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All four national mobile carriers to use NYC subway DAS | Fierce Wireless Broadband

All four national mobile carriers to use NYC subway DAS | Fierce Wireless Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

New York City's subway system is slowly but surely getting expanded underground wireless coverage via a distributed antenna system (DAS) being deployed by Transit Wireless.

 

Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) brought six subway stations in Chelsea online during September 2011 and just announced that 30 more are now in service in mid-town Manhattan, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. RF Nodes are located on every platform and mezzanine as well as at various points within public access passageways.

 

The neutral-host DAS has already signed as anchor tenants AT&T and T-Mobile USA, which are using the DAS to extend their wireless voice and data services into the subway. Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless are also finalizing contracts to deliver their services via the DAS.

 

In May 2012, Boingo Wireless announced an agreement with Transit to manage and operate Wi-Fi Internet services within the New York City subway system. Boingo is using Transit's DAS to expand its sponsored Wi-Fi hotspot offering. "Boingo has kept commuters connected since our managed and operated services launched in 2011. We look forward to expanding our network and introducing leading brands to consumers at stations across the city," said Zack Sterngold, Boingo's vice president of business development.

 

Boingo is currently providing free access to its sponsored Wi-Fi network to travelers who link to the SSID "FreeWifibyHTCONE."


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MLB Throws Bean Ball At FCC's 'Commercially Reasonable' Regime | Broadcasting & Cable

MLB Throws Bean Ball At FCC's 'Commercially Reasonable' Regime | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a filing in the FCC's network neutrality rule docket, MLB Advanced Media, the arm that oversees the MBL.TV subscription service and other online video, says that cable is the only game in town for many viewers and that inadequate broadband competition should inform the FCC's network neutrality policy, which should be to prevent ISP's from charging Internet content providers, like MLB, for faster or preferential treatment.


The Commission would be rolling the dice by allowing 'commercially reasonable' fast lane deals, subject to amorphous regulations and limited oversight capability," MLB said. "We are equally as concerned about how fast/slow lane regulations could be adequately enforced."


"As the nation's largest edge provider of live event video, we fail to see how the proposed regulatory scheme could provide the type of timely enforcement that would be needed to adequately protect against such harms," MLB said.


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler followed the advice of a D.C. federal court in proposing to reconfigure the old Open Internet order's ban on unreasonable discrimination into an allowance for commercially reasonable discrimination, given that the court threw out that ban because smacked too much of applying common carrier regs to Internet access service, which the FCC defines as an information service not subject to mandatory access.


MLB sees too much downside to the approach. "We urge the Commission to prohibit Broadband ISPs from charging Internet content distributors ("Edge Providers") for faster or otherwise preferential delivery of content to American consumers.


Wheeler has gotten lots of pushback from Silicon Valley on the proposal.


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Only A Giant Telco Could Introduce Bandwidth Throttling And Spin It As 'Network Optimization' | Techdirt.com

Only A Giant Telco Could Introduce Bandwidth Throttling And Spin It As 'Network Optimization' | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Oh, Verizon. The company is ramping up its mobile data throttling on its LTE network. Basically, if you're a heavy user, your packets get "de-prioritized" (i.e., throttled). However, Verizon insists it's, like, totally, totally different.


"Is this the same as throttling?


No, this is not throttling.

How is this different than throttling?


The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence.  With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are. Network Optimization is based on the theory that all customers should have the best network possible, and if you’re not causing congestion for others, even if you are using a high amount of data, your connection speed should be as good as possible. So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users, your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a cell site experiencing high demand. Once you are no longer connected to a site experiencing high demand, your speed will return to normal. This could mean a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day."


In other words... it's throttling. It may be temporary, and it may only impact top users, but it's still throttling. No matter what they say. As Broadband Reports notes, this bit of Orwellian speak probably doesn't work in reverse:


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NYC: Proposed merger of cable giants could pose threat to Community's Right to Public Access | DailyNews.com

NYC: Proposed merger of cable giants could pose threat to Community's Right to Public Access | DailyNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Randy Kearse spent 13 years in federal prison, but after his release began to provide a voice to the unique issues faced by those in working-class communities.


Gilbert Roman, a high-school student from El Barrio, was recently selected for a full scholarship to travel to Senegal as part of the International Youth Leadership Institute.


A 94-year-old activist, Florence Rice, has campaigned against elder abuse and been a vocal consumer advocate for low-income New Yorkers.


What in the world do these three people have in common? Their work is only made possible through the free and low-cost programs offered by New York City’s Community Access Organizations (CAOs). And those unique local resources are at great risk as a result of market changes such as those inherent to the proposed merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast.


Each borough has its own CAO; they include BRIC of Brooklyn, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, Queens Public Television, BronxNet and Staten Island Community Television. Each of these nonprofits has managed production facilities and cable channels as a public trust for more than 20 years.


These organizations train nearly 10,000 people a year in video production, editing, graphics, sound and lighting, and provide facilities, technical support, equipment, an organized volunteer base, free channel time and an audience to give people a voice.


CAOs are funded through agreements with cable companies and facilitate partnerships with the New York City public school system, public libraries, city agencies, public-service nonprofits and cultural institutions. Our agreements support programming as diverse as our great city.


By publicly reaffirming their intent to honor their commitments to the city and the CAOs, Comcast and Time Warner Cable can prove media consolidation does not always threaten local communities. There is too much at stake. The PSC and the FCC have a unique opportunity to ensure that these vital community resources are preserved and strengthened in the years ahead.


The public can submit comments to the New York State Public Service Commission on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger until Aug. 8. For information, go to www.dps.ny.gov.


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Comcast’s Internet for the poor too hard to sign up for, advocates say | Ars Technica

Comcast’s Internet for the poor too hard to sign up for, advocates say | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A California nonprofit says that a Comcast Internet service program for poor people is too difficult to sign up for, resulting in just 11 percent of eligible households in the state getting service.


Comcast had to create the $10-per-month Internet Essentials program in order to secure approval of its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011. About 300,000 households containing 1.2 million people nationwide have gotten cheap Internet service as a result, but the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) complains that the signup process is riddled with problems, a charge Comcast denies.


CETF itself was created by the California Public Utilities Commission when approving the mergers of SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI, and its purpose was to accelerate broadband deployment for unserved or underserved populations. The group says additional requirements should be imposed on Comcast as part of its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable.


In comments filed with the FCC, CETF said Comcast has signed up 35,205 households out of more than 313,000 eligible ones in California. Nationwide, 300,000 families out of 2.6 million eligible have signed up, Comcast said in March. The service offers 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds and a computer for $150, of which 23,000 have been sold.


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CO: The Past and Future of Muni Fiber in Boulder - Community Broadband Bits Episode 108 | community broadband networks

CO: The Past and Future of Muni Fiber in Boulder - Community Broadband Bits Episode 108 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Boulder is the latest Colorado community to recognize the benefits of using city-owned fiber to spur job growth and improve quality of life. Boulder Director of Information Technology Don Ingle joins us for episode 108 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.


We discuss the many ways in which Boulder has benefited from community owned fiber over the past 15 years and the smart policies they have used to expand conduit throughout the community.


We finish with a discussion about the upcoming referendum that Boulder will likely place on the November ballot to regain local authority to use and expand its fiber assets to encourage job growth and increase residential options.


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UT: Utopia at a Crossroads: Part 3 | community broadband networks

UT: Utopia at a Crossroads: Part 3 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This is the final installment of a three part series, in which we examine the current state of the UTOPIA network, how it got there, and the choices it faces going forward. Part I can be read here and Part II here


In Part I of this story, we laid out the difficult situation the open access UTOPIA network finds itself in and how it got there. Part II gave the broad outlines of Macquarie’s preliminary proposal for a public-private partnership to complete and operate the network. The numbers we deal with here are mostly from the Milestone One report, and assumed the participation of all 11 cities. It should be noted that since five of eleven UTOPIA cities opted out of proceeding to Milestone Two negotiations, the scope and scale of the project is subject to change. The basic structure of the potential deal is mostly set, however, allowing us to draw some reasonable conclusions about whether or not this deal is good for the citizens of the UTOPIA cities.


Let’s first turn to why Macquarie wants to make this investment.  This would be the firm’s first large scale broadband network investment in the U.S., allowing it to get a foothold in a massive market that has a relatively underdeveloped fiber infrastructure. To offset network build and operation costs, it will also be guaranteed the revenue from the monthly utility fee, which my very rough calculations put between $18 and $20 million for the six cities opting in to Milestone Two (or between $30 and $33 million per year for all 11 cities) depending on whether the final fee ends up closer to $18 or $20 per month.


Jesse Harris of FreeUTOPIA puts Macquarie’s base rate of return between 3.7% and 4.7%, which is slim enough that they should have the incentive to make the network successful and truly universal, boosting their share of the revenue from transport fees in the process.


The monthly utility fee is a difficult pill for UTOPIA cities to swallow politically, and has allowed opponents to paint it as a massive new tax.  But this claim ignores the costs of the existing $500 million debt (including interest), which will have to be paid regardless of whether the network is ever completed or any more revenue is generated.


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The Future According to CenturyLink | POTs and PANs

The Future According to CenturyLink | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Recently the CFO of CenturyLink, Stewart Ewing, spoke at the Bank of America / Merrill Lynch 2014 Global Telecom and Media Conference.


He had some interesting things to say about the future of CenturyLink that contrasts with some of the things that other large carriers like AT&T and Verizon have been saying.


The most interesting thing he had to say is that CenturyLink sees the future of broadband in the landline link to a home. He cannot foresee 4G wireless as a substitute for a landline wireless connection. He doesn’t see wireless delivering enough bandwidth in coming years as demand at homes keeps growing.


Already today the average CenturyLink residence uses slightly less than 50 Gigabits of data per month and that is far above the data caps for 4G plans. He doesn’t think cellular can deliver the needed speeds, and unless the cellular model is drastically changed, it’s too expensive and capped at really low levels.


So CenturyLink plans to continue to upgrade its rural plant. About two thirds of CenturyLink’s customers can get 10 Mbps or higher today and the company is working to make that available everywhere. Contrast this to AT&T and Verizon. They have both told the FCC that they have plans to convert millions of rural lines to 4G LTE.


I have written about this many times and see it as one of the biggest threats on the horizon to rural broadband. LTE is a great product when you want a burst of fast data to your cell phone. But the LTE network is not designed to serve multiple video streams to large numbers of households. 4G is also capable of some fairly impressive speeds that are significantly in excess of 10 Mbps, but those speeds drop quickly as you move away from a cell site.


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WISPA Asks FCC to Exempt Small Broadband Providers from New Net Neutrality Requirements | ConsumerEletronicsNet.com

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), a membership organization that promotes the development, advancement and unity of the wireless Internet service provider (WISP) industry, today filed Comments with the FCC seeking exemptions for small broadband providers and WISPs from any new open Internet rules the FCC may adopt.


WISPAs Comments demonstrate that imposing new disclosure and reporting obligations on small businesses would increase costs that would be passed on to consumers, would delay expansion of broadband to unserved and underserved areas and would chill entry by new companies that would face increased barriers. WISPA explained that imposing new regulatory burdens on small broadband providers would contravene Commission precedent in which small businesses were given relief from regulations and undermine Congressional and FCC policies intended to promote the expansion of broadband.


Much of the dialogue about net neutrality has focused on the big broadband providers and the big content providers, said Alex Phillips, WISPAs FCC Committee chair. We wanted to be sure that the voices of small broadband providers, WISPs and consumers in rural areas are heard, because the market conditions are different for them. We look forward to a productive dialogue with the FCC and other stakeholders as the process moves forward.


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"Air waveguides" used to send optical data through the air | GizMag.com

"Air waveguides" used to send optical data through the air | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Efficient as fiber optic cables are at transmitting data in the form of light pulses, they do need to be physically supported, and they can only handle a finite amount of power. Still, what's the alternative ... just send those focused pulses through the air? Actually, that's just what scientists at the University of Maryland have already demonstrated in their lab.


In a traditional optical fiber, light travels along a transparent glass core. That core is surrounded by a cladding material with a lower refractive index than the glass. As a result, when the light tries to spread out (as it would if it were traveling through the air), the cladding reflects it back into the core, thus retaining its focus and intensity.


A team led by Prof. Howard Milchberg has created "air waveguides" that work on the same principle.


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There are many paths to a smart home. And that's the problem. | GigaOM Tech News

There are many paths to a smart home. And that's the problem. | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

How many companies does it take to connect a light bulb?
Why connect the light when you can connect the switch? Or outlet? Or socket?


How many companies does it take to turn on a connected light?
One to make the light and 40 or 50 to access the API.


Okay, these aren’t funny jokes. But they offer an essential truth about the connected home situation we’re faced with at the moment — and right now I can’t tell if this is the awesomeness I was hoping for, or a big mistake that will condemn connected homes as the playthings for the tech savvy and inspired.


So far this summer we’ve seen a giant expansion from huge players in the tech and retail worlds with regard to the smart home. Apple launched HomeKit, a program to get devices to work together via an iOS device. Nest launched its developer program. Quirky spun off Wink and said it would offer a hub and in-store products at Home Depot. Staples expanded its Connect program to include more devices and support more radios. Microsoft joined the AllSeen Alliance and created a partnership with Insteon. Google and Samsung teamed up to create a new radio protocol called Thread.


And more is coming. I expect Best Buy to launch its connected home platform that will be supported by iControl and include a hub and devices. Meanwhile Amazon is also investigating products that will tie its interests to the smart home. Faced with this plethora of platforms what’s a consumer to do? And more importantly, where can he or she shop? I’ve broken it out by the current distribution channels with a bit about the pros and cons of each.


The bottom line is that it’s complicated, but it’s likely to get less so if the smart home is your thing.


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The next big front for cloud competition: Location, location, location | GigaOM Tech News

The next big front for cloud competition: Location, location, location | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Now that we’re seeing intense competition in the cloud infrastructure market, each of the vendors is looking for as many ways to differentiate itself as possible.


Big wallets are required to build the infrastructure and picking the right locations to deploy that capital is becoming an important choice.


Cloud vendors can be innovative on a product or technical level, but location is just as important — which geographies does your cloud vendor have data centers in and why does that matter?


There are a number of reasons why a diverse range of locations is important:


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8 Ways Technology Makes You Stupid | Tech News | HuffPost.com

8 Ways Technology Makes You Stupid | Tech News | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

People assume that iPhones, laptops and Netflix are evidence of progress. In some ways, that's true. A moderate amount of Googling, for instance, can be good for your brain, and there are apps that can boost brain function and activity.


Yet tech advancements also come with some unintended consequences. Our brains being "massively rewired" by tech, says neuroscientist Michael Merzenich in The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, a Pulitzer-nominated 2011 book by Nicholas Carr. Merzenich warns that the effect of technology on human intelligence could be “deadly.”


That got us thinking. How exactly is technology messing up our brains?


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Canadian court forces Google to remove search results worldwide, as fears of "memory hole" grow | GigaOM Tech News

Canadian court forces Google to remove search results worldwide, as fears of "memory hole" grow | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A Canadian court took the unprecedented step this week of maintaining  global jurisdiction over Google and forcing it to delete search results not just for “google.ca” but for “google.com” as well. The move comes as lawmakers in Europe pressure Google to censor more pages under a controversial “right-to-be-forgotten” law, and could accelerate a recent trend of disappearing online information.


In the Canadian case, Google had urged a judge in Vancouver to suspend an earlier ruling that required it to remove any search links related to an e-commerce vendor accused of selling knock-off internet equipment. That ruling, which came out in June and gave Google 14 days to remove the results, is now in force after the judge concluded that applying the worldwide ruling would not create “irreparable harm.”


The ruling already appears to be rippling beyond Canada’s borders. For instance, when I searched in the U.S. for a product called “GW-1000,” Google shows that it has censored at least four webpages:


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Happy 3rd anniversary, Gigabit Nation! Check out the 10 most popular interviews | Building the Gigabit City

A humongous Thank you! to all of you listeners and supporters of Gigabit Nation.


Three years ago today, with a month’s worth of guests booked, one sponsor (Hiawatha Broadband Communications) and just a general idea of where this would end up, Gigabit Nation launched. The only radio talk devoted to helping organizations improve the sad state of broadband in these United States.


My first guest was Jim Ingraham, VP of Strategic Research for Chattanooga’s public utility and fiber network operator, EPB (Check out the interview). Tomorrow, I’m in Chattanooga to celebrate the show’s third anniversary in a special 90-minute live interview of some of the key leaders and stakeholders who have contributed to the success of the city’s now famous gig network.


We’ll highlight some of the major milestones the city has reached thanks to its network, as well as take a peek at Chattanooga’s gig future. I’ll also be review some of the high points in Gigabit Nation’s 3-year run.


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Mediacom Exec Asks MO Senator McCaskill To Widen Bill Data Net | Multichannel.com

Mediacom Exec Asks MO Senator McCaskill To Widen Bill Data Net | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The battle between cable operators and broadcasters over retrans reform rages on.

 

The latest volley came from Tom Larsen, group vice president of cable operator Mediacom, who has written Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) suggesting that as part of her inquiry into pay TV bills, she should ask Missouri broadcasters to disclose the rates they charge MVPDs for carriage of their stations.

 

That way, according to Larsen, she can better determine how much of a cable or satellite bill goes to those station owners, the rate at which that payment is rising, how much or little of that is being reinvested locally and more.

 

McCaskill, chair of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, is asking consumers with beefs about their pay TV bills to weigh in via a new "submit the scam" web tool on her Senate website, saying that is part of an effort to "lay the groundwork" for legislation. Broadcasters battling cable operators over retrans reforms, have been celebrating the effort and offering to help.


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Comcast Extends Reach Of 505-Meg FTTP Service | Multichannel.com

Comcast Extends Reach Of 505-Meg FTTP Service | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast confirmed that it has recently extended the reach of Extreme 505, a fiber-based broadband service that pumps out 505 Mbps downstream and 100 Mbps upstream, to several systems in its South Division, including Atlanta, Nashville, Jacksonville, and south Florida.

 

That follows the service’s initial launch in Comcast’s Northeast region in the fall of 2012, and more recently in select cities in its Central Division, including Chicago. Multichannel News reported in February that Comcast was in the process of bringing Extreme 505 to new makets.

 

Extreme 505 is a fiber-to-the-premises product that uses Metro Ethernet technology that Comcast typically uses to deliver business-class services. After starting off with a 305/65 residential speed offering, Comcast ramped it up to 505/100 last fall, presumably to keep pace with Verizon FiOS’s fastest residential broadband tier at the time, which was 500x100. Verizon has since moved ahead on an upstream upgrade plan that will enable it to deliver symmetrical speeds across all tiers, including 500/500 for its top-end offering. (A deeper analysis on Verizon's upgrade and its potential implication for the cable industry will be featured in the July 28 issue of Multichannel News.)


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Virginia Counties May Withdraw From Open-Access Broadband Initiative | GovExec.com

Virginia Counties May Withdraw From Open-Access Broadband Initiative | GovExec.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Southwest Virginia’s Roanoke Valley likes to promote itself as a good environment for business. Anchored by the city of Roanoke, Virginia Tech is nearby and the cost of living is low compared to other Virginia and U.S. cities. Industrial electricity rates are below the national average. So too are construction and labor costs.


But approximately three years ago, some influential members of the area’s business community asked local officials to examine where the Roanoke Valley stood in terms of its Internet connectivity and whether the area was losing any competitive edge in attracting new business and supporting existing tech companies or other broadband-dependent businesses.


Smaller Virginia towns were garnering national attention for their local broadband infrastructure efforts. Galax, near the North Carolina border, joined forces with neighboring small communities to create the Wired Road Authority, a public-private partnership, which in 2009 led to an open-access, integrated regional broadband network with 100-megabit connections and, later, gigabit connections in 2013.


In 2007, Danville, an economically languishing tobacco and textiles town also near the North Carolina border, created a high-speed municipal open-access fiber network, nDanville, that first connected schools and later, businesses. It’s since been touted for its local economic development efforts.


In the Roanoke Valley, local leaders hired a consultant to figure out whether the area was falling behind.


Salem City Manager Kevin Boggess, whose city adjoins the city of Roanoke, told GovExec State & Local on Monday that when you examine the area’s digital connectivity, one thing is clear: “We don’t think we have what we need to attract new technology businesses to the Roanoke Valley.”


That led to the creation of the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority, a coalition of two independent cities, Roanoke and Salem, plus Roanoke County and Botetourt County. The group, formed in 2013, has been in the early stages of creating its own open-access fiber network, which is slated to cost $8.2 million.


The aim is to add five rings of fiber throughout the Roanoke area, creating a local network approximately 60 miles in length. That would tap directly into two existing high-speed fiber networks nearby — Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative’s network, which connects to a long-distance line between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and Citizens Telephone Cooperative’s BTOP network in Southwest Virginia, which has connections to Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech.


But on Friday, broadband authority representatives from the two counties, including Roanoke County Administrator B. Clayton Goodman III, indicated that they may soon back away from their support of the initiative, citing not just budgetary constraints but also, as The Roanoke Times reported Friday, “a more philosophical debate about the the role government should play in society.”


And that might leave the two cities, which already have pledged their support, to pursue a scaled-back project without the help of the counties.


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Jefferson County, KY: 3 companies angling to provide faster Internet lines | Courier-Journal.com

Jefferson County, KY: 3 companies angling to provide faster Internet lines | Courier-Journal.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Businesses and residents in Jefferson County could see faster Internet service in coming years with the Louisville Metro Council expected to approve agreements with three companies that plan to install more fiber optic cable to upgrade service to coveted gigabit levels.


The council will likely vote Thursday night to approve agreements with three companies that plan to expand high-speed Internet service. Some of the new service would replace slower copper wires.


Officials with Sifi Networks, BGN Networks and Fiber Technologies appeared Tuesday before the council’s public works committee, which unanimously recommended franchise agreements with the three to the full council. The three are considering running fiber optic cable into different areas of the city for both residential and commercial customers. The agreements would be in line with Mayor Greg Fischer’s effort to boost access to ultra-high-speed gigabit Internet, which he argues is critical to economic development.


If any of the three go ahead with the service, they could represent new competition for existing Internet providers such as Time Warner Cable and AT&T. The franchise agreements allow the companies to lay the cable in public rights of way and last for 20 years.


Currently, Louisville has a combination of fiber optics and slower copper lines, Metro Councilman Kevin Kramer said. “That is going to be the key is having this fiber optic more completely across the community,” he said.


Fischer has said having access to a high-speed broadband network “has quickly become viewed as critical urban infrastructure, similar to electricity, water and roadways.”


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Why You Can't Take the FCC's ISP Transparency Pledge Seriously - They've Let ISPs Abuse Below-The-Line Fees for a Decade | DSLReports.com

Why You Can't Take the FCC's ISP Transparency Pledge Seriously - They've Let ISPs Abuse Below-The-Line Fees for a Decade | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While Verizon's legal victory over the FCC did gut the agency's net neutrality rules, it kept some of the FCC's authority over ISPs intact -- specifically the agency's transparency rules -- which require that ISPs be straightforward about the "network management practices, performance, and commercial terms" of their broadband services.


In a statement issued today, the FCC "reminded" wireline and wireless ISPs alike that those rules are still intact and need to be adhered to, lest the agency lightly slap a wrist or two -- maybe.

"Consumers deserve to get the broadband service they pay for," FCC boss Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "After today, no broadband provider can claim they didn’t know we were watching to see that they disclose accurate information about the services they provide."

"We expect providers to be fully transparent about the details of their services, and we will hold them accountable if they fall down on this obligation to consumers," continues Wheeler.

Will they? The transparency rules Wheeler mentions are also supposed to govern pricing, requiring that ISPs are transparent about monthly pricing and various fees tacked on to user broadband bills.

Yet as I've noted numerous times over the last decade, ISPs consistently are allowed to bury all manner of nonsensical fees below the line, allowing them to covertly jack up consumer broadband bills while leaving the advertised price the same. This is technically false advertising, but I've never seen the FCC (or any other regulator) seriously address the practice.


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Plans Made to Connect 911 Centers Nationwide, Officials Say | GovTech.com

Plans Made to Connect 911 Centers Nationwide, Officials Say | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Plans are in the works to connect 911 dispatch centers across the state of Kentucky and nationwide, in an effort to help dispatchers in other regions share information more effectively.


Paul Nave, director of Owensboro-Daviess County, Ky.'s 911 dispatch center, said the plan is to connect dispatchers via the Internet, which would allow centers to transfer calls, 911 text messages, photos and videos of accident scenes and other information quickly. The ability to transfer data such as text messages already exists and is part of "Next Generation 911" technology that is being installed in dispatch centers around the country, including Daviess County.


In an emergency where a dispatch center's equipment is damaged, calls could be routed back to the local dispatchers from another 911 call center, Nave said.


"It's interesting to think we can still do the job and (use) a server 100 miles away, and it will be seamless," Nave said.


Joe Barrows, executive director of the Kentucky Commercial Radio Service Board, said 911 dispatch centers are phasing out old analog technology. The board was created in 1996 to comply with federal requirements that cell phone carriers connect their services to 911 systems. The board is also working to expand new 911 technology; one of the board's goals, according to its "Next Generation 911" plan, is to create an "IP (Internet protocol)-based network to receive, process, route and deliver all 911 calls within a State of Kentucky Managed Network."


"What's happening in the 911 world is a modernization of the 911 system that has been in place and operating on technology that is 30 years old," Barrows said. "911 is the last holdout ... for analog.


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Broadband bullies: Cable companies, lawmakers gang up on local providers | InfoWorld.com

Broadband bullies: Cable companies, lawmakers gang up on local providers | InfoWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You love your broadband provider, don't you? Right down to the Netflix slowdowns and inscrutable surcharges. You'd never, ever consider switching to faster, cheaper public broadband run by your local municipality.


If Washington gets its way, you’ll never have the chance to make that choice.


But don't point the finger at the FCC. The agency that was slammed with a torrent of comments on its hands-off approach to Net neutrality has indicated its willingness to intervene and preempt state laws that block broadband competition.


So the House of Representatives responded by tacking an amendment onto H.R. 5016, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, that would prohibit the FCC from acting on behalf of local communities. Last week's vote broke largely along party lines: 221 Republicans, along with two Democrats, voted in favor of the proposal; 196 Democrats and four Republicans opposed it.


Confused that supposedly local government-oriented Republicans are squashing local initiatives aimed at bringing choice and competition to the monopolistic telecom market? The Internet may bring people closer together, but Internet lobbying dollars make for some interesting political bedfellows, and big telecom companies spend millions pushing their agendas in state and federal legislatures.


The amendment was proposed by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, which is another irony, seeing as Chattanooga, in Blackburn's own state of Tennessee, has become a poster child for local government successfully selling high-speed broadband directly to consumers. EPB, the city-owned electric company, offers one of the fastest and least expensive Internet services in the country. Its 1Gbps Internet -- 50 times the average speed for homes in the United States -- costs less than $70 per month.


Meanwhile, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that "constituents back in Hickman County in the center of Blackburn's Tennessee district struggle to get fast and affordable Internet services (as) only 38 percent of Hickman residents have access to broadband services, far below the Tennessee statewide average of 58 percent."


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Deeper Dive into EFF's Motion on Backbone Surveillance | EFF.org

Deeper Dive into EFF's Motion on Backbone Surveillance | EFF.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday we filed a motion for partial summary judgment in our long running Jewel v. NSA case, focusing on the government's admitted seizure and search of communications from the Internet backbone, also called "upstream." We've asked the judge to rule that there are two ways in which this is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment:


  1. The admitted seizure of communications from the Internet backbone, for which we have government admissions plus the evidence we received long ago from Mark Klein.
  2. The government's admitted search of the entire communications stream, including the content of communications.


We're very proud of this motion (especially the infographic), and we're hoping that this shifts the conversation around the world to how the surveillance actually happens, rather than the U.S. government's self-serving word games about it. 


As this motion progresses, here are a few points to keep in mind:


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NC: Moogfest's return is good news for Asheville's future | Citizen-Times.com

NC: Moogfest's return is good news for Asheville's future | Citizen-Times.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New ideas don't always get a warm welcome in Asheville, where more than a few people always worry about our town losing its authenticity. Asheville can be as ambivalent as it is adventuresome.


You can see it played out in the downtown architecture. After the city fathers raised their Art Deco city hall, the county counterparts made sure they built a courthouse militantly opposed to any new style.


Still, it was surprising the reception that Moogfest had in some corners of Asheville after wrapping a successful relaunch in April. Twitter had more than its share of twits and trolls who seemed to actively want Moogfest to fail. Meanwhile, the rumor mill was busy speculating about Moogfest's doubtful return, and some local media followed those rumors rather than do any solid reporting.


Mike Adams, president of Moog Music, which stages the festival, put all rumors to rest this week. Moogfest will be back as a biennial event, starting in 2016. That should come as little surprise, since it took Moog staffers about two years to stage the revamped festival. They need time to wrangle the right talent and corral the contributions from corporate sponsors who can make this a sustainable venture far into the future.


Adams knew going into it that the revamped Moogfest in its first year was never going to be a money maker. He repeatedly said he expected to lose hundred of thousands of dollars. Still, the extent of the red ink raised some eyebrows in the community when the five-day festival showed a $1.5 million shortfall.


But that was largely Moog Music's money to spend. There aren't that many companies willing to stake $1.5 million of their capital on a bet to attract more technologists to town, not just more short-term tourists.


Moogfest offers a different way of thinking about economic development. Communities can no longer depend on going out with a bunch of taxpayer incentives to recruit a huge factory that will provide paychecks. The days of those 1,000-worker-strong mills and factory floors are long gone. Cheaper labor is too readily available overseas. What survives here in industry is a highly skilled work force in advanced manufacturing.


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The data shows: Top H-1B users are offshore outsourcers | NetworkWorld.com

The data shows: Top H-1B users are offshore outsourcers | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The largest single users of H-1B visas are offshore outsourcers, many of which are based in India, or, if U.S. based, have most employees located overseas, according to government data obtained and analyzed by Computerworld.


Search the 2012 H-1B database by employer to see how many new H-1B visas were granted to a company.


The analysis comes as supporters of the skilled-worker visa program are trying to hike the H-1B cap to 300,000. Supporters of the raised cap, though, face opposition from critics who contend that H-1B visas undermine American tech workers and shouldn't be expanded.


Based on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data analyzed, the major beneficiaries of the proposed increase in the cap would be pure offshore outsourcing firms.


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Wikipedia Blocks U.S. House Computers Over 'Disruptive Editing' | TPM Livewire

Wikipedia Blocks U.S. House Computers Over 'Disruptive Editing' | TPM Livewire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Wikipedia administrators on Thursday temporarily blocked computers at the U.S. House of Representatives from making changes to pages because of “disruptive editing,” according to the Washington Post.


The 10-day block came after the Twitter feed @congressedits began automatically tweeting the edits to Wikipedia pages made from IP addresses in Congress, according to BBC News.


The edits included changes to pages about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and moon landing conspiracy theories. BBC News reported that the biography of former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was also revised to describe him as an “alien lizard who eats Mexican babies.”


However it was a change to the Wikipedia page for the media news site Mediaite that finally prompted the ban, according to BBC News. The page was reportedly edited to describe the site as a “sexist transphobic” publication “that automatically assumes that someone is male without evidence.”


Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told BBC News that the editing did not surprise him, and that vandalism “always goes on and it always will.”

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