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Medina County, Ohio, Celebrates Fiber Network Completion | community broadband network

Medina County, Ohio, Celebrates Fiber Network Completion | community broadband network | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Community leaders in Medina County, Ohio, recently celebrated the completion of the Medina County Fiber Network (MCFN). Loren Grenson of the Medina Gazette reported on the celebratory breakfast event where officials proclaimed, “The monopoly is dead. Long live the fiber loop."

 

Local businesses already rave about the county owned MCFN, which offers Internet access, data tranport, and dark fiber leasing. From the article:

 

"Automation Tool and Die in Brunswick is one of 20 entities already tied into the fiber network. The network provides better service to the company’s four buildings in Brunswick’s Northern Industrial Park, said Jacob Mohoric, company IT manager.

 

“It’s a blazing-fast Internet connection at all four of our buildings at an effective cost,” Mohoric said.

 

"Company co-owner J. Randy Bennett said the network provided the first decent bandwidth for his company since it moved to Brunswick in 1983.

 

“We had no good bandwidth source and we paid through the nose for what we did have,” Bennett said"

 

 

Last July, the Highland School District was near the end of an expensive contract with Time Warner Cable. The network was not complete, but enough MCFN infrastructure was in place to connect the schools for Internet and phone service. Highland Schools now pay about $82,000 less per year for connectivity.

 

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AT&T Uncorks 75-Meg U-verse Tier | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

AT&T Uncorks 75-Meg U-verse Tier | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Following recent upgrades, AT&T has booted up a new U-verse broadband tier that pumps out 75 Mbps downstream in “select areas” of Monterey and Sacramento, Calif.; Toledo, Ohio; and El Paso, Texas.

The introductory price for the new offering, which is paired with an 8 Mbps upstream path, starts at $74.95 per month as a stand-alone service, and as low as $39.95 per month when bundled with other AT&T services.

Next year, AT&T plans to expand availability of that faster tier in those initial markets and across the 21 states where AT&T offers high-speed Internet service today, Bob Bickerstaff, AT&T’s VP of voice & data products, noted in this blog post.

The initial wave of upgrades will hit markets served by Comcast (Monterey and Sacramento), Buckeye CableSystem (Toledo), and Time Warner Cable (El Paso).

Bickerstaff said the new 75 Mbps offering, which is enabled through upgrades delivered via a new 17 MHz signal, twice the original 8.5 MHz that was used, “isn’t just designed for techies and online gaming enthusiasts…Speeds up to 75Mbps are ideal for homes with multiple devices and for gaming and streaming video.”


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Tech firms tussle with DOJ over the right to say ‘zero’ | Ellen Nakashima | WashPost.com

Tech firms tussle with DOJ over the right to say ‘zero’ | Ellen Nakashima | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A growing number of technology companies seeking to promote transparency have been testing the limits of new government guidelines on how they can disclose national security orders for their customers’ data.

Over the past year or so, about a dozen online and communications firms have reported that they have never received such a request, effectively breaching the spirit if not the letter of government guidance issued in January intended to make it more difficult for would-be terrorists or spies to identify services that could be used to evade detection. Their decisions have frustrated U.S. officials, even as they privately acknowledge there is little they have been able to do about it.

The right to report zero is part of a broader tussle between the private sector and the government over transparency and the proper boundary between free speech and national security.

In October, Twitter sued the government, charging that its First Amendment rights were squelched when the Justice Department blocked it from publishing a transparency report that sought to disclose the specific number of orders it had received and the fact that the number was limited. The firm also alleged that preventing a company from reporting “zero” national security requests is an unconstitutional restraint on speech.

The guidelines take the form of an agreement reached with five major tech companies that allowed for reporting of government national security requests in broad ranges, such as 0-999. There is no “zero” option.


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White House Promotes Title II Via Social Media | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

White House Promotes Title II Via Social Media | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Add the White House to those who are using social media to encourage the FCC to reclassify Internet access under Title II regulations. And the President's message to the FCC is pretty specific: Title II reclassification, apply network neutrality regs to mobile broadband and prevent paid prioritization.

The White House is featuring network neutrality prominently on its home page, including the video President Obama made promoting Title II, the same plan expanded upon in a statement on virtual White House letterhead, and a request to spread the word via social media.

"President Obama is asking the FCC to keep the Internet open and free. Help spread the word—share his plan with your friends and followers," says the White House, then directing readers to use the featured "Facebook" and Twitter" buttons.

In that statement, the President likens broadband access to phone service and says the same philosophy applied to calls—that they reliably go through—should apply to packets of data.

The following is the plan the White House wants to promote via social media, which includes the President's argument for why the FCC should treat ISPs like terminating monopolies in need of tough government regulations to prevent them from "restrict[ing] the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas."


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U.S.-Cuba breakthrough is no slam dunk for Internet | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

U.S.-Cuba breakthrough is no slam dunk for Internet | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Obama administration’s historic move to restore ties between the U.S. and Cuba may eventually put more Cubans online, but the future of the Internet there is likely to depend more on domestic policies than on imported goods and services.

As President Obama announced steps to lower barriers between the U.S. and Cuba after more than 50 years, he said the strict U.S. laws designed to isolate Cuba have contributed to the island’s isolation from the Internet. The policy changes he ordered on Wednesday included allowing companies to export communications gear and set up infrastructure for networks in Cuba.

The latest moves go beyond an earlier liberalization in 2009, which didn’t include equipment exports and other items. But just because U.S. carriers and vendors are allowed to start wiring Cuba for Internet service doesn’t mean they will. The island country’s own government has strictly limited access to the Internet, and only about 5 percent of Cuba’s population is connected to the global network, according to the White House.

In a speech on the policy changes on Wednesday, Obama said he welcomed “Cuba’s decision to provide more access to the Internet for its citizens,” without giving further details. Whatever Havana’s decision entails, it will have to make the Cuba an attractive market for foreign service providers if it’s to increase the country’s domestic and international connections, according to Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research.

Cuba could certainly use more Internet capacity. There’s only one international submarine cable connected to the island, a link from Venezuela that seems to have been activated last year. Cuba has just 1.275Gbps (bits per second) of total bandwidth linking it to the outside world, according to the research firm TeleGeography. The island partly depends on slow, expensive satellite links.

But international connections aren’t the only thing limiting Internet use in the country. Cuban citizens can only get online in a few places, such as government-run cafes that are too expensive for most average people, Madory said. In 2013, TeleGeography reported just 6,200 broadband subscribers in a nation of more than 11 million. In June of that year, the government opened up Web access in 118 outlets in addition to the hotels and select state institutions where it had been available before, TeleGeography reported.


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Vulnerability in embedded Web server exposes millions of routers to hacking | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Vulnerability in embedded Web server exposes millions of routers to hacking | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A serious vulnerability in an embedded Web server used by many router models from different manufacturers allows remote attackers to take control of affected devices over the Internet.

A compromised router can have wide-ranging implications for the security of home and business networks as it allows attackers to sniff inbound and outbound traffic and provides them with a foothold inside the network from where they can launch attacks against other systems. It also gives them a man-in-the-middle position to strip SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) from secure connections and hijack DNS (Domain Name System) settings to misrepresent trusted websites.

The new vulnerability was discovered by researchers from Check Point Software Technologies and is located in RomPager, an embedded Web server used by many routers to host their Web-based administration interfaces.

RomPager is developed by a company called Allegro Software Development and is sold to chipset manufacturers which then bundle it in their SDKs (software development kits) that are used by router vendors when developing the firmware for their products.

The vulnerability has been dubbed Misfortune Cookie and is being tracked as CVE-2014-9222 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures database. It can be exploited by sending a single specifically crafted request to the RomPager server.


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New TISA Leak: US On Collision Course With EU Over Global Data Flows | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com

New TISA Leak: US On Collision Course With EU Over Global Data Flows | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Although most attention has been given to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), also known as TTIP, it's important to remember that a third set of global trade negotiations are underway -- those for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which involves more countries than either of the other two.


Like TPP and TAFTA/TTIP, TISA is being negotiated in strict secrecy, but earlier this year the financial services annex leaked, giving us the first glimpse of the kind of bad ideas that were being worked on. Now, another leak has surfaced, which reveals the US's proposals to free up data flows online.

For the European Union, that's a hugely sensitive issue. Under data protection laws there, personal data cannot be sent outside the EU unless companies sign up to the self-certification scheme known as the Safe Harbor framework.


However, in the wake of Snowden's revelations about NSA spying in Europe, the European Parliament has called for the Safe Harbor scheme to be suspended. If that happens, the only way that US Internet companies could comply with the EU Data Protection Directive would be to hold personal information about EU citizens on servers physically located in Europe. But it is precisely that kind of requirement the leaked TISA position seeks to forbid:


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MPAA Hits "Shameful" Google Over Sony Hacking Revelations - Update | Dominic Patten | Deadline.com

MPAA Hits "Shameful" Google Over Sony Hacking Revelations - Update | Dominic Patten | Deadline.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

UPDATED, 7:50 PM: The Motion Picture Association of America tonight struck back at accusations from the tech giant that it was seeking to “censor” the Internet and suppress free speech based on information from emails leaked in the Sony hacking. “Google’s effort to position itself as a defender of free speech is shameful,” an MPAA spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline tonight (read the full statement below).


A Google executive in a blog post earlier Thursday lambasted the studio lobby group and some of Hollywood’s heavyweights for an alleged program that they had instituted called “Project Goliath.” The so-called secret tactic was revealed late last week in communications that came out of the massive hacking of Sony that went public November 24. Best to just let this war or words speak for itself. Here’s the MPAA’s response:

“Google’s effort to position itself as a defender of free speech is shameful. Freedom of speech should never be used as a shield for unlawful activities and the internet is not a license to steal. Google’s blog post today is a transparent attempt to deflect focus from its own conduct and to shift attention from legitimate and important ongoing investigations by state attorneys general into the role of Google Search in enabling and facilitating illegal conduct – including illicit drug purchases, human trafficking and fraudulent documents as well as theft of intellectual property. We will seek the assistance of any and all government agencies, whether federal, state or local, to protect the rights of all involved in creative activities.”


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Story on CAF subsidies encapsulates much of what's wrong with U.S. telecom policy | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Story on CAF subsidies encapsulates much of what's wrong with U.S. telecom policy | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This story on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's high cost infrastructure subsidy program, the Connect America Fund (CAF), encapsulates much of what's wrong with U.S. telecommunications policy.

CAF subsidizes technologically obsolete copper cable designed to serve a pre-Internet telecommunications system. Not only that, the telecom companies that would benefit from the CAF subsidies aren't grateful to get them and immediately put them to work. Instead, they bitch and moan as CenturyLink and Windstream do here.

Pathetic. It's no wonder other nations look at U.S. telecom policy and shake their heads.


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Next Fake EAS Alert Could be More Malicious, Warns NAB | Leslie Stimson | TVTechnology

Next Fake EAS Alert Could be More Malicious, Warns NAB | Leslie Stimson | TVTechnology | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After “The Bobby Bones Show” incident in October, in which a recording of a real alert using the EAN event code was used, triggering an alert that was transmitted by stations in several states, the FCC asked broadcasters how to prevent “unauthorized” alerts. The agency also sought comment on how to authenticate alerts going forward.

An “EAN” is an Emergency Action Notification,” which is national in scope and can authorized only by the President of the United States. It represents the most urgent type of Emergency Alert System notification.

The National Association of Broadcasters has urged the commission to support a joint industry effort to address the issue. In filed comments, the trade lobby noted that FCC rules state stations must interrupt their programming and air those messages immediately after they are received.

Stations that aired the Oct. 24 message were following the correct procedures, according to NAB, which asks the commission not to pursue enforcement action against those stations that aired the bogus alert.

The larger question remains of how to “clarify” the relevant procedures and authenticate messages to prevent future occurrences remains, according to NAB, which says: “NAB understands that EAS equipment may vary in their processing of EANs with an unclear date or time, or provide users with differing capabilities and setting options. Potential solutions have been discussed on EAS message boards and Listservs, such as the periodic dissemination of verification codes as a part of a “red envelope” mechanism, changing the format of EAN date/time stamps to include the year, and establishing more uniform standards and settings for EAS boxes, among others.”


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FCC Chair Tells Congress Net Neutrality Regs 'Essential' | Wendy Davis | MediaPost.com

FCC Chair Tells Congress Net Neutrality Regs 'Essential' | Wendy Davis | MediaPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New Net neutrality rules are “essential” to protect openness on the Web, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a new letter to Congress.

“I believe that the Internet must remain an open platform for free expression, innovation, and economic growth,” Wheeler wrote to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) in a letter dated Dec. 9 and made public this week. “We cannot allow broadband networks to cut special deals to prioritize Internet traffic and harm consumers, competition, and innovation.”

Wheeler's statement comes in response to a letter from Goodlatte expressing support for the idea that existing antitrust laws can achieve the same goals as new Net neutrality rules.

“Strong enforcement of the antitrust laws can prevent dominant Internet service providers from discriminating against competitors' content or engaging in anticompetitive pricing practices,” Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote to the FCC last month.

“Antitrust law prosecutes conduct once it occurs, by determining on a case-by-case basis whether parties actually engaged in improper conduct,” the lawmaker added. “Regulation, by contrast, is a blunt, 'one size fits all' approach that creates a burden on all regulated parties.”

Goodlatte has expressed similar views in the past, including at a Congressional hearing this summer.

Wheeler responded last week that Net neutrality rules “can work in tandem with antitrust law” to promote open Internet principles.

“There has been a decade of consistent action by the Commission to protect and promote the Internet as an open platform for innovation, competition, economic growth, and free expression,” Wheeler wrote. “At the core of all of these Commission efforts has been a view endorsed by four Chairmen and a majority of the Commission's members in office during that time: that FCC oversight is essential to protect the openness that is critical to the Internet's success.”


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How State Attorneys General May Help Hollywood Revive Anti-Piracy Efforts | Dana Liebelson | HuffPost.com

How State Attorneys General May Help Hollywood Revive Anti-Piracy Efforts | Dana Liebelson | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, Hollywood came up with a plan to work with state attorneys general to undermine Google, bolstering efforts to revive principles of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the controversial anti-piracy legislation fought by Google and other tech companies that failed in Congress in 2012, according to internal documents obtained by The Verge.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D), president of the National Association of Attorneys General, told The Huffington Post that he supports SOPA principles and wants to hold Google accountable for hosting content that prosecutors consider illegal, prioritizing busting counterfeit drugs over piracy. He said his views haven't been influenced by the movie industry.

"Google's not a government, they may think they are, but they don't owe anyone a First Amendment right," Hood told The Huffington Post. "If you're an illegal site, you ought to clean up your act, instead of Google making money off it."

SOPA would have given the government broad authority to remove content from the Internet. For example, the bill would have required search engines like Google to remove from search results websites that are repeatedly accused of copyright violations. (Under current law, if someone rips a Taylor Swift song and posts it to YouTube, the song is taken down, but users can still find YouTube.) The bill also would have permitted the government to block some copyright-infringing site domains altogether.

SOPA did not get far. A coalition of big-name tech companies, including Google and Wikipedia, protested the legislation. Some sites took part in an Internet "blackout." In January 2012, the legislation's chief sponsor pulled the bill.

The Verge, citing emails from earlier this year leaked in the Sony hack, reported the Motion Picture Association of America, an industry group, explored ways to obtain court orders to block websites, "without first having to sue and prove the target [Internet Service Providers] are liable for copyright infringement." MPAA also aimed to further the interests of entertainment companies by persuading friendly state attorneys general to take action against "Goliath"-- which The Verge interpreted to be Google -- and providing money to aid in legal defense for the state officials.

Marvin Ammori, a lawyer who advised companies in the SOPA campaign, including Google, said that the plan detailed in The Verge appears to include SOPA-like elements.


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Metronet Dark Fiber Network Expanding Education in South Bend, Indiana | community broadband networks

Metronet Dark Fiber Network Expanding Education in South Bend, Indiana | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In South Bend, the Trinity School at Green Lawn recently connected to the Metronet Zing dark fiber network thanks to a grant from Metronet and nCloud. According to Broadband Communities Magazine, the new connection has brought new opportunities to teachers and students at the high performing school.

The Metrolink Fiber Grant program, new this year, awards grants to schools to encourage innovative approaches focused on outcomes improving broadband capacity to implement innovation. To receive the grants, schools must have a specific plan, an implementation strategy, a way to measure success, and an accountability plan. Schools must also demonstrate that there will be adequate training and that staff will remain supportive and committed to the plan.

Like many other schools, Trinity at Greenlawn had to limit technology in teaching because its capacity was so poor. In classes where students exchanged information for projects, they often emailed from home where connections were better or exchanged flash drives.

Bandwidth is no longer an issue. From the BBPMag article:


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OR: Google Fiber delays decision on service in Portland, other cities Mike Rogoway | OregonLive.com

OR: Google Fiber delays decision on service in Portland, other cities Mike Rogoway | OregonLive.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber's Internet service is really, really fast.

Google Fiber's decision-making process? Not so much.

The company said Thursday that it will delay a verdict on whether it will serve Portland, five suburbs and eight other metro areas in other parts of the country until "early next year."

That extends a wait that began in February when Google first announced it was contemplating offering fiber-optic service in the metro area.

At that time, Google said it planned to make a decision by the end of 2014. But the company rarely met its target dates in two prior markets, Kansas City and Austin.

"We've been working closely with cities around the U.S. to figure out how we could bring them Google Fiber, and we're grateful for their vision, commitment, and plain old hard work," Google said in a written statement. "While we were hoping to have an update for cities before the holidays, we have a bit more work to wrap up; we'll be back in touch sometime early next year."

The delay doesn't diminish the city's optimism it will ultimately be among those Google selects, said Dana Haynes, spokesman for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

"One of the reasons I'm optimistic is they said on other occasions that the regional response we were getting from Portland and the suburbs was really good," Haynes said.

In addition to Portland, Google is contemplating fiber service in Gresham, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Beaverton and Hillsboro, along with several other metro areas across the country. Portland approved a franchise for Google in June.

Portland, which has been courting competitive Internet and cable TV service since the 1990s, granted Google Fiber a franchise in June.

The sheer scale of the project could be complicating Google's planning efforts. Google's fiber network in Kansas City runs 7,000 miles, and it's contemplating expansion in eight other metro areas across the country in addition to Portland.

A project on that scale would cost billions of dollars -- a mighty sum even for Google, which reported $13 billion in profits last year.

It may be the company needs additional time to figure out how to undertake such a mammoth endeavor in many markets at once and how to navigate an array of rules and regulations in each local jurisdiction.


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Pew: Majority See No Secure Privacy Regime By 2025 | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Pew: Majority See No Secure Privacy Regime By 2025 | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A slight majority of tech experts polled by Pew say they don't expect that there will be a "secure, popularly accepted and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025" within the next 10 years.

That is according to the a survey conducted by Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center.

The breakdown was 55% saying no and 45% saying yes. The survey polled 2,511 "technology builders, researchers, managers, policymakers, marketers, analysts and those who have been insightful respondents in previous studies," and only those who opted in to an invitation to weigh in on the future of privacy.

“The vast majority of experts agree that people who operate online are living in an unprecedented condition of ubiquitous surveillance,” said Lee Rainie, a co-author of the report and director of the Pew Research Internet Project, in unveiling the survey.

The presumption is that personal data is now the "raw material" of the knowledge economy and that the challenge is to look at the future of privacy "in light of the technological change, ever-growing monetization of digital encounters, and shifting relationship of citizens and their governments that is likely to extend through the next decade."


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Moffett: FCC OTT Reclassification Not 'Huge' Deal | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Moffett: FCC OTT Reclassification Not 'Huge' Deal | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Media analyst Craig Moffett says he doesn't think the FCC's vote to reclassify some over-the-top video providers as MVPDs is a "huge issue" because it is mostly about access to the programming of vertically integrated companies, and one of the biggest is already subject to them. He also says that while the financial community appears to have signaled it can live with Title II, he thinks the forbearance issues around that approach are more complicated than some may think.

MoffetttNathanson partners Moffet and Michael Nathanson were interviewed for C-SPAN's Communicators series, which airs this weekend.

Moffett said he thought reclassification would do is give over-the-top providers access to the program access rules, which means nondiscriminatory access to vertically integrated programming. That, he said, means programming from "Comcast, Comcast, Comcast," plus a handful of companies that own regional sports networks.

A majority of FCC commissioners--the three Democrats--have already approved the item, which was expected to be voted by the Republican commissioners Thursday (Dec. 18), according to one FCC source.

Moffett pointed out that Comcast is already required to make its programming available on nondiscriminatory terms to over-the-top competitors via NBCU deal conditions--which extend until 2018, and likely beyond if the FCC approves the Time Warner Cable merger. "People have talked about it as something of a lifeline for Aereo because it gives them at least a step in the direction of licensing content through retransmission consent from broadcasters, but it doesn't really give them that much negotiating leverage." He said he doesn't really think that FCC reclassification "is really going to change the world."

Moffett said he thinks the impact of the CBS and HBO Internet streaming services will be "somewhat limited," as opposed to a service already delivering OTT video--Netflix--which he says has been "very profound."

But Moffett said media companies can no longer circle the wagons and protect the old ecosystem.


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Verizon to FCC: You can’t stop Netflix-like interconnection payments | Yuri Victor | Ars Technica

Verizon to FCC: You can’t stop Netflix-like interconnection payments | Yuri Victor | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon told the Federal Communications Commission yesterday that it has no right to regulate paid interconnection deals like the ones Netflix struck with Verizon and other Internet providers.

Even reclassifying broadband service as a utility or common carrier service will not give the FCC that power, Verizon VP and Associate General Counsel William H. Johnson wrote in a filing in the FCC's net neutrality proceeding.

"The Commission cannot under any circumstances lawfully impose Title II common-carriage requirements on interconnection, as some regulatory proponents propose. Such requirements apply only to 'common carriers,' that is, to telecommunications service providers already 'engaged as a common carrier for hire," Johnson wrote, citing US communications law and court precedents. "As the DC Circuit has explained, when a provider is not operating as a common carrier, the Commission cannot 'relegate' that provider 'to common carrier status' by imposing common-carriage regulation. The Commission does not have 'unfettered discretion... to confer or not confer common-carrier status on a given entity depending upon the regulatory goals it seeks to achieve.'"

For the past few months, Netflix has been paying Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and AT&T for interconnection that allows it to bypass other, more congested paths into the providers' networks. Despite paying the ISPs, Netflix has asked the FCC to mandate "settlement-free interconnection," in which the providers would have to offer interconnection without payment. The FCC has been examining these deals but hasn't taken any action.

Before the disputes between Netflix and ISPs were resolved, Netflix subscribers suffered from poor video streaming performance for months because Netflix traffic was being held up at congested interconnection points where traffic from many online services was transferred from third-party transit providers to ISPs. Netflix accounts for a third of all North American Internet downstream traffic during peak viewing hours. The deals Netflix struck with ISPs improved performance for Netflix itself and for online services that relied on the third-party transit providers to gain entry into ISPs' networks.

Verizon argued that Netflix and Cogent were to blame. "Internet players such as Netflix and Cogent have called for the Commission to reach beyond the last mile and regulate interconnection points or the terms of interconnection, on the ground that congestion at those points can affect the speeds that end users experience when accessing content," Verizon wrote:


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The race to 5G: Inside the fight for the future of mobile as we know it | Jo Best | TechRepublic

The race to 5G: Inside the fight for the future of mobile as we know it | Jo Best | TechRepublic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every ten years or so, something big happens in mobile. Once a decade, a new generation of mobile network technology comes along: the first mobile networks appeared in the 1980s, GSM followed in the 1990s, 3G arrived at the turn of the century, and LTE began rolling out in 2010.

Each generation has set out to fix the flaws of its predecessor: GSM fixed the security weaknesses of analogue telephony, 3G was meant to sort out GSM's lack of mobile data and, given it didn't much succeed, 4G was needed to finally make consuming data less of an unpleasant experience.

Now, 5G is emerging ahead of the turn of a new decade and the next big change to hit mobile. But what's the problem that 5G's meant to fix?

Here's the thing: no one's too sure about 5G, not really, not yet. The main gripes that people have with their mobile service today are coverage and price - neither of which are problems that need a new generation of mobile tech to solve. Throw a bit of cash into building out LTE and LTE-A and much of these headaches would go away, yet the industry is ploughing full steam ahead into 5G. Instead, the industry is hoping 5G will solve problems we don't have today, but those that could hold us back years in the future.

The process of building each new mobile standard begins years before it's put into use, and once up and running, those standards will remain in place in various forms for a decade or more. With 5G, we're having to build a standard that will still be in use in 2030 and beyond - and the mobile industry has a terrible track record when it comes to future-gazing.

Back at the start of 2000, with 3G just about to launch, who could have predicted how the mobile world would look in 2010? At the turn of this century, we all packed candy bar feature phones, now most of us have feature-packed smartphones.


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Half of Connecticut says it wants fiber-optic Internet — and soon | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Half of Connecticut says it wants fiber-optic Internet — and soon | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Half of Connecticut's population could someday be wired for high-speed, fiber-optic Internet, thanks to a state effort to attract Internet providers.

Forty-six Connecticut towns said Thursday that they'd like to work with broadband companies so that residents can access gigabit speeds — that's roughly 100 times what the average American household gets today. The list includes some of Connecticut's biggest towns, such as Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford. But it also includes smaller municipalities where getting next-gen services might prove more difficult, such as Simsbury and Waterford.

"I feel very confident there's no reason Connecticut shouldn't be number one" for fiber connectivity, said William Vallee, the state's head of broadband policy, in an interview. "We have tremendous fiber capacity."

Although the state has fiber-optic cables connecting all 169 towns, that infrastructure typically ends in nodes serving the local town hall or police and fire stations. The next step will be to connect individual homes to that network. As many as 1.8 million Connecticut residents would get access to fiber if the public-private partnership plans move forward.

That figure also represents a significant opportunity for Internet providers. ISPs would not only be able to tap into a lucrative subscriber base for fiber-optic services, said Vallee — they'd be able to do so at little cost to themselves, thanks to the infrastructure that's already been built and state incentives to streamline the building process.

Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler applauded the effort Thursday.


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The Evidence That North Korea Hacked Sony Is Flimsy | Kim Zetter | WIRED.com

The Evidence That North Korea Hacked Sony Is Flimsy | Kim Zetter | WIRED.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today Sony canceled the premiere of “The Interview” and its entire Christmas-Day release of the movie because of fears that terrorists might attack theaters showing the film.

The actions show just how much power the attackers behind the Sony hack have amassed in a short time. But who exactly are they?

The New York Times reported this evening that North Korea is “centrally involved” in the hack, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence officials. It’s unclear from the Times report what “centrally involved” means and whether the intelligence officials are saying the hackers were state-sponsored or actually agents of the state. The Times also notes that “It is not clear how the United States came to its determination that the North Korean regime played a central role in the Sony attacks.” The public evidence pointing at the Hermit Kingdom is flimsy.

Other theories of attribution focus on hacktivists—motivated by ideology, politics or something else—or disgruntled insiders who stole the data on their own or assisted outsiders in gaining access to it. Recently, the finger has pointed at China.

In the service of unraveling the attribution mess, we examined the known evidence for and against North Korea.


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Why Independent Music Fans Need Real Net Neutrality | Kevin Erickson Op-Ed | PitchFork

Why Independent Music Fans Need Real Net Neutrality | Kevin Erickson Op-Ed | PitchFork | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

From the beginning, the story of independent music in the U.S. has been about a struggle to level the playing field for creative expression and entrepreneurship—about finding ways for a more diverse array of creative voices to be heard above the noise of a handful of massive companies using the combination of technological control and economic domination to drown them out.


When I say "from the beginning," I’m not talking about Our Band Could Be Your Life. I’m talking about independent labels as far back as the late 1910s and early 1920s; Black Swan Records, for example, one of the first African-American owned & operated labels, was founded out of dismay over major record companies’ mistreatment of black performers and audiences.


But stuck in a system where major companies controlled pressing plants and distribution networks, the label was ultimately unable to compete, and Black Swan went bankrupt in 1923. It wasn’t until after WWII, when more independent pressing plants opened and access to technology was democratized, that independent labels were able to start to really take off.

Over the years, this dynamic has been repeated across evolving technologies; a flourishing of indie upstarts ultimately reined in by waves of consolidated corporate power. When the 1996 Telecommunications Act lifted the ban on the number of radio stations a single company could own nationwide, companies like Clear Channel could expand their ownership from 40 radio stations to over 1200. Local DJs and programmers were fired and replaced with automated systems playing nearly identical playlists across every market.

Bands like Fugazi once warned of the influence of an industry principally controlled by "Five Corporations," of a dystopian mass society where fewer and fewer voices speak to an ever larger and more passive audience. Now we’re down to just three major labels, and despite payola laws, those three companies keep a firm grip on what gets played on commercial radio.

To reach audiences, independents have had to focus on alternative infrastructure that allows gatekeepers to be bypassed, like independent record shops, college radio, and especially the Internet.


The online sphere hasn’t turned out to be a panacea—it’s disrupted traditional revenue streams and is prone to the same corporatization as legacy media; but nonetheless, it’s offered fans access to and information about a greater diversity of music than ever before.


What makes this possible is Net Neutrality, the principle that all traffic should be treated equally, regardless of who made it; meaning your favorite cassette label’s website, music videos, or other data can flow just as effectively as OneRepublic’s.

But now a new class of potential gatekeepers has emerged in the form of Internet Service Providers, the companies we pay for online access, and what’s being hoarded is attention and access. Big ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T would like to be able to charge big content companies extra for faster speeds and preferential treatment, while those who can’t pay-to-play get left behind.


And in the same way that Clear Channel and friends bulldozed local radio, consolidation in the telecommunications sector has run rampant. This year, fresh off its recent purchase of NBC/Universal, Comcast announced its plans to acquire Time Warner Cable, an unprecedented concentration of power that spells more bad news for music.


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Time Warner Cable Wants to Keep Its Taxpayer Subsidized Rural Broadband Expansion a Secret | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable Wants to Keep Its Taxpayer Subsidized Rural Broadband Expansion a Secret | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable has appealed to the Secretary of the New York Department of Public Service to keep information about taxpayer-subsidized broadband expansion projects in New York a secret.

The case is part of a series of ongoing requests for disclosure of information about the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable under New York’s Freedom of Information Law.

Several public interest groups are requesting copies of documents submitted to the state Public Service Commission that the two cable operators have repeatedly asserted should remain confidential. Gerald Norlander from the Public Utility Law Project has been seeking details about how the two companies plan to address New York’s rural broadband dilemma before any decision about the merger is made by state regulators. Norlander requested copies of documents that include details about Time Warner’s taxpayer-subsidized rural broadband expansion under the auspices of Gov. Cuomo’s Connect NY program. Time Warner wants to keep the information confidential, citing competitive concerns.

New York Administrative Law Judge David L. Prestemon ruled earlier this month that while Time Warner could maintain secrecy in the early stages of its proposed expansion efforts, once the company disclosed details about a project in a public filing with state or local officials, confidentiality should be lifted.


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Netflix: offline viewing is 'never going to happen' | Hugh Langley | TechRadar.com

Netflix: offline viewing is 'never going to happen' | Hugh Langley | TechRadar.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For some time now, services like BBC iPlayer and 4oD have offered the ability to download shows for offline viewing, yet Netflix hasn't

And despite the pleas of the masses (or maybe it's just us) it doesn't sound like it's going to happen any time soon - or ever. Speaking to TechRadar, Cliff Edwards, Netflix's director of corporate communications and technology, said "It's never going to happen".

According to Edwards, Netflix's position on the matter is that offline downloads are a "short term fix for a bigger problem", that problem being Wi-Fi access and quality.

The service has made a similar argument in the past. In years to come, Netflix expects Wi-Fi coverage to improve significantly, particularly on transport.

In five years time, Edwards believes, we won't even be talking about the prospect of offline downloads. So while we'd say "never say never", it sounds like it is, in fact, a case of never.

Interestingly, Amazon decided to wade into the debate in light of our report, announcing that it did not agree with Netflix's stance on the matter. In response to the news, Amazon Digital Video VP Michael Paull confirmed that Amazon's offline viewing feature will roll out beyond Fire tablets in the future.


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DOJ Secretly Helped Kill FOIA Transparency Bill That Was Based On Its Own Public Policy | Trevor Timm | Techdirt.com

DOJ Secretly Helped Kill FOIA Transparency Bill That Was Based On Its Own Public Policy | Trevor Timm | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've long known the Justice Department's stance on transparency has been hypocritical and disingenuous. But they've really outdone themselves this time. Last week, the agency secretly helped kill a bipartisan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reform bill that was based word-for-word on its own policy.

First, a little background: In a surprise to some, the very modest FOIA Improvements Act died in Congress last Thursday, despite virtually unanimous support in both houses. The bill was completely uncontroversial. It merely would have upgraded agencies' ability to accept FOIAs electronically and codified existing policy—mainly President Obama's now infamous January 20, 2009 memo in which he ordered federal agencies to operate under a "presumption of openness."

All Speaker John Boehner had to do on the last day before Congress adjourned for the year was bring the bill up for a vote, and it would've been whisked through to the President's desk. A similar bill had already passed the House unanimously earlier in the year.

Yet for some unknown reason at the time, he didn't. On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported on the inside story behind the last-minute death of the bill, and the blame centers on the Justice Department:


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Markey, Eshoo, 34 Senate and House Democrats to FCC: Now Is the Time to Act on Net Neutrality and Title II | Senator Ed Markey

Markey, Eshoo, 34 Senate and House Democrats to FCC: Now Is the Time to Act on Net Neutrality and Title II | Senator Ed Markey | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), along with 34 Senate and House Democrats, today called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use its authority immediately to prevent broadband providers from engaging in discriminatory practices and enshrine net neutrality by reclassifying broadband Internet access under Title II of the Communications Act.


The lawmakers point out in the letter that it’s been nearly a year since the FCC’s net neutrality rules were invalidated by the D.C. Circuit Court and urge the Commission to act now to finalize new rules.

“We believe the way to achieve a free and open Internet is to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, with appropriate forbearance. As you know, President Obama recently joined us in urging this action,” write the lawmakers in the letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

“Everyone has spoken; now is the time for action. We urge you to act without delay to finalize rules that keep the Internet free and open for business.”

In addition to Senator Markey and Congresswoman Eshoo, the letter is signed by Senators Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Tammy Baldwin, Cory Booker, Carl Levin, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer, Ben Cardin, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, and Representatives Henry Waxman, Zoe Lofgren, Michael Doyle, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, Michael Capuano, Chellie Pingree, Betty McCollum, Suzanne Bonamici, Tim Ryan, Mark Takano, Mike Honda, Earl Blumenauer, Jared Polis, Jared Huffman, Jim McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Louise Slaughter, Niki Tsongas, Sam Farr, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, and John Conyers.


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San Francisco's Monkeybrains ISP offering gigabit home wireless connections | Cory Doctorow | BoingBoing.net

San Francisco's Monkeybrains ISP offering gigabit home wireless connections | Cory Doctorow | BoingBoing.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's $35/month for the service, from San Francisco's coolest indie ISP (founded by Rudy Rucker's son, Rudy Jr, it was the inspiration for Pigspleen, the fictional ISP in my novel Little Brother) and if you opt to pay a little extra, they'll install a free link in a low/medium income neighborhood, too.

Setting up a link is pricey -- $2500 -- but for $100 you can sponsor a free, open wifi access point to one of the other links, establishing pockets of free, anonymous, open Internet access across the city. Depending on your location, you'll get 350Mbps to 1Gbps throughput!

I don't live in San Francisco anymore, but I just funded an open access point.


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