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Rep. Eshoo Pushes GAO to Study Usage Caps - Concerned About Impact on Consumers, Innovation | DSLReports.com

Representative Anna Eshoo this week asked the GAO to conduct a study on how usage caps and overages are applied to both wireless and wired networks. Eshoo urged the GAO to collect data on how caps are determined, when they're applied, how they change in response to costs, and also asked the FTC and FCC for a list of complaints related to said pricing.

 

"I'm concerned that usage-based pricing, particularly when applied discriminatorily or at arbitrarily low levels, could discourage the innovation, competition, and consumer choice that have been the hallmark of the Internet's success to date," Eshoo wrote.

 

The FCC has thus far been a bit wishy washy on the subject, and has failed to notice that usage meters on both wired and wireless networks often aren't accurate.

 

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TabiMouse app turns iPhone into a mouse for the iPad | GizMag.com

TabiMouse app turns iPhone into a mouse for the iPad | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You've got an iPhone and an iPad, but you don't have a mouse to use with the iPad ... or do you? Actually, Tabitop's new TabiMouse app converts an iPhone into a Bluetooth iPad-friendly mouse. The only catch is, you have to be willing to use your iPad as a PC.


The TabiMouse app is free, and allows the screen of an iPhone to function as a laptop-style trackpad. You tap the phone's glass with either one or two fingers to select between left and right mouse clicks, then simply slide your finger(s) around to correspondingly move the cursor on the iPad's display. It's also possible to scroll, zoom in or out, and drag and drop.


TabiMouse is intended for use with the Tabitop iPad app, however, which effectively turns the tablet into a cloud-based PC. Users can run full versions of Windows-based programs, on either a Windows 7 or 8 platform. Subscription prices for the service start at US$3.99 a month, which includes 35 GB of online data storage.

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Content Is King, But It Won’t Be For Long: Analyst | Deadline.com

Content Is King, But It Won’t Be For Long: Analyst | Deadline.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This won’t go over well with the media moguls hobnobbing at the Allen & Co retreat in Sun Valley. But it’s the thesis behind the “neutral” rating that Barclays Capital’s Kannan Venkateshwar assigns to Big Media in his smart new 100-plus-page inaugural report on the industry.


The major players – CBS, Discovery, Time Warner, Fox, Viacom, and Disney — make most of their profits from television. And although revenues in the field have grown over the last five years, “the source of this growth in most cases (with a few notable exceptions) has been through price inflation and an increase in the advertising inventory rather than a more sustainable growth in ratings,” he says.


That spells trouble as Netflix, Amazon and others also produce content for the Web, and pay TV distributors including Comcast and DirecTV strike merger deals that make them stronger. They focus on shows and search engines — not networks and schedules. And as they forge stronger ties with subscribers, “traditional media companies get pushed further back into the value chain, further away from a direct relationship with the consumer.”


Can mergers help content creators maintain the upper hand? Not if they combine with each other, Venkateshwar says. He recognizes that “some content providers over the longer term will likely have to consolidate to get the scale advantage vis a vis the distributors” when they negotiate fees.


But many production costs are fixed; big companies don’t pay substantially less than small ones do to produce shows. The best remedy, the analyst says, is for content creators to sell out to distributors so both sides can benefit from the growth of video on demand.


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Source: FCC Chair Has Votes to Pass E-Rate Reform | Multichannel.com

Source: FCC Chair Has Votes to Pass E-Rate Reform | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has secured enough votes to pass his proposed E-rate reforms at today's meeting, according to an agency official speaking on background. that will almost certainly be on a straight party line vote.

 

E-rate is the Universal Service Fund subsidy that goes to provide advanced telecommunications to schools and libraries.

 

In the wake of concerns from the Hill and elsewhere about the migration of E-rate funding to wireless broadband and its impact on funding of traditional broadband connectivity, the order is now said to include a "safety valve" that makes sure that support for that basic service is not eroded by Wi-Fi demand.

 

The commission will seek comment on long-term funding for the program, and include an evaluation of the Wi-Fi migration as part of that long-term review.


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Government Cloud Use Requires a Culture Shift | Kenneth Corbin | NetworkWorld.com

Government Cloud Use Requires a Culture Shift | Kenneth Corbin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If the government is to realize its goal of running an agile, largely cloud-based technology operation, it will require buy-in from all corners of the agency, senior technology executives said at a government IT conference on Wednesday.


Barry West, CIO of the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, describes that process as "socializing cloud on the business side," and it can be a lonely fight without support at the highest reaches of the agency.


"You have to really have a sponsor in your organization that believes in cloud and is willing to take some risk into new areas that they may not have been in before," West says. That executive sponsor should sit at the CIO level or higher (director, administrator, secretary, deputy secretary, chief management officer or the like), he adds.


"You have to have somebody that's really partnered with that CIO that's going to take some of the risk and challenges and be willing to work with some of the other folks in the organization that may be not so comfortable with cloud or not being able to see their data in their own data center," West says.


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University of Delaware whacks $1B data center/power supply project | NetworkWorld.com

University of Delaware whacks $1B data center/power supply project | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The University of Delaware this week killed off a plan to develop a 900,000 sq. ft. data center project that included a 279-megawatt cogeneration power plant.


 Citing the size of the project, the potential effects of subsequent greenhouse gases, public opposition and other issues the university pulled the plug on the $1 billion project that was being developed for its 272 acre Science, Technology & Advanced Research (STAR) Campus by The Data Centers, LLC (TDC).


According to TDC the massive project was to feature a large on-site energy component and would draw no electricity from the grid but rather sell power back to the grid. “This means added redundancy will be built into the project. The plant consists of a proprietary configuration of natural gas turbines, steam turbines and gas engines, with two independent natural gas supply lines on site to provide the reliability to deliver uninterrupted, fault tolerant power to the data center,” according to the TDC website.


The University had signed a land-lease with TDC in 2012 to develop the data center. But, “during the spring and summer of 2013, information emanating from TDC suggested that their plans were evolving with greater emphasis being placed on power generation and selling excess energy to the grid, changes that on the surface might not align with the vision for the STAR Campus,” the university wrote in a report outlining its decision to cancel the lease.


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MA: The City of Boston probes parking app | BostonHerald.com

MA: The City of Boston probes parking app | BostonHerald.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

City Hall is looking into the company behind a planned launch next week of a mobile app that will help drivers sell their city parking spaces to other drivers, and maintained its stance that publicly owned spaces can’t be privately sold.


“The city of Boston has been in touch with Haystack, and we are exploring their service,” said mayoral spokeswoman Kate Norton.


Baltimore-based Haystack plans to debut the smartphone service in Boston next Thursday. Its mobile app would connect parking-space seekers willing to pay $3 to secure the spots of drivers leaving their spaces. Haystack would get 75 cents of that.


The app’s “make-me-move” feature lets parked drivers set their own price, between $5 and $15, for a spot they’re willing to 
vacate “for the right price.”


Asked if the city sees Haystack’s business model as legal, Norton said, “I don’t have an answer for that.”


But Haystack founder Eric Meyer said, “Our firm 
belief is that Haystack is 
100 percent legal. Haystack is simply a platform that allows users to exchange information. Neighbors have every right to exchange that information. Haystack does not buy, sell, lease or retain any physical parking spots.”


Meyer said he had a “very good, collaborative conversation” yesterday with the co-chairmen of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, which serves as the city’s innovation incubator.


He said he outlined benefits, such as reducing traffic congestion and emissions, and easing drivers’ parking frustrations. Noting the city’s 
recent request for proposals for an app that would let drivers pay for parking meters with their smartphones, Meyer said, “We could envision several ways in which Haystack could collaborate with the city to kind of fuse potentially those two systems.”


Haystack launched in beta mode in Baltimore on June 3.

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This practically ancient Internet technology supports speeds 1,000 times the national average | WashPost.com

This practically ancient Internet technology supports speeds 1,000 times the national average | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Researchers at Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs have developed a way to send Internet traffic over phone lines at speeds reaching 10 Gbps — that's 1,000 times faster than what the average American household currently gets.


The new technology even beats fiber optic speeds at short distances, the company said Wednesday, adding that the 10 Gbps benchmark represents a new world record. By comparison, a high-definition Netflix stream requires around 5 Mbps of bandwidth, or five-hundredths of one percent of what Bell Labs's technology is theoretically capable of.


It's hard to understate how big a breakthrough this is. Bell Labs is using copper wire technology — the same stuff that once upon a time drove dial-up and now supports DSL in addition to your regular telephone calls. This isn't your parents' DSL, however. Bell Labs' invention, called XG-FAST, opens up new possibilities for getting gigabit speeds (or more) to consumers. You could marry XG-FAST with fiber, for instance, so that you don't actually have to spend gobs of money installing fiber directly to people's homes. Or perhaps with future improvements, DSL might return as a viable alternative to cable or fiber — even though currently DSL may account for only one-third of the U.S. fixed broadband market. It's a particularly momentous development for Europe, where DSL is more common than other types of Internet.


For now, the 10 Gbps rate is only achievable over 30 meters and requires Alcatel-Lucent to bond two pairs of typical copper lines together. Over distances of 70 meters, XG-FAST uses a single pair of copper wires. At those ranges, speeds "drop" to 1 Gbps — which is still crazy fast, and on par with fiber. XG-Fast is based off of another emerging DSL standard known as G.Fast.


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Tech Companies Launch New Coalition To Keep Operating Company Patents From Ending Up Abused By Trolls | Techdirt.com

Tech Companies Launch New Coalition To Keep Operating Company Patents From Ending Up Abused By Trolls | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tech companies, even those that dislike the patent system (which is many of them), still feel pressured into getting lots of patents, often for defensive purposes, to avoid lawsuits. However, as we've discussed in the past, even patents that are initially obtained for defensive purposes are a nuclear weapon problem in waiting.


Companies fail all the time, and their patents suddenly get sold off to the highest bidder -- and quite frequently these days, those are trolls. Some companies have tried to come up with unique and innovative ways to stop this potential trolling problem. For example, a few years ago, Twitter came up with the Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA) which basically lets the engineers named on a patent issue a free license to whomever they want for the life of the patent. This is sort of an anti-troll talisman, because that engineer can simply go and give a free license to anyone a troll threatens.

While other companies haven't jumped on the IPA bandwagon, it appears a bunch of tech companies are trying something different. Google, Newegg, Dropbox, SAP, Asana and Canon have teamed up to launch the "License on Transfer Network," which is a royalty-free patent cross-licensing program, for any patent that is transferred outside of the group.


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Amazon seeks US exemption to test delivery drones | NetworkWorld.com

Amazon seeks US exemption to test delivery drones | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Amazon.com has asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration permission to test drones outdoors for use in its Prime Air package delivery service.


In the run up to launching the service, which aims to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less, the online retailer is developing aerial vehicles that travel over 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, and will carry 5pound (2.3 kilogram) payloads, which account for 86 percent of the products sold on Amazon.


U.S. regulations currently allow non-commercial, hobbyist uses of model aircraft under certain conditions, but the FAA has been exploring giving exemptions to seven aerial photo and video production companies for filming movies, ahead of finalizing rules for the integration of commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace.


Amazon has been currently experimenting with Prime Air inside its research and development lab in Seattle, the company said in its exemption application to the FAA. As it is a commercial enterprise, it has been limited to conducting test flights indoors or in other countries, it said. The company said it would prefer to keep the focus, jobs and investment for the program in the U.S.


The retailer said that granting its request for exemption would do no more than allow Amazon to do what thousands of hobbyists and manufacturers of model aircraft already do every day. It said it will abide by much stronger safety measures than currently required for these groups by FAA policies and regulations.


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PA: New archive tracks political ads, money on Philly TV | Philly.com

PA: New archive tracks political ads, money on Philly TV | Philly.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What if you could track every political ad and news segment on TV in the Philadelphia market, see what it said, and, in the case of ads, find out who paid for it?


That would tell you much about the information/disinformation flow, the quality of reporting and analysis, the money and the moneybags. It might illuminate, in new detail, the playing field for November, and beyond.


Two recent developments have brought that day much nearer.


First, as of July 1, under a 2012 FCC decision, all TV stations must now make their political ad information public, digitally.


Second, the Internet Archive - the San Francisco nonprofit creating a digital history library - has started a program titled Philadelphia Media Landscape ( bit.ly/1zn427h) in the Philadelphia market, and it's very cool.


The archive is recording all of the TV news shows and political ads in our area. Ultimately (the website is empty right now), you will be able to search and rewatch them online, as soon as 24 hours after broadcast. The first focus is on election season 2014, but in this 24/7/365 political world, the project will keep going toward 2016. The archive is also collecting Philadelphia-related Web info, from such places as party and campaign sites and news blogs. First fruits will show up in August, the project managers hope.


To be sure, political ads are now microtargeted online, on cable news, even down to the text message. But a God's-eye view of the broadcast landscape would be invaluable.


Why Philadelphia? Roger McDonald, the Internet Archive's director for television, says, "It's the fourth-largest TV market in the country. And the market area, which includes southern New Jersey, is a truly diverse community, with varieties of local issues and players seeking a voice."


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PA: Project aims to boost transparency in Philadelphia region's elections | Philly.com

While most of us enjoyed fireworks, baseball and barbecues over the Fourth of July weekend, a dozen or so enterprising volunteers in the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed may have signed on to their computers to keep the flame of liberty alive.


Recruited and organized by Philadelphia's most venerable good-government group, the Internet Archive and the Sunlight Foundation, the volunteers aim to record and analyze the media landscape in one key political market in the months leading up to Election Day.


The plan: to create a repository of all the political communications we can scoop up in the Philadelphia area and match them, to the best of our ability, with data on who is buying the ads and what we know about the political donors. Philadelphia voters will be bombarded with ads in a number of competitive races this fall. Besides the contest for Pennsylvania governor, there will be competitive races for three area House seats, in Pennsylvania's 6th and 8th Congressional Districts and in the 3rd Congressional District of New Jersey.


The Internet Archive and Sunlight will provide the technology and the data; volunteers will help us get it into shape for analysis and interpretation.


In an environment when too many Americans think there is nothing they can do to keep big money from overrunning their democracy, this collaboration offers a chance to help find out who the big political players are, what they're spending, what messages they're offering, and who's behind them. It lets citizens follow the money instead of being swamped by the ads that money buys.


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Dawn of the Web: an oral history | The Boston Globe

Dawn of the Web: an oral history | The Boston Globe | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In many ways, the world we inhabit today isn’t so dramatically different from the one that existed in 1994. The roads were full of Americans SUVs and Japanese sedans; Congress was mired in partisan dysfunction. Americans vaguely roused their enthusiasm for soccer as their team surpassed expectations in the World Cup. At night you flicked on cable, with hundreds of channels.


And then there was the way you used a computer.


If you had a computer, and many people did, it sat on your desk and ran programs on floppy disks. It connected to the printer and—if you were very tech savvy—to a dial-up service like America Online or Compuserve.


But that year the public began to pick up on rumblings of something new: a piece of technology called the World Wide Web that allowed you to connect to an “Internet” through your phone line. On the “Today” show, Katie Couric described it with skepticism in her voice as a computer thing “that’s becoming really big now.” Vice President Al Gore, in a speech, compared it to an “information superhighway.”


The Web had existed for a couple of years as a kind of insiders’ tech experiment, and the Internet had been around longer. But it was 1994 when the world pivoted, and fast. The number of websites grew from 623 at the beginning of the year, according to one study, to more than 10,000 at the end. E-mail quickly spread from universities to offices and homes.


To illustrate just how far we’ve come since those days, NPR recently published a memo dated April 28, 1994, that was sent to all staff in order to announce, “Internet is coming to NPR!” “If you want to find out what the Internet is, how and when NPR is going to use it, join us for a presentation and discussion [tomorrow] at noon in the Board Room.”


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Aereo: Oh Wait, We’re a Cable System After All | Re/Code.net

Aereo: Oh Wait, We’re a Cable System After All | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Video startup Aereo spent years arguing it shouldn’t have to pay local TV broadcasters for the right to stream their channels online like cable operators. One failed Supreme Court challenge later, Aereo has had a change of heart.


The video streaming company told a U.S. district court in New York Wednesday it now thinks it’s entitled to be licensed as a cable system because of the Supreme Court’s decision. That would allow the company to stay alive although it would have to pay licensing fees in addition to costs to restart its stalled business.


Aereo allowed consumers to watch local TV channels over the Internet for a monthly fee of up to $12 until shutting down its service a few weeks ago after the Supreme Court sided with broadcasters and said the company was violating federal copyright laws.


“Aereo has been careful to follow the law and the Supreme Court has announced a new and different rule governing Aereo’s operations last week,” the company wrote in a court filing Wednesday. When the Supreme Court called Aereo a cable system that was significant, the company now argues, because it means it’s entitled to be licensed as such under copyright laws.


Four years ago, a lower court rejected a similar argument from a video streaming startup, Ivi, which wanted to be considered a cable system under the Copyright Act. Aereo argued Wednesday that the Supreme Court’s decision overruled that lower court decision and means it should be allowed to restart its operations as a cable company.


Several industry observers, including BTIG Research’s Richard Greenfield, made a similar point a few weeks ago, suggesting that the high court had possibly opened the door for this sort of argument from online video streaming companies.


But Aereo’s new strategy represents a bit of a leap for a company built around the idea of not paying fees to broadcasters.


“I don’t want to be in the business of buying wholesale content and retailing it to consumers. That doesn’t make sense in the long-term,” Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, told Re/Code’s Peter Kafka in those heady pre-Supreme Court decision days.


This is the second attempt by Aereo (which famously said it didn’t have a Plan B if it lost at the high court) to find some way to salvage its business.


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James Carlini Review | The Internet of Things: QNX Seminar | Internet of Things Journal

James Carlini Review | The Internet of Things: QNX Seminar | Internet of Things Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This is a summary of a QNX webinar that was just presented on July 10, 2014 by BlackBerry (BBRY) and QNX.


This was an anticipated seminar because many people are looking for answers to questions they have about the big buzzword, the Internet of Things (IoT). They also want to know what role does the cloud-based product QNX play within this environment?


The QNX webinar gave a good overview of what the QNX product was and how it fit into the overall business market. They are operating system agnostic, which means they can work with any device, not just one type of Operating System. They have multi-OS adaptability.


They want to be totally inclusive of all devices and use one platform to manage everything. They have focused on end-to-end security, which is a huge issue across many industries as well as many applications.


They focused on the core principles which have to be architected into any platform upfront, especially if it is addressing a massive-scale application:


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Let it go? Heck no--Verizon says congestion caused by Netflix transit providers | FierceCable.com

Let it go? Heck no--Verizon says congestion caused by Netflix transit providers | FierceCable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The corporate blog-based finger-pointing between Verizon and Netflix has continued, with Verizon launching a new screed accusing Netflix's own transit providers of causing sluggish streaming video performance over the Verizon network.


"A few weeks ago, Verizon received an email from a customer in Los Angeles asking why he was not getting a good experience watching Netflix on his 75 Mbps FiOS connection," writes David Young, VP of federal regulatory affairs for Verizon. "He was understandably confused by some of the misleading public accounts that inaccurately suggest widespread congestion that could affect Netflix traffic on Verizon's network. Worse still were claims that Verizon is deliberately 'throttling' Netflix traffic. This customer wanted to know what was going on and why his performance wasn't what he hoped. We, too, wanted to get to the bottom of the problem."


So what did Verizon's investigation find?


"There was no congestion anywhere within the Verizon network," Young explained. "There was, however, congestion at the interconnection link to the edge of our network (the border router) used by the transit providers chosen by Netflix to deliver video traffic to Verizon's network.


"While the links chosen by Netflix were congested (congestion occurs when use approaches or reaches 100% capacity during peak usage periods), the links from other transit providers (carrying non-Netflix traffic) to Verizon's network did not experience congestion and were performing fine," he added.


The kerfuffle started in early June, when Netflix sent on-screen messages to customers experiencing buffering issues, suggesting their performance problem might be tied to their ISP (i.e. Verizon). The two companies have regularly been tweaking each other over network streaming performance since that time.


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FCC Moves to Expand Closed Captioning Rules to Web Clips | Variety.com

FCC Moves to Expand Closed Captioning Rules to Web Clips | Variety.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC adopted new rules on Friday to expand the types of online video that broadcasters, cable and satellite channels must caption for the deaf and hearing impaired.


The agency already requires that full-length programming that appears with closed-captioning on TV also include captioning when the video is posted online. The new rules extend captioning to clips of that TV content.


“This is just the beginning in dealing with our responsibility to make sure that individuals with specific needs are at the front of the technology train, not at the back of the technology train,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.


He was joined by fellow commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn. Commissioner Ajit Pai concurred, while Commissioner Michael P. O’Rielly gave approval to part of the order and concurred on other parts.


The rules establish a series of deadlines between 2016 and 2017 for captioning the clips, including live- and almost-live programming. Clips from TV programming will have to be captioned by Jan. 1, 2016, but the FCC also is giving extra time for captioning of clips of live and near-live programming until July 1, 2017. Broadcasters and cable firms will have 12 hours to caption those live clips, and 8 hours for near-live programming.


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Lenovo ships first 4K laptop, challenging Toshiba | NetworkWorld.com

Lenovo ships first 4K laptop, challenging Toshiba | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Toshiba is not the only company selling a 4K laptop anymore; Lenovo has finally shipped its first 4K laptop, sporting a 5.6-inch screen, after months of delays.


The IdeaPad Y50 UHD laptop starts at US$1,299.99 and is targeted at gamers. The 4K screen can display images at 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is the highest resolution available in laptops today.


The Y50 is cheaper than Toshiba’s Satellite P50T, which starts at $1,499.99. The P50T started shipping in April, but was temporarily pulled from Toshiba’s website, and is now available again.


Laptop screens have so far topped out at 3200 x 1800 pixels in Samsung’s Ativ Book 9 Plus, Lenovo’s Yoga 2 Pro and Razer’s Blade gaming laptop. TVs, monitors and cameras with support for 4K are already available.


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LAYTON, UT: Costs may rise for UTOPIA cities still moving ahead | The Davis Clipper

LAYTON, UT: Costs may rise for UTOPIA cities still moving ahead | The Davis Clipper | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Now that Centerville and four other UTOPIA cities have bowed out, the road ahead might be getting more expensive for those still moving ahead.


Layton, UT is one of the six UTOPIA cities who voted to move ahead to step two of the proposed deal, just over half of the 11 cities who first entered into talks with the Australian company. With Centerville, Murray, Lindon, Orem and Payson having chosen to opt out of the deal, however, Macquarie said that those utility costs may rise.


“They’ve said that costs could go up, but they haven’t made a commitment that they will,” said Layton City Mayor Bob J. Stevenson. “We’re learning more information.”


The mandatory utility fee was initially estimated at being $18-$20, but that cost depended on all 11 cities participating in the agreement. Now that fewer cities are involved, the costs are being redistributed.


“If you take away a certain amount of the build-out, you take away a certain amount of expense (for Macquarie),” said Layton City Attorney Gary Crane. “But you’re also taking away a certain number of connections.”


If Macquarie decides there aren’t enough connections left, the deal might fall through anyway.


“They’ll take a look at the numbers and see if the six cities meet a critical mass to warrant going forward,” said Crane. “They need to see if it’s worth going forward. Frankly, we’re looking at that as well.”


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Canadia MSO Cogeco Drops IPTV Project, Goes With TiVo | Multichannel.com

Canadia MSO Cogeco Drops IPTV Project, Goes With TiVo | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canadian MSO Cogeco revealed in its third quarter earnings report that it has scotched a plan to roll out an alternative IPTV solution, and will instead move forward on a deal with TiVo.

 

Cogeco said its indirect cable subsidiary, Cogeco Cable Canada, was hit with an impairment of C$32.2 million tied to an IPTV project that encountered “performance issues” and has since been abandoned.

 

“Subsequently, in order to enhance its competitiveness, the Cogeco Cable Canada subsidiary has concluded a partnership with TiVo Inc.,” the company said, noting that the MSO expects to deploy a TiVo-based multiscreen solution in the first half of its 2015 fiscal year. Based on its current financial reporting structure, Cogeco would be expected to start rollouts before March 2015.

 

Cogeco and TiVo certainly aren’t strangers. Atlantic Broadband, a Cogeco Cable subsidiary that serves about 227,000 video subs in the U.S., began to roll out a TiVo-powered service last fall.


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Complaints About Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal Now Being Accepted | Re/Code.net

Complaints About Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal Now Being Accepted | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Don’t like the idea of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable and Internet provider, getting larger by purchasing Time Warner Cable? You can now officially let regulators know, after the Federal Communications Commission formally launched its review of the deal Thursday.


The agency is asking for comments about the proposed $45 billion transaction (including Comcast’s spin-off deal with Charter Communications). Initial comments are due August 25, with final comments due October 8.


The action Thursday is mostly administrative. The FCC has already received more than 10,000 comments about the deal since it was announced in February. The FCC notice Thursday also starts an informal 180-day shot-clock for completing its review, although that doesn’t really mean much because the agency routinely blows those deadlines.


In a statement, Comcast* reiterated its position that the acquisition is in the public’s interest, but suggested that it knows others may not agree.


“Our filings have shown that considerable consumer benefits occur because of this transaction and there’s no diminishment in competition,” Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said in a statement. “Of course, we fully expect a robust debate, and that’s what the FCC process is for. But we believe that once all the facts are in the record, it will show the significant advantages that bringing these companies together will bring.”


Have some thoughts about the proposed deal? Comcast rival Dish offered a few earlier this week. You can tell the FCC here, under docket number 14-57.


* Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit is an investor in Revere Digital, Re/code’s parent company.

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Gmail users on iOS at risk of data interception | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Gmail users on iOS at risk of data interception | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Apple users accessing Gmail on mobile devices could be at risk of having their data intercepted, a mobile security company said Thursday.


The reason is Google has not yet implemented a security technology that would prevent attackers from viewing and modifying encrypted communications exchanged with the Web giant, wrote Avi Bashan, chief information security officer for Lacoon Mobile Security, based in Israel and the U.S.


Websites use digital certificates to encrypt data traffic using the SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) protocols. But in some instances, those certificates can be spoofed by attackers, allowing them to observe and decrypt the traffic.


That threat can be eliminated through certificate “pinning,” which involves hard coding the details for the legitimate digital certificate into an application.


Unlike for Android, Google doesn’t do this for iOS, which means an attacker could execute a man-in-the-middle attack and read encrypted communications, Bashan wrote. Google acknowledged the problem after being notified by Lacoon on Feb. 24, but the problem has not been fixed, he wrote.


Google officials did not have an immediate comment.


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US Senator Franken on AT&T/DirecTV: Stand-Alone Broadband a Must | Broadcasting & Cable

US Senator Franken on AT&T/DirecTV: Stand-Alone Broadband a Must | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

US Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) says he is concerned that a combined AT&T/DirecTV could become a mobile Internet "gatekeeper" and wants government vetters of the deal—the FCC and DOJ—to hold the companies to a "thoroughly articulated" commitment to offer stand-alone broadband.


He says that without that stand-alone commitment, AT&T could force customers into bundled service they may not want, raising prices while at the same time limiting choices.


That came in a letter to both agencies asking for careful scrutiny of the proposed merger.


Franken also wants the agencies to hold AT&T to its pledge to abide by both the spirit and the letter of the FCC's 2010 Open Internet rules and to "thoroughly consider" the deal's impact on network neutrality.


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Dish claims Comcast, TWC will use “choke points” to harm video competitors | Ars Technica

Dish claims Comcast, TWC will use “choke points” to harm video competitors | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Satellite TV and Internet provider Dish has asked the Federal Communications Commission to block Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), and it's not a fan of the AT&T/DirecTV merger either.


"The pending Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger presents serious competitive concerns for the broadband and video marketplaces and therefore should be denied. There do not appear to be any conditions that would remedy the harms that would result from the merger," Dish Deputy General Counsel Jeffrey Blum wrote in a filing with the FCC today.


Dish didn't ask the FCC to block AT&T's proposed purchase of satellite provider DirecTV, but the company said it "presents competitive concerns... Among other things, AT&T and DIRECTV will also be able to combine their market power to leverage programming content, to the potential detriment of consumers." AT&T hasn't responded to a request for comment, but it argued previously that it needs to buy DirecTV because its own TV service is unsuccessful, and it claims consumers will benefit from expanded broadband deployments.


As for Comcast/TWC, Dish argued that the combined company "will have at least three ‘choke points’ in the broadband pipe where it can harm competing video services: the last mile ‘public Internet’ channel to the consumer; the interconnection point; and any managed or specialized service channels, which can act as high speed lanes and squeeze the capacity of the public Internet portion of the pipe. Each choke point provides the ability for the combined company to foreclose the online video offerings of its competitors."


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Why do U.S. ISPs want to charge for peering? Peering makes the internet cheaper. Here's how | GigaOM Tech News

Why do U.S. ISPs want to charge for peering? Peering makes the internet cheaper. Here's how | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As more broadband networks connect directly to each other via peering agreements, the amount of money paid for internet transit could fall, according to a report from TeleGeography.


That’s good for users of the internet, but will cut into transit revenue at companies that range from Level 3 and Cogent to ISPs. Of course, TeleGeography isn’t sure if this will take place. From its report:


"As Internet service providers worldwide have gradually migrated from purchasing transit to establishing mostly free peering arrangements, the share of global Internet traffic connected via transit agreements declined from 47 percent in 2010 to 41 percent in 2014. As long as this relative decline of transit continues, TeleGeography forecasts that IP transit-related revenues will fall from $4.6 billion in 2013 to $4.1 billion in 2020. If the ratios of traffic routed via transit and peering were to stabilize at current levels, IP transit revenues would increase to $5.5 billion by 2020."


By cutting out the internet’s middlemen, peering agreements lower the cost of bandwidth and the cost of IP services. The TeleGeography report lays out the case for peering gaining ground over transit, and shows how it expects peering to grow. This is good for the internet as a whole, but this anticipated shift to peering over paying for transit has led to some behavior shifts that are causing harms for consumers. It also means trouble for existing transit providers, especially those without other lines of business.


Peering, the practice of two networks exchanging traffic directly either for free or for money, has been going on for decades. Historically, networks of a certain size would sign peering agreements because it would save them money. Instead of building out an internet pipeline to every endpoint, two networks meet in the middle and exchange traffic. In 2012, an OECD report found that peering has helped lower the overall cost of providing bandwidth and that most peering agreements are unpaid.


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DEA Gets Unchecked Access To Call Records; Taught To Lie About Where They Got Them | Techdirt.com

DEA Gets Unchecked Access To Call Records; Taught To Lie About Where They Got Them | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Shortly after the Snowden leaks began exposing the NSA's massive collection efforts, the New York Times uncovered the DEA's direct access to AT&T telecom switches (via non-government employee "analysts" working for AT&T), from which it and other law enforcement agencies were able to gather phone call and location data.

Unlike the NSA's bulk records programs (which are limited to holding five years worth of data), the Hemisphere database stretches back to 1987 and advertises instant access to "10 years of records." And unlike the NSA's program, there's not even the slightest bit of oversight. All law enforcement needs to run a search of the Hemisphere database is an administrative subpoena -- a piece of paper roughly equivalent to calling up Hemisphere analysts and asking them to run a few numbers. Administrative subpoenas are only subject to the oversight of the agency issuing them.

It's highly unlikely these administrative subpoenas are stored (where they could be accessed as public records) considering the constant emphasis placed on parallel construction in the documents obtained by Dustin Slaughter of MuckRock -- documents it took the DEA ten months to turn over.


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