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Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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Cisco predicts $14.4 trillion value for 'Internet of everything' | InfoWorld.com

Cisco predicts $14.4 trillion value for 'Internet of everything' | InfoWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The so-called "Internet of everything," the rapidly approaching world where objects from refrigerators to factory robots can talk to people and other machines, will create a massive business opportunity worth $14.4 trillion over the next decade, according to a new study from Cisco Systems.

 

The Internet of everything, a phrase coined by Cisco to describe the networking of people, processes, data and objects, will encompass multiple industries, enabling customized online education, smart factories, and the smart energy grid, Cisco officials said. Over the next decade, that connection of new objects and people to the Internet puts $14.4 trillion at stake, with the opportunity including new profits and cost savings, the company predicted in the white paper, released late Monday.

 

More than 99 percent of physical objects are not now connected to the Internet, but Cisco expects 50 billion objects to be connected by 2020, officials said. New objects and people coming online creates a big investment incentive for companies, said Cisco Chief Marketing Officer Blair Christie.

 

Companies should embrace this trend or risk being left behind, Cisco CEO John Chambers wrote in a blog post.

 

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NTCA: Uncertainty Drove 69% of Rural Telcos to Cancel Projects | telecompetitor.com

NTCA: Uncertainty Drove 69% of Rural Telcos to Cancel Projects | telecompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

More than two-thirds (69%) of small telephone companies have postponed or canceled plans to upgrade their landline communications networks  because of uncertainty about Universal Service and inter-carrier compensation reform, according to data released today by rural broadband association NTCA.

 

The NTCA estimates the total value of canceled projects at $492.7 million based on data collected last month via a survey sent to NTCA member companies. A total of 185 companies responded – or 34% of the 538 unique email addresses in NTCA’s membership email database.

 

Of those who said they had canceled or postponed projects, 62% said they had postponed projects, 18% said they had canceled projects and 11% said they had postponed and canceled projects.

 

“Limiting rural carriers’ ability to recover the cost of bringing high-speed broadband to our country’s most hard-to-serve areas is hindering efforts to plan and execute necessary network upgrades, resulting in millions of dollars in lost or postponed investments,” said NTCA Chief Executive Shirley Bloomfield in an announcement of the survey results. “Ultimately this troubling trend will mean fewer dollars flowing to communities for economic development and jobs.”

 

Bloomfield added that this is “precisely the wrong direction” the country should be moving in to stimulate the economy and that it “undermines the national objective of making high-quality, affordable broadband available to every American.”

 

The Federal Communications Commission has begun to implement a plan to transition today’s voice-focused Universal Service program that covers some costs of delivering phone service in high-cost rural areas to focus instead on broadband. But details of how that program would operate for rural rate-of-return telcos have not been resolved.

 

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Gigabit Squared has added West Seattle Junction says Mayor McGinn today | West Seattle Herald

Gigabit Squared has added West Seattle Junction says Mayor McGinn today | West Seattle Herald | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The City of Seattle and Gigabit Squared signed an agreement in December for Gigabit Squared to provide high-speed internet to 12 demonstration neighborhoods in Seattle. As Mayor McGinn mentioned today, this has been increased to 14 demonstration neighborhoods, to include Ballard and West Seattle. In addition, Gigabit squared has secured the necessary funding to begin detailed engineering in these neighborhoods which they plan to complete over the next six weeks or so.

 

Below is an excerpt from the Mayor’s remarks:

 

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WIPO Negotiations Over Changes To Copyright For Those With Disabilities Once Again Shrouded In Secrecy | Techdirt

WIPO Negotiations Over Changes To Copyright For Those With Disabilities Once Again Shrouded In Secrecy | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've talked about the latest efforts concerning a treaty for the blind and others with disabilities, which will carve out some rules to give them slightly more rights to ignore certain copyrights in order to allow them to access some works. The negotiations have been going on for years (decades, depending on who you talk to) and the copyright maximalists absolutely hate the idea. They see it as opening the barn door for others to rush through asking for copyright law to be scaled back for them as well. There have been numerous stall tactics used and, of course, lots and lots of secrecy.

Once again, secrecy seems to be the way business is being done, as Jamie Love explains how everyone had been barred from using social media to inform the public what's going on.

 

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How Republicans Are Looking to Close the Digital Divide Against Democrats | Nextgov.com

How Republicans Are Looking to Close the Digital Divide Against Democrats | Nextgov.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Robert Draper underscored in last week’s New York Times magazine cover story, the Republican Party is engaged in serious soul-searching about why they were so badly outgunned by the Democrats on the technology front in the last election. One of the most telling anecdotes in the story: The suggestion that Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, Stuart Stevens, could be the last such figure not to tweet as part of strategy.

 

In conversations with leading Republican digital strategists, there’s an acknowledgment that the path to closing the tech gap will be difficult. Republicans are a more hierarchical party and rely on many of the same consultants that have been around since the days of Ronald Reagan. These digital-first Republican operatives argue that Democrats could have the advantage for years to come unless significant changes are made to the way the party conducts its business.

 

But they did offer myriad suggestions on how to shake things up, and help the party in the process. Here are the most notable suggestions:

 

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MI: Merit Network & TC3 Partner to Complete Portion of Last Mile Fiber Network in Adrian | Merit Network

Merit Network, Inc., Michigan's statewide Research and Education network, announced today that it has partnered with TC3, a broadband Internet and telecommunications provider serving much of Southeastern Michigan, to complete a portion of "last mile" fiber-optic construction extending from the downtown Adrian area.

The fiber build extends from Siena Heights University and Jackson Community College in the north to form a ring in the west around Adrian College and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Merit Network's portion of the fiber build connects Adrian College, Adrian Public Library, Jackson Community College and Siena Heights University to Merit's leading edge backbone, providing these institutions access to statewide collaboration that they will leverage to cut costs and provide more to their patrons and constituents.

"Merit is excited to partner with TC3Net on the construction of "last mile" facilities in Adrian. Working with TC3 achieves a comprehensive approach for Adrian, benefitting all sectors of society and keeping with the spirit of the BTOP grant to improve broadband resources for entire communities," said Elwood Downing, vice president of member relations, communications, services and product development, Merit Network.

 

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RIAA Still Can't Figure Out How To Use Google's DMCA Tools, Blames Google | Techdirt

RIAA Still Can't Figure Out How To Use Google's DMCA Tools, Blames Google | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This will hardly comes as a surprise, but the RIAA and other "anti-piracy groups" are still complaining that Google "isn't doing enough" to prop up their old and obsolete business models.

 

The latest complaint? That Google's system only accepts a mere 10,000 DMCA takedowns per day and somehow that's just not enough. It turns out that this isn't actually true, but we'll get to that in a moment.

 

Much of the article focuses on Dutch extremist anti-piracy group BREIN saying that the limit needs to go away. But there is this bizarre statement from the RIAA as well:

 

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100Gbps and beyond: What lies ahead in the world of networking | Ars Technica

100Gbps and beyond: What lies ahead in the world of networking | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The corporate data center is undergoing a major transformation the likes of which haven't been seen since Intel-based servers started replacing mainframes decades ago. It isn't just the server platform: the entire infrastructure from top to bottom is seeing major changes as applications migrate to private and public clouds, networks get faster, and virtualization becomes the norm.

 

All of this means tomorrow's data center is going to look very different from today's. Processors, systems, and storage are getting better integrated, more virtualized, and more capable at making use of greater networking and Internet bandwidth. At the heart of these changes are major advances in networking. We're going to examine six specific trends driving the evolution of the next-generation data center and discover what both IT insiders and end-user departments outside of IT need to do to prepare for these changes.

 

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Wonderwall: High-tech home-assisted living for the elderly | GizMag.com

Wonderwall: High-tech home-assisted living for the elderly | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Researchers from the Munich University of Technology (TUM) have created a high-tech wall designed to help the elderly continue to live at home by providing assistance in everyday tasks and monitoring their health. The "wonderwall" can find misplaced keys and glasses, check blood pressure and blood sugar levels and, in the event of a critical health problem, call the local doctor or mobile nursing service.

 

The Living independently in Südtirol / Alto Adige (LISA) project headed up by Human Ambient Technologies Lab at TUM is showcasing the wonderwalls system in a "smart entrance hall" that will be unveiled on February 20 at Munich Creative Business Week.

 

Based around a tablet computer mounted in its wardrobe-like panel, the wonderwall system blends into the look of a normal house – it even comes with all the usual hall fittings, including coat hooks and even a shoe horn right at the bottom.

 

It features an “indoor positioning system” that keeps track of mislaid items like keys and has an integrated air conditioning system which automatically keeps air circulating in the apartment if the resident forgets to turn it on.

 

The system also includes with biosensors which zero in on key vital signs like blood pressure and blood sugar levels. After assessing the health of the individual, it could be programmed to come up with suggestions like going out for walk, or perhaps even suggest medication. If things turn critical, it can notify a physician or other health professionals who can also be hooked into the system to regularly check on the patient.

 

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Next best to a wearable - a great idea that has to have a marketing angle for Assisted Living properties.

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It turns out a lot of companies like building their own storage gear | GigaOM Tech News

It turns out a lot of companies like building their own storage gear | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

First, cloud storage startup Backblaze pioneered the concept of open source storage hardware. Then, it showed how to pack 135 terabytes into a 4U case (which Backblaze calls a “pod”) for less than $8,000. As it turns out, a lot of people really like what the company is doing: Backblaze rolled out the specifications of its third-generation storage pods on Wednesday against the backdrop of hundreds of companies building and actually selling the designs.

 

And just who has built storage systems using the Backblaze specifications? Netflix is probably the most-famous adopter — it uses storage pods as part of its content-delivery network infrastructure — but others include Vanderbilt University, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Popular online photography service Shutterfly stores petabytes worth of users’ old photos on BackBlaze’s storage pod architecture.

 

Their uses are as diverse as their organizations are. There’s Netflix’s CDN and Shutterstock’s consumer cloud storage, while many are using pods as giant NAS devices that everyone can access. “Its more data than they ever thought could be possible for their company,” Backblaze Founder and CEO Gleb Budman told me. ”They just RAID them and they go.”

 

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Mobile Industry Faces $9.2 Billion Shortfall in Backhaul Investment | cellular-news.com

Operators are investing in radio network upgrades and migrating to LTE to meet surging user demand for mobile data.

 

­But a report unveiled today predicts that operators will face a new mobile capacity crunch by 2017. The Strategy Analytics study reveals that operators may not be planning sufficient investment in backhaul to meet anticipated demand over the next 5 years.

 

Global mobile data traffic has increased 13 times in the last 5 years and Strategy Analytics forecasts it to grow by 5 to 6 times more by 2017. The Tellabs-commissioned study predicts a $9.2 billion global backhaul funding gap with a 16 petabyte shortfall in backhaul capacity by 2017.

 

Investment and capacity shortfalls vary by region (calculated as necessary backhaul expenditure minus current planned operator investment):

 

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Smart Grid Technology Comes To Rural Communities Via $8 Million Investment | Inquesitr.com

Smart Grid Technology Comes To Rural Communities Via $8 Million Investment | Inquesitr.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today an $8 million investment in smart grid technology. This came among a broader announcement that rural areas in 12 states will receive loan guarantees to improve the state of their electric service. Electric cooperatives and utilities will receive funds for improving generation and transmission facilities and implementing smart grid technologies.

 

The announcement was made by the USDA Rural Utilities Acting Administrator John Padalino on Vilsack’s behalf. He made the announcement during the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in New Orleans.

 

 

“In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama said that in America we have ‘an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair’ and these investments help to address our country’s infrastructure challenges,” Padalino said at the meeting. “Upgrading rural infrastructure sets the stage for economic development, because access to reliable, affordable electricity is essential to rural job creation.”

 

Smart grid technologies improve the efficiency of electric grids, which can lower electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses. A smart grid is able to gather information about the production and use of electricity and act on it to improve the reliability and sustainability of the distribution of power.

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FCC Chair Criticizes Muni-Broadband Restrictions | MediaPost.com

FCC Chair Criticizes Muni-Broadband Restrictions | MediaPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Friday came out against proposed legislation that would prohibit cities from building their own broadband networks.

 

"Proposals that would tie the hands of innovative communities that want to build their own high-speed networks will slow progress to our nation’s broadband goals and will hurt economic development and job creation in those areas," Genachowski stated.

 

He added that local lawmakers should "focus instead on proposals that incentivize investment in broadband infrastructure, remove barriers to broadband build-out, and ensure widespread access to high-speed networks.”

 

Genachowski's statement comes as the state of Georgia is considering a new proposal that would effectively prohibit municipalities from building networks in any areas that aren't "unserved."

 

The Municipal Broadband Investment Act (House Bill 282) defines an area as unserved if no one within a census block currently has access to Web service of at least 1.5 Mbps -- which is slower than the FCC's definition of broadband as speeds of at least 4 Mbps. The proposal also would prevent cities from building out existing networks, unless they would only extend to unserved areas. 

 

Observers say that the proposed Georgia bill is backed by the incumbent provider Windstream. Currently, 13 cities in Georgia have built broadband networks.


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Satellite Internet faster than advertised, but latency still awful | Ars Technica

Satellite Internet faster than advertised, but latency still awful | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The upload and download speeds promised by satellite Internet providers may not be huge, but it turns out that satellite service delivers much better speeds than it advertises.

 

Satellite's latency has improved too, but unfortunately it's still 20 times worse than non-satellite services.

 

The Federal Communications Commission today released its latest Measuring Broadband America report, and for the first time it included results on satellite technology alongside cable, DSL, and fiber-to-the-home. ViaSat is the only satellite provider measured. The company's Exede service promises 12Mbps down and 3Mbps up, but in reality it does much better.

 

"On average, during peak periods DSL-based services delivered download speeds that were 85 percent of advertised speeds, cable-based services delivered 99 percent of advertised speeds, fiber-to-the-home services delivered 115 percent of advertised speeds, and satellite delivered 137 percent of advertised speeds," the FCC said.

 

ViaSat upload speeds were 161 percent of what was promised, while "fiber-to-the-home and cable-based services delivered 108 percent, and DSL-based services delivered 99 percent of advertised upload speeds."

 

The FCC tested speeds at the homes of 6,733 volunteers over the course of a month, in September 2012.

 

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SC: Oconee County readies for last phase of broadband project | IndependentMail.com

SC: Oconee County readies for last phase of broadband project | IndependentMail.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Oconee County expects to have it broadband network online soon.

 

The Oconee County Council gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a contract for the final six miles of the approximately 246-mile trunk-line system.

Network Controls and Electric from Greer, which has installed the first two phases, was awarded the contract for nearly $182,000.

 

Under the terms of the federal grant funding the bulk of the $14.6 million project, all work on the system must be completed by Aug. 12, 2013.

 

On Tuesday county officials also once again answered lingering questions on whether the county intends to compete with private companies as a direct Internet service provider, a scenario the county has always denied.

 

Suzy Cornelius of Mountain Rest voiced her concerns Tuesday during the council’s comment session that the county would be competing with her service provider, BellSouth, which might jeopardize the private provider’s commitment to serving customers in the county’s outlying areas.

 

The county should in no way compete with the private sector, Cornelius said.

 

County administrator Scott Moulder re-emphasized after Tuesday’s meeting that the county’s sole interest would be as a “middle mile provider,” owning and maintaining the broadband cable infrastructure that would allow commercial service providers access for a price.

 

“Oconee County is never going to John Q. Public’s house and asking if he wants broadband service,” Moulder said. “A company that uses our system will still be the direct provider.”

 

Moulder likened the county’s broadband infrastructure to an interstate highway system.

 

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Building Private-Public Partnerships is Key to Success for Broadband Expansion in Illinois | Broadband Illinois

Building Private-Public Partnerships is Key to Success for Broadband Expansion in Illinois | Broadband Illinois | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We’ve seen multiple news articles in the first months of 2013 that present challenges and opportunities in our core broadband space. At Broadband Illinois, we’re tuned in to happenings in the high-speed realm both for our own state and for the lessons learned elsewhere.

 

As the designated state broadband initiative, our organization – officially known as the Partnership for a Connected Illinois – works with a number of projects funded through the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program. Equally as important, we support the work of private providers of broadband throughout the state. Our mission is clear – we want every citizen, business, doctor and public safety officer to have access to super-high speed internet and the tools and skills necessary to use broadband at its highest capacity. Broadband is a nonpartisan issue and it benefits the long-term future of our state and country. A New York Times article on February 12 criticizes the granting of BTOP funds to a Colorado project, suspended last December, called Eagle Net. The article suggests that this education consortium, granted funds to conduct a fiber build to rural Colorado, was excessive and that it built out fiber to areas already served. It included complaints from private providers of broadband services, but also supportive comments from Eagle Net customers.

 

An opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune on February 12 presented an argument against Governor Quinn’s Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge. The article sets up an opposition between what it calls “government-operated networks” and private sector-networks. From our perspective here at Broadband Illinois, we will continue to be scrupulous about not showing favoritism to government-funded networks versus privately-funded networks, and we work collaboratively with all providers. 

 

On our website, we have a page for each of the broadband stimulus projects.

 

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Sec Vilsack Met with FCC Chairman Genachowski on USF Reform, Broadband | Benton Foundation

Sec Vilsack Met with FCC Chairman Genachowski on USF Reform, Broadband | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On February 8, Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack met with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski to share recommendations on sustainable rural broadband deployment under the FCC’s Universal Service Fund Transformation Order.

 

The recommendations include:

 

1. Accelerate broadband deployment in rural areas by establishing a separate Connect America Fund for rural rate of Return Carriers and modifying the existing universal service support to increase broadband investment and adoption among consumers of rural rate of return carriers.

 

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Publishers Flip Out, Call Bill To Provide Open Access To Federally Funded Works A 'Boondoggle' | Techdirt

Publishers Flip Out, Call Bill To Provide Open Access To Federally Funded Works A 'Boondoggle' | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A year ago, we wrote about Rep. Mike Doyle introducing an important bill to provide public access to publicly funded research. As we've been discussing for years, the academic journal business is a huge boondoggle. Unlike just about any other publication, the journals don't pay their writers (and in many subject areas, authors need to pay to submit), they don't pay the peer reviewers -- and then they charge positively insane amounts to university libraries, often knowing that those libraries feel obligated to pay. Oh yeah, and the journals keep the copyright on everything. I've heard of researchers having to redo basic experiments because they were worried they couldn't even reuse data from earlier experiments due to the copyright assignment agreement they had to sign.

Thankfully, for years, there's been a law on the books for any NIH-funded research to guarantee that 12-months after publication, those works also had to be published openly. While some publishers have tried to game this system (such as by demanding a mandatory fee to "deposit" the work in an open access database), on the whole this has been hugely important in making sure that taxpayer funded research is actually available and can be built upon. Over the years, there have been multiple bills introduced in both directions on this issue. There have been some bills that sought to take away this requirement under NIH funding and there have been bills that have tried to expand it to the rest of the federal government and any of the research they sponsor.

Last week, a new version of Doyle's bill was introduced and it's been improved.

 

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What Vital Role will MDUs Play in Your Broadband Plan? | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio

What Vital Role will MDUs Play in Your Broadband Plan? | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

MDUs - Multi Dwelling Units. Apartments, office buildings, incubators and the like. They don’t attract much attention in mainstream media coverage of broadband, but advocates for these networks are taking a greater interest in MDUs.

 

In Kansas City, geeks and budding software developers are flocking to apartments with gigabit access. Red Wing, MN has made a commercial MDU the centerpiece of its broadband adoption strategy. In a stroke economic development genius, Santa Monica, CA convinced commercial building owners to extend the city’s fiber network inside their buildings, and eliminated tenant vacancies.

 

Bryan Rader, CEO of Bandwidth Consulting, explains to listeners how and why broadband planners need to factor MDUs into their strategy. Issues discussed are:

 

--MDUs’ role as anchor tenants on the network    

 

--the economic development impact of broadband integration with MDUs

 

--one-size adoption strategies don’t fit all MDUs

 

--partnering commercial building owners with other broadband stakeholders

 

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Shuttleworth's one device: The smartphone is the tablet and the PC | ZDNet

Shuttleworth's one device: The smartphone is the tablet and the PC | ZDNet | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One device, one cloud. Let's get together and feel all right.


It sounds very Bob Marley, but that is exactly what Canonical's South African CEO, Mark Shuttleworth, is suggesting will be the future of computing.

 

In a video posted to YouTube this week, a very Bono-like Shuttleworth, channelling his inner Jony Ive and Steve Jobs, spoke at length about the mobile version of the company's open-source and Linux-based operating system, Ubuntu for tablets. The OS will be entering a preview release shortly that will be installable on selected Android hardware, such as Google's Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets and Galaxy Nexus phone.

 

The mobile version of Ubuntu has spent a long time in gestation. Canonical is entering the tablet and smartphone market five years after industry leaders Apple, Google, Microsoft and BlackBerry all carved out their respective chunks of the consumer and enterprise pie for mobile operating system mindshare.

 

Of course, we're talking about a very dynamic and volatile industry, where anyone coming up with a better idea can disrupt the marketplace. It's also a market where the existing players aren't sitting still, and are constantly improving their software and continuing to battle for better market position.

 

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Capped Internet: No Bargain for the American Public | NewAmerica.net

Capped Internet: No Bargain for the American Public | NewAmerica.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The cable industry recently changed its tune on data caps. Previously, the industry insisted that caps on Internet usage were necessary for managing network capacity and preventing congestion. Now, they argue that caps promote fair pricing and more affordable broadband. Michael Powell, president of the cable association NCTA and a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), echoed this theme in January at an event held by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC). Mr. Powell conceded that data caps are not about congestion management, but rather that “[the] principal purpose is how to fairly monetize a high fixed cost” and offer lower cost plans to encourage broadband adoption.1

 

The shift in rhetoric is clearly designed to win over a skeptical public. Yet cable providers paid off their fixed network construction costs long ago, and as a result now enjoy enormous profitability. Capped plans and usage-based pricing (a model in which users are charged for a specific amount of data usage) will enable cable companies to further increase those profits. Unfortunately for the American public, these new plans will also increase the cost on essential Internet service and discourage the development of innovative applications and services. 

 

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Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting February 19, 2013 | Blandin on Broadband

Yesterday I attended the Minnesota Broadband Task Force. As always, the video has taken a while for met to upload – but here are my notes.

 

I thought the most interesting part of the meeting today came from the guys from MNIT. Bernadine Joselyn had asked how the Task Force could best support the work of the department. He said marketing.

 

It was an interesting perspective. His point being that to be most useful local residents must have access to the broadband they need to take part in online health initiatives. But when you talk about that aspect of telemedicine people seemed to get bogged down in technical details – such as DSL vs cable. But really the issue is we need enough broadband to support innovation.

 

From his perspective we need enough broadband to support innovation to keep people in their homes longer to save money and make them more comfortable. But he realized that broadband was capable of so much more. Broadband also facilitates education and business. But as he pointed out, education and business each resided in their own silo.

 

The Task Force is in a unique position to rise above silos and point out that what many segments of government and industries in the provide sector need is broadband to support innovation.

 

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GoSmart goes nationwide; T-Mobile taking on budget market | TeleGeography

T-Mobile USA yesterday announced the nationwide launch of ‘GoSmart Mobile’, a pre-paid wireless brand aimed at the low-budget calls segment, following smaller launches in nine markets in December 2012.

 

The company says it has already signed up ‘tens of thousands’ of GoSmart customers in just over two months, beating its projections, Reuters reports.

 

GoSmart is available at over 3,000 reseller stores around the country offering a basic USD30 monthly pre-paid package including unlimited calls and SMS, but no mobile internet services; a USD45 plan includes mobile internet access at the highest available speeds while a USD35 package includes internet but restricts speed.

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USDA gives $330 million to rural electric coops for T&D and smart grid | Smart Grid News

USDA gives $330 million to rural electric coops for T&D and smart grid | Smart Grid News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 12 states will share $330 million in loan guarantees to improve generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technologies. Of that, approximately $8 million will go toward smart grid technologies.

 

The announcement was made during this week's NRECA TechAdvantage conference in New Orleans.

 

The utilities that will receive the funding, contingent on meeting the terms of the loan agreements, are:

 

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FBI Files Unlock History Behind Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool | Slate.com

FBI Files Unlock History Behind Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool | Slate.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It was described recently by one rights group as a “secretive new surveillance tool.” But documents just released by the FBI suggest that a clandestine cellphone tracking device known as the “Stingray” has been deployed across the United States for almost two decades—despite questions over its legality.

 

Stingrays, as I’ve reported here before, are portable surveillance gadgets that can trick phones within a specific area into hopping onto a fake network. The feds call them “cell-site simulators” or “digital analyzers,” and they are sometimes also described as “IMSI catchers.” The FBI says it uses them to target criminals and help track the movements of suspects in real time, not to intercept communications. But because Stingrays by design collaterally gather data from innocent bystanders’ phones and can interrupt phone users’ service, critics say they may violate a federal communications law.

 

A fresh trove of FBI files on cell tracking, some marked “secret,” was published this week by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. They shed light on how, far from being a “new” tool used by the authorities to track down targets, Stingray-style technology has been in the hands of the feds since about 1995 (at least). During that time, local and state law enforcement agencies have also been able to borrow the spy equipment in “exceptional circumstances,” thanks to an order approved by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

 

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