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KY: Mimi Pickering: Private sector falling short on providing Internet access | Lexington Herald Leader

KY: Mimi Pickering: Private sector falling short on providing Internet access | Lexington Herald Leader | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It is a welcome sign that Rep. Hal Rogers recognizes broadband deployment as the most important "highway" building we can undertake to improve the economy and our communities in East Kentucky.


Internet access has been identified by the United Nations as a basic human right. And as more everyday tasks, social interactions and economic activity move online, high-speed Internet is a public necessity.


Unfortunately, far too many mountain communities cannot use the Internet to its potential because of lack of network infrastructure, accessibility and affordability.


The private sector is not providing the Internet services we need.


With few providers, competition that could drive technological investment and lower prices is lacking. The giant telecommunications corporations that control much of the market are investing primarily in metropolitan areas where they can maximize profits.


AT&T and Verizon are actually pushing bills in the legislature that would eliminate their responsibility to provide basic landline phone service throughout the state without any enforceable commitment to invest in new, equally affordable technology. This would be another blow for East Kentucky consumers and businesses.


The bright spot has been the rural telephone and electric cooperatives — not-for-profit and member owned — that have sought federal stimulus money and are laying fiber optic cable to the home in places like Morgan, Menifee, Elliott and Wolfe Counties.


The Internet offers tremendous potential to diversify and build our economy, but we can't sit on the porch waiting for the day they get around to wiring us up. We need to find out why Internet speeds are slow, why service is expensive and why for some places it's non-existent. Then we need to push our state and federal representatives to act in the interests of Kentuckians, not telephone companies.


The Central Appalachia Regional Network, of which Appalshop is a part, surveyed telecommunications policies proposed and enacted in six Appalachian states and made a number of recommendations that could improve access:


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Healthcare.gov Is A Security Disaster... And Those Working On It Knew It, And Tried To Stop Independent Security Review To Hide It | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Healthcare.gov Is A Security Disaster... And Those Working On It Knew It, And Tried To Stop Independent Security Review To Hide It | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've written before about how problematic the technology is behind the federal healthcare.gov website, pointing out that the federal government hired political cronies rather than web development experts to build it. There was an effort to open source the code, but after the feds put the code on github, they removed it after people started pointing out just how bad it was.


Then, just about a month ago, we noted that the government turned down a FOIA request from the Associated Press concerning the site's security practices, arguing that it might "give hackers enough information to break into the service." As we noted at the time, if revealing the basic security you have in place will give hackers a road map to breaking into the site, the site is not secure at all.

A damning new report from the Goverment Accountability Office (GAO) more or less confirms this is the case. This is further backed up by an even more astounding "Behind the Curtain of the Healthcare.gov Rollout" released by the House Oversight Committee.


To be fair, the GAO is non-partisan and known to be even-handed and fair. That's not always the case with Congressional committee reports. Still, the two are worth reading together. The level of mess behind the project is rather astounding and it appears that the site still is not particularly secure, which obviously explains the refusal to do that FOIA release.

Here's the GAO basic summary of the security situation for the site:


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Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities: Still significant support for LGA | Jess Bengtson | Crookston Times

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities: Still significant support for LGA | Jess Bengtson | Crookston Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bradley Peterson of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) visited Crookston Tuesday morning to discuss local government aid (LGA), economic development, job training, broadband and housing concerns.

In CGMC's report on Crookston, new LGA dollars for 2015 will increase by $42,720 under the 2014 Supplemental Tax Bill. The long term trend of the city's LGA showed its biggest increase happened from 2013-2014.

"What does everything look like going forward?" asked City Administrator Shannon Stassen. "Like a crystal ball outlook. We have concerns with possible steep declines."

Peterson answered with, "We have more buy-ins for LGA than four, five, or six years ago. We've done a lot to strengthen support in the House and Senate."

"My belief is long term, the program will be sustained no matter who is in office," Peterson added.


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Making Space for More Tech Firms in New York City | Rob Pegoraro | Urban Land Magazine

Making Space for More Tech Firms in New York City | Rob Pegoraro | Urban Land Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As New York City’s burgeoning tech economy continues to grow, startups face the same challenges for office space they would anywhere else—but have the added challenge of Manhattan-level price tags, vying for space with law firms, banks, and other well-financed tenants.

An absolute lack of space is not the issue, however. New York’s low 10 percent office vacancy rate may be second only to Washington, D.C.’s 9.6 percent, but an enormous amount of inventory is going up—7.7 million square feet (715,000 sq m) of space was on the way in early August, the second-largest citywide total in the country.

But demand remains strong. In the first half of 2014, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) tracked more than 2.6 million square feet (241,500 sq m) of lease commitments by tech firms alone citywide; in Manhattan itself, those deals approached 15 percent of the office inventory leased in that borough.

Blockbuster deals like Google’s $1.9 billion purchase in 2010 of a full-block office building in the Chelsea neighborhood—with nearly 3 million square feet (279,000 sq m) of space, conveniently sitting atop trunk fiber-optic lines—no longer seem as easy to come by. JLL recorded only six tech leases for more than 100,000 square feet (9,300 sq m) over the first half of 2014.

For the very smallest startups, even 1,000 square feet (93 sq m) is often more than they require. They just need more room than an apartment offers, ideally allowing for a chance to work alongside other entrepreneurs dealing with some of the same problems.

Here, the city’s real estate and tech industries have stepped up with a wide variety of coworking spaces and startup incubators, all offering that rarity in New York real estate: cheap or even free space to get started.
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One common trade-off is equity. That’s the deal with the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA), an incubator that has been hosting startups since March 2011.

Accepted companies get $40,000 in funding, four months’ free office space and business and legal service, access to its network of mentors, and a chance to pitch themselves to investors at ERA’s annual Demo Day. In return, ERA takes 8 percent common stock in each company.


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Google, Yahoo fighting on both sides of municipal broadband debate | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com

Google, Yahoo fighting on both sides of municipal broadband debate | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week the Internet Association submitted an official statement (PDF) urging the Federal Communications Commission to intervene in proposed state-level laws that seek to prohibit municipalities from deploying and maintaining their own broadband networks.


The Internet Association is essentially a lobbying organization that says it is “dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect internet freedom, foster innovation and economic growth and empower users.” It supports net neutrality, patent reforms that could eradicate patent trolls, and the protection of privacy of internet users, among many other causes in the technology industry. The group boasts a long list of very high-profile technology companies, including Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Reddit, and PayPal.

The group's statement come in response to the FCC’s request (PDF) earlier this summer for comments from the public on its role in state-level debates over municipal broadband rights. The FCC issued its request in response to two proposed bills aiming specifically to prevent municipal networks in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, from expanding their networks to neighboring towns.


Lawmakers in 20 states have already passed laws that either place similar restrictions on or prohibit municipal broadband outright, and one such bill proposed in Kansas was withdrawn from consideration last year after its critics pointed out that it threatened to limit internet access in the state’s rural areas.

The Internet Association used this opportunity to call on the FCC to raise its minimum required speed of 4 Mbps for broadband and crack down on the ISPs’ use of hardware that filters out competitors’ content. Ultimately, though, the Internet Association is urging the FCC to stop all legislative and regulatory efforts to restrict municipalities’ rights to provide public broadband services.

Municipal broadband projects often pop up in markets that ISPs deem unworthy of an investment, often because their low population would limit potential revenue. It’s a pretty simple idea – if nobody is offering local citizens high-speed internet, then the local government creates the offering itself. Then these small towns’ schools, hospitals, businesses, and homes are equipped with the same high-speed internet found in their big-city counterparts.


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United States: Verizon extends ‘XLTE’ AWS network to 22 new markets | TeleGeography.com

Verizon Wireless has confirmed that it has expanded its deployment of 1700MHz/2100MHz advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to boost its Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage in 22 additional markets.


Verizon has dubbed its deployment of 1700MHz/2100MHz AWS spectrum for LTE as ‘XLTE’; the new network has been designed to bolster capacity on the cellco’s 700MHz LTE network.


Further, the mobile giant has claimed that it now offers XLTE in more than 400 markets nationwide, equivalent to 80% of its LTE footprint. New markets include: Somerset (Kentucky), Hilo (Hawaii) and Jacksonville (North Carolina).

TeleGeography notes that Verizon started rolling out AWS spectrum late last year, initially augmenting capacity in major markets such as Chicago, New York City and San Francisco; around 50% of the cellco’s network was covered by May this year.

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Will Microsoft kill off the Minecraft marketplace? | Abby Ohlheiser | WashPost.com

Will Microsoft kill off the Minecraft marketplace? | Abby Ohlheiser | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The $2.5 billion Microsoft deal to purchase the makers of Minecraft became official on Monday, but some people -- especially non-gamers -- are just now starting to discover that the tech giant bought more than just a best-selling indie game with goofy graphics. Minecraft is also an ecosystem of dedicated fans who play, create and share within and beyond the game's open world.

Although it's not clear whether Microsoft will become more of a conservationist or a developer in this analogy, one thing is certain: Microsoft knows it's getting way more than just a popular game in which users basically mine for materials and build things. It's a game with a fan base that refers to the purchase in the first person:


@Microsoft You didn't just acquire Minecraft and Mojang, you acquired a big community. Do not. Let. Us. Down.

— Mack (@mackii) September 15, 2014


As evidenced by Amazon's $1 billion purchase of Twitch, the livestreaming service popular with gamers and virtually unheard of outside of that world, big companies are catching on to the value of owning the technology powering gaming communities. What's still unknown is how those communities will react, in the long run, to suddenly finding themselves in the hands of a major corporation -- and what Microsoft will do to try and keep them. For many, the Minecraft-Microsoft deal will become the canary in the redstone mine.


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CableLab's McKinney: DOCSIS 3.1 ‘Slightly Ahead’ Of Schedule | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

When it comes to preparing tests and setting specs for cable’s emerging DOCSIS 3.1 platform, it’s been full speed ahead at CableLabs.

Development of DOCSIS 3.1 technologies are “slightly ahead of the original schedule that we laid out two years ago when we kicked off 3.1 activities,” Phil McKinney, the president and CEO of Louisville, Colo.-based CableLabs, said in a recent interview. 

 

With the first DOCSIS 3.1 chips expected to emerge by the end of 2015, McKinney sees 3.1 interops getting underway by the first half of 2015, with certification to follow in the early part of the second half of 2015.

 

“Then you’ll start to see physical deployments by the end of 2015,” he predicted.

 

And let there be no doubt that DOCSIS 3.1 is a major priority for the industry.

 

“Every time I have a conversation with any of the [cable operator] CEOs, typically the first part of the conversation is not about the weather; it’s about the status of DOCSIS 3.1,” McKinney said.


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Utilities: More evidence that smart grids are morphing into smart cities | Jesse Berst | Smart Grid News

Utilities: More evidence that smart grids are morphing into smart cities | Jesse Berst | Smart Grid News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It was about three years ago that I first started warning utilities that smart cities would soon be part of the conversation. I wanted to share this recent announcement from Silver Spring Networks as a reminder that the trend is gathering momentum. And to emphasize several key points:

  • Smart cities are based on the same technical principles as the smart grid -- sensors at the edge sending back information about conditions, then analyzing that data to optimize the system


  •  Multi-purpose communications networks are increasing in importance. Cities don't want, can't afford, and don't have the staff to maintain dozens of purpose-built networks


  •  Open standards are essential


  •  Cross-silo solutions are growing -- solutions that pull in data and expertise from several functional areas


There's no better example than the street lighting projects highlighted in the press release below. Swapping in new LED bulbs becomes an excuse to install communications modules at the same time, giving the city a canopy network it can use in dozens of ways.

The moral? The cities you serve will soon be asking you about smart streetlights. And, if they are wise, about multi-purpose networks that can carry many different applications


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Ant-sized radios could help connect trillions of devices to the Internet of Things | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com

Ant-sized radios could help connect trillions of devices to the Internet of Things | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A team of researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, has created prototype radio-on-a-chip communications devices that are powered by ambient radio waves. Comprising receiving and transmitting antennas and a central processor, the completely self-contained ant-sized devices are very cheap to manufacture, don't require batteries to run and could give the "Internet of Things" (IoT) a serious kick start.

The wireless chip is designed to address the growing demand for smart sensors and remote control of devices by combining wireless communication, inbuilt logic control, and remote sensing. As micro-miniature intelligent radio devices like these can receive, process and transmit data, the researchers believe their tiny chips may serve as the missing link required to connect a vast array of gadgets to the internet and therefore each other and make the IoT a reality.

"The next exponential growth in connectivity will be connecting objects together and giving us remote control through the Web," said Amin Arbabian, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, and the principal designer of the new devices. "We're ultimately talking about connecting trillions of devices."


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Growth of Mobile Phone Use for Agriculture Markets | Big Picture Agriculture

Growth of Mobile Phone Use for Agriculture Markets | Big Picture Agriculture | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This was a rather impressive map and statistics from CME group showing the rapid growth of mobile device use accessing markets. I might add that though I haven’t kept track of numbers, it seems that rather suddenly many of this site’s readers are also now accessing through mobile phones. (The current percent for this site is 40 percent mobile devices but I’ve seen some days higher than that.)

Here’s what CME had to say…


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The tricky business of acting on live data before it's too late | Derrick Harris | GigaOM Tech News

The tricky business of acting on live data before it's too late | Derrick Harris | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For all the talk about big data and how it can help us track down needles in haystacks, there’s still a lot of work to when it comes to issues like public health. When successful intervention might require timelines of minutes or hours rather than days, it takes a might keen eye to monitor lots of needles in lots of haystacks and, more importantly, spot new and important ones as they pop up.

We’ve been following news out of the Global Database of Events, Languages and Tones (GDELT) project for the past several months, and it’s very impressive as a tool for historical analysis of the world’s happenings. It takes and indexes real-time streams from news sources around the world, and now includes hundreds of millions data points spanning the past 35 years. It has been used for all sorts of analyses so far, ranging from tracking the spread of terrorist groups to comparing how activity patterns of today’s political uprisings compare to those of decades past.


But in a blog post published on Saturday, GDELT project leader Kalev Leetaru points out a major limitation of the database: It’s only as useful as scope of data it includes and the analysts using it. Using analysis of the Ebola outbreak as an example, he explains how GDELT actually ingested an international news article referencing the Guinea government’s concern over hemorrhagic fever one day before Harvard’s HealthMap signaled an alert based on local social media activity. Only, without someone monitoring for that type of news in that part of the world, the single reference was very easy to miss.


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Facebook might launch a new app where users can login and “privately” socialize | Orpha Buena | PopHerald Tech News

Facebook might launch a new app where users can login and “privately” socialize | Orpha Buena | PopHerald Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yes, it’s possible that Facebook will introduce a brand new mobile application, and the source of the report is suggesting that users can login to this new app to enjoy the more “intimate” version of the social networking site. It’s like the failed Facebook list feature, but in a mobile app with better user interface.

According to a report from Techcrunch citing unnamed source, Facebook will bring yet another mobile app to the world, and it will focus on more private sharing with selected friends. The new app is codenamed “moments” and it’s currently in testing stage to clear out all bugs. The rumor claims that the interface of Facebook’s new app is a grid with “few tiles” which will represent the groups or set of friends.

If this sounds familiar, well, Facebook Messenger already offers group messaging or instant sending of messages, photos, videos and other files to selected friends only.

So what’s the point of this new app?


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Geek of the Week: L.A.'s first chief data officer | Asher Klein | Los Angeles Register

Geek of the Week: L.A.'s first chief data officer | Asher Klein | Los Angeles Register | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Turns out a political philosophy and policy nerd has a hard time just thinking about those issues when his bosses find out he’s good at coding.


That was Abhi Nemani’s experience as an intern at political-advocacy nonprofits like the Center for American Progress: he always wound up being the guy doing tech stuff.


“I was always kind of the geek in the room, and I could build a web app or a website pretty quickly,” Nemani said.


It worked out for him, since Nemani combined his interest in politics and government with technology as one of the first people to show cities can hire chief data officers. He became L.A.’s first chief data officer, a job he started Sept. 2.


Just 25, he’s already spent six years on “getting entrepreneurs to solve the problems that governments face,” as he put it in an interview last month, by building up an innovative startup called Code for America.


His work shines a Silicon Valley light on the problems facing Sacramento or Washington, asking how to drive sustainable public sector innovation through things like startup accelerators, so people outside of government can chip in, as it were.


“Instead of another consumer game, they might say, let me build something for government. Let me build something for the people that matter,” Nemani said.


That’s part of his mission now in Los Angeles. It comes at a time when the city is heavily ramping up its investment in technology.


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MN: Outstate’s needs are top priority Nov. 4 | Heidi Omerza & Bob Broeder | St.Cloud Times

MN: Outstate’s needs are top priority Nov. 4 | Heidi Omerza & Bob Broeder | St.Cloud Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At this time in the election cycle, political candidates are desperately fighting for our attention with a barrage of television ads, appearances, mass mailings and all the other hoopla needed for a winning campaign.

However, let’s not forget now is the time we must fight for their attention as well.

For many of us in outstate Minnesota, there is a real and constant struggle to avoid being overlooked by state leaders. While parts of outstate Minnesota appear to be recovering from the recession fairly well, serious problems are looming that need their attention.

Evidence shows that without a solid plan, rural communities will fall further behind the metro area due to unique concerns such as inadequate infrastructure (including a lack of broadband access and deteriorating roads), a rapidly aging workforce and a shortage of skilled workers to replace them.

We need a governor and legislators who will address these concerns proactively. As candidates make their rounds to community meetings and debates, residents in outstate Minnesota need to press them for solutions on our most pressing issues:

Better broadband access is desperately needed in outstate Minnesota. Last session, the Legislature responded by creating a $20 million broadband grant program. This is a start, but it’s only a drop in the bucket.

To truly show a commitment to making border-to-border broadband a reality, the governor and lawmakers should support the recommendation of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband for $200 million for broadband funding in the next biennium.


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Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Gets To The Core Of Net Neutrality Debate: You Need An Open Internet To Have A Free Market | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Gets To The Core Of Net Neutrality Debate: You Need An Open Internet To Have A Free Market | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has now spoken out strongly in favor of net neutrality in an interview with the Washington Post. The headline and much of the attention are going to his quip that what the big broadband providers are doing is a form of "bribery" in trying to set up toll booths to reach their users. And that is, indeed, the money quote, but it's not the most interesting part of what he's really saying.


It's in the context that he gets to that, where he's countering the bogus arguments from folks who insist that we don't need net neutrality rules because that would mess with "the free market."


That's wrong for a whole number of reasons that we've discussed previously, but Berners-Lee points out that to have a free market, you do need some basic accepted rules, and that's where some basic regulations are useful: regulations to keep the market free and open. And that's true of most "free markets."

"A lot of congressmen say, 'Well, sign up for the free market' and feel that it's just something you should leave to go by itself," said Berners-Lee. "Well yeah, the market works well so long as nobody prints money. So we have rules, okay? You don't steal stuff, for example. The U.S. dollar is something that everyone relies on. So the government keeps the dollar a stable thing, nobody steals stuff, and then you can rely on the free market."

In other words, in most cases, you do need some basic rules in place to make sure the free market is functioning fairly. It's why most free market supporters recognize that there's some sort of government role in preventing monopolies or fraud -- situations where the free market can break down. And that is what net neutrality rules would do. That's why free market supporters should be totally on board with net neutrality as well: because it's about making sure that there is a real free market for internet services that are above the infrastructure level.

This is why we find it so frustrating that the big broadband players and those who attack net neutrality as "regulating the internet" keep conflating internet infrastructure with internet services. They're doing it on purpose, of course.


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FCC questions how to enforce net neutrality rules | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

FCC questions how to enforce net neutrality rules | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission needs to create explicit rules that tell broadband providers what traffic management techniques they can and cannot use if the agency has any hope of enforcing its proposed net neutrality rules, some advocates told the agency Friday.


The FCC needs to reclassify broadband as a common-carrier, public utility service in order to have a firm regulatory foundation to take net neutrality enforcement actions, representatives of Kickstarter and Mozilla said during an agency forum on net neutrality enforcement.

The FCC needs strong prohibitions against broadband providers selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic, said Susan Crawford, a visiting intellectual property professor at Harvard Law School. She called on the FCC to pass net neutrality rules pegged to Title II of the Communications Act, a section of the law that has focused on requirements for common-carrier telephone companies.

“Consumers are really collateral damage in some Titanic battles between these terminating [broadband] monopolies at the interconnection points and edge providers,” said Crawford, a longtime net neutrality advocate. “The government is the only entity that can take on these companies.”

The FCC’s mission is to protect the public trust, and that focus trumps the profit motive of a handful of large broadband carriers “every time,” Crawford added. “The only reason to water down very strong net neutrality rules under Title II would be to serve the commercial interests of the carriers,” she added.

Earlier this year, after a U.S. appeals court threw out parts of the FCC’s 2010 net neutrality rules, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules that would allow broadband providers to engage in what he called “commercially reasonable” network management. Advocates of strong rules have criticized Wheeler’s proposal, saying it would allow broadband providers to selectively slow Internet traffic and charge Web content providers for priority traffic handling.

Representatives of two broadband trade groups opposed calls for the FCC to adopt public utility-style rules, saying the dozens of regulations in Title II would create a long and expensive process for net neutrality complaints.


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Rightscorp cuts-and-runs as soon as it is challenged in court | Cory Doctorow | Boing Boing

Rightscorp cuts-and-runs as soon as it is challenged in court | Cory Doctorow | Boing Boing | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rightscorp -- a firm that asks ISPs to disconnect you from the Internet unless you pay it money for alleged, unproven copyright infringements -- was finally challenged in court by an ISP, Texas's Grande Communications; as soon as it looked like it would have the legal basis for its business-model examined by a judge, the company cut and ran, withdrawing its threats.

The extortion business model is one of the ugliest innovations of the 21st century, and judges are generally pretty skeptical of it. Companies like Rightscorp are only viable because the sums they seek are lower than the cost of asking a lawyer whether you should pay them. But once a judge tells them they don't have a legal leg to stand upon, every future potential victim is only one search-query away from figuring out why they should tell them to go screw themselves.

Grande's advisory to the court about Rightscorp's tactics is a thing of beauty.


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Vendors line up for USD10bn open-access network in Mexico | TeleGeography.com

The Mexican government has reportedly received its first bid to build a USD10 billion state-owned open-access mobile network, from an as-yet-unidentified consortium.


According to Reuters, which cites four separate sources familiar with the matter, telecom equipment providers Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson helped the consortium craft the proposal, which has now been formally submitted to the government.


Two of the sources have suggested that the government aims to pick a winner in mid-2015, with Chinese vendor Huawei also linked with the project.


Indeed, Huawei has held several meetings with government officials regarding the scheme, with a company spokesperson telling the news agency that it was ‘natural’ for a company of its size to be invited to participate.

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No Neutral Ground At FCC Net Neutrality Forum | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Net neutrality stakeholders did not appear to be drawing new territorial boundaries around their positions on new open internet rules in a Friday (Sept. 19) forum. Those boiled down to: Title II is a must vs. Title II is a bust.

The arena was the FCC's latest roundtable discussion on Open Internet rules at commission headquarters in Washington, this one on "effective enforcement."

"Everyone has the right to retreat into their corner and continue stating their talking points," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had warned in his opening remarks. "But there is a risk of missing the opportunity to help shape dealing with an issue that is not monochromatic."

No one appeared to want to miss the opportunity to shape, but their positions seemed fairly set.

Strongly on the must side was Susan Crawford, Harvard Law professor, former Obama advisor and one of the biggest critics of Big Media, particularly big ISP's.

With references to Richard Nixon, Gov. Chris Christie's traffic cones (on the info highway), packets being kneecapped and tigers chasing bunnies, Crawford said that the best enforcement regime is a bright-line rule based on, and "only available in," Title II. Period. Full stop.

She hammered Comcast and Time Warner Cable and Verizon and AT&T as terminating monopolies and consumers as collateral damage in "titanic battles" between those gatekeepers for control of the net. She said most Americans have only one choice in ISP's, "the local cable monopoly."

Crawford said the government is the only entity which can take on those companies. Not multistakeholder models, not ombudsmen, not after-the-fact appeals. "They may have a profit motive," she said, but that is trumped by the public interest the FCC is sworn to uphold.

She said Sec. 706 would be watering down Title II to serve those commercial interests.

Crawford said that without that crisp, bright line Title II, and trying to rely on a case-by-case approach, the result would be "posthumous" validation of edge provider complaints about blocking or discrimination. It is hard to unscramble the egg after they have done what they do to edge providers, she said.

Rick Chessen countered that there was nothing simple or straightforward about Title II.


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MS: FCC needs to reform latest broadband effort | Ryan Kelly Op Ed | The Clarion-Ledger

MS:  FCC needs to reform latest broadband effort | Ryan Kelly Op Ed | The Clarion-Ledger | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For too long, rural areas have been effectively cut off from the kind of broadband Internet service that the rest of the country already enjoys. This is especially troubling for rural hospitals and health clinics, of which we have many in Mississippi. While some of these provider facilities have access to broadband, many do not. It’s time to close this gap for once and for all.

At issue is the Connect America Fund (CAF), which was established in 2011 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and how to best use its resources to build out broadband infrastructure to under-served rural areas. The original goal of the CAF program was to connect as many as 7 million un-served rural Americans to broadband by 2017 and all 19 million un-served residents by 2020. More than two years later, the CAF plan itself has yet to be fully finalized, much less fully deployed.

Now the FCC is moving toward completion of a larger and more permanent reform, called CAF Phase II, which will provide $1.8 billion annually for these rural broadband penetration efforts. Unfortunately, absent significant changes, CAF Phase II as currently written will create a new urban vs. rural digital divide with a significant population of “Internet have-nots.”

Most significant is the FCC’s mandate to more than double the download speed requirement, from 4 Mbps to 10 Mbps. While faster Internet speeds are crucial in terms of meeting the rapidly evolving needs of citizens (and especially healthcare providers), it is also true that to meet this mandate will require commensurate changes in other parts of the program.

In order to make sure real (10 Mbps or higher) broadband is available to all rural citizens over the long term, the FCC must focus its efforts going forward on robust fiber broadband build-out. In finalizing the CAF Phase II plan, the Commission should consider extending the planned funding period to 10 years to ensure full build-out of a higher-capacity network, as well as establish reasonable network build-out parameters. Providers should be allowed to refund support for locations that are especially remote and costly.

The FCC also currently abandons large parts of rural America, including rural Mississippi, to false or overstated claims of broadband coverage by basing cable operator coverage on unsubstantiated voluntary reporting by Census block and treating inadequate, unlicensed fixed wireless Internet service (WISPs) as a reasonable surrogate for facilities-based fiber broadband.

Such will not provide the coverage or reliability needed to provide quality healthcare in our now digital age.


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Web companies give support to local government-run Internet | Julian Hattem | The Hill

Major Internet companies are urging the federal government to consider blocking state laws that ban cities from building out their own Internet networks.

In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission on Friday, The Internet Association refrained from an explicit call for the agency to strike down laws in two states, but said that the FCC was in the right to at least examine the laws and see if they inhibit competition.

The FCC “should use the full weight of its authority to prevent any private or public entity from inhibiting the deployment of broadband networks or standing in the way of increased competition in providing those services,” wrote the group, which includes Google, Yahoo, Netflix and other industry titans.


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VA: Buggin’ out: rural telco launches LTE in conjunction with NetAmerica Alliance | TeleGeography.com

The NetAmerica Alliance has announced that Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative (BIT Communications) has launched 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service under the NetAmerica Alliance service brand, Bonfire. BIT Communications, which is headquartered in Bracey, Virginia, has rolled out an LTE network which currently consists of nine sites covering Amelia, Brunswick, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Nottoway counties.

In 2010 BIT was awarded a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) federal broadband stimulus grant and a Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalisation Commission grant to help construct the wireless broadband network; the grants totalled USD18.9 million. BIT, which was founded in 1951, currently provides wireline, ADSL and wireless broadband connectivity to south central Virginia.

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AT&T: we are ‘intrigued’ by Mexico, Latin America | TeleGeography.com

AT&T Inc is ‘intrigued’ by the expansion opportunities presented by Latin America, and Mexico in particular, chief strategy officer John Stankey has admitted. According to Reuters, Stankey declined to comment on media reports linking AT&T to certain America Movil (AM) assets in Mexico, but conceded: ‘I think we would be asleep at the wheel [if we were not interested] and we are not historically known to do that … So yes, we are intrigued by it … and I think when you are in the M&A game, you learn that you can’t always force your timing. Sometimes timing has to come to you. And exactly how that is going to work out – who knows?’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, AM owner Carlos Slim is ready to sell off parts of his Mexican telecoms business in an effort to cut his company’s market share across the sector below the 50% mark, thus avoiding regulations that apply only to dominant players, and cease being a ‘preponderant economic agent’.

Yesterday it was reported that AM had contacted four potential suitors – AT&T Inc, Softbank Corp of Japan, Bell Canada and China Mobile – with a view to selling Telmex and Telcel assets in a strip of states from north to south, along Mexico’s eastern coast. The package has been valued at USD20 billion.

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Why big data evangelists should be sent to re-education camps | Stilgherrian | ZDNet

Why big data evangelists should be sent to re-education camps | Stilgherrian | ZDNet | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The last time I wrote about big data, in July, I called it a big, distracting bubble. But it's worse than that. Big data is an ideology. A religion. One of its most important gospels is, of course, at Wired.

In 2008, Chris Anderson talked up a thing called The Petabyte Age in The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete.

"The new availability of huge amounts of data, along with the statistical tools to crunch these numbers, offers a whole new way of understanding the world. Correlation supersedes causation, and science can advance even without coherent models, unified theories, or really any mechanistic explanation at all," he wrote.

Declaring the scientific method dead after 2,700 years is quite a claim. Hubris, even. But, Anderson wrote, "There's no reason to cling to our old ways." Oh, OK then.

Now, this isn't the first set of claims that correlation would supersede causation, and that the next iteration of computing practices would "make everything different".

"Japan's Fifth Generation Project of the early 1980s generated similar enthusiasm, and many believed it would make Japan dominant in computing within a decade, based on parallel processing and an earlier iteration of 'massive' databases. Now, obviously that didn't happen, and it was an expensive and embarrassing failure," said Graham Greenleaf, professor of Law and Information Systems at the University of New South Wales, on Tuesday night.

Greenleaf was speaking at the launch of the latest UNSW Law Journal, to be posted on its website early next week, which includes a theme section on "Communications Surveillance, Big Data, and the Law". Greenleaf described that section as "pessimistic".

Privacy issues are obviously a concern. As I've said before, privacy fears could burst the second dot-com bubble. But the journal articles also cover issues of discrimination, automated decision making, democracy, and the public's right to access information.


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MN: Meet the 2014 Titans of Technology honorees | Mark Reilly | Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

MN: Meet the 2014 Titans of Technology honorees | Mark Reilly | Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In today's edition, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal introduces the recipients of its 2014 Titans of Technology awards, honoring the region's outstanding tech professionals and their supporters.

The awards are an outgrowth of our CIO of the Year awards, which were confined strictly to the top IT officers at companies. The Titans of Tech honors, in contrast, are open to CEOs, inventors, advocates, successful VC-winners and so on. (We've already made the joke about feature-creep.)

The awards will be presented at a luncheon event next week ( more information and registration here).

The inaugural inductees into our Titans of Technology Hall of Fame: Phil Soran, Larry Aszmann and John Guider, the trio who launched Xiotech Corp. and Compellent Technologies Inc., two of the Twin Cities biggest tech success stories of the past two decades. ( Read more about them here.)

Other categories and honorees are below. Click the links to read more.


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