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Toronto Port Authority Partners with BLACK to Deliver Next-Gen Digital Experience @ Airport | Canada NewsWire

The Toronto Port Authority, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA), today announced that it will partner with Toronto advertising company BLACK to develop a digital experience for travellers using the airport.


The experience will involve the development of a unique mobile-optimized app that will serve as a concierge to deliver customized content and information that reflects the unique desires and demands of travellers. The experience will also extend beyond the personal screen to larger digital screens that will be installed throughout the mainland passenger atrium, pedestrian tunnel, and island-side atrium, all of which will be completed in early 2015. 


"This digital experience is being designed to create a narrative journey for travellers that will extend from home or hotel to the airport curb, gate, and beyond to their ultimate destination," said Dean Black, President and CEO, BLACK. "Screens will be situated along the journey through the airport and a custom-designed app will enable travellers to engage and interact with the digital content. Advertisers and content creators will be able to target information and messages that are relevant to the individual traveller and pertinent to the journey they are taking ensuring greater levels of retention and awareness."


State-of-the-art digital LED and LCD screens will be installed on both exterior and interior spaces throughout the mainland passenger atrium and along the path to the elevators that bring passengers down into the tunnel that links to the island-side atrium. Eight 30'x 3' screens will be installed along the tunnel walls, enabling travellers who are walking along the pathway or standing on the moving sidewalks to view and engage with the screens as they make the four-minute journey under the Western Gap to the island-side atrium. Travellers will exit the tunnel via escalators and emerge at ground-level where they will see and interact with additional screens.


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Public Private Partnerships: A Reality Check | community broadband networks

Public Private Partnerships: A Reality Check | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Westminster, a community of 18,000 in rural Maryland, found itself with poor Internet access that incumbents refused to improve, it decided to join the ranks of a growing trend: public-private-partnerships between local governments and private companies to invest in next-generation Internet access. They are now working with Ting - one of a growing number of private sector firms seeking partnerships with cities – though how partnerships are structured varies significantly across communities.

In building an infrastructure intended to serve the community for decades, city leaders knew Westminster should retain ownership of the network to ensure it would remain locally accountable. Ting is leasing fiber on the network and providing Internet services to the community with plans to offer some type of video in the near future. The public-private-partnership (or “P3”) includes a temporary exclusivity arrangement for two years or when a minimum number of subscriptions are activated. Westminster will then have the ability to open up its network to other providers in an open access arrangement.

Communities are realizing that if they want better connectivity, they need to take matters into their own hands. As local leaders wade through the complex process of planning, financing, and deploying Internet network infrastructure, P3s are becoming more common. Communities with little or no experience in managing fiber optic networks may assume that P3s are safer or easier. That may be true or not depending on the specific P3 approach; the data is only starting to come in. P3s have been relatively rare compared to the hundreds of local governments that have chosen to build their own networks in recent decades.

Partnerships will continue playing a larger role when improving local connectivity but this area is still maturing – there are already a few examples of successful P3s though many will also recall the failed Gigabit Squared P3 approach.

P3s are more established in municipal public works projects involving other areas of infrastructure. A November 2013 Governing article by Ryan Holeywell examined the pros and cons of transportation P3s. Many of the lessons apply to other areas of the economy, including efforts to improve Internet access.


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Quid Pro Quo: Boys & Girls Club That Supported Comcast/TWC Merger Gets $8 Million from Comcast CEO | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Quid Pro Quo: Boys & Girls Club That Supported Comcast/TWC Merger Gets $8 Million from Comcast CEO | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of Comcast’s most enthusiastic supporters for its (failed) merger deal with Time Warner Cable has just received a multi-million dollar donation from Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast to build a new state-of-the-art facility in Germantown, a neighborhood in Philadelphia.

The Boys & Girls Club and its various chapters pelted state and federal regulators with letters supporting Comcast at a time when the company was seeking approval of its merger with Time Warner Cable. Just a few weeks after the merger left the headlines, Comcast has announced it will spearhead a $40 million campaign to renovate six clubs in the region. Senior executive vice president David Cohen will serve as campaign chair.

An $8 million contribution from Comcast’s CEO and the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation will cover much of the construction costs for the Germantown facility, which the non-profit group will name the Ralph J. Roberts Boys & Girls Club, in honor of Comcast’s founder.

For much of the 14 months the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger was being reviewed by regulators, Comcast repeatedly name-dropped the non-profit as a supporter of the transaction. The group’s various chapters sent not less than 25 letters of support for the deal:


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USTelecom Takes FCC Side in One Net Neutrality challenge | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

USTelecom Takes FCC Side in One Net Neutrality challenge | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's complicated. USTelecom, which has challenged the FCC's justification for new open Internet rules, has asked a federal Court for permission to weigh in in support of the FCC.

Specifically, the trade group, which represents telco ISPs, has asked permission of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to intervene on behalf of the FCC in the single challenge of the FCC's Title II-based rules by Full Service Network, which argues the FCC was not regulatory enough.

"Unlike all of the other petitioners that have filed petitions to date, these Petitioners intend to argue that the FCC should have imposed even more regulation on providers of broadband Internet access service, including USTelecom’s member companies," it told the court in explaining why it would be taking the FCC's side.

If it got intervenor status, it could file a brief arguing why the FCC should not have imposed more regs than it did. USTelecom made it clear it was only siding with the FCC against the call for more regs, not against any of the other petitions — like its own — that have been filed against Title II as an over, not under, reach.

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Cable analysts: Altice's Drahi will target Cablevision, Cox, Mediacom | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable

Cable analysts: Altice's Drahi will target Cablevision, Cox, Mediacom | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While European telecom magnate Patrick Drahi and his Luxembourg-based firm Altice SA could counter Charter Communications' proposed $56.7 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, at least one media investment analyst says it's far more likely that he'll turn his attention to another U.S. cable property.

"While it is still possible that Altice counters on TWC, we do not believe that it can match Charter [and backer John Malone's] funding firepower and will ultimately lose out," wrote Macquarie Capital's Kevin Smithen. "In our opinion, Altice is more likely to turn its attention to Cablevision or privately-held Cox or Mediacom, in an effort to gain more fixed-line scale in order to compete against Charter and Comcast."

Cablevision has seen its stock price steadily rise in recent weeks, with CEO James Dolan aggressively stating a desire for a takeover and investors seeing the company as ripe for M&A. Cablevision's trading price was up just over 2 percent to $25.52 a share as of late-day trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock is up over 22 percent since May 19.


In his investor note Monday, Smithen did not rule out a U.S. wireless play by Drahi.

"Unlike Europe, we continue to believe that the U.S. is not yet a 'converged' market for wireless and wireline broadband services but that this trend is inevitable in the U.S. due to increasing need for small cells, fiber backhaul and mobile video content caching closer to the end user. In our view, Altice believes in convergence and so mobile will be a strategic objective in the long-term," Smithen wrote.

Meanwhile, another media analyst, Craig Moffett, lauded Charter's earlier joint acquisition, alongside Arris, of video tech company ActiveVideo.


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What Limbaugh's Attack On TPP Means For Its Republican Supporters | Zach Carter | HuffPost.com

What Limbaugh's Attack On TPP Means For Its Republican Supporters | Zach Carter | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh slammed President Barack Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on Friday, telling listeners, "The odds are the United States is gonna take it in the shorts."

Limbaugh argued Republicans shouldn't do Obama any favors by helping him pass a secretive trade agenda that his own party does not support.

"Republicans are providing the necessary push to get it passed, which kind of bothers me," Limbaugh said. "Since it's an Obama deal, the odds are it isn't good. Since it's an Obama deal, the odds are the United States is gonna take it in the shorts, as we have on so much of the Obama agenda, both domestic and foreign policy."

A host of tea party groups have opposed Obama's trade agenda for months. But Limbaugh's entrance into the debate significantly disrupts Republican leaders' hopes of securing a deal with Obama by overriding objections from House Democrats, given the radio host's substantial influence over conservatives.

A significant bloc of tea party Republicans has rejected granting Obama so-called fast track authority to streamline the approval of a major trade pact the administration is negotiating with 11 other nations. Fast track would strip Congress of the ability to filibuster or amend whatever deal Obama eventually reaches.

Although the Senate passed a fast track bill late Friday evening, tea party Republicans and Democratic skeptics currently outnumber the legislation's GOP supporters in the House.

"It makes no sense for Republicans to bail Obama out on this," Limbaugh continued. "It literally doesn't."

"Why in the world, when Obama's trade deal is flittering away by the wayside because his own party doesn't want it -- a trade deal that should not be authorized because nobody has seen it -- do all of a sudden Republicans come along to bail it out and essentially make it possible?" he asked.


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Good deal: Time Warner Cable fetches 22.3% more in 'new' cable merger | Adam Shell | USA Today

Good deal: Time Warner Cable fetches 22.3% more in 'new' cable merger | Adam Shell | USA Today | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A month after Comcast scrapped plans to buy Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion, TWC found a new suitor, Charter Communications, willing to buy it for $55.3 billion, or nearly 22.3% more.

In the latest chapter in the story of cable-industry consolidation, Charter Communications’ (CHTR) cash-and-stock deal to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC) was officially announced this morning in a press release, after news of the deal leaked out over the holiday weekend.

Back on April 23, No. 1 U.S. cable provider Comcast pulled its $45.2 billion offer for No. 2 player Time Warner Cable after federal regulators said they were not in favor of the deal due to anti-trust concerns, and the U.S. Justice Department said the deal was not good for consumers.

Now, a little more than a month later, TWC has found a new partner in Charter Communications — and ended up getting a better deal for its shareholders. Last year, of course, TWC rebuffed a prior offer from Charter Communications.

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AT&T lines up 700MHz deals in Kentucky, Illinois | TeleGeography.com

AT&T Mobility has taken steps to increase its network capacity in a handful of markets, Fierce Wireless reports, with the telecoms giant lining up a pair of new 700MHz spectrum deals.


According to a regulatory filing submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), AT&T has agreed to purchase three Lower 700MHz C block concessions from East Kentucky Network, covering parts of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. The projected deal incorporates 12MHz of spectrum in 20 counties.

In a separate transaction, AT&T has struck a deal with Cellular Properties to purchase a pair of 700MHz A block licences and associated common carrier fixed point-to-point microwave permits covering two CMAs in parts of southern and eastern Illinois. If this transaction is approved AT&T will be assigned 25MHz of cellular spectrum in eleven counties.

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CDD asks Court to Require FTC Make Public Information on “Safe Harbor” Programs for COPPA | Yewande Ogunkoya | Center for Digital Democracy

CDD asks Court to Require FTC Make Public Information on “Safe Harbor” Programs for COPPA | Yewande Ogunkoya | Center for Digital Democracy | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), in its ongoing efforts to monitor the Federal Trade Commission’s enforcement of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), has filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia challenging the FTC’s refusal to release important COPPA documentation. The case involves seven “safe harbor” programs, such as KidSAFE and TRUSTe, approved by the FTC to handle website compliance with COPPA regulations.


CDD originally made its request in July 2014, under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking access to annual reports filed with the FTC by safe harbor organizations, as required by COPPA. In light of the commission’s failure to respond to that request within FOIA’s statutory time limit, CDD initiated the current legal proceeding in December 2014.


Two months later, the FTC finally responded to CDD’s FOIA request, releasing heavily redacted annual reports amounting to less than half of CDD’s original request.As CDD’s court filing makes clear, the FTC has been overzealous in protecting the self-interest of the private Safe Harbor programs.

CDD’s predecessor, the Center for Media Education, spearheaded the movement that led to the passage of COPPA in 1998. The regulation applies primarily to commercial websites that target children under 13, limiting the collection of personal information, providing a mechanism for parental involvement, and placing obligations on companies for adequate disclosure and protection of data.


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Former USA Today ad exec says killing the print edition would be ‘a friggin’ travesty’ | JIMROMENESKO.COM

Former USA Today ad exec says killing the print edition would be ‘a friggin’ travesty’ | JIMROMENESKO.COM | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

USA Today editor-in-chief David Callaway said on Wednesday that the company could stop publishing a daily print newspaper as early as the next “five or six years.” (A weekly USA Today print edition coming soon?)

That remark didn’t go over well with Jim Gath, who was on the ground floor of USA Today. He tells me in an email: “I was there from the 2nd prototype onward – from 3/81 to 10/94. Was Director of Special Sales, Director of Sports Marketing & VP/Advertising. Also a founder of Baseball Weekly.”

Gath says of Callaway’s remarks: “To me & to an awful lot of other people out there who remember what having guts is like, this idea of ceasing the print version of USA TODAY is nothing short of a travesty. Not a shame, mind you. A friggin’ travesty.”

He adds: “People WILL buy pieces of paper with stuff printed on it. But only if they feel they can’t live without it or it adds an important, welcome addition to their lives. If you give people something they can’t possibly get anywhere else, they’ll flock to your door.”

His full blast is posted on Facebook, but it’s reprinted after the jump for readers who’ve chosen not to log in at Mark Zuckerberg’s place.


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FCC Grants TiVo a Pass | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

FCC Grants TiVo a Pass | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a win for TiVo and a set-back of sorts for the Digital Living Network Alliance’s new “VidiPath” secure IP home networking standard, the FCC granted TiVo a waiver that will defer it from having to implement the DLNA’s technology until June 1, 2017.

In the FCC order released on Thursday, the Commission acknowledged that TiVo does not use an “open industry standard” as required by the rule, but did “find that its network interoperability solution enables subscribers to set up a home network and, given TiVo’s market share, we do not believe that a temporary waiver will undermine the goals” of the rule.

The rule on leased cable set-tops is set to take effect on June 1, 2015 (smaller cable MSOs had until Sept. 1, 2015 to comply), so TiVo has effectively secured a two-year waiver.

TiVo, which counts Suddenlink Communications, Grande Communications, RCN Corp. and Mediacom Communications among its U.S. MVPD partners, filed its petition for a waiver or a clarification of the rule for its products and services supplied to cable operators in August 2014, arguing that all of its products, including those sold at retail and wholesale to MSOs, already contain proprietary technology that would support the kind of home networking functionality supported by the DLNA standard, and that having to “back up” to the DLNA standard would impair its ability to compete at retail and at the wholesale level. TiVo uses the technology in its whole-home DVR platform for set-tops and mobile devices.

The DLNA urged the FCC to deny the waiver, holding that its guidelines had been available long enough for TiVo to implement.


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Did AT&T Commit Perjury? Does AT&T have 100 Percent Broadband Coverage in 21 States? | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Did AT&T Commit Perjury? Does AT&T have 100 Percent Broadband Coverage in 21 States? | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Read about AT&T's mergers and broadband history: "The Book of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal and Free the Net"

This is an open and shut case. Compare these 3 AT&T statements about broadband coverage in the company's 21-state territory:

AT&T-BellSouth Merger, 2007 Commitment

"By December 31, 2007, AT&T/BellSouth will offer broadband Internet access service (i.e., Internet access service at speeds in excess of 200 kbps in at least one direction) to 100 percent of the residential living units in the AT&T/BellSouth in-region territory." (Emphasis added)

AT&T's "VIP" Announcement, (Project Velocity IP (VIP), October, 2012

"In the 25 percent of AT&T's wireline customer locations where it's currently not economically feasible to build a competitive IP wireline network, the company said it will utilize its expanding 4G LTE wireless network -- as it becomes available..." (Emphasis added)


DirecTV: AT&T does not provide high speed service to 15 million locations, 2015

"AT&T intends to expand its plans to build and enhance high-speed broadband service to 15 million customer locations, mostly in rural areas where AT&T does not provide high-speed broadband service today." (Emphasis added)

On May 13th, 2015, New Networks Institute & Teletruth filed a Petition with the FCC to investigate AT&T's failure to live up to its previous merger commitments to have 100% of their 22 state territory upgraded to broadband (albeit slow) by the end of 2007. (AT&T sold off Connecticut in 2014, bringing the current total to 21 states.) But this is only part of the problem.


In 2008, AT&T claimed, in writing, that it had completed the work. We are calling for the FCC to also stop the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger proceedings until the investigations are completed. It is time to hold the companies' accountable for their statements and actions, or the lack thereof.


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Charter Communications Near Agreement to Acquire Time Warner Cable, Bright House in $60+ Billion Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Charter Communications Near Agreement to Acquire Time Warner Cable, Bright House in $60+ Billion Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications could announce as early as tomorrow its intention to acquire Time Warner Cable for nearly $55.1 billion in cash and stock and Bright House Networks as part of a separate transaction worth north of $10 billion to create the country’s second largest cable operator under the Charter Spectrum brand.

Bloomberg News reports Charter will offer $195 a share — $100 in cash and the rest in Charter stock for Time Warner. The deal will load down Charter in debt. Several Wall Street banks spent more than two weeks assembling a large financing package, but even that would not be enough to seal a deal. Dr. John Malone’s Liberty Broadband, Charter’s largest shareholder, has agreed to inject $5 billion in Charter stock purchases to help fund the deal.

Unlike the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, this one includes a $2 billion deal breakup fee, payable if the merger falls apart. Analysts predict a possible rival bid for Time Warner Cable by Drahi’s Altice SA as well as antitrust concerns.


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Uber just gave David Plouffe’s job to a top Google exec | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Uber just gave David Plouffe’s job to a top Google exec | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Turns out that helping to manage a global logistics company is a bit more complicated than running a political campaign.

Just eight months ago, Uber hired former Obama adviser David Plouffe to turn the company's image around. The private car-hailing service was being battered in the media for its numerous public missteps, and a faceoff with taxicab incumbents had grown pretty nasty.

Now, however, Plouffe is being replaced by top Google executive Rachel Whetstone as senior vice president of policy and communications. Uber said Wednesday that Plouffe will adopt a different role with the company, taking a position on its board and becoming a strategic adviser rather than being involved with day-to-day operations. Plouffe will continue working full-time on a broad portfolio that includes business, legal and policy issues.

The sudden switch-up hints at how quickly Uber itself is evolving. When Plouffe came on board, Uber desperately needed a crisis communications team. Not long after he joined, BuzzFeed reported that the company was targeting journalists who'd criticized the firm. Plouffe began appearing on cable TV shows to tout "the good we're bringing to cities," and preparing academic-style studies linking Uber to decreases in drunk driving.

Since then, much of the public backlash against Uber appears to have eased, and it and other ridesharing companies have successfully pressed for friendlier regulations in more than a dozen states. But the company still faces significant regulatory hurdles in many places, particularly abroad. In South Korea, for instance, Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick was recently charged by police with operating an illegal service.


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Over 4 billion people still have no Internet connection | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com

Over 4 billion people still have no Internet connection | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The number of people using the Internet is growing at a steady rate, but 4.2 billion out of 7.4 billion will still be offline by the end of the year.

Overall, 35.3 percent of people in developing countries will use the Internet, compared to 82.2 percent in developed countries, according to data from the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). People who live in the so-called least developed countries will the worst off by far: In those nations only 9.5 percent will be connected by the end of December.

This digital divide has resulted in projects such as the Facebook-led Internet.org. Earlier this month, Facebook sought to address some of the criticism directed at the project, including charges that it is a so-called walled garden, putting a limit on the types of services that are available.

Mobile broadband is seen as the way to get a larger part of the world’s population connected. There are several reasons for this. It’s much easier to cover rural areas with mobile networks than it is with fixed broadband. Smartphones are also becoming more affordable.

But there are still barriers for getting more people online, especially in rural areas in poor countries.

The cost of maintaining and powering cell towers in remote, off-grid locations, combined with lower revenue expected from thinly spread, low income populations, are key hurdles, according to the GSM Association. Other barriers include taxes, illiteracy and a lack of content in local languages, according to the organization.

At the end of 2015, 29 percent of people living in rural areas around the world will be covered by 3G. Sixty-nine percent of the global population will be covered by a 3G network. That’s up from 45 percent four years ago.


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NHK and FIFA to hold 8K live public viewings | Robert Briel | Broadband TV News

NHK and FIFA to hold 8K live public viewings | Robert Briel | Broadband TV News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

NHK will produce 8K (Super Hi-Vision)broadcasts of ten matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.

The coverage will include Japan v Cameroon and the final, as joint productions with FIFA, and present most of these as live public viewings at two venues in Japan, two in the US and one in Canada.

Access to the viewing will be free, but prior application is required to participate in these events. Recorded 8K content will be screened at other times when there is no live feed.

The games will be played in the period between Tuesday, June 9 and Monday, July 6.

In the US, the viewings will be held at the NBC Television Network Headquarters, Rockefeller Center (New York, NY) and at the Zanuck Theater (Los Angeles, California). Ub Canadaat the International Broadcasting Center in Vancouver, and in Japan at the Aeon Cinema, Kohoku New Town, Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama City, and at SKIP City Sai-no-Kuni Visual Plaza (Kawaguchi City).

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Delaying Net Neutrality Rules Threatens 'Edge Economy,' FCC Says | Wendy Davis | Media Post

Delaying Net Neutrality Rules Threatens 'Edge Economy,' FCC Says | Wendy Davis | Media Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T, CenturyLink and a coalition of trade groups recently asked a federal appellate court to stay a portion of the Federal Communications Commission's historic decision to impose net neutrality rules.

AT&T and the others say they are not asking to nix all of the new regulations. Specifically, the companies aren't asking to delay the three new “bright line” rules, which prohibit providers from blocking or degrading traffic and from creating paid fast lanes. Instead, AT&T and the other challengers hope to stay the FCC's decision to regulate broadband as a utility.

But the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department say in new legal papers that the bright-line rules won't be enforceable on their own.

“Make no mistake,” the FCC and DOJ say in their papers opposing the request for a stay. “If petitioners obtain a stay of the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband ... those bright line rules will be temporarily gone.”

The FCC and DOJ point out that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals voted in 2014 to invalidate a prior version of open Internet rules. Those rules prohibited broadband providers from blocking or degrading traffic, and also prohibited wireline (but not wireless) providers from engaging in unreasonable discrimination. The appellate court nixed those regulations on the grounds that the FCC only had authority to prohibit operators of common-carrier services from blocking or degrading traffic.


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PSAC Meeting Set for June 1, To Include Public Session | Vicki Lee | First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

PSAC Meeting Set for June 1, To Include Public Session | Vicki Lee | First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) will meet on Monday, June 1, during which FirstNet will receive updates from the Committee and discuss with its members a number of key issues related to the planning and development of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).

During the PSAC meeting, FirstNet will convene a session from 3:15 pm – 5:00 pm Pacific Time that will be open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis and broadcast via webcast. The session will include general updates from the PSAC Tribal and Early Builder Working Groups, as well as general updates from the PSAC on the priority and preemption, public safety grade, and user equipment assignments.


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How the FCC Found Its Backbone | Susan Crawford | Backchannel | Medium.com

How the FCC Found Its Backbone - Backchannel - Medium

What a difference six years makes. A crucial federal agency that once seemed powerless is now empowered. I am talking about the Federal Communications Commission, which has emerged from a period of vacillation into a body that makes decisions and backs them up.

And though there are multiple factors that made this happen, ultimately, this is a tale of two commissioners. One seemed the perfect advocate for strong regulation of Internet access to the benefit of consumers, an entrepreneur and tech executive who had the President’s ear (they even played basketball together!). And the other was regarded with suspicion among the open-Internet crowd — because he was once the chief lobbyist for the cable industry.

Guess which one stood up for the public.

Let me take you back to the fall of 2009. The first Obama administration, touted as the first truly tech-savvy White House, was just finding its sea legs, and hopes were still running high. In September of that year, then-FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made a stirring speech at the Brookings Institution asserting that the agency would adopt rules protecting the open Internet from discriminatory actions of carriers.


Up to that point, it had been relying on a flimsy 2005 “Internet Policy Statement” that had never been formally adopted by the commission and was published the same year the Bush-era FCC had removed all the rules covering high-speed Internet access. Now the new administration was saying firmly that it planned to protect the Internet from the depredations of the carriers. There was cheering on the sidelines.

But then the legal framework supporting the idea of an open Internet became a dicey issue for Team Obama.

Essentially, a time bomb had exploded, planted during the previous administration. Back in 2008 , Team Bush, led by then-FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, had gone after Comcast for throttling BitTorrent. Martin did not want to claim that high-speed Internet access should be considered a regulated service. So he relied on that dicey 2005 policy statement as the legal hook for his insistence that that Comcast promise to adopt a protocol-agnostic method of network management.

Comcast could have let matters stand but was irritated by the FCC’s assertion that the Commission had anything to say about its network management practices — after all, the Commission had deregulated high-speed Internet access back in 2005. So it sued, and in April 2010 it won. The DC Circuit said that the deregulatory structure in place for high-speed Internet access was inconsistent with the FCC’s assertion of authority. In other words, the FCC was trying to have it both ways: make rules about a service that it had said was not classified as a “Title II” common carrier.

This threw Team Obama into a tizzy. The FCC clearly felt reclassifying high-speed Internet access as a Title II service would trigger World War III —unleashing the awesome lobbying weapons of the big telecom and cable powers against the agency. So… they dithered. The carriers put the pressure on, prompting a long list of legislators to assail the FCC for daring to act like a regulator.

At the center was Chairman Genachowski, who although thoroughly well-intentioned became the Hamlet of Internet access regulation. He changed his mind several times, or appeared to — it was hard to tell— and after a long hot summer of lobbying in 2010, the Commission agreed with Comcast and the others that they wouldn’t be classified as common carriers. In a “once more with feeling” move, the FCC said in December 2010 that it would adopt rules but wouldn’t support them within a Title II structure.

Then, in January 2011, the Genachowski FCC approved the Comcast-NBCU merger, saying that the concessions Comcast had made supported the idea that the deal was in the public interest. The deal by itself? Not so good for the public, the FCC conceded. But there were benefits — like the Internet Essentials program—that were bound to be great.

Contrast all that — the painfulness, the drawn-out waffling, the ultimate disappointment, the soft deal-making, the speechmaking that turned out to be without legal support — to what has happened so far in 2015 at the FCC, under Tom Wheeler, who formerly served as President of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association. In other words, the cable and carrier’s man.

But wait. Although the same lobbying sledgehammers are being wielded by Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable, and the same pressure is being felt from the Hill, Tom Wheeler’s FCC isn’t backing away from its basic role.


Wheeler has embraced the same “Title II” that Genachowski gestured toward and then ran from, and so his FCC now has something to say about high-speed Internet access. Wheeler’s FCC has taken on state laws that keep local municipalities from making decisions about their own fiber networks — a bold and consequential move.


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Ecuador’s Movistar rolls out 4G in Quito | TeleGeography.com

El Universo reports that mobile operator Movistar Ecuador has begun offering 4G services in the capital, Quito, three months after the Telefonica-owned unit acquired 50MHz of spectrum in the 1900MHz band for Long Term Evolution (LTE).


Initially, the cellco’s service is limited to certain parts of the city, although Movistar is allowing users to access its new network at no extra cost, providing they purchase one of the range of 22 4G-ready devices it offers.


Movistar becomes the second player in the market to offer 4G, after state-backed National Telecommunications Corporation (aka CNT) launched in December 2013.


Last month Telefonica’s local mobile unit revealed plans to invest USD150 million to deploy its 4G LTE network and additional 3G infrastructure following its recent mobile broadband frequency licence win.

Rival cellco Claro, which also acquired LTE frequencies in the 1900MHz band along with Movistar, said last week that its 4G service will be available ‘soon’, without specifying a date. The privately-run operators paid a total of USD330 million for the concessions which are valid until 2023.

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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Congratulates Charter-TWC on Deal | Mike Farrell Multichannel.com

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Congratulates Charter-TWC on Deal | Mike Farrell Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Not to be a spoilsport, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts congratulated Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks on their landmark deal Tuesday, adding that the transaction “makes all the sense in the world.”

Comcast had agreed to pay about $67 billion for TWC in February 2014, but that agreement was terminated after it became apparent that federal regulators would not approve the deal. The Charter transaction, which values TWC at $78.7 billion including debt, is expected to have an easier go of it on the regulatory front.

"This deal makes all the sense in the world,” Roberts said in a statement. “I would like to congratulate all the parties."

Whether regulators feel the same way remains to be seen, but according to reports, Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler had reached out to cable CEOs to tell them that the agency was not against all consolidation in the industry.

In an interview with CNBC this morning, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge – who will become chairman and CEO of the combined entity – wouldn’t comment on any personal conversations with Wheeler, but said the chairman’s public comments have been consistent with what the agency has said in the past as to its vision for the changing broadband landscape.


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Planned Charter Mega-Merger Does Nothing to Benefit Customers or Boost Competition | Tim Karr | Free Press

Planned Charter Mega-Merger Does Nothing to Benefit Customers or Boost Competition | Tim Karr | Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications on Tuesday announced plans to acquire Time Warner Cable in a deal valued at $56.7 billion. Charter also confirmed that it would acquire Bright House Networks, a smaller cable company, for $10.4 billion.

The combined mergers would grow Charter’s customer base to approximately 24 million, creating the nation’s second largest cable provider behind Comcast.

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner made the following statement:

“These potential mergers won’t make Charter as massive as a merged Comcast-Time Warner Cable would have been but they raise similar public interest concerns, and the FCC should apply the lessons learned in its prior review here.

“The cable platform is quickly becoming America's local monopoly broadband infrastructure. Charter will have a tough time making a credible argument that consolidating local monopoly power on a nationwide basis will benefit consumers. Indeed, the issue of the cable industry's power to harm online video competition, which is what ultimately sank Comcast’s consolidation plans, are very much at play in this deal.

“Ultimately, this merger is yet another example of the poor incentives Wall Street’s quarterly-result mentality creates. Charter would rather take on an enormous amount of debt to pay a premium for Time Warner Cable than build fiber infrastructure, improve service for its existing customers or bring competition into new communities.

“We will carefully examine Charter’s case, in particular its arguments for why this transaction is supposedly better for competition in the broadband and pay-TV markets than new investment. Charter needs to explain why this consolidation will improve competition, and a simple argument of scale won’t work here. Charter’s network is already superior to TWC’s and that of other large cable companies, which proves that you don’t need to become a colossus to succeed in this business.”

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ACA Praises FCC Change to Satellite-TV Fees | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

ACA Praises FCC Change to Satellite-TV Fees | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The American Cable Association (ACA) on Friday (June 22) celebrated the Federal Communications Commission's decision to start charging satellite operators user fees that are on par with those levied on cable and telco video distributors.

“ACA is very pleased with the FCC’s decision to adjust its regulatory fee schedule to ensure that DirecTV and Dish [Network] will pay fees to share the support burden of the Media Bureau’s oversight of cable operators, [direct-broadcast satellite] providers, and IPTV providers," ACA president and CEO Matt Polka said.

The ACA, a trade group representing smaller, independent MSOs, has been pushing for the change.

"It was long unjust to require cable and IPTV providers to foot the regulatory bill for work of the Media Bureau that benefited both cable and satellite-TV providers."

Satellite providers had been paying on a per-satellite-license basis, while other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) paid on a per-subscriber basis.


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Broadband competition, Cajun style | Dante Ramos Opinion | The Boston Globe

Broadband competition, Cajun style | Dante Ramos Opinion | The Boston Globe | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

People in Boston think of their city as a major tech hub. But to see a dynamic broadband Internet market in action, you’re better off heading to Cajun country.

For Lafayette, a city of 120,000 in Southwest Louisiana, building a municipal-owned fiber-optic-to-the-home broadband network hasn’t just pressured the local cable company to upgrade its own Internet service. The municipal network, which took on its first residential customers in 2009 and now offers 1-gigabit-per-second service for as little as $70 a month, has also given the city a tech-forward sheen. If not for the fiber initiative, Mayor Joey Durel asked as we sat in his office Monday, “would you have been here for anything besides boudin or crawfish etouffee?”

In an ideal world, local government agencies would never feel a need to get into the Internet business. But in most of the country, including vast areas of Boston, residents have at most one choice for service that meets the Federal Communications Commission’s current definition of broadband; usually the provider is whichever company owns the decades-old local cable monopoly.

When communities aren’t being served — or, as in Lafayette’s case, they want better service than they’re getting — why should they wait for Comcast Corp., Cox Communications, or other broadband giants to come to their rescue?


At least 500 communities have community-owned broadband networks, according to data from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an organization that promotes the idea. Except for a few newer details — you know, minor stuff like fiber optics and the Internet — the argument over such networks has been raging since the Roosevelt administration.


The creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal agency that extended electricity in the rural South, led to a Supreme Court showdown with shareholders of Alabama Power. Likewise, when Durel and Terry Huval, head of the publicly owned Lafayette Utilities System, floated an idea called LUS Fiber a decade ago, the cable firm Cox and BellSouth, the provider of now-obsolescent DSL technology, fought the idea in the state legislature and in the courts.


About 20 states have laws deterring municipal networks, ostensibly to protect private enterprise against unfair competition from the governments that regulate them. Just this month, North Carolina sued the FCC to defend its right to keep the city of Wilson from expanding its municipal network.


Alas, the relentless genius of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg does not pervade every last cubicle of the private sector. In industries where regulatory favoritism and high entry barriers stifle competition, the harsh discipline of the marketplace is notably absent. Broadband incumbents can make their quarterly numbers by offering Soviet-quality customer service and holding back on investments in faster networks. Even lumbering monopolists may succumb to technological changes over time, but until then consumers are helpless.


Today, the top broadband speeds advertised to residential customers in Boston are about one-ninth of what’s available in Lafayette. A municipal network in Boston isn’t inconceivable; the fiber-optic network now connecting scores of government facilities could theoretically become the spine of a citywide system.


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Wheeler on TWC/Charter: Absence of Harm Not Enough | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Wheeler on TWC/Charter: Absence of Harm Not Enough | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In announcing the news of the $78.7 billion Charter-Time Warner Cable deal, the companies played up the competitive and public interest benefits.

They said the deal will drive "investment into the combined entity’s advanced broadband network, allow for wider deployment of new competitive facilities based WiFi networks in public places, and the footprint expansion of optical networks to serve the large marketplace of small and medium sized businesses. This will result in faster broadband speeds, better video products, including more high definition channels, more affordable phone service and more competition, for consumers and businesses."

The FCC is looking to boost broadband speeds, so that should be an important talking point for the deal. But the Comcast/TWC deal tanked on the combined broadband sub count, speed notwithstanding, so broadband can be a double-edged sword.

Wheeler made clear the FCC would be looking for value added for consumers, not just that the deal would do no harm. While the Justice Department will be looking at antitrust, the FCC will look for public interest benefits out of the combo.


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No, Uber drivers can’t game the ‘surge pricing’ system the way one driver claims | Abby Phillip | WashPost.com

No, Uber drivers can’t game the ‘surge pricing’ system the way one driver claims | Abby Phillip | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Uber's "surge pricing" algorithm is both critical to its success and a huge proverbial target on the company's back.


It is, Uber says, supply and demand in its most basic form: When drivers are scarce, and demand is high, prices go up.


That's good for drivers who are now being paid less on the Uber base rate since the company began dropping prices to beat the competition and generate demand. And it can be good for those who are desperate for a ride — and are willing to pay.


Critics say that surge pricing can result in truly absurd fares at peak times, and the company admitted making a misstep by allowing surge pricing to go into effect in the middle a natural disaster.

Recently, a video, purportedly from an Uber driver, was published online claiming to show a strategy that Uber drivers can use to manipulate the system by inducing higher and higher surge fares.

There's no narration of what's happening, but over the course of about three minutes, the "driver" demonstrates how to do this by accepting rides, then immediately canceling them. The person does this several times, and by the end of the video, surge pricing increases to 2.1 times the normal fare in some areas.


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