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Genachowski to leave FCC | FCW.com

Genachowski to leave FCC | FCW.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski plans to leave the agency in the coming weeks. Genachowski has led the FCC since 2009.

 

On Genachowski’s watch, the FCC has shifted its focus to broadband communications. The commission’s 2010 open Internet order made network neutrality the law of the land, although the order is being challenged in a federal court case that is due to be decided as early as April. The FCC overhauled the Universal Service Fund, which helps subsidize the costs of bringing telephone service to rural and remote communities, to include funding for broadband. More bandwidth is expected to come online for wireless broadband, thanks to a planned reverse auction of spectrum by broadcasters, proposed by the FCC and passed into law by Congress in 2012.

 

The FCC has "taken big steps to build a future where broadband is ubiquitous and bandwidth is abundant," Genachowski said in remarks to FCC employees on March 22. It’s also revitalized its own reputation as a good place to work and as an incubator of talent – U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel was its managing director from 2009 to 2010. The 2010 Office of Personnel Management Employee Survey named the FCC the "most improved" agency in the government.

 

Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn is expected to take over as interim chairwoman, but the agency is expected look outside for a new leader.

 

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Three Woman in Communications Policy Highlight Citizen Participation, Activism and Engagement for Broadband | BroadbandBreakfast.com

Three of the most prominent women in communications policy on Thursday highlighted the vital role of citizen participation, activism and corporate engagement to ensure a collective high-speed broadband future.

“The next six to eight months are perhaps going to be the most important months in the history of communications policy,” said Gigi Sohn, special counsel for external affairs at the Federal Communications Commission.

Sohn was referring to the agency’s open internet proceeding, possible FCC action to ensure that municipalities are permitted to provide broadband access, and decisions on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mega-mergers.

Sohn spoke on a panel at the Broadband Communities economic development conference here in Western Massachusetts. She also lauded the work of her co-panelists Susan Crawford, a former Obama administration technology advisor now a visiting professor at Harvard School of Law; and Sharon Gillett, former head of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Division and currently Microsoft’s principal strategist for technology policy.

Crawford, a leading architect of the Obama administration’s aggressive efforts to stimulate the growth of high-speed internet networks, has been one of the nation’s leading visionaries for the power of fiber-optic communication. Of all available internet technologies, fiber is unparalleled in its ability to offer resilient ultra-high speed broadband connections.

Crawford’s latest book, The Responsive City: Engaging Cities Through Data-Smart Governance, tracks the role that fiber now plays in the democratic relationships on a civic level. Such technologies that enable greater transparency and problem solving by public officials and residents, the book co-authored with Stephen Goldsmith builds a case for deeper urban interconnectedness through broadband technologies.

“To give people dignified lives, we need to make sure people have fiber access,” Crawford said.

She’s also begun a new Project Fiber at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The effort plans to “document futuristic fiber networks being built in Massachusetts,” according to a job posting for a research assistantship.

Sohn, Crawford and Gillett all encouraged conference attendees to make their voices heard in Washington. Thanks to the work of internet pioneers like Crawford, Sohn said, Americans have finally begun to understand the importance of policy issues like network neutrality.


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DDoS attackers turn fire on ISPs and gaming servers | John Dunn | NetworkWorld.com

DDoS attackers turn fire on ISPs and gaming servers | John Dunn | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

DDoS attackers seem to have switched their attention from banks to gaming hosts, ISPs and even enterprises, half-year figures from Chinese mitigation vendor NSFOCUS have confirmed.


The firm's recent statistics show that the peak for DDoS attacks on banks happened in the first half of 2013 when they accounted for an extraordinary 45 percent of all attacks, with enterprises second in the target list at around 25 percent.

By the second half of last year, this had started to change with bank attacks slipping under 10 percent - this has since dropped to fractions of a percent. If banks are now off the menu, online gaming and ISPs are suddenly popular, rising in the first half of 2014 to 10 percent and nearly 15 percent of attacks respectively.

"This indicates how 'trendy' profit-driven hackers can be when selecting their attack prey, choosing the most ripe target for the times," said NSFOCUS's researchers.

Oddly, the firm omits to offer a more detailed explanation for these trends in DDoS attacks, so let's speculate to fill in some of the blanks.

The wave of bank DDoS attacks in early 2013 were part of a wider assault on the sector, which probably had both political and financial motivations. From one side, Iranians actors were said to be hitting US firms as part of a cyberwarfare campaign that had started in 2012. From the other side, criminals started using DDoS as a distraction exercise while they attempted to transfer funds from compromised bank accounts. Both were eventually contained, or so it seems.

This year's spike in attacks on gaming sites seems to be spurred by the actions of individual hacking groups that want to disrupt an a multi-billion online industry, a good example of which would be last week's 'Lizard Group' attack on Destiny, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN). They do it because they can - this kind of DDoS attack is now a cheap commodity.

As for ISPs, these attacks are more significant and probably relate to probes against the infrastructure that holds up many online services. ISPs offer a good test bed for new types of attack.


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UN: U.S. Broadband Ranking Slips Again; Now 19th Place in Penetration, 24th in Wired Connections | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

UN: U.S. Broadband Ranking Slips Again; Now 19th Place in Penetration, 24th in Wired Connections | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

All of the top-10 broadband rankings for accessibility, affordability, speed, and subscription rates have been awarded to countries in Europe and Asia, while the United States continues to fall further behind.

This week, the UN Broadband Commission issued its annual report on broadband and had little to say about developments in North America, where providers have maintained the status quo of delaying upgrades, raising prices, and limiting usage. As a result, other countries are rapidly outpacing North America, preparing the infrastructure to support the 21st century digital economy while officials in the U.S.A. and Canada cater primarily to the interests of large incumbent cable and telephone companies.

The United States has fallen from 20th to 24th place in wired broadband subscriptions, per capita. Virtually every country in western Europe now beats the United States, as does Hong Kong, Belarus, and New Zealand. Canada scored better, taking 14th place.


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The New Offensive On Canadian Government Spying | Justin Ling | Motherboard.vice.com

The New Offensive On Canadian Government Spying | Justin Ling | Motherboard.vice.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As parliament resumes in Canada, privacy advocates OpenMedia are hoping to stir up renewed public debate in the country, about the role of its spy agency, CSEC, in government surveillance.

Vowing to “stop illegal spying,” the group just launched a new video campaign designed to stoke concern about the Communications Security Establishment Canada’s shadowy mandate. The group alleges that said mandate allows for spying that is “secretive, expensive, and out-of-control.”


“Canada’s national spy agency can collect and analyze your private communication data without a warrant," the video warns."This could include your phone calls, your email, your internet data, and even wherever you go with your phone.”


The video is another phase of the organization’s campaign to raise awareness and exert pressure on the government over warrantless bulk data collection.


With the return of the Conservative party's cyber-snooping legislation, under the guise of Bill C-13, OpenMedia cobbled together the Protect Our Privacy coalition to push Canadians to voice their views.


The group includes the usual suspects of Amnesty International, the BC Civil Liberties Association, and a slew of unions. It also includes some unlikely partners like the right-leaning Canadian Taxpayer Federation, the National Firearms Association, and several media groups.


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Rogue cell towers discovered in Washington, D.C. | Steve Ragan | NetworkWorld.com

Rogue cell towers discovered in Washington, D.C. | Steve Ragan | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Towards the end of July, ESD America, the makers of the ultra-secure CryptoPhone, said that their engineers and customers had discovered more than a dozen rogue cell towers (also known as interceptors or IMSI catchers) around the U.S.


New information shows that the discovered towers might only represent a small fraction of the whole, and what's been discovered doesn't account for the mobile base stations that are only active on a limited basis.


Interceptors are a huge risk if used by a malicious actor. That's because once a device connects to them, the interceptor's operator can perform a number of tasks, including eavesdrop on calls or text messages, or in some cases push data (spyware for example) to the device. This is why they're only supposed to be used by law enforcement or the government.


However, that doesn't mean that the government or law enforcement haven't found themselves in the hot seat for abusing an interceptor's functionality. The potential for abuse and wide availability of the technology, including home-grown versions that work just as well as their commercial counterparts, means that the existence of unknown interceptors are a major concern.


In an interview with Popular Science last month, Les Goldsmith, the CEO of ESD America, said that it's suspicious many of the interceptors discovered in July were "on top of U.S. military bases."


"So we begin to wonder – are some of them U.S. government interceptors? Or are some of them Chinese interceptors? Whose interceptor is it? Who are they, that's listening to calls around military bases? Is it just the U.S. military, or are they foreign governments doing it? The point is: we don't really know whose they are."


The unknown is what prompted questions from Congress, who grilled the FCC on their plans to address the interceptor issue.


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - September 19, 2014 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - September 19, 2014 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The media is picking up on Chairman Wheeler’s notice to big telecom: 4Mbps is not going to cut it anymore. Wheeler said speeds closer to 10Mbps should be classified as high speed. A good step, but by the end of this Media Roundup, you’ll be questioning what that paltry 10 Mbps can do for communities…

Michael Nielsen with Motley Fool pointed out reasons that big telecom should be scared: competition, competition, competition. Meanwhile, AT&T patted itself on the back because they say 98% of its customers have download speeds of 6 Mbps or higher (so they claim). So yes, congratulations are in order, in the most minor way possible.

Want another reason big telecom should be scared? Free Marketeers are on board with Net Neutrality. From James J. Heaney:

“… it seems odd for a conservative – whether an old-guard big-business Bush-era conservative or a new-guard Paulite libertarian conservative – to support Net Neutrality.

Except I do Internet for a living, and I am one of the lucky ones who actually knows what Net Neutrality means and what it’s responding to. And, folks, I’m afraid that, while L. Gordon Crovitz and Rich Lowry are great pundits with a clear understanding of how Washington and the economy work, they don’t seem to understand how the Internet works, which has led them to some wrong conclusions.”


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CWA's support of AT&T/DIRECTV merger based on fallacious logic | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

CWA's support of AT&T/DIRECTV merger based on fallacious logic | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CWA says AT&T-DIRECTV merger will advance broadband buildout, help consumers, Workers | Speed Matters - Internet Speed Test: The AT&T/DIRECTV merger will improve the economics for AT&T’s investment in high-speed broadband, the critical infrastructure for the 21st century, CWA said. Video is the major driver of broadband expansion, producing the revenue stream to support investment in high-speed networks. As a stronger video competitor, a merged AT&T/DIRECTV will have the economic incentives to increase investment in the high-capacity networks that are so essential to drive economic growth, jobs, and the social benefits enabled by high-speed digital technology.

So asserts the Communications Workers of America in comments filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in support of AT&T's acquisition of DIRECTV.

The problem is the logic does not hold up. AT&T's deriving additional revenues from DIRECTV video services does not necessarily mean those additional funds will be invested in landline Internet infrastructure and thus CWA jobs that builds and maintains that infrastructure.

And why should that be the case, AT&T will likely ask itself once the deal goes through, when satellite does the job of delivering video content to residential premises? Instead, any video revenue bump from the deal will likely be plowed into earnings and dividends, not CAPex for infrastructure.

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CA: Business, Education Call on Culver City to Invest in Muni Fiber in L.A. County | community broadband networks

CA: Business, Education Call on Culver City to Invest in Muni Fiber in L.A. County | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last fall, Culver City, CA hired a consultant to develop a design and business plan for a possible fiber network project. Recently, prominent business leaders and parents of local school children have publicly expressed their support for a municipal network.

Culver City, also known as "The Heart of Screenland" is situated in west L.A. County, surrounded primarily by the City of Los Angeles. Approximately 39,000 people live in this community that is beginning to draw in the tech industry. In addition to Disney's Maker Studios, Apple owns Culver City's Beats Electronic, known for high-tech headphones. Culver City wants to stay current to compete with Santa Monica, home to a number of tech businesses that connect to its publicly owned City Net.

The L.A. Weekly reports billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of NantWorks, has encouraged city leaders to move forward with the project. His specific request is that five business districts be included in the network deployment. NantWorks, located in one of those districts, provides cloud-based operating systems to support telehealth. According to the article, Soon-Shiong is rallying other business leaders:


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How 3D Printing Will Impact Your Future | Rudy de Waele | The Next Web

How 3D Printing Will Impact Your Future | Rudy de Waele | The Next Web | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The first time I saw a 3D-printer in action was when I participated to the Singularity University Executive Program in the spring of 2011. It was a place that offered corporate executives and entrepreneurs the tools to predict and evaluate how emerging technologies will disrupt and transform their industries, companies, careers and lives.

Since then, I have been following the explosion of 3D-printing products and services closely and it’s an integral part in most of my talks for clients and at conferences.

During the program we visited TechShop; there, we experimented with miniature 3D modeling, as well as the Autodesk offices in San Francisco. Those visits really blew my mind as I realized the broad possibilities of use and the impact 3D printing could have in many different sectors. It was incredible to see last week at the 3D-printshow in London how this industry has grown in just three years’ time.

Everyday, more people have access to 3D-printing technology thanks to the open-source hardware DIY clubs, hacker and maker spaces and Maker Faires that popping up in cities around the globe. Good international examples are Wevolver in London and Amsterdam, the FabLabs, and the more recently, the 3D Hubs network, which grew from connecting a couple of hundred 3D-printers to more than 7,000 in less than a year’s time.

Easy access to top class 3D modeling and design apps and software like 123D Design (available for PC or Mac, iPhone and iPad or through a Web application) makes it accessible for many people to start printing in 3D in their own neighborhood.

More 3D-printing marketplaces and Service Centers are being opened everywhere by entrepreneurs betting on a lucrative market to explode the next years. Shapeways and Maker6 are pioneers in this area in the US, while iMaterialise is well-known in Europe (Belgium).

Some of the big players are already positioning towards a 3D-printing consumer boom as well, such as the recently launched Amazon’s 3D-printing Store or the UPS Store’s in the US.


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Mobile industry makes the pro-goodies case for non-neutral networks | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com

Mobile industry makes the pro-goodies case for non-neutral networks | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Meredith Attwell Baker is the president and CEO of the wireless industry group CTIA. And in prepared remarks at Monday's GSMA Mobile 360 event in Atlanta, she declared that mobile Internet service providers aren't backing away from the idea that key to surviving in the wireless marketplace is, increasingly, the digital bonuses they offer -- goodies that could be prohibited under strong net neutrality rules.

Such "differentiation," said Baker in the remarks, is "an issue that isn't getting enough attention."

"Given the clear, competitive import of network management to retain and attract subscribers," the former Federal Communications Commissioner was slated to say, "I will never understand why the government would intervene now, and even contemplate hamstringing disruptive competitors or reducing the competitive energy around delivering the best network experience."

In the mobile realm, such goodies are known in the developing world as zero-rated apps. In the United States, they are offered under the banner of "sponsored data" and under names like T-Mobile's Music Freedom. Those apps raise questions about whether they favor some providers of digital at the expense of others, but Baker is hinting here at the idea that they'll only become more prevalent as cell phone service companies compete.

Sponsored data hasn't been a high-profile part of the open Internet debate now taking place before the FCC, where Baker was a commissioner from 2009 to 2011 before jumping over to the cable and content company Comcast; she joined CTIA earlier this year. But the concept does challenge the expectation held by some when it comes to the wired Internet that networks are meant to serve as "dumb" pipes, or largely content-agnostic conduits for digital packets.

In the wireless world, argued Baker, "we should want competitors fighting to see who can manage the best network, and optimize the most services for the most subscribers. No one wants a one-size-fits-all mobile Internet experience."


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Fast Lane, Slow Lane -- "No Lane" -- End Game in Telecommunications | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Fast Lane, Slow Lane -- "No Lane" -- End Game in Telecommunications | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Forget about Net Neutrality's fast lane vs slow lane. We are at the end game in telecommunications and we should all be talking about the "No Lane."

Net Neutrality is like one of those Rorschach Tests used in psychological examinations where everyone sees something different in the same picture. With a record 3.7 million comments filed at the FCC in the Open Internet proceeding, as of September 15th, 2014, one thing is clear -- America is angst-ridden about something.

The most common theme in the last round of comments filed is now the-easy-to-remember chant -- "fast lane vs slow lane," while over the last decade it has referred to the blocking or degrading of service.

But the truth is -- the angst is not only from 'Net Neutrality'. According to an ACSI survey, in 2014, Comcast and Time Warner are leading the list as the "most hated companies in America," while "ISPs," (actually the phone and cable companies, including AT&T and Centurylink) were also at the bottom of customer satisfaction.

While Net Neutrality focuses on important issues, it doesn't address or cure anything to do with stopping the "No Lane"-- the end game if AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner continue on their path. These companies are the incumbent wireline and cable companies that control most of the wires in the US and that also means that they control all wireless services. Control of the wires also gives them control over all services, including competitor services, but more importantly it gives them the ability to control who gets upgraded and who doesn't, or what prices customers' pay, or worse, who will be 'shut off' and end up in a 'Digital Dead Zone'.

How bad is the broadband 'landscape'?

A recent speech by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler brings the "No Lane," filed with the "have nots," into focus.


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Lyft Buys Carpooling Startup Hitch To Grow Lyft Line | Ellen Huet | Forbes.com

Lyft Buys Carpooling Startup Hitch To Grow Lyft Line | Ellen Huet | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In early August, Uber and Lyft tripped over each other to be the first to announce they were debuting a carpooling option. Hours before Lyft was set to announce Lyft Line, Uber jumped in front and shouted they were beginning UberPool, both of which offer riders the chance to pay lower fares and pair with other riders.

The announcements struck a one-two punch on fledgling carpooling startup Hitch, whose launch I covered in June. Its cofounders, Snir Kodesh and Noam Szpiro, had built Hitch around a dream of shared rides with strangers — but suddenly, the backseat was a lot more crowded.

“There was a feeling of, ‘Oh boy, we have a lot of scary competition if we want to continue on this track,’” said Kodesh. “We knew it was going to be a real uphill battle to go face to face.”

But no battles will be waged. Instead, Lyft will buy Hitch, the companies said Monday.


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Iridium's next-gen satellite network will search for missing planes at no charge | Kevin Fitchard | GigaOM Tech News

Iridium's next-gen satellite network will search for missing planes at no charge | Kevin Fitchard | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Iridium’s new satellites will start blasting into orbit next year on top of SpaceX and Dnepr rockets, they’ll be carrying a special payload: an aircraft tracking system that will be able to locate a plane anywhere in the world once Iridium’s 66-satellite constellation is fully operational in 2017.


The service is run by Aireon, a joint venture between Iridium and government aviation agencies in Canada and Europe, and it plans on charging airline for its core flight monitoring services. But Aireon said it would open the network up gratis to international rescue agencies during emergencies, allowing them to home in on missing aircraft.


In the case of Malaysia Airlines 370, which disappeared in March, the emergency service could have helped in locating and the possible rescue of the still missing flight by plotting its exact GPS coordinates every few seconds. The technology behind it is called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), and transponders using it are being installed in new and old commercial aircraft.


Iridium birds won’t be the only ones listening for ADS-B signals either, both Inmarsat and Globalstar are putting the locator tech on their aircraft and will be offering competing flight monitoring services. Iridium, however, has the slight advantage of offering pole-to-pole coverage, which given the artic great circle routes taken by many transcontinental flights would be very handy.

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Connecticut Gigabit Venture Seeks to Build Open Access Broadband Network With Municipal Tools | BroadbandBreakfast.com

Connecticut officials planning a Gigabit Network in their state aim to take advantage of three core state broadband assets: An extensive state fiber network, streamlined processes governing rights-of-way, and a single administrative point of contact for infrastructure builds.

The mayors and state officials involved in issuing Connecticut’s Request for Qualifications document on September 15 said that that each of these three assets will enable the state to succeed in building an open access network – even when others have failed at the open access model.

An open network would enable multiple competitors, and not just a single monopoly entrant, to offer Gigabit Services. So said several state officials on Thursday, speaking at panel discussion at the Broadband Communities economic development conference here.

Only three days after the mayors issued their RFQ, West Hartford Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor recapped the reasons for Connecticut’s approach favoring open access. The cities don’t want to replace one monopoly — existing telephone and cable companies — with another monopoly like Google Fiber, she said.

The process that led New Haven, Stamford and West Hartford to issue their request for an open Gigabit Network began when West Hartford state Sen. Beth Bye investigated legislation that might help facilitate Gigabit Network coming to Connecticut, Bye said on Thursday.

She introduced legislation in last year’s budget budget making it easier for municipal and state networks to access public utility poles and ducts.

Additionally, Bye said, individuals seeking to build a Gigabit Network decided to use the state’s Nutmeg Network as a key building block. The Nutmeg Network is an open access educational network that provides 10 Gigabit connections to all 169 municipalities in the state. All towns are connected, and many are connected at multiple points.

The momentum behind the network was spurred on as officials began to discuss the prospect with state business leaders. Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, said Thursday that “these kinds of businesses [technology-focused companies] are totally the ones we are targeting” for economic development.

In addition to the legislative change, the officials worked with the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to create a system for a “single point of contact” administrator enabling easier access to poles and ducts. Broadband experts call such an administrator an invaluable aid in developing fiber-to-the-home projects.


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Stanford Promises Not to Use Google Money for Privacy Research | Julia Angwin & Robert Faturechi | NetworkWorld.com

Stanford Promises Not to Use Google Money for Privacy Research | Julia Angwin & Robert Faturechi | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Stanford University recently declared that it will not use money from Google to fund privacy research at its Center for Internet and Society, according to a legal filing made by the school.


"Since 2013, Google funding is specifically designated not [to] be used for CIS's privacy work," the university said in the court filing, found by ProPublica in documents filed in an unrelated lawsuit.


Stanford's Center for Internet and Society has long been generously funded by Google, but the center's privacy research has proved damaging to the search giant in the past two years. Two years ago a researcher at the center helped uncover Google privacy violations that led to the company paying a record $22.5 million fine.


Stanford and Google both said that the change in funding was unrelated to the previous research. But some academics said that Stanford's promise not to use Google money for privacy research is problematic.


"It's such an etiquette breach, it tells you something is really sensitive here," said James Grimmelmann, a University of Maryland law professor who specializes in Internet law and online privacy. "It's fairly unusual and kind of glaring to have that kind of a condition."


Like most universities, Stanford has a policy that does not allow employees to "take money for academic research (or anything else) with strings attached. All donors to the Center agree to give their funds as unrestricted gifts."


Barring work on specific subjects is generally frowned upon, particularly because research that starts in one area can naturally lead to other topics. 


"To do research honorably, you have to follow where the data lead," said Cary Nelson, former president of the American Association of University Professors. "You have to have the freedom to follow those leads." Asked if he would work under such conditions, Nelson was curt: "No."


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AT&T and Verizon defend data caps on home Internet service | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

AT&T and Verizon defend data caps on home Internet service | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T and Verizon have been fighting to preserve 4Mbps as the nation’s definition of “broadband,” saying the Federal Communications Commission should abandon plans to raise the minimum to 10Mbps.


The companies also argue now that the FCC should not consider data caps when deciding whether an Internet service qualifies as broadband.


Verizon does not impose any caps on its home Internet service. AT&T advertises 150GB and 250GB monthly limits with financial penalties when consumers use more than that. While AT&T sends notices to customers about heavy usage, it generally hasn’t enforced the financial penalties.

Still, the companies want the ability to charge heavy broadband users extra in the future, just as they do today with their cellular offerings. In filings with the FCC posted on the commission’s website yesterday, AT&T and Verizon object to proposals by Netflix and others that would include data caps in the FCC’s definition of broadband. The definition affects the FCC’s analysis of nationwide broadband deployment, and companies that accept Universal Service funds when building networks in rural areas must match the standard.


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Law Enforcement Freaks Out Over Apple & Google's Decision To Encrypt Phone Info By Default | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Law Enforcement Freaks Out Over Apple & Google's Decision To Encrypt Phone Info By Default | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week, we noted that it was good news to see both Apple and Google highlight plans to encrypt certain phone information by default on new versions of their mobile operating systems, making that information no longer obtainable by those companies and, by extension, governments and law enforcement showing up with warrants and court orders. Having giant tech companies competing on how well they protect your privacy? That's new... and awesome. Except, of course, if you're law enforcement. In those cases, these announcements are apparently cause for a general freakout about how we're all going to die. From the Wall Street Journal:

One Justice Department official said that if the new systems work as advertised, they will make it harder, if not impossible, to solve some cases. Another said the companies have promised customers "the equivalent of a house that can't be searched, or a car trunk that could never be opened.''

Andrew Weissmann, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation general counsel, called Apple's announcement outrageous, because even a judge's decision that there is probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed won't get Apple to help retrieve potential evidence. Apple is "announcing to criminals, 'use this,' " he said. "You could have people who are defrauded, threatened, or even at the extreme, terrorists using it.''

The level of privacy described by Apple and Google is "wonderful until it's your kid who is kidnapped and being abused, and because of the technology, we can't get to them,'' said Ronald Hosko, who left the FBI earlier this year as the head of its criminal-investigations division. "Who's going to get lost because of this, and we're not going to crack the case?"

That Hosko guy apparently gets around. Here he is freaking out in the Washington Post as well:


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FCC questions how to enforce net neutrality rules | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

FCC questions how to enforce net neutrality rules | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission needs to create explicit rules that tell broadband providers what traffic management techniques they can and cannot use if the agency has any hope of enforcing its proposed net neutrality rules, some advocates told the agency Friday.


The FCC needs to reclassify broadband as a common-carrier, public utility service in order to have a firm regulatory foundation to take net neutrality enforcement actions, representatives of Kickstarter and Mozilla said during an agency forum on net neutrality enforcement.


The FCC needs strong prohibitions against broadband providers selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic, said Susan Crawford, a visiting intellectual property professor at Harvard Law School. She called on the FCC to pass net neutrality rules pegged to Title II of the Communications Act, a section of the law that has focused on requirements for common-carrier telephone companies.


“Consumers are really collateral damage in some Titanic battles between these terminating [broadband] monopolies at the interconnection points and edge providers,” said Crawford, a longtime net neutrality advocate. “The government is the only entity that can take on these companies.”


The FCC’s mission is to protect the public trust, and that focus trumps the profit motive of a handful of large broadband carriers “every time,” Crawford added. “The only reason to water down very strong net neutrality rules under Title II would be to serve the commercial interests of the carriers,” she added.


Earlier this year, after a U.S. appeals court threw out parts of the FCC’s 2010 net neutrality rules, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules that would allow broadband providers to engage in what he called “commercially reasonable” network management. Advocates of strong rules have criticized Wheeler’s proposal, saying it would allow broadband providers to selectively slow Internet traffic and charge Web content providers for priority traffic handling.


Representatives of two broadband trade groups opposed calls for the FCC to adopt public utility-style rules, saying the dozens of regulations in Title II would create a long and expensive process for net neutrality complaints.


The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, a trade group representing cable broadband providers, supports “reasonable” net neutrality rules at the FCC, but the agency should focus on adopting overarching principles and enforcing violations on a case-by-case basis, said Rick Chessen, the NCTA’s senior vice president for law and regulatory policy.


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How airlines explain net neutrality or not | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

How airlines explain net neutrality or not | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The debate about whether Internet providers should be able to deliver some Web sites faster than others for an extra fee generated some strong rhetoric Friday. In an interview with The Washington Post, Tim Berners-Lee — credited with inventing the World Wide Web — lashed out at that plan, calling the concept a form of bribery.

The term "bribery" provoked pushback among some readers. In our weekly livechat (which you should join sometime), one of our readers asked a rhetorical question: How are Internet fast lanes any different from paying more to "sit up front in the big seats on an airline"? If you want better service, maybe you should pay for it.

The fact that folks are naturally turning to airlines to understand net neutrality suggests the air travel industry may have something to teach us. So let's unpack this analogy a bit. I'll tackle this in two parts: One will address how describing it as "paying for the big seats" doesn't adequately capture the net neutrality problem, and the second will tweak that analogy to try to help put the net neutrality issue in more concrete terms.

To return to our reader's question — one that's likely shared by a lot of folks — paying extra for a service is a quintessentially American idea. That's just a basic market principle: Making a service more valuable comes at a cost. That cost should not only be borne by the consumer, but the creator of the service should be expected to reap a profit for offering that extra value.

In that respect, the airline analogy is internally consistent. If you want more legroom, better food and high-quality cocktails, you can have them — for a price. It's up to you whether you want to pay that price, and some people do.

But let's be clear: Paying Internet service providers for the right to serve consumers faster and more smoothly — a concept known as "paid prioritization" — is not like being a customer on an airline.


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Netflix CEO Asks: Why Aren't Cable Companies Paying Us? | Chris Morran | The Consumerist

Netflix CEO Asks: Why Aren't Cable Companies Paying Us? | Chris Morran | The Consumerist | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years, as cable companies and other Internet Service Providers have tried to round up support for their desire to charge a toll to bandwidth-heavy content providers like Netflix, they have repeatedly said that they deserve to be paid for carrying all that data to subscribers… even though they are already being paid by their own customers, and even though they are only carrying that content for a small fraction of its journey. Now the CEO of Netflix wants to know why that argument doesn’t swing both ways?

Last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings appeared at CTAM EuroSummit in Copenhagen, where he spoke about the ISPs’ claims that they deserve to be paid for all their hard work.

“There’s a legitimate argument, which is: ‘Hey Netflix, you’re using 30% of the internet, you ought to pay some of the cost,'” said Hastings. “It’s a good sound bite.”

But Hastings questions exactly what it is that ISPs are doing that merit this additional money. After all, if Netflix does account for such a huge amount of traffic, couldn’t you argue that one of the reasons that consumers even have a broadband account in the first place is to stream Netflix?

“Consumers are choosing Netflix and if we’re supposed to pay some of the cost of the network, maybe we should get some of the broadband revenue,” explained Hastings, who then jokingly offered to fellow panelist Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, “[W]e’ll pay 10% of your network costs if we get 10% of broadband revenue. Or we’ll pay 10% of your network costs if you want to pay 10% of our content costs.”

Cable companies advertise “blazing fast” downloads and their commercials show all the awesome things you can do at home with their broadband service — and streaming video is always in the forefront of that marketing.

But when customers actually try to use their broadband service as advertised, the ISPs — many of which are also pay-TV operators who stand to lose money from cord-cutters — don’t want to actually deliver it, at least not once they realize they can charge Netflix for access to the customers are paying both the ISPs and Netflix.


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Internal Emails Show Harris Corp. Misled The FCC On Stingray Device Usage In Order To Receive Approval | Tim Cushing | Techdirt.com

Internal Emails Show Harris Corp. Misled The FCC On Stingray Device Usage In Order To Receive Approval | Tim Cushing | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Harris Corporation's Stingray cell tower spoofers are swiftly becoming synonymous with government lying. The FBI has specifically instructed law enforcement agencies to lie about the use of these products, which basically puts the agencies in the position of lying to courts when producing evidence or securing warrants.

Law enforcement agencies would probably lie anyway, even without the federal government's nudge. Many chose to read the restrictive non-disclosure agreements Harris includes as meaning they should withhold this information from local courts -- rather than simply seal the documents or redact them.

So, it comes as no surprise that the web of lies also includes lying to other federal agencies. The lies originate from Harris itself.


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Should the FCC define broadband? Yes! | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Pots and Pans posted an interesting article yesterday on Comments received by the FCC regarding the definition of broadband. They remark…

I’ve been reading through the comments in FCC Docket 14-126 that asks the question if the FCC should increase the definition of broadband. The comments are sticking mostly to the expected script. It seems that all of the large incumbents think the current definition of 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload are just fine. And just about everybody else thinks broadband should be something faster. In the Docket the FCC suggested that a low-use home today needs 4 Mbps download, a moderate-use home needs 7.9 Mbps and a high-use home needs 10 Mbps.

The big players seem to be saying that there is no need for definition or regulation because providers are already moving to fiber. That’s true in areas where there is a market case to develop a fiber network. And that covers a whole heck of a lot of the US — but for areas where a market case is difficult to make the definition and the regulation are imperative.

In Minnesota we can see that very directly in the Minnesota Broadband Fund. The official applications and requirements aren’t out yet – but what the Office of Broadband Development has been saying in that priority will go to unserved and underserved areas (probably in that order). Unserved is a community that doesn’t meet the federal definition of broadband at 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up. Underserved is a community that doesn’t meet the state definition of broadband at 10-20 Mbps down and 5-10 Mbps up.

These numbers weren’t pulled from a hat — they were pulled from governmental definitions of broadband. The definition sets a standard and once a standard is set it becomes a no-brainer benchmark for funding and regulations.


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CTIA's Baker To FCC: Don't Hamstring Disruptive Competitors | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

CTIA's Baker To FCC: Don't Hamstring Disruptive Competitors | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CTIA president Meredith Baker says an open Internet is nonnegotiable, but that doesn't mean applying the same Open Internet rules to wired and wireless broadband. That comes after the FCC has been signaling it is considering that move.

According to the text of a speech prepared for a mobile summit in Atlanta today (Sept. 22), Baker said wireless was different any any attempt to regulate it the same as wired, which the FCC is at least considering as part of its revamp of the Open Internet order, could "greatly inhibit, if not jeopardize, the United States’ global leadership."

"We hear a lot about the need for platform parity. Treating wireless the same as wired broadband. Our objective should be to preserve an Open Internet, not artificially impose the same set of rules on all platforms," she says. "Forcing all platforms under a single set of rules was rejected in 2010, and should be rejected again now."

She says those who push for that model fail to provide a definition of reasonable network management broad enough to cover her industry.

Baker was on the commission in 2010 when the FCC voted not to extend the anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules to wireless given the different network management challenges of its cellular architecture.

Baker pointed to the network neutrality comments of Sprint and T-Mobile that they would not be the disruptive forces they want to be--and the FCC has signaled it wants them to be--under stricter network neutrality rules, as well as the comments of Paypal founder Peter Thiel on network neutrality that "the cure will be worse than the disease."

"I will never understand why the government would intervene now, and even contemplate hamstringing disruptive competitors or reducing the competitive energy around delivering the best network experience," she said.


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Deloitte Report (Retracted) U.S. Wireless Deep Decline After Mergers | Dave Burstein | Fast Net News

Deloitte Report (Retracted) U.S. Wireless Deep Decline After Mergers | Dave Burstein | Fast Net News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Going from 6 carriers to 4 apparently a huge mistake. The Deloitte Mobile Communications National Achievement Index, a mix of 15 indicators, plummeted from 2006 to 2009 a dramatic 25-30%, after the Sprint/Nextel and Cingular/AT&T Wireless mergers http://bit.ly/Deldrop. Pretty dramatic, as you can see in the chart.

Update Sept 13: I made a bad mistake assuming that Deloitte, one of the world's largest accounting firms, wasn't fudging the data. But I can't think of any other reason Deloitte refuses to answer my questions about the index itself or to supply the data for countries comparable to the U.S. such as Britain or Germany. This is extremely poor behavior that devalues their work. No one wanting to be taken seriously in a policy discussion would make important claims without providing a way to confirm their data.

If they actually believe we face "a direct loss of USD 67 billion in GDP and 344,000 jobs in less than a decade. Furthermore, an unavailability of spectrum puts at risk the heavily mobile-dependent Internet of Things, and with it a potential USD 1.2 trillion of new economic growth," I don't see how anyone who knows the industry would consider hiring them as consultants. Craig Wigginton is the Telecom lead at Deloitte; Phil Wilson, Dwight Allen and Kevin Thompson are the listed authors. It's possible that Deloitte chose to deliberately put out something misleading to support the lobbying efforts of some big clients.

End update.

Ad hoc ergo propter hoc, of course, but no other explanation I can imagine would explain such a severe drop.

The latest index is still substantially below 2006 despite a modest recovery starting 2009. Verizon's LTE build started in 2009, now followed by AT&T, but that wasn't enough to make up the ground. Note that the index went down in boom times but rose during the Great Recession.

I was reluctant at first to write this story because I cannot find what went into their index. There were some modest anomalies in what they did explain. Deloitte is a giant accounting firm for whom the Bells are major clients so I'd normally look more closely before reporting. Since their natural bias is towards the U.S. carriers, I don't think they would skew the data against them. With 4 to 3 mergers actively under consideration across Europe I wanted to publish this.

While there were 6 carriers, prices went down every year. After the consolidation, prices remained essentially flat for several years while continuing improvement in the efficiency of wireless networks rapidly brought down the carriers' costs. Profits were low in 2006. Cingular CEO Stan Sigman told a wall street crowd. "Wireless carriers aren't even earning their cost of capital." Broadband was booming so the carriers that had landlines as well as mobile maintained profits. AT&T raised their dividend every year.

In Europe, a massive campaign by the carriers convinced Neelie Kroes that fewer companies would invest more. She allowed mergers, including the recent one that reduced Germany from 4 to 3 main wireless players. Brazil looks to do similar although the U.S. blocked AT&T/T-Mobile and Sprint/T-Mobile. When France and Canada went from 3 to 4 carriers, prices went down 10-25% depending on how you measure. 6 to 4 I always thought had a similar effect but I never had good data.

The rest of the Deloitte work is uninteresting because it's based on the thoroughly discredited 2010 FCC spectrum needs projections, much too high for political reasons.


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Global City Teams Challenge Workshop | NIST.gov

Global City Teams Challenge Workshop | NIST.gov | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Purpose:


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and several partners will kick off a year-long Global City Teams Challenge to help communities around the world work together to address issues ranging from air quality to traffic management to emergency services coordination. NIST invites communities and innovators to create teams that will foster the spread of “smart cities” that take advantage of networked technologies to better manage resources and improve quality of life.

The challenge will kick off September 29-30, 2014 with a two-day workshop that will bring together city planners and representatives from technology companies, academic institutions and non-profits. The challenge is open to participants around the world, and international representatives will be able to participate in the kick-off meeting via webcast.

This new challenge will leverage the success of the SmartAmerica Challenge, which from Dec. 2013 through June 2014 brought together more than 100 companies, universities and other organizations to form teams that developed and applied networked technologies. That challenge demonstrated that these technologies have the potential to create jobs and business opportunities and provide socio-economic benefits.

Smart cities rely on effective networking of computer systems and physical devices. These Internet of Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems (CPS) currently account for more than $32 trillion in global economic activity, a number that is projected to grow as they bring improvements to health care, advanced manufacturing and a host of other industries.

To support the challenge, NIST has teamed with US Ignite, a nonprofit focused on the creation of next-generation Internet applications that provide transformative public benefit. US Ignite will host the website where communities and technology innovators can sign up to create teams that will focus on particular smart city goals and challenges. Partners in the challenge will include the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Health and Human Services, and, from the private sector, Intel, IBM and ARM Holdings, which work in these technology areas.

Examples of current smart city projects include the following:


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