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Comcast mimics Fon, creating a crowdsourced hotspot network in millions of homes | GigaOM Tech News

Comcast mimics Fon, creating a crowdsourced hotspot network in millions of homes | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Comcast and its cable partners revealed today it already has the largest Wi-Fi hotspot in the U.S., but the cable provider has plans to make that Wi-Fi network bigger – far bigger.


Monday at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association conference in Washington, D.C., Comcast said it has begun shipping a new version of its wireless gateway to residential broadband customers that pulls double duty as a private Wi-Fi router and a public hotspot. Basically the Cisco Systems gateway transmits two signals — each with separate SSIDs – each functioning as a separate network. The family that owns or rents the router can access the first network, but the second is open to any Comcast broadband customer.


This kind of crowdsourced broadband isn’t new. It was pioneered by Spain’s Fon years ago, but it’s recently gained traction among traditional telecom services providers looking for a cheap way to expand broadband capabilities to customers outside their homes. The biggest worldwide practitioner is France’s Free Mobile, whose parent company Iliad is a residential broadband provider like Comcast.


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FCC Intervenes to End Blackout of 129 Sinclair-Owned TV Stations on Dish Network | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

FCC Intervenes to End Blackout of 129 Sinclair-Owned TV Stations on Dish Network | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

More than five million Dish Network customers in 36 states can once again watch Sinclair-owned TV stations on the satellite service after the head of the Federal Communications Commission intervened to end the largest TV station blackout in U.S. history.

On Tuesday, Sinclair ordered its 129 stations to pull the plug on Dish subscribers after the satellite company failed to reach terms on extending its carriage agreement.

Dish accused Sinclair of “failing to negotiate in good faith” and noted the two companies had reached an agreement on a price to continue carrying the TV stations. What derailed the deal? Sinclair demanded Dish carry a new cable network focusing on high school and college sports it was planning to eventually launch. The TV station group owner also wanted to right to negotiate carriage contracts for another 23 stations Sinclair does not own, but operates under joint-sales agreements. Last March, the FCC prohibited such agreements but Sinclair believed its stations were grandfathered and not subject to the FCC’s ruling.


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MN: Competition brings free upgrade to Comcast customers in the Twin Cities | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Yesterday morning as I slept, my broadband connection was upgraded. I feel bad even reporting on that knowing that so many readers are stuck in places where nothing is getting upgraded despite the best efforts of locals but here’s the scoop from MinnPost…

What happened?

Around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, quite a few of us got a free upgrade. Comcast, the largest cable provider in the metro area, doubled the speeds for each tier of its service. The most popular broadband choice, formerly in the 25-­35 mega­bit (mb) range is now delivering a minimum of 50.

What does that mean? (Interesting commentary on perceived bottleneck for many users)


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AirBnB hires former Clinton White House aide and the Beltway brain drain continues | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com

AirBnB hires former Clinton White House aide and the Beltway brain drain continues | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AirBnB hired Washington insider Chris Lehane to head global policy as the home-sharing app continues its steady march toward a global expansion marked by often difficult regulatory tussles.

Lehane, a former campaign aide to President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore's press secretary, is the latest high-profile political operative to join the top ranks of Silicon Valley's most aggressive -- and often controversial -- companies. Ride-hailing app Uber hired former Obama advisor David Plouffe to head policy, and Amazon named former Obama press secretary Jay Carney to lead communications.

Facing growing concern over AirBnB's safety, taxation and labor policies, the company has urgent need for regulatory experts.


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Rochester, Minnesota, City Council Reviews Municipal Fiber Proposal | community broadband networks

Rochester, Minnesota, City Council Reviews Municipal Fiber Proposal | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, Rochester City Council members chose to look further at the prospect of developing a municipal fiber network. On August 17th, the Committee of the Whole met to hear a proposal from Alcaltel-Lucent to deploy 500 miles of fiber for approximately $42 million.

According to the Post Bulletin, the city recently surveyed 1,200 Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) customers and found that more than 75 percent of them supported the idea of Internet access from RPU.

Rochester residents and businesses have long suffered with expensive, unreliable, slow connectivity from incumbent Charter Communications. City Council member Michael Wojcik introduced the idea of publicly owned infrastructure in 2010 but the idea never picked up steam. He revived the issue last year when constituents began calling his office with complaints about Charter.


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New Orleans Economy Is Booming With Businesses And Talent | Adriana Lopez | Forbes.com

To know New Orleans is to love her – her past, her present and her future. Her before Katrina, her underwater, her post Katrina and what she is still yet to become.


Katrina’s winds came and went quickly – in only a matter of hours. But, what followed took years to repair. Ten years later, as the city and the world reflect on commemorating the tragedy, New Orleans is not only repaired, but resurrected a stronger, better city. It was almost as if the floodwaters christened the city for her to become a better version of herself.


Today, all eyes are on New Orleans – hoping to see the best or expecting to find out the worst, wondering how far New Orleans has come or speculating on how little things have changed. Some headlines might claim otherwise, but there’s proof that New Orleans is quickly moving on an upward trajectory and planning on staying up there.


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Tor security concerns prompt largest dark market to suspend operations | Lucian Constantin | CSO Online

Tor security concerns prompt largest dark market to suspend operations | Lucian Constantin | CSO Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Agora, the Tor network's largest black marketplace, has been temporarily shut down because its administrators worry the website is vulnerable to recent methods of exposing Tor Hidden Services.

Hidden services are websites that can only be accessed from within the Tor network, which is specifically designed to hide the IP address of both servers and users. The built-in anonymity safeguards have made Tor Hidden Services the preferred method for running online marketplaces that allow buying and selling illegal goods like drugs, guns, stolen credit card details and more.


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How Your Local Police Department Could Be Spying on You | Terrell Starr | AlterNet.org

How Your Local Police Department Could Be Spying on You | Terrell Starr | AlterNet.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Imagine that your local police department uses a high-tech monitoring device to track your cell phone activity and find your exact location. The cops arrest you, and before long, you're standing before a judge fighting a robbery charge or some other crime.

The cops don’t tell the courts that they used a Stingray, a surveillance device that poses as a cell phone tower and gathers your phone’s location and identifying data, to make the arrest. Neither the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney or defendant knows that the cops used the Stingray because no warrant was issued to surveil your phone in the first place. Even if the cops wanted to disclose that they used Stingrays, they can’t because they signed confidentiality agreements with the FBI barring them from saying a word.

Basically, the boys and girls in blue have found a way to circumvent the Fourth Amendment and any due process to place people in bracelets. It’s a practice that is a lot more common than you think.


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IN: A statewide plan to expand broadband access | Robert Yadon & Barry Umansky | Pal-Item.com

IN: A statewide plan to expand broadband access | Robert Yadon & Barry Umansky | Pal-Item.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Successful deployment of statewide broadband service is within reach for Indiana. However, the state must take a proactive, leadership stance to provide the necessary incentives to bring public and private resources together to reach this goal. Without a comprehensive state broadband strategic plan, each region would be left to the costly and time-consuming task of charting its own course independently.

Within the framework of federal law, and building upon the legislative achievements already made in the state, Indiana can take steps, outlined below, to establish a more meaningful, multifaceted and effective statewide policy to stimulate consumer demand for broadband and to provide a variety of incentives for consumers, businesses and Internet service providers to enjoy, provide and expand high-speed broadband across the state. To that end, here are suggestions for legislative and regulatory action:


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VAB: Cord-Cutters Seek Savings, Not Better Content | Jon Lafayette | Broadcasting & Cable

VAB: Cord-Cutters Seek Savings, Not Better Content | Jon Lafayette | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cord-cutters don’t have much spending money and they like watching TV shows, according to a new white paper from the Video Advertising Bureau that tries to minimize the threat posed by streaming video.

The VAB—a trade organization representing the cable industry and the broadcast networks—calls its paper “Disconnected Reality: Untangling the Great Cord Cutting and Streaming Misperception.” It seeks to provide an answer to the question of what impact cord cutting has on the TV/video ecosystem, and what that means for marketers.


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"Digital New England" Conference Set for September 27th, 28th in Portland | community broadband networks

"Digital New England" Conference Set for September 27th, 28th in Portland | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the past year, New England has been a hotspot for broadband initiatives, legislation, and experimentation. The trend will continue into September when Next Century Cities and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) host Digital New England: A Summit for Regional Broadband Leaders on September 27th and 28th in Portland, Maine.

From a description of the event:


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New York City and Verizon Battle Over FiOS Service | Patrick McGeehan | NYTimes.com

New York City and Verizon Battle Over FiOS Service | Patrick McGeehan | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When New York City was preparing to let Verizon offer its high-speed FiOS Internet service in 2008, a city councilwoman, Gale A. Brewer, warned that “New Yorkers need to know whether they are going to wait three years or six years.”

For many frustrated residents, like Stephanie Brooks, it has already been seven years and there is still no FiOS in sight. Ms. Brooks, who owns a brownstone in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, says she doubts that she and her neighbors will ever have the kind of speedy Internet options available in other parts of the city.

“Why aren’t we getting the opportunity to get service and have a choice?” said Ms. Brooks, who pointed to more affluent neighborhoods that Verizon wired years ago. “They built around us.”

Ms. Brooks’s complaint goes to the core of an increasingly bitter dispute between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Verizon, one of the nation’s biggest and most profitable telecommunications companies, that may end up in a courtroom.


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Comcast Business Adds Fiber to Diet in Chico | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Comcast Business Adds Fiber to Diet in Chico | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast Business said it has moved ahead on a “major expansion” of its fiber network to the Meyers Business Park in Chico, Calif., that will be marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony later today.

Comcast said it installed more than 3.5 miles of fiber, both underground and aerial, from its existing lines to the business park and its 166 businesses. The high-performance fiber network will provide the businesses with Internet services up to 10 Gbps.The expansion comes as a result of a more than $350,000 investment from Comcast, the MSO said.


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THE NET NEUTRALITY REPORT: Where we are now, what happens next, and why mobile is central to the debate | Jessica Smith | Biz Insider

THE NET NEUTRALITY REPORT: Where we are now, what happens next, and why mobile is central to the debate | Jessica Smith | Biz Insider | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Americans are increasingly ditching their desktops and reaching for their mobile devices to access the internet instead.

For this reason, mobile broadband – or internet access from any mobile device – was included in the FCC's recently adopted net neutrality proposal, making it subject to many of the same constraints and regulations as the wired internet.

This has added another layer to the hot-button debate on net neutrality – the concept that all data transmitted over the internet, from all sources, ranging from established digital content companies like Netflix to budding online startups to indie blogs, should be treated equally.

In a new report, BI Intelligence examines how new provisions enacted by the FCC are applied to the mobile market, the impact that the application of net neutrality has on stakeholders like ISPs, consumers, and digital media companies, and what is likely to happen with the FCC's net neutrality rules in the months and years to come.


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LA: Why The Plan To Shrink New Orleans Failed | Gary Rivlin | FiveThirtyEight.com

LA: Why The Plan To Shrink New Orleans Failed | Gary Rivlin | FiveThirtyEight.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Moldy New Orleans still lay in ruins in January of 2006 as Joe Canizaro drove me to a favorite Italian restaurant of his in the city’s suburbs. It was a balmy Sunday, just four months after the catastrophic collapse of the city’s flood protection system, and Canizaro asked me a question I’ve never been able to answer.

“Gary, what would you do?”

Canizaro — a big-name real estate developer in town — was due to deliver an official plan for redeveloping New Orleans the next day. But he confessed that he was still struggling with it. The question he asked was simple but profound: Should the authorities rebuild all of New Orleans after the flood? Or should they “shrink the footprint” and declare the lowest-lying areas of the city off-limits, converting large tracts of land into green space?

The “Great Katrina Footprint Debate,” as Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella would dub it, became a long-running public tussle over people’s right to rebuild wherever they wanted, even if that meant they were putting themselves in harm’s way.

Then-Mayor Ray Nagin had named Canizaro, a personal friend of then-President George W. Bush, to the panel he assembled to put together a plan for rebuilding New Orleans, where 110,000 homes and 20,000 businesses had flooded. Canizaro was a rich white Republican from the suburbs, equipped with Karl Rove’s cell phone number, who had been either brave or foolish enough to volunteer to put together the redevelopment plan — a job that his fellow panel members were happy to have handed to him. And he had turned to me — then a reporter for The New York Times “storm team” who had a tourist’s knowledge of New Orleans — to help him make up his mind.

I would demur on that day. But for 10 years, I’ve been grappling with that question, first as a reporter for the Times and then as an author of a book about the rebuilding of New Orleans. Coming up with the right answer is for me as difficult today as it was then.


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Comcast Still Lying About Its Data Caps: Woodstock, Ga. Customer Misled to Believe There Are None | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Still Lying About Its Data Caps: Woodstock, Ga. Customer Misled to Believe There Are None | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Before regulators, the media, and elected officials, Comcast’s executive vice president David Cohen has repeatedly told all who can hear that there are no usage caps on Comcast’s broadband service.

“There isn’t a cap anymore. We’re out of the cap business,” Cohen began saying in May 2012 after the cable company dropped its nationwide 250GB usage cap. But in several markets, mostly in the southern and western United States, Comcast snuck the caps back on residential Internet customers, only this time they claim it isn’t a usage cap at all.

“We effectively offer unlimited usage of our services because customers will have the ability to buy as much data as they want,” says the cable company these days.

But if the “usage caps” are actually gone, why is Comcast issuing executive-level memos to its customer service representatives and supervisors that repeatedly state the company does, in fact, have “data caps” in about a dozen cities across the country — part of an ongoing market trial that suggests Comcast is considering extending a new 300GB usage allowance nationwide.


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This new app lets you hail a New York taxi and skip the Uber surge pricing | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

This new app lets you hail a New York taxi and skip the Uber surge pricing | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new front has opened in the seemingly unending battle between taxi cabs and Uber in New York City. Arro, a fresh app in the ride-hailing business, is hoping to lure riders back to yellow and green cabs with a smartphone interface that's as easy to use as Uber's.

Currently undergoing a beta test, Arro will let you hail one of 7,000 cabs with a few taps on your device, according to Crain's. It will also skip many of the fees associated with Uber. There won't be any surge pricing, for instance, which drives up the cost of an Uber during periods of high demand. And users won't have to pay the $2 fee that Uber charges customers for hailing a regular taxi through its app.


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Study: 15% Of Wireless Users Now Tracked By Stealth Headers, Or 'Zombie Cookies' | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Study: 15% Of Wireless Users Now Tracked By Stealth Headers, Or 'Zombie Cookies' | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this year AT&T and Verizon were caught modifying wireless user traffic to inject unique identifier headers (UIDH). This allowed the carriers to ignore a user's privacy preferences on the browser level and track all online behavior. In Verizon's case, the practice wasn't discovered for two years after implementation, and the carrier only integrated a working opt out mechanism only after another six months of public criticism. Verizon and AT&T of course denied that these headers could be abused by third parties. Shortly thereafter it was illustrated that it was relatively easy for these headers to be abused by third parties.

While the fracas over these "stealth" or "zombie" cookies has quieted down since, a new study suggests use of such stealth tracking is increasing around the world as carriers push to nab their share of the advertising pie. Consumer advocacy group Access has been running a website called AmiBeingTracked.com, which analyzes user traffic to determine whether or not carriers are fiddling with their packets to track online behavior. According to a new study from the group (pdf) examining around 200,000 such tests, about 15% of site visitors were being tracked by the carriers in this fashion all over the globe:


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Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Later: Recovery Efforts Gauged Differently According to Race | Kasia Anderson | Truthdig

Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Later: Recovery Efforts Gauged Differently According to Race | Kasia Anderson | Truthdig | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Just as the immediate aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans residents in different ways—depending on race, class and other factors—the story of the city’s recovery a decade later varies, depending on who tells it.

Wednesday’s The New York Times coverage of the cataclysmic hurricane’s 10-year anniversary set the stage:


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Americans’ Views on Mobile Etiquette | Lee Rainie & Katharyn Zickuhr | Pew Research Center

Americans’ Views on Mobile Etiquette | Lee Rainie & Katharyn Zickuhr | Pew Research Center | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cellphones and smartphones have become a mainstay in the lives of many Americans, and this has introduced new challenges into how users and non-users alike approach basic social norms and etiquette. People are sorting through new rules of civility in an environment where once-private conversations can easily be overheard in public places and where social gatherings can be disrupted by participants focusing on digital screens instead of their in-person companions.

This Pew Research Center report explores newly released survey findings about Americans’ views about the appropriateness of cellphone use in public places and in social gatherings and the way those views sometimes conflict with their own behaviors.

The results are based on a nationally representative survey of 3,217 adults on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, 3,042 of whom are cellphone users.


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LPTV Coalition: Licensed Stations Must Have Priority | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

LPTV Coalition: Licensed Stations Must Have Priority | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition says it can get behind the FCC's TV station repack plan, including its proposal to reserve a vacant channel for unlicensed use, but not if unlicensed is given priority over licensed low powers and translators.

That is according to an ex parte filing on a meeting between the coalition and top incentive auction execs and bureau chiefs.

The FCC has proposed that "vacant" means a channel left over after it has found new homes for full-powers and class As in the post-incentive auction repacking of TV stations below channel 37, but not necessarily for the translators and other low powers that were not given signal protections in the incentive auction legislation.

That isn't going to cut it with the coalition.


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Boston Globe Columnist Pushes for Broadband Dereg; Fails to Disclose He's On Time Warner Cable's Board | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Boston Globe Columnist Pushes for Broadband Dereg; Fails to Disclose He's On Time Warner Cable's Board | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Boston Globe has asked an industry-funded columnist to stop writing about broadband issues because he failed to disclose his conflicts of interest.

John E. Sununu is a former Republican U.S. Senator from New Hampshire and the son of former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu. Since leaving office, he has earned a significant sum representing the interests of large telecom companies while assisting the Republican presidential primary campaign of Ohio Governor John Kasich. He has used his column in the influential newspaper to help both, without any disclosure to readers he has direct financial and personal conflicts of interest.

Media Matters criticized the paper after it allowed the former Republican senator to complain about the “unnecessary regulation of the internet” without disclosing he has been paid over $750,000 by corporate interests.


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How Georgia successfully overhauled IT Kenneth Corbin | NetworkWorld.com

How Georgia successfully overhauled IT Kenneth Corbin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Dean Johnson joined the state of Georgia's tech team in 2007, he was embarking on a turnaround mission.

The organization that hired Johnson, the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), had been chartered by a 2000 statute in an effort to streamline the state's IT operations, but inefficiencies, duplication and security risks were rampant.


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Why Comcast may be poised to win the Internet speed race | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Why Comcast may be poised to win the Internet speed race | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast said this week that it's planning to roll out a next-generation cable technology allowing it to compete at the same speeds as Google Fiber — 1 gigabit per second. That's very good news for Internet users in the short term, if it pans out.

Within three years, and possibly two, virtually all of Comcast's 22 million broadband subscribers could be gigabit-enabled, according to the company. The only catch? You'll have to swap out your cable modem for a new one that supports that extra speed (and probably pay a pretty penny for the service).

Still, if Comcast is successful, it would suddenly become one of the largest providers of gigabit Internet in the country. AT&T also provides gigabit Internet through its U-verse product, and as I just mentioned, so does Google Fiber. But Comcast could conceivably edge out these other providers; they offer gigabit services in only a handful of cities so far, with an uncertain timeline for expanding because of the need to build new fiber optic infrastructure. There's a race on to become a nationwide gigabit company, and with this move, Comcast could pull ahead.


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Robert Reich: Why the 'Gig' and 'Share' Economy Is the Last Thing You Want to Depend on to Pay the Bills | AlterNet.org

Robert Reich: Why the 'Gig' and 'Share' Economy Is the Last Thing You Want to Depend on to Pay the Bills | AlterNet.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Labor Day looms, more Americans than ever don’t know how much they’ll be earning next week or even tomorrow.

This varied group includes independent contractors, temporary workers, the self-employed, part-timers, freelancers, and free agents. Most file 1099s rather than W2s, for tax purposes.

On demand and on call – in the “share” economy, the “gig” economy, or, more prosaically, the “irregular” economy – the result is the same: no predictable earnings or hours.

It’s the biggest change in the American workforce in over a century, and it’s happening at lightening speed. It’s estimated that in five years over 40 percent of the American labor force will have uncertain work; in a decade, most of us.


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Comcast Eases Mobile Payments | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Comcast Eases Mobile Payments | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast said millions of its subscribers already view and pay their bills online or using the MSO’s mobile app, but the MSO is now trying to remove more friction from the process via a new feature to its My Account app that lets customers pay their bills by using scanning credit card info with their smartphone cameras.


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