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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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US Carrier Capex: Wireless Squeezing Wireline | Light Reading

US Carrier Capex: Wireless Squeezing Wireline | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Major investments in wireless networks by the major U.S. carriers this year are likely to result in lower wireline capital expenditures, claims a new research note from Jefferies & Co. Inc. Wednesday morning.

 

According to a research note issued by Jefferies analyst George Notter, wireless spend is "looking good" for the second half of 2012. This should be particularly welcome news for Alcatel-Lucent, believes Notter.

 

"We note that 2012 could be the first year in recent memory where all of the major wireless operators in North America are all spending aggressively at the same time," Notter writes.

 

Conversely, operators are tending to pare back wireline spending in favor of funneling their capex budgets towards 4G deployments. Notter says the thresholds for carriers to make wireline investments are "getting higher," causing the Jefferies analyst to "feel incrementally worse about those vendors with wireline exposure ... Adtran and Acme Packet primarily."

 

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Govts not brave enough to capture $1.4 trillion broadband opportunity | Total Telecom

Govts not brave enough to capture $1.4 trillion broadband opportunity | Total Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Governments globally could be missing out on tax revenues worth $1.4 trillion per year as a result of their lack of action when it comes to driving the rollout of fixed broadband networks, one analyst predicted on Thursday.

 

"[There is] a $6.9 trillion per year increase in GDP that we're not getting because we don't have broadband everywhere," said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, speaking at CommunicAsia. That translates into $1.4 trillion in lost tax revenues for governments, he explained, the equivalent of seven complete space shuttle programmes, 150 hadron colliders, or 614 Manchester Uniteds.

 

But there is a reason that many governments are not pushing the broadband agenda, despite the huge potential revenue increase.

 

"They don't understand it," said Johnson, explaining that many politicians, including former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair, are known to prefer not to use computers. "They are not brave enough to make that decision," he said.

 

"A lack of knowledge and understanding is one part," Johnson went on. The fact that returns on investment in broadband infrastructure would likely take longer than the average term in office for a government – five years in the U.K., for example – also discourages government interest.

 

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House Dems Want Verizon-SpectrumCo Hearing | Multichannel News

Top House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats have renewed their call for a hearing into the Verizon-SpectrumCo wireless spectrum sale.

 

The Federal Communications Commission and Departmen of Justice are currently vetting Verizon's proposed $3.9 billion purchase of spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Bright House.

 

According to a copy of the letter, ranking Commerce Committee Democrat Henry Waxman (Calif.) and Communications Subcommittee ranking member Anna Eshoo, also from California, pointed out to their respective chairs that it has been almost two months since they wrote the first time asking for a hearing on the deal and joint marketing agreements.

 

"We believe it is important that members of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee have an opportunity to hear from key stakeholders."

 

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FL: Bright House Says It Isn’t Concerned About Verizon FiOS Speed Upgrades | Stop the Cap!

FL: Bright House Says It Isn’t Concerned About Verizon FiOS Speed Upgrades | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bright House Networks thinks customers do not need or want faster broadband speeds and have no plans to match newly-announced speed increases offered by its competitor Verizon FiOS.

 

The cable operator, which serves central Florida, is downplaying the importance of Verizon’s upgraded service which will bring 300Mbps broadband to cities like Orlando and Tampa.

 

“Research indicates that the vast majority of customers do not have interest in these types of speeds for their homes, not to mention the potential expense,” Bright House spokesman Joe Durkin told the Tampa Bay Times. “Our network can deliver these speeds if we felt there was a residential market for it.”

 

Bright House speeds currently max out at 40Mbps. The cable operator says customers seeking faster service won’t face the sticker shock Verizon delivers for their fastest speed package, which comes in at $200 a month. Bright House sells its fastest package at “an additional $15 or $30 a month,” Durkin said.

 

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Alan Turing: Separating the man and the myth | BBC Future

Alan Turing: Separating the man and the myth | BBC Future | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Acclaimed code-breaker Alan Turing was undoubtedly one of the greatest minds of the last century but we should always remember his achievements were not a one man show, says Quentin Cooper.

 

There are many reasonable reasons why Turing is now so highly regarded. It helps he was a leading figure in the World War II code-breaking work at Bletchley Park: he developed the electromechanical “Bombe” which deciphered messages sent using the fiendishly complex German Enigma machines, work which ultimately led to the first computers.

 

It also helps that over the years the layers of secrecy which surrounded much of what he did have steadily been stripped away, only belatedly allowing the full magnitude of his accomplishments to be appreciated. And it perhaps helps, although it certainly did not during his lifetime, that after the war this “bachelor” who “lived alone” – which many Daily Mail readers of the time would have correctly taken to imply he was homosexual – was subjected to persecution, prosecution and ultimately chemical castration, which may have led him to take his own life while still only 41.

 

Such was the widespread anger at this injustice that 30,000 people signed a petition calling for a government apology, and in 2009 then Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an unequivocal one, saying that it was horrifying Turing had been treated “so inhumanely”.

 

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If AWS is the Walmart of cloud, is OpenStack the Soviet Union? | GigaOM Cloud Computing News

If AWS is the Walmart of cloud, is OpenStack the Soviet Union? | GigaOM Cloud Computing News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The stage was set for a lively debate between public cloud rivals at GigaOM Structure in San Francisco Thursday – representatives from Citrix, Eucalyptus and the OpenStack project certainly delivered. Nebula CEO and OpenStack co-founder Chris Kemp didn’t even get past the introductions before he challenged his fellow panelists on their “closed” cloud implementations and embrace of Amazon Web Services’ API, which he compared to the Walmart of infrastructure.

 

“It’s reasonably fast, reasonably priced and reasonably secure,” Kemp said, which is why it has the lion’s share of the cloud business today. But AWS will never be incredibly fast or incredibly secure, Kemp said, and while AWS may be emerging as a de facto standard, it doesn’t change the fact its API is proprietary. “I don’t think a de facto standard is a standard,” he said.

 

Kemp took Citrix and Eucalyptus to task for reinforcing Amazon’s dominance rather than embracing the OpenStack project. As you can imagine, Eucalyptus Systems CEO Marten Mickos and Citrix Systems Cloud Platforms Group GM Sameer Dholakia took exception to Kemp’s claims, particularly his characterization of their cloud platforms as closed.

 

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UN doesn’t want to take over Internet, does want to help telcos profit | Ars Technica

UN doesn’t want to take over Internet, does want to help telcos profit | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a speech on Wednesday, the head of the International Telecommunications Union, an agency of the United Nations, explicitly denied that the group is interested in taking over the Internet. But this speech makes clear that the body is quite interested in helping domestic telecommunications operators make boatloads of cash by controlling the flow of content to individual countries.

 

The ITU is set to host the December 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai (or, the WCIT-12, for short). Here, a new set of International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) is set to be negotiated. These haven't been revised since 1988. In fact, the existing ones have all kinds of references to outdated gear (telexes!). Many news outlets and members of the American government have sounded the alarm that the UN, via the ITU, is going to "take over the Internet," and that the United States should essentially oppose this move.

 

In remarks Wednesday at ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Secretary General Hamadoun Touré said the ITU recognizes all of its member states impose various types of restrictions on freedom of speech. The list includes copyright violations, pornography, defamation and political speech, among others.

 

“Such restrictions are permitted by article 34 of the ITU’s Constitution, which provides that Member States reserve the right to cut off, in accordance with their national law, any private telecommunications which may appear dangerous to the security of the State, or contrary to its laws, to public order or to decency,” he added.

 

“I do not see how WCIT could set barriers to the free flow of information,” Touré concluded.

 

In other words, countries can essentially do whatever they want online—and they already do. (We’re looking at you, North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, and Syria!)

 

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The Hypocrisy Of Congress: As Big A Threat To The Internet As The UN They're Condemning | Techdirt

The Hypocrisy Of Congress: As Big A Threat To The Internet As The UN They're Condemning | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While it's great to see Congress continue to speak out against the UN's dangerous efforts to tax and track the internet to help out governments and local telco monopolies, it's pretty ridiculous for Congress to pretend that it's declaring "hands off the internet" when it has its own hands all over the internet these days.

 

As Jerry Brito and Adam Theirer write, over at the Atlantic, if Congress is really serious about supporting a free and open internet, it should look in the mirror first:

 

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Powell: Don't Look for FCC to Do Any Retrans Game-Changing | Multichannel News

Don't look for any game-changing decisions on retrans out of this Federal Communications Commission, says National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell.

 

Powell was answering audience questions after a Paley Center luncheon conversation Tuesday, during which he weighed in on the prospects for FCC action. A number of cable operators have been pushing the commission to step into retrans disputes to mandate carriage or arbitration, but the FCC has taken no action.

 

Powell was hardly surprised. Asked how much action he expected from the government on retrans given that cable operator push, he said that when FCC chairmen leave office, they hand their successor a list of things "to stay the hell out of." Retrans, he said, would be one of those.

 

Powell suggested it was a no-win issue for regulators because the FCC does not have a lot of jurisdictional authority, so that if the commission makes the public think it can solve it when it can't, it has to answer for not doing so. He pointed out that neither he nor his predecessors Bill Kennard or Reed Hundt had tackled the issue, and he did not expect current chairman Julius Genachowski to break with that tradition.

 

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Fifth EU Committee Recommends Rejection Of ACTA By European Parliament | Techdirt

Fifth EU Committee Recommends Rejection Of ACTA By European Parliament | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Another major milestone has been achieved in the push to get ACTA rejected by the EU: a fifth parliamentary committee has recommended that the European Parliament should refuse to ratify it when it is put to the vote on July 4th, effectively killing it in Europe. The other committees – on legal affairs, civil liberties, industry and international development – recommended rejection a few weeks ago, but today's vote by the international trade committee (INTA) was seen as the most important.

 

That was reflected during the vote. For example, the hall in which the meeting was held was unusually full, with a large contingent from the press. Unexpectedly, an EU politician who is not aligned with the main groupings turned up to vote, adding to the uncertainty about the final result.

 

The main INTA report recommended that the European Parliament should reject ACTA, but three amendments were tabled: two to accept ACTA immediately, and one to recommend waiting until after the European Court of Justice had handed down its judgment -- something not expected for a year or two.

 

At the last minute, the first two amendments were withdrawn, leaving only the call for a postponement of the European Parliament vote. This was rejected by the committee; but then somebody pointed out that there were more votes than people -- a problem EU committees have had before. This meant that that the vote had to be taken again, adding to the already-high tension in the meeting, to confirm that the amendment was indeed being rejected.

 

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Communicate with the future | EU Digital Society News

Communicate with the future | EU Digital Society News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Digital information comes in myriad forms and formats, so how can we make sure that today's data is not lost forever in inaccessible legacy forms? An EU-funded project has developed a framework that ensures we will always be able to use data, however and wherever it is saved and stored.

 

Do you hate it when you try to open a computer file and up pops a box which says 'Invalid file format'? Or when vendors of software and operating systems announce they will no longer support and update legacy systems?

 

Data formats, ICT hardware, software and protocols are constantly evolving. But even as we gather and manipulate so much data, could it be lost just because its format is old or hardware has changed? The prosperity of future generations relies on their access to the information of the past. Are our descendants at risk of knowing nothing because everything we know today is locked in computer systems and codes that one day may be impossible to crack?

 

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Public Media Policy, Spectrum Policy & Rethinking Public Interest Obligations for the 21st Century | NAF

In this paper we consider reforms and innovations in spectrum policy that would enable and sustain an expanded public media to better support quality news, journalism, education, arts, and civic information in the 21st century.

 

The Internet has remade the landscape of free expression, access to news and information, and media production. Thus, we are well past the moment when spectrum allocated to broadcasting could be considered as distinct from that allocated to wireless broadband networks. Such networks serve as primary channels for access to news and information, increasingly edging out over-the-air broadcasting as the essential infrastructure for media distribution.

 

Throughout the history of U.S. policymaking, access to spectrum and the airwaves has been linked to free speech and expression. The public sphere now includes not just one-way broadcast, but two-way broadband and mobile communications platforms.

 

Given this, spectrum allocation has to be considered not only in terms of how it can serve the historic priorities of the nation’s Communications Act—localism, diversity and competition—but also the fact that anyone can produce and distribute media in the digital era.

 

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Ebook Sales Surpass Hardcover for First Time in U.S. | Mashable

Ebook Sales Surpass Hardcover for First Time in U.S. | Mashable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

American publishers are now bringing in more revenue from ebooks than hardcover books, according to a report published by the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

 

The figures, which were posted on GalleyCat on Friday, show that net sales revenue from ebooks exceeded that of hardcover books in the first quarter of the year: a first. The data was compiled from 1,189 publishers and did not include children’s books.

 

Collectively, adult ebooks brought in $282.3 million in Q1. That’s an impressive 28.4% increase from the same period a year ago. Young adult and children’s ebooks performed even better, catapulting 233% to $64.3 million. Sales of adult hardcover books grew too, but more modestly, up 2.7% to $229.6 million in Q1 2012.

 

What’s driving the growth? The proliferation of ereading devices, from tablets and smartphones to dedicated ereaders, has a lot to do with it. Research published by Pew in April found a strong correlation between the spike in sales of ereading-capable devices and ebook adoption over the holidays.

 

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AT&T: The Official Cell Phone Company of the Democratic National Convention | Stop the Cap!

AT&T: The Official Cell Phone Company of the Democratic National Convention | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T is ingratiating itself with both sides of the political divide, as the Democratic National Convention Committee names the company the “official carrier” of the convention.

 

While that is likely to bring good will for AT&T among convention delegates, politicians, and their families, Charlotte, N.C. residents are also welcoming the major upgrades that are coming with AT&T’s presence at the event.

 

The phone company is installing at least 50 micro-tower antennas atop light poles in downtown Charlotte, designed to boost capacity for both AT&T’s Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Another 10 mobile cell towers will be in place during the event to accommodate the anticipated 35,000 visitors attending the convention at Time Warner Cable Arena.

 

Verizon Wireless is also expanding capacity for their customers in Charlotte, announcing five new cell antenna sites and several portable mobile towers.

While the portable mobile-based towers will leave Charlotte at the end of the convention, the other upgrades are permanent, improving service in the city.

 

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Wall Street & Verizon Wireless CEO Love Company’s New, Higher-Priced Plans | Stop the Cap!

Wall Street & Verizon Wireless CEO Love Company’s New, Higher-Priced Plans | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Craig Moffett, a Wall Street analyst working for Sanford Bernstein, just loves Verizon Wireless’ new calling plans, which he believes will help Verizon grow profits when most Americans already have a cell phone.

 

Verizon’s move “is the most profound change to pricing the telecom industry has seen in twenty years,” Moffett told the Associated Press.

 

Bernstein believes that cell phone companies can keep boosting the all-important “average revenue per user,” or ARPU, by shifting price hikes for services consumers are now using the most. That means wireless data which Bernstein sees as a growth industry. In contrast, customers are using their phones less than ever for making phone calls and sending text messages.

 

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam agrees, telling an investor conference customers will end up paying more money to Verizon than ever before.

 

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Verizon and Comcast Extend Co-Marketing to More Than 30 New Markets | Telecompetitor

Verizon Wireless and Comcast today added markets in 10 states to the list of areas where they are co-marketing one another’s services, with a special emphasis on Michigan and Indiana, where the companies are adding a total of 22 markets.

 

Other states where the telco and cable company will now be co-marketing in some markets include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. The new markets are in addition to previously announced co-marketing agreements in nine other markets.

 

As with most previous co-marketing launches, Verizon Wireless and Comcast once again steered clear of markets where Verizon is the incumbent local carrier. Most of the markets announced today are former Ameritech and BellSouth markets that are now part of AT&T.

 

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Connecting Rural America | Governing.com

Connecting Rural America | Governing.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Though it’s tough to believe, not all homes in the U.S. had telephone service until the mid-1990s. It was in 1997 that the Universal Service Fund (USF) was created to support landline expansion because, at the time, access to this service was considered imperative for involvement in society.

 

Fifteen years later, the U.S. is in the same situation, but the service is broadband.

 

For years, extending broadband connectivity to rural areas has been an issue — relatively low population density, topography, greater geographical distances and cost have all been barriers to implementation.

 

But broadband connectivity is no longer considered a luxury — it’s necessary for full participation in our economy and society, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last October, when the FCC unanimously voted to reform and modernize the USF.

 

This reform is aimed at helping connect every American to high-speed Internet by the end of the decade, just as the fund did for telephone service in the 20th century, according to the FCC. The next step in the process came on April 25, when the FCC officially launched the new Connect America Fund (CAF), a reform that will be dole out $300 million to both large and small telephone companies that agree by July 24 to “strict accountability measures and buildout requirements," wrote Sharon Gillett, chief of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau on the official FCC blog.

 

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Over 600 Million broadband subscriptions sold | Blandin on Broadaband

Over 600 Million broadband subscriptions sold | Blandin on Broadaband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

According to a report from Point Topic there are more than 600 million broadband subscribers today – that’s worldwide. I must admit I don’t know a ton about Point Topic. They haven’t defined broadband in the teaser summary, but it includes satellite.

 

It was interesting to see the breakdown of subscribers by method:

 

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Indian ISPs Unlock BitTorrent Websites After Appeal - Who Knew? Blocking Entire Websites to Stop Pirates Not Great Idea | DSLReports.com

Last month India joined a growing number of countries that have forced their ISPs to ban customer access to BitTorrent websites entirely, an effort that's not really doing much to stop users from accessing copyrighted files, since the filters are ridiculously easy to bypass.

 

Last month India took things a little further, not only forcing ISPs to ban access to BitTorrent websites, but forcing them to block access to mainstream video services like Vimeo.

 

ISPs in the country, tired of being criticized in the press for being wood-headed, have been fighting back against the order and have successfully won an appeal and access to these websites has been restored.

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Farmington, New Mexico Exploring Fiber Options | community braodband networks

Farmington, New Mexico Exploring Fiber Options | community braodband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Farmington, New Mexico, currently has 80 miles of fiber and has decided to consider the best way to get the most out of the investment. The City uses the fiber network strictly for its Farmington Electric Utility System but sees potential in maximizing the power of the unused strands. Earlier this year, they commissioned a study from Elert & Associates to investigate the technical possibilities. Front Range Consulting reviewed the financial pros and cons.

 

In February, both experts provided options to the City Council. While offering triple play services is a possibility, both firms recommended leasing available fiber to existing ISPs instead. Expanding to a triple play offering would require a $100 million investment to connect the 32,000 current Farmington Electric Utility System's customers.

 

Dick Treich, from Front Range Consulting, commented on the pushback to expect from Comcast and CenturyLink, if the City decided to pursue triple play retail services. From a February Farmington Daily Times article:

 

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Verizon Fails the Laugh Test | Free Press

Verizon Fails the Laugh Test | Free Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s encouraging to see that some members on Capitol Hill haven’t forgotten why they’re in Washington: to serve the people who elected them — and not the companies that paid for their campaigns.

 

Last week, Reps. Ed Markey and John Conyers sent letters to the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department urging them to take a closer look at the Verizon-Cable deal. The two men urged both agencies “to carefully evaluate the potential impacts” of the deal — which involves Verizon’s purchase of valuable wireless spectrum from a coalition of cable companies — in accordance with the pro-competition policies laid out in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

 

Reps. Markey and Conyers deserve praise for looking out for consumers in this deal. In their letter, they point out that the value Verizon places on this spectrum comes not from its intention to roll out more affordable services — but from its desire to keep precious spectrum away from its competitors. (Gollum, meet Verizon.)

 

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Markey, Barton: 'Do Not' Means 'Collect' as Well as 'Track' and 'Target' | Multichannel News

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) have asked the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), meeting this week in Seattle to continue their work in devising global standards for do-not-track regimes, to include "do not collect and target" as part of the definition.

 

Markey and Barton are co-chairs of the House Privacy Caucus and co-sponsors of a kids' do-not-track bill.

 

While most advertisers and major Web browsers are committed to a voluntary, browser-based do-not-track regime, Markey and Barton argue in a letter to the consortium that opting for do-not-track should mean not only no targeted marketing, but also no data collection.

 

They also want do-not-track to be the default setting on browsers, as Microsoft has indicated it will be on the next iteration of Explorer. Barton warned the group not to agree to ignore a do-not-track signal if it is made the default setting, as some advertisers would prefer.

 

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P2P comes to the rescue of Internet video | EU Information Society News

P2P comes to the rescue of Internet video | EU Information Society News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Peer-to-peer applications sometimes have a bad name because of Internet piracy. But the same technology that has long helped Internet users illegally share copyrighted music, games and videos now promises to help content providers stream video to millions of viewers simultaneously using a fraction of the bandwidth of traditional methods. The transition is being helped by EU-funded research.

 

Video content is the fastest growing area of the Internet. Broadcasters are offering video-on-demand and live streams over the web, Internet service providers are rolling out their own IP-based TV services and Internet users themselves are uploading and sharing ever more videos via sites such as YouTube. According to some estimates, video equivalent to five years' worth of viewing time will stream across the internet every second by 2015, accounting for more than half the world's Internet traffic. Even with new technologies providing end-users with more bandwidth at lower cost, that's still a massive amount of data for networks to handle.

 

'The golden rule to remember is that all bandwidth available will be consumed,' says Jari Ahola, a project coordinator at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. 'Just as bandwidth increases, the ways to consume it are increasing too: high definition video is one example.'

 

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Broadband - 'big pipes' of potential growth | EU Information Society News

Broadband - 'big pipes' of potential growth | EU Information Society News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The internet has become much more than a communication system. Today, it is the backbone of modern society, a platform for businesses, governments and citizens to exchange news and views, as well as to provide services, whether essential or trivial. EU policies aim to extend access to high-speed broadband internet and increase investment in fibre-optic infrastructure, while its support for research efforts ensure that the EU will have the technology available to meet the strain of constantly rising demands.

 

If you think of the internet as billions of pipes that carry bits of information around the world, it stands to reason that the more data we try to pump through them, the higher the chances of backlogs or (data) traffic jams forming. And as the internet expands from a simple network of documents to an 'exchange' joining billions of tiny computers, sensors and objects - the so-called 'future internet' of things - we are going to need bigger pipes to handle all this flow.

 

Broadband internet is the 'information and communications technologies' (ICT) equivalent of these big pipes. In order to tap the full potential of the web, Europe is investing in digital technology to connect people - transcending boundaries and bringing communities together for a range of mutual benefits.

 

The Digital Agenda for Europe seeks to have broadband of at least 30 megabits per second (Mbps) for everyone by 2013, with half of European households accessing connections of 100Mbps or higher by 2020.

 

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Building a multi-platform media for—and by—the public | Columbia Journalism Review

Building a multi-platform media for—and by—the public | Columbia Journalism Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the scholars Ellen P. Goodman and Anne Chen have recently written, the modern media environment requires us to consider public media as having four layers: “infrastructure, creation, curation, and connection,” which produce content that will be distributed across “newly reconfigured public media networks.” These ideas are still nascent, but the core concept is that we have to let go of the idea that public media is solely the responsibility of a small number of broadcast entities. We need to fund entities that support each of these “four layers.”

 

What might this look like? Imagine a multiplatform public media that combined the production quality of PBS’s “American Experience, the reporting quality of NPR’s Morning Edition, the content curation of Wikipedia—and the level of community engagement that exist for some public access cable television channels and low power FM radio.

 

In some communities there is already institutional movement in this direction, ready to be supported with more funding. Public Access cable (PEG) television channels, funded almost exclusively out of franchise fees levied by local or state governments for access to public rights of way, are expanding beyond their traditional cable programming to include other media platforms such as radio. In Davis, CA, the PEG station Davis Media Access also houses the local low power radio station KDRT, which offers locally produced musical, cultural, educational, and public affairs programming. Media Bridges, the PEG channel in Cincinnati, OH, operates a low power radio station, WVQC, that features local artists and musicians. Imagine if these entities were funded to partner with the local public radio and television stations. You would have the reach of public television and radio with the local content and grassroots engagement of community media.

 

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