NYC to Offer Free Broadband to 300,000 Public Housing Residents

New York City is partnering with Charter and Altice to provide free high-speed internet and basic cable TV service to about 300,000 residents of public housing. Bloomberg reports: Called “Big Apple Connect,” the program aims to bridge the digital divide between wealthier residents and lower-income people who lack the tools necessary for remote learning, access to health care and job opportunities, city officials said. An estimated 30% to 40% of people who live in buildings run by the New York City Housing Authority lack broadband, according to the cable providers. The city plans to have the service available in more than 200 NYCHA buildings by the end of 2023.

The program differs from a previous short-term promotion by Altice’s Optimum and Charter’s Spectrum that gave New York City students free internet service after the pandemic hit. Some parents said they were duped into signing up for paid subscriptions after the promotion ended. Under a three-year agreement with the providers, New York will pick up the cost at about $30 per household. The city is in talks with a third major cable TV carrier in the city, Verizon, to join the program. NYCHA residents enrolled in Big Apple Connect will still be able to use the federal Affordable Connectivity Program benefit to save money on their cell phone bills and provide discount of up to $30 per month toward internet and cellular data service, city officials said.

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Comcast Starts Rolling Out 2-Gigabyte Download Speeds to Millions of US Homes

Comcast says it’s “evolving its entire network architecture” (along with its equipment and customer devices) — and it’s not just a multi-gig network. They’re calling it America’s fastest — and its largest. It’s being rolled out “immediately” to millions of homes and business, “combined with up to 5x-to-10x faster upload speeds.”

“Comcast plans on bringing multi-gig internet speeds to 34 cities across the U.S. by the end of this year,” reports the Verge, “and will later expand its reach to more than 50 million households by the end of 2025.”

According to a press release, the company has already started rolling out 2-gig speeds over its broadband network in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Augusta, Georgia; Panama City Beach, Florida; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Customers in these cities will also get to take advantage of upload speeds that Comcast says are five to 10 times faster than what it currently offers. The upload speeds appear to max out at 200Mbps, even with the new Gigabit x2 plan, but Comcast intends to change that. It’s launching multi-gig symmetrical speeds next year, which will enable multi-gig speeds for both downloads and uploads.
“As part of this initiative, Comcast is accelerating the transformation of its network to a virtualized cloud-based architecture that is fully prepared for 10G and DOCSIS 4.0…” explains the press release, “which will deliver multi-gig symmetrical speeds over the connections already installed in tens of millions of homes and businesses.”

The big advantage of digital network technology is “rather than maintaining, updating, and replacing traditional analog network appliances by hand — which can take days or even weeks — Comcast engineers can reliably maintain, troubleshoot, and upgrade core network components almost instantly, with a few keystrokes on a laptop or mobile app. This also makes the network much more energy efficient and is an important element of Comcast’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2035.”

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Ubisoft To Shut Down Multiplayer For Older Games

A collection of over a dozen games from Ubisoft will see their online elements shut down on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in September, “which means players won’t be able to play their multiplayer components, access their online features, link Ubisoft accounts in-game, or install and access downloadable content,” reports The Verge. From the report: “Closing the online services for some older games allows us to focus our resources on delivering great experiences for players who are playing newer or more popular titles,” Ubisoft’s help page reads. With Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood having originally released in November 2010, it’s had almost 12 years of online support. But it’s always sad to see a piece of gaming history become inaccessible, especially given the game’s multiplayer element was missing from its remaster on the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Alongside Brotherhood, the online services associated with 2011’s Assassin’s Creed Revelations on PS3 and Xbox 360 are also being shut down, as well as 2012’s Assassin’s Creed 3 on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. […] Other games set to have their online services decommissioned across various platforms this September include Driver San Francisco, Far Cry 3’s 2012 release, Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Prince of Persia the Forgotten Sands, Rayman Legends, and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. You can view the full list of games here.

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California’s Attempt To Protect Kids Online Could End Adults’ Internet Anonymity

Thomas Claburn writes via The Register: California lawmakers met in Sacramento today to discuss, among other things, proposed legislation to protect children online. The bill, AB2273, known as The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, would require websites to verify the ages of visitors. Critics of the legislation contend this requirement threatens the privacy of adults and the ability to use the internet anonymously, in California and likely elsewhere, because of the role the Golden State’s tech companies play on the internet.

“First, the bill pretextually claims to protect children, but it will change the Internet for everyone,” said Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University School of Law professor, in a blog post. “In order to determine who is a child, websites and apps will have to authenticate the age of ALL consumers before they can use the service. No one wants this.” The bill, Goldman argues, will put an end to casual web browsing, forcing companies to collect personal information they don’t want to store and protect — and that consumers don’t want to provide — in order to authenticate the age of visitors. And since age authentication generally requires identity details, that threatens the ability to use the internet anonymously.

Goldman also objects to this American state-level bill being modeled after the UK’s Age-Appropriate Design Code (AADC) because European law makes compliance a matter of engagement and dialogue with regulators, in contrast to the US rules-based approach that allows more certainty about what is or not allowed. Furthermore, he contends that the scope of the bill reaches beyond children’s privacy and implicates consumer protection and content moderation. He thus considers the bill “a trojan horse for comprehensive regulation of Internet services” and would turn the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) into a general internet regulation agency.

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Connecticut Will Pay a Security Analyst 150K To Monitor Election Memes

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Popular Science: Ahead of the upcoming midterm elections, Connecticut is hiring a “security analyst” tasked with monitoring and addressing online misinformation. The New York Times first reported this new position, saying the job description will include spending time on “fringe sites like 4chan, far-right social networks like Gettr and Rumble and mainstream social media sites.” The goal is to identify election-related rumors and attempt to mitigate the damage they might cause by flagging them to platforms that have misinformation policies and promoting educational content that can counter those false narratives.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s midterm budget (PDF), approved in early May, set aside more than $6 million to make improvements to the state’s election system. That includes $4 million to upgrade the infrastructure used for voter registration and election management and $2 million for a “public information campaign” that will provide information on how to vote. The full-time security analyst role is recommended to receive $150,000. “Over the last few election cycles, malicious foreign actors have demonstrated the motivation and capability to significantly disrupt election activities, thus undermining public confidence in the fairness and accuracy of election results,” the budget stated, as an explanation for the funding.

While the role is a first for Connecticut, the NYT noted that it’s part of a growing nationwide trend. Colorado, for example, has a Rapid Response Election Security Cyber Unit tasked with monitoring online misinformation, as well as identifying “cyber-attacks, foreign interference, and disinformation campaigns.” Originally created in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election, which proved to be fruitful ground for misinformation, the NYT says the unit is being “redeployed” this year. Other states, including Arizona, California, Idaho, and Oregon, are similarly funding election information initiatives in an attempt to counter misinformation, provide educational information, or do both.

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Ask Slashdot: Why Haven’t They Increased Size Limits for Email Attachments?

“Email system are quite capable of sending and receiving large attachments,” writes long-term Slashdot reader Stonefish “However, size limits are generally tiny.”

And then he tells a story…

In the late 1990s I worked for a research organisation maintaining their mail system, and had recently introduced mail size constraints. Within the first day it had blocked a number of emails — including a 700MB attachment.

Being a master of all thing Internet I called up the sender to tell him how firstly how such a large email would cause problems for the receiver, and secondly how there were far more efficient ways of sending things. Given that he was on the same campus he invited me down to his lab to discuss this further. (After showing me round his lab, which was pretty impressive apart from the large “Biohazard” and “Radioactive” materials labels on the doors.) He told me that the facility he was sending the attachments to was a supercomputing hub with similar “Fat” pipes to the Internet so the large emails weren’t a problem. I then spoke about the “efficiency” of the mail protocol and he said that he’d show me what efficient was and did a quick, “drag, drop and send” of another 700MB file of his latest research results.

He was right, I was wrong, it was efficient from his perspective and all his previous emails were easily available demonstrating when and where they were sent. As a result of this we changed our architecture and bought bulk cheap storage for email as it was a cheap, searchable and business focused approach to communications.

However 20 years plus later, even though networks are tens of thousands of times faster and storage is tens of thousands of times cheaper — email size limits remain about the same. Email remains cheap, efficient and ubiquitous — but we expect people to upload a file to a site and generate a link and embed in a manner that means we lose control of our data or it disappears in 12 months.

What’s missing from this analysis? (Wikipedia’s page on email attachments notes the intermediate “mail transfer agents” that store and forward email “and may therefore also impose size limits.”) But even that page admits some attachment limits are arbitrary.

I always assumed it was an anti-piracy measure. Anyone know the real answer? Share your own thoughts in the comments.
Why haven’t they increased size limits for email attachments?

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25 Gigabit Per Second Fiber Retail Broadband Service Demoed in New Zealand

25 gigabits per second — both downloading and uploading. CRN reports broadband infrastructure wholesaler Chorus demonstrated those speeds over their existing passive optical fiber network [PON].

The demonstration in Auckland achieved 21.4 Gbps throughput, tested simultaneously on the same strand of fibre that ran an 8 Gbps symmetric HyperFibre connection, and a 900/550 Mbps UFB link…. Chorus uses Nokia’s Lightspan FX and MX access nodes for multiple types of fibre service, including standard GPON, the XGS-PON behind HyperFibre, point-to-point Ethernet, and envisages the 25 GPON service to run on it as well. It is based on the Quillion chip set line cards, which Nokia says are 50 per cent more energy efficient than earlier models.

Currently, Chorus has no wholesale 25 GPON product, with its fastest offering topping out at 8/8 Gbps HyperFibre. The wholesaler expects to develop a 25 GPON based services within the next two to three years, with a Nokia optical network termination unit that supports either 25/25 Gbps or 25/10 Gbps options. Kurt Rodgers, network strategy manager at Chorus, said the faster broadband service would come into its own for industrial metaverse applications, the Internet of Things, and low-latency cloud connectivity….

Chorus chief technology officer Ewen Powell said the 25 GPON service demonstrated “a future-proofed technology.” Although two-wavelength 50 Gbps service is appearing as a choice for providers, with 100 GPON on the horizon, Chorus is betting that the 25 Gbps variant will offer the best cost benefit overall for providers, as it can use existing optics equipment.

Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader Bismillah for submitting the article.

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