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Experts rank the top 10 global trends | PewResearch.org

Experts rank the top 10 global trends | PewResearch.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new report from the World Economic Forum ranks the 10 most important global trends, based on a poll of 1,592 leaders from academia, business, government, and non-profits.


Here are some data points that compare and contrast the public’s views around the world with the trends identified by the experts.


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Major New Google Fiber Expansion Shines Massive Spotlight On Lack Of Broadband Competition | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Major New Google Fiber Expansion Shines Massive Spotlight On Lack Of Broadband Competition | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While Google Fiber will never likely see a full-fledged national deployment, we've noted repeatedly how the effort is worth its weight in gold for the way it draws attention to the lack of competition in the broadband marketplace and elevates what can often be an immensely inane conversation about telecom policy. While incumbent giant ISPs have feebly tried to argue that consumers don't really want faster, cheaper speeds, the thousands of cities screaming for better broadband burns a hole right through all-too-common flimsy defenses of the status quo.

This week Google Fiber announced a major new expansion effort that's sure to shine an even brighter spotlight on the nations stumbling, bumbling broadband duopoly. According to a Google blog post, the company has chosen Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and Atlanta as the next cities in line for the Google Fiber's symmetrical 1 Gbps broadband offerings. What's more, Google says that Portland, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Jose will be getting Google Fiber at a later date.


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Time Warner Cable's Hullabaloo About Nothing: Its 'Top Secret' Rural Expansion Plan is a Yawn | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

For months, Time Warner Cable has deployed its legal team to prevent public interest groups from gaining access to the company’s exhibit of rural broadband buildout plans it had for New York, sent confidentially to the Public Service Commission as part of its proposal to merge with Comcast.

“This information would be difficult and costly for a competitor to compile, such that disclosure would significantly harm Time Warner Cable’s competitive advantage,” Time Warner Cable’s lawyers complained to regulators handling the case. “To allow competitors to have access to this information before Time Warner Cable has had a chance to market customers for which it speculatively built the line would not only negate any competitive advantage, it would allow its competitors to reap the benefits of Time Warner Cable’s investment, causing substantial competitive and financial injury to Time Warner Cable.”

“The compilation of information on all the Time Warner Cable New York deployments, distances, and passings into one document would be of enormous value to a competitor,” the lawyers added. “This information could not be developed independently by competitors, and any estimates developed through publicly available data or data from third-party sources, if possible at all, would be expensive and burdensome to assemble, and less accurate than the data provided in Exhibit 46. […] Therefore, disclosure of the compilation of information on the New York Rural Builds would cause substantial competitive injury to Time Warner Cable, and should be granted exception from disclosure.”

One might expect the mighty Exhibit 46 to contain all of Time Warner’s deepest secrets — secrets that if made public would hand the “competition” the keys to the cable kingdom.

Despite the haughty demands that such information was not to be shared with the public, Stop the Cap! secured our copy of the “top-secret” Exhibit 46 (and here is a copy for you as well).


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Broadband Industry Takes To Congressional Hearing To Praise Wimpy, Neutrality-Killing Proposal It Helped Write | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Broadband Industry Takes To Congressional Hearing To Praise Wimpy, Neutrality-Killing Proposal It Helped Write | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

To derail February's expected unveiling of Title II-based neutrality rules, the broadband industry is engaged in a last ditch effort to pass some of the flimsiest net neutrality rules we've seen yet. Spearheaded by Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton (the latter a particular magnet of Comcast campaign contributions), the goal appears to be to propose intentionally awful neutrality rules, offer a few meager concessions, then insist the marginally-less-awful result was crafted only after a long "public conversation" and with bipartisan support.

If you actually bother to read the proposal (pdf), you'll find it actually erodes FCC authority and flexibility to enforce violations by stripping FCC rulemaking rights away, leaving the FCC only able to adjudicate dispute after dispute with no timetable (essentially allowing ISPs to bury complaints in paperwork). The proposal also has intentionally vague loophole language large enough to drive several trucks through, with terms like "specialized services" and "reasonable network management" left intentionally ambiguous. It also intentionally fails to address the latest neutrality flash points (like usage caps or interconnection).


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MT: Missoula Maps Local Fiber Assets, Encourages New Installation | community broadband networks

MT: Missoula Maps Local Fiber Assets, Encourages New Installation | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last August, we wrote and podcasted about the results of a broadband feasibility study for the City of Missoula, MT, which recommended developing an open access network with approximately 60 miles of underground fiber through a public private partnership. The study also demonstrated a significant need for improved connectivity in the central business district, with almost 40% of businesses saying their connections were insufficient for their needs. The study also recommended a variety of fairly small policy changes to encourage the spread of fiber optics, such as a “dig once” conduit policy.

Early in December, the Missoula City Council acted on at at least one of those recommendations by lowering the fee the city charges for excavating and installing new fiber optic lines in the public right-of-way by 75 percent. City Councilwoman Caitlin Copple, who has spearheaded the efforts for better connectivity in Missoula and appeared on our Broadband Bits podcast in August, described lowering the fee this way to the Missoulian newspaper:


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Google: Strong net neutrality rules won’t hurt the future rollout of Google Fiber | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Google: Strong net neutrality rules won’t hurt the future rollout of Google Fiber | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After announcing a major expansion of its high-speed Internet service, Google said Tuesday it will continue to pour money into new broadband networks even if federal regulators adopt strong net neutrality rules designed to thwart Internet providers that may want to speed up or slow down certain Web sites over others.

That's a long way of saying Google is taking the opposite stance of many in the broadband industry, such as Comcast, Verizon and others, who argue that aggressive rules would slow the industry's investments in better Internet infrastructure — and by extension, their ability to offer better service to you and me.

Asked whether the growing prospect of aggressive federal net neutrality rules has done anything to shift Google Fiber's investment plans — either in the short term or long term — the company told me, basically, no.

"The sort of open Internet rules that the [Federal Communications Commission] is currently discussing aren't an impediment to those plans," Google said in a statement, "and they didn't impact our decision to invest in Fiber."


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Changes to RUS Broadband Loan Program Include Rural Gigabit Pilot | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Changes to RUS Broadband Loan Program Include Rural Gigabit Pilot | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When President Obama spoke last week about reforms to the USDA Rural Utilities Service broadband loan program, he was referencing changes adopted in the 2014 Farm Bill, a USDA official advised in an email to Telecompetitor. Although the changes have received little publicity, they include a new definition of eligible service areas, a new minimum acceptable level of broadband service for projects receiving loan funding and plans for a rural gigabit pilot program.

Obama made his remarks about RUS loan program changes in an address in Cedar Falls, Iowa last week, where he also pledged to address barriers to the deployment of municipal broadband networks.

The USDA official said the agency is still in the process of drafting rules on new RUS broadband provisions under the Farm Bill, but shared a fact sheet outlining the major impacts of the bill provisions on RUS telecom programs. Those programs include the loan program, the distance learning and telemedicine program and the new rural gigabit network pilot program.


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NC: Possible future of broadband internet already in Wilson | Steve Sbraccia | WNCN.com

NC: Possible future of broadband internet already in Wilson | Steve Sbraccia | WNCN.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address brought renewed attention to the importance of broadband internet and how essential it is the economy.

Greenlight, a service provided by the City of Wilson's municipal power company, offers gigabit Internet to the county's residents.

Although Greenlight serves customers in six surrounding counties, state rules prohibit the expansion of high-speed network outside of the county of Wilson.

Debbie Howell gets her broadband from Greenlight.

“My brother lives just outside of Wilson and he would love to have it but it just doesn't reach that far,” she said.

Greenlight has filed a petition with the FCC hoping it will overrule North Carolina state law and allow expansion of the service beyond the county boundary.

Greenlight's broadband has changed Howell's lifestyle.

“I like being at home, staying sat my house and with all the cable and internet services I can do pretty much anything,” she said. “I don't have to go to a mall. I can do it in the safety and privacy of my home.”

Will Aycock, general manager of Greenlight, said new business has some to Wilson thanks to the lightning –fast internet.

One of those businesses is the Los Angeles-based video effects company Exodus FX.


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A tiny Oregon city has already built its own gigabit Internet | Portland Business Journal

A tiny Oregon city has already built its own gigabit Internet | Portland Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week the Gigabit City Summit was held in Kansas City. The cities of Portland, Gresham and Hillsboro sent delegations, as did Independence, Oregon, a town of about 8,500 residents 15 minutes outside of Salem.

Unlike the Portland Metro, which has been selected as one of nine cities nationally being considered for Google Fiber, Independence already has a gigabit-speed municipal broadband network that it built with neighboring Monmouth.

This network, which is called MINET, has been in operation for eight years.

As more cities start to invest in technology infrastructure to foster economic development and address issues of digital access and inclusion, the efforts of Independence are worth watching.

Attendees of the Gigabit City Summit fell into two camps: cities that were looking to attract or develop gigabit-speed fiber networks and cities that already have gigabit-speed networks that are interested in figuring out how to better leverage their networks.

Independence fell squarely in the latter.

"Our cities created MINET because we didn't want to get left behind" said Shawn Irvine, Independence's Economic Development Director. "But it's not enough just to have a gigabit fiber network. We're leveraging it with other resources to enhance the community and bring new ideas and businesses."


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IT'S OVER: FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction ends at record $44.9B in bids | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless

IT'S OVER: FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction ends at record $44.9B in bids | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC said bidding in the AWS-3 spectrum auction, known as auction 97, is now closed after 341 rounds of bidding. Total provisional winning bids came in at a record $44.899 billion. That's far more money than the FCC raised in its previous spectrum auctions.

The FCC set a reserve price on the auction of around $10 billion. Analysts had predicted that the auction would raise anywhere from $10 billion to $20 billion. But the event has raised far more than anyone in the industry expected.

Indeed, the auction raised far more than all other major FCC auctions, including the $13.7 billion raised during the AWS-1 auction in 2006, and the $18.9 billion raised during the 700 MHz auction in 2008.

The AWS-3 auction closed less than 24 hours after the FCC had said that bidding had ended on the 50 MHz of paired spectrum being auctioned off. The FCC was also auctioning 15 MHz of unpaired uplink spectrum, the 1695-1710 MHz band.


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FCC redefines advanced broadband as 25 Mbps, Republicans blow a gasket | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

FCC redefines advanced broadband as 25 Mbps, Republicans blow a gasket | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has redefined advanced broadband as having 25Mbps download speeds, up from 4Mbps, giving the agency new authority to pass rules to encourage deployment across the country.

The FCC, in a 3-2 party-line vote Thursday, also determined that this newly-defined advanced broadband wasn’t being rolled out in a timely manner across the U.S. The agency released a notice of inquiry asking how it can accelerate broadband deployment, but didn’t offer concrete plans on how it will proceed.

The agency redefined advanced broadband over the objections of its two Republican commissioners and large broadband providers. Comcast, AT&T and Verizon Communications have all filed comments in recent months questioning the need for the commission to change its broadband definition from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.

Broadband providers have argued that the FCC should focus instead on removing regulations that inhibit private investment instead of defining broadband speeds and seeking new authority to move toward those speeds. “The commission should conclude that broadband is being deployed throughout the United States in a reasonable and timely fashion,” Verizon’s lawyers wrote in September. “Broadband providers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in deploying next-generation broadband networks.”

The commission’s vote has widespread implications for future broadband policy including the speed of broadband for deployment subsidies under the agency’s Universal Service Fund. However, the commission voted just last month to subsidize deployment of 10Mbps broadband in parts of the U.S.

The new definition could also figure into the agency’s upcoming net neutrality vote, although it’s unclear how the commission would connect the two issues. The 1996 Telecommunications Act, in its Section 706, authorizes the commission to take immediate steps to encourage broadband deployment if the agency finds it isn’t being rolled out in a timely way, and a U.S. appeals court has pointed to the same section of the law as authority for the commission to pass net neutrality rules.

The commission’s Democrats defended the new definition of advanced broadband. With U.S. households continuing to add connected devices, the demand for high-speed broadband “adds up fast,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. While many broadband providers urged the commission to keep its old definition of advanced broadband speeds, they tell customers they need to buy speeds of 25Mbps or more for common household use, Wheeler said.

“Somebody is telling us one thing and telling customers another,” he said.


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Brazil: White space pilot project to commence in Minas Gerais in 2Q15 | TeleGeography.com

Industry group the WhiteSpace Alliance is leading a pilot project in Santa Rita de Sapucai (Minas Gerais state) to test the use of so-called ‘white space’ spectrum in the 470MHz and 698MHz bands for rural broadband use.


The WhiteSpace Alliance claims that the pilot programme represents the first white space trial in South America.


The tests will begin in 2Q15, in conjunction with Brazilian regulator Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel).

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The Net Neutrality Debate Also Affects SMS | Nic Denholm | TechCrunch.com

The Net Neutrality Debate Also Affects SMS | Nic Denholm | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Net neutrality was one of last year’s biggest tech stories. The one that went mainstream after John Oliver poked fun at it and beseeched his viewers to flood the FCC’s comments page with tirades against a two-tiered Internet (which caused the site to crash).

So far, the main focus of the debate has been whether ISPs should be allowed to discriminate between the various data they deliver. The main opponents of a tiered Internet are companies like Netflix and YouTube, which deliver high volumes of rich content to their audience and don’t want to have to start charging customers more (in the case of the former) or upping their advertising (in the case of the latter).

Unsurprisingly, audiences are on their side, leaving the broadband providers and a few libertarian politicians in the opposing corner fighting what should be a losing battle. I say “should” because even overwhelming public opposition was not enough to prevent a D.C. Court of Appeals overturning a previous ruling requiring ISPs to treat all traffic equally.

Despite the attention, huge swathes of the American population still have no clue what “net neutrality” refers to. According to a recent Pew poll, some 40 percent of Americans either don’t understand the concept or they’ve flat out never heard of it.

Even fewer understand the relationship between net neutrality and SMS. HeyWire Business, a Cambridge, Mass., tech firm that provides text message services to businesses, learned of that relationship the hard way. Until April 3 of last year, HeyWire was merrily going about their business, giving businesses a way to receive text messages via toll-free 800 numbers. Then everything stopped. No error messages, no warning – just thousands of errant texts failing to reach their destination.

The company contacted Verizon, which informed them of a new set of fees and regulations to adhere to if they were to continue expecting delivery of text messages. HeyWire claim Verizon has unfair control over how they operate – something they view as a breach of net neutrality.


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Verizon Doubles Down On Bogus Claim Title II Will Kill Broadband Investment | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Verizon Doubles Down On Bogus Claim Title II Will Kill Broadband Investment | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've noted repeatedly that the broadband industry's claims that Title II reclassification will hurt broadband network investment just aren't supported by the facts.


Title II, which governs the vocal components of wireless networks, certainly didn't hurt Verizon's effort to become the biggest, most profitable wireless carrier in the country, nor did it stop wireless carriers from spending $45 billion on spectrum at the latest FCC auction.


It also certainly didn't hurt Verizon when it asked to have FiOS classified under Title II to nab tax breaks. Apparently forgetting there were other people around, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo was even quoted last December as stating Title II won't impact investment patterns in the slightest.

However, as anybody knows, when you're proven wrong time and time and time again, the only sensible thing to do is to dig a deeper hole and double down on your bluff. With billions in potential revenue thwarted by real net neutrality rules, Verizon appears to be doing just that.

Shammo apparently got the memo that admitting the truth is a big no no, so the CFO came out firing during the company's latest earnings conference call. Shammo now insists that everything he's said previously before Congress and in the media has been "misquoted," and Title II will most definitely hurt Verizon's network investment strategy:


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Google, Cablevision Challenge Traditional Cell Phone Plans, Wireless Usage Caps With Cheap Alternatives | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Luxurious wireless industry profits of up to 50 percent earned from selling some of the world’s most expensive cellular services may soon be a thing of the past as Google and Cablevision prepare to disrupt the market with cheap competition.

With more than 80 percent of all wireless data traffic now moving over Wi-Fi, prices for wireless data services should be in decline, but the reverse has been true. AT&T and Verizon Wireless have banked future profits by dumping unlimited data plans and monetizing wireless usage, predicting a dependable spike in revenue from growing data consumption. Instead of charging customers a flat $30 for unlimited data, carriers like Verizon have switched to plans with voice, texting, and just 1GB of wireless usage at around $60 a month, with each additional gigabyte priced at $15 a month.

With the majority of cell phone customers in the U.S. signed up with AT&T or Verizon’s nearly identical plans, their revenue has soared. Sprint and T-Mobile have modestly challenged the two industry leaders offering cheaper plans, some with unlimited data, but their smaller cellular networks and more limited coverage areas have left many customers wary about switching.

Google intends to remind Americans that the majority of data usage occurs over Wi-Fi networks that don’t require an expensive data plan or enormous 4G network. The search engine giant will launch its own wireless service that depends on Wi-Fi at home and work and combines the networks of Sprint and T-Mobile while on the go, switching automatically to the provider with the best signal and performance.


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Tip for Reporters - Always Follow the Money: Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger Supporters | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

The Los Angeles Times published a piece this week noting that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger does have its supporters:

"To be sure, dozens of groups also support the proposed Comcast merger, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Business Council, the L.A. County Economic Development Council and the National Urban League. Television networks including Ovation, Hallmark Channel and Starz also support the deal."

But the article never informs readers the groups in support of the transaction all have direct financial ties to Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or both cable companies. It would only be news if these groups opposed the merger.

Stop the Cap! has found almost no support for the merger deal among independent organizations that are not on the payroll of either merger partner. The myriad of civil rights organizations, trade associations, and non-profit groups penning letters to regulators supporting the deal are nearly all recipients of contributions from Comcast or Time Warner.

Comcast is notorious for capitalizing on their charitable corporate giving by mailing advocacy packages to donor recipients that urge support for the company’s public policy and corporate agendas. Comcast even includes sample letters a group can use to create their own letter of support, which explains why so many are nearly identical.


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MA: Boston Globe the Latest to Support Local Authority | community broadband networks

MA: Boston Globe the Latest to Support Local Authority | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yet another major news outlet has endorsed the President's position in support of local telecommunications authority. On January 26th, the Boston Globe went on record to endorse the concept, urging the FCC and Congress to work together to ensure local communities have the right to make their own connecitvity decisions.

The Globe suggested that, rather than allowing the FCC to take the lead with the Wilson and Chattanooga petition decisions, federal lawmakers take action:

A better approach would be for Congress to settle the issue itself, by preventing states from interfering with cities and towns that want to start their own Internet services.

The Globe Editors note that rural areas are the hardest hit by large corporate provider indifference, that it is those same parties that drive the state barrier bills, and that, "This status quo is bad for customers everywhere."

Globe Editors get behind a bill recently introduced by Cory Booker, Claire McCaskill, and Ed Markey that wipes out state barriers in the 19 states where they exist and prevents state lawmakers from enacting new ones. The Globe acknowledges that the support is lopsided today...:


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Net neutrality and an open free Internet Monica Faram | Cleburne Times Review

Net neutrality and an open free Internet Monica Faram | Cleburne Times Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Internet has been a hot-button issue in recent years as it becomes far more ubiquitous in the lives of people across the world.

On Tuesday night at the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made it clear what his vision is for the U.S. and its relationship with the Internet.

“I believe in free and independent Internet,” Obama said. “One free from the constraints of corporations seeking only to turn a profit and not provide an essential service to the American people.”

According to the United States Census Bureau Internet Report and Pew Research Center Internet Usage Report84 percent of Americans own a computer, while 75 percent have a broadband Internet connection.

This study, however, is skewed towards what most people consider traditional personal computers and land line broadband connections. In a supplemental report in 2014 both reports concluded that the numbers are much higher since many respondents did not include smartphones, tablets, or wireless Internet hubs in their answers.

The totals rise to almost 90 percent of households that own a computer/smartphone/tablet device, and 82 percent have access to broadband/wireless internet connections for those devices.

In the Metroplex and surrounding counties the numbers are 88 percent and 79 percent. This lower number has to do with older populations not having a need for Internet at home or a device that can access the Internet — though Pew did consider that many people might have computers and not use them for Internet.

Also, the report has spotty information concerning low-socioeconomic families and those that live in government housing.

The whole issue of net neutrality comes from a move by several Internet service providers to limit and control the access to online services that compete with their TV offerings.


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Time Warner Cable Will Extend Maxx Upgrades to 75% of Its Markets by 2016, If Comcast Merger Dies | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable plans to reach 75 percent of its customers with Maxx service upgrades offering broadband speed boosts up to 300/20Mbps for the same price it charges for 50Mbps by the end of 2016, assuming a merger with Comcast does not result in the plans being shelved.

Time Warner Cable customers will also escape Comcast’s ongoing experiments with usage caps and usage-based billing if the company remains independent, as Time Warner Cable executives continue to maintain that usage pricing should only be offered to customers that want it.

Company officials discussed the ongoing investments in Maxx upgrades during a quarterly results conference call with investors held earlier today.

CEO Rob Marcus indicated Time Warner Cable will choose markets for Maxx upgrades based on what kind of competition the cable company faces in each city.


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WA: New group pushes for municipal broadband in Seattle | Ted Land | KING5.com

WA: New group pushes for municipal broadband in Seattle | Ted Land | KING5.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Obama mentioned during his State of the Union Address Tuesday the need for fast, affordable internet access for all Americans.

Some people think the best way to do that is to set up municipal broadband service run by cities and regulated much like water or electricity.

A group is once again pushing the city of Seattle to do just that.

"Seattle would be the biggest U.S. city to do this," said Sabrina Roach, who is leading the effort.

Her group is still forming and does not yet have a name, but they hope to encourage the city to build a broadband network to expand internet access while improving speeds and lowering prices. They plan to rollout a campaign in the coming year and urge lawmakers to seriously consider the idea.

"We hope to make it an issue in the coming city council races," said Roach.


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Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm | Jason Meyer | Light Reading

Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm | Jason Meyer | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Northwestern Indiana Telephone Company (NITCO) has set its gigabit network sights on a seemingly unlikely target: The first taker of gigabit-level service on the carrier's ultra-high-speed fiber network is a farm.

The farm in question, however, is not quite as rural as it might sound. Fair Oaks Farms seems as much agrarian amusement park as working farm, complete with exhibits like The Pig Adventure, Making Milk and even a Birthing Barn where visitors can watch cows being born [ed. note: ewwww]. According to NITCO, Fair Oaks Farms will use gigabit broadband to remotely monitor milk production and processing, as well as to support video-enabled dairy, pork and crop learning centers to share knowledge and expertise with other farms and educate school children.

"It was a good opportunity for us to grow," says Gary Gray, CO supervisor for NITCO, presumably with no agricultural pun intended. "That's why we decided to go there."


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AL: What we know now about Huntsville's high-speed Internet plans in 2015 | Lee Roop | Al.com

AL: What we know now about Huntsville's high-speed Internet plans in 2015 | Lee Roop | Al.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sometime in the next two weeks, city leaders will ask interested private companies for information on how they would partner with the city to bring high-speed, fiber-optic Internet cable to "every home and business in Huntsville," in the words of the city's broadband consultant.


Here's what we know about where the process stands now, based on conversations with Harrison Diamond, a city administrator, and Joanne Hovis, the president of the city's consultant CTC Technology & Energy.


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Savant on Being the Only High-End Home Automation Co. on the CES 2015 Show Floor | Julie Jacobson | CEPro.com

Savant on Being the Only High-End Home Automation Co. on the CES 2015 Show Floor | Julie Jacobson | CEPro.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At CES 2015, Savant was the sole custom-focused home automation (with multiroom audio/video) company on the main floor.

There were others like Control4 and URC that held intimate meetings in suites, and several that had a small presence in partner booths – Clare Controls and URC with Powerhouse Alliance; Leviton (HAI) and Bitwise with the Z-Wave Alliance; and Elan with Nortek.

But Savant took a chance on the new Smart Home marketplace in the Sands this year with a sizable but simple space. Before CES, Savant’s Tim McInerney said the company would exhibit at because it wanted to expose its new Single App Home to a broad market. (Incidentally, the app won CEA’s TechHome Mark of Excellence honors for Home Technology App of the Year and Disruptor Award.)

The new software, along with relatively affordable Smart controllers, puts Savant into reach of a much wider customer base.

Even so, at about $1,000 per room, Savant would be seen as ridiculously expensive vis-à-vis the rash of new DIY systems starting at $100. Those were the systems that overwhelmed the Sands, especially in the start-up section called Eureka Park. Those also were the ones that seem to suck in the media.

So how did Savant fare? Here’s our CES post-mortem with McInerney:


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Mayors of Boston, Seattle, KC, others: No more muni broadband restrictions, please | Jon Gold | NetworkWorld.com

Mayors of Boston, Seattle, KC, others: No more muni broadband restrictions, please | Jon Gold | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A group of 38 mayors and other elected officials from cities like Boston, Seattle, and Kansas City Thursday urged the FCC to strike down state laws that restrict the development of public high-speed Internet services and allow municipal networks to flourish.

In an open letter to the FCC commissioners, the Next Century Cities group emphasized the importance of universal access to high-speed Internet services.

“It is increasingly clear that ultra-fast, next-generation Internet networks are the key to building and sustaining thriving communities, as essential as good healthcare, great schools, and reliable public safety,” the letter stated. “Providing high-quality Internet is inarguably essential to safeguarding the public interest in the years and decades to come.”

The ability to make that service generally available, according to Next Century Cities, requires that regulators give local governments a free hand in how they approach the problem – which includes, for many, the creation of municipal broadband networks.

The group notes that two communities represented in the signatories to the letter – Wilson, N.C. and Chattanooga, Tenn. – have already asked the FCC to intervene on their behalves, as their public initiatives have been restricted by state laws.

Next Century Cities also appears to have a powerful ally in the form of President Barack Obama, who publicly stated his opposition to state restrictions on municipal broadband in a wide-ranging broadband proposal released earlier this month. The director of the President’s National Economic Council, Jeff Zients, bemoaned the lack of options available to Americans at a press briefing for the announcement.

Unsurprisingly, major cable companies like Comcast and TWC have been full-throated in their opposition to the development of public-sector alternatives to their service, and have spent large sums of money on helping to pass heavy restrictions on their development at every level.


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A river runs through it: Brazil plans underwater fibre network in the Amazon | TeleGeography.com

The Brazilian authorities are reportedly studying an ambitious plan to deploy a 7,784km underwater fibre network in the Amazon basin.


According to BNAmericas, the ‘Conexao Norte’ (Northern Connection) scheme has been developed by Brazilian fibre-optic systems manufacturer Padtec, in conjunction with national research network Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP), state-controlled telco Telebras and state-run power firm Eletrobras, with help from the army’s ICT department.


A 12km pilot project will commence in Amazonas state capital Manaus in March, according to proposal documents. Ultimately, the network will encompass six optical fibre routes, making use of the Amazon basin’s riverbeds.

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The 2015 submarine cable map is here! | TeleGeography.com

TeleGeography is pleased to announce that our 2015 Submarine Cable Map, sponsored by PCCW Global, is now available!

This year’s map pays tribute to the pioneering mapmakers of the Age of Discovery, incorporating elements of medieval and renaissance cartography. In addition to serving as navigational aids, maps from this era were highly sought after works of art, often adorned with fanciful illustrations of real and imagined dangers at sea. Such embellishments largely disappeared in the early 1600s, pushing modern map design in a purely functional direction. TeleGeography’s newest map brings back the lost design aesthetic that vanished along with these whimsical details, to provide a view of the global submarine cable network seen through the lens of a bygone era.

While the design is vintage, the data are fresh: the map depicts 278 in-service and 21 planned submarine cables. TeleGeography’s latest data on submarine cable latency and lit capacity by route appear alongside ornate illustrations depicting common causes of submarine cable faults, steps in the cable laying process, and mythical sea monsters.


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