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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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IN: Fort Wayne Prefers Comcast Over Frontier Communications FiOS | Stop the Cap!

IN: Fort Wayne Prefers Comcast Over Frontier Communications FiOS | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A fiber optic network may be only as good as the marketing that sells it.

 

If that is true, Fort Wayne residents have made their choice, and they prefer Comcast Cable over Frontier Communications FiOS.

 

City officials released figures this week showing Comcast has a clear lead in the Indiana city. Both companies pay the city franchise fees to do business in Fort Wayne, and Comcast paid almost $435,000, almost double Frontier Communications’ $262,556.

 

Frontier assumed control of the fiber optics network when it purchased the local assets of Verizon Communications. But Frontier quickly found that volume pricing for video programming gave the old owner a decided advantage. Frontier found programming prices for its comparatively smaller footprint far higher than what Verizon paid, and quickly began encouraging its fiber video customers switch to DirecTV satellite service. Comcast responded with a billboard campaign that suggested Frontier was getting out of the fiber business, and encouraged customers to come back to cable.

 

Some did, but Frontier says it remains committed to its inherited fiber network, even though it lost over 10,000 customers last year.

 

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How Baby Boomers Are Embracing Digital Media | Mashable Social Media

How Baby Boomers Are Embracing Digital Media | Mashable Social Media | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This year, some of the nearly 80 million Baby Boomers in the United States have turned 65 and are now “officially” senior citizens. Need context? Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist and one of the fathers of the Internet, turns 68 in June. The web, often viewed as a realm for just the young, is getting older.

 

The Boomer generation isn’t just big — it’s made up of people who think and act differently than previous generations. As Boomers confront “old age,” they will certainly defy what we think it means to “get old.” It will challenge us to rethink how we use the web and how we engage older people with newer technologies.

 

It’s no secret that senior citizens have typically been slow to use new technologies, including social media. But recent trends show older people are among the fastest-growing demographics online. Social network use among Internet users 50 years old and older has nearly doubled to 42% over the past year. In fact, in the U.S. alone there are nearly 16 million people 55 and older using Facebook.

 

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Facebook, eBay win awards for data center efficiency | GigaOM

Facebook, eBay win awards for data center efficiency | GigaOM | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Facebook and eBay are among the winners of this year’s Green Enterprise IT Awards, which the Uptime Institute doles out for advancements in the world of energy-efficient data centers.

 

Dell and eBay took home the award for “Modular Data Center Deployment” for its Project Mercury data center in downtown Phoenix. That data center, which I profiled earlier this month, makes use of standardized racks of gear on the floor and of high-powered but high-efficiency data center modules on the roof. It currently has two Dell modules and two HP units in place, but is looking to add seven more as its computing needs ramp up. Because they’re so efficient, the entire facility’s Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating, which gauges the percentage of power used for tasks other than computing, falls with each new module.

 

Facebook, for its part, won the award for “Audacious Idea,” a category that didn’t even have another finalist, for its Open Compute Project. That’s probably rightly so. The project began with Facebook open sourcing its designs for both servers and entire data centers, and now features an industry-led foundation aimed at bringing some of these highly efficient principles and practices into mainstream enterprises.

 

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In wake of Google controversy, FCC issues tips for securing Wi-Fi - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

In wake of Google controversy, FCC issues tips for securing Wi-Fi - The Hill's Hillicon Valley | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday issued a set of tips to help consumers secure their Wi-Fi networks, just days after the agency closed its probe of Google for gathering private information from unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

 

From 2007 to 2010, Google's cars collected data from nearby Wi-Fi networks as they drove through neighborhoods, taking pictures for the Google Maps Street View project. The data included passwords and other personal information.

 

Google said the data collection was inadvertent and that it never used the information.

 

The FCC was unable to conclude whether Google violated wiretapping laws, but proposed a $25,000 fine because Google "deliberately impeded and delayed" the agency's investigation into the case.

 

A Google spokeswoman said the company disagrees with the "FCC’s characterization of our cooperation."

 

In Tuesday's tip sheet, the FCC encouraged consumers to turn on encryption, activate a router firewall and use a strong password for their router.

 

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CISPA Sponsor Mike Rogers Says Protests Are Mere 'Turbulence' On Landing

CISPA Sponsor Mike Rogers Says Protests Are Mere 'Turbulence' On Landing | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It appears that Congress still doesn't get it. Rep. Mike Rogers, the sponsor of the bad CISPA bill that puts your privacy at risk, really doesn't seem particularly concerned about the protests that have been happening online this week. He referred to them as being "like turbulence on the way down to landing" for the bill. He also said that he fully expects the bill to easily pass next week when its brought to the floor.

 

What really comes through in the article -- which mostly talks about how Rogers has been supposedly working with Google to change some of the language in the bill to make it more acceptable -- is how little concern Rogers has for the public. Instead, most of the article just talks about how he's been working with tech companies to make sure they're okay with the bill. And while that's a start, it's no surprise that lots of tech companies would be okay with CISPA, because it grants them broad immunity if they happen to hand over all sorts of private info to the government.

 

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CISPA: Necessary protection or invasion of privacy? | Marketplace from American Public Media

CISPA: Necessary protection or invasion of privacy? | Marketplace from American Public Media | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is either a welcome resource in preventing cyber attacks or a troubling invasion of privacy, depending who you ask. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House Intelligence Committee and appeared to be headed for easy passage in the House.

 

Criticism of the bill is beginning to mount as several free speech and civil liberties groups are lining up against CISPA and encouraging their supporters to do the same by contacting their representatives in Congress, taking their concerns to Twitter, and generally being noisy about their concerns.

 

So what would CISPA actually do? “The intention of CISPA is to make it easier for companies to share information about cyber threats,” says Jennifer Martinez of Politico.com. “So that companies and the intelligence community can be more proactive about combating cyber attacks or theft of trade secrets.”

 

So the feds have information about a potential attack on a company, they can share that with the company. Companies aren't required to share with the government but they can choose to. That’s the part that’s causing a lot of worry. Here's what worries Kendall Burman, senior research fellow at the Center for Democracy and Technology: “The potential for your Internet service provider or other companies that you interact with to monitor and collect information that they believe meets CISPA's very broad definition of a cybersecurity threat and then send out information to anyone in government, including the National Security Agency.”

 

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The Stupidity Of Data Caps: No One Knows What A Megabyte Is

The Stupidity Of Data Caps: No One Knows What A Megabyte Is | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've argued that data caps for internet access are silly, and even as they're becoming more popular for both wired and wireless broadband data offerings, it seems more people are recognizing this. The NY Times has an article about data caps that makes the key point upfront: no one knows what a megabyte is:

 

But what, exactly, is a megabyte?

 

If a sampling of pedestrians on the streets of Brooklyn is any guide, most people have only a vague idea. One said a megabyte was “the amount of something we have to use the Internet,” adding, “We should have three or four.”

 

Miranda Popkey, 24, was closer: “It’s a measure of how much information you store. If there are too many of them, I can’t send my e-mail attachment.”

 

A megabyte is, in this context, 1,000 kilobytes — or about the size of a photo taken with a decent digital camera, or roughly one minute of a song, or a decent stack of e-mail.

 

Therein lies the problem: Counting things like minutes and text messages is fairly easy, but there is no intuitive or natural way to gauge data use.

 

It's actually much worse than that. The fact that it's not easy to mentally keep track of these things without significant effort means that there's a real extra cognitive cost in using broadband with caps. You have to sit there and think about what you want to do online. You have to think:

 

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Why did an MPAA executive join the Internet Society? | The Guardian.co.uk

Why did an MPAA executive join the Internet Society? | The Guardian.co.uk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Late in March, I started to get a steady stream of emails from concerned readers: did you see that the Internet Society has appointed the former chief technology officer of the MPAA to be their North American regional director?

 

I was as alarmed as they were. The Internet Society – ISOC – is an international nonprofit organisation whose mission is "to assure the open development, evolution and use of the internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world". More concretely, ISOC is also in charge of the .ORG registry, through its subsidiary, the Public Interest Registry.

 

.ORG holds a special place in the heart of internet activists. In the early days of the internet, there were only three generic top-level domains (gTLDs): .ORG, .NET, and .COM, and even though other gTLDs have been created since (like .INFO), these three are the most recognisably legitimate, credible domains in the world.

 

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Collaboration Alive and Well In Wisconsin Broadband Expansion | community broadband networks

Collaboration Alive and Well In Wisconsin Broadband Expansion | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Wise people say that collaboration often leads to a better result than individual efforts. Recently, I was reminded of the benefits of different levels of collaboration, as they relate to community networks, in two separate articles about fiber-optic expansion in Wisconsin.

 

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MN: The Challenge of Online Teaching and Learning | Blandin on Broadband

MN: The Challenge of Online Teaching and Learning | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Twin Cities Daily Planet is running a series of articles on online learning. Yesterday Sheila Regan wrote about some of the options and reasons that students in Minnesota go online…

 

"Online learning takes many different forms. Sometimes it is a teacher using internet resources in the classroom. At other times, students take a fully-online course, working either from home or in the computer lab or media center at their school. In blended or hybrid courses, the students meet with the teacher once or twice a week. In the most fully online format, students go to an online-only charter or alternative school. The Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) provides a list of all the accredited online learning providers statewide."

 

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New Funny LUS Fiber HDTV Commercial | community broadband networks

New Funny LUS Fiber HDTV Commercial | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sat, April 14, 2012 | Posted by christopher

LUS Fiber has released a new ad promoting its HDTV services - probably the best ad I have seen from a community broadband network promoting its services.

 

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Netflix CEO calls out Comcast for breaking net neutrality | Digital Trends

Netflix CEO calls out Comcast for breaking net neutrality | Digital Trends | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Reed Hastings is mad at Comcast, but he may have good reason. On his Facebook page yesterday, the Netflix CEO claimed that Comcast is giving its subscribers better access to its own video services than rivals like Netflix. He claims that using services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go will eat into a Comcast Internet subscribers 250GB bandwidth limit; Comcast’s competing Xfinity video service, however, can be used without any penalty.

 

“Comcast [is] no longer following net neutrality principles,” writes Hastings. “Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all. I spent the weekend enjoying four good Internet video apps on my Xbox: Netflix, HBO GO, Xfinity, and Hulu. When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps, it counts against my Comcast Internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast Internet cap. For example, if I watch last night’s SNL episode on my Xbox through the Hulu app, it eats up about one gigabyte of my cap, but if I watch that same episode through the Xfinity Xbox app, it doesn’t use up my cap at all. The same device, the same IP address, the same Wi-Fi, the same Internet connection, but totally different cap treatment. In what way is this neutral?”

 

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It’s Time for America to Invest in Broadband | Government Technology

It’s Time for America to Invest in Broadband | Government Technology | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sadly average Americans don’t seem to be as aware about records that really matter. In another Guinness entry — fastest Internet connectivity — the U.S. doesn’t come close to No. 1. South Korea leads the world with average broadband speeds above 33 megabits per second (Mbps). The U.S. is lethargic by comparison, at only 5 to 6 Mbps. That’s middle of the pack among industrialized countries.

 

I concede that we’re disadvantaged by having so much land area. It won’t be easy or cheap to lay fiber-optic cable across the Nevada deserts and Kansas plains. The FCC and other industry analysts have speculated a cost of $300 billion or more for universal coverage that would blanket the U.S. with superfast broadband.

 

It’s little wonder, then, that some smaller countries are ahead of us. For them, deploying broadband nationwide has been cheaper. (South Korea is slightly smaller than Tennessee.)

 

Coincidentally a broadband deployment in Tennessee is providing early evidence that such investment can pay off. On my recent visit to Chattanooga, I spoke with civic leaders about the city’s 1 gigabit per second network available to all homes and businesses. What I learned is the topic of this issue’s cover story.

 

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Submarine cable construction continues despite untapped potential capacity | TeleGeography

New data from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service reflect the recent surge in submarine cable construction globally. In 2010 and 2011, 19 systems worth an aggregate $3.7 billion were launched, and the pace of growth will only pick up in the next few years. Throughout 2012 and 2013, 33 submarine cable systems costing a projected total of $5.5 billion will be deployed.

 

Two Middle Eastern systems—Gulf Bridge International and Tata’s TGN-Gulf cable—came online in Q1 2012. The West African Cable System (WACS) and the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) network will also begin service this year, spanning the entire West African coast and extending to Europe. Other major upcoming projects include a pair of sizable intra-Asian cables: the Asia Submarine-cable Express, which is to be deployed in Q3 2012 and the Southeast Asia Japan Cable, which is scheduled for Q3 2013. The America Movil-1 cable in Latin America will be deployed in Q4 2012.

 

In light of the tremendous untapped potential capacity on many existing submarine cables, it may seem surprising that new cable construction continues around the world. “Capacity constraints are not driving most new cable projects,” said TeleGeography analyst Tim Stronge. “Operators are deploying new systems for a variety of reasons, including physical route diversity, latency reduction, strategic advantage, and the lure of relatively high price margins on some routes.”

 

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Global mobile health market worth $8B by 2018 | mobihealthnews

Global mobile health market worth $8B by 2018 | mobihealthnews | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The firm Global Data argues that the rise of mobile health has been partially encouraged by the global financial crisis, which led to a focus on finding cost efficiencies in the system in addition to improved outcomes and quality of care.

 

Global Data also writes that mobile health offerings “have been shown to improve patient and physician convenience, enable remote monitoring, and improve care-coordination among medical professionals, patients and public health systems.” 

 

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Greenpeace slams Apple despite its clean power data center plans | GigaOM

Greenpeace slams Apple despite its clean power data center plans | GigaOM | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Despite that Apple is building one of the largest privately-owned solar and fuel cell farmsat its data center in Maiden, North Carolina, the environmentalists at Greenpeace say in a new report that Apple is one of a couple of Internet companies that are falling significantly short on sourcing clean power for data centers. Other Internet companies that drew weak marks from Greenpeace’s report include Amazon, and Microsoft.

 

In contrast, Google, Yahoo and even Facebook drew praise from Greenpeace’s latest “How Clean Is Your Cloud,” report. The 50+ page report ranks over a dozen Internet companies on categories like how much they consider clean power when deciding the location of their data center, how transparent their clean power strategy is, and how much they are leading the industry through advocacy for clean power.

 

As the Internet, cloud computing and always-on gadgets grow, the amount of electricity consumed by data centers will grow along side it. Greenpeace says data center electricity is 31GW globally, and that will increase 19 percent in 2012 alone.

 

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Mobile Carriers Warn of ‘Spectrum Crisis’; Others See Hyperbole | NYTimes.com

Mobile Carriers Warn of ‘Spectrum Crisis’; Others See Hyperbole | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint say they need more radio spectrum, the government-rationed slices of radio waves that carry phone calls and wireless data.

 

The wireless carriers say that in the next few years they may not have enough of it to meet the exploding demands for mobile data. The result, they ominously warn, may be slower or spotty connections on smartphones and tablets. They imply in carefully couched language that, given the laws of supply and demand, the price of cellphone service will soar.

 

It will affect “the services they’re paying for because of the capacity issues,” said Ed McFadden, Verizon’s vice president for policy communications. “It potentially hinders our ability to meet consumer need.”

 

But is there really a crisis? Some scientists and engineers say the companies are playing a game that is more about protecting their businesses from competitors.

 

Not even the inventor of the cellphone, Martin Cooper, is convinced that the wireless industry faces a serious challenge that cannot be overcome with technology. Mr. Cooper, a former vice president of Motorola and chairman of Dyna L.L.C., an incubator for new companies, says that claims of a so-called spectrum crisis are largely exaggerated.

 

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Technology industry huddles with privacy group over cybersecurity bill - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

Technology industry huddles with privacy group over cybersecurity bill - The Hill's Hillicon Valley | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A major software industry group met with one of the leading critics of a cybersecurity bill on Monday to try to find common ground on the legislation.

 

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), which represents companies including Microsoft, Apple and Adobe, met with the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) to discuss the nonprofit group's privacy concerns with the the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

 

CDT, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press and other groups, is leading a week of protests against the cybersecurity bill.

 

The bill would tear down legal barriers that discourage companies from sharing information about cyber attacks, but privacy groups warn the legislation could lead companies to hand over personal user information to spy agencies.

 

Many technology companies including Microsoft and Facebook support CISPA, which they say will help them protect their systems from cyberattacks.

 

The House is expected to vote on the bill next week.

 

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Revolving Door Between The MPAA And The Federal Government

Revolving Door Between The MPAA And The Federal Government | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Via Parker Higgins we learn of a graphical representation of the revolving door between the MPAA and the federal government from geke.us, purveyor of useful visuals to explain economic truths:

 

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The Mantra Of The Digital Generation: Life, Liberty And Blazing Broadband

The Mantra Of The Digital Generation: Life, Liberty And Blazing Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I recently had an interesting discussion with a politician who really, really understands the various issues that we regularly discuss around here. I brought up the question of whether or not some of this was a "generational" issue, and he (being of a somewhat older generation) said he didn't think that was necessarily the case, and indicated it was, perhaps, more about the amount of knowledge that people had about these issues. He pointed out that there are plenty of people who start out as copyright maximalists (or even supporters of the current status quo), but who, as they learn more, move in the other direction. Yet, it's extremely difficult to name anyone who goes in the other direction. Thus, over time, more and more people will move in the direction of understanding these issues, rather than fighting against progress and innovation.

 

That said, while it is not an entirely generational issue, it should be acknowledged that the younger generation -- those who are "digital natives" -- seem to grasp these things much more clearly and much more quickly. In part, it's because this is entirely natural to them. They don't just understand the technology, but they live the technology and can't imagine a world in which it is limited. If anything, they want to go even further.

 

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The Privacy Nightmares of CISPA | The Dissenter

The Privacy Nightmares of CISPA | The Dissenter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A cybersecurity bill that many believe poses clear dangers to digital freedom is drawing the ire of digital freedom and civil liberties groups. The legislation, the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing Protection Act (CISPA), should be a major story all week.

 

In anticipation of headlines that might be made as members of Congress propose amendments to the bill and it continues to take shape before being voted on by the House on April 23, I recorded an interview on CISPA with Trevor Timm, who is a digital freedom activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The interview was done to provide an overview of the possible effect or impact of this legislation if the bill were to pass and Timm described multiple privacy nightmares that could occur if the bill is passed in its current form.

 

Listen to the interview by clicking on the embedded player below or by going here.

 

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DailyDirt: Technology In Education

DailyDirt: Technology In Education | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The digital revolution of the education system has yet to really take off. Many students communicate with their teachers via email and have figured out how to use word processors (instead of typewriters), but the widespread use of technology in classrooms hasn't exactly caught on. Cool projects like the Khan Academy are starting to ramp up, but introducing cheap laptops or ebooks into public schools hasn't met with wild success. (Though, if you've heard of any inspiring programs, let us know in the comments.)

 

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New York City CTO resigns over public safety wireless network debacle | MuniWireless

What was needed was not a dedicated public safety wireless network but a wireless network that could have been used for multiple purposes by all city departments, with excess capacity being leased out to private firms, non-profits and community groups that would provide wireless access to NYC residents and businesses.

 

NYCWiN is only part of a larger, more ambitious plan called PlanIT to upgrade the city’s IT infrastructure, but delays and cost overruns have made PlanIT a highly controversial issue for the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration and recently may have cost the city’s commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), Carole Post, her job even though Ms. Post arrived at the DoITT many years after the project had commenced.

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How Clearwire Is Outsmarting AT&T and Verizon The Motley Fool

Clearwire is surely putting up a good fight for survival. This otherwise loss-making company has now taken on biggies such as AT&T and Verizon in the wireless Internet space. This has largely been made possible by its clients that are offering cheaper data plans that are targeting the young and not-so-financially-well-off.

 

So does that mean good times ahead for Clearwire? Let's find out...

 

For instance, one of its customers -- NetZero -- introduced free wireless Internet services amounting to 200 megabytes per month for up to a full year, subject to certain conditions. Another Clearwire wholesale customer, FreedomPop, is also hoping to give the guys at Ma Bell and Verizon sleepless nights. The company is selling a unique case meant for Apple's iPhone that gives users access to 1 gigabyte of data. The case has an integrated WiMAX data receiver, and can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot, which enables the phone to have Internet access.

 

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Bloomberg files FCC complaint against Comcast - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

Bloomberg files FCC complaint against Comcast - The Hill's Hillicon Valley | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bloomberg filed a complaint Tuesday with the Federal Communications Commission accusing Comcast of favoring its own programming.

 

Bloomberg argues Comcast is violating the conditions of its federally approved merger with NBC-Universal by refusing to group Boomberg’s “BTV” network near other news and business/news channel on its cable networks.

 

Bloomberg's complaint contends that “BTV” has long been ignored by Comcast as the company has revised channel lineups to establish or maintain news neighborhoods.

 

A “news neighborhood” is created when a significant number or percentage of news and/or business channels are placed substantially adjacent to one another in a system's channel lineup.

 

Comcast argues it has not grouped news channels into the same “neighborhoods” since its merger.

 

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