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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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Why cloud security is something businesses must take into their own hands | Zulikar Elastica | GigaOm Tech News

Why cloud security is something businesses must take into their own hands | Zulikar Elastica | GigaOm Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Security in the cloud is on a lot of people’s minds following the hacking of celebrities’ iCloud accounts. When we hear about user accounts on cloud services and SaaS applications getting compromised, we start thinking more about he types of security capabilities that cloud providers offer versus what they leave unaddressed, and where responsibility should lie.


Although many people think that security is a monolith, in reality it’s much more of a mosaic — full of nuances and subtleties. There are undoubtedly various kinds of threats associated with cloud services. From the perspective of the cloud service provider, the most pressing security issue involves protecting its back-end infrastructure from outside attackers. An attacker who can break in through the back door can abscond with a wealth of data.


Businesses using SaaS services, or individual users of iCloud, have other concerns. Account compromise through the back door is worrying, but in particular, organizations must worry about attacks through the front door. User accounts may be compromised through phishing attacks (targeted or otherwise). There’s a risk of devices being lost or stolen. Or end-user systems may be infected with malware that results in session hijacking.


Let’s also remember that not all threats originate from the outside. What happens if malicious insiders decide to purloin sensitive data, like customer names and intellectual property, as they get ready to leave the company? And, along similar lines, how do you address inadvertent insiders — who may simply succumb to human error by mistyping an email address that causes data to be shared with someone who shouldn’t have access to it? The list goes on.


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Uber Caves To Striking Drivers' Demands | Johana Bhuiyan | BuzzFeed.com

Uber Caves To Striking Drivers' Demands | Johana Bhuiyan | BuzzFeed.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Early into the second day of a group of Uber drivers’ work “strike,” Uber sent out an email indicating that it was meeting one of the group’s demands: Drivers of premium cars — either black cars or SUVs — could now opt out of receiving less lucrative Uber X requests.


As BuzzFeed News reported yesterday, the Uber Drivers Network of NYC — a group made up primarily of SUV and black car drivers — were fed up with either being penalized with a temporary suspension for not accepting Uber X requests or attempting to appease the company and accepting so many Uber X requests (at least 90% of all requests) that they did not have time to pick up passengers requesting a black car or an SUV.


The company rolled out this program for premium drivers to opt into receive requests for Uber X rides earlier this summer but only made it mandatory for all drivers, whether or not they opted in, earlier this month. In the email drivers received today, Uber wrote that the company was returning to its “opt in” policy where drivers could choose to receive Uber X requests.


However, drivers still have unaddressed complaints, namely the summer discount that pegs Uber X rates below that of yellow cabs and other taxis. It’s an issue specific to New York City where the company has driven up demand for Uber X rides with its decrease in Uber X rates.


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MN: Strut Your Stuff Tour: Lake County uses technology to connect youth and seniors and prepare for FTTH | Blandin on Broadband

On Wednesday the Blandin Broadband Team visited Lake County and Lake Connections to hear about the Blandin Broadband Community projects. Lake County received money to build out Fiber to the Home (FTTH). Building that network was an arduous battle – but they are moving forward and they are starting to sign up customers. But the process has been slower and no one gets fiber as fast as they want. One attendee noted that this work was good but it would be even better if we could build the network with the snap of a finger. So the BBC community has been the balance that acts as cheerleader for the network and primes the pump to take advantage of opportunity as soon as it’s available.


We heard about the many successful projects they have been able to create – “ to take the network and find uses for the common good.” They found computers for low income families, they provided hours of training to a wide range of people, they have community iPads to get people started. A couple of things that struck me in their meeting – the technology has really been used as a tool to build bridges between young and old. Bridges have been built in the community through intergenerational training. Bridges have also been built between aging parents living in the area and kids who have moved away. One attendee spoke passionately about broadband being a tool to keep in touch but also to demonstrate to kids in other areas that mom and dad are doing OK in Two Harbors – no need to move in with anyone in the Cities!


Also the meeting included a number of people who had been through the Blandin Leadership training. I haven’t been through the training but have heard only good things. It was clear that the attendees yesterday had a deeper experience and appreciated the reach of the tool because the understood the potential of leadership.


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Why Google and the FCC are bringing wireless back into the net neutrality fight | Stacey Higginbotham | GigaOM Tech News

Why Google and the FCC are bringing wireless back into the net neutrality fight | Stacey Higginbotham | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This week the Chairman of the FCC and Google both seemed to come out in favor of holding wireless internet to the same network neutrality standards we hold the wired internet. This has long been the goal of net neutrality advocates since back in 2010 when the FCC was writing the rules that would prevent last-mile broadband access providers from discriminating against traffic on their networks.


After Google caved on the wireless issue, in what looked to be a realization that its business interests were tied to Verizon and others thanks to the nascent Android operating system, the FCC backed off the effort to make sure wireless networks were held to the same standards. But the FCC and Google are apparently changing their minds.


In a speech before the CTIA Tuesday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made a veiled threat to the wireless industry, saying:


"The Commission’s previous Open Internet rules distinguished between fixed and mobile, and our tentative conclusion in this new rulemaking suggested the Commission should maintain the same approach going forward. In this proceeding, however, we specifically recognized that there have been significant changes in the mobile marketplace since 2010. We sought comment about whether these changes should lead us to revise our treatment of mobile broadband services. The basic issue that is raised is whether the old assumptions upon which the 2010 rules were based match new realities."


He didn’t come out and say the FCC was going to rethink how it views wireless in the net neutrality debate, but he certainly hinted that it was an option. And many in DC are heartened by Wheeler’s comments.


“Wheeler is really from the Ben Bernanke school of signaling before you do something crazy,” said Harold Feld, a lawyer with consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge. “He is signaling that he is looking to up the rules on net neutrality on wireless.”


Google apparently is too. Jon Brodkin over at Ars Technica noticed earlier this week that Google is apparently back on the table as supporting network neutrality for both wireless and wireline access. That’s a significant shift from its 2010 position, although Google didn’t mention it in its most recent net neutrality filing from June 13. However, several internet lobbying groups such as the Internet Association and several tech firms (including Google) back in May have also made statements about bringing wireless back into the network neutrality discussion.

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Cybersecurity technologies being developed, implemented to advance smart grid, new report says | Stephanie Kanowitz | FierceGovernment.com

Technologies with built-in cybersecurity functions are in development and in some cases rolling out across the nation's electricity grid as it's being transformed into a smart grid, according to the Energy Department's new status report.


"Though cybersecurity remains a critical challenge, government and industry are actively developing the tools, guidance and resources necessary to develop robust cybersecurity practices within utilities," according to the "2014 Smart Grid System Report" (pdf) released last month.


Massive public and private sector investments are trying to modernize the century-old, stressed U.S. power grid by using advanced digital technologies to improve its reliability, efficiency and security. The new Energy Department report provides an update on various aspects of smart grid developments and deployments across the country, including cybersecurity.


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After a key Supreme Court decision this summer, courts are shredding software patents and trolls | Jeff John Roberts | GigaOM Tech News

After a key Supreme Court decision this summer, courts are shredding software patents and trolls | Jeff John Roberts | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Most people would find it absurd to grant 20-year patent monopolies on ideas like “up-selling” a customer or using a guarantor in a sales transaction. Now, the courts finally think so too.


In a fit of common sense, federal court are using a landmark Supreme Court decision from this summer to invalidate a host of silly patents that involve no more than old ideas performed on a computer.


In the the short term, the recent court decisions amount to victories for companies like Googleand Amazon that have been plagued by so-called patent trolls. In the long term, they may help restore some credibility to America’s troubled patent system.


In a major decision known as Alice, the Supreme Court finally offered some clarity in June about when software can be patented. The court did not, as many hoped, ban software patents altogether, but it did impose a strict test to limit them.


The Alice case itself involved a patent that described the ancient concept of escrow implemented on a computer. The Supreme Court affirmed a long-standing rule that abstract ideas can’t be patented and, importantly, added that simply using a computer processor to carry out the idea didn’t change that fact. The escrow patent was no more.


Now, other patents are meeting the same fate. Earlier this month, the country’s patent appeals court sided with Google in a dispute over whether the idea of using a computer to introduce a guarantor to a sales transaction should count as “patent eligible subject matter.”

The appeals court emphatically declared it should not, stating that the “claims in this case do not push or even test the boundaries” of an eligible patent, and added that the idea of a guarantor is “beyond question of ancient lineage.”


Amazon, meanwhile, enjoyed a similar victory this month in a dispute with a patent troll named Tuxus Technologies LLC that claimed to own the idea of using a computer to ask customers to make another purchase once they had chosen to make a first one.


A federal court in Delaware, pointing to the Alice decision, chose to shred the troll’s patent:

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Uber, allies kick off campaign to brand ‘Big Taxi’ | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com

The battle over the future of the taxi industry is in many ways an information war. And the latest salvo in it has launched: an online campaign called "Taxi Facts," backed by several groups including ride service Uber, the libertarian advocacy group TechFreedom and D.C. based trade group The Internet Association. The hashtag -- of course there's a hashtag -- is #hailfail, and whether or not it's the work of former Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe, it fulfills one of the central rules of politics: define your opponent before your opponent gets a chance to do it.


"In an era of scare tactics and corporate intimidation," reads the group's statement of purpose, "we believe the public deserves to know the truth about Big Taxi."


One of the reasons you might see this campaign now is that the mix of opinion swirling around over Uber indicates that it's operating on a still very unsettled playing field. The company, of course, wants the public behind it as it faces regulatory challenges across the country. There are score of people who love Uber. And there are scores of people unsettled by the aggressive tactics they seem to be using to recruit drivers. But the Venn diagram of those two constituencies seems to overlap considerably. And that presents for both sides what political organizers like to talk about as a crisitunity.


And so a big part of what we're seeing is a language war. The pro-Uber side is doing its darnedest to brand the existing taxi industry as a monolithic "Big Taxi," a la Big Oil or Big Tobacco, tapping into the idea that the powers-that-be in the industry aren't individual drivers but taxi fleet owners and operators.


Rhetoric is central focus on the other side, too. There exists a "Who's Driving You?" campaign, backed by the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association. One of that side's core tactics is to reject the idea that "ride-sharing" is what Uber, Lyft and others are up to. Instead, they are, to borrow their phrase, simply "unregulated taxi services."


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MN Company Digi makes strides in wearable for healthy living | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I’m a fan of wearbles. I hate to admit that I get a lot more use out of my $120 Fitbit than my $1500 Google Glass – but I think I’m the norm.


I think it does demonstrate that there’s real potential to promote healthy decisions (as well as monitor health) with wearables.


I was excited to see Digi, a Minnesota company, take the lead in making that happen.


Good for health, good for economic development…


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How Silicon Valley spends its money on Capitol Hill | Derrick Harris | GigaOM Tech News

How Silicon Valley spends its money on Capitol Hill | Derrick Harris | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet companies aren’t always so different from other large companies, especially when it comes to addressing the issues that affect their businesses. They open their considerable checkbooks, hire a lobbying firm or some in-house experts, and get to work trying to influence laws and regulations.


A nonprofit organization called MapLight recently released a tool for tracking the lobbying activity of any company since 2008, so I decided to see where some of the biggest internet companies and legally entangled startups are trying to garner influence.


MapLight’s web tool offers aggregate spending totals for the companies, but to dig a little deeper you need to download the full data for each company. I did, and here’s what I found. I’m not sure there are any “gotcha” data points in here if you follow this space or these companies and understand their businesses, but it’s still interesting to see where they really put their lobbying resources to work.


The charts are interactive, so scroll through them to see more and to get more information on any given data point. If you want to see the raw data, I compiled all of it into a single file, which you can download here. Because they’re made using Tableau, you can also download the relevant data for each chart, as well as image files, straight from the charts themselves.


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UT: UTOPIA woes causing divide among members | Antone Clark | Standard.net

UT: UTOPIA woes causing divide among members | Antone Clark | Standard.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

UTOPIA is creating a tale of two cities in Davis County.


Two of the county’s larger communities-- Layton and Centerville -- are among the 11 active partners in the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency of Utah. But the direction the Davis County cities are taking to the future of the network couldn’t be more opposite.


The divide is indicative of the problems the embattled network currently faces and could suggest a split future for participants in the system.


Layton, which has only a 12 percent buildout, is currently one of six cities pursing talks with Macquarie, an Australian investment company who has made an initial offer to take over management of the troubled network, complete the fiber build out to all of the communities and to potentially reduce the bond encumbrance on participating communities in a shorter fashion, than is currently outlined. The hitch is the deal includes a monthly utility fee to citizens in the participating communities, to finance the construction work. The fee is estimated in the $18-20 range.


Before pursuing further talks with Macquarie, officials in the six participating communities wanted to put the issue before residents for a vote. With legal concerns being raised about the possibility of putting the UTOPIA utility fee on the ballot by the Lt. Governor’s office, officials are finalizing the language of a formal survey they will distribute to residents in Layton, Brigham City, Perry, Tremonton, West Valley City and Midvale.


In Centerville, the direction is quite opposite from Layton. With the fiber buildout in the city almost complete, the city council opted not to pursue discussions with Macquarie earlier this year, a process several officials likened to opening a wound. City officials are courting the possibility of another option. The council held a work session Tuesday night with FirstDigital, a telecommunications company based in Salt Lake City.


FirstDigital proposed a buyout plan for UTOPIA in May that came with a price tag “north of $42 million”, according to Wesley McDougal, CEO of the company. The offer was called inferior to the proposal made by Macquarie, according to Layton City Manager Alex Jensen, a UTOPIA board member. The UTOPIA board formally voted not to pursue talks with FirstDigital, but did suggest individual cities can pursue discussions with the company, if they choose.


Detailed specifics of the FirstDigital plan have not been made public, but McDougal said his company would not require a utility fee to finish the build out of the fiber network. He said FirstDigital would also eliminate UTOPIA’s operating losses and help defray some of the long-term expenses communities have from existing bond commitments.


The FirstDigital proposal, however, is not ubiquitous and the build out would only be completed on a demand basis. McDougal said neighborhoods where that demand is present----something one critic said required a pre-subscription fee---is where the build out would be continued.


“Our goal is over time we’ll build out the network,” McDougal said. That solution would make the company a better dancing partner for cities like Centerville where the buildout is almost complete.


The offer has raised concerns, outside of the UTOPIA board.

Jesse Harris, who operates a blog called Free UTOPIA, said Macquarie has put all of their cards on the table, while FirstDigital is trying to bluff on a pair of 2s with their plan.


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Frontier, Dish Network hold $10M contest to revitalize rural communities | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com

Frontier Communications and Dish Network have developed a new $10 million partnership set on driving growth and revitalization in rural towns and cities within the telco's 27-state territory.


The two companies said the Americas Best Communities contest will help address the need for growth by identifying and investing in innovative ideas that small cities and towns can use to build and sustain their local economies.


All of the winning ideas will then become part of a roadmap for growth for all U.S. rural communities that have faced economic hardships in recent years.


"This contest is designed to challenge a community's brightest and most innovative thinkers to develop meaningful strategies and plans that will transform their town or city," said Maggie Wilderotter, chairwoman and CEO of Frontier Communications, in a release. "Whether ideas come from an individual or a group, visionaries in a community can effect powerful transformations."


As a multi-stage, three-year contest, America's Best Communities will provide $4 million in seed money and other related support to help communities in creating revitalization plans and growth strategies. The three top communities will get a total of $6 million.


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The Court's Own Words: Life Without Title II Has Online Discrimination, Paid Prioritization, Exclusive Deals, And Maybe Blocking | Marvin Ammori | Techdirt.com

The Court's Own Words: Life Without Title II Has Online Discrimination, Paid Prioritization, Exclusive Deals, And Maybe Blocking | Marvin Ammori | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

To hear Tom Wheeler and most of the big broadband players explain the net neutrality situation, the appeals court decision back in February laid out a "roadmap" for the FCC to continue to use Section 706 for its open internet rules. But that's not actually true. It's a clear misrepresentation of what the court actually said.

The language of the Verizon decision by the DC Circuit court is pretty clear: unless the FCC rests its rules in Title II of the Communications Act, the FCC must permit the carriers to engage in discrimination, charge access fees, cut exclusive deals, and perhaps block websites. Despite this, the FCC is proposing to use Section 706 (again), rather than Title II, and the court already ruled that Section 706 does not authorize network neutrality in January.

To begin, without Title II, the FCC cannot treat broadband providers as "common carriers."


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Wireless Providers Desperate Not To Be Subject To Net Neutrality Rules | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Wireless Providers Desperate Not To Be Subject To Net Neutrality Rules | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this week, we wrote about FCC boss Tom Wheeler giving a speech at CTIA (the lobbying organization for the wireless industry, which Wheeler used to run many years ago) in which he hinted at plans to crack down on anti-competitive behaviors by the industry. He even indicated that the FCC may finally be considering the idea that any net neutrality regulations should apply to wireless as well. As you may recall, the 2010 open internet rules (the ones mostly struck down by an appeals court back in February) never applied to wireless -- and the wireless providers would desperately like to keep it that way.

A little birdie attending the CTIA show sent over this flier, noting that it's being dumped everywhere around the conference, with a focus on places where tech company folks may be lingering.


If you can't see it, it's an awkwardly worded attempt to argue repeatedly that wireless should not be subject to any net neutrality rules because "wireless is different." Of course, most of the "differences" can be summed up as "we have much more limited capacity, and there's a lot more high-bandwidth traffic moving to wireless, so please, please, please let us block the kind of traffic we can't shakedown with a profitable tollbooth."


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Cheaper Internet Service Could Be On its Way: Should AT&T and Comcast Be Scared? | Michael Nielsen | Motley Fool

Cheaper Internet Service Could Be On its Way: Should AT&T and Comcast Be Scared? | Michael Nielsen | Motley Fool | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Are you fed up with overpriced, underperforming Internet service? So is the Federal Communications Commission.


Inspired by a request from the city of Wilson, N.C., and utility EPB of Chattanooga, Tenn., the FCC has pledged to make it easier for municipalities to offer their own broadband services.


The agency hopes municipal broadband will lower prices for consumers by increasing competition in the telecom industry.


This probably sounds great to the 87% of Americans who use the Internet, but what does increased competition mean for companies such as AT&T and Comcast?


According to the Net Index by Ookla, the United States ranks 25th among nations in Internet download speeds, with an average of 29.54 megabits per second, or Mbps. How could this be? 


Many believe America's lagging Internet is the result of limited competition between Internet service providers. 


Because of the relatively poor performance of American ISPs, it should't come as a surprise that many municipal governments want to offer their own broadband services. But telecom companies have fought hard to prevent this from happening.


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Uber Drivers "Strike" — And Switch To Lyft — Over Fares And Conditions | Johana Bhuiyan | BuzzFeed.com

Uber Drivers "Strike" — And Switch To Lyft — Over Fares And Conditions | Johana Bhuiyan | BuzzFeed.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Uber drivers gathered outside of Uber’s Long Island City offices on Monday to protest the low fares.


A group of Uber drivers, who say they number about a thousand, are attempting to organize a strike against the booming taxi company over complaints of falling fares and unfair working conditions.


The drivers, who are mostly comprised of SUV and black car drivers, have planned a protest outside of the Long Island City Uber Office on Monday morning after refusing to drive for the service — and in some cases, switching to rival Lyft — Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This is the second protest the group, called Uber Drivers Network NYC, will be staging in a week against the company.


One major grievance is that Uber has extended a summer discount into the fall, cutting deep into drivers wages and forcing them to work extra hours to compensate. Another complaint, according to an organizer and SUV driver who gave his name only as Belal, is that both SUV and black car drivers have been forced to accept requests for UberX — the non-luxury counterpart to Uber’s black car service that charges a lower rate — if they are within the area.


SUV and black car drivers never received UberX requests until earlier this summer when the company rolled out a program that allowed these premium car drivers to opt into being listed as both a black car and UberX service with the promise of a 35% to 50% increase in hourly income.


According to Belal, he and many other drivers tried this option once or twice and realized they could not make as much as they did in the time they normally would work just being a black car driver exclusively and tried to email and text the company to opt out. But he and other drivers continue to receive UberX requests despite his attempts to return to just being a premium driver.


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MN: State pulls the plug on fiber-optic line to governor's mansion | Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

MN: State pulls the plug on fiber-optic line to governor's mansion | Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A plan to create a high-speed Internet link to the Minnesota governor's mansion in St. Paul has been shelved amid questions about its purpose and $261,000 price tag.


Minnesota Public Radio reports on the project, which would have connected the mansion to the state's existing fiber network and which had been in the works since 2013. An official said the decision to put the network on hiatus was based on ""ensuring the most cost-effective solution to meet long-term needs."


The effort may have been seen as less necessary since CenturyLink announced it would introduce its own high-speed Internet service to the Twin Cities.

Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc's insight:

I guess these folks in MN don't realize that CenturyLink's so-called FTTP plans are just Fiber to the Press Release (FTTPR)!

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At Medicine X, four innovators talk teaching digital literacy and professionalism in medical school | Michelle Brandt | Stanford.edu

At Medicine X, four innovators talk teaching digital literacy and professionalism in medical school | Michelle Brandt | Stanford.edu | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of my favorite talks yesterday at Stanford’s Medicine X was “Fostering Digital Citizenship in Medical School,”where four esteemed panelists talked about the innovative programs they’ve put in place at their institutions.


The physicians joked several times that a good panel often involves controversy or conflict among speakers – but the four of them weren’t in disagreement about much. They all believe that things like understanding social media and knowing how to build one’s digital footprint are crucial skills for doctors-to-be, even if those aren’t an obvious focus for the students themselves.


“We can’t expect students to understand” this, said Warren Wiechmann, MD, an associate dean at UC Irvine School of Medicine. “They’re focused on learning core forms of medicine.” (Wiechmann started in 2010 a program to provide each incoming medical student with an iPad and has since added to the school’s curriculum courses on topics such as social media, wearables, and new digital trends in medicine.)


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Comcast Declares War on Tor? | Nathan Wold | Deep Dot Web

If you needed another reason to hate Comcast, the most hated company in America, they’ve just given it to you: they’ve declared war on Tor Browser.


Reports have surfaced (Via /r/darknetmarkets and another one submitted to us) that Comcast agents have contacted customers using Tor and instructed them to stop using the browser or risk termination of service. A Comcast agent named Jeremy allegedly called Tor an “illegal service.” The Comcast agent told its customer that such activity is against usage policies.


The Comcast agent then repeatedly asked the customer to tell him what sites he was accessing on the Tor browser. The customer refused to answer.


The next day the customer called Comcast and spoke to another agent named Kelly who reiterated that Comcast does not want its customers using Tor. The Comcast agent then allegedly told the customer:


"Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate,   fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules. Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast, have a great day."


How did Comcast know its customers were using Tor in the first place? Because Tor Browser provides online anonymity to its users,  This would mean that Comcast is monitoring the online activities of its users, to (among other things) check if they are following their Acceptable Use Policy.


Comcast has previously been listed by the Tor project as a Bad ISP. The users of the Tor project listed Comcast as a bad ISP that is not friendly to Tor. The Tor project cited Comcast’s Acceptable Use Policy for its residential customers which claims to not allow servers or proxies under “technical restrictions.”:


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Senate Judiciary Committee chairman urges PACER to restore access to removed case archives | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman urges PACER to restore access to removed case archives | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you want digital access to U.S. court documents, PACER will likely be your first stop. It's a sort of digital warehouse for public court records maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, or the AO.


The service charges 10 cents per page of search results within its databases and 10 cents per actual page of public court records. Public domain and freedom of information advocates have long criticized the charges, along with the system's difficult-to-navigate interface, and have tried to create free alternative archives.


But on Aug. 10, PACER unceremoniously announced that archives for five courts -- four of them federal courts of appeals -- would no longer be available through the system.


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The Guardian Visits Chattanooga, TN | community broadband networks

The Guardian Visits Chattanooga, TN | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Guardian recently ran an article covering Chattanooga EPB's fiber network. The article tells the story of the birth of the network, the challenges the community faced to get its gigabit service, and how the network has sculpted the community.


Reporter Dominic Rushe, mentioned how the city has faced legal opposition from incumbents that sued to stop the network. They continue to hound the EPB today, most recently by trying to stop the city's FCC petition to expand its services. But even in a fiercely competitive environment, EPB has succeeded. From the article:


"The competitive disadvantage they face is clear. EPB now has about 60,000 residential and 4,500 business customers out of a potential 160,000 homes and businesses. Comcast hasn’t upgraded its network but it has gone on the offensive, offering cutthroat introductory offers and gift cards for people who switch back. “They have been worthy competitors,” said [Danna] Bailey,[vice president of EPB]. “They’ve been very aggressive.”


Rushe spoke with Chris:


"In DC there is often an attitude that the only way to solve our problems is to hand them over to big business. Chattanooga is a reminder that the best solutions are often local and work out better than handing over control to Comcast or AT&T to do whatever they want with us,” said Chris Mitchell, director of community broadband networks at advocacy group the Institute for Local Self-Reliance."


A key difference between a Comcast or an AT&T and EPB goes beyond the numbers. Rushe described the artistic renaissance happening in Chattanooga with the help of top notch service from EPB:


"The city is making sure schools have access to devices for its children to get online. Fancy Rhino, a marketing and film production firm backed by Lamp Post, has been working with The Howard School, an inner-city school, to include them in the city’s renaissance.

...


Bailey said EPB could afford to be more community minded because of its structure. “We don’t have to worry about stockholders, our customers are our stockholders. We don’t have to worry about big salaries, about dividends. We get to wake up everyday and think about what, within business reason, is good for this community,” she said.


“The private sector doesn’t have that same motivation. It’s perfectly fair, they are motivated by profits and stockholders. they have a lot of capital already invested in existing infrastructure. It would be costly to overbuild themselves.”


The local business environment is, naturally, shifting toward a high tech center. Rushe checked in with one of the many incubators, Lamp Post, in the once abandoned downtown district:


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With VoLTE already rolling out, AT&T turns to Wi-Fi calling in 2015 | Kevin Tofel | GigaOM Tech News

With VoLTE already rolling out, AT&T turns to Wi-Fi calling in 2015 | Kevin Tofel | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T will follow T-Mobile by offering voice calls over Wi-Fi networks next year. AT&T CEO and President Ralph de la Vega announced the plans on Friday while speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference. Light Reading reported the news, noting that de la Vega made sure to temper expectations on when Wi-Fi calling would arrive for AT&T customers.


The carrier will surely test the service to provide a seamless handoff for calls between its cellular network and Wi-Fi. AT&T is also in the midst of expanding a similar effort by transmitting voice calls over LTE data lines: It started a rollout of VoLTE in May but only in a few markets and with a single supported handset.


Even though other smartphone platforms have long supported Wi-Fi calling, the timing of AT&T’s announcement likely coincides with the new iPhone 6 handset, which is now available for pre-orders.


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Google Spits In Verizon's Eye, Asserts Support For Wireless Net Neutrality | Lauren Orsini | ReadWrite.com

Four years ago, Google dismayed open-Internet supporters when it joined with Verizon to argue that net-neutrality rules—that is, regulations that keep cable and telecom companies from speeding or impeding Internet traffic based on who sends it—shouldn't apply to wireless networks.


The FCC later adopted that policy in its own net-neutrality regulations, which a federal court struck down earlier this year for unrelated legal reasons. Yet Google appears to have had second thoughts on the matter.


This week, Google emailed subscribers to its “Take Action” newsletter, encouraging them to “support a free and open Internet.” And that has a new and specific meaning, according to Google's latest post on its Take Action website (emphasis added):


That means no Internet access provider should block or degrade Internet traffic, nor should they sell ‘fast lanes’ that prioritize particular Internet services over others. These rules should apply regardless of whether you’re accessing the Internet using a cable connection, a wireless service, or any other technology.


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FL: Miami events connect hackers, makers, artists and entrepreneurs | Matt Haggman | Knight Foundation

FL: Miami events connect hackers, makers, artists and entrepreneurs | Matt Haggman | Knight Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Over the past two years, Knight Foundation has made more than 80 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.


These initiatives form one part of Knight’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and opportunity.


There are a variety of Knight-supported initiatives and events happening in our Miami community over the next month:


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VA: Roanoke County Supervisors try to understand broadband issue | Carmen Forman | Roanoke.com

Members of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors wore looks of confusion and concern as they listened to representatives of Internet service providers in the area talk about broadband Tuesday.


Board members questioned representatives from Comcast, Cox Communications and more for about an hour at a work session devoted to broadband after a regular supervisors meeting.


With Hollins District representative Al Bedrosian leading the charge, supervisors tried to get to the bottom of the question: Why would the government get involved in the broadband business?


More than a dozen representatives on the technical and marketing sides of Internet service were there to answer.


“We get so many things thrown at us, we need to pretend that we know it all, but we’re just drowning in it,” Bedrosian said. “It’s important that we understand this issue.”


Supervisors had previously tackled the issue at an August work session in which Kevin Boggess, chairman of the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority, talked about broadband expansion.


Tuesday’s work session, which Bedrosian said may be an ongoing conversation, was called to help supervisors better determine if Roanoke County should jump on board with other localities in building an open-access fiber-optic network.


Roanoke and Salem are on board to help pay for the $8.2 million 60-mile fiber-optic network proposed by the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority. Roanoke and Botetourt counties aren’t so sure.


Once taxpayers paid for the fiber, it would be open to Internet service providers to use to serve their customers. In theory, local businesses would have cheaper Internet prices because of increased competition among providers.


Three of the supervisors, with the exceptions of Charlotte Moore and Butch Church, were not on the board two years ago when Roanoke County agreed to work with the nearby localities to decide if the governments needed to get involved in expanding broadband capabilities to rural areas.


Now the supervisors are hearing different things in either ear. In one, some local businesses are telling them they aren’t getting service or it’s not fast or cheap enough. In the other ear, Internet service providers are saying the businesses are covered or are in the serviceable area.


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Bridging the Digital Divide in Rural America | RJ Karney | American Farm Bureau Federation

Current and future generations of rural Americans will be left behind in today’s global economy if they remain unable to access affordable broadband services.


Farmers and ranchers in rural America rely on broadband access to manage and operate successful businesses, the same way business owners do in urban America. With so many farmers and ranchers conducting their business operations from their homes, access to broadband service in rural America today is equivalent to electricity access in rural America in the 1930s. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, nine out of 10 rural homes were without electric service in the mid-1930s. Today, 33 percent of America’s farmers and ranchers remain without Internet access – a now crucial component to keeping their businesses competitive both here and abroad.


Broadband access enhances farming operations as farmers and ranchers are able to use precision agriculture equipment, follow commodity markets, communicate with their customers and gain access to new markets around the world. High-speed broadband access is not only key for production agriculture, it strengthens all rural Americans through new business opportunities, improved health care and educational services, enhanced public safety and increased participation in government.


To help get rural America connected, the Federal Communications Commission created the Connect America Fund under the first phase of Universal Service Fund reform to replace the current high-cost program that subsidizes telephone service. It is designed to preserve and advance voice and robust broadband services, both fixed and mobile, in high-cost areas of the country that would not otherwise be served.


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