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The second coming of Facebook | CNNMoney

The second coming of Facebook | CNNMoney | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
Back in 2010 Mark Zuckerberg made a very bad decision. Instead of building separate apps for iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys, Nokia devices, and, yes, even Microsoft phones, he put his engineers to work designing a version of Facebook that could operate on any smartphone. In effect, he was betting that as different operating systems jostled for control of mobile devices, standalone apps would go away and soon we would surf websites on our phones, just as we do on PCs.

Zuckerberg was wrong. Google's Android and Apple's iOS quickly became the dominant mobile operating systems, and Facebook's applications, which were built with its CEO's web-centric worldview in mind, didn't work well on either platform. They were buggy and slow, crashing often. A 2011 update garnered 19,000 one-star reviews in the Apple App Store within the first month. "It's probably one of the biggest mistakes we've ever made," Zuckerberg tells me during an interview at Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters in late March.

 

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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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Tech Giants Unfriending ALEC | Michael Brune | Truth-Out.org

Tech Giants Unfriending ALEC | Michael Brune | Truth-Out.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Exactly 54 days after Lisa B. Nelson started her job as the CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), she got some bad news from a major supporter: The tech giant Google wanted out of its relationship with ALEC.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the relationship had been a “mistake.” Nelson fumed that Google’s abrupt “Dear John” note was like “breaking up via text with your girlfriend when you’re 16.”

So who or what is ALEC and why should anyone care about its relationships?

ALEC calls itself a nonpartisan organization that focuses on the principles of “limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.” Not quite.

Here’s a slightly more accurate description from The New York Times. It’s “a conservative-leaning group that has urged repeal of state renewable power standards and other pro-renewable policies.” ALEC has fought against efforts to address global warming all over the country.

After Schmidt left Nelson high and dry, she may have wanted to “unfriend” him on Facebook. But she couldn’t do that, because Facebook is breaking up with ALEC too. Maybe she could post a torn-up picture of her and Schmidt to Yahoo’s photo-sharing Flickr site? Nope, Yahoo’s also dumping ALEC.

How about leaving nasty comments about Google, Flickr, and Yahoo on the consumer review website Yelp? Sorry, Yelp already gave ALEC the thumbs down. And before she opens Outlook to send some “actually-I’m-the-one-who-broke-up-with-YOU” emails, she might recall that even Microsoft has pressed z to “undo” its relationship with ALEC.

What did ALEC do to scare off all its suitors? For starters, it tried to steal our democracy.


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Google Testing Ultra-Fast Wireless Service | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Google Testing Ultra-Fast Wireless Service | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A Google filing with the SEC this week indicates that Google is exploring the possibility of a variety of wireless broadband technologies across a number of spectrum frequencies, including millimeter-wave.


Google's interest in wireless hasn't been much of a secret; the company acquired wireless Seattle startup Alpental Technologies back in June (founded by ex-Clearwire folks), and a report back in April indicated that Google was interested in potentially forming an MVNO as a supplement offering alongside or instead of Google Fiber.


This particular filing appears to hint at shorter distance technologies for last mile, likely as an inexpensive way to service MDUs or apartment buildings.

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US: Liberty Media aims to complete Liberty Broadband spin-off on 4 November | TeleGeography.com

Liberty Media has set the date for its planned spin-off of Liberty Broadband – the holding company that will house its interests in Charter Communications and satellite company True Position – as 29 October, with the process due to close on 4 November.


The process will see Liberty distribute one-fourth of a share of Liberty Broadband Series A, Series B and Series C common stock for each Liberty Media share; cash will be issued in lieu of fractional shares of Liberty Broadband common stock.

Immediately following the spin-off, Liberty Broadband will consist of: Liberty’s 26% ownership interest in, and warrants to purchase additional shares of, Charter Communications; Liberty’s 100% ownership interest in TruePosition; a minority equity investment in Time Warner Cable (TWC); certain deferred tax liabilities; liabilities related to a TWC call option; and USD320 million in indebtedness.

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Nextel launches LTE in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey | TeleGeography.com

Nextel de Mexico has announced that it has switched on its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.


Unlike rivals Telcel and Movistar, which offer pockets of LTE connectivity in selected cities, Nextel claims that its 4G network covers each city in its entirety from launch.


Company president Salvador Alvarez notes that Nextel has invested ‘tens of millions of dollars’ in the rollout, adding that the network will be extended to new locations in due course.

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Fixed line telephony: a far cry from dead | TeleGeography.com

While there is a common perception that global fixed line subscribership is in free fall, and that consumers are abandoning fixed lines en masse in place of mobiles, the reality is not so clear-cut. New data from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database reveal that, while traditional circuit-switched (PSTN) telephone lines are declining steadily, much of the decline in switched subscribers can be attributed to the growth of fixed voice-over-IP (VoIP) services.

Total (PSTN and VoIP) global fixed line voice subscribers peaked at 1.29 billion in 2008, and have declined at a compounded annual rate of 1.3% since. The fixed voice market is in a period of gradual long-term decline, but the aggregate numbers mask a large shift in market composition. While switched telephone lines have declined at a compounded rate of 4% per year, VoIP subscribers have grown 18% annually, helping to offset much of the decline in switched phone lines.

VoIP connections now account for 20% of fixed lines worldwide, up from just 8% in 2008. This uptake is largely attributable to the rapid adoption of multi-play plans, where fixed voice service is bundled with broadband Internet, TV, and sometimes mobile telephony services. For example, in June 2014 US telco AT&T reported that 97% of its TV customers subscribed to at least one other service, while two-thirds of these users subscribed to three or four.

It will be decades before the PSTN disappears from all corners of the world, but the trend towards VoIP is inexorable.


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Secrecy-Shrouded TPP Leaks Alarm Internet Freedom Advocates | Katheryn Thayer | Forbes.com

Secrecy-Shrouded TPP Leaks Alarm Internet Freedom Advocates | Katheryn Thayer | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The latest threat to digital innovation and free speech online sounds innocuous. And it is a threat that lives in the details, in pages upon pages of leaked documents, still being parsed by legal experts and internet policy advocates.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, frequently referred to as “TPP”, is a trade agreement initiated in 2005 and attended by US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam. Every few years, more information is leaked, and with every leak, open Internet activists and free speech advocates become more alarmed at the threat to civilian rights and public best-interest. Leaked details routinely demonstrate the group is extending corporate intellectual property rights, and corporate partners are invited into proceedings while the general public is excluded.

Leaked documents from ongoing negotiations show every sign of killing innovation. Copyright law will be more strictly enforced, giving internet users less freedom of expression and creative repurposing of mainstream media. The Electronic Frontiers Foundation describes leaked provisions as showing “a profound disconnect with the reality of the modern computer,” and warns that, “As drafted, the related provision creates chilling effects not just on how we behave online, but also on the basic ability of people and companies to use and create on the Web.”

The provisions would also extend copyrights and criminalize infringements. An author’s copyright could extend 2 lifetimes; a corporation’s claim to copyright could stretch 120 years. The most recent leak suggests all countries will have to abide by the same minimum term. In previous leaks of the document, more country-by-country flexibility was anticipated.

Intellectual property is important. Creators deserve to be cited and compensated when their work is reproduced or put to commercial use. But the TPP interpretation seems behind the times. The “share economy” idea is not limited to Lyft and Airbnb. We live in a world where artists like Radiohead, or more recently, Aphex Twin, choose to distribute their work for free. A whole genre of artists–DJs– play other artists’ songs instead of creating their own. Platforms such as Soundcloud, Tumblr, and Ello enable viral sharing and audience involvement, but cloud attribution. Museums, such as Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, are putting their entire catalogues online and encouraging casual browsers to download and appropriate famous artwork into works of their own.


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The FBI Is Dead Wrong: Apple's Encryption Is Clearly in the Public Interest | Ken Gude | WIRED.com

The FBI Is Dead Wrong: Apple's Encryption Is Clearly in the Public Interest | Ken Gude | WIRED.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Edward Snowden revelations of massive secret government surveillance and the string of data breaches at large U.S. companies have increased awareness among the American people about the need to protect the privacy of their electronic data.


While public pressure has so far had no affect on U.S. law, it has prompted many technology companies to increase the security of their products, most notably Apple’s encryption systems on its new iPhone 6. This change significantly improves the protection of personal data that is stored on the device, but it also places a narrow set of information beyond the reach of anyone, including the government, and makes other communications information slightly more difficult to access.


Apple’s new encryption has prompted a breathtaking and erroneous scare campaign led by Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey. In a speech at the Brookings Institute this week, Comey went so far as to claim that Apple’s new system risks creating an environment in which the United States is “no longer a country governed by the rule of law.”


This is absurd. The only actions that have undermined the rule of law are the government’s deceptive and secret mass surveillance programs. In the absence of any changes in the law to better protect Americans’ privacy, technology companies are responding to the demands of their customers and improving many security and privacy policies.


Apple’s new operating system, iOS 8, makes two changes to the encryption of data on the device that dramatically increases the security of those data. First, it now encrypts and passcode protects virtually all data on the device—such as text messages, photos, contacts, and notes—unlike previous versions of iOS. Secondly, and most importantly, it virtually eliminates the possibility that the encrypted data can be unlocked without the passcode.


Earlier operating systems allowed Apple to unlock any device with a key that it controlled. But in iOS 8, Apple has essentially thrown away the key so it can’t access the data anymore. Hackers, cyber criminals, and thieves can’t access it. And governments, foreign and domestic, can’t access it either.


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Google names City of Madison Mississippi's 'eCity' | Jeff Ayres | The Clarion-Ledger

Google names City of Madison Mississippi's 'eCity' | Jeff Ayres | The Clarion-Ledger | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the second straight year, Mississippi's top online business community, as chosen by Google, can be found in Madison County.

The city of Madison has been named Mississippi's "eCity" for 2014 by the Internet search engine, which honors in each state a city it feels has the best online business presence, particularly among smaller firms. Ridgeland took the honor last year, the first in which Google honored the cities.

Google says Madison and the nation's other eCity communities are those with the greatest likelihood of "small businesses to have a website, use a blog, promote themselves on a social network, sell goods directly from their webpages and whether they had a mobile-friendly website. The winning cities exhibited strong engagement and potential for growth within the digital economy."

Tony Jeff, who heads Innovate Mississippi, a nonprofit supporting technology-based economic development, says Madison's business mix features a relatively small amount of large industrial firms or companies that operate on a "business-to-business" customer-base model.

Instead, the area is marked by a number of home-based businesses built around websites and storefront retail that counts online transactions as a big part of their business, he said, as well as a substantially young population that has grown up in the age of e-commerce and shops on the Internet as readily as it does in a traditional storefront.


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MA: "Cities can do these things!" New Bedford mayor tells smart cities forum | Liz Enbysk | Smart Cities Council

MA: "Cities can do these things!" New Bedford mayor tells smart cities forum | Liz Enbysk | Smart Cities Council | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New Bedford, Massachusetts, to hear Mayor Jon Mitchell tell it, wants to be more than just another medium-sized Northeast industrial city struggling to catch up in a post-industrial economy.


Known in the 19th Century as the epicenter of the whaling industry and today as the number one commercial fishing port in the nation, New Bedford is rebranding itself. In doing so, it's carving a remarkable niche in the nation's green economy.

Consider a few quick facts Mayor Mitchell shared during the Council's Smart Cities Now forum held last week in New York:

  • Referred to as the Saudi Arabia of wind energy, New Bedford is first in the offshore wind energy industry and the closest industrial port to fully 25% of the nation’s wind reserves located in an area just south of Martha’s Vineyard, which suggests exciting potential for future generation.
  • New Bedford is also first in solar energy with the most installed solar per capita in the continental U.S. second only to Hawaii. The mayor says 10 solar projects across the city will shave $22 million off city government’s electricity bills over next 20 years.
  • The economic and job-creation benefits that come with the city's green agenda don't go unnoticed either. A Wall Street Journal blog recently reported New Bedford’s unemployment rate fell the most of all 372 metropolitan areas nationally on a year-over-year basis.


"We have, frankly, a city culture that is up for big ideas," Mayor Mitchell says. That may explain the city's plans to source about two-thirds of its electricity from renewables for the foreseeable future. "We believe we do have a part to play in climate change," Mitchell says.

Along with renewable generation, New Bedford wants to be a national model for responsible use of energy and resources, the mayor says. The city recently partnered with Council Associate Partner Siemens in one the largest municipal performance contracting initiatives anywhere in the Northeast. The partnership will bring $50 million in energy efficiency retrofits to the city's municipal buildings in the next five years.


Among the projects:


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Caribbean: Trinidad & Tobago launches IXP | TeleGeography.com

Trinidad and Tobago has launched a local internet exchange point (IXP) under the name TTIX, enabling internet service providers (ISPs) to connect their users to local content and services cost-effectively, securely and efficiently.


As reported by the local Guardian newspaper, TTIX has seven ISP members at launch, namely Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), Columbus Communications (Flow), Digicel, Massy Communications, Open Telecom, Greendot and Lisa Communications, all connecting to a local network switch physically located at the Fujitsu data centre in Barataria.


Chairman of TTIX, Kurleigh Prescod – of Columbus Communications – described the launch as ‘a very significant milestone,’ adding that the IXP will improve local internet performance and ‘act as an incentive to attract content providers, such as Netflix, Akamai and Google, to establish a point of presence in Trinidad and Tobago.’


Of over 350 IXPs around the world, Trinidad and Tobago becomes the ninth in the Caribbean, joining British Virgin Islands (BVIX), Curacao (AMS-IX), Dominica (DANIX), Grenada (GREX), Haiti, St Maarten (OCIX), St Lucia (SLIX) and the Dominican Republic.


Jean-Paul Dookie, executive vice president of government business for Fujitsu described the new exchange point as ‘an essential building block towards the development of the Trinidad and Tobago knowledge economy.’

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Careful what you wish for, cord cutters: Unbundled TV could prove more expensive | Daniel Frankel | FierceCable.com

Careful what you wish for, cord cutters: Unbundled TV could prove more expensive | Daniel Frankel | FierceCable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

"Cord cutters rejoice" has been the oft-written headline preamble to numerous stories written this week about the groundbreaking a la carte programming announcements from HBO and CBS.

But in a world in which every programming network is stripped out of the pay-TV bundle and sold individually, consumers could find themselves paying a lot more to get the channels they want.

The Wall Street Journal broke down this lose-lose model quite elegantly Friday, outlining a new a la carte-based business that has managed to strip away many of the overlooked synergistic benefits of the pay-TV bundle.

While a la carte distribution could suit single individuals who watch a limited number of channels, households filled with family members who watch many different types of channels might find themselves wistfully recalling the days when a $90 cable bill gave them everything they wished for.


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Opening an Internet time capsule—Internet in a Box for Win95 | Sean Gallagher | Ars Technica

Opening an Internet time capsule—Internet in a Box for Win95 | Sean Gallagher | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A few days ago, my wife messaged me a photo from a thrift shop with the question, "You want?" The picture was of a box of software still in shrinkwrap—SPRY Inc.'s Internet in a Box for Windows 95.

The answer was an obvious "OMG YES." I reviewed Internet in a Box back in 1993 when it was first released as an early adopter of independent local Internet dialup (using David Troy's Toad.Net). I spent endless hours connected with the software and my very first laptop PC, pulling down Hubble Telescope images from the Space Telescope Science Institute's Gopher server and raging at Usenet posts. Just the sight of the logo caused a wave of nostalgia to wash over me. It was a simpler time, a somewhat less user-friendly time. CompuServe was still a thing.

This particular box of software was, however, especially endearing. I used version 1.0 for several years before Toad.Net partnered with Covad and ran one of Baltimore's very first DSL connections into my house—allowing me to give up the dual ISDN connection I had for my connection to my employer. This was a bundle designed to bring the masses to the Internet, along with their photos, in 1995. Attached to the box was a Seattle FilmWorks one-use 35mm film camera, emblazoned with the CompuServe logo.

Once I had the box in my hands today, it quickly became obvious what I must do: I needed to see if I could install it. (True story: I called the Smithsonian to see if anyone wanted it intact. My voice mail and e-mail went unanswered.) On Wednesday, October 14, I broke the shrink wrap—unleashing a wave of dust and spores that had been held at bay since the Clinton administration. I then set to work documenting the contents. Lee Hutchinson demanded screenshots if I was successful.


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FCC starts the process for making '5G' gigabit mobile data a reality | Thomas Seppala | Engadget.com

FCC starts the process for making '5G' gigabit mobile data a reality | Thomas Seppala | Engadget.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We're barely seeing 4G take hold here in the States and the FCC has begun the process to push into 5G for mobile data. The government's communications council voted unanimously to start looking into accessing the higher-than-24GHz frequency spectrum that was previously thought to be, as Reuters notes, unusable by mobile networks. So what are the benefits?


Gigabit internet connections on the go, for starters -- something our current sub-3GHz spectrum can't quite handle -- similar to the ones Samsung just tested. Yeah, now you're excited. The feds believe that using these "millimeter waves" would allow for higher bandwidth for more people and devices at speeds that outclass most homes' broadband.

However, these waves only work over short distances for now and require line of sight for their point-to-point microwave connections. And that, my friends, is what the FCC is hoping to fix in the interim.


What the vote means is that the groundwork is being laid, and research to make sure the tech is actually feasible now has the green light. For now it's anyone's guess (some estimates say by 2020) when we'll actually start surfing the mobile web at Google Fiber speeds while we're out and about -- millimeter waves may be fast, but the wheels of bureaucracy are not.


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Edward Snowden’s Privacy Tips: “Get Rid Of Dropbox,” Avoid Facebook And Google | Anthony Ha | TechCrunch.com

Edward Snowden’s Privacy Tips: “Get Rid Of Dropbox,” Avoid Facebook And Google | Anthony Ha | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to Edward Snowden, people who care about their privacy should stay away from popular consumer Internet services like Dropbox, Facebook, and Google.

Snowden conducted a remote interview today as part of the New Yorker Festival, where he was asked a couple of variants on the question of what we can do to protect our privacy.

His first answer called for a reform of government policies. Some people take the position that they “don’t have anything to hide,” but he argued that when you say that, “You’re inverting the model of responsibility for how rights work”:

When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.

He added that on an individual level, people should seek out encrypted tools and stop using services that are “hostile to privacy.” For one thing, he said you should “get rid of Dropbox,” because it doesn’t support encryption, and you should consider alternatives like SpiderOak. (Snowden made similar comments over the summer, with Dropbox responding that protecting users’ information is “a top priority.”)

[Update: In a June blog post related to Snowden, Dropbox actually says, "All files sent and retrieved from Dropbox are encrypted while traveling between you and our servers," as well as when they're "at rest on our servers," and it points to other security measures that the company is taking. The difference between Dropbox and SpiderOak, as explained elsewhere, is that SpiderOak encrypts the data while it's on your computer, as opposed to only encrypting it "in transit" and on the company's servers.]


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MD: Laurel TV runs on citizen power | Luke Lavoie | The Baltimore Sun

MD: Laurel TV runs on citizen power | Luke Lavoie | The Baltimore Sun | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Audrey Barnes left television journalism to become Laurel's director of communications earlier this year, she had one clear goal in mind: Completely revamp Laurel's public access television station.

Seven months into her tenure, noticeable changes are evident. The station's studios at the Laurel Municipal Center have been renovated; a full-time media coordinator has been hired to run the day-to-day operations; and the station has been rebranded as Laurel TV. Barnes says more is on the horizon as the station is set to premiere nine new shows by the end of the year.

While Barnes had the vision, she knows that it takes more than that to make it work. Because while Laurel TV runs on electricity, it is truly citizen-powered.


"I really felt like it was my mission to fill that TV screen 24/7, and it starts with building a strong foundation of volunteers," Barnes said. "The volunteers are the key. ... Without the volunteers it wouldn't be possible."


Since the station – which broadcasts on Comcast Channel 71, Verizon Fios Channel 12 and also streams on the city's website, cityoflaurel.org – relaunched as Laurel TV in September, Barnes and media coordinator Joyce Jackson, a fellow television journalist turned city employee, have received more than 100 applications for volunteers.


"You have a lot of people out there in the community who want to help and tell stories, and that's a good thing," Jackson said. "When people are this anxious and have this much energy, you have to give them an outlet. And that's what Laurel TV is doing."


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Liberty Puerto Rico launches TV Everywhere | TeleGeography.com

Cableco Liberty Puerto Rico has launched a TV Everywhere (TVE) platform including 35 pay-TV channels plus enabling access to content from other TVE platforms such as HBO Go and Max Go, NexTVLatAm reports.


‘Liberty Everywhere’ users must also subscribe to Liberty’s cable pay-TV services, while the operator recommends a broadband connection of at least 3Mbps for using the OTT aspect of the service (while certain channels must be subscribed to individually).


Liberty Puerto Rico customers can access the TVE service via smartphones and tablets with iOS, Android and Windows Phone operating systems, plus computers and certain consoles such as Roku and Apple TV.

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US: Sprint, T-Mobile urge FCC to scrutinise AT&T’s spate of 700MHz deals | TeleGeography.com

Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US have teamed up with a number of public interest groups to petition the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to closely examine some of AT&T Mobility’s recently proposed deals for 700MHz frequencies.


According to Fierce Wireless, the two mobile operators sent an open letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and the four other FCC commissioners, flagging up the regulator’s May determination that transactions resulting in a carrier gaining control of one-third of the available spectrum below 1GHz in a given market (roughly 45MHz for low-band spectrum) ‘will be subject to enhanced review’.

The report notes that AT&T has lodged applications to buy spectrum from the following companies in recent months:


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FBI Director: If Apple and Google Won't Decrypt Phones, We'll Force Them To | Jason Koebler | Motherboard.vice.com

FBI Director: If Apple and Google Won't Decrypt Phones, We'll Force Them To | Jason Koebler | Motherboard.vice.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Everyone is stoked that the latest versions of iOS and Android will (finally) encrypt all the information on your smartphone by default. Except, of course, the FBI: Today, its director spent an hour attacking the companies and the very idea of encryption, even suggesting that Congress should pass a law banning the practice of default encryption.

It's of course no secret that James Comey and the FBI hate the prospect of "going dark," the idea that law enforcement simply doesn't have the technical capability to track criminals (and the average person) because of all those goddamn apps, encryption, wifi network switching, and different carriers.

It's a problem that the FBI has been dealing with for too long (in Comey’s eyes, at least). Today, Comey went ballistic on Apple and Google's recent decision to make everything just a little more private.

"Encryption isn’t just a technical feature; it’s a marketing pitch … it’s the equivalent of a closet that can’t be opened. A safe that can’t be cracked. And my question is, at what cost?" Comey said. "Both companies [Apple and Google] are run by good people, responding to what they perceive is a market demand. But the place they are leading us is one we shouldn’t go to without careful thought and debate."

In a tightly moderated speech and discussion at the Brookings Institution—not one technical expert or privacy expert was asked to participate; however, several questions from the audience came from privacy-minded individuals—Comey railed on the "post-Snowden" world that has arisen since people began caring about their privacy.


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The UnDigital Nation: NTIA Finds Persistent Gaps in Home Internet Use | Kevin Taglang | Benton Foundation

The UnDigital Nation: NTIA Finds Persistent Gaps in Home Internet Use | Kevin Taglang | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On October 16, the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report, 'Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet', which finds that over the last five years, the total number of Americans 16 and older that accessed the Internet on any device grew by 18 percent from 151 million in 2007 to 187 million in 2012 after adjusting for population growth.


Broadband adoption at home increased to 72 percent of households in 2012 from 69 percent in 2011. Despite the progress in home broadband adoption, the report also identifies persistent gaps in home Internet use. In 2012, a significant portion -- 28 percent -- of American households did not use broadband at home. A lack of interest or need (48 percent) and affordability (29 percent) are the top two reasons for non-adoption.

The NTIA stresses that Americans are rapidly embracing mobile Internet devices such as smart phones and tablet computers for a wide range of activities beyond just voice communications (such as checking e-mail and using social networks) and concludes that mobile phones appear to be helping to narrow the digital divide among traditionally disadvantaged groups.


In this summary of the NTIA report, we focus on the reasons for non-adoption cited in the survey. As the report's authors write, “The ... discussion of the main reasons why some households declined to access the Internet at home, in order of their prevalence among 2012 [Current Population Survey] respondents, may assist policymakers as they pursue universal broadband adoption and affordable connectivity in every community in the nation.”

Over time, U.S. households without the Internet at home have most often cited a lack of need or interest as the main reason why they are not connected. Although 48 percent of non-using households gave this reason in both 2011 and 2012, the figure rose from 39 percent in 2003.


Households that once used the Internet at home, but no longer did so as of the 2012 CPS, expressed disinterest in home Internet use much less frequently (21 percent) than the households that had never connected to the Internet from home (53 percent).


Additionally, 38 percent of households that reported only using dial-up Internet service at home cited a lack of need for, or interest in, home broadband connections in 2012, an increase from 34 percent of dial-up users in 2011.


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Time Warner Cable's Advertised $89.99 Triple Play: Now $190.77. What the F@$$##XXX$$$!!??? | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Time Warner Cable's Advertised $89.99 Triple Play: Now $190.77. What the  F@$$##XXX$$$!!??? | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This is my October 2014 Time Warner "Triple Play" bill. When I signed up, less than two years ago, it was advertised at $89.99 and today, less than two years later, the actual price is 110% more -- now $190.77.


Fact is -- you can never, ever get the advertised price because it doesn't include many of the fixed costs, like the set top box, not to mention it is littered with pass-throughs of the company's taxes and fees, including the cable franchise fees. To add insult to injury, there are a bunch of garbage, made up charges, and let us not forget the increases on all services -- the 'Internet modem' fee went up 140%.

Not to mention I was overcharged as the Universal Service Fund calculation is wrong by $.07 -- not in my favor.

I know most of you reading this 'feel my pain'.

This bill is like going to a restaurant and ordering the $20.00 dinner 'special' only to get a bill of $38.68, not counting the allowable taxes. When you ask the wait-person about the extras, they respond -- Well, there is a "silverware rental" fee -- you could have brought your own utensils, right? A "garbage disposal fee"-- someone had to clean off your plates and take out the trash. And, of course, a "no smoking" fee, because if people could smoke in here, we'd make more money.


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New records bring super-powerful quantum computers closer to reality | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com

New records bring super-powerful quantum computers closer to reality | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In what are claimed to be new world records, two teams working in parallel at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have each found solutions to problems facing the advancement of silicon quantum computers. The first involves processing quantum data with an accuracy above 99 percent, while the second is the ability to store coherent quantum information for more than thirty seconds. Both of these records represent milestones in the eventual realization of super-powerful quantum computers.

Each of the teams produced two types of quantum bits (the vertical and horizontal polarization of an electron representing the binary state of 1 and 0 – known as qubits) in their research. One qubit, developed by the team led by Professor Andrew Dzurak, using an "artificial atom" produced in a MOSFET (Metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor), and the other, developed by the team led by Associate Professor Andrea Morello, used a "natural" phosphorus atom to develop their qubit.

In both cases, keeping qubits in their fragile quantum states long enough to use them to store information and accurately read the results whilst ensuring that tiny error rates don’t quickly add up when millions of computations are performed, are integral factors in creating future quantum computers and the accuracy of the quantum algorithms that will drive them.


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The FBI Director's Evidence Against Encryption Is Pathetic | Dan Froomkin & Natasha Vargas-Cooper | The//Intercept

The FBI Director's Evidence Against Encryption Is Pathetic | Dan Froomkin & Natasha Vargas-Cooper | The//Intercept | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FBI Director James Comey gave a speech Thursday about how cell-phone encryption could lead law enforcement to a “very dark place” where it “misses out” on crucial evidence to nail criminals. To make his case, he cited three real-life examples — examples that would be laughable if they weren’t so tragic.

In the three cases The Intercept was able to examine, cell-phone evidence had nothing to do with the identification or capture of the culprits, and encryption would not remotely have been a factor.

In the most dramatic case that Comey invoked — the death of a 2-year-old Los Angeles girl — not only was cellphone data a non-issue, but records show the girl’s death could actually have been avoided had government agencies involved in overseeing her and her parents acted on the extensive record they already had before them.

In another case, of a Lousiana sex offender who enticed and then killed a 12-year-old boy, the big break had nothing to do with a phone: The murderer left behind his keys and a trail of muddy footprints, and was stopped nearby after his car ran out of gas.

And in the case of a Sacramento hit-and-run that killed a man and his girlfriend’s four dogs, the driver was arrested in a traffic stop because his car was smashed up, and immediately confessed to involvement in the incident.

Comey described the cases differently. Here’s one:


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MN: Anchor initiatives: Local food means business for local neighborhoods | Jay Walljasper | MinnPost.com

MN: Anchor initiatives: Local food means business for local neighborhoods | Jay Walljasper | MinnPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At first glance, the food vendor gathering held last summer at the the University of Minnesota's Coffman Memorial Union felt like a preview of the State Fair.

You could sample Sweet Science ice cream, a scrumptious product that takes advantage of new food production innovations. Immigrant entrepreneurs proudly displayed mouthwatering Bar-B-Q pork buns from Keefer Court bakery and authentic Mexican tamales from La Loma restaurant. Sunrise Market, founded a century ago in Hibbing, announced its new line of gluten-free pasta.

And you could munch carrots from Stone’s Throw Farms, grown on inner-city vacant lots, and nibble Garden Fresh Farms’ microgreens, grown hydroponically at an old warehouse in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood.

Wait a minute! No one eats root vegetables or microgreens at the State Fair.

True. This event was not geared to fair-goers but rather to food service managers and chefs at nine colleges and seven medical facilities in the Central Corridor between downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis. These anchor institutions together spend more than $25 million annually on food for their 67,000 employees and 115,000 students as well as visitors.

If small companies like these based in the corridor could gain even a small portion of this $25 million business, it would boost their success and the vitality of the communities they call home. One new local job is created for every $140,000 increase in local food consumption, according to a new national study quoted by Ellen Watters of the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership.

“Our goal is to improve economic vitality for both anchor institutions and their communities,” Watters told the crowd as they snacked on chicken tamales, dark chocolate sorbet and, yes, microgreens.
How anchor institutions can strengthen neighborhoods

"Anchor" describes institutions that are rooted in a particular locale, and want to make sure their communities remains stable and safe.

“Colleges and hospitals are embedded in their community and have a real stake in seeing that it thrives,” explains Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow, who is chair of the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership. “This is not just what we give to the community, it’s about our shared interests and mutual benefits.”

Most colleges and medical centers throughout the 11-mile Central Corridor have come together under the banner of the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership (CCAP) to broaden their collective impact by purchasing more local goods and services, hiring more local people and pursuing other initiatives to strengthen their communities. In June, many of them cooperated on a special transit pass to encourage employees to ride the just-opened Green Line, which runs the length of the corridor. A similar program was launched in early September introducing college students to the advantages of light rail.


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OR: CenturyLink pilots a super-fast set-up of super-fast Internet in Portland | Malia Spencer | Portland Biz Journal

OR: CenturyLink pilots a super-fast set-up of super-fast Internet in Portland | Malia Spencer | Portland Biz Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Hundreds of Portland apartment residents in a handful of newly constructed buildings have been testing a new service for CenturyLink Internet that offers both super-fast gigabit service and a new way to sign up for service.

Called Instalink, there is no monthly contract, no installation/set-up fee, no equipment to rent or buy, and no technician needed to set up the service.

In buildings where the service is available, tenants can turn on the Internet service as soon as they get the keys. Users will see the building's Internet service, either by plugging in directly or locating the WiFi network. Once the building's network is joined, a service account is set up, the tier of service and price selected, the service is turned on and the user is online. The service is prepaid for the month.


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Rest in Peace, Google Glass: 2012-2014 | John Dvorak | PC Magazine

Rest in Peace, Google Glass: 2012-2014 | John Dvorak | PC Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Whatever happened to all those people wearing Google Glass all over town? Many were all-in on the greatness of the product, wearing Google Glass to video podcasts, TV shows, and events.

Wearers were gung ho and constantly extolled the virtues of Google Glass. I wrote at the time that the entire product was a hoax. Although ridiculed for the column, one year later, in April 2014, articles began to appear about how all the early adopters stopped wearing the glasses because they were useless and led to personal ridicule. But there was more to it than that.

The sudden disappearance of Google Glass reminds me of a couple of other odd fads that came and went. The first was the overwhelming popularity of VCRPlus, a mechanism that allowed you to punch in a simple number into a video cassette recorder (VCR) for it to record a desired show. On the TV listings these numbers appeared almost by magic overnight in much the same way almost the way vinyl records disappeared from "record stores."


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B.L. Ochman's curator insight, October 19, 8:16 PM

really? disappeared? has it? or just another "...is dead" headline?