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Qmee finds out what happens online in 60 seconds | mycleveragency.com

Qmee finds out what happens online in 60 seconds | mycleveragency.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We recently created an infographic for our client Qmee and have found out what happens online during an average 60 seconds. Those of you that are fond of procrastinating can finally feel accomplished at something because you will account for a lot of this activity…


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Canada: Wind not bidding for 700MHz licences | TeleGeography.com

Canadian cellco Wind Mobile has withdrawn from the country’s 700MHz 4G licence auction due to start today (14 January 2014), after its foreign shareholder, Egypt-based Global Telecom Holding (GTH), itself part of the Russian-backed Vimpelcom group, reportedly declined to fund the bidding.


The ten remaining bidders include eight companies already active in Canada’s cellular network operating market: Bell, Rogers, Telus, MTS, SaskTel, Videotron, Bragg Communications (Eastlink) and TBayTel.


The other two are Feenix Wireless (a 100%-owned company of Mobilicity chairman John Bitove, whose Obelysk investment firm owns a majority voting share and minority equity share in the financially stricken cellco) and Novus Wireless, part of Novus Entertainment, a provider of fibre internet, TV and digital phone services in Vancouver and surrounding areas of British Columbia.

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Public Knowledge Leads Petition for FCC to Protect Phone Customers’ Privacy | Public Knowledge

Public Knowledge Leads Petition for FCC to Protect Phone Customers’ Privacy | Public Knowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Do you ever think about how much your phone service provider knows about you—where you go, how long you stay there, and whom you talk to and for how long? Do you think your provider should be able to sell or share that information with anyone, for any reason? No?


Neither do we. More importantly, neither do lawmakers, which is why in 1996 they passed a law that severely restricted what carriers can do with all this personal information. The law modified the Communications Act to add Section 222, “Privacy of customer information.” Section 222 tells carriers that with few exceptions, they have to get customers’ consent before they can share “customer proprietary network information,” or “CPNI.”


Last month, Charlie Savage of the New York Times reported that AT&T has been selling call logs to the C.I.A. without asking customers’ permission to do so. As Harold blogged about, we think this violates Section 222.


And the sale of CPNI to the government isn’t our only concern—when we did a little more poking around, we found that all four major mobile carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) have privacy policies that indicate they believe it is okay to sell or share similar records to anyone. We don’t know whether or not they actually are selling CPNI, but the fact that they think they can is alarming.


That’s why today we filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling at the FCC asking it to declare that the types of records AT&T is reportedly selling to the government are protected under Section 222. Joining us on the Petition are Benton FoundationCenter for Digital DemocracyCenter for Media Justice, Chris Jay HoofnagleCommon Cause, Consumer Action], Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Free Press, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, and U.S. PIRG.


You can read our press release here.


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Net neutrality at the US FCC: A brief history | NetworkWorld.com

Net neutrality at the US FCC: A brief history | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality regulations, also known as open Internet rules, face a hearing on Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Verizon Communications has challenged the FCC's authority to pass the rules.


Here's a look back at some highlights in the long history of net neutrality rules at the FCC.


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The FDA Wants To Dig Through Everyone's Stuff In Order To 'Monitor Online Sentiment' | Techdirt.com

The FDA Wants To Dig Through Everyone's Stuff In Order To 'Monitor Online Sentiment' | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FDA would like to know what you're thinking. It doesn't want to read minds and it couldn't care less about your lesser, non-FDA-related thoughts. That stuff's for other agencies with even creepier intentions and more nefarious toolsets. No, the FDA wants to know what you, the public, think about the FDA. And by "think," it means post stuff on the internet. And by "stuff," it means damn near everything.

Regulatory Focus (via the Pharma Marketing Blog) reports that the FDA is seeking bids from contractors in order to provide the agency with assistance in "monitoring online sentiment."


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US Court of Appeals Vacates Most of FCC Open Internet Order | Multichannel.com

US Court of Appeals Vacates Most of FCC Open Internet Order | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has vacated much of the FCC's Open Internet order and remanded it back to the FCC.


"[A]lthough we reject Verizon’schallenge to the Open Internet Order’s disclosure rules, we vacate both the anti-discrimination and the anti-blocking rules. The agency’s decision is so deficient as to raise serious doubts whether the agency can adequately justify its decision at all," said the court. "We remand the case to the Commission for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."


The court said the FCC has the authority to "promulgate rules governing broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic," and says that its "justification for the specific rules at issue here—that they will preserve and facilitate the “virtuous circle” of innovation that has driven the explosive growth of the Internet—is reasonable and supported by substantial evidence."


But it concluded that because the FCC has not classified ISPs as common carriers, it cannot regulate them as though they were.


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Liberty Global Eyes Split of Latin America Assets | Multichannel.com

Liberty Global Eyes Split of Latin America Assets | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Liberty Global said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday that it is considering spinning off its Latin American operations – Chile-based broadband and video concern VTR and Puerto Rico cable system Liberty Cablevision – to its shareholders.


The news came as part of a plan to spin off VTR’s financing operations in a new company separate from its European holding company UPC.  As part of that restructuring, Liberty Global said it would issue $1.4 billion in two series of senior secured notes due in 2022 and 2024, beginning on Jan. 13.


As part of the prospectus for the offering, Liberty Global said it is “exploring opportunities with respect to its Latin American operations including a possible spin-off of those operations to Liberty Global’s shareholders.”


Liberty Global owns an 80% interest in VTR and a 60% interest in Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico. According to Liberty Global’s web site, Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico has about 209,000 digital video subscribers, 188,000 broadband subscribers and 122,000 telephony subscribers. As of Sept., 30, 2013, total revenue was about $296.6 million.


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Mediacom, Frontier & CenturyLink Rise In Netflix’s Speed Rankings | Multichannel.com

Mediacom, Frontier & CenturyLink Rise In Netflix’s Speed Rankings | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mediacom, Frontier Communications and CenturyLink gained the most ground while Bright House Networks and Comcast lost the most in Netflix’s December ISP Speed Index, the over-the-top video service provider’s monthly rankings of ISP streaming performance during primetime.


The top seven U.S. ISPs were unchanged versus Netflix’s ISPs rankings, with Google Fiber and its average Netflix streaming speed of 3.69 Mbps staying ahead of Cablevision Systems (2.85 Mbps), Cox Communications (2.62 Mbps), Suddenlink Communications (2.54 Mbps), Charter Communications (2.30 Mbps), Verizon FiOS (2.11 Mbps) and Time Warner Cable (2.02 Mbps).  


Several of Netflix’s top performers, including Google Fiber  Cablevision and Cox, and Suddenlink, are members of OpenConnect, Netflix’s private content delivery network that relies on free specialized edge caches. Under a new policy installed last September, Netflix now offers its slate of Super HD to all of its streaming customers. It previously limited access to subs who got broadband from ISPs that were members of OpenConnect.    


Notably, Mediacom Communications, which uses a “transparent” caching system from Qwilt, gained the most ground, rising three spots, to number eight, in the Netflix rankings. Other month-over-month gainers included AT&T (one spot), Frontier (three spots), Windstream  (one spot) and Centurylink (two spots).


Bright House and Comcast each dropped five spots, to number 13 and number 14, respectively, in the Netflix rankings. Verizon DSL also dropped one spot, to number 16, beating only Clearwire, which remains the only U.S. wireless broadband provider measured by Netflix for streaming quality.


In a blog detailing the December results, Netflix director of corporate communications Joris Evers noted that streaming performance was up in all countries for the month, except for the U.S. and Mexico.


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Charter offers to buy Time Warner Cable in public appeal to shareholders | Reuters.com

Charter offers to buy Time Warner Cable in public appeal to shareholders | Reuters.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications Inc formally offered on Monday to acquire larger rival Time Warner Cable for $37.3 billion, signaling the start of what is likely to be a contentious battle for control of the No. 2 U.S. cable operator.


Charter, the No. 4 cable operator, proposed paying $132.50 per share - barely higher than where Time Warner Cable shares closed on Monday - consisting of around $83 per share in cash and its own stock.


Monday's offer is the boldest sign yet that cable billionaire and dealmaker John Malone thinks that new managers could do a better job running the company, which has fallen behind and underinvested in taking on competitors and on digital technology.


Including debt, the deal is worth $62.35 billion. Time Warner Cable shareholders would get 45 percent ownership in the combined company.


Charter said on Monday that it held discussions with Time Warner Cable, which is led by Chief Executive Officer Rob Marcus, but the company wanted a higher bid and talks have not been constructive. Charter now plans to take the deal directly to Time Warner Cable shareholders.


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Top 10 cloud trends for 2014 | GigaOM Tech News

Top 10 cloud trends for 2014 | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cloud computing made big strides in 2013. Let’s start with a quick recap. The public cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) market has seen many new entrants in the form of Google, HP, and Microsoft. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched more than 200 new features this year.


Apache Hadoop has gone mainstream with the traditional database vendors partnering with young startups to offer big data as a service. Salesforce has finally bridged Force.com and Heroku. VMware got rid of every distraction to focus on the hybrid cloud market. Pivotal has gone live with Cloud Foundry, and Red Hat OpenShift graduated to the second version.


On the Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) front, Parse was acquired by Facebook while PayPal bought StackMob. Enterprises gained confidence in cloud computing and they are planning to go beyond development and testing environments. OpenStack saw yet another release this year with increased support from the industry. Devops has become mainstream with enterprises taking it seriously. And cloud-based management services picked up momentum, offering additional opportunities for the traditional system integrators.


What’s in store for the cloud in 2014?


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Report: Wireless Service Revenue Growth Slowed to 3.2% in 2013 | WirelessWeek.com

Report: Wireless Service Revenue Growth Slowed to 3.2% in 2013 | WirelessWeek.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Global mobile Internet service revenue is estimated to have grown 23.4 percent to roughly $300 billion, according to ABI Research, as wireless broadband subscriptions jumped 28.8 percent and the smartphone share of total subscriptions advanced by 6.6 percent to capture 27.5 percent of the overall pie.


Despite the big numbers in mobile Internet, global wireless service revenue is estimated to have grown just 3.2 percent to slightly over $1 trillion. 


In 2014, however, mobile Internet related revenues will power ahead with growth in the 13 to 15 percent range. 


ABI noted that LTE is providing some upsell opportunities with multi-device plans and increased data quota plans, but by and large, 4G has not reversed the declining average revenue per user (ARPU) trend in most countries.


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Look for broadband to have huge impact in 2014 | Editor's Blog at WRAL Tech Wire

Look for broadband to have huge impact in 2014 | Editor's Blog at WRAL Tech Wire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last year was a banner year for broadband. Look for more in 2014.


Much of the work in North Carolina and across the country in 2013 focused on supporting the innovation economy of the future – one that produces new and better jobs so the United States can remain competitive in the 21st Century.


Through 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) reported that 230 broadband projects through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) have collectively deployed or upgraded more than 110,000 miles of broadband infrastructure; connected more than 20,000 community anchor institutions to high-speed broadband Internet service; generated approximately 625,000 new broadband Internet subscribers; and installed more than 46,000 workstations in public computer centers.


In North Carolina, technology non-profit MCNC completed a large-scale BTOP project last year to expand the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). That network is now a fiber-based network that is more than 2,600 miles spanning the entire state and is one of just a handful of states with an open access, middle-mile fiber network available to economic developers, businesses, and broadband service providers.


While other state BTOP projects wind down over the next year, the NTIA said they will be focusing on leveraging the lessons and expertise gained from these broadband grants into other areas – including President Obama’s ConnectED initiative announced last summer, which aims to ensure that 99 percent of the nation’s students have high-speed connectivity and access to next-generation broadband within five years.


"We made great progress this year, but have more work to do in 2014 and beyond," commented Angela Simpson, NTIA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, on a recent blogpost.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also will have their hands full in 2014.


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Science Matters: City targets lack of broadband options | SantaFeNewMexican.com

Science Matters: City targets lack of broadband options | SantaFeNewMexican.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As a lot of developments swirl around the Internet, which has become a critical source of economic opportunity in the world today, Santa Fe’s quest for cheaper, faster access to the Web faces a test as early as next month. Even with a million dollars to spend, thanks to a capital improvement project funded in 2012, city officials will have to make a very strategic move to gain much headway against even modest community needs and expectations.


By contrast, all of of Taos soon will be connected to the Internet at gigabit speed, about a thousand times faster than what is currently known as high speed. The next level is called terabit speed, and it is another thousand times faster. By partnering with the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and using its grid for distribution, Taos expects to leap forward in the information age.


A federal grant of $64 million covers the cost, which is about what it would cost to do the same in Santa Fe. Also making a bold move, Google is rolling out a new fiber-optic program in Kansas City, Mo.; Kansas City, Kan.; and Austin, Texas, among other places, that offers connection speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second, which the company predicts will be about 100 times faster than existing high-speed broadband.


In Santa Fe, city project administrator Sean Moody puts the issue in the context of telecommunications and its local impact. “This is on the radar of city council that includes cell towers and overhead power lines,” he said. Economic development and education are in there, too, along with urban planning. Various cooperative efforts have been and will continue to play a role in local efforts. The city can hope to get lucky like Taos, but meanwhile, it has to work effectively with what it has.


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Mexico's Magiladoras: Big maq attack | The Economist

Mexico's Magiladoras: Big maq attack | The Economist | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

“Electronics are like drugs. You can buy them for $1 and sell them for $40,” says Jordi Muñoz, a 27-year-old Mexican entrepreneur. People in Tijuana, where he makes small, insectlike drones (pilotless aircraft) for civilian use, would probably prefer he used a different metaphor: the city is trying to put its narcotic reputation behind it. But Mr Muñoz feels free to say what he likes, because he has found the holy grail for exporters in northern Mexico. He has brought inventive flair, not just deft fingerwork, to the process of making things (see article).


Mr Muñoz’s drone-producing plant is a maquiladora, a factory that enjoys special tax breaks. When Mexico set up the first maquiladoras half a century ago, they were sweatshops that simply bolted or stitched together imported parts, then exported the assembled product north across the border to the United States. America got cheap goods; Mexico got jobs and export revenues. Now, with competition growing from other low-cost locations, and with the government cutting some of their tax breaks, the maquiladoras are having to step up their efforts to become innovative.


On October 18th the lower house of Mexico’s Congress approved President Enrique Peña Nieto’s proposal to sweep away a range of deductions and allowances that the maquiladoras enjoy. In general, Mexico collects less tax than other middle-income countries, and the government is striving to raise more revenues to improve its lamentable public services. But the maquiladoras already face stiff competition from other countries offering juicy tax breaks to manufacturers: KPMG, an accounting firm, last year rated Mexico worse than five of its main rivals in terms of tax competitiveness. Accountants at another firm, Deloitte, reckon the reforms, if passed by the upper house in the coming days, will raise the maquiladoras’ effective income-tax rate from 17.5% to at least 30%.


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As Expected, Court Strikes Down FCC's Net Neutrality Rules: Now What? | Techdirt.com

As Expected, Court Strikes Down FCC's Net Neutrality Rules: Now What? | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Almost everyone I've spoken to (on both sides of the net neutrality debate) more or less expected the ruling that came down this morning in the DC circuit, in which the appeals court struck down the FCC's net neutrality rules because the the FCC had no mandate under the rules it used to issue that ruling. Basically, this is exactly what lots of us said at the start of this whole process. I've seen a bunch of reports overreacting to this today, from people saying that it's "the death of the internet." It's not. There are problems on both sides here. The telcos absolutely do want to abuse things to effectively double charge both sides. And that could clearly create significant issues with the basic end-to-end nature of the internet.

However, on the flip side, we should be equally concerned about the FCC overstepping its bounds and mandate in regulating the internet. Because that opens up the opportunity for the FCC to regulate all sorts of aspects of the internet in dangerous ways. So, this ruling is both good and bad. It stops the FCC from overstepping its bounds... but opens up the opportunity for the telcos to sweep in and try to upset the basic concepts of the internet. It's what happens now that becomes interesting. The court does leave open the possibility that the FCC could use other aspects of its mandate to establish net neutrality rules -- where it has a much more firm legal footing. In other words, the court is telling the FCC basically: you can establish net neutrality rules if you do it correctly.

Separate from that, it's possible that Congress could step in as well -- though the issue of net neutrality in Congress has become partisan, and thus toxic. Of course, in the meantime, it seems likely that the FCC will appeal to the Supreme Court, and there's a decent chance that the Supreme Court will take the case -- though I'd be very, very surprised if the Supreme Court came to a different ruling. The original FCC rule, while well intentioned, definitely stretched the FCC's mandate, and it's no surprise that it's now been slapped down.


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Privacy groups ask FCC to rule that carriers cannot share phone records | NetworkWorld.com

Privacy groups ask FCC to rule that carriers cannot share phone records | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Privacy groups have asked the U.S. FCC to declare that even "anonymized" phone records have to be protected under a privacy rule that restricts carriers from sharing customers' information without their consent.


The petition filed before the Federal Communications Commission comes in the wake of reports that U.S. carriers like Verizon and AT&T were sharing phone records in bulk with the U.S. government.


The groups cite research to state that even so-called anonymized call records have sufficient information to link back to specific individuals. "When a carrier purges individual identities from a set of call records but leaves individual characteristics (such as incoming and outgoing calls, call times, and call durations) intact, the records are not anonymous at all; they are pseudonymous," according to their petition filed Wednesday before the FCC.


Section 222 of the Communications Act instructs carriers that, with few exceptions, they have to get customers' consent before they can share "customer proprietary network information," also referred to as CPNI, wrote Laura Moy, staff attorney at Public Knowledge, one of the groups filing the petition, in a blog post.


The groups found that all four major mobile carriers - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon - have privacy policies that suggest that they consider it okay to sell or share the records. "We don't know whether or not they actually are selling CPNI, but the fact that they think they can is alarming," Moy wrote.


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Anthony Carnesecca's curator insight, January 24, 2014 2:46 AM

This article focuses on certain groups that want the FCC to prevent companies from taking information from consumers without their knowledge or consent.

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European civil rights groups join forces to defend net neutrality | NetworkWorld.com

European civil rights groups join forces to defend net neutrality | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

European Internet users could risk being charged extra money for accessing online services like Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube, Skype and Whatsapp if a European draft regulation on net neutrality isn't amended before March, European civil rights groups warned Tuesday.


Civil rights groups EDRi (European Digital Rights), the German Digitale Gesellschaft, the French La Quadrature du Net, the Austrian Initiative fA1/4r Netzfreiheit as well as the Brussels based Access Now group together launched a campaign called SaveTheInternet.eu aiming to amend or block the regulation.


The European Union is currently preparing a net neutrality law.


Net neutrality in principle means that all traffic on the internet is treated on an equal basis without regard to the type or origin of the content.


However, the European Commission's net neutrality proposal allows ISPs to charge extra for delivering "specialized services" -- and by not defining the term, could allow them apply the label to services such as Skype, YouTube and Whatsapp that compete with their own offerings, and charge customers to access them, the groups warned.


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Anthony Carnesecca's curator insight, January 24, 2014 2:45 AM

This article highlights the crucial issue of network neutrality being debated across the globe in various governing bodies and court rooms.  This advocacy group is advocating and fighting for the right to a free net with access to all content from all users.

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WA: How Seattle's Bid For Faster, Cheaper Internet Fell Apart | KUOW.org

WA: How Seattle's Bid For Faster, Cheaper Internet Fell Apart | KUOW.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Network engineer Lee Kirk was working for Comcast when a friend of his tried to hire him away to Gigabit Squared Seattle for a partnership between the company and the city to improve Internet service in the area.


But Kirk said an offer never materialized, and his friend at Gigabit – which designs and builds networks – started having difficulties. 


“After a couple of months he confided that he was not being paid any longer,” Kirk said. “And then, shortly after that, he confided that he had gone to fill a prescription and his health insurance had been canceled. So I sort of saw the company crumbling from the outside.”


The deal had collapsed, leaving unpaid bills and no clear path forward on a mayoral promise to expand broadband in the city.


In December 2012, officials from Seattle, the University of Washington and Gigabit, then a new company, announced a plan to bring high-speed Internet to certain Seattle neighborhoods.


Gigabit Squared would lease the city’s fiber optic network and raise the money necessary to connect to nearby homes and businesses. It fulfilled, at least in a limited way, a campaign promise of Mayor Mike McGinn to expand broadband citywide.


On a visit to Seattle last June, Gigabit Squared’s then-President Mark Ansboury was upbeat. Strolling around Seattle’s University District, he pointed to buildings where residents could look forward to blazing fast Internet service once he found enough investors. 


“We committed $20 million dollars to build out the initial framework. But we’re raising more capital than that,” Ansboury said.


Success on the Gigabit Squared project would have meant more competition to Comcast and CenturyLink. Its cheapest package gave customers free Internet for five years after an initial $350 installation fee. Gigabit Squared also planned to extend service to residents of public housing.


But the company didn’t have a track record. Bill Schrier, Seattle’s former chief technology officer, retired before the partnership was announced. He said he was cautiously optimistic, but said, “My major concern was that Gigabit Squared had never really done anything.”


A year later, the partnership was in trouble.


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Network chief likes AT&T's spectrum holdings -- as the carrier buys more | NetworkWorld.com

Network chief likes AT&T's spectrum holdings -- as the carrier buys more | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When AT&T technology and network chief John Donovan said on Monday that he felt good about the carrier's spectrum position, he had an extra reason for his optimism.


Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T technology and network operations, said at the Citi 2014 Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference taking place near International CES in Las Vegas that his company had enough frequencies for now.


"In the short and intermediate term I think we feel pretty good about where we are with the spectrum," Donovan said.


On Tuesday, AT&T announced it had reached an agreement to buy 49 AWS (Advanced Wireless Spectrum) licenses from Aloha Partners. The licenses cover almost 50 million people in 14 states, including California, Texas, Illinois, and others in the West and Northeast, AT&T said in a statement. It did not say how much it paid for the spectrum. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.


Having enough frequencies to carry the data that subscribers generate and use has been a high agenda item for AT&T and other U.S. mobile operators for years. Last year, AT&T bought Leap Wireless in a deal valued at about $4 billion, citing in part the smaller carrier's spectrum holdings. However, it's also common to hear carriers say their spectrum needs are covered for the immediate future. Saying otherwise would raise questions about their ability to provide adequate service to current and prospective customers.


But the growing need for spectrum isn't over, as mobile data demand grows by about 50 percent per year, Donovan said. Asked about an earlier estimate that AT&T needs about 10MHz more spectrum every 12 months, he said that's about right for high-demand markets, though subscribers' mobile use varies by geography.


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Google Puts Up $3.2B For Nest | Multichannel.com

Google Puts Up $3.2B For Nest | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a deal that could turn up the competitive heat on MSOs and other service providers that are expanding into home-automation services, Google on Monday said it agreed to buy Nest Labs, the maker of smart, connected thermostats and smoke/carbon monoxide alarms, for $3.2 billion in cash.


Nest will continue to operate under CEO Tony Fadell when the deal closes sometime in the “next few months,” Google said.


Founded in 2010, Nest has raised more than $230 million, with some of that coming in via Google, which led Nest’s Series B round in May 2011 and Series C in the following year. Nest employs more than 300 people and has a team of more than 25,000 “certified professionals who help install Nest in the U.S. and  Canada,” Fadell wrote in a blog post about the deal.


“Nest will continue to be Nest, with its own distinct brand identity,” Fadell wrote. "Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone. We've had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship. Google has the business resources, global scale, and platform reach to accelerate Nest growth across hardware, software, and services for the home globally."


The companies did not announce any product integration plans on Monday, but, in addition to retail tie-ins, one potential target for a Google/Nest combo is Google Fiber, the 1-Gig broadband and pay-TV platform that Google is rolling out in Kansas City and Provo, Utah, and will be deploying in Austin, Texas, later this year.


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Charter Lobs $61.3B Offer For Time Warner Cable | Multichannel.com

Charter Lobs $61.3B Offer For Time Warner Cable | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After six months of speculation and no deal, Charter Communications decided to take their case to shareholders Monday, sending a letter to Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus requesting that the two parties sit down and hammer out a deal.


Charter did not specify how much it would pay for TWC but a report in Bloomberg News, citing an interview with Charter CEO Tim Rutledge, said the deal was worth $61.3 billion, or about $132.50 per share.


If that is the case it would seem to be a low-ball offer, representing just a 10-cents per share premium to TWC’s closing price of $132.40 per share on Jan. 13.


Time Warner Cable immediate rejected the offer as inadequate, noting in a statement that it was the third unsolicited offer from Charter. Rob Marcus, Time Warner Cable’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Charter’s latest proposal is a non-starter. First and foremost, it substantially undervalues TWC and would represent an EBITDA multiple of approximately 7X, well below past transactions in the cable sector. Indeed, our high-quality assets, unique scale, synergy potential, growth opportunities and strong financial position should command a premium valuation compared to precedent transactions, not the discount offered by Charter. Not only is the nominal valuation far too low, but because a significant portion of the purchase price would be in Charter stock, the actual value delivered to TWC shareholders could be substantially lower given the valuation, operational, and significant balance sheet risks embedded in Charter’s stock.”


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The 10 big companies with the most telecommuting options | Quartz.com

The 10 big companies with the most telecommuting options | Quartz.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

During a week like this, with record cold temperatures across a large section of the US, telecommuting sounds almost as enticing as a trip to Fiji. Now that’s a possibility for more workers in the US (working from home, not an island vacation).



A growing number of jobs that allow remote-working situations now show up at major companies, including American Express, Humana, Xerox, and General Electric. This, according to a list from FlexJobs of 100 companies that posted the most remote jobs last year on its site. FlexJobs says the list is drawn from its database of 25,000 companies, which list around 17,000 openings.


Here are the companies that top the list for posting the most remote jobs last year:


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MS: C Spire launches 4G LTE mobile broadband services in Louisville | Winston County Journal

C Spire Wireless launched the next generation of mobile broadband services in Louisville with the recent activation of its 4G (Fourth Generation) Long Term Evolution (LTE) network offering consumers and businesses faster data speeds and advanced capabilities on the nation’s only customer inspired network.


The company’s 4G LTE launch in the Winston County town means customers can now enjoy the fastest wireless experience available to download apps and game faster, open files almost instantly, do real-time video chat, surf the mobile web and stream movies, music and video at speeds up to 10 times faster than before.


“We’re pleased that local businesses and consumers in Louisville now have ready access to the next generation of mobile broadband services,” said Bryan Templeton, regional manager of retail services for C Spire. “This technology will improve opportunities for taking care of business on-the-go and carrying out numerous mobile tasks at a pace that’s significantly faster than consumers have ever experienced before on a wireless network.”


C Spire Has Rolled Out 4G LTE Services in 51 Mississippi Markets Since September 2012


Louisville is one of 51 Mississippi markets that have received C Spire’s advanced 4G LTE services since September 2012. All of the markets with 4G LTE service are part of the company’s multi-million dollar investment to bring the next generation of high-speed technology to customers. The company plans to continue to introduce the services in 71 cities and 51 counties covering a population of 496,000 across the state. When the latest phase is completed in 2014, 4G LTE service will be available to six out of every 10 consumers and businesses in Mississippi.


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AT&T's Sponsored Data Steps Into Net Neutrality Pit | Top Tech News

AT&T's Sponsored Data Steps Into Net Neutrality Pit | Top Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this week, AT&T took the cover off a new way for customers to watch mobile  content and use apps over its wireless  network without impacting their monthly wireless data  plans. Dubbed Sponsored Data, the carrier compared it to 1-800 numbers or free e-commerce  shipping.


But it didn’t take long for the Net Neutrality debate to surface.


Here's the deal: Sponsored Data opens up new data use options for AT&T wireless customers and mobile broadband channels to businesses that choose to participate as sponsors. Data charges resulting from eligible uses will be billed directly to the sponsoring company.


Customers will see the service offered as AT&T Sponsored Data, and the usage will appear on their monthly invoices as Sponsored Data. Sponsored Data will be delivered at the same speed and performance as any non-Sponsored Data content. AT&T’s idea is to allow advertisers a new way to engage with customers, such as encouraging them to try a new app, promoting movie trailers and games, or pointing them toward mobile shopping sites.


"Customers love mobile content. Whether it's shopping, banking, entertainment or personal wellness, mobile content is increasingly available for customers almost anywhere and anytime," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility. “And that's what makes this a win-win for customers and businesses -- customers just look for the Sponsored Data icon and they know the data related to that particular application or video is provided as a part of their monthly service.”


But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) isn’t thrilled with the concept. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told the Wall Street Journal, "Make no mistake, we're ready to intervene. We want to encourage innovation, with the full capability and legal authority to intervene in those circumstances where there are untoward impacts on competition and consumers."


AT&T is also seeing resistance from California Congresswoman and Net Neutrality supporter Anna Eshoo, who wants to see the program squashed: "The announcement of a sponsored data program by AT&T puts it in the business of picking winners and losers on the Internet, threatening the open Internet, competition and consumer choice."


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Internet In America: An On Again, Off Again Relationship | WUIS.org

Internet In America: An On Again, Off Again Relationship | WUIS.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The American Customer Satisfaction Index surveys large swaths of consumers about various industries. And in last year's survey, Americans rated Internet service providers at the very bottom for satisfaction. That puts them below the postal service, health insurance and even airlines.


Critics of the telecom industry say Americans are paying too much money for slow speeds and bad service. The industry says those charges are way overblown.


All Things Considered recently asked its fans on Facebook, "How satisfied are you with your Internet service provider?" Many responded that they didn't like their Internet service, that it often goes out and that their connection was often "painfully slow."


But not everyone we spoke to has had a bad experience. Jon Lemich of Columbia, Md., said he really liked his service. "It very rarely has any problems. And their customer service has been great," he says.


Lemich also says he has several options; his neighborhood has cable as well as access to Verizon's high-speed fiber optic Internet.


But that's not true for everyone, because the map of broadband access is still a patchwork in the U.S.


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