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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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Level 3 blames Internet slowdowns on ISPs’ refusal to upgrade networks | Ars Technica

Level 3 blames Internet slowdowns on ISPs’ refusal to upgrade networks | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Recent public battles over how network interconnections affect the quality of streaming video have almost all involved one company: Cogent Communications.


Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer has claimed that his company is simply the only one willing to put up a public fight. But even though Cogent makes the most noise, it's not the only Internet bandwidth provider battling consumer Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. Level 3, another company that has fought consumer ISPs in previous years, has mostly remained quiet lately.


But today, Level 3 decided to voice its displeasure in a blog post by general counsel for regulatory policy Michael Mooney. Additionally, Level 3 recently asked the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the network interconnections known as peering in a possible revision of network neutrality rules.


Like Cogent, Level 3 is one of the Internet bandwidth providers that Netflix and other companies pay to distribute their traffic across the Internet. Both have objected to demands that they pay for the right to peer, or exchange traffic with, last-mile ISPs that serve home broadband users.


Level 3 itself caved in and agreed to pay Comcast after a dispute over Netflix traffic in 2010, and it appears to be troubled that Netflix just recently agreed to pay Comcast as well. Mooney today wrote:


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A look inside Globalstar’s plan to build an exclusive nationwide Wi-Fi network | GigaOM Tech News

A look inside Globalstar’s plan to build an exclusive nationwide Wi-Fi network | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Most people who know Globalstar know it for its world phones. Its constellation of satellites whiz through their orbits just above the Earth’s atmosphere connecting handsets almost anywhere in the world, from the deepest rain forests of the Amazon to mountains of Afghanistan.


But Globalstar has plans to become more than just a satellite company. If a proposal before the FCC to allow Wi-Fi use on its 2.4 GHz satellite spectrum is approved, you could wind up seeing Globalstar service in malls, public plazas and cafes — anywhere where you can find public Wi-Fi today.


Instead of connecting voice conversations to specialty handsets, Globalstar would be supplying data links to everyday tablets, smartphones and laptops. And instead of beaming those signals from the heavens, it would be using the same Wi-Fi access points found everywhere today.


The big difference between Globalstar’s network and regular Wi-Fi is that it would be private. By private, I don’t just mean secured like your home Wi-Fi network; I mean private in the sense that Globalstar and its customers would enjoy exclusive access to those airwaves.


“This would be a Globalstar managed service, but otherwise it will look and feel just like any other global Wi-Fi network,” Globalstar VP of Regulatory Affairs Barbee Ponder told me in a recent interview.


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Comcast-Time Warner Merger Faces State-Level Investigation | HuffPost.com

Comcast-Time Warner Merger Faces State-Level Investigation | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Florida and other U.S. states will join the Justice Department in seeking to determine if Comcast's plan to merge with Time Warner Cable is legal under U.S. antitrust law, Florida said in a statement to Reuters.

"We are part of a multistate group reviewing the proposed transaction along with the U.S. DOJ (Justice Department) Antitrust Division," the Florida state attorney general's office said in an emailed statement.

It was not known how many states had joined the task force.

Separately, Indiana officials were also looking at the deal to determine "the potential impact in Indiana." Erin Reece, a spokeswoman for the Indiana attorney general's office, did not indicate if Indiana was part of the multistate group.

The attorneys general group is focused on broadband rather than cable in assessing the $45.2 billion deal, according to a source familiar with the effort who was not authorized to speak on the record.

Comcast did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the states' review of its proposed deal.


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Google unveils the Android Wear platform: Google Now on your wrist | GizMag.com

Google unveils the Android Wear platform: Google Now on your wrist | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We knew that Google was cooking up a version of Android designed specifically for wearables, and today the company followed through. Android Wear is a Google Now-centric platform for smartwatches – and, eventually, other wearables as well.


Android Wear delivers what many folks have been waiting for before investing in a smartwatch. It's contextual Google Now information combined with almost-instant Google voice commands.


So, much like Google Now for smartphones, it will give you info like traffic for your commute, sports scores, and any upcoming meetings you have. And like the Moto X and the Google Now launcher on the Nexus 5, you'll also be able to trigger voice commands without even touching your device. Just say "OK Google" and Google Wear-powered watches will instantly start listening for your command. That could mean sending or replying to a text, searching Google for a good restaurant, or something like scheduling a meeting.


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Emerging nations want uncensored Internet access, Pew survey shows | NetworkWorld.com

Emerging nations want uncensored Internet access, Pew survey shows | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A study released today by the Pew Research Center shows that majorities in 22 of 24 developing nations surveyed want their access to the Internet to be free of government censorship, including 70%+ majorities in half of the countries that were included.


South American countries like Venezuela (89%), Chile (86%), Brazil (80%) and Argentina (80%) posted some of the highest margins of respondents saying that an uncensored Internet is an important thing, as did Middle Eastern and North African countries like Lebanon (86%), Egypt (83%), Jordan (69%) and the Palestinian Territories (62%).


According to the Pew Center, support for a censorship-free Internet tended to be higher in countries with more general access to the Internet – limited access in countries like Uganda and Pakistan is reflected in their lower support numbers, which were 49% and 22% respectively.


Some countries, of course were exceptions, the researchers said – Venezuela and Egypt both showed more hostility to censorship than their usage numbers might have suggested, while Internet-savvy Russia’s mark of 63% was surprisingly low. The study notes that “other Pew Research surveys have also found relatively low support for democratic rights and institutions in Russia and Pakistan.”


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TX: Is San Antonio hot favourite to become fourth Google Fiber city? | TeleGeography.com

The city of San Antonio has signed an agreement with Google Fiber for the preliminary placement of ‘fiber huts’ throughout the city, reports the San Antonio Express-News. In February this year, San Antonio was named as one of nine major metropolitan areas (encompassing 34 cities) that Google Fiber cited as a possible destination for its next 1Gbps fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment.


The City Council said that the master-lease agreement with holding company Google Fiber Texas will give the service provider the ability to deploy about 40 12-by-26-foot communications shelters that house tech infrastructure. Further, the newspaper notes that the city of San Antonio is in a strong position because it controls CPS Energy, which owns 86% of the utility poles in San Antonio; telco AT&T owns the other 14%.


According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Kansas City was declared the winner of the inaugural ‘Google Fiber’ contest on 30 March 2011, beating off more than 1,100 locations in the process. 17 days after the initial announcement, Google announced the decision to include Kansas City, Missouri, thus offering the service to both sides of the state line. Google Fiber is currently commercially available in Kansas City and Provo, Utah. A third city, Austin, Texas, was confirmed as a Google Fiber market in April 2013, but the launch is still pending. Earlier this month, Google confirmed that its Kansas fibre network consisted of ‘nearly 6,000 route miles’.


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how can san anotnio leverage its wired status to deliver better health outcomes to its citizens?

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X-Lab: catalyzing innovative, thought-provoking, and challenging tech-policy interventions. | Knight News Challenge

X-Lab: catalyzing innovative, thought-provoking, and challenging tech-policy interventions. | Knight News Challenge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The X-Lab catalyzes innovative, thought-provoking, and challenging tech-policy interventions through a combination of visionary leadership, risk tolerance, and technological acumen. X-Lab uses next-gen technologies to influence current legislative and regulatory debates and is future-focused: looking at the implications for disruptive eventualities like the collapse of today's traditional manufacturing chain; electromagnetic jaywalking; and the paradox of “when smart is dumb" (the myriad problems with today's conceptualizations of the Internet of Things). The X-Lab is created to be an open sandbox that brings together technologists for specific projects and interventions. X-Lab is built as an incubator to develop what’s next in tech policy.


After founding and leading the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute for the past six years, OTI's founder, Sascha Meinrath, is launching a new project: the X-Lab.  X-Lab is a high-impact tech tank that brings together leadership from across the technology and policy sectors to work on targeted interventions that will directly influence key decision-makers.  Drawing from years of successful collaborations and a wealth of crucial policy wins, X-Lab coordinates small teams of tech-policy experts to work on reforms that directly support Internet Freedom.


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Time Warner Cable’s Teeny-Tiny Fine Print Makes Redeeming Rebates Difficult

Time Warner Cable’s Teeny-Tiny Fine Print Makes Redeeming Rebates Difficult | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A Texas Time Warner Cable customer has discovered the fine art of cable company fine print, and it only cost her the Samsung Galaxy Note tablet promised in return for upgrading her cable package.


Sherry Buffington of Farmers Branch learned first hand that 1/16th of an inch print has but one purpose — to take away the promised tablet worth $399.


Time Warner Cable ran the tablet promotion nationwide over the holidays. Buffington wanted to know she would qualify before upgrading her service, so she called Time Warner Cable and got confirmation. She upgraded her service on the spot.


Weeks later, no tablet and no answers from Time Warner Cable. It took the Dallas Morning News’ Watchdog reporter to finally pry some answers out of the cable company.


Time Warner Cable’s position was finally made clear: No tablet for Ms. Buffington; she did not qualify for the offer because she didn’t pay attention to the fine print. It turns out customers have to switch to a specific bundled package to qualify for the promotion. Customers who simply upgraded service more often than not did not qualify for the promised tablet.


But Buffington still got something after her ordeal. It turns out Time Warner likes to keep recordings of customer calls indefinitely. A supervisor was able to pull the months-old recording of the call between Buffington and the customer service representative who promised she qualified for the tablet even though Time Warner now insists she does not. The cable company offered Buffington a $300 credit on her next bill to set things right.


Consumer advocates warn customers to take special care reviewing the fine print attached to most promotional offers and follow instructions precisely to qualify. But Watchdog Dave Lieber said Time Warner really went beyond the pale with the “disgustingly small” fine print he found completely unreadable.


Lieber’s inability to read the terms and conditions did not faze Melissa C. Sorola, TWC’s director of public relations. She reminded him the requirements are “stated three times in the documents.”


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Calif. consumer group files complaint against Verizon on 'forced' IP conversions | ComputerWorld.com

Calif. consumer group files complaint against Verizon on 'forced' IP conversions | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Communications is forcing customers in southern California to move from traditional telephone service to voice over IP or wireless services, a consumer advocacy group has said in a complaint filed with the state.


Verizon, in its "forced migration," is ignoring state and federal laws requiring it to provide telephone services to California residents, The Utility Reform Network (TURN) said in a complaint filed Monday with the California Public Utilities Commission. The telecom carrier is ignoring requests for repair of its existing copper-based network and forcing customers to VoIP service over Verizon's Fios broadband service, TURN said in its complaint.


"Verizon is deliberately neglecting the repair and maintenance of its copper network with the explicit goal of migrating basic telephone service customers who experience service problems," Regina Costa, TURN's telecom research director, wrote in the complaint. "These migrations are often without the customers' knowledge or consent."


A Verizon spokesman said the company is reviewing the complaint and will respond to the CPUC.


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Dish, DirecTV: STELA Should Be Video Reform Vehicle | Multichannel.com

Dish, DirecTV: STELA Should Be Video Reform Vehicle | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In response to a request for input from the Senate Commerce Committee on reauthorization of the satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), Dish and DirecTV dropped that hammer-and-tongs competition to file a joint response with a laundry list of suggestions including permanent reauthorization.
 
STELA is the law that grants a blanket license to satellite operators to deliver distant network affiliated TV stations into local markets. But it is also the only must-pass video legislation on the horizon. It could be a vehicle for various video reforms, but the cleaner the bill the more likely it will pass by the Dec. 31 deadline.
 
A House draft of STELA already sports a few video reforms, though ones that broadcasters, cable ops and satellite companies appear to be able to live with.
 
In their response to the Senate, Dish and DirecTV were clearly on the side of striking while the iron is hot, which means using STELA as a vehicle for major retrans and other reforms. "It is time for Congress to act, and STELA reauthorization presents the perfect vehicle," they wrote.
 
It will need to be a stretch limo to accommodate the satellite operator's wish list, which in addition to a permanent reauthorization--it is currently every five years--comprises the following:


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Comcast's Arbogast: TWC Deal Reflects Reality That Regional Model Is Untenable | Multichannel.com

Comcast's Arbogast: TWC Deal Reflects Reality That Regional Model Is Untenable | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rebecca Arbogast, vice president, global public policy, for Comcast, framed the proposed Time Warner Cable merger Tuesday as a not antitrust harm, no foul meld that would benefit TWC subs without reducing, and indeed increasing, competition. She also calls it a recognition that the regional cable model is no longer working.
 
At a Free State Foundation telecom conference in Washington Tuesday (March 18), Arbogast said the deal reflects market realities.
 
"The simple fact is that times have changed, and so the regional model of cable footprints just isn't tenable any longer given that the companies we're competing against have national footprints and it's important to be able to have that scale, not just to expand the speed and get the deep video libraries, but also to do things that are kind of hidden behind the scenes." She cited cybersecurity, for one. "You really need to have a base over which to spread that research and development."
 
On the subject of the deal increasing competition, she cited creating a stronger business services competitor to incumbents AT&T and Verizon. She said that element does not get a lot of attention from the advocacy groups, "but I think is incredibly important for economic growth and development and jobs."
 
She said that the deal is neither horizontal concentration nor vertical acquisition: "It's an expansion of a footprint."


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CA: Exploring Santa Monica's Incremental Fiber Approach - Community Broadband Bits Episode 90 | community broadband networks

CA: Exploring Santa Monica's Incremental Fiber Approach - Community Broadband Bits Episode 90 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Just a few weeks after releasing our case study of Santa Monica's City Net, we have an opportunity to interview Jory Wolf, CIO of Santa Monica, and the chief driver of City Net. This is episode #90 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.


We talk about how City Net got its start with a smart approach to the cable franchise negotiation. Adelphia built a number of fiber paths that Santa Monica would mange to connect anchor institutions. The savings from no longer leasing services provided the basis for expanding a network that would meet Santa Monica's needs long into the future.


They took that network and added on, eventually serving businesses with dark fiber and even some lit service. The model is applicable to any local government - financed by saving money and reinvesting that back into the network.


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IL: The University of Chicago Launches UChicago Local | IT News Online

The University of Chicago today announced the launch of UChicago Local, an initiative designed to support local businesses on the Mid-South Side, providing the training and connections to help them work with the University and UChicago Medicine.


UChicago Local will offer programs and tools for business owners and job seekers in neighborhoods around the University. The first phase focuses on local business support, including efforts to make local vendors a larger part of University and UChicago Medicine procurement. That includes an intensive business skills training course to help prepare firms to better compete for business with UChicago and other large institutions. The first training will begin this week, with 10 Mid-South Side businesses participating.


Future phases will include directories, marketing materials, and forums for vendors who want to promote their businesses to the University, and to staff, students, and faculty as potential customers.


"The University of Chicago is committed to working in partnership with our surrounding communities to spur economic opportunity on the Mid-South Side. These efforts include our investment in the redevelopment of 53rd Street and other key locations, job training programs, home ownership programs, our business diversity programs, and more," said University President Robert J. Zimmer. "UChicago Local builds on those efforts while creating new, targeted opportunities for the University and the medical center to connect to talent and resources available in Mid-South Side neighborhoods."


In recent years, the University of Chicago has become a leader in the area of business diversity, through a strong commitment to increasing the number of women and minority suppliers in professional services and on new construction and renovation projects. While UChicago Local is not limited to women and minorities, it complements the diversity initiatives and adds a distinct component to the broader procurement strategy, which seeks to ensure the University and UChicago Medicine have access to the most innovative and creative talent available and that Mid-South Side firms have opportunities to compete for business.


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Senator Al Franken: Don’t let Comcast “manipulate Internet traffic” | Ars Technica

Senator Al Franken: Don’t let Comcast “manipulate Internet traffic” | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) today asked the Department of Justice to examine network neutrality implications of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger and the increased power the merger would give Comcast when it comes to negotiating paid peering agreements like the recent one with Netflix.


"I am very concerned that Comcast could use its clout in the broadband market to dictate the content consumers receive and the prices they pay, and these concerns are only intensified by Comcast’s proposal to acquire Time Warner Cable," Franken wrote in a letter to the DOJ. "With more than 20 million customers, Comcast already is the nation’s dominant Internet service provider, controlling about a quarter of the national broadband market and a much higher percentage of the market in many of the local areas in which it operates. By acquiring Time Warner Cable, Comcast would extend its reach substantially, covering millions of additional customers. This would give Comcast even more leverage to manipulate Internet traffic to serve its own corporate interests."


Comcast is not allowed to block or discriminate against Web traffic as a result of conditions on its acquisition of NBCUniversal, but Franken noted that "Comcast’s net neutrality obligations expire in January 2018, which raises the question of what happens after that time."


Franken noted that prior to the NBCUniversal acquisition, Comcast was admonished by the FCC for degrading traffic. That FCC order came in 2008 and sanctioned Comcast for "secretly degrading peer-to-peer applications."


Franken also wants to make peering an issue in the merger review. While big network operators have traditionally engaged in "settlement-free peering," exchanging traffic without payment, consumer ISPs like Comcast have begun demanding payments from Netflix and Netflix's traffic providers. Comcast has won payments both from Level 3 and Netflix, and it's still in a battle with Cogent, one of the companies Netflix pays to distribute its traffic across the Internet.


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Minnesota Local Governments Advance Super Fast Internet Networks | community broadband networks

Minnesota Local Governments Advance Super Fast Internet Networks | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Local governments in Minnesota have been at the forefront of expanding fast, affordable, and reliable Internet access - often in some of the most challenging areas of the state. ILSR has just released a policy brief to explore some of these approaches: Minnesota Local Governments Advance Super Fast Internet Networks.


The full report is available here.


The brief examines five communities that have taken different approaches to expanding access, from working with a trusted local partner to creating a new cooperative to building community-wide FTTH networks.


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AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier see utility with copper but want flexibility in technology transition | FierceTelecom.com

AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier see utility with copper but want flexibility in technology transition | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Copper wire retirement may be a concern for competitive providers, but AT&T, CenturyLink and Frontier said during a session at the COMPTEL Plus trade show that they are still finding value in telecom's ubiquitous access medium.


These three telcos don't envision a wholesale replacement of their copper facilities, but rather would like to have the flexibility to retire them if there's a reason to do so.


While CenturyLink is upgrading its network to IP and adding fiber, it sees copper retirement and the IP transition as a two-part issue. It says that the IP transition should have three common characteristics: a state-by-state interconnection model, redundancy and flexibility.

CenturyLink has shut down copper and replaced it with fiber in only a few select areas.


"Today, we have retired some copper, but where we have done it is very, very rare," said Bill Cheek, president of Wholesale Markets Group for CenturyLink. "We have network notifications we put out and there have been very few objections, and those that have come, we have been able to rectify those in short order."


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MN: Is broadband a utility? Decide that, then create policy. | Blandin on Broadband

I’m struck by how often I think of the old broadband-as-utility debate during the legislative season. The question is – Is broadband a utility? Making that call would sure make some policy decisions easier.


Having attended several of Senator Schmit’s listening sessions across rural Minnesota in the last few months, I can tell you that people who attended think broadband is a utility. It was declared a utility in the UK in 2009. Wikipedia says “telephone services may occasionally be included within the definition” of utility. I’ve written on this topic before – as more services and jobs become accessible (sometimes exclusively available) online, it seems more difficult to claim broadband is a luxury or even commodity. It’s a necessity, recognizing that helps create policies that work to make broadband more accessible.


Newsweek just published an article that highlights the problems with policies that encourage but don’t mandate rural coverage.


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Minnesota lawmakers consider bill to remove print mandate for public information | SCTimes.com

Minnesota lawmakers consider bill to remove print mandate for public information | SCTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For more than 50 years, cities, counties and school districts in Minnesota have been required to publish details of their meetings, budgets and other business in local newspapers.


As technology has changed, so have the methods that local governments communicate with residents. All 87 counties and three-fourths of Minnesota cities have websites. Many also use social media tools including Facebook and Twitter.


That’s led to a renewed push this year at the state Capitol to allow local governments to skip printing legal notices in newspapers, which they say costs thousands of dollars every year and is no longer the best way to reach most residents.


“More and more people are going online to get information, and less so going to newspapers,” said Ann Lindstrom, lobbyist with the League of Minnesota Cities.


The proposal also has critics who argue newspapers have been providing important information to the public about their government for decades, and ending that practice for a small budget savings isn’t wise.


After a lengthy hearing before a Senate committee last month, the bill appears stalled. No additional hearings have been scheduled in either legislative body.


Under current state law, cities, counties and school districts are required to publish a variety of notices, including meeting agendas and minutes, new ordinances, financial reports, notices of elections and sample ballots.


Most local governments have a designated newspaper where most notices are published. Some also choose to publish certain notices in other publications with wider circulation or that covers a specific geographic area.


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Paid peering is not a net neutrality issue but Level 3 wants to make it one | GigaOM Tech News

Paid peering is not a net neutrality issue but Level 3 wants to make it one | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Level 3 Communications, one of the companies that provides middle mile broadband transit between content providers and last-mile ISPs, has weighed in on the peering fight that occurred last month between Comcast and Netflix (without actually mentioning the deal). As you might expect, Level 3, which will now deliver fewer of Netflix’s bits to Comcast, is not a fan of how much power ISPs have in paid peering negotiations. And it wants the Federal Communications Commission to help.


In a blog posted Tuesday, Level 3 took offered a coherent argument detailing the problems associated with some paid peering deals, and then confused the issue by conflating paid peering with network neutrality. It did this because the company wants to make peering fights a net neutrality issue. In a conversation with Michael Mooney, general counsel, regulatory policy at Level 3 Communications, he said “I do think the FCC can do something about this if it wants to.”


After explaining paid peering and detailing how ISPs are trying to charge content providers for direct peering as a means get money for capacity upgrades, the blog post delves into the problems associated with these arrangements:


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Understanding Broadcasters v. Aereo | Andrew Jay Schwartzman | Benton Foundation

Understanding Broadcasters v. Aereo | Andrew Jay Schwartzman | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a few weeks (April 22, to be exact), the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in one of the most important intellectual property cases in recent years.


Depending on who you believe, the case could endanger or even destroy free over-the-air broadcasting or it could imperil the development of cloud computing, threatening the very underpinnings of the emerging digital economy. Or perhaps neither, since this case, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., has been the object of heated hyperbole on all sides.


Behind the dry and highly technical arguments in this case is a major controversy over whether Aereo, a small start-up with a few thousand subscribers, can capture and distribute over-the-air TV signals via the Internet.


First, some history.


In 1947, John and Margaret Walson began selling TV sets in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. Because reception was difficult in the area’s hilly terrain, he mounted an antenna on a nearby mountaintop so he could demonstrate the sets in his store. Before long, he hooked up a few neighbors, and in 1948 started a business selling hookups to others in the town. One might think that broadcasters would welcome anything that increased the number of viewers who could view their commercials, but the broadcasters (joined by program producers) instead declared two decades of legal war over what they viewed as the “theft” of their signals.


Ultimately, in two decisions, Fortnightly Corp. v. United Artists Corp. (1968) (Fortnightly), and Teleprompter Corp. v. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (1974) (Teleprompter), the Supreme Court ruled that cable systems were essentially "rabbit ear" antennae with very long cords, albeit shared with many customers. This, the Court said, did not infringe on the broadcasters’ and producers’ copyrights.


After years of lobbying and political maneuvering, in 1976 Congress effectively rejected the Supreme Court’s decisions by imposing a complicated scheme under which cable operators received the right to "retransmit" (an important word here) broadcasters’ signals (a "compulsory license") to multiple customers, but were obligated to pay fees as determined by a new Copyright Royalty Tribunal.


That brings us to Aereo. Broadcasters argue that Aereo is like a cable operator and is thus required to pay copyright royalties. Aereo maintains that its reception and delivery of broadcasters’ signals falls outside the terms of the 1976 amendments to the Copyright Act, and that it does not owe royalties. The case turns on highly technical readings of the law, which I will address after discussing the context in which it arises.


Aereo’s argument is based on the technology it uses. While cable systems take in a signal from a single receiver or feed and redistribute that feed to all their customers, Aereo uses patented technology employing thousands of tiny, dime-sized antennae. Each customer signing on to Aereo’s website is assigned a particular antenna, the signal of which is stored on a hard drive in a file dedicated only to that user. Because of this, Aereo says it is not functioning like a cable operator, but merely as an extended custom "rabbit ears" for each individual user.


If Aereo’s argument sounds like it is attempting a rather obvious legal ploy, that is because it is. Aereo readily admits that it invented the tiny antennae precisely because it enables Aereo to avoid paying royalties. Nor is it an accident that Aereo introduced its service in New York, to take advantage of a legal precedent in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes New York.


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AT&T purchase of Leap Wireless gets FCC OK | ComputerWorld.com

AT&T purchase of Leap Wireless gets FCC OK | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved AT&T's $1.2 billion acquisition of competitor Leap Wireless, which sells prepaid mobile service under the Cricket brand.


The FCC on Thursday cleared the transaction subject to several conditions. Among other things, AT&T agreed to sell off some wireless spectrum, deploy LTE service on Leap's unused spectrum and deploy LTE in six south Texas markets within 18 months.


AT&T announced plans to acquire Leap in July. Mobile analysts expected Leap as the next carrier to be sold after SoftBank in 2013 bought No. 3 carrier Sprint for $21.6 billion, a deal allowing Sprint to acquire Clearwire. In early 2013, No. 4 T-Mobile US acquired MetroPCS, another regional budget carrier.


Leap's Cricket service has about 4.6 million customers.

Public Knowledge, a digital rights group, questioned the deal, saying the FCC needs to address problems with spectrum holdings being consolidated by a handful of mobile carriers.


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Can data lakes solve cloud security challenges? | NetworkWorld.com

Can data lakes solve cloud security challenges? | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

"Data Lake" is a proprietary term. "We have built a series of big data platforms that enable clients to inject any type of data and to secure access to individual elements of data inside the platform. We call that architecture the data lake," says Peter Guerra, Principal, Booze, Allen, Hamilton. Yet, these methods are not exclusive to Booze, Allen, Hamilton.


"I have read what's available about it," says Dr. Stefan Deutscher, Principal, IT Practice, Boston Consulting Group, speaking of the data lake; "I don't see what's new. To me, it seems like re-vetting available security concepts with a name that is more appealing." Still, the approach is gaining exposure under that name.


In fact, enterprises are showing enough interest that vendors are slapping the moniker on competing solutions. Such is the case with the Capgemini / Pivotal collaboration on the "business data lake" where the vendors are using the name to highlight the differences between the offerings.


This enterprise curiosity stems from real big data ills that need equally genuine cures. Enterprises from government agencies to large concerns and on down use big data inside public multitenant cloud environments. All the risks of mutlitenancy apply in these scenarios including the vulnerabilities that come with the weaker security of another tenant, potential access by users of an adjacent tenant, PII/PHI exposure, and other regulatory non-compliance. Data lakes could protect big data from all the perils of the public cloud.


But, while Defense agencies need the protection data lakes offer for each individual data element, the typical enterprise does not. Nor can most enterprises afford the performance hit that comes with using data lakes in this way. That's why some vendors are using data lakes to protect the whole of big data rather than each piece while also avoiding the performance lag of the former approach. Enterprises in the market for solutions to security challenges that come with the public cloud should consider one or both data lake approaches.


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NAB To Senate Commerce: Keep STELA Clean | Multichannel.com

NAB To Senate Commerce: Keep STELA Clean | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Association of Broadcasters has presented the Senate Commerce Committee with 13 pages worth of suggestions on what it should, or more to the point shouldn't, do in reauthorizing the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA).


The suggestions pretty much boil down to: Don't use it to remake communications policy in general and retrans policy in particular.


The Committee sought input as it prepares a hearing on STELA and what should be in the legislation, which must pass by Dec. 31 or satellite operator's blanket license to deliver distant network-affiliated TV station signals will sunset.


The NAB is actually OK with that sunset--it calls the license a market-distorting mechanism that has outlived its usefulness--but spent most of its 13 pages on arguing for what should not be in a "clean" renewal. Satellite operators have asked the committee to make multiple retrans changes as part of STELA, but NAB says such efforts would only "prolong, complicate and threaten" the rauthorization process.


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Canada: Big Wireless All Raise Prices By Same Amount, At Same Time | HuffPost.com

Canada: Big Wireless All Raise Prices By Same Amount, At Same Time | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canada’s big three wireless carriers all raised the prices for their monthly plans this weekend. All of them raised prices by $5, and all the base plans cost the same.


The price hikes apply to all of Canada except Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the CBC reports, with a smartphone plan with 500 MB of data monthly costing $80 at all three carriers.


And it’s not just Bell, Rogers and Telus customers; those who have wireless service with Big Three sub-brands like Koodo (Telus) and Fido (Rogers) saw their services shoot up in price over the past few days as well.


Internet commenters are calling it collusion, but we at HuffPost won’t do that, because we don’t have any evidence.


There does exist the possibility that it isn’t collusion, that these companies face similar cost structures and therefore come up with similar price plans. As for the prices all going up at once, it may be a case of follow the leader.


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Liberty Media Loses Interest in Sirius/XM; Turns Focus to Consolidating U.S. Cable Industry Instead | Stop the Cap!

Liberty Media Loses Interest in Sirius/XM; Turns Focus to Consolidating U.S. Cable Industry Instead | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

John Malone’s Liberty Media has lost interest in acquiring full ownership of satellite radio provider Sirius/XM as it turns its attention to re-entering the U.S. cable industry.


Malone’s company has a 53% controlling interest in the satellite radio service but had announced its intention to acquire 100% of the $23 billion venture. Analysts predicted Liberty planned to use Sirius/XM as an integral asset to help acquire financing to buy Time Warner Cable. But after Comcast suddenly announced its intention to acquire its fellow cable operator, Malone has decided he needed a bigger, more stable presence in the cable industry.


Liberty Media will create two new tracking stock groups for its interests — Liberty Media Group and Liberty Broadband Group. Liberty Media will hold Sirius/XM and a range of Liberty-controlled content companies. Liberty Broadband will be the new home for Liberty’s 25% ownership interest in Charter Communications as well as its future cable-related transactions.


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