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...And FISA Is Renewed, With All Its Problems Still Intact | Techdirt

...And FISA Is Renewed, With All Its Problems Still Intact | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After three key amendments that would have brought some oversight to the NSA's ongoing spying program were rejected last night, and the final such amendment was rejected this morning, there was little doubt that the Senate would move ahead with renewing FISA in its current and highly problematic form. Immediately following the rejection of the Wyden amendment, that's just what they did, voting 73-23 to extend FISA for another five years.

 

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CenturyLink appeals net neutrality decision | Fierce Telecom

CenturyLink appeals net neutrality decision | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink, Inc. today filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality order on the grounds that it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and a violation of federal law.

"CenturyLink invests hundreds of millions of dollars a year to build, maintain and update an open Internet network and does not block or degrade lawful content. However, the FCC has chosen to subjugate the Internet to government-controlled public utility regulations from the 1930s. These regulations not only have no place in the 21st century economy, but will chill innovation and investment. We are challenging the FCC's misguided net neutrality order for these reasons and because we believe it could lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers."

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Agency Overseeing Obama Trade Deals Filled With Former Trade Lobbyists | Lee Fang | The Intercept

Agency Overseeing Obama Trade Deals Filled With Former Trade Lobbyists | Lee Fang | The Intercept | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Office of the United States Trade Representative, the agency responsible for negotiating two massive upcoming trade deals, is being led by former lobbyists for corporations that stand to benefit from the deals, according to disclosure forms obtained by The Intercept.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free trade accord between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a similar agreement between the U.S. and the E.U.

The Obama administration is pushing hard to complete both deals, which it says will increase U.S. trade opportunities. Critics say the deals will provide corporate interests with sweeping powers to challenge banking and environmental regulations.

Here is information on three major figures in the Trade Representative’s office, gleaned from their disclosure forms:


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Fond du Lac, WI: Former coffee shop to become apartments, biz incubator Grant Rogers | FDL Reporter

Fond du Lac, WI: Former coffee shop to become apartments, biz incubator Grant Rogers | FDL Reporter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new business incubator space to help budding entrepreneurs move from their garages on to Main Street that’s being added to a downtown building could boost Fond du Lac’s growing startup scene, according to city and economic development leaders.

Slinger-based Loeber Property Investments has begun renovation work on the empty building at 131 South Main Street that last housed Cool Beans and Bagels. The four-story building has sat empty since the shop closed in September 2013, and the city has considered it “blighted.”

Plans for the renovation include 19 apartments on the top three stories and making space for retail and commercial businesses on the first floor, said Jim Loeber, whose company owns the building. On the lower level, Loeber plans to create an incubator space for new or smaller businesses or nonprofits looking to rent a space with Internet connectivity and furnishings.

It’s a step above working from home, and having even a small office space can help with a business be more visible to the public, Loeber said.

“It’s allowing people to get out of whatever space they’re in to be able to get a shingle out there,” he said. “To be able to be seen.”

There’s a growing need for startup space in Fond du Lac, as government and economic development leaders increasingly focus on nurturing homegrown businesses and connecting them with resources, said Steve Jenkins, president of the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation. In September, the corporation and 14 other organizations formed a partnership called IGNITE! Business Success to help mentor local entrepreneurs on a topics from creating business plans to launching and growing.


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You Can't Have a Functioning Democracy Without High Quality Infrastructure | Op-Ed | Truth-Out.org

You Can't Have a Functioning Democracy Without High Quality Infrastructure | Op-Ed | Truth-Out.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We can't have a strong country without strong infrastructure.

Earlier this week, Josh and Vanessa Ellis and their 8-month-old son Hudson were killed after debris from a highway overpass in Bonney Lake, Washington fell onto their pickup truck as they were driving through.

According to authorities, a large piece of concrete barrier fell from the overpass onto the Ellis' truck. The overpass was undergoing a construction project at the time.

The tragic deaths of Josh, Vanessa and Hudson Ellis are yet another reminder that US infrastructure is literally crumbling.

Take our nation's bridges and tunnels for example.

Right now, there are over 600,000 bridges in the US that have been labeled as "structurally deficient."

In 2007, a bridge collapse on I-35 in Minneapolis killed 13 people and injured 145 others.

In 2013, a bridge on I-5 in Washington State collapsed, sending three people plunging into a river. Luckily, they were all rescued.

And, in 2006, a section of concrete ceiling panels in Boston's Fort Point Channel tunnel fell on a car, killing a passenger in that car and severely injuring the driver.

But it's not just our bridges and tunnels that are in disrepair.

All across the US, roads are buckling, electrical grids are failing and transport systems are aging.

The richest country in the world is looking more and more like a developing nation each day.

The situation is so bad that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the US a D+ overall rating on its 2013 infrastructure report card.

The ASCE gave our bridges a C+, our roads a D, our transit systems a D, our energy infrastructure a D, our dams a D and the list goes on.

The ASCE also said that Washington needs to spend AT LEAST $3.6 trillion by 2020 just to get our nation's infrastructure back on track.

Unfortunately, that's a lot easier said than done these days.

Ever since Reagan came to Washington and blew up federal funding for infrastructure projects, our country hasn't been the same. It's literally been crumbling.

Republican lawmakers have refused over and over again to fund the infrastructure programs that the US desperately needs.

And, since President Obama took office, it's gotten even worse.

Infrastructure spending has plummeted since President Obama took office and the Republicans began their relentless obstruction efforts.

Republicans would rather put the lives of the US public at risk and see our country literally crumble to the ground than give President Obama any sort of achievement.

But what Republicans don't realize is that investing in our nation's infrastructure could do wonders for our economy.


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Special Report: Wheeling 'n Dealing At the California Public Utilities Commission - The Peevey Years | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Special Report: Wheeling 'n Dealing At the California Public Utilities Commission - The Peevey Years | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

California’s Public Utilities Commission seems increasingly unable to escape its reputation for backroom dealing, close personal ties to lobbyists working for the utility companies it regulates, and a growing conclusion it could care less about the interests of ordinary California consumers it is supposed to protect. That’s great news if you are an energy or telecommunications company with business before the commission, but bad news for consumers.

In this first part in a series of reports, Stop the Cap! investigates corruption at the highest levels of the California regulator. Search warrants have been executed, documents seized, and top officials of one of the state’s largest utilities have been fired. But it that enough for Californians to finally get a fair shake?


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Google embraces 'mobile-friendly' sites in search shake-up | Michael Liedtke | AP News

Google embraces 'mobile-friendly' sites in search shake-up | Michael Liedtke | AP News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones and tablets in a shift that's expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.

The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as "mobile-friendly." Websites that don't fit the description will be demoted in Google's search results on smartphones and tablets while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings - a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.

Although Google's new formula won't affect searches on desktop and laptop computers, it will have a huge influence on how and where people spend their money, given that more people are relying on their smartphones to compare products in stores and look for restaurants. That's why Google's new rating system is being billed by some search experts as "Mobile-geddon."

"Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices," said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda.

It's probably the most significant change that Google Inc. has ever made to its mobile search rankings, according to Matt McGee, editor-in-chief for Search Engine Land, a trade publication that follows every tweak that the company makes to its closely guarded algorithms.

Here are a few things to know about what's happening and why Google is doing it.


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ACA's Polka continues Local Choice push despite NAB warnings | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable

ACA's Polka continues Local Choice push despite NAB warnings | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ignoring warnings from the NAB to back off its quest for a la carte distribution of broadcast channels through pay-TV services, American Cable Association (ACA) president and CEO Matthew Polka took to the blogoshpere to once again plug the cable industry's "Local Choice" initiative.

According to Polka, a la carte services like CBS All Access render rules in the 1992 Cable Act anachronistic, and Congress needs to reform the law.

"Say you want to be a cable subscriber but all you want in terms of broadcasting is the area's CBS station. Your cable company will say it can't do so either because of federal law, or because CBS won't allow it," Polka wrote. "Call back the same cable company in your role as one of its broadband Internet subscribers and ask the same question: Will you sell me CBS a la carte? Answer: Not a problem.

"Obviously, this example highlights that federal law is embarrassingly out of touch and needs to catch up with the market," Polka added.

Proposed by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and former Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va), Local Choice would do away with the mandate that MVPDs must deliver each and every available broadcast network to their subscribers.

Under Local Choice, pay-TV operators would only have to make the channels available to customers, who would choose which ones they'd actually pay for.

This proposal, of course, has been highly unpopular with the National Association of Broadcasters.


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Verizon's New Pay TV Pitch Isn't A La Carte TV. But It's Getting Closer. | Peter Kafka | Re/Code.net

Verizon's New Pay TV Pitch Isn't A La Carte TV. But It's Getting Closer. | Peter Kafka | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

People who say they hate paying for cable TV often say they only want to pay for the networks they want to watch — not the bundles of networks pay TV providers require them to buy.

Bundles aren’t going away anytime soon, since they’re the core of the pay TV business. But they are morphing a bit, because the pay TV guys are worried that people might really cut the cord — or, more likely, just never sign up for pay TV at all.

Here’s the latest: An offer from Verizon that lets its Fios TV customers buy a “skinny bundle” of TV channels, and then augment it with a variety of “channel packs” — groups of networks with similar themes, like a sports pack that includes ESPN and Fox Sports — that they can swap out each month. They can also buy extra ones for $10 each.

In theory, this gives customers much more flexibility than traditional pay TV bundles. Here’s a visual representation of Verizon’s pitch:


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Report: DOJ leaning toward nixing Comcast bid for Time Warner Cable | Roger Yu & Elizabeth Weise | USA Today

Report: DOJ leaning toward nixing Comcast bid for Time Warner Cable | Roger Yu & Elizabeth Weise | USA Today | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Shares of Comcast fell 2.1% Friday after Bloomberg News reported that the Justice Department will likely recommend blocking the cable giant's bid to buy Time Warner Cable and consolidate the nation's two largest cable companies.

Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg News reported that staff attorneys at the department's antitrust division "are nearing" their decision and could submit their findings by next week.

The Justice Department's no-go recommendation would be a huge setback for the two companies that have bet on the merger to fight of a wide set of challenges facing the industry. In creating a larger cable operator, Comcast is hoping to boost its bargaining leverage against cable networks for content fees, retain higher pricing powers, generate savings to invest more in rapidly evolving technology and control more markets for the Internet pipes that are increasingly used for video consumption.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, fell $1.28 to $58.39. Time Warner Cable shares fell 5.1% to $150.07.

Renata Hesse, a deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust, will decide, along with the division's top officials, whether to file a federal lawsuit to block the deal, the report said.

Another troubling sign for Comcast, the report said, is the fact that the DOJ and officials at the Federal Communications Commission, which also has to approve the deal, aren't negotiating with Comcast about merger conditions that would alleviate some concerns.


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Comcast Announces Additional 2 Gigabit Deployments | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Comcast Announces Additional 2 Gigabit Deployments | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast today announced that the cable giant will be expanding its two gigabit fiber to the home service to another three million potential homes by the end of July.


According to the Comcast announcement, Comcast plans to offer "Gigabit Pro" service to three million California customers in June. Specifically, Comcast says they'll be targeting the Chico, Fresno, Marysville/Yuba City, Merced, Modesto, Monterey, Sacramento, Salinas, San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara County, Stockton and Visalia metro areas.

The announcement comes on the heels of Comcast's earlier announcement to offer two gigabit service to 1.5 million customers in parts of Atlanta, with the goal of reaching 18 million potential customers by the end of the year.

While Comcast tells me this 18 million user target is homes served, the target still seems extremely ambitious. Google Fiber and Verizon FiOS installs cost those companies around $500-$900 per install, and Comcast's current entire capex budget is no larger than $7 billion per year. Hitting eighteen million homes with two gigabit fiber to the home without notably bumping this budget (and angering investors) -- all in just eight months -- would be an impressive feat.

There's still no word on pricing for the new two gigabit tier.


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FCC moves toward 'historic' spectrum sharing plan | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

FCC moves toward 'historic' spectrum sharing plan | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved what some commissioners called a "historic" plan to allow private mobile broadband services to share spectrum with incumbent military users.

The FCC voted Friday to approve its so-called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) plan to open up wireless frequencies from 3550MHz to 3700MHz to new users, including new devices that could use the spectrum like current devices use Wi-Fi.

Commercial access to the spectrum may still be years away, and the FCC has several sticky issues it needs to resolve, including questions about the best ways to limit inference between users in the band. But with little new spectrum available to satisfy skyrocketing demand for mobile data services, some commissioners hailed the spectrum-sharing plan as a new model for dealing with a spectrum shortage.

"Since they don't make spectrum anymore, and since spectrum is the pathway of the 21st century, we have to figure out how we're going to live with a fixed amount," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. "Clearly, sharing is key to that."


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Presidential Hopeful Carly Fiorina Displays Astounding Ignorance In Slamming Net Neutrality | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Presidential Hopeful Carly Fiorina Displays Astounding Ignorance In Slamming Net Neutrality | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Carly Fiorina, whose claim to fame was basically presiding over HP while the company's value dropped in half, has made it clear that she's planning to run for President, despite her sole political experience being losing a Senate race in California against Barbara Boxer. To get ready, Fiorina has been ramping up her public opinion-spewing. She's gotten plenty of attention for blaming environmentalists for California's current water problems and accusing Apple's CEO Tim Cook of hypocrisy in his response to Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Feel free to debate those claims all you want.


The one that interests me is Fiorina's confused and ignorant take on net neutrality -- which seems to involve making a bunch of claims that are flat out false.


I recognize that, as a Republican candidate, she apparently is duty-bound to hate on net neutrality (despite the fact that Republican and Democratic voters alike both overwhelmingly support net neutrality -- and Republicans who actually understand technology support it as well).


It still remains a mystery to me why this is even a partisan issue, but it is. Still, if you're going to attack net neutrality, you should at least do so on a factual basis. Fiorina can't even muster up the effort to do that.


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Wisconsin Interactive Broadband Map Targets Economic Development | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Wisconsin Interactive Broadband Map Targets Economic Development | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association (WSTA) and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation have created an interactive map plotting business parks in the state where gigabit broadband connectivity is available, illustrating the importance that high-speed broadband service has become to business site selection.

At its launch, the map plots 130 business parks located in territories served by telcos that are WSTA members, explained WSTA Executive Director Bill Esbeck in an interview. WSTA members primarily are small independent rural telcos but also include TDS Telecom and Frontier. Data from larger companies such as AT&T, CenturyLink and Charter Communications that serve metro and other areas of the state currently aren’t in the database but Esbeck expects them to be added.

“From here on out we will add more sites,” Esbeck said. “A continuing effort will be [ongoing] to get more providers to offer [information about] where their service is available.”


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Verizon's 'customizable' FiOS TV packages violate contract, says ESPN | Dante D'Orazio | The Verge

ESPN is fighting back just hours after Verizon announced plans to offer new FiOS TV packages that split up channels into cheaper, semi-a la carte bundles. The massive sports network, owned by the Walt Disney Company, said in a statement provided to Recode that Verizon's new bundles "would not be authorized by our existing agreements." The statement continues, "Among other issues, our contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN nor ESPN2 may be distributed in a separate sports package."

The contracts that your cable provider signs to bring your favorite channels to your home often have many stipulations — most programmers, for instance, require that their powerhouse channels be offered alongside their less popular offerings. Extremely powerful networks, like ESPN, can even mandate that its channels are included in the most widely-distributed cable packages.

"ESPN says custom bundles "would not be authorized by our existing agreements""

Verizon's announcement was somewhat noteworthy because it appeared to sidestep such stipulations, but now it seems that the operator may have jumped the gun before coming to agreements with its programming partners.


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US Lawmakers Unveil Secretly Negotiated Deal To Fast-Track Free Trade | Michael McAuliff | HuffPost.com

US Lawmakers Unveil Secretly Negotiated Deal To Fast-Track Free Trade | Michael McAuliff | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Congress’ tax committees announced an agreement Thursday to speed through a bill to give President Barack Obama the fast-track authority that he will need to push mammoth new trade deals through Congress.

While many believed a deal was in the works, news that it was actually done came as a surprise to members of both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, which had been called to a hearing on the deal less than 12 hours earlier.

The “trade promotion authority” bill, or TPA, would allow the White House to cut new trade deals with Asian and European nations, and then pass them through Congress using expedited procedures. Under these rules, the deals cannot be amended or obstructed, and they get a simple up-or-down vote.

The fast-track authority would likely pave the way for both the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement with the European Union, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership with a dozen Asian nations. Both deals are vastly larger than NAFTA, and would involve about two-thirds of the entire world’s economy. Currently, the United States has trade agreements covering just 10 percent of world trade.

The hastily called Senate hearing on the TPA featured three of the administration's top officials on trade: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman. The deal's backers are Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.).

Several Democrats at the morning session seemed furious that they had been summarily called in about a measure they had not been shown or given any time to read, signaling that Obama will face a major struggle with his own party to get his trade agenda passed.


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Georgia Markerspaces Website: MakeNet.or

Georgia Markerspaces Website: MakeNet.or | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

MakeNet is an informal consortium of makerspaces and co-working communities.


We share resources and ideas, collaborate where desired, and celebrate each other’s success.


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MPAA's Chris Dodd Tells Each Movie Studio To Donate $40k To Rep. Goodlatte's Election Campaign | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

MPAA's Chris Dodd Tells Each Movie Studio To Donate $40k To Rep. Goodlatte's Election Campaign | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As you may recall, at the height of the SOPA fight fallout, MPAA boss Chris Dodd went on television and threatened to stop funding the politicians who didn't support the MPAA's copyright agenda:

"Those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake."

Given that statement, this little tidbit from the Sony email archives is interesting. It's Chris Dodd more or less demanding that all of the member studios donate $40,000 to Rep. Bob Goodlatte's re-election campaign. As you may know, Goodlatte is the head of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives, and copyright falls under that committee.


Even more to the point, despite the fact that there's an "Intellectual Property Subcommittee" (headed by Rep. Darrell Issa), Goodlatte has made it clear that copyright reform remains under his own personal mandate. In this email, Dodd notes that Goodlatte is coming to LA and there's a fundraiser -- and he asks each of the member studios to see if they can put together $40,000 for Goodlatte's campaign:


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Kaiser Permanente to put IT campus in Midtown Atlanta; create 900 jobs | Urvaksh Karkaria & Maria Saporta | Atlanta Biz Chronicle

Kaiser Permanente to put IT campus in Midtown Atlanta; create 900 jobs | Urvaksh Karkaria & Maria Saporta | Atlanta Biz Chronicle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente will plant a $20 million information technology campus in Midtown Atlanta — a project that will create about 900 jobs.

The Invest Atlanta board approved unanimously at its meeting Thursday $300,000 in incentives for “Project Big Chill,” as the expansion project was codenamed.

Eloisa Klementich, managing director of business development for Invest Atlanta, said Atlanta competed with Colorado for the Kaiser Permanente project.


In December 2014, Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported the health care provider and medical insurer was scouting Atlanta buildings for the 150,000 square-foot project. In March 2105, the Chronicle reported Kaiser had zeroed in on Midtown's Pershing Point Plaza.


Kaiser employs 4,000 in Georgia and has 30 medical facilities in metro Atlanta and Athens, Ga. In 2011, the company announced plans to invest about $100 million in building two new medical specialty centers in the region.


Kaiser's expansion will burnish Atlanta’s reputation as a health-care IT industry cluster. More than 200 health IT companies operate in Georgia, employing about 16,000.


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Free webinar on $400 million Healthcare Connect Fund | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

A great chance to learn more…

The Healthcare Connect Fund provides $400 million in funding for broadband network and access services to be used by rural healthcare facilities and consortiums. Rural broadband service providers are in a unique position to work with community stakeholders to secure this funding and provide broadband network and access services to them.

Join Finley Engineering and Telecompetitor for an upcoming webinar,
Healthcare Connect Fund: A $400M Opportunity, where we will outline this updated Universal Service Fund program and the opportunities it presents to rural broadband service providers and their communities.

Register today at www.bit.ly/1IgfDYn


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USTelecom's McCormick: We Support the Open Internet Rules | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

USTelecom's McCormick: We Support the Open Internet Rules | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

US Telecom President Walter McCormick says his association supports the substance of the FCC's new open Internet rules as outlined by the FCC and President Obama, which is no blocking or throttling or paid prioritization.

He suggested in an interview on C-SPAN's Communicators series that that was not a heavy lift because his industry operates under those standards already.

But USTelecom was among the first to sue to block the FCC rules this week after the final order was published in the Federal Register.

USTelecom's problem, as it is for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), is how those rules were enacted--by regulating information services as a common carrier, or what McCormick calls "19th century railroad regulation."

Christopher Lewis, VP of Title II fans Public Knowledge, was also on the program and stood up for the FCC's approach. He said that after a decade of trying to come up with rules that would hold up in court, Title II was the best way to do that. "Title II was necessary to get us to strong network neutrality rules," he said.


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Sony Pictures condemns WikiLeaks' release of hacked material | Saba Hamedy | LATimes

Sony Pictures condemns WikiLeaks' release of hacked material | Saba Hamedy | LATimes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Months after Sony Pictures Entertainment suffered from a crippling cyberattack, troves of the studio's leaked information has resurfaced on WikiLeaks, potentially reopening one of the darkest chapters in the Culver City studio's history.

The Julian Assange-run website, known for its massive release of classified U.S. military documents and diplomatic records, on Thursday published a searchable database called "The Sony Archives."

The public can now easily peruse the data, which includes 30,287 documents from Sony Pictures and 173,132 emails, to and from, more than 2,200 Sony Pictures email addresses.

"This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation," Assange said in a statement on the website. "It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there."

Sony Pictures condemned the WikiLeaks release in a statement, and tried to shoot down Wikileaks' argument that the documents and emails belong in the public domain, describing the initial cyber attack as "a malicious criminal act."


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MN House adds broadband to budget but only $8M for broadband grants | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

This afternoon, the Minneasota House Ways and Means Committee took up the jobs bill with an updated budget resolution. The amendment proposed $250K per year for the Office and $8M total grants.

I just got word that the amendments are adopted and bill will be moving to the floor. The good news is that broadband is in the budget and that leaves a door open! The bad news is that it’s much less than the Minnesota Broadband Task Force has suggested. To put $8 million in perspective, the ballpark figure for getting ubiquitous broadband in Minnesota is between $900 million and $3 billion.

Here’s a portion of the amendment…

Subd. 9. Broadband Development 8,000,000

$8,000,000 the first year is from the general fund for deposit in the border-to-border broadband fund account created under Minnesota Statutes, section 116J.396, for the purposes provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 116J.395. This is a onetime appropriation and is available until June 30, 2019.


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Cisco router feature open to exploit | Jim Duffy | NetworkWorld.com

Cisco router feature open to exploit | Jim Duffy | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A default feature in Cisco routers can be exploited to surrender data, according to this post in The Register. The vulnerability was discovered by Brazilian security researchers and Cisco is aware of it.

The feature is embedded packet capture, a troubleshooting tool that allows administrators to capture packets to determine, for example, the cause of an anomaly. The researchers used the EPC feature to collect massive amounts of data that could be exploited, though they and Cisco admit access to EPC would require privileged user access.

But since EPC is a default feature, its potential for abuse still presents a risk, the researchers say. They say hackers could access user credentials, pre-shared keys and other sensitive information.

Cisco advises customers is to ensure that appropriate user access controls are in place to avoid abuse of the EPC feature, according to The Register.


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Google seeks $19.8M tax break in Iowa | Paul McNamara | NetworkWorld.com

Google seeks $19.8M tax break in Iowa | Paul McNamara | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google needs a tax break like Bill Gates needs food stamps, yet that isn’t stopping the search giant from asking for $19.8 million in “economic development incentives” from Iowa to build a $1-billion expansion of its growing data center facility in Council Bluffs.

And, well, why not ask? The company has already been given $16.8 million in tax breaks to build out the various stages of the existing Council Bluffs facility, which opened in 2007.

According to this Omaha World-Herald report, the latest tax break is expected to be approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Council Bluffs City Council with little or no opposition.

In addition to 2,000 ongoing construction jobs, the finished facility is supposed to carry 70 full-time “qualified” positions, with qualified being a salary level that wasn’t specified in the story. That may not seem like a lot of jobs for $36.6 million in tax breaks, but the local officials speak glowingly of having an employer of Google’s stature in town – who wouldn’t? -- and Google, on its website, isn’t shy about extolling its virtues either:

Since 2009, we've awarded more than $820,000 to local schools and nonprofits. Additionally, in October 2011, we partnered with the City of Council Bluffs to launch a free WiFi network for everyone in and around three Council Bluffs areas: Downtown Council Bluffs, Mid America Center, and the Harvey Recreational Complex. We expanded the network in 2013 to cover River’s Edge Park and City Hall.

But are such tax breaks really necessary? Especially when talking about construction projects of this magnitude and companies as well off as Google, which has some $64 billion in cash burning a hole in its corporate pockets.


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Integra reaches 3,000 building locations with fiber | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Integra reaches 3,000 building locations with fiber | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Integra has extended fiber to more than 3,000 building locations in its 11-state territory that it serves via its Integra Business and Electric Lightwave business units.

Seeing what it says is significant growth in the Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City and Seattle markets, Integra's expansion is focused on addressing customer demand for high bandwidth service access to cloud services.

Any building location that's connected to Integra's fiber network means that any tenant can connect remote locations, access cloud and off-site data center services and deliver online services to their customers.

"With 3,000 locations now on-net, our infrastructure is more flexible, powerful and enterprise-ready than ever, and we look forward to continuing to lay new fiber connections to businesses whose needs align with our network's unique set of capabilities," said Dan Stoll, president, Electric Lightwave, in a release.

Reaching this milestone comes as Integra continues to look for opportunities to break free of its small business heritage and move into larger mid-sized and large enterprise business accounts.


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