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Public Knowledge Asks Congress for a Permanent Fix to Cell Phone Unlocking | Public Knowledge

Today, Public Knowledge sent a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees requesting an exemption in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would allow people to unlock their cell phones. The letter, signed by a slew of organizations, academics, online communities, startup companies, and cell phone unlocking petition author Sina Khanifar, details that it is imperative that copyright law keeps up with the pace of technological change.

 

The range of interests held by these organizations, individuals, and startup companies shows the wide appeal to an exemption for this change. As a consumer advocacy group, Public Knowledge has always felt that changes to copyright law are long overdue and this exemption in the DMCA would be a step in the right direction. For more information about Public Knowledge's specific proposals for copyright reform look at our Internet Blueprint. 

 

The following can be attributed to Sherwin Siy, Vice President of Legal Affairs:

 

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Leaked Memo: Despite Apology, Painful Comcast Retention Call Was Right on Script | Stop the Cap!

Leaked Memo: Despite Apology, Painful Comcast Retention Call Was Right on Script | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Despite near-automatic apologies from Comcast over an 18-minute customer retention call that seemed to never end, an internal memo written by a major Comcast executive and leaked to several consumer sites, including Stop the Cap!, admits the ruthless length the representative went to avoid disconnecting service was exactly the way Comcast intended it, but next time maybe 18 minutes was a little too long (underlining ours):


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Verizon CFO: Younger Demo Prefers Broadband Video to Bundled Channels | Home Media Magazine

Verizon CFO: Younger Demo Prefers Broadband Video to Bundled Channels | Home Media Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Younger consumers prefer to pay for high-speed Internet and not so much for bundled TV channels, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told analysts. Speaking July 22 during the telecom’s fiscal call, the executive appeared to underscore the obvious about a college-age or 30-something consumer transfixed by over-the-top video.


“Within this younger generation, a year ago we tested the ability to have them select whether they wanted large TV bundles and lower Internet speeds or high Internet speeds and lower TV bundles, and what we saw is the majority of the this segment selected the highest speed that they could get and didn't really care about how many TV stations they got because most of them are consuming their video via the Internet,” Shammo said.


Yet, terms such as “cord-cutting” and “cord nevers” remain routinely dismissed by senior executives from media companies, multichannel video distributors and even OTT video providers as inconsequential hype. Indeed, most research reports contend that at most less than 10% of U.S. broadband homes have opted out of pay-TV service.


“The data shows that there’s zero cord-cutting. We’re at a 100 million [cable households] and [it] goes down a little bit every year as students move, but it’s the same as [it was] last year,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in an earnings call last year.


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Did Comcast's Infamous Customer Service Call Open The Company Up To Legal Troubles For Lying About Speeds? | Techdirt.com

Did Comcast's Infamous Customer Service Call Open The Company Up To Legal Troubles For Lying About Speeds? | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So, last week, that customer service call between Ryan Block and a Comcast "retention specialist" who refused to take "cancel the damn service" for an answer went viral. Comcast has since apologized, said it was investigating, and insisted that the call was "not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives." I doubt many people actually believe that -- but it may be even more serious than most people realize.

That's because, throughout the call, the nameless representative keeps insisting that Comcast's broadband is the fastest. And that's not true. Which raises some potentially serious questions about Comcast directly misleading customers.


“You’re not interested in the fastest Internet in the country?” the rep asked goadingly. “Why not?”

Were it true, it would be a convincing bit of rhetoric. The problem is, Comcast is not the fastest Internet service provider in the United States -- at least, not according to the most recent survey from Speedtest.net and PC Magazine. Published in September 2013, the survey ranks Comcast the third fastest broadband provider, behind Midcontinent Communications at No. 2 and Verizon FiOS at No. 1. “Verizon FiOS continues to set the pace for Internet speed in the United States,” the magazine wrote.


IBTimes asked a Comcast PR person, who insisted that the company does not claim to be the fastest internet in the country, nor does it train its reps to make that claim. But it's undeniable that the guy said exactly that many, many times during the call, and it sure sounded like it was coming from a script that he'd read pretty damn often.


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Tor Project working to fix weakness that can unmask users | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Tor Project working to fix weakness that can unmask users | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Developers of Tor software believe they’ve identified a weakness that was scheduled to be revealed at the Black Hat security conference next month that could be used to de-anonymize Tor users.


The Black Hat organizers recently announced that a talk entitled “You Don’t Have to be the NSA to Break Tor: Deanonymizing Users on a Budget” by researchers Alexander Volynkin and Michael McCord from Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) was canceled at the request of the legal counsel of the university’s Software Engineering Institute because it had not been approved for public release.


“In our analysis, we’ve discovered that a persistent adversary with a handful of powerful servers and a couple gigabit links can de-anonymize hundreds of thousands Tor clients and thousands of hidden services within a couple of months,” the CERT researchers had written in the abstract of their presentation. “The total investment cost? Just under $3,000.”


In a message sent Monday to the Tor public mailing list, Tor project leader Roger Dingledine said that his organization did not ask Black Hat or CERT to cancel the talk. Tor’s developers had been shown some materials about the research in an informal manner, but they never received details about the actual content of the planned presentation, he said. The presentation was supposed to include “real-world de-anonymization case studies.”


Despite the lack of details, Dingledine believes that he has figured out the issue found by CERT and how to fix it. “We’ve been trying to find delicate ways to explain that we think we know what they did, but also it sure would have been smoother if they’d opted to tell us everything,” he said in a subsequent message on the mailing list.


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IL: Video rental chain will bring fiber-to-the-premises to Urbana-Champaign | Fierce Enterprise Communications

IL: Video rental chain will bring fiber-to-the-premises to Urbana-Champaign | Fierce Enterprise Communications | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If I had polled ten thousand people and had them each guess which would be the first company to partner with the community of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois to bring fiber optic Internet service to households, it is a safe bet that absolutely none of them would have responded with the name of Family Video. In a world where Blockbuster Video is now but a memory, Family Video is amazingly left the king of the hill, albeit a hill that has largely blown away.


It operates some 775 retail outlets in the U.S., including three in Urbana-Champaign. And it is there that citizens are being urged to sign up for fiber-to-the-premises, or FTTP, Internet service with optional bundled phone at fixed monthly rates, in a move that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called Thursday, "a valuable model for communities and companies throughout the country and a demonstration of the creativity that is stimulated when localities are free to work with the private sector to improve broadband offerings."


The service will be operated by Family Video subsidiary iTV-3 (not to be confused with the British TV network). It will likely be upgraded to include bundled video, once the proper arrangements are made with municipal franchise officials.


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Defending The Indefensible: Hilarious Talking Points On Ridiculous Copyright Terms | Techdirt.com

Defending The Indefensible: Hilarious Talking Points On Ridiculous Copyright Terms | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held yet another copyright hearing, this one on Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty, and Copyright Term. We've discussed these issues at different times, and the hearing itself didn't break any major ground on anything, really. The artist resale right issue is nothing but a blatant money grab by successful artists, demanding to get paid any time one of their works gets resold. It shafts younger, up-and-coming artists to the benefit of the few, super-successful artists.

However, the tidbit that caught my attention was the copyright term issue. As you know, some are expecting there to be a fight in the near future to extend copyrights yet again. Thanks to repeated copyright extension, brought to you by relentless lobbying from Disney and others, the US hasn't had a previously copyrighted work fall into the public domain in ages. However, there actually has been some inkling that maybe, just maybe, Hollywood had realized this wasn't a fight worth taking on. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised when the head of the Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, presented her (mixed bag) plan for copyright reform, that it actually included a reduction in copyright terms rather than an increase.


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FCC attempts to establish ‘protection zones’ ahead of AWS-3 auction | TeleGeography.com

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has updated a number of rules governing the use of the AWS-3 spectrum that is set to be auctioned off to cellular operators later this year.


According to RCR Wireless, the updates include the establishment of ‘protection zones’ designed to reduce interference concerns between commercial wireless networks and the satellite-based communications services that will continue in select AWS-3 bands.


As such, the watchdog said that it has set up 27 protection zones in areas where 47 ‘federal earth stations’ will continue to receive satellite signals using the 1675MHz-1695MHz and 1695MHz-1710MHz spectrum bands. Licence users with base stations in those protection zones and operating near those bands will be required to coordinate services to ensure that interference concerns are mitigated.


The hastily introduced rules did not go down well with FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who fired off a formal letter stating his objection to the process. RCR Wireless quotes Pai as saying: ‘My position is simple. I can’t cast an informed vote on new coordination zones if I don’t know what those coordination zones are. Voting first and then learning about what you’ve voted on is irresponsible. Unfortunately, others disagreed; the item was pulled from the full commission and pushed out at the bureau level today. This is no way to run a railroad’.


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New Surveillance Whistleblower: Another Way the NSA Violates the Constitution | TheAtlantic.com

New Surveillance Whistleblower: Another Way the NSA Violates the Constitution | TheAtlantic.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

John Napier Tye is speaking out to warn Americans about illegal spying. The former State Department official, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014, declared Friday that ongoing NSA surveillance abuses are taking place under the auspices of Executive Order 12333, which came into being in 1981, before the era of digital communications, but is being used to collect them promiscuously. Nye alleges that the Obama administration has been violating the Constitution with scant oversight from Congress or the judiciary. 


"The order as used today threatens our democracy," he wrote in The Washington Post. "I am coming forward because I think Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question: What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?"


If you've paid casual attention to the Edward Snowden leaks and statements by national-security officials, you might be under the impression that the Obama administration is already on record denying that this sort of spying goes on. In fact, denials about NSA spying are almost always carefully worded to address activities under particular legal authorities, like Section 215 of the Patriot Act or Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. An official will talk about what is or isn't done "under this program," eliding the fact that the NSA spies on Americans under numerous different programs, despite regularly claiming to be an exclusively foreign spy agency.


Executive Order 12333 is old news to national-security insiders and the journalists who cover them, but is largely unknown to the American public, in part because officials have a perverse institutional incentive to obscure its role. But some insiders are troubled by such affronts to representative democracy. A tiny subset screw up the courage to inform their fellow citizens. 


Tye is but the latest surveillance whistleblower, though he took pains to distinguish himself from Snowden and his approach to dissent.


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Net neutrality defenders actually fine if Internet users decide what goes fast | WashPost.com

Net neutrality defenders actually fine if Internet users decide what goes fast | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the Federal Communications Commission wraps up its open comment period for its net neutrality proceedings, AT&T is in with its 99-page contribution. And there's one section in particular that has caught the attention and earned the ire of some fans of neutrality regulations. It has to do with the idea that in some cases, some of its customers might chose to, say, dedicate more of the bandwidth that they pay for to certain applications, effectively degrading others. Here's AT&T:


"For example, an AT&T customer might choose to prioritize latency- and jitter-sensitive VoIP packets or video conference packets over ordinary web browsing packets, and AT&T would honor those designations over that customer's "last mile" Internet facilities. There is no conceivable reason that such services, demanded and used widely by business customers today, should be foreclosed by regulatory fiat."


More simply put, you, AT&T broadband customer, might choose to curate your broadband connection so that your Vonage calls generally ring through with a quickness but are delayed a bit when you're engaged in a heavy "World of Warcraft" session.


That can sound a lot like the "paid prioritization" that is at the heart of today's net neutrality debate, and the tech site Ars Technica has branded what AT&T has in mind as a "giant loophole" in a "'fast lane' ban."


But AT&T cites support for such "user-directed prioritization" on the part of high-profile net neutrality advocacy groups like the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Tech and the Massachusetts-based Free Press. And there's good reason for that: Those groups are perfectly okay with the idea.


"The issue comes down to who's deciding what gets priority," says Andrew McDiarmid, a senior policy analyst at CDT. "It's much less of an issue if a user makes the technical decision about what gets priority, and it's not the same thing as a ISP being in the position of deciding winners and losers." Matt Wood is the policy director at Free Press, and perhaps no group has been as energetically and vocally in favor of the FCC adopting aggressive net neutrality regulations. Even he says: "People should be free to use their connection any way they want. That's the point of all this."


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Harlem: New York's new tech hub? | CNNMoney.com

Harlem: New York's new tech hub? | CNNMoney.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When people think of the fast-growing New York City tech scene, they think Silicon Alley in the posh neighborhoods of lower Manhattan -- not 125th Street.


Yet Harlem is getting a tech-led makeover, thanks to a new series of economic development initiatives aimed at combating the neighborhood's infamous high unemployment rates and widespread poverty.


"Our mission is transforming the community into a tech hub," said Clayton Banks, executive producer of Silicon Harlem. "We can eliminate crime, increase employment opportunities, and give the community another Renaissance."


Silicon Harlem, a nonprofit community organization launched in 2013, is partnering with local and national politicians and entrepreneurs to help develop Harlem's tech scene. They're supporting tech education initiatives, building up the neighborhood's broadband infrastructure and attempting to lure innovators to the neighborhood.


The first step: free Wi-Fi. Continuing an initiative started by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor Bill De Blasio's administration is deploying the largest, continuous free Wi-Fi network in the United States -- right in the center of Harlem. The network will cover 95 city blocks.


According to Banks and his fellow executive producer Bruce Lincoln, providing free access to the Internet is a means of democratizing innovation and education, and bringing Harlem into the 21st century economy.


But free Internet isn't the only advantage of building a startup in Harlem. The neighborhood is undergoing a significant transformation, with new high-rise condos, a rapidly expanding Restaurant Row and a changing demographic makeup.


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Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block | ProPublica.org

Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block | ProPublica.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Update: A YouPorn.com spokesperson said that the website was "completely unaware that AddThis contained a tracking software that had the potential to jeopardize the privacy of our users." After this article was published, YouPorn removed AddThis technology from its website.


This story was co-published with Mashable.


A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.com.


First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it.


Like other tracking tools, canvas fingerprints are used to build profiles of users based on the websites they visit — profiles that shape which ads, news articles, or other types of content are displayed to them.


But fingerprints are unusually hard to block: They can’t be prevented by using standard Web browser privacy settings or using anti-tracking tools such as AdBlock Plus.


The researchers found canvas fingerprinting computer code, primarily written by a company called AddThis, on 5 percent of the top 100,000 websites. Most of the code was on websites that use AddThis’ social media sharing tools. Other fingerprinters include the German digital marketer Ligatus and the Canadian dating site Plentyoffish. (A list of all the websites on which researchers found the code is here).


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Comcast Opens ‘Labs’ Section On X1 | Multichannel.com

Comcast Opens ‘Labs’ Section On X1 | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast confirmed that it added a section on its X1 interface that gives customers a way to try out apps and features under development at its Comcast Labs division.

 

Comcast said it rolled out the feature to all X1 customers last week, and that it intends to provide access to new apps-in-the-making every month.


GigaOm first shed light on the the new X1 app test environment on Monday, reporting that Comcast will use it to receive feedback and data on them before the team decides which ones will be launch commercially on the cloud-based, IP-capable platform.

 

Comcast has since posted a blog about the effort, noting that the new Comcast Labs subsection is offered on X1 under "Settings/Preferences" and that it will serve as a "sandbox" where cusotmers can beta test new features before they go live.

 

Early on, Comcast is allowing X1 subs to experiment with the following four apps, which are all available on an opt-in basis:


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TX: Gig Austin is gaining traction | Businessweek.com

Jessica Swanson got a taste of high Internet speeds a few years ago.


As a Kansas City, Mo., native, she got to use Google Fiber, a high-speed fiber optics network that provides broadband Internet speeds hundreds of times faster than average Internet at a friend's house about two years ago. She was blown away by how fast everything seemed online. It was a big reason why she decided to volunteer with Vision 2020's Community Wide Technology committee less than two years after moving here.


"Craig Jones had mentioned something to me. He barely said five words and I exploded," she said with a laugh.


Swanson, a human resources officer with The Hormel Institute, is craving faster Internet like many people today. Vision 2020 has a plan to meet that need, with a proposed project to install a 1 gigabit-per-second data fiber network within the Austin Public Schools district. That network would boost Austin Internet speeds many times higher than surrounding areas through direct home connections to an underground network of glass wires designed to transmit massive amounts of data.


The plan, called Gig Austin, is an ambitious attempt by the community improvement initiative to transform the Austin area over the next few years. It carries some risk and there's still many unanswered questions.


Yet if volunteers successfully build a data fiber network, it could mean more than just a better Netflix connection. Gig Austin could bring more economic development and foster a tech-friendly atmosphere to create more opportunities in the area.


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Slingbox M1 Review: Is the Slingbox Still Relevant? | Re/Code.net

Slingbox M1 Review: Is the Slingbox Still Relevant? | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Up until a week and a half ago, I had never used a Slingbox. And after testing the newest model, I’m not convinced I need one.


Slingbox, for those who don’t know, is a box that connects to your cable box at home and lets you watch remote streams of that live or DVR’ed TV content while you’re away. It’s made by Sling Media, which is owned by EchoStar Communications.


I’ve heard many Slingbox-saved-the-day stories from consumers, including my boss Walt Mossberg, who years ago relied on his Slingbox to watch Red Sox games while he was traveling in Japan. (Yes, he’s that big a Sox fan.) In fact, a lot of these Sling stories involve can’t-miss sporting events, like the World Cup soccer games earlier this month.


But personally, when I am away from the cable box at home, I get by with webcasts, streaming video services and downloadable content. Even Twitter, in a way, has started to fulfill my need for real-time updates during sports.


Put it this way: The first Slingbox was introduced back in 2005. Since then, a lot of new options have emerged for consuming TV content, even if it’s not through traditional cable or broadcast feeds.


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US House of Representatives Passes STELAR On Voice Vote | Multichannel.com

US House of Representatives Passes STELAR On Voice Vote | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The House Tuesday passed the STELA Reathorization Act (H.R. 4572), or STELAR, which renews the complusory license that allows satellite operators to import disant network TV station signals into markets that don't have one.

 

The bill also prevents coordinated retransmission consent negotiations between noncommonly owned TV stations in the same market and scraps the ban on integrated cable set tops, which cable ops wanted, and drops the prohibition on cable operators dropping TV station signals if retrans impasses coincide with Nielsen sweeps.

 

Also in a nod to broadcasters, the bill gives stations forced to unwind joint sales agreements per an FCC decision earlier this year 18 months to do so.

 

The Senate has yet to pass its version of the bill, but must either adopt this bill language or reconcile its version with the House bill before Dec. 31, when the current blanket license expires.


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GA: Rome live-streaming City Commission meetings, officially starting July 28 | NorthwestGeorgiaNews.com

GA: Rome live-streaming City Commission meetings, officially starting July 28 | NorthwestGeorgiaNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A small disruption at last week’s Rome City Commission meeting marked the introduction of a way people can instantly keep up with the local government.


Soon after new City Manager Sammy Rich finished giving his thanks to the board for selecting him for the position, his remarks could be heard again — coming from a mobile device.


As the commission and audience members looked around, Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter indicated he was the source of the repeat speech.


“Well, I had to see if it worked,” he said.


Monday’s meeting was the first time the board’s regular gathering was streamed live online as part of a test, and Rome Information Technology Director Johnny Bunch says it’s ready for the public.


“It actually went well,” Bunch said. “Everything came out like it was supposed to, which was pleasing as far as I was concerned.”


Beginning officially with the board’s July 28 meeting, regular commission meetings will be live streamed online from the commission chambers at City Hall through the joint Rome-Floyd County website at www.romefloyd.com/. Click here to see video from last Monday's meeting.


Also, the full meetings, which are recorded and shown on the Rome-Floyd County Library’s public access channel, will be able to be seen online through the new Web page the day after.


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Verizon revenue rises steadily, driven by wireless service growth | NetworkWorld.com

Verizon revenue rises steadily, driven by wireless service growth | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Record numbers of new tablet users, and the first rise in fixed-line revenue in seven years, drove Verizon Communications’ second-quarter revenue up 5.7 percent year on year, it reported Tuesday.


Revenue for the quarter ended June 30 totaled US$31.5 billion, up from $29.8 billion a year earlier.


Wireless services continued to contribute the bulk of the company’s revenue and growth, rising 5.9 percent to $18.1 billion, from $17.1 billion a year earlier. The company signed up 1.4 million net new retail postpaid customers, 1.15 million of them tablet users. That takes the company’s total number of retail connections to 104.6 million, 75 percent of them smartphone users.


In the fixed-line segment, revenue crept up 0.3 percent to $9.8 billion in the quarter—but Verizon hailed this as a victory, the first year-on-year increase it has seen in quarterly wireline revenue in over seven years. The company added 139,000 net new fiber Internet subscribers and 100,000 net new fiber video subscribers, taking the totals to 6.3 million and 5.4 million, respectively. Revenue from the Fios services grew 14.4 percent year on year to $3.1 billion, it said.


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C-Bird VSAT keeps sailors connected with home | GizMag.com

C-Bird VSAT keeps sailors connected with home | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Even as engineers work on autonomous ship-handling technologies, skilled and experienced crews are still vital for keeping shipping lines operating. The only snag is that most sailors today have become so used to never being out of touch that they've come to expect similar connectivity while at sea. To help maintain morale and retain skilled crews, Maritime Broadband has developed its C-Bird Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite transceiver to keep sailors connected with their families and the internet.


There was a time when the romance of going to sea involved being cut off from the outside world for months at a time. It was a life where contact between sailors and their families involved things like posting letters in a tin nailed to a post on a barren island in the South Atlantic in hopes that a homeward-bound ship would pick up the packet.


In the 21st century, things have changed. In an age when container ships can circumnavigate the world in 62 days, commercial ship crews are paradoxically less and less willing to put up with being out of touch with their loved ones. According to a survey of crews conducted by Futurenautics Research and released by the Brooklyn, New York-based telecommunications firm Maritime Broadband, the vast majority of commercial sailors give priority to uninterrupted communication links when selecting employment, and that personal communications have a strong impact on morale and retaining crews – especially the more experienced ones.


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Mr. Wheeler, tear down these walls: The economic case for removing barriers to muni broadband | Craig Settles Blog | GigaOM Tech News

Mr. Wheeler, tear down these walls: The economic case for removing barriers to muni broadband | Craig Settles Blog | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler clearly wants to protect communities from state intrusion by having the legislative barriers to public-owned networks in 19 states removed or heavily curtailed. Those who see high-speed internet services strengthening local economies, transforming medical and healthcare delivery, improving education and increasing local government efficiency agree with him.


How would removing these walls to progress not only impact states with public network restrictions as well as other states? Community broadband history indicates this would unleash competitive forces so that, according to Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, “prices go down dramatically. All of a sudden, the two private sector incumbents find a way to lower prices.” Constituents in urban as well as rural communities also would get much faster speeds.


Over 400 public-owned networks operate in the United States, according to the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, including 89 fiber and 74 cable community-wide networks, and over 180 partial-reach fiber networks covering business districts, industrial parks and medical and university campuses. Evaluating these networks’ impact on job creation, education and stirring innovation, as well as their financial sustainability, uncover hundreds of success stories that can be replicated once the barriers in those 19 states drop.


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Internet Industry Hate Taken To Insane Levels: Ridiculous Proposals To 'Nationalize' Successful Internet Companies | Techdirt.com

Internet Industry Hate Taken To Insane Levels: Ridiculous Proposals To 'Nationalize' Successful Internet Companies | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the last few years, there's been a ridiculous rise in a bizarre form of anti-Silicon Valley populism, in which people are encouraged to hate successful internet companies for... being successful. Usually, when you dig into the details, the attacks on the firms are a combination of general fear of "bigness," hatred/jealousy of success and a fundamental misunderstanding of economics.


Now, let's be clear: big companies with too much power do have a rather long history of bad behavior and companies should be watched carefully if they abuse their position. But the anti-internet populism seems incredibly misplaced, especially given that the companies they're attacking are often companies that have clearly improved the lives of those doing the attacking. I'm always worried about old "enabling" companies becoming the new gatekeepers, but I'm also confident in the ability of a brand new generation of enablers to undermine business models of the last generation of internet giants as well -- especially if they start making moves that actually harm the public.

But, it seems, this general hatred of Silicon Valley is being taken to nearly parodic levels with two new articles, one in Salon and one in Slate, both of which call for "nationalizing" some of the internet's most popular companies. First up, we have Richard "RJ" Eskow saying that we should nationalize Amazon and Google because the original internet was publicly funded, and thus, apparently, everything built after that should be owned by the federal government.


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Google may bring Wi-Fi to New York City pay phones | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

Google may bring Wi-Fi to New York City pay phones | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google may be among the hopefuls vying to turn the New York City phone booths of the past into “communication points” of the future with free Wi-Fi and cellphone charging.


The dominant search company was among 60 entities that attended a meeting on May 12 to discuss a project to replace or supplement as many as 10,000 pay phones around the city. The list came to light in a Bloomberg News report on Monday. Other participants included Samsung, IBM, Cisco Systems, Verizon Wireless, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable.


Responses to the “request for proposals” (RFP) from vendors were due Monday. Google, or any other participant in the May 12 meeting, may have pulled out of the process before filing one. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


But it seems likely the company will at least submit a plan, given the opportunity to blanket much of New York’s streetscape with Wi-Fi. Despite some false starts and headaches in free public Wi-Fi in the past, Google looks more serious than ever about providing new forms of Internet access.


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OH: Hudson Issues RFP for Broadband Needs Assessment, Business Plan | community broadband networks

OH: Hudson Issues RFP for Broadband Needs Assessment, Business Plan | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Hudson, Ohio, located in the Akron area, recently released a Request For Proposals (RFP) for a Broadband Needs Assessment and Broadband Business Plan. The community of 22,000 hopes to connect all municipal facilities, connect business parks, and eventually implement an FTTH network.


A May 4 Hub Times article covered an April city council discussion to expand existing fiber resources throughout the city. Internet Service Manager Bill Hillbish described a plan to connect traffic, security cameras, and possibly provide Internet access to other entities in Hudson. The original plan was to spend approximately $47,000 for fiber and hardware to connect remaining municipal facilities with Hudson Public Power managing the expansion.


At that meeting, the City Council also discussed using the network to connect local businesses and, eventually, residents. Apparently, local businesses are not happy with the incumbent provider:


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Free Speed Upgrades, 3000th Customer for North Carolina’s Community-Owned Fibrant | Stop the Cap!

Free Speed Upgrades, 3000th Customer for North Carolina’s Community-Owned Fibrant | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Salisbury’s community-owned fiber network has tripled its subscriber base in three years, signing up its 3,000th customer in the community of 33,000 and is already turning a profit.


Fibrant, despite facing intense opposition from corporate-backed, conservative special interest groups with financial ties to its competitors and a state law passed at the behest of Time Warner Cable that limits its future growth opportunities, has proven very successful delivering improved Internet access to a community that received the back of Time Warner’s hand when it requested service upgrades.


Salisbury invested $33 million to install more than 250 miles of fiber in and around the community and began hooking up customers to its all-fiber network in late 2010. By the following summer, 1,200 customers signed up. Today, Fibrant serves more than 3,000 homes in the community.


WCNC-TV in Charlotte reports Fibrant is likely to break even this year after losing $4.1 million the year before — a loss Fibrant attributes to normal start-up costs faced by almost every new business.


Dale Gibson has been thrilled to be a Fibrant customer since the beginning and is even happier now that Fibrant offers gigabit speeds.


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GA: Comcast Expands Cloud DVR To Atlanta | Multichannel.com

GA: Comcast Expands Cloud DVR To Atlanta | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Atlanta is the next launch site for Comcast’s cloud DVR and in-home multiscreen live TV streaming – features that are relatively new to the MSO’s IP-capable X1 platform.

 

The launch in Atlanta follows earlier debuts in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Comcast has also rolled out in-home live TV streaming in the Bay Area, but has yet to pair it with its new cloud DVR offering.

 

Atlanta is the first market in Comcast’s southern region to get the new cloud-based offerings. In addition to enabling playback of shows recorded to the cloud storage system and the ability to stream and view most of the MSO’s linear TV lineup on PCs, tablets and smartphones, the in-home cloud-based feature also lets users to “check out” DVR recordings by sideloading them to those devices for later playback.

 

Under Comcast’s present policy, X1 subs are allowed to download up to 10 recordings per device, and is available for playback for up to 30 days. Like a library book, those sideloaded recordings must be checked back in before they are available on the TV and other authorized devices.


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CA: Time Warner Cable Promises Possible 1Gbps Upgrade for Los Angeles by 2016 | Stop the Cap!

CA: Time Warner Cable Promises Possible 1Gbps Upgrade for Los Angeles by 2016 | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Assuming Comcast doesn’t take over Time Warner Cable and change priorities, the city of Los Angeles is getting a commitmentTime Warner will “be in a position to offer” gigabit broadband speeds to homes and businesses in the city no later than 2016.


“Over the last four years, Time Warner Cable has invested more than $1.5 billion to enhance our infrastructure and services in Los Angeles. This significant investment coupled with new ‘Gigasphere’ technology positions us to be able to introduce gigabit-per-second speeds in 2016,” said Peter Stern, executive vice president and chief strategy, people and corporate development officer at TWC. “Leveraging our existing network allows us to deliver these speeds faster and with less disruption than any other provider.”


The new gigabit broadband service will be deployable with an upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which offers cable operators a more efficient way to deliver broadband over current cable system infrastructure.


“We believe the introduction of consumer gigabit speeds in our near future will facilitate even greater innovations among students, entrepreneurs and many industries powering the Los Angeles economy,” said Dinni Jain, chief operating officer at TWC. “Cable was the first to bring broadband Internet to the masses nearly 20 years ago, and thanks to the dynamic nature of our fiber-rich network, we foresee endless new possibilities as we roll-out gigabit speeds to all of Los Angeles.”


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