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Police Chief's Custom Spam Filter Blocks Occupy Protestors, Brutality Complaints And (Oops) Federal Monitors | Techdirt

Police Chief's Custom Spam Filter Blocks Occupy Protestors, Brutality Complaints And (Oops) Federal Monitors | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We all enjoyed a loud, incredulous laugh when Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary, went on record as being proudly computer illiterate. "Never use email," she said as part of statement delivered by teletype. Perhaps Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan should have chosen the Luddite Way, thus avoiding his current problems. Instead, he chose to perform the digital equivalent of plugging his ears and shouting nonsensical syllables at the top of his lungs in order to actively ignore news he didn't want to hear (found via the essential Police Misconduct Reporting Project).

 

'People who've e-mailed Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan over the past year about Occupy Oakland probably didn't get much of a response.'

 

'That's because he used a spam filter to dismiss messages sent to him with "Occupy Oakland" in the subject line, according to a federal court filing Monday. Same goes for the phrases "stop the excessive police force," "respect the press pass" or "police brutality." Instead of landing in his in-box, those messages went straight into his junk mail folder, which he apparently never looked at.'

 

It's tough work being Chief. A steady stream of complaints about the police force under your "control" is sure to be disheartening. But, if you can't take the heat, reroute it out the nearest opening, am I right? And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for that meddling federal court monitor.

 

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Sandvine Global Report: Internet Data Usage Up 120 Percent in North America | Sandvine

Sandvine Global Report: Internet Data Usage Up 120 Percent in North America | Sandvine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sandvine, a leading provider of intelligent broadband network solutions for fixed and mobile operators, today released its Internet traffic trends report, entitled “Global Internet Phenomena Report 2H2012 ”, based on data from a selection of Sandvine’s 200-plus customers spanning North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Caribbean and Latin America and Asia-Pacific.Major findings from Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Report include:

 

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AT&T is glad to expand service, but wants pesky FCC regulations dropped | Ars Technica

AT&T is glad to expand service, but wants pesky FCC regulations dropped | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Industry watchers have pointed out AT&T now seems less than genuine with regulators. The company claimed that without being able to acquire T-Mobile it would not be able to expand its LTE offerings. According to the AT&T's most recent financial data (PDF), the company receives about three times as much quarterly revenue from wireless ($15 billion) as it does from traditional wireline voice service ($5.5 billion).

 

"They painted the stakes as dire as possible when they were trying to buy T-Mobile, but the fact is AT&T had to match its competitors in 4G market roll-outs," said Ken Rehben, an analyst at Yankee Group, told CNNMoney.

 

Some industry watchers are worried such a move would make an end-run around existing regulations that require a baseline level of phone service under federal law. If the FCC heeds AT&T’s advice, some fear there will be even further entrenchment of the dominant wired carriers, like AT&T and Verizon, who are pushing more profitable wireless services.

 

"For 100 years we’ve had the idea that everyone has a phone line," said Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and a telecom law expert. It's the principle known as "common carriage," she told Ars.

 

"Today the general purpose network is a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). That’s what’s going on in Europe and Asia, but we seem to be abandoning that concept. Instead, we’re allowing private carriers to choose who has to rely on wireless and who gets a wire and who gets what type of wire. The whole system has been turned upside down."

 

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Comcast Takes Heat for Huge Lawn Utility Cabinets - After Mocking AT&T for Them Several Years Earlier | DSLReports.com

Comcast Takes Heat for Huge Lawn Utility Cabinets - After Mocking AT&T for Them Several Years Earlier | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Over the years several communities have gotten upset about the AT&T VRAD cabinets required to deliver the company's U-Verse FTTN/VDSL service.

 

In some areas, complaints involved anger of AT&T ignoring easement rights or childhood traffic dangers, while in other markets the complaints have been aesthetic or property-value driven. In Illinois, groups like Stop The Box fought to have a say in VRAD placement, with AT&T finally going so far as to agree to pay $1,500-$2000 for landscaping surrounding each box.

 

Now Comcast is baring the brunt of residents of historic Georgetown who are upset about new utility boxes residents say are ugly and were installed without Comcast following the proper procedures:

 

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Marquette County Broadband Initiative Teams Up With CONNECT Michigan | Marquette.org

Marquette County Broadband Initiative Teams Up With CONNECT Michigan | Marquette.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Marquette County Broadband Initiative has joined forces with ConnectMichigan by enrolling in the Connected Certified Community program. This initiative offers a comprehensive way to bridge the digital divide impacting many communities including Marquette County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by building community partnerships to assess broadband access, adoption and use issues.

 

The Marquette County Broadband Initiative is being lead by the County of Marquette, Lake Superior Community Partnership and Northern Michigan University’s Center for Rural Community and Economic Development. The group held its first meeting with community stakeholders in late September and is now compiling the information that was gathered during the session to complete the first steps in the community assessment process.

 

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UPDATED: MegaPath augments Ethernet reach with EoDS1 service | FierceTelecom

UPDATED: MegaPath augments Ethernet reach with EoDS1 service | FierceTelecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

MegaPath on Wednesday debuted a new product to extend its Ethernet footprint in areas where Ethernet over Copper (EoC) is not available.

 

For this service set, MegaPath is delivering Ethernet over DS1 (EoDS1) because it is not subject to the same distance limitations seen with EoC.

 

Expanding its Ethernet reach over traditional DS1 circuits directly complements MegaPath's broad EoC network, which it said reaches almost a million businesses in 25 major markets, including Phoenix, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Phoenix, in particular, has been a boom market for MegaPath as it has tripled the amount of businesses it reached with Ethernet.

 

Having the extended Ethernet offering will appeal to a greater set of customers that have multiple sites that need Ethernet connectivity and can't be served by EoC or a fiber-based connection.

 

Pasha Mohammed, Vice President, Product Management, Network Services at MegaPath, told FierceTelecom in an interview that while the CLEC is seeing good uptake from its Ethernet over Copper service, distance limitations are a factor so the EoDS1 product will bridge part of that gap.

 

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Community-Owned MI-Connection Launches Speed War That Benefits North Carolina | Stop the Cap!

Community-Owned MI-Connection Launches Speed War That Benefits North Carolina | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A community-owned cable system that critics called “a municipal broadband failure” is proving to be anything but as it aggressively launches a broadband speed war and is narrowing its losses on the road to profitability.

 

MI-Connection is the community-owned cable system serving Mooresville, Davidson, and Cornelius, N.C.

 

Originally acquired in 2007 from bankrupt Adelphia Cable, MI-Connection has been a favorite target for municipal broadband critics who have painted the operation as an experiment gone wrong and a financial failure. But the system’s latest financial results and its forthcoming free broadband speed upgrades tell a different story.

 

Residents will see major boosts in their broadband speeds for no additional charge in December thanks to a broadband service upgrade. Meanwhile, competitor Time Warner Cable has announced new fees for cable modem rentals that will raise many customer bills by $3.95 a month. (MI-Connection does not charge customers a rental fee when they have just one cable modem on their account.)

 

Critics of MI-Connection have help from various astroturf groups, backed largely by telecommunications companies who oppose government involvement in broadband. Particularly notorious is the “Coalition for the New Economy,” which issues negative reports about municipal broadband while burying the fact the group is funded in part by AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and other Big Telecom lobbyists.

 

The “Coalition” issues various reports mostly summarizing news accounts about community broadband that highlight struggles and ignore successes, while concluding that community broadband is interfering with private providers trying to hurry upgrades into neglected areas.

 

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Hurricane Sandy: testing grid assumptions | Intelligent Utility

Hurricane Sandy: testing grid assumptions | Intelligent Utility | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's déjà vu all over again.

 

I mean to be wry, not cute, because the picture is sobering: Extreme storm. Widespread outages. Millions without power for indefinite periods. Then, the debate: what's it all mean?

 

Glance back at last fall's coverage, if you need a reminder that related smart grid discussions are becoming a bit cyclical. (See "Lessons Learned On the Storm: Last Year's Storm," for a discussion that combined thoughts on extreme storms this past spring with those from last fall's killer storms.)

 

And let me publicly express what I believe are virtually everyone's sincere thanks and best wishes to all the utility and public safety people on the front lines this week and in days to come as they clear the wreckage and restore normalcy.

 

Events on the scale of Hurricane Sandy—perhaps ten million without power, from West Virginia to Maine, and dozens dead—force us to reexamine many things.

 

First, for me, is community. That begins with family. My folks are in their mid-80s and they live back East, directly in the storm's path but mercifully far from the coast. They lost power Monday night and regained it midday yesterday, after "only" 48 hours. My folks' power was restored as they were in the process of moving to the home of a friend, who'd bought a generator after last fall's double whammy hit the Northeast. They could see that nearby neighborhoods were not yet as fortunate.

 

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Analyzing AT&T’s Plan to Expand Service: Transformation or Bait & Switch for Rural America? | Stop the Cap!

Analyzing AT&T’s Plan to Expand Service: Transformation or Bait & Switch for Rural America? | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Yesterday, at least a half-dozen AT&T senior executives sat lined up in a perfect row to present Wall Street with the company’s vision for the future.

 

There were no consumers in attendance, just a group of Wall Street investors and analysts that braved the latest nor’easter to attend.

 

At issue: what to do about AT&T’s landline network, particularly in rural areas. Earlier this year, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, still smarting from a regulatory slap-down of his plan to acquire T-Mobile USA, ranted his disapproval of federal regulators for nixing the deal and then reflected on AT&T’s rural customers who still cannot buy broadband service from AT&T.

 

One of Stephenson’s strongest arguments in favor of merging with T-Mobile was it would facilitate a rural broadband solution. With that off the table, Stephenson seemed at a loss:

 

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Verizon LTE Build Complete by Mid 2013 - Six Months Earlier Than Originally Expected | DSLReports.com

Verizon Wireless now says their LTE build will be completed in mid-2013, six months earlier than originally projected.

 

Speaking this week at the Wells Fargo Securities Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stated that after some early hiccups that included numerous nationwide outages things have significantly smoothed out in deployments and still leads every other carrier in LTE coverage by far.

 

"You can see that people are massively migrating to that network," insisted Shammo. Verizon recently stated that roughly 35% of the total traffic over their wireless network was via LTE. The company has also stated that the plan will be to sunset their 2G and 3G (EVDO) networks by 2021.

 

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Cuomo puts price tag of $33 billion on Sandy, rails against 'outdated' utility 'monopolies' | Innovation Trail

Cuomo puts price tag of $33 billion on Sandy, rails against 'outdated' utility 'monopolies' | Innovation Trail | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a press conference today, Governor Andrew Cuomo put the cost of Hurricane Sandy at $33 billion. He also the reiterated his belief in the long-lasting impact of future extreme weather events on the state and city of New York.*

 

Cuomo spoke about the vulnerability of the city’s transport and fuel delivery systems and said that the fuel shortages experienced as a result of the storm were the outcome of only two days of disruption to supply.

 

“Look how fast you can shut down the region, just by shutting down the pumps.”

 

Cuomo was also highly critical of the response times provided by a number of utility companies and said that many of them have ‘failed’.

 

“They are bureaucracies that are in many ways outdated…and it’s a system that in many ways doesn’t work for New York when you’re in a crisis situation.”

 

He said that he had communicated his frustration to National Grid and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).

 

“I believe the system is archaic and obsolete in many ways.”

 

“Part of it is that utilities are a monopoly.”

 

“If you’re unhappy with a utility company, who do you fire?”

 

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A power grid that could outsmart Sandy | Thehour.com

The more than 8 million people without power this week may not be reassured to hear it, but power failures in the wake of superstorm Sandy could have been much more widespread.

 

For a sense of scale, consider that in 2003 the failure to detect a tree branch falling on a high-voltage line in Ohio led to a megablackout that turned off the lights for 55 million people over a wide swath of the Northeast, the Midwest and into Canada. Sandy, though one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in a century, was far more limited in its disruption of power supplies, reflecting the undeniable progress that has been made over the past decade in bringing the nation's creaking power grid into the 21st century.

 

U.S. power companies, with federal help, have begun laying the groundwork to make the U.S. electrical supply more resilient. The havoc caused by Sandy, a storm big enough, by one estimate, to cut U.S. output by $25 billion in the fourth quarter and slow the pace of growth, should be the catalyst to redouble this effort.

 

In particular, the Obama administration, using funds in the 2009 stimulus package, has made an $11 billion down payment on a more efficient grid. This included $4.5 billion in grants to private companies to develop a so-called smart grid, which applies the speed and power of the Internet to the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.

 

Among other things, smart-grid technology enables utilities to pinpoint disruptions on their lines from a central monitoring post. Rather than shut down power along an entire transmission line, an outage can be isolated and power can be rerouted. More than 400 of these monitoring posts have been installed across the United States, and more than 1,000 are expected to be in operation by the end of 2013. During Sandy, Pepco Holdings Inc., the utility serving Washington and parts of Maryland, was able to rely on feedback from some of the 425,000 smart meters in customers' homes to respond far more quickly and effectively to power failures.

 

The program, which is being led by the power companies, has the added benefit of lowering costs for consumers in the long term. The smart grid also marks the creation of microgrids, smaller systems -- in some cases reliant on wind and solar power -- that operate independently and continue to generate energy even when the broader network experiences difficulties.

 

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MN: More Light on Ramsey County Fiber? | Blandin on Broadband

Earlier this week the St Paul Pioneer Press ran an update on fiber plans in Ramsey County. (We posted over the weekend that Ramsey County has split from the private partner with whom they have been working on a joint fiber plan.)

 

According to the Pioneer Press, Minnesota Fiber Exchange (MFE), the company formerly working with Ramsey County, is still ready to forge ahead…

 

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Australia: Wireless NBN for outlying areas creeps closer | Tenterfield Star

As Telstra announces it will start shutting down its copper network 18 months after the National Broadband Network (NBN) hits its first release area, Tenterfield has been warned the fibre network is still a long way off.

 

NBN Co Limited stakeholder and community relations representative Tony Gibbs told Tenterfield Shire Council at a presentation recently that while the shire was about to see things happening to assist those in the outer areas of the shire, the town of Tenterfield itself would not see a fibre optic roll-out for at least another three years.

 

Council has already been approached to use one of the Mt Mackenzie towers to assist in the delivery of fixed wireless technology to the areas outside the town of Tenterfield, and Mr Gibbs said it could soon expect development applications for two further towers – one in the town of Tenterfield and another in Wallangarra/Jennings.

 

“Fixed wireless is fundamentally designed to fit a maximum number of users,” Mr Gibbs said.

He said this meant even if all users were accessing the internet at the same time, the speed would not slow down.

 

“This is the latest technology carriers are rolling out around the world,” Mr Gibbs said. “It’s a great technology for us to be able to develop and over time, it will deliver great speeds.”

He said the electro-magnetic signals sent out by the towers had been assessed and the maximum signal strength was still “thousands of times below the safety standards”.

 

Interim satellite services are already available to many residents outside the Tenterfield township.

 

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New Zealand government's UFB network passes 100,000 homes | FierceTelecom

New Zealand government's UFB network passes 100,000 homes | FierceTelecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Amy Adams, New Zealand's ICT minister, on Thursday said that over 100,000 homes, businesses and schools can connect to the government Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) network, up from the 76,000 premises it said the network passed in August.

 

Leading the deployment charge is Chorus, a new wholesale company created when Telecom New Zealand divested the business last year, with 72,000 premises connected. Enable Networks, the fiber operator subsidiary of Christchurch City Holdings Limited, has made 1,021 connections.

 

Despite making progress in building out the network, the response has been lukewarm with only 700 building owners agreeing to connect to the UFB fiber to their home or business.

 

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Analysts don’t like AT&T’s upgrade plans | Dispatch.com

Analysts don’t like AT&T’s upgrade plans | Dispatch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T Inc. will boost capital spending by about 16 percent to $22 billion a year for the next three years to fund upgrades to its wireless and wireline networks, the company said yesterday.

 

AT&T shares fell more than 2 percent after the news.

 

AT&T needs to invest to compete better with Verizon Communications Inc., which is ahead in delivering high-speed mobile services, and must improve its rural phone lines, composed of outdated copper technology.

 

The company also said that it hopes the investments will boost revenue growth by allowing it to chase new opportunities such as adding wireless connections to cars and home security.

 

AT&T said upgrading its wireline network was more attractive financially than other options such as carving up the business or divesting parts of the network. Previously, it said it was considering selling some rural phone lines.

 

Investors worried about the hike in annual spending compared with AT&T’s capital budget of $19 billion to $20 billion for 2012 even though the company vowed to come in at the low end of the target range this year.

 

“It’s a big number, and it’s not just for one year,” Hudson Square Research analyst Todd Rethemeier said.

 

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How my mobile devices are ready for the next storm: Fenix ReadySet | GigaOM Mobile Tech News

How my mobile devices are ready for the next storm: Fenix ReadySet | GigaOM Mobile Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Having just gone through four days without power, heat and water thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I can’t express how happy I was to see the latest gadget delivered to my home. Several months ago I backed the Fenix ReadySet Solar Kit on Kickstarter with a $199 pledge and the device is here. That’s good timing too as we’re expecting another storm with high winds to barrel through the area tonight. The ReadySet won’t help me with heat or water in an emergency, but it will provide renewable power for small electronic devices, tablets, phones and even light bulbs.

 

We wrote about the ReadySet back in June, but if you missed our coverage, let me explain what the product is. Essentially, this is a a portable battery housed in a case with two charging inputs and several outputs.

 

The ReadySet comes with a small (17-inch x 11-inch x 0.9-inch), weatherproof 15 Watt solar panel that can fully recharge the internal battery with roughly eight hours of direct sunlight. You can add more solar panels to reduce the charge time. Also included is an AC adapter that will charge the ReadySet battery in about four hours. A single button press shows how much juice is in the battery and there’s an LED indicator to show when the ReadySet is charging.

 

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FCC Commissioner Clyburn—A 'Fighter' For Diversity | CableFAX

FCC Commissioner Clyburn—A 'Fighter' For Diversity | CableFAX | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A day after President Obama was re-elected, the NAMIC Mid-Atlantic Chapter presented FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn with its annual Diversity Champion Award at a reception Wednesday night. As chapter president Sherry Hubbard put it, Commissioner Clyburn has been a “conscientious advocate to encourage inclusion and diversity throughout the communications industry,” from her days as a newspaper publisher and general manager to her work today at the FCC. Clyburn, along with former commissioner Michael Copps, shed some light on moving diversity forward post-election.

 

When it comes to diversity, “now it’s time to deliver,” said Copps, currently senior advisor for nonprofit Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. Diversity spoke convincingly Tuesday night, he said. “Diversity says do not take me for granted…Diversity is African Americans, diversity is Latinos, diversity is Asian Americans, native Americans, diversity is the disability communities, diversity is gay and lesbian communities and the list goes on and on…All looking for action…All looking for help…” he said.

 

That means broadband infrastructure for everyone, justice in media ownership, and a commission that will enforce equal opportunity, rules and regulations, he said. “Diversity says if you want to give spectrum rights to a lot of people, make sure you play fair and square…” Diversity can’t be delayed any more, he said. Calling Clyburn “a fighter” for it, Copps said the commissioner is leading the diversity effort at the Commission and “we should all be behind her.”

 

However, the fight won’t be easy and rewards “might not come when we want them to come,” Clyburn said. “But don’t give up. We don’t give up…We move at a steady pace in order for us to realize these objectives,” she said. “The seeds we plant now, the beneficiaries are children and grandchildren that will come behind us,” she said.

 

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AT&T Plots Transition to Fiber Wireline World | National Journal

AT&T Plots Transition to Fiber Wireline World | National Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T announced plans on Wednesday to invest $14 billion in an expansion of its wireless and fiber broadband infrastructure over the next three years. The company said the buildout would expand its high-speed 4G wireless network to reach 300 million people and expand high-speed wireline Internet and video services.

 

The move was accompanied by a petition by AT&T to the Federal Communications Commission to initiate a proceeding on the transition of the telecommunications industry to Internet Protocol-based services. Essentially, AT&T is hoping for a waiver to develop and test all-IP networks in certain locales, and phasing out its legacy services and the extensive regulatory obligations that go with them.

 

"The FCC did this with the [digital television] transition in [Wilmington, N.C.], and converted them early," said Bob Quinn, who heads AT&T's federal regulatory group. "This is the same concept. It gives us context to tee up policy issues."

 

For example, under the waiver, AT&T could potentially meet its obligations to offer Lifeline service - a discount phone service - using only its wireless service. The waiver would also give AT&T the opportunity to build IP infrastructure without having to maintain legacy networks at the same time.

 

Part of the goal would be to generate information on how to best manage the shift to an all-IP environment. Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai recently called for a task force to look at how to update telecom regulation for fiber.

 

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Apple, Google Lose Big Patent Cases To Trolls | Techdirt

Apple, Google Lose Big Patent Cases To Trolls | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While Apple and Google (or their proxies) are fighting it out on a number of big patent battles, both companies (and basically every other successful tech company) are still facing a whole bunch of troll lawsuits.

 

Jury verdicts came down in two such cases this week, with the big one being Apple losing to VirnetX in East Texas, and being told to pay a whopping $368.2 million. Just as a point of reference, VirnetX admitted in court that in the first half of 2012 it made a grand total of $36,000.

 

And now the jury thinks it deserves $368.2 million? The patents in question (which can be seen here) cover some concepts around virtual private networks. The company, a spinout of secretive government contractor behemoth SAIC, claims that Apple's Facetime product infringes.

 

Apple, of course, claims that it doesn't infringe, leading VirnetX's lawyer to make a truly bizarre statement:

 

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ITU Boss Explains Why He Wants The UN To Start Regulating The Internet | Techdirt

ITU Boss Explains Why He Wants The UN To Start Regulating The Internet | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've written a few times about why we should be worried about the ITU (a part of the UN) and its attempts to regulate the internet, to which some have responded by arguing that the ITU/UN doesn't really want to regulate the internet.

 

However, the Secretary-General of the ITU, Hamadoun Toure has now taken to the pages of Wired, to explicitly state why he believes the UN needs to regulate the internet. And it appears that many of the initial fears are 100% accurate.

 

We've already covered how the ITU seems to be hiding all sorts of awful scary things by claiming they all fall under the "cybersecurity" banner, and we've noted that the ITU's mandate over cybersecurity is imaginary and its history with the subject is sketchy, at best. However, in the op-ed, Toure doubles down on why the UN should be there helping countries censor things like "porn and propaganda" on the internet as a part of its "cybersecurity" efforts.

 

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Debunking ALEC, Broadband Edition | Stop the Cap!

Debunking ALEC, Broadband Edition | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Not long ago, the United States led the world in broadband connectivity. Now we are in 16th place, trailing most developed nations. We need broadband policies that connect our homes, schools, and business to the 21st century economy, but we’re pursuing public policies that are putting us in a hole, helping private telecommunications providers and harming the public interest. As the old adage goes, when in a hole, stop digging.

 

Why is this happening? One reason is that across much of the nation, commercial broadband companies are using their political and economic clout to stifle competition, particularly from municipalities. Individually and through trade groups and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the industry is bent on shutting down existing publicly-owned broadband systems and blocking the development of new ones.

 

ALEC’s argument, detailed in a recent Daily Caller op-ed by John Stephenson, director of its communications and technology task force, is based on distorted and inaccurate claims that would be laughable if they weren’t part of a coordinated strategy to radically transform policy state-by-state.

 

Stephenson suggests that Chattanooga, one of several cities cited in his piece, made a poor decision in building the nation’s most advanced citywide broadband network – one that has helped companies create literally thousands of new jobs in recent years. In fact, contrary to Stephenson’s claims that municipal broadband drive up property taxes and depresses municipal credit ratings, S&P just upgraded the Chattanooga public utility’s bond rating, stating, “The system is providing reliable information to the electric utility on outages, losses and usage, which helps reduce the electric system’s costs.”

 

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The Benefits of Rural Broadband | SaveRuralBroadband.org

The Benefits of Rural Broadband | SaveRuralBroadband.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The promise of universal broadband is in jeopardy. Because of cuts by the FCC, thousands of rural consumers could begin seeing their phone and Internet rates increase significantly or disappear entirely.

 

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BroadbandUS.TV -Danville Economic Development Conference

BroadbandUS.TV -Danville Economic Development Conference | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

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Judge Rejects Fox's Attempt To Shut Down Dish's Autohop Feature, But Indicates It May Still Infringe | Techdirt

Judge Rejects Fox's Attempt To Shut Down Dish's Autohop Feature, But Indicates It May Still Infringe | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, we wrote about the TV networks suing Dish Networks for its new Autohop feature. Dish created a neat bit of innovation, which automatically recorded all prime time shows for people to watch later, and as long as you watched the day after the shows aired, it would auto-skip the commercials. This is the kind of thing that a user could set up themselves, though it's a bit cumbersome, and too many DVR providers have shied away from automated "commercial skip" features after the TV industry sued ReplayTV over such a feature (despite many VCRs having it already). Ridiculously, the networks, led by Fox, claimed that skipping commercials is a form of copyright infringement. The theory there is... convoluted, at best.

 

The latest news is that Fox has lost in its attempt to get an injunction, meaning that the service will live on as the trial continues. The filing is sealed for now, as apparently there are some trade secret details that need to be redacted. However, both sides are trying to claim victory -- with Fox saying that the order does indicate that the feature is copyright infringement:

 

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