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CA: Santa Cruz County considers sweeping new broadband deployment policies | Steve Blum's Blog

CA: Santa Cruz County considers sweeping new broadband deployment policies | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What would be one of California’s most comprehensive broadband infrastructure development policies goes before the Santa Cruz County board of supervisors on Tuesday.


A report prepared by county staff recommends taking several steps to clear the way for immediate construction of broadband facilities and lay a foundation for long term infrastructure planning and deployment…


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For a speed boost, Alcatel-Lucent says use both cell and Wi-Fi | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

For a speed boost, Alcatel-Lucent says use both cell and Wi-Fi | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you have both cellular and Wi-Fi, why not use both? At Mobile World Congress, Alcatel-Lucent is demonstrating a way to do that as part of the same network.

Cellular and Wi-Fi are rubbing shoulders more than ever, even if that can cause friction in some cases. It’s all part of the quest for more mobile capacity for applications like video streaming. Several ways of using them together are on show at MWC.

Like other vendors, Alcatel is pursuing LTE-U, which lets an LTE network use the unlicensed spectrum that powers Wi-Fi. But the French-American company is also demonstrating a technique it calls Wi-Fi boost, where users can upload data to the Internet over cellular and download it using Wi-Fi. The company plans trials of Wi-Fi boost in the second quarter of this year and will start selling it in the second half.

The technology doesn’t make the networks swap spectrum and doesn’t require new cells, access points or mobile devices. It’s all done in software, both in devices and on the back end of the carrier’s network.

Wi-Fi boost is designed for locations where there’s both Wi-Fi and cellular service, such as in homes, enterprises and public hotspots. It can boost download speed by using Wi-Fi’s fatter spectrum band, and because Wi-Fi doesn’t have to handle both download and upload traffic on the same frequencies, it can actually improve performance in both directions, said Mike Schabel, general manager and vice president of small cells at Alcatel-Lucent.

Users could get up to a 70 percent boost on downloads and an order of magnitude increase in upload capacity, the company says. A later version would allow the two networks to combine their download signals, too, leading to an even bigger boost.

To make Wi-Fi boost happen, a mobile operator would update the software that controls its network with the new version that can split up traffic between Wi-Fi and cellular. The capability would also require an OS update for subscribers’ devices. Wi-Fi boost complies with current standards, Schabel said.


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Sohn To Speak At ACA Summit | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Sohn To Speak At ACA Summit | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gigi Sohn, the top aide to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, has been added to the agenda for next week;s American Cable Association Summit.

She is slated for a March 4 address at the gathering of small and medium-sized operators.

"ACA members greatly appreciate that Gigi Sohn, a recognized thought leader on Internet issues, will be on hand to express her ideas on the many key issues that ACA members care so deeply about," said ACA President Matt Polka. "We’re honored that Ms. Sohn will be joining us at a time when everyone is looking for the best approach to ensure America is seen as the broadband connectivity capital of the world."

Those operators have a bone to pick with the chairman over the fact that the just-voted open Internet order did not include waivers for the rules for smaller operators, which ACA has pushed for. It does include a temporary carveout for enhanced transparency, but ACA has indicated that is insufficient.

Look for Polka and ACA senior vice president Ross Lieberman to raise that and other issues in a Q&A with Sohn.


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OH: Cincinnati Bell's Torbeck sees growing potential in small cell backhaul | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

OH: Cincinnati Bell's Torbeck sees growing potential in small cell backhaul | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cincinnati Bell may have left the wireless services industry by selling its spectrum and related holdings to Verizon last April, but the service provider is aggressively pursuing new small cell wireless backhaul opportunities in its serving territory.

Ted Torbeck, CEO of Cincinnati Bell, told investors during the fourth-quarter earnings call that the company has already won a small cell backhaul contract with one of the largest wireless operators.

"In addition to our success with Fioptics, I am also pleased to announce, we recently secured a $30 million, multi-year small cell agreement with a national carrier," Torbeck said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "We believe this win is in the first step in a much broader opportunity for us, as we are uniquely positioned with both networking and wireless expertise."

Torbeck added that its small cell backhaul strategy is not a build-it-and-they-will-come strategy, but rather one where it is building out facilities for customers that can deliver a decent return on the network build investment.

"All of our investments remain success-based and we will continue to actively monitor all the key metrics that drive return," Torbeck said.

Cincinnati Bell has built out 26 small sites that are on-air today with plans to develop about 180 more in 2015.


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Fairlawn, OH, looking for gigabit broadband partners | Stephen Hardy | Lightwave Online

Fairlawn, OH, looking for gigabit broadband partners | Stephen Hardy | Lightwave Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The City of Fairlawn, OH, has launched a request for proposals (RFP) for assistance with its planned FairlawnGig broadband access network project. The goal of the project is to create and implement a new municipal broadband utility through which residents, businesses, and visitors within the City of Fairlawn and the Akron-Fairlawn-Bath Township Joint Economic Development District can receive wireless and fiber-optic broadband Internet services.

The city seeks partners to design, build, operate, manage, and maintain the city-owned FairlawnGig utility, which will deploy both a fiber to the premises (FTTP) network and a carrier-grade Wi-Fi network. The project will be funded via private financing and revenues from operations, which means no new taxes or other assessments for residents and businesses. The FTTP network will be open to multiple service providers.

The deadline for proposals is April 30, 2015.


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Researchers uncover signs of Superfish-style attacks | Gregg Keizer | CSO Online

Researchers uncover signs of Superfish-style attacks | Gregg Keizer | CSO Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Researchers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) yesterday said that they had found evidence that implies attackers have exploited a security vulnerability in the Superfish adware and a slew of other programs.

Superfish, a company that markets a visual search product, made the news last week when Lenovo was found to have pre-loaded the program on its consumer-grade PCs during a four-month span late last year. Lenovo has acknowledged that Superfish poses a security threat to customers, and has released a tool to eradicate the software.

Microsoft, McAfee -- both Lenovo partners -- and Symantec have also issued anti-malware updates that scrub Superfish from PCs.

But the problem extends beyond Superfish, security experts have discovered. Other programs also rely on the same code library -- one created by Israeli company Komodia -- to circumvent Web encryption with a proxy.

Because of the way Komodia's proxy works, the security implications are much more dire than initially thought, when researchers focused only on the weak password used by Superfish's self-signed certificate. The proxy does not properly validate certificates, letting attackers create totally bogus certificates of their own to mimic legitimate ones used by websites, including those of banks' online access.

By hijacking a Web session -- the most common way would be using a "man-in-the-middle" (MITM) attack over a public, insecure Wi-Fi network -- hackers could redirect traffic to their own fake websites ... and the victim's browser would put up neither a warning nor a fuss.


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CIA: A world without Google Maps or satellites? | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

CIA: A world without Google Maps or satellites? | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The CIA today noted an interesting anniversary – it was 20 years ago this month that the world was first “officially” introduced to the first imaging reconnaissance satellite, codenamed Corona.

Developed in the late 1950s Corona’s exact role, that of taking pictures of eastern Europe, the USSR and Asia was classified, but Americans knew of its existence as the U.S. Air Force’s Discoverer program, which the government called a space research system.

“It’s hard to imagine a world without Google maps or satellite imagery, but when Corona was developed in the 1950s, satellite photo-reconnaissance didn’t exist,” the CIA wrote. “During its operational life [1959-1972], Corona collected over 800,000 images in response to the national security requirements of the time. On average, individual images covered a geographic area on the Earth's surface of approximately 10x120 miles.”

Corona also had sister programs: Argon for mapping imagery and Lanyard, a short-lived program designed for higher-quality imagery, the CIA stated.

The satellites had a rather unique way of getting their film back to Earth. The satellite would eject a space-hardened capsule containing can of film that would renter the atmosphere and be grabbed midair by a passing specially equipped aircraft.


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Net Neutrality Supporters Fast Facts | Russ Choma | OpenSecrets.org

Net Neutrality Supporters Fast Facts | Russ Choma | OpenSecrets.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday we profiled the top four opponents of net neutrality who, though the FCC’s decision to regulate the Internet as a public utility has been made, are likely to continue to play a role as the decision is contested in the courts and perhaps in Congress. Today, the other side: brief influence background facts on the biggest names supporting the FCC’s action.

This is a tougher task because the interests supporting net neutrality tend to be scattered, there is a large unofficial coalition, but not all its members have significant lobbying and PAC operations. Netflix, for instance, has been one of the most vocal supporters of net neutrality, mounting successful social media campaigns — but its PAC contributions are not even a rounding error on Comcast’s ($7,500 in contributions by Netflix’s PAC vs. $1.9 million by Comcast’s).

Still, some supporters of net neutrality do have genuine Washington power and have flexed it in this fight — and are likely to continue to do so as the fight moves to other venues. Here are the two most significant.


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Why the F.C.C.’s Municipal-Broadband Ruling Matters, Too | Vauhini Vara | The New Yorker

Why the F.C.C.’s Municipal-Broadband Ruling Matters, Too | Vauhini Vara | The New Yorker | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, seemed fired up on Thursday morning when he took his seat in room TW-C305 at F.C.C. headquarters.


For months, anticipation had been building for the commission’s decision, planned for later that morning, on the fight over net neutrality—that is, whether Internet providers should be able to charge Web companies to get their content delivered to customers at faster speeds than usual, or whether all content should be treated equally. It would be an unusually high-profile, not to mention political, decision for the F.C.C., and the commissioners had got into the spirit; two of the Democrats who were expected to vote with Wheeler, also a Democrat, in favor of net neutrality—the equal treatment of content—had shown up wearing blue.


Net-neutrality advocates were standing by, planning, after the expected decision in their favor, to fly a Grumpy Cat banner over the Philadelphia headquarters of Comcast.

Wheeler began the meeting by considering a different issue, one that has received far less attention than net neutrality but which could also have broad implications for how people in American cities use the Internet—and, that, like net neutrality, is expected to be disputed in the courts.


It began when the cities of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, petitioned the F.C.C. to take on laws in their states that restricted them from providing broadband Internet service, on their own or through a partnership, to neighboring towns.


The F.C.C.’s decision would have implications beyond those cities, as other municipalities—from small towns to cities like Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah, both of which have built networks in partnership with Google—are increasingly looking to build their own broadband systems, often using fibre-optic cables that can deliver Internet at much faster rates than the traditional broadband service typically offered by cable companies.

Currently, some twenty states ban or restrict municipal broadband. In certain states, these laws have been influenced by lobbying from traditional Internet providers, though lawmakers worry, too, that if local broadband systems fail, taxpayers will be forced to bear the cost of wasted investment. There have been high-profile failures in the past—or, at least, cases in which the investment hasn’t yet proven worthwhile.

With respect to the case before the F.C.C., Tennessee lets local electrical providers add telecommunications services such as cable and Internet anywhere in the state, but they’re allowed to offer the services only in places covered by their electrical system. In Chattanooga, this meant that the nonprofit, city-owned electricity provider, E.P.B., which provided high-speed Internet to the town’s residents, wasn’t allowed to do the same in some nearby places.


North Carolina also allows local broadband, but imposes so many conditions on how it can be provided that Wilson, a small town an hour east of Raleigh, was precluded from expanding its broadband service into neighboring counties.

For some time, American cities haven’t been sure whether they could get around state-level restrictions like these. But in the past couple of years, there have been some hints that the F.C.C. might be able to help.


The basis for this hope is a relatively obscure clause in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, known as Section 706, which deems that the commission should regularly look into “whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” It adds, “If the Commission’s determination is negative, it shall take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.”

Recently, Wheeler has been invoking this concept to make the case that state restrictions on how localities can provide Internet service are exactly the sort of “barriers” that the F.C.C. is meant to remove.


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MI: 'Next generation' high-speed internet is the target for Flint with new initiative | Sarah Schuch | MLive.com

MI: 'Next generation' high-speed internet is the target for Flint with new initiative | Sarah Schuch | MLive.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Big technology opportunities could be in store for the city of Flint if all goes as planned with a new initiative to bring a high-speed internet infrastructure to the community.

New internet applications could improve health care, education, public safety and advanced manufacturing, said John Geske, department head and professor of Computer Science at Kettering University.

There could be possibilities of street lights and traffic lights controlled by high-speed internet.

Kettering University and the city of Flint are at the forefront of innovation throughout the country through the national US Ignite initiative.

"(The initiative is trying to bring) high-speed internet into communities so these communities have the ability to develop some really next-generation applications that might have really high societal value," Geske said. "It's a very big deal. We've been really successful. Kettering has been really successful in leading the community to this high-generation, high-speed networking."

US Ignite is a nonprofit, inspired by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, and partners in industry, academia and government to identify and share best practices and resources for technological innovation in cities.

Flint is one of 60 cities nationwide initially chosen to participate in US Ignite. Kettering and community leaders are working to find funding to upgrade and create new high-speed internet infrastructure.

What Geske hopes to do is bring awareness that this capability exists and then see what needs to be done and how much money it's going to cost to speed up internet capabilities.

"Once you figure out here is the infrastructure possible, let's get the funding and replace switches if need be, computers if necessary. That's what's being undertaken," Geske said. "There's all sorts of potential. You have a high-speed backbone that allows you to do a lot of stuff."


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ILSR's Christopher Mitchell on KSTX, Texas Public Radio | community broadband networks

ILSR's Christopher Mitchell on KSTX, Texas Public Radio | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Chris Mitchell spoke on TPR’s “The Source” about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s support of Title II reclassification and future prospects for networks like The San Antonio Area Broadband Network (SAABN).

Guests discussed how TV and Cable Lobbyists were able to create barriers to networks, whether the FCC has the power to preempt rules that limit competition, and why telecom giants like Comcast should not be able to make certain deals or degrade Internet speeds based on whether content providers pay extra money.

San Antonio was one of the founding members of Next Century Cities and has been working to link major institutions and the city’s medical center through CPS Energy’s existing fiber.


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ME: City Council Moves Forward on Muni Project in Ellsworth, Maine | community broadband networks

ME: City Council Moves Forward on Muni Project in Ellsworth, Maine | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Ellsworth City Council voted on February 9th to proceed with the first steps to developing yet another municipal fiber network in Maine. Community leaders plan to develop open access fiber infrastructure. Five ISPs have already expressed an interest in working with the city to provide services via the network.

Ellsworth is home to approximately 7,500 people and is located along the south not far from the central coast.

The Ellsworth American reports that council members decided unanimously to lease a parcel of land on which to place a headend facility. The Ellsworth Business Development Corporation (EBDC), which also obtained a $250,000 grant to expand high-speed Internet in Ellsworth, will lease the property. The grant came from the Northern Border Regional Commission in 2014.

The Council also agreed to commit $28,445 in tax increment financing (TIF) funds toward the project. Those funds will be used for the headend building and to install a two mile stretch of fiber to tap into the community's abundant fiber resources. Community leaders want to create options for local businesses and the numerous home based businesses in Ellsworth.


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Here’s how the clash between the NSA Director and a senior Yahoo executive went down. | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

Here’s how the clash between the NSA Director and a senior Yahoo executive went down. | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In an unusual public exchange, the director of the National Security Agency and a senior Yahoo executive clashed over cyber-spying Monday, illustrating the growing chasm between Washington and Silicon Valley over whether intelligence officials should have broad access to the products being developed by the nation's top technology firms.

For a normally staid Washington cyber-security conference, this one hosted by New America, the tense back-and-forth had the packed audience of executives, senior policy makers, bureaucrats and journalists buzzing.

Speaking at the signature event of the conference, NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers called for a "legal framework" that would enable law enforcement and anti-terrorism officials to tap into encrypted data flowing between ordinary consumers -- echoing a stance laid out by other administration officials, including FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Eric J. Holder. But technology executives as well as many cybersecurity experts argue there is no way to build in such "backdoors" without fundamentally undermining the security that protects online communications around the world. In response to recent revelations about government snooping, firms such as Apple and Google have designed their latest mobile software to make it impossible for the companies to turn over data from smartphones and tablet computers to police -- even when authorities have a search warrant.

Roger's remarks were later challenged by Alex Stamos, Yahoo's chief information security officer, during a question-and-answer session.

"So it sounds like you agree with Director Comey that we should be building defects into the encryption in our products so that the US government can decrypt…" Stamos began. (These remarks were verified by a transcript provided by the Web site Just Security.)

"That would be your characterization," Rogers said, interrupting him.

"No, I think... all of the best public cryptographers in the world would agree that you can’t really build backdoors in crypto," Stamos replied. "That it’s like drilling a hole in the windshield."

"I’ve got a lot of world-class cryptographers at the National Security Agency," Rogers said.

"I’ve talked to some of those folks and some of them agree too, but…" Stamos said.

"Oh, we agree that we don’t accept each others’ premise," Rogers replied, interrupting again, as laughter erupted across the audience.


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Security firm finds link between China and Anthem hack | Ellen Nakashima | WashPost.com

Security firm finds link between China and Anthem hack | Ellen Nakashima | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A Northern Virginia cyber security firm says it has uncovered links between Chinese government-sponsored researchers and the hack of health insurance giant Anthem.

Malicious software used in the Anthem hack conclusively matches malware that was used to target a small U.S. defense contractor and that the FBI has said originated in China, said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer of ThreatConnect.

"The malware is so unique — the digital signature is so precise — in these two incidents that we strongly feel the same Chinese actors were involved," Barger said.

He said the links do not reveal who exactly carried out the Anthem hack but point to involvement of Chinese government-sponsored entities.


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The Fight Against Digital Dead Zones | John Hockenberry | The Takeway

The Fight Against Digital Dead Zones | John Hockenberry | The Takeway | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This week, we've heard from many people who are basking in to glow of their screens as they enjoy a sort of internet utopia. Some have access to state of the art internet services that makes everything from streaming "Orange is the New Black" to uploading massive digital packages happen faster than you can say "Google it."

But not everyone is so lucky. In fact, there are many people in the United States, especially in rural areas, who live in digital dead zones. Though you may think of Massachusetts as a leader in technology, residents in Western Massachusetts are living in the digital Dark Ages.

Monica Webb is the chairman and spokesperson for WiredWest, a coalition of communities who seek to form a regional municipally owned fiber optic network. She explains the private sector's lack of interest in the area, and why universal web access is an important goal to aim for beyond net neutrality.


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Verizon's Morse Code Press Release Telegraph's the Claims of Perjury | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Verizon's Morse Code Press Release Telegraph's the Claims of Perjury | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

First, compare these excerpts from Verizon's press release, dated February 26th, 2015, with Verizon's District of Columbia's FiOS cable franchise agreement from 2007. See anything strange?


On February 26th, 2015, Verizon put out a press release claiming that the FCC's Net Neutrality decision was a "throwback that imposes 1930's rules on the Internet". And they put out an additional release -- in the language of a telegraph, the old "Morse code" -- to reinforce this view point. Here's an excerpt.

2015-03-02-Verizonmorseshort.png

It goes to say that the FCC's decision is based on antiquated, utility-style regulations and rules written in the era of the steam locomotive and telegraph.

2015-03-02-Verizonsteamengine.png

But there's a serious problem. The previous mark up includes this excerpt from Verizon's FiOS cable franchise application for the District of Columbia in 2007. (Note: Verizon uses similar, if not identical language in every Verizon state and municipality FiOS TV franchise.)

2015-03-02-VerizonDC2007.png

Besides the fact that as of 2015 Verizon's District of Columbia deployment is far from done and was extended last year, we find this curious thing -- Verizon's Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks are Title II, common carriage, telecommunications networks that were built pursuant to that "old-time" utility regulatory classification, found in the Communications Act of 1934.

Which brings me to the case against Verizon.

On January 13th, 2015 New Networks Institute filed a Petition for the FCC to investigate whether Verizon has committed perjury as Verizon has failed to disclose to the FCC, courts or public that their current fiber optic deployments, including FiOS, and infrastructure investments in other services, such as wires to the cell tower facilities for Verizon Wireless, are based on Title II. Verizon responded with a letter denying our claims on January 20th, 2015. On February 24th, 2015, we responded to Verizon and submitted a supplemental report: "Show Us the Money PART I: Verizon's FiOS, Fiber Optic Investments, and Title II"

There are five basic reasons why all this matters.


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CA: Mariposa County Supervisors Support Countywide Broadband Expansion | Sierra Sun Times

CA: Mariposa County Supervisors Support Countywide Broadband Expansion | Sierra Sun Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At the Tuesday, February 17, 2015 Mariposa County Board of Supervisors Meeting Darrell Slocum from Central Sierra Connect asked the Board to sign a Resolution supporting broadband projects in Mariposa County by Cal.net. There is no County money involved with the Resolution for the projects.


The supervisors by signing the Resolution would be saying they support broadband (DSL, etc,) infrastructure, additional investment in the county and to provide more broadband capability to the county businesses and residents. Central Sierra Connect would also like supporting letters from the community.

Mr. Slocum said some areas of the county are served very well by Sierra Tel, buy they are a private company and in order for them to expand they have to use their own money which is difficult to do from a Return on Investment (ROI) viewpoint.

He also said Mariposa County ranks low in the state for broadband availability and Central Sierra Connect thinks it is beneficial to bring other Internet Service Providers (ISP) to the county.

Mr. Slocum said Central Sierra Connect is a grant funded program with money coming from the California Advanced Services Fund and their program is to bridge the digital divide by bringing technology to the residents.


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AT&T Just Showed Us the Only Way We'll Get Better Internet Service | Jacob Davidson | Time.com

AT&T Just Showed Us the Only Way We'll Get Better Internet Service | Jacob Davidson | Time.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Competition is the key to faster, better internet.

Internet service in the United States is just plain bad. That’s a fact. Compared to consumers in most other industrialized countries, Americans pay more money for slower access. The question then is how to do we make our internet better, and on Monday, AT&T gave us an answer: more competition.

The internet provider announced that it would match Google Fiber’s hyper-high-speed internet service in Kansas City. Under AT&T’s newly announced plan, users can get up to one gigabit per second for $70 a month, and that same speed plus cable TV for $120. That’s the same price Google offers for equivalent service, and a significant speed boost over what was previously available to local AT&T customers.

The move confirms what many analysts have long said about internet service. Namely, that when it comes to giving consumers what they really care about—how well their favorite sites perform—the only sure fix is to make companies fight over your business. In Kansas City, AT&T may have been able to provide better service, but it saw no reason to make the effort until another company’s offering threatened to siphon away paying customers.


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LTE can mooch off of Wi-Fi spectrum with new Qualcomm chipset | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

LTE can mooch off of Wi-Fi spectrum with new Qualcomm chipset | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A chipset Qualcomm is introducing at Mobile World Congress next week is likely to make mobile operators happy and some Wi-Fi fans nervous.

Amid a scramble for spectrum among cellular carriers, Qualcomm will demonstrate a chipset that lets LTE cells operate in a radio band used by Wi-Fi networks. The new silicon could double the amount of spectrum subscribers can use in certain areas, and it’s just the first in a family of chipsets that may eventually tap into five times as much.

The FSM 99xx chipset for small cells, along with a matching transceiver that will go into mobile devices, are among the first products coming for so-called Licensed Assisted Access. LAA, sometimes called LTE-Unlicensed, is one of several emerging techniques to take advantage of the large amount of spectrum available in unlicensed bands used by Wi-Fi. Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and SK Telecom all have shown interest in using LAA. Combining unlicensed spectrum with traditional carrier frequencies will be a major trend on display at MWC.

The benefit of unlicensed spectrum is that it’s free for anyone to use, so carriers can tap into it without paying billions in an auction or going through a long licensing process. But that’s also what makes it risky, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance. The industry group fears that without the right safeguards, LTE networks could hurt Wi-Fi performance. It’s working with the 3GPP cellular standards group on future rules to prevent interference.

Qualcomm says its product is ready to be a good neighbor. Tests at Qualcomm showed that putting up a cellular base station built with the new chipset won’t affect nearby Wi-Fi users any more than adding another Wi-Fi access point would, said Mazen Chmaytelli, senior director of business development at Qualcomm. It plans to offer products with future safeguards once they’re finished but says they aren’t needed to keep Wi-Fi safe.


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Samsung faces complaint in US FTC over Smart TV 'surveillance' | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com

Samsung faces complaint in US FTC over Smart TV 'surveillance' | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A complaint filed by a privacy group to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission charged that Samsung’s Smart TVs intercept and record private communications of consumers in their homes, violating a number of rules including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has asked the FTC to investigate and stop the practice by Samsung of collecting private communications and transmitting the recordings to a third party.

The group, which was involved in FTC privacy cases that led to settlements with Google and Facebook, has also asked the agency to investigate other companies engaged in similar practices as those of Samsung.

The South Korean company’s privacy policy for its Smart TV came under criticism as it cautioned customers to “please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

Alleging violation of the FTC Act, EPIC said users were not typically aware that Samsung Smart TVs would record and transmit over the Internet their private conversations.

Users are “so outraged” by the company’s recording and transmission practices that they are calling for class action lawsuits, it added.


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MN: Kandiyohi County Broadband 2014 Update: 14 percent broadband coverage – but plenty of interest | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Kandiyohi County Broadband 2014 Update: 14 percent broadband coverage – but plenty of interest | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Kandiyohi County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 19.4
  • Number of Households: 16,732
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 13.18%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 57.47%


Kandiyohi was one of the original MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) partners. One of the projects I remember most was a local partnership with PCs for People and addition of a computer lab in the Somali Center. Technology helps prepare people for jobs and increase their quality of living but it is also a bridge to/for new immigrants to the area. They have been working on adoption with the residential and business communities. And the community has been host to some of Senator Schmit’s broadband tours.

The community has also been working on access – yet they still have only 14 percent coverage. As far back as 2007 they surveyed the community about broadband coverage; the efforts continue with another survey they are working on now. In 2013, Mediacom announced upgrades (DOCSIS 3.0) to several service areas, including Atwater and Sunberg in Kandiyohi County. They need more.


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Conservatives lost on net neutrality. But they're winning the broadband debate. | Timothy Lee | Vox.com

When the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday for stronger network neutrality regulations, liberals cheered.


Conservatives, on the other hand, blasted the new regulations as a dangerous government overreach, and GOP lawmakers vowed to pass legislation to partially reverse the agency's actions.


But while this week's vote was a setback for conservatives, the right is winning the broader debate over internet regulation. Even after the vote, the government will take a more hands-off approach than it did during the Clinton years. Indeed, the approach Clinton's FCC pursued has become politically toxic. And FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has emphasized that he has no intention of exercising the full authority granted to him by a Republican Congress in 1996.

While conservatives might be out of power, their philosophy continues to shape how we regulate the internet. The dangers of excessive government regulation are accepted across the political spectrum, while concerns about big telecom companies abusing their monopoly power have become less and less salient.


The most contentious issue in the contemporary network neutrality debate has been "reclassification," a legal maneuver that gives the FCC broader authority to regulate the internet. The FCC needed to reclassify in order to enact strong network neutrality regulations, but conservatives warned that doing so would open up a Pandora's box of burdensome regulations.

The awkward thing about this is that the rules were drafted by a Republican Congress in the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In that legislation, Congress created two legal categories for online services: a low-regulation category for online services (known unimaginatively as Title I) and a high-regulation category for companies that provide basic infrastructure (called Title II).

When telephone companies began offering broadband access using a then-new technology called Digital Subscriber Lines, it was widely accepted that Title II — the stricter regime designed for basic infrastructure — would apply. After all, telephone companies had been governed under Title II for decades before that. Title II rules had ensured that telephone companies didn't strangle the burgeoning market for dial-up ISPs, which provided internet access over telephone lines.

But that began to change when the FCC under George W. Bush decided not to apply the stricter regime to the new technology of cable internet service. That led to a lawsuit arguing that the law required both cable and DSL internet service to be classified under Title II. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that it was up to the FCC to decide how to regulate broadband.

The Supreme Court vote was 6 to 3, but interestingly the vote was not along party lines. The conservative Antonin Scalia, who had practiced telecommunications law before joining the court, wrote a colorful dissent arguing that the law required the application of the stricter rules to the internet.


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FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Is Leading An Incoherent, Facts-Optional Last Minute War On Net Neutrality...For The American People | Karl Bode | Techdirt

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Is Leading An Incoherent, Facts-Optional Last Minute War On Net Neutrality...For The American People | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the last few months we've discussed how FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has been waging a one man war on net neutrality and Title II using what can only be described as an increasingly aggressive barrage of total nonsense. Back in January Pai tried to claim that Netflix was a horrible neutrality hypocrite because the company uses relatively ordinary content delivery networks. Earlier this month Pai one-upped himself by trying to claim that meaningful neutrality consumer protections would encourage countries like Iran and North Korea to censor the Internet.

Now on the surface, it appears that Pai just doesn't understand technology very well. Of course, once you understand that he was once a regulatory lawyer for Verizon, you realize he's simply dressing broadband duopoly profit protection up as some kind of deeper, meaningful ethos. As such, lamenting that Title II is "Obamacare for the Internet," is just political theater designed to rile up the base to the benefit of the broadband industry.

With net neutrality set for a vote this week, Pai has accelerated his master plan to make the largest number of inaccurate net neutrality statements in the shortest amount of time possible. For example, Pai co-wrote an editorial in the Chicago Tribune last week that tries to use Obamacare fears to insist Americans will lose the right to choose their own wireless plans if Title II based rules come to pass:


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Rochester Pursues Business Case Study for Muni Network in Minnesota | community broadband networks

Rochester Pursues Business Case Study for Muni Network in Minnesota | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Rochester City Council recently voted unanimously to move forward with a study on the possibilities of publicly owned broadband in this southeastern city. Rochester will then decide whether to move forward with bids to form a public-private partnership for a network, or pursue another path.

After receiving dozens of calls from his constituents, City Councilman Michael Wojcik is asking his colleagues to consider a municipal network. Rochester’s area holds a population of about 110,000, and is home to the world-famous Mayo Clinic.

According to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Charter Communications operates its cable TV and Internet services under a franchise agreement with the city. That agreement is up for a renewal on March 31.


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AZ: Mesa's Focus on Dig Once and Fiber Leases Pays Off - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 139 | community broadband networks

AZ: Mesa's Focus on Dig Once and Fiber Leases Pays Off - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 139 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Arizona's city of Mesa is one of the largest communities in the nation to benefit from the city taking role in ensuring conduit and fiber are available throughout the area. This week we talk with Alex Deshuk, the city's Manager of Technology and Innovation that was brought on in 2008.

We talk about how Mesa has, for longer than a decade, ensured that it was putting conduit in the ground and making fiber available to independent providers as needed to ensure they had multiple options around town and especially to select areas where they wanted to encourage development.

Having this fiber available has helped to encourage high tech investment, including the new Apple Global Command Center.

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In Wake Of NSA Leaks, China Drops Major US Tech Companies From Its Approved Supplier List | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

In Wake Of NSA Leaks, China Drops Major US Tech Companies From Its Approved Supplier List | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The NSA continues to "save" the United States from terrorism by making it weaker. Not only has the agency actively undermined encryption standards, but its willingness to insert backdoors and spyware in any piece of hardware or software it can get its hands on has severely damaged the world's trust of American technology.

Cloud computing providers have already felt the aftershocks of the Snowden leaks. An Open Technology Institute report published a year after the first revelation noted that many had already seen a drop-off in sales and predicted that the backlash against the NSA's surveillance tactics could cost companies anywhere from $22-180 billion over the next three years.

Hardware makers are getting hit hard as well. One of the largest buyers of American tech products has dropped some very big brands from its approved supplier list.


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