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New Digital-Divide Campaign Would Leave Seniors Behind | New America Media

New Digital-Divide Campaign Would Leave Seniors Behind | New America Media | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A major national campaign was launched last week to bridge the digital divide. Everyone On is the public service arm of Connect2Compete (C2C), a national public-private partnership that hopes to provide Internet access, digital literacy training and refurbished computers to low-income consumers.

The three-year, multimillion-dollar campaign, which C2C is doing with the Ad Council, sounds like a great idea, given how essential digital communications have become in how Americans live and work in the 21st century.

There’s just one problem—as an efficient way of providing low-cost broadband access and computers to many low-income families, C2C is targeting those whose children are eligible for the federal free and reduced-cost lunch programs. To qualify, a family must be in a low-income area and have a child on the lunch program.

That means low-income seniors, a highly vulnerable segment of the population, are being left behind.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was a driving force behind the launch of C2C. The commission recognized the need for a strong collaborative partnership with industry, the nonprofit sector and government to make sure everyone in this nation, regardless of age or income, is able to reap the benefits from access to affordable broadband networks.

 

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Bloomberg's 'What Works Cities' Initiative Targets 100 Mid-Sized Metros | Colin Wood | GovTech.com

Bloomberg's 'What Works Cities' Initiative Targets 100 Mid-Sized Metros | Colin Wood | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cities want to do new and exciting things with their data, and now they’re getting some extra help to do just that.

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced on April 20 the launch of What Works Cities, a $42 million, three-year initiative that will assist mid-sized American cities in developing data projects that improve life for their residents. The initiative now seeks 100 cities with populations between 100,000 and 1 million residents to receive guidance from program partners like The Behavioural Insights Team, Harvard Kennedy School of Government Performance Lab, Johns Hopkins University’s new Center for Government Excellence, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation.

“While cities are working to meet new challenges with limited resources, they have access to more data than ever – and they are increasingly using it to improve people’s lives,” Michael Bloomberg said in a press release. “We’ll help them build on their progress, and help even more cities take steps to put data to work. What works? That's a question that every city leader should ask - and we want to help them find answers.”


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Zaller: There’s No Stopping The Move To IT/IP | Harry Jessell | TVNewsCheck.com

Devoncroft Partners' Joe Zaller is reluctant to make predictions about the media technology marketplace, even though he is a expert analyst of it. However, one thing he sees clearly is the inexorable movement of TV media from baseband video to IT files and IP infrastructure. The reasons for it, he believes, are many and compelling.

Zaller draws his insights from the two principal sources: The Global Market Valuation Report, a joint venture between him and the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers, which tabulates the sales of more than 2,500 tech vendors, and his own annual Big Broadcast Survey of media companies, which tries to ascertain technology trends and their technology spending plans.
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Zaller was as busy as anyone at NAB last week honing his expertise by presiding at a series of panels with tech buyers and sellers on Sunday and by meeting with executives of tech companies throughout the week.


Last Thursday as the convention began to wind down, he took time to discuss the IT/IP future and other trends with TVNewsCheck Harry A. Jessell.


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Kansas City Council gets formal plan for Cisco smart city partnership | Austin Alonzo | Kansas City Biz Journal

Kansas City Council gets formal plan for Cisco smart city partnership | Austin Alonzo | Kansas City Biz Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Kansas City and its partners plan to spend more than $15 million during the next decade on a "smart city" project.

City officials announced in May that Cisco Systems Inc. would make Kansas City its latest smart city, with the use of advanced technology to boost the efficiency of a range of services. On Thursday, Mayor Sly James introduced an ordinance authorizing City Manager Troy Schulte to enter into an agreement with the San Jose-based networking technology company.

The ordinance, which will be taken up by the City Council's Finance, Governance & Ethics Committee on April 22, also authorizes Schulte and Finance Director Randall Landes to execute various agreements regarding the project and its financing. The city declined to share those documents, which are still being negotiated, said Michael Grimaldi, a spokesman for the mayor's office.

An ordinance fact sheet prepared by city Chief Innovation Officer Ashley Hand indicates that Kansas City will spend $3.8 million on the project over the next decade and that the amount will be "matched and exceeded by nearly $12 million in private investment by Cisco ... and its growing list of partners." The figures give an idea of how much the project may cost in total.


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Senate Bill Would Grandfather JSA's | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Senate Bill Would Grandfather JSA's | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Association of Broadcasters Monday praised the introduction of a bill that would exempt all joint sales agreements in effect at the time of the FCC's decision that made most of them attributable as ownership interest.

The Bill is backed by a bipartisan quartet of powerful senators.

The one-paragraph bill simply says that parties to JSA's in effect on the effective date of the FCC decision (March 31, 2014) "shall not be considered to be in violation of the ownership limitations..."

A politically divided FCC voted to make all JSA's in which a station sold more than 15% of a second stations ad inventory equivalent to co-ownership for the purposes of local ownership caps. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler signaled that he was closing a loophole that allowed lawyers to game the ownership rules, while broadcasters said that was preventing combos that could help both stations and their viewers.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined Blunt as original co-sponsors of the bill.

“This is about protecting our constituents’ access to local news, politics, sports, cultural events, and emergency notifications from their own states,” said Mikulski. “Local broadcasters who play by the rules should be able to trust that Washington won’t make rule changes apply retroactively in ways that harm their ability to serve their communities.”

The deadline for affected broadcasters to comply with the new joint sales agreements rule change is currently Dec. 19, 2016.


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The Free Internet Is a Global Priority | Senator Ron Wyden Opinion | WIRED

The Free Internet Is a Global Priority | Senator Ron Wyden Opinion | WIRED | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In recent weeks, some of my allies in the internet community have asked why I am working on the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, which they see as harmful to the internet. Many of these activists have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me in the past as I fought against powerful special interests. I appreciate their views and their work to keep the internet open and free.

Let me explain my position clearly.

In my view, the trade promotion authority bill I introduced last week, along with the Trans Pacific Partnership that is still being negotiated, both present real opportunities to preserve and protect an open internet around the world.


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Facebook’s Internet.org Isn’t the Internet, It’s Facebooknet | Josh Levy Opinion | WIRED

Facebook’s Internet.org Isn’t the Internet, It’s Facebooknet | Josh Levy Opinion | WIRED | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Internet.org, its marquee project to “connect two-thirds of the world that don’t have internet access,” is now inviting any website or service to join the program. According to Zuckerberg, this change—which follows criticism that the program violates Net Neutrality principles—would “give people even more choice and more free services, while still creating a sustainable economic model to connect every single person in the world.”

But when you examine how the program would work, it becomes clear that rather than improve a service that is already busy violating Net Neutrality around the world, the change actually makes things worse.

It sets Facebook up to serve as a quasi-internet service provider—except that unlike a local or national telco, all web traffic will be routed through Facebook’s servers. In other words, for people using Internet.org to connect to the internet, Facebook will be the de facto gatekeeper of the world’s information. And unfortunately, Facebook is already showing what a poor gatekeeper it would be.


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Verizon Focuses on Cashing in on LTE | Sarah Thomas | Light Reading

Verizon Focuses on Cashing in on LTE | Sarah Thomas | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon's postpaid subscriber growth missed analyst expectations in the first quarter and it lost both prepaid and 3G customers, but the self-described "premium" carrier is instead focused on monetizing the more valuable LTE data users it does have.

Verizon Communications Inc. reported total wireless revenues of $22.3 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 6.9% over last year, but service revenues declined slightly, 0.4%, to $17.9 billion, while equipment revenues increased $1.5 billion as more of its customers signed on to its Edge equipment installment plans. (See Verizon Reports Q1 Revenues of $31.98B.)

The carrier added 621,000 4G smartphones in the quarter, but lost 374,000 3G smartphone customers, bringing its overall smartphone growth to 247,000. It also added 820,000 4G tablets and lost 385,000 basic phones and 188,000 prepaid devices in the quarter.

Overall, Verizon brought in 565,000 retail postpaid additions, a 4.4% year-over-year increase, but fewer than analysts were expecting.

On the upside, LTE devices now make up about 70% of Verizon's retail postpaid connections base, up from 49% a year ago, and 86% of total wireless data traffic is now on the 4G network. Data usage is also on the upswing -- by 54% for those on More Everything plans.

"This is all pointing to where the future growth of the business comes from," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said on the call. "There aren't many businesses were consumers want to consume more and more."


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CenturyLink Using Sneaky Fee to Hike DSL Prices | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

CenturyLink Using Sneaky Fee to Hike DSL Prices | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Users in our CenturyLink forum note that the telco has started sending out notices that it's hiking the cost of DSL services courtesy of a number of not-entirely-forthright fees the company employs to jack up the advertised price post sale. Users note that most of the company's six million DSL customers will be seeing a dollar increase in the form of something CenturyLink calls the "Internet Cost Recovery Fee."

CenturyLink started charging the fee back in 2013, the Centurylink website giving this not-entirely-sensible explanation for the $2 surcharge:

quote:This fee helps defray costs associated with building and maintaining CenturyLink's High-Speed Internet broadband network, as well as the costs of expanding network capacity to support the continued increase in customers' average broadband consumption.

Keep in mind CenturyLink already caps DSL users at 150 GB monthly, so it's not entirely clear just how many more "Internet costs" CenturyLink hopes to recover above and beyond the $50 and up it charges for last-generation DSL speeds. CenturyLink also often charges users a "non-telecom surcharge," tacked on to the bills of users who receive Voicemail or Lineguard -- a $4.50 per month insurance program CenturyLink often signs users up for without asking.


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WA: Tacoma’s Rainier Connect makes bid for Click | Kate Martin | The News Tribune

WA: Tacoma’s Rainier Connect makes bid for Click | Kate Martin | The News Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tacoma-owned Click now has another suitor seeking to take over operations of the city’s fiber network.

Rainier Connect CEO Brian Haynes said Wednesday he is ready to make a bid for the municipal cable and Internet company.

Click, which is operated by Tacoma Public Utilities, has been losing money for years, city officials say. TPU bosses suggest the utility is losing $9 million per year, and Tacoma Power’s 170,000 customers make up the difference.

Last month, Wave, a Kirkland-based broadband provider, offered to lease Click’s fiber network for 40 years, with an option to renew for another 10 years. Wave has 430,000 customers in three states. Click has about 19,000 customers.

Haynes said Rainier Connect would, at a minimum, match Wave’s proposal, dollar for dollar. Wave offered $2 million per year in payments to Tacoma Public Utilities and $1.5 million per year in infrastructure upgrades, which could include Wi-Fi hotspots in certain areas of the city. The payments to TPU and investments in the system would increase with inflation.

TPU board member Mark Patterson said Thursday the Wave proposal is “not a done deal,” and he welcomed Rainier Connect’s proposal.


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AT&T says it needs to invest in FTTP where it makes economic sense | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

AT&T says it needs to invest in FTTP where it makes economic sense | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T is seeing that the rollout of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) is the only way it can realistically compete with both existing cable operators and emerging players, such as Google Fiber, that are offering higher speeds than it can deliver on a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) architecture.

"Demand is growing for faster broadband speeds than AT&T, or anyone else for that matter, can deliver with FTTN, which cannot match the highest speed tiers being offered by cable and other rivals in the marketplace," AT&T wrote in an FCC filing. "From an engineering perspective, cable technology offers more bandwidth that can be allocated to faster download speeds. Comcast already offers broadband download speeds over 100 Mbps in all of its markets, and other broadband providers are in the process of widely deploying much higher speed offerings."

Google Fiber has ignited the awareness of higher-speed broadband with its rollout of 1 Gbps service in various markets, prompting AT&T, CenturyLink and now Comcast to offer similar services.

Over the past two weeks, Comcast upped the ante in the competitive broadband game by introducing a 2 Gbps service in three regions: Atlanta, California and Florida. At the same time, AT&T has also been introducing its GigaPower 1 Gbps service in other markets, including Cupertino, Calif., and plans to penetrate the Chicago metro area.


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MN broadband project stuck in federal stimulus time warp | Tom Steward | Watchdog.org

MN broadband project stuck in federal stimulus time warp | Tom Steward | Watchdog.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A costly government-owned broadband network in northern Minnesota is stuck in a sort of stimulus time warp.

Six years after passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the Lake Connections network remains under construction and behind schedule. It faces losing millions in Rural Utilities Service money, because the federal stimulus program ends later this year.

“I know we’ve got construction going heavy. We’re fighting hard to get on that deadline,” said Lake County Commissioner Peter Walsh. “… I’m sure things could be better, but we’ll see how things go at this point.”

Lake County has hired former RUS administrator Hilda Legg — for $5,000 a month — to lobby her former agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But it’s down to the wire on a project that has been building from behind since it was approved in early 2011.

“They’re out of time, I think. It’s the time line. Poor planning is what I think,” said Larry Sandretsky, line superintendent for Cooperative Light and Power, a key contractor on the project.

Lake County has burned through just 60 percent of a $66.5 million federal loan and grant to build the broadband network north of Duluth, RUS officials tell Watchdog Minnesota Bureau. Neither Lake County Administrator Matt Huddleston nor Lake Connections General Manager Jeff Roiland replied to requests for comment.

While stimulus funding technically expires in September, participants have received letters warning that projects must be wrapped up by June 30 to receive reimbursements. That leaves Lake County with less than two months to complete the third and final phase of the sprawling system. If not, local taxpayers could foot more of the bill.


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Microsoft wants Verizon to hand over names of suspected Windows pirates | Gregg Keizer | NetworkWorld

Microsoft last week asked a federal court to let it serve a subpoena on Verizon to force the Internet provider to identify those behind a two-year scheme that allegedly activated hundreds of copies of Windows 7 illegally.

According to documents filed with a U.S. District Court in Seattle last week, the IP address 74.111.202.30 was the source of the Windows 7 product activations. But unless Verizon hands over the subscriber name or names for that address, Microsoft will not be able to find the alleged criminals.

"Microsoft seeks leave to serve a Rule 45 subpoena on Verizon Online to obtain subscriber information associated with the infringing IP address at the time of the alleged acts of infringement," Microsoft said.

The address is currently identified with Verizon FIOS, the Internet provider's broadband service.

In a complaint filed April 28, Microsoft laid out its case, naming a series of "John Does" because it had not been able to dig up the real names of the alleged culprits.

"The infringing IP address has been used to activate hundreds of copies of Windows 7," Microsoft said, using stolen or illegitimate activation keys. Some of the keys had been snatched from its supply chain, others were keys designated for OEMs but used instead by an unauthorized party, and still more were legit keys used many more times than allowed.


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OTT Video Viewer Survey: Smart TVs Increase Group Viewing | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor

OTT Video Viewer Survey: Smart TVs Increase Group Viewing | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Introducing streaming video devices into the home changes viewing patterns significantly, according to one of two new studies from the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) released May 1. Smart TVs, for example, lead to more in the way of group viewing, while introduction of OTT services leads to more time spent watching TV, according to researchers from GfK Media and User Experience, which conducted the study on behalf of CRE.

The first of the two studies – “an acceleration extension ethnography” – followed up on an initial study of video viewing and usage in 35 Chicago area households who “had been pre-identified as intending to purchase one or more new types of media technology and then were given funds to cover half the cost for these devices, including smart TVs, tablets, streaming devices (such as a Roku box or Google Chromecast device) and gaming consoles,” CRE explains.

CRE notes that “viewing patterns are still dynamic and shifting as a result of device/ecosystem churn.” According to follow-up study results:


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Google Broadband By Balloon (Loon) Is About To Go Global | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Google Broadband By Balloon (Loon) Is About To Go Global | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In June of 2013 Google unveiled Google Loon, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft. Ground base stations set some sixty miles apart communicate with solar-powered radio transmitters affixed to the balloons, and Google steers the balloons using wind as they ride the 40th parallel.


In an update posted over at Youtube, Google says the company is preparing for a much larger deployment, and tackling the challenge of "moving from small scale, one-off launches and tests, to the scale and automation required to make balloon-powered Internet for all a reality."

Loon saw plenty of critics early on who claimed Google would be lucky to keep its broadband balloons aloft for more than a couple of days. Now, Google's busy keeping balloons in the air for hundreds of days over thousands of kilometers, and it's ready for the next big step.

"We're getting close to the point where can roll out thousands of balloons," Project Lead Mike Cassidy says. "In the beginning, it was all we could do to launch one balloon a day, now with our automated crane system, we can launch dozens of balloons a day, for every crane we have."


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Residential Gigabit Drives Wi-Fi Advances in Home Network Hubs | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Residential Gigabit Drives Wi-Fi Advances in Home Network Hubs | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

An announcement today from Alcatel-Lucent reminds us of a new problem that has arisen as more and more customers use residential broadband at speeds up to a gigabit per second: The customer’s Wi-Fi connection can become a new network bottleneck. According to Alcatel-Lucent, the problem gets worse as consumers increase the number of devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles that are connected to the Internet.

Alcatel-Lucent attacks the problem on several fronts with a new optical network terminal (ONT)/ home network hub announced today, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing other manufacturers launching similar solutions.

Technology built into the new Alcatel-Lucent ONT/ home network hub with the goal of boosting in-home bandwidth includes:


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Netflix asks FCC to reject AT&T-DirecTV merger unless changes made | Alina Selyukh | Reuters.com

Netflix asks FCC to reject AT&T-DirecTV merger unless changes made | Alina Selyukh | Reuters.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix Inc has urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to reject the pending $48 billion merger of AT&T Inc and DirecTV unless its concerns about the deal are addressed.

A Netflix spokeswoman said on Tuesday that the video streaming company does not oppose the merger in principle but is rather seeking remedies that would help resolve its competitive concerns.

"While we are participating in the government's review, we are not opposing the merger," the spokeswoman, Anne Marie Squeo, said in a statement. "We've been highlighting concerns about AT&T's broadband practices and the need for appropriate remedies since last September."

According to regulatory disclosures posted on Tuesday, Netflix representatives met recently with more than 20 FCC officials and raised concerns about the combined company's gatekeeping power as it would become the country's largest pay-TV provider with potentially expansive broadband reach.

Though the filing does not amount to a formal "petition to deny" the merger, it marks the strongest language yet from Netflix on the proposed merger of the No. 2 wireless carrier and the largest U.S. satellite-TV company. Previous FCC filings from Netflix on the deal called for approval with conditions.

"The combination of these companies would increase the incentive and ability to limit competition and innovation in the online video space," Squeo said.


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Peter Chernin Defends Periscope, Talks Future of Pay TV Bundle | Georg Szalai | The Hollywood Reporter

Peter Chernin Defends Periscope, Talks Future of Pay TV Bundle | Georg Szalai | The Hollywood Reporter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Peter Chernin on Tuesday discussed the future of the pay TV bundle and Periscope, Twitter's video streaming app.

"I am not convinced that you are going to see the collapse of the bundle," he said at INTX: The Internet and Television Expo in Chicago, the annual industry conference organized by cable trade association NCTA. "I think that's wildly overstated. I do think you will see the bundle probably rationalized in some ways."

Added the former right-hand man of 21st Century Fox boss Rupert Murdoch and now chairman and CEO of The Chernin Group: "What you are going to see more than anything is this tremendous explosion of new alternatives, largely IP-delivered."

He added: "It will in some ways ultimately force the bundle to justify itself, and that’s honestly not the worst thing in the world."


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Comcast Shouldn’t Be Able to Stop Verizon from Offering Better TV Plans | John Bergmayer | Public Knowledge

Comcast Shouldn’t Be Able to Stop Verizon from Offering Better TV Plans | John Bergmayer | Public Knowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Public Knowledge is on the other side of a lot of public policy issues from Verizon. That said, Verizon's new "Custom TV" plans are a move in the right direction. It’s great to see a company announce--and then launch--a new approach that is good for viewers, good for the provider, good for competition and ultimately good for programmers, as well.

The “Custom TV” plans aren’t perfect, and they're not quite à la carte. But they can allow some viewers to lower their bills and increase the amount of control they have over the programming they pay for. That’s a good thing.

Of course, there’s a reason why a company like Verizon would move first to offer packages like this. Even though you can trace Verizon’s corporate history back to the Bell System, when it comes to TV, it’s the new entrant compared with big cable. Most cable companies don’t face much “overbuilder” competition--sometimes cable companies like RCN come in and serve the same territory as an existing cable company, and sometimes cable companies face competition from telcos like Verizon or AT&T that offer a broadband/TV package. (Most cable companies face TV competition from DISH and DirecTV, but the broadband/TV package is most appealing to many customers, and satellite companies can’t compete there.)

But Verizon competes with cable in all the areas it serves. As a result, it has to work harder than cable to win customers. These new TV plans are part of that, and are an indication that, however slowly, the industry is moving in the direction of more consumer choice. It’s not just that online video unlocks a lot of potential competition--the traditional pay TV companies are going to have to adapt, as Verizon is starting to do. More choices from every kind of video provider, including traditional ones, will benefit viewers.

But some things could stand in the way of this--for example, if Comcast buys Time Warner Cable, its ability and incentive to prevent its competitors from offering more consumer-friendly plans would increase. There are hints of how that might work happening already.

Since Verizon announced its plans, a number of programmers have complained. They say their contracts with Verizon mean they have to be included in every subscriber's package, instead of as optional add-ons. If you're a programmer, it's better for your bottom line when every subscriber is required to pay for your product, instead of deciding whether your programming is worth the price.


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WA: Seattle activists push for city-run, high-speed Internet service | Daniel Beekman | Seattle Times

WA: Seattle activists push for city-run, high-speed Internet service | Daniel Beekman | Seattle Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Roughly a year ago, a group of friends and acquaintances began meeting up for happy-hour drinks in Seattle — but not to gab about work or dating or the Mariners.

What brought them together was whether and how Seattle can treat broadband Internet access like a public utility by providing high-speed connections to every home.

“We came up with the most ridiculous name we could, something like “The Municipal Broadband Dreamers Society Happy Hour Friday Club,” Sabrina Roach recalled.

The memory made Roach chuckle recently, but she and her friends are serious about municipal broadband. What started during a happy hour has since grown into a public-awareness campaign called Upgrade Seattle, with a website and a plan to impact this year’s Seattle City Council elections.


The group says municipal broadband would ensure equal access to the Web across the city’s many neighborhoods and more fair pricing. “Seattle is ready,” the website asserts.


Whether its campaign gains widespread relevance may depend on the findings of a feasibility study commissioned by Mayor Ed Murray’s administration. A report on the study by Columbia Telecommunications Corporation (CTC) is to be released this month.


“I believe, with the Murray administration, we have an opportunity to push for this,” said Roach, who has been coordinating Upgrade Seattle because her employer, Brown Paper Tickets, pays her to work on communications and social-equity campaigns.


Murray’s study won’t be the city’s first to look at municipal broadband. There were similar reports in 2005, 2007 and 2011, under then-mayors Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn. The 2005 report warned that “private markets, left alone, are unlikely to favor Seattle.” The 2011 report recommended a $700 million-plus investment in building a community broadband network.


So why is the city paying CTC $180,000 for yet another take on the same question?


Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller, who joined Murray’s team last June from Microsoft’s cloud-privacy division, says market conditions are different now.


“We recognized that the world has changed since then,” Mattmiller said.


One change is President Obama has put his weight behind community broadband networks — cities and counties offering high-speed Internet access in competition with providers like Comcast and CenturyLink.


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INTX 2015: NCTA's Powell Hates (the Name) Cable | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

INTX 2015: NCTA's Powell Hates (the Name) Cable | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell said Tuesday that he hates cable, the name that is, because it does not capture all that his industry has done to build out broadband.

Powell opened his collar, as well as the rebranded and reimagined INTX 2015 show in Chicago, with in a Q&A interview with Re/Code's Kara Swisher.

A Silicon Valley informality and attitude was part of the message. An opening video with Peter Max-like cartoon forms christened INTX a "mash-up at the crossroads of entertainment" and pointed out that some of the ideas NCTA had solicited from the public about the broadband future included downloadable cupcakes and telepathic telecommuting.

But Powell seemed serious about moving his industry beyond cable toward what convention co-chair Alfred Liggins had called a uniting of "friends and frenemies."

"Once upon a time there was the cable show," the narrator in the video said, as if to place that show in a book whose pages were now turned. Powell suggested the future of video was going to be multi-screen and holographic, and meant competing with real life, which meant the connected communities and video apps that are the currency of young people's interactions.

Swisher took aim at the "cable" name, saying it was kind of like talking about a "motorized horse."

"I hate the name," Powell said. "I do think it has a proud history but I think it has to be retired in some way because I think your past can be apart of your glory but it also can be a weight around your ankle. And it also doesn't fairly capture what they do."

And while he may hate the name, he loves the record of building out broadband.

He said the industry had "successfully deployed the most sophisticated infrastructure in the history of the world in the fastest amount of time of any technology in the history of the world, and increased the capacity of that at exponential rates."

He said it should be more centered around its association with the Internet and less with its history of the disruptions it made when it revolutionized broadcast TV.


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Getting It Right: Utah, CenturyLink & Gig Nets | Carol Wilson | Light Reading

Getting It Right: Utah, CenturyLink & Gig Nets | Carol Wilson | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink's announcement this week of its major Utah fiber deployment on behalf of the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) is an example of a public-private partnership that both parties say is working as it should.


With UETN as its anchor tenant, CenturyLink is building out a terabit network that will reach 1,400-plus schools, and take fiber past more than 100,000 homes and 30,000 businesses. The deal was made possible by a process that lets the statewide network agency determine its requirements and then put them out for competitive bidding. (See CenturyLink Builds Terabit Network for Utah Schools.)

More than 800 schools will be fiber-fed and get service that starts at a gigabit and goes up, says Jeremy Ferkin, CenturyLink vice president of operations in Utah. CenturyLink is connecting about 60% of Utah's schools, and health clinics and libraries in those school communities are also being connected. CenturyLink isn't disclosing what portion of its $3 billion capex budget it is pouring into Utah, he says, but it is a significant investment that would have been even greater had it won more turf in UETN's competitive RFP process.

"We thought we were going to win more than we did -- it was a very competitive process," Ferkin says. As it is, CenturyLink's new fiber network will pass almost half of the 64,000 businesses in Utah with at least one employee, he says, in addition to the homes, schools, libraries and clinics.

CenturyLink was already building out its gigabit network in Utah, which is undergoing significant economic development, much of it from the technology sector. The carrier provides gigabit services to more than 11,500 businesses along the Wasatch Front, and is deploying 1 Gig services to homes in Salt Lake City and in the St. George area of southern Utah.

"The technology economy is growing leaps and bounds in Utah," Ferkins says. "It is close enough to Silicon Valley to have expansion offices here for technology companies and it's attracting venture capital funds. The political environment is very pro-business and they are driving a collaborative environment as well."


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Wheeler: FCC Will Tackle Rate-of-Return CAF Program This Year | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Wheeler: FCC Will Tackle Rate-of-Return CAF Program This Year | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has committed to “taking action” on a broadband Connect America Fund program for the nation’s smaller rate-of-return carriers by the end of the year, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a blog post Friday.

To further that goal, the commission has met with associations and others representing ROR carriers to “ask for their creative cooperation in getting this job done for rural consumers,” Wheeler said. He also noted that he and his colleagues have made a commitment to Republican South Dakota Senator John Thune about completing this task. Thune has been an advocate for various rural telecom issues, including asking the FCC to allow carriers to collect Universal Service support for customers who take broadband but not voice service.

The FCC has made considerable progress in transitioning the voice-focused Universal Service program for the nation’s larger price cap carriers into a broadband-focused Connect America Fund. But less progress has been made toward an equivalent transition for ROR carriers.

Wheeler noted that the commission began the process of establishing a CAF program for ROR carriers a year ago. At that time the commission took various actions on CAF, including adopting a further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) focused on ROR carriers.

The NPRM proposes that ROR carriers transition to model-based support, a move that already is underway for price cap carriers. Traditionally ROR carriers have received support based on how much their actual costs exceed national averages.


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Peru: LTE subscriptions hit 1.3m | TeleGeography.com

Peru’s cellcos had signed up a total of 1.3 million 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscribers by the end of 2014, according to a new report from the nation’s telecoms regulator Osiptel.


Mexican-owned cellco Claro represented 600,000 LTE users at that date, followed closely by Movistar with 500,000, whilst the newly-rebranded Entel Peru claimed some 200,000.


In the fixed broadband space, meanwhile, Osiptel reported a total of 1.73 million subscribers, up 9% year-on-year and of which 41% used connections of at least 4Mbps, whilst 32% had 2Mbps connections and 9% 1Mbps.

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Internet governance: What if the sky really is falling? | David Post | WashPost.com

Internet governance: What if the sky really is falling? | David Post | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There is nothing, I have observed, that makes readers’ eyes glaze over quite like a discussion of “Internet governance.” It is entirely understandable; there has been a fair bit of hand-waving and even hand-wringing, about Internet governance over the past couple of decades – I have been among the guilty on this – and nothing much ever actually happens; governance talk turns out to be just that – talk – while the Internet seems to purr along quite well from one day to the next, with no more “governance” than it seemed to have ten or twenty years ago, thank you very much.

But something truly ominous is brewing on the Internet governance front, something with the potential to affect every one of the billions of people who now use the Internet on a daily basis, and not for the better. It is, unfortunately, buried pretty deep in some dense technical, and the legal, weeds, but here is the story in a nutshell.


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Twenty Years after the Birth of the Modern Internet, U.S. Policies Continue to Help the Internet Grow and Thrive | John Morris Blog | NTIA.gov

Twenty Years after the Birth of the Modern Internet, U.S. Policies Continue to Help the Internet Grow and Thrive | John Morris Blog | NTIA.gov | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to speak at the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI) to a group of foreign government officials focused on Internet and cybersecurity issues. My talk focused on how NTIA sees the role of the Internet in the U.S. economy, and what key policies have contributed to the strength of the U.S. Internet economy.

Participants included representatives from Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda. The daylong course, organized by NTIA’s Office of International Affairs, introduced basic concepts in Internet policymaking and governance to build awareness, and develop and improve policymaking skills while working in a multistakeholder environment with government, civil society, industry and others. The course, which will take place again in September, examined U.S. Internet policy approaches, taking into consideration some of the key international issues and debates occurring globally.

Our discussion happened to fall on the 20th birthday of the commercial Internet, which fit right into my theme. The NSFnet was decommissioned on April 30, 1995, paving the way for the commercial use and private governance of the Internet. In its wake, we have witnessed an extraordinary explosion of innovation and economic growth in the online environment.

These are six key policies that I believe have contributed to the strength of the U.S. digital economy and provide a model for developing countries, such as those that participated in the USTTI course, to consider as they seek to grow their economies:


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