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The Myth of Population Density and the High Cost of Broadband | CircleID

The Myth of Population Density and the High Cost of Broadband | CircleID | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the enduring myths that is used by apologists for incumbent broadband operators as to the high cost of broadband in Canada and the US is our low population density.


Since Canada and the US have low population density compared to The Netherlands or South Korea, they argue that therefore the cost of delivering broadband will be significantly higher because of the much greater distances that need to be covered.

 

While this may be true for rural and remote broadband services, most Canadians and Americans (over 80%) live in urban areas. The cost of deploying broadband in urban areas is almost the same anywhere in the world. The bigger factors that affect the cost of broadband deployment in urban areas is whether the fiber is buried or put on poles. Most urban communities in North America are serviced by poles and therefore cost of deploying fiber should be a lot cheaper than, for example in The Netherlands where it is mostly buried.

 

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Schools, Health, Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) Submits CTC Study to FCC | ctc technology & energy

On October 17, the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) submitted to the FCC CTC’s cost model study for fiber construction to schools and libraries.


SHLB filed A Model for Understanding the Cost to Connect Schools and Libraries with Fiber Optics in the E-Rate Modernization proceeding in support of its recommendation to the FCC to fund fiber construction to schools and libraries that are not currently connected with such state-of-the-art infrastructure.


The study creates a model for fiber costs across six different geographies of the United States so as to enable evaluation of the cost of construction in different regions of the country.


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Next Century Cities Launches with 32 Cities Leading on High-Speed Internet | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Today 32 cities launched Next Century Cities, a bipartisan, city-to-city initiative dedicated to ensuring the availability of next-generation broadband Internet for all communities. The cities and their elected leaders are joining together to recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit-level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities.

Next Century Cities will support communities and their elected leaders across the country as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. Today’s launch, held at a dynamic coworking space for Santa Monica’s technology companies, convened mayors and other leaders from 31 cities, including Santa Monica, Boston, Chattanooga, Raleigh, Portland, Lafayette, and San Antonio for a cross-cutting discussion about what’s worked in their cities and how to support next-generation networks nationwide.

“Across the country, city leaders are hungry to deploy high-speed Internet to transform their communities and connect residents to better jobs, better health care, and better education for their children,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “These mayors are rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done. Next Century Cities will be right alongside them to help make their goal of communities across the country having access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet a reality.”

Next Century Cities will engage with and assist communities in developing and deploying next- generation broadband Internet. Participating cities will work with each other to learn about what works – and what doesn’t – so that every community has access to information that can help them succeed. Cities will also work together to raise awareness of this important issue to all Americans.


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Making the open access/wholesale model work for community broadband | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio

Making the open access/wholesale model work for community broadband | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The pride of the pack when it comes to community broadband business models is the open-access model in which the local government or public utility owns the physical network and private-sector ISPs deliver services to subscribers. It looks like a relatively easy model to pursue, and dozens of communities say this is their preferred option. In reality, making open access work is a monster challenge requiring intense, constant effort.

Mt. Vernon, WA has built a small cadre of ISPs for its open-access fiber network. Information Services Director Kim Kleppe details how they overcame obstacles and seized opportunities to build a successful network that is financially sustainable. Listeners will learn:

  • why getting the second ISP is the hardest job in the world;
  • how to set pricing structure
  • tips for creating win-win situations
  • marketing tactics that attract ISPs and subscribers
  • how to keep everyone on the same page


Kleppe and his colleagues have 12 years experience building and refining their open access model. Communities just getting their networks off the ground can really benefit from the lessons of those who've been in the trenches a while.


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Complaints mount about Yosemite crippling Wi-Fi | Juan Carlos Perez | NetworkWorld.com

Complaints mount about Yosemite crippling Wi-Fi | Juan Carlos Perez | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Complaints that Mac OS X Yosemite disrupts or entirely disables Wi-Fi have been flowing into social media sites and discussion forums since the release of the OS last Thursday, but Apple has yet to acknowledge there's a problem.

There are multiple active threads on the topic in the official Apple Support forum, as well as in third party discussion boards, where frustrated users are furiously trying to troubleshoot the problem.

In the Apple Support forum, a thread titled "OSX Yosemite Wifi issues" is nearing 200 comments, and has been viewed more than 12,000 times, while another one titled "Yosemite (OS X 10.10) killed my WiFi :(" recently topped 100 comments and 10,300 views.

A thread titled "wifi keeps dropping since Yosemite upgrade" is active with more than 50 comments and has been viewed almost 3,000 times. A search for "Yosemite" and "Wi-Fi" on Twitter yields a long list of complaints dating back to last week.

Affected users report a variety of Wi-Fi issues after installing Yosemite, including connections that slow down to a crawl, that drop constantly or that simply don't work at all.

The forums contain a variety of fixes that have worked for some people -- reinstalling the OS, turning off Bluetooth, fiddling with system settings and other very involved multistep "solutions" -- but for most of those affected, the problem persists.


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Marc Andreessen wants the AT&T-DirecTV deal to go through | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Marc Andreessen wants the AT&T-DirecTV deal to go through | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is urging federal regulators to approve AT&T's massive, $49 billion bid for DirecTV, arguing it would help push "both broadband and video to a larger portion of the country."

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, Andreessen said the deal would help promote the rollout of broadband infrastructure, which would help the economy.

"The merger will result in a much broader, rural wireless footprint," Andreessen wrote, "as well as deeper fiber penetration."

It's an argument that could resonate with the FCC, which has actively looked for ways to press for more broadband. In places that are poorly served by Internet providers, for example, the agency wants to help cities build their own high-speed data networks. Its net neutrality efforts are predicated on the idea of a "virtuous circle" of investment and rising demand for Internet applications.

Andreessen clearly thinks the AT&T-DirecTV deal is consistent with those interests. But consumer advocates warn that it isn't so simple. Gene Kimmelman, a former Justice Department antitrust official who's now chief executive of the public-interest group Public Knowledge, said Andreessen skips over the potential harms stemming from the deal — such as the possibility that in places where AT&T and DirecTV compete head-to-head, prices could rise.

"I don't see this as a deal that can't be fixed" through conditions imposed on the merger, said Kimmelman, "but I certainly see it as a transaction that has competitive concerns that are disregarded in Marc's letter."


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IL: LaSalle County event highlights iFiber network | Kathy Siebrasse | Broadband Illinois

IL: LaSalle County event highlights iFiber network | Kathy Siebrasse | Broadband Illinois | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Illinois Fiber Resources Group (iFiber) partners were joined by legislators, state officials, local mayors, community anchor institutions (CAIs) and others at a press event recognizing completion of the grant portion of the BTOP-funded high-speed broadband project, serving nine northwest counties of Illinois. The event was Oct. 16, at Illinois Valley Community College, Oglesby.

iFiber is a provider of extremely high-speed (up to 10 Gpbs) network transport services to both the public and private sector. It is providing subsidized access directly to eligible CAIs—public sector organizations—including schools, community colleges, libraries, healthcare facilities, municipalities, county and public safety facilities. The grant construction project was completed by Dec. 31, 2013, meeting requirements of the NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunity Program.

"We are proud of the accomplishment of building this 900-mile broadband network," said John L. Lewis, iFiber Executive Director. “It would have not have been possible without support of state, federal and local partners. The State of Illinois provided $14 million in matching funds thanks to the legislature and Governor.

"The entire team has worked diligently to be good stewards of the grant funds. iFiber has built an exceptional regional broadband network and will continue to maintain it as we expand it. Throughout the project, we worked hard to maximize the quality of the network while staying within the parameters of the grant," said Lewis.


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Justice Dept. Digging Deep "In The Weeds" Of Broadband Issues In Comcast/TWC Merger | Kate Cox | Consumerist

Justice Dept. Digging Deep "In The Weeds" Of Broadband Issues In Comcast/TWC Merger | Kate Cox | Consumerist | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast and Time Warner Cable have been making the case for their merger nearly all year. The two companies talk up their TV programming sides a lot, but most watchers know that the merger — and the future — are really all about broadband, and that market is what Comcast is poised to control on a national scale. That potential dominance has worried not only businesses and consumer advocates, but also has apparently attracted the attention of the Justice Department as well.

Reuters reports that as the DoJ review of the planned merger ticks along, the key issue emerging is how much leverage Comcast stands poised to have over the national broadband market.

The ever-popular “sources who have attended the meetings” tell Reuters that the antitrust experts at the Justice Department are asking deeply detailed questions about all of the parts of internet connectivity and video streaming that the public never really sees.

Those carriage contracts that media companies don’t want to show the FCC in public? Those negotiations about connection fees and programming deals are exactly what the DoJ is asking to see.

Reports from the meetings also say that DoJ representatives have asked specifically whether a bigger Comcast would have the incentive to “slow or meddle with” online video from other companies whose’ subscribers get their internet access from Comcast. The sources also tell Reuters that investigators have asked about content companies’ future expansion plans, as well as concerns they have over interconnection and data caps.

The CEO of Cogent, which has been part of Netflix’s very public interconnection disputes with big ISPs this year, said that the DoJ investigators are getting very into the details of the issues.

“The majority of the inquiries are around very technical data showing congestion, the timing, showing the impacts on our customers,” he told Reuters. “They’re very in the weeds.”

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Public Interest Groups Give Recommendations to ITU: Focus on Digital Divide, Avoid Internet Policy | Shiva Stella | Public Knowledge

Public Interest Groups Give Recommendations to ITU: Focus on Digital Divide, Avoid Internet Policy | Shiva Stella | Public Knowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today, Public Knowledge and other public interest organizations from around the world sent a list of eight recommendations to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and its Members meeting at the 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan, Korea.

The recommendations address issues varying from net neutrality and spectrum policy to the very role of the ITU itself in Internet Governance, where we have witnessed a disconcerting expansion of powers paired with a lack of transparency and multistakeholderism.

The following contains a portion of our statement delivered to the ITU:

“The ITU’s 2014 Plenipotentiary conference is taking place at a watershed moment. The growth of the open, borderless Internet and the increasing availability of ICTs are revolutionizing access to knowledge, commerce and creativity. Building on the ITU’s nearly 150 years of experience in expanding humanity’s capacity to communicate, the Plenipotentiary provides an historic opportunity for the ITU to craft strategic approaches to closing the digital divide.”

The following can be attributed to Carolina Rossini, Vice President for International Policy at Public Knowledge:

“In an era where a number of international organizations are opening up their processes and documents, ITU members still negotiate the future of the open internet behind closed doors where only governments and a select few can peek in.

“Civil society has done an excellent job reviewing both leaked and non-governmental group information to develop a comprehensive and important set of recommendations on issues that are core to creating and maintaining access to affordable, reliable ICTs infrastructure. Adopting these recommendations would help ensure that when the ITU interferes in internet policy, the organization does so in a multistakeholder fashion.”

You can read the executive summary or the whole briefing note and recommendations here.

You can also join the effort and support this document by adding your name through the Best Bits platform.

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Is your Ethernet fast enough? Four new speeds are in the works | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

Is your Ethernet fast enough? Four new speeds are in the works | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ethernet’s future is now about much more than the next top speed: The engineers charting a path for the ubiquitous networking protocol are looking at several new versions to serve a variety of applications.

At a meeting last Thursday of the ethernet Alliance, an industry group that promotes IEEE ethernet standards, three major new projects were up for discussion.

To meet immediate demands in cloud data centers, there’s a standard in the works for 25Gbps (bits per second). For the kinds of traffic expected in those clouds a few years from now, experts are already discussing a 50Gbps specification. And for enterprises with new, fast Wi-Fi access points, there may soon be 2.5Gbps ethernet. That’s in addition to the next top speed for carrier backbones and moves to adapt the technology for use in cars.
MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: The most magnificent high-tech flying machines

These efforts are all meant to serve a growing demand for ethernet outside the traditional enterprise LANs for which it was originally designed. That means solving multiple problems instead of just how to get ever more bits onto a fiber or copper wire.

“What I’m hearing is lots of diversity. Lots of diversity in need, lots of diversity for the future,” ethernet Alliance Chair John D’Ambrosia said part way into the daylong meeting in Santa Clara, California. “We’re moving away from an ‘ethernet everywhere’ with essentially the same sort of flavor.”


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100G Ethernet bringing Large Hadron Collider closer than ever to U.S. researchers | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.com

100G Ethernet bringing Large Hadron Collider closer than ever to U.S. researchers | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Department of Energy's (DOE's) Energy Sciences Network is gaining 340Gbps of connectivity to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and other research sites in Europe via 4 new transatlantic links. The network will be used by researchers on two sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

ESnet equipment in Europe will be interconnected by dedicated 100Gbps links from the pan-European networking organization GÉANT.

ESnet, which supports U.S. national laboratories and supercomputing centers, is funded by the DOE's Office of Science and managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Particle physicists, astrophysicists and genomics researchers are among those expected to benefit from the ESnet upgrade.

ESnet historically has been one of the fastest networks in existence, demonstrating 100Gbps speeds domestically in the United States back in 2011.

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Visualizing Swing States in the Global Internet Governance Debate | Policy Paper | OTI | NewAmerica.org

Visualizing Swing States in the Global Internet Governance Debate | Policy Paper | OTI | NewAmerica.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The global Internet governance debate is heating up again. In light of the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference, many observers are revisiting what happened at the last major intergovernmental ITU meeting: the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), which ended in a dramatic split.


One of the fault lines that emerged at the WCIT was whether the revisions to the text of a key treaty would expand the role of the ITU — a specialized agency of the United Nations — to include more Internet governance functions. The 89 countries that voted in favor of the revised text, including China and Iran, were portrayed as supporting a greater role for governments in the Internet’s global multistakeholder system. Those who refused to sign, including the United States and many of its allies, argued that the new treaty threatened the existing system and the promotion of a free and open Internet.

The division at the WCIT, however, was not as simple as countries that support a multistakeholder model of Internet governance vs. those who seek greater governmental control over the networks and protocols. Many countries fell in the middle, casting their votes for other political, economic, or security reasons, and if they were to shift positions going forward, could have a significant impact on the future of the Internet. These so-called “swing states” have thus become an important focus of the post-WCIT discussion, especially in advance of the ITU Plenipotentiary.


In this map, we highlight the conflict and identify 30 key swing states based on a recent study for the Centre for International Governance Innovation, which attempted to systematically identify these potentially influential countries based on their WCIT voting record, their membership in groups like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, and the Freedom Online Coalition, and a range of other indicators.


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MA: Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus threatens lawsuit against Charter | Worcester Magazine

MA: Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus threatens lawsuit against Charter | Worcester Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

City Manager Ed Augustus Jr., in a strongly-worded letter to a representative of the city's cable service provider, Charter Communications, is urging the company to reverse its decision to relocate its public, education and government (PEG) access channels on the TV dial. Should the company fail to do so, Augustus suggests a lawsuit could be filed against Charter.

The letter, dated Wednesday, Oct. 16, was sent to Tom Cohan, director of government and community relations for Charter. It came two days after the City Council, on an 8-3 vote, recommended Augustus oppose the proposed transfer of the cable license from Charter to Comcast. One day before the letter to Cohan was drafted, Augustus reached an agreement with Comcast to extend the deadline by which the city had to take either accept or reject the transfer. The deadline was Wednesday, Oct. 15, but Comcast has given the city a two-week extension. The future of Charter's call center in Worcester, which employes dozens of people, is among the city's concerns.

"I am deeply concerned and disappointed with Charter's decision to relocate the Public, Education and Government Access Channels from their respective, long-standing channel assignment to new channel numbers in the 190s," Augustus wrote. "I have hear loud and clear the objections voiced by the Worcester City Council and the public access community. I am equally dubious of the need to relocate the channels in general, and why now in the face of the transfer of the license to Comcast Corporation."

The PEG channels are a separate issue with Charter, which has committed to moving them from their current spots on channels 11, 12 and 13 to the 190s on the TV dial. They would be replaced by, among other services, the Home Shopping Network. Charter has said the move was part of its switch to all-digital service. However, At-Large City Councilor Moe Bergman, one of two councilors on the three-member Public Service & Transportation Committee who voted to ask the full Council to recommend Augustus oppose the license transfer, pointed out it might violate the contract, which calls for the company to demonstrate "compelling commercial considerations" for relocating the PEG channels.


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FCC’s Wheeler on OVD NPRM: Stay Tuned | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC’s Wheeler on OVD NPRM: Stay Tuned | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is not ready to weigh in on the proposed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) the Media Bureau is working on that would tentatively conclude that linear online video providers (OVDs) — those mimicking a cable system — would qualify as MVPDS.

The NRPM was first reported Sept. 29 by MultiChannel News/B&C.

At his press conference following the FCC's public meeting Friday, Wheeler was asked a lot of questions related to the proposal, nibbling around the edges with his answers.

Wheeler was asked what impact he thought the announced HBO and CBS online video services would have on competition, Wheeler said that they, and similar developments, would "obviously have a marketplace impact," and said that the FCC's look at what constitutes an MVPD would be a "key component" of that.

Asked if he had any "time frame" for action on Aereo's request to be classified as an MVPD and a time frame for the NPRM, Wheeler said "stay tuned. It is something that we are very involved in and looking at." He gave no signal of a timetable.


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FCC Used Title II To Fine AT&T For SMS Cramming And The World Didn't End: Why Would It For Broadband? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

FCC Used Title II To Fine AT&T For SMS Cramming And The World Didn't End: Why Would It For Broadband? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You may have heard the story a few weeks ago about how the FCC and FTC teamed up to fine AT&T $105 million for mobile cramming (allowing unauthorized mobile charges for premium -- costly -- SMS, of which AT&T kept 35% of all money made). As the FCC noted:

The Enforcement Bureau launched its investigation after receiving consumer complaints alleging that AT&T customers had been billed with months of unauthorized charges for third-party services that they did not request. In some cases, complaints alleged that AT&T Mobility refused to issue refunds or would only refund one or two months' worth of such charges, leaving consumers on the hook for the rest. Until January 2014, AT&T Mobility included charges for third-party services -- such as monthly subscriptions for ringtones, wallpaper, and text messages providing horoscopes, flirting tips, celebrity gossip, and other information -- on its customers' telephone bills. The charge for each of these types of subscriptions was typically $9.99 per month.

This was the largest fine the FCC has ever given out. Some, quite reasonably, pointed out that it took the FCC (and the FTC) quite a long time to catch up on this, as such practices had been called out for years and years.

However, there was a much more interesting element to this fine, as it relates to the current net neutrality "Title II" fight. Remember, the telcos (including AT&T) are pretty adamant that if broadband is classified under Title II it will be the death of all good things. It will be a huge regulatory burden and companies like AT&T are likely to cease all investment and such. Similarly, AT&T and others insist that there's enough competition in the market to prevent anti-consumer practices, and that Title II simply isn't necessary in such a "competitive" market.

So, um, what authority did the FCC use to fine AT&T this time? Well, buried in the official filing, we see that it was done under Section 201(b) of the Communications Act of 1934. You can see 47 USC 201 and read it for yourself, but it's mostly important to know that 47 USC 201 is Title II. In other words, despite an even more "competitive" mobile market than broadband, the FCC had to break out Title II regulations to protect consumers from a years-long scam in which AT&T profited massively, scamming millions from consumers.

And... notice that AT&T accepted the fine and isn't complaining about it. Nor is it challenging the use of the Title II authority, despite SMS being considered something of a service in "limbo" in which it hasn't been definitively classified under Title II or Title I.


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Staples confirms data breach investigation | Steve Ragan | NetworkWorld.com

Staples confirms data breach investigation | Steve Ragan | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Monday evening, investigative journalist Brian Krebs reported that multiple banking sources were seeing a pattern of credit and debit card fraud. The common thread between each case were purchases made at Staples Inc. stores in the Northeastern U.S.

There isn't a lot to go on if in fact the latest retailer to be breached is Framingham, Mass.-based Staples Inc.

What's known for sure comes from the sources that spoke on background to Krebs. They said the fraudulent transactions were traced to cards that made purchases at Staples stores in Pennsylvania, New York City, and New Jersey.

In a statement to Salted Hash, Mark Cautela, Senior Public Relations Manager for Staples Inc., said that the company is investigating a potential issue involving credit and debit card data, and that law enforcement has been contacted.

When asked for additional details, Cautela declined further comment.


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Guy Comcast Got Fired Now Suing Comcast For Violating Federal Privacy Law | Timothy Geigner | Techdirt.com

Guy Comcast Got Fired Now Suing Comcast For Violating Federal Privacy Law | Timothy Geigner | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the most recent example we covered of Comcast's ongoing efforts to convince everyone not to be Comcast customers, we noted that the fact they helped get a customer fired from his accounting job was the kind of thing he could probably sue over. That said, even I didn't anticipate the guy accusing Comcast of violating federal law.

The plaintiff, Conal O’Rourke, claims that after a series of calls with Comcast’s customer service department, Comcast complained to his employer about him and he was fired from his job. The lawsuit filed yesterday is based on the same alleged series of events. Mr. O’Rourke claims that he did not authorize Comcast to disclose his information to anyone else, but Comcast nevertheless disclosed personally identifying information about Mr. O’Rourke, including his name, to PricewaterhouseCoopers, where Mr. O’Rourke worked. The following can be attributed to Laura Moy, staff attorney at Public Knowledge:

“If the facts in this complaint are true, they are extremely troubling. They would show that the nation’s largest cable provider exercised a complete disregard for federal privacy law."

Now, it should be noted that O'Rourke is accusing Comcast of having divulged identifying information to his employer, such as the fact that he was employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, not his personal viewing or web-browsing habits with his employer, but that doesn't really matter.


The fact is that ISPs and cable companies are privy to all kinds of personal information pertaining to their customers, and the confidentiality of such personal information is governed by the Communications Act. The sharing of even seemingly harmless identifying personal information represents a pretty massive screw up on Comcast's part.


A cable company willing to bend or break the law and reveal innocuous information perhaps shouldn't be trusted to act better with more personal information. The fact that all of this is made more problematic because of a complete lack of competitive choices for consumers wasn't lost on the lawyers either.


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Why do cell phones still suck for calling? | John Dix | NetworkWorld.com

Why do cell phones still suck for calling? | John Dix | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Calling is probably only a small percentage of what the average smartphone is used for today, but you would think that with all the advances in mobile tech, this still critical function would have gotten better too.

Ha!

Connections are still spotty, voice quality often stinks, and you don’t have to think back too far to remember the last time you had a call drop.

The IEEE’s Spectrum magazine just published a good article on the subject, “All smart, no phone: Cellular carriers are dragging their heels over technology to improve voice quality,” that identifies the core problems and the technology fixes that can help.

But just to be clear, there really is a problem. Cell phones are lousy for voice calling. The magazine reports:

Even in the best conditions, including a quiet environment and a strong wireless signal, users consistently rate voice quality lower on a cellphone than on a landline. Weaken the cellular link or add background noise, such as from wind or street traffic, and callers’ opinions of the experience drop dramatically.

For example, engineers at Nokia found that when they compressed voice data to 5.15 kilobits per second, which cellphones do automatically when a tower connection is weak, user ratings fell from “good” to “fair.” When the engineers decoded and then recompressed the data, which happens when a call travels through the backbone network to another cellphone, the ratings dipped lower still.

The problems, IEEE Spectrum reports, include handset design (lousy microphones), lack of sophisticated noise canceling tech, long distances to the closest towers, and the need to transcode calls to accommodate different compression rates used by the various systems needed to complete a call.

Two technologies would go a long way in helping to resolve the problem, IEEE Spectrum says:


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Rural America: Welcome to Verizon LTE Broadband - $120/Mo for 5-12Mbps With 30GB Cap | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Rural America: Welcome to Verizon LTE Broadband - $120/Mo for 5-12Mbps With 30GB Cap | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With both AT&T and Verizon petitioning various state regulators for permission to switch off rural landline phone and broadband customers and force customers to use wireless alternatives, getting affordable broadband in the countryside is becoming increasingly difficult.

Last week, Millenicom — a reseller of wireless broadband service specializing in serving rural, long-haul truckers, and recreational vehicle users notified customers it was transferring their accounts directly to Verizon Wireless and will no longer have any role selling discounted Verizon Wireless broadband service.

Reports indicate that Millenicom’s contract renewal negotiations with Verizon did not go as expected and as a result customers are facing potential price increases and long-term contracts to continue their wireless broadband service.

Both AT&T and Verizon have told regulators they can satisfactorily serve rural customers with wireless LTE broadband service as an alternative to maintaining rural landline infrastructure. Neither company likes to talk about the price rural customers will pay if they want to keep broadband in their homes or businesses.

Some Millenicom customers have been invited to preview Verizon Wireless’ Home LTE Installed Internet plans (formerly known as HomeFusion) and many are not too pleased with their options:


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Next Century Cities coalition leads 32 U.S. cities in advocating 1 Gig broadband service | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com

Next Century Cities coalition leads 32 U.S. cities in advocating 1 Gig broadband service | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Next Century Cities, a consortium of 32 cities, has been created with the mission of making 1 Gbps fiber-based broadband available to any community in the United States.

During today's launch in Santa Monica, Calif., mayors and other leaders from 31 cities--including Santa Monica; Boston; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Raleigh, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Lafayette, La.; and San Antonio, Texas--came together for a discussion about what's worked in their cities and how to support next-gen broadband networks nationwide.

"Across the country, city leaders are hungry to deploy high-speed Internet to transform their communities and connect residents to better jobs, better health care, and better education for their children," said Deb Socia, executive director of Next Century Cities. "These mayors are rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done."

Each of the participating cities will engage and help other communities develop and deploy next-gen broadband services to their residents and businesses. They will also share their stories on what works and what does not work.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered a video message and Mayor Pam O'Connor (D) of Santa Monica, Mayor Joey Durel (R) of Lafayett and Mayor Andy Berke (D) of Chattanooga gave remarks.

Wheeler has emerged as a controversial champion of the municipal broadband movement.

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Frontier Faces Lawsuit in West Virginia Alleging False Advertising, Undisclosed DSL Speed Throttling | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Frontier Faces Lawsuit in West Virginia Alleging False Advertising, Undisclosed DSL Speed Throttling | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Frontier Communications customers in West Virginia are part of a filed class-action lawsuit alleging the phone company has violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act for failing to deliver the high-speed Internet service it promises.

The lawsuit, filed in Lincoln County Circuit Court, claims Frontier is advertising fast Internet speeds up to 12Mbps, but often delivers far less than that, especially in rural areas where the company is accused of throttling broadband speeds to less than 1Mbps. The suit also alleges Frontier’s broadband service is highly unreliable.

“The Internet service provided by Frontier does not come anywhere close to the speeds advertised,” wrote Benjamin Sheridan, the Hurricane lawyer filing the lawsuit on behalf of three Frontier customers. The attorney is seeking to have the case designated a class action lawsuit that would cover Frontier customers across the state.

“Although we cannot guarantee Internet speeds due to numerous factors, such as traffic on the Internet and the capabilities of a customer’s computer, Frontier tested each plaintiff’s line and found that in all cases the service met or exceeded the ‘up to’ broadband speeds to which they subscribed,” Frontier spokesperson Dan Page told the Charleston Gazette. “Nonetheless, the plaintiffs filed their case in Lincoln County, where none of them lives. If necessary, we are prepared to defend ourselves in court and bring the facts to light.”

Frontier’s general manager in West Virginia, Dana Waldo, may have helped the plaintiffs when he seemed to admit Frontier was purposely throttling the Internet speeds of its customers, a move Sheridan claims saves Frontier “a fortune” in connectivity costs with wholesale broadband providers like Sprint and AT&T.


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FTC hires technologist who worked on Snowden docs | Mario Trujilio | The Hill

The Federal Trade Commission appointed a new chief technologist who previously worked as a security advisor and technical expert at The Washington Post, co-authoring some stories based on leaks by Edward Snowden.

Ashkan Soltani was appointed Tuesday by FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez to replace Latanya Sweeney, who is stepping down to return to Harvard University.

After a year at the FTC, Sweeney will return to Harvard's Data Privacy Lab, which she founded.

"Technology and online and mobile platforms are continuing to evolve at a rapid pace and will remain a key focus for the FTC as more and more consumers adopt mobile devices and tablets,” Ramirez said in a statement.

In 2013 alone, Soltani worked as a consultant for the Post, Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the FTC and a number of state attorneys general. He has worked as a consultant and researcher on technology, privacy and behavior economics for more than 20 years, according to his biography.

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Your online TV watching is now being tracked across devices | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com

Your online TV watching is now being tracked across devices | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Showing all viewers the same commercial six minutes into, say, an episode of “Modern Family” might soon be over. If you’re watching it online.

A new partnership between TV measurement company Nielsen and analytics provider Adobe was announced early Tuesday, presenting detailed data about how people watch TV and other media on the Internet. The team-up adds smarts to existing forms of tracking, by letting broadcasters get a better picture of how Internet users consume media across devices and platforms.

With the service, partnered broadcasters could see, for instance, if viewers began watching a show on Netflix on their laptop, then switched to a Roku set-top box to finish it. And then read an article on ESPN.com.

It’s a big expansion of the usual demographic data and video viewing rates gained through existing Web tracking and online measurement tools. But the Adobe-Nielsen partnership will let broadcasters connect the dots. They’ll see how people interact with digital video between devices, particularly on new platforms like Internet-connected set-top boxes. The information learned will help broadcasters decide what to charge advertisers, and deliver better targeted ads for viewers.


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Are higher frequencies mobile's next frontier? The FCC wants to know | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

Are higher frequencies mobile's next frontier? The FCC wants to know | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Some mobile researchers think future networks will reach into higher frequencies to keep up with traffic, and the FCC now wants to know how it might help to make that possible.

Most of the world’s cellular networks send calls and data traffic over frequencies below 6GHz. Growing demand is expected to put the squeeze on those spectrum bands in a few years, and one way out may be to start using largely untapped frequencies in so-called millimeter-wave bands. Though experts say most of those bands are still lightly used, unleashing smartphones and other mobile devices on them would require some regulatory changes.

To get ahead of that game, on Oct. 17 the U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced a Notice of Inquiry to ask what new high-frequency mobile technology might achieve and which bands might be best to use. New advances could make millimeter-wave radios part of 5G, the next generation of mobile communications, the FCC said in a news release. That generation is expected to reach the real world around 2020.


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TN: EPB, Oak Ridge National Laboratory To Partner On Smart Grid | Chattanoogan.com

TN: EPB, Oak Ridge National Laboratory To Partner On Smart Grid | Chattanoogan.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Officials of EPB and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced Monday they plan to partner on making further improvements to the Smart Grid that has brought Chattanooga national attention.

At a Monday morning round table discussion at the EPB headquarters that was also attended by U.S. Department of Energy representatives, officials said there are a number of pressing and complex issues relating to delivery of electric power to homes and businesses.

A memorandum of understanding was signed during the morning ceremonies that were attended by Senator Bob Corker and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann.


The event was titled "Future Seek: Where Energy Research Meets Application."


Officials said they want to work toward electrical grids that are both reliable and efficient.


Thom Mason, ORNL director, said one challenge to integrate is the increasing number of "off grid" energy applications, including solar and wind.


Another issue, he said, is how energy can be managed with the least negative impact on the climate and environment.


He also spoke of cyber security, saying there are hackers and even nation states who may want to disrupt electrical grids.


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CBS's Streaming Service Not Likely to Equal 'Real Business,' Expert Says | Tim Kennerally | TheWrap

CBS's Streaming Service Not Likely to Equal 'Real Business,' Expert Says | Tim Kennerally | TheWrap | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CBS's new digital subscription video-on-demand service CBS All Access, which the company launched Thursday, isn't likely to generate a financial windfall for CBS — but it could still prove valuable for the network and consumers. At least, that's the view of streaming and online video expert Dan Rayburn, executive vice president of StreamingMedia.com.

TheWrap spoke to Rayburn about the new stand-alone service, which offers current CBS programming, previous seasons and classic shows on demand for a $5.99 monthly fee. Rayburn's verdict? Don't look for a massive rush of people to buy the service.

“Are they going to get millions of people signing up for this? No, definitely not,” Rayburn told TheWrap.


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