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Building broadband demand in Lac qui Parle Valley, MN | Blandin on Broadband

Last Monday I traveled with Bill Coleman to Lac qui Parle County in western Minnesota. I went to work with the LqP Economic Development Authority to promote local businesses via social media. Bill was going to work with Lac qui Parle Valley folks on their Blandin Broadband Community projects.


LqPV is one of nine communities selected to become a Blandin Broadband Community and part of the package is getting support from a community coach. Bill has years of experience, including being one of the main drivers for the recent MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) project at Blandin – a project that results in driving greater broadband expansion to rural areas. I wanted to share notes on the meeting for a few reasons – but mostly as a help to other communities that are interested in expanding broadband in their own areas.


On a high level, it’s easy to see the value of outside support. The project will not work without local champions – but I think it can be made easier with support from someone who has experience and expertise expanding broadband. Bernadine Joselyn from the Blandin Foundation is fond of saying that “you have to do it yourself but you can’t do it alone.” Also I think there’s a certain value in having to report updates to someone.


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MN: CenturyLink is focusing on fiber – but where and when? | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN: CenturyLink is focusing on fiber – but where and when? | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I watched as “someone” strung fiber all around my neighborhood last week. Then on Friday I finally saw a CenturyLink truck cruising the work. Mystery solved. I had heard rumor about the possibility of an upgrade last summer – but I wasn’t sure how that was going to shake out, especially after the City of St Paul hitched their wagon to Comcast.

It’s nice to live in an area that’s seeing some action and competition. But I think of the areas that aren’t as lucky and it was through that lens that I read a recent article from CCG Consulting on CenturyLink’s interest in fiber. So the good news is that there’s someone who is invested in maintaining wired connectivity…

But in reading between the lines I think they really want to invest in fiber. CenturyLink inherited possibly the worst local network in the country when they merged with Qwest. Qwest had been in marginal financial shape for so long that they had let the networks in most markets deteriorate significantly. Qwest instead invested on long-haul and large city downtown fiber to make money in transport, long distance and sales to large businesses. And they did okay in those areas and have one of the best nationwide fiber networks.

CenturyLink has the most to lose of the large ISPs. AT&T and Verizon have become cellular companies that also happen to be in the landline business. The cable companies have captured the lion’s share of the residential data market almost everywhere. But CenturyLink has no fallback if they lose landline-based revenues. They inherited a network that lost the residential battler everywhere in head-to-head competition with the cable companies. And in every large city they have significant competition for business customers from CLECs, cable companies and fiber providers.

So I think CenturyLink has hit upon the right strategy. In every market (or at least in every neighborhood) there is likely to only be one fiber provider who is willing to build to everybody. Over time, as households and businesses want more data, fiber is going to be the only long-term network that will be able to satisfy future data demand.

And that’s a good thing as the article points out that gigabit wireless may be overly optimistic…


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Sling TV Subject To Content Restrictions | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Sling TV Subject To Content Restrictions | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Dish Network confirmed that certain shows offered on A&E and some other channels aren’t available to Sling TV subscribers because of digital rights restrictions.

“Certain content on A&E and LMN and other select channels can't be streamed on Sling TV due to rights restrictions,” a Sling TV spokesperson said via email. “However, when possible, these channels will offer other programming in place of the restricted content.”

TechHive, citing posts on the Reddit cord-cutters forum, reported on this limitation with the Sling TV service on Friday (March 27), noting that some but not all of shows such as Criminal Minds on A&E are restricted, and the same is true with certain movies and episodes of Intervention on LMN. On Monday morning (March 30) at 10 a.m. ET, Criminal Minds (a show originally produced by CBS) on A&E was not available on Sling TV due to those rights restrictions, and it appeared that the content had been replaced by a sales pitch for a pressure cooker.


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Former Federal Agents Charged With Bitcoin Money Laundering and Wire Fraud | OPA | Department of Justice

Former Federal Agents Charged With Bitcoin Money Laundering and Wire Fraud | OPA | Department of Justice | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Two former federal agents have been charged with wire fraud, money laundering and related offenses for stealing digital currency during their investigation of the Silk Road, an underground black market that allowed users to conduct illegal transactions over the Internet. The charges are contained in a federal criminal complaint issued on March 25, 2015, in the Northern District of California and unsealed today.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California, Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI’s San Francisco Division, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) San Francisco Division, Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Tompkins of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General Washington Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Lori Hazenstab of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General in Washington D.C. made the announcement.

Carl M. Force, 46, of Baltimore, was a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Shaun W. Bridges, 32, of Laurel, Maryland, was a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service (USSS). Both were assigned to the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force, which investigated illegal activity in the Silk Road marketplace. Force served as an undercover agent and was tasked with establishing communications with a target of the investigation, Ross Ulbricht, aka “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Force is charged with wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest. Bridges is charged with wire fraud and money laundering.


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TX: San Antonio’s size proving to be a challenge for Google Fiber | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

TX: San Antonio’s size proving to be a challenge for Google Fiber | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

San Antonio’s size proving to be a challenge for Google Fiber - San Antonio Business Journal:


One of the challenges for Google is developing the infrastructure needed to support a new fiber-optic network, including a system of equipment shelters. That process is complicated because of land mass and topography.

But Google officials insist that the company continues to work with San Antonio officials and expects to have a progress report on the Alamo City’s expansion status before the end of the year.

Reading between the lines, it appears Google Fiber is facing the classic demand muni officials have made of cable providers in franchise negotiations, i.e. that the providers serve all addresses and not just some per Google Fiber's walled garden "fiberhood" infrastructure deployment strategy.

As Google Fiber looks to expand, it will likely increasingly confront this demand and choose to walk away, especially if state public utility commissions back up local governments by enforcing the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's recently adopted rules designating Internet services as common carrier utilities subject to a universal service mandate. That factor along with its limited financial resources to build costly telecommunications infrastructure will significantly limit Google Fiber's U.S. expansion under its current "own the customer" business model.


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Open access fiber networks offer way to boost access to Internet services | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Open access fiber networks offer way to boost access to Internet services | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The United States suffers from costly and disparate Internet access due to a vertically integrated business model based on the old copper telephone network. Under that model, the network infrastructure and the telecommunications services sold over it are provided by a single company such as AT&T or Verizon. It’s the same model used by cable companies, where the network operators that bring the cable to customer premises “own” the customer and bill for separate or bundled services on a monthly subscription basis. Google Fiber also operates under this business model.

That business model is inherently limited because it can expand and upgrade service only to the extent new customers and revenues can be added quickly enough to generate a rapid return on the money invested to build out the infrastructure. That circumstance and the high cost of constructing telecommunications infrastructure naturally make telcos and cable companies very conservative when it comes to expanding their networks.

That risk aversion in turn has brought about widespread market failure. There are potential buyers clamoring for service but the telephone and cable companies decline to provide it. This is essentially where the U.S. has been stuck for the past decade, creating massive frustration for consumers and for state and local governments hoping to improve Internet telecommunications access that has grown increasingly vital for their communities and economies.

Fortunately, there is a way out of the mire with open access fiber networks as Andrew Cohill of Wide Open Networks explains in this article appearing in the March/April issue of Broadband Communities magazine. Highly recommended reading for government officials and consumers.


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Comcast: Apple Hasn’t Approached NBCU About OTT Play | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel

Comcast: Apple Hasn’t Approached NBCU About OTT Play | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Despite a report to the contrary, NBCUniversal hasn’t held back programming for a new OTT service Apple is reportedly developing, nor has Apple even approached NBCU about obtaining programming rights for it, Comcast told the FCC in a letter issued Thursday (March 26).

The letter was penned in response to an ex parte filed on March 25 by Stop Mega Comcast, the coalition formed in December that is seeking to block the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.Re/code first reported of Comcast's response letter earlier on Friday (March 27).

“Comcast may be withholding affiliated NBCUniversal (“NBCU”) content in an effort to thwart the entry of potential new video competitors,” the coalition said, citing a recent story in The Wall Street Journal claiming that Apple wasn’t holding talks with NBCU due to a past “falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast.”

Comcast said that's not the case. “Notably, the plain facts undermine SMC’s latest salvo. Not only has NBCUniversal not “withheld” programming from Apple’s new venture, Apple has not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request,” Francis Buono, counsel for Comcast, wrote, adding that NBCU has been working with other online video distributors, including PlayStation Vue, Sony’s recently launched service. "Meanwhile, NBCUniversal has licensed substantial amounts of content to Apple in connection with the platforms for which Apple has approached NBCUniversal," Buono said.


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Movistar launches Panama's second 4G network | TeleGeography.com

Following in the wake of rival Cable & Wireless Panama (C&WP), which launched 700MHz Long Term Evolution-based (LTE-based) services earlier this month, Movistar Panama has now inaugurated its own 4G network.

With the company claiming to have deployed the largest numbers of LTE-compatible sites in the capital, coverage is initially limited to Panama City, while Movistar has also confirmed that it is not charging any additional fee for 4G connectivity.


Customers in the coverage area need only to upgrade their SIM card and have a compatible handset in order to utilise their existing data usage allowances.


Pre-paid data usage plans start from PAB1.99 for a 250MB allowance (valid for two days), rising to PAB8.99 for 1GB (valid for 15 days).


All of the cellco’s post-paid ‘Libre’ plans also allow customers to connect to the LTE network, assuming they have a compatible device, with costs starting at PAB30 per month for a plan offering a 2GB data usage allowance, as well as 450 minutes of calls via the 2G/3G network, with a top-tier tariff providing a 10GB data cap and 1800 minutes of calls for PAB100 per month.

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British Airways notifies frequent flyers of possible breach of their accounts | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

British Airways notifies frequent flyers of possible breach of their accounts | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the last few days, a large number of British Airways customers have found that reward points they accumulated for flights, called Avios, have disappeared from their accounts. Others have been locked out of their accounts completely.
ted talks logo

Affected users have gathered on the flyertalk.com forum to share their experiences after calling the company’s call center, which according to reports, has been giving out “contradictory” information at times.

It seems that the incident is the result of hackers gaining access to a large number of accounts.

A user posted an email message he received from British Airways’s Executive Club team saying that the company “has become aware of unauthorized activity” on his account. The Executive Club is the name of BA’s frequent flyer program.

“This appears to have been the result of a third party using information obtained elsewhere on the Internet, via an automated process, to try to gain access to your Executive Club account,” the email said. “We understand this was login information relating to a different online service which you may have also used to access your Executive Club account.”

It is not unusual for hackers to try to access user accounts on multiple services once they obtain a large database of usernames and passwords from a hacked website. That’s because many users tend to use a single email address and password to log in on different online accounts, a practice that security experts have long advised against.


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Simple Question: What Cyberattack Would The New Cybersecurity Bill Have Stopped? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Simple Question: What Cyberattack Would The New Cybersecurity Bill Have Stopped? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted (in secret, of course) to approve a new cybersecurity bill, dubbed CISA (as it was in the last Congress), though it kept the content of the actual bill secret until this week. The only Senator who voted against it was... Senator Wyden, of course, who rightly pointed out that this bill is "not a cybersecurity bill – it’s a surveillance bill by another name."

The good folks over at the EFF have a rundown on why the bill is terrible:


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Huawei exec: We treat Tier 3 U.S. carriers like they're the 'belle of the ball' | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless

Huawei exec: We treat Tier 3 U.S. carriers like they're the 'belle of the ball' | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Although Huawei has effectively been shut out of network-infrastructure deals with Tier 1 U.S. carriers over cybersecurity concerns, the vendor is having success with Tier 3 operators. In fact, the company added eight new U.S. wireless or wireline customers in 2014.

Overall, Huawei works with more than 50 U.S. carriers, including 30 wireless operators, according to Patrick Kaiser, Huawei's director of wireless-product management in North America. Kaiser said that given all of the negative press and attention surrounding the company in the U.S., it is incumbent upon Huawei to be the best partner it can be to the U.S. carriers.

"Our reputation means everything," he said in an interview with FierceWireless here at the Competitive Carriers Association Global Expo. "So we're going to treat a Tier 3 [carrier], whether they have 10 cell sites or 500 cell sites, as if they were the belle of the ball." He said doing so is "critical to make sure our reputation is as pristine as possible in support of our customers to overcome the challenges they face."

A 2012 U.S. government report labeled China-based network vendors Huawei and ZTE as security threats that could be used as backdoors for Chinese espionage. Both companies have repeatedly said the claims are without merit.

"Typically, the customers that go with us are the ones not interested in politics," Kaiser said. "They don't have time to waste playing these games." Huawei works with smaller carriers, such as Nemont Telephone's Sagebrush Cellular, SpeedConnect, Union Wireless and United Wireless, providing radio access network and core networking equipment.


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WA: Let tech hubs take root throughout region | Brier Dudley | The Seattle Times

WA: Let tech hubs take root throughout region | Brier Dudley | The Seattle Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The University District in Seattle, WA is being targeted as a tech hub financed in part by taxing property owners. But is that the best approach to use to build the next technohood?

Jim Stockdale doesn’t look like a startup financier.

But the 84-year-old retired pastor — and others in his University District condominium building — is being pushed into paying for an overhaul of the neighborhood aimed at luring more tech startups.

They’re part of a controversial effort by City Hall, the University of Washington and business interests to make over the funky area, build taller buildings and create Seattle’s next technohood.

Stockdale’s condo is among hundreds of properties in a proposed improvement district that would tax property owners to pay for economic-development efforts, cleanup, marketing and advocacy.


There’s not much he can do to stop it. About 65 percent of property owners in the area have already said it’s OK, which is enough to get city approval.


The tally is a little sketchy, though, since the UW accounts for 50 percent of the support. Normally the school wouldn’t be counted because it’s tax exempt, but it decided to give the district $350,000 a year.


“The vote is not representative of this community,” Stockdale said. “It’s representative of the fact that they own a lot of property in it.”


Giving the old neighborhood a nudge isn’t a bad idea. If tech is going to continue growing at its current rate, this region needs more places for these companies to congregate. But there may be better options than heavy-handed city schemes.


During the current boom, tech companies have filled Pioneer Square, flowed into downtown office towers, spread east along Interstate 90 and flooded South Lake Union. They’ve taken over much of Fremont and are extending west toward Ballard and east toward the UW. They’ll reach the U District one way or another.


Still, it’s a little unseemly for Seattle’s movers and shakers to cut deals and tax retirees to boost this activity in a chosen neighborhood. It doesn’t have to do those things and will still thrive.

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California's Centers of Technology: Bay Area, L.A., San Diego, and ... Fresno? | James Fallows | The Atlantic

California's Centers of Technology: Bay Area, L.A., San Diego, and ... Fresno? | James Fallows | The Atlantic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this week I mentioned a tech company in the Mural District of Fresno's tattered-but-struggling-to-recover downtown called Bitwise Industries. It's a company we first visited one year ago and have followed ever since. In this and a subsequent post or two, I'd like to say something about the ways in which Bitwise's story sheds light on conditions distinctive to Fresno and its surrounding, hard-pressed Central Valley of California, but also about the ways in which it reflects trends we've seen in every corner of the country.

First, the similarities. In its basic setup, parts of the Bitwise approach resemble tech-promotion and startup efforts we've seen elsewhere in non-major-metropolis America.


Those others include: a software school called The Iron Yard in Greenville, South Carolina, which I wrote about last year—and its parent incubator, called NEXT. Or the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which John Tierney wrote about last fall. Or, with a different emphasis, the Community and Economic Development Office in Burlington, Vermont.


Plus others in larger cities like Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Columbus, Ohio. I will tell you, the more you see of this activity, the more you think of the majority of America actively trying to position itself for new economic realities, rather than just being pushed around.


The familiar elements of this tech-fostering package include: a physical space where startup companies can get going at low cost and with shared facilities; the location of that space typically in a historic downtown area, as part of a larger downtown-renewal effort; courses on relevant skills, from coding to accounting to marketing; connections with more-established local businesses plus financiers and customers; collaborative agreements with research universities, community colleges, and even K-12 schools in the region; and some more.


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Canada: Why the Crull Controversy Is a Symptom of Bell's Bad Bundles Bet | Michael Geist Blog

Canada: Why the Crull Controversy Is a Symptom of Bell's Bad Bundles Bet | Michael Geist Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The furor over Bell Media President Kevin Crull’s banning of CRTC Chair Jean Pierre Blais from CTV news coverage following the pick-and-pay decision made for a remarkable news day yesterday.


From the initial Globe report to the unprecedented response from Blais to the Crull apology, it was a head-spinning day. While Bell presumably hopes that the apology brings the matter to a close, that seems unlikely to be the case as there are bigger implications for Crull, CTV News, and Bell more broadly.

Crull’s future has been the subject of much talk, with some calling for his resignation, particularly since there is evidence that this is not the first instance of the editorial interference. Assuming it has occurred before (the reference to “re-learning” in the Crull apology is telling),


CEO George Cope was undoubtedly aware of the practice and must surely have condoned it, suggesting that Crull will survive. However, Crull’s bigger problem may be that his ability to represent Bell Media before the CRTC has been irreparably damaged.


Bell could have Cope represent the company rather than Crull (indicating the seriousness of the issues), but Crull will struggle as the public face of the company before the regulator for as long as Blais remains chair.

The CTV News problem is that the Crull apology does not address the broader systemic problems of editorial interference. Unless it plans to have Robert Fife cover all telecom and broadcast matters, its future coverage will be subject to intense scrutiny and skepticism over whether it is unbiased.


As Steve Faguy argues, an independent investigation and stronger walls between editorial and corporate executives is needed. Moreover, Peter Nowak calls for an independent ombudsman within the company to address editorial independence.


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AT&T's de la Vega: DirecTV merger will help us simplify convoluted digital content deals | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Cable

AT&T's de la Vega: DirecTV merger will help us simplify convoluted digital content deals | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T will be in a much better position to renegotiate content licensing deals with content owners once it closes its $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, according to AT&T executive Ralph de la Vega. AT&T's goal is make it much easier for consumers to get TV content on their smartphones and tablets without having to worry about whether or not they will be able to do so because of content rights, he said.

The FCC and Department of Justice still need to approve the DirecTV deal, but AT&T expects that to happen in the second quarter. De la Vega, CEO of AT&T's Mobile & Business Solutions Group, said that setting aside the deal, AT&T is seeing a great consumer demand for video.

"What customers want is video on their terms on their device, on their schedule," he said in an interview with FierceCable at AT&T's foundry here. "And I think that's a huge challenge for industry to address because of the licensing." De la Vega noted that every time a piece of content is shown today, carriers need to get licensing for TVs, tablets and smartphones, and each device may have different digital rights.

Over time, de la Vega said, AT&T wants that to change. "We hope that with time, that as these contracts get reworked, that we can provide a really smooth transition," he said. "And with the DirecTV deal behind us I don't know anybody that will be in a better place to make that happen."

Currently, according to de la Vega, content licensing agreements make it "too cumbersome" for consumers to negotiate the digital content landscape. "I can understand why a content provider would want to make sure they have all of their bases covered," he said. "But I think it's hindering the adoption."


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Philadelphia, PA is near the bottom in proportion of homes with broadband service | Bob Fernandez | Philly.com

Philadelphia, PA is near the bottom in proportion of homes with broadband service | Bob Fernandez | Philly.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Dr. Ethel Allen Elementary School in Strawberry Mansion lets out at 2:49, and not long afterward, on most afternoons, 40 to 50 boys and girls stream through the white door of Pastor Hezekiah Lampley's North 31st Street church for free soda, bags of chips, and a quick prayer.

Some days, some of those same kids also climb the creaky stairs to the second floor of Lampley's Morning Star Church of God in Christ, where the pastor keeps six broadband-connected desktop computers.

Lampley inherited the computers as castoffs six or seven years ago, but they are still serviceable for research or writing school papers. As Kysheem, Tianna, Kasim, Gemini, and others looked through the fridge for sodas or waited to hold hands for prayer, Lampley asked them individually one day last week, "Do you have a computer at home?"

Most said no. They used computers at the local library branch, or at a grandmother's house, an aunt's house, a community center, or the church.


And that's not unusual.


The headquarters city of Comcast Corp., the nation's largest broadband provider, also has one of the nation's lowest broadband-penetration rates, an Inquirer analysis of U.S. Census data shows. Philadelphia ranks 23d of the 25 largest U.S. cities.


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FCC: Title II Suits Jumped Gun | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC: Title II Suits Jumped Gun | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC lawyers say the lawsuits filed against the commission's new Title II based network neutrality rules were filed prematurely and should be rejected on procedural grounds.

US Telecom and Alamo Broadband filed suit last week, the first of several such suits expected in the wake of the hotly debated and, from the ISP side, heavily criticized decision.

The FCC had signaled last week that it thought the filings were jumping the gun, and the letter made it official.

In a March 27 letter to the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which will choose the federal appeals court that will hear the rule challenge, FCC Deputy Associate General Counsel Richard Welch said that in its view both petitions were premature since they were filed before the decision was published in the Federal Register.

"We believe that because the order in question was issued in a notice-and-comment rulemaking proceeding, the period for seeking judicial review of the order does not commence until the order is published in the Federal Register," Welch told the panel, which will oversee the choice of circuit since the challenges were filed in two different courts, the Fifth in the case of Alamo and the D.C. court in the case of US Telecom.

Welch said the FCC expected the decision on dismissing the suits would be made by the circuit hearing the case, which will be randomly selected by the panel, but said he wanted to let the panel know in case the FCC was incorrect in that assumption.

USTelecom filed in the same court that rejected the FCC's 2010 attempt to adopt network neutrality rules, saying the new version is "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion." Alamo agreed, but picked the court whose jurisdiction includes Texas, where the company is based.


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - March 27 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - March 27 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This article is so good, it was hard not to quote the whole thing. Do yourself a favor and check out the article for yourself-- this is exactly why we can’t trust big cable and telephone companies to serve our communities.

New Homeowner Has To Sell House Because Of Comcast’s Incompetence, Lack Of Competition by Chris Morran at the Consumerist:

Only months after moving into his new home in Washington state, Consumerist reader Seth is already looking to sell his house. He didn’t lose his job or discover that the property is haunted. No, Seth can’t stay much longer because no one can provide broadband service to his address; even though Comcast and CenturyLink both misled him into thinking he’d be connected to their networks and in spite of the fact that his county runs a high-speed fiberoptic network that goes very near to his property.

New homeowner selling house because he can’t get Comcast Internet:

"I accidentally bought a house without cable," writes man who works at home.

by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

While Comcast, the country's biggest cable company, tells the federal government it faces so much competition that it should be allowed to merge with the second biggest cable operator, a government database designed to tell consumers what options they have for Internet service is offering inaccurate information.

The National Broadband Map lets you enter any address in the US to find out what Internet access options are available. The database shows 10 options at Seth's house, including mobile and satellite, but they're all either inadequate for home Internet service or unavailable.

Google Fiber will leave the duopoly intact and only change the players
by Jesse Harris, Free UTOPIA


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Latest Assault on Net Neutrality Launched at Telecom Industry-Funded Think Tank | Lee Fang | The Intercept

Latest Assault on Net Neutrality Launched at Telecom Industry-Funded Think Tank | Lee Fang | The Intercept | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., last week addressed the Free State Foundation to announce his new plan to undermine recently enacted net neutrality rules by going after the funding of the Federal Communications Commission, the agency behind the decision.

The FCC’s approach to net neutrality represents “potential untenable rules and regulatory overreach that will hurt consumers,” said Walden, the chair of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, speaking at the foundation’s annual Telecom Policy Conference. Walden outlined a plan to limit FCC appropriations, cap its other revenue sources, and change the hiring process for the FCC’s inspector general.

David Segal, co-founder of Demand Progress, a pro-net neutrality group, said Walden’s remarks “underscore his allegiance to corporate interests.”

Walden’s choice of venue is telling. According to tax filings by two cable and wireless trade associations, the Free State Foundation has received nearly half a million dollars from the trade associations over the last five years. CTIA-The Wireless Association — representing Verizon, AT&T and Motorola, among others — gave the foundation $213,750. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the trade group for Comcast and other major cable companies, provided $280,000 to the foundation. The two trade groups intend to file a lawsuit to block the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

The Free State Foundation raised $797,500 total in 2012 but is not legally required to disclose its donors and, unlike many think tanks, does not do so voluntarily on its website. PCWorld gave the foundation an “F” rating for donor transparency. As of publication, the Free State Foundation has not responded to questions about its funders.

The Free State Foundation, founded by Randolph May, a former telecommunications attorney in Washington, D.C., describes itself as “an independent, non-profit free market-oriented think tank.” Consumer advocates have long complained that the foundation routinely lobbies on behalf of telecom industry positions. The group, in addition to working against net neutrality regulations, has pushed to block municipal broadband choices for consumers and heavily promoted major industry mergers, including the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal.

At the event, shortly after Walden gave his speech, the foundation hosted a panel with two representatives from its telecom trade group funders CTIA and NCTA. “Because we have competition,” said Jot Carpenter, vice president for government affairs at CTIA, “our view is that we don’t need a lot of regulation.”


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The LightSquared at the end of the tunnel: wireless start-up finally exits bankruptcy | TeleGeogrraphy.com

Ill-fated open access 4G start-up LightSquared secured court permission to exit bankruptcy late last week, Bloomberg reports, ending a three-year battle for control of the company’s future.


The ruling followed a trial in which hedge fund investors and Charlie Ergen – boss of satellite TV giant-turned-aspirant wireless player – argued over the value of the airwaves, which are estimated to be worth around USD4.5 billion.


The judge’s decision noted that ‘more than a dozen plans have been announced or proposed’ over the course of the bankruptcy, involving ‘countless hours of human capital’.

At one point, in late-2013, Ergen was the only bidder for the company’s assets, offering USD2.22 billion, although he later withdrew the offer.


The new plan, as approved by the court, will give Centerbridge Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and a unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co. control of most of the company, with LightSquared founder Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners taking a minority stake of the new equity.

Ergen will be repaid in full and in cash after his fund agreed to withdraw its objection to the plan. As the legal tussle unfolded, the DISH boss was said to have quietly amassed more than half of LightSquared’s USD1.7 billion worth of secured loans, prompting Harbinger to sue him for using ‘improper tactics’ to acquire the airwaves at a below-market price.


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Big broadband firms want 'unfettered power' over Internet: FCC chief | Jim Puzzanghera | LATimes.com

Big broadband firms want 'unfettered power' over Internet: FCC chief | Jim Puzzanghera | LATimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The nation's biggest broadband providers oppose tough net neutrality regulations because they want “unfettered power” over the Internet, the head of the Federal Communications Commission said Friday.

In his most robust defense so far of the new rules, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler predicted court challenges by the telecommunications industry would fail.

And he said the “avalanche of arguments” against regulations designed to ensure the free flow of online traffic showed that the industry’s major firms had ulterior motives.


“We should conclude that the biggest broadband providers in the land have one objective — to operate free from control by their customers and free from oversight from government,” Wheeler said in a speech at Ohio State University.


“If they succeed, then, for the first time in America’s communications history, private gatekeepers will have unfettered power to control commerce and free expression,” he said.


Wheeler crafted the controversial regulations that the Democratic-controlled FCC approved last month on a party-line 3-2 vote.

They prohibit broadband providers from blocking, slowing or selling faster delivery of legal content flowing through their networks to consumers.


In five congressional hearings over eight days through Wednesday, Wheeler defended the FCC's actions in the face of intense criticism from the industry and Republicans that increased federal regulation would hinder investment in broadband networks and services.


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FCC will vote next month on plan to share valuable 3.5GHz spectrum | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

FCC will vote next month on plan to share valuable 3.5GHz spectrum | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote April 17 on a spectrum-sharing plan for a band that could serve the military, mobile service providers and individuals.

The CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) would open up frequencies from 3550-3700MHz to three classes of users, including owners of new mobile devices who could use the service like they do Wi-Fi. The FCC vote comes after several rounds of study and public comment on the proposal for more than two years.

In that time, growing demand for wireless spectrum has boosted pressure on the government to share or auction off some of the many frequencies it exclusively controls. Bandwidth-hungry services like streaming video and audio, plus wireless links for a growing array of connected devices, are expected to eventually place strains on the spectrum currently allocated to wireless data.

The CBRS plan could lead to better wireless data performance for users in crowded places like stadiums, as well as better rural broadband services and new spectrum for industrial uses not suited to Wi-Fi or LTE, according to the FCC. It could also be a proving ground for a spectrum-sharing approach that might be applied to other government bands.


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Someone hijacked the Google of China to attack anti-censorship tools | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

Someone hijacked the Google of China to attack anti-censorship tools | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

An unknown party hijacked widely used tools developed by Baidu, the largest search engine in China, this week in an apparent attempt to target online software used to get around Chinese censorship.

The assailants injected malicious code into the tools Baidu uses to serve ads on a wide range of Chinese Web sites and to provide analytics for Web developers, according to researchers. The code instructed the browsers of visitors to those sites to rapidly connect to other sites, but in a way that the visitors couldn't detect. That sent a flood of traffic to two anti-censorship tools offered by the group GreatFire hosted on GitHub, a popular site used by programmers to collaborate on software development. One of the tools targeted by the attack effectively allows Chinese users to access a translated version of the New York Times.

At times the attack made GitHub, which is used by programmers around the world and the U.S. government itself, unavailable for some users.

GitHub was briefly blocked inside China in 2013, but reinstated after an outcry from programmers. Because GitHub uses encryption to hide specific parts of the site, the Chinese government cannot selectively block only some of GitHub's content. But blocking the site wholesale could be damaging to China's economy because it is so widely used by the tech industry.

GreatFire reported its own site was the subject of a similar traffic flooding attack earlier this month.


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GitHub recovering from massive DDoS attacks Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

GitHub recovering from massive DDoS attacks Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Software development platform GitHub said Sunday it was still experiencing intermittent outages from the largest cyberattack in its history but had halted most of the attack traffic.

Starting on Thursday, GitHub was hit by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that sent large volumes of Web traffic to the site, particularly towards two Chinese anti-censorship projects hosted there.

Over the next few days, the attackers changed their DDoS tactics as GitHub defended the site, but as of Sunday, it appears the site was mostly working.

A GitHub service called Gists, which lets people post bits of code, was still affected, it said. On Twitter, GitHub said it continued to adapt its defenses.

The attacks appeared to focus specifically on two projects hosted on GitHub, according to a blogger who goes by the nickname of Anthr@X on a Chinese- and English-language computer security forum.

One project mirrors the content of The New York Times for Chinese users, and the other is run by Greatfire.org, a group that monitors websites censored by the Chinese government and develops ways for Chinese users to access banned services.


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Nearly 90% of state's job growth was in NYC | Yoona Ha | Crain's New York

Nearly 90% of state's job growth was in NYC | Yoona Ha | Crain's New York | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Almost all of the private-sector job growth in New York state over the past decade was in New York City, according to a report issued Thursday by the Center for an Urban Future.

The nonprofit calculates that 88% of the net gain in private-sector jobs was in the five boroughs, which now account for 46.5% of such jobs statewide.

While private-sector jobs statewide grew by 3.5% between 2004 and 2014, they jumped 17.3% in New York City. The city's gain was powered by the retail, health care, technology and creative-services sectors, according to Jonathan Bowles, executive director for the Manhattan-based Center for an Urban Future. In 2014 alone, health care added 20,900 jobs, retail 9,700 and the creative industry 7,000.

Long Island, Buffalo and Niagara Falls suffered the largest declines in jobs because of their reliance on the manufacturing industry, according to Mr. Bowles. He said that justifies more state investment in the city, which is the opposite of the conclusion that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has drawn.

"[New York City] is the economic driver of the state, [which] highlights the need for the state's budget to nurture and support the city's increasingly important place in the state's economy," Mr. Bowles said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio last month criticized the state government for not giving the city enough state funds. According to Mr. Bowles, the state should allocate more money toward job creation in the city.

"We hope that this shows Gov. Cuomo and other decision makers in Albany that New York City needs more help and support, now than ever," said Mr. Bowles.

Mr. Cuomo has focused his economic-development efforts on upstate, reasoning that it needs the help more than the city and its northern and eastern suburbs.


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AL: $5M renovation of Mobile's Buick Building taking shape, roughly 20,000 square feet remains unleased | Kelli Dugan | AL.com

AL: $5M renovation of Mobile's Buick Building taking shape, roughly 20,000 square feet remains unleased | Kelli Dugan | AL.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The first phase of a roughly $5 million overhaul of the historic Buick Building in the heart of Mobile's former "Automobile Alley" is on track for a summer completion with its new owners slated to be the first tenants.

Commercial construction firm Rogers & Willard Inc., who purchased the two-story, 40,000-square-foot structure at 455 St. Louis St. in late 2014, will move its roughly 30 employees in to about 6,000 square feet of renovated first-floor space.

Meanwhile, Atlanta-based software development firm Rural Sourcing Inc. is expected to shift its operations - and eventual 100 employees - from temporary space four blocks away to another roughly 9,000 square feet on the Buick Building's ground floor in the fall.

Mike Rogers with Rogers & Willard said there's been tremendous interest expressed in the remaining leasable space, but no takers yet for the remaining ground-level space or the completely unspoken for 17,000 square feet on the second floor.

"We would love to see a corner grocery store, maybe a grocer-deli in that first-floor space," Rogers said, noting the proximity of De Tonti Square Historic District residents and ample drive-by traffic as residents ease west on their commutes home from downtown.

"We're really optimistic because it's such a great space," Rogers said, adding, "It's looked so rough for so long, but as soon as this plywood comes down and the glass goes up, this is going to look like a totally different place."

Constructed in 1926, the brick building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, but has been unoccupied for nearly 13 years.

Also known as the Turner-Todd Motor Co., the building was constructed originally as a General Motors dealership prototype that was used in different cities across the nation, and a one-story, 5,600-square-foot addition was added to the east end of the building in 1940.

"We're trying to use this project as a model for cooperating with the city to achieve our goal but also to provide the maximum impact for them," Rogers said.

Indeed, St. Louis Street has been identified as a prime locale for redevelopment as a high-tech corridor and has become the focal point of a $500,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration grant proposal submitted in late 2014 that, if approved, could fund a feasibility study into the potential creation of a research park.


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