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Ophelia Dahl’s National Health Service

When Dahl was eighteen, she decided to volunteer in Haiti with a nonprofit that provided eye care to the poor. “My father told me, ‘Go do something worthwhile, and have an adventure—see a different part of the world.’ ” It was a good time to leave Great Missenden, as her parents were on the verge of a painful and public divorce. For a cosseted teen-ager, arriving in Port-au-Prince proved to be transformational. “It was a fundamental sort of messing about with your own internal system,” Dahl said. “Everything was different—that’s what garbage smells like, that’s what illness smells like, that’s what children begging look like.” Most people encounter poverty and then relegate the knowledge of others’ misery to the periphery of their mind. Dahl had a different experience. “To have seen this and to not do anything, I knew wasn’t an option. I would never sleep well again. The rest of my life I’d then be feeling like, ‘Look at the house we’re living in.’ ”

But she had no idea what effective action might entail. “I went to these outreach clinics in Haiti, and I was writing home, like, ‘Dear Dad, today I saw . . .’ And you would see things! I didn’t lie; I didn’t say, ‘Oh, I scrubbed in on some surgery.’ The implication, though, was that I was doing important things—because you want to believe that.”

In a town called Mirebalais, in Haiti’s Central Plateau, she met another volunteer, an American named Paul Farmer, who had recently graduated from Duke with a degree in medical anthropology. Their upbringings were starkly different: Farmer was raised, with five siblings, in a bus in a Florida campground. (They joked that Farmer had grown up looking for diners where kids eat free, while Dahl went to places where kids eat Brie.) But they had the same yearning to improve the lives of the poor. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor,” Farmer said. “And I convinced her that she should be a doctor, too—which is something I wouldn’t do as a more mature person, but I was a twenty-three-year-old idiot.” Dahl didn’t see it that way. “It’s weird to use the word ‘mentor,’ because he also became my boyfriend,” she said. “But he was really pretty visionary. Paul said, ‘I know how to get there.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m coming with you, babe.’ ”

Dahl returned to England to take her A-levels, and Farmer enrolled at Harvard Medical School, but they would reconvene in Haiti, where Farmer continued to volunteer: he often flew there on Thursday nights after he finished classes for the week, and then returned to Cambridge on Monday mornings. The people he worked with had been flooded out of their farmland when a hydroelectric dam was built—water refugees, they called themselves—and were living in a squatter settlement called Cange, where they covered their shacks with banana leaves because they could not afford tin. Most families were afflicted with some kind of illness, in addition to malnutrition. Farmer was outraged that health policymakers did not see these people as worthy of the same standard of treatment as the wealthy. The prevailing idea was that prevention is better than cure—that aid should be focussed on vaccination and education, and that poor people should make do with what they had. “Already the field was polluted by health economists,” Farmer said. “When you hear things like ‘cost effective’ or ‘appropriate technology,’ they don’t come from the patients. Nobody says, ‘Hey, I’d really like you to build a cost-effective health-care facility in my squatter settlement.’ ” It seemed to him that his patients were being penalized by the global-health intelligentsia for being impoverished because of circumstances beyond their control.

Dahl studied science, thinking that she, too, would go to medical school, which delighted her father, who thought of himself as a “frustrated doctor.” She joined Farmer in Haiti during summer breaks, and they stayed with Fritz Lafontant, a radical priest who had built the first school in the area. Together, they took a census in Cange, to find out how people lived and what was killing them. “We’d go off every morning at eight and walk for four or five hours on these little paths,” Dahl said. “Usually, there’d be a kid, and they’d run off and find an adult in the field, and we would explain what we were doing. They would open their door and make sure you were in the shade and often offer you some corn or a coconut. No one had fewer than six kids. Everyone had a dirt floor.”

Stupid deaths, as the residents of Cange called them, were the norm; children died from diarrheal diseases, because there was no clean drinking water. “We started taking a little felt-tip pen to write a number on the doors so we could start a medical record and come back,” Dahl said. With Lafontant, they began to build a health-care system from the ground up. “Years later,” Farmer recalled, “I was at Roald’s seventieth-birthday party, and he said to me, ‘You guys like working in Haiti because you like being big fish in a small pond.’ I took umbrage, but he was probably right. And there’s a good reason—you can make a big difference in a place where there isn’t much.”

Dahl raised some money from her parents’ friends in London, and bought scales for weighing malnourished infants. Farmer began training locals to recognize the symptoms of TB, malaria, and typhoid. These recruits were the first of many community health workers Farmer and Dahl relied on in remote areas; the Haitians called them accompagnateurs. Farmer also taught them to administer medication, a fair amount of which he finagled from Harvard and smuggled over in his suitcase. Crucially, Lafontant worked with an American church group to hire engineers to pipe water from the dammed river into a communal spigot. Almost immediately, the incidence of typhoid decreased. It reminded Dahl of the famous story of John Snow, the doctor in nineteenth-century London who traced a cholera outbreak to a particular pump on Broad Street by conducting a door-to-door census. After Snow persuaded the city council to remove the pump’s handle, people stopped dying, thus dispelling the idea that they’d got sick because they were poor and wretched and breathing “bad air.”

Dahl (bottom) with her parents, Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal.

Photograph courtesy Roald Dahl Nominee Limited

In Boston, Farmer had befriended a retired construction magnate and Second World War veteran named Tom White, and he brought him to Haiti to see how people were living. White began donating money for such necessities as concrete floors and tin roofs, and ended up financing the construction of a clinic. “I was twenty at that point—I didn’t even have an undergraduate degree,” Dahl said. “Paul was a medical student. But we all sort of rolled up our sleeves and did whatever there was to do. We were planting trees on the hillside to try and stop the erosion. We were writing to people, long letters asking for money; driving to Port-au-Prince to pick up tons of things, like cough medicine and bar soap.” When the clinic opened, with three examining rooms staffed by Farmer and several Haitian doctors, patients poured in from all over the country—travelling on foot for days to reach them, sometimes carrying sick loved ones on their backs, sleeping outside while they waited their turn for care. “That’s how few the options were,” Dahl said. “It was tiny, but we left all this rebar sticking out the top because we knew that we would need to build more. The rebar sticking out felt like a beautiful thing, because it said, ‘We know this isn’t enough, not nearly—but it’s what we can do right now.’ ”

In Cange, Dahl realized that there were ways besides being a doctor to improve the health of the poor. This was reassuring, because she had found that she was interested in science only up to a point. “I loved thinking about life cycles, or mosquitoes and how they’re connected to these tropical diseases and how a parasite goes through the liver of a sheep before it’s recirculated,” she said. “I mean, that stuff—that’s literature. That’s the poetry of systems.” Literature, ultimately, is what Dahl decided to study, at Wellesley College. In Boston, she and Farmer got an apartment together. “We would talk and talk and talk about what it was we were doing,” Dahl said. They believed passionately that their aid work was about “redistributive justice,” as Farmer put it to Tracy Kidder, who wrote a biography of him. Many development professionals advocated a doctrine of self-reliance, typified by the slogan “African solutions to African problems”—which Dahl and Farmer felt ignored the West’s role in creating those problems. “In the affluent world, history gets erased,” he told me. “Erasing history is unfair to some people, and it’s fine for others. At med school, nobody even talked about these things.” He sighed. “I hope I wasn’t uppity and sanctimonious to my classmates, but I probably was.”

At Harvard, Farmer met Jim Yong Kim, a young man from a family of South Korean immigrants, who, like him, was pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology along with a medical degree. With Dahl they formed a trio. “We all read liberation theology together, and Ophelia was sort of a keeper of the faith,” Kim, who is now the president of the World Bank, recalled. They were particularly taken with the Peruvian philosopher and priest Gustavo Gutiérrez’s conception of a “preferential option for the poor.” Because God favors the poor and the powerless, Gutiérrez argued, Christianity should focus on the injustices visited upon the destitute. To Dahl, Farmer, and Kim, it seemed clear that this doctrine applied to health care, too. “The thing about looking for some grand theory, like Marxism or whatever ‘ism,’ is that a lot of those sort of peter out or are eventually discredited,” Farmer said. “It was hard for me to see how you could discredit an injunction to serve poor people preferentially. You don’t have to be an epidemiologist to realize that infectious diseases make their own preferential option for the poor—they afflict them more, and worse.”

Dahl, Kim, and Farmer drew up a mission statement for what they called “the Project.” They would work toward providing health care that prioritized poor people’s needs, rather than the cheapest or the easiest intervention. “You don’t say, ‘When I’m in Boston, I have this one set of standards, and when I’m in Haiti or Rwanda I’m just going to lower the shit out of them,’ ” Dahl said. Tom White, who had by then decided to systematically divest himself of his wealth, donated a million dollars of seed money. “We were not going to be a regular self-congratulatory do-gooder organization,” Kim said. “We were going to grapple with deep questions of responsibility. Ophelia was the one who could explain to all the people coming around why our approach was different.” Dahl had a knack for disarming defensive people and for convincing donors that the world’s most fortunate people had a moral obligation to investigate—and compensate for—the suffering that underlies their comfort. “If we can’t connect our own good fortune with the misfortune of others, then we’ve missed the boat completely,” she often said.

But, soon after the organization came into being, Dahl and Farmer’s romance fell apart. In 1989, she sent a letter explaining why she would not marry him. “You pointed out to me once, during an emotional argument, that the qualities I love in you—that drew me to you—also cause me to resent you,” she wrote. “Namely your unswerving commitment to the poor, your limitless schedule and your massive compassion for others.” Farmer didn’t speak to Dahl for nine months. Then they ran into each other at a restaurant in Cambridge. “I looked up and I saw him,” Dahl recalled, “and there was this recognition—just knowing that you’ve always known each other, and that we understood why we had to be apart, but hoped not to be apart again.”

“I’m still working with all the people I met then who are alive—because they’re willing to be involved!” Farmer told me. “The qualities you most need to do this are solidarity and empathy. Those are rare. Ophelia was, and is, exquisitely sensitive to other people’s suffering—she gets physically anguished about it. And that’s a wonderful thing to have.”

In 2013, Partners in Health opened a two-hundred-thousand-square-foot, three-hundred-bed teaching hospital in Haiti—the largest solar-powered hospital in the world. It is in Mirebalais, where Farmer and Dahl first met.

Billings-based health care service provider is taking its rapid growth nationwide

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Yemen Houthi rebels disrupting internet service nationwide

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have been disrupting internet access nationwide as they consolidate their grip of the capital, residents and an Arab digital rights organisation told AFP on Saturday.

“My Facebook page and Whatsapp (messenger) are the most important tools in my life and I can barely access them,” said Mahmoud Mohammed, an aid worker in the rebel-held port city of Hodeida.

He said he could only access Whatsapp – a ubiquitous form of communication throughout the Arab World – through a VPN (virtual private network), and that the outage was hampering his work.

“It is very, very hard to get online and send a message. Everything is shut down. You can’t open news sites,” said Mohammed Abdullah, a resident of the capital Sanaa.

Yemen’s communications ministry, which had been run by partisans of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh until he was slain on Monday, is now firmly under the control of the Houthi rebels, and they have been tightening their grip on all institutions.

Ministry employees not affiliated with the Iran-backed rebels said they were no longer welcome at work.

The Beirut-based Social Media Exchange (SMEX), which advocates for digital rights across the Arab World, said the rebels completely shut down the internet on Thursday night and access remains difficult nationwide.

“Yemen has only one internet service provider, YemenNet, and any group or entity that controls it or has influence over it has the ability to disrupt access to the internet, so the disruptions are nationwide and not limited to areas under the control of the Houthis,” said Lara Bitar, the lead researcher at SMEX.

Residents in areas outside Houthi control confirmed that government-held areas were also experiencing patchy coverage. 

Dread of shutdown

“We are hearing from our contacts in Yemen that there is a sense of dread over a looming internet shutdown, which could be much more prolonged than Thursday night’s,” Bitar told AFP.

The digital rights group warned that the interruptions not only threatened media freedom, but also civilian access to emergency services.

“Shutdowns or slowdowns usually indicate potential for intensified acts of repression or violence,” Bitar said.

“Yemenis we’ve spoken to have told us they believe recent internet disruptions are tied to attempts to cover up atrocities and crimes,” she said.

Over the past week, two Sanaa-based television stations have come under assault: Houthis attacked the Yemen Today station of their former allies, detaining 41 journalists and staff, and the Saudi-led coalition bombed the rebel-held national broadcaster on Saturday, killing four guards.

Tensions have soared in Sanaa since the Houthi-Saleh alliance unravelled, culminating in the former leader’s slaying.

Google reported to launch its third music streaming service in 2018

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Centennial’s new gigabit internet service that’s not Comcast breaks ground next week

Construction begins next week in Centennial on a service that will ultimately bring what many in Colorado have voted for: fast internet from someone other than the local cable TV or telephone provider.

Ting Internet, based in Canada, has been working with the city for more than a year to study whether the community was a good place to offer gigabit internet service. Ting already offers gigabit service in parts of Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.

Centennial residents voted in 2013 to opt out of SB-152, a state law that prevents municipalities from offering internet service. As of November, more than 100 cities and counties have voted to abandon the law.

On Thursday, Ting said that two neighborhoods near Dry Creek Road and Yosemite St. will be the first to get its gigabit internet service. That’s the Willow Creek 1 and 2 subdivisions. For those who sign up now, service could start in the spring, said Monica Webb, who handles Ting’s government relations.

“We anticipate to light up our first customers in Spring of 2018,” she said. “Since Willow Creek is our first neighborhood, we’ll be a bit slower to light up customers than in subsequent neighbourhoods where they’ll be able to sign up for service in just a couple months after construction. ”

Future neighborhoods are determined by the number of pre-orders, the ease of working with a neighborhood’s home owners association and the proximity to the city’s internet backbone, which is branches out from the city municipal building. Future fiber lines run along East Arapahoe Road, East Dry Creek Road and East County Line Road.

“We plan to announce our next phase of construction in the first quarter of 2018,” Webb said.

Ting would connect homes and businesses to the city’s main pipe and then manage internet service, which starts at $19 a month for 5 megabits per second. The one gigabit speed plan is $89 a month. For those who pre-order, the $199 installation fee is waived. Customers can also buy for an internet box from Ting for $199 or rent it for $9 a month.

Centennial is further along than most of the more than 100 cities and counties that have voted to opt out of the law.

But Longmont is still the leader, having launched its gigabit service a few years ago. The service, managed by the city-owned NextLight, is still being built out but is available to the majority of residents and businesses in the city, with about 53 percent of Longmont’s population using the service, Scott Rochat, a spokesman for Longmont Power Communications, shared in November.

Elsewhere, several cities in the state have moved forward from researching municipal broadband, such as the city of Wray, near the Nebraska border, is putting in a 14-mile fiber backbone and letting the Plains Cooperative Telephone Association handle the last mile to offer broadband to residents’ homes.

AT&T launched first ever fixed internet service in Mendota – KFSN

Internet access is a necessity in today’s world. For most, it never feels like it is never quite fast enough, but imagine having to use dial-up or not having any wireless access at all, this is how the city of Mendota has been living up until now. On Wednesday, for the first time ever ATT launched its fixed wireless service to Mendota.

“Fixed wireless technology is a connection between an ATT tower and an outdoor fixed piece of equipment at the customers home or a business and it provides a connection into the home to a WiFi router,” said Julie Tone, Director of External Affairs for ATT California.

The new service was brought to Mendota through the FCC Connect America Fund Program, which aims at providing high-speed internet access to underserved areas. The new wireless service will provide internet of at least 10 mega bites per second at an affordable cost to thousands.

“This is great news, that we were picked as one of the selected areas and it is something that we have been waiting for a while,” said Robert Silva, Mendota City Council Member. “It is great for the businesses, community, great for the Ag folks, so they can get involved.”

Ismael Herrera, Associate Director for Community and Economic Development at Fresno state said the new service will help his office in their goal of closing the digital divide.

“There are communities up and down the San Joaquin Valley, who do not have a connection to the internet at any speeds and there are many more who have connections, but the speeds are not adequate,” said Herrera.

Information on the service has already been mailed out to residents. The service costs $50 if bundled with Direct TV or a wireless plan you also need to sign a one year contract.

Trident Health planning full-service hospital at Moncks Corner site

Trident Health has filed an application with federal regulators that proposes a full-service hospital adjacent to its existing Moncks Corner Medical Center, but company officials say the only work planned at this time is drainage improvements.

“While we don’t have any plans at this time to build a hospital on this site, we believed it necessary to improve the drainage plan should we develop the land in the future,” said Todd Gallati, CEO of Trident Medical Center.

Trident Health is asking the Army Corps of Engineers for permission to fill 0.02 acres of freshwater wetlands and about 824 feet of a stream on the property near the intersection of U.S. Highways 17-A and 52.

The company, part of Nashville-based HCA Corp., bought the 21-acre site a year ago for $2.15 million. 

“The project purpose is to provide additional healthcare facilities in the growing Moncks Corner and Berkeley County areas,” Trident Health’s application states, adding the project would include a hospital with about 140 beds, a 480-vehicle parking area and access roads.

However, Gallati said the application is only intended to put Trident Health in a better position should it one day decide to build a hospital.

“We want to be prepared for the future,” he said.

The Army Corps is taking public comments on the proposal through Dec. 18. The state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control also must give its approval.

The permit application comes roughly two years after Trident Health ran out of legal options to block a rival project in Berkeley County.

The state’s Supreme Court in 2015 declined to review a lower court’s ruling allowing Roper St. Francis and Trident Health to each build full-service medical centers in the county. That decision allowed both projects to go forward.

The legal dispute began in mid-2009 after Trident Health and Roper St. Francis each proposed 50-bed hospitals offering similar services 12 miles apart to serve the fast-growing area. Trident Health, which filed its paperwork first, argued the county’s population could only support one of the projects.

State health regulators approved both hospitals in June 2009, prompting Trident Health to begin the lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful appeals process.

Trident Health also wouldn’t confirm plans for a new hospital when it first purchased the Moncks Corner site from Cooper Investors LLC in December 2016.

“We have no immediate plans to build on the site,” Gallati said at the time.

Roper St. Francis has already started work on its $113 million hospital in Berkeley County, which is scheduled to open in 2019 in the Carnes Crossroads area along U.S. Highway 17-A — about 12 miles from the Trident Health site. That hospital will include 50 beds, an emergency department and several specialty departments.

Trident Health planning full-service hospital at Moncks Corner site

Trident Health has filed an application with federal regulators that proposes a full-service hospital adjacent to its existing Moncks Corner Medical Center, but company officials say the only work planned at this time is drainage improvements.

“While we don’t have any plans at this time to build a hospital on this site, we believed it necessary to improve the drainage plan should we develop the land in the future,” said Todd Gallati, CEO of Trident Medical Center.

Trident Health is asking the Army Corps of Engineers for permission to fill 0.02 acres of freshwater wetlands and about 824 feet of a stream on the property near the intersection of U.S. Highways 17-A and 52.

The company, part of Nashville-based HCA Corp., bought the 21-acre site a year ago for $2.15 million. 

“The project purpose is to provide additional healthcare facilities in the growing Moncks Corner and Berkeley County areas,” Trident Health’s application states, adding the project would include a hospital with about 140 beds, a 480-vehicle parking area and access roads.

However, Gallati said the application is only intended to put Trident Health in a better position should it one day decide to build a hospital.

“We want to be prepared for the future,” he said.

The Army Corps is taking public comments on the proposal through Dec. 18. The state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control also must give its approval.

The permit application comes roughly two years after Trident Health ran out of legal options to block a rival project in Berkeley County.

The state’s Supreme Court in 2015 declined to review a lower court’s ruling allowing Roper St. Francis and Trident Health to each build full-service medical centers in the county. That decision allowed both projects to go forward.

The legal dispute began in mid-2009 after Trident Health and Roper St. Francis each proposed 50-bed hospitals offering similar services 12 miles apart to serve the fast-growing area. Trident Health, which filed its paperwork first, argued the county’s population could only support one of the projects.

State health regulators approved both hospitals in June 2009, prompting Trident Health to begin the lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful appeals process.

Trident Health also wouldn’t confirm plans for a new hospital when it first purchased the Moncks Corner site from Cooper Investors LLC in December 2016.

“We have no immediate plans to build on the site,” Gallati said at the time.

Roper St. Francis has already started work on its $113 million hospital in Berkeley County, which is scheduled to open in 2019 in the Carnes Crossroads area along U.S. Highway 17-A — about 12 miles from the Trident Health site. That hospital will include 50 beds, an emergency department and several specialty departments.

Internet provider Sonic expands gigabit fiber service in East Bay …

Internet provider Sonic expands gigabit fiber service in East Bay



December 3, 2017
Updated: December 4, 2017 6:00am

Samsung includes its VPN service in latest Galaxy Note 8 update

b3df0_Galaxy-Note-Review-15-Feature-840x473 Samsung includes its VPN service in latest Galaxy Note 8 update

Samsung might have updated its Galaxy Note 8 with the November security patch, but arguably the more important feature of the update is the company’s inclusion of its Secure Wi-Fi service.

For the uninitiated, Secure Wi-Fi is Samsung’s VPN service that lets you securely browse on public Wi-Fi networks by encrypting your internet traffic and preventing apps and websites from tracking your usage. Secure Wi-Fi has been featured on previous Galaxy J smartphones, but this is the first time it makes its way to the Galaxy Note 8.

There are a few things to keep in mind, the first being the price structure. Those who want to keep their money as close to them as possible can opt to pay nothing and get 250 MB of internet access each month through Secure Wi-Fi. Alternatively, they can pay either €0.99 or €1.99 for 24 hours or one month of unlimited browsing, respectively.

The Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus (2018) looks great in leaked pictures

The other is availability. Secure Wi-Fi is not an app you can go to the Play Store and download — it is baked into the actual software, so the only way to get it is through a software update from Samsung. That’s my subtle way of saying that not every Galaxy Note 8 has Secure Wi-Fi — according to SamMobile, only the international unlocked Galaxy Note 8 has the VPN service baked in, though we’ll see if that changes.

If you meet the criteria, however, make sure to visit Settings, then Connections, then Wi-Fi, and then Advanced. From there, you can enable Secure Wi-Fi and go through the setup process. If you don’t meet the criteria, remember that there are plenty of VPN options through the Play Store, including Express VPN, which we believe is the best all-around VPN service available.

Internet provider Sonic expands gigabit fiber service in East Bay

Internet provider Sonic expands gigabit fiber service in East Bay



December 3, 2017
Updated: December 4, 2017 6:00am

Forum considers new internet service | Local News | newsminer.com – Fairbanks Daily News

FAIRBANKS — An effort to create a local broadband internet provider for Fairbanks attracted about 40 people to a conference Saturday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

Alaska state Rep. David Guttenberg organized the conference. The Democrat from the Goldstream Valley said he feels compelled to take action on broadband because he gets so many constituent comments on the poor service in outlying Fairbanks neighborhoods. It’s the No. 2 issue for constituents, second only to the state budget, he said.  

Conference guest speakers Saturday included the leader on rural internet cooperatives in Missouri and Minnesota, as well as in-state leaders from the Matanuska Telephone Association in southcentral Alaska and Heritage NetWorks, a network services design and construction company based in Delta Junction.

Representatives from larger commercial internet providers including Alaska Communications and ATT attended the conference, but weren’t given space on the agenda. Guttenberg made it clear that he doesn’t believe existing providers are sincere in reported efforts to improve internet service and tend to exaggerate the areas on coverage maps where they say service is offered. 

“One (internet service) provider was at the Chamber (Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce) on Tuesday telling the Chamber that everything was wonderful,” he said. “They’re doing their job to defuse and tamp down the message that everything isn’t good.”

Most of the audience identified, by a show of hands, as customers with slow phoneline-based DSL connections. The group actively participated in about seven hours of presentations on technical subjects like fiberoptic cable installation costs and different satellite and wireless internet technologies. 

 

A GVEA-based internet co-op?

The group didn’t coalesce around any one solution for better internet service. However Guttenberg said after the forum that he’s interested in something that builds on the utility lines of the Golden Valley Electric Association, the electricity cooperative that already serves Fairbanks.

GVEA supported Saturday’s conference by donating airline miles to bring in the speakers, and when it was his turn to speak, GVEA Vice President John Burns expressed some interest in a future partnership. 

“I can assure you from Golden Valley’s perspective, Golden Valley will help facilitate as much as we can,” he said. 

While he said he was supportive of the idea, Burns highlighted challenges of a major broadband project in Fairbanks including high construction costs, legal complications and the absence of a large federal grant that made a Missouri cooperative internet project possible. 

Burn also said such a project would be challenging politically because central Fairbanks already enjoys high-speed broadband and may not understand the importance of spreading high-speed internet to outlying areas.

 “We as a community are going to have to spend the time to evaluate what really the need is, what the long-term cost is going to be and then make that decision collectively.”

 

Alaska Communications expansion 

Alaska Communications spokeswoman Heather Cavanaugh said after the conference that the Anchorage-based company is already working on a plan to connect large areas around Fairbanks to broadband internet. The expansion is subsidized through a Federal Communications Commission program called the Connect America Fund. The program requires a minimum download speed of 10 MB per second and 1 MB per second upload. The company plans to complete the service expansion over the next seven years.

“Our goal is to complete the project as quickly as possible. So if we can get it done before 2025 we will,” Cavanaugh said. 

Rep. David Guttenberg’s office created the website heyfairbanks.net to address the broadband issue and plans to post video of Saturday’s conference. 

Contact Outdoors Editor Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors

Forum considers new internet service – Fairbanks Daily News

FAIRBANKS — An effort to create a local broadband internet provider for Fairbanks attracted about 40 people to a conference Saturday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

Alaska state Rep. David Guttenberg organized the conference. The Democrat from the Goldstream Valley said he feels compelled to take action on broadband because he gets so many constituent comments on the poor service in outlying Fairbanks neighborhoods. It’s the number two issue for constituents, second only to the state budget, he said.  

Conference guest speakers Saturday included the leader on rural internet cooperatives in Missouri and Minnesota, as well as in-state leaders from the Matanuska Telephone Association in southcentral Alaska and Heritage NetWorks, a network services design and construction company based in Delta Junction.

Representatives from larger commercial internet providers including Alaska Communications and ATT attended the conference, but weren’t given space on the agenda. Guttenberg made it clear that he doesn’t believe existing providers are sincere in reported efforts to improve internet service and tend to exaggerate the areas on coverage maps where they say service is offered. 

“One (internet service) provider was at the Chamber (Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce) on Tuesday telling the Chamber that everything was wonderful,” he said. “They’re doing their job to defuse and tamp down the message that everything isn’t good.”

Most of the audience identified, by a show of hands, as customers with slow phoneline-based DSL connections. The group actively participated in about seven hours of presentations on technical subjects like fiber optic cable installation costs and different satellite and wireless internet technologies. 

 

A GVEA-based internet co-op?

The group didn’t coalesce around any one solution for better internet service. However Guttenberg said after the forum that he’s interested in something that builds on the utility lines of the Golden Valley Electric Association, the electricity cooperative that already serves Fairbanks.

GVEA supported Saturday’s conference by donating airline miles to bring in the speakers, and when it was his turn to speak, GVEA Vice President John Burns expressed some interest in a future partnership. 

“I can assure you from Golden Valley’s perspective, Golden Valley will help facilitate as much as we can,” he said. 

While he said he was supportive of the idea, Burns highlighted challenges of a major broadband project in Fairbanks including high construction costs, legal complications and the absence of a large federal grant that made a Missouri cooperative internet project possible. 

Burn also said such a project would be challenging politically because central Fairbanks already enjoys high speed broadband and may not understand the importance of spreading high-speed internet to outlying areas.

 “We as a community are going to have to spend the time to evaluate what really the need is, what the long term cost is going to be and then make that decision collectively.”

 

Alaska Communications expansion 

Alaska Communications spokeswoman Heather Cavanaugh said after the conference that the Anchorage-based company is already working on a plan to connect large areas around Fairbanks to broadband internet. The expansion is subsidized through a Federal Communications Commission program called the Connect America Fund. The program requires a minimum download speed of

10 MB per second and 1 MB per second upload. The company plans to complete the service expansion over the next seven years.

“Our goal is to complete the project as quickly as possible. So if we can get it done before 2025 we will,” Cavanaugh said. 

Rep. David Guttenberg’s office created the website heyfairbanks.net to address the broadband issue and plans to post video of Saturday’s conference. 

Contact Outdoors Editor Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors

Why deregulating internet service makes sense

Everyone enjoys watching cat videos on Facebook, but hardly anyone understands Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. That’s the challenge in assessing the Trump administration’s pending decision to deregulate internet service. It’s a very important step involving complex technology questions, arcane rules and a jargony phrase that’s tossed around a lot but isn’t easy to interpret: net neutrality.

Yes, animal videos are more fun to think about. But like all major government efforts to deregulate industries, from telephones to airlines, the Federal Communications Commission’s move to do away with net neutrality is destined to have a major impact. We think consumers will benefit because increased competition is a greater spur to technological innovation than government fiat. In other words, you’re not still using an avocado-colored 1970s telephone, right?

This is not to minimize the uncertainty of cutting the cord on net neutrality. There’s a lot of concern, especially among Democrats, that deregulating internet communications is going to hurt consumers. The fear: Internet providers (cable companies and wireless carriers) will usurp control of bandwidth for their own benefit. They’ll speed up and improve the transmission quality of websites they control and charge more to guarantee high speeds, while slowing down everything else. So pay up or enjoy the buffering. To conclude the argument in favor of net neutrality, what’s vital to citizens and key to innovation is the digital services everyone accesses via computers, phones and other networks. By this thinking, the actual piping is akin to a regulated water or electric company. It should be maintained as neutral territory.

We guess that would make sense if we believed we’ve reached a point of maximum progress and our main concern, as with an electric utility, is keeping the lights on. But that doesn’t strike us as anything near the reality. Digital technology is still a new, evolving industry, more like robotics or bitcoins than water service. Think about driverless vehicles, wearable health monitors and other internet-abled innovations coming to fruition. The emphasis needs to be on encouraging scientific discovery and commercial discovery, while incorporating safeguards against exploitation.

Hulu, and offer different price and speed packages to consumers. Competition will spur investment and innovation while offering more choice, just as in airlines and other industries. “Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” Pai said.

Two important points to keep in mind: First, deregulation will not usher in a digital chaos. The FCC and Federal Trade Commission will still have oversight responsibilities. Second, net neutrality is a new concept promulgated by the Obama administration. The internet operated without these restrictions previously without adverse effects. If deregulation doesn’t work, it can be modified or reversed. Congress also can weigh in.

5G wireless internet service coming to Sacramento

In the second half of 2018, Verizon will be launching 5G wireless internet service in Sacramento.

Why Verizon’s 5G Home Internet Service Isn’t Coming to You Anytime Soon

Verizon has been saying for a while now that it plans to use the new super-fast 5G wireless network it’s building nationwide to offer home Internet and pay TV service.

This week, the telecom giant provided more details about its plans for the 5G home service, which is likely to compete head on with cable giants like Comcast, Charter Communications (chtr) and Altice (atus). Just how quickly that desperately needed competition will arrive, however, is an open question.

All the major wireless carriers are experimenting with 5G, which could offer mobile speeds 10 to 40 times faster than today’s 4G LTE networks. ATT (t) has also been experimenting with a wireless home Internet service, while T-Mobile (tmus) has been focusing on testing faster access for mobile devices.

Meanwhile, Verizon may be the furthest along having already paid billions of dollars to get access to 5G-capable airwave licenses from XO Communications and Straight Path Communications (strp).

At a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, Verizon told Wall Street analysts that it plans to start small, with just five cities in 2018, but that it is ultimately targeting 25% to 30% of all broadband households, or about 30 million homes. Sacramento will be first city, but Verizon didn’t disclose its other four initial markets. The nationwide goal means Verizon will be expanding well beyond the largely northeastern footprint of its current Fios wired home Internet, TV, and phone offering.

Early trials this year with the 5G system, which uses much higher-frequency airwave bands than today’s mobile networks, have shown even more positive results than the company expected, Verizon’s new chief technology officer (and former CEO of Ericsson) Hans Vestberg told the analysts. The new home-oriented service would be a so-called triple play, offering gigabit-speed Internet, a cable TV-like channel bundle, and voice telephone service at a “competitive” but “premium” price, head of wireless John Stratton said according to analysts who attended the meeting.

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But Verizon was cagey when it came to details about the rollout beyond the initial five cities, and said it couldn’t estimate the cost of building out the service nationwide until late next year. To the analysts, that signaled that Verizon was going to see just how successful it could be in the first five cities before truly committing to go national.

While the 5G technology is supposed to provide a cheaper way to connect homes than older, wired broadband networks, the industry still remembers Google’s claims that its high-speed Fiber service would undercut cable, which did not prove to be the case. Lately, the Fiber unit has stopped expanding to new cities, laid off staff and run through several CEOs.

“Google Fiber was here once upon a time, and much more was known about the cost of deployment and the capabilities of the network…and it still died,” noted analyst Jonathan Chaplin, at New Street Research. “It looks like we won’t know how committed Verizon is to this or how much of a threat it will be until this time next year. Until then we remain skeptical.”

Morgan Stanley analyst Simon Flannery also picked up on the possibility of a slow deployment, with local government cooperation another key variable. “Future market rollouts will depend in part on negotiations with cities and early commercial results,” Flannery concluded.

Craig Moffett, at MoffettNathanson Research, said: “The way all this plays out is so murky as to be unforecastable. The most likely outcome is, of course, incrementalism.”

The bottom line, at least as far as Wall Street is concerned, is that Comcast (cmcsa) and its peers probably don’t have much to worry about from Verizon (vz) at this point, says John Hodulik at UBS. Wednesday’s announcement “suggests the impact to cable will be very small and potentially imperceptible in 2018 and longer-term would depend on the viability of the business plan,” he noted.

Why repealing ‘net neutrality’ for internet service is a gamble

IT WASN’T broke, so why “fix” it? That’s how Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, the University of Chicago-trained lawyer who is a passionate apostle of free-market capitalism, frames his push to repeal “net neutrality” rules for internet service providers (ISPs) adopted by the FCC in 2015. The rules ensure that ISPs can’t arbitrarily decide which websites load faster or slower, nor can they impose a surcharge allowing websites to load faster.

“President Clinton got it right in 1996 when he established a free market-based approach to this new thing called the internet,” Pai told NPR this week. “We saw companies like Facebook and Amazon and Google become global powerhouses precisely because we had light-touch rules.”

Pai was appointed chair of the FCC by President Donald Trump in January after serving as an FCC commissioner since 2012. He appears to have the votes to repeal net neutrality and replace it with his Restoring Internet Freedom Order plan, under which ISPs could charge websites and applications extra for faster loading, so long as they disclosed what they were doing. Pai’s plan would also move the authority to handle enforcement of proper ISP behavior back to the Federal Trade Commission, where it resided until 2015.

But there is a fundamental problem with Pai’s argument. Yes, it’s true that the free market and a lack of regulation did allow the internet to flourish. But 2017 isn’t like 1997 or even 2007. Instead of being an anything-goes Wild West, internet service is increasingly monopolistic. In 2015, the fact that 55 percent of consumers had only one option for high-speed internet to download movies and music was the most powerful argument for net neutrality.

Two years later, Americans are more reliant than ever on high-speed streaming – and ISPs are not just getting more involved in creating content, they are beginning to become dominant sources.

Comcast – the nation’s largest provider of broadband service – owns NBCUniversal, which churns out TV series and movies and also owns MSNBC, CNBC, the Golf Channel, E! and USA Network.

Comcast rival ATT is seeking to buy Time Warner and get hold of its vast TV and film production assets as well as its CNN, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network cable channels. While the Trump administration opposes and may be able to block the ATT purchase, the trend of broadband providers seeking to own the content they stream is sure to continue.

That this creates immense, inherent conflicts of interest doesn’t bother Pai. But it should bother anyone who values Americans’ reliable, guaranteed, consistent access to the internet. That’s especially so given Comcast’s history of unethical behavior. In 2008, it was rebuked by the FCC for blocking and impeding internet access for customers using the BitTorrent file-sharing service – and for lying about its interference until it became undeniable.

Pai has defenders among economists like Tyler Cowen who don’t believe scrapping net neutrality will lead to “nightmare or dystopian scenarios.” But it’s difficult to see Comcast’s past behavior and expect good things to happen in the parts of the nation in which Comcast is the only high-speed broadband option for millions of customers – and the company can put its thumb on the scale to help or hurt select websites or apps. This is not a corporation that can automatically be trusted to do the right thing under the “light-touch rules” that Pai touts.

With society’s reliance on digital data (telemedicine, anyone?), the internet has become a core utility akin to water or electricity. Americans wouldn’t tolerate a water grid or power grid that played favorites. It would be a dangerous gamble for the FCC to do so with internet service.

The San Diego Union-Tribune | TNS

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Catapult Expands its IT Lifecycle Management Service to Include Windows 10 and Servers

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Catapult, a digital solutions and services firm, has expanded upon its IT Lifecycle management offering, Launch, to provide a more holistic collection of services by adding Windows 10 Lifecycle Management and Server Lifecycle Management, in addition to its existing User Lifecycle Management services.

f963d_Catapult_Systems_Logo Catapult Expands its IT Lifecycle Management Service to Include Windows 10 and Servers

Using a unique combination of people, processes, tools, and automation, Launch reduces the potential for critical errors, creates an audit trail with its Automation Platform, and improves user experiences while reducing operational costs. By eliminating IT’s most repetitive and tedious tasks, including user provisioning and deprovisioning, server patching, and Windows 10 feature patching, departments can focus on a company’s more strategic initiatives.

Catapult’s User Lifecycle Management service has been proven to decrease employee onboarding time by up to 73 percent. Offering seamless provisioning and deprovisioning of workers, companies can ensure user onboarding time decreases, while reducing the risk of data loss upon employee departure. The two new services add to Catapult’s ability to enable seamless, efficient and secure IT processes for our customers.  

Windows 10 Lifecycle Management Service ensures a perpetually modern user experience for employees by providing insights into the latest Windows 10 capabilities, managing the upgrade and patching process as well as supporting efforts geared at driving feature adoption by users.

Server Lifecycle Management Service provides monthly patching, feature updates, reporting, and ongoing maintenance to reduce the risk of outages and security breaches.

Launch’s ongoing coaching and support model also allows IT teams to leverage Catapult’s deep technical skill on an as-needed basis, while a dedicated customer success manager provides best practices to increase productivity and weekly analysis to ensure an organization’s IT services continuously improve based on the company’s needs.

“Currently, there’s no other solution on the market quite like Launch,” says Cameron Fuller, Launch Solutions Director. “While automation tools are becoming ubiquitous in the digital workplace, Launch provides a service to help companies tackle their most time-consuming, costly activities so their IT organization can focus on more strategic initiatives. We are helping our customers actively improve their IT environment over time.”

To learn more, visit www.catapultsystems.com/services/digital/productivity/launch/.

ABOUT CATAPULT
Catapult is a modern digital solutions and services firm that uses technology to solve complex business challenges, delivering exceptional value to our clients based on their priorities and timeframes. As a 2017 Partner of the Year Finalist in Cloud Productivity and the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year (U.S.), Catapult specializes in digital transformation and cloud-based technologies. We work on behalf of our clients to imagine, build, and sustain IT-enabled business solutions that people love to use. Catapult has offices in Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tampa and Washington, D.C.

Press Contact: 
Mindy Russell
Vice President, Marketing
Catapult Systems
512.425.0475

 

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/catapult-expands-its-it-lifecycle-management-service-to-include-windows-10-and-servers-300563390.html

SOURCE Catapult Systems

Catapult Expands its IT Lifecycle Management Service to Include Windows 10 and Servers

Using a unique combination of people, processes, tools, and automation, Launch reduces the potential for critical errors, creates an audit trail with its Automation Platform, and improves user experiences while reducing operational costs. By eliminating IT’s most repetitive and tedious tasks, including user provisioning and deprovisioning, server patching, and Windows 10 feature patching, departments can focus on a company’s more strategic initiatives.

Catapult’s User Lifecycle Management service has been proven to decrease employee onboarding time by up to 73 percent. Offering seamless provisioning and deprovisioning of workers, companies can ensure user onboarding time decreases, while reducing the risk of data loss upon employee departure. The two new services add to Catapult’s ability to enable seamless, efficient and secure IT processes for our customers.  

Windows 10 Lifecycle Management Service ensures a perpetually modern user experience for employees by providing insights into the latest Windows 10 capabilities, managing the upgrade and patching process as well as supporting efforts geared at driving feature adoption by users.

Server Lifecycle Management Service provides monthly patching, feature updates, reporting, and ongoing maintenance to reduce the risk of outages and security breaches.

Launch’s ongoing coaching and support model also allows IT teams to leverage Catapult’s deep technical skill on an as-needed basis, while a dedicated customer success manager provides best practices to increase productivity and weekly analysis to ensure an organization’s IT services continuously improve based on the company’s needs.

“Currently, there’s no other solution on the market quite like Launch,” says Cameron Fuller, Launch Solutions Director. “While automation tools are becoming ubiquitous in the digital workplace, Launch provides a service to help companies tackle their most time-consuming, costly activities so their IT organization can focus on more strategic initiatives. We are helping our customers actively improve their IT environment over time.”

To learn more, visit www.catapultsystems.com/services/digital/productivity/launch/.

ABOUT CATAPULT
Catapult is a modern digital solutions and services firm that uses technology to solve complex business challenges, delivering exceptional value to our clients based on their priorities and timeframes. As a 2017 Partner of the Year Finalist in Cloud Productivity and the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year (U.S.), Catapult specializes in digital transformation and cloud-based technologies. We work on behalf of our clients to imagine, build, and sustain IT-enabled business solutions that people love to use. Catapult has offices in Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tampa and Washington, D.C.

Press Contact: 
Mindy Russell
Vice President, Marketing
Catapult Systems
512.425.0475

 

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/catapult-expands-its-it-lifecycle-management-service-to-include-windows-10-and-servers-300563390.html

SOURCE Catapult Systems

Related Links

http://www.catapultsystems.com

Fort Collins working out details of city-run high-speed internet service


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 Fort Collins working out details of city-run high-speed internet service

 Fort Collins working out details of city-run high-speed internet service

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Fort Collins City Council has begun the process of figuring out how to launch a city-run high-speed internet service.

Voters in November approved a ballot measure that authorizes the city to provide broadband internet and issue bonds up to $150 million to launch such a service.

At a Tuesday work session, councilors discussed the next steps in the process, including soliciting bids for design and construction of the internet service and the infrastructure it will require.

The city also is looking at a number of options for how the service will be run. The city says it could build and operate the internet service itself or seek a private-public partnership with an existing internet service provider.

The council expects to spend the next several months issuing requests for proposals and hiring the necessary staff to start getting the operation off the ground.

Fort Collins officials hope to start construction and sign up their first broadband customers sometime in 2019.

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