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FCC Mulls How Spectrum Auction Will Work | TVNewsCheck.com

The first “incentive auction” to clear some broadcast TV spectrum for sale to wireless operators is on the fast-track, but there are still important details to be worked out on just how the process will work so that enough broadcasters are willing to participate.

 

FCC officials spelled out some of the financial options in a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) webcast Monday and urged listeners to file comments as the commission works to write rules for the auction.

 

Just how the price to be paid to broadcasters willing to go off the air, relocate from UHF to VHF or possibly accept additional interference (a possibility still up for consideration) will be set is key to making the auction process work.

 

Speaking on the PwC webcast, William Lake, chief of the FCC's Media Bureau, spelled out two options.

 

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Fixing Copyright: Is Copyright A Part Of Free Market Capitalism? | Techdirt

Fixing Copyright: Is Copyright A Part Of Free Market Capitalism? | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Continuing our series of posts concerning the Republican Study Committee report on the problems of the copyright system and how to fix them (which it quickly retracted under industry pressure), today we're going to explore the second "myth" that author Derek Khanna helped debunk: that "copyright is free market capitalism at work." We've already covered the first myth, about the purpose of copyright, as well as responded to various responses to the report by copyright maximalists.

 

That response feeds nicely into this post, because the whole argument that copyright is "free market capitalism" depends almost entirely on the key claim of maximalists: that copyright is property, full stop. However, as we noted in our response, copyright has both property-like attributes and many non-property-like attributes. And it's when you look at the actual market that you have to recognize that those non-property-like attributes start to stand out. The only way you can argue that copyright is free market capitalism at work is to flat out ignore the ways in which copyright is unlike property.

 

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OH: Fibertech Networks to double Columbus fiber-optic network | Columbus Business First

OH: Fibertech Networks to double Columbus fiber-optic network | Columbus Business First | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Fibertech Networks LLC said it will double its Columbus fiber-optic network footprint and branch into Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo for the first time.

 

The Rochester, N.Y.-based network provider plans to add between 100 and 150 route miles of fiber in Columbus with suburban and downtown connections, said Mike Hurley, vice president of sales and marketing.

 

He would not disclose the amount of the investment, but said the company would likely add between five and 10 employees in Columbus and each of the Ohio markets as it rolls out the infrastructure.

 

“This is a major expansion for Fibertech and a critical step in our development as one of the largest and fastest growing metro fiber providers in the Eastern U.S.,” CEO John Purcell said in a statement. “We already have major anchor tenant agreements in place in each of these markets, accelerating our position as a leading alternative access provider in Ohio.”

 

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MA: When will we get the smart grid we deserve? | Boston.com

MA: When will we get the smart grid we deserve? | Boston.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There is a lot of cool innovation related to the smart grid. And it is sorely needed because our current electrical grid barely uses IT, or any of the smart ideas that start-up companies have come up with. Of course, in 2001 the National Academy of Engineering famously declared the electrical grid “the single most important engineering achievement of the 20th century,” and yet in 2012 it already seems clunky. The losses in the system are immense, and we keep huge amounts of power on standby all year for a few hours of heatwave in the summer. We have difficulties integrating renewable energy, and very few end consumers have a clue what they are paying for.

 

We could have smart phone apps telling us exactly which appliances use what power, and we could turn off those that leak our money while we don't pay attention. We could program washing machines to wash when electricity is cheap. We could charge our vehicles when electricity is cheap. Utilities could monitor their wires and transformer stations, dispatching repair personnel as soon as there is a problem – indeed, they could monitor their assets for signs of trouble and do repairs early.

 

Why have the utilities running the transmission and distribution wires not adopted IT, the way most other aspects of our lives have? Because the grid operates neither like a branch of government, nor like a business. It is a mix, but it does not select the best of both worlds.

 

It would be nonsense to attempt to frame the question in partisan terms of more or less regulation, or indeed of more or less government. Energy transmission and distribution are natural monopolies – it simply makes no sense to duplicate ugly electrical wires. Imagine if competing utilities all put up their own competing wires. With such monopolies you simply need regulation; there is no way around that.

 

That regulation needs to be smart, enabling innovation. The track record shows that regulation has not been smart. It is encouraging that the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Electric Grid Modernization Working Group is taking the bull by the horns to address this thorny issue, and invited the public to discuss it. A kickoff meeting took place on Nov 14, 2012, and a working group will develop a report to be presented to the DPU by June 2013.

 

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eircom could be hurt by Ireland government's move to end free voice services | FierceTelecom

eircom could be hurt by Ireland government's move to end free voice services | FierceTelecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

eircom on Monday said it could be facing further trouble if Ireland's government decides to go ahead with plans to cut free phone service for elderly residents.

 

The government, according to a report in The Irish Times, is looking to reduce costs in its budget by cutting benefits to the elderly such as electricity, gas and telephone allowances.

 

A possible cut in the phone service program could have a large financial effect on eircom, which currently gets about 60 percent of the €100 million ($130.1 million) from the government.

 

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American cities to Millennials: Don't leave | USA TODAY

American cities to Millennials: Don't leave | USA TODAY | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The hot pursuit of young professionals has been at the core of American cities' urban revival for more than a decade. It worked. They came, they played, they stayed.

 

An urban renaissance unfolded as the number of people living in America's downtowns soared, construction of condos and loft apartments boomed and once-derelict neighborhoods thrived. In many of the largest cities in the most-populous metropolitan areas, downtown populations grew at double-digit rates from 2000 to 2010, according to the Census.

 

Now, cities face a new demographic reality: The young and single are aging and having children. If the pattern of the past 50 years holds, they might soon set their sights on suburbia.

 

"We know young people move the most," says Richard Florida, whose book The Rise of the Creative Class published 10 years ago helped spark the wooing of young professionals to revive declining urban centers. "So capturing people early on in their lives in a metro really matters. It's important to compete with suburbs for people once they get a little older and have children."

 

The older they get, the less likely people are to live in cities, according to recent Census data. The peak age for urban living is 25 to 27, when 20% of that age group are nestled in urban centers. By the age of 41, about a quarter have moved to the suburbs.

 

Cities recognize this looming challenge and are bracing for the maturing of a generation that sought out coffeehouses, hip entertainment venues and small flats but now is starting to demand soccer fields, good schools and roomy homes.

 

Hanging on to residents as they age, make more money and have kids is a plus for cities because it strengthens and stabilizes the tax base while creating an involved constituency. Plus, it's a return on the investment they made to woo young people in the first place — concert halls, sports arenas, bike trails and more.

 

The stakes are high because the oldest of 86 million Millennials are turning 30 this year, a time when many marry and start families. This giant demographic wave is even larger than the 77 million-strong Baby Boomers that have dominated social and cultural trends for decades.

 

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$1.5 Billion In Taxpayer Funds Go Directly To Movie Studios Each Year... And Very Few Jobs Created | Techdirt

$1.5 Billion In Taxpayer Funds Go Directly To Movie Studios Each Year... And Very Few Jobs Created | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you've been following MPAA boss Chris Dodd ever since the death of SOPA, you'll be aware of his stump speech. He seems to give it every chance he can: "the movie industry is all about jobs, jobs and more jobs." Of course, he lies about the number. He usually trots out his favorite 2.1 million figure, ignoring the fact that the Congressional Research Service showed it's really 374,000 people employed in the movie business.

 

What isn't mentioned so much (though, it depends on the audience) is the fact that various tax subsidies that different states pay to movie studios means that $1.5 billion in taxpayer money goes straight to Hollywood studios. Perhaps that would be justifiable if it created jobs. But the evidence there is actually lacking. That link involves the NY Times looking closely at Michigan, which not too long ago put in place massive subsidies for Hollywood to make movies in their state. The cost? Suffering Michigan citizens foot the bill. However, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm thought it was worth it because a local movie director wanted more work at home (and because, when she was younger, she had hoped to be a movie star). Lots of studios are looking to make movies in Michigan now, because the cash back from the state is way too lucrative to pass up.

 

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Clueless officials hamper cybersecurity law-making | ZDNet

Clueless officials hamper cybersecurity law-making | ZDNet | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Governments need to determine the purpose of any proposed cybersecurity law and what problems it is supposed to address before approving the legislation. Those that fail to do so will experience backlash from their citizens, which is something countries such as the Philippines and India are going through.

 

Dan Auerbach, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said a good piece of cybersecurity legislation is one that is careful, well-researched, specific, and with consideration for citizens' freedom of expression and privacy.


However, in many countries, there is often a lack of clarity surrounding the issues that the law is supposed to resolve. This is due to the lack of technical understanding on the part of lawmakers, Auerbach noted.

 

For instance, in today's security climate, there are cyberattacks and online crimes. The former involves sophisticated malware introduced to the networks of mission-critical systems to damage them irreparably, while the latter involve perpetrators using scam Web sites to steal small amounts of money from people.

 

These are two separate issues that require different solutions, and enacting a bill to try and address both is equivalent to having an open-ended bill entitled "Combating crime: terrorism, shoplifting", he pointed out.

 

Auerbach also spoke out against laws looking to attribute actions on the Web to an individual, noting it is "absurd" to assume this and how the Internet is a space for people to speak anonymously.

 

"Such outlandish proposals often come from uninformed politicians looking for easy answers, but the reality is their implementation will be incredibly dangerous to citizens," he said.

 

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AT&T's $14 Billion 'Bribe' or How the Media Got It Wrong | Huff Post Blog

AT&T's $14 Billion 'Bribe' or How the Media Got It Wrong | Huff Post Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Nov. 7, 2012, AT&T announced that it would be spending $14 billion to upgrade their wireless and wireline networks. And yet, in fact, AT&T is only spending about $5 billion extra over the next three years, about 8 percent above their 2010-2011 expenditures, if that much. Moreover, on the same day, AT&T filed a petition with the FCC to remove most remaining telecom regulations, using these upgrades as a carrot.

 

More to the point, history shows that AT&T's broadband deployments are rarely, if ever fulfilled once the company receives the regulatory benefits.

 

Curious to see what others had written about this, I simply typed "AT&T $14 billion" into a search engine and found these stories:

 

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Internet of Everything: It’s the Connections that Matter | Cisco Blog

Internet of Everything: It’s the Connections that Matter | Cisco Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It is important to understand that the real value of the Internet of Everything (IoE) lies in both the number and value of connections.

 

To illustrate this point, consider the following scenario. When your car becomes connected to the Internet of Everything in the near future, it will simply increase the number of things on the Internet by 1. Now, think about the numerous other elements to which your car could be connected—other cars, stoplights, your home, service personnel, weather reports, warning signs, and even the road itself. It is from these multiple connections that your driving experience will become better than it is today. You will be safer, more informed and entertained, arrive on time, and even save on fuel and maintenance costs as you travel to your destination.

 

It’s the connections that matter most.

 

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How we read, not what we read, may be contributing to our information overload | Nieman Journalism Lab

How we read, not what we read, may be contributing to our information overload | Nieman Journalism Lab | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every day, a new app or service arrives with the promise of helping people cut down on the flood of information they receive. It’s the natural result of living in a time when an ever-increasing number of news providers push a constant stream of headlines at us every day.

 

But what if it’s the ways we choose to read the news — not the glut of news providers — that make us feel overwhelmed? An interesting new study out of the University of Texas looks at the factors that contribute to the concept of information overload, and found that, for some people, the platform on which news is being consumed can make all the difference between whether you feel overwhelmed.

 

The study, “News and the Overloaded Consumer: Factors Influencing Information Overload Among News Consumers” was conducted by Avery Holton and Iris Chyi. They surveyed more than 750 adults on their digital consumption habits and perceptions of information overload. On the central question of whether they feel overloaded with the amount of news available, 27 percent said “not at all”; everyone else reported some degree of overloaded.

 

Holton and Chyi asked about the use of 15 different technology platforms and checked for correlation with feeling overloaded with information. Three showed a positive correlation as predictors of overload: computers, e-readers, and Facebook. Two showed a negative correlation: television and the iPhone. The rest — which included print newspapers, Twitter, iPads, netbooks, and news magazines, among others — showed no statistically significant correlations.

 

The mention of netbooks — that declining form factor — raises an important factor about the study: Its survey took place in 2010, which was like another world when it comes to news consumption platforms. The iPad was brand new; Android was just starting its rapid growth. The kind of early(ish) adopter who was using Twitter or a Kindle in 2010 is likely to be different from the broader user base those platforms have in 2012.

 

What the findings suggest, Holton said, is that the news platforms a person is using can play a bigger role in making them feel overwhelmed than the sheer number of news sources being consumed.

 

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Smart Grid, Meters, No Magic Bullet for Damage Done by Major Storms | NJ Spotlight

Smart Grid, Meters, No Magic Bullet for Damage Done by Major Storms | NJ Spotlight | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, some policymakers and legislators say the state needs to create a smarter power grid, making the system more resilient and quicker to recover from major storms.

 

According to experts speaking yesterday at an event in Trenton sponsored by the New Jersey Energy Coalition, a smarter grid would help restore power to many -- but not all -- customers in less time. But it is not a panacea to cure all the problems created by such storms.

 

But there is no question that New Jersey, as well as the rest of the nation, ought to take steps to modernize its power grid, they argued.

 

“Without these advanced technologies, we’re not going to meet the demand of the future,’’ predicted Karen Lefkowitz, vice president of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI), the energy conglomerate that owns Atlantic City Electric, one of four electric utilities in the state.

 

A smart grid is viewed by proponents as a planned nationwide network that uses information technology to deliver electricity more efficiently and reliably -- so much so that advocates have called it “electricity with a brain.’’

 

Its benefits apply to both consumers and utilities. For customers, it could lead to fewer and shorter service interruptions during major storms. It could also mean lower bills thanks to reduced demands for electricity. For utilities, it could improve grid reliability and diminish the need for expensive capital transmission projects.

 

A smarter grid also is crucial to integrating cleaner sources of electricity, such as solar and wind, into the overall power supply because both technologies are intermittent sources of energy. They need to be backed up by more conventional supplies until better storage technologies for renewables are developed.

 

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First Amendment Concerns About Internet Radio Bill Not Just Overblown But Completely Backwards | Techdirt

First Amendment Concerns About Internet Radio Bill Not Just Overblown But Completely Backwards | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I've been tossing around a longish blog post about some of the controversy concerning the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA) over the past month or so, but haven't had a chance to put it all down in a blog post. I did, however, wish to pick up on a small thread that got a brief spark of attention from some people who don't seem to understand legal stuff in the slightest. It started with musician David Lowery (you may remember him from past nonsensical rampages) claiming that Section 5 of the bill muzzled free speech and thus violated the First Amendment. This isn't just wrong. It's completely backwards. But the language and history here is a bit complex, so let's dig in a bit.

 

First off, you have to understand that the amounts that satellite and internet radio pay for a "performance right" for broadcasting songs is not (generally) an individually negotiated rate, but rather is set by the Copyright Royalty Board, using a variety of questionable standards. As we've noted in the past, the CRB is notoriously bad at setting reasonable rates -- and part of that is because part of its very charter is to block disruptive innovation if it has an impact on "generally prevailing industry practices." Thus, it tends to set rates super high.

 

This is exceptionally bad for innovation, competition and for artists in the long run, though I'll get to that in another post. One thing that it more or less ensures is that these industries will be dominated by a very small number of super large players, because no one else will be able to afford the rates -- and this effectively locks in the top guys. That's what's happened, as you have Sirius dominating satellite radio and Pandora dominating internet radio. But the rates are so crazy that it's difficult to impossible for these companies to ever be profitable.

 

We'll get back to that in a moment. But, now, go ahead and read the full text of the bill if you'd like. For this discussion, jump over to Section 5, entitled "Promotion of a Competitive Marketplace." The section is relatively short.

 

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Verizon attack on Internet misguided | SFGate

Verizon attack on Internet misguided | SFGate | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon takes the prize for most outrageous claim of a First Amendment right. Its challenge to the 2010 Federal Communications Commission rule that requires an open Internet - effectively preventing the companies that provide online connections from censoring or favoring content - as an abridgement of Verizon's free speech.

 

If Verizon's argument as presented to a federal appeals court holds, then the constitutional guarantee of "free speech" suddenly would include the right to suppress someone else's ability to transmit or receive information.

 

"The word 'irony' does not do it justice," Reed Hundt, FCC chair from 1993 to 1997, said of Verizon's free-speech play. Hundt recently wrote a brief against Verizon's attempt to torpedo the FCC's "net neutrality" rule.

 

Verizon's argument, absurd on its face, veers to the bizarre when it tries to compare the role of broadband service provider to that of a newspaper.

 

Verizon suggests in its federal court filing that broadband providers possess "editorial discretion" - and should be free to feature some content over others, or exclude content, just as a newspaper decides what is and is not fit for publication.

 

Such an argument, of course, misses the essence of the Internet, which is to allow the user to act as his or her own editor in deciding what is of interest.

 

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NJ: Hoping to pull the plug on power outages | NJBIZ

NJ: Hoping to pull the plug on power outages | NJBIZ | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The days following Hurricane Sandy were good days for generator sales, but as the state begins to rebuild, one New Jersey firm is hoping companies and governments take a more comprehensive approach to keeping the lights on.

 

"The idea of blackout power outages was sort of like an idea to most people, but when it actually happens, it can be really painful, especially for businesses that haven't really prepared for it," said Darren Hammell, co-founder and executive vice president for business development at Princeton Power Systems, in Lawrenceville.

 

Hammell's 11-year-old company designs and manufactures advanced inverters that give clients the flexibility to harness a wide array of technologies, including solar, power storage batteries, wind power and diesel generators.

 

"Your standard inverter has the capacity to do one thing — it will hook up to a solar array, or you could hook it up to a battery bank," said Amanda Scaccianoce, the company's marketing and communications administrator. "Our inverters have the ability to do multiple things at once."

 

The outgrowth of that capability has been an emergence by Princeton Power as a leader in so-called microgrids. The relatively new term refers to a self-sustaining energy system designed to provide benefits whether or not it's connected to the wider electric grid. A typical grid might include a solar array, storage batteries and a backup generator. Those batteries can be discharged to ease demand on substations at times of peak use, but the system also can be taken off the electrical grid to provide power during outages.

 

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Panduit and Avago Technologies Partner to Guarantee 550m Multimode Fiber Reach at 40Gb/s | Bloomberg

Panduit, the global leader in physical infrastructure solutions, and AvagoTechnologies, a leading supplier of analog interface components, todayannounced an alliance that will help organizations save capital expenses intheir data center and make it easier to implement state of the art networkarchitectures.

 

Using the Panduit^® Signature Core™ Fiber Optic Cabling System with AvagoQSFP+ eSR4 pluggable, parallel fiber-optics modules, a reach of 550 meters isguaranteed for 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE) multimode fiber links by Panduit.

 

The rapid growth of data centers has driven IT managers to find a solutionthat will connect equipment over multimode structured cabling at lengthsexceeding the Ethernet Standard. This solution, provided by Panduit and Avago,will deliver the added flexibility needed for today’s data centers.

 

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Copps: Current Ownership Proposal Is Déjà Vu-Plus | Broadcasting & Cable

Add former Democratic FCC commissioner and media consolidation critic Michael Copps to those criticizing Democratic FCC chairman Julius Genachowski for his media ownership proposal.

 

That is not a big surprise since Copps voted against a similar proposal offered up by then-FCC chairman Kevin Martin -- a Republican -- in 2007.

 

Copps, currently heading up Common Cause's Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, blogged Monday that he was shocked the Genachowski proposal was even more deregulatory than Martin's.

 

In addition to loosening newspaper/TV cross-ownership, the current proposed media ownership changes include lifting limits on newspaper/radio and TV/radio cross-ownership, although it also would make some joint sales agreements subject to local ownership limits that are not being loosened.

 

"Instead of hurrying in the wrong direction, wouldn't the Commission's time be better utilized by considering (and actually voting on) some of the dozens of recommendations that have been put before it by civil rights and public interest groups to establish programs and incentives to encourage minority and female ownership?" he said. "It is time for the FCC to take a deep breath, change direction, and get on with the huge challenge of encouraging a diverse media environment that serves all of our citizens and that nourishes a thriving civic dialogue."

 

Copps pointed out that then-Senator Barack Obama back in 2006 and 2007 objected to the Martin moves without first gauging their impact on minorities and small businesses. That is the same criticism now being leveled at Genachowski, the president's pick for chairman.

 

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About 93000 young adults in Md. out of school and not working | Baltimore Sun

About 93000 young adults in Md. out of school and not working | Baltimore Sun | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Entry-level jobs at fast-food restaurants and clothing stores, for example, tend to go to older applicants, the report showed. Meanwhile, many young people don't graduate from high school on time, aren't ready for college and don't have the 21st-century skills that businesses demand.

 

"All young people need opportunities to gain work experience and build the skills that are essential to being successful as an adult," McCarthy said. "Ensuring youth are prepared for the high-skilled jobs available in today's economy must be a national priority, for the sake of their future roles as citizens and parents, the future of our workforce and the strength of our nation as a whole."

 

According to data from the Advocates for Children & Youth, 14 percent of those ages 16 to 24 in Maryland are not in school or working.

 

But Maryland youths tend to fare better than teens and young adults across the country. About 68 percent of those ages 20 to 24 in Maryland worked during 2011, compared with 61 percent nationally. Of youths ages 16 to 19, 29 percent worked in Maryland last year compared with a national average of 26 percent.

 

According to the report, "Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity," working at a young age helps individuals learn technical and social skills needed in the job market. Those without the experience are more likely to be unemployed later in life, the report said.

 

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Trends in Telecommunication Reform | BDT Publications

Trends in Telecommunication Reform | BDT Publications | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

BDT’s Regulatory and Market Environment Team is pleased to introduce the twelfth edition of Trends in Telecommunication Reform. The Trends Report is an integral component of the ongoing dialogue between the BDT and the world’s ICT regulators.

 

As in past years, the theme of the 2012 Trends Report – “Smart Regulation for a Broadband World” – found its genesis in the Global Symposium for Regulators of the previous year, which took place in September 2011 in Armenia City, Colombia.

 

The 2012 Trends Report contains ten chapters that explore a wealth of legal and regulatory issues that are emerging as broadband becomes ubiquitous and as the digital economy grows.

 

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Software works like a traffic cop to boost Wi-Fi performance | gizmag.com

Software works like a traffic cop to boost Wi-Fi performance | gizmag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Researchers at North Caroline State University have come up with a new tool to speed up public Wi-Fi hotspots. The researchers say that WiFox software can improve data throughput by up to 700 percent and could be packaged as an update to existing networks.

 

Current Wi-Fi hotspots can get annoyingly slow because both users and the Wi-Fi access point are connected via single channel that sends data back and forth, creating a bottleneck when a large number of users submit data requests on that channel. Even if the access point is given permanent high priority, so that it passes over user requests in order to send out its data, users would then have trouble submitting their data requests.

 

The NC State researchers say WiFox works like a traffic cop, keeping data flowing smoothly in both directions by monitoring the amount of traffic on a Wi-Fi channel and granting an access point priority to send its data when it detects that a backlog is developing. The more people that are using the Wi-Fi, the greater the benefits of the system, because the access point will be given priority based on the size of its backlog.

 

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ITU Approves Deep Packet Inspection Standard Behind Closed Doors, Ignores Huge Privacy Implications | Techdirt

ITU Approves Deep Packet Inspection Standard Behind Closed Doors, Ignores Huge Privacy Implications | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Techdirt has run a number of articles about the ITU's World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) currently taking place in Dubai. One of the concerns is that decisions taken there may make the Internet less a medium that can be used to enhance personal freedom than a tool for state surveillance and oppression.

 

Against that background, a story published by the Center for Democracy & Technology about the ITU's work in the area of standards takes on an extra significance:

 

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Australia: Sorry Mr Turnbull: We're not convinced | Delimiter

Australia: Sorry Mr Turnbull: We're not convinced | Delimiter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last week Malcolm Turnbull delivered a series of very strong, evidence-based answers to key questions about his rival NBN policy, demonstrating that he would be a safe pair of hands to steward the nation’s broadband future. But, despite his eloquence and depth of knowledge, the Liberal MP has still failed to convince Australia’s technical community that his policy is better than Labor’s.

 

As some readers may remember, in late July this year Delimiter put a series of questions to Turnbull, in an effort to get the Shadow Communications Minister to further detail the Coalition’s rival NBN policy. The context at the time was that Turnbull was strongly pushing the idea of using a FTTN style of broadband rollout to meet the Coalition’s stated aim of completing the NBN “sooner, cheaper and more affordably for users”.

 

FTTN is a deployment style which would see fibre extended from Telstra’s telephone exchanges located around the nation to neighbourhood cabinets, instead of all the way to premises as under Labor’s plan (Fibre to the Home, or FTTH). The remaining distance would be covered by Telstra’s existing copper cable. When it took power in November 2007, the current Labor administration also had a FTTN-based policy, but it switched to a more comprehensive FTTH-based policy in April 2009 after a panel of experts rejected private sector bids to build the NBN and recommended the Government go it alone with a more ambitious rollout.

 

Last week, four months later, Turnbull finally responded to those questions, and reading through them, I found it very hard to fault most of his answers. If I examine most of them, Turnbull has responded convincingly and well.

 

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Gamification market to reach $2.8 billion in 2016 | GamesIndustry International

Gamification market to reach $2.8 billion in 2016 | GamesIndustry International | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gamification, the process of applying game mechanics to activities that aren't games, is rapidly becoming a big business, according to a new report by Wanda Meloni of M2 Research. She projects the market to reach $242 million in 2012 (more than double the 2011 total), and to climb to $2.8 billion in 2016.

 

"Gamification takes advantage of game mechanics to deliver engaging applications, and make non‐game applications more entertaining and appealing," said Meloni. The market for gamification has broadened rapidly, as the process has spread from consumer and media brands to the enterprise, healthcare and educational markets. "The adoption of applying game mechanics in more nontraditional industries has grown exponentially in the past 18 months," noted Meloni.

 

M2 Research estimates that the total market for video games, video game rentals, subscriptions, digital downloads, casual games, social games, mobile games and downloadable content will top $50 billion (not including hardware sales) in 2012. Gamification is still a small part of this market, but its rapid rise shows the increasing social acceptance of games and the realization that game mechanics can be a powerful motivational tool.

 

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Was Smart Grid Funding Misspent? | Greentech Media

Was Smart Grid Funding Misspent? | Greentech Media | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A recent report from the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy came with a provocative press release title: “Smart Grid Funding Misspent on Obsolete Technologies.”

 

The press release got plenty of attention from the utility and smart grid news circles, but it’s tough to tell if any of those actually read the report, “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid,” written by Timothy Schoechle, a consultant in computer engineering and standardization and former faculty member of the University of Colorado's College of Engineering and Applied Science.

 

The report primarily takes aim at smart meters, which got the lion share of stimulus funding. Schoechle raises many questions and concerns that many others in the industry have identified, including the value of smart meters (although he also does not acknowledge their value when connected to more end-to-end smart grid projects, as many others do); the question of data privacy; and the issue of whether the meters, in and of themselves, will save consumers money.

 

Schoechle, it could be argued, is thinking big -- maybe too big. Some of his criticisms of the White House’s Smart Grid Policy Framework may be fair, but many of the deeper issues, such as internalizing the cost of carbon-based fuels, are unlikely to be taken up by anyone in office. After all, the government can’t even get comprehensive federal energy efficiency policy in place, and it’s hard to hate efficiency.

 

Greentech Media recently spoke with Schoechle about the report, and where he thinks the bright spots may be on the path to a new electricity economy.

 

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By the Numbers: The fixed-wireless broadband mix | ZDNet

By the Numbers: The fixed-wireless broadband mix | ZDNet | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

South Korea is often touted as the utopia for fixed broadband users. Service levels are fast, and penetration is close to 100 percent. Is it any surprise then that they fall behind many other nations when it comes to wireless access? Wireless is obviously being used purely for mobility. Still, with a combined penetration of 207 per 100 households (2G, 3G, and 4G services) it's a clear indication that many people want both.

 

Yet, it seems that there is some substitution occurring. Take Germany for example — 136 wireless users per 100 households, but just 69 fixed connections. As this diagram shows, Australia, Malaysia, and Italy also have high wireless usage, potentially compensating for low fixed broadband levels.

 

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