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Comcast shows off a 3 gigabit broadband connection. That's fast! | GigaOM Tech News

Comcast shows off a 3 gigabit broadband connection. That's fast! | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


In an attempt to show that cable technologies can stay competitive with the fiber-broadband, Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts today demonstrated a 3 gigabits per second (Gbps) connection. He also talked about the next generation in video delivery during his keynote speech at the Cable Show in Washington DC.


Roberts used the 3 Gbps connection which he used to open an email and download a 4K video file. I’m sure the email didn’t tax the connection. However the 4K video download would certainly tax Comcast’s existing broadband cap of 300 GB per month (it is trialing other versions of the cap) given that a single 4K movie download weighs in at about 100 GB per movie. Yet, 4K is the next generation video delivery standard after HD and companies such as Netflix are already starting to deliver content in 4K.


On the broadband side, Comcast knows that to keep up with the demand for faster broadband networks, it will have to push the envelope on gigabit speeds. Google is building out gigabit networks in three cities, while AT&T has threatened to build on in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile private companies and municipalities are pushing their own gigabit projects.


So while Comcast currently delivers a top speed of 305 Mbps in some markets, showing off a multi-gigabit connection is important to show that cable technology can keep up with the fiber to the home build outs. The 3 Gbps connection was delivered over a DOCSIS hybrid fiber coax (HFC) network. But in the real world such speeds might be impossible without an upgrade to the next generation DOCSIS 3.1 technology.


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CBC head wants Congress to take lead on Web rules | Mario Trujillo | The Hill

CBC head wants Congress to take lead on Web rules | Mario Trujillo | The Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Unlike most Democrats, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus wants a legislative fix on net neutrality.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) said the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rule-making process has been "politically driven" by special interests and Congress needs to get involved. He did not, however, give support to any specific plan.

"They’ve made a rule change under Title II of the Communications Act that’s going to regulate broadband just like utility and phone companies, and we need to get Congress involved," he told Politics365.com. "Congress needs to come in and establish broadband policy going forward."

His words break with many in the Democratic Party who have lauded the FCC's rules.

Butterfield questioned, however, whether Congress has the political will to get anything passed, given the partisan dynamics. He said he would help outline the legislative record so that "one day, we can get it done."


He said he supports the principles of net neutrality, like preventing service providers from blocking or throttling traffic. But there is not always agreement on which authority should be used to enforce the rules.


"When you start getting in the weeds, the issue gets very complicated," he said. "And that’s why Congress needs to develop sound broadband policy. Congress has the power to do it, but the question is, does it have the political will to do it?"


Butterfield warned of the lack of permanence of the FCC's rules.


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How the FCC’s Decision Frees NC and TN Municipalities to Provide Broadband | CLIC

How the FCC’s Decision Frees NC and TN Municipalities to Provide Broadband | CLIC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Chris Mitchell from the Institute of Local Self Reliance recently interviewed Jim Baller, counsel to both Chattanooga EPB and Wilson, NC on their now successful petitions at the FCC.


We encourage our readers to listen to the full half-hour interview here, and bring you just a few of the highlights below (slightly edited):


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Over-the-top TV bundles deemed dead on arrival | Patrick Seitz | Investor's Biz Daily

Over-the-top TV bundles deemed dead on arrival | Patrick Seitz | Investor's Biz Daily | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New Internet television services from Dish Network, Sony and possibly Apple are unlikely to please either potential cable TV cord-cutters or cord nevers, Bernstein Research said in a report Thursday.

The over-the-top video services announced or rumored so far are too narrow for existing pay-TV subscribers and are too expensive for people who have opted not to subscribe to traditional pay-TV services, Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger said in the report.

His findings were based on comments made at focus groups in New York City and San Francisco. The groups were composed of people who identified themselves as "highly likely to cut the cord in the next six months," as well as people who felt just the opposite.


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Report: Google Fiber says Oregon tax bill will make serving Portland 'extremely unlikely' | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Report: Google Fiber says Oregon tax bill will make serving Portland 'extremely unlikely' | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber has come into another local community tangle in Oregon, where it has told lawmakers that the state's proposed tax changes will make it "extremely unlikely" the service provider will bring its service to the Portland area.

According to a report in The Oregonian, the Oregon House of Representatives apparently overlooked or ignored a letter the service provider sent them last Thursday, prompting it to vote 52-2 to approve the new law.

However, on Monday, Sen. Mark Hass, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue, said his chamber will quickly address Google Fiber's issues with the proposed law.

"These are easy fixes and we will make them in the senate," wrote Hass, D-Beaverton.

One of the key elements of Senate Bill 611 is that it values property owned by telecom providers and other technology companies on what are "intangible" assets, such as the value of a companies' brands.

A number of technology companies that testified against the bill said that Oregon's tax structure could make Oregon a less attractive state to build out telecom and data center facilities.

Google Fiber said that SB611 provides an exemption from the state's tax structure to companies with the ability to offer Internet service of "at least one gigabit." However, Gigabit Fiber offers speeds "up to a gigabit" per second, meaning that the state law, as it is currently structured, would make Google Fiber ineligible to get the tax exemption.

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Amherst, Massachusetts Exploring Fiber for Economic Development Downtown | community broadband networks

Amherst, Massachusetts Exploring Fiber for Economic Development Downtown | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) recently hired a firm to prepare an engineering study aimed at bringing fiber connectivity to its downtown reports MassLive.

In 2007, the community began offering free Wi-Fi downtown after receiving a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a wireless mesh network. The city worked with UMass Amherst, DARPA, and NSF to deploy the system. In 2013, the city invested in upgrades which increased speeds and extended the network's geographic coverage area.

Community leaders feel Amherst needs fiber to boost economic development now and in the future. Sean Hannon, Amherst Information Technology director, told MassLive:


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Bill Seeks to Bring High-Speed Internet to Maine's Rural Farmers, Small Businesses | Jen Lynds | GovTech.com

Bill Seeks to Bring High-Speed Internet to Maine's Rural Farmers, Small Businesses | Jen Lynds | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Farmers in rural parts of Maine who struggle to maintain their businesses and ship their goods out to customers while dealing with slow, spotty or at times nonexistent Internet service are rallying behind a bill moving through the Legislature.

The concept draft of the measure, LD 826, seeks to increase funding to the state’s ConnectME Authority from $1 million to $5 million in order to expand universal broadband and high-speed Internet into the 6 percent of the state that has no access to such service.


Jim Gerritsen, who owns and operates Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater with his wife, Megan, said Wednesday that his organic specialty potato farm is heavily dependent on technology for record keeping, order taking, cataloging and more.


“We upload and download pictures, produce mail order catalogs, use social media, produce a newsletter. Those are fairly typical needs for businesses,” Gerritsen said.


But rural farmers and businesses like his are hampered by not having reliable access to high-speed Internet, he said.


“On Monday, during the busiest part of the shipping season, we did not have Internet for the entire day,” he said. “We had no ability to process credit cards, look up orders or print labels. When you lose an entire day of work, it is hard to make it up.”


Gerritsen said that even when the Internet at the farm does work, it is frustratingly slow.


David Bright, who operates BrightBerry Farm in Dixmont with his wife, Jean Hay Bright, said Wednesday that the bill could make a big difference for growers in rural Maine who are considered unserved by high-speed Internet service.


“The purpose of this bill is really to say that we need to get everyone connected to broadband Internet service,” said Bright, who also is a member of the Maine Farm Bureau. “We need to look at the places that are unserved and get them connected to the grid.”


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Facebook successfully tests its internet-beaming drones | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com

Facebook successfully tests its internet-beaming drones | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mark Zuckerberg's plans to use unmanned drones to provide internet connections appear one step closer to reality. The Facebook CEO today revealed that his Internet.org initiative has put the aircraft to the test for the first time, describing the operation as a success.

Zuckerberg first unveiled his vision for flying wireless internet access points in March last year. The aim of Internet.org is to use solar-powered, internet-beaming aircraft flying over remote communities to connect parts of the global population that don't currently have internet access.

In a Facebook post this morning, Zuckerberg revealed that the Internet.org aircraft have been successfully tested in the UK. Indicating that it is still under development, he says the finished aircraft will have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737, but still weigh less than a car. It will be capable of flying at an altitude of 60,000 ft (18,288 m) for months at a time.

"Aircraft like these will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10% of the world's population that live in remote communities without existing internet infrastructure," Zuckerberg writes.


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Analyst: Bundles Could Curb Cord Cutting | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com

Analyst: Bundles Could Curb Cord Cutting | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sanford Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger held his second cord-cutting focus group – this time in San Francisco – and found that some so-called at-risk cord cutters keep their pay TV and Internet bundles mainly because it’s cheaper than standalone Internet service.

The San Francisco group followed a similarly sized panel held earlier in the month in New York and had the same general findings – even younger customers who said they were likely to sever the pay TV cord in the next six months changed their minds after presented with current over the top offerings.

Juenger surveyed 18 men and women aged 21-to-38 (his New York group consisted of 16 people aged 23-to-38), an admittedly tiny sample. And before the Internet gets its collective knickers in a twist, Juenger himself admits that the samples are small and cautions anyone from drawing broad conclusions from the findings. But still, this is his second of four focus groups (others are planned for Chicago and Boston) and they do provide at least some insight into what younger people are thinking.

And it seems they are thinking what pay TV providers have been saying all along – that the bundle is a better value.


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Flaw in common hotel router threatens guests’ devices | Tim Greene | NetworkWorld.com

Flaw in common hotel router threatens guests’ devices | Tim Greene | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Corporate travelers should be warned that a Wi-Fi router commonly used in hotels is easily compromised, putting guests passwords at risk and opening up their computers to malware infections and direct attacks.

The good news is that there is a patch for the flaw, but there is no guarantee affected hotels will install it right away.

Cylance, a security vendor whose research team found the problem, says 277 InnGate routers in 29 countries are affected. The routers are made by ANTLabs.


Cylance researchers wouldn’t say which hotels were using the devices. “Listing those vulnerable devices at this time would be irresponsible and could result in a compromise of those networks,” says the Cylance SPEAR team blog. “Take it from us that this issue affects hotels brands all up and down the spectrum of cost, from places we've never heard of to places that cost more per night than most apartments cost to rent for a month.”


The vulnerability could also affect the hotels themselves if attackers are able to compromise the router then move to other parts of the hotel network, SPEAR says, potentially affecting reservations and billing.


“ANTLabs InnGate devices are a popular Internet gateway for visitor-based networks. They’re commonly installed in hotels, convention centers and other places that provide temporary guests access to a WiFi connection. If you’ve ever used WiFi in a hotel, you’re familiar with these types of devices as they are typically tied to a specific room number for billing purposes,” the blog says.


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Showtime, HBO Working With ISPs To Make Their Streaming Services Cap Exempt | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Showtime, HBO Working With ISPs To Make Their Streaming Services Cap Exempt | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As we just got done saying, while the new net neutrality rules are certainly a great step forward, there are probably more questions than answers in terms of just how far the FCC will be willing to go when it comes to policing anti-competitive behavior.


For example, while the agency says it will keep on eye on "interconnection" fights, we won't know what the FCC will determine as "anti-competitive" until we see the agency act.


Similarly, while numerous countries including Canada, The Netherlands, Chile, Slovenia and Norway all have neutrality protections that outright ban "zero rated" apps (letting apps bypass user caps), the FCC so far seems to think zero rating is perfectly ok.

That's potentially a problem, given the bad precedents set by programs like AT&T's Sponsored Data and T-Mobile's Music Freedom, which the FCC has indicated are ok under their interpretation of the rules.


These programs profess to be boons to the consumer, yet by their very nature automatically disadvantage smaller internet players. As such, the future of neutrality involves violations accompanied by skilled sales pitches that result in consumers not understanding -- or in some cases even cheering -- when the idea of net neutrality is compromised.

First case in point is HBO and Showtime, which appear eager to determine just where the FCC intends to draw the line. According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, both companies are working closely with ISPs on deals that would not only give their upcoming streaming video services delivery priority, but would exempt them from carrier usage caps:


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Tennessee fights for its right to squash municipal broadband expansion | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Tennessee fights for its right to squash municipal broadband expansion | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The State of Tennessee is fighting for its right to enforce a law that prevents municipal broadband networks from providing Internet service to other cities and towns.

Tennessee filed a lawsuit Friday against the Federal Communications Commission, which last month voted to preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories. The FCC cited its authority granted in 1996 by Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, which requires the FCC to encourage the deployment of broadband to all Americans by using "measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment." (Emphasis ours.)

In Tennessee, the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga offers Internet and video service to residents, but state law prevented it from expanding outside its electric service area to adjacent towns that have poor Internet service. Tennessee is one of about 20 states that impose some type of restriction on municipal broadband networks, helping protect private Internet service providers from competition.

Tennessee isn't going to give up its restriction on municipal broadband without a fight. "[T]he FCC has unlawfully inserted itself between the State of Tennessee and the State’s own political subdivisions," Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery wrote in the state's petition to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. "The State of Tennessee, as a sovereign and a party to the proceeding below, is aggrieved and seeks relief on the grounds that the Order: (1) is contrary to the United States Constitution; (2) is in excess of the Commission’s authority; (3) is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act; and (4) is otherwise contrary to law."

It's no surprise that the FCC is facing a lawsuit over its decision, as this is the first time the commission has tested its Section 706 authority by preempting state laws restricting municipal broadband.


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Congress wants to open up vast troves of federal airwaves for your cellphone | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Congress wants to open up vast troves of federal airwaves for your cellphone | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every time you send a text or receive a mobile phone call, you're using wireless spectrum — invisible airwaves that transport all those bits and bytes from local cell towers to people like you and me. As more Americans become data-hungry consumers, that'll put an incredible load on the nation's cellular networks, which is why carriers such as AT&T have lately spent billions on additional spectrum to upgrade their service.

Now, Congress wants to open up even more spectrum to meet that demand, by looking to the vast swaths of radio frequencies controlled by the federal government. A bill from Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) will seek to do just that on Thursday. In the Senate, Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) are introducing an identical bill Thursday. The resulting auction of government airwaves could be a boon for industry, consumers and federal coffers.

"This legislation would create the first-ever incentive auction for federal agencies and — for once — offer revenue to federal spectrum users," said Matsui in a statement. "It is a game-changer."

The legislation, which was previously considered in the last Congress and has backing from key committee lawmakers such as Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), directs the Federal Communications Commission to set up a sale of federal spectrum. And there's a lot of it: Agencies such as NASA use spectrum to talk to space probes. Same with NOAA, which uses spectrum for weather satellites. The Pentagon uses spectrum for secure radio communications and intelligence gathering.

"Spectrum is the oxygen of the wireless ecosystem, but the surging growth in today’s data-intensive devices and applications is leaving our mobile economy gasping for air," said Markey in a statement. "As demand for wireless devices and services increases, so does the need for additional spectrum for commercial use."

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Canada: Bell censorship: the status quo can't endure | Peter Nowak | AlphaBeatic.com

Canada: Bell censorship: the status quo can't endure | Peter Nowak | AlphaBeatic.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Well, well, well. Bell has been caught censoring the news again.

This means two things. One: there is panic within the company. Two: action is needed to prevent further incidents and to protect the integrity of news reporting in Canada.

If you missed the news, it can be summed up thusly: upset at the CRTC’s big TV decision last week that will force channel unbundling, Bell Media president Kevin Crull issued a ban on CTV journalists airing interviews with Jean Pierre Blais, the regulator’s chairman. The edict rankled some principled individuals at Bell-owned CTV, and they blew the whistle to The Globe and Mail (which is ironically partly owned by Bell as well).

University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist does an excellent job of summing up that first point above, about the company being in panic mode, with this nifty Twitter slideshow titled “What on Earth is happening at Bell?”

Among the reprehensible, anti-consumer things Bell has done in the past two years alone:


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Comcast/TWC merger review to last until mid-2015 after months of delays | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Comcast/TWC merger review to last until mid-2015 after months of delays | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After months of delays, Comcast now says government review of its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) will now stretch into the middle of 2015. When announcing the $45.2 billion deal 13 months ago, Comcast thought the merger would be a done deal by the end of 2014.

It's still not clear whether the federal government will approve the takeover, which would join the nation's two largest cable companies. There have been several delays at the Federal Communications Commission, with the latest coming this month.

"The FCC and the DOJ [Department of Justice] are continuing their regulatory reviews of the TWC transaction," Comcast Executive VP David Cohen wrote today. "Given the FCC's recent decision to pause the shot clock, we have recently reassessed the time frame when we expect the government's regulatory review to be completed and now expect that the review should be concluded in the middle of the year."

Both the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers have been delayed by disputes over FCC access to confidential programming contracts.

Besides federal review, Comcast is seeking approvals in states where licenses have to be transferred from Time Warner Cable, including New York and California. Comcast objected to some of the merger conditions proposed in California by an administrative law judge, and the California Public Utilities Commission has delayed a vote until May 7. The New York Public Service Commission has also delayed a vote several times, with the ruling now set for April 20.

Neither the FCC nor DOJ has said when it will make a decision.


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Sprint CEO: We Won't Survive Without Net Neutrality Rules | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Sprint CEO: We Won't Survive Without Net Neutrality Rules | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure defended the company's support of Title II-based net neutrality rules this week, proclaiming that the company won't be able to survive in a fight against AT&T without some tougher rules of the road.


Back in January, Sprint surprised the industry by throwing its support behind reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II. While companies like AT&T and Verizon claimed the new neutrality rules would kill sector innovation and stall investment, Sprint's basically been just short calling its industry compatriots liars.

"Unless there is light-touch regulation that oversees AT&T and Verizon, they are going to drive us out of business," Claure stated at the Competitive Carrier Association's trade show this week in Atlanta. "I'd rather there be light-touch regulation than a complete free-for-all," he added.

Back in February Sprint Stephen Bye repeatedly shot down the notion that Title II would harm the industry, or that tougher net neutrality rules would somehow stifle investment. "Our competitors are going to continue to invest so they are representing a situation that won't play out," Bye noted at the time.

Of course Sprint's public support of net neutrality isn't entirely altruistic.


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Seattle City Council eliminates cable TV franchise districts, aiming for more competition | Taylor Soper | GeekWire

Seattle City Council eliminates cable TV franchise districts, aiming for more competition | Taylor Soper | GeekWire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved legislation that ditches a longstanding cable franchise district system — a decision that could impact how much Seattleites pay for cable TV, what type of service they receive, and how CenturyLink rolls out its new fiber-optic TV service.

More than four decades ago, the city created franchise districts that required cable TV companies to provide service to all neighborhoods within a given area. For example, if you served customers in the Ballard, you would also have to offer service to people in Magnolia and Interbay within seven years since the neighborhoods are in “Cable Franchise District I.”

The idea was to prevent TV providers from hand-picking affluent neighborhoods to serve, and potentially leaving low-income households without access to cable TV.

On Monday, though, councilmembers agreed to eliminate the five franchise districts in a deregulation that the city says will increase competition. The new rules will go into effect in 30 days.

“The geographic divisions no longer make sense in a City where every home now has access to cable services,” the city’s Department of Information Technology wrote in a bill summary. “Instead of promoting cable access to residents, the districts now serve as barriers to competition because existing Code provisions require a franchise grantee to build a cable system for an entire cable district.”


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Grand Junction, CO: A look inside municipal ballot measure 2A | KKCO NBC 11 News

Grand Junction, CO: A look inside municipal ballot measure 2A | KKCO NBC 11 News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Municipal election ballot measure 2A, if passed, would authorize the city to provide high speed internet and cable television service, a reversal of Colorado Legislature Bill 152 that was put in place ten years ago to protect the government from competing with private cable providers.

Business Incubator Center Executive Director Jon Maraschin says fast and reliable internet is a must for successful business.

"If you don't have high speed internet it’s really hard to compete in the technology world we have right now,” said Maraschin.

The incubator spent upwards of 100-thousand dollars to bring a high optic fiber to their building, giving startup businesses a chance to use fast internet.

“Videographers, architects, people that actually have to upload big data sets are coming down here to access our broadband in a fast manner,” said Maraschin.

Many local businesses can't however, afford that price tag themselves.

"Even if you have fiber in the alley behind your building it still might be twenty thousand dollars to bring that into the building,” said Maraschin.

If measure 2A passes, the city would be able to partner with cable companies and, in turn, help businesses out with some of the costs of broadband installation and upgrades that the cable companies would not pay for itself.


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Canada: Harper is losing the argument on C-51 … with Conservatives | Tasha Kheiriddin | iPolitics.ca

Canada: Harper is losing the argument on C-51 … with Conservatives | Tasha Kheiriddin | iPolitics.ca | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bill C-51 was supposed to unite conservatives in the latest round of the War on Terror™. Instead, it’s dividing them — both on and off Parliament Hill.

This week, Conservative MP Michael Chong, never one to blindly toe the line, criticized the bill’s lack of oversight in a statement to the House of Commons: “However, while I fully support Bill C-51, I also believe we need greater oversight of Canadian security and intelligence agencies by a parliamentary committee of elected MPs, who are directly and democratically accountable to Canadians. That greater oversight is even more important as we give these agencies new powers to combat terrorism.”


That same day, at committee hearings on the bill, Connie Fournier, founder of the former conservative online forum FreeDominion, criticized the bill’s infringements on privacy and freedom of speech. Fournier is going a step further, reviving her website to fight Bill C-51 — and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.


“I feel like we’re in some kind of alternate universe,” she recently told the Tyee. “You spend your life working for the Conservative party, and the Conservative party finally gets in, and (now) you’re saying, ‘I hope the NDP really steps up and protects us from our Conservative government.'"


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New York state's $1B broadband program sets 100 Mbps goal | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

New York state's $1B broadband program sets 100 Mbps goal | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New York state has put forth the third element of Governor Andrew Cuomo's $1 billion broadband program by creating a $500 million New NY Broadband Program using capital funds from bank settlements in order to give an incentive to the private sector to expand high-speed broadband access in underserved and unserved areas.

The governor said the $500 million fund will be offered as a 1:1 match for private-sector investment in improving broadband infrastructure.

"Access to high-speed internet is critical to ensuring that all New Yorkers can reach their full potential in today's technology-driven world," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "We're launching the largest state broadband investment in the nation in order to make that goal a reality."

The program does not come without some hefty strings.

Participating companies would have to agree to not only match the private-sector investments but also provide speeds of at least 100 Mbps. The program will place a priority on those service providers that can deliver the highest speeds at the lowest cost. However, service providers could offer 25 Mbps to very remote unserved and underserved areas of the state with the ability to scale up to 100 Mbps or higher.

Cuomo said that the state's broadband speeds either "lag behind our competitors in the global economy, or they have no access to broadband at all."


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US telecoms delegation visits Cuba for talks | TeleGeography.com

A delegation of US telecommunications officials has concluded a three-day visit to Cuba as part of efforts to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries, writes Cuban News Agency.


The delegation, headed by Daniel Sepulveda, the US State Department’s Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, held talks with Cuban officials, including Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications, Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella.


During the meeting, the island’s officials provided information about the country’s computer systems and cybersecurity policy. In February Newark, New Jersey-based IDT Telecom signed an agreement with Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) to exchange international long-distance (ILD) traffic, and earlier this month IDT began handling direct calls between the US and Cuba, making it the first US-based telecoms company with a direct connection to the island.


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Good News: Internet Ad Industry Realizes It Needs To Embrace HTTPS | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Good News: Internet Ad Industry Realizes It Needs To Embrace HTTPS | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

About a year ago, when we switched to default HTTPS, we pointed out that one of the major reasons why other news sites refused to do the same was that most ad networks would not support HTTPS.


In fact, we had to end a number of relationships with ad partners in order to make the move (but we felt it was worth it). In fact, the really crazy part was that many of the ad network partners we spoke to clearly had absolutely no clue about HTTPS, what it was and why it's important.


But, over the past year, more and more attention has been placed on the value and importance of encrypting web traffic, so it's great to see that the internet ad industry is starting to wake up to this, even if it's pretty late in the process.

The Internet Advertising Bureau -- the IAB -- the main standards-setting board for the internet ad industry has released a statement saying that it's time for the internet advertising world to embrace HTTPS:


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U.S. Now 27th Globally With Average Speed of 33.9 Mbps | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

U.S. Now 27th Globally With Average Speed of 33.9 Mbps | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Data pulled from Ookla suggests that the average downstream US connection speed has jumped 10 Mbps in the last year to 33.9 Mbps. That said, the US improvements were only enough to push it to 27th among the 199 countries ranked by average downstream speed.


Globally, the average downstream speed is currently 22.3 Mbps. While the US is ahead of the UK (30.18 Mbps), Germany (29.95 Mbps), Spain (28.28 Mbps), Russia (27.7 Mbps) and Ireland (27.29 Mbps), it remains well behind Asian countries like South Korea (84.31 Mbps) and Japan (60.49 Mbps).

According to the data, the fastest average US states are Washington (45.6 Mbps), Missouri (41.21 Mbps), New York (40.86 Mbps) California 40.8 Mbps, and Utah 40.47 Mbps.

The top ten cities in terms of average broadband speeds were Kansas City, MO (96.66 Mbps), Austin, TX (74.65 Mbps), Huntington Beach, CA (58.2 Mbps), New York, NY (53.3 Mbps)
and North Hollywood, CA (53.04 Mbps).

The US jump is thanks largely to the relatively inexpensive upgrades cable operators are making to DOCSIS 3.0. Cable operators are just starting to explore upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1, which should result in a number of 1 Gbps cable deployments starting in 2016. Google Fiber -- offering the fastest average connection among ISPs at 230.69Mbps (compared to 42.27Mbps for Verizon FiOS) can also be thanked for much of the improvement.


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Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years now, we've been warning about the problematic "ISDS" -- "investor state dispute settlement" mechanisms that are a large part of the big trade agreements that countries have been negotiating. As we've noted, the ISDS name is designed to be boring, in an effort to hide the true impact -- but the reality is that these provisions provide corporate sovereignty, elevating the power of corporations to put them above the power of local governments.


If you thought "corporate personhood" was a problem, corporate sovereignty takes things to a whole new level -- letting companies take foreign governments to special private "tribunals" if they think that regulations passed in those countries are somehow unfair. Existing corporate sovereignty provisions have led to things like Big Tobacco threatening to sue small countries for considering anti-smoking legislation and pharma giant Eli Lilly demanding $500 million from Canada, because Canada dared to reject some of its patents noting (correctly) that the drugs didn't appear to be any improvement over existing drugs.

The US has been vigorously defending these provisions lately, but with hilariously misleading arguments. The White House recently posted a blog post defending corporate sovereignty, with National Economic Council director Jeff Zients claiming the following:


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ESPN will cost $36.30 per sub in a la carte world priced by 'reach', analyst says | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable

ESPN will cost $36.30 per sub in a la carte world priced by 'reach', analyst says | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a video programming business that will be increasingly dominated by over-the-top distribution and skinnier bundles, "reach"--the actual percentage of viewers that watch a channel over a set time period--will have a much greater role in defining consumer pricing.

And using some complex mathematical formulas, MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson arrived at some interesting per-subscriber price projections for major cable networks operating in a world where channels get paid based more purely on the amount of people who actually watch them.

As it is with previous speculative models for a la carte pricing, Disney's ESPN is a prime example in Nathanson's study, currently distributed in the vast majority of pay-TV homes and commanding a per-subscriber fee averaging out to around $6.10.

In an a la carte scenario, Nathanson postulates that ESPN's distribution dwindles to about 16.81 percent of TV homes, matching its reach. With the smaller distribution footprint, advertising revenue also goes down.

Disney would have to charge a per-sub fee of $36.30 to maintain its current margins, Nathanson postulates. TNT would cost around $8.95 a sub in this scenario. Disney Channel ($8.25), USA Network ($5.45) and Nickelodeon ($4.99) would also be pricey.


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WiFi, User Interfaces and “The New Comcast for the Internet” | Mitchell Shapiro | Quello Center | Michigan State University

WiFi, User Interfaces and “The New Comcast for the Internet” | Mitchell Shapiro | Quello Center | Michigan State University | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In an earlier post in this series I discussed business issues and opportunities related to a potential launch by Comcast of a WiFi-based service that could:

  • further monetize the company’s investments in millions of in-home dual-SSID WiFi gateway devices;
  • provide it with a relatively low-cost, high-margin entry into the wireless market space;
  • give it a powerful position in the emerging market for nomadic, multiscreen multimedia services and;
  • strengthen its overall market power in the communication sector as a whole.


In this two-part post I’m considering this same topic, but from a public policy perspective.

Viewed in very broad strokes, we have on one hand the potential benefits from what could be a new and attractively priced competitive option in the wireless sector. On the other hand, we have a range of complex and intertwined public policy issues related to the continued expansion of Comcast’s market power across multiple sectors of the communications industry, and the prospects for anti-competitive impacts of that expansion.


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