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Smart Grid debate turns heated - The Naperville Sun

A few hours after a group of volunteers filed a petition asking for a referendum on the Smart Grid project, the issue was the subject of a lively debate at the City Council meeting Tuesday night.

 

The $22 million Smart Grid project would see the installation of about 57,000 Smart Meters at residences and businesses around the city. Proponents say the program would modernize Naperville’s electrical system, increase reliability, reduce operating costs and improve efficiency. The project is funded partly by a matching federal grant.

 

Opponents, however, have said they have health concerns about the meters, think the project is too expensive and are also worried about the ability of people to hack into the system and glean information about residents.

 

The anti-Smart Grid group made its presence felt at the Council meeting, with the tone between them and Council members quickly turning acrimonious.

 

“Where are your numbers that there are very few people concerned,” Tom Glass asked pointedly.

 

Glass went on to criticize the City Council for limiting comments on the issue to 90 seconds.

 

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Mayor De Blasio Makes A $70M Commitment Toward Universal Broadband In New York City | Kim-Mai Cutler | TechCrunch

Mayor De Blasio Makes A $70M Commitment Toward Universal Broadband In New York City  | Kim-Mai Cutler | TechCrunch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In what is one of the most prominent financial commitments that an American city government has made toward universal broadband, the De Blasio administration is committing $70 million to bring affordable high-speed Internet to city residents.

Even though cities like New York and San Francisco are at the epicenter of the country’s burgeoning tech scenes, an astounding share of residents still lack access to the Internet. In New York, about one-fifth of the city’s households have no Internet connection and among the poorest families, that number jumps to 36 percent. Similarly in San Francisco, about 100,000 of the city’s roughly 850,000 residents don’t have Internet and those disparities often fall along racial lines with African-Americans and Latinos having the poorest levels of access.

As you might guess, this could have long-term impacts on how children learn how to use technology or how working-age residents get access to jobs, which are now often listed purely online. That has implications for social mobility and earnings.

When De Blasio was elected, he started recruiting long-time policy experts in universal broadband like Josh Breitbart, who worked on access for several years at the Open Technology Institute.

Now they’re laying out a plan and putting down a $70 million financial commitment over 10 years to make universal affordable broadband a reality — with most of that money being spent in the first two to three years.

“Broadband is no longer a luxury – it’s as central to education, jobs, businesses and our civic life as water and electricity,” said Maya Wiley, who serves as counsel to the mayor. “For the first time in the history of the City, broadband is in the capital budget.”

The way this plan will work is that $25 million will go toward new wireless corridors, which will deliver free or low-cost access to 20,000 low-income households. Another $7.5 million will go to upgrading or expanding at least five existing wireless corridors. Then $1.6 million in state funds will focus on broadband around industrial zones for at least 500 businesses.

Some of these wireless corridors are already in operation like the Harlem free wifi zone.

Then there will be about 1,500 kiosks by 2017. They are often repurposed phone booths that are equipped with high-speed Internet access, around all five boroughs (see the photo below). They offer up to 1 gigabit per second in speed plus free calling through a touchscreen. That model is partially advertising supported. Ultimately, there will be 7,500 of them.


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Wheeler confident FCC will beat Title II lawsuits | Andrew Berg | CED Magazine

Wheeler confident FCC will beat Title II lawsuits | Andrew Berg | CED Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the he's not worried about the dozen or so lawsuits now filed over the recently approved Open Internet rules.

"I said all along, the big dogs are going to sue," Wheeler said during an interview at TechCrunch's Disrupt New York event that was broadcast online. "There's nothing surprising about that."

Wheeler said that classifying Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under Title II of the Communications Act was the last thing that needed to be accomplished for the courts to rule in the FCC's favor. He referenced Verizon's lawsuit, which prevailed back in 2010, when the carrier challenged the notion that the FCC had jurisdiction over ISPs, which at the time it didn't.

Wheeler said that part of the reason the FCC decided to move on the Open Internet rules was the overwhelming public response in the form of 4 million online comments, of which he said about three quarters were in favor of Title II classification.

"The bulk of the comments indicated how when you're talking about the Internet, you're talking about something very personal to people," Wheeler said. "And they then used that personal media of theirs to express themselves. and that was signifcant."

Wheeler acknowledged that Republicans have not been kind to him after passage of the Open Internet rules, putting him through a total of five hearings on the subject in a matter of eight days. While Wheeler admitted it wasn't the most fun he's had, he also said that he respects Congress and will answer any questions at its behest.

When asked whether he would continue on as the Chairman of the FCC should he be asked to do so by the next President, Wheeler quipped, "I don't know. She hasn't asked me yet."


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What the Future of Gig Apps Will Bring? Five Cities Have Answers. | Craig Settles | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio

What the Future of Gig Apps Will Bring? Five Cities Have Answers. | Craig Settles | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Forward-thinking people in five U.S. cities hit the bleeding-edge of innovation this past weekend while answering the question, “what can we do with a gig?” The future of gig apps looks particularly bright according to French telecom company, Orange, which hosted this first-ever multi-city hackathon.

Will Barkis, Technologist for Orange Silicon Valley, gives us a rundown of some of the interesting applications and inventive solutions that can impact education, healthcare, entertainment and business. Those participating in GigHacks represent communities with citywide gigagit networks and those with plans on the drawing board.

San Francisco, CA

Orange GigaStudio paired with several Bay Area firm to leverage gig technology with a focus on online music collaboration, 360 video, VR use cases and video chat.

Kansas City, MO & KS

Teams formed to build pilots in virtual and augmented reality for the classroom, Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems for public safety and civic engagement, digital health and other technologies.

Chattanooga, TN

Orange partnered with several local businesses and the Chattanooga Public Library to leverage municipal broadband, GENI and a group of talented UT Chattanooga-GIGTANK Fellowship applicants

Burlington, VT

Advanced teams formed to leverage Burlington Telecom's fiber network in the areas of smart grid energy management, cyber-security, edu-gaming, food systems, and secure mobile health.

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte projects included cancer genome analysis, unstructured data analysis and visualization, video collaboration, energy innovation and civic engagement.


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US reviews use of cellphone spying technology | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com

US reviews use of cellphone spying technology | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Faced with criticism from lawmakers and civil rights groups, the U.S. Department of Justice has begun a review of the secretive use of cellphone surveillance technology that mimics cellphone towers, and will get more open on its use, according to a newspaper report.

The cell-site simulators, also referred to by other names such as “IMSI catchers” or Stingrays, operate by fooling mobile phones into believing that they are communicating with a legitimate cellphone tower, while harvesting data from the phone including its identity, location, metadata and even content of phone transmissions, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

One of the complaints of civil rights groups is that even when targeting a single phone, the technology can collect data on other phones in the area that connect to the simulator, raising privacy issues.

For years the Federal Bureau of Investigation used the technology without warrants, though recently the government has started approaching judges for search warrants, according to the report in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. The newspaper had reported last year that the devices, which were referred to as “dirtboxes,” were used by law enforcement from planes to track people on the ground.

Senior officials have also decided they have to be more open about the use of the devices. But there isn’t agreement within the DOJ yet about how much to reveal or how quickly, WSJ said.

Some legislators have objected strongly to the surveillance. In December, senators Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa asked the federal administration for information on the “potentially broad” exceptions to a new FBI policy to obtain a search warrant before using a cell-site simulator.


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New Bill Would Tie Retrans to Performance Payment | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

New Bill Would Tie Retrans to Performance Payment | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have reintroduced the Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act, a bill that is now a one-two punch aimed at broadcasters. The bill would stipulate that owners of both TV and radio stations could not seek retrans payments for their TV stations unless those co-owned radio stations paid a performance fee for music airplay.

The National Association of Broadcasters has been fighting congressional efforts, backed by record labels and artists, to legislate a performance royalty payment. Blackburn, who counts Nashville musicians among her constituents, has been a leading proponent of the payments and of legislation.

Broadcasters argue they already compensate artists through airplay that drives sales of their songs.

The second blow to broadcaster interests is an add-on to the bill that would prohibit the FCC from mandating radio chips in mobile devices. Broadcasters have been pushing for making those mobile devices broadcast receivers as well, given that many already have the chip but don't have it activated.


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Broadband goes local in Montana and New Mexico | Jim Barthold | Fierce Telecom

Broadband goes local in Montana and New Mexico | Jim Barthold | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The digital divide is being sliced in two Western states where a rural telecommunications provider, Nemont Telephone Cooperative of Scobey, Mont., and the city of Santa Fe, N.M., have taken it upon themselves to fill the gap between narrowband and broadband.

Nemont, in an announcement on its website, said it is launching Montana's "first gigabit community in Scobey, Mont.," for residential and commercial customers. In Santa Fe, the city's Economic Development Division is entering a crowded field of providers that include CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Cyber Mesa, NM Surf and other smaller companies in an effort to raise broadband speeds and lower broadband prices.

Of the two, Nemont is the more conventional and least threatening to incumbent service providers--and the one with by far the higher broadband speeds. The rural telecom has been deploying fiber in its 14,000-mile service territory since 2007 and now it's going to use Calix technology to meet its "ultra-fast gigabit needs," CEO Mike Kilgore said.

Santa Fe's actions are a bit more contentious and the speeds being promised a lot slower. City officials are touting a municipal infrastructure that will hike average speeds from 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps. CenturyLink, for one, said it provides 40 Mbps of residential speeds and doesn't think it's necessary for the city to invest $1 million in its own broadband infrastructure. The city said its speed claims are a median average derived from speedtest.net.


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Blocking Comcast Is a Start. But if We Want Better Broadband, We Need Much More. | Peter Kafka | Re/Code.net

Blocking Comcast Is a Start. But if We Want Better Broadband, We Need Much More. | Peter Kafka | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Critics of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal made convincing arguments that it would be bad for consumers, and for the media companies that want to deliver stuff to consumers on the Internet.

Astonishingly, Washington listened.

But in the end, killing the Comcast* deal just maintains the status quo. And when it comes to broadband Internet in the U.S., the status quo is pretty lousy: Most people who want high-speed access are stuck with a single provider, with no incentive to provide better speeds, quality or service.

A U.S. Department of Commerce report, produced a few months ago, lays it out clearly. If you define “broadband” as speeds of 25 megabits per second, as federal regulators want to do, only 37 percent of the population has any choice at all when it comes to providers. And most of that group is looking at a duopoly, likely split up between a cable TV company and a telco. Only 9 percent of the country has real choice — 3 options or more.


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Shareholder value vs. the public interest & the Comcast/TWC deal | Mitchell Shapiro | Michigan State University

Over the past several days I’ve seen a number of post-mortems on the decision by Comcast to drop its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable after it became clear regulators weren’t going to approve the deal. Two items in particular caught my attention over the weekend: a piece by Eric Lipton in the New York Times discussing Comcast’s not-so-successful lobbying effort in Congress, and an interview with Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts on Squawk Box, a program carried on CNBC, a cable network owned by Comcast since it acquired NBCUniversal roughly two years ago.

One of the things that struck me about the CNBC interview is that it clearly illustrates one perspective on the deal and Comcast’s impressive growth, and on the net value of regulation. I’d call this the “investor” perspective. From this perspective, the key metrics for evaluating Comcast, its actions and external factors impacting the company (e.g., regulation) are tied directly to the company’s ability to “maximize shareholder value,” something Brian Roberts and his team have been very good at over the years.

In contrast, the focus of the Times piece was concerns about the merger’s likely impact on the public interest rather than on shareholder value.


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 25 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 25 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The big news this week was about the fall of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. We like to think it was because of our incredibly brilliant, insightful (also: "witty", "pithy", "charming"...) letter to Comcast.

Once Comcast’s Deal Shifted to a Focus on Broadband, Its Ambitions Were Sunk By JONATHAN MAHLER, New York Times

At the end of the day, the government’s commitment to maintaining a free and open Internet did not square with the prospect of a single company controlling as much as 40 percent of the public’s access to it… it didn’t really matter if Comcast and Time Warner’s cable markets overlapped. The real issue was broadband.

Blocking Comcast Is a Start. But if We Want Better Broadband, We Need Much More by Peter Kafka, Re/Code

'Fast, fair and open:' FCC Chairman lays out his big picture for broadband, WRAL TechWire

In case you missed it, here is a transcript of Chairman Wheeler’s remarks to Broadband Communities in Austin.

“Our idea of rock stars would be the leaders of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina.”

Community Broadband News by State


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VT: ECFiber Seeks New Business Model Designation | community broadband networks

VT: ECFiber Seeks New Business Model Designation | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

ECFiber hopes to transform its business model in order to attract investors, reported Valley News in February.


The organization is now an "inter-local contract," an entity somewhat unique to Vermont, but seeks to change to a "telecommunications union district." Similar to a municipal utility district, the telecommunications union district is created by two or more municipalities. The new business model would not change ECFiber's governance or require financial support from local towns but officials believe it would attract more outside investors.

Last year, ECFiber announced it would expand in 2015, seeking large scale funding to help speed up deployment. Since 2008, the organization has raised over $6 million for deployment from individual investors and now serves more than 1,000 subscribers.


Unfortunately, this method financing slows expansion. The results are bad for ECFiber and bad for local consumers:


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Insiders Claim Regulators to Sign Off on AT&T DirecTV Deal | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

While Comcast's merger ambitions are now dead, there's every indication that the FCC and DOJ will let AT&T's $48 billion acquisition of DirecTV move forward. Insiders claim the deal poses "far fewer problems" than the massive scale and impact of the Comcast deal. Regulators also so far believe AT&T's claims that eliminating DirecTV from the pay TV market will somehow improve broadband coverage for rural customers, anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal:

quote:


The Federal Communications Commission sees the AT&T deal as helping competition and aiding the spread of broadband into rural areas that lack service, people familiar with the matter said.

The problem is that outside of perhaps some wireless broadband, satellite TV service mash ups, not much will actually change in AT&T's broadband deployment plans, which include pushing LTE everywhere, hanging up on unwanted DSL users, and deploying fiber to the home to a relatively few, affluent housing developments. AT&T has long used the promise of broadband expansion as a carrot on a stick for regulators, though said expansions often tend to be phantoms.


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The Information Age Is Over. Welcome to the Infrastructure Age. | Annalee Newitz | Gizmodo

The Information Age Is Over. Welcome to the Infrastructure Age. | Annalee Newitz | Gizmodo | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nobody wants to say it outright, but the Apple Watch sucks. So do most smartwatches. Every time I use my beautiful Moto 360, its lack of functionality makes me despair. But the problem isn’t our gadgets. It’s that the future of consumer tech isn’t going to come from information devices. It’s going to come from infrastructure.

That’s why Elon Musk’s announcements of the new Tesla battery line last night were more revolutionary than Apple Watch and more exciting than Microsoft’s admittedly nifty HoloLens. Information tech isn’t dead — it has just matured to the point where all we’ll get are better iterations of the same thing. Better cameras and apps for our phones. VR that actually works. But these are not revolutionary gadgets. They are just realizations of dreams that began in the 1980s, when the information revolution transformed the consumer electronics market.

But now we’re we’re entering the age of infrastructure gadgets. Thanks to devices like Tesla’s household battery, Powerwall, electrical grid technology that was once hidden behind massive barbed wire fences, owned by municipalities and counties, is now seeping slowly into our homes. And this isn’t just about alternative energy like solar. It’s about how we conceive of what technology is. It’s about what kinds of gadgets we’ll be buying for ourselves in 20 years.

It’s about how the kids of tomorrow won’t freak out over terabytes of storage. They’ll freak out over kilowatt-hours.

Beyond transforming our relationship to energy, though, the infrastructure age is about where we expect computers to live. The so-called internet of things is a big part of this. Our computers aren’t living in isolated boxes on our desktops, and they aren’t going to be inside our phones either. The apps in your phone won’t always suck you into virtual worlds, where you can escape to build treehouses and tunnels in Minecraft. Instead, they will control your home, your transit, and even your body.

Once you accept that the thing our ancestors called the information superhighway will actually be controlling cars on real-life highways, you start to appreciate the sea change we’re witnessing. The internet isn’t that thing in there, inside your little glowing box. It’s in your washing machine, kitchen appliances, pet feeder, your internal organs, your car, your streets, the very walls of your house. You use your wearable to interface with the world out there.

It makes perfect sense to me that a company like Tesla could be at the heart of the new infrastructure age. Musk’s focus has always been relentlessly about remolding the physical world, changing the way we power our transit — and, with SpaceX, where future generations might live beyond Earth. The opposite of cyberspace is, well, physical space. And that’s where Tesla is taking us.


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For mobile operators, sharing is caring | De Wet Bisschoff & Hennie de Villiers | TechCentral

For mobile operators, sharing is caring | De Wet Bisschoff & Hennie de Villiers | TechCentral | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Co-location allows for a more sustainable financial model that can bolster operator revenues, take pressure off consumers and increase network penetration in underserviced areas.

The telecommunications landscape has changed significantly in the past decade due to pricing pressure, rising network costs and evolving consumer demands.

According to Ovum, average revenue per user (Arpu) is forecast to decline at 16% globally (and at a faster 19% in South Africa) between 2012 and 2019. Related to this, data demand will drive 4G/LTE traffic, to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 110% from 2014 to 2019. Data is also driving future revenue, with LTE revenues in the Middle East and Africa predicted to grow from 23% of total radio access network revenues in 2015 to 67% in 2019.

To add to this, over-the-top services and increasing adoption of the Internet of things are presenting new challenges for operators.

Essentially, operators find themselves in a “perfect storm”, with margin pressures weighing heavily on current business models. The net effect will be that consumers are increasingly bearing the costs of connectivity, as witnessed in the recent pricing adjustments by South African operators.

In the circumstances, how can operators provide better services, supported by a financially sustainable business model?


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Charter Chief Considers Adding Netflix And Skinny Bundles - And TWC? | David Lieberman | Deadline.com

Charter Chief Considers Adding Netflix And Skinny Bundles - And TWC? | David Lieberman | Deadline.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The most surprising news from Charter Communications’ call with analysts this morning didn’t involve any plans to buy Time Warner Cable — although CEO Tom Rutledge says he’s still talking with Bright House Networks to possibly revive his company’s $10.4 billion acquisition. (More on that in a moment.) It’s what he’s doing with his current cable systems which serve about 4.2 million subscribers: He’s open to offering Netflix and other streaming services directly to his TV customers. In addition, he’s looking at crafting so-called skinny bundles of lower cost TV packages with fewer channels.

Most cable companies consider Internet video services to be competitors. As a result, they require subscribers who want to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu to switch away from TV input where the cable box feeds programming.

Rutledge says he now believes “we can mix those products into products that we sell to satisfy the customer’s entire video needs.” That would effectively treat the subscription streaming services as premium cable channels, like HBO, Showtime or Starz.


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Comcast Spent $336 Million On Failed Merger | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

Comcast Spent $336 Million On Failed Merger | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The uncertainty of the now dead Time Warner Cable merger certainly didn't hurt Comcast's broadband growth. According to the company's latest earnings report, Comcast continued to slowly bleed video subscribers (8,000 lost on the quarter) but added 407,000 high-speed Internet subscribers.

The company's earnings state that Comcast spent $99 million during the first quarter on trying to get the merger approved, bringing the price tag for the full merger attempt to around $336 million. Of course Comcast saw a net income of $2.1 billion on revenues of $17.9 billion during just the last three months.

"At Comcast, we have great products and technologies, and we were excited about bringing these capabilities to additional cities," CEO Brian Roberts told attendees of the company's earnings call. "The government ultimately didn’t see it the same way."

Of course it wasn't the offering of new products the government took issue with. It was, according to many reports, Comcast's failure to adhere to NBC merger conditions -- combined with the company's sheer size and market leverage (they would have served 57% of all broadband subscribers in the country) that gave regulators pause.


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ACLU: NSA phone dragnet should be killed not amended | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

ACLU: NSA phone dragnet should be killed not amended | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Congress should kill the section of the Patriot Act that has allowed the National Security Agency to collect millions of phone records from the nation’s residents, instead of trying to amend it, a civil liberties advocate said Friday.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the NSA to collect phone records, business records and any other “tangible things” related to an anti-terrorism investigation, expires in June, and lawmakers should let it die, said Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to approve a bill to amend that section of the anti-terrorism law. The USA Freedom Act would end the NSA’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records by narrowing the scope of the agency’s searches, backers of the bill said.

The USA Freedom Act “does not go far enough” to protect U.S. residents from surveillance, Guliani said during a debate about section 215 hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus. While the bill doesn’t allow NSA searches by state or even zip codes, it would still allow the search of the records of “several hundred people who might share an IP address” over a wireless network, or records on an entire company, she said.

The bill also doesn’t require the NSA to purge the records of innocent people it collects while targeting someone with suspected ties to terrorism, she said. “Section 215 was an unprecedented expansion of intelligence agency authority,” she added. “It’s time for that provision to sunset and return to an infrastructure that’s more respectful of privacy.”

Other speakers defended the USA Freedom Act, saying it makes significant improvements in protections of privacy and civil liberties. The bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a good first step toward fixing overzealous surveillance practices, said Chris Calabrese, senior policy director at digital rights group the Center for Democracy and Technology.


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How to Make it On Social Media Without Really Trying | Doug Bock Clark | The New Republic

How to Make it On Social Media Without Really Trying | Doug Bock Clark | The New Republic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every morning, Kim Casipong strolls past barbed wire, six dogs, and a watchman in order to get to her job in a pink apartment building decorated with ornate stonework in Lapu-Lapu City. The building towers above the slums surrounding it—houses made of scrap wood with muddy goat pens in place of yards. She is a pretty, milk-skinned, 17-year-old girl who loves the movie Frozen and whose favorite pastime is singing karaoke. She is on her way to do her part in bringing down Facebook.

Casipong huffs to the third floor of the apartment building, opens a door decorated with a crucifix, and greets her co-workers. The curtains are drawn, and the artificial moonlight of computer screens illuminates the room. Eight workers sit in two rows, their tools arranged on their desks: a computer, a minaret of cell phone SIM cards, and an old cell phone. Tens of thousands of additional SIM cards are taped into bricks and stored under chairs, on top of computers, and in old instant noodle boxes around the room.

Richard Braggs, Casipong’s boss, sits at a desk positioned behind his employees, occasionally glancing up from his double monitor to survey their screens. Even in the gloom, he wears Ray-Ban sunglasses to shield his eyes from the glare of his computer. (“Richard Braggs” is the alias he uses for business purposes; he uses a number of pseudonyms for various online activities.)

Casipong inserts earbuds, queues up dance music—Paramore and Avicii—and checks her client’s instructions. Their specifications are often quite pointed. A São Paulo gym might request 75 female Brazilian fitness fanatics, or a Castro-district bar might want 1,000 gay men living in San Francisco. Her current order is the most common: Facebook profiles of beautiful American women between the ages of 20 and 30. Once they’ve received the accounts, the client will probably use them to sell Facebook likes to customers looking for an illicit social media boost.

Most of the accounts Casipong creates are sold to these digital middlemen—“click farms” as they have come to be known. Just as fast as Silicon Valley conjures something valuable from digital ephemera, click farms seek ways to create counterfeits. Google “buy Facebook likes” and you’ll see how easy it is to purchase black-market influence on the Internet: 1,000 Facebook likes for $29.99; 1,000 Twitter followers for $12; or any other type of fake social media credential, from YouTube views to Pinterest followers to SoundCloud plays. Social media is now the engine of the Internet, but that engine is running on some pretty suspect fuel.

Casipong plays her role in hijacking the currencies of social media—Facebook likes, Twitter followers—by performing the same routine over and over again.


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Google’s Project Fi + Free Muni Wi-Fi = Customer Savings + Carrier Disruption | Mitchell Shapiro | Michigan State University

Google’s Project Fi + Free Muni Wi-Fi = Customer Savings + Carrier Disruption | Mitchell Shapiro | Michigan State University | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday Google officially announced Project Fi, its much anticipated wireless service, which I’ve previously blogged and tweeted about during its pre-announcement rumor/leak phase. Now that more details, including pricing, are available directly from Google, an updated post seems in order, especially following recent posts about newly launched municipal Wi-Fi services in NYC and Boston (later on this post I’ll consider how these two developments may be related and synergistic).

As expected, Google’s wireless service will route user traffic over a mix of Wi-Fi connections and, via MVNO arrangements with Sprint and T-Mobile, the two carriers’ cellular networks. This “three network” approach alone makes the service pretty unique. In a blog post yesterday, VP of Communications Products Nick Fox explains:

As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve verified as fast and reliable. Once you’re connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you’re not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places…If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat.

The Project Fi FAQ page explains further that its “software is optimized to not put extra strain on your battery by only moving you between networks when absolutely necessary.”


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Sibley County, MN: Economic Development and Fiber | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

Sibley County, MN: Economic Development and Fiber | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the main reasons smaller communities give for wanting fiber networks is economic development. They believe that fiber will help them attract new jobs or keep existing jobs. There are examples where fiber networks have led to these two things directly, but it’s not always so clear cut

I know one rural town that can attribute over 700 new jobs directly to fiber. The call centers and defense firms that came to the town said that fiber was the main reason they chose that community. And I know of another town that built fiber and was able to convince the major employer in town not to relocate elsewhere.

But economic development is a funny thing and fiber projects often don’t lead to these kinds of direct home runs — where fiber is the major reason for economic improvement. I saw an announcement this morning that shows there’s often a more tenuous line between cause and effect. The city of Gaylord, Minnesota just announced that a medical school is going to be built there. Gaylord is a small city in a rural county in Minnesota that is known more for growing Del Monte corn and producing ethanol than they are for attracting things like a medical school.

But Gaylord is in Sibley County which has been actively pursuing fiber for over five years. They are within months of completing financing and starting construction of a county-wide fiber network that is going to pass homes and businesses in 10 towns and the surrounding farms. Gaylord learned about the potential for attracting the medical school as part of their investigation into building fiber, and without the fiber initiative they would never have known about or pursued the medical school.

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Maxico: Televisa’s Cablecom acquisition has led to ‘substantial power’ in 99 markets | TeleGeography.com

Mexican regulator Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) has declared that broadcasting giant Grupo Televisa now has ‘substantial power’ in 99 markets across the country, chiefly as a result of its August 2014 acquisition of Cablecom.


Ifetel will now issue a draft resolution regarding its findings and take ‘necessary measures to prevent harm to competition in these markets’. The regulator’s ruling comes at a time when Televisa is being probed for its possible nationwide dominance in the pay-TV sector.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in August last year Grupo Televisa paid MXN8.55 billion (USD654 million) to acquire the 49% of shares in triple-play cable network operator Cablecom that it did not already own. In August 2013 Televisa paid an initial MXN7 billion for a 51% controlling stake in Cablecom, which is understood to operate in 16 Mexican states.

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Poll: Backhaul Presents 5G's Biggest Challenge | Sarah Thomas | Light Reading

Poll: Backhaul Presents 5G's Biggest Challenge | Sarah Thomas | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When it comes to 5G, there are no shortage of potential challenges, but -- according to one third of those who voted in a recent Light Reading poll -- upgrading backhaul to support the enormous amount of traffic coming to 5G is the biggest challenge the industry will face.

In our poll of nearly 500 readers, 31% said that backhaul was 5G's biggest challenge, followed by "too many consortiums trying to influence the standards process" at 19%. Another 16% selected "backwards compatibility with 4G, 3G and even some 2G networks," 13% said "meeting challenging and diverse performance targets," 9% chose "future-proofing the network for the next ten years" and 8% selected "ensuring 5G networks are secure." (See 5G Challenges.)

Here's another look at the survey results, excluding the 4% of voters who selected "other" for 5G's biggest challenge.


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Analyst: U.S. carriers and Dish now hold spectrum worth $368B | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless

Analyst: U.S. carriers and Dish now hold spectrum worth $368B | Phil Goldstein | Fierce Wireless | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. wireless carriers along with Dish Network sit on wireless spectrum worth around $368 billion collectively, according to a report from a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs.

That sky-high valuation is a result of the AWS-3 spectrum auction, according to Goldman Sachs analyst Brett Feldman. The auction raised a record $41.329 billion in net winning bids, and was for mid-band spectrum, which the wireless carriers already had quite a bit of going into the auction. As a result of the bidding, the carriers' existing holdings and the spectrum they acquired in the AWS-3 auction are now worth more than they were before the auction, which ended in late January.


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Ritter/Fidelity Regional Fiber Network Eliminates Internet Middlemen | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor

Ritter/Fidelity Regional Fiber Network Eliminates Internet Middlemen | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new regional fiber network built by two small local telcos not only will bring higher-speed connectivity to communities in six states. It also should enhance users’ Internet experience in another way: It will minimize the number of carriers underlying users’ end-to-end Internet connection, which should help minimize latency – an increasingly important consideration as the Internet increasingly supports real-time offerings such as video streaming services.

The new regional fiber network comes from Arkansas-based Ritter Communications and Missouri-based Fidelity Communications and will support broadband connections between 10 Mbps and 100 Gbps. The network will link Dallas and Memphis, serving rural communities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.


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Quantum leap: IBM scientists lay the foundations for a practical, scalable quantum computer | Dario Borghino | GizMag.com

Quantum leap: IBM scientists lay the foundations for a practical, scalable quantum computer | Dario Borghino | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

IBM scientists have unveiled two crucial advances toward the creation of a practical quantum computer: an effective way to detect and correct quantum errors, and the design of a silicon chip that can scale up to house a large number of entangled quantum bits.
The power of quantum computing

Transistors in classical computers can only shrink so far. The current generation of transistors is 14 nanometers in size, meaning that only about thirty silicon atoms fit between the transistor’s "source" and "drain," the two ends of the electronic switch. Once that number gets reduced to only about four or five silicon atoms, the uncertainty brought on by quantum mechanic effects will make it impossible for such a switch to function properly. Electrons will spontaneously and randomly jump from one end of the other in unpredictable ways, creating a current even when the switch is off.

The idea behind quantum computers  –  first advanced by Richard Feynmann in 1981  –  is to harness quantum effects rather than see them as an obstacle. This is done not by building a more advanced transistor, but instead by harnessing the much greater potential of quantum information.


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Why ISPs Should Stop Forwarding Piracy Settlement Demands | TorrentFreak

Why ISPs Should Stop Forwarding Piracy Settlement Demands | TorrentFreak | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There are many ways copyright holders approach today’s “online piracy problem.”

Some prefer to do it through innovation, while others prefer educational messages, warnings or even lawsuits. Another group is aiming to generate revenue by obtaining lots of small cash settlements.

Rightscorp and CEG TEK have chosen the latter model. Their emails are sent as regular DMCA notices which many ISPs then forward to their customers, often with a settlement demand included.

Both companies send millions of warnings to U.S. Internet providers every year, but how these are handled varies per ISP. Some, including Charter, forward the entire notice, while others such as Comcast strip out the settlement details.

To find out more about the legality of these notices, and the options Internet providers and subscribers have, TorrentFreak sat down with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) staff attorney Mitch Stoltz.


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