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

Tech giants call for controls on Federal snooping

December 9, 2013 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Eight major technology companies have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter Monday to President Barack Obama (Image: AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou, File)arguing for reforms in the way the U.S. snoops on people.

Senator seeks better return on broadband funds for states

December 6, 2013 12:37 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

US Senator Kelly Ayotte has introduced legislation that would ensure that rural states get at least 75 cents for every dollar they contribute to the USF. The money is collected through telephone bills, but Ayotte says New Hampshire gets back only 37 cents for every dollar it sends.

Michigan senate votes to ease ability to drop land lines

December 6, 2013 12:21 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Phone companies would have an easier time discontinuing traditional land lines in Michigan under legislation approved Thursday that supporters say recognizes technological change but critics contend could leave customers with less reliable service.

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Overhaul of '96 Communications Act gains momentum

December 4, 2013 1:42 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The prospects for updating the 1996 Communications Act seem to have improved with the endorsement of the idea of two key Congressman. Representatives Fred Upton and Greg Walden said that the update is desperately needed during a Google chat that was also attended by FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. 

Capital Currents: White Spaces Update – the Next WiFi?

December 3, 2013 6:54 pm | by Jeffrey Kraussm, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

There has been a lot of regulatory activity since the FCC adopted its revised White Spaces rules in 2010, but not much marketplace activity. The FCC allows unlicensed low power transmitters to operate on “White Spaces”—TV band frequencies that are not being used by TV stations or other licensed transmitters.

FCC Chair alludes to spectrum aggregation limits for upcoming auctions

December 3, 2013 1:48 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Tom Wheeler said, “Spectrum is finite, and the FCC is charged with managing the airwaves that are used for commercial purposes. A key goal of our spectrum allocation efforts is ensuring that multiple carriers have access to airwaves needed to operate their networks.”

FCC declares more markets "competitive"

December 3, 2013 1:45 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The Commission recently just designated as competitive dozens of markets in which Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks operate networks.  Once a market is certified as competitive, municipal and/or state rights to regulate basic cable service rates are revoked. Last week, the FCC exempted Cablevision from the same regulations in nearly two dozen markets.

Amazon working on drone delivery

December 2, 2013 12:29 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The world's largest e-commerce company said it's working on the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project in its research and development labs. But Amazon says it will take years to advance the technology and for the Federal Aviation Administration to create the necessary rules and regulations.

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Minn. names top broadband officer for new division

November 27, 2013 12:22 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Gov. Mark Dayton's administration announced Danna MacKenzie is the first executive director for the Office of Broadband Development, a division created last spring. The new office has a central role as Minnesota stretches toward a goal of ultra-fast broadband in every corner of the state. Minnesota's goal is 2015, but most people involved say that will be tough.

Rockefeller takes up cause of broadcaster collusion

November 27, 2013 12:16 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The chair of the Senate Commerce Committee has asked the FCC to not approve any merger deals among broadcasters while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigates shared service agreements (SSA), in which broadcasters negotiate agreements on behalf of others in the same market, raising costs for local cable operators and their subscribers.

Upfront: Bill would lift OTT companies to MVPD status

November 27, 2013 11:49 am | by CED | Articles | Comments

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is planning a bill that aims to give upstart online video services the chance to compete on an equal footing with classic MVPDs by guaranteeing their rights to content.  Furthermore, online video distributors would gain standing to compete directly with established pay TV companies as MVPDs.

Cablevision wins exemption from some cable regulations

November 25, 2013 1:30 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The FCC has determined that Cablevision will not be subject to community regulation of basic cable rates in about two dozen towns that the MSO serves. The FCC determined that the market is competitive in the communities specified by the MSO, making the company exempt from those specific regulations.

FCC Chair pushing for phone networks to go all-IP

November 22, 2013 12:38 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Tom Wheeler said that the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force—assembled by former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at the behest of AT&T and NTCA—will present a status update at the Dec. 12 Commission meeting. With that research in hand, Wheeler expects the FCC by January to draft an order concerning experimentation, data collection, and policy, legal and technical outlines for the IP transition agenda.

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LG looking into claim smart TVs grab user data

November 21, 2013 12:31 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

LG Electronics Inc. said it is investigating a claim that some of its smart TVs send information on home viewing habits back to the company without consent. The investigation comes after Jason Huntley, a 45-year-old IT consultant in Britain, detailed in his blog how his LG smart TV logged the channels he was watching and sent the data to LG.

NSA hacking traces back to executive order by Reagan

November 20, 2013 2:13 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Recent reports that the National Security Agency secretly broke into communications on Yahoo and Google overseas have technology companies, privacy advocates and even national security proponents calling for a re-examination of Reagan's order and other intelligence laws. Experts suggest a legislative update is long overdue to clear up what Electronic Frontier Foundation legal director Cindy Cohn calls "lots of big gray areas."

Yahoo vows to encrypt all its users' personal data

November 19, 2013 12:21 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Yahoo is expanding its efforts to protect its users' online activities from prying eyes by encrypting all the communications and other information flowing into the Internet company's data centers around the world. The commitment announced Monday by Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer follows a recent Washington Post report that the National Security Agency has been hacking into the communications lines of the data centers.

Google to pay $17M to settle Safari privacy case

November 19, 2013 12:16 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Google is paying $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to make amends for the Internet search leader's snooping on millions of people using Safari Web browsers in 2011 and 2012. The settlement announced Monday stems from a technological loophole that enabled Google's DoubleClick advertising network to shadow unwitting Safari users.

Proposed bill will turn video business upside down

November 13, 2013 2:48 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Legislation to be proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller would guarantee equal access to cable network programming to over-the-top companies such as Netflix, Sony, and others. The bill assumes that OTT companies would use those rights to offer those channels on an a la carte basis.

Vermont on the verge of universal broadband

November 11, 2013 1:54 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Broadband isn't just about streaming video or easy access to email — it's a critical part of modern living. Vermont has received more than $177 million of the billions in federal stimulus money has been spent to spread broadband across the country, part of an effort that some have equated with the 1930s New Deal effort to bring electricity to America's hinterlands.

Desparately Seeking FTTP; LA to issue an RFI

November 6, 2013 2:41 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

LA’s desire is to have fiber extended to both residential and business customers. Initial estimates peg the costs anywhere from $3 billion to $5 billion, and the city expects the bidder to assume it all. The city also wants the winning bidder to provide free connectivity to all at something between 2 Mbps and 5 Mbps.

Wheeler champions competition in first comments as FCC Chair

November 6, 2013 1:45 pm | by Andrew Berg, Wireless Week | News | Comments

After thanking acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn for her service, Wheeler called these "important days in determining the future of our networks." He quoted John Gardner's observation, 'History doesn’t look like history when you’re living it,' comparing today's fourth-generation networks to Gutenberg’s printing press and the original railroads for their revolutionary effects on civilization.

Miranda expands loudness monitoring product line

November 6, 2013 1:17 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The Axino-400 retains the performance of the original Axino-410, but with a reduced channel count. Where the original Axino 410 was built to handle up to 200 channels simultaneously, the Axino-400 enables broadcasters to monitor up to 40 channels from one device.

Comcast spends to defeat Seattle mayor

November 4, 2013 1:22 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Hoping to help defeat the mayor of Seattle who is running for reelection, Comcast is making donations to political action committees supporting his rival. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is pursuing a public-private partnership to bring fiber-based broadband to one of his city’s neighborhoods.

NSA argues to keep hacked data

November 4, 2013 12:28 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The NSA's general counsel declined to comment about published details describing the U.S. tapping into fiber optic cables to extract Internet data about customers of Google and Yahoo without the knowledge of the technology companies, but insisted that the program was not an attempt to avoid the supervision of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court.

FAA eases electronics restrictions as on-board broadband expands

November 1, 2013 1:33 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Passengers traveling on U.S.-based airline carriers will be able to use most electronic devices throughout their flights. The new rules do not apply to cell phones, whose use will continue to be prohibited on takeoff and landing, though airlines are gradually adding cellular service as a broadband connectivity option.

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