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Jobs: Is telecommuting bad for business? | Asbury Park Press

Jobs: Is telecommuting bad for business? | Asbury Park Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It was another working day, and talent agent Bonnie Deroski had a choice to make.

 

Should she commute more than an hour to her company’s office in Manhattan? Or should she roll out of bed, plop down on her couch with her daughter’s Norwich terrier, Chloe, snugly on her lap, turn on the computer and get to work?

 

“It almost doesn’t make sense to go into the city anymore,” said Deroski, 51, of Tinton Falls.

 

Some workers, plugged in with technology, are skipping the commute altogether and working from home. They say it has made them more productive, helped them spend more time with their children and saved them hundreds of dollars a month in transportation and day care.

 

Telecommuting is an attractive solution to a harried work force struggling to cross off the items on their daily to-do lists. But it comes with hazards, too. Some employers see benefits in face-to-face collaboration. And some workers who telecommute say working at home can be isolating.

 

“The misnomer is it’s simple to telecommute and work from home,” said Mary Gatta, senior scholar at Wider Opportunities for Women, a Washington-based advocacy group. “It’s not as if you’re sitting at your home, working on your computer and all is well.”

 

Telecommuting has become water-cooler talk — at least for workers who still go to the office. Yahoo recently banned telecommuting, although it hasn’t explained why. And Best Buy followed suit, scaling back the practice.

 

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Putin told Edward Snowden that Russia doesn’t use mass surveillance on its citizens. Here’s a reality check. | WashPost.com

Putin told Edward Snowden that Russia doesn’t use mass surveillance on its citizens. Here’s a reality check. | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the more surreal moments of today's installment in Vladimir Putin's series of reliably surreal call-ins with the Russian nation was when NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden appeared, and asked the former KGB spy about surveillance.


Snowden, currently in hiding in Russia, asked Putin whether the Russian state used the tactics of mass surveillance he had helped to uncover in the United States. Putin, apparently happy to talk spy craft with another former member of the intelligence community, had a firm answer: No, we don't do that.


“You have to get court permission to stalk a particular person,” he said. “Certainly, we do not take liberty of such a vast scale, an uncontrolled scale. [...] Thank God, our special services are strictly controlled by the state and society and their activity is regulated by law."


Putin seemed confident in his answer, but let's take a step back here: Is this actually true? Not exactly, says Andrei Soldatov, editor of Agentura.Ru and one of the most prominent experts of Russia's surveillance culture.


In fact, Soldatov says, Russia even has its own version of PRISM, the clandestine mass electronic surveillance program that Snowden uncovered. It's called SORM, and has been around since 1995. During Putin's 14 years in Russian leadership, the scope of SORM has been expanded numerous times.


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Comcast TV Rate Hikes Outpace All Other Major TV Competitors | DSLReports.com

Comcast TV Rate Hikes Outpace All Other Major TV Competitors | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new report by consumer advocacy outfit Free Press notes that Comcast raised rates for the company's basic cable package by 68% over the last four years. Comcast also raised the cost of their top-tier premium TV package some 21% as well. Interestingly, the report found that Time Warner Cable was the only cable company to actually reduce their advertised price for their basic cable package (by 2.5%).


"Comcast’s rate increases far outstripped those of its competitors in recent years," laments the group. "And the very company it’s intent on gobbling up actually lowered basic cable prices in the period studied."

Granted as we've long illustrated and many of you know from first-hand experience, advertised prices may not give you an accurate idea of what you'll actually wind up paying.

This industry has tacked on a wide variety of below-the-line fees to bills for years, a practice that allows them to hit users with rate hikes while leaving the advertised rate the same. The industry's new Broadcast TV fee is only the latest example. Tack those on, and it's likely these statistics look even worse.


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MN: Annandale is waiting to hoping the Broadband Development Fund goes through | Blandin on Broadband

Annandale, MN has been pretty vocal about their interest in broadband.


Earlier this month, the city administrator spoke about the local need for broadband with the Institute for Local Self Reliance.


In January, Annandale was the location of one of Senator Schmit’s listening tour sessions on broadband.


This week the St Cloud Times mentions specifically Annandale’s interest again…


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Cable operators ally to chase cloud-based Wi-Fi, as Los Angeles resurrects its citywide plan | FierceCable.com

Cable operators ally to chase cloud-based Wi-Fi, as Los Angeles resurrects its citywide plan | FierceCable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable operators are leaning towards cloud-managed Wi-Fi as a way to efficiently meet the needs of enterprises that require robust wireless connectivity.


According to a Zacks Research note, large businesses are the primary target of an alliance of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Google, Microsoft and the CEA, which have banded together as WifiForward with the goal of freeing up spectrum to more efficiently manage wireless services across adjoining networks.


A cloud-managed Wi-Fi network such as the one being proposed by WifiForward is "the most efficient technology for" enterprises because if offers "central manageability, smaller physical footprint and linear scalability," the Zacks piece noted.


Of course, the allied companies have good reason to pool their resources to chase this business. Recent findings by International Data Corp. (IDC) suggest that cloud-managed infrastructure and managed services revenue will hit $653 million this year and climb to $2.5 billion by 2018.


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Gigabit and More Wireless Surprising Close | FastNetNews.com

Stanford Professor Andrea Goldsmith believes wireless capacity can increase 50 times in the next 5 to 10 years. We'll soon have gigabits rather than the tens of megabits now typical. The cost of delivering each bit - or gigabyte - is dropping at a ferocious rate. Prices are staying high in most countries.


Inability to sell the capacity coming online at the prices they want is far more of a problem for telcos than the wildly exaggerated spectrum "crisis." The result is a desperate effort to eliminate competitors around the world. It's easy to see price-fixing is the goal behind Sprint/T-Mobile, Bouygues/SFR, Telefonica/E-Plus, Softbank/eAccess, AT&T/Leap and the massive CEO support for ETNO's campaign to shrink the industry.


Cell phone inventor Marty Cooper points out "we've never had a spectrum shortage." By and large, the "spectrum crisis" has been invented by politicians and lobbyists who pull politicians' strings. In all but  limited situations, there's plenty of bandwidth and spectrum.


Randall Stephenson and Stephane Richard lose sleep about competitors taking too many customers, "commoditizing" the mobile market. Smart public policy advocates dream about the same result - competition bringing prices in line with costs.


The Marconi webinar, The Remarkable Wireless Future, outlines the next ten years from the engineer's point of view http://bit.ly/1hiCYiw. Marconi Prizewinners Henry Samueli and A.J. Paulraj, joined by Professor Goldsmith, were in general agreement with the forecast of remarkable technical improvement.


Since 2010 and 3GPP Release 10 & 11, LTE Advanced, the road ahead has been clear. There's a natural 8-10x improvement from LTE Advanced; that can double or better with a second SSID on everyone's home gateway. WiFi is taking 70% of the load off the towers. "Bottoms-up" is today's most efficient network design, reusing the same spectrum from local small cells.


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Bill D’Agostino resigns as FirstNet general manager | Urgent Communications

Bill D’Agostino resigns as FirstNet general manager | Urgent Communications | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FirstNet General Manager Bill D’Agostino has resigned from the top staff position of the organization for “personal and family reasons,” and the organization is launching a nationwide search for a new general manager, according to a FirstNet press release issued this afternoon.


“I have been honored to lead FirstNet’s management efforts over the past year, and believe the organization is now well positioned to enter the next stage of its development,” said D’Agostino said in a prepared statement. “Although I will no longer be part of the mission, I will remain an ardent supporter and look forward to its future successes.”


FirstNet Chairman Sam Ginn expressed appreciation for D’Agostino’s efforts to prepare the organization to deploy and maintain a nationwide broadband network for public safety.


“We appreciate Bill’s service as general manager over the past year—a critical time in FirstNet’s early planning stage,” Ginn said in a prepared statement. “Bill believed that public safety should be a partner in defining network features and capabilities, and we will remember the example he set for us.”


Last month, FirstNet board members approved a program roadmap for the much-anticipated first-responder broadband network that was prepared by D’Agostino and FirstNet staff members hired during the past year. With D’Agostino’s resignation, FirstNet Deputy General Manager TJ Kennedy will assume the general-manager duties on a temporary basis as the FirstNet board seeks a permanent replacement for D’Agostino.


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COMPTEL, Level 3, tw telecom say FCC should not approve AT&T's IP experiments | FierceTelecom.com

COMPTEL, Level 3, tw telecom say FCC should not approve AT&T's IP experiments | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

COMPTEL and a group of competitive service providers, including Level 3 and tw telecom, have asked the FCC to not approve AT&T's (NYSE: T) proposed TDM-to-IP trials in Alabama and Florida until the telco makes a number of "significant modifications" to its plan.


Cbeyond and Integra Telecom also participated in writing the joint letter to the FCC.


The group said that AT&T's proposal lacks critical information needed to conduct a meaningful review and, because of the specific wire centers targeted, the experiments will not generate the type of data necessary to fully understand the impact of the TDM-to-IP transition on residential, business and wholesale customers.


Angie Kronenberg, chief advocate and general counsel at COMPTEL, said in a release that "AT&T has not provided the evidence necessary to show that its trials will provide the needed insight into how the natural evolution to IP technology will address the needs of wholesale customers, as well as retail consumer and business users."


One of the key concerns cited by COMPTEL and service providers that participated in the joint letter is that AT&T does not provide enough detail about the replacement services it will make available to wholesale customers during the experiment and the timeline for the replacement voice services that will be made available to residential and business customers.


What's more, the group said that the proposal does not provide information about rates, terms and conditions on which replacement services will be offered to wholesale customers during the experiment as required by the commission's January order.


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KS: US Senator Pat Roberts praises rural broadband | The Marysville Advocate

KS: US Senator Pat Roberts praises rural broadband | The Marysville Advocate | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Few issues today are more important to the economic viability and sustainable growth in rural America than the continued deployment of broadband throughout Kansas communities, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said Monday morning at the Agriculture Broadband Summit at Blue Valley Tele-Communications, Home City.

“The Universal Service Fund has supported the deployment of telephone and broadband access to rural areas and allowed our state’s residents, no matter where they live, to enjoy the expansion of the Internet,” he said.

Roberts, who is up for election in November, is seeking his fourth Senate term. Before being elected to the Senate, Roberts served eight terms in the U.S. House.

Roberts, who will turn 78 on Sunday, faces opposition in the primary from Overland Park Republican Milton Wolf.


Roberts commended those at the broadband summit “who have invested billions of dollars in Kansas to build out broadband to parts of our state necessary to ensure that our farmers, hospitals, schools and businesses are not falling behind the rest of the country.”

“You made all these investments relying on express language in the Telecom Act which requires universal service support to be sufficient and predictable,” he said. “A promise that must ensure short-term politics won’t impact long-term investments.”

The Rural Utility Service, a branch of the Department of Agriculture, certainly thought so, he said.

“And that’s why it kept making long-term loans for rural broadband. The RUS thought the Federal Communications Commission would stick to the federal pledge of sufficiency and predictability.”

The FCC adopted the Universal Service Fund Transformation Order in late 2011.


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Here’s Why the Comcast–Time Warner Merger Is Bad | Susan Crawford Blog | MIT Technology Review

Here’s Why the Comcast–Time Warner Merger Is Bad | Susan Crawford Blog | MIT Technology Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Among the many threats to the future of Internet access in the United States, nothing tops Comcast’s proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The combined company would be in a position to provide high-capacity data services to almost two-thirds of American households and to tightly control everything flowing over its pipe.


It could extract unconstrained fees for access to its subscribers or for entry to its network. And it would have the ability to charge different fees for different services, and to protect the success of its affiliated streaming-video assets like Streampix (and other uses of its network requiring high-capacity data) at the expense of others, thereby undermining the ideals of net neutrality.


An episode from Comcast’s past shows why this plan is worrisome. Just two decades ago, Comcast distrusted the idea of giving one company the sort of power that Comcast now aims to amass.


Many years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Internet Explorer had not yet been released—so, around March 1995—John Malone, then CEO of Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI), had a bright idea: build a proprietary high-speed multimedia “walled garden” that would also provide access to the Internet for those brave enough to go there. At the time, AOL’s dial-up proprietary service was growing rapidly—with a million subscribers by 1995—but those subscribers were stuck with data speeds of 56 kilobits per second.


Malone planned to create an AOL-like service, to be called @Home, that would be a hundred times faster. This would mean content creators could serve up pictures and video that couldn’t easily be viewed over a dial-up line. Sure, access to the Internet would be possible through the new service, but subscribers would stay inside the walls to see the content that only @Home would have.


Malone needed money to build the @Home backbone, and connecting cable systems would need to upgrade to hybrid fiber-coaxial lines to be able to join this new world. Malone had a lot of persuasive heft at the time: TCI was the country’s largest cable operator, with 11 million subscribers; Comcast and Cox were numbers 4 and 5, with about 4 million and 3 million subscribers respectively.


TCI, Comcast, and Cox locked arms and agreed to jointly own and fund the @Home network—but TCI had the majority stake. And the group agreed to give @Home the exclusive right to market cable-modem Internet access to their subscribers for five years. This plan was initially successful: by 2000, @Home had four million subscribers, and 13 other cable companies had joined in the exclusive plan.


But Comcast and Cox didn’t trust TCI. Why?


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Early Stage Startups: The Biggest Killers | Forbes.com

Early Stage Startups: The Biggest Killers | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As a founding partner at Y Combinator, Jessica Livingston helped shape some of Silicon Valley’s greatest hits – Dropbox, Airbnb, Reddit and Stripe to name just a few. To date, Y Combinator’s invested in 630 startups. These embryonic businesses move to Silicon Valley for a three month boot camp to get them in the best possible shape for Demo Day, when the startups pitch their business plan to a select audience.


Right now, Y Combinator is wrapping up wading through 3000 applications for this summer’s intake, up almost 20% on last year. Just two percent of the 3000 will get a place. Although the incubator’s got a strong track record, some startups inevitably sink without a trace.


Here, Livingston shared with FORBES some of the totally avoidable silent killers she sees every cycle.


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My Internet Dream and My Nightmare | David Isenberg's Blog Archive | isen.blog

My Internet Dream and My Nightmare | David Isenberg's  Blog Archive | isen.blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I gave this talk at the Broadband Communities Summit today, April 10, in Austin TX.


[These remarks are  more or less "as delivered." I edited them to reflect my last minute changes on 4/14/14.]


I’m honored to be in front of an audience that is building networks that are alternatives to the local telephone company and cable company. You are doing THE good work.


But I need to tell you something. I get a little bit sick when I hear “broadband, broadband, broadband.” To a first approximation it does not matter how many shmegabits or shmigabits your networks run at. The important thing is that your networks connect to the Internet. The Internet is what makes your broadband networks valuable. Let’s not forget that the Internet became popular at 28.8 and 56 KILObits a second. Broadband without the Internet ain’t worth squat.


So let’s not talk about broadband — for a change — Lets talk about the Internet.


Like many of the unreasonable people who imagine an ideal future and ask “Why not?” on whose shoulders we all stand, I have a dream.


I have a dream that the Internet harnesses the best impulses of humanity, that the Internet opens doors for us to replace ignorance with curiosity, cruelty with empathy , and privation with productivity.


I have a dream that, thanks to the Internet, we think of the people in Accra or Bejing or Caracas as “us” not “them” — as US, the same way that we think of the people of Austin, Boston and Chicago.


I have a dream that, thanks to the Internet, a cornucopia of new and wonderful applications that we can’t even imagine today will make our lives more satisfying and productive tomorrow.


I have a dream that, thanks to the Internet, the climate problem will be solved by smart vehicles and smart energy and smart food production, all networked together for optimum resource usage and minimum planetary impact.


I have a dream that, thanks to the Internet, the two billion human beings who live on less than dollar a day will connect to food and water and medical care, to transparent, democratic governance, to customers, suppliers, markets, innovative ideas and, ultimately, to incomes that will lift them out of poverty.


I have a dream that one of these two billion people is already smart enough to be another Einstein, that another is so compassionate as to be another Gandhi, that another is so wise as to be another Mandella . . . and that someday soon we will discover their blog, subscribe to their flickr photo stream and read their tweets.


If the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King had seen the Internet today, he might have said, “Mine eyes have seen the glory.”


But I also have a nightmare . .


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Netflix Speeds Jump 65 Percent on Comcast After Deal | PCMag.com

Netflix Speeds Jump 65 Percent on Comcast After Deal | PCMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast's recent inter-connection deal with Netflix has provided Netflix with a speed bump on Comcast's network.


According to stats released Monday, the average speed on Comcast's network for Netflix streams was up 65 percent from 1.51 Mbps in January to 2.5 Mbps in March.


That comes about two months after Netflix and Comcast inked a deal whereby Netflix pays for access to Comcast's broadband network in order to improve the Netflix streaming experience for Comcast users.


Those speeds still put Comcast at No. 5 on Netflix's list of larger U.S. ISPs that provide the best Netflix streaming experience during primetime. Ahead of the largest cable provider were Cablevision, Cox, Suddenlink, and Charter, with speeds from 2.98 Mbps to 2.61 Mbps.


In previous months, Google Fiber had consistently topped Netflix's ISP speed index. But given the gigabit Internet service's small U.S. footprint, Google Fiber is only included in a larger Netflix list of smaller ISPs. On that list, Google Fiber is No. 1 with 3.6 Mbps, followed by Choice Cable Puerto Rico (3.02 Mbps), Midwestern provider Midcontinent (3.02 Mbps), Chattanooga's city-owned EPB network (3 Mbps), and San Juan Cable (also 3 Mbps).


With those smaller ISPs in the mix, Comcast drops to No. 28 of 60.

Despite the inter-connection deal, though, Comcast and Netflix aren't exactly best buddies.


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Hack to the Future: Why Hackerspaces Are Spark Plugs for Your Broadband Economy | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio

Hack to the Future: Why Hackerspaces Are Spark Plugs for Your Broadband Economy | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every community needs a hackerspace or two. This hot trend can easily add a low-cost, high-impact spark to a struggling neighborhood, or accelerate the economic impact of your broadband network. The hackerspace movement can even provide a pathway to affordable health insurance.


Gina Lujan, Founder of HackerLab in Sacramento, CA, explains how to easily start and maintain a viable hackerspace. You don't need much: an empty building or office space, electricity, some paint, a few tables and chairs - and a decent Internet connection, the faster the better. Invite people with good ideas, a dream and basic tech skills to bring their laptops.


Gina outlines the key to success, some do's and don't's, strategies for funding and why letting the members run the show is the secret sauce that's making hackerspaces a winner across the U.S. She also lays out the basics for making hackerspaces a major element of broadband adoption strategies, and lets listeners know about a program that enables hackerspace participants to get lop-of-the-line healthcare at affordable rates.


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It's mission accomplished for Google's Fiber roll out | GigaOM Tech News

It's mission accomplished for Google's Fiber roll out | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google may still have plans for the spread of its fiber-to-the home network to more cities, but on the search giant’s earnings call comments from the CFO indicate that Google has accomplished its initial mission when it came to rolling our fiber-to-the-home services. On Wednesday Google CFO Patrick Pichette, said in response to a question about Google’s long-term strategy on fiber:


“I think that everybody now in the industry is talking about the gig. It’s becoming the standard and we are absolutely thrilled for all of the users out there that can think they own 1 gigabit of symmetrical Internet at a reasonable price.”


In other words, Google has done what it set out to do, which was to upset the status quo in the U.S. broadband market. At the time, consumers were resigned to slow upgrades of the networks in respectable increments led by cable providers who typically provide the fastest networks, but also have data caps. When the service launched, Google executives repeatedly told a story about how they realized they shouldn’t just whine about poor connectivity, they should do something to make it happen.


Google Fiber was initially a way to show that delivering a fiber network could be built and to get consumers, regulators and elected officials excited about what a modern network could do. From the initial launch in Kansas City Google officials said it would be profitable to deliver a gig at $70 a month. Last year, Google amended that original mission to say that it wants to use Google Fiber as a moneymaker.


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Will the Internet of Things Become the Internet of Broken Things? | NetworkWorld.com

Will the Internet of Things Become the Internet of Broken Things? | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cisco Systems estimates that the number of devices connected to the Internet will reach 50 billion by 2020. This brings promise for users, corporations and vendors but also a major challenge: What happens if this Internet of Things (IoT), all 50 billion of them, morphs into the Internet of broken things?


In other words, how will vendors ensure that these devices are compatible? Who will be responsible for guaranteeing this compatibly? If a device breaks, who will fix it? And does everyone even want total connectivity in the first place?


"Overcoming these challenges to interoperability is somewhat of a double-edged sword," says Ryan Martin, associate analyst at Yankee Group. "On one hand, standardization could further market penetration, as well as the breadth and depth of IoT solutions. On the other, it means relinquishing control and, therefore, leverage over a given ecosystem.


As a result, Martin says, we'll more likely see mergers, acquisitions and partnership activity before we see the influence of cross-industry, technical standards.


Gartner Vice President Hung LeHong agrees, saying it'll be a long time before we reach universal compatibility - if ever. Today's marketplace "competition," he says, centers on delivering middleware, portal and gateway aggregators that can take in multiple types of connections.


A variety of vendors is involved, from telecommunications firms and cloud providers to retailers and hardware and software vendors. ( PTC's acquisition of ThingWorx stands as evidence that software vendors are interested in the Internet of Things.) "No one entity will win all areas," LeHong says.


Maciej Kranz, vice president of the corporate technology group at Cisco, points to security as a top concern as well, especially as assembly lines and oil fields are connected. Three years ago, the Stuxnet virus spread havoc in industrial environments, and cyberattacks on other areas of critical infrastructure are also on the rise.


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Palo Alto, CA Expedites Permit and Inspection Process through Apps | GovTech.com

Palo Alto, CA Expedites Permit and Inspection Process through Apps | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There’s no need to walk through the glass doors of Palo Alto’s Development Center to know why the city upgraded its construction permit and inspection process. Just ask the applicants about the infuriating two-to-three-hour wait and the costly parking ticket fines that typically went along with the laborious process.


These drudgeries confronted the center’s customers  — construction developers and architects — who often lost hundreds of dollars during lengthy communication exchanges with city departments. The situation had become an insufferable headache, nearly unsupportable, and clearly unsustainable for a fast-growing municipality like Palo Alto — now at 61,000-plus residents.


The center’s Development Services Director Peter Pirnejad saw the impact at both ends. Customers were annoyed and the center’s staff were pressed thin. The daily routine exasperated employees and customers alike as they confronted the paper shuffling activity attached to the transactions of construction, its required checkmarks and regulations.


"When you have 4,500 permits issued in one year, and each permit can generate a magnitude of calls and emails, the flood of information and requests about updates can often be overwhelming and sometimes it is,” Pirnejad said.


With the heavy intake of permit applications — and coordinating roughly 24,000 inspections each year — the center acts as the middle-man between applicants and approvals needed from five intercity departments. Approved permits manifest themselves onto plan checks and various construction stages of a project (this translates to plan reviews, permitting, inspections, and every new and improved structure deemed permit worthy).


Located in Silcon Valley, Palo Alto has been the launch pad for such tech giants as Google, Apple and Facebook and is the home base for companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Skype and Tesla Motors. Considering its back history, Pirnejad knew the city should consider leveraging technology. The city already has a progressive tech policy and citizen survey’s indicated 50 percent of residents were open for an online remedy.


"Being a Gov 2.0 advocate, an open government advocate, I've applied those broad terms to a real specific target market which is permitting and development review,” Pirnejad said.


The center’s team assembled a number of innovative apps and technology providers. They included the IT firm Accela for its civic cloud platform and Civic Insight for real-time permit and inspection updates. Pirnejad highlighted the civic engagement app Textizen — soon to be released — that will allow passing traffic to send and receive feedback on construction and inspection sites. Altogether, the apps were able to eliminate the city’s service backlog and streamline the process.


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FCC Bidding Rules Becoming Clearer for Upcoming Airwaves Auction | Re/Code.net

FCC Bidding Rules Becoming Clearer for Upcoming Airwaves Auction | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Correction: The FCC is considering reserving up to 30 MHz of licenses in local markets for reserved bidding. A previous version of the story incorrectly said the agency could set aside up to 30 percent of licenses.


Federal officials plan to reserve a portion of licenses sold in a TV airwaves auction next year for smaller wireless carriers under a plan floated recently by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler.


Overall, the plan has something for most wireless carriers to both love and hate. While it allows all wireless carriers to bid for airwaves in an effort to drive up revenue from the sale, the plan also potentially sets aside licenses for smaller carriers. And it creates a new standard for how many licenses a wireless company can hold, which could make it easier for Verizon Wireless and AT&T to acquire more airwaves in the future, but hurt Sprint’s ability to do the same.


The proposal represents an effort by Wheeler’s aides to meet two broad, conflicting goals of the auction: Raise as much money as possible (by selling licenses to wireless giants AT&T and Verizon) while increasing competition in the wireless market (by selling licenses to smaller carriers that need more prime airwaves to compete for subscribers).


Details of Wheeler’s plan began leaking out Friday evening after FCC staff and company lobbyists were briefed on some details. Wheeler aides began briefing some lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill earlier this month. The FCC could vote on the plan and release details to the public as soon as mid-May, although some details may change in the coming weeks as industry lobbyists swarm the agency.


“All who want to participate in the auction will be able to bid,” Wheeler said in a written statement. “In order to assure coverage and competition in rural America it may be necessary to assure no one can monopolize the bidding.”


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The insanely fast WiFi router you’ll probably never need | WashPost.com

The insanely fast WiFi router you’ll probably never need | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The average American household  connects to the Internet at a rate of 10 megabits per second. Not bad, but also not fantastic — by way of comparison, a single HD Netflix stream takes up 5.8 Mbps of bandwidth. Now with that as our baseline, consider the speeds of the country's fastest Internet connections today: 1 Gbps, or a gigabit per second. That's equivalent to 1,000 Mbps, or roughly 100 times faster than the national average.


But if you thought that was fast, wait until you hear about a new WiFi router that's coming next year. It's capable of 10 Gbps — 10 gigabits per second. That's a thousand times the rate of the average American broadband connection. It's mindboggling. You could theoretically stream 1,724 Netflix movies, all in HD, all at the same time and not see any lag. And the manufacturer, Quantenna, says its 10-gigabit WiFi router will be shipping next year, though it offered no word on its price tag.


The new device is being announced just a year after the standards body responsible for WiFi put the stamp on 802.11ac, the technical protocol that provides for 1 Gbps WiFi. To see a 10x jump so soon on top of that announcement is pretty crazy.


But let's pause for a second to understand what this really means.


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CA: LA asks for gigabit fiber and free service, but keeps its crown jewel off the table | Steve Blum's Blog

CA: LA asks for gigabit fiber and free service, but keeps its crown jewel off the table | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The City of Los Angeles has taken the next step in its quest to have gigabit class fiber optic service available to every home and business.


An official request for information (RFI) has been released for the Los Angeles Community Broadband Network (LACBN), with a 30 June 2014 deadline for responses. It’s only a preliminary step towards formally requesting proposals for the project. It’s also optional – not responding won’t keep anyone out of the running when the time comes.


At some level, the city wants Internet access available to all residents for free. The RFI points to free service and hardware offered elsewhere (without giving examples) and states that the network should ensure that “minimum levels of services and equipment are available to all”.


Otherwise, the objectives are…


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Why U.S. state, local governments are exploring alternative business models for fiber to the premise telecom infrastructure | EldoTelecom

Why U.S. state, local governments are exploring alternative business models for fiber to the premise telecom infrastructure | EldoTelecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Larry Irving, who served as assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), writes in The Hill that he is having a difficult time understanding why state and local governments are interested in building their own telecommunications networks.

The answer is self evident. Mr. Irving need only look at the situation in Montrose, Colorado, described in this Daily Yonder article -- which is emblematic of much of the United States. Investor-owned providers can't provide all premises reliable wireline Internet service and do so at a cost that affords good value for the consumer:


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Google Fiber reaches preliminary franchise agreement with Portland | The Oregonian

Google Fiber reaches preliminary franchise agreement with Portland | The Oregonian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber has hit a major milestone with Portland, inking a tentative franchise agreement for hyper-fast Internet in the city.


The deal doesn’t guarantee Google will bring its fiber-optic service to Portland – the company still must evaluate local regulations, topography, existing utility networks and other factors that will influence its decision. The 29-page, 10-year franchise also needs sign-on from the city council – the franchise is scheduled to go before commissioners May 7.


Additionally, Portland and Google must reach agreement on the company’s desire to put big “network huts” on public property in parts of the city, and small utility cabinets on parking strips in neighborhoods throughout Portland.


But the franchise agreement brings service a good deal closer, outlining the terms under which Google would operate in Portland.


“This franchise agreement is an important step along the path to Fiber. It gives us permission to build here, and it also outlines the ways that we’ll partner with the city to invest in local infrastructure and give back to the community,” Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said in a written statement. “There’s still a lot of work to do beyond this one agreement, but we hope to provide an update about whether we can bring Fiber here later this year.”


Google announced in February that it hopes to bring its fiber-optic service to Portland and five other cities in the metro area – Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego and Tigard. The company plans to offer connections at 1 gigabit per second – roughly 100 times faster than standard broadband connections now – along with an accompanying cable TV service.


Companies need franchise agreements to install utility lines in the publicly owned right of way. Google’s deal resembles Comcast’s existing franchise agreement with Portland in some ways, with some notable differences.


Portland agreed to a different type of franchise because it expects different types of benefits from Google’s service, according to Mary Beth Henry, director of Portland’s Office for Community Technology.


“The overall public benefits are commensurate with the kinds of public benefits available under local cable franchises for many years,” Henry wrote in an e-mail.


Here’s an overview of Google’s deal:


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Comcast: Without Time Warner Cable, we can’t compete against Google, Netflix | Ars Technica

Comcast: Without Time Warner Cable, we can’t compete against Google, Netflix | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast today filed a 175-page "public interest statement" with the Federal Communications Commission to explain why its proposed $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable will be good for consumers. The country's largest cable and broadband Internet provider is already meeting opposition in its quest to buy the second largest cable provider, however.


As Comcast prepares for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for tomorrow, more than 50 public interest groups "submitted a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler calling a market takeover of this scale 'unthinkable' and urging the agency to block the deal," said an announcement from consumer advocacy group Free Press. "The coalition delivered the same letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, which is also charged with reviewing the merger."


While consumer groups think buying Time Warner Cable will give Comcast too much power, Comcast Executive VP David Cohen said in a conference call today that it needs extra scale to compete against Google, Netflix, and other companies in the broadband and video markets. Google is only offering fiber Internet in a few markets today, but "the point is, Google is coming," Cohen said. "They are a company with global scale, enormous resources, [that] is substantially larger than we are. The business reasoning behind the transaction is that we also need the scale to be able to compete with the Googles and other generations of competitors that are going to continue to flood the multi-channel video marketplace."


Other competitors he named include Netflix, DirectTV, Dish, AT&T, Verizon, Apple, and Sony.


"The difference between all of those competitors and us is they all have national or global market scale, and with that scale comes marketing advantages in the way they can sell their products on a national basis, but it also brings scale to make investments, to make investments in R&D, in innovation, and in infrastructure and technology," Cohen said.


Comcast's mention of Netflix as a competitor comes shortly after Netflix grudgingly agreed to pay Comcast for a connection to its network that will improve video streaming, which had been degrading in quality for months. Netflix has asked the FCC to implement net neutrality rules that would prevent it from having to make such payments. That's a topic that could come up during the merger proceedings, though Comcast argues that interconnection agreements should not be subject to net neutrality rules.


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Broadband Speeds Around The World | CloudTweaks.com

Broadband Speeds Around The World | CloudTweaks.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you have you ever wondered who has the world’s fastest internet, and whether speeds differ by country or by provider, the latest State of the Internet report from Akamai provides some answers, says Peter Lawson, marketing manager at iiNet, Australia’s second-largest DSL Internet provider.

Akamai,” he states, “gathers data from the Akamai Intelligent Platform and puts it all together in a handy report at the end of each quarter. The Akamai Intelligent Platform is made up of a distributed network of servers and intelligent software and delivers over two trillion interactions daily. It constantly monitors the Internet conditions to identify and block security threats, and provide optimization advice based on its extensive reach and data.

Lawson points out that according to Akamai’s latest report, in the third quarter of 2013 the global average connection speed increased 10% to 3.6 Mbps, while the global average peak connection speed decreased 5.2% to 17.9 Mbps.

The top 20 fastest Internet speeds according to average peak connection are:

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The Broadband Report: It was one 'gigafied' week | Editor's Blog at WRAL Tech Wire

The Broadband Report: It was one 'gigafied' week | Editor's Blog at WRAL Tech Wire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Can high-speed networks really help us meet the world's grand challenges like trying to feed a world of 9 billion people by 2050?


Chris Vein, chief innovation officer for Global Information and Communications Technology Development at the World Bank believes it.


Researchers in this world of big data need to collaborate more. Researchers must approach the world of big science and big data with the four V's of discovery: Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Veracity. That's what Renssellar Polytechnic Institute (RPI) President Shirley Ann Jackson believes.


Blair Levin author of the National Broadband Plan and now Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute says government should heed the wise words of St. Francis: Preach the gospel and if necessary use words. Blair said sometimes government and government regulatory agencies focus too much on the words and not enough on the action steps.


Myra Best, executive director at DigiLEARN, Jane Patterson, president of Jane Patterson & Associates and former executive director of the e-NC Authority, Phil Emer, director of technology planning and policy at The William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University, and MCNC Chief Technology Officer Mark Johnson painted a great picture of how policy, planning, advocacy and action led North Carolina to having 98 percent of North Carolina's K-12 schools connected to dedicated fiber. This is the highest recorded rate of fiber connection in the country.


Myra, Jane, Phil and Mark gave attendees at the Broadband Communities Conference in Austin, Texas last week a view of the complexities of working across and between government, public education, and nonprofit as well as for-profit to accomplish a goal of equity of access to education in K-12.


These were just some of the highlights of last week's Internet2 Global Summit in Denver and the Broadband Communities Summit in Austin. It truly was a gigafied week.


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Canada’s Internet Sucks And the Government Has No Real Plan to Improve It | VICE Canada

Canada’s Internet Sucks And the Government Has No Real Plan to Improve It | VICE Canada | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Remember back in college when you had an overdue paper to write for a class you didn’t really seem to care much about? Did you ever just “repurpose” a decent paper you’d already written last year, sprinkle in a few new items so it’s not plagiarism (it’s not, amiright?), and hand that shit in on your way to the liquor store? Well, you’re in good company, because this is exactly what the government of Canada has just done with its new Digital Canada 150 Strategy.


After spending an excessively long time in the works, Digital Canada 150 is the government’s vision for developing Canada’s digital economy over the next five years. Every other industrialized country has some kind of strategy to promote their own digital sector, so it’s about time that Canadians had their own national plan to get some of that sweet, sweet internet money.


There are five pillars in the 26-page document: connecting Canadians, protecting Canadians, Economic Opportunities, Digital Government, and Canadian content. Taking a look at the Economic Opportunities section, I counted 10 bullet points of “new” items. One of these was the already-announced Canada Jobs Grant, which landed the government in hot water when it ran expensive television ads extolling the program’s virtues before the program had even been agreed upon by the provinces whose funding it poached. This glaring example of more PR-before-policy stands among some other sensible, if unambitious, items.


If you take eight minutes to read it all, it’s easy to tell that the plan we’ve just been handed is a collection of very unambitious goals and reheated policy announcements. In one emblematic example, the government actually delayed its own telecom regulator’s goal to make 5 Megabit per second broadband accessible to 98% of Canadians by 2015 (apparently over half a million folks don’t really even deserve slow internet).


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