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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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FCC Commissioners Pai, O'Rielly to Hold Title II Press Conference | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Commissioners Pai, O'Rielly to Hold Title II Press Conference | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission's two Republican commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly, will hold a joint press conference Feb. 26 following the agency's expected vote to reclassify Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II. Pai and O'Rielly will likely be strongly dissenting from those rules.

The FCC chairman historically holds a press conference following a vote, but not the ranking minority commissioner (Pai). The Pai-O'Rielly press conference will follow chairman Tom Wheeler's in the commission meeting room, according to Pai's office.

The move is unusual, but not unprecedented, at least after Pai held a press conference two weeks ago to criticize the Open Internet draft order and attribute it to influence from the White House.

Pai has been unusually vocal in his criticism and opposition, but then, the vote is being hailed as a historic one, either for protecting an Open Internet or for overregulating in search of a problem, depending on which side of the issue one stands. Pai and O'Reilly are definitely in the latter camp.

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Divided FCC Votes to Reclassify ISPs Under Title II | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Divided FCC Votes to Reclassify ISPs Under Title II | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With lots of input, including from the founder of the Web, but no real surprises, a contentious FCC voted 3-2 along party lines Thursday (Feb. 26) to reclassify broadband as a telecom service under some Title II regulations, a move that prompted cheers from net activists who have been pushing for Title II for over a decade, and will prompt lawsuits that could tie up the rules in court for years.

Associations representing wired and wireless telco ISPs have already essentially told the FCC: See you in court.

Republican commissioners blasted the order, suggesting it was utility-style regs in Title II-lite clothing and that the rate regs and unbundling and new taxes that the FCC said it was forbearing would materialize regardless.

The order creates bright-line rules against blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization--so-called fast lanes. It also allows a case-by-case review of interconnection complaints as potential network neutrality violations.

The rules will not become official until published in the Federal Register, which will take a few weeks, and will then be challenged in court, though they will remain in effect unless stayed by the FCC (unlikely) or a court.


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The FCC's Historic Day: Voting Yes For Net Neutrality, Voting No On Protectionist State Telecom Law | Karl Bode | Techdirt

The FCC's Historic Day: Voting Yes For Net Neutrality, Voting No On Protectionist State Telecom Law | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today was, no hyperbole intended, probably one of the more historic -- albeit at times one of the dullest -- days in FCC history. The agency, led by a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries few expected anything from, bucked a myriad of low expectations and voted 3-2 to approve Title II-based net neutrality rules after an unprecedented public-driven tech advocacy campaign. While net neutrality will likely get the lion's share of today's media attention, the FCC also today voted to begin a prolonged assault on ISP-driven, protectionist state telecom law.

First, it's important to note that despite a 3-2 vote approving the Title II-based rules, we won't get to see the actual rules today. Despite claims by neutrality opponents that this is some secret cabal specific to net neutrality, the agency historically has never released rules it votes on (pdf) until well after the actual vote. It's a dumb restriction that's absolutely deadly to open discourse, but it's not unique to one party or to this specific issue.

As for when we'll actually get to see and start dissecting the actual Title II rules ourselves, we may be waiting weeks -- in part, ironically, thanks to neutrality opponents on the Commission that spent the last few weeks professing to adore transparency:

"In fact, it could take weeks before the final rules are published, the official said. That’s because the two Republican commissioners, Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly—who oppose net neutrality of any sort—have refused to submit basic edits on the order. The FCC will not release the text of the order until edits from the offices of all five commissioners are incorporated, including dissenting opinions. This could take a few weeks, depending how long the GOP commissioners refuse to provide edits on the new rules."

Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Reilly voiced their opposition to the new Title II-based rules by not only voting against them, but by trying to bore meeting attendees to death. Pai, a former Verizon regulatory lawyer, offered a mammoth speech in which he ironically lamented "special interests" and claimed repeatedly to only be opposing net neutrality out of a concern for consumer wallets. O'Reilly tried to top Pai with an even longer, duller speech that continually insisted the FCC was trying to conduct a secret, regulatory takeover of the Internet. A visibly emotional Wheeler was having none of it:


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FCC Votes to Pre-empt State Broadband Laws | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Votes to Pre-empt State Broadband Laws | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday (Feb. 26) along party lines to pre-empt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that limit expansion of municipal broadband, citing its authority under the Sec. 706 mandate to insure advance telecommunications services are being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner.

The order pre-empts geographic limitations on the expansion of municipal broadband systems in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C., though it does not compel any action on either. The decision does not affect laws in other states, but signals how the FCC might act on similar petitions, which are expected from other municipal broadband providers now that the FCC has fired this shot across the bow at state broadband laws.

The cities of Chattanooga and Wilson asked the FCC to pre-empt their limiting state laws, saying that without those restrictions, they are willing and able to expand their gigabit service to surrounding neighborhoods that had asked for it.

The state laws prevented expansion beyond the footprints of the utilities that are providing the broadband service, or as the FCC Wireline Bureau said, to a "sea of little or no" broadband options. The bureau said the decision was simply letting communities serve their neighbors.

The bureau pointed to the FCC's recent 706 finding that advanced telecom was not being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner, and the section's instructions to act immediately to try and rectify that.


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HissyFitWatch: Bell Canada Loses Net Neutrality Case, Threatens to Bury Complaining Consumers In Legal Fees | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

HissyFitWatch: Bell Canada Loses Net Neutrality Case, Threatens to Bury Complaining Consumers In Legal Fees | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A Manitoba university student and consumer groups who won their case against Bell’s preferential treatment of its mobile streaming video service are now being threatened with demands they personally cover Bell’s legal expenses as the phone company appeals the ruling in court.

The dispute involves Bell Mobile TV Service — a $5/mo optional add-on that allows Bell’s mobile customers to stream up to 10 hours of video programming, some of it from Bell-owned television networks like CTV, without it counting against the customer’s usage cap. Each additional hour costs $3. The service prices usage based on time, not data usage, which lets Bell stream very high quality video to customers. Competitors like Netflix do not have this option and their customers are billed based on the amount of data consumed, which is around 800 percent higher than what Bell Mobile TV charges.

University of Manitoba graduate student Benjamin Klass filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in 2013 accusing Bell of violating Net Neutrality and creating an anti-competitive marketplace for online video. Twelve of the 43 channels available on Mobile TV — including CTV, TSN and The Movie Network — are owned by Bell Media, a subsidiary, like Bell Mobility, of the media behemoth BCE.

Klass alleged the practice was a clear violation of Canada’s laws governing broadcasting: “No Canadian carrier shall, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service or the charging of a rate for it, unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage.”

The CRTC agreed with Klass and in late January ruled in favor of Klass’ complaint, giving Bell and Quebec-based Vidéotron (which offers a similar service) until the end of April to close them down in their present form.

BCE, the parent of Bell Mobility, told the CBC it was “shocked” by the CRTC’s ruling, suspecting the complaining groups mislead regulators into thinking Bell favored its own content over others.

“There’s a hint here that the government believes Bell Mobile TV delivers only Bell Media content,” spokesman Jason Laszlo said. “They should know we offer mobile TV content from all of Canada’s leading broadcasters in English and French.”


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Cord-Cutting Picks Up: 1.4 Million U.S. Households Tuned Out Pay TV Last Year | Todd Spangler | Variety.com

Cord-Cutting Picks Up: 1.4 Million U.S. Households Tuned Out Pay TV Last Year | Todd Spangler | Variety.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The pay-TV biz has agonized for years about the looming threat of consumers cutting the cord — but so far, the trend hasn’t inflicted serious pain on providers or their programming partners.

That could change in 2015, according to Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett, who suggests the industry could be facing a large wave of consumers pulling the plug on cable or satellite service or not even signing up in the first place.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, pay-TV providers in aggregate added a net 101,000 subscribers, according to Moffett. Year-over-year, the industry sub numbers was essentially flat, declining by a scant 0.1%. Cable operators lost 170,000 subs (declining 2.2%), while DirecTV and Dish Network added 86,000 (up 0.1%) and telcos added a net 185,000.

However, factoring in new household formation in the period — the fastest growth in 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — roughly 1.4 million American households either canceled pay-TV over the trailing 12 months or never subscribed, Moffett said in a research note. Since 2010, the industry has cumulatively lost (or failed to sign up) 3.8 million households, he estimated.

“A year from now, the fourth quarter may well be viewed as the calm before the storm,” Moffett wrote.

For the pay-TV business, the risk is that more consumers will find traditional TV service just isn’t a good value, as the price of programming packages continues to rise unabated.


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CA: WebTV Founder's Super-Fast Wireless Network to Launch in SF | Dawn Chmielewski | Re/Code.net

CA: WebTV Founder's Super-Fast Wireless Network to Launch in SF | Dawn Chmielewski | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new wireless technology that claims exponentially better performance than current mobile networks will be introduced in San Francisco as soon as this year, pending regulatory approval.

Artemis Networks has reached a deal with Dish Networks to lease mobile spectrum in San Francisco for up to two years, clearing the way for the first deployment of a wireless technology known as pCell. It will also be offered in Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers professional football team.

“This is the largest single advance in the history of wireless,” said Artemis founder and CEO Steve Perlman.

This technology claims 35 times the performance of 4G LTE networks, a milestone achieved by embracing the network collisions other wireless technologies seek to avoid, Perlman said. PCell technology combines interfering radio waves in a way that forms tiny virtual cells of connectivity (or a personal cell) for each device.


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How Google’s Crazy Stratospheric Internet Balloons Matured Into a Technology That Could Bring Billions More People Online | Tom Simonite | MIT Technology Review

How Google’s Crazy Stratospheric Internet Balloons Matured Into a Technology That Could Bring Billions More People Online | Tom Simonite | MIT Technology Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You climb 170 steps up a series of dusty wooden ladders to reach the top of Hangar Two at Moffett Federal Airfield near Mountain View, California. The vast, dimly lit shed was built in 1942 to house airships during a war that saw the U.S. grow into a technological superpower. A perch high in the rafters is the best way to appreciate the strangeness of something in the works at Google—a part of the latest incarnation of American technical dominance.

On the floor far below are Google employees who look tiny as they tend to a pair of balloons, 15 meters across, that resemble giant white pumpkins. Google has launched hundreds of these balloons into the sky, lofted by helium. At this moment, a couple of dozen float over the Southern Hemisphere at an altitude of around 20 kilometers, in the rarely visited stratosphere—nearly twice the height of commercial airplanes. Each balloon supports a boxy gondola stuffed with solar-powered electronics. They make a radio link to a telecommunications network on the ground and beam down high-speed cellular Internet coverage to smartphones and other devices. It’s known as Project Loon, a name chosen for its association with both flight and insanity.

Google says these balloons can deliver widespread economic and social benefits by bringing Internet access to the 60 percent of the world’s people who don’t have it. Many of those 4.3 billion people live in rural places where telecommunications companies haven’t found it worthwhile to build cell towers or other infrastructure. After working for three years and flying balloons for more than three million kilometers, Google says Loon balloons are almost ready to step in.


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Anthem: 78.8 million affected, FBI close to naming suspect | Steve Ragan | CSO Online

Anthem: 78.8 million affected, FBI close to naming suspect | Steve Ragan | CSO Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Tuesday, Anthem, the nation's second largest health insurer, said that 8.8 to 18.8 million people who were not customers could be impacted by their recent data breach, which at last count is presumed to affect some 78.8 million people. This latest count now includes customers of independent Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plans in several states.

In a statement, Anthem said that the breach affects current and former customers of dating back to 2004.

"This includes customers of Anthem, Inc. companies Amerigroup, Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, Caremore, and Unicare. Additionally customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies who used their Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance in one of fourteen states where Anthem, Inc. operates may be impacted and are also eligible: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin," the company explained.

On December 10, 2014, someone compromised a database owned by Anthem Inc. The compromise was discovered on January 27, 2015, by a database administrator who noticed his credentials being used to run a query that he didn't initiate. Anthem disclosed the breach to the public on February 4.

In statements to the Associated Press, Anthem confirmed previous reports published by Salted Hash, and added to those details with the news that credentials from at least five different employees were compromised during the incident. Speculating, investigators believe that the employees fell for a Phishing attack.

The company said that attackers were able to obtain "personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data."

The same week Anthem disclosed their breach, criminals jumped on the news and launched a Phishing campaign using current events and fear as a lure, reminding potential victims that they'd be contacted via the US Postal Service, and not by email or phone.

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MN Broadband Fund Award: A closer look around Northeast Service Cooperative (St Louis County) | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN Broadband Fund Award: A closer look around Northeast Service Cooperative (St Louis 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.)

Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) – Frontier Communications Corp., Border to Border Phase I. Awarded $1.96 million for their Phase I project that extends fiber from NESC’s middle mile network to 877 unserved end users and to serving nodes. The total project costs are $4.35 million; the remaining $2.39 million (55 percent local match) will be provided by IRRRB ($1.5 million), Frontier ($750,000) and NESC ($135,000).The proposed project is in scattered locations in St. Louis County, including areas in and around Crane Lake, Alborn, Meadowlands, Brookston, Forbes, Kelsey, Soudan, Kabetogama, Ely and Tower.

Community and Economic Development Impact:This project will provide single office/home office businesses with greater speeds to improve operational capacity and bring reliable, steady connections to the Internet. It will also provide access to remote health care solutions that require higher capacity connections and will link citizens to educational resources and local school districts from their households.

I nearly combined this with the post on Mediacom’s award, also set in St Louis County (on Pintar Road). But NESC is a little bit of a different kettle of fish, because they have primarily been middle mile broadband extension in Northeast Minnesota. Here’s a description I borrowed from their website a few years ago…


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Bluetooth starts weaving its mesh for IoT | Stephen Lawson | ComputerWorld.com

Bluetooth starts weaving its mesh for IoT | Stephen Lawson | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Backers of Bluetooth plan to give the technology a way to form mesh networks, dramatically extending its range and potentially its role in the Internet of Things.

Bluetooth is well suited to IoT because of its low-power capability and its inclusion in smartphones and many other devices. But its reach has been limited to the practical range of a Bluetooth radio, about 30 meters, because it needs to organize itself in hub-and-spoke networks. Other energy-sipping networks, such as ZigBee and 6LoWPAN, can already form wider networks just by linking client devices together.

Meshes mean that connected things such as thermostats and lights can communicate without going through a nearby PC or dedicated hub device, so networks are easier and less expensive to build. That's a key capability that led the Thread Group, the IoT networking alliance formed by Google's Nest group and other heavy hitters, to turn to 6LoWPAN even though that technology is less widely available than Bluetooth. Thread devices will be able to automatically form their own networks, the group says.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group, as expected, is now trying to get in on the mesh game. On Tuesday, it announced the formation of the Bluetooth Smart Mesh Working Group to develop a mesh feature that could start showing up in products next year.

That wouldn't be too late for Bluetooth to become the network of choice in home IoT products, said Peter Jarich, an analyst at Current Analysis. Most consumers don't even know yet why they would want IoT.

"I doubt you're going to see the market take off so much this year that it's going to drive one technology versus another," Jarich said.


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Google worried US could use amended warrant rule to search computers abroad | John Ribeiro | ComputerWorld.com

Google worried US could use amended warrant rule to search computers abroad | John Ribeiro | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google has opposed moves by the U.S. Department of Justice to extend the warrant-issuing authority of magistrate judges to searches of computers in districts other than their own.

Innocuous as that may sound, Google is concerned that the proposed amendment would likely end up being used by U.S. law enforcement to directly search computers and devices anywhere in the world.

There is nothing in the proposed change to the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 that would prevent access to computers and devices worldwide, wrote Richard Salgado, Google's legal director for law enforcement and information security, in a blog post Wednesday.

The rule gives authority to a judge in a district to issue a warrant to search for and seize a person or property located within the district, with certain exceptions.

The amendment would give a district's magistrate judge the authority to issue a warrant "to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district," if the location of the media is concealed using technology or the media are protected computers that have been damaged without authorization and are located within five or more districts.

The little known Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure proposed the amendment and the last day for comments was Tuesday. The move to amend Rule 41 has been opposed by a number of privacy and civil rights groups. Google also filed its comments.


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F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama | Jonathan Weisman | NYTimes.com

F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama | Jonathan Weisman | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Senior Republicans conceded on Tuesday that the grueling fight with President Obama over the regulation of Internet service appears over, with the president and an army of Internet activists victorious.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to approve regulating Internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from paying for faster lanes on the Internet. While the two Democratic commissioners are negotiating over technical details, they are widely expected to side with the Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, against the two Republican commissioners.

And Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as “Obamacare for the Internet,” now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the Internet became a reality.

“We’re not going to get a signed bill that doesn’t have Democrats’ support,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “This is an issue that needs to have bipartisan support.”


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Bill Introduced to Block FCC Municipal Broadband Preemption | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Bill Introduced to Block FCC Municipal Broadband Preemption | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Even before the FCC released the text of its just-voted decision to preempt state laws limiting municipal broadband expansion in Tennessee and North Carolina, a pair of Republican legislators has introduced legislation to preempt that preemption.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) have introduced draft legislation that says it is the sense of Congress that the FCC "does not have the authority under 4 section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to prevent any State from implementing any 6 law of such State with respect to the provision of 7 broadband Internet access service (as defined in section 8 8.11 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations) by such 9 State or a municipality or other political subdivision of 10 such State."

The FCC voted 3-2 in a party line vote to grant the petitions by Chattanooga and Wilson, N.C., to preempt state laws preventing them from expanding beyond the utility footprints of their current service. The commission based that authority on Sec. 706, which it says empowers it to take immediate action to insure that advanced telecommunications is being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion if it concludes that is not the case as the FCC concluded in it most recent Sec. 706 report to Congress.

The FCC said those state laws limiting geographic buildouts were an impediment to that deployment. The decision only applies to Tennessee and north Carolina, but FCC chairman Tom Wheeler suggests it puts a spotlight on other laws, which he brands efforts by incumbents to prevent competition.

The bill would prevent FCC preemption in Tennessee and North Carolina, as well as the 18 other states that have such laws, and any other state that might adopt them.


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The FCC rules against state limits on city-run Internet | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

The FCC rules against state limits on city-run Internet | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years, cities around the country have been trying to build their own, local competitors to Verizon, Charter and other major Internet providers. Such government-run Internet service would be faster and cheaper than private alternatives, they argued. But in roughly 20 states, those efforts have been stymied by state laws.

Now, the nation's top telecom regulators want to change that. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commissions voted 3-2 to override laws preventing Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C. from expanding the high-speed Internet service the cities already offer to some residents.

The vote could embolden other cities that feel they have been underserved by traditional Internet providers, potentially undermining years of lobbying by the telecommunications industry.

“It's good to see the FCC standing up to phone and cable company efforts to legislate away competition and choice,” Free Press, a consumer advocacy group. “By targeting these protectionist state laws, the FCC is siding with dozens of communities seeking to provide essential broadband services where people have few to no other options.


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FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules For 'Open Internet' | Bill Chappell | NPR.org

FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules For 'Open Internet' | Bill Chappell | NPR.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote at its Thursday meeting, with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying the policy will ensure "that no one — whether government or corporate — should control free open access to the Internet."

The Open Internet Order helps to decide an essential question about how the Internet works, requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways — and at different costs.

"Today is a red-letter day," Wheeler said Thursday.

The dissenting votes came from Michael O'Rielly and Ajut Pai, Republicans who warned that the FCC was overstepping its authority and interfering in commerce to solve a problem that doesn't exist. They also complained that the measure's 300-plus pages weren't publicly released or openly debated.

The new policy would replace a prior version adopted in 2010 — but that was put on hold following a legal challenge by Verizon. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled last year that the FCC did not have sufficient regulatory power over broadband.

After that ruling, the FCC looked at ways to reclassify broadband to gain broader regulatory powers. It will now treat Internet service providers as carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which regulates services as public utilities.


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DARPA wants advanced sensors to watch over growing hot spot: The Artic | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

DARPA wants advanced sensors to watch over growing hot spot: The Artic | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Artic Circle pretty much has been a damn cold, desolate place but no so anymore what with the military’s increased attention and commercial growing prospects.

Those are the main reasons the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency cites for wanting to build an advanced generation of sensors capable of transmitting data on air, surface and/or undersea activities above the Arctic Circle for at least 30 days.

“The challenges of operations in the high Arctic are significant: there is little fixed infrastructure North of the Arctic Circle to support sustained operations and system designs must satisfy requirements for system durability and ruggedness in the harsh Arctic environment, DARPA states.

“Unmanned systems are developing the range and environmental performance necessary for Arctic operation. Commercial electronics provide low-cost and energy-efficient sensing systems capable of low temperature operation. Communications technologies such as Iridium and Argos enable data relay from remote Arctic systems to manned analysis and observing centers,” DARPA stated. The agency says it wants to utilize these and other advancements for the new sensors.

The sensor project is not DARPA’s first foray into the Artic. In 2012 it announced the Assured Artic Awareness project saying growth in activity will increase the strategic significance of the region and will drive a need to ensure stability through effective regional monitoring.


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CNBC (Comcast)'s Magic Box of Tricks and Traps: The Hit on Tumblr Founder David Karp Debunked | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

CNBC (Comcast)'s Magic Box of Tricks and Traps: The Hit on Tumblr Founder David Karp Debunked | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Net Neutrality opponents today made hay about an underwhelming, sometimes stumbling debate performance by Tumblr founder David Karp, who was inexplicably CNBC’s go-to-guy to explain the inner machinations of the multi-billion dollar high-speed Internet connectivity business.

TechFreedom, an industry-funded libertarian-leaning group spent much of the day hounding Karp about his “painful, babbling CNBC interview.”

“Those pushing #TitleII have NO FREAKING CLUE what it means,” tweeted TechFreedom’s Berin Szoka.

BTIG Research devoted a whole page to the eight minute performance, where Karp faced interrogation by two CNBC hosts openly hostile to Net Neutrality and another that expressed profound concern the Obama Administration would over-enforce Net Neutrality under Title II regulations. CNBC is owned by Comcast, a fierce opponent of mandatory Net Neutrality.

“Given the importance of Net Neutrality and the central role played by Tumblr’s Karp in getting us to this point, we thought it was very important for everyone to watch his interview earlier today on CNBC in its entirety,” wrote Rich Greenfield, noting the “best parts” (where Karp appeared like a deer frozen by oncoming headlights) were encapsulated into an extra video clip.

Greenfield referred to a Wall Street Journal piece in February that suggested access means everything when it comes to D.C. politics:


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Verizon, T-Mobile, Ericsson Want WiFi Spectrum for LTE | 5G Wireless News

Verizon, T-Mobile, Ericsson Want WiFi Spectrum for LTE | 5G Wireless News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With congestion already a problem, do we want more traffic from telcos?


Is it smart to give up 25%-75% of the bandwdith for telco LTE?


"LAA" is seeing a huge push in 3GPP and elsewhere. Giant telcos want to make this happen incredibly fast although no one has done field trials to prove the sharing can work. They want to create "facts on the ground" before the regulator, much less the public, even know what's going on.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray says they will deploy in 2015, Verizon's Tony Melone is not far behind and AT&T is working in standards. SK in Korea and all the equipment guys are jumping on. More than half of traffic now goes on WiFi but the telcos can't charge for it in most countries. So they are moving the free WiFi calls to LTE "Assisted Access" so they can charge. If they clobber WiFi in the process, better for them. If all the current uncharged WiFi traffic moved to LTE, most phone bills would double or triple.

Kevin Smithen and Will Clayton of Macquarie broke the story, which was picked by by Fierce, Jan Brodkin and Kevin Fitchard. Telcos grabbing a big hunk of WiFi is about as important a mobile story as I can imagine, but I couldn't find even a single report in a major newspaper. WSJ, NYT, WP and the Guardian haven't even mentioned LAA.

I believe that new WiFi applications will switch even more traffic to WiFi and reduce consumer costs. For example, Marconi fellow John Cioffi has shown a way to a home gigabit using WiFI and DSL.Many agree with me that more WiFi spectrum is the most efficient way to deliver more capacity to all of us, although Marconi Fellow Marty Cooper points to technical advantages of WiFi. Informally, the U.S. FCC has decided that at least half of the 3.5 GHz spectrum coming available will be available for WiFi.


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Broadband RI Issues Final Report | Winter 2015 eNews | Broadband RI

Broadband RI Issues Final Report | Winter 2015 eNews | Broadband RI | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the last five years, Broadband Rhode Island (BBRI) has been laser-focused on identifying and educating people and organizations across Rhode Island about the issues and opportunities presented by the ever-expanding Internet.


The idea of “broadband as infrastructure” is still a new one, but as the idea spread across the nation, we strove to bring about crucial statewide collaboration to uncover the policy issues and our states’ responsibilities herein towards this cross-sector resource.

Although the project is coming to an end, we received a boost from the NTIA in the form of a project extension through June 30, 2015. This will allow for the completion of several significant projects and will help us build momentum for the sustainability of broadband initiatives beyond the grant. Ultimately, the state has an important role in carrying this progress forward.

With this edition of the BBRI eNews we are pleased to introduce our final report “Broadband Priorities for Rhode Island 2015-2020: Achieving Competitive Advantage in the Internet Age.” The report, which is available in print and digital versions, highlights our accomplishments over the past five years in several areas. But more importantly it issues these five core recommendations to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have full access to the economic opportunity and streamlined government service made possible through broadband technology:


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Citing encryption, FBI lobbying to keep phone metadata spying powers | David Kravets | Ars Technica

Citing encryption, FBI lobbying to keep phone metadata spying powers | David Kravets | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The law that the Obama administration cites to allow bulk telephone metadata collection expires on June 1, and the FBI has already begun lobbying to keep Section 215 of the Patriot Act from expiring. Bad guys "going dark" using encryption, the FBI says, is one of the reasons why the government needs to collect the metadata of every phone call made to and from the United States.

Robert Anderson, the FBI’s chief of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, told reporters during a roundtable discussion Tuesday that the Patriot Act is necessary because encrypted communications are becoming more commonplace in the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures.

"In the last two to three years, that whole ‘going dark’ thing went from a crawl to a flat-out sprint because the technology is changing so rapidly," Anderson said.

Joseph Demarest, assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division, told reporters that if Section 215 expires, "Obviously it’s going to impact what we do as an organization and certainly on cyber."

The comments, especially as they relate to encryption, are part of a growing chorus of calls—from as high as President Barack Obama—that the government needs Silicon Valley's assistance for backdoors into encrypted tech products like the iPhone.

Silicon Valley has (at least publicly) shunned the administration's attempts to get backdoors into their products. And while no legislation at the moment requires them to comply, the nation's spy apparatus and others are turning their attention toward not losing the bulk telephone metadata spying program that spun heads when The Guardian—armed with classified documents from Snowden—exposed it in 2013. As it turns out, the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court that was authorizing the program was doing so under the authority of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

While many leading lawmakers are behind renewing the program, there are plenty of reasons why it should expire come June. According to the EFF:


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What Comcast's huge profits tell us about the state of the broadband industry | Timothy Lee | Vox.com

A common argument against network neutrality regulations is that restricting how broadband providers run their networks — for example, by prohibiting them from charging certain content providers extra to put their content in "fast lanes" while everyone else's content gets stuck in the slow lane — is that this kind of regulation will make it too difficult for network providers to recoup their investments in broadband infrastructure.

So it's interesting to look at the 2014 financial results from the nation's largest broadband provider, Comcast, which came out today. Comcast's cable division (the company also owns NBC Universal) had operating cash flow (revenues minus operating expenses) of $18 billion. Of that sum, Comcast re-invested $6 billion in its network. But it also gave $6.5 billion in profits back to shareholders, and the company expects to return an even larger sum to shareholders in 2015.

This isn't a surprise. The company has posted a generous — and usually growing — profit every year since at least 2006. Clearly, this is not a company that's struggling to find the funds it needs to maintain and upgrade its network.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong with companies earning profits and giving them back to shareholders. You couldn't have a capitalist economy if shareholders couldn't earn a return from their investments. But I think we can draw two lessons from Comcast's financial results.


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Anthem now says 78.8M were affected by data breach | Jeremy Kirk | ComputerWorld.com

Anthem now says 78.8M were affected by data breach | Jeremy Kirk | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Anthem data breach may have exposed 78.8 million records, according to a more finely tuned estimate by the health insurance company, but Anthem is still investigating exactly how many records hackers extracted from a database.

Hackers accessed a database at Anthem that contained customer and employee records with names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and member IDs, the health insurance company said on Feb. 4. Some records included employment information and income levels, but no financial information was compromised, it said.

It marked one of the largest data breaches to affect the health care industry, adding to a string of recent attacks that have shaken large companies, including retailers Home Depot, Target and Michaels.

Anthem, formerly known as Wellpoint, runs health-care plans under the Blue Cross Blue Shield, Empire Blue Cross, Amerigroup, Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink, DeCare, HealthKeepers and Golden West brands.

Between 60 million and 70 million of the 78.8 million records belong to current or former Anthem members, the company said in a statement.

The remainder -- between 8.8 million and 18.8 million -- belong to non-Anthem members who used their insurance in a state where Anthem has operated over the last decade.

Anthem is still trying to identify those people who may have been affected. Part of the problem is that Anthem has found 14 million incomplete records that can't be linked to a product or line of business. Those records lack data fields that could be used to identify members, though they probably are not active Anthem members.


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Republicans Fear Net Neutrality Plan Could Lead to UN Internet Powers | Brendan Sasso | National Journal

Republicans Fear Net Neutrality Plan Could Lead to UN Internet Powers | Brendan Sasso | National Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. government's plan to enact strong net neutrality regulations could embolden authoritarian regimes like China and Russia to seize more power over the Internet through the United Nations, a key Senate Republican warned Wednesday.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune of South Dakota argued that by claiming more authority over Internet access for net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission will undermine the ability of the U.S. to push back against international plots to control the Internet and censor content.

Countries like Russia have already made it clear that they want the International Telecommunications Union or another United Nations body to have more power over the Internet, Thune said.

"It seems like reclassifying broadband as the administration is doing is losing a valuable argument," Thune said at his panel's hearing on Internet governance. "How do you prevent ITU involvement when you're pushing to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and is everyone aware of that inherent contradiction?"

The FCC is set to vote on net neutrality regulations on Thursday that would declare Internet access a "telecommunications service" under Title II. Net neutrality advocates, including President Obama, argue that the move is the only way the FCC can enact rules that will hold up to legal challenges in court. The rules aim to prevent Internet providers from acting as "gatekeepers" and controlling what content users can access online.


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

SD Senator John Thune has got to be one of the prime Republican "Spreaders" of Telco/Cableco FUD. And he is paid very well for these services!

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FCC net-neutrality vote is GO, as GOP gives up (but beware friendly-fire) | Richi Jennings | ComputerWorld.com

FCC net-neutrality vote is GO, as GOP gives up (but beware friendly-fire) | Richi Jennings | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Things are looking up for FCC Chair Tom Wheeler's net-neutrality proposal. Tomorrow's vote is expected to be close, but at least Republican senators have given up fighting "Obamanet"—for now, at least.

Why? Democracy won. And it nicely illustrates how 21st-Century citizens can make their voices heard louder than any expensive lobbyist.

However, FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn may drop a last-minute, dramatic insect in the topical medicine.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers leech broadchurch.s02e08.finale.1080p.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.


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