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“High speed services are not a matter of convenience, they are essential to communities” | Broadband World Forum 2013

“High speed services are not a matter of convenience, they are essential to communities” | Broadband World Forum 2013 | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Jim Pine, EORN Project Co-Lead is speaking in the Access Evolution track on Day Two of the Broadband World Forum, taking place on the 22nd – 24th October 2013 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Ahead of the show we fine out more about the great challenges it has faced in bringing high-speed connectivity to the residents of rural Canada.


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TN: AT&T eyes Clarksville, other cities for 'ultra-fast' network | Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

TN: AT&T eyes Clarksville, other cities for 'ultra-fast' network | Clarksville Leaf Chronicle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has announced an initiative to expand its “ultra-fast” fiber network to up to 100 candidate cities and municipalities nationwide, including 21 new major metropolitan areas. Clarksville is among the cities on the planned network expansion.


The fiber network will deliver AT&T U-verse with GigaPowerSM service, which can deliver broadband speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second and AT&T’s most advanced TV services, to consumers and businesses, said a news release.


“AT&T looks forward to continuing our long history of working with Clarksville’s leaders to deliver the latest technologies to our community,” said AT&T Tennessee State President Joelle Phillips, in prepared comments. “Clarksville is already such a vibrant place, and I’m excited about the potential of consumers using AT&T U-verse with GigaPower to do more of what they already do so well – more healthcare innovation, more advances in education, and much more."


AT&T announced plans to begin talks with municipalities in at least 21 new major metropolitan areas to bring AT&T U-verse with GigaPower, a fiber network that will deliver broadband speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second and U-verse TV. “We’re already successfully selling the service in and around Austin, Texas, we recently announced plans to bring Gigabit speeds to Dallas, and are in advanced talks in several North Carolina communities,” Phillips said.


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GA: Broadband network proved itslf during ice storm | News-Times.com

February’s ice storm was a brutal attack on the communications and utility services in Columbia County, GA.


Power went out to most of the county. Lots of land phone lines froze or were knocked down by falling trees. Cellphone service was spotty and unreliable.


One service never failed or faltered – the county’s Broadband Utility network.


“It’s geared for public safety,” said Lewis Foster, Broadband Utility manager. “Our entire network is underground.”


The network, which went live last fall, comprises 220 miles of buried fiber-optic cable and seven wireless communication towers. A federal $13.5 million grant paid for most of the $18 million network.


The broadband network is leased partially by communications companies, some of which experienced outages from other ice storm factors. But all county departments and facilities are connected to the network, which provided a reliable Internet and phone connection during times when other communications methods didn’t.


The network also supports the digital radio system used by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and other county departments including Emergency and Operations, Roads and Bridges and Fleet Services. It is also the radio system that 911 dispatchers use to communicate with deputies, fire officials and other emergency response resources.


“Where we are fortunate is that other county agencies got on board with it too,” said sheriff’s Lt. John Sherman, who oversees the E-911 Communications Center. “We have inter-connectivity. That’s huge.”


During the storm when even land phone lines into the dispatch center went down, the radios system, supported through the broadband system, never failed and allowed constant communication among those who needed it.


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Activists want net neutrality, NSA spying debated at Brazil Internet conference | NetworkWorld.com

Activists want net neutrality, NSA spying debated at Brazil Internet conference | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A campaign on the Internet is objecting to the exclusion of issues like net neutrality, the cyberweapons arms race and surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency from the discussion paper of an Internet governance conference this week in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


A significant section of the participants are also looking for concrete measures and decisions at the conference rather than yet another statement of principles.


The proposed text "lacks any strength," does not mention NSA's mass surveillance or the active participation of Internet companies, and fails to propose any concrete action, according to the campaign called Our Net Mundial.


Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about the surveillance programs of the U.S., which allegedly included real time access to content on servers of Internet companies like Facebook and Google.


The Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, also called NETmundial, released Thursday a document to guide the discussions starting Wednesday among the representatives from more than 80 countries .


An earlier document leaked by whistle-blower site WikiLeaks proposed international agreements for restraining cyber weapons development and deployment and called for the Internet to remain neutral and free from discrimination. WikiLeaks said the document was prepared for approval by a high-level committee.


Dilma Rousseff, the president of host country Brazil, has been a sharp critic of surveillance by the U.S. after reports that her communications were being spied on by the NSA.


Though the Brazil discussion document does not directly mention NSA surveillance, it refers to the freedom of expression, information and privacy, including avoiding arbitrary or unlawful collection of personal data and surveillance.


The meeting's call for universal principles partly reflects a desire for interstate agreements that can prevent rights violations such as the NSA surveillance, wrote Internet governance experts Milton Mueller and Ben Wagner in a paper. The Tunis Agenda of the World Summit on the Information Society also called for globally applicable public policy principles for Internet governance.


"But there have been so many Internet principles released in recent years that it is hard to see what the Brazil conference could add," Mueller and Wagner wrote.


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India Wants To Take On 'US Hegemony' Over The Internet... By Renaming It The Equinet | Techdirt.com

India Wants To Take On 'US Hegemony' Over The Internet... By Renaming It The Equinet | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The battle for countries wishing to take control over internet governance (either to increase control and censorship or to "reward" local state-owned telcos) didn't end with the whole WCIT debacle a year and a half ago. It's an ongoing process. This week is NETmundial, or the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Governance, and the usual countries are making the usual noise about changing how internet governance works. There will be lots of talk about how meaningful these discussions will be, or if they'll just be a "farce" to enable authoritarian governments more control. Either way, there are some important proposals and discussions happening at the event.

And some nutty ones.

Take, for example, India's proposal that we rename the internet as the Equinet as a way to "challenge US hegemony." Because that will do it.


In a major diplomatic initiative, India is all set to challenge the U.S.’ hegemony of the World Wide Web at a global meet on Internet governance in Sao Paulo (Brazil) next week. India has decided to propose renaming of Internet as ‘Equinet’ so that all nations can have equal say in its operations, besides calling for “internationalisation” of core Internet resources.


Of course, the naming bit is the smokescreen attention-grabber for the other point. Setting up so that "all nations" (note: not all people) can have a say in the operations of the internet is a specific attack on the so-called "multistakeholder" model that is currently in place, in which it's not government entities making these decisions, but a broad group of folks from different backgrounds and specialties (including, many technical experts). Hand the internet over to "governments" and you have a recipe for disaster. If you want more evidence of how troubling this is, look at who India is "aligning itself" with in this proposal:


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5 States to Watch in the Community Broadband Fight | GovTech.com

5 States to Watch in the Community Broadband Fight | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The battle between local governments and telecommunications providers over the right to establish community broadband networks heated up over the last several months, as a number of bills were introduced that could have significant impact on municipalities in five states.


Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah and Tennessee were all in the spotlight earlier this year regarding everything from de-facto bans on community networks to funding and development issues. Some of the bills were pulled off the table, while others have continued through their respective states’ legislative processes.


Government Technology took a closer look at the broadband concerns in those states and what public-sector technologists should keep tabs on moving forward.


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USA world rankings: #1 for sending spam, #8 for Netflix streaming speeds | Ms. Smith Blog | NetworkWorld.com

USA world rankings: #1 for sending spam, #8 for Netflix streaming speeds | Ms. Smith Blog | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. is top dog when it comes to sending spam, but when it comes to streaming Netflix, the U.S. comes in as the eighth fastest nation.


When Sophos named its spam-relaying "Dirty Dozen" for the first quarter of 2014, it pointed out, "Remember that if your country is on the list, we're not implying that you and your fellow countrymen are spam kings." Instead, it implies the countries on the list have botnet-infected PCs spewing spam on behalf of the real cybercrooks. The worst spam-relaying nations are the United States in the "countries by volume" category and Belarus for "countries by population."


The US is spewing 16% of all spam, followed by Spain, Russia, Italy, China, Germany, Japan, France, Argentina, South Korea, Ukraine, and India.


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FCC Chairman Wheeler Circulates Incentive Auction Item | Multichannel.com

FCC Chairman Wheeler Circulates Incentive Auction Item | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is indeed planning to vote on a broadcast incentive auction rule framework at the May 15 meeting, according to senior officials at the Federal Communications Commission, speaking to reporters on background.

 

The auction will include what they said was high first offers for broadcast spectrum, but that the auction would be entirely voluntary.


Wheeler circulated the draft to the other commissioners Thursday (April 17). In a blog posting he reiterated that, for broadcasters, the auction would be "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an infusion of cash to expand their business model and explore new innovations, while continuing to provide their traditional services to consumers. We will ensure that broadcasters have all of the information they need to make informed business decisions about whether and how to participate."

 

The officials outlined the band-plan framework to be voted on, though making clear it was a draft that could be changed in negotiations with the other commissioners.

 

The officials emphasized that the goal of the auction was to free up spectrum for wireless, but that it would have to balance that goal with the other goal of giving broadcasters a one-time-only financial boost and preserving the service for those who want to stay in the broadcast business.


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Why many tech firms end up in the virtual trash heap | J.J. Rosen Blog | The Tennessean

Why many tech firms end up in the virtual trash heap | J.J. Rosen Blog | The Tennessean | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The quest for certainty in an inherently unpredictable world is often a wild ride.


The airwaves are filled with people confidently predicting everything from the weather, to the stock market, to who will win a football game. Professional prognosticators are paid big money to provide us with assertive (but often inaccurate) predictions about the future.


I was recently asked by a friend if I could suggest any favorite tech stocks to consider in planning his retirement portfolio. Predictability in the tech world is notoriously elusive. Nevertheless, I started doing research in hopes of finding a few solid tech stocks that even a non-techie investor such as Warren Buffett might find attractive.


I started my quest by thinking about what companies are likely to do well. Knowing that today’s environment is increasingly mobile and cloud-centric, I limited my list to the firms that are capitalizing on these trends and that also have strong brand names, notable market dominance and large “economic moats” (the safety that Buffet likes). I figured for a retirement account, it would be the big players with huge revenues (Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft etc.) that would provide some safety while also having a strong upside.


As I was about to click send on my email list of suggestions, I had a sudden flashback that caused me to pause and back away from my computer ... “WordPerfect.”


Anyone born before 1980 may remember Satellite Systems International’s WordPerfect word processor as one of the most popular and market dominant software applications in the world. Nearly everyone used WordPerfect.


But as Microsoft released Windows and began to own the desktop, WordPerfect swiftly was pushed away and now barely exists.


Remember brand names such as Lotus 1-2-3, Novell Netware, Atari and Netscape? At one time, all of these products enjoyed extremely high market share, but then vanished quickly into the “where are they now” file.


The takeaway? Technology companies, perhaps more than any other industry, are fragile. What is popular today can be obsolete by tomorrow.


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KS: Shawnee County selected to pilot broadband initiative | Topeka Capital Journal

KS: Shawnee County selected to pilot broadband initiative | Topeka Capital Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Surprising as it might seem, there are areas of Shawnee County that don’t have adequate access to the Internet.


“We have students, families and patrons of 372 who are currently underserved or unable to access quality and affordable broadband,” said Tim Hallacy, superintendent of Silver Lake Unified School District 372.

This, he said, at a time when teaching and learning — not to mention business interests — rely heavily on quality Internet access.


With Shawnee County’s selection as a pilot community for a statewide initiative to address that issue, a group of local taxing entities hopes to figure out exactly where those areas are and what they can do collectively to improve services.


In so doing, the entities hope to set a course for the community’s future, enhancing education, work force, public safety and financial stability by connecting to the digital economy.


“We’re going to be exposed to a lot of tools to help us learn more about what broadband means to our daily lives,” said Shawnee County Commissioner Shelly Buhler, immediate past chairwoman of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council. “I don’t know what the end result will be, but I think it’s important that we’re at least discussing it.”


Shawnee County has been chosen by the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Statewide Broadband Initiative as a Local Technology Planning Pilot. Shawnee County will have access to national consultants, hired by the state through a federal grant, to help formulate a plan for enhancing broadband services.


So far the state has secured Norton County, Dodge City/Ford County and Fort Scott/Bourbon County in addition to Topeka/Shawnee County as pilot communities, said KSBI program director Stanley Adams. The commerce department didn’t have enough in the federal grant for every county, so it has selected about six counties to assign consultants and develop blueprints from which other communities can work, he said.


“We want to make sure economic development plans that are in the process include broadband initiatives,” Adams said.


Shawnee County’s selection came in part through the work of the ICC, a group of 11 taxing entities that has been studying the topic of broadband since December 2012. The ICC includes Shawnee County, Topeka, the library and airport agencies, and five school districts. The body can’t enter into contracts, form policy or employ people, but it has been charged with working together to improve the community and identify common areas of need.


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NC: Can High-Speed Internet Spark Better-Paying Jobs? | Elaine Pofeldt Blog | Forbes.com

NC: Can High-Speed Internet Spark Better-Paying Jobs? | Elaine Pofeldt Blog | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Many of us look at high-speed internet as a way to enjoy pleasures like clearer HDTV and speedier Wi-Fi. But as lightening-fast service gets rolled out in new markets, it could also pave the way to innovation–and new jobs for many–or so say proponents. We’re just starting to see what happens when businesses and consumers have access to connectivity at 1-gigabit-per second or faster.


“Everything in this country is evolving and changing, and technology is leading that change,” says Dan Limerick, co-founder of RST Fiber Optic Networks, a Shelby, N.C.-based firm that that develops and manages fiber optic networks. “Without more bandwidth, those changes are very difficult to make. It is impossible to download or move the information fast enough. A 1-gigabit connection makes that possible.”


Limerick’s company is working on building a 3,100 mile, 100-gigabit fiber network that spans North Carolina’s cities and rural areas, using Cisco’s architecture. The goal is to turn North Carolina into the first “gigabit state.” RST Fiber’s network will provide broadband service to both homes and businesses, he says.


“We’re really excited for RST Fiber to launch their service,” says Greg Smith, a marketing manager at Cisco. “We’re hoping they will be successful and grow.”


Limerick says that RST Fiber wants to counteract the gradual decline of the state’s textile industry, and the consequent loss of jobs. North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment figure was 6.4%, lower than the nation’s 6.7%, but many people in the state are facing the same underemployment and lack of opportunity that is hurting the middle class across the country.


“The job market has been lean, to say the least,” says Limerick. “The  jobs available are not the highest paying ones needed to adequately support a family. We felt we could do something about that by bringing technology to this area first. The idea took off and has grown.”


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VA: Lingo continues push to bring Internet to rural Augusta County | NewsLeader.com

VA: Lingo continues push to bring Internet to rural Augusta County | NewsLeader.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Lingo Networks’ rare private effort to connect broadband Internet service through some of the area’s most remote locations continues to snake westward from Staunton to West Augusta.


The family-owned business is planning expanded broadband coverage for rural customers with plans to run fiber optic lines to homes and towers.


An Augusta County effort to gather information for companies like Lingo to bolster rural access to high-speed Internet could soon give the company a boost.


This year’s snowy and bitter cold winter all but halted the company’s fiber optic expansion, but the $500,000 project has been fired back up, said Ryan Smith, Lingo vice president.


“We’re hooking people up as we go,” Smith said. “Instead of putting it all in, we’re working from both sides (of the new line) trying to get it all done.”


The company also wants to feed its towers with the fiber optic signal. The towers transmit to smaller structures throughout the area to bring wireless broadband to dish receivers mounted on homes within the line of sight of the towers.


Lingo refers to its wireless-fiber combination services as “wiber.”

Cable and larger communications companies don’t extend cable or fiber lines to rural areas because the densities don’t add enough customers to cover the investment quickly enough.


Lingo, which also sells and repairs electronics, doesn’t have to appease public investors who want fast returns on expenses, so it can extend its service and run on smaller profit margins, Smith said.


The company lowered its broadband package prices and builds its network out for a handful of customers at a time.


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The Videophone Turns 50: The Historic Failure That Everybody Wanted | Mashable.com

The Videophone Turns 50: The Historic Failure That Everybody Wanted | Mashable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every day, around 50 million people a day stare at and speak to each other on computer or mobile device screens across the great expanse of the Internet via Skype, Apple's FaceTime, Google Hangouts or some other video conferencing software.


This voluminous amount of video phoning would have made 19th and 20th century futurists smile and shake their heads, marveling at both how remarkably right and horribly wrong their visual telephone predictions would turn out.


It was 50 years ago, on April 20, 1964, and during the subsequent months of the World's Fair at Flushing Meadow Park across from the brand-spanking-new Shea Stadium in Queens, New York, that Mr. and Mrs. America got their first chance to make a video telephone call on Bell's Mod I (Model I) Picturephone. Fair-goers had to wait on line at the Bell Telephone exhibit at the northeast tip of the Fair to hold a 10-minute visual talk with a complete stranger at a similar Picturephone exhibit at Disneyland in California.


According to Jon Gertner, author of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation:


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The Slow, Cold Death Of Cable Has Begun | HuffPost.com

The Slow, Cold Death Of Cable Has Begun | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable companies, you've been put on notice.


Cord cutting -- ditching your steep monthly cable or satellite bill and instead watching video online -- is on the rise, according to a new report from Experian Marketing Services.


In fact, some young adults may never even pay for cable TV in their lifetimes.


The number of cord-cutters, which Experian considers people with high-speed Internet who've either never subscribed to or stopped subscribing to cable or satellite, has risen from 5.1 million homes to 7.6 million homes, or 44 percent, in just three years.


In 2013, 6.5 percent of households in the U.S. had cut the cord, Experian found, up from 4.5 percent in 2010.


What's more interesting, though, is that number goes way up for households that use Netflix or Hulu, the subscription services that stream movies and TV shows online. Nearly a fifth of Americans who use Netflix or Hulu don't subscribe to cable TV.


And that number gets even higher if you look at a younger segment of the population. Almost a quarter of young adults between 18 and 34 who subscribe to Netflix or Hulu don't pay for TV, Experian found.


And who can blame them? TV is pricey. The average cable TV bill, not including fees, promotions or taxes, has increased by a whopping 97 percent over the past 14 years, according to the media research firm SNL Kagan. That bill could reach a whopping $200 per month by 2020, one study found.


That could spell trouble for cable companies like Comcast and Charter down the line.


"The young millennials who are just getting started on their own may never pay for television," said John Fetto, a senior analyst at Experian Marketing Services. "Pay TV is definitely declining."


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Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc's insight:

Its really tiring to read this kind of article.  If this reporter, would bother to read Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of the Industrial Revolution" which came out in the early 70's, he would know that one technology does not "Kill" another, it just gives us more options.  Content is content and its just delivered by different infrastructure, platforms and devices.

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Putin's 'Clapper' Moment: What He Said Vs. What Russian Intelligence Actually Does | Techdirt.com

Putin's 'Clapper' Moment: What He Said Vs. What Russian Intelligence Actually Does | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Snowden's puzzling single-question Q&A with Russian president Vladimir Putin on the topic of domestic surveillance prompted many to believe this was an indication that he was, at the very least, under control of Russian intelligence, if not actually acting in concert with it. Putin took the apparent softball and lined it right down the middle, responding with a series of statements and denials that made Russia appear to be the antithesis of the US government: tightly controlled intelligence built on respect for its citizens' privacy.

As Snowden later clarified, he was pulling a Wyden -- crafting a question about the mass collection and storage of communications that would either result in transparency or an easily-disproven denial. Putin delivered the latter.


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TN: Digital divide: Just an hour from Gig City, rural residents live in broadband desert | TimesFreePress.com

TN: Digital divide: Just an hour from Gig City, rural residents live in broadband desert | TimesFreePress.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Jed Arthur was at his wits' end.


He lives on a remote road in Polk County, Tenn., and runs a successful tire business, Jed's Wholesale Tires, out of a warehouse just 300 yards from his house. His son and daughter-in-law live next door. He's fourth, maybe fifth generation Polk County, named after "The Beverly Hillbillies" character and proud of it. (No one ever forgets his name once he tells them that, he said.)


He and his nine employees have been selling tires since 1990, peddling on Amazon, eBay and the company's own websites. At least 50 percent of Arthur's business comes directly from online -- but for years, Arthur ran the business on a measly 1.5 megabits-per-second Internet line, and dished out $800 a month for it.


With seven computers plugged into that line, it took three minutes just to upload a photo. Sometimes, Arthur would start an upgrade at 6 p.m. and it still wouldn't be done at 8 a.m. the next day. His employees were wasting valuable time.


But Arthur couldn't figure out a way to get faster Internet. None of the big commercial carriers ran fiber-optic lines all the way out to Jed's Wholesale Tires. He tried using mobile broadband -- the 4G connection used on most smart phones -- but kept exceeding data limits. He tried satellite Internet and ran into the same problem.


"They either don't have fast-enough speeds or they bottleneck you," he said. "We had tried and tried and tried, and finally I just about gave up."


He'd have to move the business to somewhere with faster Internet speeds, he decided. By the end of last year, Arthur had scoped two possible locations in Cleveland, Tenn.


"I walk to work every morning, and I love that," he said. "But business is business."


Arthur lives just an hour's drive from Chattanooga -- just an hour's drive from the Gig City, where gigabit-per-second Internet sells for $69.99 a month and entrepreneurs have trouble figuring out how to use all that bandwidth. He's an hour's drive from speeds about 1,000 times faster than his $800 megabit-and-a-half line.


In the shadow of the gig, there are hundreds of people -- nearly all in rural areas -- who can't access even basic broadband Internet. (That's defined by the Federal Communications Commission as 1 mbps upload and 4 mbps download speeds -- still more than 200 times slower than Chattanooga's gig, but adequate for most common Internet uses on one device.)


"It is a tale of two districts," said Corey Johns, executive director of Connected Tennessee, a statewide organization that tracks and works to improve broadband coverage in Tennessee.


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Hundreds of medical professionals targeted in multi-state tax scam | NetworkWorld.com

Hundreds of medical professionals targeted in multi-state tax scam | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Medical professionals in ten states have become victims of identity theft, after someone used their personal information, including Social Security Number, to file fraudulent tax returns.


In a majority of the cases, the victims were made aware of the situation after they attempted to submit their federal returns electronically, only to be told that someone had already filed them.


The scam includes fraudulent returns at both the federal and state level, targeting various medical professionals, including nurses, physicians, dentists, and oral surgeons. So far, victims in Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Iowa, North Carolina, Colorado, Connecticut, and Vermont have come forward. Moreover, similar reports of fraudulent returns have surfaced in Puerto Rico as well.


In Indiana, the state's medical association (ISMA) issued an alert to healthcare professionals, warning them of the scam and encouraging victims to come forward. In addition to the warning, the ISMA also said that the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) is investigating the situation.


In all, more than 100 professionals have come forward, reporting a fraudulent tax return at either the state or federal level. Some have reported both. In a statement, Julie Reed, ISMA general counsel, recalled her conversations with the DOR investigation unit.


"The DOR is viewing this as a large problem and officials are very concerned. While their investigation has not yet identified the source of the presumed breach, they are tracking all the cases, looking for patterns, and actively investigating and pursing leads."


Chuck Taylor, of the Indiana Attorney General's Identify Theft Unit, said that his office is actively investigating complains, but added that they've yet to identify a common source of compromise.


Investigators are also unsure as to how the medical professional's information was obtained. While the possibility of a data breach hasn't been ruled out, evidence of such a security incident hasn't surfaced.


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AT&T explores expansion of super-fast Internet | US News & World Report

AT&T explores expansion of super-fast Internet | US News & World Report | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T plans a major expansion of super-fast Internet services to cover as many as 100 municipalities in 25 metropolitan areas.


The service, called GigaPower, has a 1 gigabit per second speed that is about 100 times what U.S. consumers typically get with broadband. That means faster video downloads and the ability for more devices to connect to the network without congestion.


AT&T currently has such speeds in Austin, Texas, and has committed to offer the service in Dallas. The company is also in advanced talks to bring GigaPower to two additional markets, Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem, N.C.


A rival offering from Google Inc., known as Google Fiber, is available in Kansas City and is coming soon to Austin and Provo, Utah. Smaller companies and public utilities offer or plan such speeds in a handful of other markets throughout the U.S.


AT&T Inc. said Monday that the specific number of markets beyond its initial four will depend on discussions with local officials and assessments of potential demand. The company said it may start building some of the new networks by the end of the year.


None of the new markets are in the Northeast because AT&T doesn't have landline operations there. Verizon serves much of that area and has been offering its own fiber-optics service, FiOS, though its top speed is at half of what AT&T is planning.


Verizon said that although it hasn't seen widespread demand for a 1 gigabit service yet, the rival offerings are indicative of growing demand for super-fast Internet.


Such speeds are common in parts of Asia and Northern Europe, but they are not as prevalent in the U.S., where some rural households are still stuck on extremely slow dial-up services. Internet providers have been reluctant to spend the billions of dollars needed to extend fiber-optic cables into each and every home. The companies have been largely content to use existing, but slower cable TV lines.


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Portland’s being a pushover to snag Google Fiber | Seattle Times

Portland’s being a pushover to snag Google Fiber | Seattle Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Seattle tries to figure out how to improve its broadband situation, it ought to keep an eye on its sister to the south.


Portland is getting hot and heavy with Google, which may bring its fast fiber broadband service to the Rose City as early as 2015.


Last week, Portland reached a preliminary franchise agreement with the online giant and will begin public deliberations on the deal in May, according to The Oregonian.


Google announced in February that it plans to bring its fast-fiber broadband and cable-TV service to Portland and five surrounding cities.


But first Portland and the neighboring cities must sort through the same neighborhood issues that Seattle now faces with CenturyLink and other broadband providers demanding special treatment and more access to public property.


Google may be an exciting newcomer to the telecom business but in its dealings with cities, it acts like a crusty old player in the industry.

In Portland, Google is twisting arms by offering its fast broadband in return for city handouts, just as CenturyLink is doing in Seattle.


Google doesn’t want to abide by current restrictions on the placement of metal utility cabinets on parking strips in front of people’s homes, according to Oregonian reports.


That’s not all. Google is going further and requesting that Portland give the company swaths of public property to place garage-size “network huts” — with a 12- by 28-foot base — to support its project.


Companies starting up a new venture generally have to find and rent private property. Google could afford to do the same; it’s now making more than $1 billion a month in profit. The day after reaching the deal in Portland, it reported a net income of $3.45 billion the previous quarter. It also appears to have a limitless budget for building amenities at its glorious offices.


Yet Google expects cities to basically hand over public property for its fledgling broadband and cable-TV business.


Cities are pushovers when it comes to broadband. The way politicians talk about it, you’d think their constituents were stuck in the dark ages and broadband was as important as the fire department.


Whether it’s a crisis is debatable. But a crisis mentality is what’s used to justify extraordinary measures, like giving Google, CenturyLink and others what they want.


If there really is a crisis, and broadband has become a critical service on par with water and electricity, cities should consider providing the service directly as a public utility.


Perhaps it’s also time for the federal government to classify broadband as an essential public service that must be available to everyone.


After phone lines were deemed an essential service, the government required companies to provide “universal service” so everyone was served.


Broadband was exempted from universal service requirements, support for which has eroded since telecom deregulation took hold in 1996.


With telecom companies in the driver’s seat, and elected officials begging them for a ride, universal service seems off the table. It’s treated as a dusty, antiquated concept that will impede progress and the arrival of sexy new products like Google Fiber.


Google Fiber is appealing and has plenty of cheerleaders on social media and at City Hall.


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Microsoft takes Iowa from corn to .com | NetworkWorld.com

Microsoft takes Iowa from corn to .com | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Star Trek fans know that Capt. James T. Kirk will eventually be born in Iowa. So, in one respect, this state already has a notable tech reputation.


Now, it has another.


Microsoft is building some 1.16 million square feet of new data center space, Iowa officials said Friday. This is Microsoft's second data center in West Des Moines.


Microsoft's other data center, which is being expanded, is now at about 300,000 square feet, said Clyde Evans, West Des Moines' director of community and economic development. It's also about 7 miles away from the planned facility.


State officials put Microsoft's total investment in their state at more than $2 billion. It will also cement Iowa's reputation as a data center hub state.


The primary reason Microsoft and others including Google and Facebook are interested in Iowa, said Evans, is that the state sits atop some major transcontinental fiber routes. It also has low electric power rates, which for a large user, may be 3 cents to 4 cents per kWh.


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Time Warner Cable bets big on easy and secure Wi-Fi, rolling out Hotspot 2.0 networkwide | GigaOM Tech News

Time Warner Cable bets big on easy and secure Wi-Fi, rolling out Hotspot 2.0 networkwide | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable has turned on the Hotspot 2.0 capabilities across its public Wi-Fi network, letting customers with newer smartphones or tablets connect to its 33,000-node wireless network without entering passwords or dealing with login screens. Time Warner VP of Wireless Products Rob Cerbone confirmed to Gigaom that it has upgraded the majority network with Hotspot 2.0 software, and its broadband customers have been connecting to it since the end of March.


Hotspot 2.0 is a technology designed to make public Wi-Fi work like cellular networks by automatically recognizing and connecting devices that have permission to access any given access point. Typically consumers trying an ISP or carrier’s Wi-Fi network have to go through a login portal on their web browsers or download special connection software, limiting the hotspots’ appeal to consumers, especially those connecting with mobile devices.


Hotspot 2.0 has actually been around for quite a while — the Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying devices two years ago under its Passpoint program — but carriers and ISPs have been slow to adopt it. Hotspot provider Boingo began offering it to its customers in February, but on a limited basis in 21 airports, making Time Warner’s launch the first large-scale implementation of Hotspot 2.0 in the U.S.


Time Warner is looking at Hotspot 2.0 differently than a carrier would, Cerbone said. While mobile operators are looking to offload data traffic from their cellular networks, Time Warner doesn’t have a mobile network. Wi-Fi is more a means to give its cable customers access to broadband connections outside their homes, which is why it has focused its hotspot efforts in key markets in its cable territory. Today its Wi-Fi systems are concentrated in commercial businesses and heavily trafficked outdoor locations in Southern California, New York City, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Myrtle Beach and Hawaii.


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In the Internet revolution, we can't afford to leave part of the country behind | Eva Arevuo Guest Editorial | VentureBeat.com

In the Internet revolution, we can't afford to leave part of the country behind | Eva Arevuo Guest Editorial | VentureBeat.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Too many communities have been left behind as the Internet revolution marches on. In areas of the U.S. underserved by broadband networks – where it might also be too expensive to own a personal computer – adults who went to school too long ago and have not pursued re-skilling programs, and students who do not have Internet access at home or at school, are in danger of never catching up.


Efforts originating in the public and private sectors are trying to change this, but we need to do more. The President’s ConnectED plan to reform E-Rate aims to connect 99 percent of classrooms and libraries within five years. As I’ve argued before, this program is essential for educational equality and equality of opportunity post high-school, and it needs broader support.


On the private side, the Red Hook Initiative (in Red Hook, Brooklyn) has installed free Wi-Fi routers at churches, schools, and other community spaces. With a complimentary program in local schools focused on leadership, employment skills, and STEM training, the initiative has empowered the community to develop services in the present, and students are also better prepared for their futures in the modern economy. With support from local and state governments, successful programs like this could be rolled out to more places where they are needed.


One model for public-private partnerships worth following is what Etsy is doing in the post-industrial community of Rockford, Illinois (at the request of the town’s mayor, Larry Morrissey) and in underemployed communities in New York City. Working with local groups, Etsy has a “craft entrepreneurship” program to teach basic business and computer literacy by boosting existing craft and manufacturing skills.


According to Etsy’s site, “many low-income groups have long had craft and manufacturing skills but are unsure of how to unlock the potential of these skills for income and wellbeing in this day and age.”


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South Carolina makes key progress in getting Web access for all | The Times and Democrat

Governments such as Orangeburg playing role in expanding Internet service that is vital in today’s world


Leaders have frequently referenced the importance of bringing broadband Internet services to rural areas if Orangeburg and other rural counties are to realize their potential in development.


Access to the World Wide Web is vital today, from the workplace to the home, from the school to the playground.


In a special section included as part of The Times and Democrat’s “Industry Appreciation” package in this Sunday’s edition, Orangeburg County government reports to the people on progress made in bringing technology and infrastructure across an area that stretches nearly 100 miles from Springfield in the west to Eutawville in the east.


In August 2010, U.S. Congressman James Clyburn announced Home Telephone Co. would receive about $4 million to bring broadband Internet to rural areas, including parts of Orangeburg County.


A lot has happened since, with county government playing a key role in putting up the required matching funds to accompany federal dollars designed to hasten expansion of broadband.


To date, residents in rural areas such as Rowesville, Cattle Creek, Bowman, Branchville and Canaan either have access to high-speed Internet service or will receive it in the short term. The goal is to have broadband county-wide by the end of the decade.


At the same time, Connect South Carolina, the initiative to provide service throughout the state, is reporting that the Palmetto State has surpassed the national average with 76 percent of households subscribing to broadband service in 2013, up from 62 percent in 2010. That is a 14 percent increase.


According to the Pew Research Center, the national broadband adoption rate in 2013 was 70 percent, which marks a 4 percent increase since 2010.


Among other key findings of the 2013 Connect South Carolina residential survey are:


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Fargo, ND: A different kind of ‘twin cities’ | INFORUM.com

Fargo, ND: A different kind of ‘twin cities’ | INFORUM.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Some call them the twin cities.


Sioux Falls and Fargo.


The two Dakota stops on Interstate 29 have so many similarities that more Sioux Falls businesses have headed north and Fargo’s influence is felt south, too.


From retail to real estate, banking to broadband services and medical care to marketing, the two communities both are home to several Sioux Falls names, including Zandbroz Variety, Midcontinent Communications, Home Federal Bank, Syverson Tile, Lawrence & Schiller and Sanford Health.


On the flip side, Fargo often leads Sioux Falls when it comes to getting trendy chain restaurants first or even airline services. The North Dakota city got Noodles & Company and Frontier Airlines before Sioux Falls did, for example.


A case can be made that Sioux Falls has shifted its alignment with neighboring cities. While it drew comparisons with Sioux City during its meatpacking heydays, the city now looks more like Fargo, with a similar robust economy, a health care emphasis and downtowns that are full of locally owned restaurants and shops.


Tom Simmons, senior vice president of public policy for Midcontinent Communications in Sioux Falls, said the company is building a new broadband system to provide service in Fargo because there is good support from customers there who like services already provided in the Fargo-Moorhead area.


“The time is very opportune because Fargo has a very aggressive plan for the future,” he said. “I think there’s a like spirit in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area as there has been in Sioux Falls.”


The project is expected to take three years, but Midcontinent will add customers as the project is built out.


“It’s the right decision at the right time, we think,” he said.


Simmons, who has been active in Sioux Falls development efforts for years, said it will be hard for any community to top Sioux Falls’ successes of late and the national notoriety that has come with that. However, he said, “I’d sure like to see Fargo try.”


“There are certainly differences. From our standpoint, there are enough things similar for us to be comfortable,” Simmons said.


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The First Cellphone Went on Sale 30 Years Ago for $4,000 | Mashable.com

The First Cellphone Went on Sale 30 Years Ago for $4,000 | Mashable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Somewhere in either Chicago, Baltimore or Washington, someone plunked down $3,995 to buy the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, the first handheld cellphone, on March 13, 1984 — 30 years ago today.


We don't know who that first cellphone buyer was. At the time, the occasion didn't register as historically auspicious. After all, in 1984, the terms "cellphone" and "mobile phone" didn't refer to handheld phones; those terms referred to car phones, which had been around since the mid-1940s. What was celebrated at the time was the kick-off consumer cellular call — made to the great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell — six months earlier.


A handheld portable phone was considered a gimmick, a "look what I got!" rich man's toy with dubious utility. Measuring 13 x 1.75 x 3.5 inches and weighing 28 ounces, the 8000X was so big and heavy, even its creators had nicknamed it "The Brick." Plus, you could only use it for a half an hour before the battery gave out. Who would pay a quarter of the average salary in 1984 — more than $9,000 in 2014 dollars — to carry around such a useless load, especially since payphones were everywhere and only cost a dime to use?


The lack of commemoration of that first portable phone sale is understandable. What has turned out to be the most ubiquitous gadget in history started life as a publicity stunt, prompted by panic.


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Let's get personal about WiFi | Robert Brown Blog | LinkedIn.com

The few of us that have been in this space as long as I have can appreciate what seems to be a resurgence or emphasis on WiFi deployments, new standards for speed and of course the new applications riding over WiFi. Nearly a decade ago the naysayers exclaimed that WiFi would be eventually replaced by faster, more ubiquitous cellular technologies. Truth is, WiFi today is in more devices and in more places around the globe than any other wireless technology. But it goes beyond the number of places one can connect.


Consumers want the same experience over WiFi as they get at their home or office. They don't care so much about whose brand manages the network, but very much care about the quality of the network. They want it to be fast, unfettered access, with as few obstacles to get connected as possible...and yes, they also do not want irrelevant ads, information or other content in their face which aren't of interest to them.


With that said, I think we're on the cusp of something really special in our industry – something that will improve the value proposition for all stakeholders, including the consumer, the venue, the carrier, the managed services provider, and the advertisers. To put it simply -- when the players all realize that monetization = personalization, that's when it gets real. That's when it gets relevant. That's when stakeholders make more money from the WiFi network.


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