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A Call to Develop a Worker Cooperative Sector in New York City: How the City Can Create Jobs and Address Inequality at Its Roots | Truth-Out.org

A Call to Develop a Worker Cooperative Sector in New York City: How the City Can Create Jobs and Address Inequality at Its Roots | Truth-Out.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On January 30, the Co-op business development pioneers in New York City recently shared their successes and discussed their needs in building infrastructure and planting the seeds of a democratic work movement. Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), a 90-year-old nonprofit with the mission to "strengthen human service organizations and advocate for just public policies," hosted a standing-room-only conference titled "Worker Cooperatives: Jobs for New York City's Future."


The conference brought together leaders of New York City's nascent worker cooperative movement to discuss how to grow the sector in NYC. The conference also celebrated the release of a report entitled "Worker Cooperatives for New York City: A Vision for Addressing Income Inequality, authored by FPWA's Senior Policy Analyst, Noah Franklin, which is a blueprint for developing a strong worker co-op sector in NYC.


Worker cooperatives are democratic, worker-owned, worker-managed businesses. Worker co-ops have the potential to address many of the immoral and inefficient shortcomings of capitalist workplaces. In worker cooperatives, democratic worker-owners own and manage their own enterprises so they are highly motivated to create successful businesses in which the work is fulfilling, sustainable and meets the economic needs of both the worker-owners and their community.


Jobs in worker co-ops are usually higher paying, more stable and have better benefits than comparable jobs in traditional businesses. Worker co-ops tend to be both good stewards of the environment and vested in their community. Moreover, though challenging, workers like to be their own boss.


Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times labor and workplace reporter and author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for American Workers opened the conference with an overview of the current precarious predicament of the US working class. He stated, "There is a growing realization that something is seriously broken in the economy. Prosperity is not flowing to the nation's workers." Median household income in the United States has fallen 11 percent since 2000. Successful companies such Boeing and Caterpillar are not sharing their prosperity with workers.


In fact, they are demanding concessions from workers under the threat of plant closings. The most common jobs in the United States are now service sector jobs at companies like Walmart and McDonalds. Service sector jobs tend to be poorly paid, part-time, and have no health or retirement benefits. In addition, a worker's schedule and the number of hours she works often changes from week to week.


Thus, for many service workers, both their families' finances and schedules are unstable and unpredictable. In NYC, the gap between rich and poor is tremendous. According to recent Census data, the mean annual income of the bottom fifth of households is $8,993 and the highest fifth make on average $222,871 a year.


Conference participants described concrete examples of worker cooperatives creating stable, relatively high-paying jobs with benefits in which workers control the implementation of work.


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Did Comcast Ghostwrite Rahm Emanuel's Letter to the FCC? | Spencer Woodman | The Nation

Did Comcast Ghostwrite Rahm Emanuel's Letter to the FCC? | Spencer Woodman | The Nation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On August 26th of last year, David L. Cohen, a Comcast Executive Vice President, joyously announced that the cable giant's controversial proposed merger with Time Warner had generated a frenzy of supportive letters to the Federal Communications Commission from nearly 70 mayors and dozens of other state and local officials. In particular, Cohen singled out a letter from one of the country's most high-profile mayors.

"We're proud to have the support of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who praised Comcast's acclaimed Internet Essentials program and the increased investment and faster Internet speeds that the transaction will bring in his letter," Cohen wrote, referring partly to Comcast's discounted services for low-income customers. Emanuel's letter, submitted to federal regulators just days before, was indeed glowing. The mayor asserted his belief that the proposed merger would not reduce consumer choice or drive up prices (a primary concern of the proposal's critics), before launching into breathless praise of the company's charitable activity in Chicago.

"Comcast currently makes considerable contributions in Chicago," Emanuel writes, "and we expect those contributions to continue—and increase—if the proposed combination is approved."

The authorship of Emanuel's letter, however, may be more complex than meets the eye. Before Emanuel wrote to federal regulators, Comcast appears to have furnished the mayor with some writing assistance in the form of suggested language—and perhaps even a whole first draft—regarding his FCC letter.


When The Nation submitted a FOIA request to his office requesting any records of suggested language or any Comcast-supplied draft, the mayor's office responded that such a communication does indeed exist. It is refusing, however, to turn over the Comcast document, citing a state law that allows the withholding of preliminary drafts, suggestions, notes and communications in which opinions are expressed or actions or policies are formulated.


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Netflix's master plan is global content licensing | Samantha Bookman | Fierce Online Video

Netflix's master plan is global content licensing | Samantha Bookman | Fierce Online Video | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Determining top SVOD provider Netflix's next move is sometimes difficult. Unless CEO Reed Hastings or content guru Ted Sarandos specifically makes a statement on their intentions, the way it strategizes content acquisition or creation isn't always clear. However, Hastings' recent comments on combating online video piracy made it clear that Netflix has a goal to get worldwide licensing rights to all of the content on Netflix, in every country.

Pirating video content online, through torrents or other means, is an ongoing problem for rights holders. And while outright piracy is a bigger problem, according to Hastings, it's important to remove the incentive to illegally access content.

"The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there's no incentive" to use VPN masking, Hastings recently told Gizmodo Australia. "Then we can work on the more important part which is piracy."


Fixing global content rights issues would certainly put a damper on VPN masking of the SVOD provider's stream. Although Netflix is available in nearly 50 countries, including most recently Australia and Cuba, subscribers in one country get a different content lineup than another. To get content they want to watch, some users mask or spoof their IP addresses via a virtual private network to fool the Netflix service into thinking they're local.


While VPN masking isn't outright piracy in this case--the users must still subscribe to Netflix's service to stream video, meaning they are paying for content--it isn't kosher, either.


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Wireless providers make OTT strategy key to future profitability, report says | Samantha Bookman | Fierce Online Video

Wireless providers make OTT strategy key to future profitability, report says | Samantha Bookman | Fierce Online Video | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Despite ongoing concerns about the amount of bandwidth that over-the-top video is taking up on wireless networks, the popularity of the medium means that carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile US and Verizon, are making wireless OTT a "key pillar" of their future plans, a Wells Fargo analyst research note says.

While each carrier is taking a slightly different path in their respective mobile video strategies, "we believe OTT is a boon for the wireless industry overall," according to analysts Jennifer Fritzsche, Eric Luebchow and Caleb Stein, co-authors of the note, sent to investors on Tuesday.

The question, according to the note, is how carriers will capitalize on mobile video, which currently takes up 55 percent of all mobile traffic and may grow to 72 percent of traffic by 2019, according to a Cisco report.


"VZ's view of the world is that a linear TV asset does not to be owned, as content costs eat up all the margins. Rather, it believes its 108MM wireless base will be a key asset to content players to attract more 'eye balls' and enable VZ to develop new video delivery methods," the analysts noted. "AT&T has taken a diverging path, as evidenced by its purchase of DTV. In T's view, the critical bundle is one that includes broadband, video AND wireless."


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Rogers launches VoLTE across Canada | TeleGeography.com

Rogers Communications has switched on commercial voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services across Canada, available initially on the Android-based LG G3 Vigor smartphone, the country’s first VoLTE-enabled handset, with more VoLTE-ready devices expected this year.


VoLTE allows the user to make voice/video calls over the all-IP LTE network whilst simultaneously browsing the web or streaming video at LTE speeds.


In a press release, Rogers says its 4G network customers ‘will be the first in Canada to complete HD voice and video calls over a VoLTE network, where available, versus the traditional voice network’, giving users with a VoLTE device ‘clear, natural sounding voice and video calls’, whilst call connection time will also be faster.


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Obama authorizes sanctions against hackers | Fred O'Connor | NetworkWorld.com

Obama authorizes sanctions against hackers | Fred O'Connor | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an executive order authorizing the U.S. government to impose sanctions on people, organizations and governments that partake in “malicious cyber-enabled activities” that harm the country.

“The same technologies that help keep our military strong are used by hackers in China and Russia to target our defense contractors and systems that support our troops,” Obama said in a statement.

The sanctions would target activities that harm critical infrastructure, disrupt computer networks, expose personal information and trade secrets, and entities that profit from information stolen in cyberattacks. The administration will focus on threats from outside the U.S.

The sanctions Obama announced on Wednesday will help prevent and respond to cyberattacks when channels such as working with law enforcement and the private sector or cooperating with nations don’t offer a resolution. In some cases, foreign laws are too weak or governments “either unwilling or unable to crack down on those responsible,” the statement said.


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Verizon subscribers can now opt out of 'supercookies' | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com

Verizon subscribers can now opt out of 'supercookies' | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon customers can now opt out of having a unique identifier placed on their phones that critics have labelled a ‘supercookie’ because it’s almost impossible to remove.

Verizon said in January that it would allow subscribers to opt out of the tracking mechanism, but it didn’t say when. On Tuesday, it said the identifier won’t be inserted for customers who opt out of its mobile advertising program.

The move hasn’t satisfied privacy advocates, who say many customers won’t be aware that they need to opt out of the program. The identifier should be “opt in” instead, those advocates say.

“This is an improvement, but it doesn’t do nearly enough,” said Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, a senior staff technologist with Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The EFF and other privacy groups have severely criticized the technology. While users can normally delete tracking cookies from their web browsers, Verizon’s system sends a unique identifier to every unencrypted website its customers visit from their mobile browser.

That allows third-party websites and advertisers to track people’s movements on the web, and users were unable to turn the identifier off, Hoffman-Andrews explained in a blog post last November.

Privacy advocates have called on Verizon to end the program, and last month three senators urged government agencies to investigate.

Verizon customers could opt out of the advertising side of the program, but not from having the identifier, referred to as the UIDH, placed on their phones.

Now, “Verizon Wireless has updated its systems so that we will stop inserting the UIDH after a customer opts out of the relevant mobile advertising program or activates a line that is ineligible for the advertising program,” such as as a government or business line, Verizon said in a change to its policies Tuesday.

Customers can opt out by visiting their privacy settings page, or by calling 866-211-0874, the company said.


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ACA to FCC: Deny NAB-PK Effective Competition Motion | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

ACA to FCC: Deny NAB-PK Effective Competition Motion | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The American Cable Association (ACA) has told the FCC that slowing or narrowing its proceeding on potentially reversing the presumption that cable operators are not subject to effective competition unless proved otherwise is an "extraordinary and disruptive motion" that should be denied.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has teamed with Public Knowledge (PK) to ask that the FCC think harder about the proposal and collect more input.

The FCC has proposed fulfilling a statutory mandate to relieve smaller operators of the burdens of the process by proposing to reverse the presumption for all operators, given the fact that virtually all such petitions are granted and without challenge, and given that Dish and DirecTV provide video competition nationwide.

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America's Ugly Truth about Broadband? We are 22nd or 25th in the World in Download Speeds; 40th in Upload Speeds. | Bruce Kushnick | HuffPost.com

America's Ugly Truth about Broadband? We are 22nd or 25th in the World in Download Speeds; 40th in Upload Speeds. | Bruce Kushnick | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

How encouraging!

According to Ookla's Net Index, as of March, 31, 2015, the U.S. is 25th in the world in download speeds and 40th in the world in upload speeds.


CONCLUSION: When Finland and Hungry beat out the United States of America in download speeds and the Republic of Seychelles and Bangladesh beat us in 'upload' speeds, (the critical component in the entire 'using the cloud' ecosystem), you know something is wrong with broadband in America today.


In short -- we suck.


We use two sources: Akamai's 4th quarter 2014 results and Ookla's Net Index, March 31st, 2015, for broadband connectivity around the world.


Ookla -- Worth repeating: At the end of March, 2015, the US is 25th in the world in download speeds and 40th in the world in upload speeds.


NOTE: These numbers can vary by day as the Ookla speed test has "5 million tests per day" with "350 million users in the past year".


Click for the Net Index showing broadband speeds worldwide and other information.


Akamai -- The US is 22nd in the world in "average peak" speed connections at the end of 2014. (I note that we were 16th in "average" broadband speeds.)


This exhibit is for the Americas countries' speeds, 4th quarter, 2014. The only good news from this chart is that the United States beat out many of the South American countries.


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Sascha Meinrath, Founder and Director of X-Lab, Celebrates X-Lab’s 1-Year Anniversary with Spinout! | X-Lab.org

Sascha Meinrath, Founder and Director of X-Lab, Celebrates X-Lab’s 1-Year Anniversary with Spinout! | X-Lab.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After launching a number of groundbreaking initiatives over the last year, X-Lab will celebrate its first anniversary by spinning out as an independent tech tank starting in April, announced its director and founder Sascha Meinrath.


X-Lab is innovative and future-focused, built to anticipate, develop and respond to what’s next in tech policy by combining visionary leadership and in-depth technological expertise with an understanding of how regulatory and legislative debates affect the rights and freedoms of consumers.

X-Lab will be housed at the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that works to achieve a healthier, more equitable world through a diverse array of technology, conservation, education, global health, and other philanthropic initiatives.


X-Lab was created with the premise that no one should ever have to choose between their fundamental liberties and the technologies they want to use. X-Lab’s work empowers tinkerers and the digital craftsmen and women of tomorrow to develop human-centric, rights-preserving innovations.

“Today, Washington needs bold leadership that can chart a course through the increasingly complex tensions that new technologies are creating,” stated Sascha Meinrath, X-Lab’s founder and director. “I’ve been honored to work with many of the smartest technical minds on the planet, to launch both the Open Technology Institute and now X-Lab. X-Lab is conceptualized from the ground up to provide a fundamentally new kind of collaborative environment for the next generation of tech policy visionaries.”

In just its first year, X-Lab has kicked off several programs including Commotion Labs, the Civil Liberties Coalition, the Circumvention Tech Audit Lab, the PrivWare Lab, and a participatory democracy platform called Nobis, being built in collaboration with DemocracyOS and Loomio.


Meinrath previously founded the Open Technology Institute in 2008, which rapidly grew to become one of the leading tech policy organizations in the nation’s capital. He stepped down as OTI’s director and New America’s vice-president in 2014 to launch X-Lab, the latest in a number of successful projects he’s curated and developed, including the Commotion Wireless Project, Measurement Lab, and the Open Internet Tools Project.


Meinrath has been recognized as one of “Time Tech 40” and as one of Newsweek’s Top 100 in their “Digital Power Index.”


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Tech companies call on US to end bulk collection of metadata | Fred O'Connor | ComputerWorld.com

Tech companies call on US to end bulk collection of metadata | Fred O'Connor | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A slew of tech companies have joined privacy groups in calling for the U.S. government to reform its surveillance practices.

An open letter from the tech industry and privacy organizations urges the government not to renew the provision in the Patriot Act that allows for the bulk collection of metadata. That provision, called Section 215, expires in June.

"There must be a clear, strong, and effective end to bulk collection practices," reads the letter, which was signed by the industry group Reform Government Surveillance, whose members include including Apple, Facebook, Google, Evernote, Twitter and Microsoft. Any data collection efforts need to protect user rights and privacy, the letter said.

The issue stems from the bulk collection of metadata, like the length and time of phone calls, by U.S. intelligence groups including the National Security Agency. In 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released documents that showed the NSA was gathering this information from millions of phone calls.

"Nearly two years after government surveillance revelations came to light, the U.S. Government still has unfinished business to reduce the technology trust deficit it has created," said Fred Humphries, Microsoft's vice president of U.S. government affairs, in a blog post.

Attempts by Congress to reform the country's surveillance programs have so far failed. In November, the Senate voted against a bill that would have reined in the NSA's ability to collect telephone records in bulk.


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MN: McLeod County Broadband 2014 Update: Well served | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN: McLeod County Broadband 2014 Update: Well served | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how McLeod County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 28.9
  • Number of Households: 14,639
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 98.36%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 98.66%


McLeod County is well covered for broadband. I don’t hear a lot about it. I know the Eagle Cam in Hutchinson is a big hit online. And actually Hutchinson has been pretty active with broadband from the Little Crow Telemedia Network, they were part of a recent computer donation tour from PCs for People and the local paper has been featuring broadband for years.

Whatever they’re doing, it’s working. I think their location and local providers such as NU-Telecom and MVTV Wireless help.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage…

How does Minnesota define broadband?


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Internet Backup Options Can Be Pricey, Complicated | Shirley Siluk | Top Tech News

Internet Backup Options Can Be Pricey, Complicated | Shirley Siluk | Top Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Small towns and rural areas across the U.S. are often described as "one stoplight" locales. But many are also one-Internet-line communities, which raises the risk that large regions may go offline if a network route is damaged. That's exactly what happened in Arizona last month when vandals cut a buried fiber-optic cable owned by the Internet service provider CenturyLink.

The perpetrators, believed to have been looking for copper wire that is valuable in the scrap metal market, apparently sliced through the cable using power tools. The damage left a large number of people without Internet access, and also disrupted cellphone, 911, ATM and credit-card processing services in areas around Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona.

That act of vandalism "exposed a glaring vulnerability in the nation's Internet infrastructure with no backup systems in many places," the Associated Press reported on Friday. "Because Internet service is largely unregulated by the federal government and the states, decisions about network reliability are left to the service providers. Industry analysts say these companies generally do not build alternative routes, or redundancies, unless they believe it is worthwhile financially."


Disruptions to Internet service can and do happen for many reasons, ranging from hacker attacks to solar storms. With online access vital for so many services today, such interruptions can be far from merely inconvenient.


Last month's vandalism in Arizona, for example, raised "major implications for telehealth in northern Arizona," according to the Arizona Telecommunications & Information Council. That's a concern for many rural and tribal communities for whom phone and Internet services can be the primary means of accessing health care.


When Internet service is lost for long periods of time -- as occurred in 2013 when an underwater cable snapped off the coast of Washington state -- local workers and businesses can also suffer. In 2010, a hardware failure that led to an 11-day system outage for the air carrier Virgin Blue is believed to have cost the company as much as $20 million in lost revenues.


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FCC will vote next month on plan to share valuable 3.5GHz spectrum | Stephen Lawson | ComputerWorld.com

FCC will vote next month on plan to share valuable 3.5GHz spectrum | Stephen Lawson | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote April 17 on a spectrum-sharing plan for a band that could serve the military, mobile service providers and individuals.

The CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) would open up frequencies from 3550-3700MHz to three classes of users, including owners of new mobile devices who could use the service like they do Wi-Fi. The FCC vote comes after several rounds of study and public comment on the proposal for more than two years.

In that time, growing demand for wireless spectrum has boosted pressure on the government to share or auction off some of the many frequencies it exclusively controls. Bandwidth-hungry services like streaming video and audio, plus wireless links for a growing array of connected devices, are expected to eventually place strains on the spectrum currently allocated to wireless data.

The CBRS plan could lead to better wireless data performance for users in crowded places like stadiums, as well as better rural broadband services and new spectrum for industrial uses not suited to Wi-Fi or LTE, according to the FCC. It could also be a proving ground for a spectrum-sharing approach that might be applied to other government bands.

The 3.5GHz band is used mostly by Army and Navy radar systems and satellite equipment. The CBRS plan calls for them to share the band with effectively unlicensed access that anyone could get just by buying an authorized mobile device. But the FCC would also auction off licenses to service providers, who would enjoy some protection from interference by the unlicensed users.

A cloud-based Spectrum Access System would keep track of the existing radios and the licensed services in order to manage interference. But large swaths of the country that previously would have been reserved for the incumbent users are much smaller in the latest version of the plan, thanks in part to improved technology. Those so-called exclusion zones previously would have covered much of the country's east and west coasts, home to a majority of the population, but now are 77 percent smaller, the FCC says.


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Revolutionary compression technology promises “video at audio bitrates” | Digital TV Europe

Revolutionary compression technology promises “video at audio bitrates” | Digital TV Europe | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

V-Nova unveiled its Perseus compression technology at a press and analyst event in London on Monday. The company says its proprietary technology can provide compression or the order of a factor of two or three over existing MPEG technologies, including HEVC, H.264 and – for contribution applications – JPEG2000.

V-Nova’s technology has been developed and tested over the past five years within an Open Innovation consortium of over 20 companies and organisations, including Broadcom, the European Broadcasting Union, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Intel, and Sky.

“This is a new way to compress video. The benefits are clear, it shifts the entire bitrate-quality curve…and it means we can offer UHD quality at HD bitrates,” said Eric Achtmann, executive chairman of the London-based outfit.

Achtmann said the technology would enable the deployment of mass-market video services in emerging markets by enabling the distribution of video over 4G, 3G or even 2G networks, with standard definition video distributed at sub-audio bitrates. “For the one third of the world that still has insufficient bandwidth for video…[this] means that if you can receive a call you have the ability to receive video,” he said.

V-Nova claims to use standard off-the-shelf hardware and says its technology can be overlaid on MPEG, meaning that existing video distribution players can use it to provide services.

Guido Meardi, CEO and founder of V-Nova, like Achtmann a former McKinsey & Company executive, said that V-Nova had stepped outside the framework of MPEG compression to use hierarchical compression techniques and “massive parallelism”.


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How Netflix Is Creating the Ultra-High-Def Future of TV | Brian Barrett | WIRED.com

How Netflix Is Creating the Ultra-High-Def Future of TV | Brian Barrett | WIRED.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix crystallized the idea of an internet service that streamed unlimited amounts of TV and movies into your home. It redefined television production with House of Cards, bringing a bona fide original series straight to the net. And with documentaries like The Battered Bastards of Baseball, it took the idea of original programming to new heights. But the company isn’t finished.

So many companies are now pushing into the world of internet television, from Amazon to HBO to CBS. But in the foreseeable future, no single outfit will do more to improve your television experience than Netflix. Yes, it will continue to offer new and original series, but more than that, it will change the technology we use to watch shows and movies, pushing things like ultra-high resolution video and a new breed of television that’s better suited to online streaming.

Netflix was the first company to roll out 4K video, an ultra-high-definition image that offers several times the detail of standard HD images. It began offering 4K versions of shows like House of Cards and Breaking Bad nearly a year ago.

Most people don’t have the 4K TVs needed to watch these ultra-high-definition shows. But Netflix sees where the world is moving, and unlike others, it’s in a position to accelerate the process. Netflix was the first to roll out 4K, says Avi Greengart, a research director with marker research firm called Current Analysis, because many others didn’t have the option. “It could, and its competitors can’t,” Greengart says. “4K requires more bandwidth than many cable and satellite systems have available.”


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US Cellular to deploy 600 new LTE sites in 2015 | TeleGeography.com

US Cellular, in conjunction with its partner King Street Wireless, has announced that it will be adding more than 600 Long Term Evolution (LTE) cell sites to its network in 2015, and expanding its existing 4G service in ten states.


By the end of 2015, 98% of US Cellular customers will have access to LTE technology, up from 94% currently.


The latest US Cellular network expansion will see LTE networks extended in California, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.


More than 2,000 new cities and towns will be covered by the rollout.

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Palo Alto service to flag particularly evil security attacks | Tim Greene | NetworkWorld.com

Palo Alto service to flag particularly evil security attacks | Tim Greene | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Palo Alto Networks is introducing a service that tips customers off when it discovers unique or particularly dangerous attacks against their networks, giving them a heads up that perhaps they are the targets of particularly resourceful, dedicated adversaries.

Called AutoFocus, the service is an add-on to the company’s existing cloud-based service WildFire that constantly analyzes all its customers’ networks for malware and exploits and downloads new rules every 15 minutes to Palo Alto gear to automatically block the new threats it finds.

AutoFocus sorts through all the attacks it discovers and breaks them down into components and looks for the same components being used in other attacks. If it finds similar tools, techniques and procedures (TTP) being used in other attacks, it makes a correlation that may indicate the same adversary is behind them.

It may find that the attack is unique, never seen before among the 360 million malware sessions Palo Alto has gathered from customer networks comprised of 30 billion individual malicious behaviors of malware it has found. In that case the attack is flagged because it means the customer has been targeted by an organization with resources to come up with new TTPs and has chosen to expend this valuable attack resource on them.


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Here's What Happens When Internet Providers Have Zero Competition | Timothy Stenovec | HuffPost.com

Here's What Happens When Internet Providers Have Zero Competition | Timothy Stenovec | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s basic economics: Competition drives down prices.

So it’s no surprise that AT&T is charging way more for its highest-speed Internet service in Cupertino, California, where it’s the only provider of superfast gigabit speeds, than in cities where it has a competitor.

AT&T’s pricing power in the small and expensive enclave of Silicon Valley illustrates the state of broadband in the U.S. Because of the huge infrastructure costs of deploying a network, there is very little competition -- nearly 75 percent of households in the U.S. have one or no options for broadband Internet, according to the FCC. And as speeds go up, competition goes down.

AT&T’s GigaPower Internet service, which launched in Cupertino on Monday, will cost consumers $110 per month if they want the top speed of up to 1,000 megabits (one gigabit) per second for downloads. That’s $40 more per month than AT&T charges in other cities where it offers the service, like Austin and Kansas City, Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin reports.

The difference is that in Austin and Kansas City, AT&T competes with Google Fiber, the search giant’s own superfast Internet network. In those places, both Google Fiber and AT&T offer gigabit service starting at $70 per month.


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How Yahoo News ruins journalism | Ron Charles | WashPost.com

How Yahoo News ruins journalism | Ron Charles | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The new issue of the Baffler, titled “Venus in Fur” (No. 27), is the left-wing journal’s first issue focused on clothing — from mom jeans to phallic neckties.

But the best essay is a tale about an emperor with no clothes. In “Purple Reign,” Baffler senior editor Chris Lehmann reports on his stint as managing editor of Yahoo News’s news blog — a “Beckett-like simulacrum of a journalism shop.”

It’s an entirely one-sided ex-employee rant — high dudgeon from a vertiginous altitude — but it’s also a clarifying critique that should be required reading for anyone interested in the ills of journalism in the Internet age.

Lehmann was once deputy editor of Book World, but before I came to The Post, he’d moved on. He worked for several years at Congressional Quarterly, and when that job evaporated, he applied to Yahoo, a “shuddering storehouse of legacy webmail accounts and a surprisingly potent aggregator of news content.”

Alas, it was a doomed match. Lehmann is an old-school editor and journalist — essentially a heretic in the realm of curation. To package news “to mirror readers’ hobbies, tastes preferences, and browsing histories is to downgrade journalism into the stuff of Pinterest posting,” he says, but that’s what he was required to do by his “perennially addled (and ever-shifting) team of managers.” (One of his bosses tells him to hire celebrity journalist Robert Novak. “The problem,” Lehmann explains, “was that by this time, Novak had been dead for two years.”)

But for a while, Lehmann and his team were very successful. They delivered serious and interesting stories while also suffering “the small-bore indignities of daily blog work — covering dubiously newsworthy developments in their field and manufacturing click-baity takes on this or that meaningless popcult trend or product in order to drive traffic.”

He was always at odds with the marketers “in this code-happy universe” who greeted independent journalism “with faux market-savvy suspicion.” His masters worried, in particular, that he was posting stories about events they hadn’t heard of before. (You know, like “news.”) Such stories are difficult to sell to contracted content partners.


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Charter Wants to Expand Video Cloud to Bright House | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Charter Wants to Expand Video Cloud to Bright House | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications was eager Tuesday to talk about the benefits of scale that it expects to achieve via its proposed $10.4 billion acquisition of Bright House Networks, and a good piece of that will include the MSO’s next-gen video platform and its budding wireless aspirations.

During Tuesday’s call with reporters and analysts, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said its proposed acquisition of Bright House and transactions tied to the pending Comcast/Time Warner Cable will give Charter an opportunity to extend the reach of its new cloud-based user interface and its strategy involving the “Worldbox,” a new class of device that can run on Arris- and Cisco Systems-based cable systems thanks to its use of a new downloadable security system (Cisco and Humax are the known suppliers of Charter’s Worldbox). Charter is also using technology from ActiveVideo and Zodiac Interactive to offer the new UI across its box base, including older QAM-locked set-tops that are two-way, but don’t speak IP.

“So our strategy from a guide and new set-top box perspective… integrates with Bright House, Time Warner and with Comcast assets pretty universally,” Rutledge said, noting later that “a scaled company investing in a centralized cloud based UI and service architecture can [create] better products than our competitors have.”

But Rutledge did acknowledge that those integrations will still present a challenge due to the presence of different billing and provisioning systems across those properties. To resolve that, Charter is developing an “abstraction layer” over those myriad billing and provisioning systems, Rutledge said.


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We got in the habit of travelling around and teaching people to build radio stations | Pete Tridish | UNESCO Chair on Community Media

We got in the habit of travelling around and teaching people to build radio stations | Pete Tridish | UNESCO Chair on Community Media | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the years, as both the commercial and the non- commercial band filled up in the US, there was no longer much room to start a new radio station. By the time I got involved in radio, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), our regulators, said that there was nothing left. But, we discovered that, that wasn’t actually true. It was just that everybody had been thinking that they wanted big radio stations.


So Stephen Dunifer, an activist, built a transmitter and operated it [Free Radio Berkeley] from 1993 as an act of civil disobedience and when he was caught, he said, we recognise the authority of the FCC and they are allowed to abridge our freedom of speech to have an orderly band. But they are supposed to be doing it in the way that’s the least harmful to the First Amendment. His lawyers said if my client has no radio stations, and Clear Channel has 1200 radio stations, how could this be the fairest system? The judge did not rule against Stephen Dunifer for about four years. So, from 1994 to 1998 there were about a 1000 unlicensed radio stations across the country.

Finally, after four years, not on the merits but on a procedural issue, Stephen Dunifer was ruled against. So, he had to turn his transmitter off in 1998. But, by that time there were already a thousand of these stations and FCC had a very big job to go around and shut them all off.


Of the thousand pirate stations and over the course of three or four months, they raided about 400 of them. But, in the meantime something strange had happened, which was, that the chairman of FCC – his name was William Kennard, who we thought was going to be completely against us, changed his mind. He had visited South Africa and he had met Zane Ibrahim and was very impressed by the way that Bush Radio station was integrated with the community and Zane was very effective at lobbying with him. Also, after my station was shut down, I decided that as a further escalation, we would have a protest in front of headquarters of FCC and at the National Association of Broadcasters.


It was a very funny protest. We had a giant puppet showing the corporations controlling the broadcasters and the broadcasters controlling the FCC. We dressed the FCC Chairman like a puppet, like Pinocchio, and he was on the strings of the broadcasters. And he thought it was the funniest thing ever. For the next six months or so, every time he gave a big public speech, he would say there were these crazy people, they came outside, these pirate broadcasters, and they made a puppet out of me, you know, and they said I was a puppet of you guys, of you broadcasters. In 2000, Mr. Kennard announced the adoption of rules by FCC, creating a new low power FM radio service.


The Prometheus Radio Project was officially launched with that Philadelphia protest in 1998. Once the rule makings opened, we got in the habit of travelling around and teaching people to build radio stations [called ‘barnraisings’ by the group in the spirit of the Amish barnraising tradition, where everyone gathers together to support one family and build together.].


The big broadcasters, National Association of Broadcasters, were very, very upset that they had been beaten… by us! They said we caused all sorts of interferences; we cause airplanes to fall out from the sky, you know, all kinds of things. They went to the Congress and got it to pass a law [the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act, 2000] that limited the FCC’s authority to give out these radio licences.


The way they did it, they didn’t ban it completely but they said the FCC would have to follow very tight technical criteria. What the FCC did was they had to implement this new rule, which said, instead of having two clicks on the dial between stations, you had to have three, and that meant that, there were no opportunities in the top 50 urban markets and in a lot of small towns.There was only one frequency made available and there was a competition for that one from churches, schools, activist groups and everyone.


Anyway, we started building the rural stations because we weren’t going to say no to the stations that we could have, and we started to campaign in Congress to change the law back. The anti-low power FM law was passed in 2000 and the pro-low power FM repeal eventually happened in 2010. It took them seven months to pass the anti-LPFM bill and it took us 10 years to pass the other side. [President Obama signed into law the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 in January 2011.]


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Charter CEO Rutledge: Bright House Buy Could Help Comcast-TWC | | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com

Charter CEO Rutledge: Bright House Buy Could Help Comcast-TWC | | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge said that its pending $10.4 billion acquisition of Bright House Networks is contingent on Comcast’s $67 billion deal to purchase Time Warner Cable, but the Charter CEO said his deal could help push the larger transaction through some murky regulatory waters.

Rutledge admitted that if the Comcast-TWC deal does not win approval, that would make the Bright House deal a no go. But he said that he is confident the larger transaction will win approval and said that by buying Bright House, Charter effectively lowers the attributable subscribers to the combined Comcast, TWC to about 29 million customers from the 31 million subscribers previously expected.

“We think the [Comcast-TWC] deal is likely to close and it is more likely to close because it solves the attribution problem for Comcast-TWC,” Rutledge said on a conference call with analysts discussing the deal. “It improves the assets under the control of Comcast.”

While the FCC has been more concerned with the concentration of broadband customers in the combined Comcast-TWC, the Bright House deal would effectively lower that bar as well, by about 1.9 million subscribers.


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Apple asks court to throw out lawsuit over storage on iPhones, iPads | Stephen Lawson | ComputerWorld.com

Apple asks court to throw out lawsuit over storage on iPhones, iPads | Stephen Lawson | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported incorrectly that the case has been thrown out. Apple requested that the case be thrown out, but the court has yet to issue a ruling. The corrected version is below.

Apple has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of misleading customers about the amount of storage available in mobile devices that come with iOS 8.

Apple filed a motion for dismissal Wednesday at the district court in San Jose, California, saying the plaintiffs failed to back up their arguments. The company wants the case dismissed with prejudice, which would prevent the plaintiffs from suing Apple again for the same thing. Judge Edward Davila will now have to rule on the motion.

In the suit, filed last December, Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara charged that Apple misled consumers about how much of the storage on iPhones and iPads was taken up by the OS. For example, they said a 16GB iPhone 6 really had just 13GB of capacity available.

Orshan and Endara never claimed they expected to get the full 16GB of storage, only that iOS 8 took up more room than expected. Apple said the plaintiffs never specified what made them think the OS would take up less space. The company also said information about the size of iOS 8 and the amount of available storage on the devices was widely available from media and other sources.


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NY: Governor Cuomo launches #Broadband4all campaign to rally support for new program | The Chronicle-Express

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launched #Broadband4All, a campaign to rally support for his New NY Broadband Program proposal, which will ensure that every New Yorker has access to high-speed Internet service by the end of 2018.

As part of the campaign, ta new website, ny.gov/BroadbandForAll, which provides New Yorkers with more information about the issue and encourages them to become involved. Additionally, members of the Governor’s administration are continuing to visit communities across the state to present the proposal in regions with some of the greatest broadband needs.

“Having powerful Internet access has become a necessity in today’s world, but in communities across the state – both rural and urban – there is a broadband gap that is leaving New Yorkers behind,” Cuomo said. “This is a problem that impacts everything from businesses to hospitals and schools, and we need to make a bold investment to change that and ensure every New Yorker has fast, reliable Internet access. By implementing this proposal we can lay the foundation for a stronger and more competitive New York years into the future, so let’s start making broadband for all a reality this year.”

“Connecting all New Yorkers to broadband is the single most important step that we can take to ensure New York’s future,” said Rachel Haot, Deputy Secretary for Technology, adding, “Already, Governor Cuomo has committed more to New York’s connectivity infrastructure than any other state in history. The New NY Broadband Program will help us fulfill the greatest infrastructure need of our age, and Governor Cuomo’s visionary plan will ensure New York’s economic, education, health and safety success for not just years but generations to come.”


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"Free State Foundation" Sock Puppetry: Big Telecom Front Group Hosts Net Neutrality Bashing Session | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

"Free State Foundation" Sock Puppetry: Big Telecom Front Group Hosts Net Neutrality Bashing Session | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When a group advocating broad-based deregulation and less government suddenly takes a laser-focused, almost obsessive interest in a subject like Internet Net Neutrality, it rarely happens for free.

Randolph May’s Free State Foundation (FSF) claims to be a non-profit, nonpartisan think tank to promote the free market, limited government, and rule of law principles. But in fact it primarily promotes the corporate interests of some of the group’s biggest financial backers, which include the wireless and cable industry.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), no stranger to big checks from cable companies himself, was in friendly territory at the group’s annual Telecom Policy Conference, a largely consumer-free affair, where he served as keynote speaker. Walden used the occasion to announce a solution to the Net Neutrality problem — defunding the FCC sufficiently to make sure it can never enforce the policy.

Walden, ignoring four million Americans who submitted comments almost entirely in favor of Net Neutrality, said the idea of the FCC overseeing an open and free Internet represented “regulatory overreach that will hurt consumers.”

Walden serves as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Walden told the audience he will be spending his time in Congress taking a hard look at the FCC, its budget request, and its policies after Net Neutrality became official FCC policy. Walden’s plans to punish the agency include a limit on FCC appropriations, making enforcement of Net Neutrality more difficult, if not impossible. Longer term, he hopes to bleed the agency dry by depriving it of resources to manage its regulatory mandate.

Walden’s third largest contributor is Comcast. He also receives significant financial support from the American Cable Association and Cox Cable. He spoke to a group that depends heavily on contributions from the same telecom industry Walden’s campaign coffer does.


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