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Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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Google Fiber and Google Glass Could Also Come To Nothing | Forbes

Google Fiber and Google Glass Could Also Come To Nothing | Forbes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Why is Google installing fiber optic cable in three American cities? Why is it into a dubious wearable project called Glass?

 

The answer is: there is no reason in the world why a search/advertising company would invest in these types of projects.

 

For that matter, the same can be said of driverless cars. Google’s innovation strategy and the easy way it draws analysts into the excitement of change might be blinding us to something more fundamental about the company’s struggle with the future.

 

So let’s test that idea.

 

Google is a big proponent of radical adjacencies – going into markets where it has no core experience.

 

But we have seen evidence that Google struggles to make its adjacencies work outside of its ads model, unless you count Android where Google is gradually building an important apps’  revenue stream.

 

We know also Google is highly prone to cutting projects that don’t seem to work, often at short notice. So how safe, important and relevant are Fiber, Glass and autonomous cars?

 

It’s worth examining a part of the bear case on Google, just to test out the logic of these innovations.

 

Here are four reasons that the Google 20% innovation strategy might not be working as well as we think – and why the company needs treating with a little more Apple-like skepticism.

 

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Canada: Aliant’s FTTH progress marches on | TeleGeography

Atlantic Canadian full-service telco Bell Aliant reported on the progress of its ‘FibreOP’ fibre-based triple-play network expansion in the first quarter of 2013, passing an additional 23,000 premises with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) in the three-month period (compared to 58,000 new premises passed in 1Q12), taking its FTTH coverage footprint to 679,000 premises at 31 March 2013. 5,000 net new customer premises were connected to the FTTH network in 1Q13, taking FibreOP penetration of premises to 19.6% at the end of March.

 

FibreOP internet customers increased by 18,000 in Q1 to reach 130,000 (of a total broadband customer base of 927,000); FibreOP IPTV customers grew by 15,600 in the quarter to reach 112,500 (of a total IPTV base of 137,000, up by 14,000 in the quarter).

 

Meanwhile, Aliant’s fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network is now close to being completely phased out in favour of FTTH, with just a few thousand remaining premises passed by FTTN, having been reduced from around 250,000 in 2008, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database shows.

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AT&T plots launch of new pre-paid brand ‘All In One’ | TeleGeography

AT&T Mobility is planning to launch a new range of pre-paid services under the ‘All In One’ brand on 15 June.

 

Fierce Wireless, citing people familiar with the matter, claims that the cellco will test the plans in Florida and Texas this month, before pressing ahead with a full nationwide launch in June.

 

Although an AT&T spokesman declined to comment on specifics, the carrier is expected to offer a USD35 per month plan for ‘feature phones’ and a USD50 monthly subscription for smartphone users.

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Norwegian Parliament Approves Extreme Version Of SOPA; Ignores All Sorts Of Rights If Someone Yells Copyright | Techdirt

Norwegian Parliament Approves Extreme Version Of SOPA; Ignores All Sorts Of Rights If Someone Yells  Copyright | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A few years ago, I was in Norway for Nordic Music Week and got to meet with a number of people from all sides of the music industry there. It was very interesting to see how many of them were adapting to the changing environment. It was quite encouraging to see many were learning how to adapt and change with the times, embracing the internet to the fullest extent.

 

Of course, one thing I noticed while there was that the major labels were entirely absent. Instead of spending time with the folks who are actually innovating and adapting it appears that they were, instead, doing what they do best: lobbying for incredibly overreaching legislation that wipes out all sorts of rights as soon as someone screams "copyright infringement." The Norwegian Parliament has now approved some legislation for copyright reform which is a major step in the wrong direction.

TorrentFreak has a good summary of what's in the law and its current status (almost certainly to be approved shortly). It has the standard "completely shut down anything and everything and block access if it's seen as a "pirate" site" bit that was so controversial under the SOPA proposal in the US:

 

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Video: Mobile Health Broadband Breakfast Club – April 16th, 2013 | BroadbandBreakfast.com

The broadband policy news and events service BroadbandBreakfast.com held its April 2013 Broadband Breakfast Club event:

 

“Mobile Health: Will Wireless Devices Help Solve the Nation’s Health Crises?” on Tuesday, April 16th 2013 at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 from 8 am – 10 am.

 

The Broadband Breakfast Club is sponsored by Comcast, Google and US Telecom.


Speakers Included:

 

Keynote Speaker:


Jacob Reider, Chief Medical Officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, US Department of Health and Human Services

 

Panel:


Robert Jarrin, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Qualcomm

 

Deven McGraw, Director of the Healthy Privacy Project, Center for Democracy and Technology

 

Joel White, Executive Director, Health IT Now Coalition

 

Jacob Reider, Chief Medical Officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 


Moderator: 

 

Paul Kirby, Senior Editor, TRDaily

 

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Shame on Verizon: Customers In Manhattan, New York with No Service Since Sandy-- 186 Days and Counting | New Networks

This is a foreboding glimpse into your future communications services if you live in the USA.

 

I'm sitting in a high ceiling parlor in an aged brownstone at the E.9th Street Block Association meeting.  People are telling me, somewhat muting their anger, that some have had no phone service since Sandy, October 28th 2012 ---- 186 days ago, almost 6 months, almost half a year.  Some had their service restored over the last month, only being out for about 5 months.

I’m in a roomful of people in the middle of Manhattan, New York City, and I can't believe my ears. I've been a telecom analyst for 31 years and thought I’d heard everything before - but this?

Mayor Bloomberg, with claims that New York City is a world center for technology announced his new campaign, “We Are Made in NY” in 2013, stating we’re “strengthening the city as a global hub for innovation.”

 

Being out of service is only one of the Manhattenites’ problems. Almost all of those without Verizon service have continued to be billed for services that THEY DO NOT RECEIVE.


What’s the problem – how could this be happening in America? 


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Reviews Are In: Big Telecom Gushes Love for New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler | Stop the Cap!

Reviews Are In: Big Telecom Gushes Love for New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Giant telecommunications companies and their lobbyist friends are gushing their approval for President Obama’s latest pick — Tom Wheeler — to head the Federal Communications Commission.


What do they know that consumers don’t?


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Benton Applauds NTIA Broadband Adoption Toolkit | Benton Foundation

Benton Applauds NTIA Broadband Adoption Toolkit | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

On May 2, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released its Broadband Adoption Toolkit, a document aimed at sharing best practices developed from broadband adoption and digital literacy projects funded by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The following can be attributed to Benton Foundation Executive Director Cecilia Garcia:


In addition to promoting jobs and economic development, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's broadband stimulus programs were meant to develop community-based models for broadband deployment, adoption and meaningful use in unserved and underserved populations. Today, access to healthcare, educational resources, job training, potential employers, local/state/federal government services, and sources of news all depend on robust access to and regular use of broadband. The private sector alone has not gotten us to universal broadband, a requirement for everyone to be able to participate fully in our economy and civic life. Four years after passage of the ARRA, the successes of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) must be used to shape both pragmatic policy and best practices for broadband rollout and adoption.

 

In our research and convenings, the Benton Foundation has found that BTOP-supported projects targeting low-income seniors can greatly inform how to structure the most effective programs to get seniors online:

 

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Verizon Accused of Lagging on NYC FiOS Promises - Promised 100% Coverage by 2014, and That's Likely Not Happening | DSLReports.com

Verizon Accused of Lagging on NYC FiOS Promises - Promised 100% Coverage by 2014, and That's Likely Not Happening | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Back in 2008 Verizon negotiated a closed-door agreement with NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg that agreed to wire 100% of the city with FiOS by 2014 -- sort of. Fine print in the deal allows Verizon to back away from that promise if they pay a few small fines and/or aren't seeing the kind of TV subscriber uptake they'd like. It's now 2013 and Verizon has refused to offer any hard numbers on how far along in that goal they are -- but if you live in NYC and have been waiting for FIOS (particularly in outer boroughs), you know that the number of unserved apartments remains substantial.

 

NYC Mayoral candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio last week took aim at Verizon in a press statement and fiber availability fact sheet (pdf), accusing Verizon of failing to deliver on their deployment promises. de Blasio took data from the New York State Office of Information Technology Services to make the claims:

 

"As a benchmark, the contract required the company to reach more than three-quarters of City residents by the end of 2012, but according to data released through the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, only half of New York City’s 3.4 million housing units had access to fiber broadband services at year’s end—putting the company far behind schedule. Brooklyn and the Bronx lagged furthest behind, with only 40 percent and 46 percent of household having access to fiber, respectively.

As you might expect, Verizon is denying that they're behind schedule but won't offer specifics, pointing out that they only promised they'd "pass" homes (fiber simply needs to run in the street outside), not necessarily "serve" them. The company also appears to be blaming landlords for any hold ups in deployments:

 

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FCC Chairman Nominee “Bizarre Choice” | Institute for Public Accuracy

FCC Chairman Nominee “Bizarre Choice” | Institute for Public Accuracy | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Nicholas Johnson was a commissioner of the FCC and now teaches at the University of Iowa College of Law.

 

He said today: “President Obama’s choice of Tom Wheeler as FCC chair is bizarre. Sure, he was a major campaign contributor — even a bundler of others’ large checks. But being appointed FCC chair is not like becoming an ambassador to a small country — the usual reward for financial support.

 

“There is no single independent regulatory commission that comes close to the impact of the FCC on every American’s life. That’s why Congress, in creating it, characterized its mission as serving ‘the public interest’ — an expression used throughout the Act.

 

“Wheeler’s background is as a trade association representative for companies appearing before the Commission, a lobbyist in Congress for other FCC customers, and a venture capitalist investing in and profiting from others whose requests he’ll have to pass on. He has no record, of which I am aware, of challenging corporate abuse of power on behalf of consumers and the poor.

 

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Putting up a fight with the internet racket: Opinion | NJ.com

Putting up a fight with the internet racket: Opinion | NJ.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Is your internet bill too high? You can thank the phone and cable companies for that.

 

Today, high-speed broadband services offered by these national carriers cost more than $500 a year and even more when customers are forced to bundle internet access with cable or phone packages. These rates put access out of reach for millions.

 

And the Americans who can afford this essential service can choose from only one or two kinds of providers: either a big phone or cable company.

Market dominance suits the phone and cable giants. As the real cost of hooking up your home declines, they keep hiking their rates. Naturally, this arrangement lets operators record obscene profit margins.

 

Craig Moffett, an industry analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., noted that the margin for Comcast’s broadband service is about 80 percent. In other words, Comcast charges customers $45 for something that costs the company $9 to supply.

 

This is a racket.

 

And AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other industry titans are fighting tooth and nail to protect it. They’ve mobilized hundreds of lobbyists and legislators to paint any alternative — including locally owned networks — as an affront to American free enterprise.

 

Towns and cities across the country have smart ideas about how to deliver affordable and locally owned internet access to their residents, including creating their own networks. But in many states, those ideas can’t take root before companies such as AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon stomp them out.

 

Their weapon of choice is state-level legislation that restricts cities and towns from offering homegrown internet access at reasonable rates. Thanks to this cable-and-phone lobbying onslaught, 19 states have already passed laws that hamper or ban municipal broadband networks.

 

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Uh-oh: AT&T and Comcast are ecstatic about the FCC’s new chairman | Ars Technica

Uh-oh: AT&T and Comcast are ecstatic about the FCC’s new chairman | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

President Barack Obama today announced his choice to run the Federal Communications Commission. As reported yesterday, the nominee is Tom Wheeler, a venture capitalist who was formerly a lobbyist at the top of the cable and wireless industries, leading the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).

 

The nomination continues the parade of lobbyists becoming government officials and vice versa, a trend that has favored moneyed interests over the average American citizen and consumer time and again. One can take solace in the fact that Wheeler will be tasked with implementing the communications policies of President Obama, who says he is eager to fight on behalf of consumers and to maintain thriving and open Internet and wireless marketplaces.

 

But the same President who said "I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over" when he was running for office has given the FCC's top job to a former lobbyist. Wheeler donated $38,500 to Obama's election efforts and helped raise additional money for Obama by becoming a "bundler," arranging for large contributions from other donors after hitting legal limits on personal contributions.

 

Not surprisingly, the cable and telecom companies that Wheeler springs from are ecstatic about the nomination.

 

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SHLB Conference: How Far Have We Come: Taking Stock of the Broadband Stimulus | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio

The Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) Annual Conference has become a yearly confab that draws many of the key players in broadband stimulus-funded projects. Our listeners hear from four of those who give us highlights of how far weve come since these projects launched:

 

 

--2:00 Maria Alvarez Stroud - Director, Center for Community Technology Services, University of Wisconsin - Extension

 

--2:15 Kevin Hughes - VP Sales & Marketing, Virgin Islands Next Generation Network

 

--2:30 Tara Thue - Manager, Utah Broadband Project

 

--2:45 Jane Patterson - President, Rural Telecom Congress America

 

We get some of the inside details on several high-profile broadband deployment and adoption initiatives made possible by NTIA and RUS grant awards. Our guests discuss what they have found to be effective making better broadband and adoption a reality. They also talk about whats next for their projects.

 

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WiMAX reseller NetZero sees subs reach 41,000 | TeleGeography

US self-styled ‘freemium’ 4G provider NetZero, which piggybacks on Clearwire’s national WiMAX network, has revealed that it saw its number of active mobile broadband accounts increase 28% quarter-on-quarter to reach 41,000 subscriptions at 31 March 2013.

 

The improved uptake has provided NetZero’s parent company, United Online, ‘with an opportunity to expand the NetZero brand name into a major growth market’ CEO Mark Goldston revealed. NetZero launched in March 2012, hitting the headlines with its promise to offer would-be users a free one-year trial of its service.

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Canada: Rogers rebrands 2100MHz/2600MHz LTE as ‘LTE Max’, expands coverage | TeleGeography

Canada’s Rogers Communications has rebranded its dual-band 2600MHz and AWS (2100MHz/1700MHz) LTE network under the banner ‘LTE Max’, while announcing LTE footprint expansion to more than 20 new locations. The Samsung Galaxy S4 device supports the LTE Max dual frequencies (with automatic switching between frequencies to optimise performance), while the BlackBerry Q10 and LG Optimus G devices also support the 2600MHz range, with Rogers promising more fully-compatible devices this year.

 

The newly covered locations include: Chatham, Milton, Sarnia, Woodstock, Orangeville, St. Catharines, King City & Bradford, Georgetown & Halton Hills, Kentville, Brantford, Collingwood, Stouffville & East Gwillimbury, Clarington, Lloydminster, plus various other areas in the Greater Toronto region.

 

The ‘LTE Max’ network can provide (theoretical) speeds of 150Mbps, although typical speeds are closer to 12Mbps-25Mbps, with peaks close to 50Mbps, while most current devices can support speeds up to 100Mbps. LTE Max services are expected to be made available in 34 of Rogers’ 44 LTE regional markets (where it owns sufficient spectrum).

 

Rival operator Bell, Rogers’ former partner in the pre-WiMAX 2600MHz network venture Inukshuk, has similar access to legacy frequencies in the band in markets across Canada, although so far Bell has restricted its offering of 2600MHz LTE coverage to a few selected locations, and has kept its announcements on dual-band LTE services low-key.

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Even After Omaha, NE, Communities Cannot Count on CenturyLink For Connectivity | community broadband networks

Even After Omaha, NE, Communities Cannot Count on CenturyLink For Connectivity | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink is a massive telephone company struggling to remain relevant as we transition to mobile phones and require connections much faster than DSL delivers. Though the Omaha gigabit announcement may seem to be a monumental shift for this company, it actually is not. It is a blip on the radar - an important blip but a blip nonetheless.

 

The Omaha pilot does not represent a sudden change of CenturyLink strategy or capacity. Part of West Omaha has a unique history that prompted this investment. The vast majority of communities in CenturyLink territory still have no hope for upgrades beyond the basic DSL they offer today. Sadly, this already-outdated technology will only fall further behind in coming years.

 

First, if you missed it, CenturyLink has announced a 1 Gbps pilot project in Omaha, Nebraska. This is considerably more newsworthy that AT&T's toothless fiber-to-the-press-release response to Austin's Google Fiber.

 

CenturyLink is a massive corporation in a tough spot. It operates in 38 states and in each one, subscribers are fleeing slow DSL for faster networks and moving from landlines to wireless devices. CenturyLink does not have enough revenue for the upgrades most communities need.

 

CenturyLink deserves some praise for this gigabit trial because it recognizes the need to upgrade old networks to offer faster, more reliable connections. And it is symmetrical, offering the same upload speeds as downstream whereas the Verizon FiOS network tends to prioritize downstream at the expense of up.

 

For years, CenturyLink has told communities that basic DSL is just fine. We'll probably still hear that talking point in many communities from CenturyLink's government affairs staff. But this project is an admission that America needs better networks.

 

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ZeroDivide Featured for Best Practices in NTIA Broadband Adoption Toolkit | ZeroDivide

ZeroDivide Featured for Best Practices in NTIA Broadband Adoption Toolkit | ZeroDivide | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Achieving broadband or high-speed Internet adoption in all communities is essential to creating jobs, increasing educational achievement, and building both businesses and a civically-engaged population. To support this effort the Federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) has released the 2013 NTIA Broadband Adoption Toolkit. The toolkit documents best practices from BTOP computer centers and adoption projects, and provides practical strategies, methods and activities that can be replicated in other communities throughout the country. Assuring that our most underserved communities have and use broadband is a key focus for ZeroDivide. For 2 1/2 years we have been proud to be a part of the BTOP program, working with programs impacting communities across six western states, including Native American communities in southern California, urban inner-city youth in Seattle, and some of the most rural and remote communities in Hawaii. Through outreach, training and digital media production programs, ZeroDivide works with key partners to increase access to high-speed Internet and to provide critical training to assure effective use of digital tools. ZeroDivide and its partners Tribal Digital Village and Reel Grrls are featured among the best practices the toolkit. This toolkit contains valuable information for any community seeking to increase the use of broadband to improve lives and support active and vibrant communities.
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Gigabit Fever Spreads from the Heartland Across the Nation; Giving Gigabit Credit Where Credit is Due | BroadbandBreakfast.com

It’s springtime across the country, the flowers are blooming, and Gigabit fever must be in the air.

 

Within the past month, several major companies and communities have announced plans for Gigabit-level deployments within their communities. Several major conferences have featured the Gigabit theme, including the Schools, Health and Library Broadband Coalition event here on Thursday and Friday.

 

Even the Federal Communications Commission has gotten in on the act: one of the last major initiatives of outgoing agency Chairman Julius Genachowski was the workshop on “Gigabit Community Broadband Networks,” on March 27, 2013.

 

As the Executive Director of Broadband Illinois, the statewide non-profit entity responsible for promoting internet engagement and broadband planning in the Land of Lincoln, we’re very heartened by this development.

Our governor, Gov. Pat Quinn, has been at the forefront of the benefits of better broadband for many, many years.

 

When it comes to promoting advanced internet connectivity, many public servants talk about the importance of Gigabit-level connectivity. Gov. Quinn has acted. Well over a year ago, Quinn announced the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge in his 2012 “State of the State” Address.

 

“Through this challenge, we want our neighborhoods to become Gigabit communities with Internet connections more than 100 times faster than today,” Quinn declared in the February 1, 2012, address. “Our goal is to build smart communities that will foster the job engines of the future.” The challenge allocated up to $6 million in funds for communities seeking an award.

 

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Watch your data caps: Kaleidescape starts offering Blu-ray-quality movie downloads | GigaOM Tech News

Watch your data caps: Kaleidescape starts offering Blu-ray-quality movie downloads | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Home entertainment server maker Kaleidescape officially opened up its download store Wednesday, offering what it calls “Blu-ray quality” HD video downloads of movies like Inception, Sherlock Holmes or various titles from the Harry Potter series.

 

Kaleidescape is known for its DVD servers, which allow users to rip their disc collections and serve them to TVs and home theaters. The devices earned the company a lawsuit from the DVD Copy Control Association, which is currently pending after Kaleidescape was able to obtain a stay of an injunction. However, the legal proceedings didn’t stop Warner Bros. from licensing its titles for Kaleidescape’s download store.

 

Titles purchased through the Kaleidescape store can be played back with a Kaleidescape system, and also accessed on the web and through mobile devices via Ultraviolet, the studios’ locker system for digital movie purchases. However, even moderate users of the service could easily burst through their ISPs’ data caps.

 

The HD download of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for example, comes in at a whopping 54GB. AT&T’s Uverse data cap restricts users to 250 GB of data consumption per month, after which the phone company charges $10 for each additional 50GB. That kind of overage charge would essentially double the price of the movie download.

 

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Our Response to Public Knowledge's Harold Feld Regarding Tom Wheeler | Stop the Cap!

Our Response to Public Knowledge's Harold Feld Regarding Tom Wheeler | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Are we being unnecessarily pessimistic and cynical when we oppose the likely nomination of Thomas Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission?

 

Some of our colleagues in the consumer-focused public policy arena suspect we might be.

 

Stop the Cap! is very skeptical that appointing a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist with 30+ years of experience is the best choice for consumers at the FCC.

 

Our friend Harold Feld from Public Knowledge, which has announced cautious support for Wheeler’s appointment, has a more optimistic view about his potential:

 

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Survey of Illinois Households Examines Broadband Usage, Benefits, Barriers | Broadband Illinois

In a multi-faceted survey released earlier this month by Broadband Illinois, Illinois households rated fiber-optic internet connections highest in terms of speed, reliability and value. However, households in rural and isolated areas of Illinois are almost four times as likely to have a dial-up connection.

 

Conducted in 2012 and released this month, the “Broadband Illinois eSolutions Benchmarking Report” received responses from 2,129 Illinois households. Key findings of the household report focus on internet usage, benefits and barriers. Selected results are broken down by characteristics such as household income, connectivity type and rural versus non-rural regions. Other sections of the report focus on Illinois businesses and community anchor institutions. 

 

Fiber-optic connections were rated most favorably among households surveyed, in terms of speed, reliability and value. Respondents were less satisfied with mobile wireless and satellite technologies, citing poor consistency and slower speeds.

 

The diverse geography of Illinois also came in to play in terms of quality and availability of high-speed connections. According to the survey, households in communities with a population less than 50,000 are three times as likely to be on dial-up compared to those in communities larger than 50,000. Households in isolated or small towns are almost four times as likely to be on dial-up. 

 

Respondents cited lower-quality connectivity as a major negative impact on a household’s internet productivity, including online education, telework, home businesses and accessing the workplace.

 

“The survey results show that the Internet plays an important role in helping people carry out everyday tasks more effectively,” said John Horrigan, Ph.D., Research Director at Broadband Illinois and Vice President and Director at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “There are challenges to drawing people to deeper engagement with the Internet -- privacy and security, and digital skills -- all stakeholders should work to address those issues." 

 

“This research is going to be critical for regional planning and economic development efforts throughout Illinois,” said Drew Clark, Executive Director of Broadband Illinois. “Next week, we’re hosting a statewide webinar for our stakeholders and regional eTeams where we will really dig in to this data.”

 

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Open Internet Proposal at Verizon Wins 24.1% of Shareholder Votes | Open MIC

About one-quarter of all Verizon Communications Inc. shareholder votes were cast in favor of a proposal that asks the company to report on business risks from Verizon’s controversial FCC lawsuit and other actions to oppose open Internet and network neutrality principles.

 

Net neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and that Internet providers cannot block, speed up or slow down content for any reason. While Verizon has expressed its commitment to supporting an open Internet, it is currently the lead party in a lawsuit opposing the FCC's Open Internet rules.

 

The shareholder proposal was filed by Trillium Asset Management LLC and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. It asks Verizon to issue a report on “how Verizon is responding to regulatory, competitive, legislative and public pressure to ensure that its network management policies and practices support network neutrality, an Open Internet and the social values described [in the proposal].”

 

The preliminary vote of 24.1% in favor of the net neutrality proposal was reported at Verizon’s May 2 annual meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This represents a three-fold increase in support from a similar action filed last year, which garnered 7.9% of shareholder votes in favor of a net neutrality proposal.

 

In an open letter to Verizon shareholders, the proposal sponsors said failure to uphold network neutrality could present “serious legal, regulatory, reputational and financial risks” to Verizon while potentially reducing consumer choice, stifling economic growth and creating enormous barriers to tech innovation.

 

The proposal sponsors argued that Verizon is employing a strategy of voicing support for open Internet principles while actively seeking to undermine them, as evidenced by its current lawsuit with the Federal Communications Commission.

 

"This significant indication of shareholder concern about Verizon's risky and aggressive approach to net neutrality suggests that investors lack confidence in how the company is handling the issue,” said Jonas Kron, Senior Vice President, Trillium Asset Management. “Management needs to take tangible steps to regain that confidence."

 

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Authors, composers want 3.4% of every Belgian’s Internet bill | Ars Technica

Authors, composers want 3.4% of every Belgian’s Internet bill | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Content owners in nearly every country have tried various strategies to get compensation for losses due to piracy. But copyright owners in Belgium have a bold new tactic: go after Internet service providers in court, demanding 3.4 percent of the fees their customers pay for Internet service.

 

The lawsuit has been brought by the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers, known as Sabam. The group's claim is similar to the blank-media levy that exists in Canada. It seems to be based on the assumption that a particular medium is used to break copyright law, and therefore all the users of that media should rightly be required to pay a tax. However, Canada's blank media tax was approved by its legislature. To get their 3.4 percent cut, Belgian authors, composers, and publishers are hoping to bypass the legislature with a lawsuit.

 

Belgium is a country where courts have a track record of favoring legacy media companies in their battles against Internet companies. Google, for instance, has fought lengthy court battles with newspapers in that country without much success. But the move to go after the nation's own ISPs is a new one.

 

The group told Telecompaper, a Dutch publication, that it expects EU law to include "a larger number of actors" in delivering communications and collecting copyright fees. Sabam said it attempted to negotiate with Belgian ISPs but filed its court case when they couldn't strike a deal.

 

Sabam has been demanding such fees since 2011, according to IDG News. A group of Belgian ISPs told IDG that Sabam's attempt to litigate its way to an Internet tax "lacks any legal basis."

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Attacking Lifeline for Political Gain | Free Press

Attacking Lifeline for Political Gain | Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Too many members of Congress blame the poor for the country’s economic woes. It’s a way to score political points, especially when the poor are often synonymous with people of color.

 

This is the motivation for much of the criticism of the government’s Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone service for 15 million poor people, including the elderly and people living in rural areas.

 

Many conservative critics want to eliminate the program’s funding for wireless services. A Republican-led House bill, co-sponsored by more than 40 congressional members, would do just that. The bill's supporters claim Lifeline is fraught with waste and abuse, and last Thursday the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on the program.

 

At the heart of the criticism lies a false claim that the program provides poor households with free cellphones — aka, “Obama phones.” The image of that poor family, for many, is that of a poor black family.

 

This narrative gained greater traction last year after a video of an African-American woman praising the president for providing poor people of color with a free “Obama phone” went viral.

 

But what detractors often fail to mention is that some wireless companies that participate in the program have given away free cellphones to attract more customers. The government isn’t giving away the phones. Critics also neglect to mention that more oversight is needed to prevent carriers from abusing the program — for instance, by accepting excessive funds even when they aren't providing communication services to all qualified recipients.

 

But lawmakers and critics would rather use the image of poor people gaming the system as a way to demonize any kind of public assistance program. This image, unfortunately, has broad political appeal.

 

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Broadband Adoption Toolkit, BTOP Grant Review & Program Reports | BroadbandUSA - NTIA

Broadband Adoption Toolkit, BTOP Grant Review & Program Reports | BroadbandUSA - NTIA | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In May 2013 NTIA released a Broadband Adoption Toolkit based on the field-tested practices of recipients from the Sustainable Broadband Adoption and Public Computer Center grant categories.

 

The Toolkit is a guide to planning and carrying out effective adoption programs with a wide variety of audiences, including youth, low-income, and seniors. It includes chapters on planning a new program, designing outreach and communications activities, setting up training classes, and choosing engaging curriculum. It also has links to detailed examples, tools, and videos that can save time and resources for program developers.

 

Click headline to access hot links to Broadband Adoption Tookit, BTOP Grant Review Report and to Quarterly Program Reports--

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