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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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FBI Continues To Insist There's No Reason For Kim Dotcom To Be Able To See The Evidence Against Him | Techdirt

FBI Continues To Insist There's No Reason For Kim Dotcom To Be Able To See The Evidence Against Him | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We already noted that the New Zealand judicial system apparently isn't as willing as the US expected to rubberstamp approval of the extradition of Kim Dotcom. Part of that ruling was a requirement that the US turn over the evidence they're using against Dotcom, so that he can counter it in fighting against the extradition.

 

However, it appears that the US is still fighting this, having the New Zealand prosecutor (who is fighting on their behalf) argue that Dotcom should only be allowed to see a single document out of the 22 million emails the FBI collected and that this really isn't a matter for the New Zealand courts to concern themselves with, as they should just let the Americans handle it.

 

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Mid-Atlantic Storm Damage Shows Big Telecom Unprepared for Bad Weather | Stop the Cap!

Mid-Atlantic Storm Damage Shows Big Telecom Unprepared for Bad Weather | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A series of severe thunderstorms accompanied by near-hurricane-force winds caused millions of customers in several Mid-Atlantic states to lose power and telecommunications services late Friday, and some are expected to remain without service until at least this coming weekend.

 

The storm, known as a “derecho,” uprooted trees, which in turn knocked down power lines and caused wind-related damage to buildings from Ohio to West Virginia, Virginia to Maryland, and even into North Carolina.

 

But the storm also is raising questions about the massive failures in commercial telecommunications systems that left entire 911 emergency response systems offline for days, wireless networks non-operational, cell phone systems overwhelmed, and broadband service, deemed a lower priority by emergency officials, down and offline.

 

Some of the biggest problems remain in and around the nation’s capital and in the states of West Virginia and Virginia, where inadequate infrastructure proved especially susceptible to the storm’s damaging winds.

 

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Danada: Rogers Doubles Maximum Overlimit Usage Fee from $50 to $100 to “Protect Customers” | Stop the Cap!

Danada: Rogers Doubles Maximum Overlimit Usage Fee from $50 to $100 to “Protect Customers” | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rogers Communications is quietly notifying its broadband customers it is doubling the overlimit fee for excessive use of its broadband service from $50 to $100, effective Aug. 16, 2012.

 

The company characterizes the new maximum fee as “protecting you from unexpected high charges,” but of course does nothing of the sort.

 

Rogers’ charges eastern Canada some of the continent’s most expensive prices around for usage-limited broadband. Its Internet Overcharging scheme has relied on all of the classic tricks of the trade to get consumers to pay higher and higher prices for broadband service, while assuring investors the company can rake in additional profits at will just by adjusting your allowance and overlimit fee.

 

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Is Time Warner Cable Really Listening? TWC’s One Way Conversation | Stop the Cap!

Earlier this week, Time Warner Cable unveiled its new 5GB limited-use broadband plans in Austin, Tex. The company told customers it would be “listening” to their concerns on the cable operator’s “TWC Conversations” website, and many Stop the Cap! readers shared with us copies of their own two cents, submitted as comments on that website.

 

But so far, the conversation seems very one-sided. To date, here is Time Warner’s presentation of the opposing point of view:

 

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Still Plenty To Be Concerned About With TPP | Techdirt

Still Plenty To Be Concerned About With TPP | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While we are encouraged by the USTR's supposed recognition of the importance of limitations and exceptions in copyright law in their latest TPP draft proposal, there are still significant concerns about the TPP agreement, as a whole, including with the very specifics of the language around exceptions and limitations.

 

Already, a few folks who have been burned before by the USTR are worried that the language being used is so narrow as to only allow fair use-like exceptions in a very narrow set of circumstances.

 

Furthermore, as Sean Flynn lays out, there are many other key issues at stake in the specifics of the text around the IP provisions, way beyond just the limitations and exceptions. These include questions about the copyright status of "temporary copies" (think cached copies), parallel importation ("gray market"), copyright term extension, digital locks and a few other things as well.

 

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Former France Telecom CEO indicted over 35 suicides | GigaOM EU Tech News

Former France Telecom CEO indicted over 35 suicides | GigaOM EU Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Former France Telecom chief executive Didier Lombard has been indicted by a court in Paris over allegations that he led a corporate culture of bullying and harassment that resulted in the suicide of at least 30 employees.

 

Lombard, who ran the company between 2005 and 2010, was placed under formal investigation by the French authorities on Wednesday and bailed for €100,000 ($125,000).

 

The allegations stem back to a year two-year period when 35 employees killed themselves. While that number is below the national average for a company of 165,000 employees, critics have pinpointed Lombard’s management culture and decisions as one of the reasons for the deaths — and in particular on his so-called “NEXT” program, an efficiency drive and restructuring that cut more than 22,000 jobs over a short time and made managers change jobs every three years.

 

Many of those who died left notes blaming pressure at work for their actions.

 

Pressure from unions and politicians meant that Lombard was forced to step down from his job earlier than expected, and his successor rapidly ended the NEXT program.

 

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$7 Billion Public Safety Communication: States Get Ready for Planning Grants — Broadband Illinois

Now’s the time to get ready to plan the best uses of public safety communication investments.

 

Summer-fall is the time for states, regions and communities to get ready for planning so-called “interoperable” state public safety communication networks to be funded by $7 billion in Federal resources in the coming decade.

 

Local community anchor institution networks will have opportunities to help design ways to link public safety communication systems with public-private “community response” networks that engage in community outreach, including to vulnerable populations, everyday and in times of emergency.

 

“Community assemblies” in local and regional areas are important venues to bring parties together as part of broadband extension and civic development plans. With more than 4 percent of the nation’s population, Illinois might receive as much as $300 million to invest in new equipment and support.

 

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Windstream serves up IT, telecom service bundles for SMBs | FierceTelecom

Windstream believes its Professional Bundle will give Small/Medium Businesses (SMBs) the same IP-based service capabilities as large businesses.

 

Offered on a flat monthly fee, SMBs will be able to take advantage of multiple services, including: Internet and unlimited phone service, 24x7 computer repair and replacement, Internet security, online backup and their own custom website with one hour of monthly design services.

 

Besides the sheer diversity of the SMB market in terms of size and scope, the reality that all businesses in this segment face is they don't have the capital to spend on IT support, making options like Windstream's new bundle even more attractive. Handing off these functions to one provider offers greater simplicity and one source to call if they have an issue.

 

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The next generation business: Data is the new platform | GigaOM Cloud Computing News

The next generation business: Data is the new platform | GigaOM Cloud Computing News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When thinking about the value of the data a company collects vs. the traditional value of the productit may produce, collecting and analyzing broad categories of customer + product data is becoming equally — if not more — valuable than the product itself.

 

And, if the data is becoming so valuable, then analyzing and mining it ought to provide incremental revenue streams beyond the traditional product-based business model. But consider going one step further: If treated right, access to enough quality data would be valuable to others outside of your enterprise too – assuming the correct federation and business models were constructed.

 

This accretion of value around large data sets – particularly alongside an external ecosystem – is analogous to what we’re familiar with in the product world: The Platform. Indeed, we may find that entirely new business models based on data platforms may arise from legacy product companies.

 

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UK: Virgin Media extends Wi-Fi service to 40 London Underground stations

Having launched the service last month at King’s Cross and Warren Street Tube stations, British cableco Virgin Media has announced that its Wi-Fi service has now been made available at 40 Tube stations. In announcing the development, the operator noted that since launch more than 100,000 passengers had utilised the service, and it reiterated its aim of having the service on offer at 120 London Underground stops before the end of the year.

 

The Wi-Fi service is currently being offered without charge for customers, with this continuing to be the case until after the summer; the free period coincides with the Olympic Games being held in London. After the summer, Virgin Media notes, its Wi-Fi portal with Transport for London (TfL) travel information, updates and London news and entertainment will remain free for all Tube passengers.

 

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Do network neutrality rules violate Verizon's freedom of speech? | betanews

June 2nd marked the return shots fired by telecommunications juggernaut Verizon against the Federal Communications Commission for fines the FCC leveled on them in regards to network neutrality. In a legal brief filed in Washington DC at the United States Court Of Appeals, Verizon and regional cell phone provider MetroPCS formally appealed.

 

Verizon claims that the FCC forcing them to keep all data traffic equal priority is unconstitutional -- that equal priority of data is an affront to carrier's freedom of speech.

 

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Canada: Net neutrality and the CRTC: what M. Blais needs to know | Life on the Broadband Internet

Canada: Net neutrality and the CRTC: what M. Blais needs to know | Life on the Broadband Internet | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

To understand the CRTC’s ITMP policy, you have to understand the alleged problem for which it was the putative solution: traffic congestion.

 

The incumbents pushed the congestion story relentlessly, until they finally convinced the Commission that Canada’s net neutrality framework had to address not opportunity or innovation or freedom of choice, but the problem engineers have in many walks of life – load-levelling.

 

The incumbents asked for the Commission’s help and got it, despite the fact they never offered any convincing empirical evidence that traffic congestion on their networks was getting out of hand.

 

Never mind the convenient but entirely untrue fairy-tale that congestion was being caused by evil bandwidth hogs – a fairy-tale the prior CRTC chair swallowed hook, line and sinker.

 

KvF stood by the incumbents’ version of the truth in the face of evidence that congestion occurs not because of individual anti-social behavior, but because of traffic peaks created by large numbers of users at certain times of the day – very much like vehicular traffic peaks on the 401 during rush hours.

 

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EU Passenger rights: new smartphone app to give you all your rights while travelling this summer | EU Info Society Newsroom

Passengers stranded at airports or awaiting missing luggage may now use a smartphone application to check their rights immediately and on the spot.

 

Just in time for the summer holidays, the European Commission has launched an application for smartphones which covers air and rail transport and works on four mobile platforms: Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, RIM Blackberry and Microsoft Windows Phone 7.

 

The app is available in 22 EU languages. It currently covers air and rail transport and will be extended to bus / coach and marine travel in 2013 when these rights come into force.

 

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Canada: Shaw Cable Ending Aggressive Pricing Promotions; Price War is “Lose, Lose Situation” | Stop the Cap!

Canada: Shaw Cable Ending Aggressive Pricing Promotions; Price War is “Lose, Lose Situation” | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Shaw Communications executives last week announced, to the relief of Wall Street, the cable company is pulling back on great deals for cable TV, Internet and phone service this summer.In an effort to appease Wall Street analysts like Phillip Huang, a researcher for UBS Investment Bank — who fear lower prices could “spiral into a price war, which obviously would be a lose, lose situation,” Shaw has made it clear it intends to stop some of its most aggressive promotions this summer.

 

“When you talk about promotions in the market, we’ve been very disciplined in that regard,” Shaw executives told analysts on last week’s quarterly results conference call. “It’s a highly competitive environment and will continue to be that way and we’re going to operate in a certain fashion.”

 

That “certain fashion” has cost them at least 21,500 subscribers who have already left Shaw this past quarter, most headed to Shaw’s biggest competitor Telus.

 

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Ron And Rand Paul: Net Neutrality And The Public Domain Are Really Evil Collectivist Plots | Techdirt

Ron And Rand Paul: Net Neutrality And The Public Domain Are Really Evil Collectivist Plots | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I tend to be a pretty big supporter of free market capitalism and the importance of real property rights (not imaginary property rights). As such, I've always been intrigued by Ron Paul's libertarian stance against big government and excessive regulation. I think that position is pretty clearly staked out in my writing over the years.

 

However, I'm perplexed by the new "internet freedom" manifesto from Ron Paul and Rand Paul, which seems like a hodgepodge of poorly thought out concepts -- some of which make sense, and some of which do not.

 

While I agree about keeping the government out of internet regulations, the document seems to attack many of those who actually agree with the Pauls by setting up ridiculous strawmen. In particular, the Pauls come out vehemently against both net neutrality as a concept and any effort to expand the public domain -- even though both are really about limiting big government.

 

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US Gov't And Hollywood Have Turned Kim Dotcom Into A Beloved Cult Hero | Techdirt

US Gov't And Hollywood Have Turned Kim Dotcom Into A Beloved Cult Hero | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Kim Dotcom is not a sympathetic individual. Anyone who's followed his career over the years (even from well before Megaupload) has known that. He's loud, obnoxious, ostentatious and seems to have little shame about his past efforts to be on the wrong side of the law. If there's anyone out there who could easily be framed as "Dr. Evil," it is Dotcom.

 

So, it's really quite stunning to realize that the US government and Hollywood have taken perhaps the easiest person to demonize around... and turned him into a lovable "cult hero." Over the past six months, it appears that the US's massive overreaction to Megaupload, at the urging of a typically clueless Hollywood, has done the exact opposite of what they hoped.

 

Whereas they figured the prosecution of Megaupload and Dotcom was a slam dunk, and that it would act as a clear "education campaign" for others, the truth seems to be the exact opposite. People are realizing that the government and Hollywood overreacted, and it's almost entirely rehabilitated Dotcom's image.

 

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Malware Monday: Thousands May Lose Access to Internet | USTelecom Blog

Due to malware from international hackers, that may have infected hundreds of thousands of computers last year, some may find it impossible to connect to the Internet on Monday, July 9th. An Associated Press report, stated that approximately 64,000 computers in the U.S., may be infected, according to the FBI. On a global scale, the report estimated that over 277,000 computers are infected with this malware .

 

The malware was launched, when an international group of hackers attempted to take control of computers worldwide by running an advertising scam in 2011. Computers still infected, with this malware on Monday, July 9th will lose their ability to reach the Internet and will need the assistance of their service providers to remove this malware and re-connect to the Internet.

 

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Chicago resurrects city WiFi plan | MuniWireless.com

The Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, has proposed the creation of a downtown Wi-Fi network as part of an ambitious plan to revitalize the city and upgrade its physical and broadband infrastructure. There was already a plan to deploy Wi-Fi citywide in Chicago back in 2006-2007 when Earthlink and other companies had submitted bids to unwire the city. EarthLink dropped its municipal WiFi business in 2007, thereby ending its negotiations with the city, and Chicago never put the project out to a public tender again.

 

Although Rahm Emanuel’s plan is not as ambitious as the original citywide Wi-Fi project, it could be much more successful because it is concentrated in a smaller, denser area where people hang out. According to the Guardian, “Emanuel has instructed officials to examine the technical and financial implications of turning the whole of downtown Chicago into a wireless network zone. Under the plans, the city’s traffic and street lights would be turned into smart polls, ensuring unbroken internet access throughout the city centre that would be extended underground across the entire CTA subway system.”

 

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Spurring Innovation Through Illinois Gov. Quinn’s Gigabit Challenge | Broadband Illinois

As the June 30, 2012, deadline for Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Gigabit Community Challenge approaches, contenders across the state are putting the finishing touches on plans to expand ultra high-speed internet throughout their communities. This competition is the first of its kind for Illinois. The stakes are high: A total of $6 million in capital funding will be awarded to the most promising deployment projects.

 

By investing in broadband technology and capitalizing on the innovation of Illinoisans, our citizens will be able to find and apply for jobs faster, participate in distance learning courses, access telehealth and eGovernment tools, and spur economic growth. Deploying ultra-high speed bandwidth will ensure that Illinois is an appealing place for businesses to locate and for college graduates to find careers and establish families.

 

Announced in February during the State of the State address, the Gigabit Challenge was funded by the multi-year “Illinois Jobs Now!” capital development plan. While these funds were previously used to jumpstart fiber builds and connect community anchor institutions in 2010 and 2011, the Gigabit Challenge is a new opportunity to “unleash the savvy of our entrepreneurs, the brainpower of our academics, and the creativity of our innovators,” Governor Quinn said.

 

While other Gigabit initiatives like Google’s Gigabit Challenge and the Gig.U consortium, have prompted ultra high-speed efforts in cities, Governor Quinn’s challenge is unique nationally in that the criteria is fairly flexible. Any private or public entity may apply to connect at least 1,000 end users to robust broadband capacity.

 

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Sonic Imposes Mandatory Modem Rental Fee - New Users Must Now Pay $6.50 Modem Rental Fee | DSLReports.com

A growing number of ISPs are eliminating the option to own your own mondem -- Charter Communications being the most recent. The reason is usually twofold: it provides the ISP with more consistency making troubleshooting easier, but it also allows them to charge an additional modem rental fee.

 

Sonic.net has now joined the trend, the company announcing on their blog that as of this month, they've started giving their "Fusion" broadband users a ASDL2+ modem/router -- for an added charge of $6.50 per month.

 

It's a mandatory device for new users, but existing users, for now, will be able to continue to use the modems they already own.

 

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Copper still in fashion despite speed allure of FTTH | FierceTelecom

Fiber to the Home (FTTH) may have its advantages in offering unlimited speed, but the near-term reality is that telcos can upgrade their copper-based networks with higher-speed DSL services like ADSL2 and VDSL2 for far less capital, according to ABI Research.

 

Despite the benefits of FTTH, copper-based DSL continues to be king. According to ABI, there were over 367 million subscribers worldwide in 2011.

 

While it's clear that deploying IPTV and high resolution OTT video are necessary to compete with cable operators, some service providers like AT&T are finding they can deliver a decent experience to their customer base. Leveraging ADSL2, AT&T can deliver its U-verse IPTV service over 15 Mbps of bandwidth.

 

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EU: Are governments fulfilling their role in meeting the Digital Agenda? | FTTH Council Europe

EU: Are governments fulfilling their role in meeting the Digital Agenda? | FTTH Council Europe | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the mid-nineteenth century the French town of Alençon was an important crossroads between Paris and the West of France, similar in size to its regional rival, Le Mans. Then, the train arrived. Or rather, it didn’t for Alençon.

 

The railroad between Paris and the West cut through Le Mans and Alençon was side-tracked; the latter town slid into a period of economic stagnation, while Le Mans boomed.

Today it is ultra-high-speed broadband infrastructure that will become a determining factor in ensuring the economic fortune of cities and regions.

 

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eHealth in Minnesota: Big industry, big pastime, big investment | Blandin on Broadband

Connect Minnesota recently published a report that looks at eHealth in Minnesota. Based on 2011 surveys of businesses and residents in Minnesota, they were able to cull together a nice report on who is accessing information online and who isn’t as well as how plugged in the healthcare industry appears to be.

 

Here’s a quick take from the report…

 

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Canada: Smart meter errors rare, BC Hydro reports | Vancouver Sun

Canada: Smart meter errors rare, BC Hydro reports | Vancouver Sun | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

BC Hydro has adjusted six residential electricity bills as a result of smart meter malfunctions since the $930 million project commenced a year ago, according to the Crown corporation.

 

Four of the meters caused customers to be over-billed, two were underbilled, and all have had their bills adjusted, Hydro reported on Tuesday.

 

Almost 1.4 million of the wireless digital meters have been installed across British Columbia, at a cost of about $200 per meter, and Hydro expects to finish the project by year’s end despite much-publicized allegations that the meters are unreliable. The installation, which includes new “smart grid” equipment that will be operated by Hydro, is “tracking to be on or below budget.”

 

Hydro reported that 681 customers have complained that they received unexpectedly high electricity bills after smart meters were installed on their homes. More than 500 of those complaints came in March – following the January-February billing period when electricity consumption is highest.

 

Cindy Verschoor, manager of communications for Hydro’s smart metering project said almost none of the errors arose from faulty meters. In most cases, power bills were higher due seasonal shifts in electricity demand that customers did not consider, “fat finger” data entry errors by smart meter installers, or from Hydro’s practice of using previous billing records to estimate new bills for about 20 per cent of ratepayers.

 

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EU Commission questions France and Luxembourg about reduced VAT rate on digital books | EU Info Society Newsroom

The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against France and Luxembourg because the VAT rates they are applying to digital books are potentially incompatible with EU law.

 

EU legislation allows Member States to apply reduced VAT rates to a limited list of goods and services set out in Annex III to the VAT Directive.

 

Downloading of digital books is regarded as a service supplied electronically, which is not included in this list and cannot therefore be taxed at the reduced rate.

 

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