Surfing the Broad...
Follow
Find
83.9K views | +37 today
 
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
onto Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Scoop.it!

DoD: US Electric & Communications Grids vulnerable to ElectoMagnatic Pulse (EMP) event | WND.com

DoD: US Electric & Communications Grids vulnerable to ElectoMagnatic Pulse (EMP) event | WND.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Department of Defense will be hard-pressed to respond in any meaningful way to a catastrophic failure of the civilian electric grid infrastructure due to an electromagnetic pulse event, whether natural or man-made, according to a little publicized study.

 

There not only would be the loss of electricity and communications “on a massive scale, but little in the way of preparation has been done for the loss of the electric grid, despite the significant volume of information” available to local to federal agency levels, it said.

 

“Preparing for months without a commercial source of clean water (city water pressure is often dependent on electric pumping to storage towers) and stoppage of sewage treatment facilities will require net methods of survival particularly in populated areas,” according to the little known May 2011 military study put out by the U.S. Army War College.

 

The study was based on a three-day workshop by its Center for Strategic Leadership which deals with issues using the project team concept.

 

The study, entitled “In the Dark: Military Planning for a Catastrophic Critical Infrastructure Event,” concluded that there in fact is “very little” in the way of back-up capability to the electric grid upon which the communications infrastructure is vitally dependent.

 

Click headline to read more--

 
more...
No comment yet.
Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Security council blames breaches on poor PCI standard support | Ellen Messmer | NetworkWorld.com

Security council blames breaches on poor PCI standard support | Ellen Messmer | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The growing number of data breaches resulting in massive numbers of payment cards being stolen from retail stores and other businesses is occurring because they’re failing to keep up with the Payment Card Industry’s data security standard, according to the PCI Security Standards Council.


In its “best practices” guidance document published today, the PCI Council says although many businesses may be meeting the periodic compliance requirement of the PCI data-security standard (DSS) in an annual audit check, they are letting attention lapse and not keeping network security up to date.


The “best practices” guidance contains several suggestions on how to further PCI-required security as an ongoing process (see graphic, below). Despite the PCI standard being in place for several years, retailers and restaurants that have to follow it continue to be hit by a rash of massive card breaches.


Click headline to read more and view graphic--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Rural Broadband Funding Webinar | community broadband networks

Rural Broadband Funding Webinar | community  broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has made a $100 million fund available to organizations seeking to bring advanced telecommunications to rural America.


The National Rural Assembly is hosting a national webinar to explain the criteria and application process. If you or your organization have a stake in expanding broadband in rural areas, you may want to consider this resource.


From National Rural Assembly's Broadband Working Group press release:


"Recently, the Federal Communications Commission launched the Rural Broadband Experiments - a $100 million funding initiative seeking  proposals that bring advanced telecommunications services to Rural America. Deadline to apply is October 12th 2014. For the first time, cooperatives, municipalities, nonprofits, anchor institutions, and Tribal governments will be able to access federal funding to bring broadband service to rural areas. This is a historic opportunity for entities committed to rural communities.


On Thursday, August 28th at 1:00pm Eastern, join the Rural Broadband Policy Group and the National Rural Assembly on a webinar featuring Jonathan Chambers from the Office of Strategic Policy and Analysis and Carol Mattey from the Wireline Competition Bureau, to learn about the rules and process to apply for the Rural Broadband Experiments."


You can sign up for the webinar here.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

WI: AOL cofounder Steve Case and Google head to Madison to hunt for hot start-ups | Judy Newman | WSJ.com

WI: AOL cofounder Steve Case and Google head to Madison to hunt for hot start-ups | Judy Newman | WSJ.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Local entrepreneurs will have a chance to pitch to a pioneer Internet entrepreneur and win a $100,000 investment when Steve Case and Google for Entrepreneurs come to Madison in October with their Rise of the Rest road trip.


Case co-founded America Online in 1985; 20 years later, in 2005, he co-founded Revolution, a Washington, D.C., investment firm, and since then chaired the Startup America Partnership, a White House push to support entrepreneurs. Case and his wife, Jean, also set up the philanthropic Case Foundation in 1997.


The Rise of the Rest Road Trip started in June, when Case met start-ups in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Nashville and invested $100,000 in one company in each city.


Round two of “Rise of the Rest” bus tour starts in Madison on Oct. 6 and goes on to Minneapolis, Des Moines, Kansas City and St. Louis.


“The idea behind Rise of the Rest is that entrepreneurship can happen anywhere and that you don’t need to be in Silicon Valley or New York City to turn a great idea into a high-growth start-up,” Case said in an email. “Madison embodies that mission. The combination of a first-rate talent pool and anchor institutions like (UW-Madison) and gener8tor give it a unique and enduring platform upon which to build a vibrant start-up community.”


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

A newbie’s guide to why so many people are watching Twitch | Kyle Orland | Ars Technica

A newbie’s guide to why so many people are watching Twitch | Kyle Orland | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When I talk to people who don't follow gaming closely about the phenomenon that is Twitch, the response I get is usually along the lines of "Why do people spend so much time watching other people play a game they could just as easily play themselves?"


"Why do so many people watch the NFL when they could just as easily play a game of football in their yard?" I reply.


The analogy isn't perfect—you need good weather, a group of friends, a field, and decent physical fitness to play football, after all—but the basic relationship is the same. Twitch has become a phenomenon because watching the best players in the world is often more entertaining than participating as a relative novice.


The numbers bear this idea out. Twitch reported 55 million unique visitors in July, who watched 15 billion minutes of streaming content generated by one million unique streamers. The site is responsible for roughly two percent of peak US Internet traffic, according to a DeepField analysis, just ahead of heavyweights like Hulu, Facebook, and Valve. Last year's League of Legends finals drew 32 million total viewers on Twitch, and 8.5 million concurrent watchers at the same time, rivaling viewership for major sporting events like the NBA finals.


Those kinds of numbers help explain why Amazon thought Twitch was worth a $970 million acquisition. But for those who aren't yet familiar with the joys of watching live video game streams, it's hard to know why Twitch got so popular so quickly.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Broadband Speed 101– How Much Do You Need? | SaveMoney.my

Broadband Speed 101– How Much Do You Need? | SaveMoney.my | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Baffled over broadband gobbledygook like Mbps, MB, FTTH, ADSL, and mobile? Why do you need to know all of this when all you want is an internet connection at home? Also, why is your Facebook not loading fast enough on your laptop?!


Technologically-challenged friends, don’t fret. We’ll turn you into a broadband expert in no time. Welcome to your Broadband Speed 101!


But first, do you know the differences between DSL and FTTH?


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

52 Mayors Pledge Allegiance to Comcast’s Merger Deal; Is Yours on the List? | Stop the Cap!

52 Mayors Pledge Allegiance to Comcast’s Merger Deal; Is Yours on the List? | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

More than 50 mayors of towns and cities large and small regurgitated Comcast-provided talking points in a joint letter submitted to the FCC in support of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger:


"The combination of these two American companies will bring benefits to every affected city. Cities joining the Comcast service area will benefit from increased network investment, faster Internet speeds, improved video options and leading community development programs to help us tackle important community challenges like the digital divide. Existing Comcast markets will enjoy the benefits of a company with the scale and scope to invest in innovation and deliver products and services on a regional basis.


For us, the most significant aspect of the proposed transaction is its capacity to propel new investment in infrastructure in Time Warner markets that will enhance video and Internet service in our communities. Comcast has pledged to invest hundreds of millions of dollars a year speeding up and improving the combined company’s networks.


We also view positively the apparent response to this development from other companies that provide similar services. Since the Comcast Time Warner Cable transaction was proposed, Google has announced plans to expand its high-speed Fiber service to 34 new communities, AT&T has announced plans to expand its 1 gigabit U-Verse service to 100 new municipalities including 21 large cities, and Sprint’s corporate parent has proposed to build a 200 Mbps wireless network for the US."


In addition to being terribly misleading, parts of the letter are factually inaccurate. The letter’s text was taken almost entirely from Comcast’s own talking points released to the media and disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Remarkably, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown managed a complete flip-flop on his views of Time Warner Cable. In 2012, he co-signed a letter accusing Comcast and Time Warner Cable of anticompetitive behavior, runaway rate increases, and a growing digital divide. He was speaking about Comcast and Time Warner Cable’s  decision to partner with Verizon Wireless to jointly market products to their customers:


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Comcast tells government that its data caps aren’t actually “data caps” | Ars Technica

Comcast tells government that its data caps aren’t actually “data caps” | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the past couple of years, Comcast has been trying to convince journalists and the general public that it doesn’t impose any “data caps” on its Internet service.


That’s despite the fact that Comcast in some cities enforces limits on the amount of data customers can use and issues financial penalties for using more than the allotment. Comcast has said this type of billing will probably roll out to its entire national footprint within five years, perhaps alongside a pricier option to buy unlimited data.


“There isn't a cap anymore. We're out of the cap business,” Executive Vice President David Cohen said in May 2012 after dropping a policy that could cut off people's service after they use 250GB in a month. Comcast's then-new approach was touted to "effectively offer unlimited usage of our services because customers will have the ability to buy as much data as they want."


Setting limits on data and charging extra when customers exceed them is precisely the type of scheme that nearly everyone besides Comcast considers to be a “data cap.” It’s the phrase normal people use to describe wireless data plans with exactly the same type of structure.


Comcast has gone so far as to ask for a correction to an article that called the limits "data caps" instead of "data thresholds" or "flexible data consumption plans." Now it’s trying to convince the government that its data limits aren’t actually data caps.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

TWC service outage hits 12M subs, even as FCC slaps on $1.1M fine for past outages | FierceCable.com

TWC service outage hits 12M subs, even as FCC slaps on $1.1M fine for past outages | FierceCable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A problem created by what the operator termed as "routine maintenance" resulted in a service interruption for Time Warner Cable's (TWC) 12 million broadband subscribers nationwide this morning. 


"At 4:30 a.m. ET this morning during our routine network maintenance, an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and on demand services," TWC said in a statement. "As of 6 a.m. ET services were largely restored as updates continue to bring all customers back online."


Separately but related, the company will pay $1.1 million to resolve an FCC investigation that found the operator failed to report multiple network service outages in 2013, 


"TWC  failed to file a substantial number of reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and Voice over Internet Protocol network outages," the FCC said in a report revealing the settlement, which was released Monday and originally reported on by Reuters. "TWC admits that its failure to timely file the required network outage reports violated the Commission's rules."


The FCC requires providers of fixed Internet connection or VoIP calling to promptly report some network outages that last 30 minutes or longer, for instance those that potentially affect emergency response 911 facilities or those that impact enough consumers to collectively result in at least 900,000 minutes of disrupted Internet or phone use. Operators also have 30 days to file a report and explain what happened.


The rules were adopted in the post-9/11 era and motivated by public safety.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

American Community Television Opposes Comcast-Time Warner Deal | GovVideo.com

Saying that the Comcast-Time Warner transfers and spin-offs puts Public, Educational and Government access television at risk, American Community Television (ACT) filed comments in the FCC proceeding to review the transactions.


“We risk having to deal with a giant monopoly that will run rough-shod over PEG channels and local communities,” said John Rocco, ACT president. “Comcast won’t just be handing over huge parts of the upper Midwest to Charter and then walking away; Comcast will own a substantial portion of the 'New Charter' and the spin-off, Midwest Cable.”


The comments included an overview of PEG setbacks that have occurred over the last ten years, to include:loss of funding; slamming PEG channels into the upper 900’s; charging the municipality for the transmission of the channels; PEG access closures in various states; hard-ball negotiating tactics on behalf of the cable operators; lack of a programming guide description and the inability to deliver PEG on a video-on-demand platform or to record PEG programming via a DVR.


In its comments, ACT said, “We request that the Commission protect PEG access television by rejecting the proposed transaction as not being in the public interest or conditioning the proposed transactions on curing the various problems we outline in these comments with significant conditions to protect PEG and prevent further consolidation of the traditional cable industry.”


“There is no doubt that these transactions, this shuffling of the deck, threatens PEG access television,” said Rocco, “As they grow bigger they will push back on their public interest obligations, especially PEG and frankly, there won’t be a lot that local communities can do to stop it. We want to see some guarantees that PEG will be protected in this environment.”


ACT was joined in the comments by the SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

US Data centers are the new polluters | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com

US Data centers are the new polluters | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. data centers are using more electricity than they need. It takes 34 power plants, each capable of generating 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity, to power all the data centers in operation today. By 2020, the nation will need another 17 similarly sized power plants to meet projected data center energy demands as economic activity becomes increasingly digital.


Increased electrical generation from fossil fuels means release of more carbon emissions. But this added pollution doesn't have to be, according to a new report on data center energy efficiency from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental action organization.


In term of national energy, data centers in total used 91 billion (kilowatts) kWh in 2013, and by 2020, will be using 139 billion kWh, a 53% increase.


The report argues that improved energy efficiency practices by data centers could cut energy waste by at least 40%. The problems hindering efficiency include comatose or ghost servers, which use power but don't run any workloads; overprovisioned IT resources; lack of virtualization; and procurement models that don't address energy efficiency. The typical computer server operates at no more than 12% to 18% of capacity, and as many as 30% of servers are comatose, the report states.


The paper tallies up the consequences of inattention and neglect on a national scale. It was assembled and reviewed with help from organizations including Microsoft, Google, Dell, Intel, The Green Grid, Uptime Institute and Facebook, which made "technical and substantial contributions."


Click headline to read more and view chart--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Kanabec County, MN: Interactive video, healthcare training, business website development | Blandin on Broadband

Kanabec County, MN: Interactive video, healthcare training, business website development | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Tuesday late afternoon, Kanabec County celebrated their progress with broadband through the Blandin Broadband Communities program.


Healthcare project with First Light brought St Scholastica students and hip/knee replacement patients together where students provided training and instructions for patients. The project was successful despite some setbacks outside of the actual project (like flooding in hospital). The program will be featured at a healthcare conference in California this winter.


PCs for People brought computers to 50 low income households. Kanabec Computer Services provided local support for the computers. But that job was not onerous. The PC recipients also got access to broadband – they got reduced rates for 1 year, with an option to re-up. Worked with MidContinent and CenturyLink. The general retention rates are varied from 80+ percent retention. Although some providers will continue with reduced rate.


Interactive Video programming – such as virtual trips to the Baseball Fall of Fame, Pearl Harbor and the Coral Reef. [Working on getting some video and will add when I can.]


They did a series of training with local businesses, built a community portal, community mapping and Wi-Fi expansion.


Click headline to view their Slideshare presentation, a quick video and some of the notes--


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Entravision: Comcast/TWC Threatens Latino Programmers | Broadcasting & Cable

Entravision: Comcast/TWC Threatens Latino Programmers | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Spanish-language programmer Entravision says the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger will harm the Latino community and competing Latino-market program providers, and says the FCC should make Comcast divest its Spanish language nets as a condition of approval of the deal.


In comments to the FCC on the proposed deal, Entravision says that the combined company will have more buying power in the Latino programming market, and favor its own Latino-focused programming over independent programming, including from Entravision.

That means a probable pay cut to independent programmers, if they are not foreclosed altogether, the company says.


If the FCC approves the deal, says Entravision, it must impose structural conditions.


Citing an economic analysis it submitted along with its comments, Entravision suggested that most obvious remedies would be to require Comcast to sell Telemundo and Mun2 and/or divest cable systems in top Latino Markets to keep Comcast's share of Latino subs under 30%.


That is the FCC's former high-water benchmark for one MVPD's overall sub count, but Entravision argues that Spanish-language programming constitutes a separate market since the programming is not substitutable with non-Spanish language fare.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

CA: In Napa quake, power surges led to PC damage | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com

CA: In Napa quake, power surges led to PC damage | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sunday's 6.0 earthquake in Napa County, Calif. caused power surges that may have led to much of the damage to computers in homes and small businesses, according to computer technicians in Napa.


The quake was violent enough to cause partial building collapses, move furniture and toss PCs from desks, cracking screens and damaging hard drives. It also disrupted power, and may have sent large electric loads to homes and business, overwhelming surge protectors.


The quake may have exposed the limitations of surge protectors that are designed to handle the transient power spikes of lightning strikes or from a home coffee maker shorting out, not the kind of power grid disruptions delivered by an earthquake.


The force of the quake was such "that I lost pretty much everything in my house that was glass," said Dylan Williams, general manager of Valley Tech Solutions in Napa. Shelves and furniture were knocked over, he said. His office didn't fare any better.


"We had shelves of product and desk and equipment that basically just got tossed around like toys," said Williams. "Our office is pretty much a wreck."


By 9 a.m. Monday, Williams had 10 calls from clients seeking help, and he's been adding people to the list since.


The quake delivered power surges "all over the area," said Williams.


"Things have been dramatically, physically damaged from electricity surges," he said, citing customers who relied on power strips with surge protection. "That's primarily what I'm seeing all over the place."


Chris Rohrer, a repair tech and software developer at Computer Engineering Group in Napa, said that 75% of the firm's computer repairs involve power surges. "The main issue has been the fact that a lot of computers weren't plugged into the proper surge protector," said Rohrer.


Electric grid damage caused by an earthquake may be a particularly brutal test of surge protectors.


Colin Campbell, vice president of APC, a company that is part of Schneider Electric and makes power protection for home and industrial use, said that surge protectors do not necessarily have the ability to protect PCs from power swells -- an increase of voltage -- or sags -- a dip -- caused by severe earthquakes that physically damage power grid equipment.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Pivot Launches On College Campuses Via Philo | Kent Gibbons | Multichannel.com

Pivot Launches On College Campuses Via Philo | Kent Gibbons | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Pivot said it will launch on college campuses nationwide via the Philo live-TV streaming service. The Participant Media-owned programmer, which aims at millennial viewers, said the September launch will make Pivot available to more than a dozen universities as students are returning to school.


Philo has told Multichannel News it now has deals in place with "dozens" of universities, but has identified the following 10 schools on its Web site: Yale University, Fort Hays State University, University of Washington, Roanoke College, Harvard University, Lubbock Christian University, Stanford, Wesleyan University, Pepperdine University, and William Patterson University of New Jersey.

 

Stephanie Ruyle, Pivot’s EVP of Distribution, said in a release: “As a network for millennials, we are very excited to now be carried on Philo’s system, which is made for our core audience.”

 

Pivot’s programming includes the recent Emmy-winning series HITRECORD ON TV, created by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Please Like Me, created by and starring Josh Thomas (pictured), and news and entertainment talk show TakePart Live, hosted by Meghan McCain and Jacob Soboroff.

 

Philo, previously known as Tivli, uses a university’s existing IP network and existing contracts with satellite providers to securely stream television on a verified basis to student laptops, tablets, smartphones and TVs across participating campuses.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

WOW! Gets Down To Business In More Markets | Multichannel.com

WOW! Gets Down To Business In More Markets | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

WOW! Business, the commercial services arm of WideOpenWest, announced it has expanded and streamlined service delivery to support increasing demand for small/mid-sized business, enterprise and wholesale communications services in 19 U.S. markets.

 

WOW said its 60-member service delivery team has doubled over the past year and recently moved into a new WOW! Business national service delivery center in Huntsville, Ala.

 

WOW owns and operates more than 42,000 miles of local fiber-optic and coaxial networks in the Southeast and Midwest, along with data centers that provide customers with scalable, low-latency access to national carrier backbones.

 

“Our SMB, enterprise and wholesale customers expect us to meet their fast-growing and constantly changing IT and network requirements quickly and efficiently,” said Brad Cheedle, senior vice president of WOW! Business, in a statement.  “With demand for our commercial services on the rise, particularly among enterprises, our expanded service delivery team and centralized national facility allow us to specialize and focus a dedicated group of people on the activation of customer service.”

 

WOW noted that its business-focused  services have been rolled out this year to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Evansville and Tampa metropolitan areas.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Time Warner Cable’s Nationwide Outage; Politicians Protest, Customers Can Get Service Credits | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable’s Nationwide Outage; Politicians Protest, Customers Can Get Service Credits | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable broadband and on-demand television services were unavailable for about three hours this morning after routine maintenance turned into a nationwide outage that affected early risers trying to go online.


Things began to go wrong at around 4:30am ET when Time Warner Cable Internet connections began dropping across the country. The problems also affected on-demand viewing for Time Warner Cable TV customers and brought down Time Warner Cable’s own website.


The company blamed a problem with their backbone connection during routine maintenance. The company said it schedules such work for the very early morning hours to minimize customer disruptions. But once alarm clocks on the east coast began ringing, customers discovered they had no Internet service.


The outage persisted until around 6am ET, although some customers were not back online until after 7am.


Although complaints about Time Warner Cable began flooding social media networks as the sun went up, customers also used the outage as an opportunity to oppose the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. The outage demonstrates that a single technician making a mistake at one of the nation’s largest cable companies can disable services for millions.


Virtually every provider experiences a significant outage affecting many or most of their customers at least once a year:


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Your cell phone company says your location info is private. Think again. | Dana Liebelson | MotherJones.com

Your cell phone company says your location info is private. Think again. | Dana Liebelson | MotherJones.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Sunday, the Washington Post published an expose revealing that private companies are peddling surveillance systems to foreign governments that track the location of cell phone users in the US and abroad. The report raised a basic question: How can this be happening when cell phone companies generally promise not to disclose their customers' location information without their consent?


The main problem is that location information is available on a global network that can be accessed by thousands of companies. And in the wake of the Post story, US cell phone companies are refusing to discuss how this squares with their privacy policies, or say what they are doing to keep their customers' whereabouts confidential.


Here's what's going on: Carriers collect location information from cell phone towers and share it with each other through a global network called SS7. This allows a US carrier to find a customer even if she hops a plane to India. But according to the Post, surveillance systems makers have gained access to SS7 and are using it to grab location data, allowing these firms to pinpoint people within a few city blocks.


It's not clear how private surveillance companies have obtained access to the network. Major cell carriers sell SS7 access to other providers, as do third party companies. Karsten Nohl, a cryptographer and telecommunications researcher based in Berlin, says that these players, some of their business partners, and "anybody hacking any of the above" can send and receive SS7 messages. Albert Gidari Jr., an attorney at Perkins Cole who specializes in privacy and technology, says that it's likely that a surveillance company could get access by representing itself as a provider.


Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T each promise their customers that their location is protected (with exceptions for emergencies and complying with court orders). AT&T's privacy policy states, "We'll give you prior notice and ask for your consent when your location is used or shared." Verizon's reads, "Verizon Wireless services that use mobile device location data provide you with notice about the collection and use of this data." Sprint and T-Mobile make similar promises, although some of these companies include the caveat that they cannot protect data that is collected by third parties while a customer's phone is roaming.


Mother Jones asked each of these firms whether it has knowingly granted location data to surveillance companies and what it is doing to protect consumer location data to meet the promise of its privacy policies. Not one would comment.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

RFD-TV Chief Takes 2-by-4 to a Proposed Cable Merger | NYTimes.com

RFD-TV Chief Takes 2-by-4 to a Proposed Cable Merger | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the oom-pah-pah oom-pah-pah of the band fades, Patrick Gottsch makes his way through silver-haired couples circling the dance floor at “The Mollie B Polka Party” in this quiet Midwestern town.


Mr. Gottsch, the chairman of the Rural Media Group, steps under a disco ball and issues a warning.


“As you folks in rural America know, every once in a while, you’ve got to take a two-by-four and hit the mule between the ears,” he said. “That is what we want to do now with Comcast and Time Warner.”


He says Comcast’s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable threatens the future of his television stations, which broadcast rural-themed shows like “The Mollie B Polka Party,” “National Tractor Pulling” and “All American Cowgirl Chicks.” And he urges the dancers, numbering about a thousand, to file protests about the merger with the Federal Communications Commission, which is reviewing the deal.


“There can’t be a wall built between urban and rural America,” Mr. Gottsch says later.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

There'd Be No Wireless Wars Without The Blocked T-Mobile Merger, So Where Does That Leave Comcast-TWC? | Forbes.com

There'd Be No Wireless Wars Without The Blocked T-Mobile Merger, So Where Does That Leave Comcast-TWC? | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Three years ago, this all could have gone down very differently. AT&T had offered $39 billion to buy 4th place wireless carrier T-Mobile and was so sure it would get the deal done, it promised a $4 billion breakup fee if it didn’t. But the Department of Justice and the FCC had different ideas and killed the merger. Lots of strident words were spoken that day about T-Mobile’s prospects, about the heavy-handed role of government and about protecting consumers. Placed in the context of such a small slice of recent history, what becomes apparent is that the one group that saw the future clearly was the bureaucrats in Washington — as hard as that may be to believe. Let’s look back (and forward).


Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, was more than a bit peeved: “The mobile Internet is a dynamic industry that can be a critical driver in restoring American economic growth and job creation, but only if companies are allowed to react quickly to customer needs and market forces,” he said. He was certainly right about the mobile internet, which has grown massively since then.


But his belief about his own company couldn’t have been more wrong. AT&T didn’t need to buy an also ran to “react quickly”. It just needed to get off its corporate duff and react quickly. In arguing for its merger, AT&T trotted out its favorite promise: It would do more post-merger than it could possibly justify on it own. In this case, that meant, “significant expansion of robust 4G LTE ..  deployment to 95 percent of the U.S. population to reach an additional 46.5 million Americans beyond current plans – including rural communities and small towns.”


Well, AT&T now covers 290 million Americans with LTE, all without T-Mobile’s help. True, that’s only 92% of the U.S. population, but its tens of millions more than the company believed it was capable of. Or, more likely, competitive pressures motivated it to do the work anyway.


Somehow, AT&T believes the government’s memory is short and is making similar promises to get its proposed merger with DirecTV approved, offering up some more rural broadband in exchange.


Meanwhile, back on the ground, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are trying to merge in a deal that, at $45 billion, is similar in magnitude to the one proposed back in 2011 between T-Mobile and AT&T. One fundamental difference, of course, is that the top two cable providers don’t compete directly, unlike the wireless companies. But Comcast has nevertheless begun to face strong opposition to the merger, including a 256-page response from Netflix to the FCC suggesting the deal would cause “serious public interest harm” as Engadget reports.


It’s been 6 months since the deal was announced, and in the immediate aftermath I felt that there was limited upside and downside for consumers. Comcast has won over some cities and diversity groups basically by promising to extend its Internet Essentials offering, which helps low-income families get online, to Time Warner territory. But what it mostly hasn’t done is won over the tech community, even though the merger would extend net neutrality provisions it is bound by thanks to its purchase of NBC Universal to new areas as well. The big unknown is whether it has won over the government.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Vimeo signs 7 distribution partners, including Drafthouse Films, to its OTT on demand platform | Fierce Online Video

Vimeo signs 7 distribution partners, including Drafthouse Films, to its OTT on demand platform | Fierce Online Video | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Vimeo is bulking up its content library with an eye to original, independently-produced video, and has signed distribution partnerships with seven media and entertainment companies that will see their content featured on the Vimeo's OTT On Demand platform.


Its new partners include BFS Entertainment & Multimedia Ltd., Drafthouse Films (the indie film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse & Cinema), lifestyle-focused producer Gaiam, Gravitas Ventures, Inception Media Group, MarVista Digital Entertainment and X-Treme Video.


Each will contribute a number of initial catalog titles and will add new releases throughout each year of the partnership.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Here's more data on (and some solutions for) the high cost of bandwidth in the US | Stacey Higginbotham | GigaOM Tech News

Here's more data on (and some solutions for) the high cost of bandwidth in the US | Stacey Higginbotham | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday Mathew Prince, the CEO of Cloudflare posted some awesome data on his company’s blog showing that the U.S. has a higher cost for bandwidth than Europe. He’s not the only one with such data, but he’s one of the first to discuss it so openly and to dive into how the costs of peering versus buying transit affects those costs.


First off, transit is where a company buys wholesale bandwidth on a per gigabyte basis from providers that can range from Level 3 and Tata to companies like Comcast or AT&T. Peering on the other hand, is a direct link to another providers’ network that can be paid or set up as a free exchange of traffic.


I’d like to add to Prince’s insights with complementary data that came out in July on the costs associated with buying cross connects in data centers. As Prince (pictured above) explains in his post, these cross-connects are a part of the overall cost associated with setting up direct peering agreements. From his post:


Click headline to read more and view data chart--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Available spectrum could double with self-interference canceling | Patrick Nelson | NetworkWorld.com

Available spectrum could double with self-interference canceling | Patrick Nelson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Radio self-interference has been the bane of the communications industry since Marconi developed the wireless telegraph in his parents’ attic — not so long ago, in fact, in 1895.


Self-interference means that you can’t send and receive at the same time on the same frequency.


It’s because the transmitting radio creates energy that leaks into the transmitting radio’s receiver.


That leak creates meshing wave forms that manifest themselves as noise and interference — you won’t hear your correspondent, for one thing.


Consequently, the receive element in the radio must be suppressed when sending.


Unlike with a wired, landline phone call, this self-interference is the reason you can’t hold a simultaneous, two-way conversation on radios.


We’ve seen it in the movies, where the cop in the black and white presses the push-to-talk button on the microphone to report a car chase — preferably going the wrong way at a high speed in traffic. He can’t hear the dispatcher until he releases his PTT button.


Well, the PTT button isn't for dramatic effect. It’s part of the technology. And as we like to say in the IT industry: it’s a "technical limitation."


"Ah," you might say, but what about a mobile phone call, or a Wi-Fi session, surely they're simultaneously sending and receiving?


Well, they’re not, actually. They’re using blocks of adjacent frequencies, and then chopping between them quickly—they’re faking it.


Wireless full duplex: You can’t do it. But, that might be about to change, if a group of Santa Clara-based engineers' algorithms work as planned.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

For sale: Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe | Craig Timberg | WashPost.com

For sale: Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe | Craig Timberg | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent.


The technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They must keep detailed, up-to-the-minute records on the locations of their customers to deliver calls and other services to them. Surveillance systems are secretly collecting these records to map people’s travels over days, weeks or longer, according to company marketing documents and experts in surveillance technology.


The world’s most powerful intelligence services, such as the National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ, long have used cellphone data to track targets around the globe. But experts say these new systems allow less technically advanced governments to track people in any nation — including the United States — with relative ease and precision.


Users of such technology type a phone number into a computer portal, which then collects information from the location databases maintained by cellular carriers, company documents show. In this way, the surveillance system learns which cell tower a target is currently using, revealing his or her location to within a few blocks in an urban area or a few miles in a rural one.


It is unclear which governments have acquired these tracking systems, but one industry official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share sensitive trade information, said that dozens of countries have bought or leased such technology in recent years. This rapid spread underscores how the burgeoning, multibillion-dollar surveillance industry makes advanced spying technology available worldwide.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Champion Of The People: Verizon Complains Exigent Circumstances Order Inadequate For Info Requested; Hands Over Info Anyway | Techdirt.com

Champion Of The People: Verizon Complains Exigent Circumstances Order Inadequate For Info Requested; Hands Over Info Anyway | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Given how often major telcos and wireless service providers have willingly provided intelligence and law enforcement agencies with way more than they've asked for, the following shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

The back story is this: In July 2008, an FBI agent had his gun and cellphone stolen from his "official" vehicle. The search for the missing items involved Verizon. In an application for a court order authorizing the release of cell site location info, it's noted that the service provider performed the most futile of gestures on behalf of itself. (Link to PDF.)


As part of its ongoing investigation, and in a further attempt to locate THE LOADED SERVICE WEAPON, shortly after 4:00 a.m. on Friday, July 24, 2008, the FBI requested on an emergency basis that the Carrier disclose the SUBJECT TOWER/SECTOR and MSC RECORDS generate between Thursday, July 24 2008 at 2:00 p.m. and Friday, July 25, 2008 at 4:00 a.m. The FBI did so on the theory that THE LOADED SERVICE WEAPON might well be in the same location as SUBJECT WIRELESS TELEPHONE with which it had been reported stolen on Nostrand Avenue.

Along with this request, the FBI submitted a written "Law Enforcement Exigent Circumstances Consent Form" filled out by Agent Julian, to whom the SUBJECT WIRELESS TELEPHONE belonged, authorizing the Carrier, among other things, to disclose the SUBJECT AND MSC RECORDS generated between Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. and Friday, July 25, 2008 at 4:00 a.m.

Although the Carrier agreed to, and did, provide the requested SUBJECT AND MSC RECORDS to the FBI on an emergency basis in light of the exigent circumstances, the Carrier informed the FBI that the "Law Enforcement Exigent Circumstances Consent Form" submitted by Agent Julian provided insufficient authority to release the requested information, and directed the FBI to seek a subsequent court order authorizing the release of the information.


It's something of an anomaly to see a major carrier stand up to the government, but Verizon certainly chooses its battles very weirdly. To begin with, the phone in question belonged to the person making the request. (More likely belonged to the FBI but was issued to Agent Julian.) That it would attempt to deny a subscriber access to his own records is bizarre, especially considering its open sharing of data on millions of people with the NSA and countless law enforcement agencies -- all of whom use the Third Party Doctrine as an all-access pass to as much info as possible.

What makes this utterly ridiculous is the fact that Verizon handed over the information before complaining about the exigent circumstances order.


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Scoop.it!

Study disputes predictions of coming spectrum crunch | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Study disputes predictions of coming spectrum crunch | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Widely accepted projections of a shortage of mobile spectrum may not be as dire as many analysts in the mobile and tech sectors are making it out to be, according to a new study.


Projections on the growth of mobile spectrum use in recent years have often overestimated the demand, with a growing use of Wi-Fi to offload mobile data traffic contributing to inaccuracies, according to the paper, released this month by University of Southern California doctoral candidate Aalok Mehta and Goldin Associates managing director J. Armand Musey.


The paper, distributed but not paid for by mobile spectrum auction critic the National Association of Broadcasters [NAB], questioned the prevailing assumption in the mobile industry that there’s a coming spectrum crunch, with multiple studies by Cisco Systems, Coda Research, the International Telecommunication Union and other analysts predicting a skyrocketing demand for mobile spectrum.


Although a coming spectrum crunch is “now taken almost as a matter of faith among telecommunications experts,” many spectrum use predictions have had “persistent errors,” the paper said.


“Our findings suggest the mobile industry contains much higher levels of inherent demand uncertainty than is commonly estimated and that business and governments may not be fully factoring it into their policy decisions,” the study’s authors wrote.


One major problem, the study said, is that government officials have used mobile spectrum use estimates to push for policy changes. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission and White House have both called for a transfer of 500MHz of spectrum to commercial mobile uses in the coming years, with both government entities apparently using mobile spectrum use estimates by Cisco and other analysts, the study said.


“When spectrum demand forecasts are inaccurate, governments may make inappropriate policy decision,” the paper said. “Overestimating the growth of mobile network traffic crowds out other types of wireless communication by increasing spectrum scarcity.”


Click headline to read more--

more...
No comment yet.