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AT&T: Virtual MSO? | Multichannel.com

AT&T: Virtual MSO? | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Intel Media is gearing up to launch a "virtual" MSO service later this year that will be delivered to customers over-the-top. Is AT&T preparing to do something similar?

 

It's an idea that seems to spring from a survey that the telco floated to U-verse customers on  March 24. According to Variety,  AT&T asked if customers would be interested in a "new video and Internet service" that could be delivered to a range of IP-connected devices without need for a separate set-top, and provide the option to bundle in broadcast TV channels, "popular sports and entertainment" networks, and even some streaming video services from sources such as Netflix.

 

While delivering live TV and VoD content to IP devices without a set-top isn't exactly all that fresh and new in the TV Everywhere era, the notion of taking offering a subscription TV service bundle out of footprint could be a bit more interesting.  "This service could be offered by any broadband provider, not necessarily AT&T," the survey notes, according to the publication.  

 

The idea of marketing pay-TV services outside of cable's traditional franchise areas has been a topic of discussion in recent years as MSOs mull ways to grow their video subscriber bases amid a saturated market. 

 

Faster broadband connections, adaptive bit rate technologies and content delivery networks have removed many of the technology hurdles that could prevent such an offering.  New carriage deals between programmer s and pay-TV operators typically include out-of-home streaming rights, so the business side of the equation is starting to come into focus, as well.

 

But any sort of cable OTT video service comes with some tricky political components. The cable industry has a collaborative chumminess about it in large part because MSOs don't typically compete against each other.  If cable operators started to deliver pay-TV packages outside their traditional footprints, that would change the whole dynamic of the industry. I don't think cable's ready to take such an explosive step, at least not while they are having some success trimming back their quarterly video subscription losses.

 

But companies like Intel Media and AT&T don't have such reservations; they're not part of the cable club.

 

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A Reason to Celebrate: FCC Examines Future of the Phone Network | Clarissa Ramon | Public Knowledge

A Reason to Celebrate: FCC Examines Future of the Phone Network | Clarissa Ramon | Public Knowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today is a step forward for the 303 million people residing the in U.S. who depend on some kind of phone service for their personal, business, and emergency communications.


This morning the Federal Communication Commission voted to move forward on two proposals that examine the future of the phone network and 911 emergency services. This vote builds on the FCC’s bipartisan, unanimous consensus around core network values that include public safety, universal access, competition, and consumer protection.

Public input to the FCC will be instrumental in developing federal guidance for the phone network transitions that protects consumers and vulnerable populations. The open comment period is an opportunity for people who care about phone service to make their voices heard.


Rural voices, grassroots organizations, consumer advocacy groups, and state agencies who have been vocal on this issue should continue to highlight the importance of a reliable, affordable, and universally available network that includes all communities. This stakeholder input will be critical in ensuring that the digitally underserved do not become the permanently unserved.


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So, If Someone Could Just Kill A Child And Let The FBI And DOJ Get Their Anti-Phone Encryption Legislation Going, That Would Be Great | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

So, If Someone Could Just Kill A Child And Let The FBI And DOJ Get Their Anti-Phone Encryption Legislation Going, That Would Be Great | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The discussion over cellphone encryption continues, with much of the "discussion" being FBI director James Comey's insistence that Apple and Google simply can't do the very thing they're doing... and offering zero legal reasons why they can't.


There have been a lot of horribles paraded around during the past few weeks, mainly of the terrorist or pedophile variety. None of it has been very persuasive to anyone not wearing a badge. The converts continue to love the preaching while those on the outside look on in bemusement.

It's not just Apple and Google at this point. Whatsapp, the messaging app Facebook recently purchased, will be providing end-to-end encryption. Twitter is fighting National Security Letter gag orders in court.

The Wall Street Journal's recent article provides a closer look at the reactions of the upper echelon of law enforcement (DOJ and FBI) but only finds more of the same.


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New Yorkers Get Worse Internet Service Than People in Bucharest | Danielle Kehl | Slate.com

New Yorkers Get Worse Internet Service Than People in Bucharest | Danielle Kehl | Slate.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You’ve probably looked at your monthly Internet bill and groaned, thinking that it was far higher than it should be. Well, you were probably right. It turns out that if you live in New York City or San Francisco, you could be paying more than twice as much as a customer in Paris or London for a considerably slower broadband Internet connection.

It’s no secret that when it comes to speed and price, U.S. broadband options often pale in comparison with some of the great deals available in other cities around the world. We know that cost is one of the key barriers to adoption for unconnected Americans, and that Internet service providers rank at the very bottom of consumer satisfaction surveys, below the airlines and health care industry.


But a recent study by New America’s Open Technology Institute provides more data about what the American broadband market looks from the customer perspective. “Cost of Connectivity” documents the actual high-speed Internet packages available in 24 cities around the world, giving you a glimpse about what, for example, a 25 Mbps connection costs if you live in Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, or Kansas City. And the results are not very pretty. (Disclaimer: I am one of the authors of the study, and Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.)


With information on more than 2,000 home and mobile broadband options in 24 cities scattered across North America, Europe, and Asia, “Cost of Connectivity” shows where the fastest speeds are available, the best deals you can find for less than $40, and what you might expect to pay, on average, for a given speed tier in each of the cities surveyed.


Some of the contrasts are stark. In Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, and Bucharest, $40 a month will buy blazing-fast gigabit service—while in Los Angeles or New York, a Time Warner Cable customer would the same price for just 15 Mbps. Meanwhile, 3 GB of data costs at least $30 in the United States, but for roughly less than $10 you can get 6 GB in Copenhagen or Bucharest.


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Why Comcast is pushing broadband data caps that nobody wants? | Brad Reed | BRG.com

Why Comcast is pushing broadband data caps that nobody wants? | Brad Reed | BRG.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Do you want your home broadband services to have strict data caps like the ones on your mobile data plans? Of course you don’t! But that isn’t stopping Comcast and Time Warner Cable from pushing them anyway.

In case you didn’t know, Comcast this fall expanded its trial run of capped broadband plans in several markets in the south, including major markets like Atlanta, Nashville and Charleston. The lowest data caps are set at 300GB per month, which the company believes should be enough for the vast majority of its users. Comcast first started these data cap trial runs in Nashville in 2012 but it’s been steadily tinkering with them ever since.

The company explains that it’s trying to shift over to capped broadband plans because it’s trying to adapt to changes in the market — you know, the same market that’s told Time Warner Cable again and again that it doesn’t want capped plans.

“As the marketplace and technology change, we do too,” Comcast writes. “We evaluate customer data usage, and a variety of other factors, and make adjustments accordingly. Over the last several years, we have periodically reviewed various plans, and recently we have been analyzing the market and our process through various data usage plan trials.”

Of course, anyone who has actually looked at changes in the marketplace and technology can tell you that home broadband data caps make absolutely no sense in this context. The amount of things we can do on the Internet now has become more data intensive, from online gaming to watching Netflix streams in 4K.

The growth in these kinds of applications has flourished precisely because consumers have been able to get access to unlimited data on their home Internet services. Doing anything that would inhibit consumers’ use of their home Internet connections or would make them fearful of watching a movie online because they would get slapped with overage fees would therefore hurt the growth of online content distribution.

So why is Comcast really doing this? As Coolio once prophetically rapped all those years ago, it’s about “power in the money, money in the power.” The money part is easy: Comcast would love to be able to hit so-called “data hogs” with overage fees. The power part comes if the FCC gives Comcast the green light to charge content providers more for Internet “fast lanes.” In fact, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where companies that pay for the “fast lanes” also get their services’ data excluded from Comcast’s market caps, just as AT&T has been trying to do with its “sponsored data” program.


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FCC Gets T-Mobile to Make Throttling Practices Clearer | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

FCC Gets T-Mobile to Make Throttling Practices Clearer | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to an FCC announcement (pdf), T-Mobile and the FCC have struck an agreement that will involve T-Mobile making the company's throttling practices clearer. As in stands, T-Mobile doesn't charge overages -- but instead throttles capped users at 64 kbps or 128 kbps for the remainder of their billing cycle once they cross their usage limit. Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced they'd be exempting speedtests from their usage caps, resulting in throttled users not being able to actually see they were throttled.

The move resulted in consumer groups like Public Knowledge complaining that the company was being misleading, and that by exempting speed tests from caps, users weren't able to get an accurate picture of the state of their connection.

The FCC appears to have agreed, stating in their announcement this practice has resulted in general confusion among customers. As a result, the FCC states that T-Mobile has agreed to:


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WA: Seattle councillors to vote on funding Internet access at homeless camps | Victoria Cavaliere | Reuters.com

The Seattle City Council was expected to vote Monday on a measure that would fund Internet access at the city's homeless camps.

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant wants a portion of a proposed $100,000 in the upcoming city budget that has been earmarked to improve conditions at homeless camps to include access to Internet, including possible wireless availability.

Sawant said Internet access will allow homeless individuals to look for jobs, communicate and keep up with news and current events.

"We are no longer looking at Internet as a luxury. We have to make sure we provide humane services for everybody," she local broadcaster KOMO.

The plan has been met with skepticism by some Seattle residents, who feel the money would be better spent on other initiatives.

"That's too much opportunity for abuse," resident Cindy Phillips told local television station KING 5. "There are public libraries, and other public resources such as WorkSource, that can better assist the homeless in finding the jobs, or other resources they need," she said.

The money to fund Internet and wireless access would come from a budget item set aside to improve other conditions in Seattle's homeless tent cities, including access to showers, electricity and cooking facilities.

The measure is expected to get pushback from the more conservative members of the city council.

It was unclear how many homeless encampments might get the Internet access should the measure pass. There are dozens of homeless tent cities, both small and large, around Seattle.

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Court Bars FCC From Diclosing How Much Comcast, DirecTV Pay Broadcasters | Chris Morran | Consumerist

Court Bars FCC From Diclosing How Much Comcast, DirecTV Pay Broadcasters | Chris Morran | Consumerist | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week’s last-minute legal battle between just about every major TV broadcaster and the FCC came to quietly disappointing conclusion this morning, with a federal appeals court refusing to allow the government to share confidential details about the mergers of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and DirecTV and AT&T.

For those coming to this story late, here’s the “previously on…” version:

The FCC is currently scrutinizing these two mergers and had decided to make confidential information — most importantly, the contracts that the pay-TV companies have with TV networks — available for private viewing by lawyers for parties with a direct interest in the deals.

The broadcasters asked the FCC to please rethink its position, arguing that this data is highly confidential and could damage their businesses.

A slim majority at the FCC said no, arguing that the disclosures “will aid the Commission in the expeditious resolution of these proceedings.”

And so the broadcasters — CBS, Disney, Fox, Time Warner, Viacom, Univision — asked a federal appeals court in D.C. to issue a stay preventing the FCC from going through with its plan. The court agreed last Friday, but gave the FCC the chance to make its case before ultimately deciding on whether to make the stay permanent pending judicial review.

Thus, on Monday the FCC filed its response [PDF], arguing that the broadcasters had failed to show that they would be likely to prevail in court on the merits of its claim.

The Commission points out that the networks are not challenging that this information is relevant to the merger review process or that the FCC should have access to it. They just want to block participating third parties from seeing it.

“Given the need for access, Petitioners’ challenges to the protective orders are doomed to failure,” writes the FCC.

One major concern by the broadcasters is that the confidential information would be shared with people beyond the scope of the FCC order, but the Commission claims that its directives “contain multiple safeguards against unwarranted disclosure” and that the broadcasters’ “fears are without any basis.”

The networks offered to provide anonymized documents that would omit the most sensitive data, but the FCC says it determined that this would result in too many redactions and would be “unrealistic and inappropriate.”

Finally, the FCC tried to make the claim that the broadcasters had failed to show that they would suffer irreparable harm by revealing this confidential information to select individuals under controlled conditions. If anything argued the response, a stay would harm consumers and slow the review process.

“Staying the order pending appeal will materially disrupt the current schedule for the Commission’s expeditious review and resolution of the proposed mergers,” concludes the response, “and by itself, could impact the outcome of these applications. Delay would inevitably prolong the regulatory uncertainty associated with the applicants’ business plans, and thereby disserve the public interest.”

In the end, the court settled the matter with only a couple of sentences.


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Netflix Starts To Play 4K On Panasonic TVs | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Netflix Starts To Play 4K On Panasonic TVs | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix’s 4K horizons expanded a bit last week after Panasonic announced that its AX802-series LED-TVs are now compatible with the OTT giant’s small, but growing, Ultra HD library.

Netflix, which launched its 4K offering in April, doesn’t break down how many titles it offers in the format, though the library does include season two of House of Cards, Breaking Bad, movies such as Smurfs 2, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2, and a selection of nature documentaries from Moving Art. A Netflix official noted that nearly all of the company's original live-action series will be delivered in 4K, where available, including season one of Marco Polo, which is scheduled to debut on Netflix on Dec. 12.

In addition to the Panasonic’s AX802-series, Netflix 4K streaming is also compatible with certain Ultra HD TV models from Samsung, LG Electronics, Sony, Vizio, and Toshiba. According to Netflix’s 4K FAQ, the recommended broadband speed for UHD streaming is “at least 25 Mbps.”


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Amazon Closing In On Ad-Based OTT Service: Report | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Amazon Closing In On Ad-Based OTT Service: Report | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Amazon is preparing to launch a new ad-supported video streaming service “early next year” that will operate separately from Amazon Prime, a subscription-based service that features a large OTT library, the New York Post reported Friday.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Amazon was considering an ad-supported video and music streaming service, but today’s report suggests that Amazon is closing in on a launch.

Amazon has implemented some advertising into the Amazon Instant Video service, but has not outlined any plans for something beyond that.

“We currently offer the first episode of some television shows free with ads through our First Episode Free feature on Amazon Instant Video, and there are display ads on some short videos such as movie and game trailers,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “We’re often experimenting with new offers and experiences for customers, but we have not announced any plans to offer an ad-supported video streaming service.”

Amazon’s Prime Instant Video offering already competes with subscription-based OTT services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, but a new advertising-based offering could enable Amazon to put more heat on other free, ad-supported online VOD services such as Sony-owned Crackle and TubiTV, which launched in April. Depending on the quality of its ad-supported library, Amazon’s purported new offering might also lock horns with MVPD-delivered VOD.


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US Senator Rand Paul doesn't stand | David Nather | Politico.com

US Senator Rand Paul doesn't stand | David Nather | Politico.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

US Senator Rand Paul says he wants surveillance reform. Instead, he helped sink it.

And now he’s under fire from the civil liberties groups who have been his strongest allies in his war on the NSA’s domestic spying program.


If Paul really wanted to help the cause of reining in the NSA, critics say he could have broken with his party and voted to let the bill move ahead — a headline-grabbing moment that would make him stand out from the rest of the Republican presidential field.


Instead, the Kentucky senator — the GOP’s most famous libertarian — voted to block the bill from even being debated.


“He could have voted against the bill on final passage. That would have been a completely different thing than shutting down the debate,” said Laura Murphy of the American Civil Liberties Union, one of Paul’s strongest allies on the issue. Both have filed lawsuits against the NSA surveillance programs.


This type of criticism may become a recurring theme as Paul’s presidential campaign blossoms — the purist libertarian beliefs that built the Paul brand are going to keep crashing into traditional Republican standards, especially on national security.


His “no” vote on NSA reform even raised suspicions that Paul just didn’t want to have the debate.


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NM: Local tech leaders weigh in on Obama's net neutrality push | Dan Mayfield | Albuquerque Business First

NM: Local tech leaders weigh in on Obama's net neutrality push | Dan Mayfield | Albuquerque Business First | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The net neutrality issue is complicated on many levels, but the FCC has asked the public for comments on how it should manage the Internet and broadband connections. So far, more than 4 million people have commented at fcc.gov on the issue.

"I think it will have no effect either up or down, and the reason is we're a poor state and the adoption rate is strictly monetary," said Richard Majestic, the president of the High Tech Consortium of Southern New Mexico. Being both poor and rural, he said, affects broadband and Internet access, though the state is making strides.

"Net neutrality doesn't mean anything if the ISPs don't increase the speed, the access or anything that gets us onto the network," Majestic said.

Andrea Quijada, the executive director of the Media Literacy Project in Albuquerque, said Monday that her group also supports net neutrality.

"Obama is clearly listening to the people across the country, and to all of us in New Mexico. New Mexicans have always fought for our resources — just as we have struggled for our land and water, we have been fighting for the reclassification of the Internet, too. For us, achieving true net neutrality is a path to our digital sovereignty," Quijada said.


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Retailers Say A Ton Of Customers Are Using Apple Pay -- And Other Mobile Wallets Too | Shelly Palmer | TalkMarkets.com

Retailers Say A Ton Of Customers Are Using Apple Pay -- And Other Mobile Wallets Too | Shelly Palmer | TalkMarkets.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years, tech companies have dreamed of a future in which people ditch their wallets and pay for things with their smartphones. And for years, that has not happened.

But Apple may be on to something.

In the three weeks since the company released Apple Pay, its first stab at a mobile wallet, some major retailers are seeing a wave of consumers eager to check out at the register with their iPhones.

And even some of Apple’s competitors, like Google and Softcard, say Apple has helped create general awareness of mobile payments, including for their services.

Whole Foods Markets, the high-end grocery chain, said it had processed more than 150,000 Apple Pay transactions. McDonald’s, which accepts Apple Pay at its 14,000 restaurants in the United States, said Apple Pay accounted for 50 percent of its tap-to-pay transactions. And Walgreens, the nationwide chain of drugstores, said its mobile wallet payments had doubled since Apple Pay came out.

Apple Pay is still far from a dominant payment system. But the retailers’ numbers are the first faint signs of a mainstream willingness to stray from cash and cards. Apple, analysts say, has tapped into something.


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Syntonic’s ‘sponsored data’ stirs net-neutrality debate | Brier Dudley | Seattle Times

Syntonic’s ‘sponsored data’ stirs net-neutrality debate | Brier Dudley | Seattle Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Obama may have done a big favor for a Seattle startup last week.

Inadvertently.

By weighing in on the net-neutrality debate, the president made the geeky subject a dinner-table topic for America as we head toward the 2016 election.

We’ll now spend a year or more debating whether and how to regulate broadband, preserve the equal-access character of the Internet and limit the control telecom companies have over their networks.

As we hash this out, a little outfit in Pioneer Square called Syntonic may be part of the conversation.

Quietly started two years ago by veterans of RealNetworks, Syntonic is now emerging — and getting national media attention — with technology that adds a new dimension and complexity to the net-neutrality discussion.

The 15-person Pioneer Square company is building tools that content providers, nonprofits and corporations can use to provide “free” access to mobile broadband networks. These tools enable new business models to cover the cost of data delivery.

A movie studio, for instance, could use Syntonic to cover the data costs when people view its trailers on a mobile device.

A newspaper or magazine could offer a service bundle with “free” access: pay an extra dollar per month, and downloads won’t count against monthly data limits.

Phone companies have just started dabbling with this approach, called “sponsored data” or “zero rating” — as in “pay zero rates” to access certain content.


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Mobidia: LTE Subscribers Consuming Twice as Much Cellular Data as 3G Subscribers | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor

Mobidia: LTE Subscribers Consuming Twice as Much Cellular Data as 3G Subscribers | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. cellular, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi mobile data usage continued on an upward trend in 3Q as wireless device users continue to increase their use of mobile apps and media, according to a Mobidia Technology report.

Data gathered from hundreds of thousands of wireless subscribers from July-September 2014 revealed that Verizon and Sprint wireless service subscribers are using more LTE data than their counterparts with AT&T and T-Mobile. Mobidia’s latest study also revealed that smartphone subscribers continue to rely on Wi-Fi networks, a finding consistent with those over the past few years.

Subscribers using iOS and Android smartphones consumed 82 and 72 percent, respectively, of their mobile data on Wi-Fi networks, according to Mobidia’s latest Network Usage Insight report.

Mobidia highlighted the following specific trends:


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Zayo to supply dark fiber to IX Reach, connecting New York, New Jersey data centers | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Zayo to supply dark fiber to IX Reach, connecting New York, New Jersey data centers | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Zayo is supplying IX Reach, a wholesale carrier provider, a mix of colocation and dark fiber facilities connecting data centers in New York and New Jersey.

By working with Zayo, IX Reach will be able to provide its customers access to seven data center sites: 111 8thAvenue, 60 Hudson Street, 32 Avenue of the Americas, 85 10th Avenue, 325 Hudson in New York and 165 Halsey Street and 275 Hartz Way in New Jersey through two four-site New York dark fiber rings.

Being a symbiotic 15-year relationship, the agreement enables Zayo's customers to connect to IX Reach, which provides point-to-point connectivity into major global Internet exchange sites. Over the next two years, Zayo and IX Reach will expand the relationship to include additional colocation facilities to accommodate fluctuating customer needs.

For IX Reach, the agreement with Zayo is all about enabling its customers to expand their reach in the New York market and in other regions.

"Offering our customers ease of connectivity within key locations in the New York market is vital to us and we believe it will have an impact on our customers and their ability to do business in new geographies," said Stephen Wilcox, CEO of IX Reach, in a release. "We selected Zayo because of its combined dark fiber and colocation offering and flexible commercial approach."

Whether it's providing fiber connectivity to other major data centers or their own facilities, colocation has become a major focus area for Zayo.

Besides New York and New Jersey, Zayo has been increasing its colocation reach in both the U.S. and Europe.


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TDM-to-IP Transition: FCC Considers “Facilitating” Sale of Retired Copper | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

TDM-to-IP Transition: FCC Considers “Facilitating” Sale of Retired Copper | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC is considering putting policies in place to “facilitate” the sale or auction of copper infrastructure that telephone service providers plan to retire as part of the TDM-to-IP transitions, FCC officials said today. Additionally the commission is considering policies aimed at ensuring consumers have battery-powered telephones so that they will be able to make phone calls in the event of a power outage, officials said.

These potential requirements are just two of numerous potential policies the commission is considering in a notice of proposed rulemaking, declaratory ruling and order about the TDM-to-IP transition adopted at the monthly FCC meeting today. Also at today’s meeting, the FCC adopted a policy statement and notice of proposed rulemaking that propose mechanisms designed to prevent 911 outages caused, in part, by the TDM-to-IP transition.

Both the TDM-to-IP transition and 911 initiatives were previewed late last month when FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler began circulating draft versions of documents adopted today.

Moves that the commission is considering with regard to the TDM-to-IP transition fall into several broad categories, officials explained:


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Senators Hoping To Keep CIA From Destroying Most Of Its Employees' Emails | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

Senators Hoping To Keep CIA From Destroying Most Of Its Employees' Emails | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The CIA and Senate have found more to fight about. With the "Torture Report" mostly in the hands of the White House at this point, the two are now battling over the CIA's planned alterations to its email retention policies.

Key senators are pushing back against a CIA plan to destroy older emails of “non-senior” agency officials.

The heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday sent a letter opposing the proposal, under which only the highest ranking CIA workers would have their email correspondence permanently saved.

The plan “could allow the destruction of crucial documentary evidence regarding the CIA’s activities that is essential for Congress, the public and the courts to know,” Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) wrote to the National Archives...

The senators are asking the National Archives to step up and somehow prevent this from happening -- most likely by declaring "non-senior" emails to be retainable records that must be turned over rather than destroyed. The CIA would prefer to destroy the emails of all but the top 22 employees three years after they leave, or when "no longer needed, whichever is sooner." Unfortunately for the senators making this request, the National Archive has already signaled its agreement with the CIA's proposed retention schedule changes.


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LA: Lafayette holding recruitment fair as tech companies plan moves | The Acadiana Advocate

LA: Lafayette holding recruitment fair as tech companies plan moves | The Acadiana Advocate | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A recruitment and networking fair for job hunters who are interested in prospects associated with three information technology companies moving to Lafayette will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Abdalla Hall, 635 Cajundome Blvd.

Combined, the companies — CGI, Enquero and Perficient — plan to fill about 1,000 positions, including software programmers, business analysts and consultants, marketers, graphic designers and communications specialists.

“Anyone who wants to learn more about these companies can attend,” said Kim Billeaudeau, director of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Office of Career Services.

The fair and a welcoming event for the companies that starts at 3:30 p.m. is sponsored by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. The events are in conjunction with Louisiana Innovation Month, which recognizes efforts of companies, schools, foundations and university centers to stimulate innovation and creativity, including UL-Lafayette’s Research Park.

CGI, a Montreal-based company, announced earlier this year that it plans to hire about 400 employees in the next four years. The company will lease office space in a new, $13.1 million state-funded technology center in the Research Park expected to be complete by the end of 2015. Until then, the company will operate in a temporary location.


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Technology set journalism free, now new platforms are in control | Mathew Ingram | GigaOM Tech News

Technology set journalism free, now new platforms are in control | Mathew Ingram | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Emily Bell, the former Guardian digital editor who now runs the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, gave a speech recently at the Reuters Institute in the UK about the crossroads at which journalism finds itself today. It’s a place where media and journalism — and in fact speech of all kinds — has never been more free, but also paradoxically one in which speech is increasingly controlled by privately-run platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

I was glad to see Emily addressing this issue, because it’s something I’ve written about a number of times — both in the context of Twitter’s commitment to being the “free speech wing of the free-speech party,” and also in the context of Facebook’s dominance of the news and how its algorithm can distort that news in ways we still don’t really appreciate or understand, because it is a black box.


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5 regular people explain why they support net neutrality | Selena Larson | The Daily Dot

5 regular people explain why they support net neutrality | Selena Larson | The Daily Dot | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A massive downpour couldn’t prevent around 100 net neutrality supporters from congregating on the steps of San Francisco City Hall on Thursday night for Bay Area Speaks, an event organized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to hear from Bay Area residents and activists about why they support an open Internet.

For an hour, activists held both signs and umbrellas, and shouted their support for an open Internet, one that exists without restrictions or fast lanes imposed by Internet service providers with the power to throttle data.

By 6:40pm, the rainstorm had turned into a drizzle, and supporters filed in through security and up into a room on the third floor of City Hall, shrugging out of coats while a clipboard circulated, asking supporters to write to the Federal Communications Commission about why they should support net neutrality.

President Obama recently announced his support for net neutrality and reclassifying the Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. But the debate is still largely happening in Washington D.C., even though creating fast and slow lanes for Internet connectivity would affect everyone across the U.S. That’s why groups including the EFF, Free Press, the Media Action Grassroots Network, and the Media Alliance organized Thursday’s event: to show lawmakers that the Bay Area cares.

Of the four million Americans who communicated their support of net neutrality to the FCC earlier this year, more comments came from the Bay Area than almost anywhere else, said Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the EFF. And some of those people spoke out at City Hall Thursday evening, sharing their own personal stories about why net neutrality matters.


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AWS-3: Bids Up, Total Up, Auction Rolls | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

AWS-3: Bids Up, Total Up, Auction Rolls | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With bidding over for a busy and productive week for FCC auctions, the AWS-3 auction of 65 MHz of wireless spectrum ended the week on a high note.

Bids were up over the previous round at 505; the total value of new bids was up, at $1,123,634,800; and the total after round 27 was $34,082,759,300.

The auction began on Nov. 13, with some predicting it to generate $15 billion or so—the reserve was $10.587 billion. Having more than doubled that, the auction is being seen as a good sign for valuations of broadcaster spectrum in the incentive auction, and for companies already with wireless spectrum reserves, like Sprint or Dish.

The auction begins again Monday morning, with $35 billion-$40 billion appearing not to be an unreasonable target for a final tally. There are 70 bidders, including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

It is one of three auctions whose proceeds will go toward funding an emergency communications network (FirstNet) and other projects as well as deficit reduction.


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Verizon teams up with Georgia Tech on Internet of Things, wearables | Monica Alleven | Fierce Wireless Tech

Verizon teams up with Georgia Tech on Internet of Things, wearables | Monica Alleven | Fierce Wireless Tech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Wireless has entered into a multiyear research partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, with the objective of fostering development of new technology solutions in for the Internet of Things (IoT), including the areas of telematics, wearables and LTE network enhancements.

"The wireless industry relies on constant innovation. Verizon's technology platforms, including 4G LTE, enable this innovation, allowing us to take wireless technology out of the phone and integrate it into new areas such as transportation, healthcare, green energy, education, wearable computing, and much more," said Jonathan LeCompte, president of the Georgia/Alabama region for Verizon Wireless, in a press release. "Our partnership with Georgia Tech's world-class research and development and exceptional students will prove to be a critical component in the advancement of new wireless solutions for the 'Internet of Things' era."

While rival AT&T historically has been more vocal about its commitment to M2M and making the IoT a priority, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo shared a little more about the company's thinking around the IoT during a wide-ranging discussion at the Wells Fargo investor conference in New York City this week.


A lot of the things heard around the industry are about connectivity, and the problem with that is it's good business, but you need "millions and millions and millions" of devices to actually start to generate a lot of revenue because it's cents on the dollar, he said.


"What we're trying to do is with the Hughes Telematics acquisition, we're playing at level above that," he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. By expanding beyond connectivity, the company can go outside the U.S. and not necessarily be the network provider, he said.


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Meet Regin, Super Spyware That's Been Attacking Computers for Years | Darren Orf | Gizmodo.com

Meet Regin, Super Spyware That's Been Attacking Computers for Years | Darren Orf | Gizmodo.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In case you needed more affirmation that the internet is not a safe place, Symantec published a report today detailing a sophisticated form of spyware known as Regin.

But this isn't just another entry into the continually growing list of viruses, Symantec says this malware "displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen." The researchers refer to Regin as being similar to the Stuxnet computer worm, also discovered by Symantec in 2010, that was allegedly used to attack Iran's nuclear centrifuges. The only conclusion is that this tool was developed by a nation with some considerable technological means, as Symantec describes:

It is likely that its development took months, if not years, to complete and its authors have gone to great lengths to cover its tracks. Its capabilities and the level of resources behind Regin indicate that it is one of the main cyberespionage tools used by a nation state.

Regin has been out in the digital wild since at least 2008, operates much like a back-door Trojan, and has been used against governments, internet providers, telecom companies, researchers, businesses, and private individuals, says Symantec. Regin affects Windows-based computers and operates in five stages, giving the attacker a "powerful framework for mass surveillance" and offers flexibility so attackers can customize the packages embedded within the malware.

However, no reported instances of Regin have been found in the U.S. Symantec's provided geographic breakdown shows Saudi Arabia and Russia as primary targets of Regin spyware, taking up more than half of all recorded cases. Other countries include Mexico, Iran, Afghanistan, India as well as European countries like Belgium and Ireland. It's speculated that most infections came from people visiting "spoofed versions of well-known websites," says Symantec, though one case confirms Yahoo! Messenger was also involved.

In an interview with Re/Code, Symantec researcher Liam O'Murchu said that they know it was created by a technologically advanced country. Of course, the short list points to two obvious possibilities, the U.S. or China, but it's impossible to say for sure as there's much left to learn

Is it surprising that massive spyware systems exist on the web that we use every day? Unfortunately, not really, but when you actually see all the details laid out in front of you, it can be pretty frightening. [Symantec via Re/code]

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Google Fiber promises Austin's public housing residents free 5Mbps Internet for 10 years | Emil Protalinski | VentureBeat.com

Google Fiber promises Austin's public housing residents free 5Mbps Internet for 10 years | Emil Protalinski | VentureBeat.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google today announced its participation in Unlocking the Connection, a new initiative by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) to “help close the digital divide for the 4,300 people who live in public housing.” The company promises to give Austin’s public housing residents free Google Fiber connections for 10 years.

Unlocking the Connection’s goal is to make the web more available and relevant to Austin citizens who aren’t online today. That includes an affordable Internet connection, access to devices, basic computer skills training, and opportunities to better understand how the Web can help them in their daily lives. Google Fiber is one of 20 national and local partners in the program.

Here are the pertinent details:

Google Fiber will bring state of the art infrastructure to Austin’s public housing; we will provide a free fiber connection to any existing HACA property in a neighborhood that meets its signup goal to get Google Fiber. If a family in one of these properties signs up for our Basic Service, they get an in-home Internet connection at today’s basic broadband speeds, free for ten years after construction.

Google Fiber Basic Service, which provides up to 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds, is normally free. It does, however, require a one-time $300 construction fee (or $25 per month for a year). That’s the part Google is waiving here, though the company notes families will be able to upgrade to gigabit speeds at any time by subscribing ($70 per month).


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Football Fans Are Going Even Bigger Toward Mobile Than You Probably Think | Chris Heine | AdWeek.com

Football Fans Are Going Even Bigger Toward Mobile Than You Probably Think | Chris Heine | AdWeek.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We knew going into this season that fantasy football diehards were probably going to be glued to their smartphones and tablets like never before.

But now that the actual numbers are in, the year-over-year growth in the space last month should still get marketers' attention, with publishers such as Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and Sporting News seeing triple-digit percentage jumps, per comScore's October data.

What's more, the Reston, Va.-based researcher found that desktop traffic dropped across the board. ESPN (down 10 percent), Sports Illustrated (down 15 percent) and Sporting News (down 25 percent) saw the biggest year-over-year dips, indicating a shrinking number of people are tethered to their home or work computers.

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