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On the Economy, Think Long-Term | NYTimes.com

On the Economy, Think Long-Term | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The 2009 economic stimulus package has come and gone. So, too, have the temporary payroll tax cuts of 2011-12. Most of the Bush-era tax cuts, in addition, have been made permanent. Yet the lasting effects of these policies have been meager.

 

The economy is still sluggish. Unemployment remains high, especially for lower-skilled workers. Inequality of incomes is higher still. What’s more, the fundamental structural challenges to our economy remain. Deeply disruptive forces — rapidly evolving information technology, globalization and environmental stresses — are radically reshaping the jobs market. Decent jobs for low-skilled workers have virtually disappeared. Some have been relegated to China and emerging economies, while others have been lost to robotics and computerization.

 

The results of these changes can be seen in two starkly different employment figures: since 2008, 3.1 million new jobs have been created for college graduates as 4.3 million jobs have disappeared for high-school graduates and those without a high school diploma.

 

These trends will only continue, and even become more sharply defined. But in the face of such immense challenges, Republicans continue to hawk their age-old remedy, demanding cuts in government spending, tax rates and regulation so that market forces can respond in due course. Democrats, meanwhile, push just as stridently for their familiar fixes — short-term spending programs like the 2009 stimulus package enacted during President Obama’s first term.

 

It’s time to move beyond such transitory and piecemeal policies. Our underlying economic problems are chronic, not temporary; structural, not cyclical. To solve them, we need a systematic long-term approach.

Consider three priorities for this new, long-range perspective: infrastructure, energy and job skills. With a smart, ambitious strategy in these sectors we can encourage the creation of good jobs and begin to resolve huge problems of competitiveness and the environment.

 

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Netflix Aggravates Canada's Identity Crisis: Protection of Canadian Culture or Big Telecom Company Profits? | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Netflix Aggravates Canada's Identity Crisis: Protection of Canadian Culture or Big Telecom Company Profits? | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The arrival of Netflix north of the American border has sparked a potential video revolution in Canada that some fear could renew “an erosion” of Canadian culture and self-identity as the streaming video service floods the country with American-made television and movies. But anxiety also prevails on the upper floors of some of Canada’s biggest telecom companies, worried their business models are about to be challenged like never before.

Two weeks ago, the country saw a remarkable Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing featuring a Netflix executive obviously not used to being grilled by the often-curt regulators. When it was all over, Netflix refused to comply with a CRTC order for information about Netflix’s Canadian customers.

Earlier today, the CRTC’s secretary general, John Traversy, declared that because of the lack of cooperation from Netflix, all of their testimony “will be removed from the public record of this proceeding on October 2, 2014.” That includes their oral arguments.

“As a result, the hearing panel will reach its conclusions based on the remaining evidence on the record. There are a variety of perspectives on the impact of Internet broadcasting in Canada, and the panel will rely on those that are on the public record to make its findings,” Mr. Traversy wrote in a nod to Canada’s own telecom companies.

Not since late 1990’s Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, who defended Canadian content with her support of a law that restricted foreign magazines from infiltrating across the border, had a government official seemed willing to take matters beyond the government’s own policy.


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Average Netflix User Now Uses 45GB a Month, Will Exponentially Increase When 4K Video Arrives | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Average Netflix User Now Uses 45GB a Month, Will Exponentially Increase When 4K Video Arrives | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The average Netflix subscriber now watches 93 minutes of online video a day just from Netflix, and that adds up to 45GB of usage on average a month.

The Diffusion Group released that estimate in a new 35-page report (priced at $2,495) based on streaming data released by Netflix, and it shows a 350 percent increase in viewing over the last ten quarters, adding up to more than seven billion streaming hours in the last quarter alone.

Consumers with usage-limited broadband accounts will find online video viewing increasingly eating away at viewing allowances, but when 4K HD video arrives in the not too distant future, usage caps of 300-500GB a month will seem paltry. That new video format consumes up to 7GB per hour, and if current trends stay true, the average Netflix viewer streaming at the highest video quality could find their monthly Netflix traffic consumption rising to more than 300GB a month.


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City Net Brings 100 Gbps to Santa Monica, California | community broadband networks

City Net Brings 100 Gbps to Santa Monica, California | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For one of the fastest municipal networks in the U.S., travel to Santa Monica and sample City Net. The City just announced network capacity and speed upgrades to 100 Gbps. City Net is available to many local businesses and connects key community anchor institutions.

The entertainment, tech, and healthcare industries have a strong presence in Santa Monica and City Net officials expect them to be among the first to take advantage of the upgrade. Other area businesses are applauding the upgrade. From the press release:


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Who Wants a Rule that Wastes Energy and Harms Consumers? | NCTA.org

Who Wants a Rule that Wastes Energy and Harms Consumers? | NCTA.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In recent days, Public Knowledge has been flooding inboxes calling on their network to take a stand on what they describe as an anti-consumer measure in must-pass video legislation that “would make it difficult for consumers to use devices like TiVo DVRs.” They are referring to a provision in both House and Senate versions of STAVRA (The Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act) that would eliminate a 1998 FCC rule known as the “integration ban.” A closer look shows that Public Knowledge is distorting the impact of this change in spite of the fact that these changes would benefit consumers.

The integration ban is an outdated rule which forces cable operators – and cable operators alone – to include a separate piece of descrambling equipment known as a CableCARD in the set-top boxes they lease to customers, which adds costs, wastes energy and provides no benefit. Under a different FCC rule, cable operators also provide CableCARDs to their customers who use CableCARD-enabled devices purchased at retail (such as TiVos) so that those retail devices can access cable programming. The STAVRA integration ban provision simply sunsets the rule that penalizes cable customers who lease their boxes from their operator and has no effect on the latter FCC requirement.

For the unfamiliar, a CableCARD is a device about the size of a credit card that decrypts scrambled cable television signals so cable customers can access them. For the small sliver of cable customers who purchase set-top boxes at retail, CableCARDs are important. They provide access to scrambled cable programming and help ensure “device portability” – meaning that consumers can take the devices they purchase at retail and use them on other cable systems in the U.S.

But for the large majority of cable customers that elect to lease rather than buy a set- top box, there is zero benefit to adding a CableCARD to their boxes. Why? Because customers leasing their devices, by definition, don’t need portable solutions and because security can be integrated in a leased box (as it was before the integration ban went into effect), providing the same decryption function at lower cost.

That’s what makes Public Knowledge’s support for the current rule all the more baffling. You would think they would jump at the chance to end a mandate that adds millions of dollars in costs and forces consumers to foot the bill for the roughly 500 million kilowatt hours consumed by CableCARDs in leased boxes each year.


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Venezuela: Four prequalified for 4G spectrum awards; licensing within two weeks | TeleGeography.com

Venezuela’s telecoms regulator Conatel has announced in a statement on its website that four companies have been pre-qualified to receive 4G mobile licences in the 1700MHz/2100MHz (AWS) and/or 2500MHz-2690MHz frequency bands, namely Movilnet (the mobile arm of state-owned incumbent CANTV) and Telefonica Venezuela (which operates cellular services as Movistar Venezuela) plus two would-be new entrants to the mobile sector, long-distance telephony provider Multiphone Venezuela and Galaxy Entertainment Venezuela (a subsidiary of satellite pay-TV group DirecTV).


Specifically, only Movilnet and Movistar are in the running for AWS spectrum licences (blocks ‘G-G’ and ‘H-H’) while Movistar, Multiphone and Galaxy (DirecTV) are pre-qualified for the 2500MHz-2690MHz frequencies (B-B, C-C and D-D blocks).


The regulator added that the final selection and awards of the spectrum allocations would be made ‘in ten working days’ from the pre-qualification announcement, after the Committee on Public Offering (a committee selected by Conatel to monitor the granting of frequencies), completes its technical analysis of the tenders received.


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Internet Transit price falls slowing: Telegeography | Richard Chirgwin | The Register

Internet Transit price falls slowing: Telegeography | Richard Chirgwin | The Register | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

IP transit prices are still declining globally, but in bad news for 'net users of all kinds, the declines are slowing.

In what could be an indicator of continuing heavy demand for transit services, research company Telegeography says what was once a rapid fall in transit prices has eased considerably. The company says the 50 per cent year-on-year drops common just a few years ago are no longer in evidence.

“The median price of a 10Gbps Ethernet (10 GigE) port in Hong Kong, London, New York and Sao Paulo fell less than 15 per cent annually in each of the past two years,” the researcher says. “While high by the standards of many industries, these are the lowest rates of decline in the past five years, and far below the 50 per cent plunge experienced in many markets in 2012”.

Transit services are what allow ISPs to pass traffic to and from the big Internet backbones.

There are also big geographical differences in service price movements, the researcher found. Services to transit exchange points in New York and London fell just 4 per cent and 9 per cent respectively between 2013 and 2014, while in Sao Paulo prices declined 10 per cent, and in Hong Kong, 14 per cent.


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Mobile Tech, the Unbanked and the American Dream | Rich Johnson | ZeroDivide.org

Mobile Tech, the Unbanked and the American Dream | Rich Johnson | ZeroDivide.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Jose Alverez is a likable 23 year old who’s easy with a laugh and quick with a smile. He moved from Guatemala to California five years ago to work as a day laborer alongside his father. Like many residents in America living close to the poverty line, Jose doesn’t use a traditional bank account. Despite the relative high fees, he relies on cash checking stores to conduct his banking.


Jose’s story is not unique. He is just one of 17 million people nationwide who represents the “unbanked”. They either don’t qualify or choose not to open a bank account. Another 51 million are “underbanked”. These are people who have bank accounts but rarely use them, opting to use what many would argue are more expensive cash checking stores.


There’s a strong case to be made for the benefits gained by entering the financial mainstream. Owning a bank account can be the fastest way to build credit, save money, avoid excessive check cashing fees, and create a financial identity. I asked Jose why he doesn’t open a bank account. “I don’t know why, I just don’t like walking into a bank. I feel like I don’t belong there.”

As we talked further, I realized that he and his father really enjoy the experience of going to the cash checking store. The owner has become a friend. He’s a reliable ally who doesn’t harass them for ID and is a trusted companion who wires their money back home to family. There are no hidden fees. Everything is upfront. It’s a visit he and his father look forward to. After I explained the benefits gained by opening a bank account, Jose concluded that it’s the right thing to do. He married the love of his life three years ago, an American citizen. So he’s here legally and identification is not an issue. We then talked about his options for joining the financial mainstream.

Given Jose’s aversion to big banks, I wondered if there were any mobile solutions that would limit his visits to branches, while charging only a nominal fee. Nearly 70% of the unbanked have a mobile phone. Jose, along with almost 50% of this group, has a smart phone.


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Tim Berners-Lee wants Internet Magna Carta to guarantee privacy | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

Tim Berners-Lee wants Internet Magna Carta to guarantee privacy | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web 25 years ago, recently warned that governments and corporations want control of the web and are threatening the freedom of the Internet. On Saturday, at the London Web We Want festival on the future of the Internet, Berners-Lee called for a bill of rights that would guarantee netizens’ privacy and keep the web independent. He again called for a global "Magna Carta" for the Internet.


He gave a TED Talk about "A Magna Carta for the web" back in March, but yesterday Berners-Lee warned that corporations, as much as governments, want to control and abuse the open Internet. The idea to crowdsource a “Magna Carta” for the web is “based on principles such as privacy, net neutrality, free expression, affordable access and open and diverse infrastructure.”


Berners-Lee told the London Evening Standard that his plan had been to use the 25th anniversary of the web to start “a discussion on internet rights, but ‘that was before Snowden’.” The surveillance revelations made creating a Magna Carta for the web, and thereby ensuring the freedom of all netizens, all the more urgent. He added, “You shouldn’t trust your government but you shouldn’t trust your companies either. We have to have checks and balances for them all.”


When asked about the “biggest single threat to the free internet today,” Berners-Lee replied:


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MN: All for one for broadband when providers focus on same goal | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I am posting the following editorial from Gary Evan with permission. It was originally posted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. One of the things that strikes me is the solidarity of two private broadband providers who are each striving to bring better broadband to Minnesota. It reminds me of the mid-1990s when we used to host IPS lunches, email lists and educational opportunities. A time when people recognized that the network worked better when everyone worked together. It worked for the community and the business…


Gary wasn’t the only one who noted Paul Bunyan’s efforts, Lee Schafer also had an article in the paper putting Paul Bunyan’s investment n perspective.


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ACA: Comcast Doesn't Get To Define Valid Criticism | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

ACA: Comcast Doesn't Get To Define Valid Criticism | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The American Cable Association took aim at Comcast's defense of its merger, saying it was engaged in a distraction campaign.

Comcast, in its replies to deal challengers, slammed programmer critics of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable as extortionists and advocacy groups as chicken littles.

“Comcast acts as if an FCC merger review is a Lockean state of nature," Matthew Polka, president and CEO of the ACA, said, waxing politically philosophical, "a place where Comcast, by virtue of its power, gets to define what is and what isn’t a valid merger-specific criticism. If Comcast can get away with that, does the FCC’s public interest standard even exist?”

ACA has argued that without conditions on the deal, it would inflict serious vertical and horizontal harms and should be rejected. Polka says Comcast's response to that and other criticisms was to avoid addressing them.

“If this is how Comcast acts before receiving merger approval, just think how the company will act in the market if the merger with Time Warner Cable is approved without adequate remedies and its market power is allowed to grow even larger," he said.

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IL: Mayor's Comcast support puts donors over customers | Curtis Black | The Chicago Reporter

IL: Mayor's Comcast support puts donors over customers | Curtis Black | The Chicago Reporter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s not surprising that Mayor Rahm Emanuel would endorse the $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner merger after getting more than $100,000 in political donations from Comcast and its executives over his career — though it does “exemplify everything that’s wrong with the way media policy is made,” as Craig Aaron, president of the Free Press, told me.

What is remarkable is that he signed his letter to the FCC just days after Comcast announced it was pulling out of negotiations to renew its city franchise and was filing for a state franchise instead. That move raises concerns over some of the issues on which Emanuel offers reassurances to the regulators, and some he ignores — customer service, universal coverage and support for public access TV.

Offering “the City of Chicago’s perspective,” Emanuel writes, he doesn’t think the proposed merger “would reduce choice, elevate prices, or otherwise harm consumers.” (He also notes, without apparent irony, that “Comcast currently makes considerable contributions in Chicago and we expect those contributions to continue — and increase — if the proposed combination is approved.”)

That’s not the view of consumer advocates and media reform groups like the Free Press, which argues, Comcast’s resulting nationwide market reach and power would lead to direct consumer harms such as higher prices and fewer choices among competitors.” Or of politicians not showered with telecom largesse, like Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who wrote the FCC of concerns that the merger could result in “increased cable prices and decreased quality of services.”

Emanuel cites Comcast’s Internet Essentials program as evidence of the company’s commitment to bridging the digital divide. The program provides low-cost computers and Internet access for $9.95 a month to families of students who get free or reduced lunches, and who aren’t already Comcast customers. But it’s come in for its fair share of criticism.

John Randall of the Roosevelt Institute has written that Internet Essentials “does more to benefit Comcast's customer acquisition, public relations, and lobbying departments than to help people in America who need high-speed Internet access at a reasonable price.” It offers “painfully slow” Internet connections and has a variety of mechanisms to transition users to full-price customers. Meanwhile, with no additional buildout costs, Internet Essentials “represents almost pure profit for Comcast.” Originally conceived as a new profit generator, the program was held off until the Comcast-FCC merger for use as a “bargaining chip” in those negotiations, according to Randall. It’s trotted out as a “distraction” from calls to seriously address the digital divide, he writes.

“Every broadband provider should have a $9.99-a-month option,” said Aaron. “But it shouldn’t have so many hoops. That kind of program would be helpful if it were easier to get into and available to more people.”

High prices are the biggest factor in the digital divide, lack of competition is the biggest driver of high prices and further consolidation will certainly not increase competition, he said.

Meanwhile, after months of negotiations over renewal of its city franchise, Comcast withdrew and filed for a state franchise in August. That’s possible under a 2007 state law, one of dozens pushed nationally by AT&T.

A state franchise would mean that cable consumers could no longer take complaints to the city’s cable commission, which has specific regulatory authority, but would have to go to the consumer protection office of the Illinois attorney general, which handles all manner of businesses. That’s a particular concern with Comcast, which consistently rates at the bottom of customer service satisfaction surveys.

Media access activists say AG Lisa Madigan’s office has been weak on enforcement of existing provisions of the state cable law — particularly its requirement banning discrimination against public access channels. Madigan investigated but failed to take action on AT&T’s segregation of access channels on a distant submenu in its U-verse system. For its part, Comcast has refused to provide high-definition channels to access centers in Illinois.

City franchises have also offered protections not present in the state law prohibiting redlining of low-income neighborhoods and guaranteeing funding for Chicago’s public access network, CAN-TV, according to the Committee for Media Access, which has called on the mayor and City Council to hold hearings on Comcast’s state franchise.

A revised state cable law passed two years ago — which sunsets in 2015 — contained restrictions on funding for public access, pushed by cable lobbyists (who also wanted restrictions on programming). Chicago was exempted from those restrictions, but a city ordinance covering funding of CAN-TV out of state franchise fees is still in the works.

In other states, those kinds of restrictions have led to the closing of at least 100 cable access centers, with hundreds more at risk of closure, according to a 2011 report from the Alliance for Communications Democracy. That seems to be the goal of the industry — recapturing bandwidth. Comcast closed 13 public access stations in Ilinois from 2005 to 2011, and this year they shut down an access center in Skokie.

So when the state cable law comes up again in Springfield, whose interests will our elected officials represent — their communities or their contributors?


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MN: Coding Bootcamps to start in the Twin Cities in 2015 | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Such a good idea! I wanted to share for folks who might be able to take advantage of the opportunity and for commutnies that might want to replicate the opportunity for their residents. There’s a great opportunity from the City of Minneapolis Employment and Training in partnership with Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA)…

Starting early next year, City of Minneapolis Employment and Training in partnership with Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) will kick-off an innovative new approach to training workers for in-demand jobs in the growing technology sector by launching a series of Minneapolis Coding Bootcamps. The initiative came at the request of the White House Office of Science and Technology and the Wadhwani Foundation.

“Minneapolis, like many cities, is ideal for the coding bootcamp initiative because of its size, growing demand for tech workers, willing employers, and innovative workforce development efforts,” said Lynn Overmann Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


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Stephen Harper says Canadians' metadata not collected | Ron Deibert | Toronto Star

Stephen Harper says Canadians' metadata not collected | Ron Deibert | Toronto Star | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s assertion that Canadian security agencies don’t collect “metadata” has some cybersecurity experts scratching their heads.

That’s because the Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) is not only legally mandated to collect metadata — data that details the circumstances around electronic communications — but has repeatedly confirmed that they do.

“Unfortunately we live in a ‘black hole’ around CSEC’s activities,” Ron Diebert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, said in an email.

“(It’s) a situation in which secret interpretations of secret laws are the standard, thus leaving citizens with no recourse but to . . . wonder just what is the real meaning of the phrases ‘targeting,’ ‘collection,’ or, in this case, ‘we don’t do that.’ ”

Speaking to a business audience in New York on Wednesday, Harper delivered some of his most detailed comments on CSEC’s activities and electronic surveillance since the agency was thrust into the spotlight in 2013.


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WI: A municipal high-speed Internet network could help bridge Madison's digital divide | Jeff Buchanan | Isthmus.com

WI: A municipal high-speed Internet network could help bridge Madison's digital divide | Jeff Buchanan | Isthmus.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In late 19th century America, electricity was considered a luxury reserved for the rich. A dozen private electrical trusts controlled most of the country's electricity and cherry-picked the markets they served. It was not until the 1930s and the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt that communities began forming their own public utilities and residents came to view electricity as a necessity that yields economic and social gains.

Today, a similar fight is playing out in a different arena: high-speed Internet access. The market is dominated by a small group of carriers including Comcast and Time Warner Cable -- whose pending merger would result in further consolidation -- and, locally, Charter Communications. Around 100 million Americans do not have high-speed Internet access, and cost is the major reason.

"The parallels are striking," says Susan Crawford, an author and visiting professor in intellectual property at Harvard Law School. "When Roosevelt [came] into office in 1933, 90% of farmers didn't have electricity. Private-sector [carriers] left to their own devices will systematically leave out poor or rural sections of the country and overcharge richer sections by gathering monopoly power."

Fortunately for consumers, there's an alternative: Cities are tackling the connectivity problem by building municipal fiber-to-the-home networks. Political and business leaders in Madison seem to agree that the status quo is unsatisfactory. But they're split in how urgently they want to address the problem, with city hall favoring a wait-and-see approach and a younger class of technocrats wanting to implement short-term, low-cost solutions immediately.

Ald. Scott Resnick is proposing a $100,000 budget amendment to study the feasibility of creating a city-owned cooperative network that would provide wireless Internet to underserved neighborhoods and families.

Resnick, who is running against Mayor Paul Soglin in 2015, says the city can't wait to bridge the "digital divide," where low-income residents don't have access to or can't afford high-speed.

"We are doing one-fifth of what other communities are doing to try to cross the digital divide," says Resnick, who works in the tech field at Hardin Design & Development. "We are failing Madison's residents. I know that's not a positive statement, but that's the reality."


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The FTC doubles down on its net neutrality ambitions | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

The FTC doubles down on its net neutrality ambitions | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A top official at the Federal Trade Commission is warning that consumers will be hurt if a fellow agency, the Federal Communications Commission, pushes for strong net neutrality protections under Title II of the Communications Act.

It's the second time in as many weeks that the FTC has complained about the possible loss of authority under the FCC's net neutrality rules. Speaking on C-SPAN (and to The Washington Post), Republican FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen said that despite the "possibility" that Internet service providers would abuse their ability to control access to consumers, reclassifying broadband under Title II would put ISPs beyond the legal reach of the FTC, one of the nation's technology regulators.

"If an entity is a common carrier providing common carrier services, we can't bring actions against them," said Ohlhausen, appearing on "The Communicators." "If broadband service is reclassified as a common carrier service under Title II, I think that would seriously call into question the ability of the FTC to bring those kinds of actions. So my concern is really not so much for the FTC, but for the loss to consumers -- that they would lose out from having the FTC's active oversight."


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FCC Proposes Defining 'Linear' OVDs as MVPDs | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Proposes Defining 'Linear' OVDs as MVPDs | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to multiple sources, the FCC is working on an item that would define an online video provider (OVD) that delivers a linear stream of programming as an MVPD, similar to a cable or satellite operator. That means it would have access to content through the FCC's program access rules, but also have to negotiate retransmission-consent with broadcasters.


The idea is that over-the top providers would have an FCC-enforced access to vertically integrated programming.

The item reportedly asks what other MVPD rights and responsibilities beyond access and retrans carriage should extend to over-the-top providers.

An FCC spokesperson had no comment. But an FCC official speaking on background confirmed that the item proposed adopting a technology neutral definition of an MVPD.

That would mean reversing a tentative, bureau-level conclusion in the Sky Angel program access complaint that having a facilities-based transmission path was necessary to be an MVPD. The FCC tentatively concluded that an MVPD has to have control of both the content and the transmission path—copper, fiber, satellite signals to be delivering a channel—and that an OVD distributor lacks that path since it does not control a facilities-based channel to deliver it.

The NPRM tentatively concludes that the entity would not need to own the transmission path to be an MVPD as long as it provides a continuous linear stream of prescheduled programming--not like a Netflix or other on-demand video programmer without a linear lineup.


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FCC Releases Rural Broadband Experiments Application Form & Video on How to Apply | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

FCC Releases Rural Broadband Experiments Application Form & Video on How to Apply  | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Big news from NECA Washington Watch…

The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice on September 26, 2014, releasing the Rural Broadband Experiments application Form 5610 and providing additional information on completing Form 5610. The Bureau also announced a delay in the opening of the filing window and the corresponding deadline for the submission of rural broadband experiment applications to complete testing of the electronic submission system. The Bureau anticipates testing will be completed in four to six weeks. The Bureau will release a public notice announcing the revised deadline for applications at a later date. The Bureau also postponed the webinar originally scheduled for September 29 until October 9.

An just in time, I wanted to share video taken by Ron Corriveau at COS Systems at FTTH Council conference earlier this month in Minneapolis. He was able to capture the session on Preparing to File for the FCC Rural Broadband Experiments. It was complicated and detailed but if you are thinking about applying, I think it would be extremely valuable. One hiccup – I’ve been trying to get the middle piece to upload to YouTube with less than stellar success. But I figured I’d post what I can and add the third later if I can iron out the wrinkles.

I think the info from the sessions would be extremely valuable if you’re looking to apply. Pretty dry if you aren’t.


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Reliability Rather Than Rainbows — Why Title II Remains the Best Option for Net Neutrality | Tales of the Sausage Factory | Wetmachine

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a blog post describing the “rainbow of policy and legal options” available to protect the open Internet, contrasting them to other “monochromatic options.” Reading this blog post reminded me of the quote apocryphally (and incorrectly) attributed to Winston Churchill: “Americans will always do the right thing – after exhausting all the other alternatives.” While I applaud the FCC moving in the right direction on policy, I hope the FCC does not exhaust itself chasing the policy rainbow when the right thing – drab and monochromatic as it might be – continues to stare them in the face.

On the positive side, the FCC’s blog post reflects an understanding that the FCC’s original proposal from May, permitting paid prioritization (aka “Fast Lanes”) under a ‘commercial reasonableness’ standard will not do the job of protecting the open Internet. The political reality has also shifted, thanks to a tremendous public outcry in favor of recognizing that broadband is the essential service of the 21st Century, a fundamental service that everyone increasingly relies on and therefore – to use the legal expression – is affected with the public interest. Wheeler’s own writing on the network compact likewise recognizes this fundamental principle, which has made his resistance to embracing Title II and insistence on exhausting all other option all the more frustrating.

Judging by the FCC’s blog post, we have made progress since May. Title II has gone from a reluctant inclusion in response to public outcry to something “very much on the table.” But the FCC continues to look for something that will spare it the embarrassment of admitting the agency went down the wrong path ten years ago when it reclassified broadband as a Title I information service, and continues to be distracted by its bright shiny new Section 706 authority.


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Why the Internet of Things may never happen (Part 2) | Mike Elgan | ComputerWorld.com

Why the Internet of Things may never happen (Part 2) | Mike Elgan | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Internet of Things is great -- if, that is, you like the Internet and you also own some things.

Until this week, the Internet of Things vision had a fatal flaw. But now, it has two fatal flaws.

To avoid hyperbole, let me be clear that these flaws are fatal to the vision, but not necessarily to your things that are connected to the Internet.

Hoo-boy. Three paragraphs in, and I've already got a lot of explaining to do. But stick with me. The payoff is worth it.

I'm going to describe the vision, then the flaws. And then I'm going to tell you what I think is actually going to happen.


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'World's smallest' 3G module will bring Internet to all sorts of devices | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

'World's smallest' 3G module will bring Internet to all sorts of devices | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has certified a 3G chip module that the manufacturer calls the world’s smallest, but that doesn’t mean the carrier is going after toddlers as its last untapped customer base.

The U-blox SARA-U260 module, which measures 16 by 26 millimeters, can handle voice calls. But it’s not designed for really small phones for tiny hands. Instead, it’s meant to carry the small amounts of data that machines are sending to each other over the “Internet of things,” where geographic coverage—3G’s strong suit—matters more than top speed. That means things like electric meters, fitness watches and in-car devices that insurance companies use to monitor policyholders’ driving.

The AT&T certification means device makers can now start building products around the U260 module for use on the carrier’s network. The U260 module is equipped for use on 3G networks with roaming to 2G where necessary, such as in rural areas. It includes features for various types of connected gear, including telematics devices, point-of-sale terminals, handheld devices and utility meters, according to U-blox. Along with A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System), it has a hybrid technology called CellLocate that uses cellular signals for a location fix indoors or in other locations where GPS isn’t available.

While 4G LTE is what most users are looking for on their smartphones now and 5G is garnering most of the network-technology headlines, 3G and 2G networks are still operating and are fast enough for many consumer and enterprise IoT applications. In the U.S., most 3G networks are expected to stay online at least until the end of this decade.


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MN: Connect Itasca Update – surveys to identify broadband need and opportunities | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Itasca County has been working with the Blandin Foundation and COS Systems to find broadband gaps and opportunities for partnership in the region through a tool developed by COS Systems. (I wrote more about the system in August when the project started.)

The Blandin Foundation recently posted an update on the project…


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Podcasts are back — and making money | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com

Podcasts are back — and making money | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

They were too clunky to download. The topics were sometimes a little too obscure. And they didn’t really make any money.

Podcasts, the short-form audio files that entered the mainstream with the original Apple iPod, have been around for more than a decade. But while Apple this year discontinued the classic version of its iconic device, the podcast is resurgent, drawing hard-core fans who want to listen to other people talk about, well, pretty much everything.

An average of 1.5 million listeners a month download “99% Invisible,” a program produced on a shoestring on the theme of design. Sports are such a popular topic that when ESPN suspended Bill Simmons for his podcast tirade against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, fans of his “B.S. Report” helped make #FreeSimmons a top trending term on Twitter. A new series from “This American Life” producer Alex Blumberg — about starting a podcast business — has quickly become one of the top 10 most-downloaded programs in the country.

And, importantly, podcasts are finally profitable.

“It’s sort of a renaissance. Podcasts are in vogue,” said Todd Cochrane, chief executive of RawVoice, a podcast data research firm.


Maybe it’s the intimacy of hearing soothing voices piped into your ears through a pair of headphones — or maybe it’s just how much time people need to kill listening to something. Americans spend more than three hours a day commuting, working out and doing household chores that can be accompanied by audio entertainment, according to census data studied by Matt Lieber, a former public radio producer who co-founded the podcast company with Blumberg.


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CO: Layer3 TV Opens Its Denver Headquarters | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

CO: Layer3 TV Opens Its Denver Headquarters | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Layer3 TV, a startup that is billing itself as a “next-generation cable operator,” opened up its Denver-based corporate headquarters on September 15, and now employs a total of about 50 people across its Colorado and Boston locations, company officials confirmed here this week.

Its Denver headquarters is located on the 8th floor of 1660 Wynkoop Street, an 11-story building in the city's vibrant LoDo district, placing it nearby venues such as Union Station and Coors Field.

Founded in 2013, Layer3 TV now operates in three locations – its Denver headquarters, a distribution facility in the Denver area, and an office in Boston.

Layer3 TV announced in May that it would make Denver its home base while retaining its presence in Boston. At the time, the company said it plans to offer 312 new jobs in the Denver area, offering an average wage of $92,083. In support of the expansion and corporate relocation, the state of Colorado awarded Layer3 TV $2.9 million in job growth incentive tax credits and workforce development and technical assistance. Layer3 TV is also one of the companies featured in this campaign video from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Layer3 TV, the topic of much chatter at this week’s SCTE Cable Tec-Expo in Denver, is still being coy about its specific strategy and how that might compete with or complement more traditional multichannel video programming distributors. The company, which has raised $21 million so far, also has not announced when it intends to launch its service offering.

What is clear, though, is that Layer3 TV is in hiring mode, and has recently added some recognizable industry names to its lineup. During a visit to the company’s headquarters this week, Layer3 TV CEO Jeff Binder said John Roy, the former VP of national operations at Comcast who is also late of Charter Communications and Adelphia Communications, joined Layer3 TV as senior vice president of operations.


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The Internet Is Broken, and Shellshock Is Just the Start of Our Woes | Robert Mcmillan | WIRED,com

The Internet Is Broken, and Shellshock Is Just the Start of Our Woes | Robert Mcmillan | WIRED,com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Brian Fox drove from Boston to Santa Barbara, with two tapes stashed in his trunk.


These weren’t music tapes or video tapes. They were computer tapes—two massive reels loaded software code and data, the sort you can see spinning on furniture-sized computers in classic movies like Dr. Strangelove and Three Days of the Condor.


The year was 1987, and as Fox drove cross-country to his new home, the tapes held a software program called Bash, a tool for the UNIX operating system he had written and tagged with a license that let anyone use the code and even redistribute it to others. Fox—a high school dropout who spent his time hanging out with MIT computer geeks such as Richard Stallman—was a foot soldier in an ambitious effort to create software that was free, hackable, and unencumbered by onerous copy restrictions. It was called the Free Software Movement, and the idea was to gradually rebuild all of the components of the UNIX operating system into a free product called GNU and share them with the world at large. It was the dawn of open source software.


Fox and Stallman didn’t know it at the time, but they were building the tools that would become some of the most important pieces of our global communications infrastructure for decades to come. After Fox drove those tapes to California and went back to work on Bash, other engineers started using the software and even helped build it. And as UNIX gave rise to GNU and Linux—the OS that drives so much of the modern internet—Bash found its way onto tens of thousands of machines. But somewhere along the way, in about 1992, one engineer typed a bug into the code. Last week, more then twenty years later, security researchers finally noticed this flaw in Fox’s ancient program. They called it Shellshock, and they warned it could allow hackers to wreak havoc on the modern internet.

Shellshock is one of the oldest known and unpatched bugs in the history of computing. But its story isn’t that usual. Earlier this year, researchers discovered another massive internet bug, called Heartbleed, that had also languished in open source software for years. Both bugs are indicative a problem that could continue to plague the internet unless we revamp the way we write and audit software. Because the net is built on software that gets endlessly used and reused, it’s littered with code that dates back decades, and some of it never gets audited for security bugs.

When Bash was built, no one thought to audit it for internet attacks because that didn’t really make sense. “Worrying about this being one of the most [used] pieces of software pieces of software on the planet and then having malicious people attack it was just not a possibility,” Fox says. “By the time it became a possibility, it had been in use for 15 years.” Today, it’s used by Google and Facebook and every other big name on the internet, and because the code is open source, any of them can audit it at any time. In fact, anyone of earth can audit it at anytime. But no one thought too. And that needs to change.


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Health Experts Issue Call To Prevent ICANN's Commercialization Of New .health Domain Leading To Exclusive Control Of Online Health Information | Techdirt.com

Health Experts Issue Call To Prevent ICANN's Commercialization Of New .health Domain Leading To Exclusive Control Of Online Health Information | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last month, we wrote about a troubling decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to give control over the new .pharmacy domain to big pharma -- thus allowing it to lock out sites around the world that threaten its generous profit margins. An article in the journal "Globalization and Health" warns that something similar could be about to happen in the realm of public health:

In just a few weeks, the Internet could be expanded to include a new .health generic top-level domain name run by a for-profit company with virtually no public health credentials -- unless the international community intervenes immediately. This matters to the future of global public health as the "Health Internet" has begun to emerge as the predominant source of health information for consumers and patients.

The paper, which is open access, and can therefore be read for free in its entirety, gives some hypothetical examples of what could happen:

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