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FCC's Genachowski to step down; some hope for tougher successor | LATimes.com

FCC's Genachowski to step down; some hope for tougher successor | LATimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The departure of Julius Genachowski as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has some public interest groups hoping his successor will fight harder for consumers against the growing clout of telecommunications giants.

 

On Friday, Genachowski, a former venture capitalist and technology executive, said he would step down in the coming weeks after nearly four years on the job.

 

He said his biggest accomplishment was focusing the agency on expanding high-speed Internet access. For example, he pushed the FCC to make more public airwaves available to deliver the Internet over smartphones and other mobile devices.

 

"Three years ago, the U.S. mobile market was on the doorstep of duopoly. It would have been bad for the American innovation economy and bad for consumers," said Genachowski, who helped derail AT&T Inc.'s proposed $39-billion purchase of T-Mobile USA Inc. in 2011.

 

"Today we're seeing revitalized competitors and stronger competition in the sector," he said.

 

Consumer advocates acknowledged that Genachowski deserved credit for helping block the AT&T-T-Mobile deal. But some leading public interest groups said the FCC under Genachowski approved other mergers that have reduced competition.

 

In the end, he didn't fulfill their hopes for a tough regulator when he was appointed the first Democratic FCC chairman in eight years. And he will leave without resolving such major issues as the limits of media ownership in major markets.

 

"He didn't use the power of the office to really challenge the biggest companies," said Craig Aaron, president of the group Free Press. "He sort of saw himself as a referee to just negotiate between them."

 

Still, Genachowski worked on some longtime thorny issues that didn't get widespread attention.

 

For instance, he engineered the FCC's 2011 overhaul of the $8-billion Universal Service Fund. The fund, paid for by fees on consumer phone bills, provided subsidies for phone service to rural and low-income households. The FCC refocused the fund on providing subsidies for high-speed Internet service.

 

Genachowski drew praise from President Obama, fellow commissioners and industry groups.

 

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The Next New Media: Typewriters and Handwritten Letters | Paul Budd | CircleID

The Next New Media: Typewriters and Handwritten Letters | Paul Budd | CircleID | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Who would have thought that typewriters and handwritten letters would ever be back in fashion? But back in 2013 it was reported that Russia was buying large quantities of typewriters. When this was further investigated the country denied that this was for security reasons.


Since the Snowden revelations there has been a further rush on typewriters, both by government officials and by a range of, mainly corporate, businesses. In general they are used for confidential information — rather than being sent electronically it is posted, couriered or hand delivered.


Those with reasonable handwriting have also gone back to this form of communication; American Presidents have been among the most prolific users of handwritten letters and notes — obviously restricted to the group of contacts that they trust. That is not to say, of course, that those letters and notes won't pop up in the intriguing world of political and big business.


But certainly handwritten communications very significantly reduce the potential for snooping by others, such as the various national spy agents.


But even in these senior government and corporate circles this can only be used for communications that are classified as being of the highest level of confidentiality, as it is impractical to deploy typewriters and hand written communication at any larger scale within organisations.


At the same time, as we reported shortly after the Snowden revelations, billions of dollars have been spent on internal security audits, and on further security improvements, mainly with encryption technologies (cryptography). But not just technologies are scrutinised, internal security systems — or the lack of them — have also been audited.


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Net Blocking: A Problem in Need of a Solution | FreePress.net

Net Blocking: A Problem in Need of a Solution | FreePress.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years a lineup of phone and cable industry spokespeople has called Net Neutrality “a solution in search of a problem.”


The principle that protects free speech and innovation online is irrelevant, they claim, as blocking has never, ever happened. And if it did, they add, market forces would compel Internet service providers to correct course and re-open their networks. 


In reality, many providers both in the U.S. and abroad have violated the principles of Net Neutrality — and they plan to continue doing so in the future.


This history of abuse reveals a problem that only real Net Neutrality protections could solve:


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MT: Missoula Pursues Open Access Fiber for Jobs - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 112 | community broadband networks

MT: Missoula Pursues Open Access Fiber for Jobs - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 112 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After having met City Councilmember Caitlin Copple at last year's Broadband Communities event in Austin and seeing the progress Missoula, Montana, has made in considering a municipal fiber network, I knew we should ask her to be on the show. This week, she joins me and Karen Palmer, the Director of Operations for a local tech company in Missoula, LMG, for episode 112 of Community Broadband Bits.


After surveying local businesses, Missoula found a strong need for better services and is examining its options for an open access fiber network. They are fortunate to have already identified some service providers that want to work with them on the project.


Additionally, the network would be a boon for community anchor institutions, from schools to hospitals, and facilities owned by either the County or City.


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OH: Cincinnati Bell Guns For 1-Gig | Multichannel.com

OH: Cincinnati Bell Guns For 1-Gig | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cincinnati Bell will apply more pressure on incumbent MSO Time Warner Cable on September 8 when the telco launches a 1 Gbps consumer broadband service under its “Fioptics” brand.

 

The telco noted that it began to offer gigabit service to small businesses earlier this summer and that Tuesday’s consumer-facing announcement ties into a broader program it calls “Light Up Cincinnati.”

 

As part of that initiative, the company said it will continue to rollout free WiFi hotspots at “key” Cincinnati locations and in conjunction with community events.

 

Cincinnati  Bell will offer its 1-Gig tier as a standalone, but will also look to bundle it with its Fioptics TV service.  It hasn’t announced pricing for the 1-Gig service, nor said where it will be available first. For now, customers are being asked to call 513-565-5100 to see if their neighborhood is eligible.

 

Cincinnati Bell didn’t provide any additional information on pricing and roll out locations for the 1-Gig offering.


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Cox Pledges $15M by 2016 for Broadband Adoption | Multichannel.com

Cox Pledges $15M by 2016 for Broadband Adoption | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cox Communications President Pat Esser said Tuesday that the company was extending its participation in the Connect2Compete broadband adoption program for another two years.

 

The program offers discounted high-speed broadband to low-income houses with students who qualify for school lunch programs.

 

"Connecting youth to technology is a core value of Cox Communications, and has guided our community investment initiative for decades. But in today's digital economy, the Internet is a critical educational resource for America's youth and their families," said Esser, who was announcing the new commitment at an event at the National Press Club in Washington. "Together with Connect2Compete, we are making great progress in bringing Internet service to more low-income families in the communities we serve."

 

Also scheduled to be in attendance to salute the move were FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and EveryoneOn CEP Zach Leverenz.

 

Esser said the company is making enrollment in the program easier by expanding proof of eligibility to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.


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Can anyone stop Comcast? | TheVerge.com

Can anyone stop Comcast? | TheVerge.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast’s corporate headquarters, Comcast Center, is the tallest building in Philadelphia. It’s covered in mirrors, which makes it the perfect metaphor for the company, one former employee says; no matter where you go, the glare is in your eyes.


It seems a lot of people share that sentiment.


Comcast earned Consumerist’s “Worst Company in America” title twice, first in 2010 and again this year, 2014. It ranks at the very bottom of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, underperforming even the rest of the cable industry, where “high prices, poor reliability, and declining customer service” are endemic.


In mid-July, AOL executive Ryan Block placed a call to Comcast customer service in an effort to cancel his service. What ensued was an 18-minute, Kafkaesque struggle with an overly persistent employee, which Block partially recorded and posted online. The recording went viral, and has now been listened to more than 5 million times. The interaction was covered by every major news network, immortalized in a New Yorker cartoon, and included in a David Letterman top 10 list (“Lesser-known Labors of Hercules”). “It hit the cultural zeitgeist something fierce,” Block says. “I guess it touched some kind of nerve. It was a keyed-up, aggressive version of a call I think most people have had.”


Thousands of Comcast customers across the country have experienced similar customer service nightmares when dealing with the company. Usually these involve multiple rounds of phone calls, missed technician appointments, and unexpected fees. In fact, forums like comcastmustdie.com and the Comcast section of Reddit have been created to give customers a dedicated space to vent.


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The Internet's Original Sin | Ethan Zuckerman | The Atlantic

The Internet's Original Sin | Ethan Zuckerman | The Atlantic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ron Carlson’s short story “What We Wanted To Do” takes the form of an apology from a villager who failed to protect his comrades from marauding Visigoths. It begins:


"What we wanted to do was spill boiling oil onto the heads of our enemies as they attempted to bang down the gates of our village. But as everyone now knows, we had some problems, primarily technical problems, that prevented us from doing what we wanted to do the way we had hoped to do it. What we’re asking for today is another chance."


There’s little suspense in the story—the disastrous outcome is obvious from the first paragraph—but it works because of the poignancy of the apology. All of us have screwed up situations in our lives so badly that we’ve been forced to explain our actions by reminding everyone of our good intentions. It’s obvious now that what we did was a fiasco, so let me remind you that what we wanted to do was something brave and noble.


The fiasco I want to talk about is the World Wide Web, specifically, the advertising-supported, “free as in beer” constellation of social networks, services, and content that represents so much of the present day web industry. I’ve been thinking of this world, one I’ve worked in for over 20 years, as a fiasco since reading a lecture by Maciej Cegłowski, delivered at the Beyond Tellerrand web design conference.Cegłowski is an important and influential programmer and an enviably talented writer. His talk is a patient explanation of how we’ve ended up with surveillance as the default, if not sole, internet business model.


The talk is hilarious and insightful, and poignant precisely for the reasons Carlson’s story is. The internet spies at us at every twist and turn not because Zuckerberg, Brin, and Page are scheming, sinister masterminds, but due to good intentions gone awry. With apologies to Carlson:


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Another One Bites the Dust -- Microsoft Leaves ALEC | Common Cause

Another One Bites the Dust -- Microsoft Leaves ALEC | Common Cause | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Microsoft, one of the nation’s largest corporations, has ended its membership and support of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate lobbying group. Microsoft had been a member of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force. 


Here is Microsoft’s statement regarding its ALEC membership:


“As we discussed, in 2014 Microsoft decided to no longer participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Communications and Technology Task Force, which had been our only previous involvement with ALEC. With this decision, we no longer contribute any dues to ALEC…we are no longer members of ALEC and do not provide the organization with financial support of any kind.”


Microsoft’s message was sent to The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge and Walden Asset Management. The Sustainability Group is a Boston-based socially responsible investment group that had questioned Microsoft’s ALEC membership in light of the company’s expressed support of renewable energy.


Microsoft joins more than 90 private sector members, including major corporations like Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Proctor & Gamble, that have dumped ALEC. The exodus was triggered by public exposure beginning in 2011 of ALEC’s carefully-hidden efforts to write and secure passage of legislation including “Stand Your Ground” bills, restrictive voter ID requirements, anti-union measures, and  proposals blocking the development of renewable energy.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, named for Microsoft’s founder, stopped financially supporting ALEC in 2012; over 400 state legislators have also dropped their affiliation with ALEC.


Common Cause has filed a tax whistleblower complaint against ALEC with the Internal Revenue Service, charging the group with masquerading as a charity and violating the terms of its nonprofit status by underreporting its lobbying activity.

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Frontier Communications Promises Gigabit Broadband Will Be Available… to Almost Nobody | Stop the Cap!

Frontier Communications Promises Gigabit Broadband Will Be Available… to Almost Nobody | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Frontier Communications has jumped on the gigabit broadband promises bandwagon with an announcement to investors the company will make available 1,000Mbps broadband speeds available later this year to a small handful of customers.


“I want to note that nearly 10% of our households are served through a fiber to the home architecture,” said Frontier’s chief operating officer Dan McCarthy. “Over the next several quarters we will introduce expanded speed offerings in select markets including 50-100Mbps services. Some residential areas will also be able to purchase up to 1Gbps broadband service. We are excited to bring these new products to market and look forward to making these choices available to our customers.”


Most of Frontier’s fiber customers are part of the FiOS fiber to the home infrastructure Frontier adopted from Verizon in Fort Wayne, Ind., and in parts of Oregon and Washington. The rest of Frontier customers accessing service over fiber are in a few new housing developments and some multi-dwelling units. The majority of customers continue to be served by copper-based facilities.


Despite the speed challenges imposed by distance-sensitive DSL over copper networks, Frontier customers crave faster speeds and more than one-third of Frontier’s sales in the last quarter have come from speed upgrades. As of this month, 54% of Frontier households can receive 20Mbps or greater speed, 75% can get 12Mbps and 83% can get 6Mbps. Here at Stop the Cap! headquarters, little has changed since 2009, with maximum available Frontier DSL speeds in this Rochester, N.Y. suburban neighborhood still maxing out at a less-impressive 3.1Mbps.


Frontier’s plans for the next three months include a growing number of partnerships with third-party equipment manufacturers and software companies, as well as integrating former AT&T service areas in Connecticut into the Frontier family:


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With New Delivery Service, Uber Declares War on Google and Amazon | WIRED.com

With New Delivery Service, Uber Declares War on Google and Amazon | WIRED.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Uber is already an expert in getting you from door-to-door. Now, the company wants to figure out how to deliver stuff to your door as well.


On Tuesday, Uber announced a pilot program for what it calls Uber Corner Store, a service that would allow Uber users in the Washington D.C. area to get staple items like toothpaste and bandages delivered from local stores. According to a blog post, the program will only last a few weeks, but it hints at CEO Travis Kalanick’s long-term vision for Uber, which is to transform the company from a pure transportation play into a full-fledged logistics company.


Uber has never been one to back down from a fight. Since its earliest days, it has wrestled with regulators and fought dirty with competitors like Lyft. But all of that may be child’s play compared to what could come next. With Corner Store, the five-year-old startup could be setting itself up for an all-out war with two of tech’s superpowers: Google and Amazon.


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Kicking the stool out from under the cybercrime economy | Grant Hatchimonji | NetworkWorld.com

Kicking the stool out from under the cybercrime economy | Grant Hatchimonji | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Put simply, cybercrime, especially financial malware, has the potential to be quite the lucrative affair. That's only because the bad guys have the tools to make their work quick and easy, though. Cripple the automated processes presented by certain malware platforms, and suddenly the threats -- and the losses --aren't quite so serious.


CSO Online had the opportunity to chat with Shape Security's senior threat researcher, Wade Williamson, at this year's Black Hat conference, and he offered a brief background of these types of popular malware platforms before putting the threat landscape into perspective.


Williamson maintains that, despite its perceived "downfall," Zeus is still one of the most popular botnet platforms out there, and that's for a number of reasons. For one, the source code for Zeus previously leaked, allowing people who know how to code to more or less build on top of it for free. Also, it was one of the most common building blocks for many of the high-profile piece of malware that came after it; it's the very reason that it can be difficult to distinguish between Citadel and Zeus, for example. Ultimately, Zeus served as the "innovative wedge" that can be seen in man-in-the-browser financial malware today,


That said, there's a new up and comer in town in the form of Pandemiya.


"If you rewind about six years ago, SpyEye was actively marketing and saying, 'We're better than Zeus,'" says Williamson. "But they eventually merged and then you got iterative changes on top of the Zeus codebase. Pandemiya, on the other hand, is the new entrant and you're starting to see it challenge the monolith [Zeus]."


Be it Pandemiya or Zeus, however, the goals behind them are more or less the same. According to Williamson, there are two major branches to attack strategies now. The first is working on making the botnet harder to take down, which some coders have accomplished by implementing P2P communication between the bots.


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US: MVNO meltdown as reseller trio run into problems | TeleGeography.com

According to Fierce Wireless, US electronics retailer RadioShack has discontinued its ‘RadioShack No-Contract Wireless’ brand, which was launched in 2012 through a partnership with Leap Wireless – a cellular operator now owned by AT&T Mobility. The online journal notes that No Contract Wireless was not a standard mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service, because while the offering was branded as RadioShack and sold through the company’s existing distribution channels, Leap Wireless provided the billing as well as the service.


In separate but related news, Spot Mobile, an MVNO which piggybacks on T-Mobile US’s network, has confirmed that it has decided to wind down its business and will shut off its service to customers by 7 September. The precise details behind Spot’s shutdown are unclear, and attempts to reach company officials were unsuccessful, Fierce Wireless notes.


Finally, earlier this month fellow virtual operator Chit Chat Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Local press reports quoted Chit Chat’s John Hennessy as saying that the drastic measure was implemented in order to settle a billing dispute with network partner Sprint Corp.


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Vehicle-to-vehicle networks could save over 1,000 lives a year, US says | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

Vehicle-to-vehicle networks could save over 1,000 lives a year, US says | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. government wants to force cars to talk to each other over wireless networks, saying that could save more than 1,000 lives every year.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking input about a possible federal standard for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology, which would let cars automatically exchange information, such as whether they’re close to each other. The agency will accept comments from the public and industry for 60 days from when the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) is published in the Federal Register.


V2V would let cars do some of the work of driving or even accomplish things humans can’t, such as virtually “seeing” into blind intersections before entering them. It may be one step on the path to self-driving cars.


On Monday, the NHTSA published a research report on V2V and issued an ANPRM in hopes of collecting a lot of feedback before issuing a full NPRM in 2016. In the report, it estimated the safety benefits of just two possible applications of V2V, called Left Turn Assist and Intersection Movement Assist. Together, they could prevent as many as 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives per year, the agency said.


Neither system would necessarily take control of a car. Left Turn Assist would warn drivers not to turn left into the path of an oncoming car, and Intersection Movement Assist would warn them not to enter an intersection when there’s a high probability of crashing into other vehicles there. The two technologies could help drivers avoid more than half of those types of crashes, the agency said. Other V2V systems could include blind spot, do not pass, and forward collision warnings, as well as stop light and stop sign warnings.


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Media General, LIN Divest Stations in Five Markets | Broadcasting & Cable

Media General, LIN Divest Stations in Five Markets | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Media General and LIN Media, in an effort to expedite their merger, have announced divestments in five markets. Hearst Corp. will acquire Media General's WVTM Birmingham and LIN's WJCL Savannah, and  Meredith will acquire LIN's WALA Mobile.


Media General, meanwhile, will acquire Sinclair's KXRM and KXTU in Colorado Springs-Pueblo, and Sinclair's WTTA in Tampa-St. Petersburg. Sinclair will acquire LIN's WJAR Providence along with WLUK-WCWF in Green Bay-Appleton. Sinclair will also acquire certain assets of WTGS Savannah, and the rights to acquire the principal assets of the station from WTGS Television, LLC.


"We're pleased to announce this divestiture plan, which we believe should clear the way for our business combination with LIN Media to move forward in the regulatory approval process," said George L. Mahoney, president and CEO of Media General. "Additionally, the purchase of the MyNetworkTV station in Tampa provides us with the opportunity to increase share in Media General's second largest market. Also, the addition of the Fox and CW affiliates in Colorado Springs marks the first time we will have a television station in Colorado. The stations being divested are strong performers."


Vincent L. Sadusky, president and CEO of LIN Media, will become president and CEO of the merged company. He called the divestiture plan "an important milestone that positions us well with regulatory authorities."


"We are pleased with the consideration we will receive for these terrific stations and plan to use the net proceeds to reduce debt," he continued. "The addition of stations in Tampa and Colorado Springs will further diversify and strengthen the combined company's portfolio as well as provide opportunities to expand our digital business."


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UT: UTOPIA may not appear on Utah cities’ ballots | Salt Lake Tribune

UT: UTOPIA may not appear on Utah cities’ ballots | Salt Lake Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Six Wasatch Front cities are reconsidering their plans for putting a question about UTOPIA on the ballot this November after being told they lack a solid legal basis for the proposed referendum.


Two weeks ago, mayors for West Valley City, Layton, Midvale, Tremonton, Brigham City and Perry announced they would give voters a say in whether the high-speed municipal network should be run by a private company in exchange for residents paying a monthly utility fee of about $20.


But state elections director Mark Thomas confirmed Tuesday that officials with the lieutenant governor’s office and several county clerks believe the proposed initiative is not explicitly allowed in state law. Arguments from the cities that Utah code also does not directly forbid such a referendum, Thomas said, do not amount to a legal authority to conduct the vote.


"Nothing stops a municipality from getting the opinion of their voters and we’re not trying to stop that," Thomas said. "We’re just trying to follow the statute as best we can."


West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow acknowledged Tuesday that cities were reviewing their strategy, but said "certainly we still want to go to the people. We want their feedback. We want to get it out there in some way."


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Time Warner Cable PlayStation Network Users Can Avoid Future Problems With a DNS Change | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable PlayStation Network Users Can Avoid Future Problems With a DNS Change | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Late last week, hundreds of thousands of PlayStation Network users subscribed to Time Warner Cable broadband found their game play interrupted by an “outage”that turned out to be a misconfigured domain name service (DNS)  update. Whether Sony was responsible for sending bad data or Time Warner Cable had problems properly integrating the changes, gamers were out of luck for hours Friday until a corrected update could be distributed.


The service outage affected customers relying on Time Warner Cable’s own DNS servers. Customers that dropped Time Warner Cable and their DNS provider were back in business almost immediately.


Broadband customers need not rely on the domain name service offered by your provider. Both Google and OpenDNS offer more robust alternatives, and you can make the switch in seconds.


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Representative Doyle and Senator Markey Push For Muni Broadband Preemption | Multichannel.com

Representative Doyle and Senator Markey Push For Muni Broadband Preemption | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Tuesday municipal broadband fans Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pushed the FCC to preempt state laws limiting municipal infrastructure buildouts, citing a letter from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on the subject.

 

"I strongly encourage him and the FCC to take quick and decisive action to lift restrictions that limit or prevent communities from addressing their own broadband needs," said Doyle in a joint statement with the senator. "I encourage the Commission to use its authority to ensure municipalities have the power to make decisions about their broadband infrastructure," echoed Markey.

 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has signaled he thinks the FCC has the authority and responsibility to step in where states are blocking municipal broadband, arguing that those state laws are the result of lobbying by incumbents trying to prevent competition — Wheeler is himself a former cable lobbyist as head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

 

The FCC could have initiated its own proceeding on federal preemption, but won't have to after the cities of Chattanooga and Wilson, N.C., petitioned the FCC to preempt state laws, which the FCC is currently reviewing.


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California legislature puts broadband infrastructure financing on par with water and roads | Steve Blum's Blog

California legislature puts broadband infrastructure financing on par with water and roads | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s up to governor Brown to decide whether broadband infrastructure gets equal treatment with transportation and water projects in California, at least when local governments want to build it. On a lopsided vote, the state assembly approved the final version of assembly bill 2292 yesterday, which explicitly allows local governments to use infrastructure financing districts (IFDs) to issue bonds to build broadband projects, and then pay the money back with property tax revenue.


Written and backed by assemblyman Rob Bonta (D – Oakland) at the urging of San Leandro mayor Stephen Cassidy, economic development is a primary goal of AB 2292, a point Bonta made yesterday on the assembly floor, saying the bill would…


"…expressly allow local governments the ability to use infrastructure financing districts to finance projects related to broadband. Broadband provides cities and counties with an opportunity to stimulate the economic climate by providing businesses with the competitive advantage of being connected to high speed fiber optic networks. AB 2292 will help boost local economies, create local jobs and increase access for schools, libraries and other public facilities to state of the art telecommunications networks."


AB 2292 is not a magic bullet, though. To form an IFD requires the agreement of the local agencies involved and a two-thirds majority of the electorate. Then two more votes – including another one requiring two-thirds approval – are needed before any bonds can be issued.


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Comcast's claim that LTE competes with cable modems is 'a little bit of a stretch,' says Verizon Wireless CEO | TheVerge.com

Comcast's claim that LTE competes with cable modems is 'a little bit of a stretch,' says Verizon Wireless CEO | TheVerge.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a discussion with reporters today, Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead hedged Comcast's claims that LTE is a viable competitor to traditional landline cable modems.


Anyone who uses both knows that it's a ridiculous argument — LTE service is usually slower, less consistent, and comes with deeply restrictive data caps — but Comcast has been leaning on it as a supposed example of why competition is healthy in the broadband internet market. The end goal for the cable giant is to convince regulators that there's enough competition in high-speed internet service that its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable won't create a monopoly or have a serious impact on consumer choice.


"They're trying to get deals approved, right, and I understand that... their focus is different than my focus right now, because I don't have any deals pending," Mead said, a reference to the fact that Comcast is looking for ways to justify the TWC buy. "LTE certainly can compete with broadband, but if you look at the physics and the engineering of it, we don't see LTE being as efficient as fiber coming into the home."


Before moving to Verizon's wireless unit, Mead held executive roles in the company's landline business, responsible for traditional telephone service and high-speed internet to the home. "We know both sides of that pretty well," he continued. "So that may be a little bit of a stretch, and the economics are much different."


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Approving Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Opens the Door for Massive Cable Consolidation | Stop the Cap!

Approving Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Opens the Door for Massive Cable Consolidation | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Although Charter Communications did not succeed in its bid to assume control of Time Warner Cable, it isn’t crying about its loss to Comcast either.


Greg Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media Corp., which has very close ties to John Malone, former cable magnate, says if the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is approved, it will start a race to merge the rest of the cable industry into just a handful of cable operators serving almost the entire country.


Comcast’s argument is that since it does not compete with Time Warner Cable, there are no antitrust or anti-competitive reasons why it should not be allowed to buy Time Warner Cable. If state and federal regulators believe that, nothing precludes a company like Charter (Liberty has an ownership interest in the cable company) snapping up every other cable operator in the country. In fact, Charter has signaled consolidation is precisely its intention, alerting investors it intends to play a very aggressive role in mergers and acquisitions once it sees what regulators feel about the Comcast-Time Warner deal.


Likely targets for Charter include:


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Cloudy Days for Bright House Networks Ahead? Comcast-Time Warner Merger Complicates Volume Discounts | Stop the Cap!

Cloudy Days for Bright House Networks Ahead? Comcast-Time Warner Merger Complicates Volume Discounts | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bright House Networks customers could face much higher cable television bills and a decline in technology upgrades thanks to a merger deal between two companies that should theoretically have no impact on them.


Bright House Networks has been an odd duck among cable companies since it was created from cobbled-together systems originally owned by Vision Cable, Cable Vision, TelePrompTer, Group W, Paragon and others. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Time Warner effectively ran the cable systems still owned by the Newhouse family. After the AOL-Time Warner merger, Advance/Newhouse decided to take back control of the management and operations of its cable systems, relaunching them under the Bright House Networks brand.


While the Newhouse family continues to assert its ownership and control of Bright House, it is highly dependent on Time Warner Cable to handle cable programming negotiations and broadband technology. That is why Bright House customers were sold “Road Runner” broadband service for many years – a brand familiar to any Time Warner customer. To this day, programming blackouts that affect Time Warner cable TV viewers usually also impact those subscribing to Bright House. Time Warner Cable also retains a minority ownership interest in Bright House.


Although the company is well-known in Indianapolis, Birmingham, suburban Detroit and Bakersfield, its presence is most recognized in central Florida, where it serves customers in Orlando, Daytona Beach, Lakeland, Tampa Bay, and many points in-between.


Despite the fact Bright House serves more than two million customers and is the sixth largest cable company in the country, it is small potatoes to major programmers like Comcast-NBCUniversal, Viacom, Disney, and others. All the best discounts go to satellite television providers and giant cable operators like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Smaller operators pay substantially more.


That is where the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable comes in.


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Time Warner Cable holds serve on U.S. Open Wi-Fi | CED Magazine

Time Warner Cable holds serve on U.S. Open Wi-Fi | CED Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable will be serving up free Wi-Fi access at next month’s U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York City.


The nation’s second-largest cable operator said the Wi-Fi deployment at the U.S. Open was its largest public venue installation to date with 235 access points. The free Wi-Fi access will run for the duration of the U.S. Open and will be available throughout all of the tournament’s key public areas including Arthur Ashe Stadium, East Gate, Food Village, Octagon, South Plaza and the Chase Indoor Tennis Center.


U.S. Open attendees can connect to the Wi-Fi via two SSIDs; USOPEN2014 or TWC WiFi.


Time Warner Cable introduced its self-service management portal for Wi-Fi two years ago. The management portal provides a branding opportunity for businesses’ to add their names and logos, and marketing messages on the Wi-Fi welcome pages. A spokeswoman for Time Warner Cable said the management portal for the venue would launch soon. For the U.S. Open SSID, there’s a vanity portal that is fully USTA branded while Time Warner Cable co-branded its TWC WiFi portal.


Time Warner Cable has installed access points from Cisco at the U.S. Open venues.


The Wi-Fi service was an extension of Time Warner Cable’s existing partnership with USTA, which began last year and includes advertising across select U.S. Open platforms and properties as well as the newly created Time Warner Cable Studios.


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How to Save the Net | WIRED Magazine

How to Save the Net | WIRED Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s impossible to overstate how much the Internet matters. It has forever altered how we share information and store it for safekeeping, how we communicate with political leaders, how we document atrocities and hold wrongdoers accountable, how we consume entertainment and create it, even how we meet others and maintain relationships.


Our society is strengthened and made more democratic by the open access the Internet enables. But the Internet as we know it is at risk from a variety of threats ranging from cybercrime to its very infrastructure, which wasn’t built to withstand the complications our dependence upon it causes.


We asked some of the Net’s biggest stakeholders and thought leaders to lay out ways we can maintain the Internet as a home for innovation, community, and freely exchanged information. We are excited to present you with these six takes on what could go wrong—and how to bring us back from the brink.


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ILSR's Chris Mitchell In Burlington, Vermont on September 19th | community broadband networks

ILSR's Chris Mitchell In Burlington, Vermont on September 19th | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Members of the Burlington, VT community are hosting a luncheon on Friday, September 19th, to discuss ways to help keep BT local. Chris Mitchell, as one of the leading experts on municipal broadband, will be leading the discussion. We have followed BurlingtonTelecom's challenges and victories since 2008.


The event is titled "How Do We Keep Burlington Telecom Local?" and will be at the CCTV Center for Media & Democracy in Burlington. From the announcement:


"Many Burlington residents and activists are concerned about the City of Burlington’s plans to sell Burlington Telecom to a private entity by 2017. While the City is committed to BT as a driver for economic and community development, it currently has no specific plans to retain a meaningful ownership stake in the new entity."


The event is part of a series of community talks aimed at maintaining public input as the City prepares to move forward.


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Why would Chinese hackers want hospital patient data? | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com

Why would Chinese hackers want hospital patient data? | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The theft of personal data on 4.5 million patients of Community Health Systems by hackers in China highlights the increasing degree to which hospitals are becoming lucrative targets for information theft.


Already this year, around 150 incidents of lost or stolen personal data—either due to hacking or ineptitude—have been reported by medical establishments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


In the case of Community Health Systems, hackers stole patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers. They did not steal medical data, Community Health Systems said—but that data can be the real prize in such breaches.


With its high prices and lack of a centralized health system, the U.S. is a lucrative target because in the right marketplace, health records can be worth a lot of money, said John Halamka, chief information officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network.


That’s because people without health insurance can potentially get treatment by using medical data of one of the hacking victims.


Halamka, who also runs the “Life as a healthcare CIO” blog, said a medical record can be worth between US$50 and $250 to the right customer—many times more than the amount typically paid for a credit card number, or the cents paid for a user name and password.


“If I am one of the 50 million Americans who are uninsured ... and I need a million-dollar heart transplant, for $250 I can get a complete medical record including insurance company details,” he said.


As long as personal details like age, weight and height are approximately correct—and with a faked second form of ID—a person could use the stolen data to convince a hospital they are insured and receive treatment, Halamka said.


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