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Gary/Chicago Airport Committee Picks Potential Partner | Gerry Dick | Inside INdiana Business

Gary/Chicago Airport Committee Picks Potential Partner | Gerry Dick | Inside INdiana Business | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Ad Hoc Committee of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority, appointed to evaluate public-private partnership (P3) proposals to invest in the airport and the surrounding area, today announced it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Aviation Facilities Company Inc./AvPORTS (AFCO).


The Committee expects to conclude negotiations in the coming weeks and present a final recommendation to the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority next month.


“Entering into exclusive negotiations is an important step toward our goal of unlocking the value of the airport and the surrounding area to attract jobs, long-term investment and professional management to the airport,” said Carrie J. Hightman, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee and Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of NiSource Inc.


In September, the Committee announced it had begun negotiations with two leading respondents – Aviation Facilities Company Inc./AvPORTS and the GCIA Group.


“We are proud to have been selected to enter into exclusive negotiations for development and management of Gary/Chicago International Airport,” said Steven R. Forrer, Executive Vice President, Aviation Facilities Company Inc. /AvPORTS. “We look forward to concluding negotiations quickly so that we can get to work.”


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Deloitte Report (Retracted) U.S. Wireless Deep Decline After Mergers | Dave Burstein | Fast Net News

Deloitte Report (Retracted) U.S. Wireless Deep Decline After Mergers | Dave Burstein | Fast Net News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Going from 6 carriers to 4 apparently a huge mistake. The Deloitte Mobile Communications National Achievement Index, a mix of 15 indicators, plummeted from 2006 to 2009 a dramatic 25-30%, after the Sprint/Nextel and Cingular/AT&T Wireless mergers http://bit.ly/Deldrop. Pretty dramatic, as you can see in the chart.

Update Sept 13: I made a bad mistake assuming that Deloitte, one of the world's largest accounting firms, wasn't fudging the data. But I can't think of any other reason Deloitte refuses to answer my questions about the index itself or to supply the data for countries comparable to the U.S. such as Britain or Germany. This is extremely poor behavior that devalues their work. No one wanting to be taken seriously in a policy discussion would make important claims without providing a way to confirm their data.

If they actually believe we face "a direct loss of USD 67 billion in GDP and 344,000 jobs in less than a decade. Furthermore, an unavailability of spectrum puts at risk the heavily mobile-dependent Internet of Things, and with it a potential USD 1.2 trillion of new economic growth," I don't see how anyone who knows the industry would consider hiring them as consultants. Craig Wigginton is the Telecom lead at Deloitte; Phil Wilson, Dwight Allen and Kevin Thompson are the listed authors. It's possible that Deloitte chose to deliberately put out something misleading to support the lobbying efforts of some big clients.

End update.

Ad hoc ergo propter hoc, of course, but no other explanation I can imagine would explain such a severe drop.

The latest index is still substantially below 2006 despite a modest recovery starting 2009. Verizon's LTE build started in 2009, now followed by AT&T, but that wasn't enough to make up the ground. Note that the index went down in boom times but rose during the Great Recession.

I was reluctant at first to write this story because I cannot find what went into their index. There were some modest anomalies in what they did explain. Deloitte is a giant accounting firm for whom the Bells are major clients so I'd normally look more closely before reporting. Since their natural bias is towards the U.S. carriers, I don't think they would skew the data against them. With 4 to 3 mergers actively under consideration across Europe I wanted to publish this.

While there were 6 carriers, prices went down every year. After the consolidation, prices remained essentially flat for several years while continuing improvement in the efficiency of wireless networks rapidly brought down the carriers' costs. Profits were low in 2006. Cingular CEO Stan Sigman told a wall street crowd. "Wireless carriers aren't even earning their cost of capital." Broadband was booming so the carriers that had landlines as well as mobile maintained profits. AT&T raised their dividend every year.

In Europe, a massive campaign by the carriers convinced Neelie Kroes that fewer companies would invest more. She allowed mergers, including the recent one that reduced Germany from 4 to 3 main wireless players. Brazil looks to do similar although the U.S. blocked AT&T/T-Mobile and Sprint/T-Mobile. When France and Canada went from 3 to 4 carriers, prices went down 10-25% depending on how you measure. 6 to 4 I always thought had a similar effect but I never had good data.

The rest of the Deloitte work is uninteresting because it's based on the thoroughly discredited 2010 FCC spectrum needs projections, much too high for political reasons.


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Global City Teams Challenge Workshop | NIST.gov

Global City Teams Challenge Workshop | NIST.gov | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Purpose:


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and several partners will kick off a year-long Global City Teams Challenge to help communities around the world work together to address issues ranging from air quality to traffic management to emergency services coordination. NIST invites communities and innovators to create teams that will foster the spread of “smart cities” that take advantage of networked technologies to better manage resources and improve quality of life.

The challenge will kick off September 29-30, 2014 with a two-day workshop that will bring together city planners and representatives from technology companies, academic institutions and non-profits. The challenge is open to participants around the world, and international representatives will be able to participate in the kick-off meeting via webcast.

This new challenge will leverage the success of the SmartAmerica Challenge, which from Dec. 2013 through June 2014 brought together more than 100 companies, universities and other organizations to form teams that developed and applied networked technologies. That challenge demonstrated that these technologies have the potential to create jobs and business opportunities and provide socio-economic benefits.

Smart cities rely on effective networking of computer systems and physical devices. These Internet of Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems (CPS) currently account for more than $32 trillion in global economic activity, a number that is projected to grow as they bring improvements to health care, advanced manufacturing and a host of other industries.

To support the challenge, NIST has teamed with US Ignite, a nonprofit focused on the creation of next-generation Internet applications that provide transformative public benefit. US Ignite will host the website where communities and technology innovators can sign up to create teams that will focus on particular smart city goals and challenges. Partners in the challenge will include the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Health and Human Services, and, from the private sector, Intel, IBM and ARM Holdings, which work in these technology areas.

Examples of current smart city projects include the following:


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Extortion As a Business Model: Copyright Enforcer Wants to Lock Your Web Browser Until You Pay | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Extortion As a Business Model: Copyright Enforcer Wants to Lock Your Web Browser Until You Pay | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A for-profit company that believes it can earn billions from web users who illegally download music, movies and television shows wants the power to lock your web browser until you provide a credit card number to settle allegations you illegally download copyrighted content.

Rightscorp strongly believes in its business plan, which demands nuisance settlements from web users caught sharing or downloading copyrighted content. The company believes it has struck gold scaring Bittorrent users with service suspension and the threat of a costly lawsuit unless they agree to pay a $20 “fine” to “settle” the alleged copyright infringement. The fine amounts are seen as low enough to guarantee a quick settlement without involving an attorney.

“Based on the fact that 22% of all Internet traffic is used to distribute copyrighted content without permission or compensation to the creators, Rightscorp is pursuing an estimated $2.3 billion opportunity and has monetized major media titles through relationships with industry leaders,” the company recently told investors.

Using “unique and proprietary patented technology,” Rightscorp says it can identify the infringement of digital content such as music, movies, software, books and games. Rightscorp’s success getting paid depends heavily on the added weight Internet Service Providers can bring when they send on notices that claim those who don’t settle risk having their Internet service shut off. Rightscorp calls their settlement offers “reasonable,” especially when compared with the possible financial consequences of a verdict in favor of the copyright holder as defined in the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act (DMCA), which can be as high as $150,000.

Rightscorp splits any proceeds 50/50 with itself and copyright holders. ISPs get nothing for cooperating.

The company has successfully extracted settlements from more than 100,000 Americans so far as cooperating ISP’s like Charter Communications forward Rightscorp’s legal threats to their broadband customers:


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Verizon Wants You to Pay Less for Cable | Jamal Carnette | The Motley Fool

Verizon Wants You to Pay Less for Cable | Jamal Carnette | The Motley Fool | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In possibly the best example of how cable's pending demise, Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam acknowledged the business model is flawed at the recent Goldman Sachs investor conference. Specifically, the company is planning to disrupt the current model by launching an Internet-based TV service in early 2015.

On the surface, that sounds rather innocuous, but the kicker is the company is planning to offer "a la carte" subscriptions over the current bundled channel model. Although the company appears to be positioning the service as a wireless device format, make no mistake -- this has the potential to disrupt the entire business model of cable. By paying lower costs for only what you want, the company is adjusting to consumers' preferences.

In a nod to the success of streaming-juggernaut Netflix, Verizon acknowledged the path forward would share many similarities with Netflix but avoids a big flaw in Netflix's value proposition: live events. Of particular interest was Mr. McAdam's comments on live sporting events; he stated the service would carry those events through multicasting – a technology that avoids congesting the network.

And that's important; sporting events and news are very important to cable companies because they provide a barrier of sorts to the so-called "cord-cutting" trend where consumers abandon cable for streaming services or nothing at all. Estimates vary, but a new study from Experian by way of USA Today pegs the number of cord cutters at 7.6 million households; good for 6.5% of households, up from 4.5% in 2010.


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ABI Research: LTE "reinvigorates broadband wireless access marketplace" | Gulli Arnason | FinancialNews.co.uk

New York-based ABI Research said that LTE has turbocharged the mobile Internet experience for end-users which has reflected in rapid adoption of LTE-capable smartphones along with other mobile devices, but it has also reinvigorated the broadband wireless marketplace.

According to ABI Research, 1.26bn households do not have DSL, cable, or fiber-optic broadband. Fixed and mobile telcos are looking to LTE to make the connection. “By the end of 2014, ABI Research anticipates there will be 14.5m residential and commercial premises with fixed LTE broadband access.

By 2019, that figure should grow to 123m,” said Jake Saunders, VP and 4G practice director at ABI Research.

Chipset and CPE vendors are stepping up efforts to prime the market by manufacturing lower cost devices for both the consumer and enterprise segments.


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AT&T Offers $40 HBO, Broadband Bundle With Amazon Prime | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

AT&T Offers $40 HBO, Broadband Bundle With Amazon Prime | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

DSLReports regular Darknessfall See Profile directs our attention to the fact that AT&T is running a new promotion for U-Verse customers that offers users broadband, HBO, and a year of Amazon Prime for $40 for one year. Like Comcast, Verizon and others, AT&T has been offering a $40 broadband, HBO and limited TV bundle the hopes of appealing to (almost) cord cutters.

AT&T started offering that bundle back in April, though the monthly price jumped to a far-less-sexy $70-$80 a month after the promotional period ended.

AT&T's latest promotion adds a year of Amazon Prime to that mix, and comes on the heels of AT&T's exclusive partnership with Amazon for the Amazon Fire Phone. Here's the specifics from the promotion e-mail AT&T is sending to customers:


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Comments to the FCC on Data Speeds | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

Comments to the FCC on Data Speeds | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I’ve been reading through the comments in FCC Docket 14-126 that asks the question if the FCC should increase the definition of broadband. The comments are sticking mostly to the expected script. It seems that all of the large incumbents think the current definition of 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload are just fine. And just about everybody else thinks broadband should be something faster. In the Docket the FCC suggested that a low-use home today needs 4 Mbps download, a moderate-use home needs 7.9 Mbps and a high-use home needs 10 Mbps.

AT&T says that the current definition of 4 Mbps is adequate to define ‘advanced telecommunications capability’ per Section 706 of the FCC rules. They argue that customers don’t use as much bandwidth as the FCC is suggesting. For example, they argue that most of their customers who pay for 12 Mbps service rarely hit a maximum of 10 Mbps during a typical month. They argue that the FCC is trying to change the definition of broadband by only looking at what the heaviest users of broadband are using.

AT&T goes on to say that they and other companies like Google and the large cable companies are now deploying gigabit-capable technology and so the FCC has no reason to worry about data speeds since the industry will take care of the problem by increasing speeds. I obviously disagree with AT&T on this argument. They are using the red herring of what is happening in places like Austin Texas and extrapolating that to mean that the whole country is seeing huge broadband upgrades. As I have written many times, small town America is not getting any of the new broadband investment that AT&T touts in their comments. And rural America is still often stuck with dial-up, satellite or cellphone data. Further, AT&T has been actively saying elsewhere that they want to kick millions of customers off copper and get rid of their DSL option.

Verizon took a different tactic in their filing. They also don’t want the definition increased from 4 Mbps. They first argue that they have made a lot of investments in broadband, and they certainly have done so with their FiOS fiber network in cities and suburbs. But they then go on to argue that cellular data ought to be counted as broadband and that they are offering a great cellular alternative to people. They cite that 97.5% of people in the country have access to LTE with broadband speeds greater than 10 Mbps download and that this should be counted as broadband.

There are a few problems with their claim.


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Healthcare.gov Is A Security Disaster... And Those Working On It Knew It, And Tried To Stop Independent Security Review To Hide It | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Healthcare.gov Is A Security Disaster... And Those Working On It Knew It, And Tried To Stop Independent Security Review To Hide It | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've written before about how problematic the technology is behind the federal healthcare.gov website, pointing out that the federal government hired political cronies rather than web development experts to build it. There was an effort to open source the code, but after the feds put the code on github, they removed it after people started pointing out just how bad it was.


Then, just about a month ago, we noted that the government turned down a FOIA request from the Associated Press concerning the site's security practices, arguing that it might "give hackers enough information to break into the service." As we noted at the time, if revealing the basic security you have in place will give hackers a road map to breaking into the site, the site is not secure at all.

A damning new report from the Goverment Accountability Office (GAO) more or less confirms this is the case. This is further backed up by an even more astounding "Behind the Curtain of the Healthcare.gov Rollout" released by the House Oversight Committee.


To be fair, the GAO is non-partisan and known to be even-handed and fair. That's not always the case with Congressional committee reports. Still, the two are worth reading together. The level of mess behind the project is rather astounding and it appears that the site still is not particularly secure, which obviously explains the refusal to do that FOIA release.

Here's the GAO basic summary of the security situation for the site:


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Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities: Still significant support for LGA | Jess Bengtson | Crookston Times

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities: Still significant support for LGA | Jess Bengtson | Crookston Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bradley Peterson of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) visited Crookston Tuesday morning to discuss local government aid (LGA), economic development, job training, broadband and housing concerns.

In CGMC's report on Crookston, new LGA dollars for 2015 will increase by $42,720 under the 2014 Supplemental Tax Bill. The long term trend of the city's LGA showed its biggest increase happened from 2013-2014.

"What does everything look like going forward?" asked City Administrator Shannon Stassen. "Like a crystal ball outlook. We have concerns with possible steep declines."

Peterson answered with, "We have more buy-ins for LGA than four, five, or six years ago. We've done a lot to strengthen support in the House and Senate."

"My belief is long term, the program will be sustained no matter who is in office," Peterson added.


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Making Space for More Tech Firms in New York City | Rob Pegoraro | Urban Land Magazine

Making Space for More Tech Firms in New York City | Rob Pegoraro | Urban Land Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As New York City’s burgeoning tech economy continues to grow, startups face the same challenges for office space they would anywhere else—but have the added challenge of Manhattan-level price tags, vying for space with law firms, banks, and other well-financed tenants.

An absolute lack of space is not the issue, however. New York’s low 10 percent office vacancy rate may be second only to Washington, D.C.’s 9.6 percent, but an enormous amount of inventory is going up—7.7 million square feet (715,000 sq m) of space was on the way in early August, the second-largest citywide total in the country.

But demand remains strong. In the first half of 2014, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) tracked more than 2.6 million square feet (241,500 sq m) of lease commitments by tech firms alone citywide; in Manhattan itself, those deals approached 15 percent of the office inventory leased in that borough.

Blockbuster deals like Google’s $1.9 billion purchase in 2010 of a full-block office building in the Chelsea neighborhood—with nearly 3 million square feet (279,000 sq m) of space, conveniently sitting atop trunk fiber-optic lines—no longer seem as easy to come by. JLL recorded only six tech leases for more than 100,000 square feet (9,300 sq m) over the first half of 2014.

For the very smallest startups, even 1,000 square feet (93 sq m) is often more than they require. They just need more room than an apartment offers, ideally allowing for a chance to work alongside other entrepreneurs dealing with some of the same problems.

Here, the city’s real estate and tech industries have stepped up with a wide variety of coworking spaces and startup incubators, all offering that rarity in New York real estate: cheap or even free space to get started.
rob1187

One common trade-off is equity. That’s the deal with the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA), an incubator that has been hosting startups since March 2011.

Accepted companies get $40,000 in funding, four months’ free office space and business and legal service, access to its network of mentors, and a chance to pitch themselves to investors at ERA’s annual Demo Day. In return, ERA takes 8 percent common stock in each company.


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Google, Yahoo fighting on both sides of municipal broadband debate | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com

Google, Yahoo fighting on both sides of municipal broadband debate | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week the Internet Association submitted an official statement (PDF) urging the Federal Communications Commission to intervene in proposed state-level laws that seek to prohibit municipalities from deploying and maintaining their own broadband networks.


The Internet Association is essentially a lobbying organization that says it is “dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect internet freedom, foster innovation and economic growth and empower users.” It supports net neutrality, patent reforms that could eradicate patent trolls, and the protection of privacy of internet users, among many other causes in the technology industry. The group boasts a long list of very high-profile technology companies, including Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Reddit, and PayPal.

The group's statement come in response to the FCC’s request (PDF) earlier this summer for comments from the public on its role in state-level debates over municipal broadband rights. The FCC issued its request in response to two proposed bills aiming specifically to prevent municipal networks in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, from expanding their networks to neighboring towns.


Lawmakers in 20 states have already passed laws that either place similar restrictions on or prohibit municipal broadband outright, and one such bill proposed in Kansas was withdrawn from consideration last year after its critics pointed out that it threatened to limit internet access in the state’s rural areas.

The Internet Association used this opportunity to call on the FCC to raise its minimum required speed of 4 Mbps for broadband and crack down on the ISPs’ use of hardware that filters out competitors’ content. Ultimately, though, the Internet Association is urging the FCC to stop all legislative and regulatory efforts to restrict municipalities’ rights to provide public broadband services.

Municipal broadband projects often pop up in markets that ISPs deem unworthy of an investment, often because their low population would limit potential revenue. It’s a pretty simple idea – if nobody is offering local citizens high-speed internet, then the local government creates the offering itself. Then these small towns’ schools, hospitals, businesses, and homes are equipped with the same high-speed internet found in their big-city counterparts.


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United States: Verizon extends ‘XLTE’ AWS network to 22 new markets | TeleGeography.com

Verizon Wireless has confirmed that it has expanded its deployment of 1700MHz/2100MHz advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to boost its Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage in 22 additional markets.


Verizon has dubbed its deployment of 1700MHz/2100MHz AWS spectrum for LTE as ‘XLTE’; the new network has been designed to bolster capacity on the cellco’s 700MHz LTE network.


Further, the mobile giant has claimed that it now offers XLTE in more than 400 markets nationwide, equivalent to 80% of its LTE footprint. New markets include: Somerset (Kentucky), Hilo (Hawaii) and Jacksonville (North Carolina).

TeleGeography notes that Verizon started rolling out AWS spectrum late last year, initially augmenting capacity in major markets such as Chicago, New York City and San Francisco; around 50% of the cellco’s network was covered by May this year.

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Will Microsoft kill off the Minecraft marketplace? | Abby Ohlheiser | WashPost.com

Will Microsoft kill off the Minecraft marketplace? | Abby Ohlheiser | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The $2.5 billion Microsoft deal to purchase the makers of Minecraft became official on Monday, but some people -- especially non-gamers -- are just now starting to discover that the tech giant bought more than just a best-selling indie game with goofy graphics. Minecraft is also an ecosystem of dedicated fans who play, create and share within and beyond the game's open world.

Although it's not clear whether Microsoft will become more of a conservationist or a developer in this analogy, one thing is certain: Microsoft knows it's getting way more than just a popular game in which users basically mine for materials and build things. It's a game with a fan base that refers to the purchase in the first person:


@Microsoft You didn't just acquire Minecraft and Mojang, you acquired a big community. Do not. Let. Us. Down.

— Mack (@mackii) September 15, 2014


As evidenced by Amazon's $1 billion purchase of Twitch, the livestreaming service popular with gamers and virtually unheard of outside of that world, big companies are catching on to the value of owning the technology powering gaming communities. What's still unknown is how those communities will react, in the long run, to suddenly finding themselves in the hands of a major corporation -- and what Microsoft will do to try and keep them. For many, the Minecraft-Microsoft deal will become the canary in the redstone mine.


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Lyft Buys Carpooling Startup Hitch To Grow Lyft Line | Ellen Huet | Forbes.com

Lyft Buys Carpooling Startup Hitch To Grow Lyft Line | Ellen Huet | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In early August, Uber and Lyft tripped over each other to be the first to announce they were debuting a carpooling option. Hours before Lyft was set to announce Lyft Line, Uber jumped in front and shouted they were beginning UberPool, both of which offer riders the chance to pay lower fares and pair with other riders.

The announcements struck a one-two punch on fledgling carpooling startup Hitch, whose launch I covered in June. Its cofounders, Snir Kodesh and Noam Szpiro, had built Hitch around a dream of shared rides with strangers — but suddenly, the backseat was a lot more crowded.

“There was a feeling of, ‘Oh boy, we have a lot of scary competition if we want to continue on this track,’” said Kodesh. “We knew it was going to be a real uphill battle to go face to face.”

But no battles will be waged. Instead, Lyft will buy Hitch, the companies said Monday.


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Iridium's next-gen satellite network will search for missing planes at no charge | Kevin Fitchard | GigaOM Tech News

Iridium's next-gen satellite network will search for missing planes at no charge | Kevin Fitchard | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Iridium’s new satellites will start blasting into orbit next year on top of SpaceX and Dnepr rockets, they’ll be carrying a special payload: an aircraft tracking system that will be able to locate a plane anywhere in the world once Iridium’s 66-satellite constellation is fully operational in 2017.


The service is run by Aireon, a joint venture between Iridium and government aviation agencies in Canada and Europe, and it plans on charging airline for its core flight monitoring services. But Aireon said it would open the network up gratis to international rescue agencies during emergencies, allowing them to home in on missing aircraft.


In the case of Malaysia Airlines 370, which disappeared in March, the emergency service could have helped in locating and the possible rescue of the still missing flight by plotting its exact GPS coordinates every few seconds. The technology behind it is called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), and transponders using it are being installed in new and old commercial aircraft.


Iridium birds won’t be the only ones listening for ADS-B signals either, both Inmarsat and Globalstar are putting the locator tech on their aircraft and will be offering competing flight monitoring services. Iridium, however, has the slight advantage of offering pole-to-pole coverage, which given the artic great circle routes taken by many transcontinental flights would be very handy.

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Canada: CRTC orders Netflix to hand over confidential data | Toronto Sun

Canada: CRTC orders Netflix to hand over confidential data | Toronto Sun | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On the final day of its television hearings, the CRTC demanded online giant Netflix release subscriber information, Canadian content numbers and project spending and set a strict Monday deadline to hand it over.

Corie Wright, Netflix's director of global public policy, sparred with those chairing the hearings in Gatineau, Que., Friday over whether the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) would keep such information confidential.

Wright said Netflix is concerned data would be submitted to the commission, but could later be released publicly, which would put the streaming service at a business disadvantage.

Tom Pentefountas, the CRTC's vice-chairman who headed the hearings, said Netflix makes millions of dollars off Canadian consumers and shouldn't have to be ordered to disclose the data.

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais ordered Netflix to hand over data by 5 p.m. Monday.

"We need the evidence," Blais said, noting the CRTC goes through hundreds of proceedings each year and confidentiality hasn't been an issue.


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Watchdog – AT&T deal would harm consumers | Dave Seyler | Radio & Television Business Report

Watchdog – AT&T deal would harm consumers | Dave Seyler | Radio & Television Business Report | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Free Press has filed a petition to deny the merger of AT&T and DirecTV, saying that it would reduce subscription television competition in many markets and put upward pressure on pricing. It sees no mitigating factor to counterbalance that negative.

The watchdog argued that the pay television aspect of the merger was clearly a violation of antitrust guidelines. It believes that price increases would be in the future for all subscribers in a market where both are now operating in competition with one another, not just to subscribers of DirecTV and AT&T’s U-verse service.

As to claims that the merger will increase access to broadband, Free Press isn’t buying it.

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner said, “AT&T’s attempt to dangle regulatory candy in front of the FCC — in the form of broadband deployment — echoes promises it made during its failed takeover of T-Mobile. Here AT&T is again making the case that eliminating a competitor in a near $70 billion transaction is the only way it can make what amounts to small deployment increases. These supposed benefits are actions AT&T would take in the absence of the merger and they don’t come close to offsetting the harms of this transaction.

Turner concluded, “AT&T and DIRECTV are much more likely to innovate, invest and compete if the FCC doesn’t sign off on their merger.”

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, some ninety companies with special knowledge of AT&T – they are said to have been former business partners – are calling for blockage of the merger. They believe that AT&T engages in anti-competitive behavior and that it violates its fiduciary duty. One, the Minority Cellular Partners Coalition, says AT&T engages in “squelching competition.”

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Turning Hotspots Into Dollars | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com

Turning Hotspots Into Dollars | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable operators are beginning to look to their WiFi networks as a source of future revenue growth, with two top executives in the space recently saying that monetizing those assets will be a key focus over the next three to five years.

WiFi, the cheap-to-build wireless data conduit that most cable operators deploy as a free add-on to their wired broadband service, has been a key retention tool for many cable operators over the past several years.

 

But as those networks are built out more extensively, operators are beginning to see them as a potential profit center.

 

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts recently compared the WiFi space to cable telephone service in its infancy. Comcast, he said, faced stiff criticism for not immediately deploying a circuit-switched telephone product as did some of its peers. It held back, he said, waiting for better economics and technology.

 

The same might hold true for WiFi, he said. The economics might be coming soon, in the form of a dual-use phone (which utilizes both WiFi and cellular networks) or a standalone product.


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NM: Albuquerque looks to create broadband network | Mike Springer | KOAT.com

NM: Albuquerque looks to create broadband network | Mike Springer | KOAT.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The city of Albuquerque is looking to create a community broadband network downtown.


The city would partner with a private company to create the system, which would provide Internet access to those around Central Avenue between 98th Street and Tramway Boulevard.

Eventually, the city wants to expand the system’s availability to the rest of the city. It says it could provide the service at a lower cost than some private companies.

“We really see this as a catalyst to really start to push the envelope on broadband and high-speed broadband in Albuquerque,” said Peter Ambs, the city’s chief information officer.

The city has a $1 million in bonds it can use for the project but won't know the real cost until it takes a look underground and sees the infrastructure it already has in place. Ambs said Albuquerque is below average for a city when it comes to broadband access and speed.

Ambs sees this as a necessary move to help Albuquerque catch up with other cities and help key projects that depend on Internet access.

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A Digital Desert: The Internet Debate Pits Local Communities Against Broadband Giants | Mike Ludwig | Truth-Out.org

A Digital Desert: The Internet Debate Pits Local Communities Against Broadband Giants | Mike Ludwig | Truth-Out.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet service with modern connection speeds is not available in much of Bradley County, Tennessee. Some parts have no internet service at all. But local advocates and lawmakers are pushing the FCC to intervene on their behalf - against major broadband companies and their lobbyists.

Joyce Coltrin runs a wholesale nursery about 10 miles from the outskirts of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in rural Bradley County. She relies on her iPhone at work because there is no internet connection at the nursery.

"A lot of the college students go to do their homework at McDonald's," Coltrin told Truthout. "Imagine your child at McDonald's, in the parking lot, in the dark, running the car so he can see the videos he needs for class."

Bradley County is a digital desert on the edge of an internet oasis. Internet service with modern connection speeds is not available in much of the area, and some parts of Bradley County have no internet service at all. Less than half a mile down the road from Coltrin's nursery, however, is the end of a fiber optic cable that supplies internet connections with speeds up to 200 times the national average.

The fiber optic line was installed by EPB, Chattanooga's local nonprofit electric utility, which in 2010 became the first company in the United States to offer one-gigabit-per-second internet speeds for its entire service area. For about $70 a month, businesses and residents in Chattanooga can enjoy some of the fastest internet available anywhere in the country.

Chattanooga now bills itself as "gig city," and its effort to "re-pioneer the internet" is fueling an economic and technological renaissance. EPB's hyper-fast fiber optic infrastructure has incubated high-tech startups and attracted companies that would typically be more at home in Silicon Valley. The city that was once considered "the dirtiest town in America" now boasts the title "best town ever."

Residents and businesses in neighboring Bradley County, however, are stuck in the digital Stone Age. "Most people think everybody has the availability of the internet," Coltrin said. "Well, it's not true at all. People in rural areas have few if [not] no options."


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MN: Outstate’s needs are top priority Nov. 4 | Heidi Omerza & Bob Broeder | St.Cloud Times

MN: Outstate’s needs are top priority Nov. 4 | Heidi Omerza & Bob Broeder | St.Cloud Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At this time in the election cycle, political candidates are desperately fighting for our attention with a barrage of television ads, appearances, mass mailings and all the other hoopla needed for a winning campaign.

However, let’s not forget now is the time we must fight for their attention as well.

For many of us in outstate Minnesota, there is a real and constant struggle to avoid being overlooked by state leaders. While parts of outstate Minnesota appear to be recovering from the recession fairly well, serious problems are looming that need their attention.

Evidence shows that without a solid plan, rural communities will fall further behind the metro area due to unique concerns such as inadequate infrastructure (including a lack of broadband access and deteriorating roads), a rapidly aging workforce and a shortage of skilled workers to replace them.

We need a governor and legislators who will address these concerns proactively. As candidates make their rounds to community meetings and debates, residents in outstate Minnesota need to press them for solutions on our most pressing issues:

Better broadband access is desperately needed in outstate Minnesota. Last session, the Legislature responded by creating a $20 million broadband grant program. This is a start, but it’s only a drop in the bucket.

To truly show a commitment to making border-to-border broadband a reality, the governor and lawmakers should support the recommendation of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband for $200 million for broadband funding in the next biennium.


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Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Gets To The Core Of Net Neutrality Debate: You Need An Open Internet To Have A Free Market | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Gets To The Core Of Net Neutrality Debate: You Need An Open Internet To Have A Free Market | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has now spoken out strongly in favor of net neutrality in an interview with the Washington Post. The headline and much of the attention are going to his quip that what the big broadband providers are doing is a form of "bribery" in trying to set up toll booths to reach their users. And that is, indeed, the money quote, but it's not the most interesting part of what he's really saying.


It's in the context that he gets to that, where he's countering the bogus arguments from folks who insist that we don't need net neutrality rules because that would mess with "the free market."


That's wrong for a whole number of reasons that we've discussed previously, but Berners-Lee points out that to have a free market, you do need some basic accepted rules, and that's where some basic regulations are useful: regulations to keep the market free and open. And that's true of most "free markets."

"A lot of congressmen say, 'Well, sign up for the free market' and feel that it's just something you should leave to go by itself," said Berners-Lee. "Well yeah, the market works well so long as nobody prints money. So we have rules, okay? You don't steal stuff, for example. The U.S. dollar is something that everyone relies on. So the government keeps the dollar a stable thing, nobody steals stuff, and then you can rely on the free market."

In other words, in most cases, you do need some basic rules in place to make sure the free market is functioning fairly. It's why most free market supporters recognize that there's some sort of government role in preventing monopolies or fraud -- situations where the free market can break down. And that is what net neutrality rules would do. That's why free market supporters should be totally on board with net neutrality as well: because it's about making sure that there is a real free market for internet services that are above the infrastructure level.

This is why we find it so frustrating that the big broadband players and those who attack net neutrality as "regulating the internet" keep conflating internet infrastructure with internet services. They're doing it on purpose, of course.


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FCC questions how to enforce net neutrality rules | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

FCC questions how to enforce net neutrality rules | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission needs to create explicit rules that tell broadband providers what traffic management techniques they can and cannot use if the agency has any hope of enforcing its proposed net neutrality rules, some advocates told the agency Friday.


The FCC needs to reclassify broadband as a common-carrier, public utility service in order to have a firm regulatory foundation to take net neutrality enforcement actions, representatives of Kickstarter and Mozilla said during an agency forum on net neutrality enforcement.

The FCC needs strong prohibitions against broadband providers selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic, said Susan Crawford, a visiting intellectual property professor at Harvard Law School. She called on the FCC to pass net neutrality rules pegged to Title II of the Communications Act, a section of the law that has focused on requirements for common-carrier telephone companies.

“Consumers are really collateral damage in some Titanic battles between these terminating [broadband] monopolies at the interconnection points and edge providers,” said Crawford, a longtime net neutrality advocate. “The government is the only entity that can take on these companies.”

The FCC’s mission is to protect the public trust, and that focus trumps the profit motive of a handful of large broadband carriers “every time,” Crawford added. “The only reason to water down very strong net neutrality rules under Title II would be to serve the commercial interests of the carriers,” she added.

Earlier this year, after a U.S. appeals court threw out parts of the FCC’s 2010 net neutrality rules, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules that would allow broadband providers to engage in what he called “commercially reasonable” network management. Advocates of strong rules have criticized Wheeler’s proposal, saying it would allow broadband providers to selectively slow Internet traffic and charge Web content providers for priority traffic handling.

Representatives of two broadband trade groups opposed calls for the FCC to adopt public utility-style rules, saying the dozens of regulations in Title II would create a long and expensive process for net neutrality complaints.


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Rightscorp cuts-and-runs as soon as it is challenged in court | Cory Doctorow | Boing Boing

Rightscorp cuts-and-runs as soon as it is challenged in court | Cory Doctorow | Boing Boing | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rightscorp -- a firm that asks ISPs to disconnect you from the Internet unless you pay it money for alleged, unproven copyright infringements -- was finally challenged in court by an ISP, Texas's Grande Communications; as soon as it looked like it would have the legal basis for its business-model examined by a judge, the company cut and ran, withdrawing its threats.

The extortion business model is one of the ugliest innovations of the 21st century, and judges are generally pretty skeptical of it. Companies like Rightscorp are only viable because the sums they seek are lower than the cost of asking a lawyer whether you should pay them. But once a judge tells them they don't have a legal leg to stand upon, every future potential victim is only one search-query away from figuring out why they should tell them to go screw themselves.

Grande's advisory to the court about Rightscorp's tactics is a thing of beauty.


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Vendors line up for USD10bn open-access network in Mexico | TeleGeography.com

The Mexican government has reportedly received its first bid to build a USD10 billion state-owned open-access mobile network, from an as-yet-unidentified consortium.


According to Reuters, which cites four separate sources familiar with the matter, telecom equipment providers Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson helped the consortium craft the proposal, which has now been formally submitted to the government.


Two of the sources have suggested that the government aims to pick a winner in mid-2015, with Chinese vendor Huawei also linked with the project.


Indeed, Huawei has held several meetings with government officials regarding the scheme, with a company spokesperson telling the news agency that it was ‘natural’ for a company of its size to be invited to participate.

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