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South Korea Set to Launch 100Mbps Wireless, Seamlessly Combines Mobile Broadband & Wi-Fi | Stop the Cap!

South Korea Set to Launch 100Mbps Wireless, Seamlessly Combines Mobile Broadband & Wi-Fi | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While you ponder Verizon Wireless’ latest LTE 4G outage or try to convince yourself Sprint really is selling “4G” service from Clearwire, South Korea’s Sunkyoung Telecom (SK Telecom) is deploying new technology to enormously boost wireless Internet speeds to as high as 100Mbps.

 

SK Telecom has developed new Heterogeneous Network Integration Solution (HNIS) technology that weds 3G/4G service with any open Wi-Fi network to deliver speeds many times faster than North Americans can get from their wireless providers. The technology is designed to work without a lot of consumer intervention. For example, HNIS will automatically provision open Wi-Fi access wherever subscribers travel. The combination of mobile broadband with Wi-Fi works seamlessly as well. Currently, smartphones can use Wi-Fi or mobile data, but not both at the same time. HNIS changes that.

 

While mobile operators cope with spectrum and capacity issues, HNIS can reduce the load on wireless networks, without creating a hassle for wireless customers who used to register with every Wi-Fi service they encountered. The theoretical speed of an HNIS-enhanced 3G and Wi-Fi connection in South Korea will be 60Mbps when SK Telecom fully deploys the technology this year. As SK expands the technology to its 4G networks, theoretical maximum speeds will increase to 100Mbps.

 

SK is so confident in the technology, it plans to equip all of its smartphones with the new technology starting in 2013.

 

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NASA study looks to the ionosphere to improve GPS communications | Chris Wood | GizMag.com

NASA study looks to the ionosphere to improve GPS communications | Chris Wood | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new NASA study focusing on irregularities in Earth’s upper atmosphere may help scientists overcome disruptions in GPS communication. The findings provide an insight into the causes of the disruptive regions, and represent the first time that such observations have been made from space.

The ionosphere is a barrier of charged ions and electrons, collectively known as plasma, produced by a combination of impacting particles and solar radiation. When signals pass through the barrier, they sometimes come into contact with irregularities that distort the signal, leading to less accurate data.

The NASA observations, carried out by the Canadian Space Agency’s Cascade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) satellite, focused on the Northern Hemisphere. They compared turbulence in the auroral regions – narrow, oval-shaped areas outside the polar caps that are bombarded with particles from the magnetosphere – with that observed at higher latitudes, above the Arctic polar cap.

It was found that irregularities tend to be larger in the auroral region – where they were measured to be between 1 and 40 km (0.62 to 25 miles) – than at higher latitudes, where they measured between 1 and 8 km (0.62 to 5 miles).

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MO: Carl Junction official announces broadband deal | Wally Kennedy | Joplin Globe

MO: Carl Junction official announces broadband deal | Wally Kennedy | Joplin Globe | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Aire Fiber and Carl Junction have adopted a community broadband agreement that was unanimously approved by the Carl Junction City Council.

The new service will deliver high-speed Internet to the businesses and residents of Carl Junction for $49.99 per month.

"Aire is very excited to have this opportunity to build a network in a community where faster Internet service is in high demand,'' said Ben Koeneker, Aire Fiber's chief executive officer.

"This network, once built, will be the first of its kind in the state of Missouri,'' he said. "We are looking forward to providing free public Wi-Fi at various public locations around Carl Junction and being a good community partner.''

In announcing the new agreement on Monday, Carl Junction City Administrator Steve Lawver said: "We think this is a big step forward for the city — now high-speed broadband Internet connection will be available to all citizens of Carl Junction, no matter what their address is.''

Lawver said Media Com, the city's cable television company, does not offer Internet service in all areas of the town. AT&T only serves parts of the city, he said.


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UT: CenturyLink plans to equip 505 Salt Lake housing developments with FTTH | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

UT: CenturyLink plans to equip 505 Salt Lake housing developments with FTTH | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink may be facing new competition from Google Fiber in Salt Lake City, but the telco has some ambitious plans to expand its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service by bringing it to 505 new multi-unit housing developments this year in Utah.

But even before Google Fiber lays one fiber on a pole this year, it's clear that the telco has a wide a lead over whatever the search engine giant's plans are for Salt Lake City.

"By end of year, we will build Gig into 505 developments across Utah," said Jeremy Ferkin, vice president of Utah operations for CenturyLink, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "If you think in terms of average size of development that's north of 100 homes, you're looking at a fairly sizeable deployment of 1 Gbps services in the residential market."

Ferkin added that in the Salt Lake City metro area, one of the initial markets where it began offering 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) services to business customers, "we are looking at 300 developments that have Gig to the home all new over the last 18 months total."

The service provider is not going about it alone in expanding its FTTH service to more residential users. It is also working with master plan community developers like Daybreak.

In late February, CenturyLink announced that it made its 1 Gbps service available to 3,600 residents of Daybreak.


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Is U.S. Broadband Working? The Administration Is Working On It | Kevin Taglang | Benton Foundation

Is U.S. Broadband Working? The Administration Is Working On It | Kevin Taglang | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Back in January we reported on a series of speeches by President Barack Obama in the run up to the State of the Union address. In those speeches, the President indicated that the Internet would play a central role in his 2015 policies.


This week, the Administration offered an update on its progress since January and outlined the next steps in “promoting investment and rewarding competition.” Although the Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality order is still the headliner-grabber, this week we review the Administration’s most recent announcements.

[One quick aside: we don’t mean to ignore the importance of the recent net neutrality activity. USTelecom -- a group that includes some of the nation's largest Internet providers -- and Alamo Broadband, a small, Texas-based Internet provider, launched the first legal challenges to the new rules. USTelecom’s suit was filed in Washington (DC), while Alamo Broadband sued the FCC in New Orleans.


In addition, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has faced a long gauntlet of Congressional oversight hearings that focused much of their attention on the FCC’s decision and the process it used to reach it.


All the news from those hearings can be found here, here, here, here, here, and (gasp, gasp) here.]


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California Delays Consideration of Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger, Charter Realignment Until May | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

California Delays Consideration of Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger, Charter Realignment Until May | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Californians get a reprieve from the menacing Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger with an announcement from the California Public Utilities Commission it is putting further consideration of the merger deal on hold until later this spring.

Consumer groups loudly protested the PUC for holding its single public hearing on the merger in San Francisco, which has been served almost exclusively by Comcast for years. Most of the impact of the merger will be felt in Los Angeles, where Time Warner Cable provides service to around 1.8 million customers. The deal also involves Charter Communications customers in the region, who will also end up as Comcast customers if the deal is approved.

The PUC eventually agreed to hold a meeting in Los Angeles, but then scheduled it for Good Friday. Now it has changed the date for the four-hour public input session to April 14, one day before tax returns are due. No specific information about the time of the meeting could be located on the CPUC website, but we do know it will be held in the auditorium of the Public Utilities Commission’s building at 320 West 4th St. in downtown Los Angeles.

That the CPUC seems to be heading towards approving the deal does not come as much of a surprise. The CPUC has been surprisingly friendly to the communications companies it regulates, in the past approving questionable statewide video franchise reforms on behalf of AT&T and generally permitting most of the merger and consolidation transactions that arrive at the commission for review.

An advising administrative law judge attached a long list of recommended temporary conditions that should be included in any approval, covering everything from lobbying about municipal broadband to discount Internet service for the poor.


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Time Warner Cable Restoring Service in Parts of SE Texas Nine Years After Hurricane Rita | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Cable Restoring Service in Parts of SE Texas Nine Years After Hurricane Rita | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nine years after Hurricane Rita swamped parts of the Golden Triangle region of southeastern Texas, Time Warner Cable is finally getting around to restoring service to parts of Orange County that haven’t had cable broadband since 2005.

A warm spring has allowed crews to start construction to parts of Orange County affected by the storm that wreaked havoc on the area nearly a month after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Although some properties were severely damaged by the hurricane, other utilities restored service to the area years ago. Time Warner Cable is the last, and it cannot come soon enough for Chelsey Walters.

The Orange, Tex. resident is forced to get usage-capped DSL broadband from AT&T, and her last monthly bill reached over $750.

“Both of my car notes are less than that and even with our Internet you cannot do anything because it drops and there are times when it does not work,” Walters told KBMT-TV in Beaumont. “When we first moved out there, they (Time Warner) came out and ran all the cables in my house, then called us and said – oh we do not service that area.”

The construction schedule for Orange County, Tex.:


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Want to boost rural tourism in Maine? Raise Internet speeds | David Vail & Caria Dickstein | Bangor Daily News

Want to boost rural tourism in Maine? Raise Internet speeds | David Vail & Caria Dickstein | Bangor Daily News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As recent mill closings make headlines, there is growing — sometimes grudging — recognition that tourism is a crucial part of any strategy to revitalize economically distressed rural Maine. The BDN framed the challenge in a March 2 editorial, “Boosting tourism in rural Maine will take more than a national park.” One thing it will take, by stakeholder consensus, is universal access to broadband Internet and reliable cell phone service.

There is a lot of legislative buzz this session around the imperative to extend rural connectivity and increase urban access speeds. Thirty-five broadband bill titles were submitted. Given this political momentum, it is worth reflecting on the Internet’s vital role in 21st century tourism and the importance of “last mile” access for rural tourism businesses and host communities, from Bethel to Eastport.

Broadband and cell phone access are necessary, though not sufficient, steps in making rural Maine’s tourism businesses and destinations appealing to sophisticated, high-income, overnight visitors — the key target market identified by Maine’s Office of Tourism. Providing high-quality tourist services is one key to creating more quality tourism jobs. And beyond tourism, broadband and cell phone links are critical amenities in attracting mobile entrepreneurs, highly educated young people and second home owners to rural Maine.

Why are strong telecommunications links so important for tourism?


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UTOPIA holdout cities should adopt broader view of economic benefit of UTOPIA-Macquarie PPP | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

UTOPIA holdout cities should adopt broader view of economic benefit of UTOPIA-Macquarie PPP | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Orem, Utah and four other cities that have opted out of a public-private partnership between the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) and Macquarie Capital Group are now grappling with a fundamental question as to how to finance the future operation of fiber to the premise (FTTP) telecommunications infrastructure to serve their residents.


The question: support the partnership’s public works approach to the increasingly essential infrastructure or default to legacy incumbent telephone and cable companies and the poor value and customer service and disparate access they typically offer as monopoly providers.

Six of the 11 cities comprising UTOPIA agreed in concept in 2014 to assess a parcel utility fee to help offset the cost and mitigate the business risk associated the pure subscription-based model used by incumbent providers. They mitigate their business risk by cherry picking neighborhoods believed to have the greatest profit potential for their proprietary network investments while redlining those that don’t.

The utility parcel fee is a key sticking point in negotiations between UTOPIA and the five hold out cities including Orem. A Daily Herald dispatch cites from a memorandum to the Orem mayor and council from Orem City Manager Jamie Davidson:


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FCC Commissioner Pai should resign, get new job as lobbyist or run for Congress | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

FCC Commissioner Pai should resign, get new job as lobbyist or run for Congress | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This report courtesy of ExtremeTech:

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spoke to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, and took the unusual step of requesting that Congress forbid the FCC from using any appropriated funds to enforce its net neutrality ruling.

Pai's entitled to his opinion, of course. But for a sitting Federal Communications Commission member to go before Congress asking it to restrict its funding doesn't pass the smell test of proper protocol respecting the constitutional separation of powers. If Pai wants to appropriate, he should resign his FCC post and run for Congress. Or become a lobbyist.


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YouTube Is Experimenting With Ultra High Def, Ultra Smooth Video Playback — Here Are The Examples | Greg Kumparak | Tech Crunch

YouTube Is Experimenting With Ultra High Def, Ultra Smooth Video Playback — Here Are The Examples | Greg Kumparak | Tech Crunch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Just a few months back, YouTube bumped up the quality of the videos it hosts by allowing for gorgeous, 60 FPS video playback.

Now they’re cranking things up to an almost absurd level. 60 FPS video, on YouTube… at 4K.

The catch? It’s just something of an experiment, for now, and is limited to a reaaally tight batch of clips.

That’s okay, though — the very vast majority of videos on YouTube aren’t shot at anywhere near this resolution/framerate yet, anyway. Cameras capable of shooting 4k/60FPS footage aren’t impossible to find, but they’re generally crazy expensive and are far from the standard.

YouTube’s selection of clips are all pretty gorgeous… if your computer can handle them.


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Comcast Critics Blast 'See-You-In-Court Attitude' | Wendy Davis | Media Post

Comcast Critics Blast 'See-You-In-Court Attitude' | Wendy Davis | Media Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Advocacy groups opposing Comcast's $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable recently argued to the Federal Communications Commission that not even the new net neutrality rules will prevent the post-merger “MegaComcast” from thwarting Netflix and other online video competitors.

The critics -- who call their organization Stop Mega Comcast -- want the FCC to block the deal, which would vastly increase the company's broadband footprint. Among other arguments, the critics say that Comcast might not follow the new net neutrality rules, which prohibit broadband providers from from blocking or degrading traffic, and from discriminating among content companies. The rules also allow the FCC to take action if providers adopt practices that harm consumers or content companies.

Comcast fired back two weeks ago, with a letter dismissing critics' concerns. “It should not go unnoticed by the Commission that the fundamental premise of [Stop Mega Comcast's] filing is the insulting position that the Commission will not -- or will not be able to -- enforce its own rules,” the company wrote.

Comcast adds that the open Internet order empowers Netflix and other video distributors. as well as consumers, to bring complaints about alleged rule violations directly to the FCC.

“Even if [Stop Mega Comcast] apparently lacks faith in the Commission itself, it should be reassured that the potential 'victims' of the open Internet harms ... will have recourse to seek redress in the highly unlikely event any of them occurs,” Comcast says.

Today, Stop Mega Comcast argues in a new FCC filing that the net neutrality rules have so many loopholes that Comcast could “design around particular regulations, interpret them narrowly, and litigate them for years.”


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CBC head wants Congress to take lead on Web rules | Mario Trujillo | The Hill

CBC head wants Congress to take lead on Web rules | Mario Trujillo | The Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Unlike most Democrats, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus wants a legislative fix on net neutrality.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) said the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rule-making process has been "politically driven" by special interests and Congress needs to get involved. He did not, however, give support to any specific plan.

"They’ve made a rule change under Title II of the Communications Act that’s going to regulate broadband just like utility and phone companies, and we need to get Congress involved," he told Politics365.com. "Congress needs to come in and establish broadband policy going forward."

His words break with many in the Democratic Party who have lauded the FCC's rules.

Butterfield questioned, however, whether Congress has the political will to get anything passed, given the partisan dynamics. He said he would help outline the legislative record so that "one day, we can get it done."


He said he supports the principles of net neutrality, like preventing service providers from blocking or throttling traffic. But there is not always agreement on which authority should be used to enforce the rules.


"When you start getting in the weeds, the issue gets very complicated," he said. "And that’s why Congress needs to develop sound broadband policy. Congress has the power to do it, but the question is, does it have the political will to do it?"


Butterfield warned of the lack of permanence of the FCC's rules.


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How the FCC’s Decision Frees NC and TN Municipalities to Provide Broadband | CLIC

How the FCC’s Decision Frees NC and TN Municipalities to Provide Broadband | CLIC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Chris Mitchell from the Institute of Local Self Reliance recently interviewed Jim Baller, counsel to both Chattanooga EPB and Wilson, NC on their now successful petitions at the FCC.


We encourage our readers to listen to the full half-hour interview here, and bring you just a few of the highlights below (slightly edited):


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CTIA Asks FCC to Give Broadcasters More Auction Flexibility | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

CTIA Asks FCC to Give Broadcasters More Auction Flexibility | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Wireless companies have historically been big supporters of the FCC's incentive auction, but they have a number of bones to pick with the way the FCC's has teed up the upcoming incentive auction framework and says FCC it should make it easier for broadcasters to participate.

"The Commission can and should do more to provide broadcasters with the incentive and ability to participate, including by providing broadcasters with greater flexibility to adjust their bids during the auction," CTIA said.

And while it was the National Association of Broadcasters that used to advise the FCC not to rush the auction, wireless carriers are now cautioning the FCC about getting it done right rather than done fast.

CTIA: The Wireless Associations, in reply comments to the FCC, says the FCC should make broadcasters' election of auction options more of a two-way street.

Currently, there are several ways to be compensated, including by giving up spectrum and getting out of the business, sharing a channel, moving from a UHF to a VHF channel, or moving from a high VHF assignment to a low assignment.


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The president wants to 'fast track' two massive trade deals. Congress should slow him down. | David Grewal OpEd | LATimes

The president wants to 'fast track' two massive trade deals. Congress should slow him down. | David Grewal OpEd | LATimes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Obama is asking Congress to grant him trade promotion authority, the ability to "fast track" two massive trade deals with Europe and Asia: the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This would allow him to pass those deals just as his negotiators will soon deliver them.


Fast track commits Congress to an up-or-down vote on whatever the administration negotiates, without the possibility of filibuster or amendments. It essentially excludes Congress from oversight and enables an efficient, executive-driven approach to international commerce. The purpose of this special treatment is to keep the House and Senate from inflicting death by a thousand cuts on delicate negotiating positions and specific concessions. Fast-track authority also bolsters the U.S. negotiating position with its foreign partners.

Most U.S. trade deals have been passed using fast-track authority, but the Asian and European partnerships under consideration now aren't like the fast-tracked deals of the past. In significant respects, they're not really trade agreements at all. Their new target is not trade tariffs but "behind-the-border" domestic regulations. Fast-tracking that kind of agreement would be a mistake.

Fast track was invented by President Franklin Roosevelt, and it became central to Depression-era trade policies and the liberalized post-World War II economic order. The original version of fast track allowed the president to enter into reciprocal deals that reduced tariffs within congressionally set limits. Congress pre-approved the broad terms of any agreement and otherwise delegated negotiating authority to the executive branch.

These trade policies — buoyed by fast track — were successful. Tariffs and export subsidies have mostly disappeared, except in the difficult and contentious case of agriculture. But instead of declaring victory, the trade agenda has become far more amorphous and consequential. What trade agreements now seek is to harmonize regulatory standards across countries. Fast track now serves a new purpose: not governance of trade but governance through trade.


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Cable Companies Won't Let Cord Cutters Go Without A Fight | Timothy Stenovec | HuffPost

Cable Companies Won't Let Cord Cutters Go Without A Fight | Timothy Stenovec | HuffPost | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Your options for how to watch TV continue to grow, but cable companies could make you pay dearly if you want to “cut the cord.”

Sony and Dish have recently launched services that allow you to watch live TV streamed over the Internet without subscribing to a cable or satellite package, and Apple is rumored to be working on its own live TV product that will be available this fall. HBO and Showtime will offer standalone streaming services later this year that will allow people to subscribe to the premium networks without paying for TV packages.

The slew of new offerings could prompt some of the millions of households that don’t pay for traditional TV to start buying subscriptions to new services. The new options could also spur others to cut the cord -- that is, to ditch their expensive set top boxes in favor of paying Sony, Dish or even Apple, instead of their cable provider, to watch TV.

But try as they might, most people will still be tethered to their cable company.

The majority of Americans who have a wired high-speed Internet connection get it through cable, meaning they pay a cable company each month for their Internet connection.

And because there’s even less competition for broadband than there is for TV -- according to the Federal Communications Commission, 74.7 percent of American homes have one or fewer options for broadband -- cable companies could simply raise the prices of their standalone Internet packages as an increasing number of people choose to cut the cord.

"I expect that as the market continues to shift towards the faster broadband speeds that only cable companies can offer, these providers will continue to raise broadband prices in order to offset their declining pay TV revenues," Derek Turner, research director at the advocacy group Free Press, told The Huffington Post.


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U.S. Sees 10Mbps Jump in Average Broadband Speed | Paul Lilly | MaximumPC

U.S. Sees 10Mbps Jump in Average Broadband Speed | Paul Lilly | MaximumPC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cover your eyes if you live way out in the boondocks or anywhere else where broadband Internet access is about as mythical as a unicorn, this might sting a little. It turns out the U.S. is seeing faster download speeds. According to data pulled from Ookla's Speedtest, the average download speed for broadband (not including mobile) in the U.S. is 33.9Mbps. That's up a full 10Mbps from April of 2014.

As Cord Cutters News points out, the recent surge in broadband is doing wonders for where the U.S. ranks in the world. It's no secret the U.S. trails several other territories, but the 10Mbps boost in the past year pushed the U.S. ahead of several others, including the U.K. (30.18Mbps), Germany (29.95Mbps), Spain (28.28Mbps), Russia (27.7Mbps), and Ireland (27.29Mbps).

That said, the U.S. ranks 27 out of 199 countries and still trails some others by a wide margin, particularly Japan at 60.49Mbps and South Korea at 84.31Mbps. And that's after factoring in Google's Fiber rollout to several different locations.

As for speeds stateside, Washington leads the way with an average broadband connection of 45.6Mbps, followed by Missouri (41.21Mbps), New York (40.86Mbps, California (40.8Mbps), and Utah (40.47Mbps.)

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Muni broadband fight isn't over yet | Esme Vos | MuniWireless

More than 10 years ago, I started MuniWireless. I thought I would be writing strictly about large-scale municipal Wi-Fi projects, but soon after I launched the site, I became drawn into battles in the United States between the cable-telco duopoly and everyone else (business owners, residents, tech companies, and certain officials in states, counties and cities) who wanted more competition in the market for broadband services.

A number of US states have laws that restrict communities from building their own broadband networks — wired and wireless. These laws have been written by lobbyists for cable and telecom companies and passed by legislators who think this is the best way to ensure that their constituents have the best broadband available for the best price.


Everyone (except the legislators who pass these laws and their incumbent friends) knows this is ludicrous, but somehow these battles continue and the incumbents, helped by their legislator friends, continue to block true competition.


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Incumbent Cable, Phone Companies Will Tighten Bundle Pricing to Battle Cord-Cutting | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Incumbent Cable, Phone Companies Will Tighten Bundle Pricing to Battle Cord-Cutting | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable and phone companies will continue to raise the price of broadband-only service while also increasing the value proposition of bundled packages of broadband, television, and phone service to keep customers from cutting the cable television cord.

For at least four years, cable companies have refocused rate increases and fees on Internet access, especially for broadband-only customers. At the same time, cable-TV rate hikes are easing, especially for customers subscribed to two or more services. Today, customers face prices as high as $67 a month for standalone Internet service. But that price can drop in half if customers bundle broadband with television and phone service. Most triple play promotions in markets where AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS compete can be as low as $90 a month. In less competitive markets, a similar promotion often costs $99-119 a month.

Recent research by Sanford Bernstein reveals these pricing strategies are not happening by accident.


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Small Illinois Town Will Vote On Fiber Investment in April | community broadband networks

Small Illinois Town Will Vote On Fiber Investment in April | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Village of Gilberts, Illinois, will ask voters in April to authorize up to $5 million in General Obligation bonds to deploy a FTTH network reports the Daily Herald. GO bonds are rarely used for network deployment but often used for public works projects and other publicly owned assets. Due to the funding mechanism in Gilberts, the network would be publicly owned.

"It's something that is not readily available in other communities," Village Administrator Ray Keller said. "It would set us apart and put us on a path to better meet the needs of our residents and businesses as their demands and needs for technology grows."

The community, home to 6,800 people, has experienced rapid population growth since 2000. At that time only 1,200 people lived in this northeast Kane County village.

According to the article and January Board of Trustee minutes [PDF online], the bond issue would increase property taxes 1.8 percent on most tax bills. Properties with a market value of $250,000, which is most common in Gilberts, would pay an additional $150 per year or $12.50 per month to fund the infrastructure deployment. There are approximately 2,400 taxable properties in Gilbert today but as more properties are built, each property owner's share would decrease.


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Fiber Forum in Yellow Springs Will Share Info on Munis With Ohio Community | community broadband networks

Fiber Forum in Yellow Springs Will Share Info on Munis With Ohio Community | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Join Chris Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance and several other experts on municipal networks on April 25th as they address a crowd in Yellow Springs, Ohio.


Yellow-Springs.Net, a group of residents who have rallied together to organize a movement to explore broadband as a utility in their community, will host the Fiber Forum.


The event is titled "Building a Municipal Fiber Network in Yellow Springs." Chris will be joining via Skype for his presentation.

YSNews described the event:


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A big gap between urban, rural and tribal broadband access | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I’m catching up on non-Minnesota broadband reading today. The NTIA recently wrote about the last iteration of the National Broadband Map as it stands today. (The FCC will be picking up the job via 477data collection.) I’m going to paste in a bigger chunk for context but it’s really the last bullet point that caught my eye: The latest data finds that only 55 percent of those in rural communities, and 32 percent of tribal lands have access to broadband at 25 mbps compared with 94 percent of urban areas.

Our job as broadband advocates really isn’t done until both of those gaps are closed.

The most significant finding from the latest data, announced by President Obama [4]earlier today, is that the United States has met the President’s goal [5] of ensuring 98 percent of the country has access to wireless broadband at a speed of at least 6 megabits per second (Mbps) down/1.5 Mbps up. Other key findings from the June 30, 2014 dataset include:


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Going OTT Won't Mean Much If Streaming Quality Sucks (Study) | Sahil Patel | VideoInk

Going OTT Won't Mean Much If Streaming Quality Sucks (Study) | Sahil Patel | VideoInk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For all the hype around HBO and Showtime cutting the cord and launching standalone video services this year, it’s important to note that customers won’t care if the streaming experience on those products is terrible.

That’s the chief message coming out of a study by Conviva, which found that most of the people in the key demographic that the new OTT players are targeting — 26- to 34-year-olds — don’t have much patience with bad streaming video quality.

Only 25% of respondents, all in this age group, said they would engage with video content for more than four minutes if the viewing experience was “inferior.” What’s more, one in three respondents said they would leave to find content elsewhere as soon as “playback degradations” occur, and 40% said they’d think lesser of a service even after one bad streaming experience.

There’s one bright spot — sort of — for networks looking to go over-the-top: Today’s millennials seem savvy enough about how content delivery works that they’d assign as much blame for a poor experience to the OTT service they are using, as they would to their internet provider and the CDN delivering that content.


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Congress moves quickly on cyberthreat information sharing | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Congress moves quickly on cyberthreat information sharing | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Congress is moving forward quickly with legislation that would encourage private companies to share cyberthreat information with government agencies, despite concerns that two leading bills weaken consumer privacy protections.

The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to approve the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA), just two days after the bill was introduced.

The House bill “is a cybersurveillance bill at least as much as it is a cybersecurity bill, and it is written so broadly that it could wind up making the Internet less safe,” Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute [OTI], said by email.

The PCNA requires government agencies to “automatically and indiscriminately” share information they receive with military and intelligence agencies, OTI said in a critique of the bill. The bill would allow other agencies to pass cyberthreat information to the FBI and the National Security Agency, where “it could be used in investigations that have absolutely nothing to do with cybersecurity,” Greene said.

While the PCNA limits what personal information businesses can share with government agencies, it doesn’t require companies to remove all personal information, OTI added. The bill also authorizes companies to monitor all activities and communications of users as a way to identify threats, OTI said.


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Comcast/TWC merger review to last until mid-2015 after months of delays | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

Comcast/TWC merger review to last until mid-2015 after months of delays | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After months of delays, Comcast now says government review of its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) will now stretch into the middle of 2015. When announcing the $45.2 billion deal 13 months ago, Comcast thought the merger would be a done deal by the end of 2014.

It's still not clear whether the federal government will approve the takeover, which would join the nation's two largest cable companies. There have been several delays at the Federal Communications Commission, with the latest coming this month.

"The FCC and the DOJ [Department of Justice] are continuing their regulatory reviews of the TWC transaction," Comcast Executive VP David Cohen wrote today. "Given the FCC's recent decision to pause the shot clock, we have recently reassessed the time frame when we expect the government's regulatory review to be completed and now expect that the review should be concluded in the middle of the year."

Both the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers have been delayed by disputes over FCC access to confidential programming contracts.

Besides federal review, Comcast is seeking approvals in states where licenses have to be transferred from Time Warner Cable, including New York and California. Comcast objected to some of the merger conditions proposed in California by an administrative law judge, and the California Public Utilities Commission has delayed a vote until May 7. The New York Public Service Commission has also delayed a vote several times, with the ruling now set for April 20.

Neither the FCC nor DOJ has said when it will make a decision.


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