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CO: Denver Suburb Seeks to Take Back Local Authority | community broadband networks

CO: Denver Suburb Seeks to Take Back Local Authority | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Centennial is asking its voters to reclaim local authority this election. City leaders want to make better use of an existing fiber optic system but a 2005 Colorado state law pushed by a corporate telephone company precludes it. If the citizenry reclaims its local authority through referendum, the City can take the next step toward providing indirect services via its fiber network. 


We contacted City Council Member Ken Lucas to find out more about the ballot question. Centennial is a relatively young city that was incorporated in 2001 and has about 100,000 residents. Lucas told us that this ballot question is not only about using their fiber resources. The community of Centennial considers this a critical step toward maintaining a business friendly environment.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) provided grants to install the existing network for traffic control, security cameras, and public works monitoring. The City contributed only approximately $100,000 to the network, valued at $5 million. Traffic and public safety now use only two strands of the network that runs through the center of town. City leaders want to use the remaining 94 strands to improve access in the community. To see a map of the fiber and open conduit in Centennial, check out the City's PDF.


Approximately 94% of Centennial businesses and 85% of households are within one mile of the fiber backbone. Residents and business owners can now choose between Comcast or CenturyLink and rates are high. Lucas tells of one business owner who asked Comcast to provide 1 Gbps service to his building. Comcast offered to lease a line to the business at a high rate, but the customer would still have to pay $20,000 for installation.


Community leaders want to encourage more competition and, if they eventually develop the fiber, will explore open access models. Centennial knows their authority to invest in fiber infrastructure will influence economic development. City leaders want to attract high tech jobs to the Denver suburb.


The incumbents have not yet launched an expensive astroturf campaign or lobbied heavily against the ballot question as we saw previously in Longmont. This is the ballot question language:


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White House Vaguely Agrees Outdated ECPA Should Be Reformed But Only With An Eye On The Government's 'Interests' | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

White House Vaguely Agrees Outdated ECPA Should Be Reformed But Only With An Eye On The Government's 'Interests' | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Obama administration must be doing a little housecleaning in preparation for the 2016 winner. After months of highly-sporadic and belated responses to We The People petitions, it's answered two big ones (that have been sitting around forever) in a single day. It's also issued a handful of other responses to open petitions, some of which are little more than "we decline to respond," accompanied by a link to the site's Terms of Participation.

It took on two big petitions today. The first was a response to a request to pardon Snowden, which it denied under its "No Good Whistleblowing Goes Unpunished" policy. The second asked for a long-delayed rewrite of an outdated law.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act has been in need of reform for years. If nothing else, the law's misleading name needs to be changed. One of the more notorious aspects of the law is that it gives email less privacy protection than snail mail, which is already an exceedingly low bar.

The administration agrees that reform of this law -- which treats email older than six months as "abandoned" and thus easily-accessible by law enforcement -- is needed. However, it does so both belatedly, vaguely and disingenuously.

The We The People petition calling for ECPA reform was posted November, 12, 2013. It passed the 100,000-signature threshold roughly 30 days later. At that point, a response was "required." 593 days later, that response has finally arrived.


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Fundamental flaw: Linear thinking prevails in an exponentially changing world of Internet-based telecom | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Fundamental flaw: Linear thinking prevails in an exponentially changing world of Internet-based telecom | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Law of Accelerating Returns | POTs and PANs: The FCC recently set the new definition of broadband at 25 Mbps. When I look around at the demand in the world today at how households use broadband services, this feels about right. But at the same time, the FCC has agreed to pour billions of dollars through the Connect America Fund to assist the largest telcos in upgrading their rural DSL to 15 Mbps.


Not only is that speed not even as fast as today’s definition of broadband, but the telcos have up to seven years to deploy the upgraded technology, during which time the broadband needs of the customers this is intended for will have increased to four times higher than today’s needs.


And likely, once the subsidy stops the telcos will say that they are finished upgrading and this will probably be the last broadband upgrade in those areas for another twenty years, at which point the average household’s broadband needs will be 32 times higher than today.

I laud Google and a few others for pushing the idea of gigabit networks. This concept says that we should leap over the exponential curve and build a network today that is already future-proofed. I see networks all over the country that have the capacity to provide much faster speeds than are being sold to customers. I still see cable company networks with tons of customers still sitting at 3 Mbps to 6 Mbps as the basic download speed and fiber networks with customers being sold 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps products. And I have to ask: why?

Some excerpts (above) from an excellent blog post from Doug Dawson of CCG Consulting that explains to a great extent why the United States suffers from inadequate telecom infrastructure: employing an ill suited linear planning and business model for today's Internet-based telecommunications space that is expanding exponentially.


I too have asked why -- why providers and regulators view Internet-based telecom like a consumptive utility such as electric power, water or natural gas and base their business models on packaging and selling bandwidth rather than telecommunications services?


For example, see this provider's "dedicated optical fiber" service that slices and dices bandwidth into seven (yes, seven) bandwidth tiers at exorbitant prices on a fiber circuit that can easily deliver 1 Gigabit of bandwidth.


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Warner Music's Response To Evidence Of Happy Birthday In The Public Domain: Who Really Knows Anything, Really? | Techdirt

Warner Music's Response To Evidence Of Happy Birthday In The Public Domain: Who Really Knows Anything, Really? | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this week, we wrote about fairly damning new evidence that almost certainly shows that the song "Happy Birthday" is in the public domain, and not, as Warner Music's Warner/Chappell claims, still covered by a copyright that it holds (and ruthlessly enforces). The evidence was in the form of a 1922 songbook that published the music and lyrics to Happy Birthday, noting that it was via "special permission through courtesy of the Clayton F Summy Co."


The Summy company is who registered the copyright in 1935, and which Warner eventually bought. Warner has long argued that there was no pre-1935 publication. As the lawyers for the plaintiffs ("Good Morning To You Productions" -- who are making a documentary film about the song) pointed out, the publishing of the song and lyrics in 1922 without a copyright notice pretty clearly establishes the song is in the public domain. Even if there were a copyright on the original songbook, it would have expired.

It seemed pretty damning, but Warner/Chappell has quickly responded by basically trying to muddy the waters with a "well, who really knows what 'special permission' really meant" line, along with lots of other FUD about how Summy wouldn't have even owned the copyright at that point in the first place. Basically, Warner is just going to claim that none of this matters for as long as it possibly can. Watch the tap dancing:


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Washington Post Publishes... And Then Unpublishes... Opinion Piece By Ex-Intelligence Industry Brass, In Favor Of Strong Encryption | Mike Masnick |Techdirt

Washington Post Publishes... And Then Unpublishes... Opinion Piece By Ex-Intelligence Industry Brass, In Favor Of Strong Encryption | Mike Masnick |Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Update: And... the article has been republished at the Washington Post's site with a note claiming that it was accidentally published without fully going through its editing process. Extra points if anyone can spot anything that's changed...

Earlier this week, we noted with some surprise that both former DHS boss Michael Chertoff and former NSA/CIA boss Michael Hayden had come out against backdooring encryption, with both noting (rightly) that it would lead to more harm than good, no matter what FBI boss Jim Comey had to say. Chertoff's spoken argument was particularly good, detailing all of the reasons why backdooring encryption is just a really bad idea. Last night, Chertoff, along with former NSA boss Mike McConnell and former deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, published an opinion piece at the Washington Post, doubling down on why more encryption is a good thing and backdooring encryption is a bad thing.

Yes, the very same Washington Post that has flat out ignored all of the technical expertise on the subject and called for a "golden key" that would let the intelligence community into our communications. Not only that, but after being mocked all around for its original editorial on this piece, it came back and did it again.


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AT&T, Comcast, Lies Hurt Homeowners | community broadband networks

AT&T, Comcast, Lies Hurt Homeowners | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As of this January, the FCC defines broadband as 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream, but in some rural areas in the United States, people are still struggling to access DSL speeds of 768 kbps. In a few extreme cases, individuals who rely on the Internet for their jobs and livelihoods have been denied access completely.

The sad state of affairs for many Americans who subscribe to the major Internet service providers like AT&T and CenturyLink was recently chronicled in an article on Ars Technica that examined AT&T’s stunning combination of poor customer service, insufficient infrastructure, and empty promises to subscribers. It tells the unfortunately common story of the little guy being systematically overlooked by a massive corporation focused solely on short-term profit maximization.


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Comcast's NBC blocks Sling TV ads, Dish says | Malathi Nayak | Reuters.com

Dish Network Corp said on Friday that Comcast Corp's broadcast television network NBC is not airing ads promoting its Sling TV video streaming service in some markets.

While NBC, part of Comcast's NBCUniversal film and TV unit, has banned Sling TV ads, other major networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox are running its commercials, Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch said in a blog post.

NBCUniversal's four locally-owned stations in New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have declined to air Sling TV's ads, a spokesman for NBCUniversal said without providing a reason behind the move.


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ISP argues net neutrality rules violate its right to block content | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

ISP argues net neutrality rules violate its right to block content | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules violate the free speech rights of broadband providers because the regulations take away their ability to block Web traffic they disagree with, one ISP has argued.

The FCC’s net neutrality rules take away broadband providers’ First Amendment rights to block Web content and services, ISP Alamo Broadband argued to an appeals court this week. While not a new argument for ISPs, it’s a curious one, given that most broadband providers have argued the regulations aren’t needed because they promise never to selectively block or degrade Web traffic.

The FCC rules violate the First Amendment because they prohibit broadband providers’ ability to engage in political speech by “refusing to carry content with which they disagree,” wrote lawyers for Alamo Broadband, a small wireless ISP based in Elmendorf, Texas. Broadband providers, by carrying their own and other Web content, have the ability to “exercise editorial discretion,” wrote lawyers with Wiley Rein, a Washington, D.C., law firm.


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Massachusetts Senate directs state to be ready to collect Internet sales tax | Shira Schoenberg | MassLive.com

Massachusetts Senate directs state to be ready to collect Internet sales tax | Shira Schoenberg | MassLive.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After a lengthy debate, the Massachusetts Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would direct the state's Department of Revenue to prepare for the passage of a federal law that would allow Massachusetts to collect state sales tax from Internet sellers.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue has estimated that passage of the federal law would allow Massachusetts to collect between $150 million and $200 million a year.

Although the bill, S.1974, would make only procedural changes until Congress acts, there was a partisan debate in the state Senate about whether the bill constitutes a tax increase.

The bill passed 32 to six, with Democrats voting for it and Republicans voting against it.

State Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue, said there is no tax increase. Rather, there would be a change that will allow the state to collect taxes that are already owed, but are not collected, if Congress changes a federal law.


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Hacker shows he can locate, unlock and remote start GM vehicles | Lucas Mearian | NetworkWorld.com

Hacker shows he can locate, unlock and remote start GM vehicles | Lucas Mearian | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A security researcher has posted a video on YouTube demonstrating how a device he made can intercept wireless communications to locate, unlock and remotely start GM vehicles that use the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app.

Samy Kamkar, who refers to himself as a hacker and whistleblower, posted the video today showing him using a device he calls OwnStar. The device, he said, intercepts communications between GM's OnStar RemoteLink mobile app and the OnStar cloud service.


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FCC Republicans: Start Clock on Charter-TWC | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Republicans: Start Clock on Charter-TWC | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Republican FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly said Thursday (July 30) that the agency should launch the merger review shot clock on the Charter-TWC deal and begin its review while they continue to vet the protective orders for the deal, which they say represent changes to commission policy not confined to merger reviews.

Those orders are also responsive to a court remand giving it a chance to better defend how the FCC handles access to merger documents after the court vacated protective orders in the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated the Charter/TWC protective orders earlier this week and the FCC's Media Bureau signaled a pleading cycle would start once those orders were in place, which requires a full commission vote given that they deal with underlying procedures per the court remand. (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/wheeler-circulates-char...)


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Setting the Record Straight on Set Top Boxes | Platform | NCTA.com

Setting the Record Straight on Set Top Boxes | Platform | NCTA.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) recently repeated a number of claims about the state of the marketplace for video devices and the presumed effects of last year’s STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (STELAR) on retail set-top boxes. Regrettably, however, their claims misread the STELAR statute, the impact of changes that were supported on a bipartisan basis, and the state of the video device marketplace.

It’s simply not accurate to say that “cable companies will no longer be required to make their services compatible with outside set-top boxes, like TiVo for example, bought directly by consumers in the retail marketplace,” thereby “doom[ing] consumers to being captive to cable company rental fees forever.”


In fact, the STELAR provision at issue – the sunset of the FCC much maligned “integration ban” rule — does not affect the market for retail devices. It merely eliminates an FCC-compelled obligation that required cable operators – and cable operators alone – to include an unnecessary piece of hardware (i.e., a CableCARD) in the set-top boxes they provide to their customers. For years this mandate has forced cable customers with leased set-top boxes to bear added costs and higher energy use while offering no consumer benefit.


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OR: Eugene Opens Up Dark Fiber for Commercial Connectivity | community broadband networks

OR: Eugene Opens Up Dark Fiber for Commercial Connectivity | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Businesses are now finding affordable connectivity in Eugene, Oregon, through a partnership between the city, the Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), and the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), reports the Register-Guard. A new pilot project has spurred gigabit Internet access in a small downtown area for as little as $100 per month.

According to the article, the city contributed $100,000, LCOG added $15,000, and EWEB spent $25,000 to fund last mile connections to two commercial locations. LCOG's contribution came from an $8.3 million BTOP grant.

The fiber shares conduit space with EWEB's electrical lines; the dark fiber is leased to private ISPs who provide retail services. XS Media and Hunter Communications are serving customers; other firms have expressed an interest in using the infrastructure.


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More Than 65,000 Homes in Quebec to Benefit from Better Broadband Connections | Benzinga.com

More Than 65,000 Homes in Quebec to Benefit from Better Broadband Connections | Benzinga.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Everyday tasks that were once done in person, such as shopping, communicating, learning and banking, are now done online. To help Canadian communities, businesses and families have better access to these and many other online opportunities, the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, together with Pierre Arcand, Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Minister responsible for the Plan Nord and Minister responsible for the Cote-Nord region, today announced that the Government of Canada will provide 13 companies and organizations with up to $146.68 million to connect more than 65,000 homes throughout Quebec to faster Internet services.

The Ministers highlighted the fact that more than 65,000 households across the province will benefit from today's announcement. These broadband infrastructure projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2017, with some completed as soon as the end of 2015, delivering Internet download speeds of up to 15 megabits per second (Mbps), three times as fast as the national target speed of 5 Mbps.


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4th Amendment Lives: Court Tells US Government Get A Warrant If It Wants Mobile Phone Location Info | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

4th Amendment Lives: Court Tells US Government Get A Warrant If It Wants Mobile Phone Location Info | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A potentially big ruling came out of the courtroom of Judge Lucy Koh yesterday, in which she affirmed a magistrate judge's decision to tell the government to get a warrant if it wants to obtain historical location info about certain "target" mobile phones (officially known as "Cell Site Location Info" -- or CSLI).


The government sought to use a provision of the Stored Communications Act (a part of ECPA, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act) to demand this info without a warrant -- using a much lower standard: "specific and articulable facts" rather than the all important "probable cause."


Judge Koh says that's doesn't pass 4th Amendment muster, relying heavily on the important Supreme Court rulings in the Jones case, involving attaching a GPS device to a car, and the Riley case about searching mobile phones.


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Zayo to oversee Colorado's Eagle-Net broadband network | Mark Harden | Denver Business Journal

Zayo to oversee Colorado's Eagle-Net broadband network | Mark Harden | Denver Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Zayo Group Holdings Inc. said Friday that it has "assumed network oversight and support responsibility" for Eagle-Net Alliance, the state's intergovernmental high-speed Internet network that was launched with $100.6 million in federal stimulus funding and which has been met with years of controversy.

"Zayo and Eagle-Net have entered into this interim agreement as they work to establish an expanded, long-term partnership," Boulder-based Zayo, a global fiber-network operator, said in an announcement.

Broomfield-based Eagle-Net was founded to provide broadband service to schools, libraries and other "community anchor institutions" in areas of the state that lack high-speed connections.


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The government is headed back to the drawing board over controversial cybersecurity export rules | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

The government is headed back to the drawing board over controversial cybersecurity export rules | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The cybersecurity industry and the government have been struggling over proposed export rules that researchers say could end up making the Internet less safe. And now the government says it will try again and give the public another chance to weigh in.

Earlier this year, the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security released a proposal for how to implement restrictions on exporting so-called "intrusion software" in order to comply with an international arms control agreement known as the Wassenaar Arrangement. The list of items covered by the agreement was updated in December of 2013 to include some surveillance and intelligence-gathering tools and the proposed rules were meant to ensure the U.S. meets its obligations under the pact.

But the proposal drew criticism from big tech companies and independent researchers alike, who argued that they were too broad and would end up stymieing defensive cybersecurity research. Security professionals warned that licensing requirements in the proposed regulations could limit the use of so-called "penetration testing" -- tools designed to help researchers discover problems in computers systems or even make it more difficult for researchers to disclose vulnerabilities they uncover to software makers so they can be fixed.


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VA: Leesburg Eyes Increased Government Transparency Through Technology | Mike Stancik | Leesburg Today

VA: Leesburg Eyes Increased Government Transparency Through Technology | Mike Stancik | Leesburg Today | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Members of Leesburg’s Technology and Communications Commission on Monday night presented to Town Council an idea to create an information archiving system that would allow the public to find document they could currently acquire through a formal government request.

The commission is proposing to make available, in searchable and downloadable form, all of town information and databases that are not required to be kept confidential by Virginia public records law in hopes that it would make the town a more desirable place for businesses and educational institutions.

“Many citizens found that once this information is available, the whole staff uses it as well and it’s much easier to access and it’s more efficient,” Commission Chairman John Binkley said. “It’s useful for businesses trying to use analytics and saves time for staff.”

Morgan Wright, owner of a tech company called SafeLife, supported the commission’s recommendations, saying the more transparency there was within government the more economic development there would be.

“Information is power and it’s a powerful economic engine,” Wright said.


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FCC has already gotten 2,000 “net neutrality” complaints | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

FCC has already gotten 2,000 “net neutrality” complaints | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission received about 2,000 net neutrality complaints from consumers over a one-month period, according to a National Journal article today. The overarching theme of the complaints is that customers are fed up with their Internet service providers, often due to slow speeds, high prices, and data caps. In a sampling of 60 complaints, the most frequent targets were AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

There doesn't seem to be any smoking-gun proof of violations of the core net neutrality rules that prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or prioritizing services in exchange for payment. But the FCC's reclassification of broadband providers as common carriers allows customers to complain that general business practices are “unjust” or “unreasonable," making it a judgment call as to whether many of the early complaints are really violations.

National Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FCC, which provided an estimate of the number of complaints received in the first month after the rules took effect June 12. The FCC also provided copies of 60 complaints, which are available here.


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ISPs: Net neutrality rules are illegal because Internet access uses computers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

ISPs: Net neutrality rules are illegal because Internet access uses computers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet service providers yesterday filed a 95-page brief outlining their case that the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules should be overturned.

One of the central arguments is that the FCC cannot impose common carrier rules on Internet access because it can’t be defined as a “telecommunications” service under Title II of the Communications Act. The ISPs argued that Internet access must be treated as a more lightly regulated “information service” because it involves “computer processing.”


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Comcast chooses Liberty Lake site in Spokane, WA | The Spokesman-Review

Comcast chooses Liberty Lake site in Spokane, WA  | The Spokesman-Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast has chosen Liberty Lake in  for its new customer service center.

The Internet and cable TV company will build an 80,000-square-foot facility in the Meadowwood Technology Park, Comcast announced Wednesday.

Work on the $7 million project began this week, with Comcast planning to occupy the building by summer 2016, according to a news release.

Comcast announced in May that officials chose the Spokane area for one of three new customer-service centers. The others are in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Tucson, Arizona. The new center will handle inbound customer retention and sales calls. Jobs to be filled include customer service, human resources, sales, training and management, according to a news release.


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Facebook aims to launch unmanned drone by year-end | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com

Facebook aims to launch unmanned drone by year-end | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At 140 feet, it has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but carries no passengers—and it’s much lighter too, weighing in at no more than 1,000 pounds. And within the next couple months, Facebook hopes to get its drone off the ground on an inaugural test flight.

Named Aquila, the aircraft is the product of more than a year’s work at the social networking giant. Its function is not to drop retail items from the clouds like Amazon’s drones, but to provide Internet access to the hundreds of millions of people who don’t have it in under-served parts of the world. Facebook aims to partner with carriers and other companies to provide connectivity, potentially at a lower cost than typical infrastructure like cell phone towers.

Aquila comes out of Facebook’s Connectivity Lab, formed last year to develop new technologies for expanding Internet access. The company also hired team members from U.K.-based unmanned aircraft maker Ascenta.


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AT&T refuses to pay $100 million FCC fine, suggests $16,000 max | Ryan Whitwam | Geek.com

AT&T refuses to pay $100 million FCC fine, suggests $16,000 max | Ryan Whitwam | Geek.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T was hit with a massive $100 million fine by the FCC several weeks ago in response to its throttling of unlimited data customers, but now the carrier is asking that decision to be reversed.


Even if it cannot get the commission’s verdict set aside, it’s asking that the fine be capped at a much lower amount. What does AT&T think is reasonable? $16,000 max. So, that’s 0.016% of the original fine.


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Questioning Federal Broadband Spending | Kevin Taglang | Benton Foundation

Questioning Federal Broadband Spending | Kevin Taglang | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The vast majority of Americans are online. And, over time, the offline population has been shrinking. The highly-respected Pew Research Center released an analysis this week highlighting that 15 percent of all U.S. adults do not use the Internet – a fraction of the number (48%) in 2000, but a figure that is mainly unchanged in the past three years.

A number of demographic variables, including age, educational attainment, household income, race and ethnicity, and community type contribute to non-adoption:

  • Seniors are the group most likely to say they never go online.
  • A third of adults with less than a high school education do not use the Internet, but that share falls as the level of educational attainment increases.
  • Adults from households earning less than $30,000 a year are roughly eight times more likely than the most affluent adults to not use the Internet.
  • One-in-five blacks and 18% of Hispanics do not use the Internet, compared with 14% of whites and only 5% of English-speaking Asian-Americans – the racial or ethnic group least likely to be offline.
  • Rural Americans are about twice as likely as those who live in urban or suburban settings to never use the Internet.


Brian Fung of the Washington Post wrote in response to the Pew analysis, “It might seem inconceivable that in 2015 there could still be Americans who don't use the Internet — but they exist. Far from being irrelevant to modern society, they're increasingly the target of millions, if not billions, of dollars of taxpayer and private funding for Internet access. And that makes them a really important slice of the population.”

Politico Report on Rural Broadband Stimulus

Politico this week published a scathing critique of one program responsible for billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent to improve broadband access in the country’s hardest to serve areas. The National Broadband Map — completed in 2010, and updated again this year — shows that 50 percent of Americans in rural areas don’t have high-speed Internet in the way the Federal Communications Commission now defines it.


In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made up to $2.5 billion available to the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to extend broadband’s reach in rural areas. The purpose of the RUS loan program is to increase broadband deployment (that is, the number of broadband subscribers with access to new or improved broadband service) and economic opportunity in rural America through the provision of broadband services. Politico’s Tony Romm concludes that RUS’ program never found its footing in the digital age.


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Comcast Finds Excuses to Avoid Installing Gigabit Pro Fiber; Construction Costs Seem to Matter | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Finds Excuses to Avoid Installing Gigabit Pro Fiber; Construction Costs Seem to Matter | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast is rejecting some requests for its new 2Gbps fiber to the home service, claiming construction costs to provide the service to some homes are too high, even for customers living 0.15 of a mile from Comcast’s nearest fiber optic connection point.

Stop the Cap! reader Thomas, who wishes to withhold his last name, was excited at the prospect of signing up for Comcast’s 2Gbps broadband service for his home-based Internet business, despite the steep $1,000 installation fee and $159/mo promotional price he saw in the media.

“For the average person just looking for a faster connection at home, 2Gbps is absolute overkill, but if you run a home-based business that depends on a fast Internet connection, Comcast’s prices are a lot more reasonable than a Metro Ethernet or fiber solution from AT&T,” Thomas said.


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Doug Dawson explains why telco wireless can't substitute for FTTP | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Doug Dawson explains why telco wireless can't substitute for FTTP | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What is 5G? | POTs and PANs: What all of this means is that a 5G network is going to require a lot more cell sites packed closer together than today’s network. That has a lot of implications. First, it means a lot more investment in towers or in mini-cell sites of some type. But it also means a lot more fiber to feed the new cell sites. And those two factors together mean that any 5G solution is likely to be an urban solution only, or a suburban solution only for those places where a lot of users are packed tightly together. No wireless company is going to invest in a lot more 5G towers and fiber to cover suburban housing sprawl and certainly nobody will invest in the technology in rural areas.

We already have a cellular wireless divide today with urban areas getting pretty decent 4G and rural areas with 3G and even some 2G. Expect that gulf to become greater as high-bandwidth technologies come into play. This is the big catch-22 of wireless. Rural jurisdictions have always been told to wait a while and not clamor for fiber because there will eventually be a great wireless solution for them. But nobody is going to invest in rural 5G any more than they have invested in rural fiber. So even if 5G is made to work, it’s not going to bring a wireless solution to anywhere outside of cities.

Doug Dawson provides a good explanation of why the economics and technology of telco wireless service -- including the next generation 5G service -- can't provide an economical solution compared to fiber to premise. Aside from spectrum providing inadequate bandwidth for growing household demand that only fiber can satisfy, telcos would have to invest in a lot more cell sites to feed the network, which as Dawson explains can't pencil out except in very densely populated areas.


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