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Study shows adult Minnesotans have increased their use of smartphones for Internet access | Blandin on Broadband

New data from Connect Minnesota shows that approximately 2.1 million (51%) adults in the state use the Internet on their cell phones or subscribe to mobile wireless service for a laptop or tablet computer. The previous year’s survey showed that 39%, or 1.6 million adults in the state, used mobile Internet service; a 12 percentage point increase.

 

In 2011 and 2012, Connect Minnesota conducted residential technology assessments in Minnesota to measure the growth of mobile Internet. The study shows that the reasons Minnesotans do (or do not) choose to access mobile Internet on their cell phones are multi-faceted. In addition we explored questions that have been raised nationally, such as the impact of data caps on mobile broadband adoption and usage.

 

This survey was conducted in support of Connect Minnesota’s efforts to close Minnesota’s digital gap and explores the barriers to adoption, rates of broadband adoption among various demographics, and the types of activities broadband subscribers conduct online, among other findings.

 

The data are available via an interactive widget on the Connect Minnesota website.

 

“Connect Minnesota’s research shows that mobile broadband plays an ever-increasing role in how Minnesotans get online,” said Connect Minnesota State Program Manager Bill Hoffman. “As we look ahead, I think mobile broadband will continue to be an integral part of Minnesota’s broadband landscape.”

 

Among the key findings of the residential survey are:

 

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And it’s official: Comcast has announced the Time Warner Cable deal is no more | Brian Fang | WashPost.com

And it’s official: Comcast has announced the Time Warner Cable deal is no more | Brian Fang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast has officially called off its $45 billion proposed merger with Time Warner Cable.


"Today, we move on," said Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts in a statement. "I couldn't be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what's next."


The mega-deal would've joined the two biggest cable companies in America, creating a massive player that regulators feared could exert undue leverage over not just others in the cable business, but over other industries in the media and entertainment space.


The Federal Communications Commission effectively killed the deal this week when staffers at the agency recommended that the merger be designated for a "hearing" — a procedural move that would have led to years of fruitless legal wrangling, analysts said.


"Once you have even the implication of [a hearing], you have no choice but to walk away," said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG.


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Comcast chief’s last-minute pleas to a former ally fell on deaf ears | Cecilia Kang & Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Comcast chief’s last-minute pleas to a former ally fell on deaf ears | Cecilia Kang & Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Monday, the chief executive of Comcast made a Hail Mary call to Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Brian Roberts told the regulator that his intention to buy Time Warner Cable was for the good for the entire country because it would bring faster Internet speeds to millions. His cable and media company would of course become a behemoth, but Roberts promised to behave and to not use his company’s power to unfairly thwart competitors.


The two men knew each other well. Wheeler, 69, was the former head of the cable industry’s leading lobbying organization. Roberts, 55, had spent his entire career at Comcast, where he once climbed telephone poles and sold cable subscriptions door-to-door. Both had been major fundraisers for President Obama’s campaigns.


But whatever history the two men had was now irrelevant as they talked. Roberts’ plea had come too late.


By the time of the phone call, Wheeler and his staff at the FCC had already decided to block the $45 billion megadeal, one of the largest ever to come before Washington regulators, people familiar with the matter said. On Wednesday, Comcast executives were summoned to a meeting in a nondescript conference room at the agency to hear the verdict: No amount of concessions would save the deal. Comcast and Time Warner would simply be too big and threatening to an array of competitors, particularly online video providers.


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BREAKING Bloomberg News: The Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger is Dead | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Corp. is planning to walk away from its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News, after regulators decided that the deal wouldn’t help consumers, making approval unlikely.


A formal announcement on the deal’s fate may come as soon as Friday, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information.


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States can't do it alone -- federal funding needed to modernize U.S. telecom infrastructure | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

States can't do it alone -- federal funding needed to modernize U.S. telecom infrastructure | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Coalition seeks overhaul of Maine broadband plan - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram: A coalition of Maine businesses, towns and nonprofit groups on Tuesday threw its support behind a bill to overhaul the state’s broadband policy for the first time in nearly a decade, a component of which suggests financing the expansion of high-speed Internet service through a new tax on cellphones.

The proposal, introduced by state Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, would require an updated strategic plan to expand broadband access in Maine and stronger efforts to support community broadband planning efforts.

Members of the Maine Broadband Coalition – a collection of more than three dozen towns and cities, businesses and nonprofit organizations – said expanding access to high-speed Internet service is expensive, but necessary for economic development.

“This is not a million-dollar problem. It is far larger,” said Fletcher Kittredge, chief executive officer of Great Works Internet and a member of the coalition.


Kittredge nails it. State telecommunications infrastructure financing programs provide funding in the modest millions for infrastructure that costs billions to deploy. The United States needs to revamp its telecommunications for the Internet age just as it financed electrical distribution facilities and highways in the 20th century.

Given the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has deemed Internet telecommunications a common carrier utility -- one that plays a vital role in supporting interstate commerce  -- the federal government clearly has a stake. It should appropriate comprehensive funding to get the job done and not leave it solely to the states that lack the economic resources to do it themselves. Federal funding for telecom infrastructure modernization would produce a multiplier effect that will return much of it to the U.S. Treasury through increased economic activity.

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Telco Trade Group USTelecom 'Supports' FCC Neutrality Rules, Just Not The FCC Actually Being Able To Enforce Them | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Telco Trade Group USTelecom 'Supports' FCC Neutrality Rules, Just Not The FCC Actually Being Able To Enforce Them | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Despite the endless, breathless proclamations about "outdated, utility-style regulation" or the death of innovation, there's really only one reason ISPs don't want to be reclassified as common carriers by the FCC: the billions to be made by abusing the uncompetitive broadband last mile. The very threat of a regulator actually doing its job and establishing what are relatively thin consumer protections (just ask ISPs like Frontier, Cablevision, Sprint or Sonic.net) is really only a problem if you plan to make money off the backs of a captive audience that can't vote with its wallet.

Not too surprisingly, "we want the absolute right to aggressively abuse an uncompetitive U.S. broadband market" isn't a very sexy or compelling sales pitch. As such, ISPs have worked very hard to paint Title II as a bogeyman of mammoth proportions; an implementation of outdated regulations that will utterly demolish an amazing, hyper-competitive broadband landscape that doesn't actually exist. We've debunked these claims time and time again, but expecting to find a middle ground with lobbyists paid to be intractable is a bit like playing whac-a-mole with an army of invincible undead.

Enter USTelecom, an AT&T-dominated trade group that filed one of five lawsuits last week against the FCC's net neutrality rules. Trying to justify the group's lawsuit to the media, USTelecom boss Walter McCormick this week proclaimed that the group really was ok with the FCC's rules -- it just wasn't ok with the agency having the ability to enforce them:


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What Washington Didn’t Like About the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

What Washington Didn’t Like About the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal: Comcast is planning to walk away from its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable, people with knowledge of the matter said, after regulators decided that the deal wouldn’t help consumers, making approval unlikely.


Bloomberg’s Peter Cook, Scarlet Fu, Alex Sherman and Cory Johnson have more on “Street Smart.”


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Google's wireless service leaves bandwidth rationed business model undisturbed | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Google's wireless service leaves bandwidth rationed business model undisturbed | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google's soft launch today of its Project Fi mobile wireless offering won't be a game changer for homes and small businesses unfortunate enough to be located outside the limited footprints of landline Internet service providers (or not in a Google Fiber "fiberhood") and reliant on wireless premise Internet service such as Verizon's 4G Installed service offering.

While Project Fi does allow the creation of wireless hot spots at a customer premise, it retains the metered pricing schemes of existing wireless providers wherein end users must purchase monthly bandwidth allowance levels, referred to as "bandwidth by the bucket."

That make the service a poor value for premises service. It's easy to blow through the bandwidth allowances and end up with a large bill via software updates and video streaming. Parents in homes with teenage children who stream video such as Netflix have been shocked by jaw dropping bills. Or who do class work online, which has been spotlighted by Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as a key issue in America's Internet access disparities.

The Project Fi Plan and Pricing FAQ states:


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Just how hackable is your plane? | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

Just how hackable is your plane? | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Chris Roberts knows a lot about hacking planes. But not because he's trying to make them fall out of the sky. In fact, his job as a security researcher is to figure out how bad guys could hack computer systems so that companies can fix them.


But a tweet joking about "playing" with a plane's on-board communications systems made while Roberts was on a United Airlines flight last week landed him in hot water: The FBI  questioned him for several hours after he landed and confiscated his laptop and hard drives. And then, over the weekend, he was blocked from boarding another United flight while on the way to speak at a security conference.

Roberts was able to book a last-minute flight on another airline. But his research raises bigger questions: Just how hackable are the planes millions of travelers rely on to get around the world? The answer, it turns out, is up for debate.


Planes are increasingly designed to give passengers more access to digital systems, mostly for entertainment purposes via in-flight WiFi. But this connectivity may have a dark side: Last week, the Government Accountability Office released a report saying that security researchers have warned that this trend leaves planes less secure by providing a "direct link" between an aircraft and the outside world that could be leveraged by hackers.


Keeping flight-related and entertainment systems separate can be one way to limit an attacker's access, but not all planes seem to be designed with that in mind. In 2008, the FAA expressed concern that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner combined some of that digital infrastructure — saying that the design "may result in security vulnerabilities."


Modern planes use digital defenses called firewalls to protect cockpit systems against intrusions from someone connecting through other parts of the aircraft, like in-flight entertainment systems, the report said.

Some cybersecurity experts worry that isn't enough, arguing that "because firewalls are software components, they could be hacked like any other software and circumvented," according to the report. But some critics of the report say it may have overstated the risks.


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Don’t use all your mobile data in a month? This company will give you a refund. | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Don’t use all your mobile data in a month? This company will give you a refund. | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Suppose you have a 5 GB monthly data plan from your cellular carrier. If you're a light user, you probably don't surf enough Internet to consume it all.


Now, one carrier is offering to refund the data that you don't use every month, in hopes of attracting budget-conscious customers willing to try something different.


By asking customers to pay up front for their data — and then crediting their accounts if they use less than their share — Raleigh-based Republic Wireless is betting against larger network operators who charge customers the same monthly rate no matter how much of their monthly data allotment they use.


Under that type of business model, "you end up wasting about a third of what you're paying for every month" in unused data, said Republic Wireless chief executive David Morken. "If you added that up, that's a huge amount of billed but never-provided service."


Republic's new plans, whose prices were not announced Monday but will roll out in June, is the latest in an ongoing war among wireless carriers over pricing and customers. The wireless industry has long grappled with how to handle voracious data users who go over their monthly limits — imposing fees or slowing down their mobile Internet speed. But now, their attention is increasingly turning to customers who are more conservative in their data use, offering people incentives to consume less or to switch to WiFi.


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Chances of Comcast/Time Warner Cable Marriage Dwindling This Morning | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Richard Greenfield from BTIG Research appeared on Bloomberg TV this morning to talk about the rapidly decreasing chances the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger will make it past the Justice Department.


The next question: Will Charter Buy Time Warner Cable next or will Time Warner Cable make a power play and buy Charter?


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Wall Street Investment Bankers Start Worrying They Won’t Get Their Fat Fees if Comcast Merger Fails | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Wall Street Investment Bankers Start Worrying They Won’t Get Their Fat Fees if Comcast Merger Fails | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With regulators considering rejecting Comcast’s $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, investment bankers hoping to reap fat fees “advising” Comcast and Time Warner Cable about the deal are starting to panic they won’t get paid.


Although a merger flop won’t hurt giants like JPMorgan Chase, which operates a 24/7 cash vacuum, continuously sucking fees from companies engaged in Mergermania, smaller “boutique” investment banks like Allen & Co., Centerview Partners, and PJT Partners don’t have that luxury.


Reuters reports some of the smaller investment banks involved in the deal are now on edge, worried they won’t get their share of at least $140 million in investment banking advisory fees that would be paid to complete the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger deal.


“Big banks have many deals going on, and they can afford to lose one more, even though it is painful. Smaller firms are less diversified, so for them it’s much more painful,” Campbell Harvey, a professor of international business at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, told Reuters.


But crying towels are also being readied for investment bankers involved in two side deals involving Charter Communications, which are likely to also fall apart in a chain reaction if the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger dies.


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MN Senate budget of $17 million stands; attempts to increase budget in House also unsuccessful | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broaband

I hope to have time to dig deeper later this afternoon but I wanted to at least share news from the Duluth News Tribune


In the Senate, Sen. Paul Gazekla, R-Nisswa, tried to take $10 million from the state film and television board and use it to help expand broadband in the state. But his effort failed 31-30, leaving a bill providing $17 million for broadband.


In the House, Rep. Erik Simonson, D-Duluth, lost his attempt to increase broadband spending $148 million with money taken from what Republicans who control the House had planned to leave unspent.


House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, ruled that Simonson’s proposal did not fit into already-approved House budget levels, so did not allow debate or a vote.


The House bill would appropriate about $10 million for broadband.

“This is a key, key issue for rural Minnesota…” Gazelka said. “There is no way a private entity can do it.”


Simonson agreed: “This is one of the primary, if not the primary, need for economic development across Minnesota.”


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Senate Democrats Want to Cancel Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop The Cap!

Senate Democrats Want to Cancel Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop The Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Six Democatic senators in states directly affected by the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger want it canceled, and are urging regulators to reject the deal.


Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Bernard Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) today signed a letter asking the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission to block the merger.


“We write to urge the FCC and DOJ to reject Comcast’s proposed acquisition,” reads the letter, organized by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). “Should the transaction survive … we believe that Comcast-TWC’s unmatched power in the telecommunications industry would lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services.”


The six senators went straight to the top, addressing Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Communications Commission chairman Thomas Wheeler. At least one House member is also opposed. Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), represents a district in Los Angeles served by Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable. Customers of both companies in Los Angeles would be served by Comcast if the merger is approved.


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The FCC chairman is a former cable lobbyist. And he just helped kill the Comcast merger. | Brian Fang | WashPost.com

The FCC chairman is a former cable lobbyist. And he just helped kill the Comcast merger. | Brian Fang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nobody can claim that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is an industry puppet anymore.

Comcast's spectacular failure to close its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable undercuts the age-old Washington wisdom that money and political connections — of which Comcast has a great deal — are the keys to power.


But it also upends a longstanding narrative about the tendency of private sector officials like Wheeler to favor their former colleagues when they enter public service.


The collapse of the Comcast merger is a landmark moment for Wheeler, a former chief lobbyist for a leading cable industry association. Seventeen months into his tenure, Wheeler's FCC has emerged as one of the most aggressive regulators the industry has ever seen.


"It is a tribute to Tom Wheeler for demonstrating willingness to take on the politically powerful cable industry," said Andrew Schwartzman, a law scholar at Georgetown University. "There has been, and there [will] be, a lot of political heat for doing this."


Many consumer advocates were on edge when Wheeler, who declined to be interviewed for this article, took office. They believed he would begin pushing policies that would benefit the industry he once represented. Instead, Wheeler took a series of surprising actions that have now culminated in the collapse of the biggest cable merger regulators have ever faced.


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After Comcast’s failed bid, Charter wants to give Time Warner Cable another try | Celilia Kang & Brian Fang | WashPost.com

After Comcast’s failed bid, Charter wants to give Time Warner Cable another try | Celilia Kang & Brian Fang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable, blocked from merging with Comcast this week by federal officials, may have a new suitor: Charter Communications

Charter, the nation’s fourth largest cable company, has begun exploring a bid for Time Warner Cable, an industry official familiar with the matter said Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public announcement has yet been made. Charter declined to comment.


Charter had pursued a takeover of Time Warner Cable in 2013. It first offered to buy the company for nearly $130 a share. Officials at Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second largest cable company, rebuffed the figure, leading Charter to increase its bid to $132 a share.


Comcast then swooped in with a bid of nearly $159 per share, leading to a merger announcement in February 2014. Fourteen months later, however, the deal fell apart as regulars moved to block the deal. Federal officials had concluded that the combined company would hold too much sway over the entertainment and television industries.


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Comcast Hints At the Price of Its New 2Gbps ‘Not for Your Average Joe’ Fiber Internet: Around $400 a Month | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Hints At the Price of Its New 2Gbps ‘Not for Your Average Joe’ Fiber Internet: Around $400 a Month | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Florida wakes up to news that Comcast will deliver its 2Gbps broadband service in the cities of Jacksonville, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, the rest of the country is learning the estimated price of the service, targeted to the “techno-elite.”


Cindy Arco, spokeswoman for Comcast in Jacksonville told the Florida Times Union final pricing hasn’t been established yet for 2 Gigabit Pro for Florida, but it likely will be in the range of the highest residential broadband tier, which amounts to $400 a month for 505Mbps.


“It’s the type of thing for early adopters — those people who want to have the latest, newest tech gadget and the latest everything related to tech,” Arco said.


In Florida, the residential customers will need to live within a third of the mile of the fiber optic service lines offered by Comcast.

Arco downplayed the relevance of the arrival of 2Gbps service from Comcast.


“It’s exciting, but it’s not for your average Joe,” Arco said.

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FCC Staff Recommends Sending Comcast/TWC Merger to Seventh Level of ‘Deal-Killing’ Hearing Hell | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

FCC Staff Recommends Sending Comcast/TWC Merger to Seventh Level of ‘Deal-Killing’ Hearing Hell | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The staff at the Federal Communications Commission decided Wednesday to make a non-decision decision regarding the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and are recommending turning over the matter, including millions of pages of company documents and 14 months of investigative findings to an administrative law judge to sort out.


The procedural move, dubbed by many regulatory experts as a “deal-killer,” is known officially as a “hearing designation order.” But executives at Comcast know it really means the FCC is sending a strong signal it does not believe the merger is in the public interest.


The sudden recommendation by the FCC is seen by some observers as a coordinated move with the U.S. Department of Justice to let Comcast CEO Brian Roberts know the deal is in serious peril. In 2011, the Justice Department declared its opposition to another blockbuster merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, and the FCC announced its own opposition just a few hours later. The merger was declared dead shortly thereafter.


Placing the matter in the hands of an administrative law judge would mean a drawn-out, complicated hearing that would probably last longer than the 1995 trial of O.J. Simpson. Few companies bother. Even if Comcast decides it will fight, if the Justice Department successfully challenges the merger in court, the hearing designation order is moot and the merger fails.


Most observers expect Comcast will call off the merger before dragging the matter out in a court or hearing room.


The Wall Street Journal broke the story last night, calling it a “significant roadblock.”


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Bloomberg: Analyzing The Decision by Comcast to Drop Time Warner Cable Bid | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Bloomberg News reports the decision has already been made, with an official announcement as early as tomorrow that Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable is over and dead.


Bloomberg reporters analyze the reasons the deal collapsed and what has changed in America’s regulatory climate.


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MI: Could Google be moving out of downtown Ann Arbor? | Nathan Bomey | Detroit Free Press

MI: Could Google be moving out of downtown Ann Arbor? | Nathan Bomey |  Detroit Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet giant Google has signed a lease for new office space south of downtown Ann Arbor as the company considers the future of its presence in the city's central business district.


Google signed a deal for 30,000 square feet of the South State Commons II building northeast of the corner of South State Street and Eisenhower Parkway in the Briarwood Mall area, said Jeff Harshe of MAVDevelopment Company.


"I think it's an indication of the vibrant business climate in this area," said Harshe, who declined to discuss terms of the new lease. "My experience with them is they continue to grow, and they're good corporate citizens."


But a person familiar with Google's local presence but not authorized to speak publicly said the company has not yet decided whether to stay in downtown Ann Arbor. The person said the company needed the new office as overflow space to accommodate job growth.


It's still possible Google could renew or adjust its current lease. Google officials were not available to comment.


The company currently leases about 85,000 square feet of the McKinley Towne Centre office complex at the corner of Liberty and Division in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. The office primarily handles sales for Google's AdWords search advertisements, its primary source of revenue, and had about 300 employees as of two years ago.


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In one KCK neighborhood, the present and the future collide | Rick Montgomery | Kansas City Star

In one KCK neighborhood, the present and the future collide | Rick Montgomery | Kansas City Star | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

To three generations, the neighborhood west of State Line Road at 45th Street was known as Spring Valley.


Now the tech world and geeks crowding in call it Kansas City Startup Village, where they’re encouraged to dream up apps and online businesses. Being just down the road from the Google Fiber offices, it was among the first residential hamlets anywhere to be wired for ultra-fast Internet.


The natives, though, are restless. They have recently begun to work with the young arrivals to reach an understanding of what neighborhoods are supposed to be.


From her front porch 14 steps above Cambridge Street in Kansas City, Kan., Jean Flaherty can point to homes owned by neighbors who grew up in them. But anymore, with all these techies coming and going, she said, “we don’t know who’s not supposed to be here.”


Too many strangers. Cars parked all along the narrow side roads. On occasion a tour bus rolls through.


So Flaherty and a longtime neighbor, Jane Vogl, circulated a petition a few weeks back when owners of two residential properties that house startup ventures sought to renew special-use permits.


Nearly 70 residents signed the petition, adding comments such as “Afraid of what our neighborhood will become” and “Love startups but this is residential.”


True, Spring Valley is residential — zoned for single-family housing.

But Startup Village is all business, much being conducted in houses. Hopeful entrepreneurs, mostly millennials and sometimes several under one roof, while away their workdays at laptops.


They came from as far away as Boston and Portland, Ore.


They started doing so in late 2012, when the enclave of quaint houses drew global media attention for being the first “fiberhood.” Google made fiber service available only to homes, not to commercial properties.


Startup Village co-leaders Adam Arredondo and Matthew Marcus say that their eyes have opened to the collision of Spring Valley and Startup Village and that they want to see both prosper.


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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/technology/article18882093.html?__scoop_post=d97739c0-e7af-11e4-ef16-842b2b775358&__scoop_topic=287150#__scoop_post=d97739c0-e7af-11e4-ef16-842b2b775358&__scoop_topic=287150#storylink=cpy
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MN: Wireless internet is not the medium or long-term answer to connecting our rural citizens and businesses to the internet | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I am pleased to share the following letter with permission. Jan has been working with her community in Claoquet Valley for a few years. They have made progress, but it is very incremental, which really means show. Her letter explains eloquently what it’s like on the frontlines…


Dear members of the MN House Committee on Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance:


I am a Supervisor for the rural, out-state Town of North Star, and I represent a joint powers board of 7 rural townships called the Cloquet Valley internet Initiative.  We have been working since 2012 to bring broadband internet to our rural outstate citizens and businesses.  We have learned a great deal about broadband providers during our campaign.


Wireless internet is not the medium or long-term answer to connecting our rural citizens and businesses to the internet….wireless is only a short-term incremental solution to helping people get a “taste” of what the internet can do.


My township only has access the internet via wireless options…we have no wired access.  Satellite and cell phone based internet is very very expensive, because both of them have data plans.  If you have 2 or more people using the internet at the same time in a household or business, especially if they are using anything for video, such as health care, education, social connectivity, or if there is a need to update software, there is HUGE data use that results in having to purchase more and more data before the end of the month.  


It is very common to spend well over $100 per month of cell or satellite internet.  Both types of internet are FAR more expensive than people see in urban areas where they have cable or fiber, or some kind of wired systems.


Wired systems (DSL and fiber) typically have unlimited monthly data use for a fixed price.


Tower based wireless has a different set of limitations.


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MN: Dakota County approves $1 million for more fiber | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Dakota County approves $1 million for more fiber | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This morning I attended a Dakota County Commission meeting where they discussed progress of their fiber project and approved $1.2 million for 500,000 feet of fiber cabling, conduit and duct. I share it for a few reasons:


  1. To share Dakota County’s good news
  2. To offer Dakota County up as an example to other communities about how to plan and present to policymakers
  3. To give folks an idea of what $1 million buys in the world of fiber – especially in light of legislators severely reducing the budget for the Minnesota Broadband Fund.


Here’s the PPT:


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Are you a broadband provider? Have you tried low income pricing? We want to know more! | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Someone asked me about broadband adoption initiatives and broadband providers. Specifically, they wanted to know if reduced rates for low income households was a successful way to get folks online. And were there any characteristics of a successful initiative.


I wasn’t sure. So I spoke with Brent Christensen at Minnesota Telecom Alliance. We had heard great anecdotes but didn’t have any even loose statistics. So we’re asking you. If you are a broadband provider, please take a moment for our 6 question survey:


https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DBSD2PS


Quick background … a few years ago (2012) Minnesota non-adopters claimed that $20 per month was their sweet spot for reconsidering.

More recent national surveys indicate that a 15 percent discount was really all it would take now. We’d love to hear more from the providers on the front lines about what they are seeing.

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Google Unveils Project Fi Wireless Service: $20/Mo Voice/Text + $10/GB Data Plan That Credits Back Unused Data | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Google Unveils Project Fi Wireless Service: $20/Mo Voice/Text + $10/GB Data Plan That Credits Back Unused Data | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google today unveiled their new wireless service, dubbed Project Fi, the first wireless carrier that combines the coverage of two competing cellular providers — Sprint and T-Mobile — to deliver affordable wireless service and a data plan that rebates back any unused portion of your monthly allowance. There are no term contracts, early termination fees, or overlimit penalty charges.


Google’s calling plan starts with Fi Basics for $20 per month. This includes:


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Comcast/NBCUniversal Says Verizon is Violating Its Contract By Offering Slimmed-Down, Less Expensive TV Packages | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast/NBCUniversal Says Verizon is Violating Its Contract By Offering Slimmed-Down, Less Expensive TV Packages | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast/NBCUniversal today joined FOX and ESPN warning Verizon it is violating the terms of their agreements by offering FiOS TV customers slimmed-down, less expensive cable TV packages.


Verizon began offering the new packages Sunday, selling customers a basic core package containing two “channel packs” of the customer’s choice for $55 a month. Each additional pack of 10-17 theme-based channels costs $10 a month. It is Verizon’s effort to offer customers something closer to an a-la-carte option where customers pay only for the channels they want, without raising the ire of their programming partners who supply both major and minor cable networks.


Within hours of learning of Verizon’s Custom TV offer, ESPN — the most expensive basic cable network in the country — objected, saying its network must be included in the core package that every pay television customer receives.


By this afternoon, Comcast/NBCUniversal and FOX added their own objections and are warning there could be legal ramifications if Verizon continues to offer the packages. Both Comcast and FOX agree with ESPN’s contention their contracts with Verizon do not allow it to split their channels into add-on tiers.


Verizon responded it doesn’t intend to change a thing.


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