33 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
Copyright © 2015 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.

The Telecom Digest for Jun 25, 2015
Volume 34 : Issue 117 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Google takes over NYC's payphones to install citywide WiFi (danny burstein)
Robocalls - the next level (Bill Horne)

It is not strange, however much it may be regretted, that such an exuberance of enterprise should cause some individuals to mistake change for progress and the invasion of the rights of others for national prowess and glory.
Millard Fillmore

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Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2015 23:00:47 -0400 From: danny burstein <dannyb@panix.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Google takes over NYC's payphones to install citywide WiFi Message-ID: <Pine.NEB.4.64.1506232252110.21765@panix5.panix.com> We've previously mentioned that NYC still has "pay phones" because... they're actually used as advertising kiosks with the phones being secondary. (The advertising pays for the upkeep and profit. The phones themselves nowadays are almost always money losers). A couple of months ago NYC announced a plan to have the "owners" (actually a NYC franchise) of the phones set them up as WiFi bases as a step to setting up a citywide free wifi system. And now... Google is weighing in: > From: "David Farber" <farber.remove-this@and-this-too.gmail.com> > Date: June 23, 2015 at 5:12:50 PM EDT > Subject: [IP] Shades of Metricom ---- Google's Next Moonshot: Lining City > Streets With Wi-Fi Hubs > Google's Next Moonshot: Lining City Streets With Wi-Fi Hubs > By Issie Lapowsky Jun 23 2015 > > http://www.wired.com/2015/06/google-next-moonshot-wifi-hubs-sidewalk-labs/ > > > Google's big bet on technology for cities is finally starting to > make sense. > > Earlier this month, when Larry Page announced that Google was launching > a new startup called Sidewalk Labs to develop and incubate technology > for cities, many wondered what the company wanted with an industry that > is so much less sexy than any of its other so-called "moonshot" > projects, like developing the self-driving car or, you know, curing death. > > Now, that fuzzy logic is coming into focus. Today, Sidewalk Labs announced > it would be acquiring two companies behind NYC's LinkNYC initiative, > an ongoing plan to convert old pay phones into free public Wi-Fi hubs. > Through the acquisition, Sidewalk Labs is merging the two companies > - Control Group, which provides the interface for the new hubs, and > Titan, which is overseeing the advertising that will pay for the project. > The new venture, aptly named Intersection, will seek to bring free > public Wi-Fi to cities around the world using different pieces of urban > infrastructure, from pay phones to bus stops. > > "The vision really is to make cities connected places where you can walk > down any street and have access to free ultra high speed Wi-Fi," says > Dan Doctoroff, the former CEO of Bloomberg and one-time deputy mayor of > New York City, who heads up Sidewalk Labs. "The possibilities from there > are just endless." > > The Disconnect > > The need for this type of technology can't be overstated. As plugged in and > tech-obsessed as American society has become, it's important to remember that > in the United States, some 55 million people don't have access to high-speed > broadband, according to the FCC. In rural parts of the country, this digital > divide is even more stark. Projects like the LinkNYC initiative aim to close > that gap through public-private partnerships. That, says Doctoroff, is what > inspired Sidewalk Labs to acquire Control and Titan, two of the project's > chief architects. > > "We think a lot about equity, and here we have a project that's > going to bring connectivity to people for free and fulfill the needs of > government to generate revenues," Doctoroff says. "It's an emblematic effort. > It seems appropriate that this is our first project." > > It also seems appropriate that Google would be involved. Companies like > Google and Facebook have been racing each other to provide connectivity > throughout the developing world by way of Internet-connected drones and > balloons. There is some altruism to these plans, but there's also a business > case for them: More connectivity means more potential for growth. And while > the digital divide may be greatest in places like Africa and India, Google > assuredly isn't naive to the fact that a homegrown gap exists, as well. > > [snip]
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2015 00:27:15 -0400 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Robocalls - the next level Message-ID: <20150625042715.GA13470@telecom.csail.mit.edu> I got a robocall this afternoon, and it angered and depressed me. Here's how it went: (Phone rings, I pick up) (Oh-so-sweet female voice says) "Hello, this is Samantha, is Bill there?" (I said) "I'm talking to a machine. Samantha, how much is five plus four?" (Oh-so-sweet female voice says) "I'm sorry, I have a speech problem, so I'm using this prerecorded system to make it easier to tell you about [something or other men my age are expected to respond to]. (I said) "Shame on you! Don't you have any personal pride?!" (Oh-so-sweet female voice says) [Silence, followed by disconnect]. I suppose I could have predicted this: spam, robocalls, and political hucksterism are all arms races. Every time someone at my level figures out a countermeasure (such as my micro-Turing-test, above), then the sleaze merchants up the ante and demand that I put up with their lawbreaking. Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)

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