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India Says: 'There Is No Direct Correlation Between IP And Innovation' | Techdirt

India Says: 'There Is No Direct Correlation Between IP And Innovation' | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Techdirt has been pointing out for years that more patents is not the same thing as more innovation, even though many around the world would have us believe otherwise. It seems the message is finally getting through: here's a remarkable statement from India on the subject of innovation and small- and medium-sized companies, made at a TRIPS Council meeting:

 

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Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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The internet has gotten a lot faster since 2008, so why is Comcast's data limit so low? | Timothy Lee | Vox.com

The internet has gotten a lot faster since 2008, so why is Comcast's data limit so low? | Timothy Lee | Vox.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In some parts of the country, if you're a Comcast customer and you consume more than 300 GB of bandwidth in a month, Comcast will ask you to pay extra for the additional bandwidth. Many people call this a "data cap," but the term has become somewhat toxic in technology circles. So as Ars Technica reports, Comcast has been trying to convince people to use euphemisms like "flexible data consumption plan" instead.


Playing this kind of semantic game isn't going to win Comcast many friends. But I think it does help to distract attention from the larger problem with Comcast's "flexible data consumption plan" policy.

The policy was first instituted in 2008 with a limit of 250 GB per month. At the time, with Netflix streaming in its infancy, that was considered a huge amount of bandwidth. Comcast portrayed it as an effort to crack down on the worst abusers of its network. In 2012, Comcast announced it was raising the limit — to 300 GB per month.


As I pointed out at the time, it's hard to imagine the average technology company trumpeting a 20 percent performance increase after 4 years with zero progress. Most technology products show dramatic improvements year after year. But progress on Comcast's network has been agonizingly slow.


And it's not like the technology doesn't exist to provide Comcast customers with more bandwidth. Since 2008, we've seen a dramatic increase in the number of cities with super-fast 1 Gbps fiber optic service — 20 times faster than Comcast's premium "Blast" service. Meanwhile, the cost of long-haul internet service has plummeted.


When an ISP such as Comcast can't reach another network directly, it pays a third party to carry data to and from the network. As this chart shows, the cost of this "transit" service fell by a factor of 15 between 2008 and 2013.


Comcast has to buy transit in order to provide its customers with access to the entire internet. But more important, transit service is a helpful proxy for the falling cost of network connectivity more generally. The transit market is highly competitive, with dozens of companies offering service in direct competition. If the residential broadband market were this competitive, we would likely see dramatic improvements there too. Certainly, the per-megabit cost of broadband service should improve faster than 20 percent over 6 years.


So what's going on?


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Your new  Facebook ‘friend’ may be the FBI | Richard Lardner | NBCNews.com

Your new  Facebook ‘friend’ may be the FBI | Richard Lardner | NBCNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Feds are on Facebook. And MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, too.


U.S. law enforcement agents are following the rest of the Internet world into popular social-networking services, going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather private information, according to an internal Justice Department document that offers a tantalizing glimpse of issues related to privacy and crime-fighting.


Think you know who's behind that "friend" request? Think again. Your new "friend" just might be the FBI.


The document, obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, makes clear that U.S. agents are already logging on surreptitiously to exchange messages with suspects, identify a target's friends or relatives and browse private information such as postings, personal photographs and video clips.


Among other purposes: Investigators can check suspects' alibis by comparing stories told to police with tweets sent at the same time about their whereabouts. Online photos from a suspicious spending spree — people posing with jewelry, guns or fancy cars — can link suspects or their friends to robberies or burglaries.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group, obtained the Justice Department document when it sued the agency and five others in federal court. The 33-page document underscores the importance of social networking sites to U.S. authorities. The foundation said it would publish the document on its Web site on Tuesday.


With agents going undercover, state and local police coordinate their online activities with the Secret Service, FBI and other federal agencies in a strategy known as "deconfliction" to keep out of each other's way.


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US Senate Commerce Committee's GOP Posts Video Promoting 'Local Choice' | Broadcasting & Cable

US Senate Commerce Committee's GOP Posts Video Promoting 'Local Choice' | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Late Monday, the Senate Commerce Committee Republicans tweeted a link from a video promoting/explaining the Local Choice proposal of Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) and ranking member John Thune (R- S.D.).


The tweet from the CommerceGOP account says: "Want more control over your cable bill & to #KeepMyTV? Try @SenJohnThune & @SenRockefeller's #LocalChoice proposal: http://bit.ly/1pA3KX6."


That proposal, which they want to include as part of satellite license reauthorization legislation being teed up for September, would allow MVPD subs to choose whether they want to pay for stations who elect payment for retransmission consent. That also means the cable operators would not be required to deliver all retrans stations on the basic tier, since they would not have to deliver them at all to viewers who opted not to pay for them.


Essentially broadcasters would deal directly with viewers, with cable collecting the money and not allowed to mark up the price.


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Netflix Slams "Disrupting" Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger To FCC | Deadline.com

Netflix Slams "Disrupting" Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger To FCC | Deadline.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

They may have come up empty-handed at last night’s 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, but Netflix was thinking about the future on Monday. The future of broadband and Internet access that is.


In a blistering petition to the FCC, the streaming service recommended that the proposed mega-merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable be denied. “The combined entity’s control over its interconnection arrangements, coupled with such an increase in size, would allow it to insert itself into the heart of all Internet commerce, disrupting innovation, reducing financing for edge providers, and foreclosing compelling services from ever reaching the light of day,” said Netflix in a filing submitted yesterday (read it here).


The melding of the nation’s biggest and second-biggest providers of on-ramp access to the Internet “presents serious public interest harms stemming from the combined entity’s increased ability and incentive to harm providers of Internet content.”


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Rogers And Shaw Team Up To Launch A Netflix Competitor For Canada Called ‘Shomi’ | TechCrunch.com

Rogers And Shaw Team Up To Launch A Netflix Competitor For Canada Called ‘Shomi’ | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canadian cable giants aren’t just going to watch their audience slip away to streaming services – two of the nation’s biggest providers have joined forces to launch shomi, a new subscription-based service that provides access to shows on-demand, with apps for tablets, phones, web, Xbox 360 and set-top boxes at launch. The shomi service will be available only to Rogers and Shaw Internet or TV subscribers n its beta form, and it’ll be available beginning in November with an $8.99 per month price tag (the same, you’ll note, as Netflix.)


The joint venture by the cable industry leaders will offer over 11,000 hours of programming, per a release announcing the news, and that comes from “past seasons” of popular TV programs, including exclusive streaming rights to some of the most popular titles, like Modern Family, Shameless, 24: Live Another Day, American Horror Story and Sons of Anarchy. They’re also promising first-window premieres, which means they’ll have limited exclusive access to some content before others get it.


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Is Washington Abandoning Small Businesses and Consumers in Rural America? | Rick Harnish Blog | LinkedIn.com

As I evaluate the 2012 Election Results, it is apparent the Democratic Party carried a majority of metropolitan areas of our nation. Republicans carried the majority of rural states. President Obama carried 26 states or 51.1% of the popular vote. The total was President Obama - 65,915,796 to 60,933,500 for Romney, a difference of just under 5 million votes. President Obama narrowly won in Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.


I point this out because each of these states has large areas of rural populations. Why should I care, you say. The answer is Broadband. Most of these rural states are served predominately by fixed wireless Internet providers, otherwise known as WISPs. It is estimated that over 3 million households and businesses receive their broadband service from the WISP industry.


WISPs are the epitome of small business and entrepreneurial spirit. These businesses are and were created in unserved and underserved communities to build broadband access out of necessity where no other telco or cable company provides service. The creation of IP networking and unlicensed spectrum has allowed entrepreneurs to construct telecommunication delivery systems which handle voice, data, video and every other Internet application.


No longer is telecommunications only a business for the telecommunication giants of the past. Anyone can build broadband networks today and they do. If the political agendas in the previous paragraph were supported, more unlicensed spectrum would be made available not less, more small business loans would be made available not less, government grants and subsidies would be opened up to all broadband providers and not be reserved for the legacy telecommunication giants.


I was always taught that competition was a good thing. Were my government and business law teachers lying to me? Look around you, how many small businesses have been forced out of business in your community by corporate giants and overzealous government regulation?


A relatively obscure event is happening this year which may sway political outcomes this fall and again in 2016. In March, the Federal Communications Commission under direction of Chairman Tom Wheeler, appointed by President Obama, voted to change the rules on a tiny bit of unlicensed spectrum.


This seemingly minute change, if left as is, will cripple rural broadband connections for many American families and businesses. These American taxpayers will be forced to return to inadequate dial-up, expensive satellite or mobile wireless connections.


The effects to rural economies across the country will not go unnoticed. Come election time, voters will surely vote for the party which is not responsible for this nonsense. It won’t take many failed businesses or consumers which lost their broadband internet connections to sway the election results which were so close in 2012. Will it happen in the 2014 Congressional races? I expect this to become a political “hot potato” this fall.


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Mobile phone "kill switches" to be law in California, but critics worry about misuse | GigaOM Tech News

Mobile phone "kill switches" to be law in California, but critics worry about misuse | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The governor of California signed a law on Monday that will require all mobile phones sold in the state to include an activated “kill switch” as of July 2015, which will ensure the owner of a stolen phone can freeze the device and wipe its contents from a remote location.


While the California measure is popular at a time when mobile phone theft has become a serious crime problem in many cities, it will not make a major difference to most consumers and phone makers. The reason for this is that the two largest phone makers, Apple and Samsung, already have “kill switch” software installed.


Apple’s “Find my iPhone” (found under Settings -> iCloud), for instance, has since 2013 let users instruct a missing phone to delete data or display a lost “Please call me” message:


Now, as a result of the law in California, kill switches are likely to be ubiquitous across the country by next year. (The California law is actually the second of its kind in the country. Minnesota passed a kill switch law in May, though its version is regarded as less effective since it does not require the device to be sold with the “kill” feature to be turned on.)


The California measure is expected to take a bite out of phone theft, just as engine immobilizers caused the number of stolen cars to plummet. But not everyone is happy about the law.


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Humboldt County, CA: "No Localism, No Merger!" message to FCC | Access Humboldt

Access Humboldt tells FCC to support media Localism in Comcast merger deal along with Public interest groups and consumer advocates raising concerns about broadband media consolidation.


Access Humboldt joined with more than sixty public interest groups across the nation in calling on the FCC to place strict conditions on any merger deal that would allow the nation's largest cable system operator Comcast to acquire the second largest operator Time Warner Cable.


Media releases about the joint letter from Consumers Union:


http://consumersunion.org/news/65-groups-call-on-the-fcc-to-stop-the-com...


http://hearusnow.org/press_release/65-groups-call-on-the-fcc-to-stop-the...


Access Humboldt's executive director Sean McLaughlin said, "although Comcast does not operate in Humboldt County, we recognize that media consolidation on this scale reduces competition, threatens media localism and harms information diversity. With absentee owners controlling essential local infrastructure, including broadband and media access, we need to secure media diversity and localism in the marketplace of ideas."


Access Humboldt also filed comments supporting Public, Education and Government access (PEG) and the role of local franchise authorities. Those comments are attached, along with comments filed by the Alliance for Community Media and the Alliance for Communications Democracy calling on the FCC to impose five PEG Conditions on the deal:


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Google Fiber's 'fiberhood' plan could further the broadband divide, say critics | FierceTelecom.com

Google Fiber's 'fiberhood' plan could further the broadband divide, say critics | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber may have grand ambitions for its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) initiative, but a growing number of critics are concerned that its "fiberhood" selective build-to-demand approach may leave a number of consumers in the broadband lurch.


Michael Liimatta of Connecting for Good, a Kansas City nonprofit that focuses on digital divide issues, said that by only installing FTTH in areas where a majority of residents are interested "leaves out every city's most vulnerable citizens."


Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., city officials said they did not ask Google Fiber to wire each of their entire cities because they figured that the 1 Gbps service would help them stimulate the local economy and make them a more attractive destination for businesses and residents in certain areas.


Under its plan, Google Fiber sliced up the region into a few hundred homes it called "fiberhoods." It asked residents to pay $10 to preregister for the 1 Gbps fiber-based service.  


"The main point was to win and bring that infrastructure to our city," said Rick Usher, assistant city manager of Kansas City, Mo.


Former Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joe Reardon said in a Wall Street Journal article that in order to gain entry into the Kansas City market, officials required Google Fiber to offer free service to schools, libraries and community centers. The service provider offers service in "economically distressed" neighborhoods and offers a lower speed service for free for seven years for those customers willing to pay a one-time $300 installation fee.


However, Liimatta and others like Angela Siefer, who researched these issues this year for the University of Illinois's Center for Digital Inclusion, question if Google's plan is sufficient.


"It is too early to say whether the stuff Google is doing is enough," Siefer said. "Being friends with Google is great, but you have to go further to address these issues."


Google Fiber is hardly alone. AT&T said in April it would offer Internet speeds of up to one gigabit in as many as 100 cities. It is building to demand and working with local authorities to reduce construction costs, the company said. It recently said it would bring the high-speed service to Cupertino, Calif., close to Google's headquarters.


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Wally: A high-tech networked water leak detection system | Mark Gibbs | NetworkWorld.com

Wally: A high-tech networked water leak detection system | Mark Gibbs | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Some years ago I owned a large house that had been built in the mid-1920’s and, as a consequence, it had lots of old piping and electrics. Over the course of a couple of years, I’d had most of them replaced but one day, walking past a guest bedroom I heard the faintest hissing sound. This turned out to come from the “Jack and Jill” bathroom off the bedroom and it was the sound of water under pressure (we had weirdly high water pressure) spraying out from the water hose to the toilet. It was an old hose.


By the time I discovered this the water was a half inch deep in the bathroom and it was only the door thresholds that stopped it from flooding the adjoining bedrooms. As they had wooden floors this could have been a disaster.


I tell you all this because, at the time of my new catastrophe, there was no simple solution to detecting water leaks in a home whether wired for data or not (in my house the walls were plaster on lathe and the lathe was metal mesh which turned every room into a Faraday cage making wireless anything problematic). Anyway, now there is a solution for whole home leak detection; it’s called Wally from SNUPI Technologies and it is, quite honestly, brilliant.


The system consists of a hub that connects to your wired network and a bunch of small wireless sensors you place in potential trouble spots. These sensors detect three conditions; water (by contacts on their undersides), temperature, and humidity (the latter are important for detecting the conditions that can promote the growth of mold. Rather than rely on WiFi, Zigbee, or Insteon technology for the hub to communicate with the sensors it uses a proprietary wireless system called Sensor Nodes Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure or SNUPI.


What’s so powerful about the SNUPI technology is that it’s ultra-low power and can connect devices spread out over an entire house:


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What New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and others want from the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

What New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and others want from the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Monday marked a key deadline for regulators reviewing one of the biggest cable merger plans ever. With Comcast proposing to acquire Time Warner Cable, members of the public had until the end of Monday to file opening comments on the deal.


Some, such as consumer groups and Comcast's business rivals, were quick to denounce the merger. Others, including some politicians and charities, fully supported it. And in a blog post, Comcast executive vice president David Cohen reiterated that the deal is "pro-consumer, pro-competitive and strongly in the public interest."


The reality is that the merger, if it's approved, will likely come with strings attached. The question is what those strings will look like;  expect a vigorous debate over what conditions should be imposed on the deal and how expansive they should be.


The Federal Communications Commission has wide latitude to determine the merger conditions Comcast will have to accept if it wants the agency's blessing. Comcast points to requirements it agreed to accept in 2011 — during the purchase of NBC Universal — as reasons why regulators should approve the company's acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) in 2014.


For this merger, Comcast has volunteered to abide by some of those old merger conditions, such as its time-limited commitment to the FCC's former net neutrality rules. Comcast would also shed about 3 million customers as it takes on more Time Warner Cable subscribers, to address competition concerns.


Some folks have other ideas. From New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to cable advertising firms to state public service commissions, there are those who believe that the FCC should impose stronger merger conditions. Here are a few of those ideas.


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This Venn diagram shows which cities may get a gig (and why broadband competition matters) | GigaOM Tech News

This Venn diagram shows which cities may get a gig (and why broadband competition matters) | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For those of you eagerly awaiting your gigabit fiber-to-the-home broadband service, check out the third annual report from the Gig.U effort. The report, which came out on Monday, shows how much has changed in the three years since Gig U. was created as a means to bring gigabit connectivity to university towns.


Like us, the creators of the project believe the future is in fiber and faster connections. And while the report is very clear that many of these projects are still in the planning and press release stages (I call it gigawashing when I’m feeling frustrated) it offers a nice rundown of all the projects currently happening.


And reading the report, it’s clear there are two things driving the expansion of gigabit services. The first is a willingness by municipalities to act as a partner, not an impediment, and work with providers to get fiber in the ground acting . And the second is competition.


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Charter Spectrum Rolls Into Southern California | Multichannel.com

Charter Spectrum Rolls Into Southern California | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications said it’s unleashing faster broadband speeds and a heavier HDTV channel lineup in its Southern California systems following all-digital upgrades that are coupled with the introduction of the MSO’s new “Spectrum” branding.

 

Charter is bidding adieu to its analog spectrum and using that reclaimed capacity toward the boosting of the downstream speeds of its flagship broadband service from 30 Mbps to 60 Mbps, the broadening of its HDTV lineup to more than 200 channels, and enhancing its voice service with features such as unlimited nationwide calling. Charter Spectrum also touts a VOD menu of more than 10,000 “choices.”

 

The operator kicked off its all-digital plan in Southern California in August 2013 in areas such as Glendale, Burbank and Long Beach, and launched the second phase in March 2014 that hit other areas served by Charter in the region.

 

Charter said the all-digital upgrades, which are being implemented through the expanded distribution of two-way, VOD-capable set-tops, are part of a recent $271 million capital investment into the MSO’s California operations.

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MN: Ramsey County OKs Comcast broadband deal for 5 years | TwinCities.com

MN: Ramsey County OKs Comcast broadband deal for 5 years | TwinCities.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Ramsey County Board recently voted 6-1 to approve a five-year agreement with Comcast to provide high-speed broadband communications between government buildings.


County Commissioner Janice Rettman, who cast the sole vote against the agreement, expressed concern that Comcast has signaled it may spin off its Minnesota clients to a different provider as a result of a pending national merger.


"Who is going to own the intellectual properties if Comcast takes a hike?" Rettman asked.


County staff said any Comcast affiliate that absorbs the contract would have to abide by the same performance standards, or the contract becomes null. The county board in May selected Comcast as its vendor from among five providers.


The five-year contract offers the option of two additional two-year terms. County buildings had previously been served by Comcast and a network of different providers.

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AT&T agrees to conditions with feds in $48.5B DirecTV purchase | NYPost.com

AT&T agrees to conditions with feds in $48.5B DirecTV purchase | NYPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has agreed with the feds on the conditions paving the way for it to buy DirecTV, a source close to the process told The Post.


AT&T worked out the plan with the Justice Department, according to the source. It could not be learned what, if any, conditions the DOJ has placed on the merger.


In May AT&T agreed to buy satellite television company DirecTV for $48.5 billion.


Agreeing to comply means the Department of Justice will likely clear the AT&T deal in October. The FCC still has not ruled on the merger.


The move will allow AT&T to add DirecTV’s 20 million satellite-TV subscribers to its 5.7 million U-Verse TV service subscribers, which currently spans 22 states.


This merger has caused concern among those who believe the convergence of the few remaining telecom and cable giants will cause a rise in prices.


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Microsoft reportedly developing Chromecast rival: a Miracast dongle | Samantha Bookman | FierceOnlineVideo.com

Microsoft reportedly developing Chromecast rival: a Miracast dongle | Samantha Bookman | FierceOnlineVideo.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Analysts can predict a decline in Google Chromecast usage all they want, but its users are a fairly loyal bunch. And it appears that Microsoft may be going after that customer base with its own dongle, reportedly called the Miracast Dongle but currently code-named HD-10 in an FCC filing.


The filing details a device that has HDMI support, Wi-Fi and a USB connection, engadget reports.

A separate document found on the Wi-Fi Alliance website by the Nokia Power User blog reportedly divulged the HD-10's name as the "Miracast Dongle."

Miracast, of course, is Microsoft's screen-sharing technology for Window 8.1, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8.1, and Android 4.2 and Blackberry 10.2.1 operating systems. That has tech sites like engadget speculating that the HD-10 (FCC ID: PYAHD-10) will be able to mirror whatever is on a device's screen on the user's television.


"Unlike Chromecast's technology, though, Miracast can only show what's on the source device's screen à la Mac OS X's Airplay Mirroring, meaning you can't play mobile games while you're casting a show on TV," engadget's Mariella Moon wrote.


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Dish Network petitions FCC to block Comcast-TWC merger | ZDNet.com

Dish Network petitions FCC to block Comcast-TWC merger | ZDNet.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Dish Network has warned of irreparable harm to competition and consumers alike if US regulators allow the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable goes ahead.


On Monday, Dish network revealed the petition, saying that if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows the merger to go forward, the deal could "significantly damage competitive development of over-the-top (OTT) video -- services such as Netflix and Hulu -- and limit consumer access to online video programming."


The satellite television provider's petition (.PDF) outlines a number of key 'harm' points, including the spectre of anti-competitive behaviour, strangled innovation and competition, and obstacles which would prevent online video steaming businesses to expand and evolve.


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UT: Taxpayers group offers to help UTOPIA and Cities with survey | Standard.net

UT: Taxpayers group offers to help UTOPIA and Cities with survey | Standard.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

An organization with a history of speaking against UTOPIA from its inception, is offering to help six cities pursuing talks with an Australian company develop a survey for residents about a possible funding tool to complete build out of the fiber-to-the-home network.


The Utah Taxpayer Association has offered to help officials from Layton, Brigham City, Perry, Tremonton, Midvale and West Valley City set up an opinion survey in identifying “accurate and unbiased questions,” dealing with the future of UTOPIA. City councils in those six communities have chosen to pursue talks with Macquarie about potentially taking over management of the 11-city fiber networks. Five cities have voted not to pursue those talks.


The non-binding question would ask residents to weigh in whether citizens should pay a monthly utility fee to help finance UTOPIA’s final construction phase. The utility fee, estimated at $18 to $20 a month, is part of a financing option proposed by Macquarie, an investment company pursing a 30-year deal to manage the fiber-to-the-home network.


“Anyone who has worked with surveys knows that the structure and wording of a survey dictates its outcome,” said M. Royce Van Tassell, vice president of the UTA. He said the UTA can work with officials from the six cities to identify unbiased questions, to elected officials can trust the results.


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Brazil’s broadcasters considering action to contend 700MHz tender | TeleGeography.com

BNAmericas reports that a number of Brazilian TV broadcasters are considering ‘applicable measures’ against what they term the shortcomings of the terms and conditions of the upcoming auction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) spectrum in the 700MHz band. In a statement by the broadcast industry association Albert, the TV firms have deemed the BRL3.6 billion (USD1.6 billion) budget for domestic broadcasters currently using the band – to be paid by the winning bidders in the mobile auction – as ‘insufficient’.


Under Anatel’s auction tender, the successful cellcos will bear the cost of spectrum reallocation of TV channels in the analogue switch off, and for the filters needed to address any potential 4G LTE-digital TV interference.


However, Albert has estimated the cost of migration to be as high as BRL5 billion – or 30% higher than Anatel’s budget estimate. In response, the regulator has assured interested parties that its costing is based on a ‘meticulous’ estimating process adding that its figures have been endorsed by the spending watchdog, TCU.

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Not so fast on G.fast | Dave Burstein | FastNetNews.com

Not so fast on G.fast | Dave Burstein | FastNetNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Not a gigabit; a demo, not a field trial; 2016 or later. The reality of G.fast is impressive, 200-600 megabits over short loops of perhaps 100 meters.  G.fast is the telcos' answer to 400 meg and faster DOCSIS. New York, Los Angeles and much of Europe are getting 300-400 megabit (shared) cable this year. Kabel Deutschland is optimistic on a gigabit (shared.) But the hype goes further.


At two extraordinary recent conferences I met nearly all the top engineers working on G.fast. Les Brown, Tom Starr and others from standards; Hubert Mariotte, Trevor Linney and more from the carriers; Chip guys (they are all guys) Dudi Baum, Rami Verbin, Debajyoti Pal, from Lantiq & Broadcom. Analysts Teresa Mastrangelo, Erik Keith, Richard Jones, Rupert Wood, Stephen Wilson. No one has anything ready to sell, which improved the conversation. 


Here's some basics they told me:


Speed


That's the only thing most people know about G.fast and most have it wrong. There are certain circumstances in which speed goes to a gigabit, so the ITU Standards Committee press release has some truth. Bands have to be notched out to avoid interference. Vectoring to cancel noise is required and difficult to implement at the speeds involved. It's not clear when, if ever, the full bandwidth will be put to use. 


Swisscom has set expectations of 580 megabits at 100 meters and 280 megabits at 200 meters. Speed falls off very rapidly after that. G.fast is only 40 megabits at 400 meters, much slower than vectored VDSL at that distance. G.fast speeds are measured as combined upstream and downstream. Time domain multiplexing allows varying the ratio.


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ALEC Backs Dangerous Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger Plan, Opposes Open Internet | CommonCause.org

ALEC Backs Dangerous Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger Plan, Opposes Open Internet | CommonCause.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A powerful corporate lobby that has quietly engineered the passage of hundreds of pro-business state laws is setting its sights on securing federal approval of the controversial proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.


The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) also is pushing the Federal Communications Commission to relax Open Internet regulations so that internet service providers (ISPs) can slow down some websites and online applications while speeding up others.


ALEC called on the FCC last week to fast track approval of the Comcast -- Time Warner Cable deal “with little to no regulatory conditions.” The merger would create a de-facto national cable monopoly, with unprecedented control over what you can see and say online and on the cable dial.


In a letter to the FCC, ALEC also declares its opposition to net neutrality and the Open Internet, calling net neutrality rules an “inflated regulatory burden.” That’s nonsense. Open Internet guarantees protect consumers from ISP gatekeeping. Without those rules, ISPs can effectively block your access to the websites and services you relay on every day. And because voters study the issues online, maintaining the Open Internet is critical to maintaining and strengthening democracy.


ALEC’s moves are anything but surprising, as both Comcast and TWC are ALEC members. Comcast has served as ALEC’s state corporate co-chair in Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, and Utah, while Time Warner Cable serves as Ohio’s ALEC corporate chair. Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable are members of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force. In these task forces, Comcast and TWC lobbyists vote as equals with elected officials behind closed doors to endorse bills that cut corporate taxes, restrict municipal broadband systems, and eliminate hard won consumer protections on telecoms.


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Google Acquires Zync To Bring Visual Effects Rendering To Its Cloud Platform | TechCrunch.com

Google Acquires Zync To Bring Visual Effects Rendering To Its Cloud Platform | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google today announced that it has acquired Zync Render, a service that makes it easier for movie studios to render their visual effects in the cloud. The technology was used to render effects in movies like Star Trek: Into Darkness and Looper, for example. Google will use the technology to make it easier for studios to use its Cloud Platform infrastructure to render their creations.


Currently, ZYNC is optimized for work on Amazon’s EC2 service, but Google will now integrate it into its Cloud Platform. ZYNC says its technology has been used to produce “over a dozen” feature films and hundreds of commercials, for a total of 6.5 million core hours of rendering time.


As Google notes today, it typically takes a very powerful infrastructure to render the special effects in a movie. Most studios have their own render farms for this. Those studios would only need a cloud service to sometimes burst their capacity to finish a job faster. Others, however, don’t have access to their own servers (or don’t want to deal with them), and for them, the cloud is the only way to render their effects.


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NSA built “Google-like” interface to scan 850+ billion metadata records | Ars Technica

NSA built “Google-like” interface to scan 850+ billion metadata records | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to newly published documents, the National Security Agency has built a “Google-like” search interface for its vast database of metadata, and the agency shares it with dozens of other American intelligence agencies. The new documents are part of the Snowden leaks and were first published on Monday by The Intercept.


The new search tool, called ICREACH, is described in an internal NSA presentation as a “large scale expansion of communications metadata shared with [intelligence community] partners.” That same presentation shows that ICREACH has been operational since the pilot launched in May 2007. Not only is data being shared to more agencies, but there are more types of such data being shared—ICREACH searches over 850 billion records.


New data types being shared include IMEI numbers (a unique identifier on each mobile handset), IMSI (another unique identifier for SIM cards), GPS coordinates, e-mail address, and chat handles, among others. Previously, such metadata was only limited to date, time, duration, called number, and calling number.


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Consumer Federation of America to FCC: Block That Deal | Broadcasting & Cable

Consumer Federation of America to FCC: Block That Deal | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA), a strong critic of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, made it official Monday, filing a petition to block the merger.


CFA says the deal would pose a "much greater" threat to consumers than the Comcast/NBCU merger, which CFA also opposed and the FCC approved.


CFA asserts that the "inevitable" result of the deal will be higher prices, worse service and less innovation, says CFA research director Mark Cooper, a familiar face on Capitol Hill testifying against media mergers.


“The acquisition of Time Warner [Cable] would increase Comcast’s market power by at least 50% and create a goliath that would tower over the industry," he said.


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New York PSC Has Concentration Concerns With Comcast/TWC | Broadcasting & Cable

New York PSC Has Concentration Concerns With Comcast/TWC | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The New York State Public Service Commission ( NYPSC) says it is "currently" not taking a position on whether the FCC should approve or block the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, but has a number of "potential concerns," including that the companies may be lowballing the potential of vertical and horizontal harms.


The NYPSC, which is conducting its own review of the deal's impact on the state, did say that the FCC should focus its review on vertical and horizontal market power issues, as well as bridging the digital divide and mitigating market power harms.


The FCC's deadline for initial comments is Aug. 25, the same day that reply comments are due in the NYPSC's review, so when those comments are vetted NYPSC might have more to say.


But currently, it is simply advising the FCC that it should look carefully at issues including "access to and affordability of broadband service, continuing local program diversity and enhancing the Comcast/NBCU conditions."


Comcast and TWC argue that the deal will not present any plausible vertical anticompetitive threats. NYPSC isn't so sure.


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