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Net neutrality will impact IT | ComputerWorld.com

Net neutrality will impact IT | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this month the United States Court of Appeals struck down the FCC's Net Neutrality directive.  Just in case you were worried, let me assure you the Internet won’t be coming to an end anytime soon.  While this decision has been covered extensively in the media, not much has been said about the potential impact to IT organizations. So without further ado, let’s discuss what IT departments can and should do about it.


As a quick reminder, net neutrality seeks to ensure by law that the data which travels over the Internet continues to get treated equally, as it has always been. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are prohibited from favoring certain products or websites over others, regardless of the source. This equal treatment has, up until now, served to level the playing field for everyone using the Internet. A startup website run by one person has had the same opportunity to succeed as one launched by a Fortune 500 company.


Most of us aren’t fans of cable or satellite TV services because they require us to pay for channels we don’t want (ok, service also stinks). We all wish we could customize our own list of channels to access, and pay for just those channels rather than have to pay for the entire ‘package.’ This same scenario also plays out with Internet services, where different tiers charge for set packages of content offerings. While it's possible, and there are indeed examples of this already happening, I really don’t think ISPs will do it on a large scale. It would seriously upset the balance that makes the Internet possible and, therefore, backfire on the ISPs trying to profit from the situation.


There is still a long legal path ahead with appeals and arguments before we know the final outcome. Until then, let’s think about this from an IT perspective and create some theoretical scenarios.


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UT: UTOPIA mayors looking for alternative method to poll residents | Deseret News

UT: UTOPIA mayors looking for alternative method to poll residents | Deseret News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Elections officials have put the brakes on a proposal to have voters weigh in on a controversial Internet utility fee during November's election, but the mayors of six UTOPIA cities say they still intend to seek public input.

 

Earlier this month, the mayors of Layton, West Valley, Tremonton, Perry, Brigham City and Midvale announced their intention to push for a non-binding ballot question asking residents whether they approve of a roughly $20 monthly utility fee to maintain and complete the embattled UTOPIA fiber-optic network.

 

But state and county elections officials have reviewed the law and have determined that such a ballot question is not allowed.

 

"As much as it's nice to get citizen input and have citizens weigh in, the way the current code is doesn’t allow for it," Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said.

 

Swensen said the issue is not whether the question is binding or non-binding, but rather that ballot questions must either be specifically approved or deal with particular uses listed in statute, such as bonding.

 

"There’s certain things that are allowed by statute under state law, and opinion questions are not unless they are approved by the Legislature," she said.

 

The Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency was created more than a decade ago by a consortium of 11 cities. It was envisioned as a means for providing ubiquitous access to high-speed data service.

 

But the network has been plagued by operating deficits and stalled construction, resulting in an incomplete build-out that cities continue to pay for through debt obligations.

 

Macquarie Capitol Group, an Australia-based investment firm, has offered to complete construction and assume management of the network for 30 years in exchange for a universal fee levied against all residents.

 

Five cities — Centerville, Lindon, Murray, Orem and Payson — have rejected Macquarie's proposal, and while city councils in the remaining six cities voted to move forward, the respective mayors have called for greater public input to settle lingering division.

 

"We’re just looking at all the options and trying to figure out what’s best, what will work and what will get the best participation under the circumstances," West Valley Mayor Ron Bigelow said. "We said we’re going to take it to the people, and we will."

 

Bigelow said it is likely the cities will use some form of mail-in ballot, though he added that they are working "literally every day" to explore options and determine the best way to proceed.

 

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Frontier: 1 Gbps is 'Hype,' Unless We're the One Offering It | DSLReports.com

Frontier: 1 Gbps is 'Hype,' Unless We're the One Offering It | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last year, Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter stated that people don't really need 1 Gbps, and that the 3 to 6 Mbps most of her customers can get was just fine for most people. Last month, trying to downplay the fact said 3-6 Mbps is painfully uncompetitive, Wilderotter called Google Fiber "hype" that "confuses customers," and that even talking about 1 Gbps services was something that was "disrespectful" to the customer base.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Frontier is playing "me too" on the 1 Gbps game. Speaking on the company's recent conference call, Frontier COO Dan McCarthy hyped the gig:

 

“I want to note that nearly 10% of our households are served through a fiber to the home architecture,” said Frontier’s chief operating officer Dan McCarthy. “Over the next several quarters we will introduce expanded speed offerings in select markets including 50-100Mbps services. Some residential areas will also be able to purchase up to 1Gbps broadband service. We are excited to bring these new products to market and look forward to making these choices available to our customers."

 

The majority of Frontier's fiber customers were acquired from their landmark deal with Verizon, and aren't being expanded. The rest of the markets Frontier will likely target with "50-100 Mbps services," like so many telco "fiber to the press release" promises, are likely apartment complexes or high-end developments.

 

Everywhere else, customers often sometimes struggle to reach even 2 Mbps. The company isn't saying how many actual customers will be able to nab 1 Gbps customers, but it sounds like you might be able to count them on one hand.

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Rockport Builds Maine’s First Municipal Network | community broadband networks

Rockport Builds Maine’s First Municipal Network | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rockport, a coastal town of just 3,300, became a statewide leader last month by launching Maine’s first municipal broadband network. Offering symmetrical gigabit speeds to businesses and residents, Rockport’s network is a carrier-neutral dark fiber system, with local private provider GWI offering retail services. 

 

The reach of the network is limited, as it consists of only 1.2 miles of fiber. While only about 70 homes and businesses currently have the option to purchase a connection, GWI offers symmetrical gigabit per second internet access for just $69 per month and the city has left the option open to expand the network in the future.

 

As noted in a Bloomberg View article on the network, it massively outpaces the only broadband competitor in Rockport, Time Warner Cable. Time Warner also offers a $70 service package, but its download speeds are 20 times slower and its upload speeds 200 times slower.  

 

The network was the product of a partnership between the town board, GWI, the University of Maine system, and Maine Media Workshops + College. Maine Media is a nonprofit college with 1,500 students learning photography, videography, and other digital media skills, and has a large economic footprint in such a small town.

 

Students’ coursework requires the storing and sharing of massive files, something that was previously difficult or impossible to accomplish given limited network capacity. Town officials are hoping that the new network will not only allow students to learn more easily, but enable them and others to establish small businesses in town.    

 

U.S. Senator Angus King, a vocal champion of broadband access, was among the officials on hand last week for the official unveiling ceremony. Speaking to the need for greater internet access, Senator King stated:

 

“In my opinion it’s exactly like water, it’s exactly like electricity, it is a public utility that is necessary in order for our economy and our country to flourish…We want to work where we live, rather than live where we work."

 

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Lessons learned from UPS Store breach | Antone Gonsalves | NetworkWorld.com

Lessons learned from UPS Store breach | Antone Gonsalves | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The security breach discovered at a few dozen franchises of the UPS Store, a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, provides a number of lessons for other retailers.


The UPS Store reported Wednesday that malicious software was found within the in-store cash register systems of 51 franchises in 24 states, or about 1 percent of the 4,470 U.S. stores.


The compromise exposed customer names, postal and email addresses and payment card information. How many people were affected was not disclosed.


Malware infections on so-called point-of-sale systems were also discovered in a string of breaches reported by other major retailers, including Michaels, Neiman Marcus, P.F. Chang's, Sally Beauty, Target and, more recently, the Albertsons and Supervalu supermarket chains.


In all the computer break-ins, the hackers scanned the networks for tools that let employees and vendors access systems remotely. Once the tools were found, the criminals focused on finding vulnerabilities or stealing credentials to let themselves in.


Once, a system was breached, the hackers traveled through the network to the electronic cash register system, where malware was planted to capture credit-card data.


Because credit-card data often remains in plain text until it arrives at the payment processor, an obvious precaution is to encrypt the information as soon as the card is swiped and leave the decryption key with the processor, experts say.


Such a system would be expensive to install, since it would involve replacing card readers and upgrading software within the POS systems. Nevertheless, with hackers exploiting the weakness, the cost is likely less than that of a breach.


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Media Policy Watch: State & Main 2014 Conference Recap | ACM/NAMAC

Media Policy Watch: State & Main 2014 Conference Recap | ACM/NAMAC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When ACM/NAMAC Conference entitled 'State & Main' began last week, the big news on the policy front was President Obama's August 5th announcement at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington that he opposed what's come to be called "paid prioritization"—the idea that media companies should be able to pay ISPs for more bandwidth, and thus provide their customers with Internet "fast lanes" offering better access to their services (i.e., February's Netflix/Comcast dealsee this HuffPost articlefor a list of other tech companies who have brokered similar deals).


In Thursday morning's policy panel session, The Future of Net Neutrality, or Fear and Loathing in the Digital Commons, one attendee pointed out the problem with such deals, using as a metaphor one of my favorite foods, pizza: no matter whether we call Domino's or an independent, local pizza place, we have an expectation of clear phone service. However, were a deal like Netflix and Comcast's in place, we might find ourselves with dropped calls and crackly sound unless we give in and order from Domino's. Eww, no thanks!


President Obama said as much in his August 5th comments:


"I personally, the position of my administration, as well as a lot of the companies here, is that you don’t want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users. You want to leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed."


This issue highlights a problem that attendees at State & Main's policy sessions noted: as long as broadband continues to be classified as an "information service" under Title I of the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996), it seems increasingly unlikely that the FCC will enforce or support the necessary regulations to stop paid prioritization deals. Thus, there were many calls for reclassification of broadband services as "telecommunications services" under Title II, where they would be subject to additional protections against "fast lanes."


There was much conversation, too, about the FCC's newly proposed Internet rules, and speculation about what would happen after the open comment period ends in September. Other topics of discussion in policy sessions included rural broadband (800 rural ISPs shoose to be classified as "common carriers" under Title II); the telecom companies' end goals of vertical integration (for example, providing broadband and content); a whole host of PEG-specific issues (captioning, U-Verse, program guides, funding streams, HD, franchising, and the Community Access Preservation Act.


Finally, regarding the FCC's upcoming rulemaking once the open comment period is closed, one thing folks agreed on was that no matter what happens, the FCC will get sued over it.

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Where We Stand on Net Neutrality | NCTA.com

Where We Stand on Net Neutrality | NCTA.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In April the FCC issued its draft of proposed rule making on new Open Internet rules to replace those struck down by the DC Circuit Court in January. Since then, the FCC has requested comments on those proposed rules so that all stakeholders – from network operators and content creators to entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and everyday users alike – could weigh in on the future of the Internet. Over a million comments were submitted. Ideas and opinions ranging from the sublime to the insane were shared with the FCC in order to contribute to this important conversation. Reply comments are now being submitted and then finally the FCC will draw up official rules.


Since the draft was issued, we’ve been working hard to encourage an enlightened and constructive discourse on the future of the most important communications technology since moveable print. We’ve shared how over-regulation would threaten innovation and broadband investment. We’ve revealed how Title II reclassification could lead to a permission-based Internet, replacing today’s vibrant digital marketplace. And we’ve shown how the principles of Net Neutrality can be protected without extreme changes to our existing regulatory framework.


Cable broadband providers are unequivocally committed to building and maintaining an open Internet experience. That means we support the original principles of Net Neutrality – that all legitimate Internet traffic should be treated equally when traveling over local networks, that ISPs should not pick favorites, and that consumers should have unfettered access to legal content of their choosing. Consumers value a free and open Internet experience, and we value their business. That’s why we’ve supported the FCC’s efforts to ensure consumers have basic protections — from the Four Freedoms first set forth in 2005, to the more recent Open Internet Order, which created actual rules in 2010. Again, cable companies did not appeal the 2010 order and we still support its principles today.


But in spite of these facts, some still insist that Title II is the only way to protect consumers from an unfair Internet. They suggest the FCC throw out 15 years of growth and success by reclassifying broadband as Title II common carrier and regulating the Internet as a public utility. But pursuing that course ignores an incredibly important reality – that the Internet has succeeded up until this point because it has been free to grow, innovate, and change largely free from government oversight.


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SoftBank Set Up for More Deals After T-Mobile: Real M&A | Bloomberg.com

SoftBank Set Up for More Deals After T-Mobile: Real M&A | Bloomberg.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Billionaire Masayoshi Son, Japan’s most acquisitive executive, is raising a war chest that could be used to buy companies from Yahoo ! Inc. to Dish Network Corp.


Son’s SoftBank Corp. is selling almost $4 billion in bonds to help finance future investment even after the company scrapped a merger of its Sprint Corp. with T-Mobile US Inc. Targets could include an Internet, music or entertainment company that would help bolster Son’s global technology empire and possibly increase Sprint’s appeal to consumers by widening their choice of content to download.


Yahoo would fit that category, said Atlantis Investment Research Corp. Taking a stake in messaging service Line Corp. is another option for the Tokyo-based mobile-phone operator, according to Thornburg Investment Management Inc. Already the biggest shareholder in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., SoftBank could team up with the e-commerce company, or buy a movie maker or news service, said SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. Abelian Research said the $85 billion company may even consider tucking Dish into its fold to better compete with the likes of AT&T Inc.


Japan is not big enough for Son,” said Edwin Merner, president of Atlantis Investment Research in Tokyo. “He’s looking at the world.”


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Sprint’s New Plans: Putting Lipstick on a Pig and Enraging Your Soon-to-Be Ex-Customers | Stop the Cap!

Sprint’s New Plans: Putting Lipstick on a Pig and Enraging Your Soon-to-Be Ex-Customers | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If this is the best Sprint’s Marcelo Claure can do, Softbank needs to keep shopping for another CEO.


Claure’s decision to deep-six the appallingly stupid Framily Plan was a no-brainer. Sprint’s own customer service agents barely understood the multi-level marketing scheme it actually was, and I never saw much value in alienating friends and family by cajoling them to use the atrociously bad Sprint network. Neither did Sprint employees who loudly cheered its upcoming demise.


Even Claure trashed Sprint’s network performance and upgrade program as glacier-slow and highly disruptive to customers who find nearby cell sites here today, gone tomorrow, and maybe back again someday when network upgrades have been finished. Unlike AT&T or Verizon where a cell tower outage might cut a few bars of signal strength, when a Sprint cell tower drops, it’s roaming time. It is not uncommon for residents along Lake Ontario’s shorelines in the United States to find their phones preferring to roam on Canadian networks (especially Rogers) to avoid Sprint.


Claure’s commitment to cut prices while cruelly excluding your current customer base from getting any of those savings is a sure-fire way to accelerate their departure… mostly to T-Mobile. John Legere is waiting with open arms.


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Microsoft Has $93 Billion Overseas and Doesn't Pay Taxes On It | Mashable.com

Microsoft Has $93 Billion Overseas and Doesn't Pay Taxes On It | Mashable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Microsoft holds $92.9 billion of earnings in accounts outside of the United States, saving the company almost $30 billion in taxes.



The U.S. government, along with plenty of other critics, claims Microsoft is dodging its economic responsibilities as an American company. Microsoft says the practice is business as usual.




Corporate taxes have become a flashpoint as major corporations continue to park massive sums of money in foreign accounts. The move helps companies avoid paying those sums to Uncle Sam.



The sums above are not disputed by Microsoft; the company admitted as much in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A report by the International Business Times found that the amount represents a significant increase from past years.


What Microsoft does not admit is the reason that money is kept overseas.The company claims that the cash was generated by its operations outside the U.S. and will be spent outside the U.S.


Microsoft is far from the one only keeping large cash stockpiles outside the U.S. and away from the IRS. Bloomberg recently found that U.S. companies hold almost $2 trillion in foreign accounts. Apple, for example, is known for its stockpile of $138 billion in cash held overseas.


The problem has been addressed by President Barack Obama, who recently said there is a "herd mentality" among companies looking to avoid U.S. taxes.


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US lawmaker wants to rebrand net neutrality | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

US lawmaker wants to rebrand net neutrality | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A U.S. lawmaker wants to rebrand the term net neutrality because its definition is confusing to many people.


Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat and backer of strong net neutrality rules, launched a rebranding contest on Reddit.com Thursday.


"Internet users know what they want and expect from the Internet, but these days all the jargon about net neutrality rules is making it difficult to know what box to check that advances their best interest," Eshoo said in statement. "If Internet users care about their right to uninhibited access to the Internet, [the contest] their opportunity to have an impact on the process, to help put the advantage back in the hands of the Internet user, and to ensure that the free and open Internet prevails."


The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is considering new net neutrality rules after a U.S. appeals court earlier this year threw out a large portion of the agency's old version of the rules. In addition, to Eshoo's contest, people interested in the issue have until Sept. 15 to submit comments to the FCC.


In Eshoo's contest, the most popular post in the rebranding thread on Reddit will be the winner.


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Rural Gigabit Boom Expected Thanks to GPON Upgrades | Telecompetitor.com

Rural Gigabit Boom Expected Thanks to GPON Upgrades | Telecompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gigabit network announcements involving Tier 2 and Tier 3 carriers have been coming out more and more frequently – and we may be seeing just the tip of the iceberg.


Adtran, a company that makes a variety of equipment underlying fiber-to-the-home networks, expects to see its equipment deployed in gigabit networks in 50 communities before the end of 2014 and in 150 additional communities in 2015.


“Many of these networks we have already won and we’re just waiting for them to deploy or make the decision to flip the gigabit switch on the existing rollout of gig-ready solutions,” said Kurt Raaflaub, who heads up product marketing for Adtran’s carrier networks division. I talked to him yesterday about gigabit network deployments and he also answered some follow-up questions by email.


A key reason that we’re seeing so much gigabit activity among Tier 2 and Tier 3 telcos is that many of them already have deployed FTTH, which means they’ve already done a large part of the work involved in deploying gigabit service.


I talked to Raaflaub about what’s involved in upgrading these systems to support gigabit service.


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Eight charts that put tech companies’ diversity stats into perspective | GigaOM Tech News

Eight charts that put tech companies’ diversity stats into perspective | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The latest hot-button subject in tech, hotter even than ephemeral apps, is diversity. Or at least, if not actual diversity, the act of releasing employee diversity statistics. From Apple to Twitter, almost all the big names in Silicon Valley are doing it. Google fell first in May, and with some pushing by activist organizations the rest soon followed suit.


We’ve broken down some of the top players – Apple, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay, LinkedIn, CiscoIntel, and HP – comparing their overall gender and ethnicity demographics. Then we went a step further to look specifically at the tech and leadership roles. Where relevant, we also charted the demographic information of the U.S. labor force and the graduating computer science class.


Please note that the numbers in the company charts come from a range of sources — federal EEO-1 data, company blog posts, and annual corporate reports. In some cases, particularly diversity in leadership roles, the companies have slight differences in how they collect and categorize their demographic data (For example: counting a global workforce versus just U.S. based).


In other words, it’s not entirely parallel information. But our charts represent the best comparisons we could draw among the companies. When appropriate, we explained the differences in the footnotes.


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Cable's New Business Model: Lower Ratings, Higher Revenue | Paul Bond | The Hollywood Reporter

Cable's New Business Model: Lower Ratings, Higher Revenue | Paul Bond | The Hollywood Reporter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The stats are sobering: Seven of the 10 most profitable cable channels have seen total viewership fall significantly in both primetime and full-day averages during the past 12 months, the exceptions being ESPN, Discovery and TBS. At the same time, THR reported Aug. 4 that cable upfront deals for the 2014-15 season dipped 4.7 percent to $9.7 billion, the first drop since the recession ended in 2009.


But the metric that matters most — profits — keeps climbing. At Disney Channel, cash flow in 2014 will be up 5 percent compared with 2013, estimates SNL Kagan, even though Nielsen says primetime viewership is off 12 percent. Cash flow at USA should be up 5 percent, MTV up 3 percent and FX up 4 percent, yet all have had smaller audiences. In fact, of the top 10 cable channels based on cash flow, just one — ESPN — is expected to decline in 2014 (albeit by less than 1 percent).


It's enough to ask: What's going on in the cable TV business?


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FL: AT&T bringing the speed to Jacksonville | Jacksonville Business Journal

FL: AT&T bringing the speed to Jacksonville | Jacksonville Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Jacksonville’s willingness to quickly jump on the high-speed, fiber-optic bandwagon helped the city in its bid to bring AT&T’s U-verse service to the local market, company officials said Tuesday.

 

“The speed at which city officials have worked, streamlining permits and opening up doors, kind of matches the speed at which our GigaPower network operates,” said AT&T Florida President Joe York.

 

The new high-end fiber-optic service AT&T is rolling out in Jacksonville will be a game-changer, according to the communications giant.

 

At a press conference this morning at city hall, York said, “This is huge — it’s the fastest service available, substantially more than anything that exists in the market right now.”

 

The product delivers symmetrical upload and download broadband speeds of up to 1 gigbit per second — or about 1 second to download 25 songs — and superior connectivity, good news for both residents and companies in Jacksonville.

 

Mayor Alvin Brown said the $130 million investment AT&T is making in laying its U-verse network across Jacksonville was a vote of confidence in the region’s economic development.

 

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Department of Delusion: Comcast Takes Credit for Google Fiber, Unicorns, and Kittens | community broadband networks

Department of Delusion: Comcast Takes Credit for Google Fiber, Unicorns, and Kittens | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In what can only be assumed as a fit of insanity or confusion, several dozen US Mayors came out Friday with a letter to Chairman Wheeler, praising Comcast and demanding that the cable monopoly be allowed to take over Time Warner Cable. Given that Comcast and Time Warner Cable are among the most hated corporations in America, perhaps these math wiz mayors think two negatives will produce a postive?

 

In light of all the evidence against Comcast’s track record for customer service, its glacial pace at upgrading Internet access, and its false promises for investment, we find the letter absurd, at best. But then it contains this gem:

 

"Since the Comcast Time Warner Cable transaction was proposed, Google has announced plans to expand its high-speed Fiber service to 34 new communities."

 

Wow! Comcast wants to take credit for Google's investment in fiber networks? An investment by Google that is only necessary because the big cable companies have refused to meet the growing demand of our communities with better services?

 

This got us thinking, what else can Comcast take credit for since it announced the merger?

 

Since Comcast announced the merger, the Large Hadron Collider has not created a black hole large enough to destroy the Earth. #thankyouComcastSince Comcast announced the merger, millions of kittens have been adopted #thankyouComcastSince Comcast announced the merger, we have a potential Ebola vaccine #thankyouComcastSince Comcast announced the merger, Bruce Willis has not had to blow up an asteroid to save our planet. #thankyouComcast

 

Check out our #ThankYouComcast hashtags on Twitter, Retweet them, add your own, and share with friends, family, and all your local officials. And if you’re living in one of the cities where your mayor sold you out for Comcast’s bottom line, make sure they know just how ludicrous their letter is, they’re clearly very out-of-touch with their constituencies.

 

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MI: Proposed Comcast deal could reshape state cable TV market | Crain's Detroit

MI: Proposed Comcast deal could reshape state cable TV market | Crain's Detroit | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A $45 billion acquisition proposed by Comcast Corp. could completely reshape the Michigan cable TV market — affecting thousands of local jobs, hundreds of thousands of customers, tens of millions of dollars in local asset investments, and various community programs.

The Federal Communications Commission last month started its 180-day review clock on the all-stock acquisition deal for Philadelphia-based Comcast to buy New York City-based Time Warner Cable Inc., and Comcast still hopes to close on the deal by year's end.

But to appease federal regulators, a side deal for Comcast to shed 3.9 million customers and come in below a 30 percent market share among U.S. cable households after the acquisition will mean turning over nearly all its Michigan customers to a new, as-yet unnamed public company formed by St. Louis-based Charter Communications.

A fixture of the northern Michigan cable market, Charter as yet has no presence in Southeast Michigan and will completely replace the local market leader. Comcast, which houses a headquarters for its Heartland region of cable and Internet service division in Plymouth, currently has about 4,400 Michigan employees and had about 1.2 million cable and Internet customers statewide at the end of 2009, the last time such figures were furnished to Crain's.

The cable company also has a Sterling Heights call center that specializes in customer service for residential products, a technical center in Southfield and several smaller offices throughout the region. Some of its other larger markets include San Francisco and the Chicago area, but the Charter and Time Warner deals are expected to give it market dominance in New York and Los Angeles.

 

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Is Wi-Fi killing us...slowly? | Mark Gibbs Opinion | NetworkWorld.com

Is Wi-Fi killing us...slowly? | Mark Gibbs Opinion | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What would it take to get you to not use Wi-Fi? I don’t mean simply not connecting to it; I mean not having Wi-Fi switched on. At all. And what about cellphones? I know that the issue of cellphone safety has come and gone and most authorities have dismissed the risks as negligible. But what if the risks to you are trivial, but not to your children? Would you stop using these devices? I ask because an academic paper has recently been published that concludes that electromagnetic radiation generated by humans is far more dangerous to children and babies than we think.


Now, human-generated EMR in the general environment was negligible at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, but by 1933 the problem of electromagnetic interference was becoming significant. In that year, the International Electrotechnical Commission in Paris “recommended the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR) be set up to deal with the emerging problem of EMI.” (Wikipedia)


Since then, despite much legislation and regulation, the general EMR background has increased significantly in the Western hemisphere and even more dramatically in suburban and urban areas, with radio and television being among the greatest contributors. That said, the general suburban and urban EMR levels are to the order of few tens of µW/m² which has been thought to be a harmless level of exposure.


For example, according to Kenneth R. Foster, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote:


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Internet piracy isn't killing Hollywood | The Daily Dot | TheWeek.com

Internet piracy isn't killing Hollywood | The Daily Dot | TheWeek.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

"Hellboy II has great reviews," my friend argued. He knew I was loath to spend $12 for a movie ticket to spend two hours watching trash. I checked the internet, and he was right. Critics lauded the film. On Rotten Tomatoes, 89 percent of the top critics found the movie favorable. The tacit endorsement of an internet review aggregator was all I needed. My friends and I headed out to the movie theater, bought our tickets and overpriced snack bar fare, and watched the film.


And it sucked.


To borrow from The Simpsons, the film was so formulaic it "could have spewed from the power book of the laziest Hollywood hack." Hellboy II: The Golden Army had enough lazy tropes and predictable plot twists for the entire 2008 summer season, let alone one movie.


There's a brooding protagonist longing for acceptance he knows he can never truly have. There's an antagonist who makes the high school sophomore-level insight that humans are the true monster (never heard that before). There's a newly pregnant girlfriend acting crazy because hormones. There's truly love ultimately conquering all. And there's a host of other attributes that made the movie not worth the price of admission. Once the credits rolled, I parted ways with Hollywood. I haven't stepped in a movie theater since.


Judging by Hollywood's recent luck — or lack thereof — I was ahead of the curve.


Hollywood is mired in a terrible summer, its worst in eight years. Box office sales are down 20 percent in the United States, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, no movie surpassed the $300 million mark for the first time since 2011. It's estimated that summer 2014 will draw 15-20 percent less money for Hollywood than summer 2013, and such a dramatic decline over the course of 365 days hasn't been seen in over 30 years.


Why didn't those movies sell? Why didn't people go out to see them? Are people just smartening up and realizing mainstream entertainment is trash? Or is there something more at work?


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Community Broadband Bits Transcript - Episode 111 | community braodband networks

Community Broadband Bits Transcript - Episode 111 | community braodband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Thank to Jeff Hoel for providing the transcript for Episode 111 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast with Jeff Hoel.


00:15:

Hunter Newby: It's the difference commerce, you know, and the economy growing, and not.

00:20:


Lisa Gonzalez: Hey there, and welcome again to the Community Broadband Bits Podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I am Lisa Gonzalez.


This week, Hunter Newby, founder and CEO of Allied Fiber, returns to talk with Chris. If you caught our last interview with Hunter, you'll recall their conversation about the benefits of the carrier-neutral network model offered by Allied Fiber. In this interview, Chris and Hunter delve deeper into the concept of fiber as real estate, and how that concept can be expanded to bring better connectivity to every user -- government, business, and residential. As connectivity becomes more entrenched in our everyday activities, we need to recognize that a variety of models are available. There's no one-size-fits-all for local communities. Hunter and Allied Fiber offer one possible example and a launching point for future approaches.


Here are Chris and Hunter Newby from Allied Fiber.


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Surprise! U.S. Wireline Services Revenue to Nearly Double by 2020 | Channel Partners Online

Surprise! U.S. Wireline Services Revenue to Nearly Double by 2020 | Channel Partners Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The huge growth of the wireless industry might lead you to believe that wireline services are going the way of the Dodo. But you’d be wrong.


So says Transparency Market Research’s latest report, which says that the U.S. wireline services market is valued at $19.1 billion this year, and will grow to almost $35 billion by 2020. That’s a compound annual growth rate of almost 10.4 percent.


The oil and gas industry is a big driver. Transparency says there has been a continuous increase in the exploration and production activities of oil and gas in finding new areas of unconventional resources, which has immensely bolstered the growth of the global wireline services market. These wireline services are required by the oil and gas industries for exploration, drilling, completion, stimulation and intervention. The growth in wireline services is directly proportional to the drilling and completion activities around the world.


Geological conditions and types of reservoirs require different types of wireline services. Increased investment in exploration for, and production of, oil and gas will continue to act as a market opportunity for the wireline services market, the research firm noted.


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NY: Syracuse Mayor Calls for Community Broadband | community broadband networks

NY: Syracuse Mayor Calls for Community Broadband | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Syracuse, a city long frustrated by its lack of broadband options and in thrall to a monopolistic cable incumbent Time Warner Cable, is facing an even bleaker future. Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable would shift Syracuse residents who need broadband from one of the two most hated companies in America to the other, while of course also ensuring that the combined company is even larger and more influential. Verizon gave up plans to compete in the Syracuse market several years ago when it ceased expanding FiOS


Fortunately for Syracusans, mayor Stephanie Miner doesn’t appear to be taking all this lying down. A Post-Standard article from Monday reports the mayor is considering plans for a city-owned fiber optic system that could bring gigabit connectivity to the area:


“I’m putting together a plan that we can do it ourselves, as a community,”


Syracuse has had rumblings of interest in municipal broadband for years, including a citizens group called the Syracuse Community Broadband Initiative that advocated and educated locals on the topic. Now, with mayor Miner’s comments, it appears the idea is again gaining traction.


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BOOK REVIEW: Brain Gain: How Innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption | Bill Coleman | Blandin on Broadband

BOOK REVIEW: Brain Gain: How Innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption | Bill Coleman | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I have been a fan of the Intelligent Community forum for quite a while now. I have attended their annual conference many times and led Dakota County’s Intelligent Communities’ initiative that led to three consecutive years recognition as a Smart 21 Intelligent Community. I also brought the Intelligent Community concept to the Blandin Foundation to serve as the framework for their Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community project. Most recently, I worked with ICF co-founder Robert Bell on a project with three rural Louisiana communities. I provide all of this background to let readers know that I have a favorable bias towards the ICF concept and team.


I recently read Brain Gain: How Innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption. The authors, ICF co-founders Robert Bell, John Jung and Louis Zacharilla, provide numerous interesting stories about communities creating their own positive future. The stories are quite varied, but share common threads woven together into the quilt of the Intelligent Community elements – broadband, innovation, knowledge work, digital inclusion and marketing/advocacy.


The stories are from great urban centers, suburbs and rural regional center communities. The common element is smart and sometimes heroic leadership, often shared across business, government and education sectors. Shared vision, collaborative strategy, long-term commitment-these are at the heart of the all of these success stories. All involve creating an environment that can support business development and entrepreneurship. The themes are similar to those expressed in the book “The Rain Forest” by Hwang and Horrowitt.


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A federal court rejects Aereo’s request to argue it’s a cable company | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

A federal court rejects Aereo’s request to argue it’s a cable company | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Aereo's seemingly last-ditch argument to save itself won't be given an airing in court, according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.


Instead, if the shuttered streaming video company wants to keep fighting for its survival, procedural reasons require that it do so at the district court level, officials said in a document filed Thursday.


The decision is a win for broadcasters, who had sought a ban on Aereo from the beginning. Initially, the district court decided against an injunction. But a ruling from the Supreme Court earlier this summer reversed that decision. Now the appellate court, following procedure, has also followed suit. Aereo declined to comment; a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


How significant is this move? Seeing as Aereo had already voluntarily shut its doors after the Supreme Court verdict, a preliminary injunction doesn't mean much for the company operationally. But the Second Circuit is effectively telling Aereo that if it wants to argue that it's a cable company only for the purposes of copyright law — and therefore qualified to pay lower royalties — it's currently making the argument to the wrong people.


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Why Internet Access Monopolies Harm Innovation | Techdirt.com

Why Internet Access Monopolies Harm Innovation | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When antitrust stories make headlines—as the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger has—even well-intentioned analysis often confuses harm to competitors with harm to competition. Viewing antitrust law through a "competition" lens, as opposed to a "competitors" lens, is not intuitive: consumers are harmed not by being denied access to existing services, but by being denied new ones.


In antitrust law there is a debate, known as Schumpeter-Arrow—based on the initial intellectual adversaries, Joseph Schumpeter and Kenneth Arrow—which concerns whether monopoly power leads to innovation. On the pro-monopoly side, Schumpeter believed that companies with market power have economies of scale and financial stability, which allow them to invest more capital into R&D. By contrast, more competitive firms have to focus their energy—and money—into maintaining their competitiveness. On the other side of the debate, Arrow argued that monopolists have no incentive to innovate. Anti-monopolists preach the gospel that competition begets innovation. Consumers will gravitate towards companies that are offering new and better services.


In reality, each view holds some validity, depending on the specific market at issue. In some markets, market power might have a more positive effect on innovation. For example, in certain markets—usually referring to patents—many believe that monopolies are sometimes necessary. The most commonly mentioned market of this nature is the development of new pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical companies claim they need the promise of a monopoly on their work if they are going to invest enormous research dollars into a new drug (whether or not this is actually true is another discussion for another day).


In most other markets, however, monopoly power is likely to do more harm than good. For example, in the market for Internet services, the Schumpeterian view that companies with dominant market power will invest their profits into innovation is both implausible and disproven. As Brendan Greeley wrote in Business Insider:


The utterly consistent position from the ISPs has been this: Guarantee us a higher income stream from a more concentrated market, and we'll build out new infrastructure to reach more Americans with high-speed Internet. A decade ago, this argument had at least the benefit of being untested.


A graph published by the National Communications and Telecommunications Association confirms that consolidation has not resulted in increased infrastructure expenditures.


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Consumer Groups Urge FCC to Reject Comcast/Time Warner Cable Deal | TheWrap

Consumer Groups Urge FCC to Reject Comcast/Time Warner Cable Deal | TheWrap | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Two big consumer groups — Consumers Union and Common Cause — on Thursday urged the Federal Communications Commission to reject Comcast's deal for Time Warner Cable. It sounds a warning that the transaction would give Comcast too much control over video choices.


“This merger would harm competition, impede innovation by online video distributors, threaten innovation in equipment and platforms and reduce the diversity of information sources and services to the public, all to the detriment of consumers and contrary to public interest,” the groups said in a joint filing with the agency.


The organizations also struck out at a key argument the two companies have employed in asking the FCC and the Justice Department to approve the deal. That previous request claimed that the combination doesn't harm competition because TWC and Comcast operate cable systems in different markets.


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