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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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Google seeks to marry desktop and cloud with new Chrome apps | NetworkWorld.com

Google seeks to marry desktop and cloud with new Chrome apps | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google has wheeled out a new type of application for its Chrome browser that according to the company combines the best of desktop and cloud software.


Equating them to tablet- and smartphone-like apps but for desktops and laptops, Google said on Thursday that they mix "the speed, security and flexibility" of the Web with the "functionality" of software installed on devices.


"These apps are more powerful than before, and can help you get work done, play games in full-screen and create cool content all from the web," wrote Google engineering director Erik Kay in a blog post.


An initial set of this new type of app is live now in the Chrome Web Store for Chrome OS and Windows computers. They'll be available for MacOS and Linux "soon."


Google first announced this type of "packaged app" several months ago, and some have been available to people using the Chrome browser in its "developer" version. Now they're available for the first time for people who use the browser's "stable" version.


Key characteristics of this new type of app, which Google refers to as "packaged apps," include their ability to be used and store data offline, their limited display of extraneous browser elements like buttons and tabs, and their capacity to tap into the cloud to access and save documents and other content in Google Drive and other similar cloud storage services.


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What do new computer owners do? | Blandin on Broadband

If you just received your first computer today, what would you do with it? How would it change your life?


PCs for People refurbishes donated computers and gets them into the hands of new users. They also survey computer recipients to learn about how those computers get used. You can check out all of the data in the PowerPoint below – here are some of my favorite facts…


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With Time Warner Cable Deal, CBS Seeks To Ensure Its Digital Future | TechCrunch

With Time Warner Cable Deal, CBS Seeks To Ensure Its Digital Future | TechCrunch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


CBS and Time Warner Cable finally reached a deal today, ending a long, protracted blackout of the broadcast network on TWC’s cable system. While getting the deal done will mean that Time Warner Cable viewers will be able to watch Week One of the NFL season next week — and no one wanted to miss that — the deal is also designed to help CBS monetize its content on a growing number of new platforms.


Increasingly, agreements between networks and cable operators are getting hung up on the question of digital rights whenever those contracts come up. In the case of CBS, the network has been pretty cautious about how viewers watch its shows on their computers and on other devices. While the other broadcasters made their content available through Hulu and Hulu Plus, CBS forced viewers to watch its shows on CBS.com.


It was also one of the last networks to embrace the growing tablet market, waiting until this spring before finally launching its iPhone and iPad application. (Just for comparison, ABC introduced its full-episode iOS app with the launch of the iPad, way back in 2010. Hulu Plus wasn’t far behind, launching its iPad app a few months later.)


Interestingly enough, CBS’ digital platforms became a battleground in the dispute with Time Warner Cable. At the same time that the cable operator blacked out the CBS signal in many of its major networks, CBS kept Time Warner Cable broadband subscribers from accessing its full-length episodes on CBS.com.


With the latest retrans deal, it appears CBS continues to seek control over its digital rights. While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, CBS CEO Les Moonves wrote in a memo to employees that the deal would give CBS the ability to monetize its content on “all the new, developing platforms that are now transforming the way people watch television.”


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Former NSA Boss: Mass Surveillance Is Very Important, But Perhaps NSA Should Stop Lying About It | Techdirt

Former NSA Boss: Mass Surveillance Is Very Important, But Perhaps NSA Should Stop Lying About It | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Guardian has an interesting interview with former NSA boss Bobby Ray Inman, who argues in favor of broad NSA surveillance efforts, but does feel that perhaps the federal government should, you know, stop lying about it:


In an extensive interview, Inman, a legendary NSA director, strongly defended the agency's bulk surveillance of phone records and internet communications, and criticized members of Congress who want to restrict it as ignorant of the way the programs operate.

But he also warned that intelligence officials have an obligation to tell the truth about surveillance in their public statements.


Well, as they say: baby steps, right? Yes, let's start by telling the truth, and then perhaps we can have an honest and open debate about what's going on.

Of course, some of Inman's claims just come across as silly:


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With $7.17 Billion Nokia Buy, Microsoft Brings Its Trojan Horse Home | Wired Business | Wired.com

With $7.17 Billion Nokia Buy, Microsoft Brings Its Trojan Horse Home | Wired Business | Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Microsoft is paying about $5 billion to buy a majority of Nokia’s cellphone business, while shelling out another $2.17 billion to license the struggling Finnish company’s patent portfolio. And none of this should surprise you.


With this $7.17 billion play, Microsoft has redoubled its efforts to compete with Apple and Google in the smartphone game, nabbing a handset maker that can more closely combine its Windows Phone operating system with the hardware that runs it, and expanding an already massive smartphone-related patent portfolio that can jockey with rivals in other ways. But it has also bought itself the new CEO it so dearly needs: Stephen Elop, the former head of Microsoft’s business division who left Redmond in September 2010 for the top post at Nokia.


Less than two weeks ago, Microsoft chief exec Steve Ballmer announced that he would be stepping down sometime over the next twelve months, and Elop — who becomes a Microsoft executive vice president with the Nokia deal — is now the obvious choice to succeed him.


In the end, Microsoft may lose the smartphone wars, and if Elop graduates to the CEO job, he may fare no better than Ballmer with a company that’s struggling to reinvent itself in the face of so many new challenges to its software kingdom. But this, at least, is the company’s best shot in a world that’s quickly moving from desktops and laptops — Microsoft’s traditional domain — onto smartphones and tablets.


In one sense, Redmond is going against type with its Nokia buy. Traditionally, Microsoft has made software not hardware, wary of competing with the hardware partners that were such a big part of its success in the ’80s and ’90s. But after the rise of Google’s Android mobile operating system and the Apple iPhone, Microsoft must play catch-up, and that means changing its ways.


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Bill Creighton's curator insight, September 3, 2013 7:37 AM

 

This is a smart move for Microsoft and a smart move for Nokia. Both desperately need to move up the value chain. 

 

With Blackberry crashing, and government and corporate customers jumping ship, this gives them a natural mobile platform transition to a trusted source that powered thenter terrorists.

 

 

 

 

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CBS, Time Warner Cable Finally Sign Carriage Agreement | Multichannel.com

CBS, Time Warner Cable Finally Sign Carriage Agreement | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CBS and Time Warner Cable ended their month-long retrans dispute on Monday, agreeing to a deal that will restore CBS programming to 3.2 million cable customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.


In a brief statement at 5 p.m. on Monday, CBS said that an agreement had been reached and that programming would be resume at 6 p.m. (ET). The stations went dark on Time Warner Cable systems on Aug. 2.


Though specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, that parties said in a statement that the agreement includes retransmission consent, as well as Showtime Anytime and VOD, for CBS stations on Time Warner Cable systems in New York (WCBS and WLYW), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL) and Dallas (KTVT and KTXA).


In a memo to employees, CBS CEO Les Moonves noted that the dispute was one of the more diffulcult for the broadcaster, but expressed relief that the battle was finally over.


"This was a far more protracted dispute than anyone at CBS anticipated, but in spite of the pain it caused to all of us, and most importantly the inconvenience to our viewers who were affected, it was an important one, and one worth pursuing to a satisfactory conclusion," Moonves said in the memo. "That has been achieved. The final agreements with Time Warner Cable deliver to us all the value and terms that we sought in these discussions. We are receiving fair compensation for CBS content and we also have the ability to monetize our content going forward on all the new, developing platforms that are right now transforming the way people watch television."


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For IP surveillance networks, smart PoE switches give an edge | NetworkWorld.com

For IP surveillance networks, smart PoE switches give an edge | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Power-over-Ethernet networks inject power to the LAN cable to power attached devices, which turns out to be handy for IP-based surveillance systems.  The same LAN cable that carries the IP video traffic can power an IP camera up to 330 ft. away.


PoE switches fall into three basic categories: unmanaged, smart and managed.


  • Unmanaged switches provide basic connectivity between networked devices at a low cost. However, they aren’t capable of changing settings or functions. They tend to be easy to use and good for simple connectivity only.
  • Smart switches have a Graphical User Interface (GUI) with easy-to-understand controls, and are managed via a web browser. They provide intuitive guidance to users and are ideal for those who have no advanced network training.
  • Fully Managed switches have a GUI, and also a more technical Command Line Interface (CLI), which allows network administrators to create scripts to program and manage multiple switches. They support advanced networking features that are often beyond the needs of an IP surveillance network.


When designing an IP Surveillance network, it makes smart sense to step up from an unmanaged PoE switch to a Smart PoE switch. For just a small increase in cost, network administrators can gain significant added capabilities, tools and benefits for their surveillance networks.


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Verizon Poised to Announce $130 Billion Vodafone Accord | Bloomberg.com

Verizon Poised to Announce $130 Billion Vodafone Accord | Bloomberg.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Communications Inc. is poised to announce an agreement as soon as today to acquire Vodafone Group Plc (VOD)’s 45 percent stake in their wireless venture for $130 billion, capping its decade-long pursuit of full control of the biggest U.S. mobile-phone company.


The $130 billion price will be paid in a combination of cash and Verizon’s stock, Vodafone said in a statement, describing the talks as “advanced.” Verizon’s board will vote on the terms of the agreement today, said a person familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified because the details haven’t been made public. Vodafone’s board has signed off on the deal, another person said.


For Verizon, complete ownership of Verizon Wireless will mean access to $21.8 billion in operating income to boost its network and fend off competition from Sprint Corp. (S) Japan’s Softbank Corp. bought Sprint this year and founder Masayoshi Son has pledged to make the third-biggest U.S. wireless carrier a stronger rival. The transaction will shore up finances for Newbury, England-based Vodafone as it tries to revive European businesses hurt by the region’s debt crisis.


“Verizon’s strategic flexibility should be enhanced to pursue more aggressive opportunities to create value within its wireline segment,” said Simon Weeden, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in London, in a note to investors. “Verizon could try to architect itself as a wireless-plus-enterprise provider of telecom services.”


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Verizon and Vodafone's $130 billion split is finally happening | GigaOM Tech News

Verizon and Vodafone's $130 billion split is finally happening | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon and Vodafone have finally announced a deal that’s at least three years in the making: Verizon is to pay Vodafone $130 billion for the British operator group’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless.


The companies’ boards have given their approval and the transaction should close in the first quarter of 2014, Verizon and Vodafone said on Monday. As a result of the deal, Verizon gets to be more nimble with its mobile offering in the U.S. and Vodafone gets a huge pile of cash with which it can further its M&A ambitions in Europe.


More of that in a moment, but first, those obligatory quotes. From Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam:


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CA: A refund for Time Warner CBS blackout in LA? Don't spend it yet | 89.3 KPCC

CA: A refund for Time Warner CBS blackout in LA? Don't spend it yet | 89.3 KPCC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s been about a month since CBS, KCAL and Showtime have been blacked out for more than 1 million Time Warner Cable customers in Los Angeles.


Subscribers have missed L.A. Dodgers games on KCAL, U.S. Open tennis on CBS and hit shows such as "Under the Dome."

And the total refund will be: $0.00.


“CBS is carried as part of a programming package,” said Bret Picciolo, a Time Warner spokesman. “We don’t make it policy to credit customers for any individual channel change to that package because, as a whole, that package continues to carry a value.”


There’s better news for Showtime customers. They’ll be getting a credit for whatever they would normally pay for the channel, usually about $15 a month.


If all this tempts you to leave Time Warner, its argument is essentially: “Yeah, this is bad, but it’s going to be just as bad with the other guy.”


“By and large our customers understand that switching isn’t the answer, because sooner or later all are other providers are going to face the same situation,” said Picciolo.


But that’s not good enough for Todd O’Boyle, a consumer advocate at the Washington-based Common Cause. He says Congress and the FCC should step-in and help resolve the dispute.


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NV: Eureka County works on ways to boost broadband | Elko Daily Free Press

NV: Eureka County works on ways to boost broadband | Elko Daily Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Eureka County, NV has developed an action plan to make way for greater technology use across the community and pave the way for a brighter economic future.


The Technology Action Plan was unveiled in August as part of Eureka County’s participation in the Connected Community Engagement Program through the Connect Nevada initiative. Fourteen Nevada communities are currently involved in some stage of the Connected program.


The occasion was marked with a public event at the Eureka Opera House, where Eureka County officials were presented with a detailed action plan for the future.


“High-speed Internet access is extremely important, especially if we are going to progress and create jobs and have continued opportunities for the citizens of our community,” said Eureka community champion Mike Rebaleati. “We are extremely excited about the Connected effort and the collaboration it has engendered among the different agencies throughout the region.”


Participation in the Connected program means Eureka 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.


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Toward a New Front of Labor Struggle: Media Rights and Access for a 21st Century Labor Movement | Organizing Upgrade

Toward a New Front of Labor Struggle: Media Rights and Access for a 21st Century Labor Movement | Organizing Upgrade | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Remember the Winter of 2011? On Valentine's Day, Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker introduced the "Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill", legislation that would put a $3.6 billion budget deficit on the backs of the state's 300,000 workers. What followed was the largest mass showing of public sector employees in recent history. Hundreds of thousands of workers, family members and neighbors encircled and occupied the capitol to show in support of collective bargaining rights in the first state of the union to make them law for public employees.


As news of the sit-in spread, many national TV networks and newspapers picked up the story and told an all-too-familiar tale, exemplified by pundits such as MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who did not hesitate to use the movement to attack workers as "greedy":


"You're going to shut down schools because you have a union that is so greedy that they want their people to be held to different standard than working class Americans who sometimes pay 15 percent of their salaries to benefits? [...] hey, we are not going to let you get a free ride on benefits."


This divide-and-conquer story pitting public workers against taxpayers amounts to a race-to-the-bottom for all workers, and it is not limited to Wisconsin. On the news we're told to blame undocumented immigrants for a jobs crisis affecting all people. Workers that organize for their rights are depicted as unreasonable and undeserving, and this media perpetuates a culture of fear, telling people that fighting back is a quick way to get fired in a tight job market.


But in Wisconsin, the corporate media weren't the only ones covering the uprising. Across independent press outlets like Democracy Now!, Labor Notes, Monthly Review, local radio station WORT 89.9FM, and on social media and other news platforms, we heard a different story. Through these outlets people communicated their support for the teachers and state employees of Wisconsin and their struggle to uphold their right to work with dignity. Over Twitter and Facebook the phone number of a pizza shop near the Madison capitol building went viral and people across the country called in orders of pizza for occupiers and demonstrators.


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Free Speech and Identity Verification: Combating the Challenge of Trolling | Huff Post

Free Speech and Identity Verification: Combating the Challenge of Trolling | Huff Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

All of us at the Huffington Post, keeping in mind our obligation to be of service to the membership, are very serious about the problem of trolling. For the HuffPost community to grow and develop we must emphasize fairness in access, promote civil discourse,  reduce vitriol on our pages, and provide a defense against trolling. A key strategy in doing all of this is our plan to require all new members to identify themselves when they create an account.


I would like to address any concerns you may have bout this plan so that the nature of the change and how it will work become crystal clear.


Over the past eight years the HuffPost community has grown into an energetic public conversation to discuss the news of the day as well our interests, passions and obsessions. And from the beginning we devoted a lot of attention and resources to keeping this conversation civil by investing in the most advanced pre-moderation technology as well 40 comment moderators to supplement it. But it has become clear recently that this has not been enough to deal with ever more aggressive trolls -- jokers, spammers, demagogues, salesmen, bullies and cowards. The very tools that level the playing field and enable open and free conversation have become the tools of the trade for the vicious.


We agree that anonymity is important to democratic discourse. Both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Supreme Court agree on this point. Anonymity allows the writer to freely express ideas that might endanger his or her life or livelihood if they were linked to their true name. Anonymity preserves both privacy and personal security. In those cases Huffington Post will not be revealing true names to the general public. We're talking about keeping pseudonyms (user names) and requiring that community members real identity be known only to the Huffington Post.


The username, created at the dawn of the computer age, is at the heart of our problem with incivility on Huffington Post. The username at its best is a mask that enables us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal but at its worst it is also a mask that creates the perfect opportunity for irresponsible abuse -- if it is not connected to an identity known to those who manage HuffPost community. So we're not getting rid of the username. We're rebooting it for to avoid abuses.


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Likely Winner Of Australia's General Election Sneaks In Last-Minute Plan To Impose UK-Style Opt-Out Censorship -- Then Denies It | Techdirt

Likely Winner Of Australia's General Election Sneaks In Last-Minute Plan To Impose UK-Style Opt-Out Censorship -- Then Denies It | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Australia goes to the polls this weekend, and the likely winner quietly added Net censorship to its platform, as spotted by ZDNet:


A Liberal National government in Australia would adopt the opt-out UK approach to filtering the internet for all Australians.

The policy comes less than 41 hours before polls open for voting in the federal election where the Coalition is currently expected to win. It is also almost a year after the Labor government abandoned its plans for mandatory internet filtering, and three years after the Coalition announced that it would not support a policy for mandatory internet filtering.


As that notes, the current Australian government dropped plans for mandatory censorship, after many years of trying to bring it in. This makes the Coalition's unexpected decision to add it without any public consultation deeply disappointing. Although the justification for this move is the tried-and-tested "for the children" argument, it seems to have been a last-minute decision. That's suggested by the lack of information on how exactly the system would work:


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Author Of Patriot Act As Well As Members Of Church Commission Tell Court NSA Has Gone Too Far | Techdirt

Author Of Patriot Act As Well As Members Of Church Commission Tell Court NSA Has Gone Too Far | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Here's something I'd bet you never thought you'd see: the EFF teaming up with the author of the Patriot Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, to tell a court that the NSA is violating the Patriot Act. This is in the ACLU's lawsuit over the NSA's collection of metadata on all phone calls, which the DOJ is desperately trying to get out of. Here, Jim Sensenbrenner, with help from the EFF, has filed an amicus brief with the court, noting that the Patriot Act -- which the DOJ and NSA are relying on to claim the program is legal -- was never intended to allow this kind of activity. In fact, it was written to prevent this kind of activity.

The filing notes that Sensenbrenner originally received a draft of the Patriot Act from the DOJ five days after September 11, 2001, and found that it gave the government way too much power, so he redrafted the legislation specifically to prevent widespread abuses of investigative powers.


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Microsoft’s Finnish data center plans, and other tidbits from the Nokia takeover call | GigaOM Tech News

Microsoft’s Finnish data center plans, and other tidbits from the Nokia takeover call | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


Microsoft and Nokia held a press conference on Tuesday morning to discuss Microsoft’s takeover of Nokia’s phone hardware and services business. Naturally, several interesting details came out about the deal and its likely impact.


The first came from Nokia’s interim CEO, Risto Siilasmaa (Stephen Elop is back off to Microsoft, and is in the running for Steve Ballmer’s job). Siilasmaa said the two companies had been mulling over the deal since February this year – and Microsoft was the suitor:


“Nokia alone does not have the resources to fund the required acceleration across mobile phones and smart devices, especially as we have great opportunities in our other businesses as well… [Nokia's 32,000 transferring employees] will have stronger financial backing to be successful in the mobile marketplace.


“Finland becomes a core place for Microsoft in Europe. Instead of one Nokia there will be two global technology companies in Finland, both financially stronger and capable of investing in the future.”


Continuing on that theme, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer insisted that the transferring business would stay in Finland, much as Skype has stayed anchored in Estonia.


What’s more, Ballmer effectively unveiled Microsoft’s riposte to Google and Facebook, which have both recently moved to site new data centers in the chills of (very) northern Europe, Google in Finland and Facebook in Sweden. Here comes a sister to Microsoft’s existing Azure data center in Ireland:


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Internet.org says connectivity's a human right … but is that wrong? | The Conversation

You may have seen the recent ten-page internet.org whitepaper, bearing the imprimatur of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. It heralds an initiative for the greater good that may very well change the world as we know it.


The proposal – “Is connectivity a human right?” – outlines the plans of a commercial consortium, including tech companies such as Samsung, Nokia, Qualcomm and Ericsson, to provide low-cost internet access to the planet’s poorest nations.


The project’s website states:


"Internet.org is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that don’t have it."


(The fact that much of this proportion of non-users may also not have access to the basic necessities, such as clean running water, is not lost – but that’s for a completely different article.)


So, will this really be free access to the internet?


Not necessarily so, and probably not. Infrastructures that permit the exchange of free information still cost money.


Public libraries may be free to readers but their operation is usually paid for through council rates, city taxes or other miscellaneous revenue streams. (Incidentally, freely-accessible public toilets are a pro bono technology that are conspicuous by their absence in many large American cities.)


Let’s look at how other schemes with similar sentiments have had varying degrees of success.


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Netflix: RCN is Tops in Boston, MA | Multichannel.com

Netflix: RCN is Tops in Boston, MA | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix said RCN delivered the highest quality Netflix video streams in the greater Boston region in the second quarter, outperforming a handful of other ISPs that operate in the area. The result also shines the spotlight on one of Netflix’s Open Connect partners.


Netflix, in its first ever Regional Netflix ISP Speed Index Snapshot, noted in this blog post that RCN delivered average Netflix streams of 2.42 Mbps, ahead of Charter Communications (2.19 Mbps), Verizon FiOS (2.15 Mbps), Comcast (2.13 Mbps), Time Warner Cable (2.05 Mbps), Fairpoint (1.59 Mbps) and Verizon DSL (1.42 Mbps).


Netflix, as it’s done with its previous global rankings of major ISPs, is using these rankings to nudge consumers in the direction of broadband service providers that deliver the best Netflix experience.


“This is useful information for consumers when picking an ISP, especially for those thousands of university students who are moving to Boston before school begins,” Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief streaming and partnerships officer, noted in the blog post. “In Boston, RCN delivers a very impressive connection, offering equal or better quality than fiber to the home.”


What the post did not point out is that RCN is a member of Open  Connect, Netflix’s private content delivery network.

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Verizon not interested in Canada, CEO says | The Globe and Mail

Verizon not interested in Canada, CEO says | The Globe and Mail | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Communications Inc. has no interest in expanding to Canada, says the company's CEO Lowell McAdam, ending months of speculation that the U.S. telecom giant was poised to shake up Canada's wireless market.


"Verizon is not going to Canada," Mr. McAdam said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.


A Verizon spokesperson confirmed Mr. McAdam's comments with The Globe via e-mail. “I can confirm that [Mr. McAdam] said at this point in time, Verizon does not have an interest in entering the Canadian wireless market.”


Mr. McAdam said Verizon had limited interest in entering the Canadian market and that speculation was “way overblown,” according to the interview. He also said his position on Canada has nothing to do with Monday’s Vodafone deal.


Earlier Monday, the boards of Verizon and Vodafone Group PLC agreed to a $130-billion (U.S.) deal in which Verizon would buy Vodafone’s 45-per-cent stake in Verizon Wireless. As a result, Verizon has acquired sole ownership of its U.S. business, in what is the third-largest corporate deal in history. As rumours of the deal heated up last week, several analysts believed it could affect Verizon’s potential plans to enter the Canadian market.


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Report: DEA Has Been Secretly Snooping on More Americans’ Phone Calls Than Even the NSA | Hit & Run | Reason.com

Report: DEA Has Been Secretly Snooping on More Americans’ Phone Calls Than Even the NSA | Hit & Run | Reason.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The New York Times last night published an article that should put to rest the debate over whether we live in a free country. We don't:


"For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans' phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency’s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.


The Hemisphere Project, a partnership between federal and local drug officials and AT&T that has not previously been reported, involves an extremely close association between the government and the telecommunications giant.


The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.


Hemisphere covers every call that passes through an AT&T switch — not just those made by AT&T customers — and includes calls dating back 26 years, according to Hemisphere training slides bearing the logo of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Some four billion call records are added to the database every day, the slides say; technical specialists say a single call may generate more than one record. Unlike the N.S.A. data, the Hemisphere data includes information on the locations of callers."


How is this even remotely legal in a country whose Constitution secures "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," meaning a search or seizure without a warrant based "upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized"?


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FCC hires senior management executives | Telecompaper.com

US Federal Communications Commission’s acting chairwoman, Mignon Clyburn has appointed Mark Stephens as acting managing director and David Bray as the Commission’s chief information officer. In addition, David Valdez has been appointed as special counsel to Clyburn’s office.


As acting managing director, Stephens will manage the Commission's budget and financial programmes, HR, contracts, purchasing, communications, computer services, physical space, security and distribution of official FCC documents. In his role as CIO, Bray will implement a tech-forward strategy to equip workers with effective technology, cut costs and shift the Commission’s IT trajectory towards cloud-based services. Stephens and Bray, along with other senior managers, will work in the Office of the Managing Director (OMD) to coordinate the administration and management of the Commission. Valdez will oversee issues relating to regulatory reforms to facilitate innovation in government and assist in managing the FCC’s various advisory committees.


Stephens joined the FCC in 1991 and has served in a variety of roles and has broad experience of financial management, auditing, accounting and management in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, Stephens served as chief financial officer in the Commission’s Office of Managing Director.  He has also served as a special advisor for the Universal Service Fund Oversight in the Wireline Competition Bureau and as a senior audit manager and systems accountant in the Wireline Competition Bureau among other roles and responsibilities.


Most recently, Bray served as executive director for the bipartisan National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the US Intelligence Community. From 2010-2011, he chaired a subcommittee focused on White House-level efforts to improve relations among the information integration, network interoperability and civil liberties activities of the US government.


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How to Access CBS On Time Warner Cable Using a Proxy Service | TomsGuide.com

How to Access CBS On Time Warner Cable Using a Proxy Service | TomsGuide.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While Time Warner Cable (TWC) and CBS continue to bicker over the fee that TWC pays the nation's most popular network to carry its programming, TWC customers are blocked from viewing the nation's most popular network both on their TVs via cable as well as on their computers at CBS.com. But there's a simple solution: Don't let CBS know you're a TWC customer.

All you need is a proxy service — an Internet connection that routes your traffic through a server to obscure its origin. At least then you can watch on your computer.

Proxies aren't just for watching "NCIS" and the "Big Bang Theory." They allow people who live under far-greater Internet restrictions — say, in China — to access blocked sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It's also a way for you to obscure your identity from hackers or possible government snoops.


There are many proxy services that offer access for free. But that's generally for basic Web access. Streaming video is data-intensive and something companies may charge an upgrade fee for.

Among proxy services, Hide My Ass is fairly popular, complete with a hat-and-sunglasses-wearing donkey mascot. HMA is a small download that's a cinch to set up on PCs and Macs. All you do is click to install and click one button to turn on the proxy. (Setting it up on iOS and Android devices is trickier and requires manual configuration.)

HMA's paid service, Pro VPN, costs $11.52 per month, although it's currently on sale for $9.99 (less if you sign up for six or 12 months). VPN also encrypts your Internet connection when you're on inherently insecure public Wi-Fi networks.

A proxy service not only gets you past the CBS censor, which blocks you based on your ISP, but also past geographic restrictions based on your country, such as the blocking of BBC iPlayer video outside of the U.K. or Hulu outside the United States. In the HMA app, just pick a proxy server in one of those countries, and you're in.


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VA: Nelson County resubmitting for state grant for broadband project | The Daily Progress

VA: Nelson County resubmitting for state grant for broadband project | The Daily Progress | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Nelson County Broadband Authority and county staff will be resubmitting for a state grant to help advance the broadband project.


As the authority works to close out an infrastructure grant it received from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration by Sept. 30, the county will be working to apply for a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, said County Administrator Steve Carter.


“It’s definitely not a given,” he said, adding that it’s a highly competitive grant program.


He said he would suggest the money be used to extend the fiber backbone to the end of Route 151 on the southern side and down Route 664, providing broadband access to both of the county’s critical corridors.


Currently, the fiber backbone runs from the north end of the 151 corridor, near the BB&T bank in Afton, and stops near the intersection of Routes 151 and 6 in Martin’s Store.


Carter said he has been given a cost estimate of about $200,000, which includes the appropriate permits.


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Greenwald Reveals Even More NSA Spying | Huff Post

Greenwald Reveals Even More NSA Spying | Huff Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Security Agency's spy program targeted the communications of the Brazilian and Mexican presidents, and in the case of Mexico's leader accessed the content of emails before he was elected, the U.S. journalist who obtained secret documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden said Sunday.


Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, told Globo's news program "Fantastico" that a document dated June 2012 shows that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's emails were being read. The document's date is a month before Pena Nieto was elected.


The document Greenwald based the report on includes communications from Pena Nieto indicating who he would like to name to some Cabinet posts among other information. It's not clear if the spying continues.


As for Brazil's leader, the June 2012 document "doesn't include any of Dilma's specific intercepted messages, the way it does for Nieto," Greenwald told The Associated Press in an email. "But it is clear in several ways that her communications were intercepted, including the use of DNI Presenter, which is a program used by NSA to open and read emails and online chats."


Calls to Rousseff's office and a spokeswoman were not answered. Messages sent to a spokesman for Pena Nieto weren't immediately returned.


Brazilian Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo told the newspaper O Globo that "if the facts of the report are confirmed, they would be considered very serious and would constitute a clear violation of Brazil's sovereignty."


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CN: Telus files case against spectrum bid rules; Verizon’s Vodafone talks could push Canadian entry off the agenda | TeleGeography

Canadian quadruple-play telco Telus filed an application with the Federal Court on 20 August challenging the power of the country’s Industry Minister to set criteria dictating which companies can bid for wireless frequency licences, reports the Financial Post. The action follows a case Telus launched the previous month opposing the minister’s power to make unilateral changes to spectrum licence transfer policy. Ted Woodhead, Telus’ senior vice-president of government and regulatory affairs, said in an emailed statement: ‘We are asking the court to determine whether it is lawful for the Industry Minister to single-handedly establish a new eligibility criterion for the issuance of spectrum licences – something he did when he determined that a ‘large wireless service provider,’ such as Telus, will not be issued a licence for more than one prime block of 700MHz spectrum in the upcoming auction while other competitors are eligible for two prime blocks.’


As with its court case regarding spectrum trading rules, the latest lawsuit from Telus opposes federal rules which are ostensibly designed to ensure at least four effective wireless competitors in every region of Canada, but which Telus – and its two nationwide cellular rivals Rogers and Bell – argue in effect offer a ‘loophole’ which a foreign new entrant can exploit to gain an advantage in the 4G mobile segment by acquiring more new prime spectrum than the three domestic national incumbents. US giant Verizon is currently mulling whether to embark on just such a strategy by entering Canada’s 700MHz auction in January 2014 (with a deadline for applications set for 17 September). Industry Canada, the ministry with ultimate responsibility for licensing and spectrum policy, is not thought likely to vary any of the fundamental rules it has set for the 4G licensing process, despite lobbying from Rogers, Bell and Telus. Industry Minister James Moore’s director of communications Jessica Fletcher, said in an emailed statement referring to Telus’ court applications: ‘Our policies put consumers first, and we will continue to move forward with our agenda.’


Meanwhile, according to a report from the Globe & Mail, Verizon’s current talks on proposals to buy out the 45% stake in its wireless business owned by the UK’s Vodafone Group could lead to it cancelling its Canadian expansion plans to focus on taking full control of its US operations.


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