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

NSA fears prompt Germany to end Verizon contract

June 26, 2014 11:56 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The German government is ending a contract with Verizon over fears the company could be letting U.S. intelligence agencies eavesdrop on sensitive communications, officials said Thursday. The New York-based company has for years provided Internet services to a number of government departments, although not to German security agencies, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate.

Supremes shoot down Aereo

June 25, 2014 11:54 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a startup Internet company has to pay broadcasters when it takes television programs from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable devices. The ruling preserves the ability of the television networks to collect huge fees from cable and satellite systems that transmit their programming.

AT&T promises to wire 15M if DirecTV deal okayed

June 24, 2014 1:12 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

AT&T plans to bring broadband access to customers in 48 states, with 80 percent of the locations outside of the company’s wireline footprint. Using “fixed wireless” that combines dedicated spectrum and professional installation. The combined companies will be able to offer 15-20 Mbps home broadband to customers as part of a package or as a standalone service.

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Cablevision's antitrust suit against Viacom to move forward

June 23, 2014 1:38 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The antitrust lawsuit filed by Cablevision against Viacom is moving ahead, despite Viacom’s effort to get it dismissed. Should the suit continue, and be decided in Cablevision’s favor, it would set a precedent restricting the ability of programmers to force MVPDs to accept bundles of ancillary – and usually unwanted – content in order to get access to premium channels.

Bill introduced that would prohibit paid prioritization

June 19, 2014 3:17 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Senator Patrick Leahy and Congresswoman Doris Matsui have introduced bicameral legislation to require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban paid prioritization agreements between a broadband provider and a content provider.

Consumer Reports: Majority of consumers give thumbs down on TWC/Comcast deal

June 19, 2014 11:50 am | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

According to a new opinion poll released this morning by the Consumer Reports National Resource Center, most citizens are against the proposed coupling of Time Warner Cable and Comcast. The poll showed that 11 percent of the public supported the merger, 56 percent opposed it and 32 percent had no opinion either way.

Wheeler expands network neutrality process to include peering

June 13, 2014 1:49 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Wheeler for the first time made a clear distinction between ISP networks and activity on the open Internet governed by peering agreements. Consumers expect good service, he said, and peering activity affects that. He has directed the FCC to start collecting information on peering agreements.

AT&T accepting applications for free school connectivity

June 13, 2014 1:16 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The non-profit organization Connected Nation has signed on to administer the selection process for AT&T’s $100 million commitment to provide free mobile broadband Internet access to select middle and high school students in Title 1 schools across the country.

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Internet of Things will break telcos' business model

June 12, 2014 12:35 pm | by Jim Barthold, special to CED | News | Comments

Special Report from Genband’s Perspectives conference: The acceleration of broadband usage is affecting telcos in the same way it's affecting cable network operators: energy consumption will outstrip the ability of current infrastructure to handle it all. Telcos will have to rethink their networks in much the same way MSOs are with CCAP and other measures.

Oliver's Army

June 6, 2014 6:04 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

John Oliver’s rant about network neutrality early this week was impassioned, entertaining, and, in the end, completely wrong about what network neutrality is and how it works. But that may well end up being irrelevant for a couple of reasons.

Vodaphone: Some governments can access networks directly

June 6, 2014 1:28 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

One of the world's largest cellphone companies on Friday revealed the scope of government snooping into phone networks, saying authorities in some countries are able to directly access its network without seeking permission.

Comcast to roll out TSL encryption for email

June 4, 2014 12:18 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast has been beta testing Transport Security Layer (TSL) encryption for email and plans on rolling it out for Gmail users over the coming weeks. A Comcast spokesman said that the beta testing took place with some large Internet websites and some smaller ISPs.

AT&T says DirecTV deal would let it build fiber

June 4, 2014 11:59 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

In an attempt to curry favor with regulators, AT&T Inc. said Tuesday that if it's allowed to buy satellite broadcaster DirecTV, it will be able to afford an expansion of fiber connections into more homes to boost their Internet connection speeds. Expanding broadband access and raising speeds is a federal policy goal, so AT&T's offer could interest regulators at the Federal Communications Commission.

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Supreme Court rules on patent cases

June 3, 2014 12:49 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled that a company is not liable for inducing patent infringement if someone other than the company carries out some of the steps leading to infringement.  That case plus a decision in another case put limits on so-called patent trolls.

Net Neut fight: Bill to limit FCC's Title II powers introduced

May 29, 2014 1:00 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has threatened Title II should communications service providers fail to accede to whatever the new network neutrality rules are. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) introduced legislation that would explicitly bar the FCC from applying Title II of the Communications Act to broadband.

Adtran powering Rock Hill's gigabit strategy

May 28, 2014 1:28 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The town of Rock Hill, S.C., is working with Comporium to upgrade the area’s communications network to support data rates up to 1 Gbps. Comporium will deploy networking equipment from Adtran to create the service. The parties involved hope to attract businesses spur economic growth by becoming one of the only Gigabit communities in the region.

Court rejects challenge to FCC broadband plan

May 27, 2014 2:34 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A federal appeals court is rejecting challenges to the FCC's plan to expand broadband Internet service to rural areas. The expansion is funded partly by fees paid by telecommunications companies. Many of those companies contended the FCC did not have the authority to use the money for Internet service.

Workers in tech case likely to get average of $4K 


May 27, 2014 12:17 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Nearly 60,000 high-tech workers are likely to receive an average of $4,000 apiece in a settlement of a class-action lawsuit alleging Apple and Google conspired in an illegal cartel of Silicon Valley employers that secretly refused to recruit each other's engineers. The estimate is based upon an analysis of court documents in the case, including the terms of a $324.5 million settlement.

House passes curbs on NSA phone surveillance

May 23, 2014 12:46 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The House has moved the U.S. closer to ending the National Security Agency's bulk collection of Americans' phone records, the most significant demonstration to date of leaker Edward Snowden's impact on the debate over privacy versus security. But the final version of the legislation, "watered down" in the words of one supporter, also showed the limits of that impact. 

Lincoln, Neb., fires up free municipal Wi-Fi network

May 22, 2014 1:11 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The city has switched on an outdoor public Wi-Fi access service built with equipment from Ruckus Wireless. NebraskaLink is providing a 1-gigabit network connection to support the project. Commonwealth Electric, the City's fiber optic contractor, donated the installation of the fiber optic network.

Antitrust experts: 2 big deals better than 1

May 21, 2014 12:20 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Antitrust experts say AT&T's bid for DirecTV could reap immediate regulatory rewards. Coming so quickly on the heels of a rival cable company merger —the pairing of Comcast and Time Warner Cable— makes it easier for regulators to approve both transactions because they create two counterbalanced giants in pay TV. 

Iowa vows to reconsider defeated broadband bill

May 19, 2014 1:51 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Despite the surprising defeat of a broadband expansion bill as the Legislature neared adjournment, Gov. Terry Branstad and lawmakers said the effort is important to rural Iowa and should be pursued next year. Supporters of the measure responded that without incentives, companies have little motivation to extend broadband into rural areas.

FCC: Cable rates are rising

May 19, 2014 1:39 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Competition in a video market has a minimal effect on cable prices, and cable prices keep going up. In other words, no surprises in the latest FCC report on the industry. According to this report, which includes data from 2012, basic cable rates were up 6.5 percent, expanded cable was up by 5.1 percent.

FCC: Four more months of bickering about net-neut

May 16, 2014 1:47 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

Network neutrality advocates insist the Internet has already been destroyed by the opening of so-called fast lanes. Meanwhile the industry is behaving as if FCC Chair Tom Wheeler’s willingness to consider reclassifying broadband as a Title II service is a done deal. 

US Senate: Companies must protect against hacked ads

May 15, 2014 12:33 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Hackers have learned how to use software or programming commands hidden inside online advertisements to steal personal data. The Senate suggested tougher U.S. regulations or new laws that could punish the ad networks in addition to prosecuting the hackers.

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