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Tech Companies Launch New Coalition To Keep Operating Company Patents From Ending Up Abused By Trolls | Techdirt.com

Tech Companies Launch New Coalition To Keep Operating Company Patents From Ending Up Abused By Trolls | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tech companies, even those that dislike the patent system (which is many of them), still feel pressured into getting lots of patents, often for defensive purposes, to avoid lawsuits. However, as we've discussed in the past, even patents that are initially obtained for defensive purposes are a nuclear weapon problem in waiting.


Companies fail all the time, and their patents suddenly get sold off to the highest bidder -- and quite frequently these days, those are trolls. Some companies have tried to come up with unique and innovative ways to stop this potential trolling problem. For example, a few years ago, Twitter came up with the Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA) which basically lets the engineers named on a patent issue a free license to whomever they want for the life of the patent. This is sort of an anti-troll talisman, because that engineer can simply go and give a free license to anyone a troll threatens.

While other companies haven't jumped on the IPA bandwagon, it appears a bunch of tech companies are trying something different. Google, Newegg, Dropbox, SAP, Asana and Canon have teamed up to launch the "License on Transfer Network," which is a royalty-free patent cross-licensing program, for any patent that is transferred outside of the group.


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Want to boost rural tourism in Maine? Raise Internet speeds | David Vail & Caria Dickstein | Bangor Daily News

Want to boost rural tourism in Maine? Raise Internet speeds | David Vail & Caria Dickstein | Bangor Daily News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As recent mill closings make headlines, there is growing — sometimes grudging — recognition that tourism is a crucial part of any strategy to revitalize economically distressed rural Maine. The BDN framed the challenge in a March 2 editorial, “Boosting tourism in rural Maine will take more than a national park.” One thing it will take, by stakeholder consensus, is universal access to broadband Internet and reliable cell phone service.

There is a lot of legislative buzz this session around the imperative to extend rural connectivity and increase urban access speeds. Thirty-five broadband bill titles were submitted. Given this political momentum, it is worth reflecting on the Internet’s vital role in 21st century tourism and the importance of “last mile” access for rural tourism businesses and host communities, from Bethel to Eastport.

Broadband and cell phone access are necessary, though not sufficient, steps in making rural Maine’s tourism businesses and destinations appealing to sophisticated, high-income, overnight visitors — the key target market identified by Maine’s Office of Tourism. Providing high-quality tourist services is one key to creating more quality tourism jobs. And beyond tourism, broadband and cell phone links are critical amenities in attracting mobile entrepreneurs, highly educated young people and second home owners to rural Maine.

Why are strong telecommunications links so important for tourism?


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UTOPIA holdout cities should adopt broader view of economic benefit of UTOPIA-Macquarie PPP | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

UTOPIA holdout cities should adopt broader view of economic benefit of UTOPIA-Macquarie PPP | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Orem, Utah and four other cities that have opted out of a public-private partnership between the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) and Macquarie Capital Group are now grappling with a fundamental question as to how to finance the future operation of fiber to the premise (FTTP) telecommunications infrastructure to serve their residents.


The question: support the partnership’s public works approach to the increasingly essential infrastructure or default to legacy incumbent telephone and cable companies and the poor value and customer service and disparate access they typically offer as monopoly providers.

Six of the 11 cities comprising UTOPIA agreed in concept in 2014 to assess a parcel utility fee to help offset the cost and mitigate the business risk associated the pure subscription-based model used by incumbent providers. They mitigate their business risk by cherry picking neighborhoods believed to have the greatest profit potential for their proprietary network investments while redlining those that don’t.

The utility parcel fee is a key sticking point in negotiations between UTOPIA and the five hold out cities including Orem. A Daily Herald dispatch cites from a memorandum to the Orem mayor and council from Orem City Manager Jamie Davidson:


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FCC Commissioner Pai should resign, get new job as lobbyist or run for Congress | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

FCC Commissioner Pai should resign, get new job as lobbyist or run for Congress | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This report courtesy of ExtremeTech:

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spoke to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, and took the unusual step of requesting that Congress forbid the FCC from using any appropriated funds to enforce its net neutrality ruling.

Pai's entitled to his opinion, of course. But for a sitting Federal Communications Commission member to go before Congress asking it to restrict its funding doesn't pass the smell test of proper protocol respecting the constitutional separation of powers. If Pai wants to appropriate, he should resign his FCC post and run for Congress. Or become a lobbyist.


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YouTube Is Experimenting With Ultra High Def, Ultra Smooth Video Playback — Here Are The Examples | Greg Kumparak | Tech Crunch

YouTube Is Experimenting With Ultra High Def, Ultra Smooth Video Playback — Here Are The Examples | Greg Kumparak | Tech Crunch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Just a few months back, YouTube bumped up the quality of the videos it hosts by allowing for gorgeous, 60 FPS video playback.

Now they’re cranking things up to an almost absurd level. 60 FPS video, on YouTube… at 4K.

The catch? It’s just something of an experiment, for now, and is limited to a reaaally tight batch of clips.

That’s okay, though — the very vast majority of videos on YouTube aren’t shot at anywhere near this resolution/framerate yet, anyway. Cameras capable of shooting 4k/60FPS footage aren’t impossible to find, but they’re generally crazy expensive and are far from the standard.

YouTube’s selection of clips are all pretty gorgeous… if your computer can handle them.


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Comcast Critics Blast 'See-You-In-Court Attitude' | Wendy Davis | Media Post

Comcast Critics Blast 'See-You-In-Court Attitude' | Wendy Davis | Media Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Advocacy groups opposing Comcast's $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable recently argued to the Federal Communications Commission that not even the new net neutrality rules will prevent the post-merger “MegaComcast” from thwarting Netflix and other online video competitors.

The critics -- who call their organization Stop Mega Comcast -- want the FCC to block the deal, which would vastly increase the company's broadband footprint. Among other arguments, the critics say that Comcast might not follow the new net neutrality rules, which prohibit broadband providers from from blocking or degrading traffic, and from discriminating among content companies. The rules also allow the FCC to take action if providers adopt practices that harm consumers or content companies.

Comcast fired back two weeks ago, with a letter dismissing critics' concerns. “It should not go unnoticed by the Commission that the fundamental premise of [Stop Mega Comcast's] filing is the insulting position that the Commission will not -- or will not be able to -- enforce its own rules,” the company wrote.

Comcast adds that the open Internet order empowers Netflix and other video distributors. as well as consumers, to bring complaints about alleged rule violations directly to the FCC.

“Even if [Stop Mega Comcast] apparently lacks faith in the Commission itself, it should be reassured that the potential 'victims' of the open Internet harms ... will have recourse to seek redress in the highly unlikely event any of them occurs,” Comcast says.

Today, Stop Mega Comcast argues in a new FCC filing that the net neutrality rules have so many loopholes that Comcast could “design around particular regulations, interpret them narrowly, and litigate them for years.”


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CBC head wants Congress to take lead on Web rules | Mario Trujillo | The Hill

CBC head wants Congress to take lead on Web rules | Mario Trujillo | The Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Unlike most Democrats, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus wants a legislative fix on net neutrality.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) said the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rule-making process has been "politically driven" by special interests and Congress needs to get involved. He did not, however, give support to any specific plan.

"They’ve made a rule change under Title II of the Communications Act that’s going to regulate broadband just like utility and phone companies, and we need to get Congress involved," he told Politics365.com. "Congress needs to come in and establish broadband policy going forward."

His words break with many in the Democratic Party who have lauded the FCC's rules.

Butterfield questioned, however, whether Congress has the political will to get anything passed, given the partisan dynamics. He said he would help outline the legislative record so that "one day, we can get it done."


He said he supports the principles of net neutrality, like preventing service providers from blocking or throttling traffic. But there is not always agreement on which authority should be used to enforce the rules.


"When you start getting in the weeds, the issue gets very complicated," he said. "And that’s why Congress needs to develop sound broadband policy. Congress has the power to do it, but the question is, does it have the political will to do it?"


Butterfield warned of the lack of permanence of the FCC's rules.


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How the FCC’s Decision Frees NC and TN Municipalities to Provide Broadband | CLIC

How the FCC’s Decision Frees NC and TN Municipalities to Provide Broadband | CLIC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Chris Mitchell from the Institute of Local Self Reliance recently interviewed Jim Baller, counsel to both Chattanooga EPB and Wilson, NC on their now successful petitions at the FCC.


We encourage our readers to listen to the full half-hour interview here, and bring you just a few of the highlights below (slightly edited):


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Over-the-top TV bundles deemed dead on arrival | Patrick Seitz | Investor's Biz Daily

Over-the-top TV bundles deemed dead on arrival | Patrick Seitz | Investor's Biz Daily | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New Internet television services from Dish Network, Sony and possibly Apple are unlikely to please either potential cable TV cord-cutters or cord nevers, Bernstein Research said in a report Thursday.

The over-the-top video services announced or rumored so far are too narrow for existing pay-TV subscribers and are too expensive for people who have opted not to subscribe to traditional pay-TV services, Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger said in the report.

His findings were based on comments made at focus groups in New York City and San Francisco. The groups were composed of people who identified themselves as "highly likely to cut the cord in the next six months," as well as people who felt just the opposite.


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Report: Google Fiber says Oregon tax bill will make serving Portland 'extremely unlikely' | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Report: Google Fiber says Oregon tax bill will make serving Portland 'extremely unlikely' | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber has come into another local community tangle in Oregon, where it has told lawmakers that the state's proposed tax changes will make it "extremely unlikely" the service provider will bring its service to the Portland area.

According to a report in The Oregonian, the Oregon House of Representatives apparently overlooked or ignored a letter the service provider sent them last Thursday, prompting it to vote 52-2 to approve the new law.

However, on Monday, Sen. Mark Hass, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue, said his chamber will quickly address Google Fiber's issues with the proposed law.

"These are easy fixes and we will make them in the senate," wrote Hass, D-Beaverton.

One of the key elements of Senate Bill 611 is that it values property owned by telecom providers and other technology companies on what are "intangible" assets, such as the value of a companies' brands.

A number of technology companies that testified against the bill said that Oregon's tax structure could make Oregon a less attractive state to build out telecom and data center facilities.

Google Fiber said that SB611 provides an exemption from the state's tax structure to companies with the ability to offer Internet service of "at least one gigabit." However, Gigabit Fiber offers speeds "up to a gigabit" per second, meaning that the state law, as it is currently structured, would make Google Fiber ineligible to get the tax exemption.

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Amherst, Massachusetts Exploring Fiber for Economic Development Downtown | community broadband networks

Amherst, Massachusetts Exploring Fiber for Economic Development Downtown | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) recently hired a firm to prepare an engineering study aimed at bringing fiber connectivity to its downtown reports MassLive.

In 2007, the community began offering free Wi-Fi downtown after receiving a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a wireless mesh network. The city worked with UMass Amherst, DARPA, and NSF to deploy the system. In 2013, the city invested in upgrades which increased speeds and extended the network's geographic coverage area.

Community leaders feel Amherst needs fiber to boost economic development now and in the future. Sean Hannon, Amherst Information Technology director, told MassLive:


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Bill Seeks to Bring High-Speed Internet to Maine's Rural Farmers, Small Businesses | Jen Lynds | GovTech.com

Bill Seeks to Bring High-Speed Internet to Maine's Rural Farmers, Small Businesses | Jen Lynds | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Farmers in rural parts of Maine who struggle to maintain their businesses and ship their goods out to customers while dealing with slow, spotty or at times nonexistent Internet service are rallying behind a bill moving through the Legislature.

The concept draft of the measure, LD 826, seeks to increase funding to the state’s ConnectME Authority from $1 million to $5 million in order to expand universal broadband and high-speed Internet into the 6 percent of the state that has no access to such service.


Jim Gerritsen, who owns and operates Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater with his wife, Megan, said Wednesday that his organic specialty potato farm is heavily dependent on technology for record keeping, order taking, cataloging and more.


“We upload and download pictures, produce mail order catalogs, use social media, produce a newsletter. Those are fairly typical needs for businesses,” Gerritsen said.


But rural farmers and businesses like his are hampered by not having reliable access to high-speed Internet, he said.


“On Monday, during the busiest part of the shipping season, we did not have Internet for the entire day,” he said. “We had no ability to process credit cards, look up orders or print labels. When you lose an entire day of work, it is hard to make it up.”


Gerritsen said that even when the Internet at the farm does work, it is frustratingly slow.


David Bright, who operates BrightBerry Farm in Dixmont with his wife, Jean Hay Bright, said Wednesday that the bill could make a big difference for growers in rural Maine who are considered unserved by high-speed Internet service.


“The purpose of this bill is really to say that we need to get everyone connected to broadband Internet service,” said Bright, who also is a member of the Maine Farm Bureau. “We need to look at the places that are unserved and get them connected to the grid.”


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Facebook successfully tests its internet-beaming drones | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com

Facebook successfully tests its internet-beaming drones | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mark Zuckerberg's plans to use unmanned drones to provide internet connections appear one step closer to reality. The Facebook CEO today revealed that his Internet.org initiative has put the aircraft to the test for the first time, describing the operation as a success.

Zuckerberg first unveiled his vision for flying wireless internet access points in March last year. The aim of Internet.org is to use solar-powered, internet-beaming aircraft flying over remote communities to connect parts of the global population that don't currently have internet access.

In a Facebook post this morning, Zuckerberg revealed that the Internet.org aircraft have been successfully tested in the UK. Indicating that it is still under development, he says the finished aircraft will have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737, but still weigh less than a car. It will be capable of flying at an altitude of 60,000 ft (18,288 m) for months at a time.

"Aircraft like these will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10% of the world's population that live in remote communities without existing internet infrastructure," Zuckerberg writes.


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Analyst: Bundles Could Curb Cord Cutting | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com

Analyst: Bundles Could Curb Cord Cutting | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sanford Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger held his second cord-cutting focus group – this time in San Francisco – and found that some so-called at-risk cord cutters keep their pay TV and Internet bundles mainly because it’s cheaper than standalone Internet service.

The San Francisco group followed a similarly sized panel held earlier in the month in New York and had the same general findings – even younger customers who said they were likely to sever the pay TV cord in the next six months changed their minds after presented with current over the top offerings.

Juenger surveyed 18 men and women aged 21-to-38 (his New York group consisted of 16 people aged 23-to-38), an admittedly tiny sample. And before the Internet gets its collective knickers in a twist, Juenger himself admits that the samples are small and cautions anyone from drawing broad conclusions from the findings. But still, this is his second of four focus groups (others are planned for Chicago and Boston) and they do provide at least some insight into what younger people are thinking.

And it seems they are thinking what pay TV providers have been saying all along – that the bundle is a better value.


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Small Illinois Town Will Vote On Fiber Investment in April | community broadband networks

Small Illinois Town Will Vote On Fiber Investment in April | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Village of Gilberts, Illinois, will ask voters in April to authorize up to $5 million in General Obligation bonds to deploy a FTTH network reports the Daily Herald. GO bonds are rarely used for network deployment but often used for public works projects and other publicly owned assets. Due to the funding mechanism in Gilberts, the network would be publicly owned.

"It's something that is not readily available in other communities," Village Administrator Ray Keller said. "It would set us apart and put us on a path to better meet the needs of our residents and businesses as their demands and needs for technology grows."

The community, home to 6,800 people, has experienced rapid population growth since 2000. At that time only 1,200 people lived in this northeast Kane County village.

According to the article and January Board of Trustee minutes [PDF online], the bond issue would increase property taxes 1.8 percent on most tax bills. Properties with a market value of $250,000, which is most common in Gilberts, would pay an additional $150 per year or $12.50 per month to fund the infrastructure deployment. There are approximately 2,400 taxable properties in Gilbert today but as more properties are built, each property owner's share would decrease.


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Fiber Forum in Yellow Springs Will Share Info on Munis With Ohio Community | community broadband networks

Fiber Forum in Yellow Springs Will Share Info on Munis With Ohio Community | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Join Chris Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance and several other experts on municipal networks on April 25th as they address a crowd in Yellow Springs, Ohio.


Yellow-Springs.Net, a group of residents who have rallied together to organize a movement to explore broadband as a utility in their community, will host the Fiber Forum.


The event is titled "Building a Municipal Fiber Network in Yellow Springs." Chris will be joining via Skype for his presentation.

YSNews described the event:


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A big gap between urban, rural and tribal broadband access | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I’m catching up on non-Minnesota broadband reading today. The NTIA recently wrote about the last iteration of the National Broadband Map as it stands today. (The FCC will be picking up the job via 477data collection.) I’m going to paste in a bigger chunk for context but it’s really the last bullet point that caught my eye: The latest data finds that only 55 percent of those in rural communities, and 32 percent of tribal lands have access to broadband at 25 mbps compared with 94 percent of urban areas.

Our job as broadband advocates really isn’t done until both of those gaps are closed.

The most significant finding from the latest data, announced by President Obama [4]earlier today, is that the United States has met the President’s goal [5] of ensuring 98 percent of the country has access to wireless broadband at a speed of at least 6 megabits per second (Mbps) down/1.5 Mbps up. Other key findings from the June 30, 2014 dataset include:


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Going OTT Won't Mean Much If Streaming Quality Sucks (Study) | Sahil Patel | VideoInk

Going OTT Won't Mean Much If Streaming Quality Sucks (Study) | Sahil Patel | VideoInk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For all the hype around HBO and Showtime cutting the cord and launching standalone video services this year, it’s important to note that customers won’t care if the streaming experience on those products is terrible.

That’s the chief message coming out of a study by Conviva, which found that most of the people in the key demographic that the new OTT players are targeting — 26- to 34-year-olds — don’t have much patience with bad streaming video quality.

Only 25% of respondents, all in this age group, said they would engage with video content for more than four minutes if the viewing experience was “inferior.” What’s more, one in three respondents said they would leave to find content elsewhere as soon as “playback degradations” occur, and 40% said they’d think lesser of a service even after one bad streaming experience.

There’s one bright spot — sort of — for networks looking to go over-the-top: Today’s millennials seem savvy enough about how content delivery works that they’d assign as much blame for a poor experience to the OTT service they are using, as they would to their internet provider and the CDN delivering that content.


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Congress moves quickly on cyberthreat information sharing | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Congress moves quickly on cyberthreat information sharing | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Congress is moving forward quickly with legislation that would encourage private companies to share cyberthreat information with government agencies, despite concerns that two leading bills weaken consumer privacy protections.

The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to approve the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA), just two days after the bill was introduced.

The House bill “is a cybersurveillance bill at least as much as it is a cybersecurity bill, and it is written so broadly that it could wind up making the Internet less safe,” Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute [OTI], said by email.

The PCNA requires government agencies to “automatically and indiscriminately” share information they receive with military and intelligence agencies, OTI said in a critique of the bill. The bill would allow other agencies to pass cyberthreat information to the FBI and the National Security Agency, where “it could be used in investigations that have absolutely nothing to do with cybersecurity,” Greene said.

While the PCNA limits what personal information businesses can share with government agencies, it doesn’t require companies to remove all personal information, OTI added. The bill also authorizes companies to monitor all activities and communications of users as a way to identify threats, OTI said.


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Comcast/TWC merger review to last until mid-2015 after months of delays | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Comcast/TWC merger review to last until mid-2015 after months of delays | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After months of delays, Comcast now says government review of its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) will now stretch into the middle of 2015. When announcing the $45.2 billion deal 13 months ago, Comcast thought the merger would be a done deal by the end of 2014.

It's still not clear whether the federal government will approve the takeover, which would join the nation's two largest cable companies. There have been several delays at the Federal Communications Commission, with the latest coming this month.

"The FCC and the DOJ [Department of Justice] are continuing their regulatory reviews of the TWC transaction," Comcast Executive VP David Cohen wrote today. "Given the FCC's recent decision to pause the shot clock, we have recently reassessed the time frame when we expect the government's regulatory review to be completed and now expect that the review should be concluded in the middle of the year."

Both the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers have been delayed by disputes over FCC access to confidential programming contracts.

Besides federal review, Comcast is seeking approvals in states where licenses have to be transferred from Time Warner Cable, including New York and California. Comcast objected to some of the merger conditions proposed in California by an administrative law judge, and the California Public Utilities Commission has delayed a vote until May 7. The New York Public Service Commission has also delayed a vote several times, with the ruling now set for April 20.

Neither the FCC nor DOJ has said when it will make a decision.


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Sprint CEO: We Won't Survive Without Net Neutrality Rules | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Sprint CEO: We Won't Survive Without Net Neutrality Rules | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure defended the company's support of Title II-based net neutrality rules this week, proclaiming that the company won't be able to survive in a fight against AT&T without some tougher rules of the road.


Back in January, Sprint surprised the industry by throwing its support behind reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II. While companies like AT&T and Verizon claimed the new neutrality rules would kill sector innovation and stall investment, Sprint's basically been just short calling its industry compatriots liars.

"Unless there is light-touch regulation that oversees AT&T and Verizon, they are going to drive us out of business," Claure stated at the Competitive Carrier Association's trade show this week in Atlanta. "I'd rather there be light-touch regulation than a complete free-for-all," he added.

Back in February Sprint Stephen Bye repeatedly shot down the notion that Title II would harm the industry, or that tougher net neutrality rules would somehow stifle investment. "Our competitors are going to continue to invest so they are representing a situation that won't play out," Bye noted at the time.

Of course Sprint's public support of net neutrality isn't entirely altruistic.


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Seattle City Council eliminates cable TV franchise districts, aiming for more competition | Taylor Soper | GeekWire

Seattle City Council eliminates cable TV franchise districts, aiming for more competition | Taylor Soper | GeekWire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved legislation that ditches a longstanding cable franchise district system — a decision that could impact how much Seattleites pay for cable TV, what type of service they receive, and how CenturyLink rolls out its new fiber-optic TV service.

More than four decades ago, the city created franchise districts that required cable TV companies to provide service to all neighborhoods within a given area. For example, if you served customers in the Ballard, you would also have to offer service to people in Magnolia and Interbay within seven years since the neighborhoods are in “Cable Franchise District I.”

The idea was to prevent TV providers from hand-picking affluent neighborhoods to serve, and potentially leaving low-income households without access to cable TV.

On Monday, though, councilmembers agreed to eliminate the five franchise districts in a deregulation that the city says will increase competition. The new rules will go into effect in 30 days.

“The geographic divisions no longer make sense in a City where every home now has access to cable services,” the city’s Department of Information Technology wrote in a bill summary. “Instead of promoting cable access to residents, the districts now serve as barriers to competition because existing Code provisions require a franchise grantee to build a cable system for an entire cable district.”


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Grand Junction, CO: A look inside municipal ballot measure 2A | KKCO NBC 11 News

Grand Junction, CO: A look inside municipal ballot measure 2A | KKCO NBC 11 News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Municipal election ballot measure 2A, if passed, would authorize the city to provide high speed internet and cable television service, a reversal of Colorado Legislature Bill 152 that was put in place ten years ago to protect the government from competing with private cable providers.

Business Incubator Center Executive Director Jon Maraschin says fast and reliable internet is a must for successful business.

"If you don't have high speed internet it’s really hard to compete in the technology world we have right now,” said Maraschin.

The incubator spent upwards of 100-thousand dollars to bring a high optic fiber to their building, giving startup businesses a chance to use fast internet.

“Videographers, architects, people that actually have to upload big data sets are coming down here to access our broadband in a fast manner,” said Maraschin.

Many local businesses can't however, afford that price tag themselves.

"Even if you have fiber in the alley behind your building it still might be twenty thousand dollars to bring that into the building,” said Maraschin.

If measure 2A passes, the city would be able to partner with cable companies and, in turn, help businesses out with some of the costs of broadband installation and upgrades that the cable companies would not pay for itself.


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Canada: Harper is losing the argument on C-51 … with Conservatives | Tasha Kheiriddin | iPolitics.ca

Canada: Harper is losing the argument on C-51 … with Conservatives | Tasha Kheiriddin | iPolitics.ca | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bill C-51 was supposed to unite conservatives in the latest round of the War on Terror™. Instead, it’s dividing them — both on and off Parliament Hill.

This week, Conservative MP Michael Chong, never one to blindly toe the line, criticized the bill’s lack of oversight in a statement to the House of Commons: “However, while I fully support Bill C-51, I also believe we need greater oversight of Canadian security and intelligence agencies by a parliamentary committee of elected MPs, who are directly and democratically accountable to Canadians. That greater oversight is even more important as we give these agencies new powers to combat terrorism.”


That same day, at committee hearings on the bill, Connie Fournier, founder of the former conservative online forum FreeDominion, criticized the bill’s infringements on privacy and freedom of speech. Fournier is going a step further, reviving her website to fight Bill C-51 — and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.


“I feel like we’re in some kind of alternate universe,” she recently told the Tyee. “You spend your life working for the Conservative party, and the Conservative party finally gets in, and (now) you’re saying, ‘I hope the NDP really steps up and protects us from our Conservative government.'"


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New York state's $1B broadband program sets 100 Mbps goal | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

New York state's $1B broadband program sets 100 Mbps goal | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New York state has put forth the third element of Governor Andrew Cuomo's $1 billion broadband program by creating a $500 million New NY Broadband Program using capital funds from bank settlements in order to give an incentive to the private sector to expand high-speed broadband access in underserved and unserved areas.

The governor said the $500 million fund will be offered as a 1:1 match for private-sector investment in improving broadband infrastructure.

"Access to high-speed internet is critical to ensuring that all New Yorkers can reach their full potential in today's technology-driven world," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "We're launching the largest state broadband investment in the nation in order to make that goal a reality."

The program does not come without some hefty strings.

Participating companies would have to agree to not only match the private-sector investments but also provide speeds of at least 100 Mbps. The program will place a priority on those service providers that can deliver the highest speeds at the lowest cost. However, service providers could offer 25 Mbps to very remote unserved and underserved areas of the state with the ability to scale up to 100 Mbps or higher.

Cuomo said that the state's broadband speeds either "lag behind our competitors in the global economy, or they have no access to broadband at all."


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US telecoms delegation visits Cuba for talks | TeleGeography.com

A delegation of US telecommunications officials has concluded a three-day visit to Cuba as part of efforts to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries, writes Cuban News Agency.


The delegation, headed by Daniel Sepulveda, the US State Department’s Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, held talks with Cuban officials, including Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications, Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella.


During the meeting, the island’s officials provided information about the country’s computer systems and cybersecurity policy. In February Newark, New Jersey-based IDT Telecom signed an agreement with Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) to exchange international long-distance (ILD) traffic, and earlier this month IDT began handling direct calls between the US and Cuba, making it the first US-based telecoms company with a direct connection to the island.


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