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

Obama pushes plan for fast Internet in U.S. schools

June 7, 2013 1:44 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The President is advocating for an initiative that calls on the FCC to use an existing program that funds Internet access in schools and libraries through a surcharge on telephone bills to meet the goal. He also directed the government to do a better job of using existing funds to get Internet connections and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers who know how to use it.

Report: NSA demands Verizon hand over all U.S. call records

June 6, 2013 2:04 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

The Guardian has received and published the order which outlines that Verizon is to deliver to the NSA the numbers of both parties, location data, identifiers like IMSI and IMEI numbers, and time and duration of calls. The order has been in place since April and has demanded Verizon give over the requisite information for both international calls originating in the U.S. and calls made within the U.S.

Idaho mapping extent of broadband deserts

June 3, 2013 1:38 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Look at a map showing broadband Internet access in Idaho and you'll see broad swaths of online nothingness. About 85 percent of Idahoans have good access to some form of high-speed Internet, but that population is concentrated in the urban areas that make up a fraction of the state's land mass. Scattered across the vast spaces that remain, rural Idahoans are often hard-pressed to communicate and do business.

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Cisco: M2M manifests; video still driving global traffic

May 29, 2013 1:51 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

According to the company's latest global Internet traffic report, M2M Internet traffic has begun to have a measurable impact on global IP networks. The latest version of the annual Visual Networking Index also attested to the ongoing nature of other well-known trends: on a global basis, more people are getting connected, data consumption is increasing, and video represents a growing constituent element of global traffic.

FCC kicks off Phase II of Connect America Fund

May 23, 2013 1:32 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The FCC announced Phase II of the Connect America Fund, extending the program designed to encourage the extension of broadband networks to reach unserved and underserved Americans, mostly in rural areas. The announcement was hailed by phone companies, but was met with disappointment by the smaller cable operators who typically provide services in the areas targeted by the fund.

Cranky broadcasters could get their licenses yanked

May 15, 2013 2:08 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

TV broadcasters who pull their signals off the air might risk forfeiting their spectrum licenses, Sen. Mark Warner this week warned. Fox CEO Chase Carey last month vowed to pull Fox off the air and distribute exclusively through pay TV services if Aereo were allowed to proceed with its current business model.

Another Senator weighs in on cable prices

May 15, 2013 1:57 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Sen. Rockefeller has asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of TV station shared services agreements (SSAs) on consumers. The request is a response to complaints that local broadcasters collude in order to keep retrans fees artificially high.

McCain bill takes aim at cable practices

May 10, 2013 1:02 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Senator John McCain has introduced a bill that aims to fix a grab-bag of problems in the TV industry. His bill proposes to bar programmers from offering channels only in bundles; it aims to make retransmission consent arguments easier to adjudicate; and restricts sports blackouts, among other measures.

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Capital Currents: That notorious copyright decision

May 7, 2013 8:10 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

You’ve certainly read about that notorious decision by the Librarian of Congress that made it illegal for a cell phone owner to “unlock” a cell phone so that it can be used with a different carrier. But that same decision, which came out last October, contains other elements, including some that apply more directly to our business.

Wheeler on tap to head FCC

May 1, 2013 1:58 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A White House official says President Barack Obama plans to name a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist to head the Federal Communications Commission. Tom Wheeler is former head of both the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association and the National Cable Television Association.

TWC program promotes science ed through sports

April 22, 2013 1:38 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Time Warner Cable announced its STEM in Sports campaign  to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The campaign will offer parents, coaches and other adults the opportunity to get kids interested in STEM by highlighting the roles these subjects play in sports. NFL player Victor Cruz will appear in a PSA for the program.

NAMIC, WICT team up on diversity survey

April 16, 2013 12:26 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) announced plans to conduct another  joint workplace diversity survey for the next editions of the WICT PAR Initiative and the NAMIC AIM (Advancement Investment Measurement). The Walter Kaitz Foundation will fund the survey through a grant.

United Fiber goes with Entone for hybrid TV

April 11, 2013 1:43 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The subsidiary of the United Electric Cooperative is using Entone’s FusionTV to deliver both linear and over-the-top content on the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network it is building in rural Missouri, using money from the Broadband Stimulus.

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SCTE outlines CALM Act best practices

April 4, 2013 2:15 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The CALM Act requires that the audio level of commercial messages be at the same average loudness as the associated programming content. SCTE 197 provides guidelines for cable operators for recording measured loudness and loudness metadata value.

Appeals court: Aereo is legal

April 2, 2013 1:06 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Aereo, which offers inexpensive live broadcast television feeds to computers, tablets and smartphones, doesn't violate U.S. copyright law, a divided federal appeals court said Monday. The decision was based in part on Cablevision's landmark court case that established the legality of the networked PVR system. 

Court turns away class action against Comcast

March 27, 2013 12:28 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The Supreme Court is turning away a class action lawsuit against cable provider Comcast Corp. The high court on Wednesday overturned a lower court decision to certify as a class customers who say the company's monopoly in parts of the Philadelphia area allowed it to raise prices unfairly.

Charter refuses ads for TV antenna maker

March 22, 2013 1:22 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A TV antenna maker wanted to use the competition's own medium — cable TV — for its anti-cable message. Now, officials at Antennas Direct say Charter Communications' refusal to air the ads is evidence of the cable industry's growing concern over antennas.

Genachowski resigns as FCC chairman

March 22, 2013 1:17 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The outgoing chairman’s tenure coincided with continued adoption of broadband and ever higher Internet connection speeds, especially on the wireless side. He approved Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, while blocking AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile.

FCC Commissioner McDowell resigns

March 21, 2013 12:32 pm | by Andrew Berg, Wireless Week | News | Comments

McDowell was first appointed to a seat on the Commission by President George W. Bush. When he was reappointed to the Commission in 2009, Commissioner McDowell became the first Republican to be appointed to an independent agency by President Barack Obama.

San Jose fires up free Wi-Fi network

March 15, 2013 2:23 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The city that considers itself the capital of Silicon Valley is offering free connectivity via a network built by SmartWAVE Technologies using 802.11n Wi-Fi products from Ruckus Wireless. San Jose also has one of the best acronyms ever for its metro area network exchange (see story).

Monroe supports Canada's alert system

March 14, 2013 1:35 pm | by Brian Santo | Product Releases | Comments

Monroe’s DASDEC emergency messaging platform and R189 One-Net Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) encoder/decoder systems provide comprehensive support for Canada's National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination (NAAD) system requirements. The former is designed for TV and radio broadcasters, the latter for cable, IPTV, and satellite providers.

Comcast co-hosts IETF meeting

March 12, 2013 12:14 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

For the second straight year, Comcast is a co-sponsor of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) 86 meeting, which is taking place this week in Orlando, Fla. Comcast also announced that it had renewed its membership to the Internet Society as a platinum organization supporter for the sixth consecutive year.  

Bang the DRM slowly

March 7, 2013 6:10 pm | by Brian Santo | Articles | Comments

There isn’t a single legal concept that has inspired more heartburn in more facets of content distribution than digital rights management (DRM).  Consumers have a pretty good idea what DRM is, and plenty vociferously despise it with the same loathing they have for banks, airlines and their communications service providers.

Capital Currents: FCC broadcast spectrum incentive auctions

March 6, 2013 5:42 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

The big picture on FCC incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum, includes two key elements: 1) The transfer of at least 120 MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband use; and 2) The generation of enough revenues to pay broadcaster relocation costs, the funding of a national broadband public safety network, as well as support for deficit reduction.

Schools shift from textbooks to tablets

March 6, 2013 2:46 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Schools are increasingly looking to the hand-held tablets as a way to sustain students' interest, reward their achievements and, in some cases, actually keep per-student costs down. News Corp. just introduced its $299 Amplify tablet designed for the education market; some 2,000 schools use Google's $199 Chromebooks.

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