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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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Likely pressured by Google Fiber, Time Warner ups speeds, slashes rates | Digital Trends

Likely pressured by Google Fiber, Time Warner ups speeds, slashes rates | Digital Trends | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As competition escalates between Google Fiber and Internet service providers in the Kansas City area, consumers will definitely benefit with faster download speeds and cheaper monthly bills.


Specific to the Kansas City area, one consumer’s recent account with Time Warner seems to indicate that the Internet service provider is definitely feeling the heat from the Google Fiber project. Detailed this week on The Consumerist, a current Time Warner Cable customer in the Kansas City area was recently notified that the basic TWC Internet package in the area was being upgraded from 10Mbps download speeds to 15Mbps. In addition, the cost of the basic package dropped from $45 down to $30 a month and that promotional rate is expected to last for nearly two years. Regarding timing, the promotion has been rolled during the Google Fiber launch in various areas around Kansas City.

 

By comparison, the basic package on the Google Fiber network would cost a consumer approximately $25 a month for twelve months and reach download speeds up to 5Mbps. However, the consumer wouldn’t have to pay for Internet service anymore after playing the $25 fee for twelve months or an upfront fee of $300.

 

The next step up provides significantly increased download speeds, but costs the consumer approximately $70 per month. With the promotional rate, Time Warner has strategically positioned monthly costs to appeal to a customer that wants increased speed, but doesn’t want to pay $70-a-month to get faster download and upload speeds. It also allows Time Warner to compete with the $120 Google Fiber plan when it comes to bundled TV packages.

 

According to the Washington Post, telecommunication companies within the Kansas City area have started to bid against Google for contracts to outfit businesses and other buildings with hardware that will provide similar speeds to Google Fiber. When asked about the effectiveness of the Google Fiber platform within the business community, Kansas City assistant city manager Richard Usher stated “This is exactly what we hoped would happen. More home-sprung businesses. More competition. In that way, Google’s project is a success already.”


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MA: OpenCape gets extension to finish work | CapeCodOnline.com

MA: OpenCape gets extension to finish work | CapeCodOnline.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

OpenCape Corp. received an extension through September from the federal government on the deadline to finish installing the regional broadband Internet project, said the organization's CEO Dan Vortherms.

 

OpenCape received a $32 million federal stimulus grant in 2010 to develop the broadband system. The deadline to finish the construction of the project was the end of January.

 

But the group applied for an extension from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, saying factors including delays caused by Hurricane Sandy contributed to needing more time. The extension approval was granted this week, he said.

 

Utility crews were pulled off work on the project after Hurricane Sandy to help out in New York and New Jersey, Vortherms said.

 

The fiber optic cable is installed on utility poles. Throughout the process, it needed approval from NStar, Verizon and National Grid to install the cables on utility poles owned by those utilities.

 

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MN: Red Wing Ignite rolls out | Republican Eagle

MN: Red Wing Ignite rolls out | Republican Eagle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last July, Red Wing and Winona-based Hiawatha Broadband Communications were selected to participate in US Ignite, a national program aimed at spurring the development of next-generation Internet applications and services.

 

On Tuesday, a small group of community members officially debuted Red Wing Ignite, the local branch of the national endeavor.

 

Close to 100 community leaders – including members of the Red Wing City Council, Goodhue County Board, Red Wing School District, the arts community and area businesses - gathered at the Anderson Center to hear about the local program.

 

“We really just wanted to make sure that people came left with concrete outcomes about what Red Wing Ignite wants to implement,” organizer Neela Mollgaard said.

 

US Ignite highlights communities that have high-speed broadband connections - like Red Wing - and encourages development of new applications for the technology. There are 12 service providers in 25 cities scattered across the nation participating in the project.

 

The goal is to invent technologies that will revolutionize the Internet but that aren’t possible with today’s Internet, US Ignite project director Bill Wallace said Tuesday.

 

“We will determine new applications that will reinvent this country,” he said. “If we don’t do it, other countries will.”

 

Now, Red Wing Ignite will provide four services locally: a business incubator, which will attract technology-based businesses to the community; a test bed community to test new applications; education and events; and marketing and promotion.

 

The potential of the project, Wallace said, is huge.

 

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Greenwood County Enrolls in Connect South Carolina's Connected Community | South Carolina SC

Greenwood County leaders have enrolled their community in an innovative program that seeks to boost the local economy and quality of life for residents through increased access, adoption, and use of high-speed Internet.

 

Connect South Carolina Community Technology Advisor Heather Jones, along with 50 community leaders representing healthcare, industry, economic development, and county/city government, joined together on Tuesday, January 22 at the Piedmont Technical College, Self Conference Center to discuss ideas and challenges to bringing high-speed Internet to individuals and families in the area.

 

The Connected certification program involves building a comprehensive action plan for developing a technology-ready community by reviewing the technology landscape, developing regional partnerships, establishing local teams, and conducting a thorough community assessment.

 

The attendees identified a number of issues that they wished to address: accessing high-speed internet in Ware Shoals where industry is struggling to prosper with dial-up service, and accessing Internet in rural areas of the county and outlying areas where service is spotty and slow.

 

"It is clear that when 50 community leaders, business owners, and public officials attend an initial meeting on broadband, they understand the important role that the Internet and technology play in the lives of the citizens of Greenwood County," said Jones. "It's exciting to know that these people care a great deal about where they live and are invested in this process and the time it takes to help introduce widespread use of the best technologies to the community."

 

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Center hosts discussion on regulating the IP transition at National Press Club | Center for Business and Public Policy

Center hosts discussion on regulating the IP transition at National Press Club | Center for Business and Public Policy | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On January 30th the Center for  Business and Public Policy (CBPP) hosted “Regulation and the IP Transition: Laying a Predicate for Growth” at the National Press Club. The discussion aimed to lay out the state of current regulation as well as put forth recommendations for changes in order to facilitate a nationwide IP transition. Carolyn Brandon, Senior Industry and Innovation Fellow at the CBPP, introduced the topic and panelists before turning the discussion over to John Mayo, the CBPP’s executive director (slides available here). Dr. Mayo focused on “results-based” regulatory policies that could offer guidance for fashioning 21st century policies, and specifically five principles that should motivate regulatory reform.  The first of those principles is that all market governance for resource allocation is in practice imperfect.  Since perfection is not possible, Dr. Mayo argued regulation needs to be based on what works best.

 

Blair Levin from Aspen Institute laid Dr. Mayo focused on “results-based” regulatory policies that could offer guidance for fashioning 21st century policies, and specifically five principles that should motivate regulatory reform.  The first of those principles is that all market governance for resource allocation is in practice imperfect.  Since perfection is not possible, Dr. Mayo argued regulation needs to be based on what works best.out the nature of the problem of regulating telecommunications companies based on his work creating the National Broadband Plan. Social contracts have been created between the telecom companies and the government; the telecoms provide a service but have to build it out and provide certain services, and in response the government effectively gives them a monopoly.

 

James Cicconi from AT&T outlined the challenges faced by the FCC in regulating a dynamic telecommunications market undergoing unprecedented technological change.  Even in just the last five years AT&T’s business has switched from one selling minutes, which they had been doing for years, to one selling bits of data.  Unfortunately, though, the regulations they must adhere to have not kept up with the pace of change in the market. For example, they are required to keep up obsolete wire infrastructure that they’d like to replace with next generation technology.

 

Jennifer Fritzsche from Wells Fargo pivoted the discussion toward opinions of the finance sector. She pointed out that most people from the Wall Street thought that the regulatory regime under Obama administration was somewhat more restrictive and the majority of that her clients believe they experienced fair to significant decline in their business activity.

 

Carolyn Brandon then moved the discussion to a Q&A format that provided many useful insights about the current state of regulation and what should happen in the future.

 

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Where Kim Dotcom and Mega have the edge on Dropbox and Box.net | GigaOM Tech News

Where Kim Dotcom and Mega have the edge on Dropbox and Box.net | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As a world (in)famous technologist with the literal last name “Dotcom,” Kim Dotcom is a man whose swag is matched only by the damages sought against him by the U.S. government. His filesharing site Megaupload was long the ire of record companies and movie studios, who say it was a massive and sprawling repository of pirated content.

 

If the accusations are true, it was one of the more successful pirate operations in history. At its peak, Megaupload saw approximately 7 percent of internet traffic and grossed over $150 million in annual revenue. But Megaupload’s incredible run ended in the fall of 2012 when the FBI forcefully took down the site and sought Kim’s extradition from New Zealand to face a litany of criminal charges.

 

Of course, you can’t expect to keep a guy with the last name Dotcom down, and sure enough he recently announced the relaunch of a Megaupload redux dubbed Mega. Only Mega is a security- and privacy-conscious file-sharing service that audaciously targets storage industry magnates like Dropbox and Box.net.

 

And loathe as some of us may be to admit it, he just may be on to something. Mega differentiates itself by embracing client-side encryption: generating and storing the keys on a user’s local machine rather than encrypting everything in the cloud. The result of such client-side encryption is not only a far more secure product – and a security practice the industry should embrace – but a significant reduction in cost and legal liability for Mega and other cloud storage providers that use this architecture.

 

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100,000 Cable Wi-Fi Hotspots Make the Internet an “Everywhere Experience” | Cable Tech Talk

100,000 Cable Wi-Fi Hotspots Make the Internet an “Everywhere Experience” | Cable Tech Talk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Cox Communications joins Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable in offering its customers free Wi-Fi Hotspots (Cox just announcing 769 new Hotspots in Northern Virginia), it occurs to us that cable has officially provided well over 100,000 Wi-Fi locations nationwide. With these outside-the-home locations, cable customers can freely access high-speed Internet on smartphones, tablets, and laptops in thousands of locations.

 

Believe it or not, Wi-Fi networks carry more Internet traffic to consumer devices than wireless and wired connections combined[1]. Delivering the freedom to do what we want, where we want, on whatever device we want and still get a super speedy Internet connection has always been the goal of cable broadband providers. Thanks to thousands of accessible Cable Wi-Fi spots like those in Northern Virginia, that goal is a reality.

 

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10 Short Years to 50% Penetration | Cable Tech Talk

10 Short Years to 50% Penetration | Cable Tech Talk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This week’s #BroadData is a look at how long it took for various technological advances to make their way into American homes. It took between 1876 and 1945 to get 50% of Americans a telephone line. And fifty short years later, it took a mere 10 years to do the same feat with broadband.

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FTC Still Seems More Interested In Making Headlines Than Really Protecting Privacy | Techdirt

FTC Still Seems More Interested In Making Headlines Than Really Protecting Privacy | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So, the FTC got some press today for announcing a high profile "settlement" with social networking startup Path. You might think that this is entirely about the news that came out a year ago, about Path uploading entire user address books to its server. If you don't recall, that story got a lot of press coverage. Basically, Path, like tons of social networks and mobile apps, had a feature which was "see if your existing friends already use this app and connect to them." But, to do that, it needed to know who your friends are. The process it used to do this was to upload your address book in the background and then compare it to their user base. This was, certainly, a somewhat questionable practice on privacy grounds, but it was something that lots of companies did, because it was a simple way to use the "find your friends" feature.

Of course, as soon as the story about Path went viral, most companies who were doing this very, very quickly dropped the practice, and figured out other, less privacy-invasive ways to connect you to your friends. That's a good thing. So, does the company need to be punished? It seems like negative publicity and the market took care of everything.

Well... if you look at the details of the Path "settlement," it wasn't even really about that issue at all. Yes, Path agreed to have outside privacy audits for the next 20 years (which is the FTC's go to "punishment" plan), but the hyped up $800,000 payment actually had nothing whatsoever to do with the uploading address books. Instead, it dealt with a different issue.

 

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FTTM: The Future of Fiber-To-The-Meter | OSP Magazine

FTTM: The Future of Fiber-To-The-Meter | OSP Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the main objectives of the U.S. government is to encourage fiber-based broadband networks to provide high-speed digital broadband access that will help stimulate economic growth in the 21st Century. At the same time, the Government’s focus is to create a green environment to save energy.

 

Toward that end, major utility providers are deploying smart grids at a very fast pace to overhaul and modernize their existing grids. Simultaneously, utility operators want to establish intelligent telecommunications that facilitate the needs of effective power distribution, intelligent monitoring and better management of power at consumer premises.

 

With FTTH being deployed by many providers, it would be ideal for telecom operators and utility companies to more aggressively work together to accelerate a smart grid roll out. This would avoid the cost and complexity of building and maintaining two separate communication networks. Extending the FTTx network to smart grid infrastructures allows utilities to collect real-time data, perform on-demand outages, and monitor the power utilization.


Historically, utilities have had no proper communication channels. Some utility operators leased E1/T1 links while others relied on xDSL circuits. The bottom line is this: A fast and reliable infrastructure is critical for Utility smart grids that require data and power to move upstream and downstream. That’s where smart meters come into play. They facilitate nearly real-time, two-way communication.

 

Currently, telecom operators consider Fiber-to-the-x (FTTx) as the best method to deliver their telecom services to subscribers. FTTx has many network varieties, depending on the termination point: premises (FTTp), home (FTTh), curb/cabinet (FTTc), or node (FTTn). FTTx has the advantage of bringing innovative high-speed telecom services such as IPTV, Video-on-Demand, voice, high-speed data access, infotainment and edutainment while also providing some bandwidth for utility services. (See Figure 1.)

 

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Who should be the next head of the Federal Communications Commission? | The Guardian

Who should be the next head of the Federal Communications Commission? | The Guardian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC chairman is one of five commissioners, but a crucially important one, as he or she has agenda-setting powers at the very least and much more than that in practice. Genachowski, from my perspective, has made only half-hearted challenges to the status quo, and the FCC's National Broadband Plan is more a wishlist than an actual plan – as you'd expect given the incumbent companies' control. And in face of that reality, the well-meaning chairman's recent speech proposing gigabit connections nationwide amounted to bold words with little to back them up.


Whom Obama might be considering for the post-Genachowski era is a matter of speculation at this point. I've heard rumors that one candidate might be Blair Levin, a lawyer who was chief-of-staff to former FCC chairman Reid Hundt during the Clinton administration. If Obama heeds calls to put a woman in charge for the first time, he might pick one of two current Democratic commissioners, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel. About the only certainty is that the job will be filled by a Democrat. In the past few days, I've been participating in a conversation with a number of folks who believe there is an another, ideal candidate. Her name is Susan Crawford. Now, given the administration's record to date – and especially the torrent of abuse and opposition her nomination would create from the oligopolistic telecommunications industry and its true believers – her appointment may seem unlikely. But for all kinds of reasons, I believe she's the right choice. (Disclosure: I've known Crawford for years and consider her a friend; moreover, we have many mutual friends and allies who have contributed many of the points that follow.)

 

Start with her background. I can't think of another potential candidate with deeper understanding of the relevant topics – based on research and hands-on experience – and with a better sense of what it would take to move America into the connected, collaborative future it risks forfeiting under current policies. Here's a sampler: she's a law professor who focuses on telecommunications. She served on the FCC's review team in the 2008-09 Bush-Obama transition and as an Obama aide for science, technology and innovation policy. Her recent book, Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, is a must-read on how for anyone following the topic, as are her recent columns and op-ed pieces. (I don't agree with all of Crawford's prescriptions for change, but they are always thought-provoking.)

 

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Scarlett McGrady Explains Virginia's Wired Road | community broadband networks

Scarlett McGrady Explains Virginia's Wired Road | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Wired Road is an ambitious fiber optic and wireless project offering Internet access to several underserved areas in rural Virginia. For the 31st episode of our Community Broadband Bits Bits podcast, Scarlett McGrady joins me to discuss its history and impact on the region.

 

McGrady is the Director of the Grant Community Computing Center [link to Facebook page], which providers a variety of services including computer literacy courses.

 

The Wired Road has long had gigabit capacity for those who are within range of the fiber optic connections. Anyone who can take a service from the network has to choose a service provider as the network is a pure open access approach: the community-owned network does not offer any services directly to subscribers. Instead, the Wired Road builds the infrastructure to enable independent service providers to offer services.

 

We discuss the Wired Road and the many ways that rural residents enjoy using the Internet to improve themselves and their businesses. You can find our previous stories about the Wired Road

 

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Reason for hope department: Time for fundamental change in smart grid regulation | Smart Grid News

Reason for hope department: Time for fundamental change in smart grid regulation | Smart Grid News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In December, Smart Grid News published an article about the long term regulatory outlook titled: The Next 10 Years: What we can (and can't) expect from regulators and policymakers. The article brought a big-picture view to how the regulatory realm will evolve with grid modernization.

 

I certainly hope that with increased results from projects already underway, that policymakers will see the very real connections between energy policy goals and the advanced functionality of a modernized grid.  But being an impatient sort I thought I would offer some thoughts on what should be in our immediate windshield in 2013. I am thinking about the next, vital steps to make a ten-year vision a reality.

 

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The real Gigabit Challenge is getting ISPs to think like tech firms | GigaOM Tech News

The real Gigabit Challenge is getting ISPs to think like tech firms | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Friday six cities in North Carolina issued a request for proposal for gigabit connections at a reasonable costs for businesses and residents. The cities have been talking up their efforts which would include new investment from a company, as well as the opportunity to lease the cities’ dark fiber. Just like Seattle, Chicago, Chattanooga and Bristol Tenn., and Kansas City, these North Carolina municipalities are taking their broadband future into their own hands.

 

As cities around the U.S. look at gigabit connections and see the future infrastructure that they ought to provide to ensure their citizens have access to 21st century jobs and remain (or maybe even become) hotbeds of innovation, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has also hopped on board the train. The Chairman, playing the role of chief cheerleader called for a Gigabit Challenge three weeks ago: asking that every state in the U.S. get at least one gigabit city by 2015.

 

But he had it wrong. No matter what the FCC does, there will be gigabit cities in most states by 2015, or those networks will be under construction. The real gigabit challenge is to get the telcos to think like tech companies or to get them out of the way. If we accept that broadband is the silicon of the next fifty years — providing the platform for technological innovation and advancement that chips had done from 1960 on — the we need the providers of broadband to think like tech firms. Intel makes for a great example.

 

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Snow Day: Missouri Businesses Temporarily Close Because Kids Home Online Clog Windstream’s DSL | Stop the Cap!

Snow Day: Missouri Businesses Temporarily Close Because Kids Home Online Clog Windstream’s DSL | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When inclement weather forces Wayne County, Mo. schools to close, some area businesses in Piedmont also send employees home because their Windstream Communications’ DSL Internet speeds slow to a crawl.

 

“People feel they are paying for a service they are not getting,” Missouri state Rep. Paul Fitzwater told Windstream. “I get emails every day, letters, telephone calls. The other day there was a water main break and school was closed. Some of the businesses had to shut down because of reduced Internet speeds because the kids were online playing games.”

 

Fitzwater complained to Windstream officials that broadband issues are so bad in the region, it is affecting the local economy.

 

“McAllister Software is a major employer, employing around 140 people,” Fitzwater said. “They are vital to the local economy and they need Internet service. There were about 45 hours last year that they had to shut their doors because they had no Internet.”

 

Windstream plans broadband feast or famine for southeast Missouri’s Wayne County, with well-populated communities getting some broadband service improvements while more rural areas continue to go without high speed Internet.

 

“Windstream has made it clear that they have no plans to invest in areas where they don’t feel they can be profitable,” said Piedmont Area Chamber of Commerce president Scott Combs.

 

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Verizon Wireless Earns More from Wireless Data Traffic That Costs Them Less | Stop the Cap!

Verizon Wireless Earns More from Wireless Data Traffic That Costs Them Less | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Wireless has been making a killing herding customers into its Family Share data plans.

 

Originally introduced last year, Verizon charges outrageously high prices for a paltry mobile data allowance that can be shared (think Oliver Twist on a diet) with other wireless devices attached to your plan.

 

The company’s latest financial report shows growth in average revenue earned from each account shot up 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter to a budget-busting $146.80 a month. The more Verizon can push customers to its shared data platform, the richer the company will get. With just 23 percent of Verizon customers currently on such plans, there is plenty of room for even more earnings.

 

Even though the value for money has deteriorated, Verizon has placed its data plans on a usage allowance diet for two years running.

 

Originally, Verizon charged $29.99 a month for unlimited data usage. In 2011, the company kept the price the same but slapped on a 2GB monthly allowance. This year, new customers pay $50 for just 1GB of data on the company’s data share plan.

 

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Wilson Center Report and Video on Crowdsourcing for the National Broadband Map | GeoData Policy

Wilson Center Report and Video on Crowdsourcing for the National Broadband Map | GeoData Policy | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Broadband Map is a powerful consumer protection tool developed by the FCC to provide consumers nationwide reliable information on broadband internet connections.

 

Through consistent public engagement and the use of emerging crowdsourcing technologies and open-source software, the project was able to promote government transparency and trust in government, while finishing on time and avoiding cost overruns.

 

The National Broadband Map is a vital example of the benefits to all when government prioritizes transparency, allows itself to be guided by the public, and directs national policy based on robust and reliable data. Published by the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC September 2012.

 

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Will MySpace ever lose its monopoly? | The Guardian

Will MySpace ever lose its monopoly? | The Guardian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Aristotle distinguished between friendships based on communal interests and those of soulmates who bonded out of mutual affection. The vast majority of people signed up for MySpace, Rupert Murdoch's phenomenally successful networking site, fall into the former category. But on present showing that won't stop its continuing expansion which, as the MySpace generation goes into employment, could eventually extend Murdoch's influence in ways that would make his grip on satellite television seem parochial.

 

It was said at the time of purchase that if Murdoch tried to mess with MySpace's "sharing" culture by commercialising it, punters would simply switch to one of the dozens of clones it has spawned from Bebo.com to the upwardly mobile Cyworld.com, which has taken South Korea by storm and is now taking the battle into MySpace's backyard in the US. Cyworld points to research showing that MySpace is a "rites-of-passage" site that kids will grow out of while Cyworld is a "real you" experience. It is an interesting, almost Aristotelian, distinction but some argue it may already be too late for competitors to dislodge MySpace, except in niche markets.

 

John Barrett of TechNewsWorld claims that MySpace is well on the way to becoming what economists call a "natural monopoly". Users have invested so much social capital in putting up data about themselves it is not worth their changing sites, especially since every new user that MySpace attracts adds to its value as a network of interacting people.

 

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The Impact of Monopolizing Telecommunications Corporations on The Public Interest | UnCommon Sense TV Media

Telcos have done more to repeal and circumvent public interest obligations than any other industry. Leveraging their 4g bandwidth to relay television sounds suspiciously familiar. It’s worth keeping in mind that AT&T once had the monopoly on national radio broadcasting, since the early radio networks had to rely on AT&T’s control of telephone lines as relays between city transmitters.

 

As the network provider, the phone company has always leveraged it’s power to be the main player in broadcasting. And it was AT&T who dramatically altered the original Communications Act, fending off widespread support for ‘real’ public interest spectrum set-asides with their model of ’selling airtime’ which they sold to regulators as a more democratic solution to radio bandwidth scarcity.

 

The commercial concept of ‘buying time’ is something we can thank/blame AT&T for - and it has altered the paradigm of mass communications in the US ever since.

 

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The Thrills Of E-Discovery | Techdirt

The Thrills Of E-Discovery | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While technology has reduced costs for many areas of legal practice (e.g., research), the centrality of electronically stored information to complex civil litigation has sent discovery costs skyrocketing. Hence the rapid proliferation of e-discovery vendors like so many remoras on the Biglaw shark.

 

Nobody seems to know how large the e-discovery market is — estimates range from 1.2 to 2.8 billion dollars — but everyone agree it’s not going anywhere. We’re never going back to sorting through those boxes of documents in that proverbial warehouse. New amendments to the FRCP specifically dealing with e-discovery became effective way back in December 2006, but if the e-discovery vendors (evangelists?) at this week’s LegalTech tradeshow are to be believed, we are only in the technology’s infancy in terms of its development and impact on the legal profession.

 

At LegalTech, we attended a “supersession” presented by e-discovery provider Planet Data, promising to present “judicial, industry, legal, and media perspectives on where legal technology is taking litigation and how it affects you.” Don’t be jealous….

 

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UK faces an uphill struggle to make a success of 4G | Stephen Temple Blog

UK faces an uphill struggle to make a success of 4G | Stephen Temple Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The tail has wagged the dog. A terminal device (the smart-phone) is in process of up-ending the economics of UK mobile networks. A mobile telephone network is being turned a high-speed mobile Internet but the up-grading is running late and running up-hill. With the government’s current mobile policy it is likely to run out of steam around the next corner…and 4G will disappoint not only millions of consumers but a raft of new digital industries creating the jobs of the future.

 

Mobile is an industry in its own right and contributes in the region of 2% of GDP. However the mobile Internet, together with the fixed Internet, have become critical underpinning infrastructures for an economy far bigger than their own. These two pillars support an Internet economy that is estimated to be 5.7% of GDP and growing. Added to this are the efficiency gains they contribute to the rest of the economy. Mobile, in particular, contributes mobility, personalisation and location to a digital economy. So both networks are important. The Government has a good grip on policy for the fixed broadband network. But they have taken their eye off the ball for mobile networks and missing a picture of huge transformational changes:


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Staff Report Recommends Ways to Improve Mobile Privacy Disclosures | FTC

Staff Report Recommends Ways to Improve Mobile Privacy Disclosures | FTC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s chief privacy agency, issued a staff report recommending ways that key players in the rapidly expanding mobile marketplace can better inform consumers about their data practices.

 

The report makes recommendations for critical players in the mobile marketplace: mobile platforms (operating system providers, such as Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Google, and Microsoft), application (app) developers, advertising networks and analytics companies, and app developer trade associations.  Most of the recommendations involve making sure that consumers get timely, easy-to-understand disclosures about what data they collect and how the data is used.

 

“The mobile world is expanding and innovating at breathtaking speed, allowing consumers to do things that would have been hard to imagine only a few years ago,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.  “These best practices will help to safeguard consumer privacy and build trust in the mobile marketplace, ensuring that the market can continue to thrive.”

 

The FTC staff report is based on the FTC’s enforcement and policy experience with mobile issues and a May 2012 FTC workshop, which brought together representatives from industry, trade associations, academia, and consumer privacy groups to explore privacy disclosures on mobile devices.

 

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Broadband Update: Progress and Prognostication | Cisco Blogs

Broadband Update: Progress and Prognostication | Cisco Blogs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The beginning of a new year is always time for taking stock and looking forward. In an area as vibrant as broadband telecommunications, there’s plenty to recap from 2012 and look forward to in 2013 – both good and bad.

 

Similarly, as Broadband Breakfast’s Drew Clark noted in its top-ten-events roundup, the wireless standard LTE became available to some 400 million people between AT&T and Verizon, and Comcast completed the rollout of the next version of its cable modem technology, DOCSIS 3.0, bringing speeds of 100 megabits per second potentially to 52 million subscribers.

 

Richard Bennett, senior research fellow of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), adds that the upcoming availability of vectored DSL running at 100 megabits per second might give the cable companies a run for their money.


Broadband Breakfast also cited the first phase of the FCC’s overhaul of Universal Service Fund in 2012, with the creation of three funds totaling approximately $300 million. Subsidy targets included mobile broadband and remote service areas.

 

Going forward into 2013, however, Bennett worries that regulation may go too far, citing recommendations from Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly in the New Guilded Age, the new book by tech policy expert Susan Crawford. “She alleges that broadband is in crisis, and I’m troubled by her suggestions that broadband networks be hyper-regulated. It’s trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

 

Also in 2013, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to step down, Bennett predicts. Finding a replacement with Genachowski’s skills will be difficult. “You need an environment where people aren’t being racked by monopolistic pricing but you also need  investment to flow. Genachowski has generally been able to strike a fair balance between policies that encourage investment and policies that keep prices low.”

 

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Rep Zoe Lofgren Continues To Improve 'Aaron's Law' Via Reddit | Techdirt

Rep Zoe Lofgren Continues To Improve 'Aaron's Law' Via Reddit | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago, we wrote about Rep. Zoe Lofgren announcing plans to via Reddit, to introduce CFAA reform, called "Aaron's Law." Since then, Lofgren has taken into account numerous concerns and thoughts from various stakeholders, many of whom discussed it directly on Reddit, and has now announced a second draft, also via Reddit. While the folks at EFF note that there are still some additional improvements needed, it is, certainly, an important step forward in much needed CFAA reform.

Of course, perhaps just as important is showing how this sort of public engagement in democracy can really work. The original draft of Aaron's Law did receive some criticism from some people (including mocking by some of our usual critics in our comments), without any hint of recognition that this is part of the process. It wasn't introduced on Reddit because it was complete, but in order to get feedback for these kinds of future drafts. That is an important point, and other legislators would do well in paying attention. And, of course, even this is not a finished product, but another snapshot as to where the process is now, with more ability for people to weigh in.

 

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Ericsson Sells 2,185 Mobile Tech Patents To Newly Minted Troll, Unwired Planet | Techdirt

Ericsson Sells 2,185 Mobile Tech Patents To Newly Minted Troll, Unwired Planet | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Well, if it wasn't clear before, it's certainly official now. Unwired Planet (formerly Openwave), a former innovator in the WAP browser field, decided back in April that it was no longer interested in competing in the marketplace. Instead, it set the dials to "troll" and announced a new "corporate strategy," one that would punish actual innovators for innovating. CEO Mike Mulica announced a "multi-pronged strategy to realize the value of [Unwired Planet's] unique patent portfolio."

Now, an aider and abettor has thrown Unwired Planet 2,185 additional trolling devices.

 

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