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Government

Cuba Connecting Universities With Fiber 56 56

lpress writes: Two Cuban universities have fiber links and fiber connections will be available to all Cuban universities in January 2016. One of the currently connected universities is in the west, near Havana (satellite ground station) and one in the east, near the undersea cable landing. Cuba will use Chinese equipment for DSL to the home and Wifi access points.
Communications

European Government Agrees On Net Neutrality Rules, With Exemptions 37 37

An anonymous reader writes: The European Union's three main legislative bodies, the European Council, the European Parliment, and the European Commision, have reached an agreement on "Open Internet" rules that establish principles similar to Net Neutrality in the EU. The rules require that all internet traffic and users be treated equally, forbidding paid-for prioritisation of traffic. However, exemptions are permitted for particular "specialised services" where the service is not possible under the open network's normal conditions, provided that the customer using the service pays for the privilege. (The examples given are IPTV, teleconferencing, and telepresence surgery.) Zero-rating — exempting particular data from traffic caps — is also permitted, but will be subject to oversight. Notably, this means (if all goes as promised) the elimination of cellphone roaming fees within the EU; however, that's been promised and delayed before.
Programming

Amazon Opens Up Echo's Alexa To Developers 26 26

mikejuk writes: Amazon announced Echo, a wireless speaker with a built-in, voice-controlled, personal assistant called Alexa last year. Now it appears Alexa will no longer be tied exclusively to Echo. Amazon has announced that the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the cloud-based service behind Echo, is being made available for free to third party hardware makers who want to integrate Alexa into their devices. To propel developers and hardware manufacturers interest in voice technology and their adoption of Alexa, Amazon has also announced a $100 Million Alexa Fund, open to anyone, startups to established brands, with an innovative idea for using voice technology.
Wireless Networking

WiFi Offloading is Skyrocketing 152 152

dkatana writes: WiFi Offloading is skyrocketing. This is the conclusion of a new report from Juniper Research, which points out that the amount of smartphone and tablet data traffic on WiFi networks will will increase to more than 115,000 petabytes by 2019, compared to under 30,000 petabytes this year, representing almost a four-fold increase. Most of this data is offloaded to consumer's WiFi by the carriers, offering the possibility to share your home internet connection in exchange for "free" hotspots. But this article on InformationWeek Network Computing also warns that "The capacity of the 2.4GHz band is reaching its limit. [...] the growing number of WiFi devices using unlicensed bands is seriously affecting network efficiency. Capacity is compromised by the number of simultaneously active devices, with transmission speeds dropping as much as 20% of the nominal value. With the number of IoT and M2M applications using WiFi continuously rising, that could become a serious problem soon."
Google

Google Takes Over NYC's Free WiFi Project 68 68

dkatana writes: Google's new Smart Cities venture Sidewalk Labs announced the purchase of Intersection, the new company behind the LinkNYC project. nGoogle wants to speed up the developing of free internet access to New York residents and visitors, as a way to gather more information about their activities. Users of the pylons will provide the company invaluable data about their habits, places they visit, and browsing activity.

As part of the original LinkNYC plan, Intersection is scheduled to start deploying the new ad-supported, locally manufactured, WiFi 'pylons' this fall, reaching all five boroughs of the city. It will be the largest and fastest free municipal WiFi system in the world. After that, the company plans to start rolling out similar initiatives in other U.S. cities, but details have not been made public yet.
Transportation

Car Hacking is 'Distressingly Easy' 165 165

Bruce66423 points out a piece from the Economist trying to rally support for pressuring legislators and auto manufacturers to step up security efforts on modern, computer-controlled cars. They say, Taking control remotely of modern cars, for instance, has become distressingly easy for hackers, given the proliferation of wireless-connected processors now used to run everything from keyless entry and engine ignition to brakes, steering, tyre pressure, throttle setting, transmission and anti-collision systems. Today's vehicles have anything from 20 to 100 electronic control units (ECUs) managing their various electro-mechanical systems. ... The problem confronting carmakers everywhere is that, as they add ever more ECUs to their vehicles, to provide more features and convenience for motorists, they unwittingly expand the "attack surface" of their on-board systems. In security terms, this attack surface—the exposure a system presents in terms of its reachable and exploitable vulnerabilities—determines the ease, or otherwise, with which hackers can take control of a system. ... There is no such thing as absolute security. [E]ven firms like Microsoft and Google have been unable to make a web browser that cannot go a few months without needing some critical security patch. Cars are no different.
Wireless Networking

The Town That Banned Wi-Fi 529 529

An anonymous reader sends a story from The Guardian about Green Bank, West Virginia, a small town housing the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. There are other telescopes nearby, too. Because the telescopes are so sensitive, stray electromagnetic signals are strictly regulated in the surrounding area, which is called the National Radio Quiet Zone. But the town is running into a problem: its population was around 120 when this began, and by now about 40 people have moved there because they want to get away from radio waves and Wi-Fi signals and other types of electromagnetic radiation. There have been reports of tensions in the town: tales of threats and abuse unfitting to a sleepy mountain village. And it is all the stranger when you consider that no serious scientific study has been able to establish that electrosensitivity exists. ... Where the locals might have been happy to tolerate one or two of the sensitives, the mass migration was beyond the pale. ... People would walk towards [one woman] with concealed electronics, in an effort to provoke a reaction. A meeting she and her husband organised to help educate the others about electrosensitivity descended into a slanging match.
Wireless Networking

Sprint Begins Punishing Customers For FCC's Net Neutrality Rules 272 272

ourlovecanlastforeve writes: A few days ago Sprint announced their intent to stop throttling certain customers' bandwidth in the wake of the FCC fining ATT $100,000,000 for doing the same. Sprint has now begun circulating an internal memo to their front-line reps that the 12-month warranty on non-branded accessories, a featured selling point, will be eliminated. Additional rumors are emerging that Sprint may increase prices on unlimited data plans and stop offering wireline long distance service.
Networking

5G Network Speed Defined As 20 Gbps By the International Telecommunication Union 81 81

An anonymous reader writes with a report at Mobipicker (linking to a Korea Times story) that a 12-member committee from the International Telecommunication Union has hashed out a formal definition of the speed requirements for 5G mobile networking; the result has been designated IMT-2020, and it specifies that 5G networks should provide data speeds of up to 20Gbps -- 20 times faster than 4G. From the Korea Times story: The 5G network will also have a capacity to provide more than 100 megabits-per-second average data transmission to over one million Internet of Things devices within 1 square kilometer. Video content services, including ones that use holography technology, will also be available thanks to the expanded data transmit capacity, the ministry said. ... The union also decided to target commercializing the 5G network worldwide by 2020. To do so, it will start receiving applications for technology which can be candidates to become the standard for the new network. Consequently, the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games will be the world's first international event to showcase and demonstrate 5G technology.
Government

FCC Votes To Subsidize Broadband Connections For Low-Income Households 283 283

Mark Wilson writes: Today the FCC voted in favor of updating its Lifeline program to include broadband. This would mean that households surviving on low incomes would be able to receive help paying for a broadband connection. It might not be as important as electricity or water, but having a broadband connection is seen as being all but essential these days. From helping with education and job hunting, to allowing for home working, the ability to get online is seen as so vital by some that there have been calls for it to be classed as a utility. The Lifeline program has been running since the 80s, and originally provided financial help to those struggling to pay for a phone line. It was expanded in 2008 to include wireless providers, and it is hoped that this third expansion will help more people to get online.
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Announces Customizable Xbox Elite Wireless Controller 99 99

MojoKid writes: Today, Microsoft announced that later this year, it will be releasing what could be the "ultimate" Xbox and Windows game controller. Called Xbox Elite Wireless, this gamepad has a dramatically overhauled D-pad and four paddles underneath. Other features that make this gamepad special: there are trigger locks, the ability to customize thumbstick sensitivity, along with the level of travel for the top triggers. In addition, it also sports swappable components, like the paddles, etc. Pricing has been announced at $149 and given just how advanced this gamepad is over the original, it's understandable but still pretty steep.
Microsoft

Oculus Announces Partnership With Microsoft 105 105

An anonymous reader writes: At its pre-E3 press conference today, Oculus announced a partnership with Microsoft. The company plans to launch a new Rift headset early next year that will be packaged with a wireless Xbox One controller. Oculus will ship the controllers with the recently announced Xbox wireless adapter. Xbox chief Phil Spencer said. "We believe we'll be able to create state of the art virtual reality experiences with the Oculus Rift on top of Windows."
The Courts

Appeals Court Rejects ISP Stay of Neutrality Rules 53 53

An anonymous reader writes: The Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules will go into effect Friday after a court decided not to block them. The ruling is an early win for the FCC, whose assertion of enforcement authority over ISP's is being challenged in court by cable and wireless industry groups. Techdirt reports: "According to the court order (pdf), broadband providers failed to provide 'the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review,' meaning that the FCC's new net neutrality rules will remain in place for the duration of the ISPs assault on the FCC. While the courts have promised to expedite it, a resolution to the case could still take more than a year. FCC boss Tom Wheeler was quick to take to the FCC website to applaud the ruling."
Privacy

Developer Draws Legal Threat For Exposing Indian Telco's Net Neutrality Violation 134 134

knightsirius writes: Indian broadband and cellular operator Airtel was discovered to be injecting third-party JavaScript files into web pages delivered over their wireless networks. A developer was viewing the source of his own blog and noticed the additional script when viewed on a Airtel connection. He traced the file back to Flash Networks, an Israel-based company, which specializes in "network monetization" and posted the source on GitHub. Since then, he has received a cease-and-desist from Flash Networks and the code on GitHub has been removed following a DMCA takedown notice.

Readers may remember Airtel from its previous dubious record with network neutrality.
Networking

5G Is On Its Way, But Approaching Slowly 86 86

New submitter CarlottaHapsburg writes: Ericsson and Nokia are leading the pack when it comes to developing 5G, but there are some major complicating factors: flexible architecture, functioning key standards, the U.S.'s lethargy in expanding mmWave, and even the definition of what 5G is and can do. It'll get here, but not soon: "5G networks are widely expected to start to roll out by 2020, with a few early debuts at such global events as the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. It is an ambitious deadline given what is expected from 5G -- no less than the disruption of the communications market in general, and telecom in particular, as well as related sectors such as test equipment." The FCC's Tom Wheeler says 5G is different for every manufacturer, like a Picasso painting. It should be an exciting five years of further developments and definitions — and, hopefully, American preparedness.
Power

Researchers Power a Security Camera With Wi-Fi Signals 59 59

Kristine Lofgren writes: Nikola Tesla dreamed of a world full of free, wireless power. While he never accomplished that dream during his lifetime, researchers at the University of Washington are doing their part to make it a reality with a breakthrough in wi-fi powered electronics. Dubbed PoWi-Fi, the team led by Vamsi Talla were able to recharge and maintain consistent low-level power over a number of different devices at distances of up to 28 feet.
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: If You Were Building a New Home, What Cool New Tech Would You Put In? 557 557

An anonymous reader writes: I am starting the process of building a new home, and I would like to make the house as wired (or wireless) as possible. At this stage I can incorporate new tech in the design. What features do you have in your house that you just couldn't live without? What features are nice to have? What features do you want? In-home Fiber? Solar? Audio/Visual? Heating/Cooling?
Businesses

Nokia Shifts To Selling Back-End Systems To Mobile Networks 40 40

jfruh writes: With Nokia's handset business now sold off to Microsoft, you might be wondering what the remainder of the company does, exactly. The company is trying to use its expertise at other end of its old business, offering data centers and virtualized infrastructure to wireless networking companies to make their businesses more efficient. Competitors include Ericsson, another mobile phone also-ran.
Businesses

Foxconn Offers Electric Car Rental Service In China 20 20

Taco Cowboy writes: Foxconn plans to expand its electric-car rental business in ten more cities in China. Since starting the business in Beijing last year, they have launched similar services in Hangzhou and Changzhou. Another business in Guiyang will open with 100 electric vehicles in July. The service is activated through an app, website, or WeChat platform, and customers will be able to use the car with a QR code. The vehicles come equipped with internet connectivity and warns drivers of low battery and shows the nearest charging stations. The company is also working on a platform for the operation of new energy vehicles saying: "Foxconn's telematics devices have also entered BMW's supply chain, and the company is also shipping 17-inch in-car displays to Tesla. Additionally, Foxconn has also teamed up with China-based Chery to supply the automaker with digital dashboards, telematics devices, wireless charging boards and vehicle safety systems."
Intel

Intel To Buy Altera For $16.7 Billion 63 63

An anonymous reader writes: Today Intel purchased chipmaker Altera for $16.7 billion. This follows another huge purchase in the semiconductor industry last week, when Avago snapped up Broadcom for $37 billion. This has been a record year for consolidation within the industry, as companies struggle to deal with slowing growth and stagnating stock prices. Altera had already rejected an offer from Intel, but shareholders pressured them to reconsider. "Acquiring Altera may help Intel defend and extend its most profitable business: supplying server chips used in data centers. While sales of semiconductors for PCs are declining as more consumers rely on tablets and smartphones to get online, the data centers needed to churn out information and services for those mobile devices are driving orders for higher-end Intel processors and shoring up profitability."