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Fear As Israeli Cyber Intelligence Firm Starts Installing Internet Spy Facility in Nigeria | TechMoran.com

Fear As Israeli Cyber Intelligence Firm Starts Installing Internet Spy Facility in Nigeria | TechMoran.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Back in April, Israel’s Elbit Systems won a $40 million contract to supply Nigeria with the Wise Intelligence Technology (WiT[TM]) System, a cyber intelligence analysis and tracker.


The system collects data from multiple sources, databases and sensors, processes it and sends it to intelligence personnel for action. Set to be installed in Abuja , Nigeria, the operation is against Chapter four, section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and will be like the US’s infamous Prism project that has caused a public outcry in the country and globally.


Media reports are claiming Elbit Systems, are already in the country to start the two year project set in Abuja, that will help the Nigeria  government spy on its citizens online activities, even against the suspension of the project by the National Assembly. The report also claim there are about 20 Nigerian intelligence officers receiving training in Israel on how to use the technology.


The WiT technology will be integrated with various data sources, including Elbit Systems’ Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) solution and Elbit Systems’ PC Surveillance Systems (PSS), an advance solution for covert intelligence gathering.
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Akamai: Broadband Speeds Tip 4 Mbps Globally; DDoS Attacks Down 15% | Ingrid Lunden | TechCrunch

Akamai: Broadband Speeds Tip 4 Mbps Globally; DDoS Attacks Down 15% | Ingrid Lunden | TechCrunch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet speeds, fuelled by the growth of cellular networks and low-cost smartphones and tablets, are on the rise, and this last quarter the world finally reached a tipping point. Globally, we have finally passed average connection speeds of 4 megabits per second — the threshold for global “broadband” connectivity. The figures come from Akamai, which provides quarterly updates on connection speeds and security in its State of the Internet report.

At the same time, it appears that at least one of the biggest types of internet threat traffic is on the decline: distributed denial of service attacks are down by 15% compared to a year ago.

Connection speeds are not only growing, but they are accelerating: as a point of comparison, it was only a year ago that just half the world’s Internet connections were exceeding 4 Mbps. In the last quarter they have gone up by 21% and are now at 4.6 Mbps, working out to a year-on-year rise of over40%.

It’s a small but significant milestone in global broadband connectivity. Four Mbps may not sound like much to people in some places — in the U.S., for example, states like Washington and Delaware are seeing peak speeds of over 50 Mbps — and in some countries, like Brazil, the average isn’t even yet past 3 Mbps. But it is a sign that things are gradually improving overall. Those are statistics that will have an impact on the kinds of services that can be developed for consumers and businesses everywhere.

Some other notable highlights from the report:


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U.S. FCC makes a pitch for television airwaves auction | Rishika Sadam | WSJ/Reuters.com

U.S. FCC makes a pitch for television airwaves auction | Rishika Sadam | WSJ/Reuters.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission plans to send a document to every eligible television station in the United States, laying out the benefits of participating in next year's spectrum auction, the Wall Street Journal reported.

FCC has hired investment bank Greenhill & Co to prepare the pitch, which will include estimates of how much TV stations would get by selling their spectrum in each market, the newspaper said.

Reuters reported last month that the top U.S. communications regulator was reaching out to television stations, explaining how the auction will work and how much money it could raise.

The incentive auction for mid-2015 is the first opportunity for wireless carriers to buy coveted low-frequency spectrum, which hinges on television stations first giving up those airwaves.

Many TV station owners have been reluctant to agree to go off air or share airwaves with each other, which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said was partly because they were not sure they would get properly paid.

"What we've been saying is, you know what, there might just be a higher and better use for that spectrum that will put more money in your pocket," Wheeler is quoted as saying in a phone interview with the Wall Street Journal.


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Comcast earns an estimated $300 million per quarter from cable modem rental fees | Shawn Knight | TechSpot.com

Comcast earns an estimated $300 million per quarter from cable modem rental fees | Shawn Knight | TechSpot.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Broadband modem rental fees are usually around $8 per month regardless of provider. Although it is cheaper in the long run to buy your own modem, most people would rather simply pay the fee each month to not have to fool with it which is exactly what ISPs like Comcast want you to do.

As it turns out, modem rental fees are an absolute cash cow for ISPs. A recent Forbes article estimates that a staggering 90 percent of Comcast's broadband customers rent their modems.

Doing a bit more math, the publication surmises that cable modem rental fees contribute between $275 million and $300 million per quarter to Comcast’s bottom line. And if recent rumors in the DSL Reports forum are accurate, the monthly fee could be increasing by $2 in the not-too distant future.

The good news is that you can avoid this monthly rental feel altogether simply by supplying your own modem (if you haven’t already).


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Remarks of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler at NATOA Annual Conference | FCC.gov

Thank you, Tony Perez, for that introduction. I join in congratulating the winners of NATOA’s Community Broadband Awards.

It’s great to be at the NATOA meeting here in Minnesota. Perhaps that explains why as I look out across this assemblage, all the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the policy proposals above
average.

A native Minnesotan, in fact, provides us with the intellectual foundation for our discussion today. It was the son of Hibbing, Minnesota, Bob Dylan who wrote, “You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changing.”

That is the challenge we all face. There is no doubt that high-speed broadband – wired and wireless – is a-changing everything. Those who embrace these changes will help write the future. Those who don’t
will…well…sink like a stone.

NATOA and the FCC are swimming to the common goal of making sure that communities across America – large and small – have access to robust broadband networks that deliver the benefits of broadband connectivity to all citizens.

But you may have noticed that not everyone is swimming alongside that effort. There are those who seek to block the competitive forces that can produce faster, cheaper, better broadband; those who make it

difficult to build out the infrastructure necessary for the broadband future; and those with which both you and we have to contend that would use changes in technology as an excuse to sidestep the responsibilities network operators have always had to their users.

Today, I would like to visit about our responsibility to overcome this resistance and ensure that our nation has the networks necessary for the jobs, economic growth, and quality of life that will determine our
nation’s place in the 21st century. Yes, that is a dramatic statement; yes, it is that important; and, yes, I know it is easier to say than to do.

You, in your positions in your communities, and my colleagues and I, in our positions at the FCC, have responsibilities, not just to the consumers and networks of today, but also to the consumers and networks of tomorrow.


Here is the reality confronting us:


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A.G. Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police | Craig Timberg | WashPost.com

A.G. Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police | Craig Timberg | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual predators, putting children at increased risk.

“It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said at a conference on child sexual abuse, according to a text of his prepared remarks. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.”

In his comments, Holder became the highest government official to publicly chastise technology companies for developing systems that make it difficult for law enforcement officials to collect potential evidence, even when they have search warrants. Though he didn’t mention Apple and Google by name, his remarks followed their announcements this month of new smartphone encryption policies that have sparked a sharp government response, including from FBI Director James B. Comey last week.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials have complained loudly that the companies are undermining efforts to fight crime, including terrorism. Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 8, is so thoroughly encrypted that the company says it cannot unlock iPhones or iPads that use it. Google’s Android operating system plans to begin using encryption automatically, for all users unless they specifically opt out, in a version to be released in October. (It will take months or years for that feature to reach most Android users.)


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Will Windows 10 address the operating system's biggest weakness? | Andy Patrizio | NetworkWorld.com

Will Windows 10 address the operating system's biggest weakness? | Andy Patrizio | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So the wraps are off, and no one got the name change right. Windows 10 comes with a whole lot of promises, not the least of which is that the company is listening to users and wants their feedback. So something tells me this OS will not be met with the derision of Windows 8.

At the grand unveiling, numerous features were discussed, from the interesting (multiple desktops) to the silly (ctrl-v pasting in the DOS prompt). One of the promises made was that Windows 10 would eliminate the need for reinstalls when a new OS version came out.

Microsoft is promising continuous, ever-evolving upgrades to the operating system so people won't have to erase the hard drive and start over, like all current users of Windows 7 and 8 are going to have to do when 10 comes out next year.

This might not sit well with IT, because they don't like disruption. Microsoft may push out significant updates the way it does bug fixes on Patch Tuesday, but IT might not want them immediately or they will have to test the updates. And then there's the fact that Microsoft released some bug fixes, so the company is putting its own neck on the line.

The real question on my mind is whether Windows 10 will finally address a problem that has plagued pretty much every Windows OS since at least 95: the decay of the system over time. As you add and remove apps, as Windows writes more and more temporary and junk files, over time, a system just slows down.


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To combat fragmentation, ARM built a new type of OS for the Internet of Things | Stacey Higginbotham | GigaOM Tech News

To combat fragmentation, ARM built a new type of OS for the Internet of Things | Stacey Higginbotham | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

ARM may be a chip design firm, but like its rival Intel, it also spends a lot of time and money on building software. And to help cement its growing prominence in the world of battery-powered connected devices, ARM has designed a new operating system by adding more capabilities to its mBed software development platform.

Called mbed OS, the new operating system is designed to run on the lower-level M-class of microcontrollers that generally ran one of many customized real-time operating systems, or RTOSes. These RTOSes were originally developed for the embedded world and were proprietary and not very flexible. But they were lightweight and could operate on tiny microcontrollers. As more developers flock to the internet of things, though, having a bunch of customized RTOSes represents a brake on innovation — which is why ARM decided to build mbed OS for inside devices like the Misfit Shine pictured above.

The OS consists of a device-side OS that runs on ARM’s M-class designs and a server side piece of software called mbed Device Server that will run in virtualized environments and other types of chips. The OS design means that constrained and relatively “dumb” devices can communicate back to smarter ones running higher power OSes.


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Mexico: Telmex fined USD3.7m for monopolistic practices | TeleGeography.com

Mexican telecoms regulator the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) has fined America Movil (AM)-owned Telmex for monopolistic practices in the long-distance call termination market.


As such, the watchdog imposed a fine of MXN49.32 million (USD3.66 million) on the incumbent, bringing to an end an investigation that was initiated by Mexico’s Comision Federal de Competencia (CFC) in May 2011.

Ifetel’s final decision upheld a complaint from rival operator Axtel, which had accused Telmex of failing to respond to interconnection requests; denying it information regarding the location of its central offices; and playing recorded messages to Axtel users warning them of the possibility that their service could be suspended. The financial penalty represents the maximum fine allowed by law.

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Firefox OS-based Matchstick takes aim at Google’s Chromecast | Chris Wood | GizMag.com

Firefox OS-based Matchstick takes aim at Google’s Chromecast | Chris Wood | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Matchstick is a new streaming dongle aiming to compete directly with Google’s low-cost Chromecast product. The new stick plugs into your TV or HD monitor’s HDMI port and lets you stream or mirror content to it, just like Google’s device. Things are a little different behind the scenes, however, with the Matchstick running Mozilla's Firefox OS.

You may well get a little déjà vu with the Matchstick. The device is very similar in both form and function to Google’s low-cost Chromecast streaming dongle. The big difference here is that the Matchstick runs Mozilla’s open source platform. You can throw content up on the big screen from Android or iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as both Chrome and Firefox browsers. If you’re using a laptop, you can mirror any window in the compatible browsers on the Matchstick.

As far as the team behind the new hardware is concerned, the success of the project hinges upon developer support. With Firefox OS being a completely open platform, anyone can make an application for the streaming device and get it out to users without first having it approved for release.


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US: T-Mobile US takes on the Triad; another 700MHz deal on the cards | TeleGeography.com

T-Mobile US’ ongoing quest to snap up pockets of 700MHz A block spectrum across the country is continuing at pace, Fierce Wireless reports, with the carrier disclosing that it wants to acquire four licences from investment firm Triad 700.


Citing a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing, the website notes that T-Mobile hopes to acquire licences in Reno (Nevada), Anchorage (Alaska), Erie (Pennsylvania) and Salisbury (Maryland).

According to its website, Triad 700 was formed to participate in FCC Auction 73, which commenced in January 2008 and concluded two months later; the company acquired 36 licences for a total of USD17 million.


Concessions acquired included a ‘very deep spectrum position in Alaska’ (34MHz covering the entire state), plus clusters covering parts of California, Nevada, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

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FireChat – the messaging app that’s powering the Hong Kong protests | Archie Bland | The Guardian

FireChat – the messaging app that’s powering the Hong Kong protests | Archie Bland | The Guardian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old student in Hong Kong, had a problem. You will have experienced a version of it yourself: you are at a football match or a gig and you need to find a friend. But the crowd means that the network is overloaded, and you can’t get a signal on your phone. The thing that means you need to call someone is the very thing that means you can’t.

For Wong, the problem was more serious: he wasn’t at a football match, but playing a leading role in the organisation of the pro-democracy protests that have shaken his city over the past week. And he wasn’t just worried the network would be overloaded – he was worried the authorities would block it on purpose.

Every major display of social unrest these days seems to come with a game-changing technological accompaniment. The London riots were narrated on BlackBerry Messenger. Twitter played an essential role in the Arab spring. Turkish protesters who found the internet blocked turned to censor-proof Virtual Private Networks. But none of those innovations was much use without a connection. For Wong and his allies in Hong Kong, the answer was an app that allows people to send messages from phone to phone without mobile reception, or the internet: FireChat.


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Shellshock flaw could pose risks to payments industry | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Shellshock flaw could pose risks to payments industry | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The “Shellshock” flaw has the potential to pose a risk to the payments industry, but doesn’t appear to have caused any problems yet, an official with a consortium run by major credit card companies warned on Tuesday.

The PCI Security Standards Council develops technical standards for protecting payment card data, a closely watched area following a spate of data breaches at retailers including Home Depot and Target.

“It has the potential to be a risk,” said Troy Leach, the organization’s CTO, of the flaw in the GNU Bourne Again Shell (Bash), a command-line shell processor in Unix and Linux.

“The dependancy on Bash is pretty extreme. It’s something we have to be diligent about,” he said.

Leach said the council hasn’t issued an advisory about Shellshock but is monitoring developments.

The PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) recommend that retailers patch their systems quickly when software updates are released. But retailers and merchants have often been slow to do so, exposing their systems to attackers seeking card data.


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Comcast to Follow the 1 Million Who Have Fled Bankrupt Detroit | Todd Shields | MSN Money

Comcast to Follow the 1 Million Who Have Fled Bankrupt Detroit | Todd Shields | MSN Money | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Detroit lost more than 1 million residents and three-quarters of its retail businesses on its way to bankruptcy.

Now Comcast Corp. wants to go, too.

The largest U.S. cable-television company says it will shed 2.5 million customers in Detroit and other Midwestern and Southern communities as part of a plan to buy No. 2 Time Warner Cable Inc. Relinquishing the markets will help keep Comcast’s market share below 30 percent of U.S. pay-TV homes -- a level that regulators once set as a limit and Comcast has volunteered to honor.

“It’s not helpful when a company like that leaves,” said James Fouts, mayor of Warren, which borders Detroit and likewise will see the end of Comcast service.

As it drops Detroit, Comcast would gain the nation’s top two markets, New York and Los Angeles. The $45.2 billion acquisition would enlarge Comcast by 7 million video customers. The castaways in Detroit, Minneapolis and elsewhere would belong to a new company, GreatLand Connections Inc., to be created in what the companies call a tax-efficient spinoff. The new company’s debt would exceed industry averages -- something that has raised concerns about service in those communities.

“We don’t have the answers we need,” said Ron Styka, an elected trustee with responsibility for cable-service oversight in Meridian Township, Michigan, a town served by Comcast about 80 miles west of Detroit.

Municipal officials say they have questions about service, including whether subscribers can keep Comcast e-mail addresses or if the cable-channel lineups may change.

GreatLand will start with $7.8 billion in debt, according to a securities filing. That debt is equal to five times Ebitda, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Comcast said. The debt ratio for Comcast is 1.99 times Ebitda and for New York-based Time Warner Cable it’s 3.07 times Ebitda, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


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TX: GVTC Beats Gig Giants to San Antonio Area | Jason Meyers | Light Reading

TX: GVTC Beats Gig Giants to San Antonio Area | Jason Meyers | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Telecom co-op GVTC Communications has turned up its gigabit fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in the San Antonio area, making it first to market in a region coveted by several larger operators.

GVTC announced earlier this year that it would turn up gigabit speeds on its network in the territory north of San Antonio. The service is now available to 43,000 potential customers across a 2,200 square mile area that includes parts of Far North San Antonio, the Texas Hill Country and the Gonzales area. The operator is deploying service in its GigaRegion through private-public partnerships with the cities of Boerne, Bulverde and Gonzales.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Google Fiber Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) have all voiced their intentions to deploy gigabit services in and around San Antonio, but none of them have specified a timeframe for the region.

GVTC is one of an increasing number of smaller regional providers, and municipalities and municipally owned utilities that are delivering on gigabit network deployments in and around regions targeted by much larger entities, which could make the bigger operators' gigabit introductions into those territories more challenging.


GVTC President and CEO Ritchie Sorrells told Light Reading in August that the operator's gigabit network upgrade is the result of a effort started 10 years ago to help the one-time landline voice-focused provider remain viable in the long term.


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MA: Leicester OKs cable transfer | Susan Gonsalves | Worcester Telegram & Gazette

MA: Leicester OKs cable transfer | Susan Gonsalves | Worcester Telegram & Gazette | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Selectmen have approved the transfer of the town's cable license agreement from Charter Communications to Comcast Corp. The original license runs for 10 years and was signed in February 2014.

Douglas Belanger and Dianne Provencher cast the dissenting votes in the 3-2 tally. Selectmen said they were called upon to determine if Comcast could reasonably demonstrate that it had the management, technical, financial and legal qualifications to operate Leicester's cable system.

The transfer does not take effect until Comcast satisfies other preconditions, including closure of a Comcast Time Warner Cable acquisition and other federal government approvals.

Mr. Belanger said his concern about the transfer rested with the fact that Comcast has competition in the eastern part of the state but not in the local area, and therefore may not be as responsive if customer-service problems arise in small communities such as Leicester.

"I have concerns and I want you to prove us wrong," he said.

Gerry Buckley, Comcast's senior manager of government and community relations, said repeatedly that the company would abide by the terms of the Charter agreement and that customers would have ample time to adjust to a switchover in things such as email accounts.

He emphasized that the focus is on the cable TV license, and Internet and phone are secondary.

Chairman Thomas Buckley disagreed, speaking about people who have package deals and for whom email and the Internet are also important. "I care about all three and the price. Service is a big deal to people," he said. "Repair issues are a big deal."


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Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct | Sarah Reedy | Light Reading

Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct | Sarah Reedy | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Facebook may be an over-the-top app, but it's warming up to a number of services only a wireless network can offer. The social networking giant is now planning services that rely on both LTE Multicast and LTE Direct.

Facebook 's VP of Engineering Jay Parikh expressed his interest in LTE Multicast last week at Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s developer conference, and he also said that LTE Direct would be the impetus for new user experiences and -- most definitely -- advertising opportunities for the mobile version of Facebook. (See LTE Multicast Gets Liked By Facebook and Photos: Qualcomm Takes Over San Francisco.)

LTE Direct is a device-to-device technology that relies on operators' licensed spectrum for localized services within 500 meters of a user. Qualcomm says using LTE makes these services privacy sensitive, battery efficient, autonomous and interoperable compared to those that use GPS or WiFi. The chipmaker is leading the way to standardize the technology in release 12 along with other 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) members.

Facebook's interest in LTE Direct lies in knowing exactly where its users are and being able to target them with tailored experiences and promotions. "LTE Direct would let us expose or create user experiences around serendipitous experiences with friends nearby," Parikh said at the event, suggesting users could find out about events or impromptu meetups. Facebook and Qualcomm are working together closely to figure out what the use cases are and build and test them.


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AT&T, Verizon's fiber offerings center on reinvigorating their SMB customer bases | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com

AT&T, Verizon's fiber offerings center on reinvigorating their SMB customer bases | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T and Verizon are both well known as having large-scale networks that can serve the largest multinational corporation customers, but their recent moves to enhance their fiber offerings for businesses show they want to keep a tighter rein on the small to medium business (SMB) market where their brands are still household names.

Leveraging its ongoing fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) program it began as part of its broader multi-billion dollar Project VIP initiative, AT&T's new Business Fiber service is being offered to customers that reside in buildings where it has already built out fiber.

Given the diversity of the customers that reside in each building location, the telco will offer a mix of asymmetric and symmetrical speeds initially ranging from 25 Mbps up to 300 Mbps. Later this year, it plans to offer a symmetrical 1 Gbps service.

Tom Hughes, vice president of Small Business Project Management at AT&T, told FierceTelecom that it is seeing a range of customers demanding higher and higher speeds from both large customers and even those that just simply have higher bandwidth needs.

"Some of the small businesses that are looking for a broadband service similar to what they have today, we believe the 25 Mbps service would be very appealing to them," Hughes said. "We'll have some larger customers, or customers that have larger bandwidth needs, that are going to want the 100 Mbps or 300 Mbps service because they are going to have a greater need for the speed and the connectivity."

Hughes added that the FTTB progress will also help it support its managed Ethernet applications. Being the dominant U.S.-based Ethernet player, having a greater on-net density will give it an immediate advantage over the competitors that may reside in these buildings but don't have fiber built into them.

But this is not just about providing a faster Internet pipe. AT&T could use the ongoing FTTB program as a platform for its user-cloud and Net Bond VPN service strategy. Having a fiber connection allows it to support the demands of cloud-based storage and other applications like videoconferencing.

On a slightly different turn, Verizon is extending its symmetrical FiOS upgrade program to the SMB space. Like the consumer drive, the SpeedMatch campaign for SMBs will automatically migrate customers to the higher speed tiers.

Unlike AT&T, Verizon's speed tiers top out at 500 Mbps, but given the capabilities of the GPON equipment Verizon is deploying, it could potentially offer a 1 Gbps tier if demand for such a service emerges in the areas where it currently offers FiOS to SMBs.


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Study: Cities with super fast Internet speeds are more productive | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Study: Cities with super fast Internet speeds are more productive | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's become an article of faith among politicians, investors and entrepreneurs that the Internet — and access to it — is an economic engine. It helps connect Americans to education and government services. It serves as a platform for new ideas and companies that wind up changing the world. And it reduces costs for consumers and businesses everywhere.

With that in mind, a new study finds that access to next-generation Internet speeds may be connected to better economic growth. According to a report by the Boston-based Analysis Group, cities that offer broadband at 1 gigabit per second — roughly 100 times the national average of 10 megabits per second — report higher per-capita GDP compared to cities that lack those Internet speeds. Of course, all the normal caveats apply: It's hard to draw a causal inference from the study, and it's possible there's something else about the 14 gigabit cities that made them better off to begin with. Still, the paper's methodology seems relatively straightforward.

Drawing from federal statistics, the Analysis Group identified 14 metropolitan areas, such as Chattanooga, Tenn., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Salem, Ore., where over half of the population had access to gigabit speeds in 2011 and 2012. Then the researchers compared those areas against 41 neighboring cities where gigabit Internet wasn't widely available.

Cities with gigabit connections reported 1.1 percent higher per-capita GDP than their slower counterparts, the study found. That might not sound like much, but consider that per-capita GDP in the entire United States has been growing at a pace of one to two percent a year since the recession, according to the World Bank.


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Retrans wars may break the pay-TV model, boost OTT as small operators go Internet-only | Samantha Bookman | Fierce Online Video

Retrans wars may break the pay-TV model, boost OTT as small operators go Internet-only | Samantha Bookman | Fierce Online Video | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Faced with rising costs for television content, some smaller cable and broadband operators are either dropping blocks of TV channels or dumping their pay-TV service altogether, offering only Internet and phone service to their subscribers, The Wall Street Journal reports. It's a falloff that could result in as much as $2.4 billion in lost revenue for cable networks--and an opportunity for the OTT segment.

Ringgold Telephone Co., in North Georgia's mountain country, and BTC Broadband, in Bixby, Okla., are among a small but rising number of operators serving smaller populations that have decided to focus just on Internet service, typically bundled with phone services, the article said.

The move is reflective of the ongoing price battles between pay-TV providers and distributors like Viacom. In the most recent salvo, Tier 2 cable operator Suddenlink, which serves nearly 1.4 million customers in seven mid-South states and elsewhere, dropped 19 major Viacom channels including Comedy Central, BET, MTV and others. And in a coup de grace, Suddenlink told Viacom that it "had created bandwidth issues that it is unable to remedy." Meaning, rather than pony up to meet a 50 percent spike in retrans fees, the operator told Viacom that it has no plans to take its channels back.


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Haiti’s transition to digital TV could cost up to USD30m | TeleGeography.com

Jean-Marie Guillaume, the director general of Haiti’s telecoms watchdog the Conseil National des Telecommunications (Conatel), has announced that the transition process from analogue broadcasting to digital terrestrial television (DTT) could cost up to USD30 million, domestic news source Haiti Libre reports.


The executive disclosed that the government would ‘engage in this funding’, although he did not provide further details on the amount of money the state plans to invest in the project.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, although Haiti is not subject to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU’s) June 2015 international deadline for the analogue switch-off, Mr Guillaume revealed in September 2012 that the country is gearing up for the transition.


As Haiti is currently the only country in the region with a fully utilised 700MHz frequency band, Guillaume said: ‘We cannot completely convert our technology to 4G [Long Term Evolution], until we allow for the diffusion and the use of digital broadcasting.’

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Brazil: 700MHz spectrum auction underwhelms; two lots go unsold | TeleGeography.com

The auction of 700MHz Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable spectrum in Brazil concluded yesterday, watchdog Anatel has announced, generating a total of BRL5.85 billion (USD2.39 billion) – well below the regulator’s BRL7.71 billion target.


The country’s three largest mobile operators by subscribers – Vivo, TIM Brasil and Claro – all picked up nationwide spectrum blocks, generally paying slightly over the asking price, while one regional player – Algar Telecom – boosted its spectrum holdings in its existing service area. Oi, Brazil’s fourth-largest mobile operator, did not participate in the auction.

America Movil (AM)-backed Claro paid BRL1.947 billion for ‘Lot 1’, representing a 1% increase on the reserve price, while TIM Brasil bid the same for ‘Lot 2’ (0.99%). Vivo, meanwhile, met the reserve price of BRL1.928 billion attached to ‘Lot 3’, while Algar paid BRL29.57 million (0.02%) for spectrum covering 87 municipalities in the states of Goias, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul and Sao Paulo (‘Lot 5’).

However, ‘Lot 6’, covering the municipalities of Londrina and Tamarana in the state of Parana, where Sercomtel operates, did not attract any bidders. Neither did ‘Lot 4’, which offered national coverage with the exception of the areas covered by Lot 5 and Lot 6.


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Mexico: SCT to conduct series of ‘open access’ 700MHz trials | TeleGeography.com

Mexico’s Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) is set to conduct a series of 700MHz tests in the coming months, as it seeks to gather technical information ahead of its decision regarding the country’s planned USD10 billion ‘open access’ wireless network.


An official tender for the project has not yet been issued but El Financiero has reported that the bidding process could take place as early as November.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, despite the lack of a formal tender, the watchdog received its first bid to build the state-owned open-access mobile network earlier this month, from an as-yet-unidentified consortium; telecom equipment providers Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson helped the mystery consortium craft the proposal.

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Protesters Are Using FireChat's Mesh Networks To Organize in Hong Kong | Kate Knibbs | Gizmodo.com

Protesters Are Using FireChat's Mesh Networks To Organize in Hong Kong | Kate Knibbs | Gizmodo.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Protesters in Hong Kong have started communicating via FireChat, an app that lets people send messages without cell reception.


Tens of thousands of protestors are gathering in Hong Kong's financial district to protest changes to election policy that would let a mainland Chinese committee vet the city's political candidates, and many use their phones to organize. There's a live feed of the protest you can watch on YouTube.


College students spearheaded the initial meetup, and this protest is appropriately tech-savvy. In addition to mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Hong Kong's activists are using iOS and Android app FireChat.

Activist Joshua Wong advised his fellow student protestors to download the app, which helped spread the word.

FireChat's parent company Open Garden reports 100,000 new users from Hong Kong within 22 hours, and 33,000 users on the app at once. While that's nothing for big networks like Twitter, FireChat is still a small, new, underused app. This surge in use highlights its value as a tool for political organizers.

FireChat helps people create what are known as "mesh networks." These connections go between devices, using a phone's hardware to link people in a daisy chain. Right now, FireChat can connect devices up to 200 feet apart. The geographic limit means the app is really only useful in crowds... but that's exactly what the Occupy Central protests have drawn. Since the crowd is so dense, many people are able to create a large mesh network to spread updates.


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The US is ready to redefine “television” to include the internet | Brendan Sasso | Quartz

The US is ready to redefine “television” to include the internet | Brendan Sasso | Quartz | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The US Federal Communications Commission is considering whether to treat certain online video services like cable and satellite TV providers.

The move would help the online services get cheaper access to major network programming and could allow them to become stronger competitors to the dominant pay-TV providers like Comcast.

“This is a very big deal,” said Richard Greenfield, an industry analyst for BTIG. “It could pose very significant challenges to the traditional [cable TV] bundle.”

The FCC’s Media Bureau is working on the proposal, which could be shared more broadly within the commission as early as this week, according to an FCC official.

Kim Hart, an FCC spokesman, declined to comment.

The proposal would only apply to online services that offer pre-scheduled programming. So the rules wouldn’t cover Netflix, which allows subscribers to watch videos whenever they want.

But it could revive the controversial online video service Aereo, which allowed subscribers to watch broadcast TV channels on their computers and Internet connected-TVs. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that Aereo was stealing the broadcasters’ copyrighted content.

In response, Aereo asked to be reclassified as a cable provider. The move wouldn’t give it free access to broadcast programming, but it would force the broadcasters to negotiate following certain rules and would likely mean cheaper access to their channels.

“Aereo is back,” Greenfield said.


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Imagine How The FBI And NSA Would Flip Out If Tor Browsing Was Built Into Firefox Or Chrome? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Imagine How The FBI And NSA Would Flip Out If Tor Browsing Was Built Into Firefox Or Chrome? | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

All last week, we saw law enforcement types freaking out about the news that Apple and Google were making phone encryption a default. While a good step in the right direction, this was really kind of a minor thing, only protecting a small bit of information -- and yet law enforcement folks went nuts.

So just imagine how crazy they'll go if Tor were embedded directly into Firefox as the default "private browsing mode," as was recently hinted at by Tor exec director Andrew Lewman. Even though private browsing mode still isn't even used that much, adding Tor automatically to it would be quite handy for those who wish to have greater control over their privacy, but haven't gone through the trouble of setting up Tor themselves. Lewman didn't name the browser that has been thinking about this, but did say it had 10 to 20% of the market, which suggests Firefox is the most likely partner. Though, frankly, it would be nice to see this as a feature on all browsers.


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