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South Korea power households plug into smart grids--YouTube.com

2,000 homes are currently hooked up to a pilot project on the island of Jeju, South Korea, testing a new type of electricity supply system, called a smart grid.

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TiVo Buys Aereo Assets at Auction. Is a Legal Aereo Coming? | Bill Rosenblatt | Forbes.com

TiVo Buys Aereo Assets at Auction.  Is a Legal Aereo Coming? | Bill Rosenblatt | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Aereo officially died last week. Eight months after losing its legal battle with television networks, the failed watch-TV-on-the-Internet startup held an auction for its assets. One of the notable purchases was its trademarks, domain names, and customer list, which went to TiVo for $1 Million. What could TiVo do with these assets? Here’s an intriguing possibility: TiVo could be looking into offering an Aereo-like service but one that’s licensed by TV networks.

TiVo is at risk of missing out on the growth of Internet television through devices such as Smart TVs and set-top boxes like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. TiVo’s core product is a digital video recorder (DVR). That means that unlike Roku, Apple, and Amazon, TiVo is ultimately dependent on users recording content that they receive in other ways. An Internet retransmission deal with broadcast networks would be a neat way for TiVo to expand its offerings and compete more effectively in the Internet TV market.


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Comcast-Time Warner Deal Critics Ramp Up Opposition | Amy Schatz | Re/Code.net

Comcast-Time Warner Deal Critics Ramp Up Opposition | Amy Schatz | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Critics of Comcast’s move to acquire Time Warner Cable renewed calls Monday for federal regulators to kill the deal, saying new net neutrality rules adopted last week wouldn’t protect consumers from harm.


“Higher prices. Fewer choices. Worse customer service. That’s what we’ll end up with if Comcast is allowed to take over Time Warner Cable,” Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, said in full-page ads that began running in Washington, D.C., newspapers Monday. The consumer group also launched a radio ad campaign with a 60-second spot on a D.C. local news radio station.


The campaign marks the start of a more concentrated effort on both sides of the deal to influence regulators, who are expected to begin focusing more intensely on reviewing both Comcast’s Time Warner Cable deal and AT&T’s proposed acquisition of DirecTV. Justice Department lawyers have been busy reviewing both deals for months, but senior Federal Communications Commission officials have been spending much of their time recently on net neutrality.

This isn’t the first time Consumers Union has tried to kill a telecom industry merger. It launched similar campaigns against AT&T’s (failed) bid to acquire T-Mobile USA as well as Comcast’s (successful) effort to acquire NBCUniversal a few years ago.

Another group of anti-Comcast critics told reporters Monday that the FCC’s decision last week to enact strict new net neutrality rules doesn’t alleviate the dangers of the proposed merger.


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Analyst Downgrades TWC On Title II Fears | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com

Analyst Downgrades TWC On Title II Fears | Mike Farrell | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Needham & Co. media analyst Laura Martin lowered her rating on Time Warner Cable to “underperform” Monday, adding in a note to clients that pressures from Title II regulations could affect its broadband business.

Martin wrote that Title II brings valuation risks including increased legal costs (TWC is likely to sue along with other cable companies to block the regulation); a higher discount rate for the stock price given the uncertainty of free cash flow streams as a result of higher taxes, price regulation or universal service fees; a lower terminal multiple given Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has said over time either new competition has to enter the market to drive down prices or the agency will intervene to assure all consumers have access to broadband.

“By implication, risk is rising that ROICs on broadband will be less profitable over the next 10 years than the past 10 years when only economics determined investment levels,” Martin wrote. “We calculate that the value of TWC falls 10-20% assuming Title II is upheld by the courts.”

Martin also warned that if the Comcast merger is not completed, Charter Communications, which had pursued TWC before Comcast trumped its $132.50 per share bid in February, will probably make a lower offer in the next go round.


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IL: Department of Information Technology offers broadband development grants | NIU Today

IL: Department of Information Technology offers broadband development grants | NIU Today | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Calling all aspiring app developers: Northern Illinois University (NIU)’s Division of Information Technology is offering up to $30,000 per year for three years to students, faculty and staff who can develop applications that help society using broadband connectivity.

The Broadband Innovation Grant Opportunity competition builds upon more than a decade of NIU work with community partners to establish what is now a 2,200-mile fiber optic network across the region and state.

“We’re primarily looking for applications that address the needs of vulnerable populations, including low-income, the unemployed and the elderly,” explained project director Herb Kuryliw.

“We’ve developed this great network and have partnered with more than 500 community anchor institutions (schools, libraries, health care providers, public safety agencies, municipal governments and social service organizations), and now we want to encourage people to think of new ways to use it,” Kuryliw said.

The grants are intended to support innovative research and product development, and to accelerate the pace of innovation at NIU by placing technology into the hands of entrepreneurial individuals.

Two types of awards are eligible for funding: Planning/Early Stage awards and Implementation/Proof of Concept awards.


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Will Verizon Sue to Block FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules? Investors Hope Not | Open MIC

Investors in Verizon Communications Inc. today welcomed the Federal Communications Commission’s adoption of new network neutrality rules and urged Verizon to do the same by publicly committing not to initiate or support litigation that would undercut the rules.

A shareholder proposal asking Verizon’s board to report on the risks to the company posed by its continuing opposition to net neutrality is to be voted on at the company’s 2015 annual meeting in Minneapolis on Thursday, May 7. A similar proposal last year won 26.4% of the shareholder vote, representing $30.6 billion of Verizon shares.

Verizon executive vice president and chief financial officer Francis J. Shammo in December advised securities analysts that the company anticipated “a very litigious environment” if, as anticipated, the FCC were to reclassify broadband Internet under Title II of the Communications Act. Verizon previously sued to block a prior set of net neutrality rules.

Jonas Kron, Senior Vice President at Trillium Asset Management, LLC, a co-sponsor of this year’s shareholder proposal, said:


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Battle over mobile payments is raging | Matt Hamblen | ComputerWorld.com

Battle over mobile payments is raging | Matt Hamblen | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mobile in-store payments could grow dramatically in the U.S. as the result of a battle brewing among tech giants Google, Samsung and Apple.

In the latest development, Samsung today revealed Samsung Pay, a new mobile payment strategy that's tied to its new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones. Samsung Pay relies on two technologies: a new magnetic transmission capability from startup LoopPay embedded as a copper ring inside the Galaxy S6, and the older Near Field Communications technology used in earlier Galaxy S smartphones.

The two phones will ship April 10 in 20 countries, including the U.S., but Samsung Pay will not go live until this summer, first in the U.S. and South Korea.

Having both mobile payment technologies embedded inside the Galaxy S6 will allow users to make purchases at up to 90% of the estimated 12 million payment locations at U.S. stores. That's because the lion's share of the older point-of-sale terminals in use in the U.S. still have magnetic stripe card readers that support the new Galaxy S6 technology.

In comparison, Apple Pay and Google Wallet rely on newer NFC-ready terminals, which are gradually being rolled out in the U.S. and should reach about 50% of point-of-sale locations by year's end, according to estimates by credit and debit card companies. While NFC grows, magnetic technology could help fill the mobile payment gap.


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Zero-day in Seagate NAS allows attacker to remotely get unauthorized root access | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

Zero-day in Seagate NAS allows attacker to remotely get unauthorized root access | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Thousands of Seagate Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are defenseless against a zero-day remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability. Back in October, security researcher OJ Reeves attempted to responsibly disclose the hole in Seagate’s Business Storage 2-Bay NAS products, which ironically use a tagline of “deadlines happen. Be ready.” But Seagate still hasn’t issued a firmware fix, so Reeves has now publicly disclosed the bug.

“Products in this line that run firmware versions up to and including version 2014.00319 were found to be vulnerable to a number of issues that allow for remote code execution under the context of the root user,” Reeves wrote on Beyond Binary. “These vulnerabilities are exploitable without requiring any form of authorization on the device.” Reeves believes all previous firmware versions “are highly likely to contain the same vulnerabilities.”

“It’s basically a ‘push button, receive bacon’ situation,” Reeves told iDigitalTimes. By using Shodan, he found over 2,500 publicly exposed and vulnerable boxes on the web waiting to be popped.

Regarding responsible disclosure, Reeves said he tried starting on Oct. 7, but it was both time-consuming and unproductive; Seagate’s “front-line support team repeatedly failed to direct the query to the relevant point of contact.” He later bypassed the oxymoron "support" staff and dealt with a security contact who seemed concerned in the “early stages.” Yet Seagate still took no action and had no timeline for a fix. So today, March 1, Reeves went public with the zero-day.


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The White House’s draft of a consumer privacy bill is out — and even the FTC is worried | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

The White House’s draft of a consumer privacy bill is out — and even the FTC is worried | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The White House on Friday released what it called a discussion draft of a bill aimed at giving consumers more control over how data about them is collected. But privacy advocates, including Democratic members of Congress, raised concerns that the legislation might actually make things worse.

Even the Federal Trade Commission, the agency at the heart of the proposal, appears to have reservations.

“We are pleased that the Administration has made consumer privacy a priority, and this legislative proposal provides a good starting point for further discussion," an agency spokesperson said in a statement. "However, we have concerns that the draft bill does not provide consumers with the strong and enforceable protections needed to safeguard their privacy. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to strengthen the proposal.”

The White House declined to comment on the growing criticism. The president announced the legislation during a speech at the Federal Trade Commission in January, saying it would be released within 45 days, but the core of the legislation dates back to a set of principles outlined by the administration in 2012.

"In this digital age, particularly as big data innovations drive advances across our economy, more and more data about Americans is being collected and stored," a fact sheet announcing the draft legislation said. "And, even though responsible companies provide us with tools to control privacy settings and decide how our personal information is used, too many Americans still feel they have lost control over their data."

The draft bill would allow industries to develop their own codes of conduct or privacy policies that would then be enforced by the FTC. "Based on that model, all current practices related to data collection, use, and sharing – even flawed practices – would be allowed to continue," Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said in a joint statement, and the FTC's authority to prevent unfair acts or practices would be curtailed.

"Unfortunately, not only does this bill fail to move consumer protection forward, it may move it backward," their statement said.

Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, also criticized the draft bill. "It fails to give the FTC, the country’s key privacy regulator, 'rule-making' authority to craft reasonable safeguards, and actually empowers the companies that now harvest our mobile, social, location, financial, and health data, leaving them little to fear from regulators," he said in a statement.


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NSA authorization to collect bulk phone data extended to June 1| John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com

NSA authorization to collect bulk phone data extended to June 1| John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A U.S. secret court has extended until June 1 the controversial bulk collection of private phone records of Americans by the National Security Agency.

The government said it had asked for reauthorization of the program as reform legislation, called the USA Freedom Act, was stalled in Congress. The bill would require telecommunications companies rather than the NSA to hold the bulk data, besides placing restrictions on the search terms used to retrieve the records.

An added urgency for Congress to act comes from the upcoming expiry on June 1 of the relevant part of the Patriot Act that provides the legal framework for the bulk data collections. Under a so-called “sunset” clause, the provision will lapse unless it is reauthorized in some form or the other by legislation.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which relates to business records, was used by the government to vacuum telephone metadata from customers of Verizon, according to revelations in 2013 by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden. The section comes bundled with “gag orders” that prohibit service providers from making such information demands public.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had previously extended in December the authorization for the program by 90 days after the USA Freedom Act, backed by the administration of President Barack Obama, failed to pass in the Senate. A version of the bill had passed the House of Representatives.

The government has now sought renewal of the current program up to June 1 in order to align its expiry date with the sunset on the same day of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, according to a joint statement by the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Friday.


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For a speed boost, Alcatel-Lucent says use both cell and Wi-Fi | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

For a speed boost, Alcatel-Lucent says use both cell and Wi-Fi | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you have both cellular and Wi-Fi, why not use both? At Mobile World Congress, Alcatel-Lucent is demonstrating a way to do that as part of the same network.

Cellular and Wi-Fi are rubbing shoulders more than ever, even if that can cause friction in some cases. It’s all part of the quest for more mobile capacity for applications like video streaming. Several ways of using them together are on show at MWC.

Like other vendors, Alcatel is pursuing LTE-U, which lets an LTE network use the unlicensed spectrum that powers Wi-Fi. But the French-American company is also demonstrating a technique it calls Wi-Fi boost, where users can upload data to the Internet over cellular and download it using Wi-Fi. The company plans trials of Wi-Fi boost in the second quarter of this year and will start selling it in the second half.

The technology doesn’t make the networks swap spectrum and doesn’t require new cells, access points or mobile devices. It’s all done in software, both in devices and on the back end of the carrier’s network.

Wi-Fi boost is designed for locations where there’s both Wi-Fi and cellular service, such as in homes, enterprises and public hotspots. It can boost download speed by using Wi-Fi’s fatter spectrum band, and because Wi-Fi doesn’t have to handle both download and upload traffic on the same frequencies, it can actually improve performance in both directions, said Mike Schabel, general manager and vice president of small cells at Alcatel-Lucent.

Users could get up to a 70 percent boost on downloads and an order of magnitude increase in upload capacity, the company says. A later version would allow the two networks to combine their download signals, too, leading to an even bigger boost.

To make Wi-Fi boost happen, a mobile operator would update the software that controls its network with the new version that can split up traffic between Wi-Fi and cellular. The capability would also require an OS update for subscribers’ devices. Wi-Fi boost complies with current standards, Schabel said.


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Sohn To Speak At ACA Summit | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Sohn To Speak At ACA Summit | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gigi Sohn, the top aide to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, has been added to the agenda for next week;s American Cable Association Summit.

She is slated for a March 4 address at the gathering of small and medium-sized operators.

"ACA members greatly appreciate that Gigi Sohn, a recognized thought leader on Internet issues, will be on hand to express her ideas on the many key issues that ACA members care so deeply about," said ACA President Matt Polka. "We’re honored that Ms. Sohn will be joining us at a time when everyone is looking for the best approach to ensure America is seen as the broadband connectivity capital of the world."

Those operators have a bone to pick with the chairman over the fact that the just-voted open Internet order did not include waivers for the rules for smaller operators, which ACA has pushed for. It does include a temporary carveout for enhanced transparency, but ACA has indicated that is insufficient.

Look for Polka and ACA senior vice president Ross Lieberman to raise that and other issues in a Q&A with Sohn.


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OH: Cincinnati Bell's Torbeck sees growing potential in small cell backhaul | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

OH: Cincinnati Bell's Torbeck sees growing potential in small cell backhaul | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cincinnati Bell may have left the wireless services industry by selling its spectrum and related holdings to Verizon last April, but the service provider is aggressively pursuing new small cell wireless backhaul opportunities in its serving territory.

Ted Torbeck, CEO of Cincinnati Bell, told investors during the fourth-quarter earnings call that the company has already won a small cell backhaul contract with one of the largest wireless operators.

"In addition to our success with Fioptics, I am also pleased to announce, we recently secured a $30 million, multi-year small cell agreement with a national carrier," Torbeck said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "We believe this win is in the first step in a much broader opportunity for us, as we are uniquely positioned with both networking and wireless expertise."

Torbeck added that its small cell backhaul strategy is not a build-it-and-they-will-come strategy, but rather one where it is building out facilities for customers that can deliver a decent return on the network build investment.

"All of our investments remain success-based and we will continue to actively monitor all the key metrics that drive return," Torbeck said.

Cincinnati Bell has built out 26 small sites that are on-air today with plans to develop about 180 more in 2015.


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Fairlawn, OH, looking for gigabit broadband partners | Stephen Hardy | Lightwave Online

Fairlawn, OH, looking for gigabit broadband partners | Stephen Hardy | Lightwave Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The City of Fairlawn, OH, has launched a request for proposals (RFP) for assistance with its planned FairlawnGig broadband access network project. The goal of the project is to create and implement a new municipal broadband utility through which residents, businesses, and visitors within the City of Fairlawn and the Akron-Fairlawn-Bath Township Joint Economic Development District can receive wireless and fiber-optic broadband Internet services.

The city seeks partners to design, build, operate, manage, and maintain the city-owned FairlawnGig utility, which will deploy both a fiber to the premises (FTTP) network and a carrier-grade Wi-Fi network. The project will be funded via private financing and revenues from operations, which means no new taxes or other assessments for residents and businesses. The FTTP network will be open to multiple service providers.

The deadline for proposals is April 30, 2015.


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Verizon piles on Dish AWS-3 strategy, complains to FCC | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable

Verizon piles on Dish AWS-3 strategy, complains to FCC | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Communications late last week became the latest telecommunications company to publicly object to Dish Network's strategy for obtaining deep discounts on winning bids in the FCC's recently completed AWS-3 spectrum auction.

Verizon made a regulatory filing to the FCC on Feb. 27, accusing Dish of using several much smaller companies it invests in to trump up artificial demand and drive rival bidders away.

Dish's partners ended up winning $13.3 billion in bids, but ended up paying only 75 percent of that amount based on discounts aimed at small business. Dish's partners finished second only to AT&T in winning bids.

"The bidding data suggest that Dish and its [designated entities, or 'DEs'] engaged in concerted conduct that went beyond the activity that occurs during typical bidding agreements or bidding consortia, in which two or more small bidders pool their money and form a single entity to buy spectrum," wrote Tamara Preiss, VP of federal regulatory affairs for Verizon. "Instead, the auction data show that Dish and its DEs frequently submitted two or three bids for the same amount on the same licenses in the same round."

Preiss' letter follows a Feb. 20 blog post written by her peer at AT&T, VP of Federal Regulatory Joan Marsh, which accused Dish of the same misdeeds.


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Breaking: House Judiciary Committee Tells FCC It's Going To Block Net Neutrality Rules | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Breaking: House Judiciary Committee Tells FCC It's Going To Block Net Neutrality Rules | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While the FCC may have buckled to public demand and voted to finally approve tougher net neutrality rules last week, if you thought that meant an end to the hysterical over-reaction to what appear to be some fairly basic consumer protections, you're going to be gravely disappointed. From editorials lamenting the FCC's attempt to "strangle startups in their cribs", to claims the agency is murdering "innovation angels", we're clearly entering an entirely new, bloody chapter when it comes to divorcing net neutrality reality from rhetoric.

At the vanguard of this assault are ISP-loyal politicians, who intend to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the FCC over the next few months in the hopes of if not destroying the rules -- at least delaying them -- while publicly flogging the FCC for good measure. That apparently starts with FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly lagging on providing their dissenting edits so the rules can't be released, followed by a gauntlet of at least five potential hearings over the next month aimed at shaming the FCC for destroying the Internet.

A letter from the House Judiciary Committee Members (pdf) to FCC boss Tom Wheeler complains that the FCC is pursuing the "most oppressive and backward regulatory option possible," which is odd since a growing list of companies that actually sell broadband -- like Cablevision, Frontier, Sprint and Sonic -- all say the rules won't impact their businesses in the slightest, since most of the heavier utility-components of Title II won't be applied. So why is the House Judiciary Committee fighting the rules? Because they're just super worried about the health of the Internet:


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Court Doesn't Buy Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's Argument: Puts His Google Demands On Hold | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Court Doesn't Buy Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's Argument: Puts His Google Demands On Hold | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Back in December, we noted that Google had gone to court to try to stop a ridiculously broad subpoena issued by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. For quite some time now, Hood has been publicly attacking Google, based on what appears to be near total ignorance of both the law and technology. Oh, and maybe it also has something to do with the MPAA directly funding his investigation and authoring the letters that Hood sent.

Either way, Google pointed out that the broad subpoena that Hood issued to Google clearly violated Section 230 of the CDA in looking to hold Google accountable for other's actions and speech. It pointed out other problems with the order as well -- and while Hood insisted that his subpoena was perfectly reasonable, it appears that a federal court isn't so sure. Today the court told Hood that he's granting a temporary injunction on the subpoena, noting that Google's argument is "stronger."


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Google sees success with balloon, airplane Internet | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com

Google sees success with balloon, airplane Internet | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google’s ambitious efforts to bring balloon and aircraft-borne connectivity to underserved areas of the globe are pushing past some key milestones and the company expects a public launch in a few years.

Both projects have captured the imagination of many for their ability to beam Internet signals from platforms high up in the sky to areas without cellular networks, but represent significant engineering challenges for Google—just the kind of thing the company likes, said Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president at Google, speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The oldest and perhaps best known of the two projects, Project Loon, seeks to use balloons flying around 20 kilometers (65,000 feet) above the Earth to deliver Internet signals. The company’s first experiments used a proprietary WiFi signal but that’s since changed to LTE cellular signals.

When Google first began launching the balloons two years ago, it couldn’t manage to keep them up for more than about 5 days at a time, but now they are in the sky for as long as six months, delivering LTE signals directly to handsets on the ground. The range it can achieve with each balloon has quadrupled, he said.

“We think the model is really beginning to work,” he said.

Google is working on tests of the technology with Vodafone in New Zealand, Telstra in Australia and Telefonica in Latin America.

A newer project called Titan is at the stage Loon was a couple of years ago, said Pichai.


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Google will announce its MVNO in the “coming months”: Sundar Pichai | Kif Leswing | GigaOM Tech News

Google will announce its MVNO in the “coming months”: Sundar Pichai | Kif Leswing | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google’s long rumored move to becoming a wireless carrier took one step closer to reality on Monday. At Mobile World Congress, Google’s second-in-command executive Sundar Pichai confirmed that Google is working on a becoming a mobile virtual network operator, and revealed that the Google will announce its MVNO in the coming months.

Although Pichai’s remarks on the subject were brief, he laid out Google’s aims and set expectations for the service. It’s not going to be taking on AT&T or Verizon head-on. Instead, it’s a “small scale” experiment of sorts, meant to push carriers to implement new Android features that Google’s been working on. One example Pichai provided is that when a call drops on one end, the Google MVNO will be able to automatically bring the call back.

In that way, Google’s MVNO seems like a sibling to its line of Nexus phones: It’s not meant to be a commercial force revenue- and sales-wise, but it’s intended to show Google’s long roster of partners what’s possible when they trust Google’s technology and leadership.

“It’s a very small-scale compared to the rest of the OEM industry, but it pushes the needle. I think we’re at the state where we need to think of hardware, software, and connectivity together,” Pichar said, according to the Verge. “We don’t intend to be a carrier at scale, and we’re working with existing partners.”


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Threats to cloud computing require a solution from the 18th century | Drew Clark | Deseret News

Threats to cloud computing require a solution from the 18th century | Drew Clark | Deseret News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As a medium of expression that blossomed in popular consciousness in the late 1990s, the Internet is beginning to reach its adolescent years.

We've evolved from static Web pages to social networking to "cloud computing," which means that personal documents aren't stored on our computers and smartphones but on servers throughout the world.

And yet citizens' security in their digital possessions has never been more threatened. Fortunately, there are two bills — one co-sponsored by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the other co-sponsored by Utah Sen. Mike Lee — that go a long way to restoring constitutional protections for Internet information.

It's important at the outset to dispense the shibboleth that the Internet changes everything. What the Internet needs is a strong dose of 18th century legal wisdom, not words about "freedom of expression in the 21st century," to quote the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission during last Thursday's vote by the agency on network neutrality.

The Constitution says that we have the right to be secure in our "persons, houses, papers and effects." We have the right to speak free from regulation by the government. There are some who say that the Internet has rewritten the laws of supply and demand, or changed common decency and morality, or altered the possibility of being free from police surveillance. They are mistaken.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution articulates the right of Americans’ sources of private informational documents to be secure "against unreasonable searches and seizures." This doesn't prevent the government or the police from obtaining information upon probable cause or reasonable suspicion; it simply bars the issuance of general warrants.

On Feb. 4, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives introduced the Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2015. “The bill we are introducing today protects Americans’ digital privacy — in their emails, and all the other files and photographs they store in the cloud," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, who has long been seeking to update this law that first passed in 1986.

The language of that original ECPA law focused too specifically on technologies used in early electronic mail services. As a result, it didn’t protect the privacy of data when stored by another company in a cloud-based service.

Both this year and during last Congress, when he introduced a similar measure, the Democrat Leahy has been joined by the Republican Lee. When the bill was reintroduced last month, Lee said: "The prevalence of email and the low cost of electronic data storage have made what were once robust protections insufficient to ensure that citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights are adequately protected."


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The new GOP split on net neutrality | Kate Tummarello & Alex Byers | POLITICO.com

The new GOP split on net neutrality | Kate Tummarello & Alex Byers | POLITICO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Republicans have always insisted that the federal government keep its hands off the Internet.

But the FCC’s landmark vote Thursday to create net neutrality rules has left Republicans with a split over what to do next, with some conservatives wanting to use every tactic to fight the FCC, and more establishment GOP lawmakers trying to get Democrats to agree to an alternative, weaker set of rules.

Some House Republicans want to follow the same course they did back in 2011, after the FCC adopted its previous open Internet plan, and officially condemn the agency’s decision with a resolution of disapproval. Many conservatives oppose the very idea of net neutrality rules to ensure all Web traffic is treated equally, calling it government interference in the private sector.

But the party’s telecom leaders are trying to convince centrist Democrats to cooperate on net neutrality legislation they say represents a more acceptable and less heavy-handed approach than what the FCC has adopted. That’s made them hesitant to take part in a scorched-earth response to the agency’s rules — a move that would inflame partisan tensions.

“If we think that there’s any hope of trying to get a legislative solution that would present what we believe is a much better alternative to what the FCC is doing, we want to keep that door open,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said this week. “Right now, it’s just a function of playing this out and seeing if there are any Dems that are willing to play ball, and then we’ll go to plan B. But right now, plan A is still legislating on this.”


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Net neutrality could hamper new mobile services, Nokia CEO says | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

Net neutrality could hamper new mobile services, Nokia CEO says | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New net neutrality rules just established in the U.S. may face a cool reception here at Mobile World Congress, where carriers are prime customers. Nokia’s CEO took an early shot on Sunday night.

“There are some services that simply require a different level of connectivity and a different level of service,” Rajeev Suri said at a press conference on the eve of MWC. Those include self-driving cars and remote home health care, which are too important to rely on “best-effort” networks, Suri said.

He’s also worried about premium services to consumers: “You just need to be able to differentiate the quality of service for higher-paying consumers,” Suri said. Otherwise, those customers may feel discriminated against, he said.

The Federal Communications Commission has not disclosed the details of the new rules, adopted on Thursday, but they are intended to bar paid preferential treatment of certain traffic. New, specialized services, especially for the Internet of Things, are stars of the show at MWC. And vendors like Nokia want to sell carriers ways to fine-tune their networks for optimal performance.

Nokia launched one such capability on Sunday, called Nokia Predictive Care. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to identify and correct software issues in a Nokia network before they turn into problems. The system detects the anomalies by catching and analyzing streams of inconsistencies, tapping into collective intelligence from hundreds of Nokia networks.

The system can catch issues as early as two months before they cause problems, reducing the number of software-related site visits by more than 60 percent, the company said.

Predictive Care is the third piece of Nokia’s recently introduced Predictive Services family. Predictive Operations forecasts service degradations in multivendor networks. Preventive Complaint Analysis automatically identifies patterns in customer complaints to show where networks need to be optimized.


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AT&T's $30 'Don't Be Snooped On' Fee Is Even Worse Than Everybody Thought | Karl Bode | Techdirt

AT&T's $30 'Don't Be Snooped On' Fee Is Even Worse Than Everybody Thought | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week we noted that while AT&T has been trying to match Google Fiber pricing in small portions of several markets, it has been busily doing it in a very AT&T fashion. While the company is offering a $70, 1 Gbps service in some locations, the fine print indicates that users can only get that price point if they agree to AT&T's Internet Preferences snoopvertising program. That program uses deep packet inspection to track your online behavior down to the second -- and if you want to opt out, that $70 1 Gbps broadband connection quickly becomes significantly more expensive.

While most people thought this was rather dumb, AT&T actually received kudos on some fronts for trying something new. Apparently, the logic goes, AT&T charging you a major monthly fee to not be snooped on will result in some kind of privacy arms race resulting in better services and lower prices for all. While sometimes that sort of concept works (Google and Apple scurrying to profess who loves encryption more, for example), anybody who believes this is a good precedent doesn't know the U.S. telecom market or AT&T very well.

As Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM notes, it's not as simple as just paying AT&T a $30 to not be snooped on. AT&T actually makes it very difficult to even find the "please don't spy on me option," and saddles the process with a number of loopholes to prevent you from choosing it. In fact, you're not even able to compare prices unless you plug in an address that's in AT&T's footprint, but currently doesn't have AT&T service. Meanwhile, according to Higginbotham's math, even if you're successful in signing up, that $30 privacy fee is actually much more depending on your chosen options. If you just want broadband, opting out of AT&T snoopvertising will actually run you $44:


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The Fight Against Digital Dead Zones | John Hockenberry | The Takeway

The Fight Against Digital Dead Zones | John Hockenberry | The Takeway | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This week, we've heard from many people who are basking in to glow of their screens as they enjoy a sort of internet utopia. Some have access to state of the art internet services that makes everything from streaming "Orange is the New Black" to uploading massive digital packages happen faster than you can say "Google it."

But not everyone is so lucky. In fact, there are many people in the United States, especially in rural areas, who live in digital dead zones. Though you may think of Massachusetts as a leader in technology, residents in Western Massachusetts are living in the digital Dark Ages.

Monica Webb is the chairman and spokesperson for WiredWest, a coalition of communities who seek to form a regional municipally owned fiber optic network. She explains the private sector's lack of interest in the area, and why universal web access is an important goal to aim for beyond net neutrality.


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Verizon's Morse Code Press Release Telegraph's the Claims of Perjury | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Verizon's Morse Code Press Release Telegraph's the Claims of Perjury | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

First, compare these excerpts from Verizon's press release, dated February 26th, 2015, with Verizon's District of Columbia's FiOS cable franchise agreement from 2007. See anything strange?


On February 26th, 2015, Verizon put out a press release claiming that the FCC's Net Neutrality decision was a "throwback that imposes 1930's rules on the Internet". And they put out an additional release -- in the language of a telegraph, the old "Morse code" -- to reinforce this view point. Here's an excerpt.

2015-03-02-Verizonmorseshort.png

It goes to say that the FCC's decision is based on antiquated, utility-style regulations and rules written in the era of the steam locomotive and telegraph.

2015-03-02-Verizonsteamengine.png

But there's a serious problem. The previous mark up includes this excerpt from Verizon's FiOS cable franchise application for the District of Columbia in 2007. (Note: Verizon uses similar, if not identical language in every Verizon state and municipality FiOS TV franchise.)

2015-03-02-VerizonDC2007.png

Besides the fact that as of 2015 Verizon's District of Columbia deployment is far from done and was extended last year, we find this curious thing -- Verizon's Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks are Title II, common carriage, telecommunications networks that were built pursuant to that "old-time" utility regulatory classification, found in the Communications Act of 1934.

Which brings me to the case against Verizon.

On January 13th, 2015 New Networks Institute filed a Petition for the FCC to investigate whether Verizon has committed perjury as Verizon has failed to disclose to the FCC, courts or public that their current fiber optic deployments, including FiOS, and infrastructure investments in other services, such as wires to the cell tower facilities for Verizon Wireless, are based on Title II. Verizon responded with a letter denying our claims on January 20th, 2015. On February 24th, 2015, we responded to Verizon and submitted a supplemental report: "Show Us the Money PART I: Verizon's FiOS, Fiber Optic Investments, and Title II"

There are five basic reasons why all this matters.


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CA: Mariposa County Supervisors Support Countywide Broadband Expansion | Sierra Sun Times

CA: Mariposa County Supervisors Support Countywide Broadband Expansion | Sierra Sun Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At the Tuesday, February 17, 2015 Mariposa County Board of Supervisors Meeting Darrell Slocum from Central Sierra Connect asked the Board to sign a Resolution supporting broadband projects in Mariposa County by Cal.net. There is no County money involved with the Resolution for the projects.


The supervisors by signing the Resolution would be saying they support broadband (DSL, etc,) infrastructure, additional investment in the county and to provide more broadband capability to the county businesses and residents. Central Sierra Connect would also like supporting letters from the community.

Mr. Slocum said some areas of the county are served very well by Sierra Tel, buy they are a private company and in order for them to expand they have to use their own money which is difficult to do from a Return on Investment (ROI) viewpoint.

He also said Mariposa County ranks low in the state for broadband availability and Central Sierra Connect thinks it is beneficial to bring other Internet Service Providers (ISP) to the county.

Mr. Slocum said Central Sierra Connect is a grant funded program with money coming from the California Advanced Services Fund and their program is to bridge the digital divide by bringing technology to the residents.


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