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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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Today’s Cable Companies are Becoming Tomorrow’s Tech Firms | Cable Tech Talk

Today’s Cable Companies are Becoming Tomorrow’s Tech Firms | Cable Tech Talk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Monday, Cox Communications launched a brand-new video companion app for iPad and iPhone called Contour. Debuted as a “Personal Video Experience,” Contour aggregates live TV, on-demand programming, and DVR recordings in a single program. It also features an advanced recommendation engine built by ThinkAnalytics that provides customized TV and movie picks for up to eight unique users.


Cox’s goal was to build an app designed to answer demand for a more flexible, individualized video experience. Cox’s Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Mark Greatrex explained, “Contour brings to life all the features our customers tell us they want…all accessible on multiple devices via an effortless guide.” Research reveals that 60 percent of all video viewing happens through on-demand and DVR recordings. Contour is a direct way to deliver Cox customers a time-flexible viewing experience that reflects this change in viewing patterns.


With Contour, Cox is taking a page from the playbook of tech companies like Apple and Google by focusing on rapid development and deployment of rich, user-centric interfaces and taking advantage of the latest in algorithm design. Intuitive, customizable, easily updatable platforms like Contour allow customers to seamlessly watch what they want, when they want, on any device they want.


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TN: City of Knoxville works to broaden broadband Internet access | WATE.com

TN: City of Knoxville works to broaden broadband Internet access | WATE.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Downtown Knoxville may be growing at a rapid pace, but Internet access for residents and business owners is lagging behind.


The City of Knoxville held a meeting Wednesday night to help establish communication between downtown dwellers and Internet providers.

More and more shops continue to pop up on the streets of downtown, but one key to a business' success is working Internet.


"Periodically the Internet does knock out so I have zero access. My music is gone, I can't access my [point of sale] system so I can't make sales. It hasn't been a huge problem but it is definitely something I've notice," explained Nina Phalen, owner of Style of Civilization. 


Many businesses like Gay Street's newest neighbor Style of Civilization are moving towards completely Internet based systems. It's a trend the City of Knoxville is aware of.


"Customers and residents have come to expect good Internet service when they come to a places like Knoxville and we've got pretty good service, there's still some pockets out there," said Rick Emmett, the Knoxville Downtown Coordinator.


One of the issues is that the majority of downtown's broadband Internet access is underground, coming through fiber optic cables under the streets. There's limited space down there which means they can't simply add more cables. For downtown residents, that means looking to other options.


"Our only option in this building for Internet service has been a hotspot through Verizon," said downtown resident Malinda Morrow.


Malinda Morrow lives in her dream loft in Downtown Knoxville, but that dream didn't come with easily accessible or affordable Internet connection.


"We are usually paying $300-400 a month for our Internet service," Morrow said.


She thinks the city should be doing more.


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MA: Cable towns’ fear being out of last-mile Internet | Recorder.com

Residents and officials from Buckland, Conway, Shelburne, Northfield, Huntington, Cheshire and Washington, got some assurance from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) director that they won’t be left behind in the state’s efforts to link every rural community to broadband Internet: But they also didn’t hear any plans for how this would be done.


“Cable towns” describes these rural municipalities, where at least half the residents can get high-speed Internet through Comcast — while the other half have no high-speed access and live in places considered too sparsely populated for the installation of fiber-optic cable to be profitable for commercial providers.


Between 40 and 50 people came to Town Hall to talk about why the “unserved” sections of their towns should share in the $40 million that Gov. Deval Patrick has set aside to bring broadband to all parts of the state.


“That $40 million is to fund the most unserved communities,” said MBI Director Judy Dumont. “A hearing on that bond bill may come up later this month. We’re working with the Legislature to get that passed. It’s the next step.”


But Dumont said $40 million can only cover part of the estimated $100 million to $150 million broadband buildout costs for western Massachusetts. “$40 million is a good start — but we need to get more funding,” said Dumont.


She said additional money could come from private funding sources or from other grants. She pointed out that Maine now has a telecommunications personal property tax to help pay for broadband infrastructure; but she added there are no plans for Massachusetts to follow that example.


“The last-mile project may have several steps to do to reach the end,” said Dumont.


And when it comes to covering the unserved parts of the cable towns, “There’s not necessarily just one bite of the apple,” she said. “There could be more bites.”


But State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, believed the broadband initiative, started in 2008, should be completed before Gov. Deval Patrick leaves office.


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IRS Also Secretly Got Intelligence Info And Was Told To Launder It | Techdirt

IRS Also Secretly Got Intelligence Info And Was Told To Launder It | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Reuters continues to reveal incredible details of how the intelligence community (NSA, FBI, CIA, etc.) has been sharing information with other government agencies -- mainly via the DEA's Special Operations Division (SOD) and then telling those who use that info to do law enforcement work to "launder" their own investigation to hide where they got the information from. The example given was that, perhaps, the FBI or the NSA might provide the SOD with information about a truck likely to have drugs. SOD then tells other DEA agents to look for "this kind of truck in this truck stop," and then the DEA has local police stop the truck on a traffic violation, leading to a "random" search and voila, drug trafficker arrested.

The latest is that apparently, the DEA's SOD isn't just giving this info to DEA agents... but also to other agencies, including the IRS, who is again instructed to "launder" where the evidence came from in order to hide that it was the result of intelligence gathering.


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Cell Phone Unlocking | Media Alliance

Cell Phone Unlocking | Media Alliance | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cell Phone unlocking is another issue that unites leftwingers with some libertarian sectors. In addition to the civil liberties issues, cell phone unlocking has real benefits for low-income communities to have access to higher-grade devices.

Derek Khanna talks about the legislative debate underway in DC in The Hill--

One of the most important changes in mobile policy in nine years: Legalizing cellphone unlocking.

As of November 24, 2003, consumers have been given the right to change providers while keeping their wireless number. Since 2007, consumers have also had the right to "unlock" their wireless device. But the Librarian of Congress recently made a bureaucratic ruling eliminating consumers' right to use their device as they see fit after their contract expires. This Congress is now forced to act to protect the rights of the owners of wireless phones to use them as they choose.


This critical issue affects millions of Americans and ultimately the future of the wireless market.

“Unlocking” is a simple software patch where a user plugs their phone into a computer and runs a computer program. This process allows their phone to use SIM cards from other carriers – and thereby easily use an older phone on another carrier.

At the end of January, a ruling by the Librarian of Congress went into effect that made it illegal, and potentially a felony, for users to run this program or to input a code into their phone. This ruling hinders competition in the mobile market, hurts international travelers, impacts our service members deployed abroad, stifles new business models and increases environmental waste.

Ultimately it means higher prices for millions of consumers and millions more who may now be felons punishable by a $500,000 fine and five years in prison.

When this ruling went into effect we began a national campaign to fix this issue. Our campaign engaged millions of average Americans: the first article in the Atlantic received over one million hits and our White House petition (created by Sina Khanifar) received 114,322 signatures (the first petition to hit the new 100,000 threshold). The campaign engaged a broad coalition, receiving endorsements from R Street, FreedomWorks, Public Knowledge, CCA, National CR’s, Tea Party Nation, Consumers Union and scholars from CEI and Mercatus.

The White House responded by fully endorsed cellphone unlocking:"[We] agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without . . . penalties. . . It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market. . ."

FCC Chairman Genachowski also responded: "[The ruling] raises serious competition and innovation concerns. . .it doesn't pass the common sense test. . . [I] encourage Congress . . . consider a legislative solution."

The solution to this problem is self-explanatory. If unlocking is a beneficial technology, then unlocking must be permanently legalized and businesses must be allowed to develop, traffic and sell it (consumers can’t use a nonexistent technology).


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Chattanooga, TN: Why Every Gig City needs GIGTANK | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio

Chattanooga, TN: Why Every Gig City needs GIGTANK | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Many cities want to replicate the success of Chattanooga's gig network. But every community wanting to drive innovation should also replicate the success of Chattanooga's GIGTANK.


This summer GIGTANK turned the entire city into a test lab for the research, development AND marketing for startups from around the world. GIGTANK's director Sheldon Gizzle and the startups discuss their experiences and innovations.


GIGTANK's design, structure and execution provide valuable lessons for other communities. Our guests describe:


*  how GIGTANK is structured and run;
*  changes from last year;
*  benefits of developing apps in a gig environment;  and
*  how Chattanooga individuals and businesses participated with the startups.


FwdHealth uses available APIs to integrate popular wellness apps and trackers into one, simple UI to manage preventative healthcare activities.

HutGrip is a cloud based SaaS that helps manufacturers reduce production downtime and improve their processes.

Tidbit.co makes it easy to publish training content for employees, customers and partners via mobile devices.

Mira Designs enables retailers to collect actionable data and improve the in-store shopping experience.

Sensevery's Fitbit® wireless sensing platform lets care providers to monitor the daily activities and health of loved ones at home or senior care facility.

Sisasa bridges the gap between community financial institutions and young adults by reinventing the mobile banking experience.

WeCounsel's HIPAA compliant, cloud based platform connects mental health professionals to their clients and colleagues online.


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How Steve Jobs Turned Technology — And Apple — Into Religion | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

How Steve Jobs Turned Technology — And Apple — Into Religion | Wired Opinion | Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Much ink has been spilled drafting the Steve Jobs encomium. But Jobs and Apple are interesting for far more than technological prowess -- they provide an allegory for reading religion in the information age.


An ancient Egyptian myth helps illuminate the perennial relationship between media forms and metaphysical belief systems. The Egyptian god Theuth visits King Thamus to show him that writing “once learned, will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memory.” Thamus replies by admonishing Theuth that his affection for writing prevents him from acknowledging its pitfalls. Writing does not improve memory but makes students more forgetful because they stop internalizing information. Writing also exposes students to ideas without requiring careful contemplation, meaning they will have “the appearance of wisdom” without true knowledge.


The celebration of technological values in the Apple story requires a similar response. The technological values promoted by Apple are part of the Faustian bargain of technology, which both giveth and taketh away.


King Thamus’ anxieties about the new media of writing threatening wisdom have been resurrected in digital form. But Jobs confronted the technology paradox by imagining technology as a tool for expanding human consciousness rather than as a means of escape from it. The tension between technology and spirituality was not a zero-sum game for him.


Jobs’ Zen master Kobun Chino told him that he “could keep in touch with his spiritual side while running a business.” So in true Zen fashion, Jobs avoided thinking of technology and spirituality in dualistic terms. But what really set him apart was his ability to educate the public about personal computing in both practical and mythic ways.


The iconography of the Apple computer company, the advertisements, and the device screens of the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad are visual expressions of Jobs’ imaginative marriage of spiritual science and modern technology.


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National Security Brief: NSA Sifting Through Americans’ Overseas Communications Without Warrants | ThinkProgress.org

National Security Brief: NSA Sifting Through Americans’ Overseas Communications Without Warrants | ThinkProgress.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The New York Times reports that, according to intelligence officials, the National Security Agency is searching the contents of Americans’ text and email communications going into and out of the United States in an effort to gather information about foreigners under surveillance.


The Times discovered small details about the program from documents released by the Guardian in June, noting that “the telltale paragraph, the only rule marked ‘Top Secret’ amid 18 pages of restrictions, went largely overlooked amid other disclosures.” An intelligence official confirmed:


"The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged. It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official.


While it has long been known that the agency conducts extensive computer searches of data it vacuums up overseas, that it is systematically searching — without warrants — through the contents of Americans’ communications that cross the border reveals more about the scale of its secret operations."


The government maintains that the program is legal, operating under authorizations in the 2008 FISA Amendments Act but the disclosures raise questions about what it means to “target” Americans’ communications:


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Metro, Mico and Noncore (rural) broadband availability rates for Minnesota | Blandin on Broadband

Metro, Mico and Noncore (rural) broadband availability rates for Minnesota | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Daily Yonder has just started an article series on rural broadband. This week they are taking a look at the National Broadband Map and what it means in terms of comparing rural and metro broadband availability rates…


"We can also look at general levels of broadband availability across the three types of counties:  metro (which typically have a city of 50,000 or more), micro (which typically have a city of 10,000 or more), and non-core (no cities of 10,000 or more). The figure to the right demonstrates that the more rural areas are significantly worse off in terms of the availability of wired broadband infrastructure.  In fact, nearly 30% of all noncore counties have more than 40% of their population lacking access to wired broadband infrastructure.  Alternatively, we can look at where broadband availability is best — where less than 2% of the county population lacks access.  Only 5% of non-core counties meet this highest category of availability, compared to nearly 40% of metro counties."


Here are  Percentages of Population with no Wired Broadband Access Availability in Minnesota (2010)


  • Metro – 4 percent
  • Micro – 12.5 percent
  • Noncore – 26.6 percent
  • Metro – Micro Gap – 8.5 percent
  • Metro – Noncore Gap – 22.6 percent


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MA: Cape Cod Tech Council, others, launch campaign to repeal new Computer Services & SoftwareTax | CapeCodToday.Com

MA: Cape Cod Tech Council, others, launch campaign to repeal new Computer Services & SoftwareTax | CapeCodToday.Com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Citing a threat to one of the state’s key economic sectors, Massachusetts business leaders announced a campaign Wednesday aimed at enabling voters in 2014 to decide whether to repeal the state’s new tax on computer and software services.


The push to repeal the new technology sales tax marks the second initiative petition in as many days to be unveiled by opponents of the new taxes that serve as underpinnings of the state’s new $500 million law financing investments in the transportation system.


On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers and activists announced a proposed ballot question to repeal the law that triggers automatic increases in the gas tax to keep pace with inflation, a measure lawmakers are counting on to bring in about $7.7 million in fiscal 2015.


The proposals underscore the peril of passing a major tax package without consensus. Democratic legislative leaders rammed the tax law through over the objections of Republican lawmakers, Gov. Deval Patrick and many in the business community. While Republicans and business leaders derided the computer services tax as a job killer, Patrick had hoped for a larger revenue package, saying the tax bill lawmakers sent him was inadequate to meet the transportation system’s many spending demands. Patrick is still mulling over transportation spending options.


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NY: The Funeral Begins for Wireline Phones: Verizon Abandons Fire Island | Media Alliance

NY: The Funeral Begins for Wireline Phones: Verizon Abandons Fire Island | Media Alliance | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Update 8/5: If you want to send a note to the FCC to turn down Verizon's petition, you can do so here:

Verizon, Fix The Phone Lines

Update: On June 26th, the New York State Attorney General's Office asked the NY State Department of Public Service, which granted Verizon limited deployment of Voice Link on Fire Island, to halt all other deployments because the company violated the agreement and is attempting to force customers on the wireless Voice Link, from the Catskills to even New York City.

Over 1/2 of the permanent residents on Fire Island wrote to protest Verizon's forced migration to Voice Link wireless service.

More Details

Verizon petitioned for permission not to rebuild Sandy-damaged copper phone lines in Fire Island and the NJ Barrier Islands, representing a small but significant chink in the decades-long tradition of universal telephone service to every address.

The petition (a copy is posted below) offers discontinued wireline customers ongoing service via wireless only (via Voice Link) with othe option to upgrade to more expensive services should they wish to. Existing wireline customers whose copper telephone services were not disabled by Hurricane Sandy may continue using those services for as long as they are operable, but Verizon will, under their proposal, decline to perform any system maintenance or restoration going forward, leaving those customers essentially un-served unless they agree to the Voice Link conversion.

Some concerns that come to mind include battery issues implicit in wireless service, especially in weather emergencies, and the occasional shutdowns in wireless service issued by authorities.


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Pay TV and entertainment companies act blissfully unaware that cord-cutting is no longer an urban myth | Wall Street Journal

Pay TV and entertainment companies act blissfully unaware that cord-cutting is no longer an urban myth | Wall Street Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If anyone in the media world should pay attention to the Washington Post's sale, it's Time Warner Cable Inc. CEO Glenn Britt and CBS Corp. chief Les Moonves.


It was a mere coincidence that news of the Post sale broke right after Mr. Britt had sent his latest missive to Mr. Moonves in a months-long squabble over money. But the timing highlighted the essence of what another cable executive, Jim Dolan of Cablevision Systems Corp., was quoted saying Monday: The pay-TV industry is in a bubble. And it remains perilously out of touch.


The dispute is one that has become commonplace in pay TV, centering on how much more money Time Warner Cable should pay to carry CBS on its cable lineup. CBS says it wants to be "paid fairly" for its programming, while Time Warner Cable says it is trying to protect its customers. But at the core of it, the companies are squabbling over their share of pay-TV's spoils—money that, if the newspaper and music industries are any guide, could disappear much faster than anyone expects.


As Dish Network Corp. Chairman Charlie Ergen said on Tuesday, "all the content revenue in the industry is probably at risk," adding that "I don't think the industry quite understands how the Internet works."


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AT&T names new chief for Connecticut | TheDay.com

AT&T names new chief for Connecticut | TheDay.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T announced Wednesday a change in its leadership team, naming John Emra as president of the company's operations in Connecticut.


Emra, 42, a resident of Fairfield, comes to the Hartford-based job with a background in politics, having served on the campaign staff of several Democratic candidates in Connecticut. He began his career at AT&T in 2001, spending time as a lobbyist and a consultant on national broadband policy.


Emra replaces Rodney Smith, who retired from AT&T earlier this summer.

"This was not part of any shakeup," said company spokesman Chuck Coursey.


Emra joins an AT&T leadership team that includes Patricia Jacobs, president of the company's New England division.


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Time Warner Surrenders to CBS’ Money Demands; Digital Rights Still in Contention | Stop the Cap!

Time Warner Surrenders to CBS’ Money Demands; Digital Rights Still in Contention | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If Time Warner Cable is concerned about the rising cost of cable television, it sure didn’t show it after sources revealed the cable company quickly accepted CBS’ demands for more compensation but is refusing to budge until it wins rights to show CBS programming on mobile platforms.


Sources tell the Daily News Time Warner quickly agreed to a major increase from 50 cents a month per subscriber to $2 a month for CBS content, but is keeping CBS-owned stations and cable networks off the dial until the network agrees to let the cable company distribute on-demand and live programming on cell phones, tablets, and personal computers.


Earlier this week, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt made an offer CBS couldn’t wait to refuse: the cable company would put CBS programming back on the lineup if it could be sold to customers a-la-carte instead of bundling it with other channels.


That would “allow customers to decide for themselves how much value they ascribe to CBS programming,” Britt said in a letter to CBS CEO Leslie Moonves that was promptly posted online.


CBS called the idea a sham, noting a-la-carte runs contrary to the economic model the cable industry itself regularly and loudly defends. Try telling ESPN, which costs every cable subscriber more than $5 a month, it will now be offered only to customers that want to pay for it.


In fact, for most cable operators, the concept of selling customers only the channels they want is the nightmare scenario.


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NY: Three Towns Help Spread Broadband Access | Ithaca Times

Cayuga Heights, Danby, and Lansing town governments have all pledged $6000 each- the price of two poles- toward the county wide broadband project, since a motion made last month by Ulysses town supervisor Liz Thomas was carried by all the members of the county Council of Governments. The municipal officials’ group brings together representatives from small local governments to join forces in tackling common issues; a notable example being the health care consortium, in which the municipalities joined together to buy health insurance at cheaper rates.


Thomas’ motion addressed the difficulty two of the rural townships, Enfield and Caroline, were having in coming up with enough money to fund their broadband coverage. Although New York state promised a grant toward extending broadband coverage throughout Tompkins County, the grant comes as reimbursement, only after the towns have spent the money to buy and erect poles and equipment. Thomas had urged that each of the other towns in the council pitch in what amounts to the cost of two poles, thus covering the $42,000 needed for Clarity Connect to finish up putting poles in Enfield, and do the ones necessary in Caroline. Both rural townships have gaps in internet coverage, which has been identified as an economic development issue as well as an educational one in the county.


Lansing representative to the Tompkins County Legislature Pat Pryor explained that Chuck Bartosch, of Clarity Connect, is the business leader in the grant: “The application for funding wanted a public/private partnership, so Chuck stepped forward as the private business partner. Those of us who represent municipalities contribute in kind, with such things as the use of towers, or providing electricity.”


However, to this date only Danby, Lansing, and Cayuga Heights had gotten the proposal before their town boards and voted on it. Newfield Supervisor Richard Driscoll said his last town board meeting had been four hours long, devoted to two moratoria the town passed on hydrofracking and a waste transfer station, and they hadn’t gotten to it.


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Reviewed.com: U.S. Internet speeds lag developed world | USAToday.com

Reviewed.com: U.S. Internet speeds lag developed world | USAToday.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you've ever used the Internet in Seoul or Stockholm you know that Americans are getting the raw deal when it comes to Internet speeds. As most of Europe and Asia invest in high-speed, high-capacity networks, the U.S. remains mired in a substandard infrastructure that makes connectivity not only slower, but pricier for subscribers.


A recent analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked the U.S. 23rd in a measure of price per second of downloaded content. A separate survey by metrics service Ookla put U.S. download speeds at 28th worldwide.


Just like electrification in the early 20th century, high-speed Internet (or broadband) has become an indispensable part of 21st century life. Yet inadequate connectivity has put the U.S. at a disadvantage compared with places such as Sweden, Korea or Hong Kong, where subscribers enjoy download speeds up to 10 times faster than those offered in high-end plans across most of the U.S. — for half the cost.


To add insult to injury, average subscription prices in the U.S. have increased in recent years, while bandwidth has stagnated. According to OECD figures, the average Comcast subscription price rose more than 60% from 2008 to 2012, while bitrates remained the same.


Why is this? Some experts point to the cost of laying new, high-capacity fiber-optic cables across the entire U.S. But Susan Crawford, professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, blames a lack of competition among Internet service providers (ISPs) — specifically big cable companies.


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OK: Broadband comes to Bryan County | Durant Daily Democrat

OK: Broadband comes to Bryan County | Durant Daily Democrat | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new broadband internet system has come to much of Oklahoma this month due to a federal grant received by the state.


The $74 million grant allowed for a broadband network called the Oklahoma Community Anchor Network (OCAN) to be made available to educational institutions, health care providers, public services and nonprofit organizations.


The project is a partnership of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE), the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT).


OCAN is designed to bring high-speed broadband internet to rural and under-served areas in Oklahoma. The network is accessed through OneNet, which is a division of OSRHE and the only statewide Internet service provider in Oklahoma.


The network is now available in 35 counties in Oklahoma. Local telecommunication providers may also partner with OCAN to provide this network to their customers in private sectors as well.


Project partners and state officials announced the project’s completion Tuesday at Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s (SE) Glen D. Johnson Student Union.


Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, who was a large part of the project, said this is a big deal for the area. “In today’s world information technology is the key to success,” said Johnson.


He said by providing this internet to places such as schools and colleges students will get the cutting edge technology to allow them to be competitive in the job market not only locally but globally.


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Chattanooga, TN: Ethernet Inventor Bob Metcalfe Discusses Gigabit Future | GovTech.com

Chattanooga, TN: Ethernet Inventor Bob Metcalfe Discusses Gigabit Future | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gigabit communities are sprouting up across the nation, but what’s the big picture for their future? Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe has a few ideas.


Speaking in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Tuesday, Aug. 6, Metcalfe said it will be critical for gigabit networks to reach critical mass so people can be properly networked. This means gig cities like Chattanooga; Kansas City, Kan. and Mo.; and Austin, Texas; need to connect with one another so that they don’t function as “islands” – only innovating within their own communities.


“A key to networking and a key to entrepreneurial innovation is critical mass,” Metcalfe said. “Connections to the other gig cities would be a great place to start.”


Metcalfe and techies from across the nation gathered in Chattanooga for Gigtank Demo Day – a one-day, on-site and live-streamed event that showcased local startup companies that use the city’s ultra high-speed Internet access. Chattanooga, like other select cities, entered the spotlight after it rolled out gigabit infrastructure to its community.


The event featured a keynote Q&A session with Metcalfe, who was interviewed by US Ignite’s Executive Director Bill Wallace about the future of gigabit connectivity and its impact on industries like energy, education and health care.


Metcalfe’s keynote address also included a discussion on the evolution of Ethernet – the computer networking component that requires “plugging into” the Internet. Ethernet was created 40 years ago, and has been critical to the evolution of efficient connectivity.


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Apple patents tech to let cops switch off iPhone video, camera and wi-fi | TechEye.net

Apple patents tech to let cops switch off iPhone video, camera and wi-fi | TechEye.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Police forces around the world have had the problem that when their officers get a bit carried away and start pepper spraying tied captives there is someone on hand filming the event on their mobile phones.


While six police lay into prone grannies on the floor with long batons, the pictures can be on the net in seconds, meaning supervisors have to answer embarrassing questions.


But they may not need to fear scrutiny much longer - Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, whenever they like.


All the coppers have to do is decide that a public gathering or venue is deemed "sensitive", and needs to be "protected from externalities" and Apple will switch off all its gear.


The police can then get on with the very difficult task of kettling protesters without having to worry about a few beating anyone to death.


Apple insists that the affected sites are mostly cinemas, theatres, concert grounds and similar locations, but it does admit that it could be used in "covert police or government operations which may require complete 'blackout' conditions".


According to RT it could also be used to prevent whistleblowers like Edward Snowden from taking pictures and broadcasting them on the interent.


Apple said that the wireless transmission of sensitive information to a remote source is one example of a threat to security.


But it said that this sensitive information could be anything from classified government information to questions or answers to an examination administered in an academic setting.


Apple patented the means to transmit an encoded signal to all wireless devices, commanding them to disable recording functions.


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WA: Douglas County PUD Lowers Cost of Connecting to Community Network | community broadband networks

WA: Douglas County PUD Lowers Cost of Connecting to Community Network | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A Wenatchee World article recently announced that Douglas County Public Utilities District is reducing the rate it charges to connect to the community fiber network. According to the July 18th article, connecting to the Douglas County Community Network (DCCN) previously cost a one time fee of $250. The PUD Commissioners decided to shave $100 off the price because revenue from the network is "more than covering" installation costs. Now $150 will connect a customer in the service area.


This reduction is one of several:


"From 2010 to mid 2011, Douglas PUD required customers to pay the full cost of a hookup. At this rate, which could total more than $1,000 each, only about 30 customers signed up, Vibbert said.


In mid 2011, the PUD reduced the rate to $500 and enticed 139 more hookups. It reduced the rate again in mid 2012 to $250."


The open access network currently hosts six different providers, some offering telephone and television services in addition to Internet. The Wenatchee World notes that the DCCN is available to approximately 46 per cent of the Douglas PUD's 15,000 electric customers.

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What Happens to Your Data After You Die? | Privacy Identity Innovation | pii 2013 Conference

What Happens to Your Data After You Die? | Privacy Identity Innovation | pii 2013 Conference | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s a question many people haven’t thought about yet, and one that some people don’t ever want to think about. But that’s slowly changing as companies, and legislators, tackle the challenge of managing digital assets after death.

 

According to a recent NPR news story, only five U.S. states (Oklahoma, Idaho, Rhode Island, Indiana and Connecticut) have laws governing aspects of digital estate planning but a committee of the nonprofit Uniform Laws Commission is working on language for a new bill that “would give executors the same powers over digital assets as they have over financial and physical ones” in states across the country.

 

For people who don’t live in one of the states mentioned above, the question of what happens to someone’s digital assets generally falls to the company the user had an account with – and they each have their own terms of service. Which is why a number of companies have introduced services that allow users to predetermine what they’d like to do with their data once they’re deceased (an early-stage startup named Eterniam will be exhibiting at this year’s Privacy Identity Innovation conference in September).


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IBM devises software for its experimental brain-like chips | NetworkWorld.com

IBM devises software for its experimental brain-like chips | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Following up on work commissioned by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), IBM has developed a programming paradigm, and associated simulator and basic software library, for its experimental SyNAPSE processor.


The work suggests the processors could be used for extremely low-power yet computationally powerful sensor systems.


"Our end goal is to create a brain in a box," said Dharmendra Modha, and IBM Research senior manager who is the principal investigator for the project. With this technology, systems could one day be built that would "mimic the brain's ability for perception, action and cognition," he said.


The work is a continuation of a DARPA project to design a system that replicates the way a human processes information.


DARPA's original goal for the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project was to design computational devices comprised of billions of tiny processor cores packed into the volume of a two-liter bottle that used less energy than a light bulb.


At The International Joint Conference on Neural Networks this week in Dallas, IBM is demonstrating the third phase of the project, which thus far DARPA has funded with approximately US$53 million. IBM is working with Cornell University and iniLabs, and has collaborated with six other universities and a number of government supercomputing facilities as well.


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Community Broadband All Over The Place | Media Alliance

Community Broadband All Over The Place | Media Alliance | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This short video from the Open Technology Institute features community broadband projects: Brooklyn, Detroit, and Dharmasala.


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Dish still chasing wireless tie-up while chairman faces USD4bn LightSquared suit | TeleGeography

The chairman of US pay-TV provider Dish Network has said the company is still looking for a tie-up with a wireless operator despite losing out to Softbank in the race to acquire Sprint earlier this year and also having failed to strike a deal to take a stake in WiMAX operator Clearwire. Charlie Ergen says that Dish is pursuing a possible partnership with Sprint which would help Dish realise its plans to provide wireless services, Reuters reports. The pay-TV firm is also considering the acquisition of another US cellular operator, T-Mobile, and Ergen says bankrupt LTE spectrum holder LightSquared is another target.


Meanwhile, it has emerged that Ergen is to be sued by LightSquared shareholder Harbinger Capital Partners for USD2 billion in punitive damages and a further USD2 billion in compensation. Harbinger claims that Ergen has fraudulently been buying up around USD1 billion of LightSquared debt, ‘often at significant discounts to par,’ and is now the bankrupt firm’s largest creditor.


According to the lawsuit, Ergen carried out the transactions via an investment vehicle called Sound Point Capital, but his own interest in the dealings was never disclosed. In addition, Harbinger claims that Ergen promised to buy LightSquared debt but then repeatedly deferred the deals, thereby preventing LightSquared from renegotiating its debt. ‘The defendants wrongfully have interfered with Harbinger’s efforts, and this suit seeks to hold them accountable,’ the filing states. Ergen has denied any wrongdoing.

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What’s the social world teaching us these days? | Scoop.it Blog

What’s the social world teaching us these days? | Scoop.it Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Social media has had an impact on both business and people’s personal and private life. The impact on business is not as massive as many people assume, but this does not mean that many businesses have not adopted social media, as it is a free resource after all. Here are a few things that social media has taught us all.


The most immediate effects on a person’s private life


It has lowered phone bills. People are using social media instead of texting and calling. Staying in touch is simply a case of logging onto social media these days. On the other hand, it has also lowered the amount of physical social interaction. People are simply using social media as a substitution for seeing people in real life. There appears to be a casual payoff, as people tend to stay predominantly more in touch than top UK writers, whilst seeing each other less frequently.


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