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Facts About Low Band Spectrum Holdings | AT&T Public Policy Blog

In an op ed last week, CCA again called for auction limits to “prevent the two dominant wireless carriers from blocking competitors’ access to low-frequency spectrum.”  The problem, according to CCA, is that AT&T and Verizon control a significant portfolio of low band spectrum.  CCA also alleges we were “handed” our 850 MHz allocations “free of charge” (despite the fact that the vast majority of our current 850 MHz licenses were acquired for significant value on the secondary market). 
 
Finally, CCA alleges that we “want to keep other cellphone carriers (including, presumably, CCA members) from getting access” to low band allocations.  CCA specifically identifies three member companies – Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, Cellular One – that “are anxious to further expand in rural America, and they need low-frequency spectrum to do so.”
 
As with so many arguments in the high band/low band spectrum debate, these arguments are made without much reliance on facts.  So, let’s look at some relevant facts, starting with the three member companies CCA identifies in support of their argument:


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Poll: Backhaul Presents 5G's Biggest Challenge | Sarah Thomas | Light Reading

Poll: Backhaul Presents 5G's Biggest Challenge | Sarah Thomas | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When it comes to 5G, there are no shortage of potential challenges, but -- according to one third of those who voted in a recent Light Reading poll -- upgrading backhaul to support the enormous amount of traffic coming to 5G is the biggest challenge the industry will face.

In our poll of nearly 500 readers, 31% said that backhaul was 5G's biggest challenge, followed by "too many consortiums trying to influence the standards process" at 19%. Another 16% selected "backwards compatibility with 4G, 3G and even some 2G networks," 13% said "meeting challenging and diverse performance targets," 9% chose "future-proofing the network for the next ten years" and 8% selected "ensuring 5G networks are secure." (See 5G Challenges.)

Here's another look at the survey results, excluding the 4% of voters who selected "other" for 5G's biggest challenge.


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Analyst: U.S. carriers and Dish now hold spectrum worth $368B | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless

Analyst: U.S. carriers and Dish now hold spectrum worth $368B | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. wireless carriers along with Dish Network sit on wireless spectrum worth around $368 billion collectively, according to a report from a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs.

That sky-high valuation is a result of the AWS-3 spectrum auction, according to Goldman Sachs analyst Brett Feldman. The auction raised a record $41.329 billion in net winning bids, and was for mid-band spectrum, which the wireless carriers already had quite a bit of going into the auction. As a result of the bidding, the carriers' existing holdings and the spectrum they acquired in the AWS-3 auction are now worth more than they were before the auction, which ended in late January.


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Ritter/Fidelity Regional Fiber Network Eliminates Internet Middlemen | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Ritter/Fidelity Regional Fiber Network Eliminates Internet Middlemen | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new regional fiber network built by two small local telcos not only will bring higher-speed connectivity to communities in six states. It also should enhance users’ Internet experience in another way: It will minimize the number of carriers underlying users’ end-to-end Internet connection, which should help minimize latency – an increasingly important consideration as the Internet increasingly supports real-time offerings such as video streaming services.

The new regional fiber network comes from Arkansas-based Ritter Communications and Missouri-based Fidelity Communications and will support broadband connections between 10 Mbps and 100 Gbps. The network will link Dallas and Memphis, serving rural communities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.


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Quantum leap: IBM scientists lay the foundations for a practical, scalable quantum computer | Dario Borghino | GizMag.com

Quantum leap: IBM scientists lay the foundations for a practical, scalable quantum computer | Dario Borghino | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

IBM scientists have unveiled two crucial advances toward the creation of a practical quantum computer: an effective way to detect and correct quantum errors, and the design of a silicon chip that can scale up to house a large number of entangled quantum bits.
The power of quantum computing

Transistors in classical computers can only shrink so far. The current generation of transistors is 14 nanometers in size, meaning that only about thirty silicon atoms fit between the transistor’s "source" and "drain," the two ends of the electronic switch. Once that number gets reduced to only about four or five silicon atoms, the uncertainty brought on by quantum mechanic effects will make it impossible for such a switch to function properly. Electrons will spontaneously and randomly jump from one end of the other in unpredictable ways, creating a current even when the switch is off.

The idea behind quantum computers  –  first advanced by Richard Feynmann in 1981  –  is to harness quantum effects rather than see them as an obstacle. This is done not by building a more advanced transistor, but instead by harnessing the much greater potential of quantum information.


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Why ISPs Should Stop Forwarding Piracy Settlement Demands | TorrentFreak

Why ISPs Should Stop Forwarding Piracy Settlement Demands | TorrentFreak | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There are many ways copyright holders approach today’s “online piracy problem.”

Some prefer to do it through innovation, while others prefer educational messages, warnings or even lawsuits. Another group is aiming to generate revenue by obtaining lots of small cash settlements.

Rightscorp and CEG TEK have chosen the latter model. Their emails are sent as regular DMCA notices which many ISPs then forward to their customers, often with a settlement demand included.

Both companies send millions of warnings to U.S. Internet providers every year, but how these are handled varies per ISP. Some, including Charter, forward the entire notice, while others such as Comcast strip out the settlement details.

To find out more about the legality of these notices, and the options Internet providers and subscribers have, TorrentFreak sat down with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) staff attorney Mitch Stoltz.


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Even Apple now confirms that tattoos and the Apple Watch don’t mix | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

Even Apple now confirms that tattoos and the Apple Watch don’t mix | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's official: the Apple Watch just doesn't play well with tattoos.

After a number of Apple Watch buyers with tattooed wrists reported that their ink appeared to be interfering with the Watch's ability to read their heart rates. On Friday, 9 to 5 Mac spotted an update to the company's support page for the watch that confirms the problem.

The document seems to back user reports that darker, more solid tattoos cause the most interference, and also confirms that the problems occur because the light-based technology Apple uses to measure your heart rate. Apple measures blood flow in part by shining green light -- which your red blood absorbs -- into your wrist. It then calculates your pulse by tracking how much of that light gets absorbed. But, it seems, the light can have problems getting through tattoo ink to get an accurate reading.

"The ink, pattern and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings," the document says. There is no indication from Apple that variations in natural skin tone cause similar problems; the ink seems to be main problem here.

Being able to measure fitness statistics is one of the main selling points for the Apple Watch, and is the focus of one of its latest ads for the device. The success of companies such as Jawbone and Fitbit have shown that there is a wearables market out there for fitness buffs, and it's probably one of the easiest markets for Apple to tap into in the early days of its Watch launch.

However, Apple does caution instances in which the Apple Watch may have trouble reading your heart rate.


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That 20 Mbps Broadband Line We Promised? It's Actually 300 Kbps. Enjoy! | Karl Bode | Techdirt

That 20 Mbps Broadband Line We Promised? It's Actually 300 Kbps. Enjoy! | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Did you know that U.S. ISPs in uncompetitive markets are really, really shitty at their jobs? While I assumed that was pretty common public knowledge by this point, there's an interesting new groundswell of attention being paid to the fact that most ISPs are absolutely abysmal at communicating 1: what real-world speeds a user can get; and 2: whether users can actually get service at all.


Case in point was the recent, Kafka-esque experience of a new Washington homeowner, who spent months being given the runaround by Comcast and CenturyLink regarding service the companies repeatedly (but falsely) promised was available.

This week, another story is making the rounds that highlights how ISPs will often claim to offer one speed, then actually offer users something dramatically more pathetic (if you can get connected at all). This user in Michigan, for example was told by AT&T's website and employees repeatedly that he should be able to get 20 Mbps at his address -- only to discover that the top speed he could get was a not-so-brisk 300 kbps. Such circa 1999 speeds are of course well below the FCC's new 25 Mbps broadband definition, changed to highlight the notable lack of U.S. competition at higher speeds.

Given that AT&T likely doesn't see any competition in the user's market, that 300 kbps isn't just slow, it's unreliable, suffers from the more-than-occasional hiccup and for good measure it's capped at 150 GB of usage before overages are incurred. Similarly, no competition means AT&T doesn't have great motivation to upgrade its outdated internal databases, or improve customer service. The lack of competition and regulatory capture in so many of these states makes communicating with AT&T (or getting regulators to care about broken promises) a Sisyphean endeavor:


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Time Warner Cable and Charter Both Talking to Bright House Networks About Acquisition Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable and Charter Both Talking to Bright House Networks About Acquisition Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the last week, executives from both Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable have talked to the Newhouse Family, controlling owner of Bright House Networks, about an acquisition of the cable company.

Time Warner may hold the stronger hand. In addition to being a much-larger and wealthier cable company, Time Warner has the advantage of a long-standing partnership dating back to the early 90’s with Bright House in which Time Warner shares its volume discounts on cable programming and technology with Bright House in return for an annual fee. As part of that arrangement, Time Warner has the right of first offer if Bright House ever chose to sell. If Time Warner matches or beats a competing offer, such as that now on the table from Charter Communications, it wins Bright House for itself.

Bright House decided it had to sell to someone after the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger threatened to end its arrangement with Time Warner. Bright House would pay substantially more for programming and equipment without the volume discounts Time Warner received. With the Comcast deal off the table, Time Warner remains an acquisition target.


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‘Our economy has fundamentally changed’: Richard Florida on why tech scenes are thriving | Christopher Wink | Technical.ly

‘Our economy has fundamentally changed’: Richard Florida on why tech scenes are thriving | Christopher Wink | Technical.ly | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The ecosystem metaphor that has become so popular to describe the many inter-locking organisms and organizations that make a tech community thrive may be incomplete. Because, as popular urbanist academic Richard Florida puts it, ecosystems don’t stand alone, they’re influenced by and attached to others.

Seeds from one ecosystem find their way to another. So perhaps the solar system metaphor should get more play. Look at how it fits in this current iteration of an innovation corridor growing in the U.S. Northeast.

“New York is the world’s most powerful city, and it’s the sun around which the rest of this region revolves,” said Florida, best known for popularizing an economic development agenda with his 2002 book The Rise of the Creative Class. He summons the old BosWash corridor oumega-region that Florida says is due to have its day.

And Florida says that’s happening because urbanity and the web are giving rise to innovation clusters of technologies and innovations in unexpected places. To thrive, New York’s financial, business and cultural sectors need access to and support from an ever-larger engine of ideas, and our human desire to be near to each other is creating a patchwork of connected ecosystems.

You could commercialize technology from a Philadelphia university, hire a cheaper dev team in Baltimore, get an investor from Boston, retain a marketing firm from D.C., and then join your sales team in New York for your plans to go public.

Of course, you might also involve actors and organizations from around the world, but there remains a stubborn human preference for the quick train ride to meet someone in person, said Florida. So these satellite systems appear to be developing around the country and the world, even if civic pride keeps some from seeing it. (It’s something he said in our latest Technical.ly Podcast.)


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Charles Benton, Champion of the Public Interest in Telecom, Passes | community broadband networks

Charles Benton, Champion of the Public Interest in Telecom, Passes | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The world of media education, communication policy, and philanthropy is mourning the loss of Charles Benton who passed away on April 29. He lived a long life encouraging and empowering individuals and communities to use technology to improve their quality of life.


But beyond that, specifically working to remove barriers that discourage historically marginalized communities from benefiting from communications technologies.

In addition to serving on the National Museum and Library Services Board for the Obama Administration, Charles advised President Bill Clinton as a member of the Parental Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligation of Digital Television Broadcasters.

He also served his country as Chairman of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) and as Chairman of the First White House Conference on Library and Information Services, held in November of 1979. He continued to serve on the NCLIS for another five years, during which time he was unanimously elected Chairman Emeritus.


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Connecticut Gets Tired Of Waiting For State's Regional Broadband Duopoly, Starts Pushing Gigabit Networks | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Connecticut Gets Tired Of Waiting For State's Regional Broadband Duopoly, Starts Pushing Gigabit Networks | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Connecticut is one of numerous states where incumbent ISPs have all but given up on seriously competing or improving service, urban and rural customers alike. AT&T was so disinterested in Connecticut it recently sold all of its fixed-line networks in the state to Frontier Communications, throwing customers from the frying pan (a totally disinterested AT&T) into the fire (a marginally-interested but now debt-saddled Frontier). For years Frontier has claimed its customers don't need faster broadband access, and its CEO is on record claiming that gigabit service is "hype" that only acts to "confuse customers."

Pixelpusher220 writes in to note that numerous Connecticut cities are tired of waiting for Comcast and Frontier to give a damn, and have issued a RFP/RFQ (Request for Quotation) to begin examining the construction of gigabit networks. Roughly 46 of Connecticut's 169 towns and cities (accounting for 50% of the state's population) have signed up so far, with an eye on striking a privately-funded, public/private partnership. What started with a $4 million federal broadband expansion grant by the NTIA, quickly shifted toward Connecticut making it easier for companies to come in and compete using pole attachment reform:

"Connecticut is the one state in the country that has fixed the unbelievably difficult issue of attaching wires to poles. Rather than letting pole owners hold up every requestor by creating delays and making demands for special payments (seriously: pole-attachment scuffles are the long-running soap operas of telecom), Connecticut requires pole owners to obey a Single Pole Administrator, adhere to uniform pricing agreements, and act to make way for new wires in a set time. Dramatic stuff. And Connecticut already had passed a statute giving municipalities the right to use a part of a pole, or “gain,” for any purpose. These two elements made Connecticut an extremely attractive place to string a network."

Well, attractive if you're actually interested in offering cutting-edge service. Less attractive perhaps if you're a regional duopoly or monopoly trying desperately to maintain the status quo and spend as little money as possible on customer service or your network. ISPs, as is so frequently the case, have responded with the usual assortment of false claims that either gigabit speeds already exist (only if you're talking about the core network), or customers don't really want this kind of speed:


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Telecom Sleaze: ALEC & Its Communication's Funders -- AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, Comcast & Time Warner Cable | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Telecom Sleaze: ALEC & Its Communication's Funders -- AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, Comcast & Time Warner Cable | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For full details: The Book of Broken Promises; $400 Billion Broadband Scandal & Free the Net, (See: Chapter 28: Fake Consumer Groups, Biased Research, Lots of Lobbyists, Paid-Off Politicians: Behind the Broadband Curtain, (Throw in ALEC)).

Over the last few weeks, a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC), has been sending out 'cease and desist' letters to Credo Mobile, who questioned ALEC's role in blocking municipalities from offering broadband, as well as Common Cause and even the League of Conservation Voters, who challenged the group's denial of global warming. I'll get back to this.

But it is ALEC that should cease operations and everyone reading this must ask -- why is the Department of Justice (DOJ) not investigating ALEC and its corporate communications members and funders -- AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, Comcast & Time Warner Cable?

We ask: Is ALEC and these five companies a "Trust" that should not be trusted but rather investigated?

15 U.S. Code § 1 - Trusts, etc., in restraint of trade illegal; penalty

"Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court."

Simply Put: How is it legal for one organization, ALEC, and its "communications member" funders, AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, Comcast & Time Warner Cable, to all work together to create "model legislation" that mainly benefits these companies?

As a group, these five companies control most of the wires that go into homes and offices, schools and libraries, etc., for phone, cable, broadband and Internet (ISP) services, as well control the majority of wireless spectrum that controls wireless services. Moreover, they also control critical network infrastructure, (known as "Special Access"), that is used by content companies, such as Netflix, or even the wireless competitors as well as all WiFi services and their hot spots are all attached to wired infrastructure sooner or later.

And how is it legal for ALEC and these five companies to work with ALEC state-based politician members, many of whom are campaign-financed and/or corporate foundation-grant-laden by these same communications companies, who tweak this model legislation-from-Hell and then force-feed it through state legislatures, with the help of heavily funded, massive, well coordinated skunkworks (hidden and not so hidden) networks of astroturf (fake-grassroots) corporate-funded think-tanks, lobbyists, and co-opted non-profits and minority groups (many of whom are heavily funded by these companies) and do this in multiple states as well as at the federal level?

And let us be clear: There are different corporate-cabals within ALEC; some focusing on a social agenda, like harming voter rights and workers rights, or others that target fracking restrictions or killing off climate change legislation.

But this one ALEC cabal is about keeping the 'monopoly/duopoly' controls of these five companies over all communications services -- with the intent to harm all other competitor companies, not to mention the public interest, i.e., you.

This cabal's fabricated model legislation is not by the people or for the people, but for the companies and by the companies to raise your rates, block your rights to have choice of who provides your broadband, Internet or cable services over the wires you paid to deploy, or to stop municipalities networks from competing. "Free Market" to them means free them from competition, oversight and regulations.


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Comcast brings fiber to city that it sued 7 years ago to stop fiber rollout | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Comcast brings fiber to city that it sued 7 years ago to stop fiber rollout | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In April 2008, Comcast sued the Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB) to prevent it from building a fiber network to serve residents who were getting slow speeds from the incumbent cable provider.

Comcast claimed that EPB illegally subsidized the buildout with ratepayer funds, but it quickly lost in court, and EPB built its fiber network and began offering Internet, TV, and phone service. After EPB launched in 2009, incumbents Comcast and AT&T finally started upgrading their services, EPB officials told Ars when we interviewed them in 2013.

But not until this year has Comcast had an Internet offering that can match or beat EPB's $70 gigabit service. Comcast announced its 2Gbps fiber-to-the-home service on April 2, launching first in Atlanta, then in cities in Florida and California, and now in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

"Comcast today announced it will offer residential multi-gigabit broadband service for up to 200,000 customers in Chattanooga beginning in June, and expects to expand availability locally over the next several months," Comcast said.

There's no word on Comcast pricing yet, but it could vary depending on the level of competition in each city. AT&T, for example, charges $70 a month for gigabit service in cities that have Google Fiber and as much as $40 more in cities that don't have Google.

Comcast has charged a whopping $399.95 a month for its existing 505Mbps service but says it will charge less for the 2Gbps plan, which it intends to roll out to 18 million homes nationwide by the end of this year.

Comcast had little interest in upgrading its Chattanooga network when it faced no real competition. "I think we would have welcomed the incumbents to come into town and to have done some of this work, but frankly no one was interested in doing it," EPB communications VP Danna Bailey told Ars long before Comcast announced its fiber intentions.


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 25 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 25 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The big news this week was about the fall of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. We like to think it was because of our incredibly brilliant, insightful (also: "witty", "pithy", "charming"...) letter to Comcast.

Once Comcast’s Deal Shifted to a Focus on Broadband, Its Ambitions Were Sunk By JONATHAN MAHLER, New York Times

At the end of the day, the government’s commitment to maintaining a free and open Internet did not square with the prospect of a single company controlling as much as 40 percent of the public’s access to it… it didn’t really matter if Comcast and Time Warner’s cable markets overlapped. The real issue was broadband.

Blocking Comcast Is a Start. But if We Want Better Broadband, We Need Much More by Peter Kafka, Re/Code

'Fast, fair and open:' FCC Chairman lays out his big picture for broadband, WRAL TechWire

In case you missed it, here is a transcript of Chairman Wheeler’s remarks to Broadband Communities in Austin.

“Our idea of rock stars would be the leaders of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina.”

Community Broadband News by State


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VT: ECFiber Seeks New Business Model Designation | community broadband networks

VT: ECFiber Seeks New Business Model Designation | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

ECFiber hopes to transform its business model in order to attract investors, reported Valley News in February.


The organization is now an "inter-local contract," an entity somewhat unique to Vermont, but seeks to change to a "telecommunications union district." Similar to a municipal utility district, the telecommunications union district is created by two or more municipalities. The new business model would not change ECFiber's governance or require financial support from local towns but officials believe it would attract more outside investors.

Last year, ECFiber announced it would expand in 2015, seeking large scale funding to help speed up deployment. Since 2008, the organization has raised over $6 million for deployment from individual investors and now serves more than 1,000 subscribers.


Unfortunately, this method financing slows expansion. The results are bad for ECFiber and bad for local consumers:


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Insiders Claim Regulators to Sign Off on AT&T DirecTV Deal | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

While Comcast's merger ambitions are now dead, there's every indication that the FCC and DOJ will let AT&T's $48 billion acquisition of DirecTV move forward. Insiders claim the deal poses "far fewer problems" than the massive scale and impact of the Comcast deal. Regulators also so far believe AT&T's claims that eliminating DirecTV from the pay TV market will somehow improve broadband coverage for rural customers, anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal:

quote:


The Federal Communications Commission sees the AT&T deal as helping competition and aiding the spread of broadband into rural areas that lack service, people familiar with the matter said.

The problem is that outside of perhaps some wireless broadband, satellite TV service mash ups, not much will actually change in AT&T's broadband deployment plans, which include pushing LTE everywhere, hanging up on unwanted DSL users, and deploying fiber to the home to a relatively few, affluent housing developments. AT&T has long used the promise of broadband expansion as a carrot on a stick for regulators, though said expansions often tend to be phantoms.


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The Information Age Is Over. Welcome to the Infrastructure Age. | Annalee Newitz | Gizmodo

The Information Age Is Over. Welcome to the Infrastructure Age. | Annalee Newitz | Gizmodo | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nobody wants to say it outright, but the Apple Watch sucks. So do most smartwatches. Every time I use my beautiful Moto 360, its lack of functionality makes me despair. But the problem isn’t our gadgets. It’s that the future of consumer tech isn’t going to come from information devices. It’s going to come from infrastructure.

That’s why Elon Musk’s announcements of the new Tesla battery line last night were more revolutionary than Apple Watch and more exciting than Microsoft’s admittedly nifty HoloLens. Information tech isn’t dead — it has just matured to the point where all we’ll get are better iterations of the same thing. Better cameras and apps for our phones. VR that actually works. But these are not revolutionary gadgets. They are just realizations of dreams that began in the 1980s, when the information revolution transformed the consumer electronics market.

But now we’re we’re entering the age of infrastructure gadgets. Thanks to devices like Tesla’s household battery, Powerwall, electrical grid technology that was once hidden behind massive barbed wire fences, owned by municipalities and counties, is now seeping slowly into our homes. And this isn’t just about alternative energy like solar. It’s about how we conceive of what technology is. It’s about what kinds of gadgets we’ll be buying for ourselves in 20 years.

It’s about how the kids of tomorrow won’t freak out over terabytes of storage. They’ll freak out over kilowatt-hours.

Beyond transforming our relationship to energy, though, the infrastructure age is about where we expect computers to live. The so-called internet of things is a big part of this. Our computers aren’t living in isolated boxes on our desktops, and they aren’t going to be inside our phones either. The apps in your phone won’t always suck you into virtual worlds, where you can escape to build treehouses and tunnels in Minecraft. Instead, they will control your home, your transit, and even your body.

Once you accept that the thing our ancestors called the information superhighway will actually be controlling cars on real-life highways, you start to appreciate the sea change we’re witnessing. The internet isn’t that thing in there, inside your little glowing box. It’s in your washing machine, kitchen appliances, pet feeder, your internal organs, your car, your streets, the very walls of your house. You use your wearable to interface with the world out there.

It makes perfect sense to me that a company like Tesla could be at the heart of the new infrastructure age. Musk’s focus has always been relentlessly about remolding the physical world, changing the way we power our transit — and, with SpaceX, where future generations might live beyond Earth. The opposite of cyberspace is, well, physical space. And that’s where Tesla is taking us.


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For mobile operators, sharing is caring | De Wet Bisschoff & Hennie de Villiers | TechCentral

For mobile operators, sharing is caring | De Wet Bisschoff & Hennie de Villiers | TechCentral | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Co-location allows for a more sustainable financial model that can bolster operator revenues, take pressure off consumers and increase network penetration in underserviced areas.

The telecommunications landscape has changed significantly in the past decade due to pricing pressure, rising network costs and evolving consumer demands.

According to Ovum, average revenue per user (Arpu) is forecast to decline at 16% globally (and at a faster 19% in South Africa) between 2012 and 2019. Related to this, data demand will drive 4G/LTE traffic, to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 110% from 2014 to 2019. Data is also driving future revenue, with LTE revenues in the Middle East and Africa predicted to grow from 23% of total radio access network revenues in 2015 to 67% in 2019.

To add to this, over-the-top services and increasing adoption of the Internet of things are presenting new challenges for operators.

Essentially, operators find themselves in a “perfect storm”, with margin pressures weighing heavily on current business models. The net effect will be that consumers are increasingly bearing the costs of connectivity, as witnessed in the recent pricing adjustments by South African operators.

In the circumstances, how can operators provide better services, supported by a financially sustainable business model?


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Frontier's Website Woes - Company Drops Online Ordering... Because It Can't Make It Work Right | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Frontier's Website Woes - Company Drops Online Ordering... Because It Can't Make It Work Right | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you want to order a product or service online from Frontier Communications, forget it. A source tells Stop the Cap! the company was dropping online e-commerce functions from its Frontier.com website because it could never get online ordering working properly.

Sure enough, the latest iteration of Frontier’s website today blazes with banners requesting customers call the company or use “live chat” to handle any orders for service.

“They still offer the function of self-service — allowing customers to view their bills, set up auto payments, make one time payments, etc., but they are removing the ability for customers to order any service at all,” said our source.


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Time Warner Cable's Post-Merger Conference Call: Improved Subscriber Numbers But 'We'll Let Others Take the Lead' | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable's Post-Merger Conference Call: Improved Subscriber Numbers But 'We'll Let Others Take the Lead' | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable held its first post-merger-flop conference call with investors this morning and reported surprisingly good subscriber numbers for the first quarter of 2015.

Despite disappointing investors for not meeting projected profit and revenue numbers for the first three months of the year, Time Warner managed to add 30,000 net video customers for the first time since 2009. High-speed data customers grew by 315,000, compared with 269,000 a year ago, while voice customers increased by 320,000, compared with 107,000 in the prior-year period. The company also reported $26 million in wasted merger-related costs.


A renewed love for Time Warner Cable was not the reason the cable company added customers. Aggressive pricing with fewer fine print “gotchas” and Time Warner Cable Maxx upgrades helped the company pick up new subscribers. Last October, Time Warner added a $90 triple play offer valid across much of its service area, offering unlimited calling phone, Preferred TV, and 30Mbps broadband with one set-top box for $89.99 a month for one year, an offer Artie Minson, chief financial officer of Time Warner Cable called “clean.”


For the last two years, Time Warner Cable executives decided to de-emphasize promotional pricing on phone service, preferring to draw more attention to its double-play television and broadband offers. This year, that thinking is long gone as the cable company re-emphasizes its triple-play packages and offers current customers the chance to add phone service for as little as $10 a month. The strong growth in new phone customers during the quarter reflects the success of those promotions.


Minson was less impressed with the sales of “skinny bundles” of bare basic cable television, HBO, and broadband service, noting it had little impact on Time Warner’s subscriber growth. The allure of its $14.99 everyday low price, low speed Internet offer has also waned.


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AT&T Fined Yet Again For Shady Behavior, This Time For Milking Low-Income Lifeline Program | Karl Bode | Techdirt

AT&T Fined Yet Again For Shady Behavior, This Time For Milking Low-Income Lifeline Program | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After a fifteen-year slumber, regulators have apparently decided it might be a good idea to start cracking down on rampant fraud in the telecom market. Not long ago, we noted how AT&T was finally fined for abusing the IP Relay network for the hearing impaired, intentionally turning a blind eye to scammers on the network just to haul in the $1.50 per minute subsidies tied to the network.


AT&T strung regulators along for years, implementing "solutions" that it knew wouldn't work but technically met flimsy FCC requirements. As a result, simply stopping AT&T from profiting off of defrauding the deaf (it's estimated that 95% of AT&T's IP Relay traffic at one point was credit card or other scammers) only took regulators the better part of two decades.

Last year, regulators finally cracked down on AT&T for helping scammers of a different sort: crammers. Crammers had been gouging AT&T customers for most of the last decade, charging them $10 a month for garbage "premium" text messaging, horoscopes and other un-asked-for detritus. There again, AT&T intentionally turned a blind eye to the criminal behavior, in large part because the company was netting around 35% of the proceeds from the scams. Worse perhaps, regulators found AT&T was actively making its bills harder to understand so the fraud would be more difficult to detect.

This month, the FCC has announced that it has struck a settlement with AT&T and former subsidiary SNET, over charges the companies were collecting undeserved subsidies under the agency's "Lifeline" program, a low-income community subsidy effort created by the Reagan administration in 1985 and expanded by Bush in 2005. According to the FCC's findings, AT&T apparently "forgot" to audit its Lifeline subscriber rolls and purge them of non-existent or no-longer-eligible customers, allowing it to continue taking taxpayer money from a fund intended to aid the poor:


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Super speedy internet to serve Toronto’s waterfront condos | Duncan McAllister | Metro News Canada

Super speedy internet to serve Toronto’s waterfront condos | Duncan McAllister | Metro News Canada | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What do the Pan Am Games, waterfront condos and high-speed Internet have in common? They’re all part of Waterfront Toronto’s Intelligent Communities venture.

Toronto’s waterfront has been recognized globally as a leading 21st-century community, interconnected by a super-high-speed broadband infrastructure that will serve the needs of the 2015 Pan Am Games, as well as Dream Unlimited’s Canary District and Tridel’s Aqualina condo towers.

Recent blockbuster announcements — such as Daniels’ Waterfront City of The Arts, and Menkes’ Waterfront Innovation Centre — put Toronto at the forefront of the world’s intelligent cities. These knowledge-based, live-work communities will be geared specifically to the creative and technology sectors, relying on the information highway to enable all manner of commercial, educational and community services.


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Chris Mitchell to Speak in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 5th | community broadband networks

Chris Mitchell to Speak in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 5th | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Tuesday, May 5th, Chris Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance will join the Cambridge, Massachusetts, City Council Broadband Task Force for an open meeting to provide information on municipal fiber networks. The community is in the process of exploring the possibility of investing in infrastructure to improve local connectivity.

The city formed its task force in 2014 and are in the process of establishing a relationship with a consultant to help them move forward.

The presentation will be at the Harvard Information Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. The event starts at 5 p.m.

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MN: Public Private Fiber optic expansion coming to Mankato | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

The Mankato Free Press reports on new fiber going into Mankato, which will bring better broadband and a new provider to the area. It’s a public-private partnership between Blue earth County and Jaguar Communications that won’t cost the taxpayers more money. It’s a good example of looking at everyone’s assets (including expertise) and coming up with a win-win solution.

Here’s the scoop on the fiber…

The agreement will involve installing underground about 7 miles of fiber optic communication infrastructure along a “south fiber ring” from the far eastern edge of Mankato, south along Highway 22, west along Stadium Road and to downtown along Stoltzman Road and Riverfront Drive. Fiber, which allows large amounts of data to be transmitted at very high speeds, is already in place from downtown to the far east side along a “north fiber route” that runs mostly along Marsh Street and Madison Avenue.

Like the north fiber route, the new fiber installation was spurred by local governments with the help of the state of Minnesota. The governments’ interest involves connecting most city, county and state buildings with a ring of fiber optic cable, which will create a backup route for communications even if either the northern or southern cable is accidentally severed or otherwise disrupted.

Another government fiber route runs along Victory Drive from the far northeastern edge of Mankato to Balcerzak Drive to Minnesota State University.


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AT&T, China Telecom, DT, FT excluding all competition from LTE-U | 5G Wireless News

AT&T, China Telecom, DT, FT excluding all competition from LTE-U | 5G Wireless News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

11 of world's largest telcos want LTE-U blocked except for incumbents with LTE networks. For practical purposes, that's 4 in the U.S., 3 in Germany, 3 in China ... Since LTE will be the primary mobile phone protocol, this will prevent all but incumbent telcos from the common mobile connection.

The title is blunt: Precluding standalone access of LTE on unlicensed carriers. Why is this important? "Standalone deployment in unlicensed spectrum implies drastically different business models from nowadays and might impact the value chain."

They fear "Possible disintermediation of cellular operators due to standalone operation." In other words, users and competitors can bypass the telcos, cutting revenue. Even 3-5% of telco revenue is a large number.

The carriers want to take "standalone access to unlicensed spectrum" out of the standard. At almost the last minute, they want to change the Rel 13 Standard. Currently, Rel 13 "does not preclude possible use of unlicensed carriers in standalone manner." I.e. by a competitor or local access that isn't one of the very few with an existing LTE network. The original spec was designed to let telcos or anyone else use the technology.

The telcos Proposal is "Non-CA LAA operation is not supported in Rel-13." "Non-CA LAA operation" I believe covers anything done except by one of the LTE carriers. The remainder of the proposal below provides some specifics on how that might be accomplished.

It has not escaped my notice that the specific decisions they have proposed immediately suggest a possible mechanism for reducing competition.


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