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Broadband / News Briefs

French Space Agency, CNES, Joins Google's Project Loon

Google has partnered with the French space agency, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, or CNES, with a goal of reaching higher ground with its Project Loon initiative. Project Loon is essentially a program by Google to bring free Internet to developing countries through low-flying weather balloons that project Wi-Fi signals. The two companies remained relatively quiet about their plans to partner... more»

Pay Phones in New York City Being Replaced With Close to 10,000 Free Wi-Fi Kiosks

By this time next year, if all goes according to plan, there will be a new fixture on streets of New York: hundreds of slim aluminum pillars, each providing some of the fastest free internet available anywhere in the world. The kiosks are part of the ambitious initiative LinkNYC, which earlier this week was chosen to replace the city's aging and all but forgotten pay phones. more»

Obama Urges FCC to Treat the Internet As a Utility

President Obama released a letter today stating that Internet services -- including both wired and wireless Internet -- should fall under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Reclassifying broadband this way would prevent providers such as Comcast from charging fees to companies like Netflix in exchange for faster delivery speeds. more»

Annual Internet Traffic to Grow More Than 20 Percent, Reaching 1.6 Zettabytes by 2018

Global IP traffic for fixed and mobile connections is expected to reach an annual run rate of 1.6 zettabytes -- more than one and a half trillion gigabytes per year by 2018, according to the Cisco's Visual Networking Index. more»

Broadband Providers Should Not Treat All Bits the Same, Says Cisco

All bits running over the Internet are not equal and should not be treated that way by broadband providers, despite net neutrality advocates' calls for traffic neutral regulations, Cisco Systems said. A huge number of Internet-connected devices with a wide variety of traffic requirements, including billions of machine-to-machine connections, will come online over the next four years... Some Web-based applications, including rapidly growing video services, home health monitoring and public safety apps, will demand priority access to the network. more»

Group Launches Coalition for Local Internet Choice

A new coalition of public and private entities was launched today with the mission to support the rights of local communities to make their own decisions regarding broadband Internet networks - "unhindered by state laws or other policies that attempt to stifle or preclude local innovation and investment." more»

Faceobook on Connecting the World from the Sky

Facebook has announced more details on how its Connectivity Lab is working to connect the world from the sky with drones, satellites and lasers. more»

Netflix Agrees to Pay Comcast for Speedier Service

Netflix and Comcast have reached an agreement aimed at smoothing the streaming of Netflix content to the cable company's customers, ending a dispute that included suggestions of throttled traffic. Under the so-called "paid peering" deal, Netflix will be able to connect directly to Comcast's network and skip the intermediaries as it formerly did. The agreement comes less than two weeks after Comcast announced a $45 billion deal for Time Warner Cable. more»

Comcast to Buy Time Warner Cable, Making It Largest Cable Provider in U.S.

Comcast has reached an agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable, according to a tweet from CNBC reporter, Dave Faber. The new company, based on the $44 billion purchase, will be by far the largest cable provider in the U.S. with over 33 million subscribers, and is assumed to face tough review from the Federal Communications Commission. more»

U.S. Court Strikes Down FCC's Net Neutrality Rules

A federal appeals court has struck down the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, which prohibited Internet providers from blocking or prioritizing Web traffic. The decision on Tuesday is the latest in a lengthy legal battle over whether the FCC can regulate the Internet. In an opinion written by Judge David Tatel, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the network neutrality rules contradicted a previous FCC decision that put broadband companies beyond its regulatory reach. more»

Australia Aborting Its Ambitious $44 Billion Broadband Project

Rodney S. Tucker reporting in IEEE Spectrum: "In April 2009, Australia's then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, dropped a bombshell on the press and the global technology community: His social democrat Labor administration was going to deliver broadband Internet to every single resident of Australia... So now, after three years of planning and construction, during which workers connected some 210 000 premises (out of an anticipated 13.2 million), Australia's visionary and trailblazing initiative is at a crossroads. The new government plans to deploy fiber only to the premises of new housing developments." more»

FCC Confirms Tom Wheeler as the New Chairman

The U.S. Senate has unanimously confirmed Tom Wheeler to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. The former wireless industry lobbyist, nominated by President Obama back in May, will be replacing acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, who stepped in for former FCC chief Julius Genachowski when he left five months ago. more»

Google, US and UK Government Organizations Announce "Alliance for Affordable Internet"

Stephen Shankland reporting in CNET: "In a new effort to bring Internet access to the world's billions, Google, US and UK government organizations, and a raft of high-tech partners on Monday announced the Alliance for Affordable Internet..." more»

23 Countries Ahead of U.S. in Internet Usage According to ITU Broadband Report

United States ranks 24th worldwide in the percentage of residents who use the Internet, according to the International Telecommunications Union's 2013 State of Broadband Report, released recently at a meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Eighty-one percent of U.S. residents use the Internet, the ITU said. Countries with the highest percentage of people using the Internet was Iceland, where 97 percent of the people are Internet users. The top 10 countries all had usage rates above 88 percent. more»

Verizon and the FCC Clash Over Net Neutrality Laws

Edward Wyatt reporting in the New York Times: "In a momentous battle over whether the Web should remain free and open, members of a federal appeals court expressed doubt over a government requirement that Internet service providers treat all traffic equally. On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission and Verizon, one of the largest Internet service providers, squared off in a two-hour session of oral arguments -- three times as long as was scheduled." more»