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Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

China cuts access to Gmail

December 30, 2014 11:19 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Chinese access to Google Inc.'s email service has been blocked amid government efforts to limit or possibly ban access to the U.S. company's services, which are popular among Chinese seeking to avoid government monitoring. Data from Google's Transparency Report show online traffic from China to Gmail fell precipitously on Friday and dropped to nearly zero on Saturday, although there was a tiny pickup on Monday.

Defiant Sony will release "The Interview" after all

December 23, 2014 5:38 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

"The Interview" was put back into theaters Thursday when Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a limited theatrical release for the comedy that provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its cancelled release. Sony also is continuing its efforts to release the film on more platforms and in more theaters.

FCC again stops the clock on the Comcast-TWC merger

December 23, 2014 5:32 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

TWC told the FCC that it had withheld the documents on an incorrect claim of attorney-client privilege, according to the agency. TWC should have turned over those documents in September, but did not until earlier this month (December). Furthermore, there are another 30,000 documents that were misplaced due to some unspecified vendor error.

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Kentucky begins $250M project to improve "dismal" broadband availability

December 23, 2014 3:37 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The state is getting most of the money from Macquarie Capital. Macquarie has assemble a team including First Solutions, Fujitsu Network Communications, Black & Veatch, and Bowlin Group, to design, develop and operate the private/public network over the next 30 years.

Regulating online video distributors: Capital Currents

December 22, 2014 4:47 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

Now that the NPRM has been published, we can see the legal and policy problems that it will face. There are many. If OVDs are determined by the FCC to qualify as MVPDs, then it might give them certain program access rights. But MVPDs also face certain obligations. Will these same obligations apply to OVDs?

FCC proposes OTT companies get MVPD status

December 22, 2014 4:37 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The question is coming up with increasing frequency, and cannot be ignored. Sky Angel continues to press its case. More recently, the Supreme Court confused the issue immensely by likening Aereo to an MVPD, even though absolutely nobody else agrees, a conundrum that helped drive Aereo into bankruptcy. 

Title II means $15B in consumer fees? "Baloney"!

December 19, 2014 1:37 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Communications companies claim that applying Title II regulation to broadband would inevitably lead to up to $15 billion in regulatory fees being passed on to consumers. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, who wrote the Internet Tax Freedom Act, says the claim is "baloney."

Dear Sony: please let us help you screw the terrorists (and give you money in the process)

December 17, 2014 11:28 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Dear Sony; Please release “The Interview” on demand on the Playstation Network. Between those who actually want to see the movie, and those who want to metaphorically lift a middle finger to terrorists, I think your audience might be as big as all of America.

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Comcast hires Vega as director of government affairs, Central Valley

December 17, 2014 12:18 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast has hired public affairs veteran Angela Vega as director of government affairs for the Central Valley. Vega, who will be based in Fresno, Calif., will report to Sue Vaccaro, senior director of government Affairs for Comcast California. In her new job, Vega will be responsible for Comcast’s local government affairs and policy issues in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare, and Santa Barbara counties.

FCC approves fee to connect schools, libraries

December 12, 2014 1:23 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Federal Communications Commission agreed Thursday to dramatically boost spending to bring high-speed Internet access to schools and libraries in poor or rural areas, a move that would likely increase Americans' phone bills by about $2 a year.

FCC ups broadband speed for Connect America

December 12, 2014 1:00 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The FCC has decreed that broadband service providers receiving money from the Connect America Fund must deliver a minimum of 10 Mbps on the downstream, and 1 Mbps on the upstream, up from 4Mbps/1Mpbs. Up to $1.8 billion of funding is currently available each year in the Connect America Fund.

Broadband coverage numbers post-Comcast/TWC released

December 11, 2014 2:00 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

If Comcast is allowed to purchase Time Warner Cable, it will have at least one fixed-line broadband competitor with a roughly comparable 25 Mbps tier in only about a third of its footprint, according to information filed with the FCC. The issue is whether the broadband market is competitive.

Web inventor: Internet should be 'human right'

December 11, 2014 1:14 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The computer scientist credited with inventing the World Wide Web says affordable access to the Internet should be recognized as a human right, as a report showed that billions of people still cannot go online and government surveillance and censorship are increasing. Tim Berners-Lee said Thursday the Internet can help tackle inequality — but only if it comes with the rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

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FCC open for comments on 13K hotspots from Comcast, TWC

December 11, 2014 1:05 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Time Warner Cable and Comcast are preparing to possibly deploy another 13,500 public Wi-Fi hotspots between them. The two require permission from the Federal Communications Commission to do so, and the FCC today began seeking public comments as part of its approval process.

Sweden knocks out Pirate Bay

December 10, 2014 12:49 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Pirate Bay is one of the world's biggest free file-sharing websites offers millions of users a forum for downloading music, movies and computer games. The entertainment industry has failed to shut it down, even after its operators were convicted of copyright violations.

How Do We Get More Kids Into STEM?

December 9, 2014 8:55 pm | by ECN | Videos | Comments

It’s easy to say we need more kids interested in STEM, the challenge comes in finding ways to accomplish it. In this video presentation, engineers discuss what inspired their own engineering journey, what we all can do to further expose kids to the wonders of engineering, and the challenges posed by STEM education.

ACA Summit: Washington DC

December 5, 2014 11:54 am | by CED | Events

The ACA Summit underscores the unique role that more than 800 independent cable operators play in providing best-in-class communications services to millions of consumers living and working in some of the most remote areas of the country. When it comes to responding to the critical broadband infrastructure needs of rural America, ACA Members are the ones who are putting their own capital at risk and supplying the solutions.

Comcast and AT&T megamergers are back on the clock

December 4, 2014 12:56 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The FCC restarted the clocks on both of the megamergers it is evaluating. Assuming no more stoppages, the Commission would have a decision in early March on whether or not to allow Comcast and Charter Communications to divvy up Time Warner Cable, and in late March on AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV.

Coalition forms to oppose Comcast's purchase of Time Warner Cable

December 3, 2014 1:45 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Several opponents of Comcast’s proposal to buy TWC, including some smaller cable operators, have banded together, calling themselves the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition. There are no conditions the regulatory agencies involved can set on the merger that will avoid the substantial harms they say will be caused by the merger.

November / December 2014

December 2, 2014 8:26 pm | by CED | Digital Editions | Comments

In this issue, we profile Sherita Ceaser, the recipient of the 2014 Women In Technology Award. CED editors attended the 2014 Cable-Tec Expo, caught up on keynotes, sampled the seminars, and sat through the sessions to bring you a comprehensive overview of the technologies that are driving progress in the cable industry. Contributed articles address managing networks – one looks at smart home networks, the other at the cloud.

AT&T walks back Title II threats... a little

December 2, 2014 1:47 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

“Uncertainty” doesn’t really mean anything, and uncertainty doesn’t derive from reclassification, it derives from the industry’s reaction to it: lawsuits. Show us exactly how reclassification would cost more – not including the litigation costs – or admit it’s all just whining. Put up or shut up.

Nebraska's goal: 25Mbps to 90 percent of homes

December 1, 2014 1:19 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A report by the Nebraska Information Technology Commission calls for on the state to use the state's universal service fund to create new infrastructure, and to partner with libraries and colleges to help teach Internet skills to those who aren't frequent users. Money from the fund comes from a state fee tacked onto consumers' telephone bills.

A Perry Mason twist in the FCC's favor

November 25, 2014 8:40 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

In Washington, D.C., a set of programmers are holding up two major corporate takeovers because they don’t want a few extra lawyers to become privy to the trade secrets in their retrans consent contracts. Meanwhile, in Washington State, a Court of Appeals just ruled there no grounds for claiming that the terms of retrans agreements are trade secrets.

Pew study: Americans clueless about the Internet

November 25, 2014 1:00 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Only about 6 in 10 Internet users understand the basic concepts of "net neutrality." The results underscore what many say is a growing problem for the U.S.: a generation reliant on the convenience that technology brings, but with little understanding of the risks of conducting nearly every transaction digitally.

STELA bill passes House; ends CableCard mandate

November 21, 2014 12:17 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

This version of the bill eliminates the integration ban, and also includes provisions that ban broadcasters from banding together to negotiate retransmission consent deals with MVPDs. The bill heads to the Senate, where passage is expected to be automatic. The President is expected to sign the bill.

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