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The Internet

'Dig Once' Bill Could Bring Fiber Internet To Much of the US (arstechnica.com) 174

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: If the U.S. adopts a "dig once" policy, construction workers would install conduits just about any time they build new roads and sidewalks or upgrade existing ones. These conduits are plastic pipes that can house fiber cables. The conduits might be empty when installed, but their presence makes it a lot cheaper and easier to install fiber later, after the road construction is finished. The idea is an old one. U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) has been proposing dig once legislation since 2009, and it has widespread support from broadband-focused consumer advocacy groups. It has never made it all the way through Congress, but it has bipartisan backing from lawmakers who often disagree on the most controversial broadband policy questions, such as net neutrality and municipal broadband. It even got a boost from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who has frequently clashed with Democrats and consumer advocacy groups over broadband -- her "Internet Freedom Act" would wipe out the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, and she supports state laws that restrict growth of municipal broadband. Blackburn, chair of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, put Eshoo's dig once legislation on the agenda for a hearing she held yesterday on broadband deployment and infrastructure. Blackburn's opening statement (PDF) said that dig once is among the policies she's considering to "facilitate the deployment of communications infrastructure." But her statement did not specifically endorse Eshoo's dig once proposal, which was presented only as a discussion draft with no vote scheduled. The subcommittee also considered a discussion draft that would "creat[e] an inventory of federal assets that can be used to attach or install broadband infrastructure." Dig once legislation received specific support from Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who said that he is "glad to see Ms. Eshoo's 'Dig Once' bill has made a return this Congress. I think that this is smart policy and will help spur broadband deployment across the country."
Google

The Geek Behind Google's Takeover of the Map (fastcompany.com) 97

tedlistens writes: Google's map isn't just a map. It's a living, complex manifestation of the data that billions of users and a team of thousands of engineers and designers feed it every day. The public face of the company's mapping effort is Ed Parsons, a gregarious Briton and geographer who as Google's Geospatial Technologist evangelizes for its mission of organizing the world's geographic information. He also works on building the trust the company needs to make Google Maps and Google Earth more detailed, useful, and increasingly, 3-D and interactive -- what he describes as "a selfie for the planet."

The terrain isn't easy: that mission faces challenges from cartographical purists, hoping to preserve the art of cartography, and the democratic mappers of OpenStreetMap ("it's become almost a parody"); from governments seeking to police sensitive borders; from a host of tech companies fighting over the map business; and from privacy defenders concerned about what Google does with that data. "We're kind of looking at what to do with it. We've got a very rich source of data there, but also one that we have to be very careful of," he says. "Your location on the planet is one of the most sensitive pieces of information that anyone can hold on you."

Businesses

Comcast Buys Out GE's Remaining 49% Stake In NBC 149

Bob the Super Hamste writes "On Tuesday Comcast announced that it would accelerate its acquisition of NBCUniversal and purchase the remaining 49% owned by GE for $16.7 billion. Previously GE and Comcast were expected to operate NBCUniversal jointly until mid 2014 with Comcast having the option to extend that out until 2018. So far there are not details on when the deal with be completed but the article indicates that Comcast's complete acquisition of NBCUniversal will be completed years earlier that initially thought."
Television

Comcast Not Counting Their Video Service Against Bandwidth Cap 284

tekgoblin writes something not quite worth rejoicing over. From the article: "Comcast Internet subscribers can rejoice. Comcast has recently announced that they will not be counting content streamed via their Comcast Xfinity App on the Xbox 360 against their bandwidth caps. Comcast claims that since the data is only traversing their internal Comcast network that it will not count towards your 250 GB limit a month." Comcast is claiming this does not violate net neutrality laws (and it very well may not); a number of folks are not very happy about it. I've always been perplexed by the large media interests of most U.S. last-mile providers.
EU

Apple Files Suit Against Motorola Xoom In EU 181

CWmike writes "Apple isn't just going after the Samsung Galaxy Tab in Europe, it's also attacking the Motorola Xoom. Apple's lawsuit, which was filed in Germany and led to Tuesday's injunction barring sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe, makes reference to a separate complaint against the Motorola Xoom. Patent expert Florian Mueller, who told Computerworld on Tuesday that the mounting patent cases could cast a cloud over Android licensing, found the original lawsuit, filed in Dusseldorf, Germany, and pointed out the Motorola action. The reference in the suit says that Apple has also filed a complaint over the design of the Motorola Xoom, which runs the Android operating system. But it's unclear if Apple is seeking an injunction that would immediately prevent Motorola from importing the tablets into Europe."
Patents

Sale of Samsung Galaxy Tab Blocked in the EU 412

bizwriter writes with a news piece in bnet about the continuing battle between Samsung and Apple. From the article: "In a stunning and painful decision for Samsung, Apple got a German court to issue a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab. According to patent analyst and blogger Florian Mueller, that means Samsung cannot ... sell its tablet in the entire European Union, except for the Netherlands."
Data Storage

First Thunderbolt Peripherals Arrive To Market 259

MojoKid writes "Promise Technology recently launched the first Thunderbolt-compatible devices; the company's Pegasus RAID R4 and R6 storage solutions can now be ordered from the Apple Store. There's a catch, however. In order to use either storage array, one must first purchase a cable directly from Apple. The company has priced the two-meter cable at $50. As it turns out, Thunderbolt uses what's called an active cable. Inside the cable there's a pair of Gunnum GN2033 transceivers. The GN2033 is a tiny, low power transceiver chip designed to be placed inside the connectors at either end of a Thunderbolt cable, enabling dual bidirectional 10Gb/s concurrent links over narrow-gauge copper wires. The cable's $50 price may be justified, but it's also a further reminder of why Thunderbolt may follow FireWire's path into obsolescence. Apple is the only company currently selling Thunderbolt cables."
Apple

IPad 2 33% Thinner, 2x Faster, iOS 4.3 1118

Steve Jobs was on hand today deliver a speech at Apple's iPad 2 event. The new iPad will feature dual-core processors, 2x faster CPU, and 9X faster graphics, front and rear cameras. And it's 33% thinner. Prices range from $499 to $829 depending on if you want 3G and 64 gigs, and it ships March 11. iOS 4.3 will ship at the same time.
The Internet

Comcast-NBC Merger Approved By FCC 268

AndyAndyAndyAndy writes "It seems that the FCC has approved the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC, effectively kicking apart hopes for protection against 'pipes and their water' frameworks. Pres. Obama's 2008 goal also goes ignored: 'I strongly favor diversity of ownership of outlets and protection against the excessive concentration of power in the hands of any one corporation, interest or small group.' The Dept. of Justice is also onboard, leaving little hope that this will be stopped."
The Internet

68% of US Broadband Connections Aren't Broadband 611

An anonymous reader writes "The FCC has published a new 87-page report titled 'Internet Access Services: Status as of December 31, 2009 (PDF).' The report explains that 68 percent of connections in the US advertised as 'broadband' can't really be considered as such because they fall below the agency's most recent minimum requirement: 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream. In other words, more than two-thirds of broadband Internet connections in the US aren't really broadband; over 90 million people in the US are using a substandard broadband service. To make matters worse, 58 percent of connections don't even reach downstream speeds above 3Mbps. The definition of broadband is constantly changing, and it's becoming clear that the US is having a hard time keeping up."
The Internet

Why Broadband Prices Haven't Decreased 336

pdragon04 writes "After a new technology is introduced to the market, there is usually a predictable decrease in price as it becomes more common. Laptops experienced precipitous price drops during the past decade. Digital cameras, personal computers, and computer chips all followed similar steep declines in price. Has the price of broadband Internet followed the same model? Shane Greenstein decided to look into it. "
Businesses

Apple To Buy ARM? 695

gyrogeerloose writes "An article in the London Evening Standard claims that Apple has made an $8 billion offer to acquire ARM Holdings. For those few Slashdotters who don't already know, ARM makes the processor chips that power Apple's iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. However, ARM processors are also used by other manufacturers, including Palm and, perhaps most significantly, companies building Android phones. This explains why Apple might be willing to spend so much on the deal — almost 20% of its cash reserves. Being able to control who gets to use the processors (and, more importantly, who doesn't) would give Apple a huge advantage over its competitors."
Businesses

Clues That Apple's Bought Another Processor Design House 183

According to Ars Technica: "Apple's gigantic bankroll may be burning a hole in its pocket. Almost two years after purchasing PowerPC designer P.A. Semi, Apple appears to have snapped up ARM design house Intrinsity. According to a report that first appeared on electronista, a number of engineers at the company have indicated that they are now or soon will be employed by Apple. Some of them have even gone as far as to change their LinkedIn profiles, with one reverting it, possibly out of fear of drawing the wrath of his new, secretive employer." Updated 20100404 1:15 GMT Brian Dipert points out the earlier coverage at EDN, from which both of the above reports draw.

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