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FCC Chairman Wheeler Sees Limited Unlicensed Spectrum in the 600 MHz Band | Telecompetitor.com

FCC Chairman Wheeler Sees Limited Unlicensed Spectrum in the 600 MHz Band | Telecompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Those who had hoped that emerging higher-speed Wi-Fi technology would get a boost from new unlicensed spectrum may have to adjust their expectations. Remarks made by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week suggest that the amount of unlicensed spectrum resulting from the upcoming auction of TV broadcast spectrum will be at the lower end of what has been proposed for that spectrum band.


In his remarks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Monday, Wheeler also opened up the possibility that other spectrum could be made available in the 3.5 GHz band, which he referred to as an “innovation band.” Wheeler said he plans to circulate a proposal soon that would outline how the 3.5 GHz spectrum could be shared between commercial users and the government users, who currently control that band.


“Our instruction from Congress . . . is that the spectrum reallocated from broadcast licensees must be made available for auction,” said Wheeler in remarks prepared for the Brookings Institution address.

As a result, Wheeler said the spectrum that will be available for unlicensed use will include Channel 37, the guard bands, and TV white spaces.


TV white spaces are already available for unlicensed use but are not consistently available nationwide. Channel 37 for years was reserved for government use but new database technology may enable unlicensed users to use it in areas where the government is not using it.


The upshot is that the only truly new unlicensed spectrum will be the guard bands.


Guard bands would likely be at the upper and lower ends of the swath of broadcast spectrum freed up for auction. Wheeler did not specify how wide the guard bands would be but bands in the range of 5-6 MHz have been proposed.


Assuming one of those options is chosen, the total amount of new spectrum would be 10-12 MHz. That’s considerably less than the 24-30 MHz advocated by boosters of new higher-speed WiFi technology based on the 802.11af standard.


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Netflix, Verizon get in last word on Internet rules | Mario Trujillo | The Hill

Companies like Netflix and Verizon and are getting in a last word before the Federal Communications Commission circulates its Internet rules next week.

They are keying in on the potential for expanded rules to govern the point of interconnection — where data is transferred from the backbone networks of the Internet to the last mile, where Internet service providers route the content to customers.

Netflix has pushed for net neutrality rules to govern interconnection, while Verizon and AT&T oppose it.

“It is important to recognize that in all of the Internet issues we are still working on the process," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said when asked about the issue Thursday. "Nothing has been decided."

The entire net neutrality proposal is nearly a year in the making after an appeals court struck down the commission’s previous rules in January 2014. Wheeler is expected to unveil a proposal to reclassify broadband Internet under regulations governing landline telephones. However, details of the proposal remain unclear.

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Lansing, MI: The speed of light | Belinda Thurston | Lansing City Pulse

Lansing, MI: The speed of light | Belinda Thurston | Lansing City Pulse | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

“Dear bringer of the Light(Speed) Gods, I am writing to you from the confines of the desert island (aka: The Westside Neighborhood south of 496) that is my home. I long for the days that I may bask in the Light(Speed) of your glory. Saith the, Oh Light(Speed) Gods... when shall my brethren and I that inhabit this barren wasteland of an island be in your presence, so that we may be released from the wretched curse (aka: Comcast) that has plagued our tiny island for far too long?

Sincerely, Your humble servant.”

This was posted onto Facebook last month by David Lucas of Lansing. He’s watched from the sidelines in 2014 as thousands of residential homes around Lansing were among the first to get fiber optic Internet piped to their homes touting speeds of 1 gigabit per second. That’s downloading a Blu-ray movie in under three minutes. That’s online gaming without interruption. It’s live television that streams like a dream.

These speeds of Internet are common in government, technology sectors and even higher education. But it’s been slow to arrive on the residential level due to the cost of laying the lines house by house.

Internet startup LightSpeed is the first local company to offer fiber optic Internet to the home.


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FCC Redefines Broadband As 25 Mbps, Angering Broadband Industry Perfectly Happy With Previous, Pathetic Standard | Karl Bode | Techdirt

FCC Redefines Broadband As 25 Mbps, Angering Broadband Industry Perfectly Happy With Previous, Pathetic Standard | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For a few months now, the FCC has been hinting that it was preparing to raise the base definition of broadband, and now it has officially made it happen. Voting 3-2 along party lines (because having goals is a partisan issue, you know), the agency declared that we're officially raising the standard definition of broadband from 4 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up to 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up.


That means, with the flip of a pdf announcement (pdf), millions of you technically no longer have broadband. In fact, with the FCC's decision the number of unserved broadband households has jumped from around 6% to somewhere around 20%.

That's largely thanks to the millions of users stuck on last-generation DSL in markets where phone companies lack the competitive incentive to upgrade. Placing greater attention on cable's growing broadband monopoly as AT&T and Verizon back away from unwanted DSL markets (to focus on wireless) was part of the agency's goal.


Not only do these companies not want to upgrade these DSL lines, they're paying for state laws that ensure nobody else can either. It's a paradigm that's needed smashing for most of the last decade, and few thought that Wheeler, a former cable and wireless lobbyist, was going to be the one to do it.


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Netflix Deals With Broadband Providers Said to Get FCC Oversight | Todd Shields | Bloomberg Biz News

Netflix Deals With Broadband Providers Said to Get FCC Oversight | Todd Shields | Bloomberg Biz News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. regulators plan to issue rules next month allowing them to review the terms Internet service providers demand for accepting heavy Web traffic from companies such as Netflix Inc., according to a person briefed on the plan.

Such agreements aren’t regulated now, and the move -- part of highly anticipated net-neutrality rules -- would mark an expansion of the Federal Communications Commission’s authority over the Internet. Cable providers led by Comcast Corp. have argued against restrictions on what they can charge content providers while companies such as Netflix sought to ban any fees.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has decided the rules, scheduled for a vote next month, will permit the agreements but include a procedure for companies to ask for agency review, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because the plan hasn’t been made public.

Wheeler has said he intends to follow President Barack Obama’s call for strong rules to prevent blocking or slowing of Web content by Internet service providers.

Adding the complaint process would give independent video providers -- a group that includes Netflix, Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc.’s YouTube -- a potential avenue of relief from demands by Internet service providers led by Comcast, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.

With an oversight procedure, the FCC could order an Internet service provider to stop demanding unfair fees, or to improve its connection, said Harold Feld, senior vice president of the Washington-based policy group Public Knowledge. Contracts would be considered against a standard of whether they are “just and reasonable,” Feld said.


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Sunshine Week March 15-21: Celebrate open government and freedom of information | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I know there are a lot of open gov, open data, freedom of information folks out there so I wanted to share this info early. Pass it onto your friends and colleagues or maybe even plan your own local Sunshine Week events!

A little bit like virtue never tested – our information policies (open data, freedom of information) are only good when we test them.

The sun has shone and the sun has hidden behind many a bureaucratic and political cloud since the launch of Sunshine Week a decade ago. The decade has experienced cosmic change ranging from Wikileaks and Snowden to the emergence of open government groups such as Code for America to the President’s National Action Plan for Open Government to a last minute failure of the 113rd Congress to pass the FOIA Improvement Act.

Constant vigilance inspires Sunshine Week sponsors to join forces to plan for Sunshine Week 2015, March 15-21.

A bit of background: Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Prime movers are freedom of information proponents including journalists, civic society groups, libraries and archives, schools and universities, and an expanding cohort of advocates for transparency and accountability at every level of government. Key players at the federal level are the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the American Society of News Editors, organizations that welcome inclusion of the broadest possible circle of interest and activity.

By tradition, Sunshine Week is scheduled to coincide with the birthday of James Madison who was born March 16, 1751. Sunshine Week 2015 is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation along with The Gridiron Club and Foundation.


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Feds Gagged Google Over Wikileaks Warrants Because They Were 'Upset By The Backlash' To Similar Twitter Warrants | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Feds Gagged Google Over Wikileaks Warrants Because They Were 'Upset By The Backlash' To Similar Twitter Warrants | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this week, we wrote about how the feds got a warrant demanding all email and other information about three Wikileaks-associated reporters. While the warrants issued in 2012, Wikileaks only found out about it a few weeks ago when Google told them, saying that an earlier gag order had been partially lifted. Wikileaks lashed out at Google for not letting them know earlier. However, in response, Google has noted that it fought the request and that it was gagged from saying anything until now.

Google says it challenged the secrecy from the beginning and was able to alert the customers only after the gag orders on those warrants were partly lifted, said Gidari, a partner at Perkins Coie.

“From January 2011 to the present, Google has continued to fight to lift the gag orders on any legal process it has received on WikiLeaks,” he said, adding that the firm’s policy is to challenge all gag orders that have indefinite time periods.

But, much more interesting was a separate point made by the lawyer, Albert Gidari, over why the feds demanded the gag order:


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AT&T confirms smaller 2015 capex | Stephen Hardy | LightWave.com

AT&T confirms smaller 2015 capex | Stephen Hardy | LightWave.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As expected, management at AT&T said on January 27 during its review of fiscal fourth quarter and full-year results that they expect to spend about $18 billion for capital expenditures (capex) in 2015. If the forecast holds, the total would represent slightly more than a $3 billion decline from the $21.4 billion spent in 2014.

The global Tier 1 service provider had signaled late last year that it expected to pare its capex this year. The company cited the near completion of its Project VIP effort – which includes connecting buildings to its fiber-optic network as well as expansion of its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure – as the reason for the capex pull back.

While most observers expect the majority of the capex to go toward wireless infrastructure improvements -- particularly considering the company's recent acquisitions of Iusacell and Nextel Mexico -- the fact that the company lost 51,000 wireline broadband subscribers in its recently concluded fourth quarter (excluding the Connecticut assets sold to Frontier) would indicate that high-speed broadband investments may continue to be emphasized as well.


The company has had success with its high-speed U-verse Internet and video packages -- it gained 405,000 U-verse high speed Internet subscribers in the fourth quarter, for a total of 12.2 million, and added 73,000 U-verse TV subscribers in the quarter, for a total of nearly 6 million. It would seem that converting as many existing broadband customers to these higher-tier services would be a priority.

At year-end, U-verse TV penetration was about 22% and U-verse broadband penetration was about 21%.

However, the company has announced that it plans to hold off on its 1-Gbps U-verse with GigaPower FTTH market expansion efforts until the current Net Neutrality storm blows over. Yet it also faces expanded competition from Google Fiber.


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FCC's Wheeler Mum on Open-Internet Order Outlines | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC's Wheeler Mum on Open-Internet Order Outlines | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler today declined to expound on what would or would not be in the FCC's Open Internet order, saying "nothing has been decided."

That included not commenting on whether the order would propose reclassifying Internet access under Title II, whether interconnection would be addressed and whether the new rules would include wireless, though Wheeler has signaled that and Title II reclassification are both likely.

The chairman's nonanswers came in a press conference following the FCC's monthly meeting on Jan. 29.

Wheeler said the order's specfics would become clearer when the FCC circulates a draft, which is targeted for Feb. 5, three weeks before a planned Feb. 26 vote. He added that the FCC would use "all the tools in the toolbox" to protect a free and open Internet for consumers.


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Verizon Wireless to Allow Complete Opt Out of Mobile 'Supercookies' | Brian Chen & Natasha Singer | NYTimes.com

Verizon Wireless to Allow Complete Opt Out of Mobile 'Supercookies' | Brian Chen & Natasha Singer | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Wireless, which has been under fire by privacy advocates since late last year, has decided to make a major revision to its mobile ad-targeting program. Users who do not want to be tracked with an identifier that Verizon uses for ad-targeting purposes will soon be able to completely opt out, the company said on Friday.

In the past, Verizon allowed users to opt out of the marketing side of the program, but they had no option to disable being tagged with its undeletable customer codes, which critics dubbed “supercookies.” Some security researchers quickly illustrated that third parties, like advertisers, could easily exploit Verizon’s persistent tracking to continually follow a user’s web browsing activities.

In a recent interview, Praveen Atreya, a Verizon director who helped develop the technology behind the mobile marketing program, said the company was considering allowing its subscribers to opt out of being tagged with its undeletable customer codes. On Friday, Verizon confirmed this decision.

Debi Lewis, a Verizon spokeswoman, issued this statement:


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Florida Frontiers: Historic Ybor City | Ben Brotemarkle | Florida Today

Florida Frontiers: Historic Ybor City | Ben Brotemarkle | Florida Today | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Henry Plant was extending his railway system into the small pioneer settlement of Tampa, Florida, in the 1880s. In addition to making Tampa more accessible by rail, Plant expanded the port and built luxury hotels in the area.

This new infrastructure enticed Cuban businessman Vicente Martinez Ybor to move his cigar manufacturing operation from Key West to the Tampa area, establishing Ybor City.

Ybor's friend, Gavino Guitierrez, had suggested that the Tampa area would be a great place to build an expansive new cigar operation. After visiting Tampa, Ybor agreed. "So he came up and he bought 40 acres, and started to lay out the plans for his cigar town," says Elizabeth McCoy, curator of programs and education for the Ybor City Museum.

As Ybor built his city based around cigar manufacturing, Plant continued developing the Tampa area as well. Plant's Tampa Bay Hotel, designed in a distinctive Moorish Revival style, is now the University of Tampa.

Ybor established his town in 1885, and it was annexed by Tampa in 1887.


"In a period of about one year, he created a grid for the city," says Chantal Hevia, president of the Ybor City Museum Society. "He built housing for the cigar workers and then he brought them from Cuba and Spain, and ultimately from a couple of little towns in Sicily."


Although primarily populated by Cuban and Spanish cigar workers, Ybor City was a multi-ethnic community.


"There were groups that came from Sicily, but there were also small groups from Germany and a Romanian Jew contingency that also found Ybor City and contributed to it," says McCoy. "Not only in the cigar industry, but in the businesses that helped support the city."


When Stetson Kennedy traveled through Florida in the late 1930s and early 1940s collecting oral histories, he recorded interviews in Ybor City. In his book Palmetto Country, Kennedy writes about the unique community institutions of Ybor City, including mutual aid societies and social clubs.


"They provided a social outlet and sense of community for the people," says McCoy. "They also provided some other vital services; banking, medical services, and this was all done in a cooperative setting. When you paid your dues to be a member of the club, by virtue of doing that, you gained access to the hospitals and the pharmacies and the banking facilities."


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Transforming Economic Growth With The Industrial Internet Of Things | Paul Daugherty | Forbes.com

Transforming Economic Growth With The Industrial Internet Of Things | Paul Daugherty | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the world struggles to leave behind a period of weak demand and poor productivity growth, many business and government leaders are looking to the next wave of technology innovation to revitalize their economies. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) could be the largest driver of economic growth and employment in the next decade. But much of its potential is at risk of being lost as companies and policy makers fail to exploit the opportunity.

The IIoT will create new markets as data from billions of connected devices unleashes an era of services innovation that will generate new revenue streams for manufacturers and those who serve the industrial sectors. Its impact will extend to two-thirds of the world economy. It could add as much as $14.2 trillion to 20 of the world’s major economies over the next 15 years, according to the latest analysis from Accenture. It also promises a greater fillip to hard-pressed, mature economies than to their emerging market competitors. This would help restore a more healthy trade balance in the global economy.

The Industrial Internet of Things is already here. Today, global positioning system (GPS) navigation, smart phone health kits and connected vehicles make life more convenient for consumers. But the industrial world has barely begun to take note. Where it has, companies have used Industrial Internet of Things effectively to reduce costs, enhance worker safety or improve efficiencies. Oil refiners use wearable devices that protect workers with gas sensors that can call for help when they detect dangerous events. Miners use remote-controlled equipment to dig with greater precision and realize higher rates of output.

The opportunity for new revenue streams comes from unlocking the value of the data that can be captured and shared by smart, connected devices. As a result, engine manufacturers can go beyond selling products to charging fees for the reliability that can be achieved by pre-empting equipment failures. This is the outcome economy—the delivery of measurable results that are tailored to the needs of customers and how they use products.

While digital technology will automate more routine tasks, its capacity to create new markets and enable workers to undertake more advanced tasks will not only spawn new categories of jobs, but also increase the sophistication of jobs and inspire greater collaboration to deliver outcome economy services.

The vast majority of businesses are not ready for this opportunity, however. In a survey of more than 1,400 business leaders, half of whom are CEOs, 71 percent confess that their companies have yet to make any concrete progress with the Industrial Internet of Things. Just seven percent have developed a comprehensive strategy with investments to match.


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Major New Google Fiber Expansion Shines Massive Spotlight On Lack Of Broadband Competition | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Major New Google Fiber Expansion Shines Massive Spotlight On Lack Of Broadband Competition | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While Google Fiber will never likely see a full-fledged national deployment, we've noted repeatedly how the effort is worth its weight in gold for the way it draws attention to the lack of competition in the broadband marketplace and elevates what can often be an immensely inane conversation about telecom policy. While incumbent giant ISPs have feebly tried to argue that consumers don't really want faster, cheaper speeds, the thousands of cities screaming for better broadband burns a hole right through all-too-common flimsy defenses of the status quo.

This week Google Fiber announced a major new expansion effort that's sure to shine an even brighter spotlight on the nations stumbling, bumbling broadband duopoly. According to a Google blog post, the company has chosen Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and Atlanta as the next cities in line for the Google Fiber's symmetrical 1 Gbps broadband offerings. What's more, Google says that Portland, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Jose will be getting Google Fiber at a later date.


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Time Warner Cable's Hullabaloo About Nothing: Its 'Top Secret' Rural Expansion Plan is a Yawn | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

For months, Time Warner Cable has deployed its legal team to prevent public interest groups from gaining access to the company’s exhibit of rural broadband buildout plans it had for New York, sent confidentially to the Public Service Commission as part of its proposal to merge with Comcast.

“This information would be difficult and costly for a competitor to compile, such that disclosure would significantly harm Time Warner Cable’s competitive advantage,” Time Warner Cable’s lawyers complained to regulators handling the case. “To allow competitors to have access to this information before Time Warner Cable has had a chance to market customers for which it speculatively built the line would not only negate any competitive advantage, it would allow its competitors to reap the benefits of Time Warner Cable’s investment, causing substantial competitive and financial injury to Time Warner Cable.”

“The compilation of information on all the Time Warner Cable New York deployments, distances, and passings into one document would be of enormous value to a competitor,” the lawyers added. “This information could not be developed independently by competitors, and any estimates developed through publicly available data or data from third-party sources, if possible at all, would be expensive and burdensome to assemble, and less accurate than the data provided in Exhibit 46. […] Therefore, disclosure of the compilation of information on the New York Rural Builds would cause substantial competitive injury to Time Warner Cable, and should be granted exception from disclosure.”

One might expect the mighty Exhibit 46 to contain all of Time Warner’s deepest secrets — secrets that if made public would hand the “competition” the keys to the cable kingdom.

Despite the haughty demands that such information was not to be shared with the public, Stop the Cap! secured our copy of the “top-secret” Exhibit 46 (and here is a copy for you as well).


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City wifi: Fast, cheap, and no you can't have it. | Josh Harkinson | Mother Jones

It's Friday afternoon in San Francisco and, to be honest, I'm sick of being in the office. So I've slipped out and headed over to Union Square Park, where I'm sitting on a bench watching Japanese tourists taking selfies on the ice rink. But before you call me a slacker, you should know I'm also online and working, courtesy of the free wireless internet service the city provides.

Since October, visitors to most San Francisco parks as well as a stretch of Market Street, the city's main business corridor, have been able to access the city's fast-growing municipal broadband network.


City-owned networks have been gaining popularity nationwide as a way to bridge the digital divide between rich and poor, foster competition with cable companies, and provide high-speed internet in underserved areas.


Last week, President Barack Obama talked them up as a way to promote "better products and cheaper prices." In Tuesday's state of the union speech, he pledged to bring the internet to "every community and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world."

But there's one big obstacle to all of this: the telecom industry and its friends in Congress.


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Jamaica: Joint scheme: wireless rollout to help marijuana farmers | TeleGeography.com

The chief executive of the Jamaican telco LIME has said that wireless broadband technology could be employed to help legal marijuana farmers on the island monitor, protect and market their crops.


Garfield Sinclair says that LIME’s recent acquisition of DEKAL Wireless, whose networks utilise unlicensed 2.4GHz spectrum and ‘Super WiFi’ equipment from Altai Technologies, will be a boost for local ganja farmers.


DEKAL currently has around 15,000 internet subscribers, LIME Jamaica says, though the new parent is looking to use DEKAL’s wireless networks to reach up to 200,000 Jamaicans, predominantly in rural areas.


A report from the Jamaica Observer quotes Sinclair as saying: ‘As we hopefully move closer to regulating the cultivation and sale of marijuana … farmers can rest assured that this high speed wireless internet will be able to facilitate the remote monitoring for the security of their precious crops.’


The government of Jamaica is currently working on legislation to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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Claro Puerto Rico continues 4G, 3G expansion | TeleGeography.com

Quadruple-play telco Claro Puerto Rico, part of the America Movil group, has announced on its website that it is continuing its ‘aggressive’ plan to strengthen its wireless network; in late 2014 it carried out a project expanding 4G LTE network coverage in 25 municipalities, and this month it is carrying out similar 4G expansion work in Aguada, Humacao, Salinas and parts of San Juan.


Meanwhile, an ongoing project to expand capacity of 3G network services has now upgraded 3G capacity in 32 municipalities, the most recent being Aguadilla, Barceloneta, Ceiba, Canovanas, Lares, Loiza, Luquillo and San Sebastian. The 3G/4G upgrade works will continue through this quarter.


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AT&T, Dish Top AWS-3 Bidders | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

AT&T, Dish Top AWS-3 Bidders | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC Friday released the names and amounts of the winning provisional bidders in the just-completed AWS-3 auction and it turns out that Dish ponied up more than Verizon, with both topped by AT&T.

The top provisional bidders for the 1,614 licenses auctioned were:

  • AT&T $18,189,285,000


  • Dish $13,327,423,700 (MoffettNathanson calculation)*


  • Verizon $10,430,017,000


  • T-Mobile bid $1,774,023,000 in the auction.


Dish's spectrum holdings had already gone up on the strength of the aggressive bidders in the AWS-3 auction, which turned out to include Dish to a degree that had not been anticipated.

The auction won't be official until those and other bidders make final payments, file the requisite paperwork and a comment period is opened for the public and any petitions challenging the auction. That means likely not until March at the earliest.


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IN: Designation bolsters Gary's blight elimination efforts | NWITimes.com

Gary, IN is one of four cities named recipients of the Center for Community Progress’ Technical Assistance Scholarship Program, a national nonprofit to help local leaders develop new strategies to address property blight, vacancy and abandonment.

"The city of Gary's designation as a TASP recipient is huge for us because it coincides with the many efforts we are currently employing to eliminate blight in our community," Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said. "The technical assistance that will be provided allows us to be more strategic with our initiatives and make visible impacts one neighborhood at a time."

Community Progress’ work in Gary will focus on data and how it can be used to inform policy and practice. Community Progress will examine, at a systems level, how property and other neighborhood-related data are being gathered. The organization will offer recommendations to the city’s redevelopment department on how to improve data collection and how to use data to inform blight elimination and neighborhood stabilization strategies.

Gary and three other cities — Detroit, Dallas, Texas, and Trenton, N.J., were chosen after requesting assistance in one or more of TASP’s key issue areas. These include strategic code enforcement, data and information systems, and vacant land maintenance and reuse strategies.

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Access Humboldt responds to US House Committee with call for Media Localism | Access Humboldt

Access Humboldt filed reply comments to the U.S. House of Representatives regarding White Paper #6

As part of an ongoing review of the Communications Act, U.S. House majority released "White Paper #6" for the Communications Subcommittee asking "questions [to] address regulation of the market for video content and distribution"

Access Humboldt's response is available here:


http://accesshumboldt.net/site/files/AHltrtoCongressTechTranspaper.pdf

Sean McLaughlin, executive director of Access Humboldt and adjunct fellow at New America Foundation, said "Congress is looking at structural change in our marketplace of ideas, considering fundamental policies that are meant to protect consumers and ensure that public, education and government interests are met for every community across the nation. We are committed to the goal of universal access to open networks for broadband media access. Humboldt has invested in our community media, so we have an obligation to engage now to help inform the discussion at every level."

Access Humboldt's response to the House Committee notes: "Among the three pillars of federal media policy - ­ Diversity, Localism and Competition ­- community media and PEG access providers are the first line responders for Media Localism. This is true across diverse sectors of our community, including: public safety, public education, public health, public works, civic engagement, and economic development as well as disaster response and recovery.

"Particularly so in light of consolidated (increasingly absentee) ownership of broadcast stations, cable operators, satellite networks, and broadband providers (ISPs). PEG access media organizations like Access Humboldt are now the largest and most prolific providers of Local media content in the communities we serve. For Humboldt County and the North Coast region ­ we produce and distribute more Local content than every other tv/cable outlet (commercial and non­commercial) in our County, combined."

In summary, Access Humboldt notes:


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Blandin Foundation awards broadband grants across rural Minnesota | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Blandin Foundation announced today that it has awarded six grants totaling $113,900 to support rural Minnesota communities as they grow high-speed Internet access and use in their communities.

Long Prairie will develop a business plan to build a fiber-to-the-home network, Project FINE out of Winona County will support refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs looking to develop their online business presence, and Red Wing Ignite is set to host their second-annual Red Hot Hack (an event where tech experts gather to develop applications that address community issues).

Blandin Foundation also awarded $47,500 to PCs for People as they distribute 500 refurbished computers in rural Minnesota communities. As a long-time Blandin Foundation partner in digital inclusion, PCs for People has delivered 2,500 computers to qualifying households to help enhance recipients’ quality of life by staying connected to the people they care about and the information they need.

“Internet access – and the skills to use it – are essential to sustaining vibrant communities in the 21st century,” said Dr. Kathy Annette, Blandin Foundation CEO. “Minnesota’s rural leaders such as these are rallying their communities to ensure all residents can thrive in a digitally-connected world.”


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FCC Proposes AT&T Fine Over License Violations | John Eggerton | Multichannel

FCC Proposes AT&T Fine Over License Violations | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC voted Thursday (Jan. 29) at its public meeting to propose fining AT&T over $600,000 for failure to comply with some wireless licenses, but not without some unusual procedure that signaled the ongoing partisan divide over process and transparency.

AT&T brought the failures to the commission voluntarily. Although the facts were not in dispute, the Republican members only concurred after they said they did not get information about the proposed fine until the 11th hour and had issued with the proposal to increase the base fine by over 400% due to what the FCC said was its egregiousness and given AT&T’s ability to pay, which is one factor the FCC uses to boost fines. FCC chairman Tom wheeler countered that the Republicans had failed to engage until late in the process and had no room to complain.

In fact, the Republicans had not recorded a vote by the meeting's start, which prompted the unusual step of voting on the item before revealing at the meeting what it was about. FCC votes at public meetings are usually the formal acknowledgement of tallies that have already been recorded before the meeting starts.

Ultimately the vote was 5-0 with two concurrences. Commissioner Ajit Pai said that once he did get the information--which was only the day before the meeting--he felt there was sufficient justification to issue the notice of apparent liability.

But both he and commissioner Michael O'Rielly signaled they had not previously received enough specificity on the violations to cast a vote.

AT&T took issue with boosting the base fine from a little over $100,000 to over $600,000.


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FCC's Wheeler: Incentive Auction Is on Course and Speed | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC's Wheeler: Incentive Auction Is on Course and Speed | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler reiterated Thursday that the FCC is on track to wrap up the incentive auction framework by the end of this year and hold the incentive auction at the beginning of 2016.

That came in a press conference following the FCC's January monthly meeting. "We are on course and speed for making the final decisions in the auction at the end of this year so we can begin the auction early next year. Nothing has changed."

He was asked if there should be a pause to give likely bidders like Verizon and AT&T a change to catch their financial breath given that the AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction just closed with over $44 billion bid, most of it thought to have come from the two largest carriers.

Wheeler said the winning bidders were getting spectrum that they could raise revenue on and had "bid on a budget" knowing that the incentive auction was coming up. "The CFOs of these companies didn't just fall off the turnip truck," he said. He said he has been on the other side, and that the companies that bid were "bidding to a plan."

He also said that while the $44 billion is a large "absolute number," it is not so large in relative terms compared to revenue, cash flow and earnings for the wireless industry. "I think they got a deal," he said

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Rep. Jared Polis wants U.S. intelligence to monitor Sen. Marco Rubio 24/7 | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

Rep. Jared Polis wants U.S. intelligence to monitor Sen. Marco Rubio 24/7 | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently wrote an op-ed endorsing the permanent extension of post-9/11 intelligence gathering tools, presumably including controversial domestic data collection programs revealed by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who has been skeptical of National Security Agency snooping, disagrees with Rubio. So Polis is calling for the U.S. intelligence community to begin 24-hour monitoring of Rubio.

“If Senator Rubio believes that millions of innocent Americans should be subject to intrusive and unconstitutional government surveillance, surely he would have no objections to the government monitoring his own actions and conversations,” Polis said in a press release.

"Senator Rubio is asking for American technology companies to ‘cooperate with authorities,’ so I believe he will have no objection to authorities being given access to his electronic correspondence and metadata. Maybe after his 2016 strategy documents are accidentally caught up in a government data grab, he’ll rethink the use of mass surveillance,” he continued.


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Cablevision Sues Verizon Over Wi-Fi Ad Claims | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Normally advertisement dispute ads between ISPs are handled by the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau, a sort of self-regulated industry mechanism to handle disputes so that regulators don't get involved. Occasionally though disputes end in lawsuit, like this week when Cablevision announced it would be suing Verizon over Wi-Fi network claims.

According to the Cablevision suit, the company is taking issue with ads Verizon's running in the NY area claiming it has the "the fastest Wi-Fi available":

quote:Verizon’s claim that it has faster WiFi than Cablevision is false, deceptive and designed to mislead consumers. Verizon has no public WiFi network. In addition, Verizon’s in-home routers are not faster than Optimum Smart Routers and cost Verizon customers hundreds of dollars while Optimum’s are free. It is not a coincidence that Verizon is making false WiFi claims just as Cablevision is introducing its all-WiFi Freewheel phone, which will allow consumers to avoid Verizon’s data caps and excessive data overage fees.

Reading the press release, one gets the impression that Cablevision's less concerned about Wi-Fi's claims than they are getting the press to cover the story and by proxy help plug the company's new Wi-Fi phone service, Freewheel.


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Google, Cablevision Challenge Traditional Cell Phone Plans, Wireless Usage Caps With Cheap Alternatives | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Luxurious wireless industry profits of up to 50 percent earned from selling some of the world’s most expensive cellular services may soon be a thing of the past as Google and Cablevision prepare to disrupt the market with cheap competition.

With more than 80 percent of all wireless data traffic now moving over Wi-Fi, prices for wireless data services should be in decline, but the reverse has been true. AT&T and Verizon Wireless have banked future profits by dumping unlimited data plans and monetizing wireless usage, predicting a dependable spike in revenue from growing data consumption. Instead of charging customers a flat $30 for unlimited data, carriers like Verizon have switched to plans with voice, texting, and just 1GB of wireless usage at around $60 a month, with each additional gigabyte priced at $15 a month.

With the majority of cell phone customers in the U.S. signed up with AT&T or Verizon’s nearly identical plans, their revenue has soared. Sprint and T-Mobile have modestly challenged the two industry leaders offering cheaper plans, some with unlimited data, but their smaller cellular networks and more limited coverage areas have left many customers wary about switching.

Google intends to remind Americans that the majority of data usage occurs over Wi-Fi networks that don’t require an expensive data plan or enormous 4G network. The search engine giant will launch its own wireless service that depends on Wi-Fi at home and work and combines the networks of Sprint and T-Mobile while on the go, switching automatically to the provider with the best signal and performance.


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