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ZCorum Interviews Broadband Expert Craig Settles for Insight on Public/Private PPartnerships | PR Web

ZCorum Interviews Broadband Expert Craig Settles for Insight on Public/Private PPartnerships  | PR Web | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Collaboration between local governments and private broadband providers can be a way forward to faster, better service in many communities, according to broadband business strategist Craig Settles. In a wide-ranging discussion with Rick Yuzzi, Vice-President of ZCorum, Mr. Settles delved into the potential benefits of such partnerships as well as the major obstacles and challenges that are likely to get in the way. Their conversation is part of ZCorum’s “Ask a Broadband Expert” series of interviews with industry thought leaders published on The Business of Broadband Blog.


Many small and regional telcos have growing concerns about lost subsidies due to the uncertainty regarding FCC reform of the Universal Service Fund, Settles observed. “The reason they were getting the money in the first place was because there wasn’t a great business case for the populations they were serving.” According to Settles, if those funds are reduced or the FCC makes it harder to qualify for the funds, the smaller telcos will be more reluctant to invest in growing or maintaining their network. But the FCC is keeping the industry in limbo, raising fears and increasing the risk of doing business. “If you’re waiting and waiting,” Settles says, “a lot of bad things can happen.”


One way out of this waiting game, Settles believes, is for these small telcos to reach out to local governments to form public/private partnerships. But in many cases, the biggest obstacle is the attitude of the parties involved. “This is a big issue I have,” Settles declared. “Providers are renowned for their independence. They can often view the government as this evil thing that, if they take a subsidy of some sort, it’s like making a deal with the devil.”


Settles believes the situation could be so much better for both parties; all it takes is a little attitude adjustment. “When the local government isn’t perceived as the enemy,” he said, “then you’re able to actually sit down and work out relationships.”


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New Bill Would Tie Retrans to Performance Payment | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

New Bill Would Tie Retrans to Performance Payment | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have reintroduced the Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act, a bill that is now a one-two punch aimed at broadcasters. The bill would stipulate that owners of both TV and radio stations could not seek retrans payments for their TV stations unless those co-owned radio stations paid a performance fee for music airplay.

The National Association of Broadcasters has been fighting congressional efforts, backed by record labels and artists, to legislate a performance royalty payment. Blackburn, who counts Nashville musicians among her constituents, has been a leading proponent of the payments and of legislation.

Broadcasters argue they already compensate artists through airplay that drives sales of their songs.

The second blow to broadcaster interests is an add-on to the bill that would prohibit the FCC from mandating radio chips in mobile devices. Broadcasters have been pushing for making those mobile devices broadcast receivers as well, given that many already have the chip but don't have it activated.


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Broadband goes local in Montana and New Mexico | Jim Barthold | Fierce Telecom

Broadband goes local in Montana and New Mexico | Jim Barthold | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The digital divide is being sliced in two Western states where a rural telecommunications provider, Nemont Telephone Cooperative of Scobey, Mont., and the city of Santa Fe, N.M., have taken it upon themselves to fill the gap between narrowband and broadband.

Nemont, in an announcement on its website, said it is launching Montana's "first gigabit community in Scobey, Mont.," for residential and commercial customers. In Santa Fe, the city's Economic Development Division is entering a crowded field of providers that include CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Cyber Mesa, NM Surf and other smaller companies in an effort to raise broadband speeds and lower broadband prices.

Of the two, Nemont is the more conventional and least threatening to incumbent service providers--and the one with by far the higher broadband speeds. The rural telecom has been deploying fiber in its 14,000-mile service territory since 2007 and now it's going to use Calix technology to meet its "ultra-fast gigabit needs," CEO Mike Kilgore said.

Santa Fe's actions are a bit more contentious and the speeds being promised a lot slower. City officials are touting a municipal infrastructure that will hike average speeds from 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps. CenturyLink, for one, said it provides 40 Mbps of residential speeds and doesn't think it's necessary for the city to invest $1 million in its own broadband infrastructure. The city said its speed claims are a median average derived from speedtest.net.


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Blocking Comcast Is a Start. But if We Want Better Broadband, We Need Much More. | Peter Kafka | Re/Code.net

Blocking Comcast Is a Start. But if We Want Better Broadband, We Need Much More. | Peter Kafka | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Critics of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal made convincing arguments that it would be bad for consumers, and for the media companies that want to deliver stuff to consumers on the Internet.

Astonishingly, Washington listened.

But in the end, killing the Comcast* deal just maintains the status quo. And when it comes to broadband Internet in the U.S., the status quo is pretty lousy: Most people who want high-speed access are stuck with a single provider, with no incentive to provide better speeds, quality or service.

A U.S. Department of Commerce report, produced a few months ago, lays it out clearly. If you define “broadband” as speeds of 25 megabits per second, as federal regulators want to do, only 37 percent of the population has any choice at all when it comes to providers. And most of that group is looking at a duopoly, likely split up between a cable TV company and a telco. Only 9 percent of the country has real choice — 3 options or more.


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Shareholder value vs. the public interest & the Comcast/TWC deal | Mitchell Shapiro | Michigan State University

Over the past several days I’ve seen a number of post-mortems on the decision by Comcast to drop its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable after it became clear regulators weren’t going to approve the deal. Two items in particular caught my attention over the weekend: a piece by Eric Lipton in the New York Times discussing Comcast’s not-so-successful lobbying effort in Congress, and an interview with Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts on Squawk Box, a program carried on CNBC, a cable network owned by Comcast since it acquired NBCUniversal roughly two years ago.

One of the things that struck me about the CNBC interview is that it clearly illustrates one perspective on the deal and Comcast’s impressive growth, and on the net value of regulation. I’d call this the “investor” perspective. From this perspective, the key metrics for evaluating Comcast, its actions and external factors impacting the company (e.g., regulation) are tied directly to the company’s ability to “maximize shareholder value,” something Brian Roberts and his team have been very good at over the years.

In contrast, the focus of the Times piece was concerns about the merger’s likely impact on the public interest rather than on shareholder value.


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 25 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 25 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The big news this week was about the fall of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. We like to think it was because of our incredibly brilliant, insightful (also: "witty", "pithy", "charming"...) letter to Comcast.

Once Comcast’s Deal Shifted to a Focus on Broadband, Its Ambitions Were Sunk By JONATHAN MAHLER, New York Times

At the end of the day, the government’s commitment to maintaining a free and open Internet did not square with the prospect of a single company controlling as much as 40 percent of the public’s access to it… it didn’t really matter if Comcast and Time Warner’s cable markets overlapped. The real issue was broadband.

Blocking Comcast Is a Start. But if We Want Better Broadband, We Need Much More by Peter Kafka, Re/Code

'Fast, fair and open:' FCC Chairman lays out his big picture for broadband, WRAL TechWire

In case you missed it, here is a transcript of Chairman Wheeler’s remarks to Broadband Communities in Austin.

“Our idea of rock stars would be the leaders of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina.”

Community Broadband News by State


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VT: ECFiber Seeks New Business Model Designation | community broadband networks

VT: ECFiber Seeks New Business Model Designation | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

ECFiber hopes to transform its business model in order to attract investors, reported Valley News in February.


The organization is now an "inter-local contract," an entity somewhat unique to Vermont, but seeks to change to a "telecommunications union district." Similar to a municipal utility district, the telecommunications union district is created by two or more municipalities. The new business model would not change ECFiber's governance or require financial support from local towns but officials believe it would attract more outside investors.

Last year, ECFiber announced it would expand in 2015, seeking large scale funding to help speed up deployment. Since 2008, the organization has raised over $6 million for deployment from individual investors and now serves more than 1,000 subscribers.


Unfortunately, this method financing slows expansion. The results are bad for ECFiber and bad for local consumers:


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Insiders Claim Regulators to Sign Off on AT&T DirecTV Deal | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

While Comcast's merger ambitions are now dead, there's every indication that the FCC and DOJ will let AT&T's $48 billion acquisition of DirecTV move forward. Insiders claim the deal poses "far fewer problems" than the massive scale and impact of the Comcast deal. Regulators also so far believe AT&T's claims that eliminating DirecTV from the pay TV market will somehow improve broadband coverage for rural customers, anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal:

quote:


The Federal Communications Commission sees the AT&T deal as helping competition and aiding the spread of broadband into rural areas that lack service, people familiar with the matter said.

The problem is that outside of perhaps some wireless broadband, satellite TV service mash ups, not much will actually change in AT&T's broadband deployment plans, which include pushing LTE everywhere, hanging up on unwanted DSL users, and deploying fiber to the home to a relatively few, affluent housing developments. AT&T has long used the promise of broadband expansion as a carrot on a stick for regulators, though said expansions often tend to be phantoms.


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The Information Age Is Over. Welcome to the Infrastructure Age. | Annalee Newitz | Gizmodo

The Information Age Is Over. Welcome to the Infrastructure Age. | Annalee Newitz | Gizmodo | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nobody wants to say it outright, but the Apple Watch sucks. So do most smartwatches. Every time I use my beautiful Moto 360, its lack of functionality makes me despair. But the problem isn’t our gadgets. It’s that the future of consumer tech isn’t going to come from information devices. It’s going to come from infrastructure.

That’s why Elon Musk’s announcements of the new Tesla battery line last night were more revolutionary than Apple Watch and more exciting than Microsoft’s admittedly nifty HoloLens. Information tech isn’t dead — it has just matured to the point where all we’ll get are better iterations of the same thing. Better cameras and apps for our phones. VR that actually works. But these are not revolutionary gadgets. They are just realizations of dreams that began in the 1980s, when the information revolution transformed the consumer electronics market.

But now we’re we’re entering the age of infrastructure gadgets. Thanks to devices like Tesla’s household battery, Powerwall, electrical grid technology that was once hidden behind massive barbed wire fences, owned by municipalities and counties, is now seeping slowly into our homes. And this isn’t just about alternative energy like solar. It’s about how we conceive of what technology is. It’s about what kinds of gadgets we’ll be buying for ourselves in 20 years.

It’s about how the kids of tomorrow won’t freak out over terabytes of storage. They’ll freak out over kilowatt-hours.

Beyond transforming our relationship to energy, though, the infrastructure age is about where we expect computers to live. The so-called internet of things is a big part of this. Our computers aren’t living in isolated boxes on our desktops, and they aren’t going to be inside our phones either. The apps in your phone won’t always suck you into virtual worlds, where you can escape to build treehouses and tunnels in Minecraft. Instead, they will control your home, your transit, and even your body.

Once you accept that the thing our ancestors called the information superhighway will actually be controlling cars on real-life highways, you start to appreciate the sea change we’re witnessing. The internet isn’t that thing in there, inside your little glowing box. It’s in your washing machine, kitchen appliances, pet feeder, your internal organs, your car, your streets, the very walls of your house. You use your wearable to interface with the world out there.

It makes perfect sense to me that a company like Tesla could be at the heart of the new infrastructure age. Musk’s focus has always been relentlessly about remolding the physical world, changing the way we power our transit — and, with SpaceX, where future generations might live beyond Earth. The opposite of cyberspace is, well, physical space. And that’s where Tesla is taking us.


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For mobile operators, sharing is caring | De Wet Bisschoff & Hennie de Villiers | TechCentral

For mobile operators, sharing is caring | De Wet Bisschoff & Hennie de Villiers | TechCentral | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Co-location allows for a more sustainable financial model that can bolster operator revenues, take pressure off consumers and increase network penetration in underserviced areas.

The telecommunications landscape has changed significantly in the past decade due to pricing pressure, rising network costs and evolving consumer demands.

According to Ovum, average revenue per user (Arpu) is forecast to decline at 16% globally (and at a faster 19% in South Africa) between 2012 and 2019. Related to this, data demand will drive 4G/LTE traffic, to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 110% from 2014 to 2019. Data is also driving future revenue, with LTE revenues in the Middle East and Africa predicted to grow from 23% of total radio access network revenues in 2015 to 67% in 2019.

To add to this, over-the-top services and increasing adoption of the Internet of things are presenting new challenges for operators.

Essentially, operators find themselves in a “perfect storm”, with margin pressures weighing heavily on current business models. The net effect will be that consumers are increasingly bearing the costs of connectivity, as witnessed in the recent pricing adjustments by South African operators.

In the circumstances, how can operators provide better services, supported by a financially sustainable business model?


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Frontier's Website Woes - Company Drops Online Ordering... Because It Can't Make It Work Right | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Frontier's Website Woes - Company Drops Online Ordering... Because It Can't Make It Work Right | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you want to order a product or service online from Frontier Communications, forget it. A source tells Stop the Cap! the company was dropping online e-commerce functions from its Frontier.com website because it could never get online ordering working properly.

Sure enough, the latest iteration of Frontier’s website today blazes with banners requesting customers call the company or use “live chat” to handle any orders for service.

“They still offer the function of self-service — allowing customers to view their bills, set up auto payments, make one time payments, etc., but they are removing the ability for customers to order any service at all,” said our source.


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Time Warner Cable's Post-Merger Conference Call: Improved Subscriber Numbers But 'We'll Let Others Take the Lead' | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable's Post-Merger Conference Call: Improved Subscriber Numbers But 'We'll Let Others Take the Lead' | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable held its first post-merger-flop conference call with investors this morning and reported surprisingly good subscriber numbers for the first quarter of 2015.

Despite disappointing investors for not meeting projected profit and revenue numbers for the first three months of the year, Time Warner managed to add 30,000 net video customers for the first time since 2009. High-speed data customers grew by 315,000, compared with 269,000 a year ago, while voice customers increased by 320,000, compared with 107,000 in the prior-year period. The company also reported $26 million in wasted merger-related costs.


A renewed love for Time Warner Cable was not the reason the cable company added customers. Aggressive pricing with fewer fine print “gotchas” and Time Warner Cable Maxx upgrades helped the company pick up new subscribers. Last October, Time Warner added a $90 triple play offer valid across much of its service area, offering unlimited calling phone, Preferred TV, and 30Mbps broadband with one set-top box for $89.99 a month for one year, an offer Artie Minson, chief financial officer of Time Warner Cable called “clean.”


For the last two years, Time Warner Cable executives decided to de-emphasize promotional pricing on phone service, preferring to draw more attention to its double-play television and broadband offers. This year, that thinking is long gone as the cable company re-emphasizes its triple-play packages and offers current customers the chance to add phone service for as little as $10 a month. The strong growth in new phone customers during the quarter reflects the success of those promotions.


Minson was less impressed with the sales of “skinny bundles” of bare basic cable television, HBO, and broadband service, noting it had little impact on Time Warner’s subscriber growth. The allure of its $14.99 everyday low price, low speed Internet offer has also waned.


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AT&T Fined Yet Again For Shady Behavior, This Time For Milking Low-Income Lifeline Program | Karl Bode | Techdirt

AT&T Fined Yet Again For Shady Behavior, This Time For Milking Low-Income Lifeline Program | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After a fifteen-year slumber, regulators have apparently decided it might be a good idea to start cracking down on rampant fraud in the telecom market. Not long ago, we noted how AT&T was finally fined for abusing the IP Relay network for the hearing impaired, intentionally turning a blind eye to scammers on the network just to haul in the $1.50 per minute subsidies tied to the network.


AT&T strung regulators along for years, implementing "solutions" that it knew wouldn't work but technically met flimsy FCC requirements. As a result, simply stopping AT&T from profiting off of defrauding the deaf (it's estimated that 95% of AT&T's IP Relay traffic at one point was credit card or other scammers) only took regulators the better part of two decades.

Last year, regulators finally cracked down on AT&T for helping scammers of a different sort: crammers. Crammers had been gouging AT&T customers for most of the last decade, charging them $10 a month for garbage "premium" text messaging, horoscopes and other un-asked-for detritus. There again, AT&T intentionally turned a blind eye to the criminal behavior, in large part because the company was netting around 35% of the proceeds from the scams. Worse perhaps, regulators found AT&T was actively making its bills harder to understand so the fraud would be more difficult to detect.

This month, the FCC has announced that it has struck a settlement with AT&T and former subsidiary SNET, over charges the companies were collecting undeserved subsidies under the agency's "Lifeline" program, a low-income community subsidy effort created by the Reagan administration in 1985 and expanded by Bush in 2005. According to the FCC's findings, AT&T apparently "forgot" to audit its Lifeline subscriber rolls and purge them of non-existent or no-longer-eligible customers, allowing it to continue taking taxpayer money from a fund intended to aid the poor:


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Super speedy internet to serve Toronto’s waterfront condos | Duncan McAllister | Metro News Canada

Super speedy internet to serve Toronto’s waterfront condos | Duncan McAllister | Metro News Canada | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What do the Pan Am Games, waterfront condos and high-speed Internet have in common? They’re all part of Waterfront Toronto’s Intelligent Communities venture.

Toronto’s waterfront has been recognized globally as a leading 21st-century community, interconnected by a super-high-speed broadband infrastructure that will serve the needs of the 2015 Pan Am Games, as well as Dream Unlimited’s Canary District and Tridel’s Aqualina condo towers.

Recent blockbuster announcements — such as Daniels’ Waterfront City of The Arts, and Menkes’ Waterfront Innovation Centre — put Toronto at the forefront of the world’s intelligent cities. These knowledge-based, live-work communities will be geared specifically to the creative and technology sectors, relying on the information highway to enable all manner of commercial, educational and community services.


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Google’s Project Fi + Free Muni Wi-Fi = Customer Savings + Carrier Disruption | Mitchell Shapiro | Michigan State University

Google’s Project Fi + Free Muni Wi-Fi = Customer Savings + Carrier Disruption | Mitchell Shapiro | Michigan State University | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday Google officially announced Project Fi, its much anticipated wireless service, which I’ve previously blogged and tweeted about during its pre-announcement rumor/leak phase. Now that more details, including pricing, are available directly from Google, an updated post seems in order, especially following recent posts about newly launched municipal Wi-Fi services in NYC and Boston (later on this post I’ll consider how these two developments may be related and synergistic).

As expected, Google’s wireless service will route user traffic over a mix of Wi-Fi connections and, via MVNO arrangements with Sprint and T-Mobile, the two carriers’ cellular networks. This “three network” approach alone makes the service pretty unique. In a blog post yesterday, VP of Communications Products Nick Fox explains:

As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve verified as fast and reliable. Once you’re connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you’re not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places…If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat.

The Project Fi FAQ page explains further that its “software is optimized to not put extra strain on your battery by only moving you between networks when absolutely necessary.”


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Sibley County, MN: Economic Development and Fiber | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

Sibley County, MN: Economic Development and Fiber | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the main reasons smaller communities give for wanting fiber networks is economic development. They believe that fiber will help them attract new jobs or keep existing jobs. There are examples where fiber networks have led to these two things directly, but it’s not always so clear cut

I know one rural town that can attribute over 700 new jobs directly to fiber. The call centers and defense firms that came to the town said that fiber was the main reason they chose that community. And I know of another town that built fiber and was able to convince the major employer in town not to relocate elsewhere.

But economic development is a funny thing and fiber projects often don’t lead to these kinds of direct home runs — where fiber is the major reason for economic improvement. I saw an announcement this morning that shows there’s often a more tenuous line between cause and effect. The city of Gaylord, Minnesota just announced that a medical school is going to be built there. Gaylord is a small city in a rural county in Minnesota that is known more for growing Del Monte corn and producing ethanol than they are for attracting things like a medical school.

But Gaylord is in Sibley County which has been actively pursuing fiber for over five years. They are within months of completing financing and starting construction of a county-wide fiber network that is going to pass homes and businesses in 10 towns and the surrounding farms. Gaylord learned about the potential for attracting the medical school as part of their investigation into building fiber, and without the fiber initiative they would never have known about or pursued the medical school.

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Maxico: Televisa’s Cablecom acquisition has led to ‘substantial power’ in 99 markets | TeleGeography.com

Mexican regulator Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) has declared that broadcasting giant Grupo Televisa now has ‘substantial power’ in 99 markets across the country, chiefly as a result of its August 2014 acquisition of Cablecom.


Ifetel will now issue a draft resolution regarding its findings and take ‘necessary measures to prevent harm to competition in these markets’. The regulator’s ruling comes at a time when Televisa is being probed for its possible nationwide dominance in the pay-TV sector.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in August last year Grupo Televisa paid MXN8.55 billion (USD654 million) to acquire the 49% of shares in triple-play cable network operator Cablecom that it did not already own. In August 2013 Televisa paid an initial MXN7 billion for a 51% controlling stake in Cablecom, which is understood to operate in 16 Mexican states.

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Poll: Backhaul Presents 5G's Biggest Challenge | Sarah Thomas | Light Reading

Poll: Backhaul Presents 5G's Biggest Challenge | Sarah Thomas | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When it comes to 5G, there are no shortage of potential challenges, but -- according to one third of those who voted in a recent Light Reading poll -- upgrading backhaul to support the enormous amount of traffic coming to 5G is the biggest challenge the industry will face.

In our poll of nearly 500 readers, 31% said that backhaul was 5G's biggest challenge, followed by "too many consortiums trying to influence the standards process" at 19%. Another 16% selected "backwards compatibility with 4G, 3G and even some 2G networks," 13% said "meeting challenging and diverse performance targets," 9% chose "future-proofing the network for the next ten years" and 8% selected "ensuring 5G networks are secure." (See 5G Challenges.)

Here's another look at the survey results, excluding the 4% of voters who selected "other" for 5G's biggest challenge.


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Analyst: U.S. carriers and Dish now hold spectrum worth $368B | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless

Analyst: U.S. carriers and Dish now hold spectrum worth $368B | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. wireless carriers along with Dish Network sit on wireless spectrum worth around $368 billion collectively, according to a report from a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs.

That sky-high valuation is a result of the AWS-3 spectrum auction, according to Goldman Sachs analyst Brett Feldman. The auction raised a record $41.329 billion in net winning bids, and was for mid-band spectrum, which the wireless carriers already had quite a bit of going into the auction. As a result of the bidding, the carriers' existing holdings and the spectrum they acquired in the AWS-3 auction are now worth more than they were before the auction, which ended in late January.


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Ritter/Fidelity Regional Fiber Network Eliminates Internet Middlemen | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Ritter/Fidelity Regional Fiber Network Eliminates Internet Middlemen | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new regional fiber network built by two small local telcos not only will bring higher-speed connectivity to communities in six states. It also should enhance users’ Internet experience in another way: It will minimize the number of carriers underlying users’ end-to-end Internet connection, which should help minimize latency – an increasingly important consideration as the Internet increasingly supports real-time offerings such as video streaming services.

The new regional fiber network comes from Arkansas-based Ritter Communications and Missouri-based Fidelity Communications and will support broadband connections between 10 Mbps and 100 Gbps. The network will link Dallas and Memphis, serving rural communities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.


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Quantum leap: IBM scientists lay the foundations for a practical, scalable quantum computer | Dario Borghino | GizMag.com

Quantum leap: IBM scientists lay the foundations for a practical, scalable quantum computer | Dario Borghino | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

IBM scientists have unveiled two crucial advances toward the creation of a practical quantum computer: an effective way to detect and correct quantum errors, and the design of a silicon chip that can scale up to house a large number of entangled quantum bits.
The power of quantum computing

Transistors in classical computers can only shrink so far. The current generation of transistors is 14 nanometers in size, meaning that only about thirty silicon atoms fit between the transistor’s "source" and "drain," the two ends of the electronic switch. Once that number gets reduced to only about four or five silicon atoms, the uncertainty brought on by quantum mechanic effects will make it impossible for such a switch to function properly. Electrons will spontaneously and randomly jump from one end of the other in unpredictable ways, creating a current even when the switch is off.

The idea behind quantum computers  –  first advanced by Richard Feynmann in 1981  –  is to harness quantum effects rather than see them as an obstacle. This is done not by building a more advanced transistor, but instead by harnessing the much greater potential of quantum information.


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Why ISPs Should Stop Forwarding Piracy Settlement Demands | TorrentFreak

Why ISPs Should Stop Forwarding Piracy Settlement Demands | TorrentFreak | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There are many ways copyright holders approach today’s “online piracy problem.”

Some prefer to do it through innovation, while others prefer educational messages, warnings or even lawsuits. Another group is aiming to generate revenue by obtaining lots of small cash settlements.

Rightscorp and CEG TEK have chosen the latter model. Their emails are sent as regular DMCA notices which many ISPs then forward to their customers, often with a settlement demand included.

Both companies send millions of warnings to U.S. Internet providers every year, but how these are handled varies per ISP. Some, including Charter, forward the entire notice, while others such as Comcast strip out the settlement details.

To find out more about the legality of these notices, and the options Internet providers and subscribers have, TorrentFreak sat down with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) staff attorney Mitch Stoltz.


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Even Apple now confirms that tattoos and the Apple Watch don’t mix | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

Even Apple now confirms that tattoos and the Apple Watch don’t mix | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's official: the Apple Watch just doesn't play well with tattoos.

After a number of Apple Watch buyers with tattooed wrists reported that their ink appeared to be interfering with the Watch's ability to read their heart rates. On Friday, 9 to 5 Mac spotted an update to the company's support page for the watch that confirms the problem.

The document seems to back user reports that darker, more solid tattoos cause the most interference, and also confirms that the problems occur because the light-based technology Apple uses to measure your heart rate. Apple measures blood flow in part by shining green light -- which your red blood absorbs -- into your wrist. It then calculates your pulse by tracking how much of that light gets absorbed. But, it seems, the light can have problems getting through tattoo ink to get an accurate reading.

"The ink, pattern and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings," the document says. There is no indication from Apple that variations in natural skin tone cause similar problems; the ink seems to be main problem here.

Being able to measure fitness statistics is one of the main selling points for the Apple Watch, and is the focus of one of its latest ads for the device. The success of companies such as Jawbone and Fitbit have shown that there is a wearables market out there for fitness buffs, and it's probably one of the easiest markets for Apple to tap into in the early days of its Watch launch.

However, Apple does caution instances in which the Apple Watch may have trouble reading your heart rate.


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That 20 Mbps Broadband Line We Promised? It's Actually 300 Kbps. Enjoy! | Karl Bode | Techdirt

That 20 Mbps Broadband Line We Promised? It's Actually 300 Kbps. Enjoy! | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Did you know that U.S. ISPs in uncompetitive markets are really, really shitty at their jobs? While I assumed that was pretty common public knowledge by this point, there's an interesting new groundswell of attention being paid to the fact that most ISPs are absolutely abysmal at communicating 1: what real-world speeds a user can get; and 2: whether users can actually get service at all.


Case in point was the recent, Kafka-esque experience of a new Washington homeowner, who spent months being given the runaround by Comcast and CenturyLink regarding service the companies repeatedly (but falsely) promised was available.

This week, another story is making the rounds that highlights how ISPs will often claim to offer one speed, then actually offer users something dramatically more pathetic (if you can get connected at all). This user in Michigan, for example was told by AT&T's website and employees repeatedly that he should be able to get 20 Mbps at his address -- only to discover that the top speed he could get was a not-so-brisk 300 kbps. Such circa 1999 speeds are of course well below the FCC's new 25 Mbps broadband definition, changed to highlight the notable lack of U.S. competition at higher speeds.

Given that AT&T likely doesn't see any competition in the user's market, that 300 kbps isn't just slow, it's unreliable, suffers from the more-than-occasional hiccup and for good measure it's capped at 150 GB of usage before overages are incurred. Similarly, no competition means AT&T doesn't have great motivation to upgrade its outdated internal databases, or improve customer service. The lack of competition and regulatory capture in so many of these states makes communicating with AT&T (or getting regulators to care about broken promises) a Sisyphean endeavor:


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Time Warner Cable and Charter Both Talking to Bright House Networks About Acquisition Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable and Charter Both Talking to Bright House Networks About Acquisition Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the last week, executives from both Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable have talked to the Newhouse Family, controlling owner of Bright House Networks, about an acquisition of the cable company.

Time Warner may hold the stronger hand. In addition to being a much-larger and wealthier cable company, Time Warner has the advantage of a long-standing partnership dating back to the early 90’s with Bright House in which Time Warner shares its volume discounts on cable programming and technology with Bright House in return for an annual fee. As part of that arrangement, Time Warner has the right of first offer if Bright House ever chose to sell. If Time Warner matches or beats a competing offer, such as that now on the table from Charter Communications, it wins Bright House for itself.

Bright House decided it had to sell to someone after the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger threatened to end its arrangement with Time Warner. Bright House would pay substantially more for programming and equipment without the volume discounts Time Warner received. With the Comcast deal off the table, Time Warner remains an acquisition target.


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‘Our economy has fundamentally changed’: Richard Florida on why tech scenes are thriving | Christopher Wink | Technical.ly

‘Our economy has fundamentally changed’: Richard Florida on why tech scenes are thriving | Christopher Wink | Technical.ly | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The ecosystem metaphor that has become so popular to describe the many inter-locking organisms and organizations that make a tech community thrive may be incomplete. Because, as popular urbanist academic Richard Florida puts it, ecosystems don’t stand alone, they’re influenced by and attached to others.

Seeds from one ecosystem find their way to another. So perhaps the solar system metaphor should get more play. Look at how it fits in this current iteration of an innovation corridor growing in the U.S. Northeast.

“New York is the world’s most powerful city, and it’s the sun around which the rest of this region revolves,” said Florida, best known for popularizing an economic development agenda with his 2002 book The Rise of the Creative Class. He summons the old BosWash corridor oumega-region that Florida says is due to have its day.

And Florida says that’s happening because urbanity and the web are giving rise to innovation clusters of technologies and innovations in unexpected places. To thrive, New York’s financial, business and cultural sectors need access to and support from an ever-larger engine of ideas, and our human desire to be near to each other is creating a patchwork of connected ecosystems.

You could commercialize technology from a Philadelphia university, hire a cheaper dev team in Baltimore, get an investor from Boston, retain a marketing firm from D.C., and then join your sales team in New York for your plans to go public.

Of course, you might also involve actors and organizations from around the world, but there remains a stubborn human preference for the quick train ride to meet someone in person, said Florida. So these satellite systems appear to be developing around the country and the world, even if civic pride keeps some from seeing it. (It’s something he said in our latest Technical.ly Podcast.)


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