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UW-Eau Claire among collaborators honored for broadband expansion work - Media Newswire (press release)

UW-Eau Claire among collaborators honored for broadband expansion work.  "The high-speed connections create opportunities to share applications and open up possibilities for new uses of technology," said Jill Hietpas, community development and broadband educator for UW-Extension.

 

Daren Bauer, Chippewa Valley InterNetworking Consortium region project manager and a UW-Eau Claire technical services staff member, was among the CINC members who received the award.

 

CINC is a collaborative of schools, colleges, universities, libraries, municipalities, hospitals and clinics, and other organizations working with UW-Extension to expand community area broadband networks. CINC represents one of four demonstration communities in the state working with the support of federal broadband grants totaling nearly $33 million through the UW-Extension's Building Community Capacity through Broadband initiative.

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My Post Cyberpunk Indentured Servitude | Barrett Brown | The Daily Beast

My Post Cyberpunk Indentured Servitude | Barrett Brown | The Daily Beast | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Not long ago I was a mild-mannered freelance journalist, activist, and satirist, contributing to outlets like the Guardian and Vanity Fair.


But last Thursday I was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison in a case that Reporters Without Borders cited as a key factor in its reduction of America’s press freedom rankings from 33 to 46. As inconvenient as this is for me, the upside is that for the first time in the two and a half years since I was arrested, I am at last able to speak freely about what has been happening to me and why—and what it means for the press and the republic as a whole.

A portion of my sentence stems from an attempt I made to conceal from the government the identities of certain contacts of mine: pro-democracy activists living under Middle Eastern dictatorships such as Bahrain, with which the U.S. is known to share intelligence on such things.


Another large chunk is due to an admittedly ill-conceived public threat I made—in the midst of opiate withdrawal and what court psychologists say was a manic state brought on by medication issues—to investigate and humiliate an F.B.I. agent, who had himself threatened to indict my mother in an attempt to get me to cooperate against individuals associated with the Anonymous movement (my mother was indeed charged).


Though I clearly stated that my intent was not violent, the prosecution claimed that my “victim,” Dallas-based Special Agent Robert Smith, had reason to fear that I might physically harm him and even his children—in which case it is not immediately obvious why the prosecution felt the need to alter the end of the sentence in question when quoting it on the indictment. (My complete statement, (PDF) in which I make a point of noting that I was merely going to proceed along lines spelled out by the FBI-linked contractor C.E.O. Aaron Barr while he was investigating activists on behalf of his corporate clients, and that I was doing so perfunctorily, and merely in order to make a point about the F.B.I.’s traditional reluctance to investigate its allies, has been viewed on YouTube by well over 100,000 people, including the dozens of reporters who have covered the story; none of them seem to agree with the Department of Justice contention that a journalist’s threat to “look into” someone in an explicitly non-violent manner necessarily entails violence.)


A separate declaration I made to the effect that I’d defend my family from any illegal armed raids by the government, while silly and bombastic, was not actually illegal under the threats statutes. To judge from similar comments made by Senator Joni Ernst, it would not even have necessarily precluded me from delivering the G.O.P.’s recent response to the State of the Union address.

But the charges that prompted the most international outrage were those alleging fraud. In late 2011, I copied and pasted a link to a publicly-available file, which chat transcripts introduced in court showed that I initially believed to contain the same leaked corporate emails I’d long been in the habit of reviewing for my Guardian articles.


The file turned out to contain customer data, including credit card numbers. Although the government’s own forensics showed that I never opened the file, the D.O.J. contended (PDF) that I had thereby engaged in 11 counts of aggravated identity theft, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.


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Sling TV review: Do cord cutters and “cord nevers” even want live TV? | Megan Geuss | Ars Technica

Sling TV review: Do cord cutters and “cord nevers” even want live TV? | Megan Geuss | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Dish announced its new Sling TV service at CES this year, the news was received as one of the biggest announcements of the entire show. For $20 per month, Dish said it would offer a standalone app—no cable TV subscription necessary—with access to 12 channels including ESPN, a network notorious for its protection of its content.

The move seemed to be a shot off the bow of cable TV, which has been struggling against the growing number of adult Millennials who have decided they don't need a cable TV subscription. The argument is simple: it's too expensive and forces its customers to pay for channels they don't care about just to get the ones that they do. Cord cutters have instead been content to watch Netflix and Hulu, go to local sports bars if they need to catch an important game, and (worst of all to the cable companies) torrent the TV shows they want to see.

HBO knows this more intimately than any company. Access to the channel's shows can only be had by people with not only a cable TV subscription but also an additional HBO subscription. As such, those shows are favorites among torrenters. But even this company recently announced that it would be offering a standalone streaming service—again targeted toward cord cutters and Millennials—that would not require a cable company subscription.

So Sling TV is the first service to the battlefield of bringing small packages of live TV to an Internet streaming platform, marketing the offering at a low cost per month to appeal to people who canceled their cable TV subscriptions or who never had cable TV subscriptions in the first place. Dish offered Ars an early look at Sling TV, and while the interface is well designed and (mostly) intuitive, we wonder whether the content offered through Sling TV will really be enough of a sell. Is this just a repackaging of the same stuff that cord cutters wanted to get away from in the first place?


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Should Smaller Wireless Carriers Sell Towers? | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Should Smaller Wireless Carriers Sell Towers? | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At least one nationwide wireless carrier, T-Mobile, has sold some of its wireless towers in order to free up money for investment– and other large carriers reportedly are considering that option.

Does this move make sense for smaller carriers as well?


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Will Obama’s Support of Broadband Competition Matter? | Brian Heaton | GovTech.com

Will Obama’s Support of Broadband Competition Matter? | Brian Heaton | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Barack Obama’s comments last week in support of broadband competition ignited a firestorm of replies, including praise and applause from community network proponents, and warnings from lawmakers that Uncle Sam should mind its own business.

Speaking in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday, Jan. 14, the president said that big telecommunications companies are stifling broadband competition and he’ll take steps to change that. During his speech, Obama said he would encourage high-speed Internet connectivity expansion through a series of federal grants and loans for Internet service providers.


But most experts believe that even if the commander-in-chief’s statement doesn’t lead to extensive federal involvement on the matter, it’ll raise awareness about the value of local government-owned networks.


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MA: Congress should let cities provide their own Internet | The Editorial Board | The Boston Globe

MA: Congress should let cities provide their own Internet | The Editorial Board | The Boston Globe | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Obama made it a point to highlight the importance of providing high-speed Internet access to all Americans in his State of the Union address last week. No one disagrees with the sentiment. The method he proposed, however — removing legislative barriers that prevent some cities and towns from creating their own Internet networks — will be a much tougher sell. Regardless, it’s the right move, and the Federal Communications Commission and Congress should both work to achieve it.

Rural areas and small towns often have trouble attracting major Internet providers who feel that the small number of customers they will gain won’t be enough to offset the costs associated with installing new Internet cables. Larger cities often are only served by one Internet company, and the lack of competition allows those companies to charge more money for inferior service. This status quo is bad for consumers everywhere. Only 51 percent of the rural population has access to the Internet at speeds of 25 megabits per second, which is generally considered the baseline for high-speed Internet. About 80 percent of Americans either do not have access to 25 megabit-per-second Internet or can only access it through one provider.

Because of these dynamics, cities and towns across America have found that operating their own Internet service is the most effective way to bring high-speed Internet to their residents at affordable prices. Unfortunately, major Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T, concerned that municipal Internet will steal their customers, have deployed armies of lobbyists in state houses across the country to throw up legal barriers to towns interested in becoming Internet providers. So far, that tactic has been working. According to a White House report released this month, 19 states have laws on their books that restrict, to greater and lesser degrees, state or municipal agencies from operating Internet networks. Many of these regulations are based on a model provided by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group notorious for drafting business-friendly legislation for lawmakers.

Many boosters of municipal broadband believe that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 gives the FCC power to override these state laws. The agency will be forced to decide whether they agree with that assessment soon. Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C., both of which operate their own municipal Internet, petitioned the Federal Communications Commission last July asking the agency to preempt state laws that prohibit the cities from expanding their services. The agency is expected to respond next month. Their decision — and the results of the lawsuits that will doubtless follow it — could settle the issue, but a positive outcome is not at all certain.


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Yahoo Was the GE of the Internet | Rob Solomon | Re/Code.net

Yahoo Was the GE of the Internet | Rob Solomon | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Much has been made of the PayPal mafia. Without a doubt, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Jeremy Stoppelman, Reid Hoffman, Keith Rabois, Chad Hurley, Roelof Botha, et al, are the most impressive group of company creators and investors to exist.

There is an argument to be made about another group, the trailblazers who were responsible for turning Yahoo into the largest Internet company in the world circa 1998-2003. During this period, Yahoo was the breeding ground for the best and brightest cross-functional leaders on the Internet. These “Yahoo Bosses” have been indispensable as the critical managers who have stitched together the fabric of what makes today’s leading Internet companies and the Silicon Valley ecosystem thrive.


Yahoo is the company that created the blueprint for what is possible on the Internet. Born in a trailer on the Stanford University campus 20 years ago, Yahoo is the archetype for hyper-growth, global, multi-billion-dollar companies born on the World Wide Web.


The invention of Jerry Yang and David Filo blazed a trail that made it possible for the world’s greatest enterprises to come to life at blazing speed.


If not for Yahoo, it would have been difficult for there to be a Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, PayPal, Uber, Pinterest — you name it. Yahoo’s emergence was fast and furious. The men and women who joined Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web had no training for what they were building. It all happened in real time, and many of the roles, responsibilities, functions and best practices were made up on the fly.


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Obama Tells House Dems to "Get Informed" on the TPP, But He's the One Restricting Access to the Text

Obama Tells House Dems to "Get Informed" on the TPP, But He's the One Restricting Access to the Text | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

During the House Democrats' retreat in Philadelphia yesterday, Obama berated House Democrats for criticizing him on trade policy:

PHILADELPHIA – President Obama on Thursday asked wary House Democrats to hold their fire while the administration negotiates several trade deals opposed by scores of liberal lawmakers.

“Keep your powder a little dry,” he told the Democrats assembled here for an annual retreat, according to a source in the closed-door session.

"Get informed," Obama also advised, "not by reading The Huffington Post."

First of all, it's rather funny for Huffington Post blogger Barack Obama to criticize people for getting their news from the Huffington Post.

However, more importantly, the Huffington Post has done a far better job of reporting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including publishing leaked text, than Obama has of sharing information with Congress.

David Sirota wrote about this secrecy last week in the International Business Times.


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The Pirate Bay Is Back Online! | TorrentFreak

The Pirate Bay Is Back Online! | TorrentFreak | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Pirate Bay (TPB) has risen from its digital ashes once again. TPB is back online today, more than seven weeks after its servers were raided . The notorious torrent site is operating from the familiar .se domain and it appears that data loss is minimal.

pirate bayEarly December The Pirate Bay was raided at the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex near Stockholm.

After being down for two weeks the domain came back online waving a pirate flag on its temporary homepage.

TPB later added a countdown to February 1st, alongside several hints that the site would reappear that day.


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New spy powers will undermine privacy of Canadians, and fails to address inadequate control and accountability of spy agencies | OpenMedia.ca

New spy powers will undermine privacy of Canadians, and fails to address inadequate control and accountability of spy agencies | OpenMedia.ca | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The federal government’s just announced Bill C-51 will further undermine Canadians’ privacy while doing nothing to address privacy violations revealed just days ago. That’s according to digital rights group OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a nationwide coalition calling for stronger privacy protections. Over 46,000 people have spoken out recently through OpenMedia privacy campaigns calling on Prime Minister Harper to end mass surveillance and improve spy agency accountability and transparency.

Bill C-51 will give spy agencies new powers to access Canadians’ private information, including passport application information and sensitive commercial data. The legislation will also override privacy protections in multiple pieces of legislation to increase information sharing between government agencies, which has prompted the federal Privacy Commissioner to speak out. It also greatly expands the domestic powers of CSIS, including the power to place Canadians on a no fly list.

“Experts and even Stephen Harper himself agree that targeted intelligence is more effective than dragnet surveillance of entire populations”, said David Christopher, OpenMedia.ca’s communications manager. “Yet this plan appears to further encourage reckless sharing of our sensitive private information rather than providing a clear path for effective targeted action.”


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What Billions In Subsidies Bought: The Final Map Of Verizon's FiOS Fiber | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

What Billions In Subsidies Bought: The Final Map Of Verizon's FiOS Fiber | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Back in 2003, we wrote about Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg's big bet to actually offer fiber-to-the-home for Verizon internet subscribers. Wall Street absolutely despised this move. While it was actually about offering consumers a better service (i.e., real broadband), short-sighted Wall Street folks don't like projects that cost a lot to build.


Seidenberg ignored them and pushed forward with the FiOS buildout. Of course, the second that Seidenberg retired, Verizon suddenly made it clear that it would finish its planned buildouts, but wouldn't expand any further.


That was five years ago. And, in the last few years, it's even looked for ways to get out of the wired broadband business entirely, selling off pieces here and there, and focusing on wireless instead.


Late last week, it was reported that Verizon was now nearing completion of its promised fiber buildout, and wouldn't be doing any more. Well, some of its promised fiber buildout.


The promises that it made to state officials about 100% coverage to get tax breaks and subsidies? Those it's backed out of (without giving back the billions it got in subsidies, of course).

So? For all that effort, what did the American public get? Well, Verizon doesn't like to show it, but here's the map of all FiOS buildouts, thanks to the folks at Fiber For All:


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City wifi: Fast, cheap, and no you can't have it. | Josh Harkinson | Mother Jones

It's Friday afternoon in San Francisco and, to be honest, I'm sick of being in the office. So I've slipped out and headed over to Union Square Park, where I'm sitting on a bench watching Japanese tourists taking selfies on the ice rink. But before you call me a slacker, you should know I'm also online and working, courtesy of the free wireless internet service the city provides.

Since October, visitors to most San Francisco parks as well as a stretch of Market Street, the city's main business corridor, have been able to access the city's fast-growing municipal broadband network.


City-owned networks have been gaining popularity nationwide as a way to bridge the digital divide between rich and poor, foster competition with cable companies, and provide high-speed internet in underserved areas.


Last week, President Barack Obama talked them up as a way to promote "better products and cheaper prices." In Tuesday's state of the union speech, he pledged to bring the internet to "every community and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world."

But there's one big obstacle to all of this: the telecom industry and its friends in Congress.


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Jamaica: Joint scheme: wireless rollout to help marijuana farmers | TeleGeography.com

The chief executive of the Jamaican telco LIME has said that wireless broadband technology could be employed to help legal marijuana farmers on the island monitor, protect and market their crops.


Garfield Sinclair says that LIME’s recent acquisition of DEKAL Wireless, whose networks utilise unlicensed 2.4GHz spectrum and ‘Super WiFi’ equipment from Altai Technologies, will be a boost for local ganja farmers.


DEKAL currently has around 15,000 internet subscribers, LIME Jamaica says, though the new parent is looking to use DEKAL’s wireless networks to reach up to 200,000 Jamaicans, predominantly in rural areas.


A report from the Jamaica Observer quotes Sinclair as saying: ‘As we hopefully move closer to regulating the cultivation and sale of marijuana … farmers can rest assured that this high speed wireless internet will be able to facilitate the remote monitoring for the security of their precious crops.’


The government of Jamaica is currently working on legislation to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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Claro Puerto Rico continues 4G, 3G expansion | TeleGeography.com

Quadruple-play telco Claro Puerto Rico, part of the America Movil group, has announced on its website that it is continuing its ‘aggressive’ plan to strengthen its wireless network; in late 2014 it carried out a project expanding 4G LTE network coverage in 25 municipalities, and this month it is carrying out similar 4G expansion work in Aguada, Humacao, Salinas and parts of San Juan.


Meanwhile, an ongoing project to expand capacity of 3G network services has now upgraded 3G capacity in 32 municipalities, the most recent being Aguadilla, Barceloneta, Ceiba, Canovanas, Lares, Loiza, Luquillo and San Sebastian. The 3G/4G upgrade works will continue through this quarter.


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Senator Franken Queries AG Nominee Lynch On Comcast/TWC | John Eggerton |Broadcasting & Cable

Senator Franken Queries AG Nominee Lynch On Comcast/TWC | John Eggerton |Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) used a portion of his time questioning Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch this week to argue against the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger and get assurances DOJ would do its due diligence on the deal.

In her nomination hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Franken said he was "very concerned" about telecom consolidation, particularly Comcast/TWC's consolidation. He argued the combined company would have unprecedented power in the broadband and cable spaces. "To me this is just too big," he said.

He asked Lynch to "commit to reviewing the serious concerns" he and others have about the deal and to "do all you can to insure that the antitrust division is empowered to stand up to telecommunications giants like Comcast if that is what is deemed necessary?"

Lynch said yes, which was arguably the only answer the nominee could have given.


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Bidding war between networks, sports leagues will increase price of cable TV | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com

Bidding war between networks, sports leagues will increase price of cable TV | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable TV is about to get more expensive for millions of consumers because of a bidding war between networks and the country’s most powerful sports leagues.

Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and scores of rural cable providers are tacking on sports surcharges each month, the direct result of higher fees they are paying to ESPN and other sports networks to carry their channels. Beginning Feb. 5, DirecTV will raise fees by 5.7 percent.

The rise in cable prices is likely to test the patience of customers, who may already be tempted to cut their cords in exchange for streaming options that will soon be available to them. For providers and customers, the creeping prices amount to a test — at what point will viewers decide it isn’t worth paying for cable anymore?

A flood of new options for watching TV are about to arrive this year, from HBO’s standalone service, set to launch this spring, to SlingTV, the new streaming option that will include ESPN, CNN and other popular channels.

The catalyst for the price increases is a slew of dealmaking between ESPN and the biggest professional sports leagues. Based on a recent deal, ESPN is estimated to pay $1.9 billion each year just for National Football League games. ESPN and TNT have signed a new $2.6 billion annual contract to carry National Basketball Association games. Analysts say these costs will get passed on to customers — slowly and steadily over the next decade.


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MN: Chisago County in midst of creating sustainable, equitable broadband | Chisago County Press

An issue that confronts business and commercial entrepreneurs making a choice on setting-up shop in Chisago County is the unreliable nature, or lack, of Internet capacity and speed for transmitting and receiving data.

Companies of all types need access to broadband for enhanced uploading of large files, for offering credit card transactions and lots more, said Chisago County HRA/EDA Director Nancy Hoffman.

The county’s Economic Development Authority has begun its work on the broadband issue, in partnership with the Blandin Foundation. Blandin announced its selections for broadband community partners in November.

Next Wednesday there will be a meeting of the Chisago County Broadband Steering Committee-- which has been pulled together over the last few weeks by Hoffman.

She has also been learning about services Blandin has to offer, and said she is looking forward to bringing broadband to where it’s most needed and providing it in a fair way across geographical boundaries, working with Chisago County community leaders.

The general public will be brought into the process probably in February or March through community meetings, Hoffman said.

The applications to be included in a sustainable broadband project will be made available later this year.

The first steering committee meeting is the one scheduled for January 28.

Blandin Foundation is calling this outreach/funding program “Border to Border Broadband: No Community Left Behind.”


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Why Obama Is in the Lead on High-Speed Internet Access Policy | Susan Crawford | Backchannel | Medium.com

Why Obama Is in the Lead on High-Speed Internet Access Policy - Backchannel - Medium

Five years ago, when the Obama administration was still wet behind the ears and hugely popular, the Obama Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a National Broadband Plan that talked a lot about the magic of spectrum but said almost nothing about competition policy. (The Plan did recommend in Section 8.19, “Congress should make clear that state, regional and local governments can build broadband networks.”)


In particular, the plan did not recommend that the FCC use its authority under the 1996 Telecommunications Act to act like a regulator when dealing with the providers of high-speed Internet access. Nor did the plan mention net neutrality. The idea was, apparently, that focusing on net neutrality — then seen as a polarizing, touchy subject — would doom the success of the plan, which got a big roll-out, a major media push and a splashy new Web site.

But in the last couple months everything changed. Few people still remember that we even have a National Broadband Plan. But the President has directly taken on the subject of high-speed Internet access with a kind of exuberant zeal. Net neutrality is no longer a radioactive term but a bopping slogan. He’s having fun, and he knows he’s right.

Let’s roll the tape. He made a major Law-Professor-in-Chief assertion in November that the FCC should use its existing legal authority and be a cop on the beat when it comes to high-speed Internet access. As he put it, “I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.”


The Commission had been tying itself in knots by simultaneously claiming that Internet access wasn’t a regulated service but was subject to “Open Internet” rules. The President seemed to understand that after this argument had twice been labeled a loser by the D.C. Circuit, “once more with feeling” was no longer a sustainable strategy. Enough was enough. Just regulate. (The legal shorthand for this step, “Title II,” rolled right off his tongue; clearly he’s heard a lot from many people about this issue.)

Then, last week in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the President was relaxed and on his game as he talked about basketball and midwestern weather. And then he praised the city for its “visionary” move of investing in a community network twenty years ago in order to “add another option to the market.” He went further: he applauded Cedar Rapids for noticing that people needed greater capacity and upgrading its public option to a fiber network. “Basically,” he said, “you guys were like the captain in Jaws, where he said, ‘We’re going to need a bigger boat.’” He got a laugh.

And he was strong: he said his administration would do everything in its power to lower the barriers created by 19 credulous state legislatures that now interfere with a mayor’s ability to call for better, more inexpensive Internet access over fiber optics.

To top it off, his State of the Union address this past week included a powerful signal to the FCC to stay the course. “I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world,” he said, his chin up.

Word is that we’ll soon have a raft of proposed FCC actions that do all these things: reclassify Internet access as a regulated service (which is what it used to be before we took a strange swerve into deregulation under then-FCC Chairman, now-cable advocate in chief Michael Powell); adopt genuine net neutrality rules under that new classification; say something about interconnection, so as to deal with the crushing power I described in Jammed; reject the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable; and block the effect of those interfering state laws.

Where did this Happy Warrior of telecom come from? And where was he five years ago?


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Google Finally Stops Playing Mute On Net Neutrality, Says New Rules Won't Hurt Google Fiber In The Slightest | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Google Finally Stops Playing Mute On Net Neutrality, Says New Rules Won't Hurt Google Fiber In The Slightest | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While Google was a major player in the net neutrality fight early on, the company performed a stark about-face on the issue sometime around 2010.


Google was responsible for co-writing the FCC's original, wimpy net neutrality rules alongside AT&T and Verizon, which were jam-packed with loopholes and ensured that wireless networks and devices weren't covered at all.


When called out on this, Google pretty feebly insisted they weren't being inconsistent, though it was clear to most folks that the company had shifted lobbying strategies in the hopes of fostering a better relationship across both sides of the political aisle.

As a result, when net neutrality supporters needed Google the most during the Title II debate, Google remained silent. Recently, when asked about net neutrality during press events, the company simply refused to comment.

Now that the Title II tide has shifted without Google's help, the company has re-entered the discussion to once again support meaningful net neutrality rules. We noted a few weeks ago that Google told the FCC in a filing that Title-II based rules could actually help their Google Fiber deployment by streamlining the utility pole attachment process.


Now in a conversation with the Washington Post, Google has made its clearest public statement in years regarding support for Title II net neutrality rules:


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The Smartest, Richest Companies Can't Crack Mobile. The Future Belongs to Anyone Who Can | Marcus Wohnsen | WIRED

The Smartest, Richest Companies Can't Crack Mobile. The Future Belongs to Anyone Who Can | Marcus Wohnsen | WIRED | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The world’s smartest and richest tech companies posted their quarterly earnings this week, and if you had to draw one lesson from the results, it’s this: mobile matters—more than anything.

The companies seeing the strongest growth—Apple and Facebook—are the ones with the most successful mobile strategies. The companies seeing declines, missing expectations, or falling short of their former glories—Google, Alibaba, and Microsoft—are the ones that can’t quite make mobile work for them. And in that faltering, opportunity opens up for the next great business idea—an idea not weighed down by the legacy of the desktop.

Yes, these are all huge companies with many moving parts that make the math behind their business successes and failures complex. But sometimes, applying Occam’s razor can be instructive.


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Canada's Telecoms Are Losing Subscribers .. So They're Hiking Prices | Daniel Tencer | HufdPost.com

Canada's Telecoms Are Losing Subscribers .. So They're Hiking Prices | Daniel Tencer | HufdPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Some of Canada’s largest wireless and internet providers are responding to shrinking subscriber numbers by extracting more money from those customers they still have.

In its fourth-quarter earnings report, released Thursday, Rogers Communications showed it had lost 103,000 TV customers over the past year, a roughly 5-per-cent decline. But revenue from TV declined only 2 per cent, indicating the company is taking in roughly 3 per cent more per customer.

Similarly, Rogers showed the number of postpaid wireless customers had shrunk by 1,000 over the past year, to 8,073,000 in total. But the average monthly revenue it collected per wireless subscriber grew by $1.09, to $67.43.

Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi notes that the damage to Rogers’ wireless subscriber numbers may have been strategic: The company is shedding its lower-profit subscriber plans to focus on high-profit ones.

This will “lead to greater profitability longer-term,” Yaghi wrote in a client note.

But in the short term consumers are seeing higher telecom prices. Data from StatsCan last fall showed wireless and landline prices jumping 7.6 per cent in Canada over the previous 12 months, more than triple the overall rate of inflation.

That’s a concern for consumer advocates, who argue that these price increases are made possible by insufficient competition in Canada’s telecom market.


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Vermont State Colleges selects Sovernet to strengthen data network | Sharon Combes-Farr | VTDigger

Sovernet Communications announced today that it has been awarded a contract by the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) to upgrade VSC’s redundant ISP connection, located at the Community College of Vermont (CCV) facility in Winooski. Under the terms of the two-year agreement, Sovernet provides primary Internet connectivity for CCV Winooski and backup Internet connectivity for all of the VSC system. CCV Winooski is one of more than 25 locations in the geographically diverse VSC college system.

“Having the Sovernet connection at CCV Winooski provides the security, diversity, and redundancy we need to protect vital data and ensure that we maintain Internet connectivity,” said Tom Maguire, Director of Network Services at Vermont State Colleges. “Installation was seamless.”

Last year, under a separate agreement, Sovernet began providing WAN services to 15 VSC sites throughout the state, including Lyndon State, Castleton State and Vermont Technical College campuses, and numerous CCV academic centers. The move to Sovernet’s state-of-the-art fiber network enabled a nearly ten-fold increase in connectivity speeds for the regionally dispersed VSC locations, while improving network reliability.


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An Important Data Lesson from an Inconsequential Football Scandal | Kaiser Fung | Harvard Biz Review

An Important Data Lesson from an Inconsequential Football Scandal | Kaiser Fung | Harvard Biz Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As “Deflategate” rattles the National Football League in the run-up to this year’s Super Bowl, data analysts have swooped in, including Warren Sharp, one of many self-styled football analysts who blog about the topic. In a Slate article he analyzes the fumbling rate of the New England Patriots — the team accused of purposefully underinflating footballs to gain an advantage. The headline to his analysis calls the Patriots’ fumble rate compared to the rest of the league “nearly impossible.”

Sharp, you might think, found the smoking gun — a statistic that proves that the Patriots cheated. Only a patient reader who persists to the last paragraph will see that Sharp ultimately admits that New England’s spectacular performance on the metric could be explained in any number of ways, including legitimate ones like perfecting ball security techniques or practicing prevention.

In short, the data say the Patriots are excellent at preventing fumbles. It says nothing about why.

This distinction represents one of big data analysis’ most under-appreciated problems: talking about reverse causation. In reverse causation problems, we know the result and we work backwards to understand the causes.

Reverse causation investigations have the opposite structure from A/B tests, in which we vary known causes, and observe how the variations affect an outcome. If the number of visitors to your website jumped after you changed the image on your Facebook page, you conclude that the new photo is the reason for the traffic surge. (Note: Good A/B test construction can help you see most likely causes; bad A/B test construction creates its own set of problems.).

By contrast, the biggest obstacle to solving reverse causation is the infinite number of possible causes that might influence the known outcome. This is compounded by the fact that we want to assign a cause. So when some data is plucked out of a large set that fits a narrative we may have already constructed, it’s very tempting to simply assign causation when it doesn’t exist.


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Netflix, Verizon get in last word on Internet rules | Mario Trujillo | The Hill

Companies like Netflix and Verizon and are getting in a last word before the Federal Communications Commission circulates its Internet rules next week.

They are keying in on the potential for expanded rules to govern the point of interconnection — where data is transferred from the backbone networks of the Internet to the last mile, where Internet service providers route the content to customers.

Netflix has pushed for net neutrality rules to govern interconnection, while Verizon and AT&T oppose it.

“It is important to recognize that in all of the Internet issues we are still working on the process," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said when asked about the issue Thursday. "Nothing has been decided."

The entire net neutrality proposal is nearly a year in the making after an appeals court struck down the commission’s previous rules in January 2014. Wheeler is expected to unveil a proposal to reclassify broadband Internet under regulations governing landline telephones. However, details of the proposal remain unclear.

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Lansing, MI: The speed of light | Belinda Thurston | Lansing City Pulse

Lansing, MI: The speed of light | Belinda Thurston | Lansing City Pulse | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

“Dear bringer of the Light(Speed) Gods, I am writing to you from the confines of the desert island (aka: The Westside Neighborhood south of 496) that is my home. I long for the days that I may bask in the Light(Speed) of your glory. Saith the, Oh Light(Speed) Gods... when shall my brethren and I that inhabit this barren wasteland of an island be in your presence, so that we may be released from the wretched curse (aka: Comcast) that has plagued our tiny island for far too long?

Sincerely, Your humble servant.”

This was posted onto Facebook last month by David Lucas of Lansing. He’s watched from the sidelines in 2014 as thousands of residential homes around Lansing were among the first to get fiber optic Internet piped to their homes touting speeds of 1 gigabit per second. That’s downloading a Blu-ray movie in under three minutes. That’s online gaming without interruption. It’s live television that streams like a dream.

These speeds of Internet are common in government, technology sectors and even higher education. But it’s been slow to arrive on the residential level due to the cost of laying the lines house by house.

Internet startup LightSpeed is the first local company to offer fiber optic Internet to the home.


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FCC Redefines Broadband As 25 Mbps, Angering Broadband Industry Perfectly Happy With Previous, Pathetic Standard | Karl Bode | Techdirt

FCC Redefines Broadband As 25 Mbps, Angering Broadband Industry Perfectly Happy With Previous, Pathetic Standard | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For a few months now, the FCC has been hinting that it was preparing to raise the base definition of broadband, and now it has officially made it happen. Voting 3-2 along party lines (because having goals is a partisan issue, you know), the agency declared that we're officially raising the standard definition of broadband from 4 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up to 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up.


That means, with the flip of a pdf announcement (pdf), millions of you technically no longer have broadband. In fact, with the FCC's decision the number of unserved broadband households has jumped from around 6% to somewhere around 20%.

That's largely thanks to the millions of users stuck on last-generation DSL in markets where phone companies lack the competitive incentive to upgrade. Placing greater attention on cable's growing broadband monopoly as AT&T and Verizon back away from unwanted DSL markets (to focus on wireless) was part of the agency's goal.


Not only do these companies not want to upgrade these DSL lines, they're paying for state laws that ensure nobody else can either. It's a paradigm that's needed smashing for most of the last decade, and few thought that Wheeler, a former cable and wireless lobbyist, was going to be the one to do it.


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