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Information Revolution: Big Data Has Arrived at an Almost Unimaginable Scale | Wired Magazine | Wired.com

Information Revolution: Big Data Has Arrived at an Almost Unimaginable Scale | Wired Magazine | Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Twenty years ago electronic health records were nascent, digital music was mostly a fantasy, Twitter was what birds did, and Google cofounder Sergey Brin was a summer intern at Wolfram Research. The past two decades have seen a nuclear explosion in the collection and storage of digital information.

 

In 2012, 2.8 zettabytes—that’s 1 sextillion bytes, or the equivalent of 24 quintillion tweets—were created or replicated, according to the research firm IDC. There are hundreds or thousands of petabyte-scale databases today, and we’d compare their size to what existed two decades ago, only every time the basis of comparison would be zero.

 

Here’s a look at some of the world’s largest and most interesting data sets

 

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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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Why the cable industry should fear Verizon’s streaming video app | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Why the cable industry should fear Verizon’s streaming video app | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's the holy grail for TV viewers who are fed up with sky-high cable bills: A do-it-yourself bundle made up of channels you chose. The problem? By the time you add up separate subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, SlingTV and all the other streaming video apps you want, you may be paying the equivalent of a regular cable bundle, anyway.

But Verizon may be poised to change that equation. Using technology it purchased from Intel last year, the telco has been open about getting into streaming media, too. Whatever it comes up with, according to Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo, might eschew a subscription fee.

In a recent interview with Reuters, Shammo said he could see Verizon offering streaming video "not necessarily [on] a consumer-pay model" but using an approach that relies largely — if not exclusively — on advertising.

That would make it much more affordable to sign up for apps like Verizon's, and hints at a future where cord-cutting isn't such an expensive proposition.

The details of this model will prove to be extremely important, but the big takeaway here is that Verizon's service theoretically could be priced at zero (or in general, substantially less than the $15-20 per month many of the major apps such as SlingTV and HBO Now expect to charge). This won't lead to all the providers abandoning subscription fees overnight just so they can reach cord-cutters; after all, one of the best parts of watching HBO is that a full episode of "Game of Thrones" is, in fact, an hour long.

The prospect of paying much less for streaming video should raise some alarms.


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The Legal Underpinnings Of The IP Transition | Andy Schwartzman | Benton Foundation

The Legal Underpinnings Of The IP Transition | Andy Schwartzman | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Our telecommunications networks are only part way through the transition from traditional “time-division multiplexing” (“TDM”) to “Internet Protocol” (“IP) based digital technology. In some industries, technological transition is relatively easy; as new technology develops, the economy assimilates it. However, when it comes to telecommunications, the transition of our traditional networks, originally deployed for voice telephony, is fraught with complicated regulatory and legal questions.

The Benton Foundation’s Kevin Taglang has written a magnificient overview of the policy and technological challenges of what is referred to as the “IP Transition.” Benton has also published a report which identifies ten important principles that must be maintained during the transition.


Public Knowledge has also addressed these issues from a public interest perspective.


Technology does not wait. No one disagrees that a transition is well along in which the old copper-based telecommunications network will be largely replaced over time, with fiber, and that the old technologies originally designed for the copper network will also be supplanted. However, legal frameworks have not been fully updated to address the changing technology. The challenge is to maintain the protections that have been established in regulating the traditional networks.


This is not the first time, and certainly not the last, when engineers and technologists have moved far more quickly than the law. For all the criticism, the regulatory scheme first adopted in the Communications Act of 1934 and slightly updated in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, has proven to be remarkably flexible and durable.


The basic statutory framework did not contain terms such as “microwave” and “cable television,” yet the FCC was able to fashion rules addressing these technologies before Congress put them into the law. However, this sometimes involves “round peg/square hole” dilemmas that have required the Commission to stretch and massage the statute to achieve its goals.


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New malware program used in attacks against energy sector companies | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

New malware program used in attacks against energy sector companies | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new malware program is being used to do reconnaissance for targeted attacks against companies in the energy sector.

The program, dubbed Trojan.Laziok by researchers from antivirus vendor Symantec, was used in spear-phishing attacks earlier this year against companies from the petroleum, gas and helium industries.

The attacks targeted companies from many countries in the Middle East, but also from the U.S., India, the U.K., and others, according to malware researchers from Symantec.

The Trojan is spread via emails with malicious documents that exploit a Microsoft Office vulnerability for which a patch has existed since April 2012.

“If the user opens the email attachment, which is typically an Excel file, then the exploit code is executed,” the Symantec researchers said Monday in a blog post. “If the exploit succeeds, it drops Trojan.Laziok, kicking off the infection process.”

Trojan.Laziok is mainly used to determine if a compromised system is worth further attention from the attackers. It collects information like the computer’s name, RAM size, hard disk size, GPU and CPU type, as well as a list of installed software, including running antivirus programs.

The information is sent back to the attackers, who then decide if they want to deploy additional malware that can provide them with remote access to the infected system. For this second stage of attack they use customized versions of Backdoor.Cyberat and Trojan.Zbot, two well known malware threats.


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Amazon testing delivery drones at secret Canadian location | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com

Amazon testing delivery drones at secret Canadian location | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Amazon remains at loggerheads with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over its Prime Air drone delivery service, the online retail giant has taken its operations north of the border to develop its technology with greater regulatory freedom. A report in The Guardian on Monday revealed that the company has been testing its drones for the last few months at a top secret site in British Columbia, Canada.

Since Amazon first revealed its Prime Air project in 2013, a service that would see packages under 5 lb (11 lb) dropped at the doors of customers within 30 minutes, progress has been slow. While the FAA has handed out exemptions to companies looking to use drones as part of their business operations, it wasn't until this month that the FAA finally granted the company an "experimental airworthiness certificate," enabling it to put its drones to the test.

The problem was, however, that the approval only pertained to a certain model of drone. A drone that Amazon says had since been improved upon and had become obsolete. In response, Amazon's vice president of Global Public Policy Paul Misener revealed that the snail-like progress of the agency had compelled the company to begin testing more advanced models abroad. But where exactly this had been taking place, and just how close to US airspace, was not known until now.


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United States: Verizon taps Alca-Lu for ultra-longhaul network | TeleGeography.com

French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent has been enlisted by Verizon Communications to overhaul its ultra-longhaul network. Alca-Lu’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) will be used for the carrier’s ultra-longhaul, core optical network; the converged wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM)/optical transport network (OTN)/packet-based platform will assist with Verizon’s transition to an optical converged infrastructure.


In addition, the new hardware will help Verizon to quickly adjust wavelength connections, automate tasks on a wide scale and identify and route around faults in its fibre infrastructure.


Further, Alca-Lu claims that its system can help operators such as Verizon to maintain costs by allowing them to scale wavelengths from 100Gbps to 200Gbps and beyond, without having to change existing equipment.


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MN: Lyon County Broadband 2014 Update: Less than 5 percent coverage! | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Lyon County Broadband 2014 Update: Less than 5 percent coverage! | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Lyon County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 14.2
  • Number of Households: 10,227
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 4.14%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 4.14%


Lyon County is clearly in bad shape when it comes to broadband. Or there’s something very strange about how the numbers were collected.

When I look up addresses in the area it looks like there are a few providers: Arvig, Charter, Frontier MVTV Wireless but none of them must be serving the whole area. I know MVTV is always looking to expand; maybe that offers possibility for the community. We have seen counties with lower population density encourage providers to come into the area. But at this point I haven’t seen or heard of much development (adoption or deployment) happening in the area. Although I’d be delighted to hear that I’m wrong and there are efforts in motion.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage…

How does Minnesota define broadband?


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OTT Video Satisfaction Survey: Streaming Problems Drive 75% Away | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor

OTT Video Satisfaction Survey: Streaming Problems Drive 75% Away | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Consumers of over-the-top (OTT) video don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to the performance of content delivery systems, according to an inaugural market survey and report from Conviva, which specializes in optimization of the online video experience.

According to Conviva’s “How Consumers Judge Their Viewing Experience: The Business Implications of Sub-Par OTT Service,” nearly three-quarters of all OTT video viewers give up on OTT video viewing within the first four minutes if they experience “stream interruptions, inadequate picture fidelity and other poor streaming experience issues.”

Carrying out a survey of 750 consumers ages 26-34 – a key OTT-viewer demographic – Conviva found:


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FCC Poised to Require Military Users to Share Spectrum with Broadband Providers | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

FCC Poised to Require Military Users to Share Spectrum with Broadband Providers | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC is poised to adopt a spectrum sharing plan that could make 150 MHz of spectrum available for wireless broadband on a nearly nationwide basis. The spectrum lies in the 3550-3700 MHz band currently used by army and navy radar in limited geographic areas, and military users would continue to have priority access to the spectrum, explained senior FCC officials on a conference call with reporters Friday.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating a draft of a report and order that would formalize many of the 3550-3700 MHz spectrum sharing recommendations made by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2012. The commission is expected to vote on the report and order next month.

According to the FCC officials, the plan calls for a three-tier system with incumbent military users having priority access to the spectrum, a second tier of licenses made available through an auction and a lower tier that would be available for unlicensed use. Users in each tier would be prohibited from interfering with users in higher tiers. Officials declined to say what portion of the band would be auctioned.

One important change since PCAST made its original recommendations is that plans now call for smaller exclusion zones for military users along coastlines and around army training bases. Those zones now are 77% smaller than they were in initial recommendations. For example, zones around army training bases initially would have had a 60 kilometer radius but new recommendations call for zones with radiuses of just three kilometers, officials said.


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Google Fiber Files Business Paperwork in Denver, CO | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Google Fiber Files Business Paperwork in Denver, CO | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Denver Post notes that Google Fiber has filed a business registration with the Colorado secretary of state.


For what it's worth, Google Fiber says this doesn't necessarily mean that Denver will ultimately become a Google Fiber launch location. "We don't have any current plans to expand to additional cities beyond our current potential Fiber cities," Google said in a statement. "We love that people are excited about Fiber, but we have to start somewhere — we have a lot of work to do before we can talk about additional expansion plans."


Last week the company added Salt Lake City to its growing list of markets that include Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta, Kansas City, Provo and Austin.


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Municipal Fiber and the Digital Divide: A Modest Proposal | Angela Siefer and Bill Callahan | CitiesSpeak.org

Municipal Fiber and the Digital Divide: A Modest Proposal | Angela Siefer and Bill Callahan | CitiesSpeak.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The explosion of interest in community-owned fiber on the part of elected officials and technology leaders has created an opportunity that few have noticed: cities could leverage these investments to help lower the barriers to home Internet access that still keep low-income, less educated and older citizens out of the digital mainstream. This could be easily accomplished, at it would cost cities practically nothing.

Here’s how: cities could allow neighboring households and community groups to share that terrific bandwidth – and its cost – by using community-owned fiber to power grassroots Wi-Fi networks.

Almost all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and community-owned fiber networks employ Terms of Service language that prohibits customers from extending their networks across property lines to share access with their neighbors. City-owned networks can expand the possibilities for affordable broadband access in disadvantaged neighborhoods simply by changing their Terms of Service to allow network sharing.

As demonstrated by the rise of Google Fiber, the advent of city-owned networks selling 100 megabit or gigabit Internet access for $75, $90 or $100 a month raises the competitive ante on broadband speed and price for traditional cable and telecommunications ISPs. This is great news for tech-savvy middle- and upper-income residents, as well as for data-dependent businesses and community anchor institutions like libraries and hospitals.

But in many city neighborhoods, we’re faced with the stubborn fact that large numbers of mostly low-income citizens still don’t have home Internet access at any speed.

The American Community Survey for 2013 reports data for 575 U.S. “places” with more than 15,000 households. 282 of these communities – nearly half – reported no fixed broadband connections (defined as any connection beyond dial-up or mobile) in at least 30 percent of their homes. 151 reported that at least one fourth of their households have no home Internet access of any kind – no dial-up, no mobile access; nothing. Not surprisingly, these Internet-free households are concentrated in low-income neighborhoods where residents are least able to afford the $30, $40 or $50 monthly cost of an Internet service subscription.

Of course, low-income households that can’t afford current DSL or cable Internet services have little to gain from the availability of fiber broadband service that costs twice as much.

But suppose that cost could be split among five, ten or twenty users?


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AT&T’s newest fiber customers to pay $40 more than Google Fiber users | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

AT&T’s newest fiber customers to pay $40 more than Google Fiber users | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T today launched its gigabit fiber Internet service in parts of Cupertino, California, but the price isn't as good as it is in cities where AT&T faces competition from Google Fiber.

Google Fiber and AT&T's U-verse with GigaPower compete head-to-head in Kansas City and Austin. In those cities, AT&T matches Google's $70-per-month price for gigabit service, as long as you opt in to a program that lets AT&T watch your Web browsing and serve up personalized ads.

But AT&T charges more when it doesn't have to compete against Google. In Cupertino, AT&T said today it will offer "Internet speeds up to 1Gbps starting as low as $110 a month, or speeds at 300Mbps as low as $80 a month, with a one-year price guarantee." Despite being $40 more than AT&T's price for the same gigabit service in Kansas City and Austin, the Cupertino offer still requires opting in to the Internet usage monitoring.

Google has tentative plans for fiber service in nearby San Jose but hasn't announced a decision yet.

In Dallas, another city where AT&T doesn't have to compete against Google, it charges $120 a month for gigabit service. (Correction: AT&T recently changed the price from $120 to $110 a month.)

In North Carolina, AT&T reportedly dropped pricing from $120 to $70 after Google announced plans to expand into that state.


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CenturyLink says 1 Gig has great potential for schools, telecommuters | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

CenturyLink says 1 Gig has great potential for schools, telecommuters | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink says that in Utah and other communities where it is deploying its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) service, it is gaining strong traction with local school districts and residential users who telecommute for major corporations like eBay and Microsoft.

While bringing 1 Gbps broadband service to residential customers is a key focus for CenturyLink, the service provider is finding that schools represent a large market that's in dire need of higher speeds.

Within the state of Utah, the service provider has been able to serve a large majority of the state's schools with the 1 Gbps service.

"If you think in terms of the whole Utah state from Logan down to St. George and everywhere between there, we have deployed gig to the schools," said Jeremy Ferkin, vice president of Utah operations for CenturyLink, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "What's deployed in Utah is radically unique and probably the first in the globe of what's available for bandwidth to all of the schools."

Besides serving school districts with 1 Gbps service, CenturyLink has seen the growth of telecommuting in Utah among those who live in apartment complexes that are taking advantage of the service where it is available.

"We have a ton of work-at-home people and we have businesses where we go on their campus and help them with their recruiting by guiding where their employees can go in an MDU," Ferkin said. "A lot of them are actually guiding employees to go to where we have a Gig."

Ferkin added that telecommuters can use the high speed service to get a better experience with key business applications such as VPN and videoconferencing.


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America's broadband infrastructure could use an upgrade | Felicia Fonseca & David Lieb | Biz Insider

America's broadband infrastructure could use an upgrade | Felicia Fonseca & David Lieb | Biz Insider | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When vandals sliced a fiber-optic cable in the Arizona desert outside of Flagastaff last month, they did more than time-warp thousands of people back to an era before computers, credit cards or even phones.

They exposed a glaring vulnerability in the nation's Internet infrastructure: no backup systems in many places.

Because Internet service is largely unregulated by the federal government and the states, decisions about network reliability are left to the service providers.

Industry analysts say these companies generally do not build alternative routes, or redundancies, unless they believe it is worthwhile financially.

The result: While most major metropolitan areas in the U.S. have backup systems, some smaller cities and many rural areas do not.

"The more rural the location, the more likely that there's only one road in and out of that location," said Sean Donelan, a former infrastructure security manager in the U.S. Homeland Security Department who now works for a cybersecurity firm. "If someone manages to cut that fiber, you'll generally see a one- or two- or three-day outage."

Despite its own warnings about such vulnerabilities two decades ago, the federal government has taken no steps to require Internet companies to have backup systems, even as it has provided billions of dollars in subsidies to expand broadband Internet into unserved areas.

"Our first responsibility is to make sure that people actually have service," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, co-chairman of President Barack Obama's newly created Broadband Opportunity Council.

In northern Arizona last month, tens of thousands of residents were without Internet service — some for up to 15 hours — after vandals cut through an underground bundle of fiber-optic cables owned by CenturyLink. ATMs went down, stores couldn't process credit cards, college students in Flagstaff had to put their research on hold, and even 911 emergency service was lost.


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Verizon tells Congress to rein in FCC’s power over Internet providers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Verizon tells Congress to rein in FCC’s power over Internet providers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has told Congress that it needs to "retake responsibility for policymaking in the Internet ecosystem" because the Federal Communications Commission's regulatory decisions have reached "absurd new levels."

"[T]he existing legal regime and its accompanying regulatory processes are outdated and broken," McAdam wrote in a letter Friday to leaders of the House and Senate Commerce committees and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (courtesy of The Hill). "Congress last established a clear policy framework almost 20 years ago, well before most of today's technology was even developed. As a result, regulators are applying early 20th century tools to highly dynamic 21st century markets and technologies. Inefficiencies and collateral damage are inevitable. It is time for Congress to re-take responsibility for policymaking in the Internet ecosystem."

Verizon is mad about the FCC's decision to reclassify broadband as a common carrier service and impose network neutrality restrictions that prevent Internet providers from blocking or throttling Internet content or prioritizing content in exchange for payment. McAdam's letter also objected to rules that let Dish use discounts intended for small businesses to save $3.3 billion in an auction for wireless spectrum licenses. McAdam said the FCC has repeatedly helped Dish boost its spectrum holdings even though the satellite provider hasn't "announced any plans to use this spectrum to serve customers."

While Wheeler seems open to preventing future bidding similar to Dish's, he is holding firm on the broadband reclassification and net neutrality.

McAdam claimed the net neutrality decision will "spawn years of uncertainty and litigation" and that "the courts inevitably will find that the FCC's actions were improper, or a future FCC will reverse course again." Verizon, which sued the last time the FCC passed net neutrality rules, urged Congress to "pass a bill that protects the open Internet in a way that avoids the collateral damage that will result from the FCC's actions."

Beyond that, it's time to update the Communications Act, McAdam said. The law giving the FCC its power was passed in 1934 and last updated in 1996. That's "too long," McAdam wrote. "In that time, technology and markets have gone through several cycles, while law and policy have stood still," he wrote.

Wheeler, meanwhile, criticized broadband providers for wanting to operate free of regulation and said that the FCC's net neutrality rules will pass court muster this time.


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The REAL Death Of The Music Industry | Michael Degusta | Biz Insider

The REAL Death Of The Music Industry | Michael Degusta | Biz Insider | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In January, Bain & Company produced the following chart (above) as part of their report on “Publishing in the Digital Age” (PDF):


Then on Tuesday, someone posted it on Flickr. Subsequently, Peter Kafka of Wall Street Journal's MediaMemo noticed it and passed it along to Jay Yarow, who made it Business Insider’s Chart of the Day on Wednesday, citing Kafka and the Flickr post. On Thursday, the excellent John Gruber at Daring Fireball linked to it and between those two postings the chart garnered a fair bit of attention, including from the likes of apparent digital music expert Bob Lefsetz (“First in Music Analysis”).


No one seems to have tracked it back to the original source nor noticed what happened to catch my eye straight away:

This chart sucks.


What’s Wrong With It?

Oh, Bain – I hope no one has hired you for your expert “analysis” in this field:

  • The chart uses raw revenue numbers, not adjusted for inflation or population.


  • The chart is labeled “Global Music Turnover” but the data is actually US only. 1


  • The chart says “Bain Analysis” but it’s very unclear that they did any analysis, since anyone paying the RIAA $25 can login and immediately see virtually the same chart, albeit formatted slightly differently.


  • They fail to clarify how & if they distribute the RIAA's 16 sometimes vague categories amongst the 4 they use.


The Right Chart!--


All discussion herein is for US recorded music as covered by the RIAA. The above chart is adjusted for inflation & population – for full details, see below.


So let’s correct the inaccurate conclusions one might reasonably draw from the misleading Bain chart:


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Broken NFC terminals, lack of retail support stifling Apple Pay usage | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com

Broken NFC terminals, lack of retail support stifling Apple Pay usage | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Apple Pay got off to a hot start after its debut in October, attracting 11% of all credit card-using households and converting 66% of iPhone 6 users in its first four months on the market, according to an ongoing study of more than 3,000 credit card users conducted by market research firm Phoenix Marketing International.

Although iPhone users appeared eager to try out Apple's new mobile payment plan – the study estimates that more than 88% of those who set up an Apple Pay wallet went on to make a purchase with it either in a retail store or in a mobile app – they have run short on opportunities to use them in the time since.

"The demand is there: 59% of Apple Pay users have gone into a store and asked to make a purchase with Apple Pay," Greg Weed, Phoenix Marketing International director of research, said in a statement. "But so is the disappointment: 47% visited a store that was listed as an Apple Pay merchant only to find out that the specific store they visited did not accept (or were not ready to accept) Apple Pay."

Even the users who do find Apple Pay-compatible retail stores have had difficulty completing a transaction with the technology. Phoenix senior vice president Leon Majors said that two out of three Apple Pay users have run into terminals that either don't work or take too long to process the transaction, as well as retail cashiers and staff who don't know how to help them with the process.

As a result, 48% of those who have used Apple Pay have only done so for one transaction, according to the study.

Retailer support was always the biggest obstacle facing Apple Pay, if only because it was the only aspect that it couldn't control. The iPhone 6 line's massively successful debut meant that a whole lot of users received Apple Pay by default, and the excitement of trying out the new features on a new smartphone likely contributed to that active adoption in the early months.

But Apple learned just days after launching its mobile payment app that retailers weren't going to embrace it, when CVS and RiteAid stores disabled their near field communications (NFC) payment terminals after finding that they processed Apple Pay transactions. The boycott also extended to the dozens of other companies that make up the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) – including 7-11, Dunkin' Donuts, ExxonMobile, and Lowe's Home Improvement – which is developing its own mobile payment technology.


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Cuba aiming to boost access to telecoms, US says | TeleGeography.com

Cuba is aiming to increase internet access to 50% of its households by 2020, while boosting penetration of mobile telephony services to 60%, Reuters cites a senior US State Department official as saying.


‘There’s real potential here if there’s a real will on the Cuban side … As long as the Cubans create an environment that’s attractive to investment … and attractive to the delivery of services, I believe those services will reach the island,’ he said, adding: ‘They are falling behind, and that’s denying their people access to knowledge and to the opportunity to grow as an economy and as a people, and they’re aware of that.’


At the end of 2014 Cuba had roughly 2.5 million mobile phone users, translating to a wireless penetration of around 22%, one of the lowest rates in the world, notes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.


Access to the internet, meanwhile, is currently restricted and available only with government permission, with broadband infrastructure virtually non-existent.


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United States: AT&T unveils 2.3GHz WCS plans | TeleGeography.com

T&T Mobility plans to start deploying 2.3GHz Wireless Communications Services (WCS) spectrum for Long Term Evolution (LTE) use commencing this summer, according to Tom Keathley, senior vice president of network and product planning.


In an interview with Fierce Wireless, Mr Keathley revealed that the rollout will commence in the coming months and continue into 2016. The spectrum will primarily be used to add extra capacity to AT&T’s network and will be deployed in densely populated, urban areas.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, August 2012 saw AT&T agree a deal worth up to USD600 million to acquire San Diego-based spectrum holding company NextWave Wireless, a major holder of 2.3GHz WCS frequencies. The deal effectively combined the nation’s two largest WCS spectrum holders (AT&T being the largest).


Subsequently, May 2014 saw AT&T ink an agreement to purchase 19 WCS licences from Sprint Corp; the concessions covered a number of locations across the South, including markets in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Georgia.


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Anonymous proxies now used in a fifth of DDOS attacks | Maria Korolov | CIO.com

Anonymous proxies now used in a fifth of DDOS attacks | Maria Korolov | CIO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The number of distributed denial of service attacks using anonymous proxies has increased dramatically over the past year, according to a new research report, as attackers use these proxies to create an instant pseudo-botnet.

Ofer Gayer, security researcher at Redwood Shores, CA-based Incapsula Inc., said he first spotted the trend about a year ago.

Incapsula was working on creating a database of IP addresses spotted attempting malicious activity, and discovered that attackers were abusing anonymous proxies to turn a regular single-origin denial of service attack into a distributed denial of service attack with traffic flowing through thousands -- or tens of thousands -- different IP addresses.

A year ago, fewer than 5 percent of DDOS attacks came through anonymous proxies. Today, the number is close to 20 percent, Gayer said.

"The trend intensified over the past two months," Gayer said. "Currently, 20 percent of all application-layer attacks are originating from these proxy servers."

Of those, nearly 45 percent came from the TOR network of anonymous routers, and, of those, 60 percent used the TOR Hammer DoS tool.

On average, a single attacker would direct traffic from 1,800 different IP addresses, with 540,000 requests per instance.

According to Incapsula product evangelist Igal Zeifman, what this means is that an attacker could be sitting at home, on a single computer, and route traffic to a list of anonymous proxies to create an instant botnet-style attack.

All it takes is a proxy harvesting script and a publicly-available DOS toolkit.


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Verizon Not Worried About Cable's Push Into Wi-Fi Calling | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Verizon this week proclaimed it's not particularly worried about efforts by Cablevision and Comcast to begin offering Wi-Fi calling services, insisting that the offers in no way seriously compete with the company's LTE offerings. Cablevision's $10 a month ($30 for non subscribers) Wi-Fi calling service doesn't feature cellular backup, making usefulness limited. Comcast's looming Wi-Fi calling effort, the pricing of which hasn't been released yet, will have some kind of cellular backup.

Still, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo doesn't think either of the options pose much of a threat to big red:


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Kentucky governor Beshear green lights telecom deregulation bill heralded by AT&T | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Kentucky governor Beshear green lights telecom deregulation bill heralded by AT&T | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has won what could be a victory in Kentucky as Gov. Steve Beshear has signed a law that will limit a service provider's obligation to provide POTS service to consumers and businesses.

Under the new law, service providers that operate in the state will be able to discontinue offering traditional POTS services in urban areas if they can provide an alternative wireless-based service or VoIP.

However, service providers will still have to continue to provide POTS service for existing rural area customers, but not to new housing developments built in these areas.

According to a report in Louisville Business First, House Bill 152 passed on Feb. 24 by a vote of 71-25, while the Senate passed the SB 3 bill on March 2 by a 30-3 vote.

Hood Harris, president of AT&T Kentucky, previously told Louisville Business First that the bill would enable AT&T to more effectively invest in next-gen services because it would free up capital it has to dedicate today to maintain the legacy TDM-based voice service.


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ITTA Joins Challenge to FCC Treble Damages | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

ITTA Joins Challenge to FCC Treble Damages | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Add ITTA, which represents mid-sized telecoms/ISPs/video providers, to the list of associations--including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association--challenging the FCC's decision to triple the damages for violating federal program payment rules for Universal Service Fund and other fees.

The APA requires the FCC to give regulated entities notice about substantive changes. The groups argue the change (discussed in this FCC document (http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-issues-policy-statement-federal-payment-...)--a policy statement rather than a rule change voted on by the commission--was substantive and that notice was not provided, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

In a filing late last week, ITTA said it was all for transparency about forfeiture standards, and agreed with the FCC that entities need to bear their fair share of federal programs, but it says it strongly agrees with NCTA and the others that it was an unlawful rule change without proper notice and comment under the APA.

ITTA also says the change is arbitrary and capricious--also an APA violation--because it does not assess forfeitures based on the circumstances in each case. "The one-size-fits all approach...would essentially function as a strict liability standard that does not take into account mitigating or aggravating factors" as required by the Communications Act.


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Map Could Help Columbus, Ohio, Ramp Up Broadband | Tim Feran | GovTech.com

Map Could Help Columbus, Ohio, Ramp Up Broadband | Tim Feran | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Columbus, Ohio, lost in the much-hyped race to have Google install a hyper-fast broadband fiber system in town, but the city recently signed a contract that could help gain ultra-high-speed Internet service.

Such an upgrade allows the city, schools, libraries and hospitals to offer better and faster access to services online and over wireless devices. It also improves the quality of such service for businesses and individual customers.


Under the five-year contract, Connected Nation Exchange will develop a map for the city that shows where Columbus owns properties that can be used to expand broadband networks. Those properties include buildings, rooftops, towers, utility poles, signs, water tanks and existing fiber-optic lines, said Connected Nation Exchange CEO Brian Mefford.

The city already has installed 500 miles of fiber-optic lines, and the mapping will allow the city to more easily lease access to wireless companies. Such an arrangement also allows companies to provide ultra-high-speed service without making massive investment.

Wireless companies, including the largest players, such as AT&T and Verizon, need to find places where they can economically place new fiber, antennas and towers.

AT&T knows very well how expensive such updates can be. The company spent nearly $300 million from 2012 through 2014 to update its network in just the Columbus area, AT&T spokeswoman Sarah Briggs said.

Making those improvements in a city isn’t easy, Mefford said.


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Russell Roberts's curator insight, Today, 8:45 PM

Good news for Internet users in Columbus, Ohio.  I wish all cities had similar installation plans.  For those of us in remote rural areas (such as Hawaii Island--my place of choice), the choices aren't as nice--expensive cable and satellite feeds or slow-as-molasses dial up. I'm fortunate to have a "mobile hot spot" that works well for downloads of important documents.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

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3 ways Google Fiber is helping Kansas City besides offering 1Gbps Internet service | Brad Reed | BGR.com

3 ways Google Fiber is helping Kansas City besides offering 1Gbps Internet service | Brad Reed | BGR.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Kansas City was very lucky to be the first city to get Google Fiber and we’re not talking just about the 1Gbps Internet service. NextCity has taken a look at some of the side benefits that Kansas City is reaping thanks to being the first Google Fiber city in America and they show just how great it can be to be the first major city in the U.S. to get a high-speed fiber network.

The most obvious thing Google Fiber has done for Kansas City is spur incumbents like AT&T to up their game and offer 1Gbps Internet services of their own. This competition is the envy of many cities around the U.S. that only have one choice when it comes to broadband providers, and none of those providers offer anything in the range of 1Gbps.

What’s more, NextCity says that “Cisco is setting up a public-private partnership effort linked to Kansas City’s coming 2.2-mile streetcar line” that “will be the largest Smart+Connected Communities venture in North America, using free public Wi-Fi, community information kiosks, and video camera sensors to gather and make use of an enormous amount of data.”

And finally, Kansas City gamers will get to benefit from an experimental computer gaming developed by Shinra Technologies, which announced at SXSW that it was attracted to Kansas City mostly because of its fiber infrastructure.

Be sure to check out NexCity’s full report on how Google Fiber is giving Kansas City a boost by clicking here.


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Bar Harbor, Maine, Studies Muni Fiber to Replace Time Warner Cable Franchise | community broadband networks

Bar Harbor, Maine, Studies Muni Fiber to Replace Time Warner Cable Franchise | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the past several months, Maine communities have been a hotbed of broadband activity. Bar Harbor, located midway along the state's Atlantic coast, is another community looking at fiber as a necessary investment.

According to a February article in the Mount Desert Islander, the town of 5,200 has decided to move forward with a feasibility study. The town received Internet access at no additional cost as part of its previous franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable. That agreement expired about a year ago and, as we have seen in other communities, the cable giant now appears to be holding out in order to charge for the same service. From the article:

“The guidance that we’ve received from the lawyers helping us … is that the cable company really doesn’t want to give us anything, and may in fact want to start charging us for the fiber network that we get today as part of that franchise agreement,” said Brian Booher. He is a member of the communications technology task force, which has studied the issue of broadband availability in Bar Harbor.

A similar situation in Martin County, Florida, inspired that community to build its own network. It is now saving millions, with no need to contend with typical Time Warner Cable hassles, price hikes, and poor service. Read more in our case study on Martin County [PDF].


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