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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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Citigroup: Cablevision Likely to Be Sold - Sometime Within The Next Eighteen Months | DSLReports

Rumors of a Cablevision sale to someone like Time Warner Cable have long been a centerpiece of broadband industry gossip, but those rumors appear to be gaining some serious momentum. Cablevision executives have been leaving the company in a steady stream since last year, including marketing's Jonathan Hargis, President John Bickham, and COO Tom Rutledge, who left to become Charter CEO. This week even saw the departure of one of the company's top PR man Jim Maiella to AMC, someone who has been helpful to me for a decade.

Perhaps all these gentlemen are just coincidentally getting amazing new job offers they can't refuse, or perhaps they know something we don't and/or have seen the writing on the wall. Either way, the rumors of a Cablevision sale are growing. Citigroup has issued a report this week claiming that there's about an "80%" chance that Cablevision will be sold sometime in the next eighteen months, in part thanks to recent Sandy-induced financial troubles:

 

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Free Press Statement on Robert McDowell's Departure from FCC | Free Press

Free Press Statement on Robert McDowell's Departure from FCC | Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Wednesday, Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell announced his departure from the agency. McDowell, a Republican, has served as an FCC commissioner since 2006.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

"We congratulate Commissioner McDowell on his decision to leave the FCC. As he considers his next move, we hope he will reject the revolving door and resist becoming another FCC leader who exploits his public service to cash in at the companies he was supposed to regulate.

"We urge the President to nominate a Republican successor who is not simply another cheerleader for the biggest businesses and media monopolists, but who recognizes the free market cannot work if companies are allowed to amass and abuse market power. Competition, diversity and the fostering of local voices shouldn't be partisan issues. These principles — not refereeing between or advocating on behalf of the largest players — are the agency's mission and should guide its work."

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A La Carte's Unlikely Ally, Cable TV Providers | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

A La Carte's Unlikely Ally, Cable TV Providers | Gadget Lab | Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The monthly subscription TV bill is a painful reminder that you don’t watch most of the billed channels you receive. You’re not alone — cable and satellite companies are also tired of paying for worthless channels, and they’re doing something about it.

 

We blame our outrageous cable and satellite bills on the providers and their insistence that we subscribe to channels we’ll never watch. In reality, those bundles are being pushed on the providers by the media companies. And companies like Comcast and DISH are just passing the costs on to their subscribers.

 

Verizon Communication’s FIOS TV service is taking the first step to leveling the TV landscape by tying fees paid to stations based on how many viewers watch a channel. A media company is paid if a viewer spends more than five minutes on a channel. The initial phase of this plan is working with small and mid-level media companies. It’s not talking to large media companies like Viacom and Disney yet, but you can bet that if the initial gambit works, those talks will be on the horizon.

 

Currently, media companies bundle the channels it sells to pay TV distributors. If a distributor wants to carry MTV, Viacom bundles the channel with a host of second-tier MTV channels like MTV Tr3s. Cablevision filed suit against Viacom in February for this type of bundling.

 

These bundles are the largest roadblock to anything resembling an à la carte subscription TV and lead to higher cable TV bills. Those bills have pushed frustrated viewers away from cable TV to streaming services from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Until recently these cord cutters have had little effect on the subscription TV market.

 

But that’s changing now. Last year was the first year that households with pay TV subscriptions dipped from 100.9 million to 100.8 million. Research group TDG expects that trend to continue. Meanwhile, streaming services Netflix and Amazon have become more than just video jukeboxes, both companies are becoming real networks with exclusive content without being tied to traditional TV subscriptions.

 

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Barry Diller’s Aereo Service Challenges Cable Television | NYTimes.com

Barry Diller’s Aereo Service Challenges Cable Television | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Aereo is what has been called a loophole start-up because it is structured to comply with regulations even as it disrupts the current model. The company was started by Chet Kanojia, a Boston technologist and entrepreneur, and became operational in New York last year. It is built on a relatively ancient technology, with coin-size antennas assigned to each person in the coverage area who signs up for the service. Customers can then use an Internet connection to stream any program from broadcast stations, or have them stored by Aereo for later streaming.

 

“I met with Chet Kanojia and spent an hour challenging him and understanding the technology, and I couldn’t find a flaw,” Mr. Diller said. “I knew there was going to be controversy, but I couldn’t find a flaw because I felt that the existing law was so much on the side of what Aereo was doing, and that’s what intrigued me.”

 

Having watched Mr. Diller on and off for over a decade, I suggested he was enjoying the opportunity to roll a grenade into businesses run by people whom he might otherwise invite to his home for cocktails — people like Leslie Moonves of CBS and Rupert Murdoch, for whom he built out Fox Broadcasting.

 

“That’s not right,” he said. “In this environment, your friends really are your enemies. Anything you’re going to do more than likely disrupts somebody’s business. There’s no grenade thrill in it.”

 

He added: “I am very fond of Les Moonves, and he is a terrific executive. Les said to me: ‘Look, I have no objection to what you’re doing. Just pay me retransmission fees and you can go in good health.’ I said, ‘When you can get Radio Shack’ ” — which sells antennas — “ ‘to pay you retransmission fees, I’ll be right behind them.’ ”

 

In a phone call, Mr. Moonves reciprocated Mr. Diller’s nice words but maintained resolutely that Aereo was a lawless technology.

 

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Rethinking Broadband: Wireless Opportunity | Huff Post Blog

Rethinking Broadband: Wireless Opportunity | Huff Post Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Universal broadband adoption and meaningful digital literacy remain among the equity issues of our time, standing alongside our goals for education, and healthcare. But quickly evolving technology, and our own patterns of use are changing the very way we think about access to broadband.

 

Recent PEW data highlight this. Fully 86% of Latinos now say they own a cellphone, a share similar to that of whites (84%) and blacks (90%). And 49% of those are smartphones - a number ahead of whites at 46% and on par with blacks at 50%. These patterns are important to the discussion about Internet access and adoption. They remind us that, in the conversation about broadband adoption, the best Internet access point for me may not be best for you. How one chooses to access the Internet will always be influenced by what qualities are valued most - speed, reliability, and mobility to name a few. But, whether for video or e-mail; whether for connectivity while on the go, or for at home in front of a laptop; whether it's for work or for play, today's consumers generally have multiple options to choose from.

 

This wasn't always so. At one time, broadband meant a wired connection at your desk. When considering whether America was meeting its broadband goals or was stuck in a permanent digital divide, what mattered was "broadband at home," hardwired to your computer. For those still least likely to participate in the entrepreneurial opportunities presented by broadband, the home divide - still more than a 10 percentage point gap for Latinos -- is a key indicator. But wireless technology is a significant, and growing opportunity to help bridge that gap.

 

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Charles Chas's curator insight, April 25, 2013 4:10 AM

PULSE wireless stereo headset - Elite Edition | PlayStation®3 Accessories – PlayStation® | @scoopit via @AG3N1US http://sco.lt/...

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Video buffering or slow downloads? Blame the speed of light | Ars Technica

Video buffering or slow downloads? Blame the speed of light | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bandwidth—the number of bits per second that a device or connection can transfer every second—is the number that everyone loves to talk about. Whether it be the gigabit per second that your Ethernet card does, boasting about your fancy new FTTP Internet connection at 85 megabits per second, or bemoaning the lousy 128 kilobits per second you get on hotel Wi-Fi, bandwidth gets the headlines.

 

Bandwidth isn't, however, the only number that's important when it comes to network performance. Latency—the time it takes the message you send to arrive at the other end—is also critically important. Depending on what you're trying to do, high latency can make your network connections crawl, even if your bandwidth is abundant.

 

It's easy to understand why bandwidth is important. If a YouTube stream has a bitrate of 1Mb/s, it's obvious that to play it back in real time, without buffering, you'll need at least 1Mb/s of bandwidth. If the game you're installing from Steam is about 3.6GB and your bandwidth is about 8Mb/s, it will take about an hour to download.

 

Latency issues can be a bit subtler. Some are immediately obvious; others are less so.

 

Nowadays, almost all international phone calls are typically placed over undersea cables, but not too long ago, satellite routing was common. Anyone who's used one or seen one on TV will know that the experience is rather odd. Conversation takes on a disjointed character because of the noticeable delay between saying something and getting acknowledgement or a response from the person you're talking to. Free-flowing conversation is impossible. That's latency at work.

 

There are some applications, such as voice and video chatting, which suffer in exactly the same way as satellite calls of old. The time delay is directly observable, and it disrupts the conversation.

 

However, this isn't the only way in which latency can make its presence felt; it's merely the most obvious.

 

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Telework Bans Don't Address the Problem | NextGov.com

Telework Bans Don't Address the Problem | NextGov.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Late last month, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer announced that, as of June, the company’s employees generally will be banned from teleworking. Electronics store Best Buy last week followed suit by announcing it would cancel its flexible work arrangement, known as the Results Only Work Environment, or ROWE.

 

Those decisions have many scratching their heads as to why these leading companies would completely ban telework, particularly when many studies have indicated that telework is a valuable, cost-effective and productive option for companies and government agencies. As I’ve said before, telework has been a blessing to me, as it has allowed me to continue working through two military PCS moves and be home with my children.

 

Yahoo and Best Buy say their moves to ban telework aim to foster collaboration and innovation by bringing employees physically together. But is that really the case, particularly at a time when technology is making it all the more easier to collaborate? In fact, one expert believes Yahoo, Best Buy and other private sector companies can learn from the best example out there when it comes to telework: the federal government.

 

“Sometimes the federal government gets beaten a lot, but [telework] is one area where I think the private sector could really learn from the federal government’s example,” Cindy Auten, general manager for Mobile Work Exchange, told Wired Workplace this week. “The best thing is the federal government actually defines telework – they put metrics around it, look at everyone’s eligibility and put in management training. Sometimes the private sector doesn’t even define it.”

 

Ironically, Yahoo’s and Best Buy’s decisions to ban teleworking came during or just before this year’s annual Telework Week event, which ran March 4-8. Auten said this year’s event garnered more than 135,000 pledges, nearly twice that of last year’s event.  More than 90 percent of this year’s pledges were from the federal government, she added.

 

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KS: Google Fiber is coming to Olathe | KCTV Kansas City

KS: Google Fiber is coming to Olathe | KCTV Kansas City | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The wait is over for Olathe residents who have been wondering if they'll get Google's ultra-high-speed internet services

 

On Tuesday night, the City Council unanimously voted to approve an agreement with Google to deploy Google Fiber. The move makes Olathe the first major city in Johnson County to qualify for the high-speed, fiber-to-the-home network.

 

"We are excited to work in partnership with Google to bring this next-generation fiber optic system to Olathe homes, schools and businesses," Mayor Michael Copeland said in a written statement.

 

Google Fiber offers an internet connection speed 100 times faster than today's average broadband, paired with crystal clear, high definition TV.

 

As in area cities, Google will build the Olathe Google Fiber network by demand, meaning that determined "fiberhoods" will get Google Fiber service once pre-registration goals are met.

 

"Olathe residents have embraced innovation and technology like few others," Copeland said. "Our vibrant community spirit is truly second to none, and I'm pleased Google recognized this in choosing Olathe as the largest Johnson County city in which to invest thus far."

 

Copeland said that Olathe has always been a tech-savvy community and the Google partnership creates new possibilities for the future.

 

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Samsung confirms it's making a smart watch | GizMag.com

Samsung confirms it's making a smart watch | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Now that Apple’s TV set appears to be anything but “imminent,” we expect the company’s next big innovation to be a wearable wrist computer. But Apple’s fierce rival wants the world to know that it too is cooking up some wearable fun, in the form of a Samsung smart watch.

 

In a statement to Bloomberg, Samsung mobile VP Lee Young Hee confirmed that the company is working on its own watch-like computer:

 

We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long [...] We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.


Hee didn’t offer any further details (features, price, release date) about the watch.

 

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If you think big data is big now, just wait for the internet of things | GigaOM Tech News

If you think big data is big now, just wait for the internet of things | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When the internet of things comes to fruition, the economics of big data analytics will start to pay off, Gaurav Dhillon, founder and CEO of SnapLogic. It will be a world in which sensored devices will grow far beyond the NEST thermostats and Fitbit devices some of us now have.

 

The foundation of the current  data warehouse business was the simple bar code, used to replenish inventory. Data warehouses are now a $30 billion business. Imagine when there’s input from all these other devices and machines. That’s where the numbers of big data start to ring true, Dhillon said at GigaOM’s Structure Data conference on Wednesday.

 

There are already apps that will ping a retailer if it notices a shopper wandering aimlessly around a superstore that will send a sales associate to help her find what she’s looking for. “That could be quite useful,” Dhillon said.

Big data in industrial applications is still not being tapped to its full potential, he noted.

 

There are huge industrial boilers that incorporate a sensor that watches their temperature, he said. “These things cost hundreds of millions of dollars and this sensor looks at the temperature in the infrared spectrum and today just provides a cable feed back to some guy in a baseball cap who watches it. It’s 2013, why couldn’t we put analytics into it that will tell us it will blow in a w eek because we see these hotspots.”


The same sort of technologies could be applied to aircraft engines, cars and other machinery.

 

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Did British spies shoot down BlackBerry 10 for security reasons? Not quite | GigaOM Tech News

Did British spies shoot down BlackBerry 10 for security reasons? Not quite | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to a report in The Guardian (see disclosure), the latest BlackBerry devices have been deemed insufficiently secure for government use in the UK. The article maintains that Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) – the information assurance wing of intelligence agency GCHQ – examined the Z10 and its BlackBerry 10 software, concluding that their implementation of the BlackBerry Balance work-life-separation feature fails the government’s strict security requirements.

 

This would be a terrible blow to BlackBerry, which desperately needs BlackBerry 10 to succeed if the company as a whole is to survive. BlackBerry’s biggest selling point has always been its security, and indeed version 7.1 of the software was approved by CESG just last November. The only problem is that – according to both BlackBerry and CESG – the Z10 and its OS have not been nixed.

 

Here’s what CESG said:

 

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Lycamobile announces US MVNO launch | TeleGeography

UK-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lycamobile has announced that it has launched in the United States. Although the reseller offers nationwide GSM coverage, its operations will be concentrated in 18 states, including New York, Florida, Texas and California.

 

Subaskaran Allirajah, chairman of Lycamobile, commented: ‘Since opening discussions surrounding a launch in the US, the appetite for our proposition has been overwhelming. It is this enthusiasm for the service that has led to our biggest launch yet and on 18 March 2013, low-cost international calls from Lycamobile will be available across the country’.

 

The MVNO claims that it has acquired over 30 million customers across Europe and Australia in the seven years since its inception, and notes that the expansion to the US will increase the company’s presence to 16 countries worldwide.

 

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Government approves T-Mobile + MetroPCS merger, believes in LTE heaven | ExtremeTech

Government approves T-Mobile + MetroPCS merger, believes in LTE heaven | ExtremeTech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday, the FCC approved T-Mobile’s bid to acquire MetroPCS. With this approval, the FCC specifically noted that the benefit of being able to launch an LTE network with wider channels than its competitors nationally was the main driver to approve the deal.

 

When T-Mobile announced the deal in October, it clearly indicated that the deal was about the subscribers, the spectrum, and the network. The FCC approval order noted that the combination of T-Mobile and MetroPCS is clearly in the public interest and would improve the competitiveness of the company against AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint-Nextel.

 

With more subscribers, T-Mobile will have increased buying power. This will allow T-Mobile to purchase devices cheaper per unit. That extra money saved could be used to invest in the network (through upgrades and expansions), which everyone wants. Some of the savings will also be passed on to subscribers in the form of lower prices on devices stocked by T-Mobile and MetroPCS.

 

With more spectrum, T-Mobile will have more spectral capacity to allocate to its network. With this additional capacity, T-Mobile will be able to support more subscribers per cell site without significant performance reductions. Additionally, MetroPCS subscribers will see performance boosts up to ten times what they expect now. More importantly, it gives T-Mobile an easier path to offer a powerful LTE network this year, easily upgrading to LTE-Advanced.

 

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How Copyright Law Keeps E-Books Inaccessible for People With Disabilities | Slate Magazine

How Copyright Law Keeps E-Books Inaccessible for People With Disabilities | Slate Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Recently, the White House made about 114,000 new friends by agreeing that it should be legal to unlock your cellphone. In a response to a We the People petition, a White House adviser wrote that the Obama administration would work to address a recent decision by the librarian of Congress that made unlocking your cellphone illegal under the anti-circumvention measures of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

 

The unlocking furor is just the latest example of popular opposition to the DMCA’s dreaded anti-circumvention measures. The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently issued a report arguing that over the last 15 years, the DMCA has impeded scientific research, innovation, fair use, and more. But among the DMCA’s many flaws is a significant one of which most people aren’t aware: For more than a decade, the act has imposed a barrier to access for people with disabilities. It hinders access to books, movies, and television shows by making the development, distribution, and use of cutting-edge accessibility technology illegal.

 

Making creative works accessible often involves transforming content from one medium to another—such as adapting the audio of a television show to closed captions to make it accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Copyright law ordinarily vests authors of creative works with the exclusive right to create adaptations, such as translations to foreign languages. But making works accessible to people with disabilities is arguably exempt from copyright law under the fair use doctrine and other laws like the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act. Congress, federal courts, the U.S. Copyright Office, and even the World Intellectual Property Organization have begun to recognize that it’s bad policy to block efforts to create accessible versions of copyrighted works.


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At least, that’s the case with physical and analog media. But publishers, video programmers, and other copyright owners lock down digital content with digital rights management technology designed to limit users’ ability to access, copy, and adapt copyrighted works to specific circumstances. And copyright owners frequently fail to account for the need to adapt DRM-encumbered works to make them accessible to people with disabilities.

 

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Liliane Brito de Melo's curator insight, March 24, 2013 7:27 PM

Sobre a inclusão de Pessoas com necessidades especiais / Pessoas com Deficiência.

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WA: Tacoma's Click Cable TV's fees to remain confidential | The News Tribune

WA: Tacoma's Click Cable TV's fees to remain confidential | The News Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The fees local broadcasters charge Click Cable TV’s roughly 22,000 subscribers are a trade secret that should not be made public – at least, not by his court.

 

That essentially is what Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper decided Friday by granting a preliminary injunction to block the city-owned cable network from releasing its so-called “retransmission consent agreements” to The News Tribune.

 

“I don’t really like this decision too much because I’m a great believer in the Public Records Act,” Culpepper said. “… But I also have concerns about the effects this could have on the Click Network” if the records in question were released.

 

The News Tribune plans to appeal Culpepper’s ruling to the Washington State Court of Appeals based on the public’s “right to know how its government operates,” said James Beck, an attorney for the newspaper.

 

“The Public Records Act states that the people do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know,’ ” Beck added. “But unfortunately, this is exactly what happened Friday when the public was denied the right to inspect a government contract.”

 

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Ad-Vantage Aereo? | Light Reading

Ad-Vantage Aereo? | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The courts have yet to seal Aereo Inc.'s fate as the broadband TV/cloud DVR startup battles it out with broadcasters, but the company is pressing on with its first major marketing initiative in the New York metro. (See Judge Keeps Aereo On The Air.)

 

Following the initial launch of print and outdoor ads and the announcement of a plan to expand services to 22 more markets, Aereo has stepped things up with its first commercial -- a fast-paced, 15-second spot that amplifies its "no cable required" tagline.

 

BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield, one of the first to notice the spot, warned on his blog (registration required) that Aereo's aggressive expansion plans should make investors "increasingly concerned with the sustainability of [the] broadcaster retrans 'gravy train.' It may be about to hit a wall."


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Local TV is a critical source for everyday news | Pew Internet & American Life Project

Local TV is a critical source for everyday news | Pew Internet & American Life Project | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For many years, polls have shown that local TV is the most popular medium in America for news. This survey, however, adds interesting and limiting dimensions to that finding.

 

Local TV (which for the purposes of this survey includes both televised broadcasts and local television websites) is the most popular source for the two topics that almost everyone is interested in—weather and breaking news. It has made itself essential in people's lives for events happening right now, though the survey also finds that the internet is creeping into those territories.

 

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US homes now hold over 500m Internet-connected devices with apps, at an average of 5.7 per household | NPD

US homes now hold over 500m Internet-connected devices with apps, at an average of 5.7 per household | NPD | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There are now more than 500 million devices in US homes connected to the Internet. Furthermore, the average number of devices per US Internet household has grown from 5.3 devices just three months ago to 5.7 today.

 

The latest findings come from The NPD Group, which surveyed more than 4,000 US consumers 18-years-old and up. The firm defines an Internet-connected device as one that delivers applications such as “computers, tablets, smartphones, HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc Players, video game consoles, and streaming media set top boxes.”

 

The firm apparently refers to “apps” as software in general, as opposed to devices with access to an app store. While I would normally refer to gadgets with apps as anything running Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows 8, or Windows Phone, it’s clear the term has expanded to almost any device that a consumer can buy, but I digress.

 

NPD says PC penetration among US Internet connected households this quarter is “nearly ubiquitous at 93 percent” but was “virtually unchanged” over the last quarter. An increase in mobile devices naturally helped the US market to hit the new milestone: smartphone penetration rose from 52 percent to 57 percent of cell phone users while tablet penetration increased significantly from 35 to 53 percent of Internet households.

 

Here’s a more visual representation of the top three categories:

 

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W. VA: Broadband consultant's report a secret | The Charleston Gazette

A state agency paid a Virginia-based company an estimated $118,000 to review West Virginia's use of $126.3 million in federal stimulus funds to expand high-speed Internet, but Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration won't release the consultant's findings to the public.

 

The reason: At least one of the consultant's documents might be "embarrassing to some people," according to Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette.

 

"The documents may be embarrassing to some people . . .  . Embarrassing because it was someone's opinion," Burdette said. "It was a specific document, citing specific companies, and making very specific suggestions to me."

 

Burdette disclosed the existence of the consultant's document -- titled Draft Discussion Points -- in response to a Freedom of Information request filed by The Charleston Gazette. However, he declined to release the report to the newspaper, saying it was an "internal memorandum" that could be withheld under state law.

 

"It was part of a discussion. It did not result in an end product," Burdette said. "There's some criticism of the players in there that I don't accept."

 

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I Want My M-WiFi | Wireless Networking | TechNewsWorld

WiFi blanketing entire communities was a turn-of-the-century dream that failed to materialize, with a few exceptions, but it's now being resurrected. "Simply put, carriers need WiFi," said Steve Hratko, Ruckus' director of carrier marketing. LTE alone won't be able to handle the insatiable appetite for more capacity, as the proliferation of mobile devices worldwide, like smartphones and tablets, continues to grow at a rapid pace."

 

Looking for an Internet connection when out and about may soon become a lot easier. There's been an uptick in public WiFi availability.

 

Recent public WiFi launches include Google's free WiFi project in New York City, starting with parts of Chelsea. London's tube network went hot in 2012 with 92 underground stations WiFi-enabled; Virgin Media is connecting a further 28 stations by the end of March, 2013. Also, Thailand is expanding Bangkok's current 200,000 public WiFi hot spots to the rest of the country over the next year.

 

It was understandable to see investment in municipal and outdoor wireless Internet projects during the days of slow mobile Internet in the naughties, but with modern mobile networks coming online -- like LTE and other fast-ish technologies -- why are we seeing this continued interest in public WiFi?

 

Were lessons not learned in the mid-to-late 2000s when we saw some expensive municipal WiFi failures? WiFi projects collapsed then for reasons related to lack of demand, cost and unsuitable technology. Today however, data demand has exploded due to the smartphone revolution, and WiFi technology is better.

 

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Jeff Siu's comment, March 22, 2013 8:49 AM
Most people need faster and stable network. Public WiFi in everywhere is a dream for model city.
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W.Va. 'broadband summit' postponed amid router review | The Charleston Gazette

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration has abruptly cancelled a statewide "broadband summit," citing ongoing scrutiny of West Virginia's use of a $126.3 million federal stimulus grant to expand high-speed Internet.

 

In late February, the Department of Commerce sent an email "blast" about the conference to about 800 people. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin planned to speak at the event. A conference website page was created, and postcard invitations were sent out.

 

Eight days later, though, Commerce officials distributed a second email, saying, "The broadband summit is postponed until a later date. Watch this site for future information, dates and locations."

 

"There were scheduling issues," said Tomblin chief of staff Rob Alsop, who declined to elaborate. "It will be rescheduled."

 

Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette provided a more detailed explanation last week.

 

"It's supposed to be a technical discussion of broadband in the state, and not a discussion about the [$126.3 million broadband] grant," Burdette said. "We didn't want the two confused."

 

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Better Broadband Means Better Economy in Rural Areas | Blandin on Broadband

Better Broadband Means Better Economy in Rural Areas | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday Telecompetitor mentioned a new report by the National Agricultural & Rural Development Policy Center (NARDeP) Rural Broadband Availability and Adoption: Evidence, Policy Changes and Options. Here’s the info in a nutshell in terms of the connection between broadband and economic vitality:

 

Broadband and economic health are linked in rural areas (potentially in a causal direction):Low levels of adoption, providers, and broadband availability were associated with lower median household income, higher levels of poverty, and decreased numbers of firms and total employment in 2011Increases in broadband adoption between 2008 and 2010 resulted in higher levels of median household income and total employment for non-metro countiesBroadband adoption thresholds have more impact on changes in economic health indicators between 2001 and 2010 than do broadband availability thresholds in non-metro counties

 

And some of the metro-rural differences:

 

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Next Xbox May Require Persistent Online Connection - Is Microsoft Dumb Enough to Try and Ban Used Games? | DSLReports.com

Next Xbox May Require Persistent Online Connection - Is Microsoft Dumb Enough to Try and Ban Used Games? | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rumors surrounding the next Xbox suggest that the game console may require a constantly running broadband connection to function -- in addition to banning used games. Leaked screenshots of an Xbox Development Kit (XDK) for Microsoft's next-generation console (currently code-named "Durago") strongly suggest that game installations to the hard drive will be mandatory, after which "play from the optical drive will not be supported."

 

The last few round of rumors have collectively suggested that Microsoft could be cooking up some incredibly dumb new ideas for their new console:

 

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Careening Toward Telecom Dystopia (But Can We Stop It?) | Huff Post Books

Careening Toward Telecom Dystopia (But Can We Stop It?) | Huff Post Books | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Consider two possible American futures. In both, because one cannot imagine it any other way, ubiquitous high-speed connectivity to the Internet is essential in order to fully engage in society, the economy, and the public sphere.

 

In one possible future -- call it utopian -- such access is available to everyone; it's fast, and it's not prohibitively expensive. But in the other future -- call it dystopian -- a handful of giant corporations share almost complete control of wired and wireless access. They don't compete with each other and feel no pressure to provide the kind of high speed, low prices, and universal service available in other countries. Large swaths of American society can't afford or obtain adequate service, making them essentially second-class citizens. As the U.S. stagnates, better-wired economies in Europe and Asia leap ahead.

 

In Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, telecommunications policy expert and Cardozo School of Law professor Susan Crawford chronicles and contextualizes the extraordinary rise of industry behemoth Comcast, culminating in its 2011 merger with media and entertainment giant NBC Universal. In telling this story, Crawford compellingly and disturbingly makes clear that we are well on our way to that dystopian future -- if not there already -- with Comcast boldly leading the charge.

 

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Party power (or lack thereof) shapes California broadband spending plans | Steve Blum's Blog

Party power (or lack thereof) shapes California broadband spending plans | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

More than two-thirds of the seats in both the California Assembly and Senate are held by Democrats. That means it’s possible to add money to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and change its direction with no support at all from Republicans and no fear of losing the political cover a supermajority vote provides.

 

During hearings and meetings in Sacramento last week, Democrats focused almost exclusively on using CASF to increase the number of Californians who use the Internet. The preferred means is funneling the money through existing channels, such as public housing, schools and community groups, that are dear to core supporters. There was no pretense about objectives. Earlier talk of pilot programs and buzzwords like smart housing were absent.

 

Republicans either followed their lead or remained silent. This time around they have little incentive to support the infrastructure subsidies that are popular in rural areas. It appears Republicans have decided to either use what bargaining power they have to add their favored programs to the mix, or wait and score points with their political base by opposing any spending at all.

 

Rhetoric aside, both sides of the aisle are also in alignment with incumbent cable and telephone companies. Signing up new subscribers meets carrier needs, subsidizing competitive infrastructure does not.

 

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