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Corinth, Starkville finalists for C Spire fiber-to-home service | Biz Buzz | Mississippi Business News

Corinth, Starkville finalists for C Spire fiber-to-home service | Biz Buzz | Mississippi Business News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Congratulations to Corinth and Starkville, both of which made the finalists list for C Spire’s fiber-to-the-home Internet service.


The other seven are Batesville, Clinton, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman and Ridgeland.


C Spire also announced pricing for its  Internet and related digital television and home phone services.  The 1 Gbps Internet access will be available for $80 a month, $100 a month for combined Internet and home phone, $140 a month for Internet and digital TV and $160 a month for the entire package.  C Spire Wireless customers will receive an additional $10 monthly discount on all packages.


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How AT&T's Own Legal Fights Show It's Lying In Claiming Broadband Reclassification Would Create Collateral Damage | Techdirt.com

How AT&T's Own Legal Fights Show It's Lying In Claiming Broadband Reclassification Would Create Collateral Damage | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, we shared our own comments to the FCC on the issue of net neutrality and keeping the internet open. The key, as we noted, is that if this issue is left to the FCC (as appears to be the case), it should use Title II reclassification in combination with forbearance to narrowly tailor rules for broadband access providers that maintain an open internet. As with so many things related to net neutrality, this gets a bit down in the weeds, and is a bit wonkish, but it's important to understand. Even the EFF -- a longtime critic of Title II reclassification -- changed its position in light of other factors, but made sure to emphasize forbearanceas a key part of this. Forbearance, in short, is effectively a statement from the FCC that it's using certain rules, but has committed to not enforcing parts of what it's allowed to do under those rules. As the EFF explains:


Forbearance is crucial to net neutrality because it helps to limit FCC regulation. If the FCC reclassifies broadband as a telecommunications service, which it must if it is going to do its part to protect an open and neutral Internet, then many folks fear it will be obligated to impose on the Internet a whole set of rules that were developed for telephone service. That would be a disaster, because most of those rules just don’t make sense when we’re talking about Internet infrastructure. For example, there are rules about obscene phone calls, rate schedules, telephone operator services, carrier reporting requirements, etc., that could lead to a host of new problems if misapplied to our Internet.

Forbearance is how we help ensure the FCC does what is necessary – and no more. It isn’t an iron-clad limit; the FCC must choose to do it, and it can change course if need be. But having made the choice to forbear, the FCC can’t change its mind willy-nilly, or in secret. Instead, it has to invite public comment, and respond to public concerns. If Internet users stay vigilant, forbearance would give us some lasting confidence that the FCC couldn’t use "net neutrality" as an excuse to interfere with free expression and innovation.


In fact, under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC is required to use forbearance when enforcing rules that would be against the public interest. And, it seems rather obvious that obsolete parts of Title II that might limit the free and open internet would clearly be against the public interest, and thus rather easy to forbear.

But, to hear the big broadband guys talk about it, forbearance is a messy process that is almost impossible to do right, with all sorts of complicated facets that will create problems. AT&T sent a letter to the FCC earlier this year decrying forbearance and repeatedly suggesting that it was a difficult process, likely to create uncertainty and lawsuits. AT&T further posted a blog post talking about all of the parade of horribles that other parts of Title II would dump on the rest of the internet:


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Heartbleed to blame for Community Health Systems breach | Steve Ragan | NetworkWorld.com

Heartbleed to blame for Community Health Systems breach | Steve Ragan | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to a blog post from TrustedSec, the breach at Community Health Systems is the result of attackers targeting a flaw OpenSSL, CVE-2014-0160, better known as Heartbleed.


The incident marks the first case Heartbleed has been linked to an attack of this size and type.


On Monday, CHS disclosed a data breach in an 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing itself was brief, offering few details on the actual attack and its root cause.


The regulatory notice stated that CHS believes the network compromise itself happened in April and June of 2014. Once discovered, they hired Mandiant to perform an investigation, which speculated that the attacker was part of a group in China.


"The attacker was able to bypass [CHS'] security measures and successfully copy and transfer certain data outside [CHS]," the 8-K explained.


"However, in this instance the data transferred was non-medical patient identification data related to [CHS'] physician practice operations and affected approximately 4.5 million individuals who, in the last five years, were referred for or received services from physicians affiliated with [CHS]."


As mentioned, the 8-K filing itself didn't disclose any of the details behind the attack. However, TrustedSec, has released additional information on the incident, including the root cause, thanks to "a trusted and anonymous source close to the CHS investigation."


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Sprint's cut in data prices won't help its network woes | Matt Hamblen | ComputerWorld.com

Sprint's cut in data prices won't help its network woes | Matt Hamblen | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sprint's new lower-priced shared data plan sounds ambitious, but analysts say it doesn't go far enough and won't address the carrier's network performance sore spot.


On top of that, some analysts say that carrier-revenues overall could drop in the current price war, cutting into network technology advancements for all the major carriers over the long run.


The new Sprint Family Share Pack, which was announced Monday and goes into effect Friday, offers four lines and 20 GB of data for $160 a month. It is open to current subscribers, and Sprint confirmed Tuesday that its current "Framily" plan will still be available, although it is not considered competitive by many analysts.


By comparison, both Verizon Wireless and AT&T charge $160 for 10 GB of data, while T-Mobile has a deal through September charging $100 a month for four lines and 10 GB of data, with each line restricted to 2.5 GB.


Also, until Sept. 30, Sprint will offer new subscribers in a family 10 lines to get 20 GB of data to share plus unlimited talk and text for $100 a month, good through 2015. That promotion also adds another 2GB of data per line (with the emphasis here on per line, which is distinguished from the 20GB shared).


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Cable TV Bills Outpace Inflation And Cablevision Is Nation's Highest | Michael Learmonth | IBTimes.com

Cable TV Bills Outpace Inflation And Cablevision Is Nation's Highest | Michael Learmonth | IBTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When it comes to the cable bill, how high is too high? How about $152.72 a month, the average bill for customers of Cablevision, the company that owns cable systems in and around New York City and Long Island, along with News 12 Networks and Newsday Media Group?


Cablevision has the dubious distinction of extracting the most money from its customers on a monthly basis, an analysis by SNL Kagan indicates. What’s more, Cablevision managed to increase the price of its service 5.5 percent since last year, more than twice the rate of inflation.


Positioned in the mostly affluent suburbs of New York City, Cablevision is an outlier, but not by much. Comcast, which is looking to gobble up Time Warner Cable, isn’t too far behind at $137.24 on average (up 4.5 percent). Verizon FiOS, Cablevision's direct competitor in TV and broadband, earns $122.57 per household, according to Verizon's latest filing.


Cable overall rates went up an average 4 percent in the past year. 

When the subject is rising cable rates, cable operators point the finger at rising content costs.


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The Next New Media: Typewriters and Handwritten Letters | Paul Budd | CircleID

The Next New Media: Typewriters and Handwritten Letters | Paul Budd | CircleID | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Who would have thought that typewriters and handwritten letters would ever be back in fashion? But back in 2013 it was reported that Russia was buying large quantities of typewriters. When this was further investigated the country denied that this was for security reasons.


Since the Snowden revelations there has been a further rush on typewriters, both by government officials and by a range of, mainly corporate, businesses. In general they are used for confidential information — rather than being sent electronically it is posted, couriered or hand delivered.


Those with reasonable handwriting have also gone back to this form of communication; American Presidents have been among the most prolific users of handwritten letters and notes — obviously restricted to the group of contacts that they trust. That is not to say, of course, that those letters and notes won't pop up in the intriguing world of political and big business.


But certainly handwritten communications very significantly reduce the potential for snooping by others, such as the various national spy agents.


But even in these senior government and corporate circles this can only be used for communications that are classified as being of the highest level of confidentiality, as it is impractical to deploy typewriters and hand written communication at any larger scale within organisations.


At the same time, as we reported shortly after the Snowden revelations, billions of dollars have been spent on internal security audits, and on further security improvements, mainly with encryption technologies (cryptography). But not just technologies are scrutinised, internal security systems — or the lack of them — have also been audited.


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Net Blocking: A Problem in Need of a Solution | FreePress.net

Net Blocking: A Problem in Need of a Solution | FreePress.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years a lineup of phone and cable industry spokespeople has called Net Neutrality “a solution in search of a problem.”


The principle that protects free speech and innovation online is irrelevant, they claim, as blocking has never, ever happened. And if it did, they add, market forces would compel Internet service providers to correct course and re-open their networks. 


In reality, many providers both in the U.S. and abroad have violated the principles of Net Neutrality — and they plan to continue doing so in the future.


This history of abuse reveals a problem that only real Net Neutrality protections could solve:


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MT: Missoula Pursues Open Access Fiber for Jobs - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 112 | community broadband networks

MT: Missoula Pursues Open Access Fiber for Jobs - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 112 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After having met City Councilmember Caitlin Copple at last year's Broadband Communities event in Austin and seeing the progress Missoula, Montana, has made in considering a municipal fiber network, I knew we should ask her to be on the show. This week, she joins me and Karen Palmer, the Director of Operations for a local tech company in Missoula, LMG, for episode 112 of Community Broadband Bits.


After surveying local businesses, Missoula found a strong need for better services and is examining its options for an open access fiber network. They are fortunate to have already identified some service providers that want to work with them on the project.


Additionally, the network would be a boon for community anchor institutions, from schools to hospitals, and facilities owned by either the County or City.


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OH: Cincinnati Bell Guns For 1-Gig | Multichannel.com

OH: Cincinnati Bell Guns For 1-Gig | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cincinnati Bell will apply more pressure on incumbent MSO Time Warner Cable on September 8 when the telco launches a 1 Gbps consumer broadband service under its “Fioptics” brand.

 

The telco noted that it began to offer gigabit service to small businesses earlier this summer and that Tuesday’s consumer-facing announcement ties into a broader program it calls “Light Up Cincinnati.”

 

As part of that initiative, the company said it will continue to rollout free WiFi hotspots at “key” Cincinnati locations and in conjunction with community events.

 

Cincinnati  Bell will offer its 1-Gig tier as a standalone, but will also look to bundle it with its Fioptics TV service.  It hasn’t announced pricing for the 1-Gig service, nor said where it will be available first. For now, customers are being asked to call 513-565-5100 to see if their neighborhood is eligible.

 

Cincinnati Bell didn’t provide any additional information on pricing and roll out locations for the 1-Gig offering.


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Cox Pledges $15M by 2016 for Broadband Adoption | Multichannel.com

Cox Pledges $15M by 2016 for Broadband Adoption | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cox Communications President Pat Esser said Tuesday that the company was extending its participation in the Connect2Compete broadband adoption program for another two years.

 

The program offers discounted high-speed broadband to low-income houses with students who qualify for school lunch programs.

 

"Connecting youth to technology is a core value of Cox Communications, and has guided our community investment initiative for decades. But in today's digital economy, the Internet is a critical educational resource for America's youth and their families," said Esser, who was announcing the new commitment at an event at the National Press Club in Washington. "Together with Connect2Compete, we are making great progress in bringing Internet service to more low-income families in the communities we serve."

 

Also scheduled to be in attendance to salute the move were FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and EveryoneOn CEP Zach Leverenz.

 

Esser said the company is making enrollment in the program easier by expanding proof of eligibility to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.


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Can anyone stop Comcast? | TheVerge.com

Can anyone stop Comcast? | TheVerge.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast’s corporate headquarters, Comcast Center, is the tallest building in Philadelphia. It’s covered in mirrors, which makes it the perfect metaphor for the company, one former employee says; no matter where you go, the glare is in your eyes.


It seems a lot of people share that sentiment.


Comcast earned Consumerist’s “Worst Company in America” title twice, first in 2010 and again this year, 2014. It ranks at the very bottom of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, underperforming even the rest of the cable industry, where “high prices, poor reliability, and declining customer service” are endemic.


In mid-July, AOL executive Ryan Block placed a call to Comcast customer service in an effort to cancel his service. What ensued was an 18-minute, Kafkaesque struggle with an overly persistent employee, which Block partially recorded and posted online. The recording went viral, and has now been listened to more than 5 million times. The interaction was covered by every major news network, immortalized in a New Yorker cartoon, and included in a David Letterman top 10 list (“Lesser-known Labors of Hercules”). “It hit the cultural zeitgeist something fierce,” Block says. “I guess it touched some kind of nerve. It was a keyed-up, aggressive version of a call I think most people have had.”


Thousands of Comcast customers across the country have experienced similar customer service nightmares when dealing with the company. Usually these involve multiple rounds of phone calls, missed technician appointments, and unexpected fees. In fact, forums like comcastmustdie.com and the Comcast section of Reddit have been created to give customers a dedicated space to vent.


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The Internet's Original Sin | Ethan Zuckerman | The Atlantic

The Internet's Original Sin | Ethan Zuckerman | The Atlantic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ron Carlson’s short story “What We Wanted To Do” takes the form of an apology from a villager who failed to protect his comrades from marauding Visigoths. It begins:


"What we wanted to do was spill boiling oil onto the heads of our enemies as they attempted to bang down the gates of our village. But as everyone now knows, we had some problems, primarily technical problems, that prevented us from doing what we wanted to do the way we had hoped to do it. What we’re asking for today is another chance."


There’s little suspense in the story—the disastrous outcome is obvious from the first paragraph—but it works because of the poignancy of the apology. All of us have screwed up situations in our lives so badly that we’ve been forced to explain our actions by reminding everyone of our good intentions. It’s obvious now that what we did was a fiasco, so let me remind you that what we wanted to do was something brave and noble.


The fiasco I want to talk about is the World Wide Web, specifically, the advertising-supported, “free as in beer” constellation of social networks, services, and content that represents so much of the present day web industry. I’ve been thinking of this world, one I’ve worked in for over 20 years, as a fiasco since reading a lecture by Maciej Cegłowski, delivered at the Beyond Tellerrand web design conference.Cegłowski is an important and influential programmer and an enviably talented writer. His talk is a patient explanation of how we’ve ended up with surveillance as the default, if not sole, internet business model.


The talk is hilarious and insightful, and poignant precisely for the reasons Carlson’s story is. The internet spies at us at every twist and turn not because Zuckerberg, Brin, and Page are scheming, sinister masterminds, but due to good intentions gone awry. With apologies to Carlson:


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Another One Bites the Dust -- Microsoft Leaves ALEC | Common Cause

Another One Bites the Dust -- Microsoft Leaves ALEC | Common Cause | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Microsoft, one of the nation’s largest corporations, has ended its membership and support of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate lobbying group. Microsoft had been a member of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force. 


Here is Microsoft’s statement regarding its ALEC membership:


“As we discussed, in 2014 Microsoft decided to no longer participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Communications and Technology Task Force, which had been our only previous involvement with ALEC. With this decision, we no longer contribute any dues to ALEC…we are no longer members of ALEC and do not provide the organization with financial support of any kind.”


Microsoft’s message was sent to The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge and Walden Asset Management. The Sustainability Group is a Boston-based socially responsible investment group that had questioned Microsoft’s ALEC membership in light of the company’s expressed support of renewable energy.


Microsoft joins more than 90 private sector members, including major corporations like Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Proctor & Gamble, that have dumped ALEC. The exodus was triggered by public exposure beginning in 2011 of ALEC’s carefully-hidden efforts to write and secure passage of legislation including “Stand Your Ground” bills, restrictive voter ID requirements, anti-union measures, and  proposals blocking the development of renewable energy.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, named for Microsoft’s founder, stopped financially supporting ALEC in 2012; over 400 state legislators have also dropped their affiliation with ALEC.


Common Cause has filed a tax whistleblower complaint against ALEC with the Internal Revenue Service, charging the group with masquerading as a charity and violating the terms of its nonprofit status by underreporting its lobbying activity.

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Frontier Communications Promises Gigabit Broadband Will Be Available… to Almost Nobody | Stop the Cap!

Frontier Communications Promises Gigabit Broadband Will Be Available… to Almost Nobody | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Frontier Communications has jumped on the gigabit broadband promises bandwagon with an announcement to investors the company will make available 1,000Mbps broadband speeds available later this year to a small handful of customers.


“I want to note that nearly 10% of our households are served through a fiber to the home architecture,” said Frontier’s chief operating officer Dan McCarthy. “Over the next several quarters we will introduce expanded speed offerings in select markets including 50-100Mbps services. Some residential areas will also be able to purchase up to 1Gbps broadband service. We are excited to bring these new products to market and look forward to making these choices available to our customers.”


Most of Frontier’s fiber customers are part of the FiOS fiber to the home infrastructure Frontier adopted from Verizon in Fort Wayne, Ind., and in parts of Oregon and Washington. The rest of Frontier customers accessing service over fiber are in a few new housing developments and some multi-dwelling units. The majority of customers continue to be served by copper-based facilities.


Despite the speed challenges imposed by distance-sensitive DSL over copper networks, Frontier customers crave faster speeds and more than one-third of Frontier’s sales in the last quarter have come from speed upgrades. As of this month, 54% of Frontier households can receive 20Mbps or greater speed, 75% can get 12Mbps and 83% can get 6Mbps. Here at Stop the Cap! headquarters, little has changed since 2009, with maximum available Frontier DSL speeds in this Rochester, N.Y. suburban neighborhood still maxing out at a less-impressive 3.1Mbps.


Frontier’s plans for the next three months include a growing number of partnerships with third-party equipment manufacturers and software companies, as well as integrating former AT&T service areas in Connecticut into the Frontier family:


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Workers at U.S. nuclear regulator fooled by phishers | Antone Gonsalves | NetworkWorld.com

Workers at U.S. nuclear regulator fooled by phishers | Antone Gonsalves | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nuclear Regulatory Commission employees were tricked into disclosing passwords and downloading malware in three phishing attacks that occurred over a three-year period.


The incidents were described in an inspector general report obtained by the publication Nextgov through an open-records request.


In one incident, the attackers sent email to 215 NRC employees, asking them to verify their accounts by clicking on a link and logging in with their user name and password.


A dozen employees clicked on the link, which actually connected to a spreadsheet on Google Docs. After the incident was reported, the NRC cleaned the workers' systems and changed their credentials, a commission spokesman told Nextgov.


In another incident, attackers tricked an employee into clicking on an email link that downloaded malware from Skydrive, Microsoft's file hosting service that is now called OneDrive. The employee was one of a number of workers who received email in the spearphishing attack, the report said.


Both of the attacks originated from foreign countries that were not identified.


In the third incident, the attacker hacked an employee's email account and used the contact list to send email carrying a malicious attachment to 16 other employees, according to Nextgov. One employee opened the attachment, which infected the NRC computer.


Whether the attack was from a foreign country was not known.


The inspector general report listed 17 compromises or attempted compromises that occurred from 2010 to November 2013, Nextgov said.


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IT outages are an ongoing problem for the U.S government | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com

IT outages are an ongoing problem for the U.S government | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Healthcare.gov was launched last October, it gave millions of Americans direct experience with a government IT failure on a massive scale. But the overall reliability of federal IT operations is being called into question by a survey that finds outages aren't uncommon in government.


Specifically, the survey found that 70% of federal agencies have experienced downtime of 30 minutes or more in a recent one-month period. Of that number, 42% of the outages were blamed on network or server problems and 29% on Internet connectivity loss.


This rate of outage isn't anywhere near as severe or dramatic as what Healthcare.gov faced until it was fixed. But the report by MeriTalk, which provides a network for government IT professionals, suggest that downtime is a systemic issue. The research was sponsored by Symantec.


The report is interesting because it surveys two distinct government groups, 152 federal "field workers," or people who work outside the office, and 150 IT professionals.


Because the field workers are outside the office, some of the outages may be result of local connectivity problems at either a hotel, home or other remote site. But, overall, the main reason for loss of access to data was a government outage.


When outages occur, 48% of the workers said they do what they can via telephone, while 33% use personal devices and another 24% try to find a workaround, such a Google Apps.


When asked to grade their IT department, only 15% of the field workers gave it an "A"; 49% gave it a "B"; and 27% gave it a "C."


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FCC Vetting TWC Docs On Dodgers Stand-off | Multichannel.com

FCC Vetting TWC Docs On Dodgers Stand-off | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has received, and the FCC is vetting, info from Time Warner Cable on its carriage impasse with various MVPDS over SportsNet LA and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

An FCC source speaking on background said the commission had received some of the requested information from TWC, and was currently reviewing it, but added that it was expecting to receive additional information from the cable operator.

 

Time Warner Cable launched SportsNet LA in February, but a number of distributors complained about the price — some reports put it as high as $4 per sub per month — especially when combined with three other RSNs in the market (Prime Ticket, Fox Sports LA and Time Warner Cable SportsNet) and aren't taking the network or the games of its streaking 71-56 Dodgers. That has not sat well with legislators whose constituents are getting shut out of the games.

 

After getting input from some of those unhappy legislators, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler asked TWC for info — term sheets, contracts — saying the FCC would monitor the stand-off and intervene if necessary to help consumers.

 

In his letter, Wheeler told Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus in no uncertain terms he has "strong concern" that TWC's actions "have created the inability of consumers in the Los Angeles area to watch televised games of the Los Angeles Dodgers."


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Netflix ends one of its oldest disputes, agrees to pay Time Warner Cable | Ars Technica

Netflix ends one of its oldest disputes, agrees to pay Time Warner Cable | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix has agreed to a paid interconnection deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC), one of the first ISPs to cry foul over Netflix's attempt to gain direct access to broadband networks without payment.


TWC complained about Netflix's Open Connect content delivery network (CDN) back in January 2013, saying the online video company was "seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs."


Netflix at the time was making its highest-quality streams available only to ISPs who agreed to connect directly to the Netflix CDN. Netflix later stopped its policy of withholding "Super HD" and 3D video from ISPs who didn't cooperate, but was able to get free connections from the likes of Cablevision, Virgin Media, British Telecom, RCN, and Google Fiber.


By building its own CDN, Netflix was able to avoid paying third-party CDN providers to distribute its traffic, but some ISPs demanded payment. Failed negotiations resulted in traffic being sent through congested links and poor quality for customers for months on end.


GigaOm reported on the Netflix/TWC deal today, publishing traceroutes showing that Netflix and TWC are exchanging traffic directly. The companies confirmed the deal.


"Time Warner Cable reached an agreement with Netflix in June, and we began the interconnection between our networks this month," a TWC spokesperson told Ars.


TWC joins Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon in successfully gaining interconnection payments from Netflix.


Netflix indicated that this may be the last deal it will have to make in the US.


"Just a handful of US ISPs have required these access tolls, with Time Warner being the last of the four," a Netflix spokesperson told Ars.

Netflix has asked the FCC to ban such payments. The commission is examining the paid peering deals but hasn't promised any action.

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Media General, LIN Divest Stations in Five Markets | Broadcasting & Cable

Media General, LIN Divest Stations in Five Markets | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Media General and LIN Media, in an effort to expedite their merger, have announced divestments in five markets. Hearst Corp. will acquire Media General's WVTM Birmingham and LIN's WJCL Savannah, and  Meredith will acquire LIN's WALA Mobile.


Media General, meanwhile, will acquire Sinclair's KXRM and KXTU in Colorado Springs-Pueblo, and Sinclair's WTTA in Tampa-St. Petersburg. Sinclair will acquire LIN's WJAR Providence along with WLUK-WCWF in Green Bay-Appleton. Sinclair will also acquire certain assets of WTGS Savannah, and the rights to acquire the principal assets of the station from WTGS Television, LLC.


"We're pleased to announce this divestiture plan, which we believe should clear the way for our business combination with LIN Media to move forward in the regulatory approval process," said George L. Mahoney, president and CEO of Media General. "Additionally, the purchase of the MyNetworkTV station in Tampa provides us with the opportunity to increase share in Media General's second largest market. Also, the addition of the Fox and CW affiliates in Colorado Springs marks the first time we will have a television station in Colorado. The stations being divested are strong performers."


Vincent L. Sadusky, president and CEO of LIN Media, will become president and CEO of the merged company. He called the divestiture plan "an important milestone that positions us well with regulatory authorities."


"We are pleased with the consideration we will receive for these terrific stations and plan to use the net proceeds to reduce debt," he continued. "The addition of stations in Tampa and Colorado Springs will further diversify and strengthen the combined company's portfolio as well as provide opportunities to expand our digital business."


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UT: UTOPIA may not appear on Utah cities’ ballots | Salt Lake Tribune

UT: UTOPIA may not appear on Utah cities’ ballots | Salt Lake Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Six Wasatch Front cities are reconsidering their plans for putting a question about UTOPIA on the ballot this November after being told they lack a solid legal basis for the proposed referendum.


Two weeks ago, mayors for West Valley City, Layton, Midvale, Tremonton, Brigham City and Perry announced they would give voters a say in whether the high-speed municipal network should be run by a private company in exchange for residents paying a monthly utility fee of about $20.


But state elections director Mark Thomas confirmed Tuesday that officials with the lieutenant governor’s office and several county clerks believe the proposed initiative is not explicitly allowed in state law. Arguments from the cities that Utah code also does not directly forbid such a referendum, Thomas said, do not amount to a legal authority to conduct the vote.


"Nothing stops a municipality from getting the opinion of their voters and we’re not trying to stop that," Thomas said. "We’re just trying to follow the statute as best we can."


West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow acknowledged Tuesday that cities were reviewing their strategy, but said "certainly we still want to go to the people. We want their feedback. We want to get it out there in some way."


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Time Warner Cable PlayStation Network Users Can Avoid Future Problems With a DNS Change | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable PlayStation Network Users Can Avoid Future Problems With a DNS Change | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Late last week, hundreds of thousands of PlayStation Network users subscribed to Time Warner Cable broadband found their game play interrupted by an “outage”that turned out to be a misconfigured domain name service (DNS)  update. Whether Sony was responsible for sending bad data or Time Warner Cable had problems properly integrating the changes, gamers were out of luck for hours Friday until a corrected update could be distributed.


The service outage affected customers relying on Time Warner Cable’s own DNS servers. Customers that dropped Time Warner Cable and their DNS provider were back in business almost immediately.


Broadband customers need not rely on the domain name service offered by your provider. Both Google and OpenDNS offer more robust alternatives, and you can make the switch in seconds.


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Representative Doyle and Senator Markey Push For Muni Broadband Preemption | Multichannel.com

Representative Doyle and Senator Markey Push For Muni Broadband Preemption | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Tuesday municipal broadband fans Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pushed the FCC to preempt state laws limiting municipal infrastructure buildouts, citing a letter from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on the subject.

 

"I strongly encourage him and the FCC to take quick and decisive action to lift restrictions that limit or prevent communities from addressing their own broadband needs," said Doyle in a joint statement with the senator. "I encourage the Commission to use its authority to ensure municipalities have the power to make decisions about their broadband infrastructure," echoed Markey.

 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has signaled he thinks the FCC has the authority and responsibility to step in where states are blocking municipal broadband, arguing that those state laws are the result of lobbying by incumbents trying to prevent competition — Wheeler is himself a former cable lobbyist as head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

 

The FCC could have initiated its own proceeding on federal preemption, but won't have to after the cities of Chattanooga and Wilson, N.C., petitioned the FCC to preempt state laws, which the FCC is currently reviewing.


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California legislature puts broadband infrastructure financing on par with water and roads | Steve Blum's Blog

California legislature puts broadband infrastructure financing on par with water and roads | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s up to governor Brown to decide whether broadband infrastructure gets equal treatment with transportation and water projects in California, at least when local governments want to build it. On a lopsided vote, the state assembly approved the final version of assembly bill 2292 yesterday, which explicitly allows local governments to use infrastructure financing districts (IFDs) to issue bonds to build broadband projects, and then pay the money back with property tax revenue.


Written and backed by assemblyman Rob Bonta (D – Oakland) at the urging of San Leandro mayor Stephen Cassidy, economic development is a primary goal of AB 2292, a point Bonta made yesterday on the assembly floor, saying the bill would…


"…expressly allow local governments the ability to use infrastructure financing districts to finance projects related to broadband. Broadband provides cities and counties with an opportunity to stimulate the economic climate by providing businesses with the competitive advantage of being connected to high speed fiber optic networks. AB 2292 will help boost local economies, create local jobs and increase access for schools, libraries and other public facilities to state of the art telecommunications networks."


AB 2292 is not a magic bullet, though. To form an IFD requires the agreement of the local agencies involved and a two-thirds majority of the electorate. Then two more votes – including another one requiring two-thirds approval – are needed before any bonds can be issued.


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Comcast's claim that LTE competes with cable modems is 'a little bit of a stretch,' says Verizon Wireless CEO | TheVerge.com

Comcast's claim that LTE competes with cable modems is 'a little bit of a stretch,' says Verizon Wireless CEO | TheVerge.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a discussion with reporters today, Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead hedged Comcast's claims that LTE is a viable competitor to traditional landline cable modems.


Anyone who uses both knows that it's a ridiculous argument — LTE service is usually slower, less consistent, and comes with deeply restrictive data caps — but Comcast has been leaning on it as a supposed example of why competition is healthy in the broadband internet market. The end goal for the cable giant is to convince regulators that there's enough competition in high-speed internet service that its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable won't create a monopoly or have a serious impact on consumer choice.


"They're trying to get deals approved, right, and I understand that... their focus is different than my focus right now, because I don't have any deals pending," Mead said, a reference to the fact that Comcast is looking for ways to justify the TWC buy. "LTE certainly can compete with broadband, but if you look at the physics and the engineering of it, we don't see LTE being as efficient as fiber coming into the home."


Before moving to Verizon's wireless unit, Mead held executive roles in the company's landline business, responsible for traditional telephone service and high-speed internet to the home. "We know both sides of that pretty well," he continued. "So that may be a little bit of a stretch, and the economics are much different."


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Approving Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Opens the Door for Massive Cable Consolidation | Stop the Cap!

Approving Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Opens the Door for Massive Cable Consolidation | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Although Charter Communications did not succeed in its bid to assume control of Time Warner Cable, it isn’t crying about its loss to Comcast either.


Greg Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media Corp., which has very close ties to John Malone, former cable magnate, says if the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is approved, it will start a race to merge the rest of the cable industry into just a handful of cable operators serving almost the entire country.


Comcast’s argument is that since it does not compete with Time Warner Cable, there are no antitrust or anti-competitive reasons why it should not be allowed to buy Time Warner Cable. If state and federal regulators believe that, nothing precludes a company like Charter (Liberty has an ownership interest in the cable company) snapping up every other cable operator in the country. In fact, Charter has signaled consolidation is precisely its intention, alerting investors it intends to play a very aggressive role in mergers and acquisitions once it sees what regulators feel about the Comcast-Time Warner deal.


Likely targets for Charter include:


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Cloudy Days for Bright House Networks Ahead? Comcast-Time Warner Merger Complicates Volume Discounts | Stop the Cap!

Cloudy Days for Bright House Networks Ahead? Comcast-Time Warner Merger Complicates Volume Discounts | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bright House Networks customers could face much higher cable television bills and a decline in technology upgrades thanks to a merger deal between two companies that should theoretically have no impact on them.


Bright House Networks has been an odd duck among cable companies since it was created from cobbled-together systems originally owned by Vision Cable, Cable Vision, TelePrompTer, Group W, Paragon and others. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Time Warner effectively ran the cable systems still owned by the Newhouse family. After the AOL-Time Warner merger, Advance/Newhouse decided to take back control of the management and operations of its cable systems, relaunching them under the Bright House Networks brand.


While the Newhouse family continues to assert its ownership and control of Bright House, it is highly dependent on Time Warner Cable to handle cable programming negotiations and broadband technology. That is why Bright House customers were sold “Road Runner” broadband service for many years – a brand familiar to any Time Warner customer. To this day, programming blackouts that affect Time Warner cable TV viewers usually also impact those subscribing to Bright House. Time Warner Cable also retains a minority ownership interest in Bright House.


Although the company is well-known in Indianapolis, Birmingham, suburban Detroit and Bakersfield, its presence is most recognized in central Florida, where it serves customers in Orlando, Daytona Beach, Lakeland, Tampa Bay, and many points in-between.


Despite the fact Bright House serves more than two million customers and is the sixth largest cable company in the country, it is small potatoes to major programmers like Comcast-NBCUniversal, Viacom, Disney, and others. All the best discounts go to satellite television providers and giant cable operators like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Smaller operators pay substantially more.


That is where the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable comes in.


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