sent a list of questions to both AT&T and DirecTV, seeking additional information on the companies’ relationship with sports leagues, broadband offerings, video competition and the treatment of Internet access service.


The deal has drawn opposition from public interest groups like FreePress and Public Knowledge, but the criticism has been somewhat muted as the groups devote the lion’s share of their attention to Comcast-Time Warner Cable and the fight over net neutrality rules at the FCC. Some consumer advocates say AT&T was well aware of this dynamic when it announced its deal.


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AT&T’s congestion magically disappears when it’s signing up new customers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

AT&T’s congestion magically disappears when it’s signing up new customers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T yesterday began offering “double the data for the same price” to new customers and existing customers who sign new contracts, apparently forgetting that its network is so congested that speeds must be throttled when people use too much data.

Like other carriers, AT&T slows the speeds of certain users when the network is congested. Such network management is a necessary evil that can benefit the majority of customers when used to ensure that everyone can connect to the network. But as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has argued, the carriers’ selective enforcement of throttling shows that it can also be used to boost revenue by pushing subscribers onto pricier plans.


AT&T’s throttling only applies to users with “legacy unlimited data plans,” the kinds of customers that AT&T wants to push onto limited plans with overage charges. Initially, the throttling was enforced once users passed 3GB or 5GB in a month regardless of whether the network was congested. In July, AT&T changed its policy so that throttling only hits those users at times and in places when the network is actually congested, according to an AT&T spokesperson. The 3GB and 5GB thresholds, with the higher one applied to LTE devices, were unchanged.


You can use the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine to see that, through June, AT&T throttled unlimited subscribers whether its network was congested or not. The site, both then and now, encourages heavy data users to switch to a tiered or shared data plan. AT&T says that more than 80 percent of its postpaid smartphone subscribers are on limited plans.


AT&T's throttling hits “unlimited” customers even when they use less data than subscribers on limited plans. New AT&T customers who buy ”Mobile Share Value” plans can normally get 15GB to 50GB of data per month for two to 10 lines. But under the new promotion, similar to one launched by Sprint, AT&T is doubling that to 30GB to 100GB at the same price for new customers who sign up by the end of October. The doubled data remains on subscribers’ accounts until they sign a new contract.


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Linking Anchor Institutions to Outcomes for Families, Children, and Communities | Common-Wealth.org

Linking Anchor Institutions to Outcomes for Families, Children, and Communities | Common-Wealth.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Anchor institutions are enterprises such as universities and hospitals that are rooted in their local communities by mission, invested capital, or relationships to customers, employees, and vendors. As place-based entities that control vast economic, human, intellectual, and institutional resources, anchor institutions have the potential to bring crucial, and measurable, benefits to local children, families, and communities. All told, U.S. hospitals and universities combined spend over $1 trillion a year, have endowments in excess of $500 billion, and employ 8 percent of the labor force.

Many anchor institutions regularly report on community programming and activities. Some go even further and seek to pursue an anchor mission—making a commitment to consciously apply their long-term, place-based economic power, in combination with their human and intellectual resources, to better the long-term welfare of the communities in which they are anchored. Yet, to date, few tools exist to help institutions reflect and assess broadly the long-term impact of their anchor-mission activities, and particularly their impact on low-income communities.

This Democracy Collaborative paper and report proposes a set of indicators to begin to fill this gap.


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Netflix Aggravates Canada's Identity Crisis: Protection of Canadian Culture or Big Telecom Company Profits? | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Netflix Aggravates Canada's Identity Crisis: Protection of Canadian Culture or Big Telecom Company Profits? | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The arrival of Netflix north of the American border has sparked a potential video revolution in Canada that some fear could renew “an erosion” of Canadian culture and self-identity as the streaming video service floods the country with American-made television and movies. But anxiety also prevails on the upper floors of some of Canada’s biggest telecom companies, worried their business models are about to be challenged like never before.

Two weeks ago, the country saw a remarkable Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing featuring a Netflix executive obviously not used to being grilled by the often-curt regulators. When it was all over, Netflix refused to comply with a CRTC order for information about Netflix’s Canadian customers.

Earlier today, the CRTC’s secretary general, John Traversy, declared that because of the lack of cooperation from Netflix, all of their testimony “will be removed from the public record of this proceeding on October 2, 2014.” That includes their oral arguments.

“As a result, the hearing panel will reach its conclusions based on the remaining evidence on the record. There are a variety of perspectives on the impact of Internet broadcasting in Canada, and the panel will rely on those that are on the public record to make its findings,” Mr. Traversy wrote in a nod to Canada’s own telecom companies.

Not since late 1990’s Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, who defended Canadian content with her support of a law that restricted foreign magazines from infiltrating across the border, had a government official seemed willing to take matters beyond the government’s own policy.


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Average Netflix User Now Uses 45GB a Month, Will Exponentially Increase When 4K Video Arrives | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Average Netflix User Now Uses 45GB a Month, Will Exponentially Increase When 4K Video Arrives | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The average Netflix subscriber now watches 93 minutes of online video a day just from Netflix, and that adds up to 45GB of usage on average a month.

The Diffusion Group released that estimate in a new 35-page report (priced at $2,495) based on streaming data released by Netflix, and it shows a 350 percent increase in viewing over the last ten quarters, adding up to more than seven billion streaming hours in the last quarter alone.

Consumers with usage-limited broadband accounts will find online video viewing increasingly eating away at viewing allowances, but when 4K HD video arrives in the not too distant future, usage caps of 300-500GB a month will seem paltry. That new video format consumes up to 7GB per hour, and if current trends stay true, the average Netflix viewer streaming at the highest video quality could find their monthly Netflix traffic consumption rising to more than 300GB a month.


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City Net Brings 100 Gbps to Santa Monica, California | community broadband networks

City Net Brings 100 Gbps to Santa Monica, California | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For one of the fastest municipal networks in the U.S., travel to Santa Monica and sample City Net. The City just announced network capacity and speed upgrades to 100 Gbps. City Net is available to many local businesses and connects key community anchor institutions.

The entertainment, tech, and healthcare industries have a strong presence in Santa Monica and City Net officials expect them to be among the first to take advantage of the upgrade. Other area businesses are applauding the upgrade. From the press release:


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Who Wants a Rule that Wastes Energy and Harms Consumers? | NCTA.org

Who Wants a Rule that Wastes Energy and Harms Consumers? | NCTA.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In recent days, Public Knowledge has been flooding inboxes calling on their network to take a stand on what they describe as an anti-consumer measure in must-pass video legislation that “would make it difficult for consumers to use devices like TiVo DVRs.” They are referring to a provision in both House and Senate versions of STAVRA (The Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act) that would eliminate a 1998 FCC rule known as the “integration ban.” A closer look shows that Public Knowledge is distorting the impact of this change in spite of the fact that these changes would benefit consumers.

The integration ban is an outdated rule which forces cable operators – and cable operators alone – to include a separate piece of descrambling equipment known as a CableCARD in the set-top boxes they lease to customers, which adds costs, wastes energy and provides no benefit. Under a different FCC rule, cable operators also provide CableCARDs to their customers who use CableCARD-enabled devices purchased at retail (such as TiVos) so that those retail devices can access cable programming. The STAVRA integration ban provision simply sunsets the rule that penalizes cable customers who lease their boxes from their operator and has no effect on the latter FCC requirement.

For the unfamiliar, a CableCARD is a device about the size of a credit card that decrypts scrambled cable television signals so cable customers can access them. For the small sliver of cable customers who purchase set-top boxes at retail, CableCARDs are important. They provide access to scrambled cable programming and help ensure “device portability” – meaning that consumers can take the devices they purchase at retail and use them on other cable systems in the U.S.

But for the large majority of cable customers that elect to lease rather than buy a set- top box, there is zero benefit to adding a CableCARD to their boxes. Why? Because customers leasing their devices, by definition, don’t need portable solutions and because security can be integrated in a leased box (as it was before the integration ban went into effect), providing the same decryption function at lower cost.

That’s what makes Public Knowledge’s support for the current rule all the more baffling. You would think they would jump at the chance to end a mandate that adds millions of dollars in costs and forces consumers to foot the bill for the roughly 500 million kilowatt hours consumed by CableCARDs in leased boxes each year.


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Venezuela: Four prequalified for 4G spectrum awards; licensing within two weeks | TeleGeography.com

Venezuela’s telecoms regulator Conatel has announced in a statement on its website that four companies have been pre-qualified to receive 4G mobile licences in the 1700MHz/2100MHz (AWS) and/or 2500MHz-2690MHz frequency bands, namely Movilnet (the mobile arm of state-owned incumbent CANTV) and Telefonica Venezuela (which operates cellular services as Movistar Venezuela) plus two would-be new entrants to the mobile sector, long-distance telephony provider Multiphone Venezuela and Galaxy Entertainment Venezuela (a subsidiary of satellite pay-TV group DirecTV).


Specifically, only Movilnet and Movistar are in the running for AWS spectrum licences (blocks ‘G-G’ and ‘H-H’) while Movistar, Multiphone and Galaxy (DirecTV) are pre-qualified for the 2500MHz-2690MHz frequencies (B-B, C-C and D-D blocks).


The regulator added that the final selection and awards of the spectrum allocations would be made ‘in ten working days’ from the pre-qualification announcement, after the Committee on Public Offering (a committee selected by Conatel to monitor the granting of frequencies), completes its technical analysis of the tenders received.


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Internet Transit price falls slowing: Telegeography | Richard Chirgwin | The Register

Internet Transit price falls slowing: Telegeography | Richard Chirgwin | The Register | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

IP transit prices are still declining globally, but in bad news for 'net users of all kinds, the declines are slowing.

In what could be an indicator of continuing heavy demand for transit services, research company Telegeography says what was once a rapid fall in transit prices has eased considerably. The company says the 50 per cent year-on-year drops common just a few years ago are no longer in evidence.

“The median price of a 10Gbps Ethernet (10 GigE) port in Hong Kong, London, New York and Sao Paulo fell less than 15 per cent annually in each of the past two years,” the researcher says. “While high by the standards of many industries, these are the lowest rates of decline in the past five years, and far below the 50 per cent plunge experienced in many markets in 2012”.

Transit services are what allow ISPs to pass traffic to and from the big Internet backbones.

There are also big geographical differences in service price movements, the researcher found. Services to transit exchange points in New York and London fell just 4 per cent and 9 per cent respectively between 2013 and 2014, while in Sao Paulo prices declined 10 per cent, and in Hong Kong, 14 per cent.


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Mobile Tech, the Unbanked and the American Dream | Rich Johnson | ZeroDivide.org

Mobile Tech, the Unbanked and the American Dream | Rich Johnson | ZeroDivide.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Jose Alverez is a likable 23 year old who’s easy with a laugh and quick with a smile. He moved from Guatemala to California five years ago to work as a day laborer alongside his father. Like many residents in America living close to the poverty line, Jose doesn’t use a traditional bank account. Despite the relative high fees, he relies on cash checking stores to conduct his banking.


Jose’s story is not unique. He is just one of 17 million people nationwide who represents the “unbanked”. They either don’t qualify or choose not to open a bank account. Another 51 million are “underbanked”. These are people who have bank accounts but rarely use them, opting to use what many would argue are more expensive cash checking stores.


There’s a strong case to be made for the benefits gained by entering the financial mainstream. Owning a bank account can be the fastest way to build credit, save money, avoid excessive check cashing fees, and create a financial identity. I asked Jose why he doesn’t open a bank account. “I don’t know why, I just don’t like walking into a bank. I feel like I don’t belong there.”

As we talked further, I realized that he and his father really enjoy the experience of going to the cash checking store. The owner has become a friend. He’s a reliable ally who doesn’t harass them for ID and is a trusted companion who wires their money back home to family. There are no hidden fees. Everything is upfront. It’s a visit he and his father look forward to. After I explained the benefits gained by opening a bank account, Jose concluded that it’s the right thing to do. He married the love of his life three years ago, an American citizen. So he’s here legally and identification is not an issue. We then talked about his options for joining the financial mainstream.

Given Jose’s aversion to big banks, I wondered if there were any mobile solutions that would limit his visits to branches, while charging only a nominal fee. Nearly 70% of the unbanked have a mobile phone. Jose, along with almost 50% of this group, has a smart phone.


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Tim Berners-Lee wants Internet Magna Carta to guarantee privacy | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

Tim Berners-Lee wants Internet Magna Carta to guarantee privacy | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web 25 years ago, recently warned that governments and corporations want control of the web and are threatening the freedom of the Internet. On Saturday, at the London Web We Want festival on the future of the Internet, Berners-Lee called for a bill of rights that would guarantee netizens’ privacy and keep the web independent. He again called for a global "Magna Carta" for the Internet.


He gave a TED Talk about "A Magna Carta for the web" back in March, but yesterday Berners-Lee warned that corporations, as much as governments, want to control and abuse the open Internet. The idea to crowdsource a “Magna Carta” for the web is “based on principles such as privacy, net neutrality, free expression, affordable access and open and diverse infrastructure.”


Berners-Lee told the London Evening Standard that his plan had been to use the 25th anniversary of the web to start “a discussion on internet rights, but ‘that was before Snowden’.” The surveillance revelations made creating a Magna Carta for the web, and thereby ensuring the freedom of all netizens, all the more urgent. He added, “You shouldn’t trust your government but you shouldn’t trust your companies either. We have to have checks and balances for them all.”


When asked about the “biggest single threat to the free internet today,” Berners-Lee replied:


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MN: All for one for broadband when providers focus on same goal | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I am posting the following editorial from Gary Evan with permission. It was originally posted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. One of the things that strikes me is the solidarity of two private broadband providers who are each striving to bring better broadband to Minnesota. It reminds me of the mid-1990s when we used to host IPS lunches, email lists and educational opportunities. A time when people recognized that the network worked better when everyone worked together. It worked for the community and the business…


Gary wasn’t the only one who noted Paul Bunyan’s efforts, Lee Schafer also had an article in the paper putting Paul Bunyan’s investment n perspective.


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