The Weekly Technology News 2/2 Edition

Welcome to this week’s edition of my Weekly Technology Newstechnology

Few Gleanings from my perusing the Internet.

Senators Introduce Bill to Block States from Blocking Public Broadband – A trio of Democratic Senators has developed a new bill called the Community Broadband Act that is designed to overturn existing state laws that ban or restrict cities and towns from building their own broadband networks. The bill was jointly developed by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Edward Markey (D-MA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). This proposed legislation emerges after President Obama sent a letter to the FCC to help it overturn 19 existing laws that make it challenging for municipalities to offer competitive Internet services even if the local incumbent telco and cable operator won’t offer higher speed services themselves.

AmazonAmazon Prime Now Tops Netflix in U.S. Subscribers – now has 40 million U.S. members for its Amazon Prime subscription service, up about 50 percent from a year ago, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated Tuesday. Amazon Prime offers free two-day shipping on millions of items, a video-on-demand service that competes with Netflix, and other benefits. Amazon Prime costs $99 a year. If the estimate of 40 million subscribers is accurate, Amazon Prime now has more U.S. subscribers than Netflix, which reported 39.1 million domestic members as of the end of December.

FCCFCC Redefines Broadband Speeds as 25 Mbps Downloads, 3 Mbps Uploads – The FCC has changed its definition of broadband, after commissioners voted 3-2 in favor. The previous definition of 4 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload minimum speeds have been increased to 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up, a move that pushes higher the proportion of households in the United States declared to be incapable of receiving broadband Internet access. Under the old definition, only 6.3 percent of homes had no access to broadband. The FCC now claims that 17 percent of the U.S. population now cannot access a broadband connection based on the new terms. The rules are mostly likely to cause problems for DSL providers, which have many miles of old copper wires that will now need some kind of upgrade to provide 25 Mbps services to the home.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, online; FierceWireless; Huffington Post. Investor’s Business Daily, online.The New York Times, online; Washington Post, online; Bloomberg; CNET; FierceTelecom; Computerworld, online; PC World,online; Ars Technica; Boy Genius Report; Electronista; Engadget; Gigaom; Gizmodo; Re/code; SlashGear; The Verge.

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  1. Two of the three items you wrote about are closely related: community network broadband and broadband speed redefinition. The third (Amazon Prime versus Netflix) also is dependent on broadband speed and accessibility.

    I would like to give a shout-out to an organization which is now moribund since it saw itself as having accomplished its mission. That organization is CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility) which spoke for “grass roots” computer and internet users as opposed to commercial and government interests.

    The reason it concluded “Mission Accomplished” is because 1) there are now groups doing what was intended and 2) there are scion organizations incubated dedicated to the specific tasks originally addressed by CPSR.

    If you live in Denver, Seattle, Charlotte, Ann Arbor, or in any of several dozen other areas; you ,likely know of your local community network. Many of these were created and supported by CPSR members. Likewise you may have heard of Privaterra (Computer Professionals without Borders), EFF (Electronic Freedom Foundation — the computer professionals serving in technology analogously to ACLU in general), and EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center).

    If not for these organizations, community networks would long ago have been crushed and there would have been no effort to standardize broadband definitions (except perhaps from Amazon Prime, Netflix, and the like).

  2. Well, the problem I have with the CPSR and to an extent Google Fiber- is that its a great thing for a metro, but what about smaller towns and places inbetween towns? DSL runs about 4.3 miles from the network to even get the old definition of Broadband, to get the new definition, you have to have either go Fiber Optic or certain types of Cable providers. Copper is going away, but its a slow and expensive process.

    I find it funny that areas that can now get 10-20 MBPS are screaming to get more and more, and since they are in the larger towns, resources are getting pushed there (for a higher profit margin) , while places like where I live, are stuck with 1.5 for the foreseeable future.

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