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Warwick Valley Tel CEO to speak in New Orleans - Times Herald-Record

Warwick Valley Tel CEO to speak in New OrleansTimes at the TelcoTV Conference and Expo, which draws more than 2500 telecom executives, the summit focuses on Cloud Service business opportunities for broadband carriers.

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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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Washington Post Editorial Board Deploys A Bunch Of Bad Arguments In Its Defense Of The Comcast Merger | Techdirt.com

Washington Post Editorial Board Deploys A Bunch Of Bad Arguments In Its Defense Of The Comcast Merger | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Searching beyond Comcast itself, it's hard to find too many people who have no objections to this massive cable company acquiring another massive cable company. Inside the Beltway, where it possibly matters most, you can find a few defenders, many of whom have pocketed Comcast's money during their legislative careers. But once you step outside of the insiders, you have a multitude of people who realize that, thanks to years of abusive behavior by incumbent service providers, making these companies bigger certainly won't make them better.

I'm not sure where the Washington Post's editorial board falls in terms of insider/outsider status, but it just issued an editorial supporting the merger. And, oh man, it's just a terrible set of opinions bolstered by some equally terrible assertions. The gist of it is that a massive cable company is no problem because regulators have done such a great job at ensuring a competitive playing field to this point.


The government’s smartest move is not to block the merger, but to make clear that regulators will respond if big industry players begin to violate basic principles of market fairness.


There's no question of "if." The violations are not only happening, they're ongoing. Incumbents have squeezed out upstart competitors by using their entrenched positions, pushing for favorable legislation and protecting it all with an army of lawyers that makes it almost impossible for new players to enter the market.

WaPo's board tries to deflect the arguments raised by merger opponents by deploying a combination of Comcast talking points and assertions that have no basis in fact.


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Cox Selling Home Security In Las Vegas | Multichannel.com

Cox Selling Home Security In Las Vegas | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cox Communications is now offering home security service in the Las Vegas market. Cox started offering Cox Home Security three years ago in Arizona and has since rolled it out to five other markets: California, Oklahoma, New England, Ohio and Virginia.


The service includes Intrusion and home safety monitoring (includes fire, gas and flood); remote access so the system can be controlled away from home via a secure online site or Smartphone app; email or text alerts to notify customers of occurrences at the home; safety sensors to detect hazardous conditions such as carbon monoxide and smoke; secure video monitoring and recording available via smart phone or a web browser and control of home functions such as lighting and temperature.

 

Cox uses iControl’s platform, also used by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Rogers, Mediacom Communications and Comporium.

 

Kristine Faulkner, vice president and general manager of Cox Home Security and Smart Home, said in a release that Cox is planning the rollouts of Cox Home Security to additional markets this year, with specific markets and launch dates to be announced later.

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TWC To Make Its WiFi Network Act Like Cellular | Multichannel.com

TWC To Make Its WiFi Network Act Like Cellular | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Looking to bring the kind of seamless handoff capabilities offered on cellular networks to the WiFi world, Time Warner Cable has added Hotspot 2.0 technology to “most” of its 33,000-plus hotspots deployed in parts of Southern California, New York City, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Myrtle Beach and Hawaii.


The introduction of Hotspot 2.0 brings a level of seamless mobility to TWC’s WiFi network that will automatically keep customers connected as they roam from hotspot to hotspot. While that will help customers stay on WiFi networks and avoid having to fallback to cellular for regular data connection needs, the capability could come in handy if or when MSOs begin to pursue voice services that use a so-called “WiFi First” model.


TWC has also bolstered the security of that network by Passpoint-enabling it. TWC said it has launched a separate “TWCWiFi-Passport” SSID that adds in this extra layer of encryption, offering it alongside regular “TWCWiFi” SSIDs being broadcast by its hotspots. TWC said the Passpoint capability will bring “enterprise-grade WPA2” security, giving customers the same level of protection on its quasi-public WiFi network as customers get on their home WiFi links. TWC claimed that it now offers the largest Passpoint-enabled network in the country.


 

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Being a Gig City: It's All About the Upload | community broadband networks

Being a Gig City: It's All About the Upload | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This is the second in a series of posts examining a premier Gigabit Community - Wilson, North Carolina. The first post is available here.


It's all about the Upload. If you are the owner of a small engineering business with dense blueprints to send to your European clients, or a specialized country doctor who depends on the quick transmission of x-rays, a digital film effects company, a photographer or a local broadcaster, your ability to upload your dense information to your colleagues, clients, and residents means business. For Gig City, Wilson in North Carolina, offering gigabit upload speeds to its community is essential to ensure local businesses thrive.


According to a recent Speed.Net report, upload speeds in the United States compared to the rest of the world are dismal. If you live in Hong Kong (60 Mbps), Singapore (47Mbps) and South Korea (44Mbps), you are in the drivers' seat with the fastest upload speeds in a world where time wasted means money. If you are in the U.S., as of February 2014, you're in the slow lane. We rank 41st at 6.69 Mbps. But not if you live in Wilson. With access to Greenlight's gigabit residential upload speeds, living in Wilson means being competitive and working easily with the world's top achievers.


The owners of Wilson-based Exodus FX know this. Digital artists Brad Kalinoski and Tinatsu Wallace found Wilson in their nearly impossible search for small-town affordability but world-class broadband infrastructure. Two years ago, they started a small growing boutique that caters to the visual effects needs of global film and television production companies. When their broadband rates in West Virginia skyrocketed despite the local broadband infrastructure seriously underperforming, the company's survival depended on relocating.


"We had to choose an area that could offer a low cost of doing business, while delivering an infrastructure better than that of other states and countries," wrote Mr. Kalinoski, a three-time, award nominee for his special effects contributions to Black Swan and LOST, the Final Season. "We even considered places like Seattle, Japan, Austin and Kansas City for its Google fiber. But when weighing the cost of living, cost of doing business, diversity and broadband infrastructure, it really wasn't much of a debate." They moved to Wilson."In less than an eight hour period, we pushed almost 18 Gigabyte of data to and from New York, Los Angeles, Canada and to other states. We are finding that the bottleneck is no longer us, it's the client's bandwidth."


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Comcast to list political contributions on its website | Philly.com

Comcast to list political contributions on its website | Philly.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that it will disclose on its website political contributions to federal, state and local candidates, political parties, political committees and tax-exempt organizations in an agreement with New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.


Comcast agreed after DiNapoli filed a shareholder resolution as a trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund.


Comcast spokesman John Demming said Comcast's transparency of political contributions will now be "best in class."


The disclosures will begin with 2014 political contributions.

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OH: Developers ink deal for ultra-high-speed internet for residents, businesses at Fairmont Creamery | freshwatercleveland

OH: Developers ink deal for ultra-high-speed internet for residents, businesses at Fairmont Creamery |  freshwatercleveland | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sustainable Community Associates and Everstream have announced that ultra-high-speed, fiber-based broadband network services will soon come to the Fairmount Creamery building, a 100,000-square-foot property that is under redevelopment in Tremont.

The high-speed Internet services will be available to both residential and commercial tenants. Everstream is a project of OneCommunity, which has spent more than a decade building the most advanced fiber-optic network in Northeast Ohio. Everstream was created to bring high-speed Internet to private businesses.

"We are really excited to be working with Everstream to bring the fastest residential Internet service to the Creamery," said Josh Rosen, one of the three partners in Sustainable Community Associates, in a release. "The Everstream network will be a significant asset for both our residents and businesses."

The Internet service will be 10 to 20 times faster than traditional networks. Rosen hopes the project will help create a "fiberhood" in Tremont that proves attractive to businesses, especially tech-based enterprises and startups. LaunchHouse is planning to open a new office here when the building opens in late 2014.

“The Creamery project is a perfect example of how developers and managers of mixed-use properties gain a competitive advantage by providing best-in-class service,” said Brett Lindsey, President of Everstream.

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Verizon’s N.J. Astroturfing Revisited: More ‘Phoney’ Pro-Verizon E-Mails Revealed | Stop the Cap!

Verizon’s N.J. Astroturfing Revisited: More ‘Phoney’ Pro-Verizon E-Mails Revealed | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities received more than 460 identical e-mails urging the regulator to approve Verizon’s proposed settlement permitting it to renege on broadband expansion commitments that would have brought high-speed Internet to every citizen in the state that wanted it.


More than a few of those e-mails were submitted with fake e-mail addresses or without the knowledge of the alleged senders. An Ars Technica piece this week confirmed Stop the Cap!’s own findings of the astroturf effort and found more customers denying they ever submitted comments to the BPU about the settlement.


“I am a customer only to Verizon and I was not contacted by them to submit anything,” one person told Ars. “If they did, I would’ve slammed them. They are gougers. If AT&T was where I lived, I would switch in a heart beat.”


When this customer was shown the e-mail he allegedly sent to state officials, he said, “That would mean someone did it on my behalf. I can assure you that I did not send that response.”


In other cases, Ars discovered some of Verizon’s vendors were misrepresenting the nature of the settlement and asking people they worked with or knew to sign the petition as part of a contest.


“I hope you are doing well. I have a favor to ask,” one e-mail read. “I’m working on a project for our client, Verizon, and they need some signatures to an online petition. Verizon wants to expand its offerings in New Jersey, but needs approval from the state. Higher-speed Internet, more FiOS, etc.”


“All you need to do is enter your e-mail and zip code,” the message continued. “I appreciate it. We’re in a contest with another vendor to see how many people we can get to sign it. Just let me know yea or nay, so I can get the credit for it.”


Of course signing the petition would result in the exact opposite of more FiOS deployment and higher speed Internet access.


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Voters Approve Local Telecommunications Authority in Montrose, Colorado | community broadband networks

Voters Approve Local Telecommunications Authority in Montrose, Colorado | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

By a 3,982 in favor and 1,397 opposed, the voters in Montrose decided on April 1st to take back local authority for telecommunications services. The state revoked the community's ability to establish a telecommunications utility in 2005.


Jim Branscome covered the election results in the Daily Yonder. Branscome, a resident of Montrose, knows the local broadband situation:


Internet service here is currently a hodgepodge. Some of us depend on broadcast towers, some on DSL from CenturyLink and some on cable service from Charter. Service is generally at less than 10MB. It’s expensive, and customer service is erratic.


Community leaders state that they want to encourage fair competition and ensure every one has the opportunity to fast, reliable, affordable connectivity. 


In addition to ensuring that local businesses are in a position to compete with any large corporations that might attempt to establish a major share of the market, Turner said the city also wanted measures to enable lower income households to benefit from the advantages of gigabit speeds and capacity. “We don’t want to create two levels of society here, those who are connected and those who are not,” he said.


While Montrose is a long way from getting every person connected, the community is discussing the idea of financing a network with revenue bonds.


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US pay-TV subscriptions poised for rebound | BroadbandTVNews.com

US pay-TV subscriptions poised for rebound | BroadbandTVNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Recent research from Strategy Analytics forecasts a return to growth in 2014 for the US pay-TV industry at 0.14%.


The findings are detailed in the Service Provider Strategies (SPS) service report, North America Digital Television Forecast: 1Q 2014.


IPTV will be the bright spot of the pay-TV market in the US. In 2013, IPTV subscriptions grew by 17.5% year-on-year and this trend will continue with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.3% through 2019. IPTV service operators AT&T and Verizon are approaching the future with different strategies, but both are focused on driving advanced services and multiplay bundles with digital television and high-speed Internet at the core of their packages.


In the cable segment, Comcast has reversed a long-standing trend of subscriber losses, following the company’s rollout of its Xfinity X1 platform. Consolidation among US cable operators should enable faster digital transitions and a wider deployment of technology platforms. This trend will give customers better opportunities to access and consume content on multiple devices, when and where they want.


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Net neutrality ruling complicates US transition to IP networks | NetworkWorld.com

Net neutrality ruling complicates US transition to IP networks | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The transition from copper-based telephone systems to IP networks in the U.S. could become swept up in political fallout as the FCC figures out how to regulate such networks in ways that will appease the courts.


A switch to IP-based networks has been progressing for years in the U.S., but a January ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit calls into doubt the FCC's authority in several areas, such as prohibiting VoIP providers from degrading service or blocking calls from competing carriers, and requiring them to offer service to all customers who want it.


And the technological changes are rekindling the debate over whether the FCC as an entity should continue to exist at all, or at the least whether it needs a major transition itself.


"Should the commission have any ongoing role in communications networks, or does somehow, the change in the technology make the FCC obsolete?" said Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, a digital rights group. "We'd say, clearly, it does not. Whatever the technology is, the FCC still has a duty to make sure broadband telecommunications are universally affordable and available and competitive."


The IP transition, combined with the net neutrality ruling, puts several features of the traditional telephone network, long taken for granted by customers, in doubt, said Harold Feld, senior vice president at digital rights group Public Knowledge. After the net neutrality ruling, "the FCC can no longer require VoIP providers to complete phone calls [and] can no longer prohibit VoIP carriers from blocking calls," Feld wrote in a January blog post.


Some telephone customers in rural parts of the U.S. have complained in recent months about dropped calls, and the problem could get worse in an IP transition, Feld said. Public Knowledge, Free Press and some other consumer groups have called on the FCC to reclassify broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service in an effort to restore its regulatory authority, but a move by the FCC to reclassify broadband would trigger a long and contentious battle with carriers.


"Post-IP transition, absent reclassification, the FCC would be unable to ensure that all calls go through when you dial your 10-digit phone number," Feld wrote. "They could -- as they can with net neutrality -- require companies to disclose if they are blocking calls or otherwise 'managing' traffic in a way that degrades rural traffic."


In some ways, the switch from copper to IP, predicted to happen over the next five or six years, should be relatively simple. Most carriers already offer voice-over-IP services, and at some telecom carriers, two-thirds of voice customers have already cut the cord and switched from traditional telephone service to mobile or VoIP service. Some technical issues will come up, including how to transition old phone-based services like school fire alarms and heart monitors, but the IP transition trials are designed to find and fix those issues.


Most telecom policy experts agree that it no longer makes sense for traditional telephone providers to maintain IP networks and the old copper network, often called the PSTN, for public-switched telephone network, used to deliver POTS, plain, old telephone service.


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AL: Broadband bill headed to ballots | Franklin County Times

AL: Broadband bill headed to ballots | Franklin County Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A group of community members and leaders have been working for over a year now to establish a reliable source for broadband services in Franklin County.


Thanks to a bill recently passed in the Alabama legislature, that process has moved one step closer to becoming a reality, according to Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow.


Morrow said the passage of HB 600 will make it possible for an existing authority to apply for grants and enter into contracts related to the county’s broadband initiative.


“This was Phase I of our broadband project that we’ve been working on for many months now,” Morrow said.


“Affordable, high speed internet should be available to all Franklin County residents in order for our citizens to have access to outlets for securing jobs and for our students to be able to have the tools to excel in their studies.


“Widespread broadband service is also crucial for our businesses and industries, and this initiative is something both Roger Bedford and myself are committed to seeing through to completion.”


Morrow said the Franklin County Water Authority was chosen to be the entity that would represent the county’s broadband interests.


“We needed an existing authority to be able to take on this responsibility of applying for grants and securing funds for our broadband initiative, and this was our best option,” he said.


Morrow said now that this bill has been passed, the decision to move forward with the project will now be placed in the hands of Franklin County’s voters.


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Mark Zuckerberg on the shift to mobile and the Great Unbundling of Facebook | GigaOM Tech News

Mark Zuckerberg on the shift to mobile and the Great Unbundling of Facebook | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When you’re as big as Facebook is — with over a billion users worldwide and a stock-market value of more than $150 billion — it would be tempting to just sit back and watch the money roll in. But co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is doing the exact opposite: he is busy thinking of ways to disrupt his own success, as a way of figuring out how Facebook can adapt to a mobile world full of fragmented social experiences like Instagram and Snapchat.


Zuckerberg talked to New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo about that and some other topics (including turning 30, a question he mostly ignored) during a recent interview. The piece is headlined “Can Facebook Innovate?” — which seems a little odd, given that Facebook has launched at least half a dozen new apps and services in the past year or two.


As I’ve argued before, Facebook is one of the few large companies that seems to have taken Steve Jobs’ approach to heart: namely, the need to disrupt yourself before others do so (as Apple did with the iPhone and iPad). It’s true that most of Facebook’s experiments have failed to set the world on fire, but that doesn’t make them not innovative. Innovation also means trying and failing.


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American Enterprise Institute Scholar Calls DSL Obsolete | community broadband networks

American Enterprise Institute Scholar Calls DSL Obsolete | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the second time this year, one of the major defenders of the cable and telephone companies has admitted that DSL cannot provide the Internet access we need as a nation. This admission validates our research as well as that of Susan Crawford and others that show most Americans are effectively stuck with a cable monopoly.


On April 7, 2014, the Diane Rehm show hosted another discussion on telecommunications policy with guests that included Jeffrey Eisenach, the Director of the Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.


During that show, Eisenach stated, "The vast majority of Europeans still only have DSL service available, which we in the United States consider really almost an obsolete technology now."


Interestingly, Eisenach and others have repeatedly claimed that there is no market failure in the US - that we have plenty of choices. But most Americans have to choose between what most now admit is an obsolete DSL product and cable. Eisenach would add 4G LTE as another competitor, but as we have noted many times, the average household would have to pay hundreds of dollars per month to use their LTE connection as a replacement for DSL or cable.


The average household uses something like 40-55 GB of data per month. Given the bandwidth caps from LTE providers, the overage charges quickly result in a bill of approximately $500 or more depending on the plan. This is why the overwhelming majority of the market uses mobile wireless as a complement, not substitute to wired networks.


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MN: Itasca Area Blandin Broadband Community update | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Itasca Area Blandin Broadband Community update | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Thanks to Mark Zimmerman for sharing the following update from the Itasca Area BBC. It’s fun to see how much they have accomplished in a year – I thought it might give other Minnesota communities some ideas for encouraging broadband adoption too…


Just about one year ago – in March 2013 – you helped host a community meeting here in Grand Rapids to identify and prioritize strategies that would help businesses and organizations in the Itasca area use broadband technology to enhance the overall economy.  From that discussion, seven distinct, but complementary, strategies were undertaken and I would like to share with you some quick progress reports on each.  The image below gives you a visual of the seven strategies currently underway, as part of the Itasca Area BBC, to increase of use of broadband technology.


These seven initiatives, launched in stages, are overlapping and are being promoted as a comprehensive strategy to meet the needs of local businesses and organizations who wish to enhance their use of broadband technology.


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FCC Launches Quadrennial Combo Review | Multichannel.com

FCC Launches Quadrennial Combo Review | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has officially combined its 2010 and 2014 quadrennial media ownership review, which includes not loosening most broadcast ownership rules while continuing to ask whether they should be lifted in the future. The item also makes TV  joint sales agreements (JSAs) of over 15%  of ad sales attributable as ownership interests.

 

The commission adopted the item on a 3-2 party line vote March 31 and Tuesday released the combination report and order and further notice of proposed rulemaking, which become official 45 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

 

“The existing record demonstrates not only the dynamic changes that are taking place in the media marketplace but also the continued and vital importance of traditional media outlets to local communities,” the FCC said. “The proliferation of broadband Internet connections and other technological advances have changed the ways in which many consumers access entertainment, news, and information programming. Yet traditional media outlets are still essential to achieving the Commission’s goals of competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity.”

 

The agency said that some broadcasters have “rebounded in a significant way” from the economic meltdown and are poised to grow stronger, arguing that the upcoming incentive auctions are an opportunity  for them to become “even healthier.”

 

But others, it says, are not doing as well, “often in crowded major markets.”—those are some of the markets where the FCC will be looking to pick up spectrum in the auction.


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Automakers show off in-vehicle Wi-Fi, new smartphone interfaces | NetworkWorld.com

Automakers show off in-vehicle Wi-Fi, new smartphone interfaces | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Car companies at the International Auto Show in New York City showed off their versions of popular smartphone interface technology, which allows vehicle infotainment systems to connect to and use mobile apps.


Jaguar Land Rover showed off the fruits of its partnership with Bosch SofTech, which has developed the company's InControl smartphone interface. InControl allows the iPhone and Android phones to display apps on a vehicle's infotainment system.


Land Rover first announced the app at CES earlier this year, along with its partnership with Bosch SofTech, which developed the mySPIN interface on which InControl is based.


The InControl smartphone interface has been rolled out in the Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar F-Type coupe. Jaguar Range Rover plans to offer the smartphone interface in all of its 2015 vehicles.


Currently, there are limited mobile apps available through the InControl operating system, but if offers things such as door-to-door navigation, music playlists and phone and calendar access, including contact information that can be used to call people.


Jaguar Land Rover also offers an SDK for third-party developers to use in creating new apps for the InControl system.


Peter Virk, head of connected technology and apps for Jaguar Land Rover, said the company chose not to use MirrorLink or Apple's CarPlay - two other smartphone interfaces - because they offer limited phone support.


MirrorLink is being developed by the Car Connectivity Consortium and can be used with limited models of Android, Windows and Blackberry phones.


Apple's new CarPlay allows enabled cars to duplicate some iPhone functions in the IVI system, but is limited to Apple's mobile platform.


"As long as you have an iPhone 5 or later and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or later, you can use your phone on with InControl," Virk said. "When I drive, it displays my phone's configuration and content. When my wife drives, it displays her configuration and content."


Volvo today demonstrated a CarPlay-enabled IVI system that will be available in its 2016 XC90 SUV -- available later this year -- and eventually in all models, according to Jonas Soderqvist, Volvo's director of user experience and connectivity.


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Still deploying 11n Wi-Fi?  You might want to think again | NetworkWorld.com

Still deploying 11n Wi-Fi?  You might want to think again | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The newest version of the 802.11 standard – 802.11ac –  is ready for prime time. The official IEEE standard is finished, the Wi-Fi Alliance has issued a specification for interoperability, essentially all enterprise-class Wi-Fi system vendors are shipping (or have at least announced) 802.11ac products, and price/performance is significantly improved over 802.11n products. The price differential between .11n and .11ac access points is, in fact, so low that the continued purchase of .11n access points can legitimately be called into question.


In this Network World Digital Spotlight, "Harnessing Gigabit Wi-Fi," we do a deep dive on the latest Wi-Fi developments, exploring:


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Scam by Victoria’s Secret clerk highlights common risk | Paul McNamara Buzzblog | NetworkWorld.com

Scam by Victoria’s Secret clerk highlights common risk | Paul McNamara Buzzblog | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Headlines and the attention of IT professionals have been dominated by Heartbleed recently, yet it's a news story out of Florida that reminds us of an all-too-common identity-theft threat that most of us face on a routine basis: credit-card skimmers.


From an Orlando Sun report:


Between Nov. 29 and April 3, the (Victoria's Secret clerk) hid the skimmer under her skirt at Orlando Premium Outlets and swiped customers' cards before running them through the cash register, according to court documents.


The woman, whose name is not revealed in court documents, was paid $500 whenever a felon named Alexander Sundeman Sanchez, downloaded card numbers from the device (once a week), records show.


"I forgot to tell u i really only want foreigners and tourists," Sanchez texted the woman, according to court documents.


Three details struck me: The targeting of victims less likely to contact law enforcement; $500 a week is plenty of temptation for a retail-store clerk with a criminal disposition; and the scam went undetected for months.  


That's one clerk in one store. Now think of how many times you hand your card to a waiter or insert it into a gas pump or ATM that might also carry a skimmer.


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AT&T threatens to boycott a critical airwave auction. Is it bluffing? | WashPost.com

AT&T threatens to boycott a critical airwave auction. Is it bluffing? | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T is warning it may have no choice but to pull out of a major government auction of the airwaves if the Federal Communications Commission doesn't change some of the rules.


On the one hand, the prospect of an AT&T boycott should have regulators worried — the FCC stands to lose millions if not billions of dollars in revenue from AT&T if it backs out — but it's hard to see how AT&T could justify passing up a rare opportunity to purchase some of the most valuable aerial real estate in the industry.


Radio spectrum is finite. As the invisible stuff that carries cellphone calls, TV signals and satellite transmissions over the air, spectrum is high in demand among businesses. The upcoming auction would transfer spectrum currently used by TV stations to the government, which will then sell the reclaimed spectrum to wireless carriers.


At issue here are the limits the FCC is considering applying to large wireless carriers in an effort to make sure smaller companies, such as Sprint and T-Mobile, get a fair chance in the auction. Under this plan, the FCC would set aside a portion of the airwaves that AT&T and Verizon won't be allowed to buy.


AT&T naturally dislikes the idea. In a letter to the FCC, AT&T's head of federal regulatory issues, Joan Marsh, wrote that the spectrum caps would "put AT&T in an untenable position, forcing AT&T to reevaluate its potential participation in the auction."


"AT&T has never declined to participate in a major spectrum auction and certainly did not intend to do so here,” Marsh added. “But if the restrictions as proposed are adopted, AT&T will need to seriously consider whether its capital and resources are directed toward other spectrum opportunities that will better enable AT&T to continue to support high quality LTE network deployments to serve its customers.”


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The Washington Post’s Delusional Support of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Debunked | Stop the Cap!

The Washington Post’s Delusional Support of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Debunked | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you have started to confuse the Washington Post editorial page with that of the Wall Street Journal, you are not alone.


Under the stewardship of Fred Hiatt, WaPo’s editorial opinions have grown increasingly anti-consumer and pro-corporate at home and decidedly neoconservative abroad.


It’s the same newspaper that wholeheartedly supported the merger of Comcast and NBC-Universal in 2010. Let’s check whether they called that one right:


Entities that compete with NBC-owned cable channels fear that Comcast will relegate them to hard-to-find channel locations. Consumer advocates warn that Comcast will use its newfound power to raise subscription rates and stifle new voices on television and the Internet.


The same newspaper reported last week that Comcast refused to let Back9Network, a golf oriented network in direct competition with Comcast-owned Golf Channel, on its cable systems.


For years, Bloomberg TV — in direct competition with Comcast-owned CNBC — has been stuck in Channel Siberia, in some areas like Chicago dumped between Comcast’s promotional “barker” channel and “Leased Access.” CNBC enjoys Ch. 29, certain to attract more viewers than Bloomberg’s Ch. 102.


As Stop the Cap! reported yesterday, no cable company raises cable television rates more than Comcast, blaming programming rate increases that in several cases originate with Comcast-owned cable networks.


Regulators should scrutinize the proposed merger but should be skeptical of the critics’ claims. [...] Advocacy groups have been poor prognosticators of the effects of large media mergers.


The Washington Post’s editorial accuracy record has more than a few blemishes, from its 2003 declaration Colin Powell’s “evidence” of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was “irrefutable,” to suggestions that a wedding of Comcast and NBC Universal wouldn’t hurt anyone because the FCC was ready to manage any problems without pesky mandates or overbearing pre-conditions.


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Here are 3 ways Aereo will tell the Supreme Court that it's legal | GigaOM Tech News

Here are 3 ways Aereo will tell the Supreme Court that it's legal | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The stakes can’t get any higher for internet TV service Aereo. One week from now, the two-year-old company will go before the Supreme Court to face off against a group of big broadcasters that want to shut it down. If Aereo loses, its biggest investor says the company is “finished.”


More significantly, the Supreme Court’s decision could alter the current business model of TV, which relies on selling large bundles of channels for ever higher prices. If the Justices side with Aereo, which rents subscribers a remote antenna to watch and record over-the-air stations like NBC, more consumers may become tempted to become “cord cutters” — leaving their TV provider in favor of some combination of internet TV services, including Aereo’s smaller and cheaper bundle of channels.


While Aereo now offers its $8/month service in just a dozen cities, it plans to expand to 50 by next year. And while Aereo reportedly has only 100,000 subscribers in New York, that number would likely rise rapidly if the company engaged in a major marketing push — which it will no doubt do if it gets a final green light from the court.


Aereo’s opponents, supported in court by the Justice Department, believe that Aereo is a signal-stealing freeloader poised to wreak damage on the TV industry. So if it is to survive, Aereo must persuade five Supreme Court Justices to accept its view on copyright law (UPDATE: while Justice Samuel Alito was initially recused, news came on Wednesday this is no longer the case) .


Aereo’s side of the story, set out in a 100-page Supreme Court brief filed last month, is a double-barreled appeal to both the past and the future. The brief (embedded below) casts its technology as a natural evolution of the VCR, which the court declared legal three decades ago, while also claiming kinship with the emerging cloud computing industry — an industry Aereo says will suffer if the broadcasters prevail. While making those appeals to policy principles, Aereo also makes a third argument about the letter of the law and companies’ right to rely on it when building their business.


Here’s an overview of how the case arrived at the Supreme Court, a look at three of the arguments that Aereo will put before the Justices on April 22, and how this could all turn out.


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New Media Player To Join Sony’s 4K Lineup | Multichannel.com

New Media Player To Join Sony’s 4K Lineup | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sony updated the rollout plans for its new Ultra HD/4K TV lineup Tuesday, and will look to bridge the 4K content gap with a new media player, a bigger content library, and access to Netflix’s budding lineup 4K streaming titles.


As a follow-on to its original $700 4K media player, Sony’s new model, dubbed the FMP-X10, will provide access to hundreds of titles from Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K download library, including movies such as American Hustle and episodes of NBC’s The Blacklist, and be able to stream 4K content from Netflix, including season two of House of Cards. Netflix confirmed earlier this month that it had begun to offer those titles as well as some nature documentaries in the Ultra HD format.


The new Sony 4K Media Player, compatible with Sony-made Ultra HD sets, will come with 1 terabyte of storage. Sony hasn’t announced a price, but said the new player will be available for purchase this summer.  

 

Sony said its Video Unlimited 4K library is currently stocked with more than 200 titles, with about 50 available at no charge.  Sony confirmed last year that the size of its 4K movie files are in the range of 45 gigabytes to 60 GB.


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CA: Los Angeles moving closer to free citywide Wi-Fi | California Forward

CA: Los Angeles moving closer to free citywide Wi-Fi | California Forward | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

California Forward has kept an ear to the ground on Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s proposal for free citywide Wi-Fi ever since he introduced it last August. While some looked skeptically at the proposal when it was initially introduced, the speed with which the proposal has made its way through the City Council reveals this isn’t just a pipe dream.


The proposal is moving further away from fantasy and closer to reality every week, which is why we sat down with the Councilmember for his take on where things stand now and what needs to happen before citizens of Los Angeles will be able to log-on to the Internet for free.


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Cellular industry makes concession on kill switch | NetworkWorld.com

Cellular industry makes concession on kill switch | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Wireless carriers in the U.S., handset makers and the industry's lobbying group have made a significant concession on technology that could remotely disable stolen smartphones and tablets.


The companies say they will voluntarily offer software that can remotely disable and wipe phones, starting with new handsets sold in the second half of next year.


The mobile industry has faced mounting pressure from politicians and police to tackle an epidemic of smartphone and tablet thefts. But some critics Tuesday said the voluntary program does not go far enough.


"The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft," said California State Senator Mark Leno.


Thefts of smartphones and tablets, often at gun- or knife-point, account for more than half of all street robberies in San Francisco and a fifth of those in New York. As a result, police officials in both cities have been asking the cellular industry for over a year to install a remote kill switch on devices.


The kill switch, which would be triggered by the user, would lock a phone so that it can't be reused or reprogrammed. Advocates say that such a technology, if made standard on all phones, would dramatically reduce street crime.


The industry has so far rejected the idea, citing in part the inconvenience to consumers if a phone is accidentally disabled. But earlier this year, legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives and California State Senate that would require the technology by law.


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Andrew Seipp's curator insight, April 16, 5:14 PM

With a kill switch I would have to wonder what a customer would do if they found the phone. Having seen how common phone theft is, this would be an interesting game changer if implemented properly.

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Mt. Gox set to liquidate as court denies rehabilitation | Reuters.com

Mt. Gox set to liquidate as court denies rehabilitation | Reuters.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company's bid to resuscitate its business, the court-appointed administrator said on Wednesday.


CEO Mark Karpeles is also likely to be investigated for liability in the collapse of the Tokyo-based firm, the provisional administrator, lawyer Nobuaki Kobayashi, said in a statement published on the Mt. Gox website.


"The Tokyo District Court recognized that it would be difficult for the company to carry out the civil rehabilitation proceedings and dismissed the application for the commencement of the civil rehabilitation proceedings," he said.


Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in Japan in late February, saying it may have lost some 850,000 bitcoins - worth around $454 million at today's rates - due to hacking into its computer system. It later said it had found 200,000 of those bitcoins.


In Wednesday's order for provisional administration, the court put the company's assets under Kobayashi's control until bankruptcy proceedings officially commence and a bankruptcy trustee is named.


"It is expected that, if the bankruptcy proceedings commence, an investigation regarding the liability of the representative director of the company will be conducted as part of the bankruptcy proceedings," it said.


Karpeles did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.


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