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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
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Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties | MIT Technology Review

Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties | MIT Technology Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A decade-plus of anthropological fieldwork among hackers and like-minded geeks has led me to the firm conviction that these people are building one of the most vibrant civil liberties movements we’ve ever seen. It is a culture committed to freeing information, insisting on privacy, and fighting censorship, which in turn propels wide-ranging political activity. In the last year alone, hackers have been behind some of the most powerful political currents out there.

 

Before I elaborate, a brief word on the term “hacker” is probably in order. Even among hackers, it provokes debate. For instance, on the technical front, a hacker might program, administer a network, or tinker with hardware. Ethically and politically, the variability is just as prominent. Some hackers are part of a transgressive, law-breaking tradition, their activities opaque and below the radar. Other hackers write open-source software and pride themselves on access and transparency. While many steer clear of political activity, an increasingly important subset rise up to defend their productive autonomy, or engage in broader social justice and human rights campaigns.

 

Despite their differences, there are certain  websites and conferences that bring the various hacker clans together. Like any political movement, it is internally diverse but, under the right conditions, individuals with distinct abilities will work in unison toward a cause.

 

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Why Do Copyright Monopolists Think They Can Just Take Somebody Else’s Work? | TorrentFreak

Why Do Copyright Monopolists Think They Can Just Take Somebody Else’s Work? | TorrentFreak | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Copyright monopolists insist on the idea of controlling the fruits of other people’s labor, such as when other people copy a particular file. This attitude is offensive, insulting, and antithetical to a free market.

 

The famous philosopher John Locke once published the idea that a person has the right to profit off of the fruits of their labor.

 

This is only partially true. Once you have sold something, you hold no further rights to profit off of it. This is fairly obvious, but needs to be stated for context.

 

An entrepreneur can sell one or both of two things: you can sell products, and you can sell services. If somebody decides to make shiny things and sell them, they have a right to profit off the fruit of that labor – but only up until the point where they sell the shiny things. Their ownership of the shiny thing, and their right to profit, ends the second the item is sold to somebody. Conversely, if somebody decides to sell their time in selling services, their right to profit ends the second they stop working for the person they have sold their time to.

 

In geek terms, entrepreneurship is finding a value differential in society, constructing a conduit between the two endpoints and sticking a generator in the middle of the conduit. Profit ensues from the generator until the value differential has equalized to the point where the pressure is no longer sufficient to overcome the resistance of the generator, at which point the conduit stops working.

 

This is how a free market works, and it is regarded as the foundation of our economy. However, copyright monopolists are trying their hardest to muddle this simple and fundamental principle, by claiming a continued kind of ownership even after something is sold. That’s not how a market works. That’s a monopoly. That’s harmful. That’s bad.


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Tech, telecom giants take sides as FCC proposes large public WiFi networks | Wash Post

Tech, telecom giants take sides as FCC proposes large public WiFi networks | Wash Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.

 

The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.

 

The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.

 

The new WiFi networks would also have much farther reach, allowing for a driverless car to communicate with another vehicle a mile away or a patient’s heart monitor to connect to a hospital on the other side of town.

 

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Increasing Access to Telehealth | Federal Telemedicine News

The Veterans Administration awarded 33 grants to VA facilities for projects to improve emergency healthcare services for women veterans, to expand women’s health education, and to offer telehealth programs to female veterans in rural areas. The winning proposals were jointly supported by the VHA’s national Women’s Health Program Office, Office of Rural Health, and the Office of Healthcare Transformation.

 

Services that received grants in telehealth include telemental health, telegynecology, telepharmacy, and telephone maternity care coordination. Education grants will expand mini-residency training for VA providers and nurses in primary care and emergency services. 

 

The grants to provide telehealth for women veterans were awarded to the VA New Jersey HCS/VISN 3, VA Maryland HCS/VISN 5, VA Health Care System of Ohio/VISN 10, VA hospital Illiana HCS/VISN 11, St. Louis VAMC/VISN 15, VA Eastern Kansas HCS/VISN 15, El Paso VA HCS/VISN 18, Northern Arizona VA Healthcare/VISN 18, Greater Los Angeles HCS/VISN 22, and Minneapolis/VISN 23. 

 

Telehealth is also being used at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center, where a Facility Pain committee is creating a multidisciplinary pain clinic to provide treatments ranging from physical therapy to interventional anesthesiology for veterans suffering from chronic pain. 

 

Today, classes are offered to veterans using telehealth. Using telehealth is very effective because chronic pain is a widespread problem and there is a lack of local providers with specialized training in the biopsychosocial model of pain. 

 

Veterans are able to participate in classes from six different locations at the same time. The classes focus is on how behaviors, thoughts, and emotions can increase or decrease the perception of pain. The classes also discuss how pain can interfere with veterans’ activities. 

 

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SC: Team Ultra Broadband — Aiming to attract high speed Internet to Mono | Orangeville Banner

SC: Team Ultra Broadband — Aiming to attract high speed Internet to Mono | Orangeville Banner | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mono is looking to move ahead at ultra high speed.


While the home to less than 8,000 residents is a prime candidate to attract even more people from the creative class, Mono’s failures when it relates to high-speed Internet service present a major roadblock.


“Mozambique has better coverage than Mono,” said Paul Lansing, chair of Mono’s Sustainability Advisory Committee (MSAC). “Mozambique is considered to be probably the lowest country on the scale of developing third world.”


Currently, parts of Mono only receive Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) service — “sort of a one-step up from dial up” scenario, Lansing said.
In fact, Lansing noted ADSL was declared “obsolete” by the president of AT&T about a year ago.


Here is Mono’s dilemma. Without ultra broadband service, the town will not only have difficulty attracting new people, but struggle to hang onto its current population.


“We know that this is becoming an important component as far as people wanting to locate here,” Lansing said. “Not only are we not going to get new people, we’re going to start losing some.”


In the second year of what Lansing described as an about four-year process, MSAC is moving forward. Last week, Mono council discussed a draft of the Request for Proposal (RFP) the committee recommends it send out.


The proposed RFP would solicit a price point from Internet service providers interested in bringing ultra broadband to the area.


Town staff will review the RFP document in the next few weeks.


“It’s parallel to the telephone. When the telephone came in, it was important to the rural community,” said Deputy Mayor Ken McGhee.

 

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CA: Bird Cove highspeed Internet a result of Brig Bay upgrades and its splitting the town | Northern Pen

Highspeed Internet is something Bird Cove resident Bradley Mahar really wants.

 

He even started a petition to bring it to the Straits community.

 

“When they were talking about putting highspeed through the communities (through the Rural Broadband Initiative), Bird Cove was left off of it,” he said.

 

He was encouraged by his local MHA – Jim Bennett – the start a petition, so he did, and names from that petition were read in the House of assembly.

 

He later heard that upgrades were taking place and that a portion of the town was receiving highspeed.

 

The Grade 11 Viking Trail Academy student was excited.

 

So he waited, and waited, and waited, but nothing happened at his house.

 

Now, Mahar said, about half the town has highspeed Internet while the other half is on dial-up.

 

The whole thing has him frustrated, because as a student he’s reliant on highspeed to get an education.

 

“I do online courses in school,” he said. “If you miss a day of school because of bad weather, the online classes are still going ahead, but I can’t access them at home because the Internet is too slow.”

 

Plus, if there’s a storm, Mahar said he would have to attempt driving to school to use highspeed or miss the class.

 

It was a challenge he recently faced, when a storm struck and there was an important math tutorial to be taken in.

 

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NV: Lyon County announces tech plan to increases broadband access | KRNV News

NV: Lyon County announces tech plan to increases broadband access | KRNV News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Lyon County has announced a technology plan to increase broadband access and use.

Lyon County has created the Technology Action Plan, as part of Lyon County’s participation in the Connecte NV community engagement program through the Connect Nevada initiative. Thirteen Nevada communities are currently involved in some stage of the Connected program.

The plan details steps that will be taken to make sure individuals and businesses receive quality high-speed Internet.

Participation in the Connected program means Lyon County has gone through an extensive assessment of its overall broadband and technology innovation. The Technology Action Plan sets general community-wide broadband connectivity requirements to be worked toward that will support economic development and residential quality of life. Lyon County’s top goal from the new plan is to increase broadband access throughout the county. The new plan gives the community step-by-step action items to make sure that goal is met.

 

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Consumer Data Protection Laws, an Ocean Apart | NYTimes.com

Consumer Data Protection Laws, an Ocean Apart | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the years, the United States and Europe have taken different approaches toward protecting people’s personal information. Now the two sides are struggling to bridge that divide.

 

On this side of the Atlantic, Congress has enacted a patchwork quilt of privacy laws that separately limit the use of Americans’ medical records, credit reports, video rental records and so on. On the other side, the European Union has instituted more of a blanket regulatory system; it has a common directive that gives its citizens certain fundamental rights — like the right to obtain copies of records held about them by companies and institutions — that Americans now lack.

 

Even so, United States officials maintain that the divergent approaches are equal. “The sum of the parts of U.S. privacy protection is equal to or greater than the single whole of Europe,” says Cameron F. Kerry, general counsel of the Commerce Department. He is overseeing an agency effort to help develop voluntary, enforceable codes of conduct for industry groups, like app developers, whose collection and use of consumer data are now unregulated.

 

Europe begs to differ.

 

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Shutting Down the Phone System: “IP” Does Not Equal “Fiber,” “Fiber Does Not Equal IP.” | Wetmachine

Shutting Down the Phone System: “IP” Does Not Equal “Fiber,” “Fiber Does Not Equal IP.” | Wetmachine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As regular readers know, I regard the upgrade of the phone system (aka the “public switched telephone network” or “PSTN”) to an all-IP based network as a majorly huge deal. As I’ve explained at length before, this is a huge deal because of a bunch of decisions the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made over the years that have fragmented our various policies and regulations about phones into a crazy-quilt of different rules tied sometimes to the technology (IP v. traditional phone (TDM) and sometimes to the actual medium of transmission (copper v. fiber v. cable v. wireless). This whacky set of FCC decisions has produced a great deal of confusion about what we are talking about when we talk about the upgrade of the phone network.

 

As a result, people keep pointing out the same two things to me over and over and over. “AT&T is not switching to fiber to the home! Their upgrade is still copper!” The other is: “Verizon is pulling up all their copper in New York City (and everywhere else in the Sandy zone) and shifting customers from copper to FIOS without getting any permission from anyone!” These observations are usually made with the same fervor as Charlton Heston giving out his recipe for Soylent Green.

 

Allow me to debunk the Cult of the Copper Snake (with bonus points for recognizing the Biblical reference. And no, it isn’t the Golden Calf. It’s the Copper Snake.) You can have an all IP network that runs on copper, and you can run a traditional TDM-based network over fiber that is treated like a phone service. Both of these are different from a TDM-system that runs on copper.  All three are treated differently from each other from a regulatory perspective. I also must point out, in AT&T’s defense, that AT&T never claimed it was upgrading to fiber, and in fact has been quite specific that they are not ging FttH (to Wall St.’s great relief and the disappointment of many others paying attention).

 

If you want to stop here, you can. If you want to find out why this is true, and why people keep confusing them, then you must continue on, delving into the minutiae of the last ten years of regulatory history. While a pain in the patootie to sort through (and I will do what I can to make it less boring where possible), it’s worth it if you want to understand what’s going on and how AT&T can be going on about how this is going to improve broadband and blah blah blah without ever promising to move to fiber to the home.

 

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Webcams connect pharmacists to immobile Minnesota seniors | MPR

Webcams connect pharmacists to immobile Minnesota seniors | MPR | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Virtual visits with pharmacists may become more common under the federal health care overhaul.

 

For some seniors, getting out to see a pharmacist can be difficult in good weather and treacherous during Minnesota winters. But it's an essential trip for many; prescription drugs can keep serious illnesses in check, if they're taken as prescribed and managed effectively.

 

Deloris Breeggemann, 78, is one of those seniors. She's lived in a country house in Jordan, Minn. for nearly 50 years. And along with her husband, she ran a 60-head dairy farm and raised five sons.

 

Sitting at her kitchen table, Breeggemann is surrounded by the treasures of her past and present: Photographs of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren crowd countertops and are tacked to the refrigerator door. It was in this same kitchen less than two years ago she collapsed.

 

"I got to the table and I felt like I was dying from my feet up," she said. "I started going numb and all of a sudden I couldn't life my arms; I couldn't open my eyes."

 

Breeggemann suffered a heart attack. On top of heart disease, she also has type 2 diabetes. To manage those two chronic health problems along with other ailments, she takes 18 medicines a day.

 

But all that chemistry upset her stomach. She remembers how just looking at a week's worth of pills in a pillbox made her so nauseous she couldn't eat.

 

"I couldn't think about taking them, let alone [their] making me sicker after I took them," she said.

 

A consultation with a pharmacist from her health system, Fairview Partners, helped Breeggemann address the nausea problem and allowed her to keep taking the medicines.

 

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GA: Upson taking steps to enhance broadband capability in county | Thomaston Times

GA: Upson taking steps to enhance broadband capability in county | Thomaston Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Upson County is taking the steps to enhance the broadband capabilities of the county so that it may better serve the existing industries and citizens as well to help recruit new prospects to the community. Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority Director Kyle Fletcher and Upson County IT Director Robert Haney spoke to the Board of Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday to bring them up to date on the broadband feasibility study that has taken place over the last year.

 

Upson County signed on in early 2012 to be part of a study with Heard, Meriwether, and Troup counties to determine what areas are in the greatest need of better broadband communications. Haney noted that during that study it was revealed that what is needed most in the area is better local distribution of the fiber optic network to customers. He continued stating the county looked into several methods of broadband service delivery and found a Y-max wireless network which offers high bandwidth broadband will work best for the area.

 

Upson and the other three counties are in the process of forming the West Central Georgia Broadband Joint Development Authority to help with the acquisition of grant funding for broadband projects. Fletcher noted this will be a great tool to help enhance Upson County’s broadband capabilities by allowing the county to continue to serve the existing industries, but at the same time recruit new prospects.

 

The make-up of the joint development authority is modeled after a region in North Georgia which has successfully done a project like this before. County Attorney Ed Trice stated he has been involved with drafting a resolution to establish the West Central Georgia Broadband Joint Development Authority and he feels it will work well for the community. The authority will consist of a five-member board with one representative from each of the four counties and one person from the citizenry at large. He told the board they would have to approve the resolution once it is complete.

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IN Congresswoman Susan Brooks Talks With Student Volunteers at Fishers Junior High and Joins Net Literacy’s Honorary Board!

IN Congresswoman Susan Brooks Talks With Student Volunteers at Fishers Junior High and Joins Net Literacy’s Honorary Board! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Net Literacy’s Fishers Junior High chapter was honored by a visit from Congresswoman Brooks (Indiana’s 5th Congressional District), and the 15 student volunteers that met her and talked with her were thrilled!

 

“I was so impressed when I learned about your leadership and what you were doing,” said Representative Brooks as she explained to the students why she felt what they were doing for the community is so important.

 

“You are the reason that I ran for office,” she said, talking to the middle school students.  “Do well in school and keep growing and learning.” Representative Brooks explained that the digital skills that the students are learning will help them find jobs, and later help them create jobs.

 

The students showed Congresswoman Brooks how they refurbish computers.  This year, 50 computers have been completed and 20 have been donated to the families of students that don’t have a computer at home and 6 have been donated to a local nonprofit so they can teach others computer and Internet skills.   Additional computers will be donated to other families with students and to doctors that provide medical services in Haiti.  The student volunteers also teach younger teens online safety skills.

 

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FTC offers mobile privacy guidelines, settles with Path on child privacy breach, improper data mining | Wash Post

FTC offers mobile privacy guidelines, settles with Path on child privacy breach, improper data mining | Wash Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Trade Commission has released guidelines for mobile privacy that focus on informing users about how apps collect and use personal information.

 

The FTC suggestions on improving data disclosure are aimed at major players in the industry, from app developers and advertising networks to the giant tech companies that distribute the apps, such as Apple, Google and Facebook.

 

Agency chairman Jon Leibowitz, who announced plans to step down in mid-February. has made consumer privacy protection a priority during his tenure. He said that it’s imperative that the agency keep up with the pace of technology, particularly when mobile devices and apps are able to collect so much information about individual users.

 

Leibowitz said this will likely be the last public announcement he will make as chairman and that he has not decided what his next step will be.

 

The report’s recommendations include asking platforms to provide “just-in-time disclosures” to let users know immediately when apps on their networks collect personal information and to allow users to actively consent to that collection.

 

Developers, the report suggests, should simplify the way they display privacy policies by using a central dashboard that allows users to get a clear view of how they are sharing information.

 

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Clearwire ‘considering DISH bid’, but board still recommends initial Sprint offer | TeleGeography

Clearwire has confirmed that it is still considering majority owner Sprint Nextel’s USD2.97 per share offer to buy the 50% of the company that it does not already own, while also noting that satellite TV giant DISH Network’s unsolicited USD3.30 per share counter-bid remains under consideration.

 

However, Clearwire admits that its special board committee – consisting of ‘disinterested directors not appointed by Sprint’ – has not changed its recommendation to accept Sprint’s bid. Citing a detailed filing lodged by Clearwire with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Fierce Wireless observes that Clearwire has gone to great lengths to detail its efforts to seek strategic partners, wholesale customers and alternatives beyond working with majority owner Sprint.

 

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Gigabit Networks: Maybe They’re Not So Crazy After All | telecompetitor.com

Gigabit Networks: Maybe They’re Not So Crazy After All | telecompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Are gigabit networks like the ones in Kansas City and Chattanooga simply isolated experiments? Or are they just the first in what will be a broader trend?

 

A year or so ago many people would have argued that Google’s ultra-high-speed Kansas City network and EPB’s Chattanooga network were unlikely to be replicated on any broad scale. But momentum seems to be growing behind the idea that gigabit networks could be more widely available – if the right set of conditions exists.

 

Research released yesterday from the Fiber-to-the-Home Council suggests at least four conditions that are critical for a successful ultra-high-speed network deployment. These include a need for real stories about real benefits for communities with ultra-high-speed networks, solutions to technical and administrative issues such as how to get the right technical expertise, buy-in from a wide range of stakeholders, and of course financial feasibility.

 

The FTTH council yesterday gathered together a range of stakeholders to offer advice on each of these areas on a webinar titled “Fiber Findings.”

 

Of particular interest was a presentation from Blair Levin, executive director of Gig.U – an initiative aimed at bringing ultra-high-speed networks to university communities. Levin tackled what many people would argue is the most critical success factor for gigabit networks – financial feasibility.

 

“Every major economic development and period of progress is driven by a group that looks at the current math and figures out a way to change that math,” said Levin. “A number of cities have already or are trying to figure out how to change the math.”

 

Levin flashed a slide showing a formula for how potential investors determine the feasibility of a project. The formula essentially showed that a project is only undertaken when the potential revenues or other benefits to the investor exceed the capex, opex and risk associated with the investment.

 

“There are a lot of people who are beneficiaries of [a network] upgrade,” Levin said. But in most cases “only one entity is invested in it.”

 

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Fiber to the Home Council to Hold "Community Toolkit" Conference in Kansas City | Marketwire

Fiber to the Home Council to Hold "Community Toolkit" Conference in Kansas City | Marketwire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One week after launching its Online Community Toolkit for building ultra high-speed networks, the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council Americas has announced it will hold a special conference in Kansas City, May 29-30th to assist local civic and community leaders from across the U.S. pursue their dreams of gigabit connectivity. 

 

The conference, From Gigabit Envy to Gigabit Deployed, will bring the Community Toolkit to life, with working sessions that focus on every aspect of upgrading a network from building the business case and securing community support to navigating the local government and engaging the key stakeholders. Also featured at the conference will be a keynote speech from Lev Gonick, Vice President, Information Technology Services and CIO Case Western Reserve University, who will discuss how gigabit connectivity has changed Case Western and the city of Cleveland.

 

Partnering with the FTTH Council on this event will be Google Fiber, Gig.U, KC Digital Drive, NATOA, Broadband Communities, and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) each of whom will contribute their expertise in helping participants plan and deploy ultra high-speed networks in their communities.

 

"We're responding to the overwhelming interest in obtaining gigabit connectivity from community and business leaders across the U.S. by giving them the tools they need to make sure their communities stay competitive," said Heather Burnett Gold, President of the FTTH Council. "Not only is this an opportunity for them to connect with and learn from partners who have gone through the steps of building a fiber network, but more importantly, it is also a chance to craft an action plan that they can take back to their communities and begin implementing."

 

The FTTH Council's announcement comes just days after Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Julius Genachowski, issued a "Gigabit City Challenge" calling for every state to have at least one gigabit community by 2015. More than one thousand communities had expressed interest in hosting Google Fiber's network that is currently being deployed in Kansas City.

 

"Our recent Online Community Toolkit was the first step we took to provide resources to community and business leaders that want to upgrade their local networks. We're looking to build on top of this web-platform and create an interactive space at the conference for folks to really share experience-based knowledge and offer guidance on how to jump-start community-driven gigabit projects. The Chairman's challenge reinforces the imperative of moving our country to all-fiber connectivity in order to advance our competitiveness and economic security," said Gold.

 

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States Introduce Telehealth Bills | Federal Telemedicine News

On January 23, 2013, Nebraska State Senators Amanda McGill, Brad Ashford, and Annette Dubas introduced Bill 556 in the Nebraska legislature to provide telehealth services for children through the public schools. The fact is that telehealth services are already used in Nebraska but can’t be accessed in schools. 

 

By providing telehealth services in the schools, parents would be able to access healthcare for their children without having to jeopardize their income, salary, or employment status. In addition, using telehealth services would reduce the time that a child spends out of the classroom, and address the shared community goal of keeping children healthy and in school.

 

If the legislation is passed, the Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the State Department of Education would work together to promulgate rules and regulations to provide for telehealth services for children through the school system. These rules and regulations would enable school personnel, physicians and behavioral health professionals communicate with each other regarding telehealth services. 

 

According to the proposed legislation, school personnel or other adults present when a child receives telehealth service need not have medical training except in an emergency when a school nurse, a counselor, or another person familiar with the child’s treatment plan would need to be present with the child at the school site. 

 

Telehealth services would be reimbursed under the medical assistance program established under the Medical Assistance Act. The service however must be the most efficient and use the least expensive telehealth transmission services that could include but is not limited to secure wireless connections.

 

 In other Nebraska legislative news, State Senator Colby Coash has filed a bill that would require health insurers to cover the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism in individuals under 21 as well as authorize behavioral health treatment through telehealth. Also, State Senator Peter Pirsch has filed another bill to create a Telehealth Behavioral Services Program for youths involved in juvenile justice programs. 

 

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FCC's Gigabit City Challenge should spur business broadband access, says Ciena official | FierceEnterpriseCommunications

FCC's Gigabit City Challenge should spur business broadband access, says Ciena official | FierceEnterpriseCommunications | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Businesses of all sizes should benefit from the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) effort to spur the deployment of broadband, judged Chris Janson, a public sector industry manager at networking firm Ciena.

Last week, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued the Gigabit City Challenge intended to prompt broadband providers as well as local and state governments to commit to having at least one community with gigabit Internet speed in all 50 states by 2015.

 

Genachowski told a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors that setting up gigabit communities will accelerate the creation of broadband markets and innovations hubs.


"The U.S. needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness," the FCC chairman said.

Gigabit Internet speeds enable networks to handle multiple streams of large-format, high-definition content such as online video calls, and spur business creation, Genachowski said.

 

Ciena's Janson, who also teaches at Northeastern University, said the chairman has laid out a "great vision" but without a lot of details. "In order for businesses to get gigabit or 100 megabit connectivity, they have to pay through the nose. So that limits their ability to do things," Janson told FierceEnterpriseCommunications.

 

"What the FCC is doing is encouraging startups to offer competitive broadband service that will take advantage of the middle-mile backbones that are being built or already exist around the country. This will have a fertilizing effect. If you have ubiquitous gigabit capability, chances are startups will take advantage of it," Janson said.

 

There are around 50 middle-mile networks nearing completion in the United States. These networks offer opportunities to provide last-mile products, such as wireless access, to businesses and homes in the vicinity, Janson explained.

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WY: Broadband allows access to global community | The Sheridan Press

WY: Broadband allows access to global community | The Sheridan Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Damian Trujillo isn’t your typical street musician.

 

The Americana-inspired instrumentalist and vocalist may specialize in many of the same styles as public performers in some of the country’s largest cities, but unlike his urban counterparts, Trujillo makes his home in small-town Wyoming.

 

A Sheridan resident, he is among many in the Cowboy State to take advantage of Wyoming’s ever-expanding broadband network as a means of connecting with people in ways that were previously impossible for much of rural America.

 

“I think it’s important in that it gives artists in Wyoming an outlet to expand,” Trujillo said.

 

He certainly isn’t alone in his appreciation for increased access to reliable Internet service.

 

People from all walks of life have taken to using the utility as a tool to leap hurdles that for so many years kept Wyomingites isolated from communities across the country and around the world.

 

With the help of StreetJelly.com, a live music website he happened across last year, Trujillo now performs from his home studio several times each week to audiences in places as far away as the Netherlands and Ireland.

 

“It gives me an avenue to get my music out to people without actually traveling,” he said. “That’s a fantastic concept for artists trying to promote their art.”

 

The importance of connectivity isn’t lost on at least a few of the state’s highest-level decision makers.

 

The first annual Wyoming Broadband Summit brought industry leaders and elected officials to Cheyenne last fall to discuss ways in which the service might be expanded in the years to come.

 

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Smart Grids Must Also Be Streetwise | BCW

Smart Grids Must Also Be Streetwise | BCW | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, attackers “are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants, and those that guide transportation throughout the country”. Speaking at the annual awards dinner of Business Executives for National Security in October, he concluded that: “A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11”.

 

The idea of a smart grid is being applied across a wide range of public utilities, transport and industrial control systems, but the most obvious example is electricity: where a “national grid” delivers power to homes and business via wires, substations transformers, switches etc.

 

This is largely a one-way transfer: from power station to the consumer. Meanwhile data from the users and network infrastructure has traditionally been gathered by sending out staff to read meters, and engineers to inspect the system for broken cables or faults.

 

A smart grid, however, uses two-way communication and computer processing to gather such information. This not only saves money, by reducing the need for field staff, it also allows real-time data gathering that can increase efficiency. With the move to ‘green energy’ it becomes all the more important to respond quickly to changing consumer demand and faults, and a smart grid makes that possible.

 

An electrical grid is fundamental to electricity delivery, but the use of electrical control grids extends to a whole range of national services: transport, water and waste, gas supply and industrial control systems all rely on instructions transmitted from a central controller to outlying switches or traffic signals. And in every case there will be potential benefits from upgrading these into two-way smart grids – allowing, for example, the immediate detection of leaks in a water main.

 

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Progress Update: How the FCC is Expanding Broadband Connectivity for Health Care | FCC.gov

Progress Update: How the FCC is Expanding Broadband Connectivity for Health Care | FCC.gov | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Broadband connectivity is transforming America’s health care system, creating better, faster, and more cost-effective health care across the country. The sector represents almost 18 percent of the nation’s GDP, and increased efficiency has the power to lower costs, create better results for patients, and trigger economic growth.

 

At the January 31 Open Commission Meeting, Julius Knapp, Chief of  the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology and Linda Oliver from the Wireline Competition Bureau delivered an update on the Commission’s work to support wireless and wireline connectivity for health, including the new Healthcare Connect Fund and the FCC’s ongoing work to expand spectrum access for wireless medical devices.

 

The FCC also hosted a telemedicine demonstration by the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth (GPT), which focuses on increasing access to health care through innovative use of technology. During the live demo, Dr. Debra Lister from Coffee Regional Medical Center, an FCC Rural Health Care Pilot Program participant, conducted a simulated patient exam – allowing the audience in Washington, D.C. to hear the heartbeat of a patient in rural Bacon County, Georgia. Innovations like these mean that soon, geography won’t have to impede the delivery of quality health services.

 

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This week in cloud: Office 365 goes down and Microsoft stocks up Azure store | GigaOM Tech News

This week in cloud: Office 365 goes down and Microsoft stocks up Azure store | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There was quite a bit of action in several cloud-based servcies this week. The good news: Microsoft launched Office 365 Home Premium edition on Tuesday. The bad news is that Office 365 went down Friday for many users. And, Twitter, which many (guilty here) view as a valuable productivity and communications tool, also had a tough week, with a 40-minute-or-so outage on Thursday.

 

Folks who think companies should keep applications running on premises will doubtless point to these snafus as proof that running cloud services is a fools errand. But how many people running on-premises e-mail have not had similar issues? Speaking as someone who used to rely both on Lotus Notes and then Exchange Server run by my employers, I can attest that outages happen much more than companies admit. The big difference is those internal email meltdowns don’t get covered by every tech news outlet on the planet.

 

Now, here’s more cloud news from the week.

 

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Parker FiberNet Launches GigNet Internet Service in Northwest Georgia | PR Web

Parker FiberNet Launches GigNet Internet Service in Northwest Georgia | PR Web | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Parker FiberNet, a leading provider of communications services in Northwest Georgia, today announced the launch of Gigabit-speed Internet services for residents, small businesses and entrepreneurs in Rome. Parker’s new GigNet service will initially be available in a targeted, mixed-use residential and business-innovation zone in the downtown area. GigNet will later be expanded regionally in partnership with the Appalachian Valley Fiber Network.

 

Parker FiberNet operates a high-speed optical fiber network that today connects hundreds of anchor institutions across eight counties in Northwest Georgia. The launch of GigNet will extend the reach of this network to residents, small businesses and entrepreneurs who require advanced, ultra-high-speed Internet services.

 

“This area has a remarkable industrial, cultural and creative potential that distinguishes it from the country and the world,” said David Parker, founder and CEO of Parker FiberNet. “GigNet will remove any remaining barriers that prevent this potential from being openly shared with the world. It’s time to remove the speed limit on growth and innovation in Northwest Georgia.”

 

Rome will join other leading cities like Chattanooga,Tenn., Lafayette, La., and Bristol, Va., in offering one of the fastest Internet connections in the world. GigNet will accommodate speeds of up to one gigabit-per-second (Gbps), more than 200 times faster than the current national download speed average.

 

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Outdated telephone regulation matches dominant obsolete telco infrastructure | Eldo Telecom

Outdated telephone regulation matches dominant obsolete telco infrastructure | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
Coalition says broadband means new jobs:

 

SPRINGFIELD — Investments in broadband technology created more than 13,000 jobs in Illinois in 2010 and 2011, according to a study funded by AT&T.

The study also reported that in 2012, Illinois had almost 20,000 jobs related to mobile applications.

The study was released Thursday by a new coalition of 12 Illinois groups representing business and job creation proponents, taxpayer advocates and communications companies.

The new coalition — the Illinois Partnership for the New Economy & Jobs — formed to urge Illinois to modernize its telecommunications law.

“Illinois’ law mandates investment in the 100-year-old technology of wired telephones to your home,” said coalition chair David Vite, who is also president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “Those dollars would be better used for private investment in broadband networks that are currently creating new jobs.”


The stated implication of this study is fallacious.  It assumes but for government regulations requiring telcos to maintain obsolete copper cable wireline infrastructure to provide required telephone services, incumbent telcos would be able to replace it with fiber optic plant delivering Internet Protocol (IP)-based services.  The outdated laws and regulations remain on the books because the outdated publicly switched copper POTS infrastructure remains the dominant infrastructure in most of the nation, much of it incapable of delivering any IP-based services.

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Exploring All Available Tools | AT&T Public Policy Blog

AT&T is pleased to have recently joined into an MOU with our fellow carriers, Verizon and T-Mobile, and the U.S. Department of Defense to test the viability of sharing 95 MHz of spectrum that is currently used by DoD and other federal agencies. This spectrum is located in the 1755 to 1850 MHz spectrum band, which NTIA has analyzed in great detail for potential clearing and sharing opportunities.  

 

I want to emphasize that we continue to believe that clearing and reallocating is the best approach to freeing up much needed spectrum for commercial mobile broadband use. The existing exclusive licensing regime has resulted in billions of dollars in wireless infrastructure investment, enabling the U.S. to lead the way in the global mobile broadband marketplace. 

 

While clearing spectrum for exclusive commercial licensing must remain the top priority, when that is neither time nor cost effective, AT&T supports exploring sharing arrangements.  As FCC Chairman Genachowski has noted, it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice for effective spectrum management.

 

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