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Provo proves Comcast can offer better service at a lower price when there's no other choice | Steve Blum's Blog

Provo proves Comcast can offer better service at a lower price when there's no other choice | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast guards what it considers to be its turf with a ferocity that makes a Chicago gangster look like a social worker. Now, it’s putting a move on Provo.


As Utah broadband blogger Jesse Harris tells it…


"I spoke with one of their sales guys who confirmed that Comcast will be offering a package of 250Mbps/50Mbps for $70 starting in September, but only in Provo. (Sorry, everywhere else.) This is in direct response to Google Fiber coming to town and will include a new modem with a built-in 802.11ac router to take advantage of the speed bump."


Whether 250 Mbps for $70 comes true or not, Comcast has already turned up the competitive pressure in Provo, meeting Google Fiber head on. Last month, it floated a $120 package that combined a solid TV package and 105 Mbps Internet with a choice of either telephone or home security service. That’s Google’s price point for just a decent enough TV package and a gig of Internet.


Comcast clearly wants to lock customers into multi-year contracts before Google has a chance to fire up its service in Provo. But throwing voice or home security onto the table is enough to kill the gigabit buzz. Whether it’s 105 or 250 megs, let along a gig, it’s more than the vast majority of households need, want or use right now. Trading bandwidth you don’t use for phone or security service is a no brainer.


Google has the speed, flexibility and resources to whack Comcast, if it wants. No need to waste tears.


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CA: In Napa quake, power surges led to PC damage | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com

CA: In Napa quake, power surges led to PC damage | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sunday's 6.0 earthquake in Napa County, Calif. caused power surges that may have led to much of the damage to computers in homes and small businesses, according to computer technicians in Napa.


The quake was violent enough to cause partial building collapses, move furniture and toss PCs from desks, cracking screens and damaging hard drives. It also disrupted power, and may have sent large electric loads to homes and business, overwhelming surge protectors.


The quake may have exposed the limitations of surge protectors that are designed to handle the transient power spikes of lightning strikes or from a home coffee maker shorting out, not the kind of power grid disruptions delivered by an earthquake.


The force of the quake was such "that I lost pretty much everything in my house that was glass," said Dylan Williams, general manager of Valley Tech Solutions in Napa. Shelves and furniture were knocked over, he said. His office didn't fare any better.


"We had shelves of product and desk and equipment that basically just got tossed around like toys," said Williams. "Our office is pretty much a wreck."


By 9 a.m. Monday, Williams had 10 calls from clients seeking help, and he's been adding people to the list since.


The quake delivered power surges "all over the area," said Williams.


"Things have been dramatically, physically damaged from electricity surges," he said, citing customers who relied on power strips with surge protection. "That's primarily what I'm seeing all over the place."


Chris Rohrer, a repair tech and software developer at Computer Engineering Group in Napa, said that 75% of the firm's computer repairs involve power surges. "The main issue has been the fact that a lot of computers weren't plugged into the proper surge protector," said Rohrer.


Electric grid damage caused by an earthquake may be a particularly brutal test of surge protectors.


Colin Campbell, vice president of APC, a company that is part of Schneider Electric and makes power protection for home and industrial use, said that surge protectors do not necessarily have the ability to protect PCs from power swells -- an increase of voltage -- or sags -- a dip -- caused by severe earthquakes that physically damage power grid equipment.


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Verizon Says Passwords Suck, QR Codes Offer Better Way | Thor Olavsrud | NetworkWorld.com

Verizon Says Passwords Suck, QR Codes Offer Better Way | Thor Olavsrud | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Are you sick of usernames and passwords as a method of user authentication? Verizon says it has a better way. It’s beefing up its Universal Identity Services portfolio with a QR code login that enterprises can deploy to streamline logins for both internal and external users.


"Lost and stolen passwords remain the No. 1 way that systems are compromised," says Tracy Hulver, chief identity strategist for Verizon. "We continue to see usernames and passwords fail as a secure way to login no matter how complex the password. With Verizon's QR code login, we are making progress in protecting users without increasing the hassle, headache or expense for the user and the enterprise."


Hating on passwords is a popular stance among information security professionals these days, and with reason — data breach after data breach in which passwords have been revealed demonstrate that many users choose weak passwords and reuse them across the Internet. According to security applications and services provider SplashData, the most popular password in 2013 was "123456," and the second-most popular choice was "password." Other users maintain strong passwords, but write them down.


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FCC Names New CTO | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Names New CTO | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has reached out to the West Coast for a new top tech person.


Scott Jordan is being named FCC chief technology officer (CTO), succeeding Henning Schulzrinne, who is returning to Columbia University but will continue to advise the FCC part time.


Jordan is a professor of computer science at the University of California, Irvine, with expertise on Internet pricing, platforms and differentiated service, all key issues as the FCC comes up with new open Internet rules.


“Scott’s engineering and technical expertise, particularly with respect to the Internet, will provide great assistance to the Commission as we consider decisions that will affect America’s communications platforms," said Wheeler.


He also praised Schulzrinne, saying Jordan had big shoes to fill.

CTO is the senior technical advisor to the entire agency.

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FCC establishes application procedures for Rural Broadband Experiments | Blandin on Broadband

Admittedly, I’m not exactly early with this news 0 but I had to look it up myself so I figured I’d share what I learned. The short burst – is that the doors are open for applying for the FCC Rural Broadband Experiments funding.


According to Lexology


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Comcast to 2,700+ NY’ers – Your Opposition to Our Merger: Unsubstantive, Should Be Ignored | Stop the Cap!

Comcast to 2,700+ NY’ers – Your Opposition to Our Merger: Unsubstantive, Should Be Ignored | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

“Given these many concrete benefits, and the lack of any harm to competition or consumers, it should come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of the substantive comments (approximately 110 out of a total of about 140 substantive comments) filed in this proceeding support Commission approval of the transaction,” Comcast wrote in its latest submission.[1]


Comcast’s “new math” applies a subjective (and undisclosed) standard about what constitutes “substantive,” but in the end the cable company has urged the Commission to disregard the sentiments of more than 2,700 New York State residents who have filed comments in strong opposition to the merger because their remarks simply fell beneath Comcast’s standards.


“The minority of organizations and individuals who filed substantive comments opposing the transaction largely ignore the significant public interest benefits of the transaction,” writes Comcast. “Instead, these detractors raise issues that are not relevant to the transaction and are factually inaccurate and speculative – such as unfounded concerns about Comcast’s broadband management practices, misplaced criticisms of Internet Essentials, and general fears that ‘big is bad.’ None of these commenters identify any reasonable basis to reject or condition the Joint Petition.”


Comcast did not apply the same rigorous standards of ‘substantiveness’ to comments sent by its supporters, who often used what New York Assemblyman Joe Morelle admitted was a Comcast-supplied template ghost-written by the company itself.[2]


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Unpacking claims of “unfair competition” when the public sector finances or builds fiber to the premise infrastructure | Eldo Telecom

Unpacking claims of “unfair competition” when the public sector finances or builds fiber to the premise infrastructure | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Incumbent telephone and cable companies often cry “unfair competition” when the public sector invests in or builds fiber to the premise (FTTP) infrastructure. Let’s unpack that assertion.


From the point of view of these companies, anyone who builds infrastructure they don’t own is a competitor. They really don’t compete to gain customers in a given geographical area.


That’s because telecommunications infrastructure isn’t truly a competitive market characterized by many sellers and buyers. Rather than competing for customers, the incumbents’ true interest is in protecting their monopoly or duopoly status.


True competition occurs in a market where buyers and sellers are on a level playing field and buyers have relatively equal access to market players and information on their services, benefits, prices and value offered. That doesn’t happen in telecommunications infrastructure. Incumbents have the upper hand in deciding which neighborhoods they will serve, what services will be offered and at what price. And they don’t disclose where they plan to build FTTP infrastructure.

The public sector typically gets involved in investing in or building FTTP infrastructure not to compete with the incumbents, but to remedy the market failure they create given their power to pick winners and losers among the neighborhoods they opt to serve and those they choose to redline and not offer service.

Finally, since the public sector typically invests in open access infrastructure and provides wholesale access to Internet service providers (including the incumbents), that’s also not direct market competition with incumbent telephone and cable companies. It’s an entirely different playing field and certainly not the same one used by the incumbents who won’t play ball unless they own the field. Hence, there’s no direct competition, fair or unfair.
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TWC Blames Internet Outage On Internet Backbone 'Issue' | Multichannel.com

TWC Blames Internet Outage On Internet Backbone 'Issue' | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable (TWC) said an “issue” with its Internet backbone disrupted broadband and on-demand services early Wednesday morning, but said services have since been restored to most customers.

 

“At 4:30 a.m. ET…during our routine network maintenance, an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services,” a TWC spokesman said via email. “As of 6 a.m. ET services were largely restored as updates continue to bring all customers back online.”

 

The @TWC_Help  Twitter tried to keep customers apprised earlier this morning when it tweeted: “We’re working to restore services to all areas as quickly as possible; no ETR. Tweets will be delayed while this is addressed.” 

 

According to Down Detector, a site that provides status information on outages using data from a variety of sources, including Twitter, the number of outage reports for TWC peaked at 9,731 around 7 a.m. ET, and were down to 676 at about 8:10 a.m. ET

 

Time Warner Cable ended the second quarter with 11.35 million broadband customers.

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The internet has gotten a lot faster since 2008, so why is Comcast's data limit so low? | Timothy Lee | Vox.com

The internet has gotten a lot faster since 2008, so why is Comcast's data limit so low? | Timothy Lee | Vox.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In some parts of the country, if you're a Comcast customer and you consume more than 300 GB of bandwidth in a month, Comcast will ask you to pay extra for the additional bandwidth. Many people call this a "data cap," but the term has become somewhat toxic in technology circles. So as Ars Technica reports, Comcast has been trying to convince people to use euphemisms like "flexible data consumption plan" instead.


Playing this kind of semantic game isn't going to win Comcast many friends. But I think it does help to distract attention from the larger problem with Comcast's "flexible data consumption plan" policy.

The policy was first instituted in 2008 with a limit of 250 GB per month. At the time, with Netflix streaming in its infancy, that was considered a huge amount of bandwidth. Comcast portrayed it as an effort to crack down on the worst abusers of its network. In 2012, Comcast announced it was raising the limit — to 300 GB per month.


As I pointed out at the time, it's hard to imagine the average technology company trumpeting a 20 percent performance increase after 4 years with zero progress. Most technology products show dramatic improvements year after year. But progress on Comcast's network has been agonizingly slow.


And it's not like the technology doesn't exist to provide Comcast customers with more bandwidth. Since 2008, we've seen a dramatic increase in the number of cities with super-fast 1 Gbps fiber optic service — 20 times faster than Comcast's premium "Blast" service. Meanwhile, the cost of long-haul internet service has plummeted.


When an ISP such as Comcast can't reach another network directly, it pays a third party to carry data to and from the network. As this chart shows, the cost of this "transit" service fell by a factor of 15 between 2008 and 2013.


Comcast has to buy transit in order to provide its customers with access to the entire internet. But more important, transit service is a helpful proxy for the falling cost of network connectivity more generally. The transit market is highly competitive, with dozens of companies offering service in direct competition. If the residential broadband market were this competitive, we would likely see dramatic improvements there too. Certainly, the per-megabit cost of broadband service should improve faster than 20 percent over 6 years.


So what's going on?


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Your new  Facebook ‘friend’ may be the FBI | Richard Lardner | NBCNews.com

Your new  Facebook ‘friend’ may be the FBI | Richard Lardner | NBCNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Feds are on Facebook. And MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, too.


U.S. law enforcement agents are following the rest of the Internet world into popular social-networking services, going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather private information, according to an internal Justice Department document that offers a tantalizing glimpse of issues related to privacy and crime-fighting.


Think you know who's behind that "friend" request? Think again. Your new "friend" just might be the FBI.


The document, obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, makes clear that U.S. agents are already logging on surreptitiously to exchange messages with suspects, identify a target's friends or relatives and browse private information such as postings, personal photographs and video clips.


Among other purposes: Investigators can check suspects' alibis by comparing stories told to police with tweets sent at the same time about their whereabouts. Online photos from a suspicious spending spree — people posing with jewelry, guns or fancy cars — can link suspects or their friends to robberies or burglaries.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group, obtained the Justice Department document when it sued the agency and five others in federal court. The 33-page document underscores the importance of social networking sites to U.S. authorities. The foundation said it would publish the document on its Web site on Tuesday.


With agents going undercover, state and local police coordinate their online activities with the Secret Service, FBI and other federal agencies in a strategy known as "deconfliction" to keep out of each other's way.


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US Senate Commerce Committee's GOP Posts Video Promoting 'Local Choice' | Broadcasting & Cable

US Senate Commerce Committee's GOP Posts Video Promoting 'Local Choice' | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Late Monday, the Senate Commerce Committee Republicans tweeted a link from a video promoting/explaining the Local Choice proposal of Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) and ranking member John Thune (R- S.D.).


The tweet from the CommerceGOP account says: "Want more control over your cable bill & to #KeepMyTV? Try @SenJohnThune & @SenRockefeller's #LocalChoice proposal: http://bit.ly/1pA3KX6."


That proposal, which they want to include as part of satellite license reauthorization legislation being teed up for September, would allow MVPD subs to choose whether they want to pay for stations who elect payment for retransmission consent. That also means the cable operators would not be required to deliver all retrans stations on the basic tier, since they would not have to deliver them at all to viewers who opted not to pay for them.


Essentially broadcasters would deal directly with viewers, with cable collecting the money and not allowed to mark up the price.


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Netflix Slams "Disrupting" Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger To FCC | Deadline.com

Netflix Slams "Disrupting" Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger To FCC | Deadline.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

They may have come up empty-handed at last night’s 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, but Netflix was thinking about the future on Monday. The future of broadband and Internet access that is.


In a blistering petition to the FCC, the streaming service recommended that the proposed mega-merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable be denied. “The combined entity’s control over its interconnection arrangements, coupled with such an increase in size, would allow it to insert itself into the heart of all Internet commerce, disrupting innovation, reducing financing for edge providers, and foreclosing compelling services from ever reaching the light of day,” said Netflix in a filing submitted yesterday (read it here).


The melding of the nation’s biggest and second-biggest providers of on-ramp access to the Internet “presents serious public interest harms stemming from the combined entity’s increased ability and incentive to harm providers of Internet content.”


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Rogers And Shaw Team Up To Launch A Netflix Competitor For Canada Called ‘Shomi’ | TechCrunch.com

Rogers And Shaw Team Up To Launch A Netflix Competitor For Canada Called ‘Shomi’ | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canadian cable giants aren’t just going to watch their audience slip away to streaming services – two of the nation’s biggest providers have joined forces to launch shomi, a new subscription-based service that provides access to shows on-demand, with apps for tablets, phones, web, Xbox 360 and set-top boxes at launch. The shomi service will be available only to Rogers and Shaw Internet or TV subscribers n its beta form, and it’ll be available beginning in November with an $8.99 per month price tag (the same, you’ll note, as Netflix.)


The joint venture by the cable industry leaders will offer over 11,000 hours of programming, per a release announcing the news, and that comes from “past seasons” of popular TV programs, including exclusive streaming rights to some of the most popular titles, like Modern Family, Shameless, 24: Live Another Day, American Horror Story and Sons of Anarchy. They’re also promising first-window premieres, which means they’ll have limited exclusive access to some content before others get it.


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Is Washington Abandoning Small Businesses and Consumers in Rural America? | Rick Harnish Blog | LinkedIn.com

As I evaluate the 2012 Election Results, it is apparent the Democratic Party carried a majority of metropolitan areas of our nation. Republicans carried the majority of rural states. President Obama carried 26 states or 51.1% of the popular vote. The total was President Obama - 65,915,796 to 60,933,500 for Romney, a difference of just under 5 million votes. President Obama narrowly won in Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.


I point this out because each of these states has large areas of rural populations. Why should I care, you say. The answer is Broadband. Most of these rural states are served predominately by fixed wireless Internet providers, otherwise known as WISPs. It is estimated that over 3 million households and businesses receive their broadband service from the WISP industry.


WISPs are the epitome of small business and entrepreneurial spirit. These businesses are and were created in unserved and underserved communities to build broadband access out of necessity where no other telco or cable company provides service. The creation of IP networking and unlicensed spectrum has allowed entrepreneurs to construct telecommunication delivery systems which handle voice, data, video and every other Internet application.


No longer is telecommunications only a business for the telecommunication giants of the past. Anyone can build broadband networks today and they do. If the political agendas in the previous paragraph were supported, more unlicensed spectrum would be made available not less, more small business loans would be made available not less, government grants and subsidies would be opened up to all broadband providers and not be reserved for the legacy telecommunication giants.


I was always taught that competition was a good thing. Were my government and business law teachers lying to me? Look around you, how many small businesses have been forced out of business in your community by corporate giants and overzealous government regulation?


A relatively obscure event is happening this year which may sway political outcomes this fall and again in 2016. In March, the Federal Communications Commission under direction of Chairman Tom Wheeler, appointed by President Obama, voted to change the rules on a tiny bit of unlicensed spectrum.


This seemingly minute change, if left as is, will cripple rural broadband connections for many American families and businesses. These American taxpayers will be forced to return to inadequate dial-up, expensive satellite or mobile wireless connections.


The effects to rural economies across the country will not go unnoticed. Come election time, voters will surely vote for the party which is not responsible for this nonsense. It won’t take many failed businesses or consumers which lost their broadband internet connections to sway the election results which were so close in 2012. Will it happen in the 2014 Congressional races? I expect this to become a political “hot potato” this fall.


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Comcast allegedly trying to block CenturyLink from entering its territory | Ars Technica

Comcast allegedly trying to block CenturyLink from entering its territory | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink has accused Comcast of trying to prevent competition in cities and towns by making it difficult for the company to obtain reasonable franchise agreements from local authorities.


CenturyLink made the claim yesterday in a filing that asks the Federal Communications Commission to block Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) or impose conditions that prevent Comcast from using its market power to harm competitors.


Comcast has a different view on the matter, saying that CenturyLink shouldn’t be able to enter Comcast cities unless CenturyLink promises to build out its network to all residents. Without such conditions, poor people might not be offered service, Comcast argues.


Internet service and TV providers often don’t bother competing against each other in individual cities and towns, at least in part because it’s hard to pry enough customers away from an existing company to make major construction economically viable. Network operators aren't required to lease infrastructure to companies that would provide service over the lines, and small Internet and TV providers say they face frivolous lawsuits from incumbents designed to put them out of business before they can build their own networks.


Despite being the two largest cable companies in the nation with a combined 33 million Internet customers, Comcast and TWC don’t compete against each other for residential and business subscribers anywhere. But CenturyLink, which offers DSL and fiber service and has six million broadband subscribers, is trying to compete against Comcast.


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Cleveland Indians turn to SIEM in malware, botnet battle | Ellen Messmer | NetworkWorld.com

Cleveland Indians turn to SIEM in malware, botnet battle | Ellen Messmer | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the Cleveland Indians’ IT department, dealing with malware on behalf of hundreds of Windows-using employees at the baseball team’s Progressive Field data center operations can be a little bit like a pitcher facing a stacked batting line-up: a constant battle.


Using traditional anti-virus software from Sophos helps the team avoid infections, but can’t keep pace with the boom in zero-day attacks.


“When an Internet user goes to a website that has spyware, the system gets infected and tries to connect to a remote-control server somewhere,” says IT Director Whitney Kuszmaul. “Most anti-virus doesn’t catch a lot of things out there.”


The Indians upped their game about six months ago by adopting the AccelOps security information and event management (SIEM) tool for the purpose of centralizing security events related to firewalls, intrusion-detection systems and monitoring Windows applications and security logs. Since then, the IT department has expanded its use of AccelOps, which runs as a virtual appliance in the VMware-based data center, to analyze network traffic in order to pinpoint malware infections.


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ACA: Comcast/TWC Poses Horizontal, Vertical Harms | Multichannel.com

ACA: Comcast/TWC Poses Horizontal, Vertical Harms | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Comcast/TWC deal poses vertical harms, horizontal harms, spot cable ad market harms that need more than arbitration to remedy.

 

That was the message from the American Cable Association (ACA) to the FCC in comments on the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

 

That means the FCC needs to either impose conditions to protect competition and consumers, particularly when it comes to program distribution or just say no to the deal.

 

"Because these harms are so significant, and are not counterbalanced by public interest benefits," says ACA, "the Commission cannot approve the proposed combination without adopting specific and meaningful relief."

 

ACA suggests the vertical harm of a Comcast/TWC is like a Comcast/NBCU 800 pound gorilla on steroids. "The Commission recognized that once joined, Comcast-NBCU would negotiate more aggressively relative to pre-transaction NBCU when selling NBCU content to Comcast's video distribution rivals because the integrated firm would take into account the possibility that any harm from failure or delay in reaching agreement would be offset to some extent by a benefit to Comcast, as reaching a higher price would raise the costs of Comcast's rivals, says ACA. "By improving Comcast-NBCU's bargaining position, the transaction would lead to higher programming costs for Comcast's video distribution rivals."

 

The horizontal harms, says the ACA, come from adding TWC's L.A. and New York regional sports networks to Comcast's programming assets, as well aswhat it says is the increased bargaining power in programming negotiations Comcast gets by increasing its sub count from 21.1 to 31.4 million (which would include Comcast continuing to negotiate for Bright House and Midcontinent).


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TiVo Releases A 'Legal' Version Of Aereo, Called Roamio, Proving That Aereo Really Was About Cable Length | Techdirt.com

TiVo Releases A 'Legal' Version Of Aereo, Called Roamio, Proving That Aereo Really Was About Cable Length | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

TiVo has released a new product called "Roamio" which looks suspiciously like the recently-declared-infringing Aereo. Roamio lets users "record, store and playback" over the air programming. Just like Aereo.


There's just one distinction -- and it apparently makes all the difference in the world: Roamio's cable length is a lot shorter. As David Post notes, while Aereo and Roamio's services are nearly identical, the length of the cable changes the legal dynamic:


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ILSR Co-Signs FCC Comment Endorsing More Open Spectrum | community broadband networks

ILSR Co-Signs FCC Comment Endorsing More Open Spectrum | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Institute for Local Self Reliance has joined with Public Knowledge, Common Cause, and the Open Technology Institute, in submitting reply comments to the FCC last week as the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC). The issue at hand is the FCC’s proposal of new rules for how to govern the 3.5 GHz band, a range of the electromagnetic spectrum useful for many different types of communication. 


The PISC comment focused on the importance of getting away from the long-standing FCC policy of simply auctioning off big slices of spectrum for telecom companies to use exclusively, which inhibits innovation and enables a monopolization of the communications marketplace. Verizon and AT&T, who hold licenses to large swathes of the spectrum already, are lobbying to FCC to keep the status quo in place. PISC (and ILSR) support a more open arrangement, allowing multiple users to share the same underutilized spectrum segment, while still avoiding interference. The full text of the comment is available here. 


The language and policy of spectrum management can seem arcane to people unaccustomed to it, but how we regulate and use the electromagnetic spectrum has wide ranging consequences for almost all the technology we use in our daily lives. For a general primer on the importance and possibilities of a more open spectrum licensing policy, see the wireless commons articles we published earlier this summer.


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Comcast, Time Warner Cable deal to close in 2015 | Crain's New York

Comcast, Time Warner Cable deal to close in 2015 | Crain's New York | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast Corp. said it now expects its planned $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. to be completed early next year.


The estimated timing is due to Comcast's current expectations about regulatory approvals, the Philadelphia-based company said in a filing dated Monday. Comcast previously had said that the transaction may be completed by the end of 2014.


The Federal Communications Commission asked Comcast to provide information on a range of its business practices, from programming agreements with sports leagues to Internet traffic management and data caps imposed on customers.


The FCC's demand for data--common as part of any agency review of an acquisition--posed many questions that get to the heart of objections to the deal raised by consumer groups, competitors and some customers. The queries included whether Comcast slows or hinders programming by rivals, has studies about how consumers view its services and how the merger would effect its carriage of local sports broadcasts.


The deal would bring Comcast, the largest U.S. cable provider, 7 million more customers, for a total of 29 million residential video subscribers; and a presence in the top two U.S. media markets, New York and Los Angeles.

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How Google Fiber is disrupting the broadband deployment model | Colin Nagle | NetworkWorld.com

How Google Fiber is disrupting the broadband deployment model | Colin Nagle | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google’s groundbreaking Fiber program, which offers 1 gigabit-per-second broadband for just $70 per month, has thrived because it takes a different approach to deployment that incumbent ISPs have been reluctant to embrace. Fiber’s success, however, has already caused other ISPs to change their approach to broadband deployment, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. Eventually, this shakeup in broadband services could create an entirely new form of competition in the broadband market.


Federal policies on the availability of wire and radio services created in the 1930s, and updated for cable TV in the 1960s, required service providers to cover entire geographical regions indiscriminately. The idea was to ensure that no part of a city went without access to the communications services that would soon become essential for both businesses and consumers. This led to the longstanding regional monopolies that many cable and internet service providers still hold (and under which many customers still suffer) to this day.


Congress updated these policies in the 1990s in an effort to speed up the deployment of internet connectivity, allowing service providers to compete in certain regions that might be more profitable. Although some have used this approach in some way – say, underserving rural areas with low populations – none have capitalized quite like Google did when it introduced its Fiber program in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, in 2011. Google identified profitable areas within these cities in which to deploy its Fiber service – what are now referred to as “fiberhoods” – and spent less time on those that were less likely to provide a return on its investment. The Journal explained in a recent article:


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MN: Ramsey County OKs Comcast broadband deal for 5 years | TwinCities.com

MN: Ramsey County OKs Comcast broadband deal for 5 years | TwinCities.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Ramsey County Board recently voted 6-1 to approve a five-year agreement with Comcast to provide high-speed broadband communications between government buildings.


County Commissioner Janice Rettman, who cast the sole vote against the agreement, expressed concern that Comcast has signaled it may spin off its Minnesota clients to a different provider as a result of a pending national merger.


"Who is going to own the intellectual properties if Comcast takes a hike?" Rettman asked.


County staff said any Comcast affiliate that absorbs the contract would have to abide by the same performance standards, or the contract becomes null. The county board in May selected Comcast as its vendor from among five providers.


The five-year contract offers the option of two additional two-year terms. County buildings had previously been served by Comcast and a network of different providers.

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AT&T agrees to conditions with feds in $48.5B DirecTV purchase | NYPost.com

AT&T agrees to conditions with feds in $48.5B DirecTV purchase | NYPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has agreed with the feds on the conditions paving the way for it to buy DirecTV, a source close to the process told The Post.


AT&T worked out the plan with the Justice Department, according to the source. It could not be learned what, if any, conditions the DOJ has placed on the merger.


In May AT&T agreed to buy satellite television company DirecTV for $48.5 billion.


Agreeing to comply means the Department of Justice will likely clear the AT&T deal in October. The FCC still has not ruled on the merger.


The move will allow AT&T to add DirecTV’s 20 million satellite-TV subscribers to its 5.7 million U-Verse TV service subscribers, which currently spans 22 states.


This merger has caused concern among those who believe the convergence of the few remaining telecom and cable giants will cause a rise in prices.


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Microsoft reportedly developing Chromecast rival: a Miracast dongle | Samantha Bookman | FierceOnlineVideo.com

Microsoft reportedly developing Chromecast rival: a Miracast dongle | Samantha Bookman | FierceOnlineVideo.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Analysts can predict a decline in Google Chromecast usage all they want, but its users are a fairly loyal bunch. And it appears that Microsoft may be going after that customer base with its own dongle, reportedly called the Miracast Dongle but currently code-named HD-10 in an FCC filing.


The filing details a device that has HDMI support, Wi-Fi and a USB connection, engadget reports.

A separate document found on the Wi-Fi Alliance website by the Nokia Power User blog reportedly divulged the HD-10's name as the "Miracast Dongle."

Miracast, of course, is Microsoft's screen-sharing technology for Window 8.1, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8.1, and Android 4.2 and Blackberry 10.2.1 operating systems. That has tech sites like engadget speculating that the HD-10 (FCC ID: PYAHD-10) will be able to mirror whatever is on a device's screen on the user's television.


"Unlike Chromecast's technology, though, Miracast can only show what's on the source device's screen à la Mac OS X's Airplay Mirroring, meaning you can't play mobile games while you're casting a show on TV," engadget's Mariella Moon wrote.


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Dish Network petitions FCC to block Comcast-TWC merger | ZDNet.com

Dish Network petitions FCC to block Comcast-TWC merger | ZDNet.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Dish Network has warned of irreparable harm to competition and consumers alike if US regulators allow the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable goes ahead.


On Monday, Dish network revealed the petition, saying that if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows the merger to go forward, the deal could "significantly damage competitive development of over-the-top (OTT) video -- services such as Netflix and Hulu -- and limit consumer access to online video programming."


The satellite television provider's petition (.PDF) outlines a number of key 'harm' points, including the spectre of anti-competitive behaviour, strangled innovation and competition, and obstacles which would prevent online video steaming businesses to expand and evolve.


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UT: Taxpayers group offers to help UTOPIA and Cities with survey | Standard.net

UT: Taxpayers group offers to help UTOPIA and Cities with survey | Standard.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

An organization with a history of speaking against UTOPIA from its inception, is offering to help six cities pursuing talks with an Australian company develop a survey for residents about a possible funding tool to complete build out of the fiber-to-the-home network.


The Utah Taxpayer Association has offered to help officials from Layton, Brigham City, Perry, Tremonton, Midvale and West Valley City set up an opinion survey in identifying “accurate and unbiased questions,” dealing with the future of UTOPIA. City councils in those six communities have chosen to pursue talks with Macquarie about potentially taking over management of the 11-city fiber networks. Five cities have voted not to pursue those talks.


The non-binding question would ask residents to weigh in whether citizens should pay a monthly utility fee to help finance UTOPIA’s final construction phase. The utility fee, estimated at $18 to $20 a month, is part of a financing option proposed by Macquarie, an investment company pursing a 30-year deal to manage the fiber-to-the-home network.


“Anyone who has worked with surveys knows that the structure and wording of a survey dictates its outcome,” said M. Royce Van Tassell, vice president of the UTA. He said the UTA can work with officials from the six cities to identify unbiased questions, to elected officials can trust the results.


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