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TVB | Broadcasters Lay Out Revenue-Raising Broadband Plan

TVB | Broadcasters Lay Out Revenue-Raising Broadband Plan | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
The NAB estimates there are 4095 full-power, low-power and translator TV operations on Chs. 31-51--the broadcast spectrum targeted by the FCC's National Broadband Plan. Aitken was joined at the event by Coalition chief, ...
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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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The Slow, Cold Death Of Cable Has Begun | HuffPost.com

The Slow, Cold Death Of Cable Has Begun | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable companies, you've been put on notice.


Cord cutting -- ditching your steep monthly cable or satellite bill and instead watching video online -- is on the rise, according to a new report from Experian Marketing Services.


In fact, some young adults may never even pay for cable TV in their lifetimes.


The number of cord-cutters, which Experian considers people with high-speed Internet who've either never subscribed to or stopped subscribing to cable or satellite, has risen from 5.1 million homes to 7.6 million homes, or 44 percent, in just three years.


In 2013, 6.5 percent of households in the U.S. had cut the cord, Experian found, up from 4.5 percent in 2010.


What's more interesting, though, is that number goes way up for households that use Netflix or Hulu, the subscription services that stream movies and TV shows online. Nearly a fifth of Americans who use Netflix or Hulu don't subscribe to cable TV.


And that number gets even higher if you look at a younger segment of the population. Almost a quarter of young adults between 18 and 34 who subscribe to Netflix or Hulu don't pay for TV, Experian found.


And who can blame them? TV is pricey. The average cable TV bill, not including fees, promotions or taxes, has increased by a whopping 97 percent over the past 14 years, according to the media research firm SNL Kagan. That bill could reach a whopping $200 per month by 2020, one study found.


That could spell trouble for cable companies like Comcast and Charter down the line.


"The young millennials who are just getting started on their own may never pay for television," said John Fetto, a senior analyst at Experian Marketing Services. "Pay TV is definitely declining."


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

Its really tiring to read this kind of article.  If this reporter, would bother to read Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of the Industrial Revolution" which came out in the early 70's, he would know that one technology does not "Kill" another, it just gives us more options.  Content is content and its just delivered by different infrastructure, platforms and devices.

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FCC’s rules for spectrum auction may level playing field for small carriers | Ars Technica

FCC’s rules for spectrum auction may level playing field for small carriers | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Monday evening, Re/code wrote about the complicated set of rules that the FCC's wireless bureau is hoping will be adopted for the TV spectrum auction that will take place in 2015. According to these restrictions, carriers with lots of spectrum like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, could be prohibited from bidding on up to one-third of the auctioned-off spectrum in a given area, at least when the bidding in that area reaches a particular price.


The auction rules would dictate how many licenses a wireless company could purchase by creating two classes of spectrum licenses: restricted and unrestricted. According to Re/code, all companies would be allowed to bid on the available spectrum at first, generally in blocks of 5 MHz. Then if the bidding reaches a “threshold price,” 30 MHz of the spectrum in that market would be reserved for smaller competitor companies.


Additionally, the FCC is looking to adopt new “spectrum screens” which would limit how much spectrum a wireless carrier could hold in a certain market. Under the rules, if a carrier tried to buy up more than a certain amount of spectrum in the market, that would trigger extra scrutiny at the FCC before the deal could go through. The upcoming availability of spectrum, combined with new rules for who can own it, has garnered a lot of attention.


The rules that Re/code's sources spoke about aren't set in stone yet and still need to be shown to other members of the FCC to get their approval. But the FCC's wireless bureau may be trying to strike compromises before the proposal has even drawn objections. Re/code explains the tension:


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Canada: If They Can Do It | POTs and PANs

Canada: If They Can Do It | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I think everybody agrees that we don’t have enough last mile fiber infrastructure in this country to bring high-speed internet to the homes and businesses that want it. For various reasons the large telecom companies have decided to not invest in rural America, or even in any town or neighborhood where it costs more than average to build fiber.


Meanwhile we have a lot of municipalities that are interested in getting fiber to their communities but don’t know how to get it financed. Lastly, from what I read, we have tens and maybe hundreds of billions of dollars of potential investment money on the sidelines looking for solid investment opportunities. It seems like there ought to be an easier way to pull these things together because all of the components are there to make this work – the customer demand, the community desire and the money needed to get it done.


One has to look north to Canada to see an economic model that offers an answer – public private partnerships (P3s). For an example of a working investment model, consider  Partnerships British Columbia. The venture was launched in 2002 and is wholly owned by the province. It’s operated by a Board comprised of both government and private sector members.


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TrueCrypt audit finds “no evidence of backdoors” or malicious code | Ars Technica

TrueCrypt audit finds “no evidence of backdoors” or malicious code | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Monday, after seven months of discussion and planning, the first phase of a two-part audit of TrueCrypt was released.


The results? iSEC, the company contracted to review the bootloader and Windows kernel driver for any backdoor or related security issue, concluded (PDF) that TrueCrypt has: “no evidence of backdoors or otherwise intentionally malicious code in the assessed areas.”


While the team did find some minor vulnerabilities in the code itself, iSEC labeled them as appearing to be “unintentional, introduced as the result of bugs rather than malice.”


Since September 2013, a handful of cryptographers have been discussing new problems and alternatives to the popular security application. By February 2014, the Open Crypto Audit Project—a new organization based in North Carolina that seeks formal 501(c)3 non-profit status—raised around $80,000 toward this goal on various online fundraising sites.


"[The results] don't panic me,” Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins cryptography professor who has been one of the people leading this effort, told Ars. “I think the code quality is not as high as it should be, but on the other hand, nothing terrible is in there, so that's reassuring.”


Green said that the second phase was now to perform a “detailed crypto review and make sure that there’s no bug in the encryption.”


Specifically, the report continued:


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Bitcoin 2.0: Unleash The Sidechains | TechCrunch.com

Bitcoin 2.0: Unleash The Sidechains | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

“Cryptocurrencies will create a fifth protocol layer powering the next generation of the Internet,” says Naval Ravikant. “Our 2014 fund will be built during the blockchain cycle,” concurs Fred Wilson. And Andreessen Horowitz have very visibly doubled down on Bitcoin.


Even if you don’t believe in Bitcoin as a currency, and I’ll grant there’s plenty to be skeptical about, you should be thinking: huh, a lot of extremely smart and successful people think that its underlying technology is a pretty big deal. But as I wrote myself just a few weeks ago, there’s a big difference between blockchain technology and Bitcoin itself, right?


…Maybe not.


A brief technical refresher: “blockchains” are the distributed-consensus technology introduced to the world by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, wherein a peer-to-peer network is used to codify and cryptographically verify transactions, without any central authority. What’s more, transactions can be orchestrated by programmable contracts.


Bitcoin is both the first and most successful blockchain application, but there are many, many other “cryptocurrencies,” known as “altcoins.” What’s more, there are numerous other, non-currency applications being built on new blockchains, notably Namecoin and Ethereum, and several proposals for expanding and evolving Bitcoin itself, eg ZeroCoin, MasterCoin, Colored Coins, etc.


I realize this all sounds like abstruse hair-splitting to those not yet mentally invested in cryptocurrencies; but as Ravikant put it at TC Disrupt seven months ago:


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Long List of Public Interest Groups Sign on to Free Press Letter Opposing Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger | community broadband networks

Long List of Public Interest Groups Sign on to Free Press Letter Opposing Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Free Press announced that more than 50 public interest groups, including the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, signed on to its letter in opposition to the Time Warner/Comcast merger.


The letter, addressed and delivered to Attorney General Eric Holder and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, begins:


The proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger would give one company enormous power over our nation’s media and communications infrastructure. This massive consolidation would position Comcast as our communications gatekeeper, giving it the power to dictate the future of numerous industries across the Internet, television and telecommunications landscape.


In the press release, Craig Aaron, President and CEO of the Free Press, stated:


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The White House finally has an online privacy policy you can probably understand | WashPost.com

The White House finally has an online privacy policy you can probably understand | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Friday the White House updated its online privacy policy. The major difference? Readers might be able to actually understand it now.


"Our old privacy policy was just that -- old," wrote  Nathaniel Lubin, the White House's acting director of digital strategy in a March blog post announcing that the privacy policy would be updated. "The last substantial update occurred in 2011, and its substance remains predominantly based on an even earlier version."


While there had been minor changes since the 2011 update that are preserved in an archive page, the policy that goes into effect on Friday looks much different, even if the substance is much the same. Most, but not all, of the legalese has been stripped out -- and it's housed on an interactive page with subheadings rather than appearing as a long text document.


"We wanted our new policy to be easier to read and understand, so we've built out a new interactive page that puts this into a simpler, shorter format with plain language (or as plain as we can)," explained Lubin.


There are few significant changes.


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Here’s how Washington is preparing for a future of wireless everything | WashPost.com

Here’s how Washington is preparing for a future of wireless everything | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ahead of a major government auction of radio spectrum, federal officials have revealed a little bit about their plans for the free and open airwaves that today support technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth, but that could someday serve as the platform for even newer wireless inventions.


Opening up more unlicensed spectrum will pave the way for faster wireless routers and more WiFi hotspots, connected home appliances, faster Internet in coffee shops and fewer dropped calls.


The Federal Communications Commission expects to set aside at least 18 megahertz of spectrum for unlicensed uses in its upcoming broadcast auction. That figure will likely grow depending on how many TV broadcasters participate in the auction by giving up their use of the airwaves, according to senior FCC officials.


The auction, which is slated for 2015, will be one of the FCC's biggest undertakings ever. It involves simultaneously encouraging TV stations to hand over their spectrum to the government, which will compensate the broadcasters before turning around and selling the spectrum to wireless carriers so they can upgrade their LTE service for phones and tablets.


In a proposal unveiled Friday, the FCC suggested taking portions of spectrum that sit unused between tranches of occupied spectrum and reserving it for the public. That spectrum, which is ordinarily used as a buffer to prevent interference between signals traveling over similar parts of the airwaves, could add up to between 12 MHz and 20 MHz.


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Satellite communication systems rife with security flaws, vulnerable to remote hacks | NetworkWorld.com

Satellite communication systems rife with security flaws, vulnerable to remote hacks | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Security researchers have found that many satellite communication systems have vulnerabilities and design flaws that can let remote attackers intercept, manipulate, block and in some cases take full control of critical communications.


Between October and December last year, researchers from IOActive analyzed the firmware of popular satellite communications (SATCOM) devices that are used in the military, aerospace, maritime, critical infrastructure and other sectors. The research covered products manufactured or marketed by Harris, Hughes Network Systems, Cobham, Thuraya Telecommunications, Japan Radio Company (JRC) and Iridium Communications. The analysis focused on SATCOM terminals that are used on ground, in the air and at sea, not satellite communications equipment in space.


"IOActive found that all devices within the scope of this research could be abused by a malicious actor," the IOActive researchers said in a report published Thursday. "We uncovered what would appear to be multiple backdoors, hardcoded credentials, undocumented and/or insecure protocols, and weak encryption algorithms."


"These vulnerabilities allow remote, unauthenticated attackers to compromise the affected products," the researchers said. "In certain cases no user interaction is required to exploit the vulnerability; just sending a simple SMS or specially crafted message from one ship to another ship would be successful for some of the SATCOM systems."


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CT: Office of Consumer Counsel 2014 Broadband Conference: Moving Towards a Gigabit State | Connecticut Network

CT: Office of Consumer Counsel 2014 Broadband Conference: Moving Towards a Gigabit State | Connecticut Network | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Check headline to watch the video of this discussion presented by the Office of Consumer Counsel which held is 2014 Broadband Conference on April 11th that features CT elected officials, state agency leadership and Blair Levin, of Gig-U and the Aspen Institute, who is the keynote speaker.

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Frontier says E-rate funding should not fund middle-mile overbuilds | FierceTelecom.com

Frontier says E-rate funding should not fund middle-mile overbuilds | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Frontier Communications is ready to serve rural school districts with its own last mile services but says the FCC should not extend funding to other competitors to overbuild where they already provide service.


Last July, the FCC voted in favor of modernizing the 18-year-old subsidy program that brings Internet services to schools and libraries.


In an FCC filing, Frontier said that the regulator should take advantage of the fact that Frontier and other ILECs serving "rural areas have already deployed fiber deep into rural America."


"The Commission should not waste scarce E-rate funding to overbuild existing middle-mile fiber when companies like Frontier have already invested the intensive capital necessary to provide it," wrote Frontier in an FCC filing. "Instead, the Commission should focus its efforts on determining how the existing fiber facilities that Frontier and other ILECs have in place today can bring the desired services to all schools and libraries, including those in rural areas."


Being a provider that's focused primarily on rural markets, the company has a mix of both fiber and copper-based facilities that can support high-speed Ethernet services for schools.


In its territory, Frontier currently has 17,260 schools and libraries that are located in 2,242 of its 2,662 total wire centers.


It added that 95 percent of these schools and libraries are located in wire centers that can provide a fiber-based Ethernet connection. As long as each school has a last mile fiber connection, they can get a 1 Gbps speed.


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The Gigabit Divide | POTs and PANs

The Gigabit Divide | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We all know what the digital divide is – it’s when one place or demographic has broadband when those nearby do not. The term was originally coined after DSL and cable modems came to urban areas while rural America was left with dial-up access.


Over the years the definition is still the same but the circumstances have changed. For example, there still are some millions of households in the country stuck with dial-up or satellite broadband. But most of the digital divide today is an urban / rural divide where the telecom companies have invested in much newer and faster technology in urban areas and have ignored rural areas. Metropolitan areas all over the country now have at least some 100 Mbps cable modems while surrounding smaller towns often still get maybe 3 Mbps. And there is an economic digital divide within cities where some neighborhoods, particularly richer ones, get better infrastructure than poor.


But we are about to embark on the most dramatic divide of all, the gigabit divide. I spent last week in Austin and they are a good example of what I fear will be happening all over the country. There are three companies building gigabit fiber in Austin – Google, AT&T and Grande. None of them are going to build everywhere. For instance, Google will only build to a ‘fiberhood’ where enough people in an area pre-sign with Google. And the other two carriers are going to do something similar and carve out their parts of the market.


This is great for those who get fiber. They will end up with the fastest fiber connections in the world, and hopefully over time that will make a big difference in their lives. But my concern is that not everybody in Austin is going to get fiber. To see how this works we only have to look at Verizon FiOS. For years Verizon built to the neighborhoods with the lowest construction costs. That meant, for example, that they would favor an older community with aerial cable that could be over-lashed over a newer community where everything was buried and construction costs were high.


You find a real hodge-podge when you look closely at FiOS – it will be on one street and not the next, in one neighborhood and not the adjoining one. And Austin is going to be the same way. These three carriers are not going to all overbuild the same neighborhoods because in a competitive 3-way overbuild none of them will make money. Instead it is likely that Austin will get balkanized and chopped up into little fiberhoods for each of the three carriers.


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The gigabit promise in North Carolina | Heather Gold Blog | TheHill.com

A consensus has emerged: America needs a critical mass of communities with world-leading bandwidth in order to secure the human capital and resources to innovate. It is nothing short of imperative for economic development, job creation and global competitiveness in the 21st Century.


The recent  announcement that AT&T is bringing its GigaPower product to communities in North Carolina is great news for those areas. But it also indicates that local leaders are beginning to understand the importance of network upgrades in their communities.


This is the promise that North Carolina holds for the rest of the country. A coordinated effort amongst six municipalities and four leading research universities, supported by local Chambers of Commerce and businesses in the Research Triangle and Piedmont regions, aimed to address the need for ultra-high speed broadband and these groups worked together to issue a Request for Proposals to get it. Strategies have differed, but communities are standing up and taking notice of the necessity of fiber networks--for the home, business and institutions.

And now, in 2014, we are at a remarkable tipping point, where access to power has been replaced by access to bandwidth, the infrastructure of the 21st Century knowledge economy.

In the United States, there are over 800 fiber to the home service providers—from incumbent service providers, to competitive over-builders and municipalities. But we need more. In too many places, people worry whether they have enough bandwidth to do what they need to do. The effects of this kind of self-rationing should not be underestimated, as it in turn rations the imagination and experimentation that fuels innovation.

But there are reasons to be positive about the possibility for communities to take charge of their bandwidth destinies. Last summer, the FTTH Council proposed the Gigabit Race to the Top plan for the FCC to fund some experiments in how to cost effectively bring next generation fiber to unserved and underserved rural areas.


And the FCC agreed: In January, the Commission announced a program that will offer grants to communities or providers who develop the best ways of delivering connectivity in unserved or underserved areas, providing world-leading bandwidth at affordable rates, increasing adoption and connecting public facilities. This demand demonstrates a new model for driving investment into communications infrastructure. To date, they’ve received over 1,000 expressions of interest.

Approximately 20 states have laws prohibiting or limiting municipalities from creating their own broadband infrastructure to compete against private companies.  At the FTTH Council, we’ve long counseled and fought against such restrictions—just as bandwidth should not be a barrier to innovation, neither should outdated rules be barriers to community choice. We want all entities to be able to participate in bringing leading edge networks throughout the country.

While we’re on the subject of FCC actions, just a few weeks ago, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said: “Removing legal restrictions on municipal broadband could enhance Internet access competition.” He has committed to look for ways to use the Commission’s authority to do away with those rules. While the private sector has undertaken the vast majority of all-fiber deployments, the communities themselves need to be able to get this essential infrastructure where the private sector is unable to deploy.


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The Internet of the future will look a lot like TV | USA Today

The Internet of the future will look a lot like TV | USA Today | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One day during that elective course, as I was waiting for one of my programming projects to print out from a machine that was about the size and shape of a small kitchen stove, my instructor said something interesting.


"The universities have the Internet now, but eventually it will be controlled by AT&T," the late Paul Hewitt said then, as we sat near a corner of a sealed room on the top floor of the St. Mary's University academic library.


That conversation took place four years after the U.S. Supreme Court had broken up AT&T's monopoly on American data communication services, creating seven regional U.S. rivals, dubbed the Baby Bells.


And it was a few years before Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen and others developed key software breakthroughs that gave birth to a commercial, consumer World Wide Web running over the Internet.


Now, after a wave of telecom consolidation at the turn of the 20th century, only two of those original seven Baby Bells remain, in the form of Verizon and the reconstituted AT&T.


Along with a handful of giant cable providers and satellite giants, less than a dozen companies control the overwhelming majority of U.S. Web traffic.


In the fourth quarter of last year, the number of TV-style commercials on digital entertainment delivered to U.S. high-speed Internet subscribers of those companies roughly equaled the number of pieces of content they appeared next to.


Moreover, Web-based video ads, and the TV shows, live events and movies that they are paired with, are growing in lock step at roughly 30% a year.


In other words, a network that began as a way for computer scientists to communicate is already half-commercialized, as Hewitt predicted to me 28 years ago.


With both business and consumers willing to pay for a broad array of products and services, the Internet has become the world's first global medium for delivering news and entertainment.


Not surprising, then, that it's started to look a lot like television — a medium that in the U.S. is overwhelmingly commercial (save for PBS and local public access channels, home of the original video bloggers).


Soon, it will likely be far more so.


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State senators want to mothball Vermont Telecommunications Authority | Bennington Banner

State senators want to mothball Vermont Telecommunications Authority | Bennington Banner | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Key members of the state Senate want to raise the bar for broadband Internet speeds in Vermont, and they're looking to change the administration's lineup to make it happen.


A proposal in the Senate Finance Committee would fold the quasi-public Vermont Telecommunications Authority into the Agency of Administration.


The committee is also pushing for minimum Internet access speeds of 100 Mbps to every address by 2024. The current minimum standard is 0.768 Mbps for downloads and 0.2 Mbps for upload speed.


The buildout would be funded in part by increasing Universal Service Fund charges for all phone service and applying a new charge to prepaid cell phones.


The Senate Finance Committee is reassessing the state's entire telecommunications system, including legislative mandates for the VTA, the Department of Public Service, the Public Service Board, the Department of Public Safety and E-911.


Though most of Vermont now has broadband, speeds in many place are slow.


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New antennas let you tune in TV for free | Detroit Free Press

New antennas let you tune in TV for free | Detroit Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The oft-forgotten TV antenna could help lessen your dependence on pay TV.


In addition to making their programming available on cable, fiber and satellite TV systems, more than 1,780 stations are transmitting digital TV channels that can be picked up in many cases by small indoor TV antennas.


Antennas are catching on as many consumers wean themselves off of pay-TV services use them to get local channels. Homes with an antenna rose from 20 million in 2012 to 21.5 million in 2013, an increase of 7%, according to tech research firm Strategy Analytics.


Use of antennas is expected to continue “to rise at a decent pace,” says Eric Smith, an analyst with the firm. That’s because Net TV services such as Netflix and Hulu, delivered via smart TV and devices and set-top boxes such as Apple TV and Roku — and now Amazon Fire TV — are not “the type of things you can rely on exclusively,” Smith says. “I think it’s more of a supplement to over-the-air broadcasts,” he says.


Reader Clark Davis reminded me of the importance of antennas in an e-mail after reading my previous Cutting the Cord column titled Few part with pay TV but some spurn it. He noted that most residents, particularly those in major markets, can get free channels with an antenna — sometimes channels not available on pay-TV systems.


And, of course, you would get all the major network programs, such as “Scandal” on ABC, “The Good Wife” (CBS), “New Girl” (Fox), “The Blacklist” (NBC) and “Downton Abbey” (PBS), not to mention local news and national sports broadcasts, including “NBC Sunday Night Football.”


“Couple this with all the free content on Apple TV and its access to Netflix, and you have quite a bit of incentive,” said Davis, who splits his time between Pontiac and Deerfield Beach, Fla.


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Why Amazon Should Acquire Sears | Robin Lewis Blog | Forbes.com

Why Amazon Should Acquire Sears | Robin Lewis Blog | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you have any doubts, just wake up and think about it.  It’s a win-win for both Jeff “Get Big Fast” Bezos and Eddie “Take the Money and Run” Lampert.  Amazon gets roughly 2,400 U.S. stores (or “buildings”), overnight (1,300 Sears, 1,100 Kmart).  The acquisition becomes Bezos’ answer to omnichannel and the proven revenue synergy of consumers’ ability to shop online and off; the convenience of proximity for pick up and returns; and facilitation of even greater delivery speed. So just as Walmart’s 4,500 stores double as distribution centers, so would Amazon’s acquired Sears/Kmart stores.


The real estate assets would be the primary reason for Amazon’s interest in acquiring Sears Holdings .  However, there are several other valuable assets and operations, which Amazon could enhance and grow.


What Eddie gets in such a sale is a potentially profitable exit strategy that many analysts, myself included, believe he is pursuing.  In fact, in several of my past articles I have opined that Lampert was, indeed, managing the business into liquidation.  And regarding the real estate assets, Lampert has been methodically selling, leasing (partial or in total), and/or closing Sears and Kmart locations.  Indeed, he indicated not too long ago that Sears Holdings was considering shuttering its entire fleet of Kmart stores. So if he is seeking an exit, a far less painful and certainly more profitable option would be a sale to Amazon.


This could fall nicely into Bezos’ hungry little hands.  Amazon might be able to cut an incredible deal, at least far less costly in time and capital, than building or leasing its own nationwide distribution centers/stores.


The financial complexities involved in such a deal are beyond my pay grade, particularly since Eddie engineered a total reorganization of the business: morphing its structure into some 30 business units; establishing the securitization of brands — “unlocking value” as Eddie called it — and other aspects that might give the dealmakers a royal headache.


However, “by the numbers” alone, it might be timely for both Bezos and Lampert to want to make the deal. When Lampert formed Sears Holdings in 2005, revenues of the combined businesses were around $50 billion with about 3500 stores. Revenues and profits have dropped steadily, to $36 billion in 2013, with a loss of about $1.4 billion last year. The stock price hit a high in 2007 at $192 per share; today, a share of Sears Holdings is hovering around $30. One analyst said if the stock drops to  around $20 per share, Sears would be “one stop on the way to liquidation.”


So as Sears’ declining financial condition continues, its valuation as a potential acquisition target falls as well, making it very attractive to Amazon.  Sitting in Amazon’s lengthening shadow, Eddie might assess that the “whole” is now more valuable than the sum of each of the last few remaining assets.  Therefore, in my opinion, Eddie might be bailing into his lifeboat sooner rather than later, and a deal with Amazon wouldno doubt fill it with enough cash for him to add substantially to the pile he’s already extracted through his brilliant financial engineering.


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Canada: Rogers Communications Inc racks up near $40-million tab paying CEOs in 2013 | Financial Post

Canada: Rogers Communications Inc racks up near $40-million tab paying CEOs in 2013 | Financial Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rogers Communications Inc. paid its incoming and outgoing chief executives a total of almost $40-million in 2013, including a retirement package worth $17-million and signing incentives for its new CEO of almost $10-million.


It was a year of transition for the telecommunications and media company as Nadir Mohamed announced his plans to leave the top job in February and, after a months-long search for a replacement, former Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence stepped in.


Mr. Laurence, who started on Dec. 2, took home total compensation for 2013 of $12.7-million, which includes pro-rated amounts for salary, share- and option-based awards, pension, and other benefits for the year.


It also includes a $750,000 cash signing bonus and “sign-on grants” of stock-based compensation worth $9-million, which Rogers said it paid “in consideration of the total value Mr. Laurence forfeited with his previous employer.”


The company disclosed the numbers in its information circular filed ahead of its annual general meeting.


Rogers also paid Mr. Mohamed total compensation of $26.8-million last year, $17.1-million of which was related to a retirement package he negotiated with the company.


Stephen Griggs, CEO of Smoothwater Capital Corp. and previous executive director of Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, said the amounts seem extreme for corporate Canada.


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New York Times Covers Fiber and Economic Development | community broadband networks

New York Times Covers Fiber and Economic Development | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a recent New York Times article, reporter Kate Murphy shined a light on fiber's increasing role in economic development. Murphy discussed several of the same networks we have followed: Wilson, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Lafayette, LA; and Mount Vernon, WA.


Murphy acknowledged that successful companies are moving from major metropolitan areas to less populated communities out of necessity:


These digital carpetbaggers aren’t just leaving behind jittery Netflix streams and aggravating waits for Twitter feeds to refresh. They are positioning themselves to be more globally competitive and connected.


Murphy notes that countries where governments have invested in critical infrastructure offer more choice, better services, and lower rates. She also points to successful local initiatives, often in less populated communities where large private interests have not invested:


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FirstNet Testbeds & Interactive Map | GovTech.com

FirstNet Testbeds & Interactive Map | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Simply stated, the mission of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is to create a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications. The network is expected to cost upwards of $7 billion.


Building such a network has never been attempted, and the project raises a number of technical and operational questions. That's where the FirstNet testbeds come into play. FirstNet has approved spectrum lease agreements with four public safety communications projects to serve as proving grounds for the new network. Negotiations also are underway with a fifth project.


The testbed projects were drawn from a list of eight public safety communications projects that were previously awarded federal grants to develop LTE networks. These projects received a total of about $400 million through the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) or similar programs.


Those jurisdictions were:


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NY: Brooklyn BP Eric Adams takes selfie to celebrate free wifi at Fulton Mall | Brooklyn Daily Eagle

NY: Brooklyn BP Eric Adams takes selfie to celebrate free wifi at Fulton Mall | Brooklyn Daily Eagle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The more than 100,000 daily visitors to Fulton Mall, one of the busiest retail strips in America, now have free WiFi thanks to a new program that will build and maintain a free public WiFi network in Downtown Brooklyn.


As part of the project, free WiFi hotspots will also be provided to up to 100 small businesses and 1,000 residents in Downtown Brooklyn.


The effort is being launched by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP); PTS in partnership with DAS Communications; Fon, a global WiFi network; and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to provide WiFi to the area bordered by Schermerhorn Street, Cadman Plaza West, Flatbush Avenue, and Tillary Street, along with select public spaces in the NYCHA Ingersoll and Whitman Houses. 


The Fulton Street corridor is the first section to go live as part of the program and to celebrate, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams posed for a “selfie” in Albee Square today with local business owners, shoppers, and college students that he then posted on Twitter. DBP is administering the WiFi network with funds it received as one of five winners of NYCEDC’s Wireless Corridor Challenge.


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Can you hear me now? NASA to test laser communication system | NetworkWorld.com

Can you hear me now? NASA to test laser communication system | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The SpaceX cargo spacecraft will be carrying equipment needed for astronauts on the International Space Station to test optical laser communications to its scheduled launch today.


The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft's scheduled launch on Monday was scrubbed because of a helium leak in the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry it aloft. The mission is now set to launch 3:25 ET on Friday.


If the Friday launch is postponed, another window opens on Saturday.

Optical laser communications, also dubbed lasercom, is one of the emerging technologies that NASA is focused on trying out.


With lasercom, data is transmitted via laser beams and potentially offers much higher data rates than the space agency is able to achieve with current radio frequency transmissions.


"Optical communications have the potential to be a game-changer," said Mission Manager Matt Abrahamson, in a statement. "It's like upgrading from dial-up to DSL. Our ability to generate data has greatly outpaced our ability to downlink it. Imagine trying to download a movie at home over dial-up. It's essentially the same problem in space, whether we're talking about low-Earth orbit or deep space."


Abrahamson noted that many of the latest deep space missions send data back and forth at 200 to 400 kilobits per second. The new laser test is expected to transmit data at 50 megabits per second.


Since one megabit is equal to 1,024 kilobits, that means the new communications should be up to 256 times faster.


Once the Dragon spacecraft rendezvouses with the space station, the orbiter's robotic arm will remove it from the ship's cargo bay and then attach it to the outside of the station. The laser test is expected to last for at least three months.


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Iowa: SMU board approves communication rate increase | The Daily Reporter

The Spencer Municipal Utilities Board of Trustees approved a communication rate increase at its April board meeting this week. The rates will change beginning June 1.


Basic Plus will be $50.75 per month, SD Plus will be $9 per month and HBO will be $15 per month.


"The cable increases are a result of increased programming costs which include the increase from 2013 to 2014 as well as the Viacom increase," Amanda Gloyd, SMU marketing and community relations manager, said.


Residential Broadband will be $40 per month, Residential Broadband Plus will be $45 per month and Residential Broadband Premiere will be $55 per month.


"The residential Internet rate increases are a result of increased customer usage and the demands it has put on the system leading to the fiber to the home construction, which we anticipate being the driving force going forward with Internet rates," Gloyd explained.


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Fiber-to-the-Antenna and LTE Deployments Strengthen Business Case for Fiber Optic Test Equipment Globally | Frost & Sullivan

The future of fiber optics is being shaped by the need for higher bandwidth, signal rates, and on-chip connections. Technologies like fiber-to-the-antenna (FTTA), long term evolution (LTE) deployments along with 100 and 400 gigabyte installations are therefore bolstering the global fiber optic test equipment market. Integrated or platform-based test products, in particular, are gaining momentum for their ability to perform more than one type of test using the same test equipment.


New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Global Fiber Optic Test Equipment Market, finds that the market earned revenue of $603.8 million in 2013 and estimates this to reach $884.9 million in 2020. The fiber inspection probe is an emerging product that accounted for approximately $45 million in sales during 2013 and continues to grow at a significant pace.


For complimentary access to more information on this research, please visit:  http://bit.ly/1jIK66J.


Fiber penetration is increasing in the broadband and access space with significant roll-outs in mobility through FTTA, fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT), distributed antenna systems (DAS), and cloud or centralized-radio access networks (CRAN). Companies are employing fiber cable assemblies that cater to FTTA, while service providers are installing this technology where thousands of assemblies are generated in a week. All these factors contribute to the uptake of fiber optic test equipment.


"The proliferation of electronics and reduction in chip sizes will also augment the demand for innovative test technologies," said Frost & Sullivan Measurement and Instrumentation Program Manager Sujan Sami. "One such potential opportunity lies in micro structure fiber and hollow fiber with higher non-linear limits."


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Comcast's shakedown of Netflix pays off for consumers | ITWorld.com

Comcast's shakedown of Netflix pays off for consumers | ITWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You might remember back in February when it was announced that Netflix had come to an agreement to pay Comcast (which at that time had not yet won the prestigious "Worst Company in America" award — congrats, guys!) for the privilege of connecting directly to Comcast's servers for an undisclosed sum.


The official announcement at the time said:


"Comcast Corporation and Netflix, Inc. today announced a mutually beneficial interconnection agreement that will provide Comcast’s U.S. broadband customers with a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come.


Working collaboratively over many months, the companies have established a more direct connection between Netflix and Comcast, similar to other networks, that’s already delivering an even better user experience to consumers, while also allowing for future growth in Netflix traffic. Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multi-year agreement, terms of which are not being disclosed."


That didn't sound bad...mutually beneficial and all that. But it wasn't long before Netflix's Reed Hastings wrote a blog post calling for strong net neutrality and talking about exactly the kind of issues Netflix had to pay to solve. The implication is that the big cable companies can essentially hold a service like Netflix hostage until a check is cut. For a somewhat less biased look at the deal, check out What The Netflix-Comcast Deal Really Means In Plain English at Business Insider.


Anyway that's old news, but now we're seeing the benefit to Netflix customers who use Comcast. In their monthly ISP Speed post Netflix points out that the average stream speed for customers on Comcast has improved 65% since the deal was put into place. Put another way, Comcast jumped up 6 places in the rankings, putting it in 5th place.


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