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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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Kansas City Gigabit Explorer Challenge | US-Ignite.org

The US Ignite/Google Fiber Gigabit Explorer Challenge is your chance to partner with Google Fiber, KC Digital Drive, Mozilla, and US Ignite to define the future of the Internet of Immersive Experience. We’re bringing together the ultra- fast Google Fiber network in Kansas City with the emerging capabilities of SDN and local cloud to open new frontiers for you to explore what’s possible when you have all the computing power you need locally available and you can program everything at 100 times today’s speeds? Maybe you have an idea for apps that:


  • Are incredibly and realistically responsive.
  • You can touch, move, and control with your hands, your eyes, your body language.
  • Enable you to collaborate with others with the same subtlety as being in the same room.
  • Digest big data and give you confidence in your decisions.
  • Are not limited by bandwidth or built-in delays.


These are a new breed of apps and we are looking for a new kind of thinker - a “Gigabit thinker” - an explorer who no longer thinks about constraints but rather what’s possible.


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Local Ruckus Makes Some Ruckus With Google Fiber in Kansas City | WebProNews

Local Ruckus Makes Some Ruckus With Google Fiber in Kansas City | WebProNews | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


It’s no secret that Google Fiber is inspiring other ISPs to lessen the broadband gap in this country. Or, according to DSLReports.com, the goal is to “…light a fire under the pampered behinds of incumbent broadband operators.”


But, the real story is how Google Fiber has inspired users in Kansas City. Google Fiber rolled out in Kansas City (mostly the Kansas side but a little in Missouri, too) last year.


And, it didn’t take long for entrepreneurial minds in KC to realize that Google Inc.’s super-powerful Internet, which offers speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, would be attractive to startups. According to Huffingtonpost.com, “A fast Internet pipe makes it easier to handle large files and eliminates buffering problems that plague online video, live conferencing and other network-intensive tasks.”


So, Ben Barreth, a web developer in KC, started “Homes for Hackers.” The “home” is a small bungalow that gives serious startup companies a place to live rent-free for 3 months and free access to Google Fiber Internet. Shortly after came “Kansas City Startup Village” in that same area. So many startups have taken up residency in this “fiberhood” within Kansas City that it is now called “Silicon Prairie.”


The list of startups at KCSV keeps growing, and the startups themselves are gaining headway with the help of Google Fiber Internet.


But, startups in the Home for Hackers and in the KCSV know that, even with Google Fiber, they’ll need more than a good idea to be successful.


Huffington Post quotes Andy Kallenbach of FormZapper.com saying, “The hardest thing about a startup is execution, OK? A lot of people can go out and raise money and get money for an idea or for some product or they can come up with some awesome presentation. But it doesn’t matter if you can’t build something that people will use.”


Local Ruckus co-founders Matthew Marcus and Adam Arredondo have a mission, according to Kcstartupvillage.org, “to bring awesome local events to the people….” That’s the basis of their B2C brand and website, Local Ruckus.


But, says Marcus, people already find things to do on sites like Facebook, Yelp, Pitch, or with an old-fashioned Google search. He and the rest of the Local Ruckus team knew they needed to shift their focus with a new strategy.


And that’s when they came up with Hoopla.io. Hoopla.io isn’t a list of events users can browse to find something to do tonight. It’s “Event Marketing Made Easy.”


Targeting businesses and publishers, Hoopla.io creates a way for businesses to promote events on their website, on social media sites and throughout Hoopla.io’s “network of media distribution partners.” All with a single click.


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TN: Jackson Energy Authority’s telecom system receives national award | Jacksun.com

TN: Jackson Energy Authority’s telecom system receives national award | Jacksun.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Jackson Energy Authority’s Telecom System received the prestigious Chairman’s Award today from the Fiber to the Home Council. JEA’s EPlus Broadband System was recognized for the leadership demonstrated in the telecommunications industry and the excellence attained during its nearly 10 years of operations, according to a news release.


Ben Lovins, senior vice president of JEA’s Telecom System stated, “It’s an honor to receive this award and a tremendous recognition to a system our size and the community we serve. Receiving the Fiber to the Home Council’s Chairman’s Award demonstrates that the nation is aware of our commitment to delivering advanced telecommunications services as a means of ensuring Jackson’s future for jobs and industry as well as the quality of life that fiber based telecommunications brings to a community.”


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PA: Pitcairn officials talk with Comcast to take over cable service | Tribune-Review

PA: Pitcairn officials talk with Comcast to take over cable service | Tribune-Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Lacking on-demand service and a lineup of high-definition channels, Pitcairn Community Cable is struggling to keep up with its deep-pocketed cable and satellite TV competitors.


The number of subscribers has fallen to less than 600, and borough officials hope to sell what may be Pennsylvania's last municipally owned cable TV service to a larger provider.


A meeting was held last week with Comcast Corp. to discuss a potential buy out, but as of this week no deals had been made, said Councilman Kevin Dick, who leads the cable committee. The company, which is managed out of the borough building, hasn't been very profitable, he said, and the cost of programming is escalating.


“Since I've been involved, I haven't seen it make much money at all,” Dick said. “There has been a steady decline in profit. The company is in the red” as it works to pay off a loan for cable upgrades.


Comcast Spokesman Bob Grove declined to comment Tuesday on whether the company was negotiating with the borough.


Established in the 1950s, Pitcairn Community Cable flourished for decades as the only source of cable TV in the borough.


“Because of Pitcairn's location in the valley, it's hard to get a TV signal,” Council President John Prucnal said. “The citizens couldn't receive a signal and only got three channels.”


The cable service began with some makeshift equipment on top of a hill, on land the borough solicitor owned.


“They put telephone poles in the ground and put old house antennas down, and ran wires down from there into Pitcairn,” Councilman Orelio “Rollo” Vecchio said.


At one point, no competitors were allowed in town, Prucnal said. “Then, the satellites came out. We lost a few customers to them, and then Verizon got their foot in the door, and we lost a big majority of customers.”


Verizon Communications Inc. has offered its FiOS fiber-optic service in Pitcairn for about three and a half years, company spokesman Lee Gierczynski said. Pitcairn officials approved a franchise on Dec. 23, 2008.


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ZCorum Interviews Broadband Expert Craig Settles for Insight on Public/Private PPartnerships | PR Web

ZCorum Interviews Broadband Expert Craig Settles for Insight on Public/Private PPartnerships  | PR Web | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Collaboration between local governments and private broadband providers can be a way forward to faster, better service in many communities, according to broadband business strategist Craig Settles. In a wide-ranging discussion with Rick Yuzzi, Vice-President of ZCorum, Mr. Settles delved into the potential benefits of such partnerships as well as the major obstacles and challenges that are likely to get in the way. Their conversation is part of ZCorum’s “Ask a Broadband Expert” series of interviews with industry thought leaders published on The Business of Broadband Blog.


Many small and regional telcos have growing concerns about lost subsidies due to the uncertainty regarding FCC reform of the Universal Service Fund, Settles observed. “The reason they were getting the money in the first place was because there wasn’t a great business case for the populations they were serving.” According to Settles, if those funds are reduced or the FCC makes it harder to qualify for the funds, the smaller telcos will be more reluctant to invest in growing or maintaining their network. But the FCC is keeping the industry in limbo, raising fears and increasing the risk of doing business. “If you’re waiting and waiting,” Settles says, “a lot of bad things can happen.”


One way out of this waiting game, Settles believes, is for these small telcos to reach out to local governments to form public/private partnerships. But in many cases, the biggest obstacle is the attitude of the parties involved. “This is a big issue I have,” Settles declared. “Providers are renowned for their independence. They can often view the government as this evil thing that, if they take a subsidy of some sort, it’s like making a deal with the devil.”


Settles believes the situation could be so much better for both parties; all it takes is a little attitude adjustment. “When the local government isn’t perceived as the enemy,” he said, “then you’re able to actually sit down and work out relationships.”


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How a Telecom Helped the Government Spy on Me | ProPublica.org

How a Telecom Helped the Government Spy on Me | ProPublica.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the past several months, the Obama Administration has defended the government’s far-reaching data collection efforts, arguing that only criminals and terrorists need worry. The nation’s leading internet and telecommunications companies have said they are committed to the sanctity of their customers’ privacy.


I have some very personal reasons to doubt those assurances.


In 2004, my telephone records as well as those of another New York Times reporter and two reporters from the Washington Post, were obtained by federal agents assigned to investigate a leak of classified information. What happened next says a lot about what happens when the government’s privacy protections collide with the day-to-day realities of global surveillance.


The story begins in 2003 when I wrote an article about the killing of two American teachers in West Papua, a remote region of Indonesia where Freeport-McMoRan operates one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines. The Indonesian government and Freeport blamed the killings on a separatist group, the Free Papua Movement, which had been fighting a low-level guerrilla war for several decades.


I opened my article with this sentence: “Bush Administration officials have determined that Indonesian soldiers carried out a deadly ambush that killed two American teachers.”


 I also reported that two FBI agents had travelled to Indonesia to assist in the inquiry and quoted a “senior administration official” as saying there “was no question there was a military involvement.’’


The story prompted a leak investigation. The FBI sought to obtain my  phone records and those of  Jane Perlez, the Times bureau chief in Indonesia and my wife. They also went after the records of the Washington Post reporters in Indonesia who had published the first reports about the Indonesian government’s involvement in the killings.


As part of its investigation, the FBI asked for help from what is described in a subsequent government report as an “on-site communications service” provider. The report, by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, offers only the vaguest description of this key player, calling it “Company A.’’


“We do not identify the specific companies because the identities of the specific providers who were under contract with the FBI for specific services are classified,’’ the report explained.


Whoever they were, Company A had some impressive powers. Through some means – the report is silent on how – Company A obtained  records of calls made on Indonesian cell phones and landlines by the Times and Post reporters. The records showed whom we called, when and for how long -- what has now become famous as “metadata.”


Under DOJ rules, the FBI investigators were required to ask the Attorney General to approve a grand jury subpoena before requesting records of reporters’ calls. But that’s not what happened.

Instead, the bureau sent Company A what is known as an “exigent letter’’ asking for the metadata.


A heavily redacted version of the DOJ report, released in 2010, noted that exigent letters are supposed to be used in extreme circumstances where there is no time to ask a judge to issue a subpoena. The report found nothing “exigent’’ in an investigation of several three-year-old newspaper stories.


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Internet for low-income families in Kansas City area | Sacramento Bee

Internet for low-income families in Kansas City area | Sacramento Bee | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When you're living off disability checks and buying groceries with food stamps, there's not much room in the budget for even the bargain-basement plans Internet service providers offer.


But now comes KC Freedom Network.


Since last fall, a consortium of nonprofit groups has been trying to bridge the digital divide by building what, for Kansas City, is a new kind of Internet service. One that for now is absolutely free to the 1,000 people who already can get it in Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS.


The key: While most Internet service providers deliver the Net to homes via copper or, in Google's case, fiber optic cable, KC Freedom Network has gone airborne.


With microwave dishes and Wi-Fi systems, it uses the airwaves to connect people who might not otherwise have broadband Internet service.


As far as the project's backers are concerned, there is no limit on how big the KC Freedom Network will get.


Not that the big guys are sweating it.


A spokeswoman for Google says there are big differences between the quality of Internet service her company provides and that of efforts like KC Freedom Network, but Google welcomes the effort all the same.


"It's great that Kansas City nonprofits are working to get their neighbors online," Jenna Wandres said. "The more groups who are thinking about the digital divide and working on locally driven solutions, the better."


KC Freedom Network's effort to achieve better access for KC's core is seen by some as an exciting experiment.


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Cable is Ready for an IPv6 World. Are You? | CableTechTalk.com

Cable is Ready for an IPv6 World. Are You? | CableTechTalk.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


This week’s #BroadData is a look at the end of a limited Internet and the beginning of an endless one.


If you haven’t already heard of the end of IPv4, you’re sure to hear more in the future.  Essentially, the number of IP addresses – the unique codes that identify individual Internet connected devices – are running out.


Each IP address is 32-bits long, which allows for about 4 billion unique addresses. Some regions have already exhausted usable IP addresses and are under emergency IP measures.


The solution is IPv6 – a new 128-bit IP address that allows for trillions and trillions of unique IP numbers. Problem solved, right? Well, transitioning is easier said than done. Many websites and companies have made the switch and are ready for the new IP system, but for others it will take time and huge investments to make sure the new IP addresses work.


The cable industry has been a leader in preparing its networks for the transition. But solving this problem and getting everyone working with IPv6 is going to come from efforts across all IP-dependent industries and organizations.


To better conceptualize the need for the transition, see the chart below. It reveals the explosive growth in use of the old IPv4 standard and perfectly highlights the impending need for the switch. Just look at Brazil…


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ATLANTA: BitPay Adds 10 Languages and 150 Currencies to its Bitcoin Checkout | Business Wire | Rock Hill Herald Online

ATLANTA: BitPay Adds 10 Languages and 150 Currencies to its Bitcoin Checkout | Business Wire | Rock Hill Herald Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

BitPay, the world’s largest payment processor for virtual currencies, announces that it now offers translations into 10 languages plus English for their entire checkout experience. Merchants servicing international customers can now present bitcoin payment instructions in the buyer’s native language, allowing merchants to more easily conduct business in emerging markets.


Recently at the European Bitcoin Conference in Amsterdam, BitPay co-founder and CEO Tony Gallippi announced that the company is actively hiring sales engineers, a director of marketing, and software developers for its new offices in Amsterdam and Montreal.


“The European market for bitcoin adoption is very large, perhaps larger than in the United States,” says Gallippi. “Nearly every European business can already deal in multiple currencies, a prerequisite which is rarely seen in the U.S. Many small businesses in Europe have frequent cross-border transactions to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa where a borderless payment system like bitcoin has great potential.”


In addition to the translations, the company has expanded its list of currencies in which merchants can set prices for their sales. The new additions include the Argentine Peso (ARS), and Gold and Silver troy ounce (XAU and XAG). For example, if a gold dealer wants to sell one ounce of gold at 5% over spot, they can set the price to 1.05 XAU and BitPay will calculate the checkout in bitcoins at the up-to-the-minute rate.


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MS: C Spire to build data center | ClarionLedger.com

MS: C Spire to build data center | ClarionLedger.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

C Spire Wireless will build a $20 million, state-of-the-art data center in Starkville, Mississippi and open most of it up to businesses needing cloud-based technology.


The center is set to open in November 2014 and will be built on 6.5 acres at the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park. The wireless carrier says 100 construction jobs will be created initially. Five to 10 C Spire employees will be based there when it opens, with perhaps more to follow. Construction is to start next month.


The center will offer businesses cloud-based services to help manage mission-critical data, infrastructure and enterprise applications. C Spire operates two such centers in Jackson and Ridgeland but says the Starkville facility, at 22,400 square feet, will be unique in that it includes commercial space for businesses interested in using the technology. Eighty percent of the building will be made available for commercial use.


C Spire is looking for companies wanting to locate there. Company spokesman Dave Miller says Starkville’s centralized location in relation to neighboring states—and away from hurricane zones—along with the area’s “ready supply of high-quality potential employees” studying at places like Mississippi State University made it the top choice for the data center.


“It’s a tremendous opportunity. If you’re an economic developer, one of the top items on your checklist is infrastructure,” technological and otherwise, Miller said. “It’s a big deal.”


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Did the Tea Party design the Obamacare website? | Alan Shimel Blog | NetworkWorld.com

Whether you support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or not, one thing is clear - whoever designed and implemented the healthcare.org site must not be a big fan. In this day and age it is hard to believe the government could not build a scalable, elastic website that is in essence just one big form. But my "adventure" in trying to enroll has been an unmitigated disaster. I only hope that the health coverage they offer was not designed by the same folks who designed this website.


Like many of you probably have, I tried to log into the site and see if this controversial program could help my family and me with an affordable health insurance solution. I logged in after midnight on Monday night. I guess I wasn't the only one trying that maneuver, as it said the site was busy and I could not log in. I chalked it up to trying to be early and figured I would just wait until the morning.


Tuesday morning I tried to log in and this time I received a different screen but the same message - the site was getting slammed and I could not log in. I am a somewhat patient man, though, and figured if Apple's servers can get slammed on account of iOS 7, there is no reason to blame the government for the first day of eligibility slamming their servers.


I assumed they must be housing this in some sort of Fed Cloud and they obviously had some elasticity that would soon kick in to handle the load.  Give it some time, I told myself. That evening, around 10 p.m. I was finally able to log in and create an account. It wasn't easy. I had to keep reloading, but I had an account. I was sent an email to verify my email address. I knew I was in trouble when I clicked on the verification and received a page that said I had waited too long to verify my address. It couldn't have been more than a minute after I received the email!


Now I had to go back to go and start over again. After an hour or two, I was never able to get back to that account creation page again and gave up for the night. The next morning I logged in and went to create an account again. Bingo, it went right through! At the end, though, I received a message that an account with that user name already existed. Wow, did someone pick my unique username combination of letters and numbers? That is weird. 


Just for giggles I tried to log in with my username and password that was not verified last night. Of course it worked! I guess my email verification worked after all. OK, next I had to fill out an application. I was filling out for my family and I needed the kids' Social Security numbers. That meant I had to wait until I got home. So after dinner and a little TV I sat down to fill out my application. I logged into the site (it was working now) with my username and password and got busy.


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Microsoft to patch zero-day IE bug now under attack | NetworkWorld.com

Microsoft to patch zero-day IE bug now under attack | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Microsoft today said it will ship eight security updates next week to patch critical vulnerabilities in Windows and Internet Explorer (IE), with the one aimed at IE plugging the hole attackers have been exploiting for months.


"The Critical update for Internet Explorer will be a cumulative update which will address the publicly disclosed issue described in Security Advisory 2887505," confirmed Dustin Childs on the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) blog today.


Security experts identified the IE update as the one to deploy first, citing the fact that one of the vulnerabilities has been used by cyber criminals in targeted attacks against users in Japan and Taiwan.

"IE is always top of the list," said Andrew Storms, director of DevOps at cloud security vendor CloudPassage, in an interview today.


On Sept. 17, Microsoft confirmed that hackers were exploiting a critical unpatched vulnerability in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) and Internet Explorer 9 (IE9). The bug, however, existed in all versions of the browser, including the 12-year-old IE6 and the newest IE11.


Over the next two weeks, security companies reported that attacks had been aimed at Japanese and Taiwanese organizations since July. And earlier this week, exploit code went public as a working module was added to the open-source Metasploit penetration framework. Researchers predicted that the Metasploit appearance would result in an increase in attacks as less-capable hackers copied the code and added it to their weaponized toolkits.


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Interconnection May be Toughest Part of TDM-to-IP Transition | TeleCompetitor.com

Interconnection May be Toughest Part of TDM-to-IP Transition | TeleCompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the telecom industry contemplates the TDM-to-IP transition aimed at replacing traditional voice service with VoIP, some of the biggest challenges will center on interconnection. The move to IP will require rethinking how service providers exchange traffic with one another from a business, regulatory and technology standpoint.


“We want IP interconnection,” said Maggie McCready, executive director for public policy at Verizon, at a Comptel event last month. The event, titled “IP Transition- An Evolution of the Network, Regulatory Environment or Both?” was also webcast.


McCready said half of Verizon’s 13 million voice customers are now served over FiOS. And potentially those customers could be interconnected with other service providers more economically using IP.


McCready noted, however, that some nationwide service providers say they will only negotiate with Verizon if Verizon agrees to abide by “backstops” that help regulate pricing in the TDM world. And Verizon does not believe that is the appropriate path.


“They have to come to the table and talk,” said McCready about other service providers. “We’ve done it, it can work . . . and if it doesn’t work, what’s the harm in trying?”


Another IP interconnection issue that could be challenging to resolve is pricing transparency. While the nation’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 carriers would like to have some idea about what other carriers are paying for interconnection, powerful Tier 1 carriers may be reluctant to disclose that information.


“Would a small company get the same rate [as a larger company]? I don’t know,” said McCready.


And although it wasn’t discussed much at the Comptel event, another thorny issue is that rural carriers traditionally have relied on per-minute access charges for completing calls from other carriers to their network to help cover some of their costs of delivering service, which are higher in rural areas. Rural carriers may be reluctant to enter into IP interconnection agreements unless those revenue streams are retained or replaced.


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Alex Marshall Coming to Humphrey School at U of Minnesota | community broadband networks

Alex Marshall Coming to Humphrey School at U of Minnesota | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Six months ago, I wrote about a book by Alex Marshall, the Surprising Design of Market Economies. In a few weeks, he will be presenting to a small group at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. You can learn more about the event and register here.


I am looking forward to this - Thursday, October 24, at Freeman Commons in the Humphrey School on the West Bank campus. 11:30 - 1:00.


"In a thesis that has implications for policy wonks, economists and planners of all types, Marshall shows how government creates the essential institutions necessary for economic life, and how the typical debate between those who value the market and those who value government regulation is a false one. Marshall, a Senior Fellow at the Regional Plan Association in New York, is the author of two other books on urban planning, and is a former newspaper reporter. He was also a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University. His work has been published in many places, including The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg View and The Washington Post."

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WiFi Patent Troll Told That Each License Should Be Less Than 10 Cents | Techdirt.com

WiFi Patent Troll Told That Each License Should Be Less Than 10 Cents | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've written a few times about patent troll Innovatio, which claims to hold some patents on WiFi, saying that anyone using WiFi (including home users) are infringing, though it has chosen "at this stage" not to sue home users. It is, however, going after tons of coffee shops, hotels, grocery stores and restaurants for offering WiFi, demanding $2,300 to $5,000 to settle. A year ago, we wrote about how a bunch of WiFi equipment manufacturers, including Cisco, Motorola and Netgear had teamed up to go after Innovatio. Not only do they contest the validity of the patents in question, but they highlight a ton of really questionable behavior by Innovatio and claim that the troll is involved in a form of racketeering. Among other accusations, the manufacturers note that Innovatio includes expired patents in its list that it threatens people over, and it leaves out that the patents are part of the WiFi standard, and there are commitments related to them that they'll be licensed on RAND (Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) terms.

The lawsuit is moving forward, and there was just a ruling on one key part of it. The court decided that before getting into everything else, it would try to determine what the RAND rate should be for the manufacturers (which are separate from the end-users like the coffee shops that Innovatio is going after). The idea is that having the rate set upfront might help the parties settle. Innovatio pushed (of course) to have the rate be calculated based on the price of the final product that was for sale. For example, it claimed that 10% of a laptops value is from WiFi (um, what?!?) and that its patents deserve to get 6% of the value of WiFi. This calculates down to them wanting $4.72 per laptop. The company has other prices for other items: $3.39 per WiFi access point, $16.17 per tablet and $36.90 per "inventory tracking device."


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NSA Trying Hard To Compromise Tor, But It's Still Mostly Safe | Techdirt.com

NSA Trying Hard To Compromise Tor, But It's Still Mostly Safe | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The latest from the Guardian out of the Ed Snowden leaks shows that the NSA and GCHQ have been trying desperately to target Tor, even though Tor is largely funded by the US government.


The good news is that they basically haven't been able to attack the underlying Tor network, but rather rely on exploits elsewhere, such as within Firefox to try to target certain individuals.


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Orange Poland Introduces 300Mbps Fiber Broadband, 119 TV Channels, Unlimited Calling - $64.50 a Month | Stop the Cap!

Orange Poland Introduces 300Mbps Fiber Broadband, 119 TV Channels, Unlimited Calling - $64.50 a Month | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Orange Poland has launched a new fiber to the home package that bundles 300Mbps broadband, 119 television channels, a Livebox 3.0 fiber-ready gateway, a whole-house DVR, and unlimited calling for $64.50 a month with a two-year contract.


The new service is now available to more than 14,000 homes in Warsaw and has gotten good reviews from about 1,000 beta test subscribers. Orange Poland says their fiber network is capable of faster Internet speeds, which it is considering introducing after the initial launch is complete.


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The Silk Road Is Dead. But Bitcoin Lives On | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com

The Silk Road Is Dead. But Bitcoin Lives On | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Two years ago, Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Joe Manchin sent a message to Attorney General Eric Holder and the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency: Shut down the Silk Road, they said.


Concerned by reports about a wide-open marketplace operating as a kind of stoner’s Amazon, the two senators demanded action. The Silk Road kept chugging along, but the senators’ June 8, 2011 letter had an immediate effect somewhere else: in the world of Bitcoin, the digital currency that helps drive the Silk Road.


Bitcoin prices promptly went over a cliff, dropping by two-thirds over the next three days. And they kept drifting downwards for months after that. The plunge seemed to confirm that the fates of the Silk Road and Bitcoin were intertwined.


Nobody really knew how big a part of the Bitcoin economy the Silk Road really played. But then the feds shuttered the Silk Road this past Wednesday, and now it’s pretty clear, thanks to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Christopher Tarbell, the special agent who signed the complaint against alleged Silk Road mastermind, Ross Ulbricht.


From February 2011 to July 2013, there were 1.2 million transactions on the site, accounting for 9.5 million bitcoins. That’s about 4 percent of the 225 million bitcoin transactions that happened on Bitcoin’s public block chain over the same period. The marketplace connected about 150,000 buyer accounts with just under 4,000 sellers.


That means that the Silk Road was a very big player in the Bitcoin world, but maybe not the giant that some suspected it was.


The relationship between Bitcoin and Ulbricht is clearer too, thanks to court documents that depict Ulbricht as a fan of Austrian Economic Theory and serious Bitcoin trader. According to prosecutors, Ulbricht was “Altoid,’ a frequent poster to Bitcoin forums. Altoid often boasted about buying low and selling high in Bitcoin exchanges. And when Silk Road launched, bitcoin was its only method of payment.


Since that time, legitimate bitcoin use has grown, and the bitcoin economy has diversified. There’s still a lot of gambling and speculation. But now you can buy groceries or electronics or cupcakes, or even pay for a cab with bitcoins


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Canadian Scientists Call Countrywide Protests Against Government Censorship, Found Advocacy Group | Techdirt.com

Canadian Scientists Call Countrywide Protests Against Government Censorship, Found Advocacy Group | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Back in April, we noted that the Canadian government has been trying to muzzle various groups in the country, including librarians and scientists. It now seems that some scientists have had enough, as the Guardian reports:


Researchers in 16 Canadian cities have called protests on Monday against science policies introduced under the government of Stephen Harper, which include rules barring government researchers from talking about their own work with journalists and, in some cases, even fellow researchers.


Nor are these just a one-off, since they build on earlier protests:


"The rallies, on university campuses and central locations in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver as well as other cities, will be the second set of protests in a year by government scientists against the Harper government's science policies.

Like last year, protesters have been asked to wear white lab coats on Monday.
"


There's also a new group called Scientists for the Right to Know:


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Anonymous Indictment Raises Serious Question: Is It Really A CFAA Violation To DDoS A Website? | Techdirt.com

Anonymous Indictment Raises Serious Question: Is It Really A CFAA Violation To DDoS A Website? | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Way back in the fall of 2010, we wrote about how it was a really dumb idea for people associating themselves with Anonymous to run a series of DDoS attacks, under the name "Operation Payback," focused on the RIAA, MPAA, US Copyright Office and other websites. The attacks were protesting attempts to take down The Pirate Bay, as well as a variety of other complaints about general acts of copyright maximalism and copyright trolling. As we noted, such attacks do a lot more harm than good. Either way, the feds have finally gotten around to indicting thirteen individuals for somehow participating in that fall spree of DDoS attacks. While the indictment tries to make it out like this is a big conspiracy, it's unclear how connected some of the various attacks are, as it appears (as is frequently the case with Anonymous) that some individuals simply chose some sites to DDoS on their own and announced they were doing it as Anonymous. It's difficult to see a conspiracy when there's no real connection.

That said, there's a much bigger question here. While DDoS attacks can be a nuisance, are they really criminal? In the midst of these attacks, we questioned if they were really criminal acts or more like the equivalent of a sit-in, in which people were disrupting a business for the sake of public protest. In fact, some people arrested for DDoS attacks have been making this claim in court -- and there was even a White House petition asking it to recognize DDoSing as a valid form of protest.


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Possible tech, health & economic development grants for rural communities | Blandin on Broadband

I’m in Lac qui Parle, MN this week doing social media training. I’ll post more on how that’s going next week. I’ll start by saying they keep a person hopping here, in a good but tiring way. People are really interested in learning how to better use the great infrastructure they have deployed here.


In the meantime, I figure most folks are interested in potential funding sources. I learned about these through GrantStation


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"A Corporate Trojan Horse": Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws | DemocracyNow!

"A Corporate Trojan Horse": Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws | DemocracyNow! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the federal government shutdown continues, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Asia for secret talks on a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


The TPP is often referred to by critics as "NAFTA on steroids," and would establish a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people — about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy.


While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto.


"This is not mainly about trade," says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. "It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establishing new powers for corporations."


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Verizon goes against the Grain with 700MHz B block sale | TeleGeography.com

Verizon Wireless has reportedly completed the sale of lower 700MHz B block licences covering Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham (all North Carolina) to Grain Management, for a cash consideration of USD189 million.


According to RCR Wireless, the carrier has also begun leasing from Grain Management a 1700MHz/2100MHz spectrum licence covering Dallas, which Grain previously acquired from AT&T.


The deal, which was first announced in February this year, forms part of the US mobile giant’s large-scale 700MHz spectrum sell-off, required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of Verizon’s USD3.9 billion purchase of a nationwide allocation of AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo – a joint venture between cablecos Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

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Facebook and Cisco partner to offer free Wi-Fi at stores | NetworkWorld.com

Facebook and Cisco partner to offer free Wi-Fi at stores | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cisco and Facebook have become unusual friends in a new collaboration that offers free Wi-Fi to consumers who "check in" to a participating business via a Facebook account.


The service, called Cisco Connected Mobile Experience with Facebook Wi-Fi, promises to give consumers quick access to Wi-Fi at airports, hotels and corner stores, according to officials and a Cisco blog posted Wednesday.


Instead of going through a sometimes painful process of finding and typing in a password for a Wi-Fi hotspot, a user with a smartphone, tablet or laptop could connect to a business's Wi-Fi router and get directed to the business's Facebook page. The user clicks a blue button and receives free Wi-Fi access, Cisco and Facebook officials explained in an interview Thursday. Facebook has also posted an FAQ to help users and businesses with the process.


For Cisco, the world's largest Wi-Fi equipment maker, the collaboration will expand Cisco's potential to sell businesses a network appliance called the Mobility Services Engine. Facebook, meanwhile, gains a huge boost in its ongoing attempts to bring local ads to the social network's more than 800 million monthly mobile users.


Businesses that set up the service, meanwhile, get access to anonymous, aggregated information on visitors to a store, such as age, gender and location. A mall, hotel, airport or store can also follow where the most users gather, for how long, and at what time of day to better offer them new products, coupons or promotions.


"It might look like an unusual marriage, but we've got the best of social networking and business intelligence combined," said Chris Spain, vice president of product management at Cisco.


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Hackers steal information on 2.9 million Adobe customers | NetworkWorld.com

Hackers steal information on 2.9 million Adobe customers | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Hackers broke into the internal computer network of Adobe Systems and stole information on 2.9 million customers, as well as source code for several of the company's products.


Adobe's security team discovered "sophisticated attacks" on the company's network "very recently," Brad Arkin, Adobe's chief security officer, said Thursday in a blog post announcing the incident.


So far, Adobe's investigation has revealed that attackers managed to access Adobe customer IDs and encrypted passwords, as well as obtain information on 2.9 million customers, including names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers with their expiration dates, and other customer order details.


"At this time, we do not believe the attackers removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers from our systems," Arkin said.


"Our investigation to date indicates that the cyber attackers removed certain customer information between September 11 and September 17, 2013," an Adobe spokeswoman said via email. As far as the timeline for the source-code compromise is concerned, the investigation is ongoing, she said.


It's not clear if the same attackers are responsible for the compromise of customer information and accounts and the theft of source code.


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