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Nationwide Google Fiber is a lofty 'pipe dream' | BetaNews.com

Nationwide Google Fiber is a lofty 'pipe dream' | BetaNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Many people considered this company irrelevant and dead years ago. Yet with nearly three million paying Internet service subscribers still, this provider is anything but dried up -- yet. Internet access, among other subscription services, makes up a clear majority of its continuing sales and its greatest chunk of profits as a whole. Subscriber growth peaked off back in 2002, but for this aging Internet heirloom, at this point they will no doubt take what they can get. Who the heck am I referring to?

 

Don't choke on your coffee, but it's none other than AOL. Namely, their dialup Internet service division. It's hard to believe that in the year 2013 any company has more than a trickle of subscribers left on dial up, but this attests to the sad state of broadband adoption in the United States. Of the estimated 74 percent of Americans who have internet access in their homes (2010 figures), a full 6 percent of those are still on dial-up service. There are a myriad of issues affecting broadband adoption, including things such as lack of access, pricing, reluctance to switch, etc.

 

A full 19 million Americans sadly don't have access to any form of broadband. And in a comparison of adoption rate per capita, our country ranks a miserable 15th globally -- behind United Kingdom and South Korea, to name just a few. Much of the Internet is abuzz about Kansas City's recently completed rollout of Google Fiber, with its near gigabit speeds delivered directly to the home.

 

Even with  slow expansion into other small markets, like the recently announced Olathe, KS, the excitement over Google Fiber is premature by all reasonable measures. One giant (Google) is getting into the fiber game while another (Verizon) is slowly exiting after making similar market promises of "fiber to all" just a half decade ago.

 

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There’s already a conspiracy theory brewing over net neutrality | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

There’s already a conspiracy theory brewing over net neutrality | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Why won't they release the rules?!?!

It's been less than 24 hours since the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve strict new regulations on Internet providers, but that's the leading question coming from its critics.

Conservatives are demanding that the FCC release a full copy of the regulations that it's planning to impose on companies such as Comcast and Verizon — and taking the agency's silence as evidence of a cover-up. Readers of an FCC blog post have suspiciously mused that "these new regulations should have been published by now." It's much the same over on Twitter.

@victoriastrauss @b_fung If these "rules" are so wonderful why, even after the vote, are they STILL being withheld? #ObamaNet

— Sarcastic Texan (@TexanSarcastic) February 26, 2015

Let's stop this nonsense right here. It's a stretch to think the FCC is withholding anything. While it was certainly within FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's power to release his draft proposal before it came to a vote, the regulations now must go through a formal process before they become official. And say what you will about bureaucratic inefficiency, but that's the chief reason the FCC won't be releasing the rules for some time.

Not even Internet providers, who are generally frustrated by the content of the rules, are all that outraged about the delay. They're going to see the document, sooner or later. And they'll still likely sue to have them overturned.

"This is one more step in the swamp — there's much more of a slog to come," said one wireless industry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak more freely.

It's easy to see how all this "secrecy" could be confusing. Once a vote takes place and the gavel drops, shouldn't that be the moment when the world changes? After all, it's more or less how elections work, right?

Well, rulemaking is a little bit different.


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MN: Kanabec County Broadband 2014 Update: less than 30 percent broadband coverage | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Kanabec County Broadband 2014 Update: less than 30 percent broadband coverage | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Kanabec County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 12
  • Number of Households: 6,413
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 28.54%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 68.78%


I have spent time in Kanabec. I did some e-marketing training with local businesses. The business owners are hard-working and willing to block out a whole weekend to building a website. The Chamber is very involved. They have some excellent local technical support. They were a BBC Community. They have done some fun programming for residents with their interactive video events. The community and the local businesses have invested in broadband adoption. They just need better access.

Kanabec has also been working on trying to get better access – especially through the Kanabec Broadband Initiative. They did a feasibility study in 2012 – the upshot was $2 million for FTTH in town, $9 million for rural FTTH or $7 for fiber-wireless hybrid. More recently they are part of the East Central Broadband efforts, a multi-county effort to improve broadband access in the area. Those folks are in a tough area where it’s difficult for the commercial providers to invest in communities because the business case for a ROI is unpredictable (at best). But they continue to work on it – hopefully their coverage will improve.


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CFA: Wheeler Proposal Appears Spot On | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

CFA: Wheeler Proposal Appears Spot On | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) said Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal for new, Title II/Sec. 706-grounded net-neutrality rules, at least from descriptions of the draft order, looks like it is "exactly what is needed to ensure that the principle of open access on which [the Internet's] success has rested is preserved in the future."

That came in a letter from CFA to the chair and ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee in advance of a net neutrality hearing in the subcommittee today (Feb. 25). That hearing comes a day before the planned vote on the order.

CFA said that by combining Sec. 706 authority with Title II as needed "puts key policy issues back on the table – like universal service, consumer protection and competition – that were never addressed when broadband was misclassified as an information service."

"When the FCC classified broadband as an information service, it claimed that it had adequate authority to preserve nondiscrimination and it recognized that there were important goals of the Communications Act that were placed in jeopardy by that decision," said CFA research director Mark Cooper in the letter.

In 2002, the FCC under then chairman Michael Powell classified Internet access as an information service not subject to the mandatory access rules that applied to telecom services. The Supreme Court three years later upheld that decision in the Brand X case.

"The goal of universal service is the first goal mentioned in the Communications Act, but it was given little weight in the classification decision," said Cooper. "In contrast, in amendments enacted in 2008 and 2009, Congress recognized the increasing importance of the adoption and utilization of broadband as indispensable to the economic development, social participation and political engagement of all people of the United States."


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Obama pushes Trans-Pacific Partnership in TV interviews | David Nakamura | WashPost.com

Obama pushes Trans-Pacific Partnership in TV interviews | David Nakamura | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Obama promoted his trade agenda in a series of local television interviews Thursday as his administration announced a series of small-scale initiatives aimed at boosting exports in rural communities.

The coordinated push comes as the White House is ramping up efforts to win support in Congress for expanded powers to finalize a major free trade deal in the Asia­Pacific region, which the president has called a key priority for his final two years in office.

Among the television stations Obama spoke with was KGW in Portland, Ore., the home state of Sen. Ron Wyden, whom the White House views as a key Democratic ally on trade.

“We want to make sure China is not writing the rules,” Obama told the station. “We have to get this bill done.”

The administration has argued that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal would boost U.S. exports in fast-growing Asian markets at a time when the country is facing increased economic competition from China, whose labor and environmental standards are lower.

Republican leaders have called on Obama to more aggressively pitch his plans to skeptical Democrats, whose support will be necessary to complete the 12-nation TPP agreement.

“That sort of ground-level advocacy is something that I do think will persuade Democrats and Republicans, frankly, to take a close look at some of the trade agreements that the president is trying to broker,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said of Obama’s interviews, which also included stations in Fargo, N.D., Kansas City, Mo., and Seattle.

Among the White House’s new initiatives are a series of reverse trade missions to help rural businesses meet foreign buyers as well as an effort to double the number of those businesses attending international trade shows.


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MN: Jackson County Broadband 2014 Update: FTTH but not ubiquitous | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Jackson County Broadband 2014 Update: FTTH but not ubiquitous | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Jackson County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 6.1
  • Number of Households: 4,429
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 68.78%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 68.78%


Jackson County has been thinking about fiber since at least 2009, when several cities and townships in the County decided to invest in looking at fiber options. They are part of (or located in) Southwest Minnesota, which received ARRA funds to deploy fiber to the home in several communities in Southwestern Minnesota and began serving homes in December 2011 and starting research wireless options for outskirt areas at about the same time. The providers in the areas (Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services – SMBS) have also been Blandin Broadband Communities and have been working on promoting adoption in the area through that program. They have had success with local hotspots and Social Media Breakfasts.

So given that activity I was surprised to see that the sit at less than 70 percent coverage. But you can see from the map what is happening . FIber is deployed (in organge) and wireless is available (in green) based on where the fiber exists. There are pockets of DSL. I’m not sure if those areas areas served by SMBS or not. I suspect that SMBS will play a role in getting the rest of the county covered as they can.


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Will DIRECTV Challenge Sling TV? | Phillip Swann | TVPredictions.com

Since Dish announced last month it would launch an Internet TV service called Sling TV, many have wondered if rival satcaster DIRECTV would soon follow suit.

After all, DIRECTV has hinted several times that it might offer a low-cost service over the Net to appeal to young people and other viewers who might otherwise refrain from subscribing to a pay TV service. (Sling TV now offers roughly 15 basic cable channels for just $20 a month.) And the nation's top satcaster last year launched a niche Net TV service for Hispanics called Yaveo, which costs just $7.99 a month.

So DIRECTV will soon challenge Sling TV with its own low-cost Net TV offering, right?

Not so fast. DIRECTV CEO Mike White was asked that question this week in a conference call with financial analysts and he sounded dubious about Sling TV's chances.


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Wheeler: Stay of Title II Rules Is High Hurdle | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Wheeler: Stay of Title II Rules Is High Hurdle | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler says he thinks the Title II order should stand up in court, and that he doesn't see a court staying the rules in advance of ruling on the underlying court challenges that have already been threatened by ISPs unhappy with being classified as common carriers.

In a press conference following the Feb. 26 vote, Wheeler said he thought it would be hard for carriers to get a stay to "put off" the implementation of the rules.

He pointed to the orders three, bright-line rules--no blocking, throttling, or prioritized fast lanes. "They all said 'oh, we never intend to do that,' so, they are going to go into court and say, 'no, court, you need to stay this because we intend to block, we intend to throttle, we intend to have fast lanes.' So, I think a stay is a high hurdle.

One of the key tests for a stay is to prevent immediate harms from implementation of a rule, and Wheeler is suggesting that since ISPs have said they are not going to do any of things, a rule preventing them poses no immediate harm.

As to whether Title II would hold up in an underlying challenge when it is adjudicated, Wheeler pointed out that in remanding the FCC's 2010 Open Internet order, the D.C. federal appeals court had signaled that Title II would be one way of repairing the legal justification of the rules.

"The D.C. Circuit sent the previous Internet order back to us and basically said that [we] were trying to impose common carrier-like regulation without saying that these are common carriers. We have addressed that issue."


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'Old guard' civil rights groups blew it on net neutrality | Van Jones | CNN.com

'Old guard' civil rights groups blew it on net neutrality  | Van Jones | CNN.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission got it right on "net neutrality."


So did President Obama, who took a bold stand in favor of keeping the Internet free.


So did leaders such as Reps. John Lewis, Keith Ellison and Maxine Waters, and the Rev. William Barber II, one of the architects of "Moral Mondays" protests and a member of the national board of the NAACP. So did the United Church of Christ, as well as more than 100 social justice and civil rights groups.


And so did countless progressive, people-powered groups, such as Color of Change, an online community (which I helped to found) dedicated to bringing about positive change for African-Americans. Ditto for tiny, grassroots dynamos like Oakland's Center for Media Justice, led by Malkia Cyril.


You know who got it dead, dead wrong? As much as it pains me to say it: Far too many of our old-school civil rights organizations.


Since the first days of the Internet, one principle has been in place. Put simply, it is that "owning the pipes" does not give you license to mess with what flows through them.


Internet service providers (ISPs) can charge a fee to provide Internet access. But they cannot block or censor content they do not like, or charge for a fast lane, or relegate companies that do not pay up to slow Internet speeds that could frustrate customers.


All the FCC did this week was keep that principle in place.

They made sure the Internet will work the same way the phones do -- a call to the small business down the street does not sound worse or cost more than one to a big chain store.


ISPs like Verizon and Comcast stood to make a killing from blocking this change. But what is shocking is that some trusted civil rights organizations -- including the National Urban League, NAACP, and Rainbow Push -- actively helped the ISPs make their case.


Worst of all, it was a completely avoidable error.


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Internet Access In The World: Only 40% Of Global Population Have Ever Been Online | Bruce Wright | IBTimes.com

The Internet has made the world figuratively smaller with the relative ease of electronically connecting people across the globe, but there remains a significant portion of the world’s population that has still never once logged on to the World Wide Web. According to a new report from Internet.org, a Facebook initiative that explores the reasons why people continue to lack Internet access, more than 60 percent of all people failed to log on to the Web at least once in the past year.

The report, citing a current declining rate at which the world is connected online, details who has Internet access and who doesn’t, and then attempts to answer the question of why that conundrum persists. In 2008, the amount of Internet users grew by more than 12 percent, according to the report. But in 2014 that number shrunk down to less than seven percent.

Three reasons are provided for why that downward trend occurred: inadequate infrastructure for people based on their geographical location, citing undeveloped, poorer countries as being most afflicted; the growing cost of Internet access; and overall relevance -- either not being aware of the Internet’s existence or because of a content-related language barrier.


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How Gary, Indiana, Got Serious About Tackling Blight | Chris Bentley | CityLab.com

How Gary, Indiana, Got Serious About Tackling Blight | Chris Bentley | CityLab.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For more than three decades, the vacant Sheraton Hotel loomed over City Hall in Gary, Indiana, a billboard for the city's descent from Steel City glory into postindustrial blight.


Once the city's tallest building, it was hailed as "the gateway to the city's future" by former Mayor Richard Hatcher upon its opening in 1971. It went dark just 14 years later. Entering or passing by Gary on the highway, visitors could see straight through the gutted building, its skeleton a rebuke to the neoclassical dome of City Hall right next door.


Until last October, that is, when current Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson delivered on a campaign promise to tear it down. Freeman-Wilson, a Gary native and Harvard-educated lawyer, became Indiana's first black, female mayor when she took office in 2012.


Critics dismissed the move, which received federal and state funds as well as city financing, as a mere public relations stunt. But demolishing the Sheraton could also be viewed as the opening salvo in Freeman-Wilson's larger war on blight—a campaign she says also addresses crime, economic development and, crucially, the city's image of itself.


"It's extremely important," Freeman-Wilson says. "There's a sense of pride that you have when you can say, 'My city looks good.'"


Even with the Sheraton Hotel gone, Gary still has a long way to go. The University of Chicago recently helped the city survey more than 58,000 parcels as part of a data-driven approach to tackling blight. Teams of students and Gary residents—including Freeman-Wilson—volunteered their Saturday afternoons to walk every street in the city, grading the condition of vacant and blighted properties, and making notes through a mobile app.

It could end up being a model for other shrinking post-industrial cities trying to make big plans with small budgets. "I think this provides an opportunity for Gary to lead the way," the mayor says, "as cities all over the country deal with this issue."


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O'Rielly: I'm Not Holding Up Title II Order Release | John Eggerton | Multichannel

O'Rielly: I'm Not Holding Up Title II Order Release | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly is not happy with what he says is the suggestion his lengthy dissent in the Title II decision could be a reason for delaying the public release of the order's language. The Feb. 26 vote was 3-2 along straight party lines to reclassify ISPs as telecoms subject to some Title II common carrier regs.

At a press conference following the vote to reclassify ISPs as telecoms, FCC officials would not put a timetable on its release, saying that per a D.C. Appeals court decision--the same court that will likely be reviewing a legal challenge to the new rules--the FCC is required to "engage the arguments raised before it," including in dissenting opinions, and FCC General Counsel said the FCC will do that "as quickly as we can." Both O'Rielly and Pai and multi-page, multi-part dissents running to several pages (O'Rielly's was nine pages--but a longer version is on the way, he signaled).

In his press conference, Chairman Tom Wheeler also said the FCC would post the order on its Web site after the FCC gets the dissents in and looks at them, citing the court decision.

In addition, earlier in the week at a network neutrality hearing in advance of the vote, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, said he was sure the chairman would put out the order language as soon as he could after the vote and called on the other commissioners to help make that happen, though at the time it was unclear what he meant.


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FCC Gives Municipal Broadband Providers and Internet Competition a Boost | Joshua Romero | IEEE Spectrum

FCC Gives Municipal Broadband Providers and Internet Competition a Boost | Joshua Romero | IEEE Spectrum | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today, in addition to reclassifying broadband from an “information service” to a “telecommunication service,” the Federal Communications Commission voted to preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that previously restricted municipal governments from expanding their broadband services and competing with commercial Internet service providers in surrounding areas. The decision was not a surprise, as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has been talking about preempting such state laws for over a year.

There are at least 19 states with laws that restrict or limit municipal broadband. Just last month, Missouri lawmakers proposed strengthening existing restrictions in their state. Today’s decision only applied to the two specific petitions filed with the FCC—one from The Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and a second from the city Wilson, North Carolina—but it may set a precedent that encourages other municipalities to submit petitions. In the meeting, Wheeler said, “I do hope, however, that this attention…calls out the activities of incumbents to block consumer choice and competition through legislation.”

Many other cities, fed up with the speeds and prices offered by the commercial Internet service providers in their areas have also tried to provide broadband to citizens directly. But it’s not always easy. In many cases, there’s already a commercial ISP that doesn’t welcome competition. For those who support municipal broadband, more competition is exactly the point. “You can’t say you’re for competition, but deny local elected officials the right to offer competitive choices,” Wheeler said in the meeting.

“The competitive landscape is pretty bleak,” says Vishal Misra, an associate professor of computer science at Columbia University. He points out that at “true broadband speeds,” some Americans have two broadband providers to choose from, but most have only one (or zero).

When the FCC redefined broadband last month, it did so largely to highlight the lack of consumer choice at higher bandwidths. In general, ISPs prefer to invest in areas where they’ll be the sole provider, as it’s expensive to try to poach customers from an existing provider.

ISP competition matters, because it tends to lead to more bandwidth at lower prices.


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Wall Street Journal Upset That Wall Street Isn't Upset About Net Neutrality | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Wall Street Journal Upset That Wall Street Isn't Upset About Net Neutrality | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago, after it was more or less confirmed that the FCC was going forward with full Title II reclassification of broadband, we noted that the stocks of the big broadband companies actually went up suggesting that Wall Street actually knows that reclassification won't really impact broadband companies, despite what they've been saying publicly. Perhaps this is partly because those same companies have been telling Wall Street that the rule change won't have an impact.

However, for the Wall Street Journal -- which has become weirdly, obsessively, anti-net neutrality -- this is an abomination. The newspaper has spent months trying to whip everyone into a frenzy about how evil net neutrality is, using some of the most blatantly wrong arguments around.


Just a few days ago, the WSJ turned to its former publisher, now columnist, L. Gordon Crovitz to spread as much misinformation as possible. This is the same L. Gordon Crovitz who a few years ago wrote such a ridiculously wrong article on the history of the internet that basically everyone shoved each other aside to detail how he mangled the history. He, bizarrely, insisted that the government had no role in the creation of the internet. Crovitz also has a history of being wrong (and woefully uninformed) about surveillance and encryption. It's difficult to understand why the WSJ allows him to continue writing pieces that are so frequently factually challenged.

In this latest piece, Crovitz suggests that Ted Cruz didn't go far enough in comparing Obamacare to net neutrality, arguing that net neutrality is even "worse."

The permissionless Internet, which allows anyone to introduce a website, app or device without government review, ends this week.

Um, no, actually, the reverse. The rules say that no website or app needs to get permission. The government isn't going to be reviewing anything, other than anti-consumer practices by the large ISPs.


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UT: Salt Lake County grants license to CenturyLink | Mike Gorrell | Salt Lake Tribune

UT: Salt Lake County grants license to CenturyLink | Mike Gorrell | Salt Lake Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If they are willing to pay for it, residents of unincorporated Salt Lake County can sign up soon for a new high-speed Internet broadband service offered by CenturyLink, Inc.

The Salt Lake County Council this week approved the issuance of a license to CenturyLink so it can offer unincorporated-area residents and businesses expanded broadband choices — including access to cable television — and at speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.

Federal and state law authorizes the county to grant licenses to cable-television providers who require the use of public rights-of-way to install their fiber-optic lines, said Patrick Leary, director of the county's Office of Township Services, which oversees services to about 160,000 unincorporated-area residents.

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Verizon so upset at net neutrality they publish statement in Morse code, which no one will read | Paul Hogarth | Daliy Kos

Verizon so upset at net neutrality they publish statement in Morse code, which no one will read | Paul Hogarth | Daliy Kos | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
Wow!! Verizon is so pissed at the vote by the Federal Communications Commission to pass strong net neutrality rules that they tried mocking the decision by calling it a throwback to 1930s-style regulation. As if the New Deal were a pejorative, not an amazing legacy.

And to illustrate how preserving an open democratic system to stop corporations from gouging us all is a 1930s ideal, Verizon published their statement: in Morse code.

It's in Morse code, so no one can read their arguments—unless you click on their translation at the bottom of the blog post. Which takes you to a PDF of their opposing statement.

Which means that practically no one will bother to read their lame arguments.

As a friend of mine quipped: "Verizon publishes statement against net neutrality in Morse code—and their wireless networks still cannot handle the bandwidth to download it."
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Verizon brings small cells indoors using these cute little dots | Kevin Fitchard | GigaOM Tech News

Verizon brings small cells indoors using these cute little dots | Kevin Fitchard | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon has had a big change of heart when it comes to small cells, which it once said wouldn’t have a big impact on its network. Not only is it using the tiny base stations to blanket San Francisco’s tech corridors with LTE capacity, it has begun experimenting with indoor small architectures, specifically Ericsson’s new Radio Dot system.

So far Verizon only has the Dot system up in its regional HQ in Southfield, Michigan, but it’s the first use in the U.S. of Ericsson’s new small cell architecture, which allows to building owners or carriers to install an indoor mobile network as easily as a Wi-Fi system.


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Dolan Moves Cablevision to Connected Future | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com

Dolan Moves Cablevision to Connected Future | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cablevision Systems CEO James Dolan said the cable operator’s future lies in the growth prospects of wireless connectivity, adding that more products to take advantage of its network are in the pipeline.

WiFi, Dolan said, is the wave of the future, adding that a trip to the January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas helped solidify that concept.


“I don’t think there was hardly anything on the floor that wasn’t connected using a WiFi device. I didn’t see one thing, by the way, being connected using a cellular device,” Dolan said of the CES Show. “Connectivity, particularly wireless, is going to become more and more important to our consumers. We want to be the company that provides that connectivity.”

But that could mean that video, once the benchmark of a cable operator, drops a notch on the priority chart.

“Connectivity has surpassed video as the primary product for a company like ours,” Dolan said. “And we need to continue to strategize our product offerings to reflect that with different packaging, etc., which is something I think we will do in 2015.”

Dolan wouldn’t give specifics about future offerings, but said that the company is open to whatever its customers demand, including “skinny” video packages and over-the-top offerings.

“We are going to be very reactive to what we see what the consumer wants,” Dolan said. “The consumer wants their connectivity first. They're a little less concerned with what their video packages are and some of them would prefer to save money on those. We're going to be reactive to that and we're going to continue to package our products so that we meet their needs and their demands. More to come; maybe the next call.”

Cablevision has been a pioneer in WiFi service and earlier this month launched the first cable WiFi-only phone – Freewheel – aimed at data hungry consumers and priced at $29.95 per month for non-Cablevision customers and $9.95 monthly for current cable customers.


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Inability To Skip Commercials Frustrates VOD Owners | Wayne Friedman | Media Post

Inability To Skip Commercials Frustrates VOD Owners | Wayne Friedman | Media Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Although video on demand is a big benefit to many TV viewers, one element of VOD activity remains a frustration: Not being able to skip through commercials.

A new report reveals that 41% of those surveyed say having the fast-forward function disabled on VOD is a major "frustration," per Hub Entertainment Research.

When fast-forward is available -- through DVR or other time-shifting technologies -- research says 49% of those VOD viewers fast-forward through every commercial; 56% skip every commercial when viewing from a DVR.

Hub says that ad avoidance is not the biggest reason people time-shift, "but it’s a factor."

Traditional TV networks have been counting on expanding their VOD services -- programming-wise -- all to monetize those offerings through TV advertisers, especially through dynamic ad insertion.


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FCC met with Canadian researcher to understand CRTC | Robin King | Toronto Star

FCC met with Canadian researcher to understand CRTC |  Robin King | Toronto Star | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. has been keeping a keen eye on Canada’s own struggles with net neutrality.

The debate over net neutrality — a principle that supports equal access to the Internet unfettered by corporate interest — has heated up on both sides of the border in recent months.

On Thursday, the FCC ruled that Internet service providers must act in the “public interest” and should be regulated the same as telephone and cable providers.

But Canada has always regulated the Internet as a utility, which has made it somewhat easier for the CRTC to step in.

“They’re sort of bringing their rules more or less with what we’ve got,” said Ben Klass, a Carleton grad student whose own crusade against service providers charging in full for YouTube or other videos, but discounting their own, led to the CRTC issuing a landmark decision in favour of net neutrality in January.

Klass met with FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn in October to discuss the Canada context.


“What’s been happening in Canada is actually a good indicator of how this might play out in the States,” Klass said.


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TiVo buys Aereo name, auction fetches under $2M | Jeff John Roberts | GigaOM Tech News

TiVo buys Aereo name, auction fetches under $2M | Jeff John Roberts | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Aereo, the streaming start-up that was poised to upend the TV industry until the Supreme Court shut it down, has been sold for scraps.

Aereo’s assets fetched under $2 million at auction, according to a person familiar with the sale. The figure is a far cry from the $90-$100 million that media mogul Barry Diller and other investors put in the company as part of high stakes gamble on copyright law.

“We are very disappointed with the results of the auction. This has been a very difficult sales process and the results reflect that,” said William Baldiga, counsel for Aereo and partner at Brown Rudnick, in a statement.

This outcome likely reflects the legal sword that continued to hang over Aereo even in bankruptcy, as broadcasters pressed their claims for huge copyright damages. As a result, Aereo was sold off in pieces rather than as a company.

The primary winner of the auction appears to be TV recording service TiVo, which acquired Aereo’s trademark along with customer lists and unspecified other assets.

Meanwhile, the holding company RPX, which is a patent troll of sorts, has acquired Aereo’s patents.


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Uber security breach may have affected up to 50,000 drivers | Tracey Lien | LATimes.com

Uber security breach may have affected up to 50,000 drivers | Tracey Lien | LATimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Thousands of Uber driver names and driver's license numbers may be in the hands of an unauthorized third party due to a data breach that occurred last year, the ride-hailing company announced today.

In a statement, Uber’s managing counsel of data privacy Katherine Tassi said the company discovered on Sept. 17, 2014, that one of its many databases could have potentially been accessed because one of the keys required to unlock it had been compromised. Upon further investigation, it found the database had been accessed once by an unauthorized third party on May 13, 2014.

The company could not say how the security vulnerability was first discovered because the matter is currently under investigation.

According to Tassi, the company immediately patched the security vulnerability. It has not received any reports of misuse of the data.

The database contained only the names and driver's license numbers of approximately 50,000 former and current Uber drivers from various states. Of the affected drivers, about 21,000 are based in California.


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MN Broadband Fund Award: A closer look around Otter Tail County | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN Broadband Fund Award: A closer look around Otter Tail County | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Almost $20 million in state grants have gone to 17 communities in Minnesota to expand broadband and make the case to legislators (and the general public) that such investments are wise and have a valuable Return on Investment. I wanted to delve into each project a bit to help us follow the money as it gets deployed. (See other awardee posts.)

Otter Tail Telcom, Stuart Lake. Awarded $105,364 to expand existing infrastructure to bring fiber-to-the-home service to 47 unserved locations, including 46 homes and one business near Stuart Lake, just north of State Highway 210 and east of Fergus Falls (between Clitherall and Vining). Total project costs are $210,729; the remaining $105,365 (50 percent local match) will be provided by Otter Tail Telcom.

Community and Economic Development Impact:Fergus Falls calls itself the “telework capital of Minnesota.” This project will continue the build-out in and around Fergus Falls to make that goal a reality for a growing number of people living, working, and operating and/or starting businesses in the Fergus Falls region.

Otter Tail Telcom, 245th. Awarded $108,553 to serve the northeastern outskirts of Fergus Falls near 245th Street. The project will expand existing infrastructure to bring fiber-to-the-home service to 39 unserved locations, including permanent residences and work-from-home employees. The total project costs are $217,105; the remaining $108,553 (50 percent local match) will be provided by Otter Tail Telcom.

Community and Economic Development Impact:Fergus Falls calls itself the “telework capital of Minnesota.” This project will continue the build-out in and around Fergus Falls to make that goal a reality for a growing number of people living, working, and operating and/or starting businesses in the Fergus Falls region.

Otter Tail actually received three awards; these two in Otter Tail and one in Stevens county. As the description states, Fergus Falls and the surrounding area have been focusing on becoming the Telework Capital of Minnesota. They received national recognition for their efforts in 2013 when they were named a smart community. (The have a great telework handbook if you’re looking at telework in your community!) Extending the reach of FTTH home will help extend the telework opportunities to a wider audience. But Otter Tail is more than telework. In 2014, received almost $500,000 for Otter Tail County Public Health to implement e-health programs.


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Cybergeddon: Why the Internet could be the next “failed state” | Sean Gallagher | Ars Technica

Cybergeddon: Why the Internet could be the next “failed state” | Sean Gallagher | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The recent rash of major breaches of corporate networks, including the theft of personal information from the health insurer Anthem and the theft of as much as a billion dollars from over 100 banks are symptoms of a much larger trend of cybercrime and espionage.


And while the issue has been once again raised to national importance by the White House, it could be argued that governments have done more to exacerbate the problem than address it. Fears of digital warfare and crime are shifting budget priorities, funding the rapid expansion of the security industry and being used as a reason for proposals for new laws and policy that could reshape the Internet.

“If we think our kids and grandkids are going to have as awesome and free an Internet as the one we have, we really have to look at why we think that," Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council of the United States, told Ars.

The alternative futures for the Internet are not pretty. In presentations at multiple security conferences, Healey has suggested that the Internet could “start to look like Somalia”—a failed state where security is impossible, going about daily life is hazardous, and armed camps openly wage war over the network.


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Wheeler: Title II Vote Was Independent | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Wheeler: Title II Vote Was Independent | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Thursday that the FCC order reclassifying ISPs as common carriers was made independent of the President and based on the record before it in the proceeding.

There have been questions raised about how influential the President's strong and public support of Title II-based new network neutrality rules was on Wheeler's decision to pivot from a Sec. 706-based, commercially reasonable" standard to a Title II-based "just and reasonable standard."

In particular, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai has taken to calling it the President's Title II plan after a Wall Street Journal reported on the White House effort to produce strong net neutrality rules.

In a press conference following the Feb. 26 vote, Wheeler said that both he and the President have been on the record for a long time in favor of network neutrality, but that the FCC "produced a set of rules based on our independent assessment of what the record was."


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Getting straight about common carriers and Title II | David Weinberger | Ting.com

Getting straight about common carriers and Title II | David Weinberger | Ting.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you care about an Internet that is open to every idea and every startup, you need to know about common carriage and understand what’s at stake as Internet advocates call on the FCC to reclassify the Internet under Title II.

It’s complex. So, I asked Barbara Cherry to help explain it all.

Cherry knows about this from three decades in the field, including in the telecommunications field for almost twenty years–ten of them at AT&T, five at Ameritech, and almost five at the FCC. Now she is a professor of telecommunications who trained as a lawyer and has a Ph.D. in communications studies.

Cherry explains that the idea of common carriage goes back to the Middle Ages. “If your business is to carry things for others, you have certain legal obligations,” she says. Whether you’re a postal service delivering letters or a ferry delivering people, the basic obligation is “to serve upon reasonable request without unreasonable discrimination at a just and reasonable price and with adequate care.”

There are some big ideas in that legalistic formulation.


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