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Seattle leasing dark fiber: a good start, but more needs to be done

Govtech reports that “Seattle is thinking about leasing some of the city’s 500 miles of unused dark fiber to private companies, hoping that ultra-fast broadband connections will result.” The most important word in that sentence is “hoping”. Why? Because getting each home and business in Seattle to have access to fiber optic broadband connections will take more, much more, than leasing dark fiber to broadband companies.

 

It is true that a city which leases its dark fiber to service providers for a low fee will lower the cost for these service providers, allowing the latter to offer lower cost higher speed broadband service. However, it does not address the cost of the last mile or literally, the last hundred meters. What is to be done about that? Digging up streets and sidewalks is very expensive, but using the fiber network as backhaul and utilizing wireless as the “last mile” has proven to be successful. Case in point: Webpass in San Francisco.

 

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NWI: Leaving tech center a sign of success | Karen Caffarini | Post-Tribune.com

NWI: Leaving tech center a sign of success | Karen Caffarini | Post-Tribune.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In one room of the Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana (NWI), phone IT professionals from as far away as France and Costa Rica are nearing the end of a two-week advanced class on the CISCO phone system.

In another, students learn how to become ultrasound technicians, using a machine to probe an actual heart. Elsewhere in the building, people are doing cancer research.

The modern 60,000-square-foot building, which is turning 10 in July, is almost 70 percent full with 40 tenants, about 95 percent of which are tech-related in one way or another, according to operations manager David LaMere.

LaMere said the center, part of the Purdue Research Park in Ameriplex at the Crossroads at 101st and Broadway, gets new tenants all the time, which in its case, is a positive.

An incubator designed to help start-up companies with the aid of conference rooms, videoconferencing capabilities and a receptionist and telephone answering service, the hope is that tenants grow and move on to their own, larger spaces.

"Tenants can stay here a year or forever," he said.

One success case has grown and decided to expand in the center.

IT hardware and software solutions firm CSO IT Procurement went from one small office to four, one of which houses its data center, vice president Ray Govert said.

"The Purdue Tech Center is a perfect fit for us. It's affiliated with Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, IN and we're involved in education. It's looking for upstart companies and has conference rooms for up to 50 to 60 people. We're just getting rolling and need some conference space," Govert said.


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KS: Jeff Fluhr to head new, broader Wichita economic development effort | Dan Voorhis | The Wichita Eagle

KS: Jeff Fluhr to head new, broader Wichita economic development effort | Dan Voorhis | The Wichita Eagle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Saying it’s time to speed up the area’s economic growth, senior Wichita business leaders went public with a plan Friday to reorganize and broaden the area’s economic development apparatus.

They also changed personnel: Jeff Fluhr, president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corp., will head a new economic development umbrella group, the Greater Wichita Partnership.

Tim Chase is out as head of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition.

The Greater Wichita Partnership will oversee the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, Wichita Downtown Development Corp. and committees working on education and entrepreneurship – and the partnership could eventually extend to include other groups throughout the community and region.


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Can a happy, crunchy company like Etsy really survive on Wall Street? | Drew Harwell | WashPost.com

Can a happy, crunchy company like Etsy really survive on Wall Street? | Drew Harwell | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When American companies go public, most make a promise — that they will “maximize shareholder value” — without saying exactly what those three words mean. Does that include paying hard-working employees minimum wage? Jacking up prices? Or cutting jobs even when they make a profit?

Then there's Etsy, the online bazaar of often bizarre artisanal wares that set Thursday for its stock debut. When it announced its initial public offering last month, the Brooklyn-based craft marketplace made it clear that it valued social consciousness more than making sure stockholders made the most dough.

“For decades now, the conventional and dominant retail model has relentlessly focused on delivering goods at the lowest price, valuing products and profit over community,” Etsy chief executive Chad Dickerson wrote in securities filings. “I do not believe that this race to the bottom is a sustainable, successful model. ... If we succeed, then other companies might replicate our model. We think the world will be a better place for it.”

Etsy's share price roughly doubled on its first day on the market, ending Thursday at $30 and helping the firm raise about $300 million. Valuing the company at about $3 billion, investors made Etsy one of the largest initial public offerings for a tech company this year.

Etsy leaders said they hope the offering will give them more visibility in a crowded tech marketplace and leave them with cash they need to grow. But Etsy's long-term success on the stock market will be determined largely by just how much conscious capitalism Wall Street investors are willing to bet on.

If too many are turned off by all the hand-holding and altruism, Etsy's stock price could sink — or, as some Etsy regulars worry, the firm could give in, and become exactly the type of company they hoped to avoid.


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A crisis in telecommunications infrastructure as Moore's Law turns 50 | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

A crisis in telecommunications infrastructure as Moore's Law turns 50 | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Silicon Valley marks 50 years of Moore's Law - ContraCostaTimes.com: Thanks to Moore's Law, people carry smartphones in their pocket or purse that are more powerful than the biggest computers made in 1965 -- or 1995, for that matter. Without it, there would be no slender laptops, no computers powerful enough to chart a genome or design modern medicine's lifesaving drugs. Streaming video, social media, search, the cloud -- none of that would be possible on today's scale.

"It fueled the information age," said Craig Hampel, chief scientist at Rambus, a Sunnyvale semiconductor company. "As you drive around Silicon Valley, 99 percent of the companies you see wouldn't be here" without cheap computer memory due to Moore's Law.

As I've blogged in this space before, Moore's Law is directly affecting and redefining Internet telecommunications where bandwidth demand is growing at a pace comparable to microprocessor capacity.

That's creating a crisis because the fiber optic telecommunications infrastructure serving homes, businesses and institutions that's needed to accommodate this growth isn't in place in most areas or plans drawn up for its construction and financing.


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 17 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 17 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This week, Christopher Mitchell of the ILSR traveled to Austin, Texas for the Broadband Communities Conference. It was great to connect with so many people doing great work and build on the energy we are seeing across the country. Onward!

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Pokes Finger in Eye of Telecom Incumbents at Broadband Communities in Austin by Drew Clark, BroadbandBreakfast.com

Wheeler Talks Up Pre-emption Says There Are Serious Questions About ISP Competition by John Eggerton, MultiChannel

Just to reiterate:

"The Commission respects the important role of state governments in our federal system," he said, "and we do not take the matter of preempting state laws lightly. But it is a well-established principle that state laws that inhibit the exercise of federal policy may be subject to preemption in appropriate circumstances. My position on this matter was shaped by a few irrefutable broadband truths:

  • You can't say you're for broadband - but endorse limits on who can offer it,
  • You can't follow Congress' explicit instruction to 'remove barriers' to infrastructure investment - but endorse barriers to infrastructure investment,
  • And you can't say you're for competition - but deny local elected officials the right to offer competitive choices."


National broadband summit aims to 'Gigafy America' WRAL TechWire


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The FTC wants to talk about the ‘sharing economy’ | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

The FTC wants to talk about the ‘sharing economy’ | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Internet and mobile apps have made it easier than ever to convert underused assets into extra cash via the so-called "sharing economy." And tech companies that provide the infrastructure for these markets including Airbnb and Uber have expanded dramatically in recent years.

And now the Federal Trade Commission wants to talk about what it means for consumers. The agency announced Friday it will host a public workshop to "examine competition, consumer protection, and economic issues raised by the proliferation of online and mobile peer-to peer business platforms" in June.

“We are seeing a dramatic growth in products and services that are built on peer-to-peer platforms, such as ride-sharing and property rentals, as more entrepreneurs harness the power of technology to reach more consumers,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a press release. “Through our workshop, we want to better understand the competitive impact of these new business models, as well as their interactions with existing regulatory frameworks.”

A recent report from PwC estimated that five key "sharing-sectors" -- travel, car sharing, finance, staffing, and music and video streaming -- have global revenues of roughly $15 billion dollars and could increase to around $335 billion by 2025. But with that economic growth comes questions about how to regulate new services that are disrupting established markets.


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CenturyLink appeals net neutrality decision | Fierce Telecom

CenturyLink appeals net neutrality decision | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink, Inc. today filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality order on the grounds that it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and a violation of federal law.

"CenturyLink invests hundreds of millions of dollars a year to build, maintain and update an open Internet network and does not block or degrade lawful content. However, the FCC has chosen to subjugate the Internet to government-controlled public utility regulations from the 1930s. These regulations not only have no place in the 21st century economy, but will chill innovation and investment. We are challenging the FCC's misguided net neutrality order for these reasons and because we believe it could lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers."

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Agency Overseeing Obama Trade Deals Filled With Former Trade Lobbyists | Lee Fang | The Intercept

Agency Overseeing Obama Trade Deals Filled With Former Trade Lobbyists | Lee Fang | The Intercept | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Office of the United States Trade Representative, the agency responsible for negotiating two massive upcoming trade deals, is being led by former lobbyists for corporations that stand to benefit from the deals, according to disclosure forms obtained by The Intercept.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free trade accord between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a similar agreement between the U.S. and the E.U.

The Obama administration is pushing hard to complete both deals, which it says will increase U.S. trade opportunities. Critics say the deals will provide corporate interests with sweeping powers to challenge banking and environmental regulations.

Here is information on three major figures in the Trade Representative’s office, gleaned from their disclosure forms:


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Fond du Lac, WI: Former coffee shop to become apartments, biz incubator Grant Rogers | FDL Reporter

Fond du Lac, WI: Former coffee shop to become apartments, biz incubator Grant Rogers | FDL Reporter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new business incubator space to help budding entrepreneurs move from their garages on to Main Street that’s being added to a downtown building could boost Fond du Lac’s growing startup scene, according to city and economic development leaders.

Slinger-based Loeber Property Investments has begun renovation work on the empty building at 131 South Main Street that last housed Cool Beans and Bagels. The four-story building has sat empty since the shop closed in September 2013, and the city has considered it “blighted.”

Plans for the renovation include 19 apartments on the top three stories and making space for retail and commercial businesses on the first floor, said Jim Loeber, whose company owns the building. On the lower level, Loeber plans to create an incubator space for new or smaller businesses or nonprofits looking to rent a space with Internet connectivity and furnishings.

It’s a step above working from home, and having even a small office space can help with a business be more visible to the public, Loeber said.

“It’s allowing people to get out of whatever space they’re in to be able to get a shingle out there,” he said. “To be able to be seen.”

There’s a growing need for startup space in Fond du Lac, as government and economic development leaders increasingly focus on nurturing homegrown businesses and connecting them with resources, said Steve Jenkins, president of the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation. In September, the corporation and 14 other organizations formed a partnership called IGNITE! Business Success to help mentor local entrepreneurs on a topics from creating business plans to launching and growing.


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You Can't Have a Functioning Democracy Without High Quality Infrastructure | Op-Ed | Truth-Out.org

You Can't Have a Functioning Democracy Without High Quality Infrastructure | Op-Ed | Truth-Out.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We can't have a strong country without strong infrastructure.

Earlier this week, Josh and Vanessa Ellis and their 8-month-old son Hudson were killed after debris from a highway overpass in Bonney Lake, Washington fell onto their pickup truck as they were driving through.

According to authorities, a large piece of concrete barrier fell from the overpass onto the Ellis' truck. The overpass was undergoing a construction project at the time.

The tragic deaths of Josh, Vanessa and Hudson Ellis are yet another reminder that US infrastructure is literally crumbling.

Take our nation's bridges and tunnels for example.

Right now, there are over 600,000 bridges in the US that have been labeled as "structurally deficient."

In 2007, a bridge collapse on I-35 in Minneapolis killed 13 people and injured 145 others.

In 2013, a bridge on I-5 in Washington State collapsed, sending three people plunging into a river. Luckily, they were all rescued.

And, in 2006, a section of concrete ceiling panels in Boston's Fort Point Channel tunnel fell on a car, killing a passenger in that car and severely injuring the driver.

But it's not just our bridges and tunnels that are in disrepair.

All across the US, roads are buckling, electrical grids are failing and transport systems are aging.

The richest country in the world is looking more and more like a developing nation each day.

The situation is so bad that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the US a D+ overall rating on its 2013 infrastructure report card.

The ASCE gave our bridges a C+, our roads a D, our transit systems a D, our energy infrastructure a D, our dams a D and the list goes on.

The ASCE also said that Washington needs to spend AT LEAST $3.6 trillion by 2020 just to get our nation's infrastructure back on track.

Unfortunately, that's a lot easier said than done these days.

Ever since Reagan came to Washington and blew up federal funding for infrastructure projects, our country hasn't been the same. It's literally been crumbling.

Republican lawmakers have refused over and over again to fund the infrastructure programs that the US desperately needs.

And, since President Obama took office, it's gotten even worse.

Infrastructure spending has plummeted since President Obama took office and the Republicans began their relentless obstruction efforts.

Republicans would rather put the lives of the US public at risk and see our country literally crumble to the ground than give President Obama any sort of achievement.

But what Republicans don't realize is that investing in our nation's infrastructure could do wonders for our economy.


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Special Report: Wheeling 'n Dealing At the California Public Utilities Commission - The Peevey Years | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Special Report: Wheeling 'n Dealing At the California Public Utilities Commission - The Peevey Years | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

California’s Public Utilities Commission seems increasingly unable to escape its reputation for backroom dealing, close personal ties to lobbyists working for the utility companies it regulates, and a growing conclusion it could care less about the interests of ordinary California consumers it is supposed to protect. That’s great news if you are an energy or telecommunications company with business before the commission, but bad news for consumers.

In this first part in a series of reports, Stop the Cap! investigates corruption at the highest levels of the California regulator. Search warrants have been executed, documents seized, and top officials of one of the state’s largest utilities have been fired. But it that enough for Californians to finally get a fair shake?


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Google embraces 'mobile-friendly' sites in search shake-up | Michael Liedtke | AP News

Google embraces 'mobile-friendly' sites in search shake-up | Michael Liedtke | AP News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones and tablets in a shift that's expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.

The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as "mobile-friendly." Websites that don't fit the description will be demoted in Google's search results on smartphones and tablets while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings - a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.

Although Google's new formula won't affect searches on desktop and laptop computers, it will have a huge influence on how and where people spend their money, given that more people are relying on their smartphones to compare products in stores and look for restaurants. That's why Google's new rating system is being billed by some search experts as "Mobile-geddon."

"Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices," said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda.

It's probably the most significant change that Google Inc. has ever made to its mobile search rankings, according to Matt McGee, editor-in-chief for Search Engine Land, a trade publication that follows every tweak that the company makes to its closely guarded algorithms.

Here are a few things to know about what's happening and why Google is doing it.


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ACA's Polka continues Local Choice push despite NAB warnings | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable

ACA's Polka continues Local Choice push despite NAB warnings | Daniel Frankel | Fierce Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ignoring warnings from the NAB to back off its quest for a la carte distribution of broadcast channels through pay-TV services, American Cable Association (ACA) president and CEO Matthew Polka took to the blogoshpere to once again plug the cable industry's "Local Choice" initiative.

According to Polka, a la carte services like CBS All Access render rules in the 1992 Cable Act anachronistic, and Congress needs to reform the law.

"Say you want to be a cable subscriber but all you want in terms of broadcasting is the area's CBS station. Your cable company will say it can't do so either because of federal law, or because CBS won't allow it," Polka wrote. "Call back the same cable company in your role as one of its broadband Internet subscribers and ask the same question: Will you sell me CBS a la carte? Answer: Not a problem.

"Obviously, this example highlights that federal law is embarrassingly out of touch and needs to catch up with the market," Polka added.

Proposed by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and former Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va), Local Choice would do away with the mandate that MVPDs must deliver each and every available broadcast network to their subscribers.

Under Local Choice, pay-TV operators would only have to make the channels available to customers, who would choose which ones they'd actually pay for.

This proposal, of course, has been highly unpopular with the National Association of Broadcasters.


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Iowa's role growing as Internet industry backbone | Matthew Patane | The Des Moines Register

Iowa's role growing as Internet industry backbone | Matthew Patane | The Des Moines Register | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Iowa's increasing role in America's mushrooming Internet industry received another boost Friday when Google confirmed it would invest an additional $1 billion to expand its Council Bluffs data farm.

The additional money, which will finance construction of a four-story data center building, will bring the tech giant's total investment to $2.5 billion — cementing the Council Bluffs project as one of the largest, if not the largest, economic development projects in Iowa.

The announcement comes as Iowa sees more data centers locate in the state as the need for more data storage and Internet services continues to climb. Microsoft and Facebook are also spending billions to build data centers in Iowa, because the state has cheap land, a low natural disaster risk and access to renewable energy, such as wind, experts say.

"Google has the issue that the Internet is growing fast, so they have to grow fast. ... Everything we do says we have to have more data," said Doug Jacobson, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Iowa State University.

Chris Russell, manager of the Council Bluffs data center, said Google saw the need for additional data centers to support its cloud data storage systems and other services, such as Google search, YouTube and Android smartphone operating systems.


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NYC: Jukay Hsu is Making Queens a More Tech-Savvy Place | Terence Cullen | Commercial Observer

NYC: Jukay Hsu is Making Queens a More Tech-Savvy Place | Terence Cullen | Commercial Observer | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Jukay Hsu couldn’t seem to remember the school he attended in Flushing, Queens.

He half-laughed, half-moaned that he’s 30 (in his 30s, as he puts it) and forgetting things. But a “senior” moment is forgivable for Mr. Hsu who has a lot on his plate as he tries training the next wave of tech employees and figuring out where their companies will be based.

Mr. Hsu is running a nonprofit focused on advancing technology companies in Queens—organizing conferences that draw the likes of Google, BuzzFeed and Reddit. Mr. Hsu wants Queens to be the leader in tech development with more companies coming to the city thanks to a massive campus at Roosevelt Island, a stone’s throw away from his Long Island City office.


An Iraq War veteran, the Queens native was the youngest member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s transition team and one of the youngest on the board of the Queens Library and tourism-promotion agency NYC & Company (he’s headed to the White House this week, too, for a meeting with the chief technology officer).

His group, the Coalition for Queens, or C4Q, has been trying to figure out what technology companies need to expand their already growing foothold in LIC. So far it has found that it needs to best utilize the physical space in the bustling neighborhood, and that diversity is crucial in the process. C4Q has been training people of all backgrounds for free in how to code software with the ultimate goal of bringing them to a higher pay grade.

“Bringing the digital economy to the boroughs outside Manhattan is obviously critical to our overall city economy,” said Kathryn Wylde, the president of the Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit focused on Gotham’s economy. “And Jukay has been the leader of that effort in Queens. He really has become a citywide force in extending the benefits of the innovation economy into all the communities of the city—the communities of color, lower-income communities and the outer boroughs.”


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Tech hubs in D.C. and Arlington combine with 1776 acquisition of Disruption Corp. | Jonathan O'Connell | WashPost.com

Tech hubs in D.C. and Arlington combine with 1776 acquisition of Disruption Corp. | Jonathan O'Connell | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Two of the Washington area’s top hubs of tech networking and venture capital are combining, as District-based incubator and seed fund 1776 is acquiring Crystal City’s Disruption Corp, launched more than a year ago by venture capitalist Paul Singh.

Co-founders Donna Harris and Evan Burfield said they envision 1776 as a center of information, networking and data with deep connections in the Washington area that could benefit start-ups and investors from around the world.

The deal gives 1776 ownership of Disruption Corp.’s software products and management of Singh’s venture fund.

Harris said the expansion to Northern Virginia should deepen 1776’s links to government agencies and companies that purchase, invest in and regulate start-ups.

“Much as we say we’re only a few blocks from the White House, now we’ll be within a couple blocks of the Pentagon,” Harris said.

Neither company disclosed terms of the transaction, which was scheduled to close Thursday.

Two years after launching with the help of a $200,000 grant from the D.C. government, 1776 has more than 270 start-up members, many of them based locally and focused on energy, health or transportation.

Its 15th Street offices draw top government officials — including President Obama — and industry experts as speakers. Its Challenge Cup attracts hundreds of competing start-ups, and big-name corporations including Microsoft, Comcast and MedStar Health have signed on as partners.


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Mesh Networks: They Are Out There | community broadband networks

Mesh Networks: They Are Out There | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There are probably more mesh Wi-Fi networks operating in the U.S. than most of us realize. They require only one hard-wired connection to the Internet and there are many industrious, tech minded people out there who have the skills to set up this self-healing technology, though they are still working out the kinks.

A mesh network allows devices to engage each other without going through a central point. If I want to use my cell phone to call the cell phone of someone standing 10 feet away from me, the signal may travel thousands of times farther than it would have to because a cell phone company wants to track minutes, collect data, and more. In a mesh network, the two devices would just talk to each other without intermediation.

A recent Technical.ly article, explores a dozen communities that are using the technology to serve local residents.

The article provides some basic info on these local mesh networks:


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Windstream Introduces Kinetic IPTV Triple Play in Lincoln, Neb.; Includes Wireless Set-Top Boxes, Whole House DVR | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Windstream Introduces Kinetic IPTV Triple Play in Lincoln, Neb.; Includes Wireless Set-Top Boxes, Whole House DVR | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Windstream this week introduced its fiber to the neighborhood service Kinetic – its attempt to bring a competitive triple-play package of broadband, home phone, and television service to about 50,000 homes initially in Lincoln, Neb.

“We’re extremely excited to launch Kinetic in Lincoln,” said David Redmond, president of small business and consumer at Windstream. “Over the last year, we have heard loudly and clearly that this community is excited and eager for an alternative TV service. Windstream is confident that residents that sign up for Kinetic will find a highly interactive experience and a smarter way to watch TV than cable or satellite.”

The project in Lincoln will test consumer reaction and help the company plan if or how it plans to expand the service across many of its other service areas across the country.

Powered by the Ericsson Mediaroom platform, Kinetic is Windstream’s effort to squeeze about as much use of its existing copper wire infrastructure as possible. Like AT&T U-verse, Kinetic requires a fiber connection part of the way to customers, but continues to rely on existing copper telephone wiring already in the subscriber’s neighborhood. In effect, it’s an enhanced DSL platform that will split available bandwidth between television, Internet access and home phone service.


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Verizon breaks up its bundle to give consumers more choice | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com

Verizon breaks up its bundle to give consumers more choice | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon FiOs is moving closer to unraveling the cable bundle with new skinny packages of channels that can be designed based on a customer's interests, a significant departure from the traditional model of selling consumers hundreds of channels at once.

FiOs, which serves 5 million customers nationwide, will begin Sunday to offer its new Custom TV service, which includes basic channels and seven small add-on packages grouped by genres including sports, kids, news, entertainment, pop culture and lifestyle.

In the basic plan, which will cost $54 per month, customers will get 35 basic channels including all local broadcast networks, CNN, HGTV, AMC and the Food Network. The package includes two genre packs. Consumers can add additional genre packs for $10 each.

But sports fans won't be able to watch ESPN or ESPN2 as part of the new bundles, which will turn off many cable customers who hang on to their subscriptions largely to watch sports events that aren't easily available online.

“Media reports about Verizon’s new contemplated bundles describe packages that would not be authorized by our existing agreements. Among other issues, our contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN nor ESPN2 may be distributed in a separate sports package," ESPN said in a statement late Friday.

Verizon FiOs President Tami Erwin told CNBC in an interview that the decision to shake up their offers was in response to new consumer demands. Subscriptions to cable and telecom television services have steadily declined in recent years. Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and HBO have become fixtures in American homes. Four out of ten homes subscribe to Netflix.

The decision also shows an acknowledgement by cable companies that as video migrates more to the Internet, the focus of their businesses will increasingly be on broadband, rather than cable.

"Customers want choice and increasingly customers have choice on video, and we've said very clearly we expect to be the preeminent broadband provider in the market, but we want to give customers choice on how they acquire and how they buy video," Erwin said.


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

Its really too bad reporters continue to spread Incumbent Provider disinformation which can be found in this article. There is no difference between cable and broadband services, both are a digital bit stream service made up of 1s and 0s that is delivered through the same infrastructure using the same Public Rights of Way. The difference is the regulatory silos used to define these services. It's time to update these classifications!

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Verizon's 'customizable' FiOS TV packages violate contract, says ESPN | Dante D'Orazio | The Verge

ESPN is fighting back just hours after Verizon announced plans to offer new FiOS TV packages that split up channels into cheaper, semi-a la carte bundles. The massive sports network, owned by the Walt Disney Company, said in a statement provided to Recode that Verizon's new bundles "would not be authorized by our existing agreements." The statement continues, "Among other issues, our contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN nor ESPN2 may be distributed in a separate sports package."

The contracts that your cable provider signs to bring your favorite channels to your home often have many stipulations — most programmers, for instance, require that their powerhouse channels be offered alongside their less popular offerings. Extremely powerful networks, like ESPN, can even mandate that its channels are included in the most widely-distributed cable packages.

"ESPN says custom bundles "would not be authorized by our existing agreements""

Verizon's announcement was somewhat noteworthy because it appeared to sidestep such stipulations, but now it seems that the operator may have jumped the gun before coming to agreements with its programming partners.


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US Lawmakers Unveil Secretly Negotiated Deal To Fast-Track Free Trade | Michael McAuliff | HuffPost.com

US Lawmakers Unveil Secretly Negotiated Deal To Fast-Track Free Trade | Michael McAuliff | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Congress’ tax committees announced an agreement Thursday to speed through a bill to give President Barack Obama the fast-track authority that he will need to push mammoth new trade deals through Congress.

While many believed a deal was in the works, news that it was actually done came as a surprise to members of both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, which had been called to a hearing on the deal less than 12 hours earlier.

The “trade promotion authority” bill, or TPA, would allow the White House to cut new trade deals with Asian and European nations, and then pass them through Congress using expedited procedures. Under these rules, the deals cannot be amended or obstructed, and they get a simple up-or-down vote.

The fast-track authority would likely pave the way for both the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement with the European Union, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership with a dozen Asian nations. Both deals are vastly larger than NAFTA, and would involve about two-thirds of the entire world’s economy. Currently, the United States has trade agreements covering just 10 percent of world trade.

The hastily called Senate hearing on the TPA featured three of the administration's top officials on trade: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman. The deal's backers are Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.).

Several Democrats at the morning session seemed furious that they had been summarily called in about a measure they had not been shown or given any time to read, signaling that Obama will face a major struggle with his own party to get his trade agenda passed.


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Georgia Markerspaces Website: MakeNet.or

Georgia Markerspaces Website: MakeNet.or | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

MakeNet is an informal consortium of makerspaces and co-working communities.


We share resources and ideas, collaborate where desired, and celebrate each other’s success.


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Via Digital Georgia
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MPAA's Chris Dodd Tells Each Movie Studio To Donate $40k To Rep. Goodlatte's Election Campaign | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

MPAA's Chris Dodd Tells Each Movie Studio To Donate $40k To Rep. Goodlatte's Election Campaign | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As you may recall, at the height of the SOPA fight fallout, MPAA boss Chris Dodd went on television and threatened to stop funding the politicians who didn't support the MPAA's copyright agenda:

"Those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake."

Given that statement, this little tidbit from the Sony email archives is interesting. It's Chris Dodd more or less demanding that all of the member studios donate $40,000 to Rep. Bob Goodlatte's re-election campaign. As you may know, Goodlatte is the head of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives, and copyright falls under that committee.


Even more to the point, despite the fact that there's an "Intellectual Property Subcommittee" (headed by Rep. Darrell Issa), Goodlatte has made it clear that copyright reform remains under his own personal mandate. In this email, Dodd notes that Goodlatte is coming to LA and there's a fundraiser -- and he asks each of the member studios to see if they can put together $40,000 for Goodlatte's campaign:


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Kaiser Permanente to put IT campus in Midtown Atlanta; create 900 jobs | Urvaksh Karkaria & Maria Saporta | Atlanta Biz Chronicle

Kaiser Permanente to put IT campus in Midtown Atlanta; create 900 jobs | Urvaksh Karkaria & Maria Saporta | Atlanta Biz Chronicle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente will plant a $20 million information technology campus in Midtown Atlanta — a project that will create about 900 jobs.

The Invest Atlanta board approved unanimously at its meeting Thursday $300,000 in incentives for “Project Big Chill,” as the expansion project was codenamed.

Eloisa Klementich, managing director of business development for Invest Atlanta, said Atlanta competed with Colorado for the Kaiser Permanente project.


In December 2014, Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported the health care provider and medical insurer was scouting Atlanta buildings for the 150,000 square-foot project. In March 2105, the Chronicle reported Kaiser had zeroed in on Midtown's Pershing Point Plaza.


Kaiser employs 4,000 in Georgia and has 30 medical facilities in metro Atlanta and Athens, Ga. In 2011, the company announced plans to invest about $100 million in building two new medical specialty centers in the region.


Kaiser's expansion will burnish Atlanta’s reputation as a health-care IT industry cluster. More than 200 health IT companies operate in Georgia, employing about 16,000.


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Free webinar on $400 million Healthcare Connect Fund | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

A great chance to learn more…

The Healthcare Connect Fund provides $400 million in funding for broadband network and access services to be used by rural healthcare facilities and consortiums. Rural broadband service providers are in a unique position to work with community stakeholders to secure this funding and provide broadband network and access services to them.

Join Finley Engineering and Telecompetitor for an upcoming webinar,
Healthcare Connect Fund: A $400M Opportunity, where we will outline this updated Universal Service Fund program and the opportunities it presents to rural broadband service providers and their communities.

Register today at www.bit.ly/1IgfDYn


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