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Coloradans with disabilities connect in virtual world | The Denver Post

Coloradans with disabilities connect in virtual world | The Denver Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Using her avatar, Alice Krueger moves around a spacious living room filled with her friends. The party is laid-back. A man and woman relax on a gray couch, chatting. Others mingle about. These animated friends — all avatars — are talking about how they met and about real life.

 

In real life, Krueger uses a wheelchair. She has multiple sclerosis and walks with the help of crutches. In the virtual world, the 63-year-old Centennial woman uses an avatar — a three-dimensional alter ego that she calls Gentle Heron.

 

As Gentle Heron, Krueger has no physical restrictions. She can walk, dance, ride horses and even fly. And, she interacts daily with hundreds of other people across Colorado and the globe who — at least in the virtual world — also have no physical restrictions. In real life, most of them have disabilities or live with and care for someone with a disability.

 

Krueger created the computer program — called Virtual Ability — in 2007. The community, which exists within the computer world of Second Life, has grown to more than 700 people.

 

Users create avatars — much like those popularized in the Hollywood movie "Avatar."

 

This particular community includes people who are blind or deaf, who have suffered strokes and amputations or have other disabilities.

 

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Exclusive: FCC poised to side with Verizon, AT&T in airwaves spat | Alina Selyukh | Reuters.com

Exclusive: FCC poised to side with Verizon, AT&T in airwaves spat | Alina Selyukh | Reuters.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. telecoms regulators are leaning toward rejecting a T-Mobile US Inc request that more airwaves be set aside for smaller wireless companies like itself to bid on during a government auction next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

Such a decision, which could be finalized in coming weeks, would end months of speculation and vigorous lobbying by the nation's No. 4 cellular operator, which wants the Federal Communications Commission to further limit how much spectrum dominant U.S. carriers Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc can buy in the auction.

The FCC voted last year to restrict the participation of Verizon and AT&T in the 2016 spectrum sale by reserving a piece of each market's airwaves for non-dominant carriers, but not to the extent sought by T-Mobile.

The vote was something of a compromise among the FCC's Democrats, who wanted to give smaller carriers a leg up but also to ensure that restrictions on the big carriers would not cut the proceeds of the auction, expected to be the agency's largest.

Though no recommendation has yet been prepared and the deliberations could still shift, the FCC staff's current thinking is that an adequate amount of spectrum has already been set aside for smaller carriers, according to the people familiar with the matter.


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AT&T, DirecTV Assure FCC They Will Promote OVD | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

AT&T, DirecTV Assure FCC They Will Promote OVD | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has clearly gotten the message that access to over-the-top video competition is a key issue for the FCC in its review of the proposed merger with DirecTV.

In a meeting with FCC officials about the deal, most of a dozen executives from both companies told the commission that they had "strong incentives" to support online video services, both as stand-alone and bundled

They also shared some confidential info on various peering, managed service and OVD distribution deals it has done, and said it is pursuing others that will "ensure consumers will be able to enjoy seamless and high-quality OVD services."

The FCC has yet to restart its unofficial shot clock on the deal, likely as the FCC review team tries to ensure that will be the case if the deal is approved.

Even as AT&T was making that case, Cogent was telling the commission that the company was contesting interconnection ports and there needed to be strong interconnection conditions on the deal. Netflix has also been arguing that AT&T had used its interconnection control to degrade access to Netflix, and threw in data caps and usage-based pricing as other ways to advantage its own services.


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Frontier targets millennials with OTT, over-the-air video trial | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Frontier targets millennials with OTT, over-the-air video trial | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A top Frontier Communications executive revealed it is moving ahead with its trial of over-the-top video with its partner TiVo as a way to appeal to users who are not interested in traditional linear television services.

Speaking to investors during the Bernstein 31st Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, Dan McCarthy, CEO and president of Frontier, said the trial with TiVo is designed to look at both OTT and over-the-air options.

"We're looking at how to attack a segment of the market that's not interested in a pure linear play," McCarthy said. "We're in a trial right now with TiVo as our partner to bring a combination over-the-air and over-the-top content provisioning to a single user interface with time shifting and DVR."

Similar to its larger ILEC counterparts like Verizon that's considering its own OTT video play, the driver is a desire to appeal to the millennial segment.

"The OTT trial with TiVo is a way to see if we can appeal to the millennial segment that is really not interested in linear TV service from anybody, but are willing to go to the Internet and consume what they want when they want, and occasionally they'll want something over the air," McCarthy said.


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Google’s Android TV Wants to Turn Every App Into a TV Channel | Janko Roettgers | Variety

Google’s Android TV Wants to Turn Every App Into a TV Channel | Janko Roettgers | Variety | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

ABC, CBS and… TED?

Google has a new plan to surface online video on TV: Publishers of internet video apps can now add linear channels of programming to the company’s Android TV platform, where these channels are going to be available in the same program grid also used to navigate broadcast TV networks.

The new initiative, dubbed Android TV Channels, is being unveiled at Google’s I/O developer conference in San Francisco Thursday. Launch partners include TED, Vevo, the Huffington Post, Bloomberg, the Weather Network, AOL, Pluto, and and the European live-TV streaming service Zattoo.

Owners of an Android TV device can add these channels to their lineup by selecting them in the Play app store on their device. After that, these channels will be listed right next to the traditional TV channels from broadcasters like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox when accessed through the live TV interface of Android TVs that companies like Sony and Sharp started to sell in recent weeks. Consumers will be able to channel-surf broadcast TV networks and online sources, which should make for a much more TV-like viewing experience of online video content.


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Best Practices in Community Wireless 2015 | Esme Vos | MuniWireless.com

Best Practices in Community Wireless 2015 | Esme Vos | MuniWireless.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Best Practices in Community Wireless 2015 is now available for download from Freedman Consulting LLC. The report, developed by Freedman Consulting, with support from the Ford Foundation, highlights 11 communities in the United States that have deployed community wireless networks to achieve different goals.

The report examines the evolution of wireless technology and explores lessons learned by communities that have implemented these networks. The 11 communities are Boston (MA), Corpus Christi (TX), Minneapolis (MN), Oklahoma City (OK), Ponca City (OK), Port Angeles (WA), Richmond (CA), San Francisco (CA), San Jose (CA), Santa Clara (CA) and Santa Monica (CA).

The networks vary in size, usage and business model. In some cases they are used only for municipal purposes; in others, the public and the municipality use the network. Those of you who are familiar with the articles on MuniWireless over the years will recognize many of these networks, their triumphs and travails. Much of the material in this report updates the older articles on MuniWireless.


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Harold Feld of Public Knowledge on the Net as a Public Utility | Jessica McKenzie | Civic Hall

Harold Feld of Public Knowledge on the Net as a Public Utility | Jessica McKenzie | Civic Hall | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Personal Democracy Forum is next week, and we’re reaching out to some of the speakers for a quick preview of their respective talks and panels.


What follows are a few words from Harold Feld, Senior Vice President of Public Knowledge.


Feld will be speaking on the net as a public utility.


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TISA: Yet Another Leaked Treaty You've Never Heard Of Makes Secret Rules for the Internet | Jeremy Malcolm | EFF.org

TISA: Yet Another Leaked Treaty You've Never Heard Of Makes Secret Rules for the Internet | Jeremy Malcolm | EFF.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A February 2015 draft of the secret Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) was leaked again last week, revealing a more extensive and more recent text than that of portions from an April 2014 leak that we covered last year. Together with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), TISA completes a trifecta of trade agreements that the administration could sign under Fast Track without full congressional oversight.

Although it is the least well-known of those agreements, it is the broadest in terms of membership. As far as we know, it presently includes twenty countries plus Europe (but notably excluding the major emerging world economies of the BRICS bloc), who, with disdainful levity, have adopted the mantle “the Really Good Friends of Services”. Like its sister agreements, TISA will enact global rules that impact the Internet, bypassing the transparency and accountability of national parliaments. The only difference is that its focus is on services, not goods.

In our previous analysis, we focused our attention on two points from the leaked text. The first was a provision that would prohibit democratically-elected parliaments from enacting limits on the "free flow of information" to protect the privacy of their citizens—limits that, we argued, should be debated publicly, not behind closed doors. The second was text on net neutrality, that would lock in a particular set of global rules on net neutrality, including an open-ended exception for “reasonable network management” that could become a loophole for exploitation. Those provisions remain in the new leaked draft.

But the latest leak has revealed more.


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FCC Cracking Down on Wireless Robotexts, Calls | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Cracking Down on Wireless Robotexts, Calls | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has circulated to the other commissioners a proposal for a June vote on preventing unwanted robocalls and "robotexts," spam and telemarketing calls to wireless phones that makes it clear that carriers can help their subs block those unwanted communications.

That is according to FCC officials speaking on background.

Wheeler is trying to close what he sees as "loopholes" in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by issuing declaratory rulings on more than 20 petitions for clarity on how it interprets the TCPA regarding wireless phones, though some of the changes will apply to wired phones as well. Some of those questions had come from carriers and others wondering if they were allowed to provide blocking technology given their common-carrier requirement for completing calls.

Complaints about violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) are the FCC's most numerous. More than 215,000 complaints came in last year alone, according to an FCC official.

App developers and others have sought input on just what consumer protections square with the law.


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ISPs Say Title II Decision Is Ripe for Stay | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

ISPs Say Title II Decision Is Ripe for Stay | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable and Telco ISPs have outlined the ABCs (and Ds and Es) of why a federal court should uphold their requests and stay the June 12 enforcement date of the FCC's Title II reclassification of Internet access service.

That came in a joint reply to the FCC's opposition to the stay.

The lead line was this: "The FCC’s reclassification of broadband Internet access as a Title II common carriage service is a seismic departure from the status quo that has prevailed for more than two decades. It will expose Petitioners and their members to a host of new, ill-defined requirements, and it immediately threatens them with class action litigation and enforcement actions."

The chorus making that point included USTelecom, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, American Cable Association, AT&T, CenturyLink and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association.

Their response was divided into arguments for why they will prevail in their underlying legal challenges, and why it is in the public's and ISP's interest to grant a stay in the interim.


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CT: Frontier Communications opens New London call center | Lee Howard | TheDay.com

CT: Frontier Communications opens New London call center | Lee Howard | TheDay.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Frontier Communications officially opened its 20,000-square-foot State Street call center on Wednesday in the same building where generations of operators helped connect customers to the outside world.

"It's good to be home," said Paul Quick, a senior vice president and general manager of Frontier's Connecticut operations, to enthusiastic applause during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by about 100 people.

AT&T had closed the longtime downtown call center more than a year ago, forcing local employees to drive an extra hour to a centralized operation in New Haven. But shortly after Frontier bought AT&T's landline and U-verse businesses in Connecticut for $2 billion, the company announced that it would be returning operations here and restoring about 100 jobs to the economically struggling city.

"This is the best news that has hit New London in many many months, if not years," said Tony Sheridan, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. "This is good news for the region."

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, called the move a "brilliant decision" by Frontier.

"The bones of this city are still good," he said. "New London is just an outstanding city with great people."

"What a great day for the city of New London," said Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio. "Thank God they are back and hopefully here to stay."


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Wheeler Circulates Lifeline Migration 2.0 Proposals | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Wheeler Circulates Lifeline Migration 2.0 Proposals | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has circulated a number of proposals—primarily a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking—to restructure the Universal Service Fund's lifeline subsidy as it is migrated from traditional phone to broadband service. The plan is to vote on those proposals at the June public meeting.

Lifeline provides subsidies, paid by telecoms and, ultimately, their subs, for essential communications services for low-income Americans. The proposals do not deal with the contribution side—whether broadband operators will have to pay into the subsidy, too. That is the subject of a separate proceeding, with the FCC awaiting input from the USF Joint Board.

The Lifeline "reboot" includes adding broadband service to the subsidy, establishing minimum services standards for both phone voice and broadband that are sufficiently robust for modern demands—the FCC is seeking input on what those should be, but has not offered any tentative conclusions.

Wheeler has signaled that 25 Mbps on the broadband side should be table stakes for speeds in the digital age, although in the USF Connect America Fund, part of the migration of USF subsidies to rural, hard-to-reach areas, the FCC in April set 10 Mbps as a baseline.

The FCC is expecting to keep the subsidy at $9.25 per month, for either phone or broadband, but seeks comment on whether that is the right price.

The chairman is also proposing not to allow Lifeline providers to verify the eligibility of their customers, which the FCC says invites waste and is both a potential conflict and a burden on providers. Instead, the FCC is looking for an independent third party to do the verification.


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Google launches free, 'unlimited' photo, video storage service | Blair Hanley Frank | NetworkWorld.com

Google launches free, 'unlimited' photo, video storage service | Blair Hanley Frank | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google is offering a major bump in photo and video storage with a new service that lets users store an unlimited number of images and clips for free.

The new service, called Google Photos, is supposed to simplify how people manage the massive amount of media they’re generating from their smartphones, according to Anil Sabharwal, a Google lead project manager, who announced the service at the company’s I/O developer conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Starting Thursday, users can upload images up to 16 megapixels in size, and 1080p high-definition video from Android and iOS devices, and via desktop web browsers.

It works with a new Photos app that organizes users’ images by date and lets them pinch to move between viewing their photos by the day, month or year they were shot. They’re also organized intelligently based on who’s in the photo, or where they were shot.

Google Photos also uses the company’s search technology to let people find particular situations, like images taken during a “snowstorm in Toronto.”

The app also includes an Assistant feature that uses machine learning to suggest new ways to pull together images from a user’s photo library. The feature will pull together video clips and images from events into slideshows and video montages automatically that users can then edit and share.


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CBS's Moonves 'Broadcasters' Comment Draws Fire from ATVA | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

CBS's Moonves 'Broadcasters' Comment Draws Fire from ATVA | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable operators in a pitched battle with broadcasters over retrans fees latched on to a comment attributed to CBS president Les Moonves at the Code Conference Wednesday.

“We're programmers. The term 'broadcasting' doesn't mean anything anymore," Moonves said, which was immediately used by the American Television Alliance to hammer the company, which has aggressively sought more retrans compensation as what Moonves considers fair value for TV stations that still provide the most popular programming viewed on cable.

"If CBS wants to be treated like every other channel, then by all means, they should surrender their spectrum back to the government and give up all their special government handouts like “must carry” and other regulatory advantages,” said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy.

ATVA members include Charter, Time Warner Cable, Dish, DirecTV, telcos and many others.

"A foundational principle of federal communications law is that in exchange for free use of the public airwaves broadcasters agree to take actions that benefit the public. These principles are enshrined in the Radio Act of 1927 and the Communications Act of 1934, which mandate that broadcasters serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. Apparently, that’s news to CBS President and CEO Les Moonves."

But Duffy was just getting started.


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Canada Prepares to Say Goodbye to the 3-Year Cellphone Contract; June 3rd is the Deadline | Phil Damnpier | Stop the Cap!

Canada Prepares to Say Goodbye to the 3-Year Cellphone Contract; June 3rd is the Deadline | Phil Damnpier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canadians still stuck on an old three-year wireless contract may be able to leave their current carrier penalty-free as soon as June 3rd as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) deadline on lengthy wireless contracts takes full effect this Sunday.

In June 2013, the CRTC banned three-year cell phone contracts in its wireless code to give customers a chance to switch providers more often without an expensive early termination fee to deter them. The commission set a two-year transition period which will end June 3.

But it turns out wireless carriers have not made the process of leaving penalty-free easy and the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) expects the ombuds office will be forced to intervene on behalf of consumers. Some providers have applied creative interpretations of the wireless code the industry earlier sued to block on the grounds it created retroactive interference with contractual rights. The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the wireless industry’s lawsuit last week. The CCTS is notifying providers what it expects from them.

There are two primary groups of customers affected by the June 3rd deadline:


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AT&T Opposes Net Neutrality Conditions On Merger | Wendy Davis | MediaPost.com

AT&T Opposes Net Neutrality Conditions On Merger | Wendy Davis | MediaPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Consumer advocacy groups, along with Cogent and Dish, recently urged the Federal Communications Commission to require AT&T to follow the new net neutrality rules for seven years -- even if they're struck down in court -- as a condition of any merger with DirecTV.

AT&T doesn't like that idea -- which isn't surprising, considering that it's suing to vacate the new rules.

This week, the company officially said that there's no reason to tie the new broadband regulations to its proposed $48.5 billion merger. Instead, AT&T says it's willing to follow the 2010 neutrality rules -- which are weaker than the current ones -- for three years after the merger closes.

The current rules, slated to take effect June 12, prohibit broadband providers from blocking traffic and creating paid fast lanes. (The 2010 rules prohibited all broadband providers from blocking or degrading traffic, but only barred wireline providers from engaging in unreasonable discrimination.) The new rules, unlike the old ones, also contain a "general conduct" provision that bans providers from hindering consumers' efforts to reach content companies online.

The consumer groups, Cogent and Dish also asked the FCC to require AT&T to offer standalone broadband service of at least 25 Mbps for no more than $29.95 a month.

AT&T doesn't like that idea either. Instead, the company counters that it will offer stand-alone service for thee years at “reasonable market-based prices.”


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Regulators eyeing Comcast for possible NBCU deal violations | Claire Atkinson | NY Post

Regulators eyeing Comcast for possible NBCU deal violations | Claire Atkinson | NY Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Federal regulators are weighing taking action against Comcast for allegedly violating 2011 agreements that enabled the cable giant to buy NBCUniversal.

The allegations were made during the public comment period of the review of Comcast’s now-defunct plan to acquire Time Warner Cable and officials at both the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department have spent the past few weeks sifting through those claims, several Washington insiders confirmed to The Post.

In some instances, Comcast agreed not to take certain actions, like interfere in another company’s actions — and Comcast agreed to support certain initiatives, sources said.

“They’re sitting on a ton of potential evidence,” one source close to the process explained. “They’re asking themselves if they can create a separate proceeding or whether they need a new complaint to allow [the evidence] to be introduced.”

Alleged complaints being parsed by regulators include:


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A Tale of Two Territories: Frontier Plans Upgrades for Newly Ex-Verizon/AT&T Customers While Legacy Areas Suffer | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

A Tale of Two Territories: Frontier Plans Upgrades for Newly Ex-Verizon/AT&T Customers While Legacy Areas Suffer | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The new CEO of Frontier Communications is promising more fiber to the home service and advanced ADSL2+ and VDSL2 service to dramatically boost Internet speeds… if you happen to live in a Verizon territory Frontier is planning to acquire in Texas, California, or Florida.


For Connecticut customers that used to belong to AT&T, Frontier also plans to spend money to further build out AT&T’s U-verse platform to reach more suburban customers not deemed profitable enough to service by AT&T.

For legacy Frontier customers in other states? Frontier plans nothing beyond what it already provides — usually dismally slow DSL.

Speaking to investors during the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Frontier CEO Daniel McCarthy said upgrades offer the company new earnings opportunities, but a closer analysis reveals those benefits will only reach customers in areas where Verizon and AT&T already did most of the work and spent the money required to build advanced network infrastructure.

Verizon has spent millions upgrading customers in Texas to its FiOS service and has a significant fiber to the home presence in California and Florida. Because fiber infrastructure is already largely in place, Frontier will not have to spend huge sums to build a new network. Instead, it will spend incrementally to expand service to nearby service areas.


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Cisco sees Internet half full | Jim Duffy | NetworkWorld.com

Cisco sees Internet half full | Jim Duffy | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cisco’s most recent Visual Networking Index (VNI), the ongoing report of Internet and IP trends and statistics, finds that more than half of the world’s population will be Internet users by 2019. Also, the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) interconnections – the underpinning of the Internet of Things/Everything – will triple by then.


Another interesting stat is that the VNI expects 3.2 networked devices/connections per capita by 2019, up from two devices per person in 2014. That translates to 24 billion networked devices/connections online by 2019, up from 14 billion in 2014, a compounded annual growth rate of 11.4% and almost half of the 50 billion total connected devices Cisco expects by 2020.

Cisco’s VNI is based on analyst forecasts, real-world mobile data usage studies, and Cisco's own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption. The company usually updates it two or three times a year.

In 2014, 39% of the world’s population of 7.2 billion were Internet users, according to the VNI. That will increase to 51% of 7.6 billion people in 2019 while annual IP traffic triples during that time.

And within that timeframe, M2M connections globally will grow from 3.3 billion in 2014 to 10.5 billion by 2019. Consumer healthcare will have the fastest M2M connections growth at 8.6X during that time, a compounded annual growth rate of 54%, the VNI finds.


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Tech Companies, App Developers Oppose FTC's Privacy Settlement With Nomi | Wendy Davis | MediaPost.com

Tech Companies, App Developers Oppose FTC's Privacy Settlement With Nomi | Wendy Davis | MediaPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Trade groups representing tech companies and app developers say they are opposed to the Federal Trade Commission's proposed consent decree with retail tracking firm Nomi Technologies, which allegedly misrepresented its privacy practices.

Nomi said in its former privacy policy that people could opt out of being tracked in retail environments by providing the company with their devices' 12-digit MAC addresses, according to the FTC. The company, which provides analytics services to retailers, also allegedly promised to allow consumers to opt out “at any retailer using Nomi’s technology.”

But Nomi didn't require its 45 retail clients to disclose whether they used the technology, and most of its clients didn't voluntarily do so, the FTC alleged in a complaint unveiled last month. The result was that consumers who might have chosen to opt out at retail locations weren't able to, according to the agency.

The company agreed to settle the FTC's charges by promising that it won't in the future misrepresent its policies. Nomi's current privacy policy no longer says that consumers can opt out at retail locations.

This week, trade groups including NetChoice (which counts Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook and Yahoo as members) and the Application Developers Alliance weighed in against the consent decree, arguing that the FTC's decision to prosecute Nomi could backfire.


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DARPA wants you to verify software flaws by playing games | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

DARPA wants you to verify software flaws by playing games | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Can online gamers perform the sometimes tedious software verification work typically done by professional coding experts?

Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) think so and were so impressed with their first crowdsourced flaw-detecting games, they announced an new round of five games this week designed for improved playability as well as increased software verification effectiveness.

DARPA began the program known as Crowd Sourced Formal Verification (CSFV) in December 2013 and opened the Verigames web portal (http://www.verigames.com/home), which offered five free online formal verification games.

“These games translated players’ actions into program annotations and assisted formal verification experts in generating mathematical proofs to verify the absence of important classes of flaws in software written in the “C” and “Java” programming languages. An initial analysis indicates that non-experts playing CSFV games generated hundreds of thousands of annotations,” DARPA stated.


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Noncoms: FCC Obliged to Reserve Noncom spectrum | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Noncoms: FCC Obliged to Reserve Noncom spectrum | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Representatives of the Big Three noncommercial broadcasting groups met with FCC officials earlier this week to argue for reserving at least one channel for public broadcasting in each market after the spectrum auction.

The groups had petitioned the FCC for that change after its original proposal did not set aside those channels. According to sources, the proposed resolution of that and other petitions to reconsider its spectrum auction framework also does not include granting that request, which prompted the noncoms to take their case directly to the commission. The item is being circulated among the other commissioners and changes are still at least possible.

In the meetings, Lonna Thompson, executive VP, COO, APTS; Cindy Campbell, VP, Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and Eric Wolf, VP, and Thomas Rosen, senior counsel, at PBS, argued that the FCC "has both the authority to reserve a portion of the public airwaves for noncommercial educational service and the obligation to continue doing so."

Without that set-aside, they warned, it could adversely impact minority communities and others reliant on over-the-air TV.


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MN: Mille Lacs County visioning meeting | Mille Lacs Messanger

As a Blandin Broadband Alumni Community, Mille Lacs County, MN will be holding a community visioning session from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 1, in the Council Room at the Milaca City Hall, 255 First Street East, Milaca.


The meeting will allow businesses and residents an opportunity to provide input into the current state of broadband in the county and also to suggest short-term solutions to increasing access and usage of broadband in Mille Lacs County. The meeting will be co-facilitated by both Blandin consultant, Bill Coleman and also Doug Dawson, president of CCG Consulting, whom Mille Lacs County has contracted with to conduct a broadband feasibility study.


Mille Lacs County has held similar community visioning meetings in the past years to solicit ideas for projects for applying for Blandin broadband grants. Some of the successes have been the addition of Wi-Fi in several locations around the county, the addition of Wi-Fi on area school buses, eCommerce seminars for local business owners, and the distribution of computers through PCs for People to low income families in the county.

CCG Consulting will be looking for feedback from the public about their broadband experiences. Dawson is looking to hear stories about availability, pricing, and how the lack of broadband, or slow broadband is affecting people’s lives.


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House Republicans Pan Lifeline Proposals | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

House Republicans Pan Lifeline Proposals | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Republican chairs of the House committees overseeing communications issues said the just-announced FCC Lifeline program reforms are a lost opportunity, specifically to keep the fund in check.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler circulated proposals to migrate the phone subsidy for low-income Americans by allowing the $9.25 per month subsidy to be used for either phone or broadband. He did not propose capping the fund, but he did propose seeking comment on whether this was the right time to do it.

In a joint statement, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) were already making their input clear, which was that this was the time.

"The time is ripe for reforming the Universal Service Fund (USF) to meet the communications and technology environment of the 21st century – unfortunately, this proposal misses the mark on the reforms we need,” they said. “We have long called for the need to cap the USF, and each fund within it [Lifeline is one of those], to ensure that ratepayer dollars are spent wisely. Simply expanding the program without ensuring its effectiveness or longevity is the wrong approach if we're going to do right by those who pay for the program, and those who depend on it.”


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FCC Yet to Restart AT&T/DirecTV Shot Clock | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Yet to Restart AT&T/DirecTV Shot Clock | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The cable and broadband deals will soon be lining up at the FCC—Charter/TWC and now Avago/Broadcom—with the shot clock yet to restart on the FCC’s vetting of the AT&T/DirecTV deal, though that does not mean the merger-review team is not vetting the deal.

The clock has been stopped since March—on day 170 of the informal 180 deadline—at the time ostensibly to let a federal court decide the issue of access to third-party contracts. That was decided a month ago.

An FCC source speaking on background points out that the clock is a guideline and can be stopped for other reasons outside the FCC's control, like still needing more documents.

An AT&T source speaking on background said the holdup was unclear, but that the company submitted some more documents this week and hopefully that might get the clock moving again.


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College kids to the rescue with IT support startup HelloTech | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.com

College kids to the rescue with IT support startup HelloTech | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Not that Baby Boomers or Gen X homeowners are clueless about technology, but startup HelloTech is banking on people of a certain age needing a bit of assistance to live the Internet of Things dream.

The West Los Angeles startup this week announced it has added $2 million in venture funding to the $2.5 million it attracted last fall to expand the on-demand, in-home tech support service that it officially rolled out this week in LA.

CEO Richard Wolpert, a 4-time startup founder whose background includes stints as president of Disney Online and chief strategy officer at RealNetworks, says the need for HelloTech has been borne out of the explosion of new and useful home technologies and the decline in retail tech outlets (aside from Best Buy and its Geek Squad) that offer tech installation/support.

HelloTech is vetting and hiring mainly college students to make house calls to help clients hook up everything from wireless stereo systems to video surveillance systems to wireless computer networks. The startup is partnering with product vendors like Sonos, Nest and Linksys, though insists it doesn’t do any hard selling: Tech support is its emphasis.

The top calls so far relate to newfangled wireless issues (speeding up networks, addressing dead spots, connecting printers) and old-fashioned computer issues (slow machines, virus identification).


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