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The NSA's Lockbox Has No Lock | Techdirt

The NSA's Lockbox Has No Lock | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the key points that officials have been making in defense of the NSA surveillance is this idea that even if they're collecting all this data on your communications, they can't actually do anything with it, because they keep it safely locked up in a lockbox, and only check it if they have some bit of data they want to find out about later. That was the crux of the claims made by former NSA/CIA boss Michael Hayden who seemed to think that "data mining" and "asking the database questions" were two different things.


However, as William Saletan is pointing out at Slate, the lockbox is a lie. There is no lockbox. He quotes officials including NSA boss Keith Alexander and Congress's number one NSA apologist, Rep. Mike Rogers, both suggesting strongly that even if the NSA is collecting all your data, it's safe because it can't be explored without a "very specific court-ordered approval process."

Except... what they conveniently left out, is that the court doesn't review any of this. It appears that it probably set some very basic rules up front when it gave the okay on collecting the data, which no one else gets to know about, and no one carefully checks up on the NSA later to see if they really follow any of those rules. What the claims most certainly do not mean, is that the NSA needs to get a court order to search the database. Senator Dianne Feinstein admitted as much directly:


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MA: Governor, state reps gather at Mass Maritime Academy for OpenCape launch | CapeCodToday.Com

MA: Governor, state reps gather at Mass Maritime Academy for OpenCape launch | CapeCodToday.Com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CapeNet CEO Alan Davis addressed an audience of 200-plus, including the Governor and Senate President, during the "This Changes Everything" celebration of the completion of the region's new open access fiber optic network.


Davis, whose company built and will operate the OpenCape network, shared details of its launch during the June 14 event at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay.


The project began seven years ago, almost to the day, according to OpenCape co-founder Teresa Martin.


Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth), and State Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich) were the featured speakers at the event. 


The event was attended by county commissioners, state representatives, Cape Cod selectmen and police and fire chiefs.


The region's new fiber optic network spans 37 towns from Providence to Provincetown.


View the entire event courtesy of Falmouth Community Acces.


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MN: Monticello Update on Municipal Fiber Network and Bonds | Blandin on Broadband

Late last week, I ran across an article in WatchDog that reported on issues with Monticello FiberNet. The article focused on the reaction of bondholders outside of Minnesota to their investment. This week I’ve heard from folks in Monticello.


Earlier this month the Monticello city council approved a “term sheet” providing a road map for addressing default on the  revenue bond. This term sheet was developed through negotiations with the attorney and will be presented to bondholders to accept as Class Action or not.


The plan today is for the city to continue to operate the system for the foreseeable future.


Here are excerpts from the Term Sheet for Settlement


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Alan Krueger on how the music industry explains inequality | WonkBlog | Wash Post

Alan Krueger on how the music industry explains inequality | WonkBlog | Wash Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


It is exceedingly rare for a White House chief economist to give a speech on rock-and-roll. But Alan Krueger is scheduled to do just that Wednesday evening at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. His talk there (a text was made available in advance) is a terrific window into how the music business explains the forces shaping our collective economic fortunes.


“The music industry is a microcosm of what is happening in the U.S. economy at large,” Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, says. “We are increasingly becoming a ‘winner-take-all economy,’ a phenomenon that the music industry has long experienced. Over recent decades, technological change, globalization and an erosion of the institutions and practices that support shared prosperity in the U.S. have put the middle class under increasing stress. The lucky and the talented – and it is often hard to tell the difference – have been doing better and better, while the vast majority has struggled to keep up.”


So how does this show up in the music industry?


More and more of the revenue from concerts, Krueger shows, is going to bands at the tippy-top of the scale of popularity. Since 1982, the top 1 percent of performers have gone from earning 26 percent of concert revenue to 56 percent!


But how does technology drive that? Krueger works through the process. A century ago, a musical performer could only reach as many people as his or her vocal range and travel schedule would allow. Now, high-quality recordings can be distributed to billions with the flip of a switch. The result: Everybody has access to the very best music, or at least the music that most precisely suits their tastes. The megastars who create that music are wildly popular and can make a fortune. But it means things are pretty hard out there for a mid-tier band just trying to build a loyal fanbase.


That’s too bad if you’re an aspiring musician – it means only the most appealing bands in the world will be able to make a good living performing. But might it at least mean  that we as consumers are getting the music that brings us the most joy possible? The music industry is a meritocracy where the very best songs, and artists, rise to the top, right?


Well, not so much.


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Martin Stobby's comment, July 15, 2013 8:30 PM
According to this study, the perception of popularity is more important than the quality of the music.
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Having problems with your Netflix? You can blame Verizon | GigaOM Tech News

Having problems with your Netflix? You can blame Verizon | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you are trying to get Netflix and use Verizon’s broadband, then there is a good chance that your video performance is less than optimal. Some Verizon customers might even go as far as calling it a crappy Netflix experience. The reason: a behind-the-scenes power play between Verizon and Cogent Communications , one of the largest bandwidth providers. The head-butting between these two companies is over an arcane concept known as peering.


Peering is essentially an arrangement between two bandwidth providers where they send and receive traffic from each other for free. The logic is that the data sent from one network to another is reciprocated. Verizon runs one of the largest last mile networks and owns the descendants of MCI. Cogent is one of the largest bandwidth providers, and its network is spread across the globe in hundreds of cities.


Cogent and Verizon peer to each other at about ten locations and they exchange traffic through several ports. These ports typically send and receive data at speeds of around 10 gigabit per second. When the ports start to fill up (usually at 50 percent of their capacity), the internet companies add more ports. In this case, through, Verizon is allowing the ports that connect to Cogent to get crammed. ”They are allowing the peer connections to degrade,” said Dave Schaffer, chief executive officer of Cogent said in an interview. “Today some of the ports are at 100 percent capacity.”


“Think of it as the on-ramp to the freeway being log-jammed,” Shaffer said. And that means your Netflix content, especially content sent by Netflix’s content delivery network, slows down, and you get pixelated pictures and buffering.


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The only loony thing about Google's Project Loon might be the name | Steve Blum's Blog

The only loony thing about Google's Project Loon might be the name | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

New Zealand’s Canterbury Plain is hosting Google’s latest idea-that’s-so-goofy-it-might-work, appropriately named Project Loon. Thirty high altitude balloons carrying data relay equipment were released to drift over Christchurch, generally heading east towards the telecoms starved Chatham Islands. The concept Google is testing is to put enough balloons into the air to create a fleet of atmospheric satellites that can talk to each other and to the ground, and relay Internet service to hard to reach places.


With one major exception, the technology behind it is reasonably well established. In the late 1990s several projects emerged that incorporated various aspects of Project Loon. Teledesic, for example, proposed to launch more than 800 small satellites into low earth orbit and ring the globe with Internet access. SkyTower, a project I worked on for southern California drone pioneer AeroVironment, was an attempt to use a solar powered, unmanned airplane to maintain station over an area, at about the same altitude Google is testing, and serve as a low hanging satellite.


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Congressional Staffers Told To Pretend NSA Leak Docs Don't Exist; So How Are They Supposed To Respond? | Techdirt

Congressional Staffers Told To Pretend NSA Leak Docs Don't Exist; So How Are They Supposed To Respond? | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week, we thought it was ridiculous enough that the DoD (of which the NSA is a key part) had reminded all staff that they were not allowed to look at any of the leaked NSA documents, even if they came across them in the press. If they spotted any, they had to alert various security officials and delete what they saw "by holding down the SHIFT key while pressing the DELETE key for Windows-based systems and clearing of the internet browser cache." As we noted at the time, pretending these documents aren't public does not make much sense, and suggests a government agency that does not want to live in reality.

Now we can add Congress to that list as well. Senate staffers have now been told not to look at the leaked documents, and similarly that they need to "contact the Office of Senate Security for assistance" if they happened across any of the documents accidentally. Once again, this is insane because it means Congress should deny reality and pretend to live with its collective head in the sand -- which is no way to govern.

However, the much bigger deal is that if this were actually obeyed (and it's not), this would effectively hinder Congress's required duty of oversight of the NSA to prevent abuse. If the very Congress that's supposed to monitor the NSA's practices, and which has already been directly lied to by the intelligence community is now being told that it can't even look at the leaks to understand what's going on, how the hell are they supposed to do their oversight job?


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CISPA's Sponsors Can't Keep Their Story Straight: If Snowden's Leaks Are False, How Do They Harm America? | Techdirt

CISPA's Sponsors Can't Keep Their Story Straight: If Snowden's Leaks Are False, How Do They Harm America? | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We already discussed how bizarre it is to see NSA defenders trying to claim both that this story is nothing new and a huge danger to America, but that kind of thing continues. Witness two of Congress' biggest NSA defenders, Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger -- the two sponsors of CISPA -- try to claim that Snowden was both lying and exposing secrets that harm us all.


"He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actually technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."

"He's done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated," Ruppersberger said.


So, um, if he's lying and the information he leaked is not true, then how is he doing "tremendous damage" to the country? I guess the "damage" could be to our reputation as a freedom loving country that respects the 4th Amendment and basic rights to privacy, but that doesn't seem to be what Ruppersberger is claiming.


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MD: States scramble to attract suddenly hot cybersecurity firms | Monterey County Herald

MD: States scramble to attract suddenly hot cybersecurity firms | Monterey County Herald | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As data dragnets and information breaches dominate the news, states are scrambling to cash in on a rapidly expanding business sector by offering tax incentives to firms that protect sensitive information from outside attacks.

While ordinary Americans wonder if their private phone calls and emails are being monitored by their government, businesses are concerned that proprietary and sensitive business information could be stolen by competitors — at home and from overseas. State and local governments also are working to tighten safeguards to prevent outsiders from hacking into their information.


“It's the new global threat, not only to our state and nation, but to the whole world,' said Mark A. Vulcan, program manager at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.


Maryland is breaking new ground with a total $3 million  offer of tax breaks to be distributed among cybersecurity startups already in the state or who agree to locate there. While many states include cybersecurity companies in their overall tax incentives for high tech firms, Maryland's legislation — proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley and signed in May — appears to be unique.


What also sets Maryland apart from other states, Vulcan said, is that this tax credit goes directly to the company, not the “angel' investor in that entity, which many other states do.


Analysts say this credit could signal a new wave of action by states trying

to cash in on the cybersecurity boom. The $207 billion cybersecurity industry is expected to show “impressive growth' over the next five years, according to Entrepreneur.com, a site for investors.


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Bill Introduced To Regulate Potential MVPD Face-Recognition Technologies | Multichannel.com

Bill Introduced To Regulate Potential MVPD Face-Recognition Technologies | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill requiring facilities-based video programming distributors--cable, satellite, telco video--to inform viewers if they decide to use technologies that can identify who is in the room while a program is airing, as well as give them the option of a service that doesn't monitor them. That is according to a copy of the bill.


Intel has reportedly worked with some cable ops on potentially developing the technology, which would help deliver targeted ads.


Called the We Are Watching You Act of 2013, the bill would prevent a video services operator from collecting ambient visual or auditory information from the "vicinity" of a display device unless it displays a "we are watching you" message continuously, in a readable font, as part of the video stream while the information is being collected and tells consumers what information is being collected and how it will be used.


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CenturyLink Tacks On New Nonsensical Fee - New $1 'Internet Cost Recovery Fee' | DSLReports.com

One of the benefits of having little to no competition in your markets is you can jack up prices and add all the little obnoxious fees you'd like with no repercussions, since most of your customers have no other options. One of the benefits of lobbying and enjoying regulatory capture in uncompetitive markets is you can engage in this kind of behavior repeatedly and be confident that United States regulators simply won't give a damn.

The latest in a long stream of examples of this comes courtesy of CenturyLink, who just got done raising rates for DSL users and is now tacking a completely nonsensical new fee on to customer broadband bills. Former Qwest users in our CenturyLink forum say that they're being notified of a new $1 "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" for the first time this month.

Like with other junk fees of this kind (AT&T's AT&T's Administrative Mobility Fee being just the latest), this is a way to raise rates (further) without increasing the advertised price by tacking on below-the-line fees. It's absolutely predatory and a form of false advertising, yet in the thirteen years I've covered this industry I've never once seen a regulator (state or federal), PSC, Attorney General or watchdog stand up to such behavior. Here's CenturyLink's silly explanation for the fee:


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White House report hints at increase in baseline broadband speed | Lightwave.com

White House report hints at increase in baseline broadband speed | Lightwave.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

High-speed broadband has become so ubiquitous in the United States that the baseline for broadband could become as high as 10 Mbps downstream, suggests a new White House report. Meanwhile, fiber-based broadband access continues to lag other media in terms of reach, even at 100-Mbps levels.

The report, “Four Years of Broadband Growth,” represents the White House’s assessment of how broadband access in the United States has improved as the result of the Obama Administration’ policies as well as significant investment from the private sector. Report authors the Office of Science and Technology Policy and The National Economic Council note that the government defines “broadband” services as 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream – although the Federal Communications Administration uses at least 4 Mbps downstream and upstream speeds of at least 1 Mbps.


However, thanks to greater penetration of wired and wireless broadband access networks, 91.4% of Americans have access to wired broadband networks that are advertised as capable of offering 10 Mbps downstream, the report authors assert. Wireless networks capable of such downstream speeds reach 81% of the U.S. population, the report adds.

“Nonetheless, we acknowledge that the country is rapidly reaching the point at which baseline broadband evaluations should increase, and might instead begin at 10 Mbps downstream. This evolving baseline reflects a growing need for increased bandwidth as more Americans use the Internet for work and to build career skills,” the authors suggest.


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Al Gore Says NSA Surveillance Is Unconstitutional And 'Not The American Way' | Techdirt

Al Gore Says NSA Surveillance Is Unconstitutional And 'Not The American Way' | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Add Al Gore's voice to those who are speaking out against the NSA's dragnet surveillance practices. The former Vice President not only said the practice was un-American, but also unconstitutional in violation of the 4th Amendment.


"This in my view violates the constitution. The fourth amendment and the first amendment – and the fourth amendment language is crystal clear," he said. "It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the constitution and then classify as top secret what the actual law is."


Gore added: "This is not right."


I keep seeing people trying to defend the program due to a single Supreme Court ruling -- Smith v. Maryland -- a 1979 case that gave rise to the "third party doctrine," which argued that if you give data to a third party, you no longer have any expectation of privacy in that data.


Of course, the situation specific to that case was exceptionally different and took place in a very different world. By any plain meaning of the phrase "expectation of privacy" people certainly do not think that they're giving up their expectation of privacy just because they use an online service.


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NC: Last-mile broadband crisis hobbles Western North Carolina economy | MAIN-FM

NC: Last-mile broadband crisis hobbles Western North Carolina economy | MAIN-FM | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Western North Carolina is facing a “last-mile broadband crisis” according to preliminary data from a study mapping high-speed Internet access across the region. “Last-mile” refers to service at individual homes and small businesses.


The study, conducted by the nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN), found that only 15 percent of respondents enjoy Internet access that meets the Federal Communications Commission‘s minimum speeds of 4 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1Mbps upload.


Almost half the respondents – 48 percent – report no broadband access via a cable or digital subscriber line (DSL). The most common form of broadband reported was DSL from incumbent telephone companies Frontier or AT&T; it was cited by 37 percent of respondents. No DSL user reported an upload speed that met the FCC’s minimum of 1 Mbps.


Fifteen percent reported using cable broadband service. Cable subscribers were the only respondents whose broadband service met or exceeded the FCC’s minimum standard for both upload and download speeds.


“This data confirms our worst fears,” said Wally Bowen, executive director of MAIN. “Reports of sub-par DSL, plus those reporting no access, comprise 85 percent of responses; that’s a huge majority reporting inadequate broadband access.”


Bowen called the results “preliminary” due to the relatively small study sample, but he said it tracks with data released May 13 by the FCC ranking North Carolina last among the 50 states in residential broadband availability (Table 13).


Christopher Mitchell, a broadband advocate with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, called the findings “disturbing” because inferior access handicaps efforts to build sustainable local economies.


“Such a slow upload speed prevents people from being productive at home in a digital economy that values working remotely,” said Mitchell. “Slow upload speeds make video-conferencing difficult if not impossible. That puts the rural entrepreneur at a competitive disadvantage.”


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GOVERNOR PATRICK COMMEMORATES OPENING OF NEW BROADBAND NETWORK FOR CAPE & ISLANDS | Mass.gov

GOVERNOR PATRICK COMMEMORATES OPENING OF NEW BROADBAND NETWORK FOR CAPE & ISLANDS | Mass.gov | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Governor Deval Patrick today joined community leaders and public officials at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to mark the beginning of operations on the new OpenCape fiber-optic broadband network. The Cape and Islands will now have a 300-mile open-access fiber-optic network connecting over 70 important community facilities, including community colleges, high schools, libraries, public safety facilities and other municipal buildings.


“Broadband is essential for Massachusetts to remain competitive,” said Governor Patrick. “OpenCape is a remarkable milestone that will connect thousands of residents and small businesses to education and economic opportunities all over the world.”


The Patrick Administration has been a longtime champion for broadband expansion to enable residents and businesses to better compete in the 21st century global economy. In April 2013, Governor Patrick lit the first section of MassBroadband 123, a new 1,200-mile fiber-optic network that will bring high-speed Internet access to underserved areas of western and central Massachusetts. Broadband expansion is a critical component of Governor Patrick's strategy to invest in education, innovation and infrastructure in order to drive growth and economic opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth.


“This broadband infrastructure is a tremendous asset for our communities, and it will connect our schools, libraries, hospitals and businesses,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “With the completion of this project, the Cape will finally have open access to a reliable communications network like the rest of the state.”


“It remains essential to invest in tools we can not only use today, but build upon for tomorrow,” said Senator Dan Wolf. “The OpenCape network does just this, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have in our Cape community, notably our schools and libraries.”


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Amazon drops Minn. associates over internet sales tax | KMSP-TV

Amazon drops Minn. associates over internet sales tax | KMSP-TV | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Amazon is shutting down the accounts of Minnesotans participating in its Associates Program, citing the state's new "unconstitutional" internet sales tax.


The Amazon Associates Program allows anyone with a website to earn advertising fees for referrals that lead to the shipment or download of a product from Amazon.


Starting July 1, major online retailers like Amazon, iTunes and eBay must collect 6.875 percent sales tax on purchases made in Minnesota.


While Amazon opposes Minnesota's internet sales tax, the company supports a federal bill that would require online retailers to collect state sales tax nationwide. Amazon said the "simplified, constitutional framework" of the federal bill would allow them to re-open the Associates Program to Minnesotans.


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Why Facebook isn't the right company to create a Google Reader replacement | GigaOM Tech News

Why Facebook isn't the right company to create a Google Reader replacement | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Reader is meeting its end in just a few weeks, and there’s no doubt it’ll be traumatic for users of the beloved service. There are a variety of replacement options already on the market, with more expected to launch in the next couple of weeks, and I’m curious to see what rises to the top.


But one replacement product that I wouldn’t use? An RSS news reader from Facebook.


In one sense, it wouldn’t be surprising for Facebook to launch an RSS reader at its press event next Thursday in Menlo Park, as some people have speculated. Anyone using Google Reader has to find a replacement by July 1, and it’s still a pretty wide-open market. Products like Feedly seem to have a head start, but there’s still time for someone to roll out a new product and win over users.


We’ve seen that Facebook has no problem quickly launching products to try to disrupt a growing market, even if it’s not a sure thing they’ll succeed. (Just look at Poke, the company’s challenge to Snapchat.) And between the company’s launch of hashtags last week to improve the real-time nature of the news feed (even if I think hashtags are better saved for ironic conversation), and the addition of new tabs for following people on the new News Feed, Facebook clearly has ambitions to be more of a resource for news. (After all, brands and advertisers love the real-time nature of constantly updated live events and news.)


But as a hardcore Google Reader user, I have no interest in using an RSS reader replacement from Facebook, and there are several reasons why it seems like an ill-suited product for the social platform.


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Roscommon County Becomes Latest to Earn "Connected" Broadband Status, Michigan Continues to Lead Nation | MPSC

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today commended Roscommon County for becoming the seventh in the nation to be certified Connected Nation and fourth in the state to be certified by Connect Michigan as a "connected" community that has developed a broadband and technology plan to expand broadband access, adoption and use.  Roscommon County joins Charlevoix, Antrim and St. Clair counties to earn this distinction in Michigan.

 

"Michigan is the national leader in the number of communities that are aggressively pursuing the opportunities that expanded broadband brings," said MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush.  "As a ‘connected' community, Roscommon County has demonstrated it has in place a concrete technology plan to attract more and better broadband to the area."

 

Roscommon County's broadband action plan has identified four priority projects:  identifying, mapping and validating broadband demand; improving digital literacy and establishing a low-cost broadband program; developing a program to support schools' new technology initiatives; and hosting website and social media classes for local businesses.

Connect Michigan's Community Engagement Program guides communities through an assessment of their overall broadband and technology innovation using criteria that its parent organization -- Connected Nation -- has set as a part of a "community certification" model.  The program helps train regional team leaders and supports the formation of community planning teams made up of various sector representatives.

 

The certification process involves reviewing the technology landscape, developing regional partnerships, establishing local teams, and conducting a thorough community assessment of broadband access, adoption, and use.


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Open Cape Launch Celebration : FCTV | Internet Archive

Open Cape Launch Celebration : FCTV | Internet Archive | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Celebration of the opening of the Open Cape Network to Cape Cod. Held at Mass Maritime Academy on June 14, 2013.


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open internet is key

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Dick Cheney's Crystal Ball Says That NSA Surveillance Could Have Stopped 9/11 | Techdirt

Dick Cheney's Crystal Ball Says That NSA Surveillance Could Have Stopped 9/11 | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We already commented on FBI director Robert Mueller arguing that the NSA's mass surveillance techniques would have prevented 9/11, and now it appears that Dick Cheney is agreeing with this fictional scenario in which his crystal ball says what might have happened:


"As everybody who's been associated with the program's said, if we had had this before 9/11, when there were two terrorists in San Diego — two hijackers — had been able to use that program, that capability, against that target, we might well have been able to prevent 9/11," Cheney said on "Fox News Sunday."


That's speculation based on nothing, frankly. As has been widely covered, there were a number of reasons why the government failed to stop 9/11, just as there were plenty of reasons it failed to stop the Boston bombings back in April. The idea that this program would have stopped one (while it clearly missed the other) isn't particularly convincing.


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MA: Design Firm Hired for Princeton Fiber Optic Broadband Network | DigitalJournal.com

A contract has been signed between the town of Princeton and G4S Technology LLC to design a fiber optic broadband network connecting town offices, schools and residences with high-speed Internet access. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, G4S Technology maintains a Massachusetts office in Springfield.


Voters at the May 14 town meeting approved an article requested by the Princeton Broadband Committee to allocate funding for design services expected to be completed by the end of July. The completed design, which includes the total cost needed to build the network, will then be brought to a vote at a special town meeting in September.


The state of the art network will consist of new fiber along Princeton’s existing utility poles. The location of the fiber optic cables on the poles has been approved by Princeton Municipal Light Department, the owners of the project space allocated.


The design will take into consideration more than 1,350 homes situated on Princeton’s 80.62 miles of road resulting in more than 425,600 feet of fiber optic cable. It will encompass access to all homes, including those set back from the road and those with underground utility services. A small number of Princeton homes located on Route 140 that rely on electrical services provided by the town of Sterling will be excluded from the completed design.


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Cable Operators Show Them the Money | LightReading.com

Cable Operators Show Them the Money | LightReading.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cable companies sure know how to make life tough for the competition. According to Bloomberg, Time Warner Cable Inc. and other pay-TV operators are now offering cash incentives to programmers to keep content out of the hands of their Web-TV rivals.


In some cases, cable companies are reportedly writing bigger checks to lock up video assets. In other cases, they're threatening to drop programming if content owners don't agree to withhold distribution from companies like Apple Inc. and Intel Corp.


Deals for content exclusivity are nothing new in the pay-TV business. Take the DirecTV Group Inc.'s long-standing deal for the exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. As Time Warner spokesperson Maureen Huff puts it, "exclusivities and windows are extremely common in the entertainment industry." (See DirecTV Might Sack Its NFL Exclusive.)


However, there are concerns that cable companies are amassing too much power. Most over-the-top (OTT) video providers have made little headway in the traditional pay-TV market, largely because of content licensing issues. Netflix Inc. has been successful, but only with an offering based primarily on back-catalog content and select original programming.


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Wheeler Outlines Priorities: Spectrum, IP Transition, Advancing Civil Society | Multichannel.com

Wheeler Outlines Priorities: Spectrum, IP Transition, Advancing Civil Society | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC chairman nominee Tom Wheeler outlined the top three challenges he would face under his leadership in a Republican staff memo for his upcoming nomination hearing. 


Wheeler said that the top three challenges the FCC would encounter under his leadership are: 1) implementing the spectrum auctions and creating a public safety network; 2) the IP transition--overseeing the transition from analog switched-circuit networks to Internet Protocol (IP) delivery (Wheeler has been chairman of the FCC's Technological Advisory Council, which has been wrestling with that IP transition); and 3) advancing civil society through communications, including the broadband buildout and promoting diversity.


Those responses are according to the GOP staff memo for Wheeler's nomination hearing June 18 in the Senate Commerce Committee, citing his answers to questions from the committee.


The memo points out that Wheeler has said in the past that the FCC has the authority to impose merger conditions or spectrum auction rules "that might seem to be regulation in another guise." Republicans are concerned that the FCC will limit participation by the two largest carriers, AT&T and Verizon, in the upcoming incentive auctions.


The Republican staffers point out that both House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) have raised red flags about that view in regards to Wheeler's nomination.


They also point out that The New York Times editorial board has labeled Wheeler "an industry man for the FCC." Wheeler is former head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and CTIA: The Wireless Association, as well as a venture capitalist and merger advisor. But Wheeler has pointed out to the committee that he was a consultant, not lobbyist, to Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless in 2005, and that he has not been a registered lobbyist for a decade.


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This Chart Shows the Digital Divide Is Still a Real Problem | Mashable.com

This Chart Shows the Digital Divide Is Still a Real Problem | Mashable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The White House released a new broadband report Friday that's chock full of interesting information about the state of American broadband. A key chart, however, comes on page nine and shows the digital divide is still very, very real:


Approximately 91% of Americans as a whole have "access to wired broadband speeds of at least 10mbps downstream," the report found. But this chart shows a very different reality if you lack a college degree, if you're poor, if you're rural or if you're hispanic or African American.


Other data suggest minority groups are increasingly going online with mobile devices, perhaps making the above chart less relevant in their case. However, that's not true of rural residents, where mobile broadband is often slow and spotty if available at all. Here's another chart showing how bad the access problem is if you're out in the sticks:


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Think big to build a new tech city | NYDailyNews.com

Think big to build a new tech city | NYDailyNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There is a good chance are you are reading this piece on a smartphone, tablet or computer. Even if you’re holding the dead-tree version of the paper, the piece was written and edited on, transmitted by and printed with the aid of computer technologies.


Whether we like it or not, we are all living in a transformative, hyperconnected digital age, in which economic success is defined by who is best able to strategically leverage digital tools. This poses a serious challenge to New York’s status as the greatest city in the world — while simultaneously offering incredible opportunities.


Yet in describing these challenges and opportunities, all the candidates for mayor except one have only scratched the surface. For our sake and our children’s, we must demand bolder visions.


To start, technology can no longer be thought of as just a slice of the city’s economic pie. It needs to be recognized as the pan that supports all of New York’s traditional industries as they fight to stay relevant and profitable in the digital age.


We must also understand: This isn’t just about jobs for well-educated techies. For every new tech job, there are about four nontech jobs created for those less technologically skilled.


Mayor Bloomberg has done a credible job supporting and encouraging the ascension of innovative new companies — including the potentially transformational addition of the Cornell-Technion campus.


But it is imperative that those vying to replace him tell us in depth how they’d do more. To kick off the conversation, a few suggestions:


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