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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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Dish's Broadband Satellite Expansion Won't Solve the Rural Internet Problem | The Atlantic Wire

Dish's Broadband Satellite Expansion Won't Solve the Rural Internet Problem | The Atlantic Wire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In an attempt to make the Internet more available to people in rural areas, Dish is working on expanding its Broadband Satellite services to the whole of America, a source told The Wall Street Journal's William Launder and Shalini Ramachandran, but the cost may still pose a barrier to entry for many. The satellite provider will expand this space Internet from select cities to everywhere, while also offering faster speeds from a newly launched satellite.

 

That's great for about 20 percent of people living in our country's sparser areas, who say that they don't have broadband because of a lack of access, according to Speed Matters. But, for another 22 percent of those people, who haven't connected because of price concerns, Dish's service might not solve their lack of Internet. When it was announced at this year's Consumer Electronic's Show, Dish's Broadband Internet service started at $79.98 per month after a $99 installation fee. Woof.

 

For comparison's sake, Comcast offers a 20 Mbps Xfinity connection for $29.99/Month. Dish's Internet, by the way, isn't as fast as that, with 12Mbps downloading and 3Mbps uploading. Verizon FiOs runs a little higher, but still comes in at cheaper than Dish, at $69.99 plus a $59.99 installation fee, for a faster 15Mbps download speed.

 

Of course, those services are the kinds that aren't available in these areas, likely. And, when it comes to some other satellite Internet providers, however, Dish offers a more palatable monthly bill. HughesNet has a $110 month plan with laughable 2Mbps download and 300Kbps upload speeds, for example.

 

So, it's getting better. WildBlue, however, has a Satellite service marketed just to people in the boonies that's faster than Dish's for the same price. It also has a slower, cheaper option for $49.99 a month.

 

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Comcast Preps for Broadband Price War | Light Reading Cable

Comcast Preps for Broadband Price War | Light Reading Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Broadband Reports has posted what appears to be confidential Comcast Corp. material showing a lineup of "potential" broadband tiers and prices that it's considering launching in the second quarter of 2013. According to the report, Comcast is looking to offer these tiers first in its most competitive markets -- those that tangle with Verizon Communications Inc. FiOS.

 

One of the changes apparently under review includes a speed tweak alongside a significant price cut on Comcast's high-end Docsis 3.0 residential tier. Its current top-end Xfinity Platinum service maxes out at 305Mbit/s down by 65Mbit/s upstream and sells for almost $300 per month, with availability currently limited to some systems in the Northeastern U.S. Pricing on this proposed "Premiere" tier would run $119 per month (it's not entirely clear if that's a bundled price) for 300Mbit/s down by 75Mbit/s up. That would sharply undercut Verizon's new 300-Meg Quantum FiOS service, whose bundled price is $204.99 per month, and perhaps boost the take rates of Comcast's D3 tiers. (See Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier and FiOS Speeds & Prices Take a Quantum Leap .)

 

The cuts would also demonstrate that Comcast does intend to keep the heat on Verizon's wireline business even as it cozies up to new mobile partner, Verizon Wireless . (See Cable OK to Attack FiOS With Verizon Wireless.)

 

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Internet2 is poised to lead new era of innovation | Editor's Blog at WRAL Tech Wire

Internet2 is poised to lead new era of innovation | Editor's Blog at WRAL Tech Wire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet2 is making the investment to fuel the next great innovation.

 

Internet2 is guiding a transformative overhaul for research and education networks by helping to create dynamic and collaborative-based models at the national and global levels. Bigger pipes, new technologies, and new ideas are opening the doors to a new era of connectivity that may reshape the Web as we know it in a not-so-distant future.

 

Internet2 is a member-led advanced technology community founded by the nation's leading higher education institutions in 1996. The non-profit consortium consists of more than 450 U.S. universities, corporations, laboratories, government agencies, and national, regional and state research and education networks as well as several other global organizations.

 

Through the help of federal funding, Internet2 currently is deploying a 100G optical backbone for connecting regional networks all over the United States at higher speeds. This project is nearly finished.

 

Internet2 also is starting to work with cutting-edge software-defined networking (SDN) technology and specialized virtual networks to enable services via the Internet that go beyond the scope and missions of individual institutions.

 

Internet2 received a $62.5 million federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The total project value is about $97 million.

 

The grant is funding a dramatic expansion of the Internet2 network by providing an unprecedented 8.8 terabits of capacity using new 100G Ethernet technology. The end result will be the first nationwide open SDN network platform as well as the first nationwide network to deploy 100 GigE waves on its entire footprint, making it the most sophisticated research and education platform on the planet.

 

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Broadband access inequality growing across U.S. | BendBulletin.com

Imagine paying $40 per gallon of gasoline when people in neighboring towns are paying $4. Or paying $8 per kilowatt-hour for electricity when others are paying 8 cents. Unthinkable! But this stark disparity is commonplace when it comes to paying for Internet access in the United States.

 

As the recent report “The Cost of Connectivity" from the New America Foundation documents, something is fundamentally wrong with our broadband.

 

Businesses and households without fast, affordable and reliable access to the Internet are tremendously disadvantaged in the modern economy. And the gap between the most connected and least connected communities is actually getting worse. Some homeowners in North Carolina are reluctant to publicly discuss their total lack of broadband access due to fears of being unable to later sell their property.

 

We cannot have a robust 21st-century economy without affordable, ubiquitous broadband, as many peer nations — like France, Latvia, Japan and Romania — have long understood.

 

In the meantime, local communities are taking matters into their own hands and have created remarkable citywide fiber-to-the-home broadband networks. And by creating meaningful consumer choice among competitors, these networks are driving lower prices — spurring new investment and creating new jobs — and keeping more money circulating in the local economy.

 

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CA: Don't block Internet phone regulation | San Francisco Chronicle

CA: Don't block Internet phone regulation | San Francisco Chronicle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Beware of bills that claim to solve no problems.

 

One of those is in the Legislature right now, waiting patiently for the Assembly to pass it along to Gov. Jerry Brown. The text of the bill, SB1161, says that its intent is to "reaffirm California's current policy" on Internet phone services like Skype and Google Voice by preventing the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) from regulating them.

 

Certainly Internet phone services deserve a light touch when it comes to governmental regulation. A rapidly growing number of Californians have come to depend on them, particularly for international communications, and for great reasons: They're dirt cheap (or free), easy to use and at least as convenient as expensive landline calls. TeleGeography, a telecommunications market research firm, estimates that international Skype calls grew by an astounding 48 percent in 2011, to 145 billion minutes, while traditional telephone companies had growth of just 4 percent.

 

Given these numbers, we grew suspicious when we learned that some of SB1161's biggest supporters were traditional telephone companies like AT&T and Comcast Communications. Why would these companies go out of their way to support the competition?

 

And given the way the CPUC has treated Internet phone companies thus far - there's been very little regulation of these services, and commission members have indicated that they aren't keen on regulating them - where's the burning need for this bill?

 

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Smartphone penetration breaks 50% barrier in the U.S. | gizmag

Smartphone penetration breaks 50% barrier in the U.S. | gizmag | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Data collected from telco companies and network operators shows that smartphone penetration has broken the 50 percent barrier in the United States, with these devices now outnumbering their feature phone brethren for the first time.

 

According to a report compiled by market consultancy Chaten Sharma, smartphones overtook feature phones during Q2 of this year - a push largely driven by Android and iOS-enabled devices.

 

New handset sales were dominated by smartphones in Q2, taking a 70 percent share. According to Chetan Sharma, 42 percent of the US mobile industry's service revenue is from data, which goes to show just how big a deal internet enabled devices have become.

 

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Canada: Bell Proves Investments in Its Landline Business Can Keep It Viable | Stop the Cap!

Canada: Bell Proves Investments in Its Landline Business Can Keep It Viable | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While Verizon and AT&T have increasingly given up on their legacy landline networks, Bell Canada is showing that investment in their network to keep up with the times can make all the difference.

 

Ten years ago, Bell was hemorrhaging customers with the advent of cable “digital phone” service and the growing number of Canadians turning to cell phone service. Bell CEO George Cope now believes the reason why hundreds of thousands of home phone customers permanently disconnect their phone lines year after year has more to do with Bell not providing the services customers want from a 21st century phone company.

 

Cope believes the key to turning around the landline business is to invest in it. Bell has spent hundreds of millions overhauling its phone network for the Internet era — replacing copper phone wires with fiber optics to enhance reliability and, more importantly, sell broadband service at speeds customers demand.

 

“I’ve never felt more positive about our consumer land line business than I do right now,” Cope told investors on a recent conference call.

 

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Should Apple buy Netflix? | Total Telecom

Should Apple buy Netflix? | Total Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Movie streaming specialist could be useful addition to Apple's arsenal in view of forthcoming Apple television plan.

 

Apple Inc. has a history of being particularly tight with its money. It's a philosophy that has helped the company amass a staggering trough of $117 billion in cash and marketable securities.

 

But this week, Apple felt secure enough with its cash situation to begin returning some of its largesse to its shareholders in the form of a $2.65-a-share dividend payment. That comes to about $2.5 billion that Apple plans on paying out every quarter. And earlier this year, Apple also announced a $10 billion share-buyback plan. The total Apple plans on doling out over the next three years will reach about $45 billion.

 

For a company that generated more than $10 billion in cash from operations in its most-recent quarter, it's doubtful Apple will really miss $15 billion a year for each of the next three years. The company is still going to have plenty of cash on hand, arguably more than it needs to keep the lights on at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.

 

So, what should Apple do with all that extra cash?

 

How about making an acquisition? And not just one of the relatively small deals that Apple has done only on occasion through its history. To date, the largest acquisition Apple has ever made was when it bought Next Inc., back in 1997, for $429 million, and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock that were given to Next's founder, Steve Jobs.

 

No, how about buying something big? Something out there. Something that, like Apple, has also been a trailblazer in its industry. Something that many people love, yet also love to hate.

 

Maybe something like...Netflix Inc.

 

Why Netflix? Well, why not?

 

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These Telecommuting Jobs Will Surprise You | Mashable Biz

These Telecommuting Jobs Will Surprise You | Mashable Biz | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sure, computer programming jobs are often associated with the ability to work from home, but a neurosurgeon? Surprisingly, there recently was an open position for a home-based doctor who would telecommute and travel to various locations to perform brain surgery.

 

In fact, medical jobs dominate flexible job listings, and a neurosurgeon is only one of the many surprising employment opportunities across the board in 50+ career fields that are hiring for virtual positions.

 

Companies such as AT&T, Sun Microsystems, Cisco and even the IRS are just a few of the larger establishments that offer the ability to work from home, with small companies offering similar opportunities as well. The advancements in and proliferation of digital technology have made it possible to do many jobs from anywhere in the world.

 

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First submarine link between Taiwan and China set to go live | TeleGeography

The first subsea telecoms link between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland has been completed, AFP reports citing an unnamed official at Taiwanese multi-service provider Chunghwa Telecom (CHT).

 

It is understood that two fibre-optic cables linking the city of Xiamen in southern China with Kinmen, a small archipelago of islands controlled by Taiwan, will begin operation tomorrow.

 

The CHT official noted that his company had invested approximately TWD100 million (USD3.33 million) in the venture, which had been completed in partnership with three Chinese operators – China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.

 

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DoCoMo's LTE subscriber base reaches five million | TeleGeography

NTT DoCoMo has announced that its Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscriber base passed five million on 19 August.

 

The cellco’s ‘Xi’ service, which offers maximum downlink speeds of 75Mbps, is growing rapidly, having passed the four million subscriber barrier only 28 days ago.

 

The pace of new additions has grown significantly in recent weeks following the introduction of a new Xi-compatible smartphone range.

 

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Minority Legislative Women Launch National Telemedicine Awareness Initiative | MMTC

Minority Legislative Women Launch National Telemedicine Awareness Initiative | MMTC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Broadband technology is now being used throughout the U.S. and globally, and the delivery of healthcare services can benefit greatly from this technology. Those underserved by healthcare are often the greatest beneficiaries of “telemedicine” – the use of high-speed broadband to facilitate patient monitoring, reporting, and treatment when time often spells the difference between life and death.

 

The technology is a game changer in substantially reducing healthcare disparities as well as costs. Innovative telemedicine technology makes possible virtual medical consultations, electronic medical records, healthcare monitoring applications, and – of course – mobile health applications. With African Americans and Latinos using mobile broadband technology at a higher rate than any other demographic group in the U.S., there is a great opportunity to leverage mobile health technology to address healthcare disparities.

 

One of the nation’s leaders in advancing telemedicine is the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative (NOBEL) Women. Recently, NOBEL Women launched its National Telemedicine Legislation Initiative in partnership with policymakers and leading healthcare experts. The initiative focuses on improving access to healthcare by updating and expanding state and federal telehealth laws.

 

During a roundtable discussion hosted by NOBEL Women in preparation for the launch of the organization’s telemedicine initiative, NOBEL Women President and Louisiana State Senator Sharon Weston Broome noted that there is a severe shortage of doctors in our country, particularly within the Medicare program. Senator Weston Broome declared that by empowering consumers with an understanding of the benefits of telemedicine, we can ensure improved delivery of healthcare services and improved doctor-patient relationships across the board.

 

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Why 4K TVs are stupid (still) | CNET Reviews

Why 4K TVs are stupid (still) | CNET Reviews | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

<:article id=contentBody section="mncol"> CNETReviewsTV and A few months ago, hot on the multitude of 4K TV announcements at CES, I wrote an article called Why 4K TVs are stupid.

 

I was shocked, shocked to find so many angry, contrary opinions on the subject. I mean, this is the Internet. Surely everyone is cordial and like-minded.

 

The comment section was the usual bog of ad hominem, straw man, and plain nonsense arguments. But buried deep within the chaff were a few good questions worthy of rebuttal. So if you'll indulge...

 

There were an amazing number of comments from people who clearly didn't read the article at all. Let me make this pithy and clear: The 4K resolution is awesome, but 4K televisions are stupid. Your eye has a finite resolution, and at the distance that most people sit from their TVs, it's unlikely you'd be able to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p, let alone 4K (roughly 4,096x2,304 pixels). Countless comments were some variation of "well, I sit closer" or "I have a huge projection screen." Yes, if you sit closer than the average (9 feet) or have a huge screen (as I do), then 4K may be beneficial. I explicitly say this in the original article. I also mention 4K would be great for passive 3D.

 

So I'm going to skip those comments and move to some of the thought provokers. Please note, I've trimmed some of these down to be clearer, and edited them to make it look less "Internet comment section-y." I don't believe I changed any of their meanings, though I'm a little foggy on what was meant by "you're a moron."

 

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Why Is DISH So Hungry For Broadband? | The Motley Fool

Satellite TV subscribers aren't necessarily shut out of broadband Internet services. DISH Network partners with local telecoms and cable providers across the country to get you hooked up. Dish even sells satellite-based broadband bouncing off ViaSat  satellites. Rival DirecTV offers similar partner services, right down to its own ViaSat deal..

 

But that's not good enough for Dish CEO Charlie Ergen. Sister company EchoStar  launched another satellite two months ago, meant to provide high-speed satellite Internet services on a whole new performance level. According to The Wall Street Journal's usual anonymous sources, Dish plans to sell high-speed services off this big bird by the end of the year.

 

But that's not Dish's only iron in the broadband fires. Ergen also wants to start a wireless high-speed network based on radio towers, using satellite-grade bandwidth licenses. That move requires approval from the FCC, which previously shut down a similar plan from erstwhile Sprint Nextel data partner LightSquared.

 

Dish runs the risk that regulators will stick to their guns, in which case, these radio licenses would have to be used for satellite-based signals after all. I'm sure Ergen has a plan B for that contingency, but would prefer to have a more responsive earth-bound product in his back pocket.

 

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Verizon Declares Copper Dead: Quietly Moving Copper Customers to FiOS Network | Stop the Cap!

Verizon Declares Copper Dead: Quietly Moving Copper Customers to FiOS Network | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

“If you are a voice copper customer and you call in [with] trouble on your line, when we go out to repair that we are actually moving you to the FiOS product. We are not repairing the copper anymore.” — Fran Shammo, Verizon’s executive vice-president and chief financial officer.

 

Verizon has declared the end of the copper wire phone line, at least in areas where the company’s companion fiber optic network FiOS is available. Fran Shammo, chief financial officer of Verizon Communications spoke about the death of the copper-based landline and the company’s strategic plans for its wired and wireless networks in the coming quarter at Oppenheimer’s 15th Annual Technology, Internet & Communications Conference last Wednesday.

 

Verizon’s quiet and involuntary switch-out to fiber service is part of the company’s grander marketing effort to push customers towards upgrading service.

 

“The benefit we are getting [...] if you are a voice customer and we move you to [fiber] we now can upsell you to the Internet,” Shammo explained. “If you come over as a voice and DSL customer and we move you to FiOS, you now are a candidate for the video product. So there is an upsell which is definitely a benefit to this.”

 

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North Georgia Broadband Connects Schools, Businesses | GPB News

North Georgia Broadband Connects Schools, Businesses | GPB News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new broadband network in the northeast Georgia mountains is still a few months from completion, but it’s already bringing connections 20 to 50 times faster than ever before to area schools.

 

A single school in Lumpkin County now has more internet bandwidth than the entire district put together did just a year ago.

 

In White County Schools, the pipeline to the internet is 50 times larger than it used to be. Teachers can incorporate previously hard-to-download steaming video or videoconferencing. And the district’s 400 iPads can all now stream video simultaneously.

 

The improved access has opened doors district officials would have never considered before.

 

“The other day we had a student that was hospital homebound. We were able to take an iPad to two different locations and do Facetime and stream the teacher live from her classroom to the student’s home so they were able to catch up,” said William Sperin, the district’s technology director. “We wouldn’t have even thought of doing that before with the slower internet.”

 

The core of the $42 million broadband network is finished, but now the North Georgia Network is working on connections to businesses, schools and other users. Work on the complete 1,000-plus miles of fiber-optic connections should be done by the end of the year.

 

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Doc Searls Weblog · Will the carriers body-snatch the Net with HTML5?

Nothing has creeped me out more lately than reading HTML5 – The Catalyst for Network as a Service? by Michael Crossey of Aepona, in Telco 2.0. His topic: NaaS, or Network as a Service. Makes me think, If the network is just a service, is it still the network? And, If the service can only come from phone and cable companies, what benefits does that prevent for everybody else? And, Is the cable modem already a body-snatching pod for the Net?

 

Background: telcos and cablecos — what we call “carriers,” and the industry calls “operators” — are hounded by what they call “over the top,” or OTT (of their old closed phone and cable TV systems). Everything that makes you, app developers and content producers independent of telcos and cablecos is OTT. NaaS, as Crossey explains it, is a way for the telcos and cablecos to put the genie of OTT independence back inside the bottle of carrier control.

 

As I see it, the free and open Internet, a generative horizontal development that likely has produced more positive economic externalities than any other in the history of civilization, is at risk of being upstaged and then quietly strangled by “services” — including the Net itself — that can only come from centralized and silo’d carriers. Vertical integration, bottom to top.

 

Here is a compressed excerpt:

 

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AT&T won't charge for FaceTime over 3G, but will require shared data (Updated) | Ars Technica

AT&T won't charge for FaceTime over 3G, but will require shared data (Updated) | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T technically won't charge extra to use FaceTime over 3G or EDGE after all, according to a statement issued on Friday. Not everyone will be able to start video chatting with other iOS and Mac users for free, though—the company plans to require FaceTime aficionados to pay for a "Mobile Share" data plan if they want to make video calls over the cell network.

 

"AT&T will offer FaceTime over Cellular as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans, which were created to meet customers’ growing data needs at a great value," the company said on Friday afternoon. "With Mobile Share, the more data you use, the more you save. FaceTime will continue to be available over Wi-Fi for all our customers."

 

The Mobile Share data plan is AT&T's version of a shared data pool that can be used across multiple devices on the same account. But when we covered AT&T's plans in July, we noted that the savings were not that great for many users—particularly a solo tablet-and-smartphone user, such as many of us here at Ars. If you don't have family or a significant other with devices to share data with, then it doesn't make much sense to subscribe to the Mobile Share data plan—as such, you may not be able to use FaceTime over 3G after all unless you decide to change up your plan.

 

When we polled Ars readers last month on whether they'd be willing to pay extra for the feature, 89 percent said "no way." Indeed, even though AT&T says it's not charging extra for FaceTime-over-3G service, it will cost more for many users if they want to make use of it. For what it's worth, Sprint has stated publicly that it won't charge extra, though Verizon has remained mum on the subject.

 

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IL: Big Broadband seeking information on building out network | News-Gazette.com

IL: Big Broadband seeking information on building out network | News-Gazette.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Officials are seeking information for other ways they might consider expanding a high-speed, fiber-optic network beyond what was allowed under a federal grant.

 

Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband — or UC2B — this week released an official "request for information" for qualified people who have expertise to offer or might be able to partner with the agency on building out the network.

 

The existing $31 million UC2B network extends only to public buildings and "underserved" neighborhoods, where 40 percent or less of households have Internet access. The federal government and the state were the primary source of funds for the first phase of the network, but any expansion will be on somebody else's dime.

 

The official request for information comes on the heels of a UC2B application to Gigabit Squared, a private company which plans to invest up to $200 million throughout the country on community network buildouts. Champaign-Urbana officials think they have a good shot at being one of those areas selected.

 

Detractors from the Gigabit Squared plan say allowing a private company to build, own and manage the community network puts open access at risk. They worry that if it goes bankrupt or is sold, the network could fall into the hands of a profit-driven telecommunications giant, like Comcast or AT&T.

 

Within the past few weeks, opponents have been pushing for local agencies to explore other options, and the Champaign and Urbana city councils have agreed.

 

"We heard what both councils were interested in, so we're ready to solicit that," said Champaign economic development manager Teri Legner.

 

UC2B officials do not expect to hear back from Gigabit Squared for at least a couple months. In the meantime, they will explore what other options may be available apart from the private company.

 

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23 Vermont Towns Raised $1 million for Broadband. Your Turn. | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio

23 Vermont Towns Raised $1 million for Broadband. Your Turn. | Gigabit Nation on BlogTalk Radio | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

23 small Vermont towns and townships banded together in 2008 to explore building a broadband network. They created a nonprofit corporation and raised over $1.2 million in two funding rounds offering $2,500 promissory notes. They built a network. So, what are you waiting for?

 

Tim and Leslie Nulty, who are driving forces behind the Vermont nonprofit ECFiber, explain what they did and how your community can do it too. Its hard work, but it definitely isnt rocket science.

 

The Nultys describe the ins and outs of structuring a nonprofit, developing a community investment vehicle and using the "leaf frog" approach to raising money, building infrastructure, selling services, building more infrastructure. Communities can either complain about how bad broadband is, or they can do something about it. This show is for those willing to take the latter road less traveled and reap a greater reward.

 

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US DOJ just barely preserves competition between Verizon FiOS, cable | Ars Technica

US DOJ just barely preserves competition between Verizon FiOS, cable | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Verizon Wireless announced a $3.6 billion purchase of wireless spectrum from a group of cable companies, numerous antitrust concerns were raised. T-Mobile tried to block the deal out of fear that Verizon would unfairly dominate the race to LTE. But it turned out the biggest concerns had to do with whether Verizon and the cable companies were wheeling and dealing in a way that eliminates competition for home Internet users between Verizon FiOS and cable.

 

Verizon Wireless’s purchase of airwaves comes from SpectrumCo, a consortium dominated by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks. But there was also a side deal between Verizon, those three cable companies, and Cox Communications, consisting of “a series of commercial agreements that require the companies to sell each other’s products and create an exclusive technology research joint venture,” in the Justice Department’s words. The fear was that the deal was basically an agreement not to compete for Internet users in each other's territory.

 

Today, US officials allowed the Verizon Wireless spectrum purchase and joint selling agreements to go forward—but it is imposing key limitations on the commercial agreements aimed at preserving Verizon FiOS as a real alternative to the cable companies’ video and broadband products. The concessions mainly target areas in which FiOS has already been built out. In areas where Verizon hasn’t yet built FiOS, it can simply re-sell its competitors’ cable products.

 

An antitrust lawsuit was filed today by US officials against Verizon and the cable companies. But the lawsuit isn’t likely to turn into a protracted battle. The DOJ proposed a settlement alleviating all of the concerns raised in the suit, and a consent decree was entered into by Verizon, the cable companies, and the DOJ, with the goal of wrapping up the whole process soon.

 

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Sprint share price surge prompts intense M&A speculation | TeleGeography

The recent rise in Sprint Nextel’s share price has stoked market speculation that the company could either become a takeover target, or work towards the acquisition of a smaller rival, Fierce Wireless reports.

 

On 13 August Sprint shares closed at USD5.05, the first time the company’s stock has topped USD5 in more than a year.

 

However, the website notes that some of the speculation seems ‘somewhat outlandish’, with Google Inc, Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics all named by third-party sources as potential suitors for the carrier; none of the firms have ever given a clear-cut indication that they are interested in acquiring a wireless carrier.

 

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The Google Fiber Pipe Dream (or, Stop Dreaming and Do the Work Yourself, Lazybutt) | Free UTOPIA!

Google Fiber has managed to keep people excited for quite some time now. Dozens of cities did everything from present solid cases for building there to engaging in wacky stunts (like swimming in frozen lakes) to try and get the attention from the Mountain View company. Even after selecting Kansas City, MO (and a number of its surrounding suburbs) as the site for their build, many cities keep on insisting that they can somehow catch the Internet giant’s attention and score their own golden ticket. Make no mistake: I compare it to the prize bestowed by Willy Wonka because it’s just about as likely to happen.

 

Far too many people lose sight of what Google really is: an advertising company. Everything they do is centered around the idea that they can sell advertising. In the process, they create really awesome tools that get eyeballs. Google’s search product is still the gold standard. Gmail is more popular than any other webmail product. Android displaced everything but the iPhone to fight for the number one smartphone platform. What do these all have in common? They increase your exposure to Google’s ad platform, but they don’t incur a significant cost to do so. Even Google’s self-driving car is an attempt to free up commute time for, you guessed it, looking at their ads. This is why Google makes money hand over fist.

 

The question that should be asked is how Google Fiber fits into this mission. Yeah, it kind of encourages you to spend more time using their services, and it does create a way for them to directly sell TV advertising, but the capital costs of fiber are huge, especially when using active Ethernet. Google is on-track to make somewhere in the range of $12B+ in profits this year. The cost of deploying fiber optics nationwide is somewhere in the $300-400B range, and it runs an average of around $1500-2000 per served home. That would be a huge investment into a venture not guaranteed to break even. The history of overbuilders is littered with failed companies. Google in unlikely to sink a significant portion of its revenues into additional buildouts, so the odds of your city getting a break are pretty slim.

 

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AT&T Blocking iPhone's FaceTime App Would Harm Consumers and Break Net Neutrality Rules | Free Press

AT&T Blocking iPhone's FaceTime App Would Harm Consumers and Break Net Neutrality Rules | Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Late Friday, reports confirmed AT&T's plans to restrict the use of Apple's popular FaceTime video chat application on new iPhones due this fall. With the current crop of iPhones, users can access this app only when they are connected to a Wi-Fi network. However, FaceTime will work on mobile networks with iPhones running iOS6, the next generation of Apple’s mobile device operating system.

 

Speculation last month suggested that AT&T might charge its customers an additional fee to use FaceTime on mobile networks. Friday's reports confirmed that instead of charging a separate fee, AT&T will allow mobile FaceTime use only by customers on the carrier's new "Mobile Share" service plans.

 

If carried out, AT&T's plan to block mobile access to FaceTime for all other customers would violate the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet rules. Those rules provide weaker protections for wireless Internet access than for wired services like DSL and cable broadband offerings, but they do prohibit wireless carriers from blocking applications like FaceTime that compete with cellphone carriers' own voice services.

 

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

 

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The Competition Conundrum: Can Competition Be Bad News for the Spectrum Crunch? Part 2 | MMTC

The Competition Conundrum: Can Competition Be Bad News for the Spectrum Crunch? Part 2 | MMTC | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The 21stcentury has welcomed us with technology that has connected the world and fostered rapid innovation. But this progress will be stymied due to the impending spectrum crunch and its effect on our continued ability to take advantage of this new digital world.

 

Traditionally, competition has been a hard-fought concept in capitalist societies. In the communications realm, the idea of consumer choice and the negatives of monopolies led to the breakup of the telecommunications behemoth Ma-Bell. However, faced with limited time and an even more limited resource – spectrum – some industry insiders have sounded the rallying cry in favor of feeding the two giant telecommunications giants over protecting their smaller rivals. In this David vs. Goliath-esque battle for spectrum, who will ultimately triumph, and are we sure of which side is more in line with the needs and wants of the people?

 

Greater investment into infrastructure and services by smaller wireless providers doesn’t necessarily translate to consumers switching carriers. Brand loyalty and reputation are just as important to consumers as the services that the carriers can provide. According to this year’s Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, AT&T and Verizon came in first and second, respectively, in a survey of wireless providers. The rating is based on how well AT&T performed on the four drivers of loyalty in the wireless category: brand reputation, network size and connectivity, understandable plans, and customer service. This is the third consecutive year that AT&T has won the top spot among wireless providers. This makes sense, given the services that both AT&T and Verizon provide and the companies’ abilities to meet customers’ expectations.

 

This feather in their cap is supported by a recent road test that PC Magazine performed in order to compare the connectivity of the five largest wireless providers. PC Magazine writers drove across the country and visited 30 cities using mobile devices subscribed to AT&T, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless to determine which carrier had the fastest mobile network in 2012.

 

And the results are telling:

 

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