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NY: Cutting-edge technology to be delivered from Albany to north country by network | WatertownDailyTimes.com

NY: Cutting-edge technology to be delivered from Albany to north country by network | WatertownDailyTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When it comes to the availability of cutting-edge Internet technology, the north country will begin to resemble a big city next year.


The region’s 750-mile open-access telecommunications network owned by the Development Authority of the North Country soon will be linked to Albany, a move that will deliver a vast array of services and pricing options to customers of broadband and wireless carriers. DANC officials said the move greatly will benefit universities, hospitals, municipalities and residents by enabling them to purchase the same services offered in major cities.


The expanded network will be leased from Ion NewCo Corp. by the authority at a rate of $6,000 per month for 10 years under the plan approved by the DANC board Thursday. The network extends 90 miles east from Utica to Albany. From there, it extends north about 170 miles to Plattsburgh. The broadband cable will deliver 10-gigabits-per-second wavelength.


DANC also will expand its broadband cable to reach 16 additional wireless cell tower sites within its “middle-mile” network that connects to the region’s major telecommunications lines. The towers are owned by PEG Bandwidth, a wireless infrastructure provider that will pay for the $750,000 project (see map). Sites will be upgraded to offer 4G LTE wireless technology, and cables will be put in over the next four months to connect the sites.


The new section of the network should be connected fully in three months, said David M. Wolf, DANC’s telecommunications division manager. Large north country institutions that require high-capacity Internet access already may tap into services offered by carriers in Syracuse, he said. But extending the network to Albany will provide them with a wider range of options.


“The biggest advantage is it will give places like Clarkson University the ability to have two places to purchase Internet,” Mr. Wolf said. “This will give them a lot more choices and pricing. A university might have a 400-megabyte (Internet) plan, for example, and choose to buy 200 megabytes from Syracuse and Albany.”


He said the expanded network also, for example, will allow the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Canton, to upgrade its technology by partnering with the Albany-based Northeastern Regional Information Center.


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CA: Schools to get help with broadband infrastructure | Doane Yawger | Merced Sun-Star

CA: Schools to get help with broadband infrastructure | Doane Yawger | Merced Sun-Star | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Four area schools will benefit from part of $27 million awarded to 227 California campuses to help enhance their broadband infrastructure, according to the state Department of Education.

El Nido and Plainsburg elementary schools, Romero Elementary School in Santa Nella and Lake Don Pedro Elementary School in Mariposa County are getting Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grants from the state. They are intended to help isolated schools administer the new Smarter Balance state achievement tests.

Rae Ann Jimenez, El Nido superintendent-principal, called the state grant a huge step in the right direction for her district 15 miles south of Merced. They applied for funding last fall.

“Our students deserve to be connected to the outside world,” Jimenez said. “We will get better connectivity to the outside through fiber optics and internal hardware connections so eventually we can move to one-to-one computer learning. It’s expensive to advance. We are taking it one step at a time.”

The El Nido district has 173 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Jimenez hopes El Nido students will have access to high school and college opportunities.

Kristi Kingston, Plainsburg School superintendent-principal, said her district’s goal is to have all students learning by computer at the end of this school year. The state money will help with necessary cabling and other infrastructure along with computer devices.

“Our infrastructure is out of date and we lean on the Merced County Office of Education a lot,” Kingston said. “With new Common Core standards, we want kids to be involved and so they can be connected to the outside world. That’s always a blessing when we get some funding.”


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Almost Human: The Surreal, Cyborg Future of Telemarketing | Alexis Madrigal | The Atlantic

Almost Human: The Surreal, Cyborg Future of Telemarketing | Alexis Madrigal | The Atlantic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This is a story about how the future gets weird.

It's about how humans interact with each other, and machines, and systems that can only properly be called cyborg.

Let's start, though, with a man sitting on a couch. His phone rings. It's a telemarketer for a home security service.

"This is Richard, how are you today?" asks the telemarketer. His voice is confident and happy. His accent is classic American. Perhaps he grew up in Nebraska.

Richard continues, "I'm just calling you with a very special offer. My company, the Home Security Company, is giving away a free wireless home security system and in-home installation."

The man on the couch tries to claim he's busy, but the telemarketer parries, "I know you're busy, but this'll just take a few minutes," then soldiers on.

They go back and forth for several minutes before the telemarketer successfully pushes him down the sales funnel to a specialist who will set up an in-home visit.

Such conversations happen millions of times a year, but they are not what they appear. Because while a human is picking up the phone, and a human is dialing the phone, this is not, strictly speaking, a conversation between two humans.

Instead, a call-center worker in Utah or the Philippines is pressing buttons on a computer, playing through a marketing pitch without actually speaking. Some people who market these services sometimes call this "voice conversion" technology. Another company says it's "agent-assisted automation technology."


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The TSA Wants To Read Your Facebook Posts And Check Out Your Purchases Before It Will Approve You For PreCheck | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

The TSA Wants To Read Your Facebook Posts And Check Out Your Purchases Before It Will Approve You For PreCheck | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The TSA is disappointed that so few Americans have opted out of its bottle-tossing, package-groping screenings by signing up for its PreCheck program. For a few years now, the TSA has been selling travelers' civil liberties back to them, most recently for $85 a head, but it's now making a serious push to increase participation. The TSA can't do it alone, so it's accepting bids on its PreCheck expansion proposal. (h/t to Amy Alkon)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is seeking vendors for TSA Pre√® Application Expansion initiative to develop, deliver, and deploy private sector application capabilities expanding the public's enrollment opportunities for TSA Pre✓® through an Other Transactional Agreement (OTA) awarded by TSA. The Government plans to award an OTA to multiple vendors. The Government will evaluate the proposed ready-to-market solutions' application capabilities against this TSA Pre√® Expansion Initiative Solicitation and Statement of Work.

This will involve a new pre-screening process to weed out terrorists by looking through a variety of "commercial data" sources. The proposal [pdf link] is very vague on the details of what "commercial data" will be used by these third parties.

Contractors may use commercial data to conduct an eligibility evaluation (also known as pre-screening) of potential applicants. The eligibility evaluation shall include, at a minimum, validating identity and performing a criminal history records check to ensure that applicants do not have disqualifying convictions in conjunction with the TSA Pre✓® disqualifying offenses…

The proposal goes on to say something that sounds like the TSA safeguarding PreCheck applicants' privacy by standing between them and any crazy ideas third party contractors might have about "commercial data."


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The fight for smartphone owners is netting us all some pretty good deals | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

The fight for smartphone owners is netting us all some pretty good deals | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There's a lot of poaching going on in the wireless industry right now. And that makes it a pretty fun time to be a consumer.

T-Mobile has been a on a tear for the past several months, offering one maverick move after the other, from agreeing to pay the termination fees customers incur if they leave other carriers to an announcement this week that bad credit will no longer bar loyal customers from getting good smartphone deals. That program starts next month.

And its competitors are taking notice, and offering some similar programs. On Friday, Sprint announced Friday that it's running a promotion that will give T-Mobile customers a minimum of $200 to trade-in a T-Mobile phone, plus up to $350 to cover "switching costs." The offer runs through April 9.

Sprint and T-Mobile are in pretty close running to be the nation's third-largest wireless carrier -- a title Sprint currently carries, though both significantly trail Verizon and AT&T in terms of size. That may explain why they're going after each other with such gusto. Ultimately, that's a good thing for customers, who reap the benefits of the competition.

But stealing customers from each other isn't the only avenue for growth.


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The battle for America’s broadband: The Internet debate taking the country by storm | Henry Grabar | Salon.com

The battle for America’s broadband: The Internet debate taking the country by storm | Henry Grabar | Salon.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In 1932, presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt delivered a message of civic empowerment to the citizens of Portland, Oregon.

“Where a community – city or county or a district – is not satisfied with the service rendered or the rates charged by the private utility,” the New York governor told the crowd, “it has the undeniable basic right, as one of its functions of government, one of its functions of home rule, to set up … its own governmentally owned and operated service.”

Roosevelt was talking about electricity, whose provision and regulation was the hot issue of the day. But 80 years on, his words fit right into the debate about the Internet in American cities. Should a city, county or district dissatisfied with lousy corporate service have the authority to construct and offer its own Internet?

Portland says yes. Along with some of the nation’s largest cities, like Los Angeles, Boston and San Antonio, the Oregon city has joined Next Century Cities, a group that advocates for municipal ”self-determination” on the issue.

President Obama thinks so too, and will host a community broadband summit at the White House this June.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, proposed a law this week that would clear the way for localities to build, operate and expand their own broadband networks.

But in 19 states, the provision of public broadband is plagued by legal obstacles. Not surprisingly, telecom companies believe state legislators are right to regulate and restrict the practice. And some advocates for the open Internet say the problem isn’t recalcitrant, monopolistic corporations — but regulation-ridden cities themselves.

Hovering over all this is a larger question: Is the Internet today, like electricity a century ago, a utility that — as a group of Democratic senators opined last year — Americans “cannot live without”?


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Cozy With Comcast: Fred Upton, Greg Walden, Architects Of GOP Net Neutrality Plan, Receive Big Cable Cash | Christopher Zara | IBTimes.com

Cozy With Comcast: Fred Upton, Greg Walden, Architects Of GOP Net Neutrality Plan, Receive Big Cable Cash | Christopher Zara | IBTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Republicans are in a race to craft open-Internet legislation before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission imposes its own rules, and some core principles of net neutrality may hang in the balance. In the meantime, there should be no shortage of cash to fuel the fight.

Two of the architects of the Republican plan -- Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon -- received more money from cable-industry interests than almost any other members of Congress, campaign finance records show.

Comcast Corporation tops the list of contributors to Upton’s most recent re-election bid, according to Washington-based nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, which compiles campaign data on its Open Secrets website. The data shows Upton received $44,500 from Comcast-related donors, including employees of the company and its political action committee. Meanwhile, records from the Federal Election Commission show that no fewer than 15 senior Comcast executives contributed $1,000 or more to Upton’s 2014 campaign.


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Streaming media use rises in US broadband households | Editor's Blog | WRAL TechWire

Streaming media use rises in US broadband households | Editor's Blog | WRAL TechWire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Internet of Things. The Internet of Everything.

We’ve all heard these monikers in some form or fashion the last couple of years. But, what we don’t hear much about is how all this “smart” integration requires pervasive connectivity with highly-reliable, low latency bandwidth.

To paint the picture better, smart home and IoT research from Parks Associates recently discovered that ownership and usage of connected devices is growing among U.S. broadband households.

Approximately 26 percent of U.S. broadband households now own a streaming media device and 16 percent now own a smart home device with 34 percent now owning a smart TV. This same report out earlier this month also noted that the average household spends more than $6 per month on subscription Internet video services.

“As we saw at CES … companies from previously separate channels are now competing in the smart home ecosystem, meaning both differentiation and cross-platform interoperability are critical to success,” said Tom Kerber, director of Research, Home Controls and Energy at Parks Associates. “Thirty-seven percent of U.S. broadband households intend to buy one or more smart devices in 2015, so this year will feature expansion of the smart home and further refinement of business strategies in these markets.”

"Different use cases will resonate with different consumer segments, and as penetration increases, consumer needs will change,” added Parks Associates President Stuart Sikes, in a prepared statement.


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Cablevision Launches Freewheel | Mike Farrell | Multichannel

Cablevision Launches Freewheel | Mike Farrell | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cablevision Systems believes it has cracked the code toward monetizing its extensive WiFi network with the launch of Freewheel, a WiFi-only phone product that will offer unlimited talk, data and text for a fraction of the cost of traditional wireless phone service.

Freewheel will be available online early next month at www.freewheel.com and will be priced at $29.95 per month for non-Cablevision high-speed data customers and $9.95 per month for the company’s current broadband subscribers. Freewheel will be accessed exclusively over Motorola Moto G handsets initially, which will be available for purchase at the highly discounted rate of $99.95, or about half their base retail price. Additional devices will be added to the mix later and eventually there will also be an app for the product.

“The goal is to have a device that we think is multi-purpose and serves the needs of the customer as well,” Cablevision executive vice president of product management Kevin Packingham said in an interview.

The product could be one of the keys that helps unlock what many operators believe is a treasure trove of hidden value – their WiFi networks. Primarily used as a retention tool for wireline broadband service as WiFi’s popularity has grown, operators have searched for ways to monetize their investment.


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Tech Time Warp of the Week: The 1977 Tablet Computer That Took Up an Entire Room | Greg Miller | WIRED

Tech Time Warp of the Week: The 1977 Tablet Computer That Took Up an Entire Room | Greg Miller | WIRED | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Microsoft just unveiled what some are calling the largest tablet computer you’ve ever seen. But that’s not exactly true.

In the late ’70s, researchers at MIT built a tablet that filled an entire room, and there it is in the images above and the video below. It was called the Spatial Data Management System, and although it was enormous, it was an awful lot like a modern tablet or smartphone. It had a touch screen, voice recognition, and multiple apps. It could even make phone calls.

The idea behind the system is simple: We humans are inherently spatial thinkers. “People are really natural explorers of space and manipulators of space,” says William Donelson, who created the system as part of his masters thesis in MIT’s Machine Architecture Group, the predecessor to today’s Media Lab. “If you wander around your city or your neighborhood, you’ll remember where things are, and I wanted to incorporate that concept into a database.”

Donelson says the team wanted to build a user interface that could mimic the way people organize files on a physical desktop. They weren’t the only ones working on this idea at the time: engineers at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto developed an experimental computer with a desktop interface in the mid-70s and released a commercial version in 1981.

But Donelson’s Spatial Data Management System had a certain grandeur that those clunky boxes lacked. The user sat in a large armchair dubbed the “Captain Kirk Chair,” with dual touchpads and joysticks built into each arm. Two touchscreens—boxy Tektronix color monitors on rolling carts—were positioned on either side, just within reach. One presented what we’d now call the homescreen, an assortment of brightly-colored boxes that opened up different programs when poked by the user. The apps included a calculator, maps, a book reader, and photo and video viewers.

The brains behind all this was network of four minicomputers, packing up to 640KB of combined processing power and 640MB of memory in the original version (more on the tech specs here). The display was a 6 by 8 foot television screen directly in front of the user, and 8 speakers positioned around the room provided surround sound.


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Most Municipal Networks Built in Conservative Cities | community broadband networks

Most Municipal Networks Built in Conservative Cities | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've been curious about voting patterns from communities that have built their own networks so we took our community broadband networks map and analyzed some election data. A substantial majority of communities that have built their own networks vote Republican.

We decided to stick with the citywide networks, where a community has taken the greatest risk in building a citywide FTTH or cable network. This gave us more than 100 communities to analyze. We looked at the Presidential elections from 2008 and 2012 as well as the House election from 2012. This was to guard against any anomalies from a single election or type of election.


Some 3 out of 4 communities have voted Republican in recent elections, a trend that has become more pronounced across these elections. And as elections in non-presidential years tend to skew more conservative, we would expect the results to show an even greater trend toward voting for Republicans.


With President Obama speaking out in support of community networks, it will be interesting to see how Republicans in the Senate and House react. Some Republicans have taken strong stances to limit local authority in favor of states interfering in local matters like how to ensure businesses have high quality Internet access.


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WI: Cap Times Weighs In on Mayoral Race, Muni Broadband, and Free Internet: We Need It! | community broadband networks

WI: Cap Times Weighs In on Mayoral Race, Muni Broadband, and Free Internet: We Need It! | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Madison Cap Times recently ran an editorial focusing on the surprising nature of mayoral races. We were also surprised - pleasantly so - to read the intention of the editorial board (emphasis ours):

The Capital Times will add its proposals to the mix, with a special focus on using emerging technologies to promote high-wage job creation and economic development. In particular, we'll advocate for the establishment of a municipal broadband system that can provide free high-speed Internet access to all Madisonians.
...

Madison is a great city that does plenty of things right. But it faces major challenges, some of its own making, some imposed by reactionary state government, some dictated by our complex times. A mayoral race is the pivot point at which to discuss those challenges and the proper responses to them.

The Cap Times editorial reminds us that local decision making about connectivity is rooted in our choice of local leaders. We encourage Madison voters and all other communities facing the ballot to press candidates to address the issue of fast, affordable, reliable connectivity. If your community doesn't have it, ask your candidates what they intend to do about it.

Madison's mayor Soglin has been a leader on this issue via the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where he wrote and worked to adopt a resolution that called for restoring local decision-making authority to local governments.


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Los Angeles Times Supports Local Authority | community broadband networks

Los Angeles Times Supports Local Authority | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Obama's recent appearance in Cedar Falls infused adrenaline into the debate about local authority for telecommunications decisions. As a result, some of the media outlets from large cities are now coming out in support of local authority. The Editorial Board of the LA Times published an opinion on January 21st supporting the notion of restoring local authority in states where laws prevent community decision making.

The Times recognizes that rural areas will benefit most from reversing these restrictions, that the restrictions need to be removed for us to compete globally, and that there are numerous municipal networks that are up to the challenge of improving connectivity. The LA Times also recognizes the value of public-private partnerships in New York and in other places where local government has forged productive relationships with the private sector.

Editors at the LA Times boil it down to one tenet:

Regardless, the decision about whether a local agency should get into the broadband business should be left to the people who bear the risk — local officials and the people who elect them.


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Bill to Establish Broadband Grant Program in Montana State Legislature | community broadband networks

Bill to Establish Broadband Grant Program in Montana State Legislature | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In Missoula and Bozeman, momentum is building for improved connectivity by way of community network infrastructure. As usual, funding a municipal network is always one of the main challenges, but the state appears uninterested in helping them. State Representative Kelly McCarthy recently dropped HB 14 into the hopper, a bill to create a broadband development fund primarily for private companies.

The bill authorizes $15 million in general obligation bonds for broadband infrastructure projects for middle-mile and last-mile connectivity in rural areas. Unfortunately, projects built and maintained by private entities have priority per the language of section 3(2)(b).

The state legislature would be wise to follow Minnesota's lead and establish a program that is available to all as in the Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. Private entities are eligible to apply along with public entities and nonprofits, but do not receive special consideration.

If anything, the long history of success from cooperatives and local government approaches in infrastructure is favorable to the history of consolidation and poor services that big monopolies have offered in rural areas.


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2014 MN Broadband Task Force is out: recommends $200 million for infrastructure grants | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

2014 MN Broadband Task Force is out: recommends $200 million for infrastructure grants | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The 2014 Minnesota Broabdand Task Force report is out. The highlights are:

  • Minnesota will not meet the 2015 goals of 10-20 Mbps down and 5-10 Mbps up. Right now 78.16 percent of Minnesota households have such broadband speeds available via wireline providers and 88.90 percent when mobile wireless service is included.
  • They are recommending funding for the Office of Broadband Development ($2.9 million) and for more Border to Border Infrastructure Grants ($200 million)


The focus on further funding from a group that has been successful in recommending it in the past is very exciting! The proposed $200 million doesn’t touch the estimated $900 million to $3.2 billion to build ubiquitous broadband but funding gets people to the table to discuss solutions!


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Verizon’s Mobile ‘Supercookies’ Seen as Threat to Privacy | Natasha Singer & Brian Chen | NYTimes.com

Verizon’s Mobile ‘Supercookies’ Seen as Threat to Privacy | Natasha Singer & Brian Chen | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the last several months, cybersecurity experts have been warning Verizon Wireless that it was putting the privacy of its customers at risk. The computer codes the company uses to tag and follow its mobile subscribers around the web, they said, could make those consumers vulnerable to covert tracking and profiling.

It looks as if there was reason to worry.

This month Jonathan Mayer, a lawyer and computer science graduate student at Stanford University, reported on his blog that Turn, an advertising software company, was using Verizon’s unique customer codes to regenerate its own tracking tags after consumers had chosen to delete what is called a cookie — a little bit of code that can stick with your web browser after you have visited a site. In effect, Turn found a way to keep tracking visitors even after they tried to delete their digital footprints.

The episode shined a spotlight on a privacy issue that is particularly pronounced at Verizon. The company’s customer codes, called unique ID headers, have troubled some data security and privacy experts who say Verizon has introduced a persistent, hidden tracking mechanism into apps and browsers that third parties could easily exploit.

While Internet users can choose to delete their regular cookies, Verizon Wireless users cannot delete the company’s so-called supercookies.

“Verizon is not in a position to control how others use its header,” Mr. Mayer said. “There’s no doubt that this particular approach does introduce new privacy problems.”


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Why You Should Care That The FCC Is Trying To Redefine Broadband | Chris Miller | Gizmodo.com

Why You Should Care That The FCC Is Trying To Redefine Broadband | Chris Miller | Gizmodo.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to current FCC policy, 'broadband' means 4Mbps down/1Mbps up. That's been the definition since 2010, when it was upgraded from a (hilariously slow) 200Kbps. However, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently outlined a plan to update that definition, to 25Mbps down/3 up. It's a position supported by a number of companies, including Netflix; but unsurprisingly, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is dead against the plan.

As arbitrary as the 25/3 numbers sound, they're not picked totally out of thin air: they're based on a clause in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which states that broadband must "enable users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology".

Based on that criteria, broadband should be fairly easy to define. Netflix publishes a handy little chart of how fast your internet has to be in order to stream video from its servers. To get any kind of buffer-free service, they recommend a 1.5Mbps connection, with 5Mbps recommended for HD, and 25 for 4K content.

Going by those numbers, saying that 25Mbps is the minimum standard for broadband seems a little excessive. 4K content is a rare beast on the internet, and the necessary equipment for watching it — a 4K TV — is rarer still (although, give it five years and we'll see how things change).

But an alternative argument for a 25Mbps standard, put forward by policy group Public Knowledge, is that a single internet connection is commonly shared between several individuals. If, say, three members of a five-person household are streaming Netflix at the same time, you'd need a minimum of 15Mbps in order for everything to work seamlessly — and that's assuming that the Wi-Fi network isn't causing any slowdown.


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Sad state of U.S. broadband: Cable industry balks at FCC's definition | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

Sad state of U.S. broadband: Cable industry balks at FCC's definition | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Right now, the FCC defines broadband as 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up. Since FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called those speeds “yesterday’s broadband” and proposed that, in the FCC's Section 706 report, broadband should be defined as 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up, interested parties have been submitting comments on that proposal.

It’s no surprise that cable companies are among those parties interested in keeping the slow status quo. Ars Technica reported that the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) told the FCC that normal folks don’t need speeds of 25Mbps.

During President Obama’s State of the Union address, he promised “to protect a free and open internet,” but the U.S. needs much more than a promise as our connectivity speeds and costs are pathetic when compared to much of the rest of the world. For example, in Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Bucharest and Paris, people pay as little as $30 per month for speeds that allow an HD movie to be downloaded in about seven seconds, according to The Cost of Connectivity report published by the Open Technology Institute in October. The New York Times added that downloading the same HD movie takes 1.4 minutes and costs an average of about $300 a month for the fastest Internet speeds via fiber in the U.S.

As it stands right now, even if a town is unsatisfied with an ISP’s service or rates, there are legal obstacles and red tape in 19 states that could stop a town from offering its own public broadband. Do you think the Internet, like electricity or water, is a public utility that Americans “cannot live without”? Sen. Cory Booker just proposed a bill that would “let cities build and operate their own Internet service.”

If regulations were removed, more cities could become like Chattanooga, Tennessee, which has the “fastest Internet in the Western Hemisphere.” Chattanooga “offers public broadband plans at speeds of 1 gigabit per second for $70” per month. Salon reported, “Downloading a two-hour movie takes the average high-speed broadband customer in the U.S. half an hour. In Chattanooga, it takes 30 seconds.”

The FCC’s Wheeler believes 25Mbps is “table stakes” for modern communications, even though only 25% of American homes “have a choice of at least two providers at the 25Mbps/3Mbps threshold.” Ars pointed out that “changing the definition doesn't create any immediate impact other than lowering the percentage of Americans who have ‘broadband’ and shaming Internet providers that don't offer broadband speeds.” It could go a long way, however, toward admitting the U.S. has a serious problem when it comes to competitive broadband.


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FCC's Pai Supports Publicizing Open Internet Order Draft | John Eggerton | Multichannel

FCC's Pai Supports Publicizing Open Internet Order Draft | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai supports making the chairman's draft Open Internet order available to the public on the same day that it is circulated to the commissioners for their input and edits, a spokesman for the commissioner confirmed to B&C/MultiChannel News.

Republican leaders of the FCC oversight committees and subcommittees--Pai is also a Republican--wrote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week asking him to let stakeholders and other interested parties see the proposal at the same time the commissioners do. The chairman has scheduled a Feb. 26 vote, and Feb. 5 for the draft, the customary three weeks before a vote.

Pai told C-SPAN this week that he would prefer the FCC hold off on the vote and allow a legislative effort, spearheaded by those same Republicans, time to play out, since its purpose is to give the FCC direction on its authority over Internet access.

But Democrats are telling the FCC not to wait, whether or not a bill emerges. So far, no Democrats are signed on.

The chairman's office had no comment on the Republican legislators' request. A spokesperson would say only that the letter had been received and was being reviewed.

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NCTA to FCC: 25 Mbps Shouldn't Be Measure of Deployment | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

NCTA to FCC: 25 Mbps Shouldn't Be Measure of Deployment | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has told the FCC that it should not up its Sec. 706 report definition of broadband to 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream. And that if it does, the commission should make it clear that it has no regulatory "significance" outside that report.

NCTA's put forth its positions in filing with the FCC in advance of its planned vote later this month on the report and its proposed new speed definition.

"The Commission should be particularly careful to clarify that it is not endeavoring to define a distinct product market for broadband services meeting the speed benchmark," it said.

One concern is that the new speed benchmark could be used against Comcast in the Time Warner Cable merger review since it would give the combined company a greater percentage of subs since the have a greater percentage of high-speed subs.

The association says that even limited to the 706 report, the definition does not cut it, either legally or factually. It points out that the definition of advanced telecommunications capability" in the report is "“high-speed, switched, broadband telecommunications capability that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology,” and says those are supportable at well below the 25 Mbps level.

NCTA also says that defining broadband in the report as only services 25 Mbps/3 Mbps and higher would breed complexity and confusion in other contexts, like network neutrality.


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Rick Harnish's curator insight, Today, 11:59 AM

This increase obviously has an agenda behind it and it most likely will funnel more $$$ to the telcos.

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Cox WiFi: MVP At Super Bowl XLIX | Mike Reynolds | Multichannel.com

Cox WiFi: MVP At Super Bowl XLIX | Mike Reynolds | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It might be the NFL and Comcast/NBCU’s day, but for those in and around Phoenix for Super Bowl XLIX Cox, Communications will certainly be in play.

The leading distributor in the nation’s 13th largest DMA is the provider inside the University of Phoenix in Glendale, Ariz., site of the NFL championship game. Cox has hundreds of phone lines within the facility, which is managed by Global Spectrum, part of Comcast Spectacor, and will provide pictures via cable video in the venue. NBC has the broadcast rights to what will be the biggest telecast of 2015 and possibly in U.S. TV history.

Cox officials said in order to better serve the needs of the 78,000 attending the Big Game, it pulled in a new Gigabit circuit, as well as several primary rate interfaces (high-end voice switches).

The MSO is also furnishing additional infrastructure to support a number of the events taking place ahead of the title tilt, and its video signals will be front and center at a number of hotels in the area.

But Cox’s best Super Bowl play, though, will come on the WiFi side of the line.

Cox is opening up more than 1,200 hotspots in the Valley of the Sun to the public for free during the Super Bowl XLIX week. It's also continuing to add additional temporary hotspots to high-traffic areas to help keep Valley residents and tourists stay connected.


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Ting Delivering FTTH Is Great News for Community Fiber - Community Broadband Bits Episode 134 | community broadband networks

Ting Delivering FTTH Is Great News for Community Fiber - Community Broadband Bits Episode 134 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In recent weeks, we have been excited to see announcements from Ting, a company long known for being a great wireless provider (both Lisa and I are customers), that is now getting into FTTH deployments. The first announcement was from Charlottesville where it acquired another company. Last week they announced a partnership with Westminster, Maryland.

This week we interview Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows, which is the parent of Ting. Elliot has long been active in preserving and expanding the open Internet.


We discuss many issues from Ting's success in wireless to cities dealing with permitting and access in rights-of-way to Ting's willingness and enthusiasm to operate on municipal fiber open access networks. We finish with some musings on upcoming over the top video technologies like SlingTV from Dish.


Both Elliot and I are presenting at the upcoming Freedom to Connect event in New York City on March 2 and 3rd.


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Washington senator introduces state-wide legislation for Uber, Lyft | Taylor Soper | GeekWire

Washington senator introduces state-wide legislation for Uber, Lyft  | Taylor Soper | GeekWire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Following states like California and Colorado, Sen. Cyrus Habib (D-Kirkland) today introduced legislation that would allow on-demand transit companies like Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Washington.

SB 5550 would require transportation network companies (TNCs) to provide adequate insurance, conduct driver background checks, supply data to the state, and pay for annual permits.

Currently, TNCs operating around Washington abide by laws on a city-by-city basis. For example, in July the Seattle City Council enacted its own legislation for the TNCs after they had previously operated without regulation in the city.
Cyrus Habib.Cyrus Habib.

Habib told GeekWire that if enacted, the state-wide legislation would supersede anything that city governments have established. That being said, he noted how his proposal includes consumer protection requirements from the TNCs that are just as strong, if not more so, than what cities have already enacted.

Habib said his team has been working for the past six months on the bill, and met with various stakeholders from insurance companies, law firms, driver representatives, and officials from cities and counties across Washington.

“This industry is in transition, and innovative new companies have deployed technology to reduce costs and improve quality for consumers,” Habib said in a statement. “We as lawmakers should do our part to create policy that marries innovation and consumer protections. This legislation will provide protections for passengers and drivers so these new transportation options can serve the public safely and fairly.”


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Cory Booker’s introducing a bill to help cities build their own, public Internet services | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Cory Booker’s introducing a bill to help cities build their own, public Internet services | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sen. Cory Booker is leaping into the political fight over whether to let cities build and operate their own Internet service.

On Thursday, the New Jersey Democrat will introduce a bill that would help local towns set up public alternatives to big Internet providers such as Comcast or Verizon. It would amend the nation's signature telecom law — the Communications Act — to make it illegal for states to prohibit municipal broadband through new regulations or state legislation.

Booker said more cities should aspire to be like Chattanooga, Tenn., which offers public broadband plans at speeds of 1 gigabit per second for $70 a month. But many are held back, he said, by "industry that wants to maintain monopolies in many ways."

Allowing cities to invest in high-speed fiber optic networks would stimulate economic development and access to education, Booker added.

"That's what created the Internet in the first place, is government-led investment in certain areas," he said.

Booker's bill, the Community Broadband Act, seeks to counter other attempts by the GOP to strip away federal regulators' authority to promote city-run broadband. Republicans and other critics of municipal broadband say such projects are often subject to cost overruns at the public's expense.

Defenders of municipal broadband argue that it can be an effective solution where competition among Internet providers is lacking. Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said last year that only a quarter of the country has a choice in buying high-speed broadband — the rest live under an effective monopoly or duopoly.


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House and Senate Hold Hearings on GOP Fake Net Neutrality Alternative Supported by Telecom Lobby | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

House and Senate Hold Hearings on GOP Fake Net Neutrality Alternative Supported by Telecom Lobby | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The House and Senate today held back-to-back hearings on the issue of adopting a Republican alternative to the president’s idea of Net Neutrality.

After the president directly addressed his support of strong Net Neutrality protections, FCC chairman Thomas Wheeler indicated he intended to act on the issue next month. Now many Republican legislators have changed their original view that Net Neutrality was “a solution in search of a problem” into a high priority agenda item demanding immediate attention, hoping to cut off Wheeler’s regulatory solution with new legislation.

That came in the form of a proposed new bill to define the principles of Net Neutrality from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

“By turning the FCC away from a heavy-handed and messy approach to regulating the Internet, this draft protects both consumers who rely on Internet services and innovators who create jobs,” Thune wrote in a statement.

Both hearings were stacked against reclassification of broadband under Title II to assure strong Net Neutrality principles, including three witnesses formerly with the FCC that have moved into industry advocacy jobs.


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FL: Tampa Innovation Alliance Aims to Redevelop USF Area | Mark Schrieiner | USF.edu

FL: Tampa Innovation Alliance Aims to Redevelop USF Area | Mark Schrieiner | USF.edu | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The 15,000 acre area surrounding the University of South Florida's (USF)Tampa campus has been called "the University Area", "University West," and, derisively, "Suitcase City," due to the number of transients.

But no matter what you call the region, which is bounded by Interstate 275 to the west, I-75 to the East, Busch Boulevard to the south and Bearss Avenue to the north, it's home to thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, and a few dozen of Tampa’s most recognizable organizations and sites.

To the members of the Tampa Innovation Alliance, however, it's is an untapped gold mine of potential.

"The purpose (of the Alliance) is to make this location recognized around the world as the destination for innovation, creative activity, business enterprise," said Alliance Executive Director Mark Sharpe. "It’s to make this place a place you want to live, work and play."


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