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Obama walking into political minefield as he taps new FCC chairman | The Hill's Hillicon Valley

Obama walking into political minefield as he taps new FCC chairman | The Hill's Hillicon Valley | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Obama is walking into a political minefield as he decides whom to nominate for chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Industry groups, consumer advocates and Democrats are splintering over the contenders, putting Obama in a bind as he narrows his short list for the powerful post.

"You're going to offend a whole lot of people no matter which way you go," one communications industry source said.

Obama is looking to replace Julius Genachowski, who is leaving the chairman’s post after a controversial tenure that included the creation of new rules for Internet providers.

 It’s an important choice for Obama, as the next chairman will face difficult decisions over how to provide enough airwaves for mobile devices, preserve the openness of the Internet and promote competition.


Tom Wheeler, a venture capitalist and fundraiser for Obama, was considered the clear favorite for the job just last week. But then a coalition of public interest groups sent a letter to the president bashing him, and 37 senators signed a letter supporting an alternative pick: FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

"Wheeler is still the front runner, but it isn't as secure as it was a week or two ago," another industry watcher said.


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FCC's Sohn: 25 Mbps Is Snail's Pace in Fiber World | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC's Sohn: 25 Mbps Is Snail's Pace in Fiber World | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gigi Sohn, counselor to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, told a fiber-to-the-home conference in California this week that the FCC was ready to step in to preempt any more state laws that hampered municipal fiber buildouts, and would give cities money to do that building if the big telecoms don't step up.

And Sohn made it clear she did not think commercial broadband networks were cutting it.

"It’s not hard to see that current networks are not up to the task to meet the needs of today’s Internet users," she told the FTTH Connect conference in Anaheim, Calif., June 30. Sohn talked bout the folks that can't get 25 Mbps broadband (1 in 6 Americans, she said), what she pointed out chairman Wheeler has called table stakes for "full use" of the Internet.

She pointed out that the FCC had upped its baseline for high speed to that 25 Mbps. But she also said even that was a "snail's pace" in a world of fiber.

The FCC earlier this year preempted state laws limiting municipal broadband buildouts in Chattanooga and Wilson, N.C., where she said there had been substandard service or none. Sohn said the FCC was ready to do so again if needed.

"Now the FCC respects the important role of state governments in our federal system and we don’t take preemption of state laws lightly. But when state laws directly conflict with Federal laws and policy, we are not afraid to take action," she said.

But she also pointed to efforts that did not involve the FCC's intervention.

"In cities and towns where incumbent broadband access providers have not stepped up to provide their customers with the reliably fast service they need at a reasonable price, community leaders are taking matters into their own hands," she said.

But the FCC is also ready to invest in those builds. Sohn pointed out that the FCC has Universal Service Fund subsidies that municipalities can access if the major telecoms, who get first crack at the funds, pass on the money.


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Will the FCC Ignore Our Complaint? Did AT&T Commit Perjury, Claiming it had Covered 100 Percent of 21 States With Broadband? | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Will the FCC Ignore Our Complaint? Did AT&T Commit Perjury, Claiming it had Covered 100 Percent of 21 States With Broadband? | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rumors are flying that the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger is a done deal. And yet, it appears that the FCC ignored our complaint, which outlined that AT&T may have committed perjury during the previous AT&T-BellSouth merger. In 2008, AT&T claimed it had fulfilled a merger commitment to have 100% of their 21 state territory covered with broadband, (albeit slow at 200 Kbps). Based on US Census and FCC data, this would mean that AT&T would have had about 77 million 'locations' -- i.e., businesses and residential customers, covered in 21 states.

But, as we pointed out, over the last 5 years, in statement after statement, AT&T claimed it did not have 100 percent coverage of broadband -- and we believe that the FCC must investigate this BEFORE any new merger is consummated.

Allowing the company to con the FCC is one thing. But, the bottom line is -- There are no 'commitments' in place to make sure that AT&T does anything whatsoever after the ink is dry on the agreement. And history shows that AT&T may, can and will simply walk away from anything they said they would be doing, just to get this deal through.

And this is also an important issue now as the FCC's leadership, including Democrat Chairman Tom Wheeler, and Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai each claim that they have the right plan to make sure that rural areas get broadband. Ironically, they both just want to throw money, read your tax dollars and fees, at the problem instead of asking --Wasn't AT&T supposed to have upgraded rural areas? Neither regulator mentioned AT&T's requirement, of course. Moreover, all of the major incumbent phone companies, AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink, had commitments to do upgrades in most states, which included rural areas, which were never done, even though customers were hit with rate increases and the phone companies got tax perks to do the work. And the FCC has never investigated any state commitments for broadband upgrades, much less rural areas.

But I digress, as this is about the fact that AT&T's own statements condemns AT&T's actions. As we discussed in our complaint, AT&T claims it still does NOT cover 25 percent (or 15 million locations) with broadband -- and that's one of the reasons it needs to merge with DirecTV.


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Seattle City Council Member Urges Grass Roots Broadband Revolution After Ten Years Of Failing To Fix Broken Broadband Duopoly | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Seattle City Council Member Urges Grass Roots Broadband Revolution After Ten Years Of Failing To Fix Broken Broadband Duopoly | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For most of the last decade Seattle, like many U.S. cities, has been painfully unhappy with its broadband options. If they're "lucky," Seattle residents have the choice of apathetic telco CenturyLink (formerly Qwest), or everybody's favorite dysfunction monolith, Comcast.


CenturyLink historically can barely be bothered to upgrade its aging DSL networks, resulting in most of its users paying an arm and a leg for 3 to 6 Mbps DSL (which was quite cutting edge in 2003). And while Comcast has done a relatively better job upgrading its networks, their customer service documentably qualifies for inclusion as a new circle of hell.

So Seattle has, since 2005 and before, pondered whether it should get into the broadband business itself. The city has conducted study after study on building a citywide fiber ring to feed municipal operations and residential and business service, yet these efforts consistently die under the weight of bureaucratic incompetence and Comcast and CenturyLink pressure.


At one point, Seattle even paid a company by the name of Gigabit Squared $55,000 in exchange for absolutely nothing of note (Gigabit Squared magically evaporated after also taking money from Chicago in exchange for doing nothing).

So basically year after year slips by, and each new Seattle politician publicly laments the horrible state of broadband competition to score political points, but, like most cities, nothing gets fixed.


That's in large part courtesy of incumbent ISP lobbyists, who work tirelessly to make sure city politicians don't disrupt the profitable and uncompetitive status quo.


Last year, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (the money he received from Comcast was a hot topic leading up to his election) proudly proclaimed that he would be the one to fix Seattle's broadband woes:


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TN: Chattanooga Video Explains Potential Gigabit Expansion Process | community broadband networks

TN: Chattanooga Video Explains Potential Gigabit Expansion Process | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Following up on our post last week noting the new video from Tennessee Fiber Optic Communities, another video recently posted explains what needs to change in Tennessee law for Chattanooga to expand Internet access beyond the current footprint.


EPB Chief Operating Officer David Wade also explains the process the municipal electric distributor will use to connect nearby communities.


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VT: KeepBTLocal Working on Plan to Purchase BT | community broadband networks

VT: KeepBTLocal Working on Plan to Purchase BT | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Burlingtonians love their municipal network. We have reported in the past that, prior to the sale of the network to Blue Water LLC, a group of locals organized to create the KeepBTLocal cooperative. Recently, the organization reaffirmed its commitment to purchase the network when it goes up for sale, a condition of the Blue Water LLC transaction.

A customer satisfaction survey in April revealed that BT customers are more than twice as satisfied with their provider as those obtaining service from competitors. The VTDigger reported survey results:

  • 87% customer satisfaction with BT’s Customer Service;


  • 24% of customers chose BT’s services after being recommended by a friend or family member; and


  • General impression of BT by non-BT customers saw a 10% “positive” increase over their 2014 impression.


The survey also reported that customers with other providers were 40% satisfied with their service.

BT offers 150 Mbps for $55 per month and gigabit service for $85 per month or $70 per month with a 12 month contract. All speeds are symmetrical.


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City and School Board Partner for Fiber in Maryland | community broadband networks

City and School Board Partner for Fiber in Maryland | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cumberland and the Allegany Board of Education are collaborating to improve educational, municipal, and business connectivity in the city's downtown area, reports GovTech.

The district's 23 schools are all connected, but the Maintenance and Facilities Warehouse is not yet connected. The location of the facility and the proposed fiber route will create an ideal opportunity to install fiber in a commercial corridor where ISPs can tap into the infrastructure, notes Cumberland's economic development coordinator Shawn Hershberger:

“It will expand upon the solid resources we already have and make us more competitive for future economic development projects,” said Hershberger

The project will cost approximately $220,000. Half of the funding will come from a federal Appalachian Regional Commission grant. The school board and the city will split the remaining cost.

The city will connect its public service buildings and provide splice points for ISPs, who will be responsible for the cost to connect the last mile to the customer.


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Growing Interest in Dark Fiber and Pricing Details | community broadband networks

Growing Interest in Dark Fiber and Pricing Details | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Dark fiber is a growing business for both private and publicly owned networks. Data transport, data centers, ILECs, and CLECs are some of the most common users. Increasingly, wireless providers are turning to dark fiber for backhaul.

A May Fierce Telecom article reports that 14 percent of Zayo's wireless backhaul services are dark fiber solutions:

"We're seeing a shift with wireless backhaul contracts to dark fiber to the tower and we're starting to see that show up as the trend over the last couple of quarters," [Chairman and CEO Dan] Caruso said … "And you see it more pronounced in the current quarter where 14 percent of our product mix for fiber to the tower is dark fiber to the tower and you see that's grown and taken on a bigger piece of the pie."

Dark fiber leases have played an important role in developing revenue for municipalities that have invested in fiber infrastructure. Dark fiber leasing can be the only option in places where state barriers limit local options.

Santa Monica, Columbia in Missouri, and Maryland's Howard County, are only a few communities that lease dark fiber to ISPs and other commercial customers. A few networks, including Metronet Zing in Indiana, offer only dark fiber services. It is worth noting that, as Santa Monica discovered, the vast majority of businesses and residents prefer and easy, affordable, and reliable lit service rather than dark fiber. But the dark fiber niche is growing.

As more customers look for the service, negotiating leases and pricing models can be challenging. Municipal networks seeking guidance can start with a 2012 report from CTC Technology & Energy, Dark Fiber Lease Considerations [PDF].


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FCC Releases Final Version of TVStudy | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Releases Final Version of TVStudy | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has released its final version of the TVStudy software, which it will use to calculate interference protections and coverage areas in the repack of stations following the incentive auction, as well as initial coverages based on that final version.

The National Association of Broadcasters had sued the FCC over its TVStudy update (based on more current census information), arguing that coverage areas and interference should have been based on the version used when the incentive auction legislation passed the Congress. The legislation directed the FCC to make its best effort to protect station signals and contours after the auction.

The court upheld the FCC decision, paving the way for release of the info.

The FCC is asking for comment on that data, and points out that the stations list is not a final list of stations eligible for repacking and that it reflects current information which could, and likely will, change based on technical certifications by stations in advance of the auction.


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A Truly Bold Plan for New York City's Broadband Future | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

A Truly Bold Plan for New York City's Broadband Future | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Summer Reading: "The Book of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal & Free the Net"

This article is an excerpt from a proposal to NYC. Every city, in every state, should be contemplating similar actions.

The NYC Mayor's Office of Tech & Innovation has asked for bold ideas & innovation to "help bring high speed Internet to all New Yorkers", including "more choices among ISPs", and "expanded service to underserved communities", which may require "policy changes".

We applaud the City's recent, long overdue audit of Verizon's commitment to deliver a series of fiber optic-based services under the brand name FiOS to 100% of housing units by July 2014. The real question is, however, whether the City will actually take bold steps to fix what's broken.
Our Goals:

  • Get everyone in NYC wired with fiber optics from the incumbent utility company, Verizon.
  • Lower the rates of Time Warner Cable's cable and broadband services.
  • Get businesses, large and small, even in commercial buildings, wired with fiber optics.
  • Open up Empire City Subway's hold on NYC's critical communications conduits.
  • Open the incumbent networks to direct competition at all levels, allowing customers to choose which provider offers them broadband, Internet, phone or cable service.
  • Help make NYC be a fiber-optic-based-Internet mecca that will attract new business.
  • Fix the hold Verizon's wired services have on all wireless competitors.
  • Fix egregious and deceptive communications billing practices.


Let's put some facts on the table.


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Federal wiretaps down slightly, encryption impact decreases | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

Federal wiretaps down slightly, encryption impact decreases | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the first time in a number of years the use of authorized federal wiretaps decreased 13% in 2014 over 2013.

According to the 2014 Wiretap Report, released today by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts a total of a total of 3,554 wiretaps were reported as authorized, with 1,279 authorized by federal judges and 2,275 authorized by state judges. Compared to the applications approved during 2013, the number approved by federal judges decreased 13% in 2014 and the number approved by state judges increased 8%. One state wiretap application was denied in 2014, the report stated.

The court said applications in California accounted for 43% of all applications approved by state judges while the Arizona authorized the most federal wiretaps, approximately 7% of the applications approved by federal judges.

Some interesting facts from the report:


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FBI alert discloses malware tied to the OPM and Anthem attacks | Steve Ragan | CIO.com

FBI alert discloses malware tied to the OPM and Anthem attacks | Steve Ragan | CIO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The security problems over at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) are still the leading story in the news lately.

Just last week the public learned that the breach might impact up to 32 million people, including current, former, and prospective federal employees.

Moreover, the FBI released a memo earlier this month outlining the malware used in the attack, which has ties to the attack at Anthem.

The new figure of 32 million people is linked to the fiscal 2016 budget proposal for the OPM, which says in part that the agency has banking information on 2 million people, and background investigation details on 30 million.

However, when asked for figures, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta refused to offer exact numbers in public hearings.

The big hoopla surrounding the OPM breach is that China was named as the top suspect, but no one will come out on record to say it officially. Assuming they are behind the incident, then this isn't a case of financial fraud – this is espionage. Given that the OPM stored tens of millions of SF-86 forms (needed to obtain security clearance), the amount of raw data obtained by the attackers is staggering.

Another thought, for those of us who wear tinfoil hats – what if records were not only taken, but some were added as well? Would the OPM be able to tell? The attackers had at least a year of unchecked access on the network – plenty of time for someone to do whatever they wanted.

On June 5, the FBI released a memo detailing the malware used by actors that have "compromised and stolen sensitive business information and Personal Identifiable Information (PII)."

While Anthem and the OPM are not mentioned by name in the high confidence alert by the FBI, the timing can't be a coincidence. The key link though is the malware itself – Sakula.


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China tightens grip over the Internet with new security law | Michael Kan | NetworkWorld

China tightens grip over the Internet with new security law | Michael Kan | NetworkWorld | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

China has adopted a new security law that gives the government control over its Internet infrastructure, along with any critical data.

On Wednesday, China’s legislature passed the national security law, which covers a wide range of areas including military defense, food safety, and the technology sector.

A full text of the law’s final draft has yet to be released, but it calls for better cybersecurity, according to a report from China’s state-controlled Xinhua News Agency. The country’s key information systems and data will also be made “secure and controllable” under the law.

Previous drafts of the legislation don’t state in detail what that control might mean, exactly. But U.S. trade groups have expressed ongoing concern that China’s security policies are going too far, and could push foreign businesses out of the country.

Earlier this year, China’s anti-terror legislation drew complaints because it could require U.S. tech companies to hand over encryption keys to the country’s government. U.S. President Obama even weighed in and has asked China to change the legislation.

In recent years, however, China has made cybersecurity a priority, following leaks from security contractor Edward Snowden that claim the U.S. had been secretly spying on Chinese companies. The Chinese government has even said it would block IT products from being sold in the country, if they failed an upcoming “vetting system.”

The policy changes in China probably won’t bode well for U.S. tech companies, especially for those who supply IT products to the government or state-owned companies, according to analysts. Already, China heavily censors its Internet, and has blocked many U.S. sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.


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FISA Court Authorizes 'As-Is' Bulk Phone Collections For The Next Six Months | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

FISA Court Authorizes 'As-Is' Bulk Phone Collections For The Next Six Months | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Or so the FISA Court notes in its latest order authorizing the continued collection of bulk phone records under… well, not Section 215, which expired, but under a "non-hyper-literal evil genie" reading of the contradictory forces temporarily in play thanks to the passage of the USA Freedom Act.

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose," well, at least for 180 days. This application presents the question whether the recently-enacted USA FREEDOM Act, in amending Title V of FISA, 2 ended the bulk collection of telephone metadata. The short answer is yes. But in doing so, Congress deliberately carved out a 180-day period following the date of enactment in which such collection was specifically authorized. For this reason, the Court approves the application in this case.

The order notes that there was much more to consider in this renewal application. It nods to the expiration of Section 215 on May 31st and its brief return to its pre-Patriot Act form for roughly 24 hours before the passage of USA Freedom pushed the expiration date up until 2019. It notes the legal challenges brought against the bulk collection by Ken Cuccinelli and FreedomWorks, as well as the stipulations added to the collection by the surveillance reform bill.


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MA Update: 22 towns authorize $34.5M for fiber. 6,700+ deposits on service | Monica Webb | WiredWest

MA Update: 22 towns authorize $34.5M for fiber. 6,700+ deposits on service | Monica Webb | WiredWest | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After creating a telecommunications coop to bring broadband to rural communities in Western Mass, and completing four years of planning, WiredWest member towns have signaled they’re ready to move forward with a regional fiber-optic network.


Over the last two months, 22 WiredWest communities have passed bond authorizations totaling $34.5 million for their towns’ portions of costs to build a fiber-optic network. The votes have been characterized by record attendance and passage by overwhelming margins, including three unanimous town votes.


On June 29th, the Town of Goshen became the 20th town to authorize their funding with a record turnout of 240 voters. In fact, the meeting had to move from Town Hall to the nearby Congregational Church in order to accommodate everyone, which is the second meeting of a WiredWest town on the bond authorization that has had to do so.


According to WiredWest Delegate, Bob Labrie, “Our family has lived in Goshen for almost 30 years. Over that time during town meeting, we’ve debated the costs of a fire truck, an ambulance, several highway trucks and police cruisers, capping our dump, a new elementary school, an addition to the high school and now the construction of a regional broadband network. Never in the history of Goshen have we had to change the venue of the meeting because so many people turned out.”


All 240 voters were unanimous in their support of the bond authorization. In Labrie’s words, “In the end, history was made. Never before had the town been so galvanized on a topic like this. Never before had there been a unanimous vote in favor of a project of this magnitude. Some might call it divine intervention. I just think of it as the right thing to do for the future of our region.”


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Fine Print Fun: Sprint Backs Off From Throttling All Wireless Video Traffic to 600kbps | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Fine Print Fun: Sprint Backs Off From Throttling All Wireless Video Traffic to 600kbps | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sprint’s all-new “All-In” wireless plan was supposed to simplify wireless pricing for consumers by bundling a leased phone, unlimited voice, data, and texting for a flat $80 a month, but customers slogging through the fine print discovered speed throttling and roaming punishments were silent passengers along for the ride:

To improve data experience for the majority of users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network. Streaming video speeds will be limited to 600Kbps at all times, which may impact quality. Sprint may terminate service if off-network roaming usage in a month exceeds: (1) 800 min. or a majority of min.; or (2) 100MB or a majority of KB. Prohibited network use rules apply—see sprint.com/termsandconditions.

Although many smaller wireless carriers also have limits on off-network roaming usage, none have proposed to permanently throttle web videos to a frustratingly slow 600kbps. At those speeds, Sprint customers could expect buffering delays or degraded HD video.

Many customers contemplating switching to the All-In plan considered the speed throttle a deal-breaker and let Sprint know through its social media accounts. Even websites friendly to Sprint were very critical of the plan:


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Last-Mile FTTH Via Nonprofit Networks in New York State | community broadband networks

Last-Mile FTTH Via Nonprofit Networks in New York State | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Western New York residents are welcoming the presence of a new Internet service provider, Empire Access, competing directly with Time Warner Cable and Verizon. Besides satisfied customers, no data caps, and no usage-based billing, Empire is different from the incumbents in another way - it uses nonprofit network infrastructure to deliver services.

StopTheCap writes that Empire Access utilizes the Southern Tier Network (STN) to connect to communities in Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler Counties in its southern service area. STN's 235-mile backbone was deployed when fiber-optic manufacturer Corning contributed $10 million to build the network and the three counties contributed the remaining $2.2 million. Construction on the open access network was finished in the spring of 2014.

Axcess Ontario provides the fiber route in the northern region of the Empire Access service area. The network is also a non-profit model and similarly developed to serve business, community anchor institutions, and ISPs. The organization began 10 years ago with the establishment of the nonprofit. The Ontario County Office of Economic Development /Industrial Development Agency provided startup costs to deploy the $7.5 million middle-mile open access dark fiber network. Axcess Ontario is also over 200 miles long.

For now, the locally-owned company that began in 1896 with one telephone and grew from there, is taking a different approach then its much larger competitors. From StopTheCap:


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Tennessee State University Students Pay for Comcast Whether They Want It Or Not | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Tennessee State University Students Pay for Comcast Whether They Want It Or Not | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The average student of Tennessee State University living in on-campus housing will pay between $1,780-2,900 per academic year for housing, a meal plan, and Comcast’s Xfinity on Campus, an 80-channel cable television service that students pay for as part of their room and board.

TSU is the first college in Tennessee to launch the cable television service, which permits students off campus to use their university credentials to authenticate and access online programming from TV Everywhere websites and apps, such as WatchESPN and FXNOW.

Many students do not object to the Comcast service, in fact many appreciate it. Few know exactly how much it actually costs them, however, as its price is not broken out. Students cannot opt out of paying their share of the service either.

Universities respond positively to the program because it is administered and maintained by Comcast, which reduces the workload for campus employees.


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Pew continues to survey as if it's 1999 on "Internet adoption" | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Pew continues to survey as if it's 1999 on "Internet adoption" | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Pew: Internet Penetration Reaches Saturation Levels – For Some - Telecompetitor: Internet penetration in the U.S. has reached saturation levels, at least for some groups, according to an analysis of 15 years of data collected by a Pew Research Center unit that has been tracking and studying Internet adoption and use in the U.S. since 2000.

The Internet saturation point has been reached for Americans – young Americans especially – with high levels of education and those who live in more affluent households, Pew highlights in “Americans’ Internet Access: 2000-2015.”

More than 8 in 10 of all American adults – 84 percent – now use the Internet, up from about half in 2000. Seventy percent of young U.S. adults used the Internet in 2000. That has increased steadily since 2000: Today 96 percent of young U.S. adults use the Internet. In contrast, it wasn’t until 2012 that more than half of U.S. adults 65 and older said they do.

These surveys of "Internet adoption" are growing increasingly irrelevant as the Internet delivers various types of services including data, video, voice, telemedicine, distance learning and control of home systems. The Internet is not a distinct service but rather a means of delivering multiple services -- and is now classified as a common carrier telecommunications service by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

That Pew continues to do these retrospective, backward looking surveys is puzzling in 2015. It does fit nicely however with the strategy of the legacy incumbent telephone and cable companies and their outmoded metallic Internet infrastructures to keep the concept of "the Internet" as it was in 1999 when it was used solely for data such as email and the then relatively new World Wide Web.


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Audit Reveals Verizon Tried To Corner NYC Broadband Market By Striking Exclusive Landlord Deals | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Audit Reveals Verizon Tried To Corner NYC Broadband Market By Striking Exclusive Landlord Deals | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As we recently noted, New York City only just woke up to the fact that the lucrative 2008 Verizon franchise deal the city thought would bring fiber broadband to 100% of all five boroughs, has only resulted in Verizon cherry picking about half of the city's residents.


Of course as we pointed out, if the city had actually bothered to read the closed-door agreement struck with former Mayor Mike Bloomberg (or listened to a few local reporters at the time), leaders could have noticed at any time that it contains oodles of loopholes allowing Verizon to wiggle over, under and around most of the obligations contained therein.

While most people know by now that taking subsidies and tax breaks for fiber that never gets delivered is Verizon's MO in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (ok, well everywhere), the city only just appears to be realizing the scope of Verizon's shenanigans.


In addition to discovering that Verizon failed its build out obligations, analysis of the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications' audit (pdf) indicates that Verizon also tried to cajole landlords into exclusivity deals that may violate FCC rules:


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The forgotten origins of Greece’s crisis will make you think twice about who’s to blame | Ana Swanson | WashPost.com

The forgotten origins of Greece’s crisis will make you think twice about who’s to blame | Ana Swanson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

The Greeks, Italians, Spaniards and Irish walk into a bar, where the French and Germans are the bartenders. It’s happy hour, and the Germans and the French are serving half-price drinks. Although everyone quickly drinks too much, the bartenders keep on serving. Eventually, the inebriated customers head home and get into all kinds of trouble -- fights, car accidents, some broken windows.

So who’s to blame? Clearly, the Greeks shouldn’t have drunk so much. However, the French and Germans also shouldn’t have served the Greeks when they were clearly drunk -- especially if the French and Germans mind having broken glass in their neighborhood.

Unfortunately, this isn’t much of a joke. After an extended binge, Greece is now mired in financial crisis and is dragging the European economy down with it. In the last few days, Greece has defaulted on a important payment to the IMF and shuttered its banks to prevent massive flows of money from leaving the country. On Sunday, the country is slated to hold a referendum on whether to approve tough austerity measures demanded by Europe -- a decision that could determine whether Greece will stay in the euro zone.

Some of the reasons for the crisis are obvious to anyone who looks. Greece has a lot of well-recognized economic problems: Its public sector is bloated and marred by corruption, and many analysts say that the country cooked its books to hide the real amount of debt from the rest of Europe.

There are also many well-documented problems stemming from the design of the euro zone itself – that the countries share a common currency even though they have different tax-and-spending policies. So that means that even though Greek workers aren’t as economically competitive as Germans, Greece can’t lower the value of its currency to make its products cheaper abroad and stimulate exports.

The same holds true for inflation, where Greece might benefit from a higher inflation rate that would make debt in today's prices become cheaper, while Germany has a historic unease with any policy that might stimulate inflation.

There are some other ideas about the deeper origins of the Greek crisis that you may be less familiar with.


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Houston operator enTouch asks FCC to limit what AT&T-DirecTV can charge for RSNs | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable

Houston operator enTouch asks FCC to limit what AT&T-DirecTV can charge for RSNs | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Houston MSO enTouch Systems has asked the FCC to impose restrictions on the amount of program licensing fees a combined AT&T and DirecTV will be able to charge rival operators for access to regional sports networks.

Specifically, enTouch is concerned about Root Sports Southwest, the channel--formerly co-owned by Comcast and branded CSN Houston--now under the control of DirecTV and AT&T. It is the exclusive local TV home to the NBA's Houston Rockets and MLB's Houston Astros.

"The FCC needs to craft conditions that will prevent AT&T and DirecTV from undermining competition to an even greater extent than they are doing now in our market by charging excessive fees for their Roots Sports Southwest RSN," said J Findley, president and CEO of enTouch Systems.

"Access to regional sports programming at reasonable rates is essential to attracting and retaining an important segment of the customer base that wants to view live sports on TV, as government analyses of the pay-TV market at the local level has been documenting for years," he added.


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AT&T GigaPower launches in Miami, Fort Lauderdale; Google Fiber secures San Antonio ISP licence | TeleGeography.com

AT&T has extended its GigaPower fibre-optic network to residential and small business customers in south Florida, including parts of Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Hollywood, Miami and surrounding communities.

The telco claims that the launch marks the area’s first 1Gbps residential connection.


To date, AT&T GigaPower has inaugurated services in selected areas of 14 markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Cupertino, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem markets.


Plans have also been announced to launch AT&T GigaPower in parts of Greensboro, Jacksonville, St Louis and San Antonio.

Elsewhere in the US Gigabit market, Google Fiber has reportedly secured a licence to operate as an internet service provider (ISP) within the San Antonio city limits.


According to the San Antonio Current, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas approved an application by business unit Google Fiber Texas to expand its footprint to an additional Texan city.


While the search engine giant-turned-Gigabit provider remained coy on its plans, a statement supplied to the newspaper read: ‘San Antonio has been great to work with as we have explored bringing Google Fiber to the city, and this amendment to our state franchise is an important next step. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we hope to provide an update about whether we can bring Google Fiber to San Antonio soon.’


As noted above, San Antonio is one of the future markets earmarked for Gigabit connectivity by AT&T, meaning the two heavyweights could now go head-to-head in the Texan city. San Antonio is the seventh most populated city in the US and the second most populated city in the state of Texas.

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How Cisco brings communications to disaster relief efforts | Zeus Kerravala | NetworkWorld.com

How Cisco brings communications to disaster relief efforts | Zeus Kerravala | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Although Cisco Live 2015 is in the books now, the memories of it certainly lives on. Each event I attend is different and gives me a better understanding of how Cisco operates as a company. I've written many posts over the years on Cisco's ability to be innovative to capture market transitions and drive the company's growth.


One of the things I've liked about Cisco over the years is the philanthropic side to the company that resonates from CEO John Chambers down to all of the employees. I've heard Mr. Chambers talk on more than one occasion about corporate social responsibility and how important that is to the Cisco culture.

One of the more interesting discussions I had around this topic at Cisco Live was with Sue-Lynn Hinson, who manages what Cisco calls the Tactical Operations (TacOps) team. The goal of this group isn't to drive sales or to market the latest and greatest product.


Sue-Lynn never goes on sales calls and she and her team have no quota to fill. Instead, the TacOps team spends its time travelling the globe to establish emergency IP-based communications to first responders, government agencies, relief organizations, and others in times of emergency caused by disasters or other incidents.

The TacOps team has at their disposal a number of custom-built emergency response solutions to establish communications in disaster areas. For example, the Cisco Network Emergency Response Vehicle (NERV) is a mobile communication center that is designed to establish communications in emergency situations.

The NERV can be up and going in 15 minutes and can run for up to four days without requiring any resources, which is essential in situations that are already likely to be resource-constrained. The NERV provides a number of services to disaster workers such as:


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CA: Rough Day for Internet: Fiber Issues, Amazon/AWS Outage, Vandalism Disrupts Service | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

CA: Rough Day for Internet: Fiber Issues, Amazon/AWS Outage, Vandalism Disrupts Service | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

West coast Internet users, particularly those around San Francisco and Sacramento, experienced major disruptions to the Internet last evening into this morning, affecting everything from cable television and phone service to popular online destinations including Amazon.com (and websites hosted by its AWS data service), Tinder, and Netflix.

The range of disruptions led to early media speculation a “coordinated attack” on the Internet was underway on the west coast, but a statement from the Sacramento field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation this morning clarified it was investigating only a single case of alleged intentional vandalism in the San Francisco area today.

The FBI suspects someone climbed down a manhole in Livermore early this morning and intentionally cut a high traffic fiber line owned by Level 3 and Zayo. This is not the first case of suspected vandalism. At least 10 other fiber line cuts in Fremont, Berkeley, San Jose, Alamo, and Walnut Creek have occurred in the Bay Area over the last year.


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Cable Websites Take a Dive in Consumer Ranking | Leslie Jay Goff | Multichannel

Cable Websites Take a Dive in Consumer Ranking | Leslie Jay Goff | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Among 262 companies whose websites were evaluated by 10,000 consumers, six cable MSOs were among the lowest-scoring organizations on the list.

The "2015 Web Experience Ratings," conducted by the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm, examines consumers' likelihood to forgive companies for a poor experience at their websites. The Waban, Mass.-based firm included nearly 300 companies across 20 industries, including pay TV service and Internet service.

Overwhelmingly, consumers indicated they were unlikely to forgive Time Warner Cable, Comcast and CenturyLink (all three tied at #252 of the 262 firms) and Frontier (dead last at #262) for lackluster website experiences in the Internet service category; and TWC (#256), Comcast (#258), Charter Communications (#260) and Cox Communications (#261) in the pay TV service category.


Additionally, Cox was one of the companies that fell the most in the annual ranking from last year, Temkin Group noted, with only 29% of respondents saying they could forgive the MSO for a poor online experience. The two categories earned "very weak" ratings across the board while banks and credit card issuers generally had "strong" ratings.

"It's ironic that many of the cable companies that provide Internet service earned such poor ratings," Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group, said.


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