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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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Google Finally Admits Defeat on Google Plus | Will Oremus | Slate.com

Google Finally Admits Defeat on Google Plus | Will Oremus | Slate.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The company announced in a blog post Monday that it will no longer force people to use a Google Plus account to log in to other, more popular Google services. That includes YouTube, whose users have been howling for years about the Google Plus requirement. Soon they’ll be able to log in with a plain old Google account.


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Open letter petitions UN to ban the development on weaponized AI | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

Open letter petitions UN to ban the development on weaponized AI | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Future of Life Institute has presented an open letter signed by over 1,000 robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers urging the United Nations to impose a ban on the development of weaponized AI with the capability to target and kill without meaningful human intervention. The letter was presented at the 2015 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), and is backed with the endorsements of a number of prominent scientists and industry leaders, including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and Noam Chomsky.

To some, armed and autonomous AI could seem a fanciful concept confined to the realm of video games and sci-fi. However, the chilling warning contained within the newly released open letter insists that the technology will be readily available within years, not decades, and that action must be taken now if we are to prevent the birth of a new paradigm of modern warfare.


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IP Transition: FCC Should Not Import Monopoly Rules for a Competitive Future | Bruce Mehlman | Internet Innovation Alliance

The nation’s historic transition away from the copper wire toward a modern Internet Protocol-based (“IP”) communication system represents a critical technological leap forward. The United States aims to complete this transition by 2020; indeed, the impetus for this effort actually first came from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, then in his role as head of an advisory board on technology transition.

This transition will ultimately bring consumers new technology, billions of dollars in new infrastructure, and faster and better broadband services and applications. Today, test trials for the transition are underway in Alabama and Florida to work out technical issues and ensure superior service quality for consumers.

Recently, however, Chairman Wheeler publicly outlined his proposed next steps for the IP transition that include applying old monopoly-style telephone rules to favor and advance certain carriers’ business models. Applying such rules to IP-based broadband communications networks of the future would benefit companies that serve businesses, yet provide little to no benefit to the average consumer.

Specifically, in response to the supposed need to “preserve competition in the enterprise market,” the FCC plans to require that “replacement services be offered to competitive providers at rates, terms and conditions that are reasonably comparable to those of the legacy services.”


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Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc's insight:

Harold Feld of Public Knowledge wrote:


"Industry trade group knocks imposition of "monopoly era regulation" designed to break up monopolies. Apparently, this regulation works too well for the folks at AT&T and Verizon."


My comment: I guess the Incumbent telcos do not want to comply with Open Access requirements to their fiber networks so they can wipe out the competitive ISPs once again like they did after the unbundling of the copper infrastructure as imposed on them by the 1996 Telecom Act.

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Comcast WiFi Net Surpasses 10M Hotspots | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Comcast WiFi Net Surpasses 10M Hotspots | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Following recent deployment expansions in areas such as its “Keystone” region, Comcast announced Monday that its WiFi network now spans more than 10 million quasi-public hotspots nationwide.

That’s up from the 8.6 million hotspots that the company said were deployed when Comcast discussed first quarter results in May.

Comcast hit the 10 million mark through a mix of deployments in outdoor venues and business services locations as well as in home-side routers (sometimes called “homespots” or neighborhood hotspots) that emit a secondary SSID signal.


Comcast hasn’t shared its deployment breakdown, but the MSO is part of the “Cable WiFi” roaming consortium (Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks), which has deployed more than 400,000 hotspots that are accessible by their respective high-speed Internet subs.


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FCC's Clyburn Calls for Carriage, Access Rules Inquiry | John Eggerton | Multichannel

FCC's Clyburn Calls for Carriage, Access Rules Inquiry | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn has called on agency chairman Tom Wheeler to launch an inquiry into the program access and carriage rules and ongoing barriers to independent and diverse programming in the wake of the FCC's decision to approve the AT&T/DirecTV deal.

Those are the rules meant to ensure nondiscriminatory access for distribution outlets to programming and programmers to distribution outlets.

Clyburn voted for the deal and said she believes in the public interest benefits of the conditions and commitments on broadband deployment and affordable stand-alone broadband for lower income residents.

But she said she is concerned with the potential impact of the deal on smaller carriers and independent programmers given that the combined company will have over 25 million video subs.


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Car and pedestrian collision? There'll soon be an app for that | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com

Car and pedestrian collision? There'll soon be an app for that | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A safety system that ties cars and smartphones together to stop those heart-stopping near misses between cars and pedestrians could be standardized by the end of this year.

The technology involves smartphones broadcasting data over a short-range radio channel to nearby cars, so the cars can determine if a collision is likely. Unlike today’s radar-based systems, this has the ability to warn around blind corners and can alert both the driver and pedestrian.

It’s being developed by engineers at Honda and was demonstrated last week at the company’s new research and development center in Mountain View, in the heart of Silicon Valley.


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NSA will lose access to 'historical' phone surveillence data Nov. 29 | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com

NSA will lose access to 'historical' phone surveillence data Nov. 29 | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. National Security Agency will lose access to the bulk telephone records data it has collected at the end of November, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced Monday.

Congress voted in June to rein in the NSAs mass collection of U.S. phone metadata, which includes information such as the timing and location of calls. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court then gave the NSA 180 days to wind the program down.

The Director of National Intelligence had been evaluating whether the NSA should maintain access to the historical data it collected after that 180 days is up. It’s now determined that access to that data will cease on Nov. 29.


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The automation myth: Robots aren't taking your jobs— and that's the problem | Matthew Yglesias | Vox.com

Over the past five years, American politics has become obsessed with robots.

President Obama has warned that ATMs and airport check-in kiosks are contributing to high unemployment. Sen. Marco Rubio said that the central challenge of our times is "to ensure that the rise of the machines is not the fall of the worker." A cover story in the Atlantic asked us to ponder the problems of a world without work. And in the New York Times, Barbara Ehrenrich warns that "the job-eating maw of technology now threatens even the nimblest and most expensively educated."

The good news is that these concerns are wrong. None of the recent problems in the American economy are due to robots — or, to be more specific about it, due to an accelerating pace of automation. Moreover, even if the pace of automation does speed up in the future, there's no real reason to believe that it will be a problem.

The bad news is that these concerns are wrong. Rather than an accelerating pace of automation, we've actually been living through a slowdown in the pace of productivity growth. And that slowdown is a huge problem. Unless it reverses, we'll be waking up soon to find ourselves in a depressing world of longer working years, unmanageable health-care needs, higher taxes, and a public sector starved of needed infrastructure resources.

In other words, don't worry that the robots will take your job. Be terrified that they won't.


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Pai Pans Wireless Repack of TV Stations | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Pai Pans Wireless Repack of TV Stations | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai has a host of serious bones to pick with the FCC's incentive auction plans — particularly repacking TV stations in the wireless band — and has made them clear to members of the House Communications Subcommittee.

That is according to prepared testimony for Tuesday's FCC oversight hearing featuring Pai, the senior Republican on the panel, and chairman Tom Wheeler.

Pai's concerns are over both the substance and process and while he was pleased the FCC put off a vote on the auction framework from July 16 to Aug. 6, he thinks the FCC should hold an en banc stakeholder hearing before holding that vote.


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Public-Private Partnership: Did Miss. AG Staff Conspire With Hollywood to Launch Attack on Google? | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Public-Private Partnership: Did Miss. AG Staff Conspire With Hollywood to Launch Attack on Google? | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google is seeking documents from three network television conglomerates that could prove the Mississippi Attorney General’s office conspired with executives of 21st Century Fox, Comcast/NBC, and Viacom to launch a coordinated lobbying campaign against the search engine giant over its business practices.

A court filing reported by Variety alleges that staffers of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) conspired to launch an anti-Google media and lobbying blitz to pressure the company over its search practices, notably the “autocomplete feature” that some believe promotes illegal activities.

Copies of email from Meredith Aldridge, one of Hood’s staff members, addressed to Brian Cohen at the Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA) allegedly lays out a proposed media/public relations campaign to plant negative Google stories in newspapers and on television shows with the assistance of executives inside the media companies. The examples included:


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Erie County, New York Will Hire Consultant for Feasibility Study | community broadband networks

Erie County, New York Will Hire Consultant for Feasibility Study | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Erie County's leadership recently decided it is time to get serious about publicly owned broadband infrastructure. The Erie County Legislature approved funding to engage a consultant for a feasibility study. Patrick B. Burke spearheaded the initiative, reports the county's website. Burke stated:

“Consumers, businesses, schools and government agencies need to have affordable and accessible high speed internet service in order to function in today’s world; the build out of a fiber cable network is a no-brainer. This is a win for social justice, economic development and public safety.”

In addition to funding, the county has also formed a Municipal Broadband Committee and released a policy agenda which addresses service problems in the county. Next the county will issue an RFP for a consultant.


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Netflix's 4K Future: 14 New Shows And Films Announced | John Archer | Forbes.com

Netflix's 4K Future: 14 New Shows And Films Announced | John Archer | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix has revealed a launch schedule for its upcoming Originals content through to the end of 2016 – and people with 4K UHD TVs will be pleased to hear that a decent number of the new shows are going to be released in the higher-definition format.

It’s interesting to see, too, that Netflix isn’t going to just be focusing on TV shows for its upcoming Originals 4K content; there are a couple of films on the list too.


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Verizon Mobile Video Service Details Uncovered: To Be Called Go90 | Janko Roettgers | Variety.com

Verizon Mobile Video Service Details Uncovered: To Be Called Go90 | Janko Roettgers | Variety.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon is getting ready to launch a new mobile video service called Go90 this summer, Variety has learned. Go90 promises users full episodes of TV shows from select networks as well as music videos and other shortform content, and the company will at least initially offer the service entirely free of charge.

Verizon has talked for some time about plans to launch an online video service, but the company has kept mum on crucial details, including brand and pricing. This week, it accidentally made a pre-launch staging website available online, revealing not only Go90’s name but also many key details about the service. The site was taken offline after the initial publication of this story.


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Cyber Bill Gives Companies Perfect Cover to Gut Your Privacy | Sandra Fulton | Free Press

Cyber Bill Gives Companies Perfect Cover to Gut Your Privacy | Sandra Fulton | Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Following several high-profile data breaches — such as those at Sony and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — Congress is once again feeling the pressure to push “cybersecurity” legislation.

The problem is, the bill they’re laser-focused on is misguided, wouldn’t protect us — and is a huge gift to companies wanting legal cover if and when they choose to violate Americans’ privacy rights.

In March, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 14–1 in favor of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA). The bill, like its infamous predecessor CISPA, would allow companies to share vast amounts of users’ private and personally identifiable data with the government. That information would go straight to the Department of Homeland Security and then on to the NSA.


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Uber and the lawlessness of 'sharing economy' corporates | Frank Pasquale & Siva Naidhyanthan | The Guardian

Uber and the lawlessness of 'sharing economy' corporates | Frank Pasquale & Siva Naidhyanthan | The Guardian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In February, Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky compared his firm’s defiance of local housing ordinances with that of Gandhi’s passive resistance to British rule. Meanwhile, a tweeter compared Uber to Rosa Parks, defying unjust laws. Chesky quickly backed down after widespread mockery. Companies acting out of self-interest comparing themselves with the noble heroes of civil rights movements is as absurd as it is insulting.

But there is a better analogy from the US civil rights era for law-flouting firms of the on-demand economy. It’s just not the one corporate leaders claim. They are engaged in what we call “corporate nullification”, following in the footsteps of Southern governors and legislatures in the United States who declared themselves free to “nullify” federal law on the basis of strained and opportunistic constitutional interpretation.


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The Gig Economy is Coming. What Will It Mean For Work? | Arun Sundararajan | AlterNet.org

The Gig Economy is Coming. What Will It Mean For Work? | Arun Sundararajan | AlterNet.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Not so long ago, the only people who looked for “gigs” were musicians. For the rest of us, once we outgrew our school dreams of rock stardom, we found “real” jobs that paid us a fixed salary every month, allowed us to take paid holidays and formed the basis for planning a stable future.

Today, more and more of us choose, instead, to make our living working gigs rather than full time. To the optimists, it promises a future of empowered entrepreneurs and boundless innovation. To the naysayers, it portends a dystopian future of disenfranchised workers hunting for their next wedge of piecework.

In the US, the “gig economy” is now so salient that the phrase and issues have entered the early exchanges of the presidential race. Earlier this month, as one frontrunner, Jeb Bush, took a well-publicised Uber ride to signal solidarity with the company, another, Hillary Clinton, was more cautious in her support. In a speech laying out her economic plan, she said: “This on-demand, or so-called gig, economy is creating exciting economies and unleashing innovation. But it is also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”

Today’s digitally enabled gig economy was preceded by marketplaces such as ELance and oDesk, through which computer programmers and designers could make a living competing for short-term work assignments. But the gig economy isn’t just creating a new digital channel for freelance work. It is spawning a host of new economic activity. More than a million “makers” sell jewellery, clothing and accessories through the online marketplace Etsy. The short-term accommodation platforms Airbnb, Love Home Swap and onefinestay collectively have close to a million “hosts”.


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FCC Helps Revive Retrans Debate | John Eggerton | Multichannel

FCC Helps Revive Retrans Debate | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission’s congressionally mandated review of the “totality of circumstances” definition of good-faith retransmission-consent negotiations has helped rekindle the fiery rhetoric from cable operators and broadcasters in a long-fought war over blackouts and pricing.

Broadcasters have charged cable operators with “manufacturing” disputes over carriage of their stations to get the FCC to step in, while cable operators have said the negotiations process is broken and needs fixing.

Per language in the STELAR satellite-reauthorization bill — itself a way to accommodate some cable critics of the retransmission-consent regime without holding up that must-pass legislation last year — the FCC is gathering string on what should constitute fair, or unfair, negotiations.


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NC: Google Fiber Gets Ready to Rally in Raleigh | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel

NC: Google Fiber Gets Ready to Rally in Raleigh | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber’s build out in Raleigh, N.C., is gearing up now that the ISP/pay TV provider has identified nine initial locations for its “fiber huts,” The News & Observer reported (hat tip: DSL Reports).

Those huts, each 28 feet long and nine feet tall, will supply the backbone of a network that will deliver a mix of gigabit broadband and pay TV services, the paper noted, citing Mike Basham, Raleigh’s broadband manager.


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Over 10 million Web surfers possibly exposed to malvertising | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Over 10 million Web surfers possibly exposed to malvertising | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Upwards of 10 million people may have visited websites carrying malicious advertisements in the last ten days, possibly infecting their computers with malware, according to computer security company Cyphort.

For the past month, Cyphort has been tracking various malicious advertisement campaigns, which involve duping online advertising providers into distributing their malicious ads.

If someone views a malicious advertisement, it can cause their browser to be automatically redirected to another website that attacks their computer.


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Director Of National Intelligence Hammers Final Official Nail Into Bulk Phone Records Program | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

Director Of National Intelligence Hammers Final Official Nail Into Bulk Phone Records Program | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has issued a statement addressing the inevitable shutdown of the Section 215 bulk phone metadata program.

NSA has determined that analytic access to that historical metadata collected under Section 215 (any data collected before November 29, 2015) will cease on November 29, 2015. However, solely for data integrity purposes to verify the records produced under the new targeted production authorized by the USA FREEDOM Act, NSA will allow technical personnel to continue to have access to the historical metadata for an additional three months.

Caveats apply. Data will still be held as required by a handful of ongoing lawsuits. With the "bulk" part of the bulk records program shut down (but not completely), the government is obviously hoping for a speedy end to the litigation resulting from the Snowden leaks. That's the other motivating factor behind this public statement that not only states an end date, but the additional restrictions past that point.


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AT&T: FCC Fine Is 'Indefensible,' 'Coercion' | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

AT&T: FCC Fine Is 'Indefensible,' 'Coercion' | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has come out swinging at the FCC over the $100 million proposed fine for allegedly violating the transparency rule in FCC's 2010 network neutrality order, calling it "unprecedented and indefensible" — and in part unconstitutional — and saying a court will throw it out if it is imposed. AT&T wants the FCC to withdraw the proposed fine.

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Groups Ask FCC to Revamp Auction Reserve | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Groups Ask FCC to Revamp Auction Reserve | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Public Knowledge, Save Wireless Choice, and T-Mobile lobbyists and former Rep. Henry Waxman are pushing the FCC to revamp its broadcast spectrum forward auction reserve trigger to prevent it from being gamed by dominant wireless carriers.

Currently, the FCC is planning to set aside 30 MHz of spectrum for monodominant carriers. Public Knowledge's Harold Feld pointed out on a conference call with reporters that they would prefer a larger reserve, but in any event says the FCC should no longer condition that reserve on reaching a spectrum clearing and total bidding financial targets that the AWS-3 spectrum auction's success has essentially rendered unnecessary.

The groups argue that AT&T and Verizon would be able to game those triggers and extend the auction until, by the time the reserve is triggered, competitive carriers won't be in a position, or as good a position, to take advantage of it, which Waxman says would run counter to the intent of Congress in the spectrum auction legislation that it promote wireless competition.

Feld likened the issue to the dominant carriers being able to hack the FCC's computer model for the auction to advantage themselves.


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Wheeler to Hill: ISPs Have Certainty to Invest | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Wheeler to Hill: ISPs Have Certainty to Invest | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler plans to tell Congress that a court's denial of ISP efforts to stay part of the FCC's net neutrality order means those companies have "the certainty and economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks."

ISPs have argued that new interconnection-targeted complaint processes and a general Internet conduct standard will work against such investment, but according to Wheeler's testimony for a House Communications Subcommittee FCC oversight hearing, the chairman cites statements by the CEOs of T-Mobile, Sprint, Cablevision, Charter and Frontier that Title II reclassification "does not discourage their investment."

He also said that announcements by ISPs including Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and others that they were expanding broadband service suggested "healthy" network investment would continue.

Wheeler cited the court's denial of the stay as a recent FCC accomplishment, along with the rules themselves.


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Wired to fail | Tony Romm | Broken by Design Series | POLITICO.com

Wired to fail | Tony Romm | Broken by Design Series | POLITICO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In September 2011, as the U.S. economy continued to sputter in the shadow of the Great Recession, Jonathan Adelstein offered a bold promise on behalf of a tiny federal agency that had long strived to improve the lives of rural Americans.

The administrator of the little-known Rural Utilities Service had just finished announcing $3.5 billion in aid to expand high-speed Internet access to the hardest-to-reach areas of the country. The awards, part of the federal stimulus passed by Congress two years earlier, had been crucial to President Barack Obama’s blueprint for a recovery that would ensure farmers and remote businesses could compete in an increasingly global economy.

“These investments in broadband will connect nearly 7 million rural Americans,” Adelstein pledged in a report to Congress, “along with more than 360,000 businesses and more than 30,000 critical community institutions like schools, health care facilities and public safety agencies, to new or improved service.”

Judged against the agency’s 80-year track record, those numbers didn’t seem unrealistically ambitious. During the Great Depression, after all, RUS had loaned out millions of dollars to string electric lines to distant farms and small towns in parts of the country that private companies refused to serve — a bold and calculated risk that had transformed America in a single generation.

But more recently, the performance of RUS has been much less than stellar. Even the agency’s staunchest defenders in Congress had learned firsthand: When it came to funding broadband projects, RUS never found its footing in the digital age.


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Over-the-top video firms push back against FCC MVPD rule making | Thomas Mocarsky | Katy on the Hill

Over-the-top video firms push back against FCC MVPD rule making | Thomas Mocarsky | Katy on the Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The nation’s biggest online video distributors would rather the Federal Communications Commission not do them any favors by regulating over the top services like cable.

Representatives from Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple, companies that haven’t been regulated by the FCC, have been increasing their face time at the FCC to keep the agency from advancing a proceeding that would regulate some OTT services like facilities-based multi-channel video distributors.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has promised to move on at the order this fall in what is likely to be another divisive proceeding at the agency.


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