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Comcast + Time Warner Cable: One Broadband Giant to Rule Them All? | TIME.com

Comcast + Time Warner Cable: One Broadband Giant to Rule Them All? | TIME.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable industry sharks are circling Time Warner Cable, the second largest cable TV company in the United States, which has become the subject of intense speculation that it might be purchased by one of its rivals. The latest scuttlebutt suggests that Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, might pursue a joint bid for Time Warner Cable with Charter Communications, with plans to break it up. That news follows reports that Comcast is exploring the regulatory hurdles associated with buying Time Warner Cable outright, which sent the company’s shares soaring by 10% on Friday.


Such a merger would be intensely scrutinized by the U.S. government, including the Justice Dept., which would address antitrust concerns, and the Federal Communications Commission, which would be charged with ensuring that the deal serves the public interest. Combining the number one and number two cable companies in the country would create a corporate behemoth with approximately 33 million customers. Comcast already owns NBCUniversal, one of the crown jewels of the media industry, after buying the company from industrial conglomerate General Electric in a highly controversial deal.


“We expect a Comcast-TWC deal would draw intense antitrust/regulatory scrutiny and likely resistance, stoked by raw political pushback from cable critics and possibly rivals who would argue it’s simply a ‘bridge (deal) too far’ or ‘unthinkable,’” Stifel telecom analysts Christopher C. King and David Kaut wrote in a recent note to clients. “We believe government approval would be possible, but it would be costly, with serious risk. This would be a brawl.”


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LA: Vidalia Moves Ahead With New Technology Center, Big Pipe Across the Mississippi | community broadband networks

LA: Vidalia Moves Ahead With New Technology Center, Big Pipe Across the Mississippi | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When we last checked in with Vidalia, the Louisiana town of 4,300 had implemented free Wi-Fi in its new municipal complex. In October, the community began constructing the Vidalia Technology Center (VTC), as reported by MyArkLaMiss.com


The VTC will be at the site of former city hall office. The new facility will serve as entrepreneur incubation space in addition to housing infrastructure for the city's future fiber network. With Senator Mary Landrieu's help, Vidalia secured a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to build the VTC. The City is providing 35% matching funds.


The current key to better connectivity in Vidalia is a connection across the Mississippi River. The Natchez Democrat reports that the City obtained a permit to run a fiber backbone across the U.S. 84 Mississippi River bridge. Apparently, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) does not normally allow the installation of utilities on bridges it controls. 


The City has been working on obtaining permission for almost two years. Another Natchez Democrat article reports:


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North Georgia Town Considering Fiber for Business | community broadband networks

North Georgia Town Considering Fiber for Business | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The City Council of the city of Commerce, GA is considering using its existing fiber resources to offer connectivity to local businesses. At a November 3rd work session, Council members reviewed the plan and, according to the Main Street News, members voiced support for the idea.


“We’ve been actively working on this for months,” [City Manager Pete] Pyrzenski told the council. “We’ve been counseled on, we’ve talked through the options… this is a pretty viable utility for Commerce.”

“We are ready to pull the fiber,” Pyrzenski declared. “Our role is to supply the fiber. We’re not going to get into cable TV, not going to get into telephone, just high-speed Internet.”


“Businesses have been looking for an alternative,” noted Mayor Clark Hill.


Windstream now serves the community of 6,500 but there have been significant complaints and there are no other options in this north Georgia town.


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WV: Broadband development council to disband | Mandi Cardosi | State Journal

WV: Broadband development council to disband | Mandi Cardosi | State Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Broadband technology is hard to get to some areas of the Mountain State, and while that didn't stop officials from trying, one effort is being curtailed.


In 2008, the West Virginia Legislature formed a council to help with the state's issues of getting broadband access to families all over the state. With a budget of $5 million, the goal of the council included getting the wireless access to students of families living where they didn't have easy access to the Internet for homework and research.


The Broadband Development Council was created to administer and oversee broadband development in the state of West Virginia, especially to bring the broadband services to un-served or under-served parts of the state. According to the council, they will disband while the Legislature lets them go out of existence.


Judge Dan O'Hanlon was assigned by the governor to be chairman of the development council.


“That is a big part of the answer in West Virginia — this last-mile wireless, getting broadband to people's homes in a fairly cost effective way,” he said. “It's not a very expensive proposition, but it seems to work very well.”


O'Hanlon said he and the other members hadn't received or asked for information about why the council would not be renewed.


“It would take a statute to revive,” O'Hanlon said. “If you aren't on that list you don't exist.”


O'Hanlon said the project was focused on six or seven experiments in the Northern Panhandle of the state. He said the research the group did in that part of the state could be applied to other, more rural parts of West Virginia as well.


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Incumbent telcos warn feds: Let us have our way, or the consumer gets it | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Incumbent telcos warn feds: Let us have our way, or the consumer gets it | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Incumbent telephone companies have warned the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (and indirectly, the Obama administration) that they will tie up in the courts for years any move to regulate Internet services as a Title II common carrier telecommunications service available to all customer premises without discrimination.

Now they are citing a study to back up their threat that they will also significantly pare back construction of new infrastructure. In other words, if you don't let us pick and choose which neighborhoods we want to serve, we'll leave the 19 million premises the FCC estimates are not served by landline Internet service twisting in the wind. Ditto those on increasingly obsolete, legacy DSL service provided over aging copper cables.

That's monopolist speak for if you don't leave us alone, the consumer gets it.


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RS Fiber Broadband Initiative Moving Forward to bring service to rural MInnesota | Ann Treacy

Here’s the latest news from RS Fiber…

RS Fiber Broadband Initiative Moving Forward Bringing High Speed Internet, Television and Phone Services to Portions of Renville & Sibley Counties

WINTHROP, Minn. – The RS Fiber Cooperative fiber optic broadband initiative is moving forward. RS Fiber’s Board of Directors recently endorsed an updated business plan and financing strategy. RS Fiber representatives presented this information to the Renville- Sibley Joint Powers Board (JPB), which is comprised of representatives from 10 cities and 17 townships in the proposed service area.

The JPB was formed to issue general obligation tax abatement bonds that will fund a portion of the fiber optic network’s construction costs and start-up expenses. Upon completion, RS Fiber Cooperative will operate a fiber optic network for most of Sibley County and portions of Renville, Nicollet, and McLeod County. Over 6,200 potential customers will be able to use this high-speed fiber optic network, which will provide data speeds that can be over ten times faster than speeds offered by current service providers.

RS Fiber is a total communications solution, offering affordable and reliable high-speed broadband internet access, phone and television. RS Fiber’s network will provide download Internet speeds of 50 megabits per second or greater. Network download and upload speeds will remain consistent throughout the day and will not change even if every customer is simultaneously using the services. TV service will provide clear pictures unaffected by weather and will include favorite local programming like live high school sports. Prices will be very competitive to existing service providers.


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Is It The Beginning Of The End For Cable Or Just A New Beginning? | Braxton Jarratt | TechCrunch.com

Is It The Beginning Of The End For Cable Or Just A New Beginning? | Braxton Jarratt | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In mid-October, HBO dropped a bombshell — albeit a long-rumored one — with the news that it would launch a standalone streaming service some time in 2015. The media and Game of Thrones fans everywhere immediately went into overdrive, analyzing every last one of the scarce details to death (What content will be included? How much will it cost? Should I cancel my Netflix subscription?!!).

CBS’s announcement of its own streaming service just a day later, followed by similar news from its flagship entertainment channel, Showtime, only fueled the frenzy and the general feeling that major changes are underway for pay TV.

Naturally, there were plenty of pundits and industry watchers who were quick to declare this latest development the beginning of the end of cable TV as we know it. And while only time will tell exactly how disruptive these services will be, I think it’s premature to sound the death knell. In fact, I see this as far from a catastrophe for cable; it’s a natural next step.

Over the last several years, we’ve seen companies like Netflix and Aereo start to chip away at the traditional cable model, leading to incremental change across the industry. These latest developments are a clear indicator that the pace of change is about to drastically speed up, and what was once a slow-moving evolution is getting a shot in the arm. Here’s a look what some of the ripple effects will be.


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A Reason to Celebrate: FCC Examines Future of the Phone Network | Clarissa Ramon | Public Knowledge

A Reason to Celebrate: FCC Examines Future of the Phone Network | Clarissa Ramon | Public Knowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today is a step forward for the 303 million people residing the in U.S. who depend on some kind of phone service for their personal, business, and emergency communications.


This morning the Federal Communication Commission voted to move forward on two proposals that examine the future of the phone network and 911 emergency services. This vote builds on the FCC’s bipartisan, unanimous consensus around core network values that include public safety, universal access, competition, and consumer protection.

Public input to the FCC will be instrumental in developing federal guidance for the phone network transitions that protects consumers and vulnerable populations. The open comment period is an opportunity for people who care about phone service to make their voices heard.


Rural voices, grassroots organizations, consumer advocacy groups, and state agencies who have been vocal on this issue should continue to highlight the importance of a reliable, affordable, and universally available network that includes all communities. This stakeholder input will be critical in ensuring that the digitally underserved do not become the permanently unserved.


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So, If Someone Could Just Kill A Child And Let The FBI And DOJ Get Their Anti-Phone Encryption Legislation Going, That Would Be Great | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

So, If Someone Could Just Kill A Child And Let The FBI And DOJ Get Their Anti-Phone Encryption Legislation Going, That Would Be Great | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The discussion over cellphone encryption continues, with much of the "discussion" being FBI director James Comey's insistence that Apple and Google simply can't do the very thing they're doing... and offering zero legal reasons why they can't.


There have been a lot of horribles paraded around during the past few weeks, mainly of the terrorist or pedophile variety. None of it has been very persuasive to anyone not wearing a badge. The converts continue to love the preaching while those on the outside look on in bemusement.

It's not just Apple and Google at this point. Whatsapp, the messaging app Facebook recently purchased, will be providing end-to-end encryption. Twitter is fighting National Security Letter gag orders in court.

The Wall Street Journal's recent article provides a closer look at the reactions of the upper echelon of law enforcement (DOJ and FBI) but only finds more of the same.


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New Yorkers Get Worse Internet Service Than People in Bucharest | Danielle Kehl | Slate.com

New Yorkers Get Worse Internet Service Than People in Bucharest | Danielle Kehl | Slate.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You’ve probably looked at your monthly Internet bill and groaned, thinking that it was far higher than it should be. Well, you were probably right. It turns out that if you live in New York City or San Francisco, you could be paying more than twice as much as a customer in Paris or London for a considerably slower broadband Internet connection.

It’s no secret that when it comes to speed and price, U.S. broadband options often pale in comparison with some of the great deals available in other cities around the world. We know that cost is one of the key barriers to adoption for unconnected Americans, and that Internet service providers rank at the very bottom of consumer satisfaction surveys, below the airlines and health care industry.


But a recent study by New America’s Open Technology Institute provides more data about what the American broadband market looks from the customer perspective. “Cost of Connectivity” documents the actual high-speed Internet packages available in 24 cities around the world, giving you a glimpse about what, for example, a 25 Mbps connection costs if you live in Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, or Kansas City. And the results are not very pretty. (Disclaimer: I am one of the authors of the study, and Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.)


With information on more than 2,000 home and mobile broadband options in 24 cities scattered across North America, Europe, and Asia, “Cost of Connectivity” shows where the fastest speeds are available, the best deals you can find for less than $40, and what you might expect to pay, on average, for a given speed tier in each of the cities surveyed.


Some of the contrasts are stark. In Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, and Bucharest, $40 a month will buy blazing-fast gigabit service—while in Los Angeles or New York, a Time Warner Cable customer would the same price for just 15 Mbps. Meanwhile, 3 GB of data costs at least $30 in the United States, but for roughly less than $10 you can get 6 GB in Copenhagen or Bucharest.


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Why Comcast is pushing broadband data caps that nobody wants? | Brad Reed | BRG.com

Why Comcast is pushing broadband data caps that nobody wants? | Brad Reed | BRG.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Do you want your home broadband services to have strict data caps like the ones on your mobile data plans? Of course you don’t! But that isn’t stopping Comcast and Time Warner Cable from pushing them anyway.

In case you didn’t know, Comcast this fall expanded its trial run of capped broadband plans in several markets in the south, including major markets like Atlanta, Nashville and Charleston. The lowest data caps are set at 300GB per month, which the company believes should be enough for the vast majority of its users. Comcast first started these data cap trial runs in Nashville in 2012 but it’s been steadily tinkering with them ever since.

The company explains that it’s trying to shift over to capped broadband plans because it’s trying to adapt to changes in the market — you know, the same market that’s told Time Warner Cable again and again that it doesn’t want capped plans.

“As the marketplace and technology change, we do too,” Comcast writes. “We evaluate customer data usage, and a variety of other factors, and make adjustments accordingly. Over the last several years, we have periodically reviewed various plans, and recently we have been analyzing the market and our process through various data usage plan trials.”

Of course, anyone who has actually looked at changes in the marketplace and technology can tell you that home broadband data caps make absolutely no sense in this context. The amount of things we can do on the Internet now has become more data intensive, from online gaming to watching Netflix streams in 4K.

The growth in these kinds of applications has flourished precisely because consumers have been able to get access to unlimited data on their home Internet services. Doing anything that would inhibit consumers’ use of their home Internet connections or would make them fearful of watching a movie online because they would get slapped with overage fees would therefore hurt the growth of online content distribution.

So why is Comcast really doing this? As Coolio once prophetically rapped all those years ago, it’s about “power in the money, money in the power.” The money part is easy: Comcast would love to be able to hit so-called “data hogs” with overage fees. The power part comes if the FCC gives Comcast the green light to charge content providers more for Internet “fast lanes.” In fact, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where companies that pay for the “fast lanes” also get their services’ data excluded from Comcast’s market caps, just as AT&T has been trying to do with its “sponsored data” program.


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FCC Gets T-Mobile to Make Throttling Practices Clearer | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

FCC Gets T-Mobile to Make Throttling Practices Clearer | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to an FCC announcement (pdf), T-Mobile and the FCC have struck an agreement that will involve T-Mobile making the company's throttling practices clearer. As in stands, T-Mobile doesn't charge overages -- but instead throttles capped users at 64 kbps or 128 kbps for the remainder of their billing cycle once they cross their usage limit. Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced they'd be exempting speedtests from their usage caps, resulting in throttled users not being able to actually see they were throttled.

The move resulted in consumer groups like Public Knowledge complaining that the company was being misleading, and that by exempting speed tests from caps, users weren't able to get an accurate picture of the state of their connection.

The FCC appears to have agreed, stating in their announcement this practice has resulted in general confusion among customers. As a result, the FCC states that T-Mobile has agreed to:


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WA: Seattle councillors to vote on funding Internet access at homeless camps | Victoria Cavaliere | Reuters.com

The Seattle City Council was expected to vote Monday on a measure that would fund Internet access at the city's homeless camps.

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant wants a portion of a proposed $100,000 in the upcoming city budget that has been earmarked to improve conditions at homeless camps to include access to Internet, including possible wireless availability.

Sawant said Internet access will allow homeless individuals to look for jobs, communicate and keep up with news and current events.

"We are no longer looking at Internet as a luxury. We have to make sure we provide humane services for everybody," she local broadcaster KOMO.

The plan has been met with skepticism by some Seattle residents, who feel the money would be better spent on other initiatives.

"That's too much opportunity for abuse," resident Cindy Phillips told local television station KING 5. "There are public libraries, and other public resources such as WorkSource, that can better assist the homeless in finding the jobs, or other resources they need," she said.

The money to fund Internet and wireless access would come from a budget item set aside to improve other conditions in Seattle's homeless tent cities, including access to showers, electricity and cooking facilities.

The measure is expected to get pushback from the more conservative members of the city council.

It was unclear how many homeless encampments might get the Internet access should the measure pass. There are dozens of homeless tent cities, both small and large, around Seattle.

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Court Bars FCC From Diclosing How Much Comcast, DirecTV Pay Broadcasters | Chris Morran | Consumerist

Court Bars FCC From Diclosing How Much Comcast, DirecTV Pay Broadcasters | Chris Morran | Consumerist | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week’s last-minute legal battle between just about every major TV broadcaster and the FCC came to quietly disappointing conclusion this morning, with a federal appeals court refusing to allow the government to share confidential details about the mergers of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and DirecTV and AT&T.

For those coming to this story late, here’s the “previously on…” version:

The FCC is currently scrutinizing these two mergers and had decided to make confidential information — most importantly, the contracts that the pay-TV companies have with TV networks — available for private viewing by lawyers for parties with a direct interest in the deals.

The broadcasters asked the FCC to please rethink its position, arguing that this data is highly confidential and could damage their businesses.

A slim majority at the FCC said no, arguing that the disclosures “will aid the Commission in the expeditious resolution of these proceedings.”

And so the broadcasters — CBS, Disney, Fox, Time Warner, Viacom, Univision — asked a federal appeals court in D.C. to issue a stay preventing the FCC from going through with its plan. The court agreed last Friday, but gave the FCC the chance to make its case before ultimately deciding on whether to make the stay permanent pending judicial review.

Thus, on Monday the FCC filed its response [PDF], arguing that the broadcasters had failed to show that they would be likely to prevail in court on the merits of its claim.

The Commission points out that the networks are not challenging that this information is relevant to the merger review process or that the FCC should have access to it. They just want to block participating third parties from seeing it.

“Given the need for access, Petitioners’ challenges to the protective orders are doomed to failure,” writes the FCC.

One major concern by the broadcasters is that the confidential information would be shared with people beyond the scope of the FCC order, but the Commission claims that its directives “contain multiple safeguards against unwarranted disclosure” and that the broadcasters’ “fears are without any basis.”

The networks offered to provide anonymized documents that would omit the most sensitive data, but the FCC says it determined that this would result in too many redactions and would be “unrealistic and inappropriate.”

Finally, the FCC tried to make the claim that the broadcasters had failed to show that they would suffer irreparable harm by revealing this confidential information to select individuals under controlled conditions. If anything argued the response, a stay would harm consumers and slow the review process.

“Staying the order pending appeal will materially disrupt the current schedule for the Commission’s expeditious review and resolution of the proposed mergers,” concludes the response, “and by itself, could impact the outcome of these applications. Delay would inevitably prolong the regulatory uncertainty associated with the applicants’ business plans, and thereby disserve the public interest.”

In the end, the court settled the matter with only a couple of sentences.


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - November 21, 2014 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - November 21, 2014 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tennessee officials are raising the “Gig City” rally cry. Last week, public and private sector leaders gathered in Chattanooga to make sure the FCC knows where they stand on removing restrictions to community broadband in the state. GovTech’s Brian Heaton covered the rally.


“What needs to [happen] is removing the restriction of the electronic footprint, so anybody who wants to provide accessible, high-speed broadband will not be encumbered by unnecessary regulations,” [Tennessee Sen. Janice] Bowling (R) said.


Public officials again stressed the need to increase connectivity beyond the city’s borders in order to develop the area’s economic future.


Longmont, Colorado is one of this week's darlings of community broadband. Trevor Hughes reported on USA Today about the city connecting residents to its fiber optic network. The public network highlights the problems communities face when private networks fail to provide service as promised.


“Longmont knows all about the failings of the private marketplace. Twice the city partnered with private companies to provide high-speed Internet to residents over the past 15 years, and twice the private companies failed. Now city workers are picking up where those private ventures failed, using low-cost government loans to help pay workers to bring the service from the network that "last mile" to peoples' homes.


"It was the private sector that failed here," Roiniotis said. "We tried. We reached out to the private sector to build this network. "If we had waited long enough, there's a chance a cable company would have eventually done this. We decided, no we don't want to wait."


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Now you can send money over Snapchat, too | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

Now you can send money over Snapchat, too | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Snapchat lets you send friends videos, pictures and, now, your share of the brunch bill. On Monday, the company unveiled "Snapcash" --- a feature in its app that lets you send money from your debit card straight to your Snapchat contacts.


Snapchat announced the new option on its blog and in a glitzy, almost Busby Berkeley-style musical message to users.


Users will be able to tie their Snapchat accounts to their debit cards, and essentially text cash between them. When someone types in, for example, "$15" in the Snapchat app, a green button will show up giving them the option to send that amount to their friend.  According to TechCrunch, if the recipient doesn't take the money within 24 hours, it's refunded back to your account. The feature is currently in the Android app and is coming soon to iOS.


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Michigan's First Gigabit Village - Community Broadband Bits Episode 126 | community broadband networks

Michigan's First Gigabit Village - Community Broadband Bits Episode 126 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The small village of Sebewaing has become the first gigabit village in the state of Michigan. Superintendent of Sebewaing Light and Water utility Melanie McCoy joins us to discuss the project on episode 126 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.


With approximately 1,800 people, Sebewaing has cracked the code for a small local government to deliver gigabit services to the community. In the show, we discuss previous telecommunications investments by the village and how they financed the gigabit fiber deployment.


We also discuss how Michigan law, designed to discourage municipal networks, delayed the project and increased the costs as well as the annoyance to many residents who long ago became impatient with how long it took to begin turning on the Internet service.


Read our full coverage of Sebewaing here.


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IP Transition Discussion on WAMU Kojo Nnamdi Radio Show | community broadband networks

IP Transition Discussion on WAMU Kojo Nnamdi Radio Show | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Discussion over the "IP transition" has taken a back seat in the media lately as news outlets focus on the question of local authority over the right to invest in fiber network infrastructure. The IP transition is the gradual change from older analog mostly copper networks to packet-switched IP approaches that may use any medium (copper, fiber, wireless, etc). Some big carriers, like AT&T, are pushing to change the traditional rules applied to telephony and telecommunications as part of this technological change.


In October, Kojo Nnamdi interviewed Jodie Griffin from Public Knowledge, Technology Reporter Brian Fung, and Rick Boucher, a lobbyist from the Sidney Austin law firm. The show, The Future of Phone Service, is archived and available for you to hear.


As technology creates options for how we speak with each other, rules, regulations, and policies must also stay current. In this interview, Nnamdi and his guests touch on some of the basic concerns we face moving forward. From the WAMU show description:


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OTT bundles will cost as much or more than regular cable subscriptions | Michelle Clancy | RapidTVNews.com

OTT bundles will cost as much or more than regular cable subscriptions | Michelle Clancy | RapidTVNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Media giants launching over-the-top (OTT) services is all the rage right now, as the likes of CBS, HBO and others look to take on Netflix directly, while bolstering their advertising coffers.

And the move looks to enable consumers to create their own a la carte TV plan by cobbling together various digital services. One problem though: the economics don’t quite work.

Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible has estimated that as much as $4 billion could move from TV network ad budgets this year into digital services. Networks thus "need to find ways that assure they can collect comparable revenue if the traditional ecosystem falters," Wible said. And accordingly, the waters are being tested for the proposition in offering consumers more flexibility.

But, tallying ratings, affiliate fees, ad revenue and other data, the amount that OTT bundles would need to charge to be profitable means that consumers would be paying more than they do for an average cable subscription if they put together more than two of them; a nine-network FX bundle without sports (but including National Geographic) would need to be priced at $29 per month; Disney, with four networks including ABC (but excluding ESPN), would cost $22 per month. And so on.

What about single-channel options? HBO, Showtime and CBS all announced the development of their very own single-channel OTT video services last month. But ABC News and the Associated Press took a look at things from a cost perspective, and totted up the monthly dues for Netflix ($8.99), Hulu Plus ($7.99), CBS All Access ($5.99) and the expected price of HBO's service (about $15), and came up with $37.97, a figure that is roughly half of the average price of a traditional cable or satellite subscription (the FCC pegs it at $64.41).

"The way things are priced, you won't be able to get more than four or five channels for less than your pay-TV bill now, and even getting two or three channels will be a significant portion of that bill," FBR analyst Barton Crockett told ABC News. "I think because of that there will be a strong incentive for people to sign up for a (cable) bundle."

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Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus now guarded by Daleks | Andy Patrizio | NetworkWorld.com

Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus now guarded by Daleks | Andy Patrizio | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you ever visit the Microsoft campus in the Silicon Valley and hear a mechanical voice shout "Ex-ter-min-ate!", don't be too spooked. It just means some geek humor has gone a little crazy.

Microsoft's campus in Silicon Valley will be patrolled by a team of five security guard robots from a company called Knightscope. The robot, dubbed K5, is five feet tall, weighs 300 pounds, and looks disturbingly like the Daleks of "Doctor Who" fame.

Fortunately, they are not armed with lasers. They use cameras and sensors to monitor their assigned area and look for suspicious activity. They are armed with high-definition cameras and audio recorders, able to record events and voices, analyze faces, read license plates, and even detect biological and chemical agents.

The K5s also use laser scanning and GPS for navigation, have weather sensors, and communicate via Wi-Fi. Their batteries run for about 24 hours and the K5 will return to a dock/power station to recharge.

Should they spot a problem, they call a human security guard. I'm just waiting for Knightscope to decide to cut out the middle man. Or for bored Microsofties to try and hack the thing to play pranks on people.

That sounds like the plot of a bad SyFy movie, doesn't it?

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Mobidia: LTE Subscribers Consuming Twice as Much Cellular Data as 3G Subscribers | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor

Mobidia: LTE Subscribers Consuming Twice as Much Cellular Data as 3G Subscribers | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. cellular, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi mobile data usage continued on an upward trend in 3Q as wireless device users continue to increase their use of mobile apps and media, according to a Mobidia Technology report.

Data gathered from hundreds of thousands of wireless subscribers from July-September 2014 revealed that Verizon and Sprint wireless service subscribers are using more LTE data than their counterparts with AT&T and T-Mobile. Mobidia’s latest study also revealed that smartphone subscribers continue to rely on Wi-Fi networks, a finding consistent with those over the past few years.

Subscribers using iOS and Android smartphones consumed 82 and 72 percent, respectively, of their mobile data on Wi-Fi networks, according to Mobidia’s latest Network Usage Insight report.

Mobidia highlighted the following specific trends:


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Zayo to supply dark fiber to IX Reach, connecting New York, New Jersey data centers | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Zayo to supply dark fiber to IX Reach, connecting New York, New Jersey data centers | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Zayo is supplying IX Reach, a wholesale carrier provider, a mix of colocation and dark fiber facilities connecting data centers in New York and New Jersey.

By working with Zayo, IX Reach will be able to provide its customers access to seven data center sites: 111 8thAvenue, 60 Hudson Street, 32 Avenue of the Americas, 85 10th Avenue, 325 Hudson in New York and 165 Halsey Street and 275 Hartz Way in New Jersey through two four-site New York dark fiber rings.

Being a symbiotic 15-year relationship, the agreement enables Zayo's customers to connect to IX Reach, which provides point-to-point connectivity into major global Internet exchange sites. Over the next two years, Zayo and IX Reach will expand the relationship to include additional colocation facilities to accommodate fluctuating customer needs.

For IX Reach, the agreement with Zayo is all about enabling its customers to expand their reach in the New York market and in other regions.

"Offering our customers ease of connectivity within key locations in the New York market is vital to us and we believe it will have an impact on our customers and their ability to do business in new geographies," said Stephen Wilcox, CEO of IX Reach, in a release. "We selected Zayo because of its combined dark fiber and colocation offering and flexible commercial approach."

Whether it's providing fiber connectivity to other major data centers or their own facilities, colocation has become a major focus area for Zayo.

Besides New York and New Jersey, Zayo has been increasing its colocation reach in both the U.S. and Europe.


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TDM-to-IP Transition: FCC Considers “Facilitating” Sale of Retired Copper | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

TDM-to-IP Transition: FCC Considers “Facilitating” Sale of Retired Copper | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC is considering putting policies in place to “facilitate” the sale or auction of copper infrastructure that telephone service providers plan to retire as part of the TDM-to-IP transitions, FCC officials said today. Additionally the commission is considering policies aimed at ensuring consumers have battery-powered telephones so that they will be able to make phone calls in the event of a power outage, officials said.

These potential requirements are just two of numerous potential policies the commission is considering in a notice of proposed rulemaking, declaratory ruling and order about the TDM-to-IP transition adopted at the monthly FCC meeting today. Also at today’s meeting, the FCC adopted a policy statement and notice of proposed rulemaking that propose mechanisms designed to prevent 911 outages caused, in part, by the TDM-to-IP transition.

Both the TDM-to-IP transition and 911 initiatives were previewed late last month when FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler began circulating draft versions of documents adopted today.

Moves that the commission is considering with regard to the TDM-to-IP transition fall into several broad categories, officials explained:


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Senators Hoping To Keep CIA From Destroying Most Of Its Employees' Emails | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

Senators Hoping To Keep CIA From Destroying Most Of Its Employees' Emails | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The CIA and Senate have found more to fight about. With the "Torture Report" mostly in the hands of the White House at this point, the two are now battling over the CIA's planned alterations to its email retention policies.

Key senators are pushing back against a CIA plan to destroy older emails of “non-senior” agency officials.

The heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday sent a letter opposing the proposal, under which only the highest ranking CIA workers would have their email correspondence permanently saved.

The plan “could allow the destruction of crucial documentary evidence regarding the CIA’s activities that is essential for Congress, the public and the courts to know,” Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) wrote to the National Archives...

The senators are asking the National Archives to step up and somehow prevent this from happening -- most likely by declaring "non-senior" emails to be retainable records that must be turned over rather than destroyed. The CIA would prefer to destroy the emails of all but the top 22 employees three years after they leave, or when "no longer needed, whichever is sooner." Unfortunately for the senators making this request, the National Archive has already signaled its agreement with the CIA's proposed retention schedule changes.


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LA: Lafayette holding recruitment fair as tech companies plan moves | The Acadiana Advocate

LA: Lafayette holding recruitment fair as tech companies plan moves | The Acadiana Advocate | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A recruitment and networking fair for job hunters who are interested in prospects associated with three information technology companies moving to Lafayette will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Abdalla Hall, 635 Cajundome Blvd.

Combined, the companies — CGI, Enquero and Perficient — plan to fill about 1,000 positions, including software programmers, business analysts and consultants, marketers, graphic designers and communications specialists.

“Anyone who wants to learn more about these companies can attend,” said Kim Billeaudeau, director of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Office of Career Services.

The fair and a welcoming event for the companies that starts at 3:30 p.m. is sponsored by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. The events are in conjunction with Louisiana Innovation Month, which recognizes efforts of companies, schools, foundations and university centers to stimulate innovation and creativity, including UL-Lafayette’s Research Park.

CGI, a Montreal-based company, announced earlier this year that it plans to hire about 400 employees in the next four years. The company will lease office space in a new, $13.1 million state-funded technology center in the Research Park expected to be complete by the end of 2015. Until then, the company will operate in a temporary location.


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Technology set journalism free, now new platforms are in control | Mathew Ingram | GigaOM Tech News

Technology set journalism free, now new platforms are in control | Mathew Ingram | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Emily Bell, the former Guardian digital editor who now runs the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, gave a speech recently at the Reuters Institute in the UK about the crossroads at which journalism finds itself today. It’s a place where media and journalism — and in fact speech of all kinds — has never been more free, but also paradoxically one in which speech is increasingly controlled by privately-run platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

I was glad to see Emily addressing this issue, because it’s something I’ve written about a number of times — both in the context of Twitter’s commitment to being the “free speech wing of the free-speech party,” and also in the context of Facebook’s dominance of the news and how its algorithm can distort that news in ways we still don’t really appreciate or understand, because it is a black box.


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