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Trial for alleged Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht set for November | ComputerWorld.com

Trial for alleged Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht set for November | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of the Silk Road online black market, will go to trial in November and will be held until then without bail, the U.S. Department of Justice said.


Ulbricht has pleaded not guilty to a range of charges tied to his alleged activities with Silk Road, including a so-called "kingpin" charge often reserved for organized crime groups. He was arraigned Friday at the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.


At that hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest set the trial for November. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will attempt to sort out what evidence can be presented at trial, according to a schedule laid out by the judge.


On Feb. 27, the government will provide the defense with data from computers that were seized during the investigation, said a spokeswoman at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.


According to a Forbes report Friday, prosecutors said they also have between eight and 10 terabytes of data that they will share with defense attorneys and may use at trial. At a hearing in December, the government referred to data it had collected from Silk Road's servers and Ulbricht's own laptop, the report said.


Ulbricht is being held at a detention center in Brooklyn.


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CenturyLink Using Sneaky Fee to Hike DSL Prices | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

CenturyLink Using Sneaky Fee to Hike DSL Prices | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Users in our CenturyLink forum note that the telco has started sending out notices that it's hiking the cost of DSL services courtesy of a number of not-entirely-forthright fees the company employs to jack up the advertised price post sale. Users note that most of the company's six million DSL customers will be seeing a dollar increase in the form of something CenturyLink calls the "Internet Cost Recovery Fee."

CenturyLink started charging the fee back in 2013, the Centurylink website giving this not-entirely-sensible explanation for the $2 surcharge:

quote:This fee helps defray costs associated with building and maintaining CenturyLink's High-Speed Internet broadband network, as well as the costs of expanding network capacity to support the continued increase in customers' average broadband consumption.

Keep in mind CenturyLink already caps DSL users at 150 GB monthly, so it's not entirely clear just how many more "Internet costs" CenturyLink hopes to recover above and beyond the $50 and up it charges for last-generation DSL speeds. CenturyLink also often charges users a "non-telecom surcharge," tacked on to the bills of users who receive Voicemail or Lineguard -- a $4.50 per month insurance program CenturyLink often signs users up for without asking.


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WA: Tacoma’s Rainier Connect makes bid for Click | Kate Martin | The News Tribune

WA: Tacoma’s Rainier Connect makes bid for Click | Kate Martin | The News Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tacoma-owned Click now has another suitor seeking to take over operations of the city’s fiber network.

Rainier Connect CEO Brian Haynes said Wednesday he is ready to make a bid for the municipal cable and Internet company.

Click, which is operated by Tacoma Public Utilities, has been losing money for years, city officials say. TPU bosses suggest the utility is losing $9 million per year, and Tacoma Power’s 170,000 customers make up the difference.

Last month, Wave, a Kirkland-based broadband provider, offered to lease Click’s fiber network for 40 years, with an option to renew for another 10 years. Wave has 430,000 customers in three states. Click has about 19,000 customers.

Haynes said Rainier Connect would, at a minimum, match Wave’s proposal, dollar for dollar. Wave offered $2 million per year in payments to Tacoma Public Utilities and $1.5 million per year in infrastructure upgrades, which could include Wi-Fi hotspots in certain areas of the city. The payments to TPU and investments in the system would increase with inflation.

TPU board member Mark Patterson said Thursday the Wave proposal is “not a done deal,” and he welcomed Rainier Connect’s proposal.


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AT&T says it needs to invest in FTTP where it makes economic sense | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

AT&T says it needs to invest in FTTP where it makes economic sense | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T is seeing that the rollout of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) is the only way it can realistically compete with both existing cable operators and emerging players, such as Google Fiber, that are offering higher speeds than it can deliver on a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) architecture.

"Demand is growing for faster broadband speeds than AT&T, or anyone else for that matter, can deliver with FTTN, which cannot match the highest speed tiers being offered by cable and other rivals in the marketplace," AT&T wrote in an FCC filing. "From an engineering perspective, cable technology offers more bandwidth that can be allocated to faster download speeds. Comcast already offers broadband download speeds over 100 Mbps in all of its markets, and other broadband providers are in the process of widely deploying much higher speed offerings."

Google Fiber has ignited the awareness of higher-speed broadband with its rollout of 1 Gbps service in various markets, prompting AT&T, CenturyLink and now Comcast to offer similar services.

Over the past two weeks, Comcast upped the ante in the competitive broadband game by introducing a 2 Gbps service in three regions: Atlanta, California and Florida. At the same time, AT&T has also been introducing its GigaPower 1 Gbps service in other markets, including Cupertino, Calif., and plans to penetrate the Chicago metro area.


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MN broadband project stuck in federal stimulus time warp | Tom Steward | Watchdog.org

MN broadband project stuck in federal stimulus time warp | Tom Steward | Watchdog.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A costly government-owned broadband network in northern Minnesota is stuck in a sort of stimulus time warp.

Six years after passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the Lake Connections network remains under construction and behind schedule. It faces losing millions in Rural Utilities Service money, because the federal stimulus program ends later this year.

“I know we’ve got construction going heavy. We’re fighting hard to get on that deadline,” said Lake County Commissioner Peter Walsh. “… I’m sure things could be better, but we’ll see how things go at this point.”

Lake County has hired former RUS administrator Hilda Legg — for $5,000 a month — to lobby her former agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But it’s down to the wire on a project that has been building from behind since it was approved in early 2011.

“They’re out of time, I think. It’s the time line. Poor planning is what I think,” said Larry Sandretsky, line superintendent for Cooperative Light and Power, a key contractor on the project.

Lake County has burned through just 60 percent of a $66.5 million federal loan and grant to build the broadband network north of Duluth, RUS officials tell Watchdog Minnesota Bureau. Neither Lake County Administrator Matt Huddleston nor Lake Connections General Manager Jeff Roiland replied to requests for comment.

While stimulus funding technically expires in September, participants have received letters warning that projects must be wrapped up by June 30 to receive reimbursements. That leaves Lake County with less than two months to complete the third and final phase of the sprawling system. If not, local taxpayers could foot more of the bill.


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Microsoft wants Verizon to hand over names of suspected Windows pirates | Gregg Keizer | NetworkWorld

Microsoft last week asked a federal court to let it serve a subpoena on Verizon to force the Internet provider to identify those behind a two-year scheme that allegedly activated hundreds of copies of Windows 7 illegally.

According to documents filed with a U.S. District Court in Seattle last week, the IP address 74.111.202.30 was the source of the Windows 7 product activations. But unless Verizon hands over the subscriber name or names for that address, Microsoft will not be able to find the alleged criminals.

"Microsoft seeks leave to serve a Rule 45 subpoena on Verizon Online to obtain subscriber information associated with the infringing IP address at the time of the alleged acts of infringement," Microsoft said.

The address is currently identified with Verizon FIOS, the Internet provider's broadband service.

In a complaint filed April 28, Microsoft laid out its case, naming a series of "John Does" because it had not been able to dig up the real names of the alleged culprits.

"The infringing IP address has been used to activate hundreds of copies of Windows 7," Microsoft said, using stolen or illegitimate activation keys. Some of the keys had been snatched from its supply chain, others were keys designated for OEMs but used instead by an unauthorized party, and still more were legit keys used many more times than allowed.


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OTT Video Viewer Survey: Smart TVs Increase Group Viewing | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor

OTT Video Viewer Survey: Smart TVs Increase Group Viewing | Andrew Burger | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Introducing streaming video devices into the home changes viewing patterns significantly, according to one of two new studies from the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) released May 1. Smart TVs, for example, lead to more in the way of group viewing, while introduction of OTT services leads to more time spent watching TV, according to researchers from GfK Media and User Experience, which conducted the study on behalf of CRE.

The first of the two studies – “an acceleration extension ethnography” – followed up on an initial study of video viewing and usage in 35 Chicago area households who “had been pre-identified as intending to purchase one or more new types of media technology and then were given funds to cover half the cost for these devices, including smart TVs, tablets, streaming devices (such as a Roku box or Google Chromecast device) and gaming consoles,” CRE explains.

CRE notes that “viewing patterns are still dynamic and shifting as a result of device/ecosystem churn.” According to follow-up study results:


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Despite Civil Liberties Uproar, Canada Set to Ram Through Mass Surveillance Bill | Nadia Prupis | Common Dreams

Despite Civil Liberties Uproar, Canada Set to Ram Through Mass Surveillance Bill | Nadia Prupis | Common Dreams | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canada's House of Commons on Tuesday is poised to pass Bill C-51, a so-called "anti-terror" law, despite widespread outcry from civil liberties advocates who say the legislation would allow law enforcement to spy on civilians and violate Canadians' constitutional rights with little or no accountability.

The bill, introduced by the Conservative Party and backed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, would give up to 17 government agencies access to Canadian citizens' private information, including their financial status, medical history, and religious and political beliefs. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service would also be authorized to spy on Canadians and foreign nationals living in the country, while the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would be granted increased power to make preventive arrests.

Opponents of the bill have rallied for months under the banners #StopC51 and #RejectFear. According to digital policy advocacy group OpenMedia, the bill "disproportionately targets Indigenous communities, environmental activists, dissidents, and Muslims, many of whom are already subjected to questionable and overreaching powers by security officials, [and] will make it easier and ostensibly lawful for government to continue infringing upon the rights of peaceful people."

OpenMedia communications director David Christopher wrote in an op-ed for Rabble published Monday, "This government has left Canadians with a stark privacy deficit, and we'll all need to work together to address it. We need a co-ordinated plan to roll back mass surveillance, and restore our traditional privacy and democratic rights."


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The Internet of Everything: Boring, But So Important | John Eger Blog | HuffPost.com

The Internet of Everything: Boring, But So Important | John Eger Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When we are just getting used to Twitter and Facebook, Email and SPAM, along comes "The Internet of Everything" (IoE) where everything -- well almost everything -- is connected to everything else.


Goldman Sachs calls it the 3rd wave, and points out that while:


The 1990s' fixed Internet wave connected 1 billion users ... the 2000s' mobile wave connected another 2 billion. The IoE has the potential to connect 10X as many (28 billion) "things" to the Internet by 2020, ranging from bracelets to cars.


If we put some kind of sensor in a thing -- a tree, a car or a household appliance like a toilet -- wireless communication will allow us to connect it to the Internet for transmission, aggregation, or other use. Wireless Tags, for example, a company headquartered in Irvine, California advertises that their "sensor tags connect events in (the) physical world, e.g. motion, door/window opened/closed, temperature or humidity exceeding limits, to your smart phones, tablets and any Web browsers anywhere in the world with Internet access. "

With California suffering droughts, it might make sense to flood the state with sensors that turn on and off sprinklers only when absolutely necessary. Or, because of soaring health care costs, install Toto's Intelligence Toilet II, "which can measure, record, show and report important health data like blood pressure, sugar levels, body temperature, weight, and body mass index so trends can be analyzed." This is a lot more efficient than crowding the emergency rooms or depending on an annual physical exam.

Government Technology Magazine says:


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The Gigasphere | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

The Gigasphere | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you haven’t already heard it, you will soon be hearing the term ‘gigasphere’. This is the marketing term that the large cable companies are adopting to describe their upward path towards having faster data speeds on their cable systems. The phrase is obviously meant as a marketing counter to the commonly used term of gigabit fiber.

The gigasphere term is being promoted by the National Cable Television Association (NTCA) as the way to describe the new DOCSIS 3.1 technology. This is a technology that can theoretically support cable modem speeds up to 10 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload.

The large cable companies are all starting to feel consumer pressure from fiber, even in markets where fiber is not readily available. Google and other fiber providers have excited the public with the idea of gigabit speeds and I am sure cable companies are being asked about this frequently.

Right now the term gigasphere is largely marketing hype. If you have fiber to your home or business, then with the right electronics you can get gigabit speeds. But cable systems have a long way to go before they can offer gigabit speeds over coaxial cable. There is already talk of cable companies offering gigabit products, such as the recent announcements from Comcast. But these speeds are not being achieved using coaxial cable and DOCSIS 3.1, they are using fiber – something Comcast doesn’t highlight in their marketing.

With enough upgrades and money, the cable systems can eventually achieve gigabit speeds on their coaxial networks. But for now their speeds are significantly less than that. A cable company faces a long and complicated path to be able to offer gigabit speeds over coaxial cable. Their biggest hurdle is that the bandwidth on their cable systems is mostly used by TV channels, and only empty channel spaces can be used for data. DOCSIS 3.1 allows a cable system to join together the spare channels on their network into one larger data pipe.

In order to get to gigabit speeds a cable company has to convert all of the channels on its network to digital, something most of them have already done. But further, they are going to need to treat them the same as TV on the web – transmitting them as raw data instead of as individual channels. Cable systems today use a broadcast technology, meaning they send all of the channels to customers at the same time. But if they convert to IPTV they can send each home just the channels they want to watch, which would massively condense the system bandwidth needed for television.


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New app can unearth video gems on Periscope | Zach Miners | CIO.com

New app can unearth video gems on Periscope | Zach Miners | CIO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In perhaps the first sign that live streaming might spawn its own assortment of sub-players, a visual data analysis startup is putting its chops to work to categorize and rank videos on Periscope, the app owned by Twitter.

Dextro, which uses algorithms to analyze the content of photos and videos, is launching Stream on Tuesday. It’s a web app that categorizes and links to videos posted publicly in Periscope as they’re broadcast in real time.

Periscope’s popular, having gotten 1 million users in its first 10 days. The amount of video in the app can be overwhelming; Dextro wants to make it easier to see some of the popular ones.

With Stream, users can browse videos around popular topics on Periscope at any given time. Videos are grouped into bubbles depending on their theme. The size of the bubble depends on its popularity at the time and a click reveals the videos inside.


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FCC's Sohn: Wired Broadband Competition Lacking | John Eggerton | Multichannel

FCC's Sohn: Wired Broadband Competition Lacking | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gigi Sohn, senior counselor to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, told a New Haven, Conn., audience Monday that "the simple truth is that meaningful competition for high-speed wired broadband is lacking."

She came not to bury broadband, but to praise the state's 1 Gig community broadband project as a way to provide that "lacking" competition.

The FCC made 25 Mbps the new target definition for high-speed broadband, but in her speech, Sohn blew by that mile marker, saying: "We want to see average speeds grow to 50 Megabits per second, 100, and eventually even 1 Gigabit per second."

She suggested that only then is bandwidth removed as a "constraint on innovation."

Sohn said that while 4G LTE mobile broadband is the envy of the world, the fixed broadband side was another story.

"International rankings consistently score the U.S. outside the top 10 in broadband speeds," she said. "Last I checked, most Americans aren't content with being outside the top 10 in anything that matters— certainly not anything as important as the quality of our digital infrastructure."

"According to Akamai, the average fixed broadband connection in America is about 12 Megabits per second. That's fine if you live alone, and all you're doing online is minimal browsing each night while streaming a movie on Netflix. But broadband can enable so much more."


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NAB: FCC Showing 'Unfounded Favoritism' in Auction | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

NAB: FCC Showing 'Unfounded Favoritism' in Auction | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Association of Broadcasters may be OK with the FCC's early 2016 broadcast incentive auction time frame and supportive of a successful auction for all parties, but it still argues that the FCC is showing "unfounded favoritism for wireless and unlicensed operations over TV broadcasting," effectively treating full power TV stations "as mere obstacles to be cleared out of the way as soon as possible after the auction, regardless of the feasibility of transitioning to a new channel..."

That is according to comments filed by NAB on how the FCC should define "commencement of operations" and how it should not be in such a hurry to displace broadcasters in the station repack following the auction.

Full power TV stations have a 39-month deadline for exiting their spectrum, while low-powers and translators, which can't participate in the auction and aren't protected against interference after it, will be given until the commencement of wireless service by new license holders.

NAB argues that the FCC's approach to low-powers and translators is the right one, allowing them to remain on the air until a wireless company has begun site commissioning tests (rather than simply signaling its intent to do so). But NAB says that should be the same for full-powers and class As, rather than the current hard 39-month deadline.


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Facebook’s free Internet for the poor leaves out high-bandwidth sites | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Facebook’s free Internet for the poor leaves out high-bandwidth sites | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Facebook's Internet.org, which aims to give impoverished people around the world free mobile access to a selection of Internet services, is opening the platform to developers after facing criticism that the program's restrictions violate net neutrality principles.

The partnership with mobile operators gives free access to few dozen websites (including Facebook) through a mobile app available in parts of Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Although the app is ad-free and companies don't pay to be part of it, several companies in India pulled out of Internet.org because it steers users toward a limited set of services.

In response, Facebook today announced the Internet.org platform, "an open program for developers to easily create services that integrate with Internet.org." Any developer will be able to build services that can be accessed through Internet.org, but there are limits on what they can offer.

Although Facebook's announcement said the goal is to let users "explore the entire Internet," that will not include high-bandwidth services.

"Websites that require high-bandwidth will not be included," Facebook wrote. "Services should not use VoIP, video, file transfer, high resolution photos, or high volume of photos."


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Getting It Right: Utah, CenturyLink & Gig Nets | Carol Wilson | Light Reading

Getting It Right: Utah, CenturyLink & Gig Nets | Carol Wilson | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink's announcement this week of its major Utah fiber deployment on behalf of the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) is an example of a public-private partnership that both parties say is working as it should.


With UETN as its anchor tenant, CenturyLink is building out a terabit network that will reach 1,400-plus schools, and take fiber past more than 100,000 homes and 30,000 businesses. The deal was made possible by a process that lets the statewide network agency determine its requirements and then put them out for competitive bidding. (See CenturyLink Builds Terabit Network for Utah Schools.)

More than 800 schools will be fiber-fed and get service that starts at a gigabit and goes up, says Jeremy Ferkin, CenturyLink vice president of operations in Utah. CenturyLink is connecting about 60% of Utah's schools, and health clinics and libraries in those school communities are also being connected. CenturyLink isn't disclosing what portion of its $3 billion capex budget it is pouring into Utah, he says, but it is a significant investment that would have been even greater had it won more turf in UETN's competitive RFP process.

"We thought we were going to win more than we did -- it was a very competitive process," Ferkin says. As it is, CenturyLink's new fiber network will pass almost half of the 64,000 businesses in Utah with at least one employee, he says, in addition to the homes, schools, libraries and clinics.

CenturyLink was already building out its gigabit network in Utah, which is undergoing significant economic development, much of it from the technology sector. The carrier provides gigabit services to more than 11,500 businesses along the Wasatch Front, and is deploying 1 Gig services to homes in Salt Lake City and in the St. George area of southern Utah.

"The technology economy is growing leaps and bounds in Utah," Ferkins says. "It is close enough to Silicon Valley to have expansion offices here for technology companies and it's attracting venture capital funds. The political environment is very pro-business and they are driving a collaborative environment as well."


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Wheeler: FCC Will Tackle Rate-of-Return CAF Program This Year | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Wheeler: FCC Will Tackle Rate-of-Return CAF Program This Year | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has committed to “taking action” on a broadband Connect America Fund program for the nation’s smaller rate-of-return carriers by the end of the year, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a blog post Friday.

To further that goal, the commission has met with associations and others representing ROR carriers to “ask for their creative cooperation in getting this job done for rural consumers,” Wheeler said. He also noted that he and his colleagues have made a commitment to Republican South Dakota Senator John Thune about completing this task. Thune has been an advocate for various rural telecom issues, including asking the FCC to allow carriers to collect Universal Service support for customers who take broadband but not voice service.

The FCC has made considerable progress in transitioning the voice-focused Universal Service program for the nation’s larger price cap carriers into a broadband-focused Connect America Fund. But less progress has been made toward an equivalent transition for ROR carriers.

Wheeler noted that the commission began the process of establishing a CAF program for ROR carriers a year ago. At that time the commission took various actions on CAF, including adopting a further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) focused on ROR carriers.

The NPRM proposes that ROR carriers transition to model-based support, a move that already is underway for price cap carriers. Traditionally ROR carriers have received support based on how much their actual costs exceed national averages.


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Peru: LTE subscriptions hit 1.3m | TeleGeography.com

Peru’s cellcos had signed up a total of 1.3 million 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscribers by the end of 2014, according to a new report from the nation’s telecoms regulator Osiptel.


Mexican-owned cellco Claro represented 600,000 LTE users at that date, followed closely by Movistar with 500,000, whilst the newly-rebranded Entel Peru claimed some 200,000.


In the fixed broadband space, meanwhile, Osiptel reported a total of 1.73 million subscribers, up 9% year-on-year and of which 41% used connections of at least 4Mbps, whilst 32% had 2Mbps connections and 9% 1Mbps.

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Internet governance: What if the sky really is falling? | David Post | WashPost.com

Internet governance: What if the sky really is falling? | David Post | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There is nothing, I have observed, that makes readers’ eyes glaze over quite like a discussion of “Internet governance.” It is entirely understandable; there has been a fair bit of hand-waving and even hand-wringing, about Internet governance over the past couple of decades – I have been among the guilty on this – and nothing much ever actually happens; governance talk turns out to be just that – talk – while the Internet seems to purr along quite well from one day to the next, with no more “governance” than it seemed to have ten or twenty years ago, thank you very much.

But something truly ominous is brewing on the Internet governance front, something with the potential to affect every one of the billions of people who now use the Internet on a daily basis, and not for the better. It is, unfortunately, buried pretty deep in some dense technical, and the legal, weeds, but here is the story in a nutshell.


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Twenty Years after the Birth of the Modern Internet, U.S. Policies Continue to Help the Internet Grow and Thrive | John Morris Blog | NTIA.gov

Twenty Years after the Birth of the Modern Internet, U.S. Policies Continue to Help the Internet Grow and Thrive | John Morris Blog | NTIA.gov | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to speak at the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI) to a group of foreign government officials focused on Internet and cybersecurity issues. My talk focused on how NTIA sees the role of the Internet in the U.S. economy, and what key policies have contributed to the strength of the U.S. Internet economy.

Participants included representatives from Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda. The daylong course, organized by NTIA’s Office of International Affairs, introduced basic concepts in Internet policymaking and governance to build awareness, and develop and improve policymaking skills while working in a multistakeholder environment with government, civil society, industry and others. The course, which will take place again in September, examined U.S. Internet policy approaches, taking into consideration some of the key international issues and debates occurring globally.

Our discussion happened to fall on the 20th birthday of the commercial Internet, which fit right into my theme. The NSFnet was decommissioned on April 30, 1995, paving the way for the commercial use and private governance of the Internet. In its wake, we have witnessed an extraordinary explosion of innovation and economic growth in the online environment.

These are six key policies that I believe have contributed to the strength of the U.S. digital economy and provide a model for developing countries, such as those that participated in the USTTI course, to consider as they seek to grow their economies:


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Why Media Mega-Mergers Are Bad News for Latinos and Communities of Color | Arturo Carmona & Joe Torres Blog | HuffPost

Why Media Mega-Mergers Are Bad News for Latinos and Communities of Color | Arturo Carmona & Joe Torres Blog | HuffPost | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast's decision to pull the plug on its $45 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable is a huge victory for the Latino community and communities of color.

The cable giant announced the move on Friday after the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice informed the company that they were against the deal.

The merger would have combined the two largest cable providers in the country, giving Comcast unprecedented control over both pay-TV and high-speed Internet access markets.

But in the end, approving such a massive media consolidation was unthinkable.

As in the Net Neutrality fight, media justice, public interest and consumer rights advocates deserve tremendous credit for stopping this merger and for making sure the voices of everyday people were heard.

Groups like the Media Mobilizing Project, Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Consumers Union -- as well as our organizations, Presente.org and Free Press -- delivered that message with protests outside of Comcast's headquarters and before the California Public Utilities Commission, visits to members of Congress, and a million petition signatures to the FCC opposing the merger.

For our communities, broadband access is of central importance. Allowing one company to control nearly two-thirds of the U.S. broadband market would have contributed to growing economic and media inequality for Latinos and other communities of color.

It is simply shameful that just 56 percent of all Latino households and 62 of Black households have broadband at home. A lack of competition among providers has resulted in high prices, with too many families unable to afford their monthly broadband bill. As a recent government report found, cost was the main reason why Latinos did not have home broadband access.

The city of Philadelphia, home to Comcast, serves as a cautionary tale.


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Analyst: 'No discernable patterns' in the long-term value of spectrum | Mike Dano | Fierce Wireless

Analyst: 'No discernable patterns' in the long-term value of spectrum | Mike Dano | Fierce Wireless | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Despite the massive $44.9 billion collectively spent on spectrum licenses during the FCC's recent AWS-3 auction, one Wall Street analyst believes that the value of spectrum is not necessarily increasing. Instead, Craig Moffett said that the value of spectrum continues to remain a moving target, making it virtually impossible to predict what will happen during next year's incentive auction of TV broadcasters' 600 MHz licenses.

Spectrum "is not a simple commodity," said Craig Moffett, senior analyst of investment research firm MoffettNathanson, during a keynote presentation here at PCIA's recent Wireless Infrastructure Show. Moffett said that spectrum buyers have paid a wide range of prices for spectrum during the past decade, making it difficult to forecast what spectrum licenses will sell for in the future.

In one graphic that covered both auctions and secondary-market transactions, Moffett showed that per MHz-POP prices for mid-band spectrum peaked at $4.18 in 2000, fell, and then rose again to $2.53 in 2014. Meanwhile, prices for low-band spectrum hit $3.22 in 2001 and then jumped to $4.64 in 2013. "There are no discernable patterns," Moffett noted.


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Paul Bunyan Communications Spreading Fiber Across Northern MN | community broadband networks

Paul Bunyan Communications Spreading Fiber Across Northern MN | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The northern half of Minnesota, despite its rural character, is rapidly improving in high quality Internet access. Paul Bunyan Communications, the cooperative serving much of the Bemijdi area, began work on its GigaZone network last fall and the network is snaking its way across the region. According to an April 20th press release from the cooperative, GigaZone is now available to 500 more locations from the rural areas near Lake George to Itasca State Park. This brings the number of customers with access to GigaZone to 5,000.

Rates for symmetrical Internet access range from $44.95 per month for 20 Mbps to $74.95 per month for 50 Mbps. Higher speeds are available, including gigabit Internet access, but the cooperative asks potential customers to call for pricing.

We first reported on Paul Bunyan Telephone Communications in 2009. The cooperative began expanding its existing fiber network in 2007 but gigabit connectivity did not become available to members until earlier this year. Upgrades began in Bemidji and will continue to include the cooperatives entire 5,000 square mile service area. As new lines are installed, older lines will also be upgraded to fiber to transform the entire network.


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How Real Madrid scores fan engagement in the cloud | Thor Olavsrud | NetworkWorld

How Real Madrid scores fan engagement in the cloud | Thor Olavsrud | NetworkWorld | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

During the Microsoft Ignite keynote in Chicago today, only one customer graced the stage, but it was a doozy: Real Madrid, the world's no. 1 sports franchise.

Together with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Real Madrid CEO José Ángel Sánchez announced a new, expanded partnership with Microsoft under which the club will embark on a total digital transformation built on the Microsoft Cloud platform.

"Having more than 450 million supporters around the world is really a challenge," Sánchez tells CIO.com. "This partnership with Microsoft will help us understand who they are, to really get to their passion and love for Real Madrid."

Sánchez says it is critical to understand who the clubs supporters are so it can engage them in more personal ways.

As Sánchez notes, Real Madrid boasts 450 million fans globally, but only about five percent of them are in Spain. In fact, both the U.S. and Indonesia individually have more Real Madrid supporters than all of Spain. Orlando Ayala, chairman and corporate vice president of Emerging Businesses at Microsoft notes that China too has become a strong base of Read Madrid supporters. Creating engagement with all of those fans — especially two-way communication — is no mean feat.


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Vint Cerf thinks encryption back doors would be 'super risky' | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld

Vint Cerf thinks encryption back doors would be 'super risky' | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf argued Monday that more users should encrypt their data, and that the encryption back doors the U.S. FBI and other law enforcement agencies are asking for will weaken online security.

The Internet has numerous security challenges, and it needs more users and ISPs to adopt strong measures like encryption, two-factor authentication and HTTP over SSL, said Cerf, chief Internet evangelist at Google, in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Recent calls by the FBI and other government officials for technology vendors to build encryption workarounds into their products is a bad idea, said Cerf, co-creator of TCP/IP. “If you have a back door, somebody will find it, and that somebody may be a bad guy,” he said. “Creating this kind of technology is super, super risky.”

FBI and other government officials raised concerns after Google and Apple announced last year that they would offer new encryption tools on their smartphone OSes. Without the ability to collect data stored on smartphones and other electronic devices, police will be hindered in some investigations, law enforcement officials have argued.

“I ... believe very much that we need to follow the letter of the law to examine the contents of someone’s closet or someone’s smartphone,” FBI Director James Comey said last October. “But the notion that the marketplace could create something that would prevent that closet from ever being opened, even with a properly obtained court order, makes no sense to me.”

Cerf said he understands the tension between customer demands for privacy and law enforcement needs to investigate crimes. “We have to do something if we wish to protect the citizens of our country and others from harm in this network,” he said. “I accept that governments are there in part to protect their citizens from harm.”

A debate on the right levels of security and privacy will continue in the U.S., he said. “Our job, in the U.S., is to figure out what is the right balance for us,” he said. “The Congress is forced now to struggle with that.”


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Comcast ‘Comfortable in Our Own Footprint’ | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Comcast ‘Comfortable in Our Own Footprint’ | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast will concentrate on the accelerated rollout of X1, its next-gen video platform, and keep its video plans focused on the MSO’s traditional footprint.

“We feel very comfortable in our own footprint...We'll be focusing there,” Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said Monday on the company’s first quarter earnings call when asked about the operator’s interest in developing an over-the-top video service.

And much of that video focus will remain on X1, which accounted for nearly half of video connects in a first quarter in which Comcast lost about 8,000 basic video subscribers.

Smit said X1 is seeing a 20% to 30% lower churn rate than subs on Comcast’s legacy video platform, and that VOD usage among X1 customers is 20% to 30% higher.

“Right now, getting X1 rolled out is still the best opportunity at the company in the short run,” Brian Roberts, Comcast Corp.’s chairman and CEO, said.


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Comcast Lets X1 Subs Stream Live Video to Set-Tops | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel

Comcast Lets X1 Subs Stream Live Video to Set-Tops | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast, targeting a category made popular by the recent debuts of Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope app, has entered the mobile live streaming sector with Xfinity Share, an app that lets X1 subs send live video streams, recorded video, and digital photos to the TV as well as to other smartphones.

Comcast, which began to test the app last year under the "MyMedia" moniker, said Xfinity Share allows X1 customers to share that content (up to HD quality) to certain friends, family and other authorized users. X1 subs who take advantage of the app can send live streams or distribute recorded video and photos to their own X1 set-tops for display on the TV, or to the TV of another X1 customer.

To use Xfinity Share, a free app initially offered on the iOS and Android mobile platforms, currently both the sender and receiver must be Xfinity Triple Play customers with X1 DVR capable set-top boxes, Comcast said. However, Comcast plans to add functionality later this year that will allow those X1 triple-play subs to share content with virtually anyone -- Comcast customer or not --by sending a URL via email.


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