When a mobile network is down, overloaded or simply out of range, it can be certainly be inconvenient or potentially much worse. goTenna aims to keep mobile devices connected regardless of network status by creating its own network over which users can send messages to each other.
goTenna is somewhat reminiscent of the Be-Bound mobile app, which uses SMS messaging to provide internet access when there is no 3G or Wi-Fi availability. Where Be-Bound allows users to use email, check the weather and read the news, amongst other functionality, goTenna was developed with more serious applications in mind.
The device was conceived in the US towards the end of 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the storm knocked out around a quarter of cell towers across a 10 state area, leaving people unable to communicate when it was most critical. Siblings and goTenna founders Daniela and Jorge Perdomo saw that there would be a benefit to people being able to communicate in such situations via their mobile phones regardless of mobile network service.
"Our mission is twofold: to let people communicate whenever and wherever they want, on their own terms, and also to make sure that in times of a true emergency, people are able to reach others around them," says Daniela Perdomo.
Prototype devices were created at Brooklyn hackspace NYC Resistor and continued development was followed by seed funding in late 2013. Investors include Bloomberg Beta, Collaborative Fund, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and MentorTech Ventures.
Sadly I was not at the July Task Force meeting – but I have been able to learn the following:
The Task Force met in the Cities and it sounds as if the main topic on the table was the opportunity to provide input to DEED’s budget planning for the next biennium relevant to state funding for broadband-related investments.
Danna MacKenzie from the Office of Broadband Development (OBD) updated the Task Force on the office’s activities since the Task Force last met. Danna and her team have been focused on the design and launch of the Border to Border Infrastructure Fund created by the legislature during its most recent session. Danna shared details about the process in a recent Blandin Foundation-sponsored webinar. She is also touring Minnesota communities to talk more about the opportunity.
The Task Force agreed on two budget recommendations for Commissioner Sieben’s consideration:
$200 million over two years for Broadband Deployment Fund
$2.9 million over two years for the Office of Broadband Development; that includes $1.4 million for continued mapping (but with no reference to a specific vendor) and the remaining for operating funds (including staff) and program delivery.
Sitting in Atlanta International Airport, the terminal is brimming with travelers connecting to the airport’s free wireless Internet. Upon connecting, passengers are greeted with the message “Wi-Fi Before You Fly” across the homepage. This isn’t an anomaly. Free public Wi-Fi has rapidly expanded from coffee shops to an increasing share of businesses, parks, and dozens of other public spaces—so why shouldn’t public schools have Wi-Fi too?
The proposal from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler—passed this past Friday on a 3-2 party-line vote—tries to move our schools one step closer to that ideal by prioritizing Wi-Fi investment for this modern update of the E-rate program.
The approved changes to the E-rate program will phase down support for telecommunications services like telephone service, while dialing up support over the next five years for wireless connectivity (Wheeler has reassured stakeholders that this will not crowd out funding for basic connections to schools). The first two years will be paid for through $2 billion in funding that the FCC has already identified—and those last three years will be filled in with savings from phasing out old telecommunications services and cost-savings from increased program efficiencies.
The two Republican members of the Commission seem skeptical of Wheeler’s funding plan and voted against the proposal (for the record, the two other Democrats seem a bit skeptical on parts of the plan as well). To his credit, Wheeler has indicated that later this fall (most likely after midterm elections) the Commission will revisit the issue of sustainable program funding through a new public notice. Funding aside though, the simpler message of “Wi-Fi to the Schools” may obscure larger structural challenges for schools and libraries of providing high-speed Internet service.
We've written plenty of times about the dangers of Executive Order 12333, which is the Presidential order signed by Ronald Reagan that gives the NSA tremendously broad powers of surveillance, so long as the work is done overseas. And as long as information is collected overseas, it is used to spy on many Americans.
Senators Wyden and Udall have implied that Executive Order 12333 enables the CIA to get around prohibitions on spying on Americans, and just last week a (recent) former top State Department Official, John Napier Tye, revealed that the real surveillance powers happen under Executive Order 12333 -- and the other programs we've all been debating (Section 702 and Section 215) are merely used to "backfill" what can't be collected under EO12333.
The Washington Post has now revealed that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is turning its attention to EO 12333 -- which is important. Unlike Sections 215 and 702, Congress doesn't (currently) have any oversight over activities done under EO 12333. Basically, there is no oversight at all.
The Congressional intelligence committees have flat out admitted that they receive no reports concerning the kind of surveillance done under that authority, as it's not under their mandate. The Washington Post has also published a graphic from the Snowden files, that highlights how EO 12333 is the main surveillance program, and everything else is just the exception.
It's a "decision tree" where the focus is on using EO 12333 for as much as possible and only resorting to other programs if absolutely forced to:
Click headline to view "decision tree" and read more--
Rupert Murdoch-controlled U.K. pay-TV operator BSkyB announced deals Friday to take control of its German and Italian sister companies to create a pan-European pay-TV giant. The total value of the deals will be £5.35 billion ($9.09 billion).
Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox owns a 39% stake in BSkyB, 100% of Sky Italia and 57% of Sky Deutschland. The proposed deals will see BSkyB acquire Fox’s stakes in Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland. It also will bid for the remaining Sky Deutschland shares.
Fox said it will net after-tax cash proceeds of $7.2 billion on completion of the transactions, which are subject to regulatory approvals, the approval of BSkyB shareholders and usual closing conditions.
Industry analysts have speculated that 21st Century Fox would use the cash from the Sky deals to sweeten its bid for Time Warner above its initial $85 per share. But Fox says the proceeds will support its operating principles, including funding share buybacks. The conglom said it will continue its share repurchase program in 2015, with details to be announced Aug. 6 when it reports fiscal 2014 earnings. Fox has returned $12 billion to shareholders over the last three years.
“Our renewed authorization for our share buyback program will be executed regardless of any potential acquisition or investment activity by the company,” Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “21st Century Fox’s number one priority is increasing shareholder value in a disciplined manner and, as a result, we will only consider transactions that fully support this objective.”
The acquisition of Sky Italia will cost £2.45 billion ($4.16 billion) with approximately £2.07 billion ($3.51 billion) to be paid in cash, and the balance to be secured through the transfer of BSkyB’s 21% stake in National Geographic Channel Intl. to Fox at a value of £382 million ($649 million).
The acquisition of Fox’s shareholding in Sky Deutschland will cost £2.9 billion ($4.92 billion) in cash, valuing Sky Deutschland at €6.75 ($9.09) a share. BSkyB will offer Sky Deutschland minority shareholders that price for the remaining shares.
The total worth of the deals to buy Sky Italia and 57% of Sky Deutschland would be £5.35 billion ($9.09 billion). Depending on how many Sky Deutschland minority shareholders accept the offer for their shares, the total cash consideration overall may be up to approximately £7 billion ($11.9 billion).
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has a problem. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is preparing to sweeten his offer for the owner of Warner Bros, CNN, and HBO after it rejected an $80B cash-and-stock proposal last month.
And Bewkes, who says he wants to keep Time Warner independent, has few takeover defenses. What can he do? Here are a few of the leading options that Time Warner execs and their advisors at Citigroup are weighing.
Combine with CBS: This would make Time Warner toxic for Fox: The FCC would not allow Murdoch to control two of the four biggest networks, and two of the largest TV station groups with overlaps in the nation’s largest markets.
And the business logic of a Time Warner-CBS combination is compelling. CBS chief Les Moonves would like to diversify his company to make it less dependent on domestic TV advertising. (He has already said that he’d like to buy CNN if Fox prevails with Time Warner and puts the news channel on the block.)
Moonves also has made it clear that he’d like to play a bigger role in movies — his CBS Films appears to be struggling to figure out its identity. CBS could address these concerns by blending with Time Warner’s cable channels and movie studio.
The chief obstacle is that CBS is controlled by Sumner Redstone, who also owns Viacom. He hasn’t wanted to give up either property, and some bankers believe he’d prefer to recombine the companies he split in 2005 than do something with Time Warner.
While the network neutrality debate has focused primarily on whether ISPs should be able to charge companies like Netflix for faster access to consumers, cable companies are now arguing that it's really Netflix who holds the market power to charge them.
This argument popped up in comments submitted to the FCC by Time Warner Cable and industry groups that represent cable companies. (National Journal writer Brendan Sasso pointed this out.)
"Even if broadband providers had an incentive to degrade their customers’ online experience in some circumstances, they have no practical ability to act on such an incentive. Today’s Internet ecosystem is dominated by a number of “hyper-giants” with growing power over key aspects of the Internet experience—including Google in search, Netflix and Google (YouTube) in online video, Amazon and eBay in e-commerce, and Facebook in social media.
"If a broadband provider were to approach one of these hyper-giants and threaten to block or degrade access to its site if it refused to pay a significant fee, such a strategy almost certainly would be self-defeating, in light of the immediately hostile reaction of consumers to such conduct. Indeed, it is more likely that these large edge providers would seek to extract payment from ISPs for delivery of video over last-mile networks."
ISPs making payments to online video companies would be similar to the payments cable TV providers make to programmers. But in practice it hasn't worked that way. Cable TV and Internet providers have less incentive to ensure that Netflix and YouTube work well on their networks because online video competes against their own video services and because the cable companies face little competition in each local market.
All talk of "fast lanes" has centered on ISPs potentially charging Web services for better access to consumers over the last mile of the network. The FCC's latest proposal would let ISPs charge for fast lanes as long as they provide a minimum level of service to all Internet users and Web services. Network neutrality proponents have urged the FCC to pass stronger rules that would ban such prioritization. Yet the issue is even more complicated than that because ISPs could still degrade bandwidth-heavy services like video by refusing to upgrade infrastructure that connects their networks to the rest of the Internet.
Nonetheless, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings noted in an earnings call this week that "the question comes up—should we over time be charging ISPs for the privilege of carrying our data to their customers, and charging for that?"
As expected, 21st Century Fox said Friday that it would sell its interests in European satellite companies Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland to British Sky Broadcasting Group, in a deal valued at $9.3 billion, including a hefty cash component that could help fuel another bid for Time Warner Inc.
Analysts have expected Fox to sell the European assets to BSkyB, of which it owns 39% -- for months. With the deal, Fox also receives $8.6 billion in cash ($7.2 billion after taxes), money that could be used to beef up another bid for Time Warner. Fox had made an $80 billion offer for Time Warner in June, which was rejected as too low.
That deal involved about $35 per share in cash and $50 per share in non-voting Fox stock.
With the additional funds, Fox could theoretically increase the cash component by as much as $8 per share without having to increase its leverage ratio.
The Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council first started looking hard at the topic of Broadband in the fall of 2013. In reviewing some of the headlines regarding the completion of the Three Ring Binder (3RB) — a primarily federally-funded 1,100-mile high-capacity fiber optic network strung throughout the state — we discovered that Sanford, Maine’s seventh largest city, had not been included in this critical infrastructure project.
As a response to this oversight, and in order to begin to level the “business expansion and attraction” playing field with surrounding communities, we began to do some additional research and meet with broadband experts. In early 2014, we selected the Tilson Technology Company in Portland to prepare a Broadband Plan (BBP) for Sanford.
Let’s take a moment to explain what we mean by “broadband.” In the simplest definition, broadband is a fast connection to the Internet that is always on. Broadband communication comes to us through wires, satellites, cell towers — and often a combination of the above — on its long journey from source to our computers or tablets or cell phones. Between 2000 and 2012, Internet use worldwide increased by more than 550 percent
Here’s a quick reminder of how powerful Broadband deployment can be:
On June 18 Holly Springs, home to approximately 25,000 people, started saving money with its new fiber I-Net. Last summer, the Town Council voted to invest in fiber infrastructure as a way to take control of telecommunications costs. Just one year later, the 13-mile network is serving community anchor institutions.
After exploring options with CTC Technology and Energy, Holly Springs determined that deploying their own $1.5 million network was more cost effective than paying Time Warner Cable for data services. Annual fees were $159,000; over time those costs certainly would have escalated. According to the Cary News, Holly Springs anticipates a future need for more bandwidth:
“And we wouldn’t have been able to actually afford as much (data) as we need,” [Holly Springs IT Director Jeff Wilson] said. “Our costs were going to be getting out of control over the next couple of years.”
Because state law precludes the town from offering services to homes or businesses, Holly Springs plans to use the new infrastructure in other ways. State law allows the community to offer free Wi-Fi; the town will also lease dark fiber to third-party providers. According to the News article, the town has already entered into a 20-year contract with DukeNet, recently acquired by Time Warner Cable. DukeNet may expand the fiber to the Holly Springs Business Park for commercial clients.
The community's free Wi-Fi in public facilities is approximately 20 times faster than it was before the deployment, reports the News:
The U.S. House of Representatives has just passed a bill that will once again give consumers the right to unlock their cellphones, meaning the legislation is only a presidential signature away from becoming law.
"The Senate’s cellphone unlocking bill, S517, just passed unanimously in the House of Representatives.
Now it just requires the President’s signature to become law. It took 19 months of activism and advocacy, but we’re finally very close to consumers regaining the right to unlock the phones they’ve legally bought. I’m looking forward to seeing this bill finally become law - it’s been a long road against powerful, entrenched interests - but it’s great to see citizen advocacy work.
It’s important to note that the unlocking exemption that is being reinstated will only last until the Librarian of Congress’s next rulemaking, scheduled to happen in 2015. With such a strong signal from Congress, it’s very unlikely that the Librarian will remove the unlocking exemption."
President Obama’s signing of the bill would appear to be a foregone conclusion given this reply the White Posted last March in response to the petition.
The days of truly unlimited LTE data on Verizon Wireless are coming to a close. Today, the largest US carrier announced that it will begin applying its "network optimization" practices, which previously only affected the 3G network, to unlimited 4G LTE customers starting October 1st. Beginning on that date, the carrier will slow you down if you're "connected to cell sites experiencing heavy demand."
But Verizon's policy is far from straightforward, and it's in no way universal. To risk slower speeds, you must also meet all of the following criteria:
You're using a 4G LTE smartphone on an unlimited data plan.
Your current data usage falls within the top 5 percent of all Verizon users. This ceiling will almost certainly fluctuate in the future. As of March, hitting 4.7GB in a single month was enough to put you over it.
You're a month-to-month customer. Most people probably fall into this category, but if you've somehow managed to renew your plan for another year or two, you don't need to worry about throttling. Of course, renewing an unlimited plan isn't supposed to be technically possible. But where there's a will there's a way, and users have occasionally discovered loopholes that allow re-upping with unlimited data.
If you can check off all those boxes, you'll be subject to throttling and may experience video / music buffering, slower web browsing, and other interruptions that come along with reduced speeds. And it won't for just one month: you'll potentially have to deal with throttling the following month, too. Again, this policy only applies in areas where the network is seeing heavy demand. You might be throttled in one town and experience regular, fast speeds in the next. See? We told you it wasn't straightforward.
Community institutions in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin pooled their resources to build a high-speed broadband network. The high-speed connections create opportunities to share applications, and open up possibilities for new uses of technology.
A video produced by the ARRA-funded Wisconsin broadband project, Building Community Capacity through Broadband. http://broadband.uwex.edu
Researchers at Aalborg University, MIT and Caltech have developed a new mathematically-based technique that can boost internet data speeds by up to 10 times, by making the nodes of a network much smarter and more adaptable. The advance also vastly improves the security of data transmissions, and could find its way into 5G mobile networks, satellite communications and the Internet of Things.
Data is sent over the internet in "packets," or small chunks of digital information. The exact format of the packets and the procedure for delivering them to their destination is described by a suite of protocols known as TCP/IP, or the internet protocol suite, designed in the early 70s.
Back when it was conceived, the internet protocol suite was a tremendous leap forward that revolutionized our paradigm for transmitting digital information. Remarkably, 40 years on, it still forms the backbone of the internet. However, despite all its merits, few would say that it is particularly efficient, secure or flexible.
For instance, in order for a TCP data transmission to be successful, the recipient needs to collect the packets in the exact order in which they were sent over. If even a single packet is lost for any reason, the protocol interprets this as a sign that the network is congested – the transmission speed is immediately halved, and from there it attempts to rise again only very slowly. This is ideal in some situations and terribly inefficient in others. The issue is that the protocol doesn't have the intelligence to know what the right thing to do is.
Also, although the packets could take a theoretically infinite number of paths to travel between point A and point B in a network, it turns out that data in a TCP connection always travels along the same path – which makes it quite easy for an eavesdropper to spy on your communications.
An interesting proposal that might offer the solution to these problems is so-called network coding, which aims to make each node in the network much smarter that it currently is. In TCP/IP, the nodes of the network are just simple switches that can only store data packets and then forward them to the next node along their predetermined route; by contrast, in network coding each node can elaborate packets as needed, for instance by re-routing or re-encoding them.
Federal law enforcement and intelligence authorities say they are increasingly struggling to conduct court-ordered wiretaps on suspects because of a surge in chat services, instant-messaging and other online communications that lack the technical means to be intercepted.
A “large percentage” of wiretap orders to pick up the communications of suspected spies and foreign agents are not being fulfilled, FBI officials said. Law enforcement agents are citing the same challenge in criminal cases; agents, they say, often decline to even seek orders when they know firms lack the means to tap into a suspect’s communications in real time.
“It’s a significant problem, and it’s continuing to get worse,” Amy S. Hess, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch, said in a recent interview.
One former U.S. official said that each year “hundreds” of individualized wiretap orders for foreign intelligence are not being fully executed because of a growing gap between the government’s legal authority and its practical ability to capture communications — or what bureau officials have called “going dark.”
Officials have expressed alarm for several years about the expansion of online communication services that — unlike traditional landlines and cellphone communications — lack intercept capabilities because they are not required by law to build them in.
But the proliferation of these services and a greater wariness — if not hostility — toward government agencies in the wake of revelations about broad National Security Agency surveillance have become a double-whammy for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, according to FBI officials and others.
The Federal Communications Commission has implemented four industry- wide reforms and the initial phases of two carrier-specific reforms for the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) high-cost program.
However, the FCC has encountered delays implementing the subsequent phases and more complex carrier-specific funding reforms that require extensive cost modeling and stakeholder input.
This Government Accountability Office (GAO) report examines 1) the extent to which the FCC implemented funding reforms, 2) the extent to which the FCC is collecting data to determine the effectiveness of the reforms, and 3) what changes, if any, states have made in USF funding.
The GAO recommends that the FCC demonstrate how high-cost funds were used to improve broadband availability, service quality, and capacity.
The Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority (MBTA) announced Thursday that a new WiFi system will be installed on all 14 commuter rail lines, commuter boats and South, North and Back Bay Stations.
At no cost to the MBTA or its customers, inMOTION Wireless will build a $5.6 million system that will expand and improve both the availability and quality of the existing WiFi service.
Under a 22-year license agreement, inMOTION will install, operate, and maintain a neutral, private, and dedicated WiFi network on all MBTA passenger coaches and ferries.
Riders will have free access to the internet, as well as a live television feed. Premium WiFi service, which allows customers to stream data and video, will be available for $15 per month. The MBTA will receive 7.5 percent of net revenue received from the WiFi program.
Installation will begin this fall, and the full system will be in place within 18 months.
A new startup led by Aol and Dish veteran Neil Davis is in the process of raising $50 million to fill that void. The startup is called Kumo, and it’s still in stealth, so details are limited.
However, a source very close to the matter told TechCrunch that Kumo hopes to provide a la carte television content to users. That would give viewers the opportunity to purchase access to specific channels as opposed to buying them bundled from cable companies, or getting access to an incomplete library of content long after it’s released through Netflix or Hulu.
Of course, this is a notable task considering that the oligopoly of content creators and owners profit wildly from the bundling of their channels, as opposed to asking people to pay for just what they watch.
But founder Neil Davis has the experience to navigate these turbulent waters.
Rupert Murdoch and 21st Century Fox haven't even come back with a follow-up offer to their rejected $80 billion bid for Time Warner Inc. But there's plenty of speculation already as to what Murdoch will do if he acquires his prize.
According to Mediatech Capital Partners managing director Porter Bibb, among all of Time Warner's assets, HBO is the one Murdoch covets the most. And if he gets his hands on it, he'll take it out of the pay TV bundle and have it compete directly with Netflix
"It's amazing to me why [Time Warner CEO] Jeff Bewkes is not using the tremendous archive of fantastic content that HBO has [to go] head-to-head against Netflix," Bibb told the Bloomberg Surveillance radio program, adding that he does not believe Murdoch would make that same mistake." (Hat tip to SNL Kagan's Sarah Barry James for the original pick-up.)
Other analysts have speculated that it's the Turner Networks sports rights--the NBA and NCAA March Madness, specifically--that Murdoch really covets. But Bibb called HBO "the Holy Grail that Rupert had his eye on," adding "it's the Netflix killer no one has come up with." Fox, which has had an output deal with HBO for decades, values the premium network at around $20 billion all on its own, Bloomberg notes.
FreeCast Inc, Rabbit TV's operating company, has offered to pay $5 monthly per-subscriber retransmission fee paid by cable companies in the No 1 market, New York City, across all 210 DMA markets nationwide.
The company also said that it's prepared to provide an agnostic platform for the networks to distribute their content, which will also in theory bring more revenue to their existing ad-supported video-on-demand (VOD) libraries and pay per view selections.
The company's announcement comes after a recent Supreme Court ruling on Aereo's cloud-based television service, which inadvertently opened new doors for Web-based television services by comparing Aereo to a cable system.
This new interpretation led Aereo to seek compulsory licences to become a local cable provider, and despite their subscriber base of less than 100,000, CBS's president Les Moonves publicly expressed his willingness to enter talks.
As talk of the next Windows begins to build and some details of what most are calling for now either Windows 9 or Threshold come into focus, it's worthwhile to take a moment to remember Windows 8.
Because Microsoft will want everyone to forget it. And we will.
Unless the Redmond, Wash. technology company radically changes its habits, it will throw Windows 8 down a memory hole even before the successor ships. Just like it made Vista persona non grata in its official messaging in 2009, it will shove Windows 8 so far into the background that we'll need the Hubble telescope to find it.
Not that that's unusual. All companies fake amnesia to a stunning degree, even when what they want to forget -- more importantly, what they want customers to forget -- was once trumpeted with Joshua's band. Ford tossed the Edsel into the don't-mention file, Coca-Cola did the same with New Coke, Apple erased the Performa and Ping from its corporate memory, and IBM would be hard pressed to admit it ever knew the PCjr or OS/2.
It's always about next year's shiny object, not last year's.
The space agency this week issued a Request For Information that looks to explore options where it would buy commercial communications services to support users at Mars, including landers and rovers and, potentially, aerobots and orbiters.
From NASA: “ In this model, the commercial provider would own and operate relay orbiter(s), and NASA would contract to purchase services over some period of time. In exploring this model, NASA encourages innovative ideas for cost-effective approaches that provide backward-compatible UHF relay services for existing landers, as well as significantly improved performance for future exploration activities. One example is deploying optical communications for Mars proximity operations and/or deep-space communications.”
NASA noted that it recently demonstrated optical communications from the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft at the Moon to Earth, with download rates of 622Mb/sec. It also demonstrated an error-free data upload rate of 20Mb/sec transmitted from the primary ground station in New Mexico to the spacecraft orbiting the Moon. NASA said it also “welcomes interactions with relay infrastructure that might be deployed in support of other Mars commercial objectives.”
NASA said its current Mars relay infrastructure is aging, and there is a potential communications gap in the 2020s. That’s why NASA is interested in exploring alternative models to sustain and evolve the Mars relay infrastructure. The current strategy has been cost effective to date, because NASA has launched science orbiters to Mars on a steady cadence; the cost of the relay infrastructure has effectively been limited to the incremental cost of adding a relay payload to them.
We've written a few times about the highly cynical astroturfing practice in Washington DC, in which certain lobbyist groups basically have "deals" with certain public interest groups. The basic deal is that the lobbyists guarantee big cash donations from their big company clients, and then the lobbyists get to write letters "on behalf of" those organizations for whatever policy they want enacted (or blocked). We quoted a story from Declan McCullagh in 2008 which includedthis classic line from a lobbyist who worked in one of these shops:
"You go down the Latino people, the deaf people, the farmers, and choose them.... You say, 'I can't use this one--I already used them last time...' We had their letterhead. We'd just write the letter. We'd fax it to them and tell them, 'You're in favor of this.'"
That first option, "the Latino people" turned out to be rather prescient. During the last net neutrality fight, in 2009, it was revealed that a bunch of Latino groups magically supported the telco position -- leaving out the bit about how they were funded by the telcos......
And now in 2014 the fight seems to be getting personal. Alex Nogales, the head of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, called out the Congressional Hispanic Leadership (which has come out in support of the broadband company's plan to kill net neutrality) by pointing out that they held a briefing that was sponsored by the telcos and totally one-sided. The event was so over-the-top biased that even some in the mainstream media highlighted how ridiculous it was.
Martin Chavez, from the telco-supported Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership, posted a blog post that purports to be a "can't we all just get along" type post, but which really personally slams Alex Nogales for what Chavez claims was an "angry outburst and lapse of judgment." Nogales isn't taking that sitting down and responded by pointing out that Chavez seems to conveniently leave out who pays his salary:
New York District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has found FilmOn in contempt for continuing to deliver network TV station signals over the Internet after the Supreme Court found similar service Aereo in violation of copyright.
Judge Buchwald said that based on the law of the Second Circuit, which has ruled that Internet streaming does not qualify for a compulsory license, "FilmOn is not entitled to a license under § 111, and its retransmissions clearly and unambiguously fall under the scope of conduct barred by the Injunction."
FilmOn says it will appeal the decision.
"We find FilmOn in civil contempt of court for its violation of the Injunction," she said in an opinion released Friday. "FilmOn must pay $10,000 for each of the nine days of its noncompliance. Therefore, we impose a sanction of $90,000. We also reiterate that while it appears that defendant has ceased streaming plaintiffs’ programming, such conduct is covered by the Injunction and future retransmission of plaintiffs’ copyrighted content without a license will subject defendant to significant penalties per day of noncompliance."
This afternoon, the US House of Representatives passed S. 517, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, under unanimous consent. The bill allows consumers to "unlock" their cell phones so they can take a phone with them from one service provider to another. The bill already passed in the Senate, and will now make its way to the President's desk for signing.
The following can be attributed to Laura Moy, Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
"This important legislation responds to hundreds of thousands of Americans who signed petitions, called, and wrote to government leaders asking for the right to unlock devices they legally own.
"We are particularly grateful to Mr. Goodlatte, Mr. Conyers, and Ms. Lofgren for their work on this important issue and their willingness to find a compromise that works for their constituencies, as well as for the wireless industry and public interest groups like ours."