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Paul offers amendment to protect emails and text messages from warrantless surveilance | The Hill's Floor Action

Paul offers amendment to protect emails and text messages from warrantless surveilance | The Hill's Floor Action | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants to protect emails and text messages the same way phone conversations are via an amendment to a bill reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

 

Paul introduced an amendment, The Fourth Amendment Protection Act, to clarify that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, even those that result from searches being done by a U.S. intelligence agency monitoring a foreign national overseas.

 

H.R. 5949 would extend for five years the ability of U.S. intelligence authorities to surveil terrorists overseas without first getting permission from a court.

 

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Long List of Public Interest Groups Sign on to Free Press Letter Opposing Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger | community broadband networks

Long List of Public Interest Groups Sign on to Free Press Letter Opposing Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Free Press announced that more than 50 public interest groups, including the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, signed on to its letter in opposition to the Time Warner/Comcast merger.


The letter, addressed and delivered to Attorney General Eric Holder and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, begins:


The proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger would give one company enormous power over our nation’s media and communications infrastructure. This massive consolidation would position Comcast as our communications gatekeeper, giving it the power to dictate the future of numerous industries across the Internet, television and telecommunications landscape.


In the press release, Craig Aaron, President and CEO of the Free Press, stated:


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The White House finally has an online privacy policy you can probably understand | WashPost.com

The White House finally has an online privacy policy you can probably understand | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Friday the White House updated its online privacy policy. The major difference? Readers might be able to actually understand it now.


"Our old privacy policy was just that -- old," wrote  Nathaniel Lubin, the White House's acting director of digital strategy in a March blog post announcing that the privacy policy would be updated. "The last substantial update occurred in 2011, and its substance remains predominantly based on an even earlier version."


While there had been minor changes since the 2011 update that are preserved in an archive page, the policy that goes into effect on Friday looks much different, even if the substance is much the same. Most, but not all, of the legalese has been stripped out -- and it's housed on an interactive page with subheadings rather than appearing as a long text document.


"We wanted our new policy to be easier to read and understand, so we've built out a new interactive page that puts this into a simpler, shorter format with plain language (or as plain as we can)," explained Lubin.


There are few significant changes.


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Here’s how Washington is preparing for a future of wireless everything | WashPost.com

Here’s how Washington is preparing for a future of wireless everything | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ahead of a major government auction of radio spectrum, federal officials have revealed a little bit about their plans for the free and open airwaves that today support technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth, but that could someday serve as the platform for even newer wireless inventions.


Opening up more unlicensed spectrum will pave the way for faster wireless routers and more WiFi hotspots, connected home appliances, faster Internet in coffee shops and fewer dropped calls.


The Federal Communications Commission expects to set aside at least 18 megahertz of spectrum for unlicensed uses in its upcoming broadcast auction. That figure will likely grow depending on how many TV broadcasters participate in the auction by giving up their use of the airwaves, according to senior FCC officials.


The auction, which is slated for 2015, will be one of the FCC's biggest undertakings ever. It involves simultaneously encouraging TV stations to hand over their spectrum to the government, which will compensate the broadcasters before turning around and selling the spectrum to wireless carriers so they can upgrade their LTE service for phones and tablets.


In a proposal unveiled Friday, the FCC suggested taking portions of spectrum that sit unused between tranches of occupied spectrum and reserving it for the public. That spectrum, which is ordinarily used as a buffer to prevent interference between signals traveling over similar parts of the airwaves, could add up to between 12 MHz and 20 MHz.


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Satellite communication systems rife with security flaws, vulnerable to remote hacks | NetworkWorld.com

Satellite communication systems rife with security flaws, vulnerable to remote hacks | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Security researchers have found that many satellite communication systems have vulnerabilities and design flaws that can let remote attackers intercept, manipulate, block and in some cases take full control of critical communications.


Between October and December last year, researchers from IOActive analyzed the firmware of popular satellite communications (SATCOM) devices that are used in the military, aerospace, maritime, critical infrastructure and other sectors. The research covered products manufactured or marketed by Harris, Hughes Network Systems, Cobham, Thuraya Telecommunications, Japan Radio Company (JRC) and Iridium Communications. The analysis focused on SATCOM terminals that are used on ground, in the air and at sea, not satellite communications equipment in space.


"IOActive found that all devices within the scope of this research could be abused by a malicious actor," the IOActive researchers said in a report published Thursday. "We uncovered what would appear to be multiple backdoors, hardcoded credentials, undocumented and/or insecure protocols, and weak encryption algorithms."


"These vulnerabilities allow remote, unauthenticated attackers to compromise the affected products," the researchers said. "In certain cases no user interaction is required to exploit the vulnerability; just sending a simple SMS or specially crafted message from one ship to another ship would be successful for some of the SATCOM systems."


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CT: Office of Consumer Counsel 2014 Broadband Conference: Moving Towards a Gigabit State | Connecticut Network

CT: Office of Consumer Counsel 2014 Broadband Conference: Moving Towards a Gigabit State | Connecticut Network | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Check headline to watch the video of this discussion presented by the Office of Consumer Counsel which held is 2014 Broadband Conference on April 11th that features CT elected officials, state agency leadership and Blair Levin, of Gig-U and the Aspen Institute, who is the keynote speaker.

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Frontier says E-rate funding should not fund middle-mile overbuilds | FierceTelecom.com

Frontier says E-rate funding should not fund middle-mile overbuilds | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Frontier Communications is ready to serve rural school districts with its own last mile services but says the FCC should not extend funding to other competitors to overbuild where they already provide service.


Last July, the FCC voted in favor of modernizing the 18-year-old subsidy program that brings Internet services to schools and libraries.


In an FCC filing, Frontier said that the regulator should take advantage of the fact that Frontier and other ILECs serving "rural areas have already deployed fiber deep into rural America."


"The Commission should not waste scarce E-rate funding to overbuild existing middle-mile fiber when companies like Frontier have already invested the intensive capital necessary to provide it," wrote Frontier in an FCC filing. "Instead, the Commission should focus its efforts on determining how the existing fiber facilities that Frontier and other ILECs have in place today can bring the desired services to all schools and libraries, including those in rural areas."


Being a provider that's focused primarily on rural markets, the company has a mix of both fiber and copper-based facilities that can support high-speed Ethernet services for schools.


In its territory, Frontier currently has 17,260 schools and libraries that are located in 2,242 of its 2,662 total wire centers.


It added that 95 percent of these schools and libraries are located in wire centers that can provide a fiber-based Ethernet connection. As long as each school has a last mile fiber connection, they can get a 1 Gbps speed.


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The Gigabit Divide | POTs and PANs

The Gigabit Divide | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We all know what the digital divide is – it’s when one place or demographic has broadband when those nearby do not. The term was originally coined after DSL and cable modems came to urban areas while rural America was left with dial-up access.


Over the years the definition is still the same but the circumstances have changed. For example, there still are some millions of households in the country stuck with dial-up or satellite broadband. But most of the digital divide today is an urban / rural divide where the telecom companies have invested in much newer and faster technology in urban areas and have ignored rural areas. Metropolitan areas all over the country now have at least some 100 Mbps cable modems while surrounding smaller towns often still get maybe 3 Mbps. And there is an economic digital divide within cities where some neighborhoods, particularly richer ones, get better infrastructure than poor.


But we are about to embark on the most dramatic divide of all, the gigabit divide. I spent last week in Austin and they are a good example of what I fear will be happening all over the country. There are three companies building gigabit fiber in Austin – Google, AT&T and Grande. None of them are going to build everywhere. For instance, Google will only build to a ‘fiberhood’ where enough people in an area pre-sign with Google. And the other two carriers are going to do something similar and carve out their parts of the market.


This is great for those who get fiber. They will end up with the fastest fiber connections in the world, and hopefully over time that will make a big difference in their lives. But my concern is that not everybody in Austin is going to get fiber. To see how this works we only have to look at Verizon FiOS. For years Verizon built to the neighborhoods with the lowest construction costs. That meant, for example, that they would favor an older community with aerial cable that could be over-lashed over a newer community where everything was buried and construction costs were high.


You find a real hodge-podge when you look closely at FiOS – it will be on one street and not the next, in one neighborhood and not the adjoining one. And Austin is going to be the same way. These three carriers are not going to all overbuild the same neighborhoods because in a competitive 3-way overbuild none of them will make money. Instead it is likely that Austin will get balkanized and chopped up into little fiberhoods for each of the three carriers.


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The gigabit promise in North Carolina | Heather Gold Blog | TheHill.com

A consensus has emerged: America needs a critical mass of communities with world-leading bandwidth in order to secure the human capital and resources to innovate. It is nothing short of imperative for economic development, job creation and global competitiveness in the 21st Century.


The recent  announcement that AT&T is bringing its GigaPower product to communities in North Carolina is great news for those areas. But it also indicates that local leaders are beginning to understand the importance of network upgrades in their communities.


This is the promise that North Carolina holds for the rest of the country. A coordinated effort amongst six municipalities and four leading research universities, supported by local Chambers of Commerce and businesses in the Research Triangle and Piedmont regions, aimed to address the need for ultra-high speed broadband and these groups worked together to issue a Request for Proposals to get it. Strategies have differed, but communities are standing up and taking notice of the necessity of fiber networks--for the home, business and institutions.

And now, in 2014, we are at a remarkable tipping point, where access to power has been replaced by access to bandwidth, the infrastructure of the 21st Century knowledge economy.

In the United States, there are over 800 fiber to the home service providers—from incumbent service providers, to competitive over-builders and municipalities. But we need more. In too many places, people worry whether they have enough bandwidth to do what they need to do. The effects of this kind of self-rationing should not be underestimated, as it in turn rations the imagination and experimentation that fuels innovation.

But there are reasons to be positive about the possibility for communities to take charge of their bandwidth destinies. Last summer, the FTTH Council proposed the Gigabit Race to the Top plan for the FCC to fund some experiments in how to cost effectively bring next generation fiber to unserved and underserved rural areas.


And the FCC agreed: In January, the Commission announced a program that will offer grants to communities or providers who develop the best ways of delivering connectivity in unserved or underserved areas, providing world-leading bandwidth at affordable rates, increasing adoption and connecting public facilities. This demand demonstrates a new model for driving investment into communications infrastructure. To date, they’ve received over 1,000 expressions of interest.

Approximately 20 states have laws prohibiting or limiting municipalities from creating their own broadband infrastructure to compete against private companies.  At the FTTH Council, we’ve long counseled and fought against such restrictions—just as bandwidth should not be a barrier to innovation, neither should outdated rules be barriers to community choice. We want all entities to be able to participate in bringing leading edge networks throughout the country.

While we’re on the subject of FCC actions, just a few weeks ago, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said: “Removing legal restrictions on municipal broadband could enhance Internet access competition.” He has committed to look for ways to use the Commission’s authority to do away with those rules. While the private sector has undertaken the vast majority of all-fiber deployments, the communities themselves need to be able to get this essential infrastructure where the private sector is unable to deploy.


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NC: Raleigh approves AT&T's fiber internet plan | Triangle Business Journal

NC: Raleigh approves AT&T's fiber internet plan | Triangle Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The City of Raleigh officially put its stamp of approval on AT&T's plan to bring its “GigaPower” fiber-based internet service here.


Gail Roper, Raleigh's chief information officer, says the timing is still up in the air. “That would be dependent upon when we finish out all the legal negotiations,” she says, adding that the hope is that things get rolling before the end of the year.


And no, this will have no impact on the city’s ongoing plan to entice Google and its Google Fiber service.


“It’s a separate initiative, she says. “Both will bring high-speed fiber to the region, which we know we need. One does not impact the other.”

And Time Warner Cable and other bidders in the North Carolina Next Generation Network - the initiative working with AT&T to bring fiber here - still have a shot at the City of Oaks.


“It is an open market,” she says. “Anyone who wants to enter that market is certainly able to. ... We’re excited about the opportunities.”


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Snowden Calls BS On Putin's Answer: Says He Was Playing The Role Of Ron Wyden | Techdirt.com

Snowden Calls BS On Putin's Answer: Says He Was Playing The Role Of Ron Wyden | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday we, like many, were perplexed by Ed Snowden's decision to go on a Russian television program, and to ask Vladimir Putin a question about whether or not the Russians do mass surveillance like the NSA does (which was, of course, exposed by Ed Snowden). It was clearly playing into Putin's propaganda efforts, because Putin immediately took the opportunity to insist that no, Russia does not do mass surveillance like that.


Of course, Putin's answer was not true. Many of Snowden's detractors immediately jumped on this as an example of how he was working for the Putin propaganda machine -- and many (including us), wondered if he was, at the very least, pressured to play a role in order to keep his temporary asylum. Others thought he was just being naive. Some Snowden supporters, however, insisted that we should hear him out, and see if there was some more specific motive behind his question.

Apparently, we didn't have to wait long. Snowden himself has now directly called Putin out for lying about Russian surveillance, and said that his question was designed to act similar to Senator Ron Wyden's now famous question to James Clapper, leading to Clapper's lie, which (in part) sparked Snowden's decision to finally release the files he'd been collecting. Snowden, writing in the Guardian, explained:


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Exclusive: Google's Project Loon tests move to LTE band in Nevada | NetworkWorld.com

Exclusive: Google's Project Loon tests move to LTE band in Nevada | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google has expanded its Project Loon tests to the Nevada desert and, for the first time, into licensed radio spectrum.


Google declined to comment on the secret trials, but a local official confirmed they are related to Project Loon, and government filings point to several recent balloon launches.


Loon is an ambitious attempt by Google to bring Internet access to vast swathes of the planet that currently have little or no connectivity. The project was unveiled last June, and Google said at the time it was experimenting with balloons flying around 20 kilometers (65,000 feet) above the Earth, using radio links in an unlicensed portion of the spectrum at around 2.4GHz.


But in late September, Cyrus Behroozi, the head network engineer for Loon, quietly applied to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to test Loon across a large portion of Northern Nevada, in two chunks of radio spectrum that are used as a pair for 4G LTE services.


Google's application didn't say exactly which wireless technology it planned to use, but it did disclose the broad type of signal: a class that includes LTE, WiMax and other point-to-point microwave data transmission systems. That clue, coupled with the use of paired spectrum, points to the likelihood of LTE.


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Chromecast ‘A Real Hit’ | Multichannel.com

Chromecast ‘A Real Hit’ | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google still hasn’t revealed any specific sales figures for its Chromecast streaming adapter, but company execs continue to claim that it’s been a certified winner so far.


 

“Our $35 Chromecast is a real hit,” Nikesh Arora, Google’s SVP and chief business officer, said on the company’s first quarter earnings call on Wednesday, recalling that Google launched the Google Chromecast to an additional 11 countries last month.

 

The Chromecast debuted in the U.S. last July, and quickly sold out. Speaking at the SXSW conference in March, Google SVP of Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai said sales were in the “millions” of units. 

 

On the call, Patrick Pichette, Google SVP and CFO, would only say that Chromecast sales in the quarter were “strong.”

 

While consumers have found that the Chromecast offers a good mix of price and simplicity for bridging OTT content to the TV screen, the number of apps optimized for the platform remains lacking when compared to competitors such as Roku, which this week announced that it now supports more than 1,500 “channels,” up by about 300 from its previous count.


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FCC's Wheeler Defends Low-Band Spectrum Carve-Out | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC's Wheeler Defends Low-Band Spectrum Carve-Out | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has responded to a letter from House Democrats earlier this week (78 in all) asking him to have an open incentive auction that does not limit participants, saying that "all who want to participate in the incentive auction will be able to bid."


But the rest of that thought was that "at the same time, a priority of the auction should be to assure that companies that already possess low-band spectrum do not exploit the auction to keep competitors from accessing the spectrum necessary to provide competition."


"I will shortly present a draft order to my fellow Commissioners designed to ensure that every mobile wireless provider has the opportunity to bid in every market, and that every consumer enjoys the benefits of a competitive wireless marketplace," he said. "My proposal would reserve a modest amount of this low-band spectrum in each market for providers that, as a result of the historical accident of previous spectrum assignments, lack such low-band capacity. This proposal will also contain safeguards to ensure that all bidders for reserved spectrum licenses bear a fair share of the cost of making incentive payments to broadcasters who voluntarily relinquish some or all of their spectrum usage rights."


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New York Times Covers Fiber and Economic Development | community broadband networks

New York Times Covers Fiber and Economic Development | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a recent New York Times article, reporter Kate Murphy shined a light on fiber's increasing role in economic development. Murphy discussed several of the same networks we have followed: Wilson, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Lafayette, LA; and Mount Vernon, WA.


Murphy acknowledged that successful companies are moving from major metropolitan areas to less populated communities out of necessity:


These digital carpetbaggers aren’t just leaving behind jittery Netflix streams and aggravating waits for Twitter feeds to refresh. They are positioning themselves to be more globally competitive and connected.


Murphy notes that countries where governments have invested in critical infrastructure offer more choice, better services, and lower rates. She also points to successful local initiatives, often in less populated communities where large private interests have not invested:


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FirstNet Testbeds & Interactive Map | GovTech.com

FirstNet Testbeds & Interactive Map | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Simply stated, the mission of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is to create a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications. The network is expected to cost upwards of $7 billion.


Building such a network has never been attempted, and the project raises a number of technical and operational questions. That's where the FirstNet testbeds come into play. FirstNet has approved spectrum lease agreements with four public safety communications projects to serve as proving grounds for the new network. Negotiations also are underway with a fifth project.


The testbed projects were drawn from a list of eight public safety communications projects that were previously awarded federal grants to develop LTE networks. These projects received a total of about $400 million through the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) or similar programs.


Those jurisdictions were:


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NY: Brooklyn BP Eric Adams takes selfie to celebrate free wifi at Fulton Mall | Brooklyn Daily Eagle

NY: Brooklyn BP Eric Adams takes selfie to celebrate free wifi at Fulton Mall | Brooklyn Daily Eagle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The more than 100,000 daily visitors to Fulton Mall, one of the busiest retail strips in America, now have free WiFi thanks to a new program that will build and maintain a free public WiFi network in Downtown Brooklyn.


As part of the project, free WiFi hotspots will also be provided to up to 100 small businesses and 1,000 residents in Downtown Brooklyn.


The effort is being launched by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP); PTS in partnership with DAS Communications; Fon, a global WiFi network; and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to provide WiFi to the area bordered by Schermerhorn Street, Cadman Plaza West, Flatbush Avenue, and Tillary Street, along with select public spaces in the NYCHA Ingersoll and Whitman Houses. 


The Fulton Street corridor is the first section to go live as part of the program and to celebrate, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams posed for a “selfie” in Albee Square today with local business owners, shoppers, and college students that he then posted on Twitter. DBP is administering the WiFi network with funds it received as one of five winners of NYCEDC’s Wireless Corridor Challenge.


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Can you hear me now? NASA to test laser communication system | NetworkWorld.com

Can you hear me now? NASA to test laser communication system | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The SpaceX cargo spacecraft will be carrying equipment needed for astronauts on the International Space Station to test optical laser communications to its scheduled launch today.


The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft's scheduled launch on Monday was scrubbed because of a helium leak in the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry it aloft. The mission is now set to launch 3:25 ET on Friday.


If the Friday launch is postponed, another window opens on Saturday.

Optical laser communications, also dubbed lasercom, is one of the emerging technologies that NASA is focused on trying out.


With lasercom, data is transmitted via laser beams and potentially offers much higher data rates than the space agency is able to achieve with current radio frequency transmissions.


"Optical communications have the potential to be a game-changer," said Mission Manager Matt Abrahamson, in a statement. "It's like upgrading from dial-up to DSL. Our ability to generate data has greatly outpaced our ability to downlink it. Imagine trying to download a movie at home over dial-up. It's essentially the same problem in space, whether we're talking about low-Earth orbit or deep space."


Abrahamson noted that many of the latest deep space missions send data back and forth at 200 to 400 kilobits per second. The new laser test is expected to transmit data at 50 megabits per second.


Since one megabit is equal to 1,024 kilobits, that means the new communications should be up to 256 times faster.


Once the Dragon spacecraft rendezvouses with the space station, the orbiter's robotic arm will remove it from the ship's cargo bay and then attach it to the outside of the station. The laser test is expected to last for at least three months.


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Iowa: SMU board approves communication rate increase | The Daily Reporter

The Spencer Municipal Utilities Board of Trustees approved a communication rate increase at its April board meeting this week. The rates will change beginning June 1.


Basic Plus will be $50.75 per month, SD Plus will be $9 per month and HBO will be $15 per month.


"The cable increases are a result of increased programming costs which include the increase from 2013 to 2014 as well as the Viacom increase," Amanda Gloyd, SMU marketing and community relations manager, said.


Residential Broadband will be $40 per month, Residential Broadband Plus will be $45 per month and Residential Broadband Premiere will be $55 per month.


"The residential Internet rate increases are a result of increased customer usage and the demands it has put on the system leading to the fiber to the home construction, which we anticipate being the driving force going forward with Internet rates," Gloyd explained.


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Fiber-to-the-Antenna and LTE Deployments Strengthen Business Case for Fiber Optic Test Equipment Globally | Frost & Sullivan

The future of fiber optics is being shaped by the need for higher bandwidth, signal rates, and on-chip connections. Technologies like fiber-to-the-antenna (FTTA), long term evolution (LTE) deployments along with 100 and 400 gigabyte installations are therefore bolstering the global fiber optic test equipment market. Integrated or platform-based test products, in particular, are gaining momentum for their ability to perform more than one type of test using the same test equipment.


New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Global Fiber Optic Test Equipment Market, finds that the market earned revenue of $603.8 million in 2013 and estimates this to reach $884.9 million in 2020. The fiber inspection probe is an emerging product that accounted for approximately $45 million in sales during 2013 and continues to grow at a significant pace.


For complimentary access to more information on this research, please visit:  http://bit.ly/1jIK66J.


Fiber penetration is increasing in the broadband and access space with significant roll-outs in mobility through FTTA, fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT), distributed antenna systems (DAS), and cloud or centralized-radio access networks (CRAN). Companies are employing fiber cable assemblies that cater to FTTA, while service providers are installing this technology where thousands of assemblies are generated in a week. All these factors contribute to the uptake of fiber optic test equipment.


"The proliferation of electronics and reduction in chip sizes will also augment the demand for innovative test technologies," said Frost & Sullivan Measurement and Instrumentation Program Manager Sujan Sami. "One such potential opportunity lies in micro structure fiber and hollow fiber with higher non-linear limits."


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Comcast's shakedown of Netflix pays off for consumers | ITWorld.com

Comcast's shakedown of Netflix pays off for consumers | ITWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You might remember back in February when it was announced that Netflix had come to an agreement to pay Comcast (which at that time had not yet won the prestigious "Worst Company in America" award — congrats, guys!) for the privilege of connecting directly to Comcast's servers for an undisclosed sum.


The official announcement at the time said:


"Comcast Corporation and Netflix, Inc. today announced a mutually beneficial interconnection agreement that will provide Comcast’s U.S. broadband customers with a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come.


Working collaboratively over many months, the companies have established a more direct connection between Netflix and Comcast, similar to other networks, that’s already delivering an even better user experience to consumers, while also allowing for future growth in Netflix traffic. Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multi-year agreement, terms of which are not being disclosed."


That didn't sound bad...mutually beneficial and all that. But it wasn't long before Netflix's Reed Hastings wrote a blog post calling for strong net neutrality and talking about exactly the kind of issues Netflix had to pay to solve. The implication is that the big cable companies can essentially hold a service like Netflix hostage until a check is cut. For a somewhat less biased look at the deal, check out What The Netflix-Comcast Deal Really Means In Plain English at Business Insider.


Anyway that's old news, but now we're seeing the benefit to Netflix customers who use Comcast. In their monthly ISP Speed post Netflix points out that the average stream speed for customers on Comcast has improved 65% since the deal was put into place. Put another way, Comcast jumped up 6 places in the rankings, putting it in 5th place.


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TN: Video campaign aims to lure Google Fiber to Nashville | The Tennessean.com

TN: Video campaign aims to lure Google Fiber to Nashville | The Tennessean.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A grassroots video campaign is underway in Nashville to advocate for the expansion Google Fiber, using YouTube to rally behind the high-speed Internet service.


The videos feature leaders of Nashville businesses and organizations, from the Nashville Zoo to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to Regions Bank, explaining why they want to Google Fiber to come to the Nashville region.


Kevin Page, founder of social enterprise company PopCause, created the series and has posted more than a dozen videos, with nearly 40 additional videos being edited or planned.


Nashville is among nine metropolitan areas being considered for Google Fiber expansion, which would mean Internet connection advertised as much as 100 times faster than basic broadband. The city is working to complete a checklist concerning permitting and infrastructure ahead of a May 1 deadline and Google is working on a study of the area during the next several months to make a decision.


"I see Google Fiber as being very important to Nashville for various reasons like entertainment, education, tourism – everything a great city needs," Page said. "(The goal is) to get faster Internet to kids in public schools."


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Google Fiber to conduct small business pilot in Kansas City | FierceTelecom.com

Google Fiber to conduct small business pilot in Kansas City | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber's initial focus of its 1 Gbps fiber to the premises (FTTP) service has been on the residential market, but it looks like it is going to finally begin testing a new small business product in Kansas City, reports the Kansas City Business Journal.

Other than to say the business product is still being developed, the Internet search giant did not provide any specific details about its plans.


"People have been really clamoring for a small business service," said Jenna Wandres, a Google spokeswoman. "We're just in the beginning of figuring out what that product could look like, and that's why we're launching this pilot."


During its upcoming pilot program, the service provider will connect its fiber network to a limited but unspecified amount of Kansas City-area SMBs. It sent an e-mail questionnaire to area businesses asking if they would like to test the product and provide feedback.


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FirstNet Explained | GovTech.com

FirstNet Explained | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The attacks of 9/11 revealed the incompatible and balkanized state of emergency and public safety communications in America, with police unable to communicate by radio with firefighters. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey in 2012, the situation was remarkably different. Police commanders talked with fire officials as they battled power failures in the wake of the storm. Yet when emergency officials from other cities showed up to help, their radios could not communicate with public safety commanders in New York.


The solution? Build a high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. That’s the First Responder Network Authority or FirstNet in a nutshell: a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications.  On Feb. 22, 2012, the Middle Class tax Relief and Job Creation was signed into law, creating FirstNet with the mission to build, operate and maintain a national wireless broadband, radio access network (RAN) for public safety. The goal is to put an end to the interoperability and communications challenges that have occurred during exceptional and complex disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks.


Here are some of the key points about Firstnet:


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Michaels says breach at its stores affected nearly 3M payment cards | NetworkWorld.com

Michaels says breach at its stores affected nearly 3M payment cards | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

About 2.6 million payment cards at Michaels Stores and another 400,000 at subsidiary Aaron Brothers may have been affected in a card skimming attack that compromised its point-of-sale systems, the retailer said Thursday.


Michaels said it had found evidence confirming that its systems and those of Aaron were attacked using sophisticated malware that had not been encountered previously by either of the security firms it had retained to investigate a suspected breach. It did not provide details of the malware.


The arts and crafts supplier in Irving, Texas, said in January it was investigating a possible data security attack after it learned of suspicious activity on some U.S. payment cards that had been used at its stores.


The attack on Michaels was one of several attempts to penetrate the point-of-sale systems of U.S. retailers.


Department store Target also alerted customers in December of unauthorized access to payment card data of customers who had shopped at its stores. It said in January that data from about 40 million credit and debit cards may have been stolen at its stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 through malware on its point-of-sale systems. Information including names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses of an additional 70 million individuals was also likely to have been compromised, it said.


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Diller: Administration's Aereo Stance is Anti-Consumer | Broadcasting & Cable

Diller: Administration's Aereo Stance is Anti-Consumer | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Wall Street Journal, whose parent, News Corp., also owns Fox, gave IAC chairman Barry Diller—former head of Fox—op ed space Thursday to defend Aereo, the online TV station delivery service Fox is opposing as a copyright infringer.


Diller is a minority investor in Aereo and took aim at the Obama Administration for not backing Aereo.


Diller's piece comes days before the Supreme Court is to hear oral argument in the case (April 22).


In the piece, Diller says that broadcasters don't own the airwaves and shouldn't be allowed to keep viewers from watching free TV on the device of their choice via an "antenna in the cloud."


"[B]roadcasters claim Aereo is 'stealing' their content. Why is the industry pushing to punish those who wish to receive their television through airwaves, which are not owned by broadcasters? The answer is obvious: Broadcasters make more money when consumers are steered away from over-the-air program delivery and toward cable and satellite systems that pay the broadcasters' retransmission fees."


Diller took aim at the Administration for backing broadcasters in the fight. "Broadcasters have now corralled the White House into joining their efforts to crush any innovation that challenges the status quo and the industry's lucrative business model," he said.


The Solicitor General's office filed a friend of the court brief in support of broadcasters, saying Aereo's delivery of over-the-air TV signals via the Internet without payment is a public performance in violation of copyright.


The Solicitor General's office also agrees with broadcasters that the Supreme Court can rule against Aereo without calling into question the entire cloud storage regime.


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