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How Terrible Copyright Law Hurts Security Research | Slate Magazine

How Terrible Copyright Law Hurts Security Research | Slate Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It was hard to believe, but the student insisted it was true. He had discovered that compact discs from a major record company, Sony BMG, were installing dangerous software on people’s computers, without notice. The graduate student, Alex Halderman (now a professor at the University of Michigan), was a wizard in the lab. As experienced computer security researchers, Alex and I knew what we should do: First, go back to the lab and triple-check everything. Second, warn the public.

 

But by this point, in 2005, the real second step was to call a lawyer. Security research was increasingly becoming a legal minefield, and we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We weren’t afraid that our research results were wrong. What scared us was having to admit in public that we had done the research at all.

 

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people were inserting tainted music CDs into their computers and receiving spyware. In fact, the CDs went beyond installing unauthorized software on the user’s computer. They also installed a “rootkit”—they modified the Windows operating system to create an invisible area that couldn’t be detected by ordinary measures, and in many cases couldn’t be discovered even by virus checkers. The unwanted CD software installed itself in the invisible area, but the rootkit also provided a safe harbor for any other virus that wanted to exploit it. Needless to say, this was a big security problem for users. Our professional code told us that we had to warn them immediately. But our experience with the law told us to wait.

 

The law that we feared, the DMCA, was passed in 1998 but has been back in the news lately because it prohibits unlocking cellphones and interferes with access by people with disabilities. But its impact on research has been just as dramatic. Security researchers have long studied consumer technologies, to understand how they work, how they can fail, and how users can protect themselves from malfunctions and security flaws. This research benefits the public by making complex technologies more transparent. At the same time, it teaches the technology community how to design better, safer products in the future. These benefits depend on researchers being free to dissect products and talk about what they find.

 

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Software Apps Are Changing How We Watch TV | NCTA.com

Software Apps Are Changing How We Watch TV | NCTA.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If competition is the stamp of a healthy marketplace, than premium television competition is more than healthy – it’s downright fierce. Cable, satellite, telco and web streaming services are all fighting for subscribers.


We have options for watching TV via linear programming, on demand and DVR viewing, TV Everywhere services and software apps for all of our devices. We can choose robust channel bundles, lighter bundles, channels a la carte and even individual programs.


And thanks to the flexibility of IP based services, these devices and services will be able to quickly change to offer yet-unimagined viewing opportunities.


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Local officials question FCC's broadband subsidy proposal | Grant Gross | PCWorld.com

Local officials question FCC's broadband subsidy proposal | Grant Gross | PCWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Elected officials in several cities and states aren't completely on board with a U.S. Federal Communications Commission proposal to allow low-income people to purchase broadband service through a program subsidizing voice service.

State and local officials from New York, Maryland, Texas and Oregon are among those objecting to parts of the FCC's proposal to allow recipients of the agency's controversial Lifeline program to use a monthly subsidy for broadband instead of mobile or fixed telephone services.

While many of the politicians voiced support for the FCC's goal of subsidizing broadband for poor people, some questioned whether the agency's current plan would force some families to choose between voice and broadband service.


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CenturyLink to bring broadband to 4,300 rural households in Utah | Utah Business

CenturyLink, Inc. announced Friday that it will bring high-speed Internet services to more than 4,300 rural households and businesses in Utah by accepting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Connect America Fund (CAF) statewide offer in Utah.

CenturyLink is accepting 33 CAF phase II statewide offers from the FCC to bring Internet service with speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload to approximately 1.2 million locations in FCC-designated, high-cost census blocks. The company is accepting a total of approximately $500 million a year for six years.

High-speed Internet access brings many benefits to rural communities, including economic development and better access to education and healthcare services such as distance learning and telemedicine.


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Netflix just ditched a big contract. It’s time to rethink your streaming services. | Hayley Tsukayma | WashPost.com

Netflix just ditched a big contract. It’s time to rethink your streaming services. | Hayley Tsukayma | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix on Sunday announced that it would not be renewing a contract with Epix, a cable and satellite network that distributes major blockbuster movies. Instead, the streaming giant said, it's going to focus more on investing in its own content. Not to be outdone, Hulu announced that it had swooped in and picked up the Epix contract that Netflix let lapse.

That may sound like a bunch of corporate nonsense talk that doesn't affect you -- why do you care how Netflix or Hulu spends its money? But you should take notice if you're a Netflix customer. This decision offers you a good opportunity to reevaluate how you're spending your dollars. It's easy to let your subscriptions linger on forever, but as these services evolve you may be spending cash on something you don't really want. Finding the best option, more or less, comes down to how you like to watch streaming video.


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Bought a brand-new phone? It could still have malware | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld

Bought a brand-new phone? It could still have malware | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new phone is supposed to be a clean slate. But alarmingly, that's not always the case.

Security company G Data has identified more than 20 mobile phones that have malware installed despite being marketed as new, according to a research report. And it doesn't appear the infection is occurring during manufacturing.


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Global Cities Teams Challenges Next Round: Nov. 12-13, 2015 | BroadbandBreakfast.com

Global Cities Teams Challenges Next Round: Nov. 12-13, 2015 | BroadbandBreakfast.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Municipal leaders and innovators will gather at the NIST Campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland on November 12-13 for an important event related to the next round of Global City Team Challenge (GCTC). An agenda for the November event and a summary of exciting changes that NIST and US Ignite have planned for the next round of the GCTC will be circulated soon.

In the meantime, if your plans include participating in Smart Cities Week (September 15-17), we hope you will consider joining NIST and US Ignite for a program titled “Accelerating Smart City Deployments: Challenges, Competitions and Collaborations from Smart Cities Around the Globe and Across the Region.” The program will take place on September 17 from 1:00pm to 5:30pm and will feature a preview of the next round of GCTC and a panel discussion on “What is Working,” featuring leaders from around the world and across the DC region.


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eSTEAMers Talking Tech: OpenCape and the CC Tech Council | Cape Cod Community Media Center | YouTube.com

Paula Hersey, host of eSTEAMers “Tech Talk” interviews Dan Gallagher of OpenCape and Bert Jackson of the Cape Cod Technology Council about the development of the OpenCape high-speed telecom infrastructure that serves the Cape and Islands and Southeastern Massachusetts and the role that the Tech Council played in its creation and the development of the Cape's technology sector.


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HissyfitWatch: Witch Hunt - T-Mobile Declares War on "Abusive LTE Tethering" | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

HissyfitWatch: Witch Hunt - T-Mobile Declares War on "Abusive LTE Tethering" | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

T-Mobile’s CEO has declared war on about 3,000 current customers caught “stealing data from T-Mobile” by using workarounds to avoid T-Mobile’s tethering usage allowance.

T-Mobile customers with unlimited 4G LTE plans get a fixed allowance to be used for tethering when using the Smartphone Mobile HotSpot feature, which allows laptops, tablets, and other wireless devices to share a T-Mobile wireless data connection.

“These violators are going out of their way with all kinds of workarounds to steal more LTE tethered data,” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile USA. “They’re downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones, writing code to mask their activity, etc. They are ‘hacking’ the system to swipe high-speed tethered data.”

Legere claims the “clever hackers are willfully stealing for their own selfish gain” and are running up as much as two terabytes of usage a month over T-Mobile’s network.


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59 Twists and Turns to Verizon's Calculated Play to Go Wireless and Dismantle the State-Based Wired Utilities | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

59 Twists and Turns to Verizon's Calculated Play to Go Wireless and Dismantle the State-Based Wired Utilities | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A wireless phone is really a wired phone with an invisible extension cord. Every time you make a wireless call walking down the street, within a few hundred feet there's a 'cell site' that is attached to a wire. Almost every wireless 'hot spot' is connected to a wire and every time you use a device at home, it most likely connects to the wired broadband connection.

Verizon, AT&T and Centurylink have monopoly controls over most of these wires to the cell sites (sometimes called 'backhaul' or 'special access') in their own territories which gives these companies control over your wireless service prices, even speed, as well as control over the wireless service offered by competitors who use these wires.

And the wires used to connect the wireless sites, which can be copper or fiber optics, are part of a larger network of wires, the state-based telecommunications utility, which are the wires that go to homes and offices, not just for voice calling but for everything from alarm services to the wires used for FiOS services or DSL.

Verizon has a very simple but very calculated plan -- go wireless (mobile) at the expense of the wired networks. Fran Shammo, Verizon's CFO, discussing the second quarter 2015 earnings, made it clear that the focus of Verizon is wireless, advertising and digital media.


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AT&T Expands Gigabit Service in Florida, Texas and Georgia | Karl Bode | DSL Reports

AT&T Expands Gigabit Service in Florida, Texas and Georgia | Karl Bode | DSL Reports | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T today announced that the company is expanding its "U-Verse with Gigapower" gigabit fiber service to a handful of new Texas, Georgia, and Florida communities. Today's freshly-launched markets include nine new Dallas-area cities, a few small southern Texas markets, Pompano Beach, Florida, and a few additional markets in Georgia.

While the service starts at $70 in markets where the threat of Google Fiber is creating competition (Austin, Raleigh), promotional pricing for gigabit service in Texas starts at $110 a month, while pricing for gigabit speeds in Florida and Georgia starts at $120 a month.


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Cable, Wireless Fight Over LTE-U, Wi-Fi Interference Concerns | Karl Bode | DSL Reports

Cable, Wireless Fight Over LTE-U, Wi-Fi Interference Concerns | Karl Bode | DSL Reports | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The cable and wireless industries continue to fight over plans to use some Wi-Fi spectrum to supplement cellular networks. For some time now, the cable industry has warned that the deployment of LTE unlicensed (LTE-U) technology could potentially interfere with the cable industry's significant network of Wi-Fi hotspots (and yours at home).

In a recent government filing (pdf), the cable industry warned the FCC that carriers and vendors currently moving forward with 3GPP's LAA standard and non-standardized LTE-U technology are doing so without effective sharing mechanisms in place.

"Widespread deployment of LTE-U or LAA would therefore harm American consumers, schools and innovators by dramatically reducing the utility of the unlicensed bands for everyone but the companies that already hold licensed spectrum," the NCTA claims.


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New iOS Malware Compromises 225,000 Apple Accounts | Lily Hay Newman | Slate.com

New iOS Malware Compromises 225,000 Apple Accounts | Lily Hay Newman | Slate.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new family of malware being called KeyRaider has been used to compromise 225,000 Apple accounts, including private keys and purchase histories, along with other personal data and device control.


Though it is a huge breach—“We believe this to be the largest known Apple account theft caused by malware,” researchers wrote—the malware is only effective on jailbroken iDevices.


So if you haven’t monkeyed with your iOS, you’re probably safe.


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Graduated From An Engineering Bootcamp? Now What? | Ben Shippers | TechCrunch

Graduated From An Engineering Bootcamp? Now What? | Ben Shippers | TechCrunch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While hip hop may have ‘too many mc’s and not enough mics,’ in tech, there are too many startups and not enough seasoned technologists. Over the last seven years, hopeful entrepreneurs have flooded the market, looking to cut their teeth in the hopes of building the next billion-dollar business.

Many (probably most) of these recent business ideas should never be funded, nor affix themselves to the firmament of the web. But in reality they are… unceasingly.

If we agree that even the least fundable companies will continue to be funded for another few years, then we’d better come up with solutions for introducing new budding technologists into the field to support the ever-growing need for more social networks and photo sharing apps.

The current quandary is that our education system is inept at preparing students for jobs in the modern, web-related industry. The current liberal arts curriculum, while well-intended, focuses on softer skills. Though better, computer science-oriented degrees are still built on dated client-side syntax that leaves much to be desired when trying to transition to the web.

The solution: the rise of the 4-, 8- or 10-week pop-up product and engineering school.


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CWA says 10 Mbps broadband requirement should apply to Lifeline program | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

CWA says 10 Mbps broadband requirement should apply to Lifeline program | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union has joined the rallying cry for the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the Lifeline affordable phone service program by adopting the 10/1 Mbps broadband speed standard that the regulator has already set as the minimum speed providers should deliver to consumers.

By setting the minimum speed and service requirements for carriers at 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, CWA said that the regulator will make its requirements consistent with other universal service programs.


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Steve Ballmer Shrugs Off $60 Million TV Offer For Clippers Games, Considers Streaming Instead | Tim Geigner | Techdirt

Steve Ballmer Shrugs Off $60 Million TV Offer For Clippers Games, Considers Streaming Instead | Tim Geigner | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It was really only a matter of time. As cord-cutting continues as a trend and the cable TV market as we know it today struggles to stay relevant by grasping at major pro and college sports broadcast deals, the injection of a tech-industry giant into the sports ownership arena meant that the chance of streaming for sports could only increase.


Truthfully, When Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, he wasn't the first tech celebrity to own an NBA team. Mark Cuban, after all, has owned the Dallas Mavericks for some time now. But Ballmer has been quite progressive in a traditionally conservative league in pushing the Clippers forward into modernity. Given the state of the team's business practices when he made his purchase, there was always going to be a lot of heavy lifting to do. Still, it seems that Ballmer isn't going to let that keep him from considering some very big ideas.

And one of those ideas appears to be transitioning the broadcast of games away from the television model to a streaming model. The New York Post reports that Ballmer has turned down a $60 million per year contract offer from Fox and is mulling over plans for an over-the-top streaming network instead.


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Kentucky Wired broadband internet project announced in Hazard | WYMT.com

Kentucky Wired broadband internet project announced in Hazard | WYMT.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Reliable high speed internet is coming to Eastern Kentucky and folks are excited about it. It has the potential to create jobs, improve access to health care, and enhance education for our students.

Hundreds of people packed the First Federal Center to celebrate the launch of the Kentucky Wired I-Way broadband network. Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers spearheaded the project as part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region Initiative.


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Access points with 802.11ac are taking over enterprise WLANs | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com

Access points with 802.11ac are taking over enterprise WLANs | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Step by step, the 802.11ac standard is taking over wireless networks in the enterprise, offering faster connections for users with the right devices.

Two years after 802.11ac products started shipping, the standard was supported by almost half of access points sold for attachment to a central controller during the second quarter, according to IDC. That's a noticeably faster adoption rate than the move to 802.11n, IDC said.


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UT: Startup Festival and Startup Culture Taking Root in Modern Provo, Home to BYU and Google Fiber | BroadbandBreakfast.com

UT: Startup Festival and Startup Culture Taking Root in Modern Provo, Home to BYU and Google Fiber | BroadbandBreakfast.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What do you get when you cross a thriving technology and startup community with what Gallup called “the best place to live in America“?


That’s the zeitgeist here in Utah County. It’ll be celebrated with a new technology, business and cultural event here, dubbed Startfest, beginning on Monday, Aug. 31.


And because of the still-coalescing cultural power of information and communications technologies, Utah as a whole is sending a message to the world: Citizens of a particular city or region are no longer necessarily forced to choose between quality of life and economic opportunity.


Utahns, whether natives or migrants, have always taken pride in their state. That’s always been exceptionally true at the heart of Utah Valley, occasionally referred to as “Happy Valley.”

Yet in decades past, the happiness tended not to apply to career opportunities.

“When I attended Brigham Young University in 1985, we knew we’d have to leave the state to get a good job,” said Provo Mayor John Curtis. “That was our world and our paradigm.”

Today things are completely different, said Curtis. Those attending BYU enjoy a rather different economic and cultural vitality.


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Sling TV Pinpoints Streaming Issue | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Sling TV Pinpoints Streaming Issue | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sling TV said it has located and fixed the source of technical issue that impacted the OTT TV service last Sunday (August 23) during the AMC premiere of Fear the Walking Dead.

“Earlier this week, we traced down the source of the matter: one of our mobile apps was making high-load calls on a key database,” Sling TV announced Friday (August 28) in this blog post. “This is typically not much of a concern given the huge processing capacity built into our system; however, a caching error compounded the issue and added previously unseen processing cycles that interrupted the service for some.”


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Dem to FCC: Broadband subsidies would help veterans | David McCabe | The Hill

Dem to FCC: Broadband subsidies would help veterans | David McCabe | The Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Expanding phone subsidies for low-income Americans to include broadband Internet service would help veterans, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in a letter Monday.

Blumenthal’s letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman (FCC) Tom Wheeler and Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald also urged them to work to expand veteran access to the program, called Lifeline. He said the program could best serve veterans if it was expanded to include subsidies for broadband service.

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Behind the scenes: Security operations at the Little League World Series | Sarah Ludwig | NetworkWorld.com

Behind the scenes: Security operations at the Little League World Series | Sarah Ludwig | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Each year in late August, the Little League World Series (LLWS) in South Williamsport, Pa., kicks-off. However, before the games, there’s a ramp –up on security at the Little League Baseball World Series Complex, which requires months of preparation and planning.

Part of this ramp-up requires implementing temporary, yet supremely effective, security measures on top of what’s already in place, says Jim Ferguson, Director of Security for the LLWS.

The LLWS has been fortunate to have several electronic security companies, including AXIS Communications, Extreme Networking, and Lenel, volunteer their time and equipment for the event for the past 17 years, Ferguson says. These companies donate cameras, access control, and wireless networking.


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“We have a group of people that have this place pretty well secure in several days, which is amazing to me,” says Ferguson.

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T-Mobile Takes Aim At What it Calls Unlimited LTE Data 'Thieves' | Karl Bode | DSL Reports

T-Mobile Takes Aim At What it Calls Unlimited LTE Data 'Thieves' | Karl Bode | DSL Reports | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

T-Mobile has announced it's taking aim at unlimited data customers that eat far more than their "fair share" of network resources. In a blog post, T-Mobile CEO John Legere says starting today the company will begin cracking down on unlimited LTE users who have found ways to bypass the limits imposed on tethered data. While smartphone use is unlimited on unlimited plans, tethered modem use is capped at around 7 GB per month for those customers.

These customers, claims Legere, are "thieves," who are "downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones, writing code to mask their activity, etc."

According to T-Mobile, around 1/100 of a percent of the company's 59 million customers are simply tearing through tethered data, some using as much as 2 terabytes per month. Starting today, those users will start getting nastygrams from the uncarrier, and moved to a limited LTE plan if they don't heed the warning.


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Shunned by Verizon FiOS, Baltimore Hires 'Broadband Coordinator' | Karl Bode | DSL Reports

Shunned by Verizon FiOS, Baltimore Hires 'Broadband Coordinator' | Karl Bode | DSL Reports | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Baltimore is one of a number of cities that Verizon skipped over when deploying FiOS, leaving most city residents with only the uncomptitive option of either sluggish Verizon DSL or Comcast (if they're lucky). When the city pushed Verizon, they were informed by Verizon that the telco would love to upgrade DSL lines, but that "parts are hard to find." Baltimore is also one of the countless Northeast cities who begged for Google Fiber attention to no avail.

Baltimore's now hoping to take matters into their own hands, and recently hired a consultant to explore a number of possible ideas -- ranging from reworking their protectionist citywide franchise agreement with Comcast, to possibly building some or all of the kind of network nobody else wants to.

To push this agenda along, the city also recently hired its own "broadband coordinator", who'll be paid $44,000 a year to push the city towards a more robust broadband future:


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Ontario: Grey County hopes to turn $1M into $10M for fibre-optics | Denis Langlois | Sun Times

Ontario: Grey County hopes to turn $1M into $10M for fibre-optics | Denis Langlois | Sun Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Grey County wants to start putting more fibre-optic Internet lines in the ground within its boundaries soon, before Phase 1 of the regional SWIFT project is completed.

“What we’re trying to do is put infrastructure in place that will compliment the SWIFT network when it gets to us,” Geoff Hogan, the county’s information technology director, said Saturday in an interview.

The first phase of the South West Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) initiative — the regional effort to bring high-speed fibre optic Internet to all residents in southwestern Ontario — is not expected to be finished until 2020.

The county has set aside $1 million to help fund work, in the meantime, to improve fibre-based broadband Internet infrastructure locally.

In an effort to increase that amount, county council is to vote Tuesday on a staff recommendation to submit an expression of interest for funding under the new Building Canada small communities fund.

The application would request $3.5 million — or a one-third share — from both the provincial and federal governments. The other one-third would be made up of the county’s $1 million and assumes a $2.5 million investment from private-sector Internet providers.


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Creating Consumer Choice in Set-Top Boxes | John Bergmayer | Public Knowledge

Creating Consumer Choice in Set-Top Boxes | John Bergmayer | Public Knowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Imagine what the smartphone industry would look like if 99% of people used phones designed and sold by their carriers, instead of by companies like Samsung, Apple, and Motorola. You don't need to imagine too hard, though, since we have a pretty good idea already: they'd be as hard to use, ugly, expensive and outdated as cable set-top boxes, a market where 99% of users rent devices provided by their cable operators.

Congress tried to prevent this result when, in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, it directed the FCC to take steps to make it so that the cable box market was just as open and competitive as other areas of consumer electronics. The standard it came up with--CableCARD--found a niche, but failed to achieve its purpose.


As a result, not only are the devices people use not as good as they would be in a competitive market, but consumers are paying upwards of $20 billion dollars a year to rent them.


While in most consumer electronics markets, new products with new features are offered at the same price or cheaper, in cable land, when new features like DVR recording, multi-room, and HD come around, the cable industry charges a premium for them--and continues to do so thereafter.


Just a few month’s cable box rental fees can add up to what it would cost to buy a tablet computer outright.


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