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NZ: Vodafone asks rural communities to apply for better coverage - Voxy

NZ: Vodafone asks rural communities to apply for better coverage - Voxy | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Vodafone asks rural communities to apply for better coverage.  A new scheme is being funded by Vodafone specifically for those communities that would normally be too small to expect coverage and which fall outside the NZ government's Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

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Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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MN: $66M Lake County fiber project faces new challenges | Kevin Jacon | Northland's NewsCenter

MN: $66M Lake County fiber project faces new challenges | Kevin Jacon | Northland's NewsCenter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Construction challenges surrounding a high speed broadband project in Lake County is prompting big changes.

Leaders with Lake Connect are scrambling to come up with an alternate plan due to the lack of adequate funding to finish the $66 million network as planned.

Officials say it stems from unforeseeable issues, most notably utility pole attachments.

Lake County is expected to present a new plan to the Rural Utility Services in order to acquire funds, including contractor payments.

Just last year, the project was the target of a federal investigation looking at whether the RUS sidestepped government requirements in providing funding for the project.

Lake Connections was also at the center of a lawsuit over bonding money, however a judge ruled in favor of the county.

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Separating Fact from Fiction in the TPP | Robert D. Atkinson Blog | HuffPost.com

Separating Fact from Fiction in the TPP | Robert D. Atkinson Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This weekend, trade ministers from the 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will gather in Australia for yet another round of high-level talks. When finalized, the TPP could play an important role in further integrating the economies of the participating countries, which include the U.S. and 11 of its trading partners in the Pacific region, by increasing the flow of products and services among participating nations through reduced trade barriers, supporting increased economic innovation and economic growth throughout member countries. Because of its size and scope, the TPP will set a precedent for all future trade negotiations and the rules and systems it creates could form the foundation of an effective and efficient global trading system.

However, some important issues remain to be decided within the TPP that could substantially affect its ultimate positive impact. Chief among these is an ongoing debate surrounding intellectual property (IP) rights. IP plays a critical role in establishing ecosystems of innovation that propel economic growth and competitiveness in developed and developing economies. Laws that protect IP lead to not only increased foreign direct investment (especially critical for developing nations), but also to continued innovation. When equipped with proper protections, a country's innovators have incentives to continue pursuing new endeavors and discoveries, knowing that their hard work will not simply be taken by competitors. This in turn attracts investors, who can incur the significant risks of research and development (R&D) funding, secure in the knowledge that they are competing on a level playing field. When empowered by robust IP protections, innovation truly begets innovation.

As outlined in the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's report Ensuring the Trans-Pacific Partnership Becomes a Gold Standard Trade Agreement, the TPP will only be fully effective if negotiators successfully craft a solid IP framework within the agreement. And considering the benefits that strong IP laws have bestowed upon the U.S., including technological advances and groundbreaking cures for diseases, American IP standards, which are also followed by numerous other nations around the world, should serve as the basis for the TPP's IP standards.


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Julian Assange: Google’s Basic Business Model ‘Same as the NSA’s’ | Alex Kelly | Truthdig.com

Julian Assange: Google’s Basic Business Model ‘Same as the NSA’s’ | Alex Kelly | Truthdig.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a conversation with “Imaginary Lines” host Chris Spannos, WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange discussed his new book, “When Google Met WikiLeaks,” which is based on a conversation Assange had with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Assange’s book was published by OR Books on Sept. 18.

Spannos asked Assange why he described Google as an “empire.” Assange responded:


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Another excerpt on the Assange's new book

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R.I. needs to innovate within public education system to advance economy, says think tank chief | Kate Bramson | Providence Journal

R.I. needs to innovate within public education system to advance economy, says think tank chief | Kate Bramson | Providence Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Innovate public education to offer students whole new ways to learn.


Combine higher education and engineering to help students create companies. Offer financial help so small companies can access research expertise at hospitals and universities to develop commercial products.


And fix local pension systems to free up money for investments in such efforts.

That’s how Rhode Island can propel its economy forward, says Robert D. Atkinson, who once worked as an economic leader in the Ocean State and is now president of a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit think tank that promotes public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity.

Atkinson, now with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, visited Rhode Island Thursday to speak at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce’s second fall “Garage” event at Hasbro’s downtown Providence offices.

The Chamber’s revamped business exposition attracted 170 people who wanted to learn about innovation and how to spur the economy from leaders at high-growth companies.

“States that do well do two things — they have high levels of investment and low costs on businesses,” Atkinson said in an interview Thursday.


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Eds, Meds, and the Feds | Tracy Ross | Center for American Progress

Eds, Meds, and the Feds | Tracy Ross | Center for American Progress | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The growth of U.S. cities is largely rooted in the nation’s industrial past. As industry boomed, local governments constructed roads, sewers, and water systems, making it easier to live and work in densely populated areas. An increasing number of factories opened, public transportation expanded, and workers formed neighborhoods nearby. In short, cities grew alongside their businesses, and these firms employed workers, paid taxes, and purchased goods and services from other businesses. Not only did businesses make economic contributions to these cities, their owners and management teams provided civic leadership that, in some cases, served as a powerful enabler for taking on visionary projects.

The role of businesses in cities has become markedly different over the past few decades. Suburbanization, technological innovations, and globalization have each shifted the idea that businesses are rooted in communities. Communities across the country continue to experience the devastating effects of factory closings, and many of the jobs lost during the 2007 Great Recession will not return as businesses are forced to adapt to a new economic climate. Furthermore, only about one-quarter of low- and middle-skill jobs are accessible within a 90 minute-commute in metropolitan areas.

However, some institutions—including colleges, universities, and hospitals—maintain and foster strong connections to the places where they are located and serve many of the same functions as early industry leaders. They participate in local and national markets, employ hundreds—if not thousands—of workers, and purchase from other businesses. These institutions are often referred to collectively as “Eds and Meds,” or anchor institutions, as they are rooted in the communities where they are located.


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U.S. senator asks Internet providers to commit to no 'fast lanes' | Alina Selyukh | Reuters.com

U.S. senator asks Internet providers to commit to no 'fast lanes' | Alina Selyukh | Reuters.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy on Thursday pressed large Internet providers to pledge that they will not strike deals that may help some websites load faster than others or give similar "fast lanes" to affiliated services.

As regulators work on new so-called "net neutrality" rules, Leahy wrote to chiefs of AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, Time Warner Cable Inc and Charter Communications Inc.

In his letters, similar to one sent to Comcast Corp on Monday, Leahy asked the leading Internet service providers (ISPs) to formally commit to no so-called "paid prioritization" deals in which content companies could pay Internet providers to ensure smooth and fast delivery of their traffic.

The Federal Communications Commission has received 3.9 million comments after it proposed new web traffic rules that would prohibit ISPs from blocking content, but suggested allowing some "commercially reasonable" paid prioritization deals.

Large ISPs, including Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, have been asserting that they had no plans for such paid prioritization arrangements and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he would not tolerate anti-competitive or anti-consumer prioritization deals.

Nonetheless, consumer advocates and other critics are concerned that opening the door for paid prioritization, could create "fast lanes" for some content and so relegate other websites and applications to "slow lanes."

"These types of arrangements pose a significant threat of dividing the Internet into those who can afford to compete and those who cannot," Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, wrote in his letters.


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MS: Hiwassee fibrehood in Starkville qualifies for C Spire FTTH | TelecomPaper

MS: Hiwassee fibrehood in Starkville qualifies for C Spire FTTH | TelecomPaper | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

C Spire has announced that Starkvile's Hiwassee fibrehood, which extends from the city centre to the northern edge, reached its 45 percent pre-registration target on 23 October and now joins the South Montgomery, Timbercove and Cotton District fibrehoods, which qualified earlier this year for the new suite of services. The four areas in Starkville, MS, along with five areas in the cities of Horn Lake, Ridgeland and the entire town of Quitman, will be the first in Mississippi with internet access up to 100 times faster than the national average broadband speeds.

Construction started in June in the South Montgomery and Timbercove areas of Starkville and is scheduled to begin soon in the other two areas of the city that have qualified for the service. C Spire Fibre crews began laying fibre optic cable for last mile connections in three areas of Ridgeland in May and Quitman in June.

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Cities in Kentucky and Massachusetts Want a Say In Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger | community broadband networks

Cities in Kentucky and Massachusetts Want a Say In Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the feds continue to evaluate the wisdom of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, local communities in several states are attempting to throw a wrench in the federal approval machine.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, the City Council recently refused to approve the transfer of the city's cable television license to Comcast. In order to sweet-talk the federal agencies concerned the merger may create too much market concentration, Comcast has worked out a deal with Charter Communications to transfer customers in certain geographic areas. Charter is the current incumbent in Worcester.

According to a Telegam & Gazette article, the City Council does not need to approve the transfer for it to take affect. Nevertheless, the City Council voted 8-3 on October 14 to urge City Manager, Edward M. Augustus Jr., not to approve the transfer of the license. If Augustus makes no determination, the transfer will automatically be approved.

The city can only examine the transfer based on four criteria including company management, technical experience, legal experience, and financial capabilities. Management and poor customer service are the sticking points for Worcester:

District 5 Councilor Gary Rosen said the City Council should not welcome Comcast to Worcester because of its "deplorable and substandard" customer service across the country.

"It's a terrible company," he said. "In my opinion, they should not be welcome in this city. Comcast is a wolf in wolf's clothing; it's that bad. They are awful, no doubt about it. Maybe we can't stop it, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out."

A similar scenario is playing out in Lexington, Kentucky. The community is the second largest city served by Time Warner Cable in the state. They are concerned existing customer service problems will worsen if Comcast becomes their provider.


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In win for broadcasters, court shuts down Aereo’s live TV feature | Cyrus Farivar | Ars Technica

In win for broadcasters, court shuts down Aereo’s live TV feature | Cyrus Farivar | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A New York federal judge has sided with a group of major broadcasters—including Twentieth Century Fox and the Public Broadcasting System—and shut down TV-over-the-Internet startup Aereo’s "Watch Now" system.


"The Supreme Court has concluded that Aereo performs publicly when it retransmits Plaintiffs' content live over the Internet and thus infringes Plaintiffs' copyrighted works," Judge Alison Nathan wrote in her 17-page opinion and order on Thursday.


"In light of this conclusion, Aereo cannot claim harm from its inability to continue infringing Plaintiffs' copyrights. In addition, in light of the fact that Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits rather than just sufficiently serious questions going to the merits, they need no longer show that the balance of hardships tips decidedly in their favor."


As Ars reported in June 2014, the tenacious firm was badly damaged after it lost before the Supreme Court case on a 6-3 vote. The Supreme Court said Aereo's strategy of using tiny antennas to push over-the-air TV though the Internet looked too much like a cable company to avoid paying copyright royalties.


But Aereo didn't give up, and ran with that ruling, arguing it should be allowed to pay the same retransmission rate that cable companies pay by law, which is around one percent of revenue. That strategy has already failed once, when a company called Ivi tried it a few years back. The Copyright Office has refused to license Aereo as a cable company until a court rules otherwise.

"Doing its best to turn lemons into lemonade, Aereo now seeks to capitalize on the Supreme Court's comparison of it to a [cable] TV system to argue that it is in fact a cable system that should be entitled to a compulsory license under Section 111," Judge Nathan added. "This argument is unavailing for a number of reasons."


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Sprint Realizes Not Everyone Wants a $200 Cell Phone Bill: Announces $20, 1GB Family Data Plan | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Sprint Realizes Not Everyone Wants a $200 Cell Phone Bill: Announces $20, 1GB Family Data Plan | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If your family budget cannot handle a $200 monthly cell phone bill from AT&T or Verizon and you can keep your data usage to around 1GB, Sprint has a deal for you.

On Wednesday, Sprint unveiled a low-end family data plan offering 1GB of data for $20 a month, an improvement over the 600MB data option Sprint used to offer. It’s also a better deal than the 500MB $20 buys you on Verizon’s network or the piddling 300MB AT&T delivers on its budget plan.

“This entry-level sharable data allowance reinforces Sprint’s commitment to offering customers the best value in wireless,” said Marcelo Claure, Sprint CEO. “We’re offering customers a choice – whether they need a small amount of data or are a high-end data user.”

Customers can build their own plan in three steps.


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The internet of things is in a bubble phase, says IBM internet of things exec | John Jeff Roberts | GigaOM Tech News

The internet of things is in a bubble phase, says IBM internet of things exec | John Jeff Roberts | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The idea of an internet-connected toaster is, for now, a stupid idea: the average person doesn’t care how many Pop Tarts they consume, and no one wants to rewire their entire home to make all their devices talk to each other.


That’s the perspective of Paul Brody, VP of internet of things at IBM, who offered up some refreshing skepticism about the much-hyped IOT while speaking at Gigaom’s Structure Connect event in San Francisco on Wednesday.


“[It's] a classic bubble phase,” said Brody, referring to a glut of half-baked business plans that are based on connecting an everyday device to the internet, and then selling the harvested data.


He added that it’s a waste of time for companies to start storing every piece of data they can get their hands on, and that some firms say they want to do this just because they hear that’s what everyone else is doing.

“Most of what we’re storing is useless, and the amount of money people will spend on it is zero,” Brody told Gigaom Research director Caroline McCrory.

He also cast doubt on the value, for now, of the connected home and the utility of product darlings like Nest. Brody remarked that, while he was among the first to wire his locks and his lights to the internet, his family finds the experience a nuisance.


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The Inside Story: He Criticized Comcast and the Cable Company Complained; Result=Termination | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

The Inside Story: He Criticized Comcast and the Cable Company Complained; Result=Termination | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago, Stop the Cap! reported on the story of Conal O’Rourke, a Comcast customer billed for equipment he didn’t order, service he didn’t receive, and collection agents he didn’t deserve. When O’Rourke dared to complain to senior Comcast management in the company’s Controller’s Office, the controller himself called a senior partner at his employer and days later O’Rourke was fired.

Now O’Rourke is taking his case to court, claiming he lost his job because Comcast forced his employer – PricewaterhouseCoopers – to weigh his benefit against a $30 million consulting contract Comcast has with the major accounting firm.

The complaint names names and gives plenty of new details about how Comcast ruthlessly deals with customers who dare to bother its top executives with petty little service problems like $1,800 in unjustified billing, credit score-ruining collection activity, and the impossibility of canceling service.

The fateful call to Comcast’s Controller’s Office occurred back in February, and consisted mostly of his complaint that in the almost one year that he had been a Comcast customer, he had not received a single bill in which the charges were correct.

When he mentioned the constant billing errors might be of interest to the independent Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, it was the first time in more than a year Comcast efficiently targeted O’Rourke’s complaint for its brand of resolution: retaliation.


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Verizon Wireless injects identifiers that link its users to Web requests | Robert Lemos | Ars Technica

Verizon Wireless injects identifiers that link its users to Web requests | Robert Lemos | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cellular communications provider Verizon Wireless is adding cookie-like tokens to Web requests traveling over its network. These tokens are being used to build a detailed picture of users’ interests and to help clients tailor advertisements, according to researchers and Verizon’s own documentation.

The profiling, part of Verizon’s Precision Market Insights division, kicked off more than two years ago and expanded to cover all Verizon Wireless subscribers as part of the company’s Relevant Mobile Advertising service. It appends a per-device token known as the Unique Identifier Header (UIDH) to each Web request sent through its cellular network from a particular mobile device, allowing Verizon to link a website visitor to its own internal profiles. The service aims to allow client websites to target advertising at specific segments of the consumer market.

While the company started piloting the service two years ago, privacy experts only began warning of the issue this week, arguing that the service is essentially tracking users and that companies paid for a fundamental service that should not be using the data for secondary purposes.


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NIST puts a sharper point on cloud computing | Joe McKendrick | ZDNet.com

NIST puts a sharper point on cloud computing | Joe McKendrick | ZDNet.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) definition of cloud computing is considered by many to be the final word on cloud.

The definition embraced by so many reads as follows:

"Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

Now, the agency has published the final version of the US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, which describes the thinking that should go into designing and managing clouds within the US government and beyond. The guidelines may help guide commercial organzations' efforts as well.

Here are the requirements that need to be part of a cloud computing initiative, outlined by NIST:


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Open Access Isn't Just About Open Access | Adi Kamdar | EFF.org

Open Access Isn't Just About Open Access | Adi Kamdar | EFF.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This Open Access Week, we are celebrating and advocating for unfettered access to the results of research, a movement that has shown considerable progress over the last few decades.

Let's all take a step back, though. Much of the open access movement is forward thinking, offering solutions and policy changes that will help improve access to future scholarship and research. This is crucial, but if we want real and meaningful open access, we must look backward as well. Many of us need access to the trove of existing and still very relevant material that is already locked up behind paywalls. This need has driven individuals to try to make such knowledge openly available—whether by sharing research articles with peers, or by doing whatever it takes to access and analyze the corpus of our collective scholarship.

Too often, however, these efforts are stymied by broad, harsh laws that may seem ancillary to publishing politics and academic debates. That's why the fight for open access must include challenges to the web of laws in which such scholarly discourse exists, such as overbearing copyright laws and unjust computer crime laws. We must acknowledge and fix these legal barriers in addition to pursuing open access policies on an institutional, state, and federal level all around the world. While such proactive policy steps are crucial, they must go hand-in-hand with addressing the bad policies that are already in place.


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Startup uses database tech from the NSA and Facebook to detect fraudsters | Derrick Harris | GigaOM Tech News

Startup uses database tech from the NSA and Facebook to detect fraudsters | Derrick Harris | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A San Mateo, California, startup called Argyle Data released its flagship anti-fraud software on Thursday, claiming it’s built from the same technologies that let organizations such as Facebook and the National Security Agency analyze their many petabytes of data.

The product, called ArgyleDB, uses the open source Accumulo database technology developed by the NSA to perform deep-packet inspection and create massive databases from that data. Argyle uses Facebook’s open source Presto technology to let users analyze that data using SQL queries and automate future queries against live data. Both technologies are designed to store and analyze data that’s stored in Hadoop, the popular open-source big data platform.

Like nearly every security or fraud-detection company that has launched in recent history, Argyle also uses machine learning algorithms to detect fraud patterns across datasets much too large for humans to make sense of themselves.


But the use of Accumulo and Presto is the really interesting stuff here. Historically, we’ve seen big data technologies such as Hadoop and NoSQL databases emerge from large web companies, get adopted by many other web companies, and eventually then make their way into the mainstream. To see the higher-level technologies that emerged from those earlier projects already acting as the foundations of broadly applicable commercial products seems like an encouraging sign for what’s to come.


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WA: The Startup Hall Story---How it Could Transform Seattle's U District | Benjamin Romano | Xconomy.com

WA: The Startup Hall Story---How it Could Transform Seattle's U District | Benjamin Romano | Xconomy.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The second floor of what used to be known only as Condon Hall—and the University of Washington’s ugliest building—holds seeds of a re-invented neighborhood where students, researchers, and entrepreneurs learn, work, and live; where tech startups and established companies build businesses with the technology and talent flowing from the university; and where professionals zip to jobs downtown on light rail.

That neighborhood, still about a decade off if all goes as planned, is being shaped today. All around the newly renamed Startup Hall—now home of former South Lake Union denizens Techstars Seattle, UP Global, and Founders’ Co-op—cranes and construction workers are building new dorms and an expanded mass transit system worthy of a world-class city. City planners are working on recommendations for zoning changes that, if approved by the city council as soon as next spring, could encourage construction of not only much-needed new housing, but also retail and commercial spaces to accommodate companies that want to be within walking distance to the region’s foremost center of research and producer of talent.

This is Seattle’s newest innovation district, an example of the kind of neighborhoods that are being created or revitalized around the world through an intentional mix of physical, economic, and networking assets. The Brookings Institution, in a report earlier this year, defines them as “geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions [such as research universities and hospitals] and companies cluster and connect with startups, business incubators and accelerators. They are also physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired and offer mixed-use housing, office, and retail.” Prominent examples include Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA, and the Cortex district of St. Louis, MO.


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Power of Universities and Hospitals for Community Change | Ted Howard | TalkPoverty.org

Power of Universities and Hospitals for Community Change | Ted Howard | TalkPoverty.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Communities across the country are recognizing the tremendous resources nonprofit anchor institutions—such as hospitals and universities—can provide as engines of inclusive and equitable economic development. Increasingly, cities—often led by Mayors—are launching comprehensive strategies to leverage these institutions to address challenging problems of unemployment, poverty, and disinvestment. In 2014, several cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and New Orleans, have launched community building and job creation strategies that revolve around anchor institutions; and in Cleveland, a decade old collaboration of philanthropy, anchor institutions, and the municipal government continues to rebuild economies in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.

The ongoing fiscal crisis at all levels of government is putting tremendous stress on local economic development efforts designed to create family-supporting living wage jobs, revitalize local economies, and bring back wealth to our communities. Through their procurement and investment practices, anchor institutions represent a new source of economic development financing, but their enormous potential is so far largely unrealized. Unfortunately, the federal government has been largely missing in action in terms of creating the right policies to support cities in harnessing the full economic might of their anchor institutions.

Nearly 20 years ago, Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter noted that urban university expenditures were nine times greater than spending on all federal urban job and business development programs combined. That number is surely much greater now.

Today, universities, hospitals and other anchor institutions wield considerable economic power in a community. Hospitals and universities are responsible for more than $1 trillion of our nation’s $17 trillion economy (about 6% of GDP). In addition, these “eds and meds” control well over $500 billion of endowment investments and they employ roughly 8% of the national workforce.


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Research Shows Mass Surveillance Fails 'Drastically' In Striking Balance Between Costs And Benefits To Society | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com

Research Shows Mass Surveillance Fails 'Drastically' In Striking Balance Between Costs And Benefits To Society | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the many problems with the debate on mass surveillance is that it is largely driven by emotions, on both sides. Facts are few and far between -- much is secret, for obvious reasons -- which makes objective discussion hard. What is needed is some rigorous research into this area. Surprisingly, it turns out the European Union has been funding just such a project, called "Surveille," a name derived from "Surveillance: Ethical Issues, Legal Limitations, and Efficiency." Here are the project's aims:

1. To provide a comprehensive survey of the types of surveillance technology deployed in Europe.

2. To assess the benefits and costs of surveillance technology. 'Benefits' refers to the delivery of improved security; 'costs' to the economic costs, negative public perceptions, negative effects on behaviour and infringement of fundamental rights.

3. To identify, elaborate and assess the whole range of legal and ethical issues raised by the use of surveillance technology in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of terrorism and other crime -- including those related to fundamental rights.

4. To communicate continuously the results of the research to a representative sample of stakeholders: European decision-makers, law enforcement professionals, local authorities, and technology developers, and to receive feedback to inform continuing research.

A post on the Just Security site by Professor Martin Scheinin, the coordinator of the Surveille project, gives a good summary of the latest results of the research, which have been released as a 50-page paper entitled "Assessing Surveillance in the Context of Preventing a Terrorist Act". Here's what he writes:


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Latest In Cable Astroturfing: If You Squint, Twist, Spin And Mislead With Apples To Oranges Comparisons, US Broadband Is Great! | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Latest In Cable Astroturfing: If You Squint, Twist, Spin And Mislead With Apples To Oranges Comparisons, US Broadband Is Great! |  Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the past few months, I'd been pitched a few times from people (often somehow, if in murky ways, connected to the broadband industry) arguing that all those stories about how the US is far behind in broadband is untrue if you just looked at certain states.


The basic argument is that since the US is so large, it's not fair to compare it to, say, South Korea. Instead, they claim, if you just look at a few states in the US, those states compare quite well to this country or that country. Of course, to make a total fruit basket out of mixed metaphors, this is pretty blatant cherry picking apples to compare to oranges.


We haven't written any of those stories, but apparently someone went and created a misleading infographic to try to make the point on a site called "the Connectivist."


However, as Chris Morran brilliantly dissects over at Consumerist, the whole argument is bogus:


The only way to do a true apples to apples comparison would be to look at the data for areas with similar conditions, including population size and area, which the Connectivist doesn’t do.

The site simply glosses over the fact that while broadband in the U.S. is improving, it’s still not a world leader in deploying high-speed Internet access to its citizens.

Even though nearly three-quarters of the U.S. has access to what the FCC currently defines as “broadband,” meaning at least 4Mbps downstream, that’s still not a high enough percentage to get it into the top 10 globally. In fact, that percentage barely puts the U.S. in the 40 of all nations.

Likewise, only 39% of Americans have access to 10 Mbps service, which is what many people now consider the minimum acceptable standard for broadband. That ranks higher, putting the U.S. within the top 15 worldwide, but still pales in comparison to world leaders like Sweden (56%), the Netherlands (52%), and Romania (50%).


Morran notes, sarcastically, that the Connectivist seems to ignore all of this... and then suggests a reason why:


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CO: LPC Residential Gig Service in Longmont Has A New Name; Available November 3rd | community broadband networks

CO: LPC Residential Gig Service in Longmont Has A New Name; Available November 3rd | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Big changes are happening in Longmont as the LPC builds out its network expansion. In addition to new services and new pricing, LPC for residents has a new name - NextLight. At a recent city council meeting, LPC announced that a number of residents in south central Longmont will be able to enroll for NextLight services as soon as November 3rd.

Homeowners who sign up within the first three months that service is available in their area, will get 1 Gbps symmetrical service for about $50 per month or half the regular residential price. Those customers, considered Charter Members, will keep the introductory price as long as they keep their service and will take that rate to their new home while also reserving that rate for the home they leave. The Times Call reports:


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Secretive funding fuels ongoing net neutrality astroturfing controversy | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Secretive funding fuels ongoing net neutrality astroturfing controversy | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The contentious debate about net neutrality in the U.S. has sparked controversy over a lack of funding transparency for advocacy groups and think tanks, which critics say subverts the political process.

News stories from a handful of publications in recent months have accused some think tanks and advocacy groups of "astroturfing" -- quietly shilling for large broadband carriers. In a handful of cases, those criticisms appear to have some merit, although the term is so overused by people looking to discredit political opponents that it has nearly lost its original meaning.

Critics of astroturfing -- defined as hiding the sponsors of a message or group as a way to make it appear to have grassroots support -- say it twists political debate by making some positions appear to be more popular with the public than they really may be.

Groups that hide their funding open themselves up to accusations of astroturfing and questions about credibility. An IDG News Service investigation has found a mixed record of funding transparency at prominent think tanks and advocacy groups involved in the net neutrality debate.

Our investigation found that major groups opposing U.S. Federal Communications Commission reclassification and regulation of broadband as a public utility tend to be less transparent about their funding than the other side. Still, some big-name advocates of strong net neutrality rules also have limited transparency mechanisms in place.

Strong regulations are needed to prevent large players from harming competition by throttling bandwidth of smaller service providers and competitors, proponents of net neutrality rules say. Opponents of strong regulation say it would dampen investment and business' ability to compete as they see fit.

It's important for groups trying to influence U.S. policy to be up front about who they are speaking for, said Jennifer Lappin, U.S. outreach and advocacy director for Transparify, a transparency advocacy group funded by Open Society Foundations, a foundation started by liberal philanthropist George Soros.

Think tanks and advocacy groups "play a very prominent role in both policy formation and public policy debates," she said by email. "Think tanks need funding to operate and undertake research, and there is nothing wrong with accepting money from a variety of private and/or public sources to do so. However, hidden funding can create the appearance -- or the actuality of -- hidden agendas."

The top four funding transparency scores in IDG News Service's rating of 14 groups went to groups advocating for strong net neutrality rules, while a handful of pro-neutrality groups received mid-level grades or lower. Meanwhile, no major group opposing strong net neutrality regulations earned better than a mid-level grade.


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Expert View: If the Internet is Working Well, Don’t Add New Regulations | Gerald Faulhaber & Dave Faber | MIT Technology Review

Expert View: If the Internet is Working Well, Don’t Add New Regulations |  Gerald Faulhaber & Dave Faber | MIT Technology Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Demands for network neutrality have reached fever pitch in Washington, D.C., as many voices stress the need for the Federal Communications Commission to save our open Internet. They claim that broadband Internet service providers can block data flow from selected websites, charging content providers for delivering content to customers and establishing paid “fast lanes” for some and slow lanes for everyone else (see “The Right Way to Fix the Internet”). Is the Internet suddenly in great danger?

The term “network neutrality” was coined by a legal scholar in 2002, harking back to the seminal paper “End-to-End Arguments in System Design,” which called for network operators to be “dumb pipes” carrying the bits they are given with no changes whatsoever. After decades of pledging “hands off the Internet,” the FCC took up the network neutrality challenge and issued its first order in 2010. Although only two violations had been documented, the FCC went ahead with “prophylactic” regulations. This order was struck down by the D.C. Circuit Court on jurisdictional grounds, and the FCC is going back for a second round, leading to the current brouhaha.


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Beyond Neutrality - Enabling a World of Connected Things | Bob Frankston | Frankston.com

Beyond Neutrality - Enabling a World of Connected Things | Bob Frankston | Frankston.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This article is based on the talk I gave at a joint meeting of the IEEE CE, Communications and Computer Societies and the ACM. It is based on my Connectivity Policy essay as well as the column I wrote for the IEEE/CE Magazine.

The growing interest in the “Internet of Things” is forcing us to think beyond the web to a much larger world of connected devices. We can tolerate the many barriers to connectivity because we expect that someone can provide the necessary credentials to log in to the providers’ services and to adjust Wi-Fi access keys whenever the access point changes or simply to click “agree” at a hotspot.


This doesn’t work for “things” which can’t recognize a sign-on or “agree screen”. This may not be obvious at first because it’s easy to demonstrate an automated house if you set “things” up just right and don’t change anything but the illusion quickly disappears after the cameras are turned off and real people try to live in the home. Many of the wearables on the market stop working as soon as you walk away from your phone or change phones.


The Internet represents a fundamental shift from thinking about services inside a network to services created outside the network by users with their intelligent (AKA programmable) devices. By using the intelligence in our devices we are able to create solutions that do not depend on a provider.


VoIP works by taking advantage of opportunities and as the capacity of the Internet grows (thanks to applications like the web) high quality voice with video become more likely. In the talk I cite an IEEE article on VoLTE (Voice over LTE) which depends on every carrier in the path doing the right thing – very old paradigm.


This is why it is important to understand what I call the three stages of digital. With telegraphy we could carry messages over any distance but the introduction of analog telephony made distance difficult and required a different infrastructure for each kind of content.


In the second stage communication technology addressed this issue by encoding the analog signal digitally. As with any new technology it emulated the old technology and its business model. More subtly, it kept the assumption that speech was maintained within channels and could be measured in bits. We assumed that communications in the sense of “speech” and communications as a technology were the same.


Today we are in the third generation of digital in which we use intelligent devices to create our own solutions without depending on providers. We are no longer emulating the old phone networks.


Yet the assumptions of analog telephony are still implicit in today’s polices even as the intelligence is in our devices rather than in the network and speech is no longer confined to channels. Communications technology and communications as speech are no longer the same.


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Ello makes a bold promise for an ad-free social network, but omits key details | John Jeff Roberts | GigaOM Tech News

Ello makes a bold promise for an ad-free social network, but omits key details | John Jeff Roberts | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ello, a would-be Facebook rival, scored a big marketing coup on Thursday with its announcement that it is now a “public benefit corporation” whose charter forbids it from selling user data or paid advertising. For now, though, the pledge means little from a legal standpoint.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Ello and its promise of a non-intrusive social network became the flavor of the week in tech circles last month. On Thursday the company announced a $5.5 million funding round and, more significantly, a new corporate structure.

That structure means the duties of Ello’s directors will now extend beyond shareholders to also take account of a “public benefit” set out its in charter. While other feel-good companies like Etsy and Warby Parker have also embraced a public benefit mission, they did so through a certificate process — similar to the one used for “Fair Trade” — that is symbolically important but does not have legal implications.


Ello, though, went further and recast itself a bona-fide “Public Benefit Corporation,” a form of corporation that became available under Delaware state law in 2013, and one that few other companies have so far embraced. The halo effect for Ello was immediate, and produced headlines that it was under a “legally binding” duty to never sell ads.


For now, though, Ello’s leaders and lawyers are being cagey about just what its new charter says, and how its anti-ad pledges will get enforced.


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