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Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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Don't auction off empty TV airwaves, SXSW activists tell FCC | Ars Technica

Don't auction off empty TV airwaves, SXSW activists tell FCC | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Activists at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, TX, built a free wireless network to help publicize the power of unlicensed "white spaces" technology. The project is part of a broader campaign to persuade the FCC not to auction off this spectrum for the exclusive use of wireless carriers.

 

Almost everyone agrees that until recently, the spectrum allocated for broadcasting television channels was used inefficiently. In less populous areas, many channels sat idle. And channels were surrounded by "guard bands" to prevent adjacent channels from interfering with each other. A coalition that includes technology companies such as Google and Microsoft and think tanks such as the New America Foundation has been lobbying the FCC to open this unused spectrum up to third parties.

 

The proposal initially faced fierce opposition from broadcasters, but they dropped their opposition after reaching a compromise with the FCC last year. As a result, the FCC recently opened up white space frequencies to unlicensed uses.

 

Now debate has shifted to a new question: whether to auction off some of these white space frequencies for the exclusive use of private wireless companies. Supporters of the auction approach argue that incumbent wireless providers could use the spectrum to improve their networks. And they point out that the auctions would generate much-needed cash for the federal treasury.

 

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Georgia's Internet Uprising | Free Press

Georgia's Internet Uprising | Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The movement to connect more people to high-speed Internet services scored a win in Georgia last Thursday. It’s a victory that should resonate in every U.S. community that is struggling to give people better Internet access.

 

A coalition of Georgia mayors, counties and local activists overcame an industry-backed bill that would have prohibited municipalities from building their own broadband networks. The bill, HB 282, was defeated in a decisive bipartisan vote. The 94-70 tally marked the end of a string of legislative victories for those who seek to limit Internet choice to a few powerful companies.

 

Municipal broadband networks have been gaining traction across the country. It’s easy to see why: In many rural and low-income communities, privately offered broadband services are nonexistent. In its 2012 Broadband Progress Report, the Federal Communications Commission counted nearly 20 million Americans (the vast majority living in rural areas) beyond the reach of broadband.

 

The rise of homegrown Internet infrastructure has prompted the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to introduce state-level legislation designed to limit services to a handful of corporate network providers. ALEC, which receives financial support from AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon, has helped pass bills that hamper or outright ban municipal broadband networks in 19 states.

 

The legislators who sponsored the Georgia bill are major recipients of ALEC “scholarships.” Rep. Don Parsons is an active member of the ALEC Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force. He has received $5,735.48 during his first three years in that role.

 

Bill sponsor Rep. Mark Hamilton received $3,527.80 in ALEC scholarships in 2008 alone, according to the Center for Media and Democracy. In the last cycle, Hamilton was on the receiving end of thousands in campaign contributions from AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast and Verizon.

 

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Free Exchange: Net benefits | The Economist

Free Exchange: Net benefits | The Economist | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

WHEN her two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 1992, Judy Mollica spent hours in a nearby medical library in south Florida, combing through journals for information about her child’s condition. Upon seeing an unfamiliar term she would stop and hunt down its meaning elsewhere in the library. It was, she says, like “walking in the dark”. Her daughter recovered but in 2005 was diagnosed with a different form of cancer. This time, Ms Mollica was able to stay by her side. She could read articles online, instantly look up medical and scientific terms on Wikipedia, and then follow footnotes to new sources. She could converse with her daughter’s specialists like a fellow doctor. Wikipedia, she says, not only saved her time but gave her a greater sense of control. “You can’t put a price on that.”

 

Measuring the economic impact of all the ways the internet has changed people’s lives is devilishly difficult because so much of it has no price. It is easier to quantify the losses Wikipedia has inflicted on encyclopedia publishers than the benefits it has generated for users like Ms Mollica. This problem is an old one in economics. GDP measures monetary transactions, not welfare. Consider someone who would pay $50 for the latest Harry Potter novel but only has to pay $20. The $30 difference represents a non-monetary benefit called “consumer surplus”. The amount of internet activity that actually shows up in GDP—Google’s ad sales, for example—significantly understates its contribution to welfare by excluding the consumer surplus that accrues to Google’s users. The hard question to answer is by how much.

 

Shane Greenstein of Northwestern University and Ryan McDevitt of the University of Rochester calculated the consumer surplus generated by the spread of broadband access (which ought to include the surplus generated by internet services, since that is why consumers pay for broadband). They did so by constructing a demand curve.

 

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What is Connect 2 Compete? | Broadband Rhode Island

What is Connect 2 Compete? | Broadband Rhode Island | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Connect 2 Compete is a new, nationwide program committed  to improving the lives of low-income Americans by building awareness, promoting digital literacy training, and increasing access to technology. It will bring low cost computers, reduced Internet connections and digital literacy training to low income Americans. In addition, the Everyone On program, a program fueled by C2C, will direct the public to free digital literacy training through the locator guide. Broadband RI is working with our community partners and libraries throughout RI to increase the number of trainings through 2014.


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Canadian Wireless Reality Check: Why Our Wireless Market is Still Woefully Uncompetitive | Michael Geist Blog

Canadian Wireless Reality Check: Why Our Wireless Market is Still Woefully Uncompetitive | Michael Geist Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the aftermath of the CRTC's hearing on a consumer wireless code and the government's announcement of its plan for future spectrum auctions, a debate has raged over the competitiveness and health of the Canadian wireless market. Scotia Capital released a report last week titled "Canadian wireless myths and facts" that argued the Canadian market is healthy and that "it is time for the regulators to declare victory on the policies they adopted five years ago". Meanwhile, Open Media issued a report titled Time for an Upgrade: Demanding Choice in Canada's Cell Phone Market that places on the spotlight on many of the ongoing problems in the market, with a particular focus on consumer complaints. The report includes many recommendations for regulatory and policy reform.

 

The reality is that both the regulators and politicians have either expressly or impliedly acknowledged that the Canadian wireless market is uncompetitive. Last week, Industry Minister Christian Paradis promoted the government's past moves on wireless competition, but admitted that "there is much more to do." Meanwhile, the Competition Bureau told the CRTC in its submission on the wireless code of conduct that:

 

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Courting Suburban Civic Hackers in Illinois | TechPresident.com

Courting Suburban Civic Hackers in Illinois | TechPresident.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Writing software to make cities and towns easier to live in seems like it's been a primarily urban hobby until now, with big cities like New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia hogging all the headlines. Hoping to change that, Illinois state officials and nonprofits launched the Illinois Open Technology Challenge, promising $75,000 in prize money distributed to software developers that use state or city data in applications designed for users outside of Chicago rather than inside of it.

 

Contest organizers have moved the challenge's deadline back two weeks, to March 29.

 

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) announced the contest last October as the state's open data platform, Data.Illinois.Gov, expanded to include municipal data from four pilot communities: Belleville, Champaign, Rockford, and Chicago’s South Suburbs. The contest might generate applications focused on civic issues, but it's also intended to connect people in suburban governments with the developers who live in the communities they serve.

 

"In each one of these places government people and developers for the first time ... have been in the same room together," said Daniel X. O'Neil, the executive director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative who gains his civic hacking cred, in part, by having co-founded Everyblock. "You had the mayor of Rockford talking with developers and the Rockford CTO talking about data that they had just published the same day."

 

The challenge will reward the developers of software applications that use data from the state's platform, the City of Chicago's open data trove or the South Suburban Atlas to address needs of the pilot communities or the state as a whole.

 

O'Neill said that the structure of the challenge with the meetups aims to encourage sustainable projects and to encourage participants to think beyond the contest and the prize money.

 

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SHLB Spring 2013 Conference in Washington, DC

"Getting to Gigabit: The Future of Broadband for Anchor Institutions and Their Communities."

 

May 1-3, 2013


Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC

 

Click Here to Register!

 

The conference will provide valuable information for:

 

--Schools, libraries, health care providers and other anchor institutions seeking the latest information about federal programs and policies that will affect their broadband access

 

--BTOP and BIP grantees that are completing their grants and seeking to sustain their projects long into the future

 

--Broadband Providers seeking to serve the broadband needs of community anchor institutions and their surrounding communities

 

--Policy-Makers seeking to learn what they can do to promote economic growth and social inclusion through anchor institutions

 

--Everyone interested in the Obama Administration’s Internet and broadband policies for the next four years

 

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Are Government IT Departments and CIOs Irrelevant? | DigitalCommunities.com

Are Government IT Departments and CIOs Irrelevant? | DigitalCommunities.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

"The Department of No". "The Geeks in the Basement". "Expensive Projects, Always Late".

 

Increasingly, many IT departments – and their CIOs – are becoming irrelevant to the business of government.

 

Peter Hinssen is a visiting lecturer at London Business School and a senior industry fellow at the University of California Irvine's School of Business. He recently wrote a provocative article on this subject, focused on CIOs and IT departments in the commercial sector.

 

But, as I thought about it, many of the same criticisms apply to government CIOs and my own experience as a City CIO.

 

Perhaps we can really trace IT department irrelevance back to smart phones. I remember when I was approached by Seattle’s Police Chief and Human Services Department director in about 2004 regarding BlackBerrys. As those City business leaders attended conferences, they saw their counterparts doing email on their cell phones. "Bill, why can’t we do the same?"

 

Luckily I was smart enough to investigate RIM and lucky enough that RIM (now branded BlackBerry) had a robust enterprise solution which catered to my IT department. We quickly put up a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and at last count more than 1000 BlackBerrys powered by Sprint and Verizon were in use by City of Seattle employees.

 

I wasn’t unique, of course – most CIOs and IT departments embraced BlackBerrys.

 

The problem of course, is that danged fruit company, Apple. They launched the iPhone about six years ago and the iPad a couple years later. Apple didn’t give a dang about Enterprises. It's "their way or the BlackBerry way". No management software for IT departments. Most IT departments resisted the iPhone and iPad trend citing security, public records act, and lack of manageability. But City and County employees quickly embraced them.

 

Suddenly, the IT department was irrelevant. I've blogged about this before, especially when Seattle elected a new Mayor, Mike McGinn, in 2009, and he and his staff brought iPhones to work and said "hook us up". But we see this trend in many other things.

 

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Electronic Health Records: Long History of Management Challenges Raises Concerns about VA's and DOD's New Approach to Sharing Health Information | GAO.gov

Electronic Health Records: Long History of Management Challenges Raises Concerns about VA's and DOD's New Approach to Sharing Health Information | GAO.gov | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD) have undertaken a number of patchwork efforts over the past 15 years to achieve interoperability (i.e., the ability to share data) of records between their information systems; however, these efforts have faced persistent challenges.

 

The departments' early efforts to achieve interoperability included enabling DOD to electronically transfer service members' electronic health information to VA; allowing clinicians at both departments viewable access to records on shared patients; and developing an interface linking the departments' health data repositories.

 

As GAO reported, however, several of these efforts were plagued by project planning and management weaknesses, inadequate accountability, and poor oversight, limiting their ability to realize full interoperability.

 

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Does Comcast Smell Blood in the Water? | TeleCompetitor.com

Does Comcast Smell Blood in the Water? | TeleCompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast is turning up the heat on their broadband competitors by upping broadband speeds in several markets today. They are doubling speed for a couple of their packages and increasing speeds by about 60% for one, all at no additional charge for customers. Comcast may “smell blood in the water,” looking to inflict even more damage on what remains of their DSL competition.

 

Comcast is increasing their Blast! download speeds from up to 25 Mbps to speeds of up to 50 Mbps and upload speeds from up to 4 Mbps  to up to 10 Mbps. Their Extreme 50 subscribers will get a bump of download speeds of up to 105 Mbps (formerly 50 Mbps) and upload speeds up to 20 Mbps (formerly 15 Mbps). Their lower level Performance plan is increasing to speeds of up to 25 Mbps from 15 Mbps downstream and to 5 Mbps from 2 Mbps upstream. Existing customers simply need to reset their cable modem to gain the new speeds.

 

Announced markets for the upgrade include parts of Arkansas, Indiana, and Michigan. DSLReports.com offers more insight into Comcast’s rollout plans by market for these broadband upgrades.

 

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Minnesota Telephone Customers Must Act to Receive Discounts | Blandin on Broadband

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the Minnesota Department of Commerce want to make sure that telephone customers are aware that they must act to continue to receive the benefits of certain telephone discount programs they may have been receiving.

 

Both the Commission and the Department have received numerous inquiries from customers who were removed from Lifeline and Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) programs and recently saw an increase in their telephone bills. The Commission and Commerce Department have also received reports from local telephone service providers regarding the numbers of customers removed from the telephone discount programs.

 

The telephone companies are currently implementing new rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that require telephone service providers to remove Lifeline customers who fail to re-certify their eligibility for the programs. Results from the 2012 recertification in Minnesota show that 33,000 or 46 percent of about 71,000 Lifeline customers failed to return signed certification forms with required information to their service providers and were subsequently removed from the programs.

 

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A Connection for All Ages: Benefits of High-Speed Internet Access for Older Adults | AARP

Recent surveys show that many older adults do not have a high-speed Internet connection at home. This is a problem in today’s digital world because high-speed connectivity enables a new generation of applications and services that promise vast opportunities and benefits.

 

This Insight on the Issues describes how high-speed Internet connectivity can help support the needs and ambitions of older adults in five broad, interrelated impact areas: personal fulfillment, health preservation, social connectedness, functional capability and activity, and caregiver support.  It also reviews recommendations made by the Federal Communications Commission three years ago in the National Broadband Plan to get more older adults connected. The review finds that the FCC’s implementation progress so far has been slow and uncertain.

 

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Tablets Are Eating Into Smartphones’ Share Of Mobile Content Usage, While Android Remains In Lead Overall, Finds Jumptap | TechCrunch

Tablets Are Eating Into Smartphones’ Share Of Mobile Content Usage, While Android Remains In Lead Overall, Finds Jumptap | TechCrunch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Tablets are continuing their rise as the preferred screen for consuming mobile data, according to the latest figures from mobile advertising network Jumptap.

 

The company, which produces a monthly report of what platforms are performing the strongest based on its ad network covering 134 million mobile users in the U.S. and 206 million mobile users worldwide, says that by the end of 2012, tablets accounted for 18% of all traffic on its network, compared to 78% for smartphones and 4% for feature phones.

 

But given usage trends over the past few months, it believes that by the end of 2013, the percentage for tablets will grow to just under one-third of all traffic (29%), while smartphones will decline to 70%.

 

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MN: Carolyn Parnell & Massoud Amin on Gov Tech's Top List of Doers, Dreamers and Drivers | Blandin on Broadband

Gov Tech recently announced their 2013 Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers list. There are two Minnesotans on the list: Carolyn Parnell & Massoud Amin. Note: 2 Minnesotans out of 25 names seems pretty good. Speaks to local innovation!

 

Carolyn Parnell, the State CIO, is recognized for her consolidation of Minnesota IT functions and staff, based it seems on a policy of setting standards. According to Gov Tech…

 

Then, in June 2011, the Legislature passed a bill to consolidate all IT functionality in the state under Parnell’s office — a consolidation that she says is about one-fifth complete because it’s a massive, multiyear undertaking. “We started with a mandate to  pull under one roof all aspects of IT — people, projects, infrastructure, applications — which was scattered among 70-plus organizations,” she said. “This had not been done in the state before.”

 

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Google taps Target for same-day delivery test | Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Google taps Target for same-day delivery test | Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Target Corp. might not have its own same-day online delivery project, like rivals Amazon.com and Wal-Mart Stores. But it's still active in the get-it-now space, partnering with a same-day-delivery test by Google Inc.

 

TechCrunch reports that Google is testing a service that would compete with Amazon Prime, tapping eight stores in the Bay area to see how the project works. Target is reportedly one of the merchants involved, though there's no official word from either company.

 

The San Francisco area was also the market where Target last year partnered with eBay Inc. on a same-day delivery service that eBay was preparing.

Wal-Mart, meanwhile, began a same-day delivery test in the Twin Cities called "Walmart to Go."

 

Google is just the latest big company to explore the demand for same-day delivery, a development that is being closely watched by big retailers. If it works and catches on, same-day delivery could erode one of the big advantages of brick-and-mortar stores against online rivals.

 

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Broadband infrastructure a low priority at California Assembly hearing | Steve Blum's Blog

Broadband infrastructure a low priority at California Assembly hearing | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I might have headlined this post “bridging California’s digital divide is a high priority”. That was the stated topic at today’s Assembly utilities and commerce committee hearing in Sacramento. Assembly members, representatives from urban non-profit groups and state and local agencies spoke eloquently about the need to improve California’s current 73% broadband adoption rate in order to equalize opportunities for all.

 

However, the financing source under consideration is money set aside for infrastructure projects in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). The committee chair, Steven Bradford, a Los Angeles area Democrat, is sponsoring assembly bill 1299 which would give urban public housing a place of honor in the CASF queue and allow money from the infrastructure fund to be spent on broadband adoption efforts.

 

Strictly speaking, promoting adoption – of broadband or any other service – means signing up more subscribers. In the context of broadband, though, the meaning has grown to include a wide range of educational, social service and marketing programs. Usually, it’s organizations like those testifying today that operate those programs. Ergo the interest in a new pot of money.

 

Those organizations, by the way, also included lobbyists from AT&T and the cable industry, and executives from Verizon (kudos to Verizon for sending people who actually run networks for a living). Promoting broadband adoption, in the traditional sense, is what they do.

 

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Supporting Innovative Approaches to Spectrum Sharing | The White House Blog

Supporting Innovative Approaches to Spectrum Sharing | The White House Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The President’s strategy for expanding the capacity of high-speed wireless broadband services across the Nation may get a boost from a new Defense Department Initiative to fund research and development of innovative new approaches to spectrum sharing.

 

Wireless technology continues to drive innovation and productivity in the United States, fueling economic growth and creating jobs.  By most measures, the United States leads the world in the development and deployment of cutting-edge wireless technologies.  More subscribers to advanced 4G wireless broadband live in the United States than in the rest of the world combined.   U.S. companies dominate the market for smartphone operating systems and online apps.  And the wireless industry contributes hundreds of billions of dollars to America’s gross domestic product.

 

Building on U.S. leadership and promoting even greater economic growth requires that the Nation make ever more efficient use of spectrum, the airwaves on which wireless services ride.  Consumers are demanding more spectrum for smartphones and tablets, as are stakeholders from other sectors of the economy and society, including healthcare, transportation, and education.   Many critical Government services require spectrum as well, including air traffic control systems, wireless surveillance by law enforcement, weather monitoring, and military combat training.  Ensuring adequate spectrum to support the expected growth in all of these commercial and non-commercial uses poses  technical challenges and will require trade-offs.

 

Under one strategy for maximizing spectrum efficiency, commercial broadband providers are permitted to share spectrum bands that otherwise would be allocated for exclusive Government use, or vice versa; this approach can increase the productivity  of a band that was designated for a specific purpose decades ago but is underutilized today.  Spectrum sharing can take a number of forms, some of which are technologically mature and others of which are still developing, as detailed in last year’s report from the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, Realizing the Full Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth.


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Regulating Broadband: Government's Not the Problem | The Root

Regulating Broadband: Government's Not the Problem | The Root | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It seems the telecom industry is nervous that its days of simply informing the government how it prefers to conduct its own affairs may finally be numbered. With current Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski reported to be stepping down, and buzz building around a potential nominee likely to serve as a much more rigorous public advocate, Big Telecom is ramping up its PR machine to warn us of the danger of informed, effective government oversight.

 

ColorOfChange members have seen this all before, when we organized to stop the FCC from rubber-stamping what would have been a disastrous merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. Here's what the telecoms don't want you to know:

 

The FCC's landmark "open Internet rules" ensure that fixed broadband providers -- the AT&Ts, Comcasts and Verizons that run DSL, cable or fiber into your home or office -- can't censor your access to the Web. Specifically, fixed broadband providers can't block sites they'd rather you not visit, and they can't favor one Web user's network traffic over another (for example, by slowing a site's load time).

 

These open Internet rules represent a critical win for consumers, who for the most part have no real choice when it comes to selecting a broadband provider -- and thus no choice about the quality of broadband service we receive. Every monthly cable bill is a fresh reminder of how a lack of competition keeps us tied to underperforming, unresponsive telecom monopolies primarily dedicated to price-gouging their customers. Without the FCC serving as a watchdog -- protecting our right to all access the same Web, no matter what telecom market we live in -- broadband providers would be working overtime finding new ways to charge us even more for even less.

 

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China Jumps to IPv6 While U.S. Moves Slowly Away From IPv4 | DailyTech.com

China Jumps to IPv6 While U.S. Moves Slowly Away From IPv4 | DailyTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

China's state ISP rolls out next generation standard

The ever-present desire for censorship may be the carrot, but for whatever reason China has a head start on adopting IPv6.  Even as the U.S. moves sluggishly towards the next generation internet address protocol, 3TNet -- China's state-provided broadband internet and public video service -- has made the switch.

The upside of IPv6 is one that's likely highly desirable in China -- more space.  IPv4, the previous standard, only allows 4.3 billion unique web addresses.  With over a billion people, China may surpass that total in domestic pages alone.

IPv6 is also expected to beef up security.  Using a technology called Source Address Validation Architecture (SAVA), IPv6 networks establish a relationship based on multiple trusted interactions across a network.  This can help beat so-called "IP spoofing" attacks, and advances the current version of IPv6 over less secure earlier versions.

A U.S. Navy sponsored report made public this week, authored by the New England Complex Systems Institute, listed identity trust and the lack of addressing space as the two biggest shortcomings of the widespread and successful IPv4.

 

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NY: Adirondacks town to use new "white space" broadband tech | NCPR News

NY: Adirondacks  town to use new "white space" broadband tech | NCPR News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The North Country is in line to receive a big chunk of the $25 million that state officials are spending to bring broadband internet to more parts of rural New York.

One of the projects in the Adirondacks will use a technology called "white space" to bring broadband to remote homes in the Warren County town of Thurman.


Fred Engelman is with Rainmaker Network Services, based in Chestertown. He says white space is different from wi-fi in a very important way: "White space will penetrate trees and travel up to a few miles through woods, depending on the density."

Engelman says the town of Thurman will be one of the first communities in the US to use white space broadcast technology to extend the reach of broadband.

He says Federal Communications Commission approved the technology just last year, following resistance from many TV and radio broadcasters who were concerned white space would interfere with their transmissions.

One downside to white space broadband, Engelman says, is that homeowners will need to purchase special receivers to use the internet.

The $200,000 grant for Thurman may go to offset some of those homeowner costs.

 

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Who will replace Julius Genachowski as FCC chair? | WashPost.com

Who will replace Julius Genachowski as FCC chair? | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Two questions dominate current conversation in Washington’s telecom world: When will Julius leave, and who will replace him?

 

Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is expected to leave his position as early as next month even though his tenure doesn’t end until the summer, according to people close to the White House and key decision makers on Capitol Hill.

 

And what may move that process forward is growing agreement among top government leaders on a nominee to replace him. A decision will spark a reshuffling of commissioner and senior level seats at the agency, which oversees cable, phone and wireless providers.

 

Washington is putting increasing attention on the commission and high-tech sectors. Americans depend more than ever on smartphones and the Internet for education, work and entertainment. The next FCC chairman will inherit the task of distributing more airwaves to bolster wireless networks, extend Internet access to the poor and oversee what is expected to be more mergers within the industry.

 

The top candidates for chairman include Tom Wheeler, a tech and telecom venture capitalist and fundraiser for President Obama; Karen Kornbluh, Obama’s ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; and Lawrence Strickling, an assistant secretary for Commerce and head of the White House’s tech and advisory policy arm at the Commerce Department.

 

Wheeler, Kornbluh and Strickling all have telecom policy chops and, importantly, all have long relationships with the president.

 

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Six Strikes Alerts Get Once-Over on Hill | Multichannel.com

Six Strikes Alerts Get Once-Over on Hill | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee held a meeting in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Friday for a public briefing on ISPs' and content owners' rollout last week of the six strikes copyright violation early warning system.

 

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, AT&T and Verizon are all participating in the copyright alert system, which applies only to peer-to-peer pirates and is focused on education.

 

Jill Lesser, executive director for the Center for Copyright Information, which oversaw creation of the alerts, outlined the program, saying it was about "education, not punishment."

 

She said that, obviously, peer-to-peer was not the sum total of piracy, but that it was an area where the partners, which included studios and public activist groups, could come together to try and change attitudes.

 

Lesser emphasized that the ISPs were not doing any monitoring of content as part of the alerts. Content owners are those who notice ISPs about infringement. The ISP then sends the alert, and the recipient can challenge it if they feel it is in error.

 

She also pointed out that the program is targeted to residential users, and the alerts would not mean that ISPs' Wi-Fi hotspots would be shut down. Does that mean coffee shops could become a haven for thieves?

 

Lesser said most people are not working hard to game the system or engage in large-scale copyright infringement. "I don't really think there will be a spate of people decamping from their homes and downloading infringing content at Starbucks," she said.

 

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PR Watch Ties ALEC to Now-Dead Bill in Georgia to Limit Internet Investment | community broadband networks

PR Watch Ties ALEC to Now-Dead Bill in Georgia to Limit Internet Investment | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch examines the ties between HB 282, the people behind it, and how it evolved into a threat to connectivity and local control. Brendan gave us permission to repost the story in full here. Since authoring this story, HB 282 was defeated in Georgia in a floor House vote. However, understanding where these bill comes from is critical, so we still wanted to run this piece.

 

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Google nears $7-million settlement with states over Street View | LATimes.com

Google nears $7-million settlement with states over Street View | LATimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google is close to reaching a $7-million settlement with 30-plus states to settle allegations that its Street View mapping service improperly collected passwords and other sensitive personal data from home wireless networks, a person familiar with the matter said.

 

The final details were being worked out Friday. An announcement is expected next week from the states led by the Connecticut attorney general's office.

 

The settlement is to be split among the states.


The states began the investigation in 2010 after the Internet giant revealed that its fleet of Street View cars had inadvertently collected personal data from unsecured wireless networks in more than 30 countries. Google was fined $25,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for impeding its investigation, but the agency said it was not clear that Google had violated federal wiretap laws.

 

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Reality Check: Policy in an LTE world | RCR U.S. Wireless News

Communications service providers are deploying LTE networks, increasing the available bandwidth to their customers and finding that their existing models for revenue growth are not applicable to the expected customer usage patterns. Traditional mobile subscriber plans are focused on voice communications and generally do not have a model differentiating the types of traffic or the rate of traffic particular customers generate.

 

The CSPs are looking for more advanced network management techniques to provide a resilient and available infrastructure to support all of their customers’ expanding needs and differentiate their services from the competition. In addition, data usage is increasing at an ever growing rate requiring enhanced network infrastructure to support the growth. The existing subscriber plans do not take into account this change in subscriber behavior.

 

The new LTE networks provide download speeds up to and beyond 100 megabits per second. This unprecedented wireless network availability is allowing mobile subscribers to utilize applications such as video streaming and cloud technologies. These technologies are performance-sensitive requiring low latency and high bandwidth. Customers are accessing public and private networks wirelessly with the existing and new applications that they have relied upon in fixed network environments.

 

The CSPs are looking for ways to support these mobile applications while implementing a network infrastructure that can support all of their customers’ growing needs. It becomes critical to be able to apply fair usage policies that are able to rate-limit or even block certain types of traffic while allowing other content to pass. Other policies can prioritize certain types of traffic or even be applied based on the subscriber profile.

 

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