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AFP reports:

NEW YORK (AFP) - New York's Central Park and a number of other public spaces will become public Internet hubs starting this summer when the city's parks begin offering free wireless net access, the city government said.

"We expect Central Park to be launched in July, and the rest of the parks in the late summer," the Department of Parks and Recreation said. Among those green spaces going on-line for public Wi-Fi access will be Washington Square, Union Square, Brooklyn's Prospect Park and Flushing Meadows.

Here's the link

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ISO Broadband Competition

May 16, 2006 Network Neutrality, Policy Blog

Why do we need a net neutrality law prohibiting broadband network operators from discriminating in favor of the applications, services and content in which they have a financial interest? Because for most of the country, there are only two network operators - a cable operator and/or a telephone company. Net neutrality opponents can talk all they want about the existence of competition, but where is it? As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, wireless services provided by cellphone carriers have very strict capacity limitations that restrict streaming video, Internet telephony and P2P file sharing. GAO recently reported that satellite Internet service is not competitive either, since at 200 kbps, the service cannot really be called "broadband," and is limited to only those customers who have a southern exposure and who don't live in wooded areas.

On June 29, the FCC will auction 90 Mhz of prime radio spectrum that could be used, among other things, to provide competitive broadband voice, data and video services. That's great news, but here's the problem - telephone and cable companies are likely to bid on the spectrum. If they win, an opportunity for competition will be lost. Media Access Project and several other groups asked the FCC to prohibit those incumbent broadband companies from participating in the auction, and not surprisingly, their requests were rebuffed. At the very least, any winner should be required to abide by net neutrality principles.

Google and T-Mobile will be two of the non-incumbents that are expected to bid on the spectrum. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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Welcome!

May 16, 2006

Welcome to PK's new online presence. We decided that the time had come to make our website work more like a blog and less like a library. Every two weeks or so we will have a different guest blogger from our three worlds of IP - intellectual property, internet protocol and information policy. Folks like Jonathan Taplin, Tim Wu, Steve Weber, Helen Nissenbaum, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Danny Weitzner and Denise Caruso have already signed up. They'll be giving you the outside-the-beltway perspective while we keep you apprised of what is going on in the policy world here in DC. Net neutrality, the WIPO broadcast treaty, tech mandates and orphan works are all very hot right now, and the PK staff will keep you apprised of these and other issues that affect our ability to obtain and share knowledge. I'll be the featured blogger this week -- I look forward to your comments.

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Every week we hear a new rationale against net neutrality legislation - telcos want to provide "high value" services, or a "private Internet," or "virtual private networks," all of which allegedly would be prohibited by a requirement that they not use their last-mile bottleneck to discriminate against Internet services, content and applications in which they do not have a financial interest. Now, AP reports that the telcos fear that high definition video will clog the Internet, and that they want to be able to charge video providers to "guarantee" delivery of that content..

I'm sorry to say that this latest rationale for discrimination doesn't wash either. These fears (how ironic that the pro-NN forces are the ones accused of fear-mongering) are based on absurd assumptions about how people use the Internet - that people will start watching streaming video like they do regular TV - for 8 hours a day, or that, as the AP story states "everyone in a neighborhood is trying to download the evening news at the same time." We know that this won't happen any time soon, if ever. Also, and this should be no surprise, the telcos are not revealing how much it would really cost to provide the best solution to the problem - building a fatter pipe.

Indeed, Internet2's Gary Bachula testified a few months ago that the best, and most cost-effective way to deal with any capacity issues is to make the pipe fatter. Internet2, which is the next-generation Internet available only at Universities and colleges, considered both a discrimination-based model and a 100 MG pipe model, and chose the latter. If telcos and cable companies are permitted to create a two-lane Internet w. tolls for access to the high-speed lane, they will have no incentive to build the fat pipe, because they would then lose the revenue from the high-speed lane.

In the short term, there are other non-discriminatory ways to deal with this so-called "choking" of the Internet. One way is to put a cap on he amount of data that a user gets for free, and then charge extra if that person uses more, like cellphone usage. To the extent that the telcos argue that only a small fraction of broadband users are "bandwidth hogs," most users will be unaffected, and the broadband companies can recover their costs

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Steve Chiotakis down at WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama did a great job making sense of the obscure issue of trademark dilution.

You can find more details about the specifics of HR 683, The Trademark Dilution Bill here.

You can also listen to the audio of his report here.

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In the Know Podcast # 17

May 12, 2006

PK's In the Know newsletter comes out today, and so does the podcast! Here are some of the details:

PK in the Know: May 12, 2006

Contents:

You can also:

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Ask A Ninja Special on Net Neutrality

May 11, 2006

[Everyone's favorite ninja](http://www.askaninja.com) once again tackles the issue of net neutrality. Click the image below to go to the [VideoBomb page](http://videobomb.com/posts/show/2420) where you can bomb it and [share it on YouTube](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H69eCYcDcuQ). I also encourage you to Digg it as well. Remember, we're collecting all the videos on these issues on the [PK VideoBomb page](http://videobomb.com/users/show/publicknowledge). Subscribe to the [RSS feed here](http://videobomb.com/rss/users/show/publicknowledge).

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Xeni Jardin posted her report on net neutrality for NPR's Day to Day.

You can listen...

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Another great video has surfaced on net neutrality from [COAnews.org](http://www.coanews.org). It's a compelling six minute mashup that does a great job explaining the problem that arises when broadband providers can mess with your ability to surf to whatever website or use whatever application you'd like to on the internet. To help maximize eyeballs, I've linked to the [YouTube](http://www.youtube.com) video in [VideoBomb](http://www.videobomb.com)--please share it, bomb it, and [digg it](http://digg.com/technology/Death_of_the_Internet_Video)! Click on the image below to view the video: We've tried to make the [PK VideoBomb channel](http://videobomb.com/users/show/publicknowledge) the goto place for these kinds of things. You can subcribe to the feed with this [RSS link](http://videobomb.com/rss/users/show/publicknowledge).

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Gigi was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show for Tech Tuesday. The subject was net neutrality ...

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