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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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Getting schools up to 21st-century speed | WashPost.com

Getting schools up to 21st-century speed | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When a student at Elliston Elementary in rural Montana logs onto her laptop for a remote lesson over the Internet, Tressa Graveley must ration the Web for the rest of her tiny school. The teacher tells other students to shut down their browsers and stop streaming video or there won’t be enough bandwidth for the eighth-grader’s lesson.


Elliston Elementary is on the wrong side of a new digital divide in this country. The school, decked out with laptops and whiteboards, hoped to harness the power of the Internet to break out of its isolation. But its connection is too slow to allow the 15 students and two teachers to fully use everything the digital world offers — videos, music, graphics, interactive programs.


But it’s not just rural school systems that are cut off from the digital world. An estimated 72 percent of public schools — in the countryside, suburbs and cities — lack the broadband speeds necessary to fully access the Internet, according to Education Superhighway, a nonprofit organization that wants to improve digital access in schools.


“Wiring schools has brought the Internet to the principal’s office or maybe a teacher’s desk,” said Evan Marwell, the chief executive of the group. “That’s five million administrators and teachers. But we need to move this technology into the learning process, and that means 55 million students.”


President Obama agrees, and proposed in June that all public schools receive high-speed broadband and wireless Internet service within five years. “In a country where we expect free WiFi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?” Obama said when he announced the initiative at a school in North Carolina.


The plan, called ConnectED, calls for the Department of Education to train teachers in the best ways to use technology in classroom instruction, an area that many agree is weak.


To fund ConnectED, the Obama administration wants the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the way the money is allocated and perhaps to increase the E-rate, a surcharge the government has added to telephone bills since 1997. E-rate funding provides schools and libraries with discounts of 20 percent to 90 percent on telecommunications costs. The allocation is based on need, with poor districts getting priority and a greater share of money. It is the federal government’s largest education technology program.


The FCC has been accepting input from the public about ways to update the E-rate program, and whether to increase the amount collected under the program. A decision probably will be made next year, observers say.


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100% of Verizon New Jersey Customers Should Have a Fiber Optic, 45 Mbps Bi-Directional Service: You Paid for It - And It's the Law. | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

100% of Verizon New Jersey Customers Should Have a Fiber Optic, 45 Mbps Bi-Directional Service: You Paid for It - And It's the Law. | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Here's the scorecard:


  • Every Verizon New Jersey business and residential customer, school and library, is entitled to an upgrade of their "copper wire" to a fiber optic landline that is part of the existing utility Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN)--It's the law.
  • This service should be capable of at 45 Mbps, uploading and downloading, which was the speed of broadband in 1993. It's the law.


Moreover, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and the New Jersey State Legislature should immediately start instituting measures to make this happen and make customers whole. Why?


  • We believe customers paid over $15 billion to Verizon New Jersey for these upgrades as excess charges (and tax perks) which was built into rates since the 1990's and the money continues to be collected. That's about $4000.00-$5000.00 per household.
  • The State lost an estimated $172-$225 billion in potential economic growth based on Verizon's own funded studies of the prosperity that would accrue if the state was rewired. However, the upgrades never happened.
  • Customers overpaid over $4 billion in excess cable costs - about $1,600.00-$1,925.00 a household, due to Verizon failing to bring cable competition. (The amount is derived from Verizon's own funded research.)
  • Verizon NJ has not upgraded about 1/3 of all municipalities and possibly 1/2 of all customers.
  • Residential phone customers may have paid for the development and deployment of FiOS cable TV.
  • An investigation into the pricing of broadband to schools and libraries should be initiated. Verizon's failure to upgrade the state also meant that Verizon could gouge educational institutions and charge outrageous prices for what should have been a commodity.
  • Finally, Verizon may have committed fraud and misrepresentation, as their annual infrastructure reports claimed that they were on schedule for deployment, when, in fact, none of the services existed.


What Happened in Jersey? It Would Even Make Tony Soprano Cry.


The Original Law - Opportunity New Jersey (ONJ) --- Is Still in Effect.


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Netflix And YouTube Account For Over 50% Of Peak Fixed Network Data In North America | Forbes.com

Netflix And YouTube Account For Over 50% Of Peak Fixed Network Data In North America | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix and YouTube together are responsible for the majority of peak fixed network data in North America, according to the “Global Internet Phenomena Report 2H2013“ report by Sandvine. Netflix is the top service based on peak fixed network downstream data at 31.62%.  YouTube is in second place at 18.69%. This means that the two video websites account for a combined 50.31% in downstream traffic within North America.


Because of the rise in video services like Netflix and YouTube, peer-to-peer file-sharing has dropped below 10% of total fixed traffic in North America for the first time ever. This can be compared to 60% eleven years ago and 31% five years ago. BitTorrent, the popular peer-to-peer file sharing protocol, now accounts for only 7.4% of aggregate peak fixed network data in North America.


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Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 12:46 AM

This is some very interesting data, BitTorrent and other P2P programs have had a hard downfall over the past few years.  Not only are the video streaming services responsible for this, but also many music services.  Pandora is the obvious top application right now, but there are also non-radio streaming programs such as Spotify that allow users to stream music in the exact same way Netflix lets you stream movies.  Unfortunately, not everyone is giving rights to their material to these companies. Unless you can provide access to every tv show, movie, or song ever made, piracy will continue to exist.

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Gigabit Internet in Portland: It's here, if you pick your spots | OregonLive.com

Gigabit Internet in Portland: It's here, if you pick your spots | OregonLive.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

And someday, maybe, we’ll have super-fast Internet.


For close to a decade the city has harbored ambitions for a fiber-optic network that tied residents to the Web at breathtaking speeds. Few people, strictly speaking, need “gigabit Internet,” a gold standard that offers connections fifty times faster than the current standard.


But that hasn’t stopped Portland from lusting after it in city-sponsored initiatives and grass-roots crusades in anticipation of a new class of technologies that would produce wondrous online video and other services over lightning-fast fiber optics.


Well, guess what: Gigabit Internet is here. But you’ve gotta pick your spots.


Rather than a massive project to string fiber up and down Portland’s streets, fiber is coming in drips and drabs, building by building – to parts of the Pearl District, in a handful of new apartments on the eastside and in a smattering of suburban developments.


It’s a modest step, not the grand gesture online advocates had envisioned. But in time it may get the job done, for some people at least, bringing faster Internet speeds to the Portland area.


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Verizon Admits Congestion Problems for Its LTE 4G Network in NYC, San Francisco, and Chicago | Stop the Cap!

Verizon Admits Congestion Problems for Its LTE 4G Network in NYC, San Francisco, and Chicago | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Wireless quietly admitted Tuesday its much-vaunted LTE network is suffering speed slowdowns so serious, some customers in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco are being randomly kicked off Verizon’s 4G network to slower 3G service until congestion eases.


Fran Shammo, Verizon’s chief financial officer, volunteered that online video was the likely culprit and he was surprised by usage growth well in excess of what Verizon predicted.


Current estimates from the company suggest Verizon’s LTE customers are responsible for 64% of all data traffic on Verizon’s wireless network nationwide. But in large cities, Shammo said traffic numbers are much higher.

“There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network to 3G because of capacity constraints,” Shammo admitted.


The sudden revelation Verizon now has insufficient capacity for its LTE service is a significant reversal for Shammo, who has repeatedly told investors Verizon has enough wireless spectrum for the next 4-5 years.


In May 2013, Shammo told investors attending the JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference:


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Idaho Wireless ISP Offers Unlimited 4G LTE “Family-Friendly” Internet Access Free for the First Year | Stop the Cap!

Idaho Wireless ISP Offers Unlimited 4G LTE “Family-Friendly” Internet Access Free for the First Year | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

An independent cell phone provider in Idaho has found a unique niche to innovate beyond offering traditional cell phone service by launching unlimited 20Mbps home broadband Internet access over its wireless 4G LTE network.


Syringa Wireless of Pocatello has launched a pilot LTE home fixed broadband trial that comes free for the first year if customers agree to buy the necessary equipment — a $300 wireless router. The service promises up to 20Mbps service, which represents a major improvement in communities where broadband speeds consistently rank among the slowest in the nation.


The pilot trial is open to residents in Rexburg, Ammon, Blackfoot, Chubbuck, Pocatello, Rupert, Burley, and Filer — all in Idaho. The company encourages those interested to sign up for the trial before the end of November.


Another innovation from Syringa is the company’s free “Family-Friendly Internet” option for residential, church, and business customers. It filters the Internet to block adult websites and claims not to slow down Internet connections.


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Western Union Foundation And Discovery Education Open Doors For High School Students | Sacramento Bee

Western Union Foundation And Discovery Education Open Doors For High School Students | Sacramento Bee | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Western Union Foundation, Discovery Education and the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) announced today the launch of  Open Doors: Unlock Your Future, a new online destination providing high school students, educators and families with high-quality tools and resources to help students prepare for their future through in-depth career exploration. The program represents the shared vision of its partners, who attribute the future success of America's youth to a solid educational foundation.


Designed to encourage high school students to explore and prepare for their future, the program encourages career-readiness through an expansive offering including:


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Confused about the spectrum debate? These two commercials will help. | WashPost.com

Confused about the spectrum debate? These two commercials will help. | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If all goes according to plan, next year the Federal Communications Commission will convert a big block of spectrum currently being used for television broadcasting to use for cellular service. Broadcasters will be paid to voluntarily relinquish their spectrum, which will then be auctioned off to wireless providers at a net profit to the U.S. Treasury.


One of the most important questions about this process is whether AT&T and Verizon, the nation's leading wireless companies, will be allowed to win the bulk of that spectrum. These companies have the deepest pockets and many observers believe that they would submit the highest bids. But some observers, including the Department of Justice, have warned that letting them win would represent a huge missed opportunity to increase competition in the wireless market.


T-Mobile, the nation's fourth-largest wireless carrier, argues that AT&T and Verizon's goal in acquiring spectrum would be less to expand their own networks than to prevent rivals such as T-Mobile from expanding theirs.


But Verizon's supporters have a clever retort. Leslie Marx, an economist at Duke University, produced a Verizon-sponsored white paper on the issue. And she points out that while T-Mobile's lobbying arm has been complaining about a shortage of spectrum, the company's television commercials have been portraying things very differently:


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UT: UTOPIA asks officials in Brigham City, Layton to sign non—disclosure forms | Standard-Examinar.com

UT: UTOPIA asks officials in Brigham City, Layton to sign non—disclosure forms | Standard-Examinar.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A number of city officials have signed non-disclosure agreements requested by UTOPIA before they were briefed on coming plans by the high-speed fiber-optic internet company.


The non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, are common in private industry. But UTOPIA, for Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, is a cooperative publicly owned by Brigham and 12 other cities.


Brigham is committed to $430,000 a year in bond payments for 25 years, issued as part of UTOPIA's late 1990s startup, officials said.

Layton is signed up to the tune of $2.1 million a year in bond payments for the fiber-optic company, officials said.


But officials in both towns agreed not to disclose details publicly of two sets of meetings with UTOPIA officials in recent weeks covering coming plans for the agency, long mired in the red.


Jason Roberts, Brigham's finance director, in September briefed the city council on the fact the company's operating losses, once at $3 million a year, are currently down to $2.4 million a year.


But of the secret meetings with UTOPIA on Nov. 4 in the city offices and a week earlier in Salt Lake City attended by he and other city officials who signed their NDAs, Roberts said he could only say the meetings were positive.


"I did not take it as bad news in any shape or form," Roberts said. "And it will be fully disclosed before any action is taken."


He said he couldn't predict when that action, in public, would be taken. He said he could say the NDA involved the interest of a third-party, relating to proprietary concerns about internal business operations.


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I was right: Phablets are taking over the world! | Tech Watch | NetworkWorld.com

I was right. Phablets are taking over the world! IDC's latest mobile market share research shows big Android gains. Can you guess the reason?


The latest smartphone research from IDC shows significant market share gains for Android in the third quarter of 2013, with Windows Phone also making gains even as Apple's iPhone lost market share.


Network World's Jon Gold runs down the numbers and addresses the impact of Samsung's dominance. But I was struck by the reason for Apple's troubles cited in Matt Hamblen's ComputerWorld story: Apple doesn't have a phablet!


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All about beamforming, the faster Wi-Fi you didn't know you needed | NetworkWorld.com

All about beamforming, the faster Wi-Fi you didn't know you needed | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Beamforming is one of those concepts that seem so simple that you wonder why no one thought of it before. Instead of broadcasting a signal to a wide area, hoping to reach your target, why not concentrate the signal and aim it directly at the target?


Sometimes the simplest concepts are the most difficult to execute, especially at retail price points. Fortunately, beamforming is finally becoming a common feature in 802.11ac Wi-Fi routers (at least at the high end). Here's how it works.


First, a bit of background: Beamforming was actually an optional feature of the older 802.11n standard, but the IEEE (the international body that establishes these standards) didn't spell out how exactly it was to be implemented. The router you bought might have used one technique, but if the Wi-Fi adapter in your laptop used a different implementation, beamforming wouldn't work.


Some vendors developed pre-paired 802.11n kits (with Netgear's WNHDB3004 Wireless Home Theater Kit being one of the best examples), but these tended to be expensive, and they never had much of an impact on the market.


The IEEE didn't make the same mistake with the 802.11ac standard that's in today's high-end devices. Companies building 802.11ac products don't have to implement beamforming, but if they do, they must do so in a prescribed fashion. This ensures that every company's products will work together. If one device (such as the router) supports beamforming, but the other (such as the Wi-Fi adapter in your router) doesn't, they'll still work together. They just won't take advantage of the technology.


Beamforming can help improve wireless bandwidth utilization, and it can increase a wireless network's range. This, in turn, can improve video streaming, voice quality, and other bandwidth- and latency-sensitive transmissions.


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Here comes WiGig: Cisco backs multi-gigabit addition to Wi-Fi | ComputerWorld.com

Here comes WiGig: Cisco backs multi-gigabit addition to Wi-Fi | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A high-frequency supplement to Wi-Fi that's several times faster than most of what's available now appears headed for enterprises through a partnership between Cisco Systems and a specialist in the technology.


The system, called WiGig or IEEE 802.11ad, uses 60GHz spectrum to reach theoretical speeds as high as 7Gbps (bits per second), over a shorter range than today's Wi-Fi technologies. That's a lot more speed: The fastest Wi-Fi system, 802.11ac, tops out at just over 1Gbps.


The Wi-Fi Alliance said in September that it expects to start certifying some WiGig products next year.


WiGig specialist Wilocity will work with Cisco to integrate the technology with Wi-Fi into enterprise infrastructure that can run on three radio bands, the companies announced on Wednesday. The tri-band networks will include WiGig in addition to the mainstream Wi-Fi systems that use the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum bands.


Their work together could include Cisco using Wilocity silicon in its enterprise access points, as well as the companies helping makers of devices to add WiGig, said Bob Friday, CTO for mobility in Cisco's enterprise networking group.


"If he thinks it's a good idea, it's going to happen," said Farpoint Group analyst Craig Mathias, referring to Friday and to Cisco's power in the wireless LAN infrastructure market. Cisco access points with Wilocity-powered 60GHz capability will ship, though it's not yet clear when, Mathias said.


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Should the NSA be reformed? Fierce debate rages | NetworkWorld.com

Should the NSA be reformed? Fierce debate rages | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There are now resounding calls to drastically change the secretive National Security Agency in the wake of the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Some advocate a completely re-made spy agency, others say moves that drastic would hurt national security.


It’s become a question of “reform” of the NSA, but Congress is divided on how to tackle this and a report from the Presidentially-appointed committee looking into that question is not likely to appear until year end at the earliest. Some lawmakers in the House and Senate are advocating changes to stop some kinds of surveillance and information collection by the NSA. But others think the issue isn’t NSA but Snowden, whom they call a traitor for supplying NSA documents he stole by hacking what was supposed to be the NSA’s super-secure network.


Calls for new restraints on the NSA are coming from the U.S. high-tech industry--particularly Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo--which have been stung by revelations on how closely they must work under current law to supply customer data to the NSA. New accusations are now springing forth in the media that the NSA has been quietly intercepting large data chunks on its own anyway.


On the diplomatic front, America’s global allies, especially Germany, are furious to find out that the NSA spied on their government leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, something seen as not just a betrayal of trust but also perhaps of democracy itself.


What’s also believed now is that Snowden, who fled to Russia, holds about 10,000 documents related to traditional espionage against Russia and China that could have huge impact in global politics if passed on or made public. One security vendor, Venafi, this week offered its own opinion on how Snowden, a contractor at Booz Allen who seems to have had a systems administrator role at the NSA, got so much data out of the NSA network without being noticed.


Jeff Hudson, CEO at Venafi, says Snowden likely elevated his privileges by generating SSH keys to use them to get access to other servers. “He then used that SSH key to get access to another,” said Hudson. SSH keys allow for authentication and encrypted file transfer, but tracking SSH keys in use can be a problem. “Why doesn’t the NSA just come out and say that happened?”


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Foundation media support rises—but can it grow even faster? | KnightFoundation.org

Foundation media support rises—but can it grow even faster? | KnightFoundation.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In 2011, the Federal Communications Commission released the biggest national look at media policy in a generation. “Information Needs of Communities,” based on the Knight Commission of the same name, declared a crisis in local accountability journalism. Part of the remedy, lead author Steve Waldman wrote, was for philanthropists to increase their support for journalism. “An essential first step,” he said, would be to start measuring foundation media grant-making.


That step came today with the release of “Growth in Foundation Support for Media in the United States,” the most comprehensive study yet done on foundation media grant-making. To me, its findings are both a cause for celebration and a call to action.


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Our Government Has Weaponized the Internet. Here's How They Did It | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

Our Government Has Weaponized the Internet. Here's How They Did It | Wired Opinion | Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The internet backbone — the infrastructure of networks upon which internet traffic travels — went from being a passive infrastructure for communication to an active weapon for attacks.


According to revelations about the QUANTUM program, the NSA can “shoot” (their words) an exploit at any target it desires as his or her traffic passes across the backbone. It appears that the NSA and GCHQ were the first to turn the internet backbone into a weapon; absent Snowdens of their own, other countries may do the same and then say, “It wasn’t us. And even if it was, you started it.”


If the NSA can hack Petrobras, the Russians can justify attacking Exxon/Mobil. If GCHQ can hack Belgicom to enable covert wiretaps, France can do the same to AT&T. If the Canadians target the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Chinese can target the U.S. Department of the Interior. We now live in a world where, if we are lucky, our attackers may be every country our traffic passes through except our own.


Which means the rest of us — and especially any company or individual whose operations are economically or politically significant — are now targets. All cleartext traffic is not just information being sent from sender to receiver, but is a possible attack vector.


Here’s how it works.


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The internet of things: A consumer's perspective (and manifesto) about standards and openness | GigaOM Tech News

The internet of things: A consumer's perspective (and manifesto) about standards and openness | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the last year I’ve gone from 12 connected devices in my home to about 50. As I’ve tried out different systems and ripped stuff on and off the walls I’ve spent about $3,000 worth of my own money and reviewed maybe $6,000 worth of equipment from hubs to sensors to connected toothbrushes (that last one wasn’t worth it). And in this last year my perspective has shifted with regard to the goals and questions we should be asking about connected devices.


The IEEE asked me to speak at a roundtable discussion held in Los Gatos (see picture above for the location!) on Thursday, so I trundled through the hills of California in my rental car clutching my MacBook and a hastily composed presentation, hoping that my ideas might offer some perspective for the group’s standards-setting agenda around the internet of things.


I thought it might be worth sharing my presentation below, with a bit of an explainer. Most of the stuff I talked about — the challenges of discoverability, creativity, programming, and “protocol drama” — I’ve covered here on the site and on the internet of things podcast. For example, when I talked about the challenge of accountability in what have essentially become federated services, I used the example of my malfunctioning Hue light and IFTTT recipe I discussed with Kevin Tofel on Tuesday’s podcast.


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New Priorities for E-rate Funding? | Benton Foundation

New Priorities for E-rate Funding? | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission created the E-Rate program in response to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which required the FCC and the states to ensure that affordable, quality, telecommunications services are available to all Americans.


At the time, the FCC provided eligible schools and libraries discounts on the purchase of all commercially available telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections. The discounts range from 20% to 90%, with the higher discounts being provided to the most disadvantaged schools and libraries and those in high cost areas. Total support for schools and libraries was capped.


In addition, the FCC created a two-tier priority system to encourage the use of E-Rate funding for basic Internet connectivity.


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Netflix Overhauls the On-Screen Experience for TV-Connected Devices, Smart TVs | Stop the Cap!

Netflix Overhauls the On-Screen Experience for TV-Connected Devices, Smart TVs | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix today announced a major overhaul of how its customers navigate the online service over Smart TVs or TV-connected devices like game consoles, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players.


“Today we are excited to unveil the biggest update in Netflix history to our TV experience,” said Chris Jaffe, vice president of product innovation. “This update improves the Netflix TV for Netflix members around the world and for the first time extends rich features to platforms such as Roku, Smart TV and Blu-ray players as well as PlayStation and Xbox 360.”


Most of the changes involve the on-screen interface, which becomes more animated and interactive. Improved graphics include three large images for each show more in context with a specific title. An improved synopsis gives you more detail about a show and why Netflix recommends you watch, based on your configured personal preferences. Social network interactivity is also prominent, allowing you to see if any friends have viewed a title before you.


A major improvement is an enhanced search engine, allowing searches by title, actor, or director. The search interface is more TV-screen friendly as well.


Other features:


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Verizon Declares Cord Cutting 'Real'; Under 30 Crowd Doesn't Care About Linear TV | Stop the Cap!

Verizon Declares Cord Cutting 'Real'; Under 30 Crowd Doesn't Care About Linear TV | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cord-cutting is a real, measurable phenomena and is especially common among those under 30 who don’t care about traditional cable television service.


Those are the views of Verizon’s chief financial officer Fran Shammo, speaking this week at the Wells Fargo 2013 Tech, Media & Telecom Conference in New York.


Shammo told investors Verizon FiOS subscriber numbers showed the company has an excellent position in the broadband market because it is the only national provider other than Google offering fiber-to-the-home service.


“Broadband is absolutely key,” said Shammo. “Most of our customers are taking our 50Mbps [FiOS Quantum] or higher speed and part of that is because you need that speed inside the home [to support] your wireless devices that run off of Wi-Fi. If you’re running hot water with five people, you are eventually going to slow down the hot water and it is going to run cold. The same thing happens when you are running five wireless devices over your Wi-Fi network.”


Shammo said as more online video becomes available people will gradually shift more of their viewing time away from traditional television.


“We’re also seeing fewer people taking [our cable television] product,” said Shammo. “They really want the broadband speed and if you look at the demographics, those 30 and below don’t care if they have linear TV. They are looking at getting their content through other means.”


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MN: Cooperatives for Broadband? A primer on an option for rural areas | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Cooperatives for Broadband? A primer on an option for rural areas | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cooperatives are an important part of Minnesota’s economic and cultural history and, for those in attendance at the Co-op= Community Development Conference last Friday, a path to future community vitality.  I felt lucky to attend.  Mark Ritchie, MN Secretary of State was the keynote speaker and talked about the link between Minnesota’s long standing culture of community engagement, voting, volunteerism and our standing as the land of cooperatives.  Kudos to Secretary Ritchie for sticking around and participating in small group round table discussions after his speech proving that learning is a two-way street.


Here are some key things that I learned on Friday.  As I write this, I do not have access to the agenda and don’t have full names and affiliations – sorry about that!


There is growing interest in the cooperative movement by students.  Online courses on Co-ops are now emerging.


According to Ruby, there are six myths about co-ops.


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Chattanooga, TN: Female business leaders announce angel fund to support women entrepreneurs | Nooga.com

Chattanooga, TN: Female business leaders announce angel fund to support women entrepreneurs | Nooga.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At Wednesday's Spirit of Innovation Awards, a group of female leaders announced a new project called The JumpFund, which is a women’s angel fund. 


Seven local female leaders with The JumpFund announced they are working to raise $2 million in capital by spring 2014.


"Our investments will create an opportunity for women in our community and region to bring their strengths to the table," partner Tiffanie Robinson said in a prepared statement. "The JumpFund will change the economic landscape, the number of successful entrepreneurs, and increase the number of gender-diverse teams in our backyard."


They will invest women's capital in female-led companies with growth potential in an effort to generate strong financial returns and elevate the role of women in business. 


Managing partner Kristina Montague, who most recently served as assistant dean of external affairs at UTC, said Wednesday during the announcement that too few women lead companies that make more than $1 million in revenue a year. And too few companies that get venture capital funds are run by women. 


So a couple years ago, JumpFund leaders began asking, "Where are the women?"


And The JumpFund is an effort to make the Gig City a better place for female entrepreneurs by connecting them with capital. The founders want to make Chattanooga and the Southeast the country's best place for women to start a business. 


Founders of the venture capital organization have plans to build a portfolio of 10 to 12 high-growth companies in the next three years. 


All the investors will be women, and the companies that receive the capital will have female leaders who own a significant amount of the company.


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Facebook's new data center in Iowa to be fully powered by wind | GigaOM Tech News

Facebook's new data center in Iowa to be fully powered by wind | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet giants continue to increase their commitments to using clean power to run their data centers. On Wednesday Facebook will announce that when its fourth data center is built in Iowa, and starts serving traffic in 2015, it will be entirely run off the power of a nearby wind farm.


Local utility MidAmerican Energy will build, own and operate the 138 MW wind farm, which will be built in 2014 in Wellsburg, Iowa. The data center, which will be built close by in Altoona, Iowa, will use a similar energy efficient design as Facebook’s other data centers based on its Open Compute architecture in Oregon, North Carolina and Sweden.


Facebook said one of the reasons it chose Iowa as a good location for the data center is because of the ability to use local clean power in the state. Iowa has strong wind resources, and around a quarter of the power in the state comes from wind. Using clean power as a determining factor for siting the location of a data center is an new and just emerging trend.


Facebook has a goal to have a quarter of its global data center energy consumption come from clean power by 2015. Google, Apple, Microsoft, eBay and many others are experimenting with various ways to add in clean power, too.


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Researchers find way to increase range of wireless frequencies in smartphones | NetworkWorld.com

Researchers find way to increase range of wireless frequencies in smartphones | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Researchers have found a new way to tune the radio frequency in smartphones and other wireless devices that promises to reduce costs and improve performance of semiconductors used in defense, satellite and commercial communications.


Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC) and Northeastern University in Boston presented the research findings at the 58th Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference in Denver this week.


Nian Sun, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Northeastern, said he's been working on the process since 2006, when he received National Science Foundation grants for the research.

"In September, we had a breakthrough," he said in a telephone interview. "We didn't celebrate with champagne exactly, but we were happy."


The research progressed through a series of about 20 stages over the past seven years. It wasn't like the hundreds of failures that the Wright brothers faced in coming up with a working wing design, but there were gradual improvements at each stage, he said.


Today, state-of-the art radio frequency circuits in smartphones rely on tuning done with radio frequency (RF) varactors, a kind of capacitor. But the new process allows tuning in inductors as well, which could enhance a smartphone's tunable frequency range from 50% to 200%, Sun said. Tuning is how a device finds an available frequency to complete a wireless transmission. It's not very different from turning a dial on an FM radio receiver to bring in a signal.


Capacitors and inductors work in electronic circuits to move electrons; inductors change the direction of electrons in a circuit, while capacitors do not.


Most smartphones use 15 to 20 frequency channels to make connections, but the new inductors made possible by the research will potentially more than double the number of channels available on a smartphone or other device. The new inductors are a missing link long sought for in ways to upgrade the RF tunable frequency range in a tuned circuit.


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Update: AT&T and Verizon won't charge for Philippines disaster calls and texts | ComputerWorld.com

Update: AT&T and Verizon won't charge for Philippines disaster calls and texts | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T and Verizon Wireless said Tuesday they won't charge wireless customers for calls and texts from the U.S. to the Philippines over the next few weeks to help with relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.


Verizon also said it is giving $100,000 to the American Red Cross Philippines Typhoon Appeal Fund, while AT&T is giving $25,000 to AmeriCares for relief and Sprint is giving $25,000 to the American Red Cross. Those efforts come amid reports of food and water shortages after the typhoon swept through the island nation last week. Nearly 2,000 people have been confirmed dead; that number is expected to rise further.


Verizon said it is going to waive charges for wireless calls, texts and multimedia messages to and from the Philippines from Nov. 8 to Dec. 7 and for all wired long-distance calls to the Philippines during that period. The waiver applies to conventional "post-pay" customers that make up the majority of the subscribers.


Earlier Tuesday, AT&T said that customers on its post-paid plans will not be charged for calls or texts from Nov. 8 to Nov. 30. AT&T's wired customers, including those on its U-verse service, will not be charged for up to 60 minutes of direct-dial calling to the Philippines for the same dates. They will either see no charge for the calls on their monthly statements or receive a credit in a later statement.


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The Internet of things needs a lot of work | NetworkWorld.com

The Internet of things needs a lot of work | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mobile connected devices may make life easier for consumers in the long run, but today they present a bundle of user headaches, a panel of industry leaders said Tuesday.


Smart homes, Internet-connected cars and wearable devices represent the next generation of mobile gear beyond smartphones. The new systems will coexist with phones for at least the next few years, though given the changes that have occurred since the iPhone's introduction in 2007, it's hard to predict what mobile will look like 10 years from now.


But beyond convenience and the cool factor, it's still often a chore to live with these devices, and it doesn't get easier as they proliferate, panelists at the Open Mobile Summit said.


"We're about to hit the ceiling of what people are willing to babysit," said Mark Rolston, chief creative officer at Frog Design. "How many devices do you want to try and keep alive and awake throughout the day?"


Managing devices is also the biggest worry for Ro McNally, vice president of device technology at Verizon Wireless. It's a challenge both for systems engineering and for the subscriber's experience, she said.


Between linking devices, entering passwords, managing home Wi-Fi and dealing with corporate IT departments at work, connected life is already hard for some consumers, Rolston said.


"They are network admins, by accident," he said. That's created a business opportunity for someone to take over those tasks as a virtual service, he said.


There was some praise for connected devices. Jan Uddenfeldt, senior technology advisor to Sony's CEO, called the company's SmartWatch "something you can actually use" -- in its current iteration.


But there are still too many challenges for users, according to Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of product management at Google's Motorola Mobility subsidiary.


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