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FCC moves on closing digital divide

first_img 0 Here’s everything that 5G can do for you 5:13 How to solve the rural broadband problem? Fix the maps FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, said that it’s important to get the funds allocated as soon as possible and that the agency couldn’t afford to wait for the new mapping plan to take effect. The new Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will essentially replace the Connect America Fund II auction for distributing USF money to rural carriers. The new fund will establish a two-phase reverse auction starting next year that will allow carriers to bid on the rights to use the funds to provide broadband and voice service in underserved high-cost areas, such as rural communities. The lowest bid wins the auction. Unlike the FCC’s Connect America Fund II auction, in which incumbent carriers got first dibs on deciding whether to serve a given area, the new fund will be available to any company, including cable providers or public utilities,  that propose building a broadband network. Fixing broadband mapsEven though the FCC is moving forward with the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund using existing broadband mapping criteria, the agency acknowledged its data collection program is flawed. And it voted to approve a long-awaited plan to improve the data it collects. Under the new proposal, broadband providers will be required to offer more detailed information on where they provide coverage and where they do not. The idea is to create a new map that will offer more “precise broadband service availability maps,” Pai said.The FCC’s current broadband maps have been widely criticized as inaccurate, showing broadband service in places where there isn’t and in other instances saying a location has no broadband when in fact it does, sometimes from multiple providers. We need maps before money. We need data before deployment. FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Tags Now playing: Watch this: These faulty maps have infuriated lawmakers who have been flooded with complaints from constituents, but the lack of visibility has also hampered the FCC’s efforts to distribute limited funds to help bring broadband to the 19 million people in this country, who still lack access even as the service is considered as important as water or electricity.Under the new plan, broadband providers will have to report broadband access using “shapefiles,” which will provide a more precise and detailed measurement. The current data collection includes information reported at the census block level, which counts an entire area as served even if only one household reports having broadband access. “We will no longer count everyone in the census block as served if just one person is served,” Pai said.The FCC will also collect feedback from the public and other agencies to ensure that the information provided by service providers is accurate. The three Republican commissioners supported the plan, but the two Democrats partially dissented. Rosenworcel said that the new proposal was a first step and that the agency still has a long way to go to gain public trust in its broadband data accuracy. She noted concerns over how the agency will push broadband providers to report accurate data. The trade group USTelecom, which represents many of the providers offering broadband in rural communities, applauded the FCC’s new mechanism for allocating USF funds for rural broadband, and the agency’s efforts to get more accurate broadband mapping information. The organization worked with several other groups to launch a two-state pilot in Virginia and Missouri in March to demonstrate how the FCC can identify where broadband can be offered and to determine which areas still lack broadband access. The group said that initial results of this study confirm the FCC’s assessment that its current process shows “serious discrepancies” in coverage. “Logically, in order for us (and the FCC) to declare mission accomplished [in closing the digital divide], we need to know which consumers do, and do not, have access to broadband,” Patrick Halley, senior vice president of advocacy and regulatory affairs for USTelecom, said in a blog post on Wednesday. “As the Commission’s draft data collection item acknowledges, the agency’s existing broadband availability data is ‘not sufficient to understanding where universal service support should be targeted and supporting the imperative of our broadband-deployment policy goals.'”Microsoft’s chief data analytics officer, John Kahan, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that he is encouraged that many of the suggestions the FCC has considered mirrors those proposed by the company. Microsoft is working with USTelecom on its pilot program, too. But he acknowledged more work is needed to close the digital divide.  “Based on our data, about half of all Americans are not using the internet at broadband speeds at home,” he said. “This digital divide should be seen for the national crisis it is — without equal access to connectivity, we cannot provide equal opportunities to all Americans.”Other FCC mattersThe FCC also voted on several other items at the August meeting. One big one was the approval of new rules to go after illegal robocallers based overseas. The rules extend the Truth in Caller ID Act to text messages or international calls as intended under the passage of Ray Baum’s Act last year.According to the FCC, that act gives it the authority to broaden bans on illegal spoofing to text messages, calls originating outside the US and calls using voice over IP. The Truth in Caller ID Act, passed in 2009, already prohibits misleading or inaccurate caller ID “spoofing” with the intent to defraud for domestic callers, the agency said. But it doesn’t apply to text messages or international calls. center_img Share your voice Mobile FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has traveled throughout the US talking to people about the digital divide in rural communities. On one of those trips, he met with farmers in Idaho. FCC The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to adopt a new mechanism for distributing subsidies to rural broadband providers. But Democrats want to see better data from a new broadband mapping effort first.At the agency’s August meeting, the FCC voted on two related items that commissioners say will help close the digital divide. First, the five-member commission unanimously voted to distribute more than $20 billion of Universal Service Fund subsidies over the next decade as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. It also adopted a long-awaited proposal to get more detailed information from broadband providers about where they offer service in order to improve the agency’s coverage maps. While the two items largely had bipartisan support, the two Democrat. They want more accurate mapping data before allocating any new funds to rural broadband providers. “The decisions we make now will direct funds for broadband for the next decade,” said Rosenworcel. “So choosing where those funds go for the next ten years without having accurate data is a real problem. … We need maps before money. We need data before deployment.” Post a comment 16 Photos FCClast_img read more

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Indias housing mess 174 lakh homes stalled across major cities

first_imgREUTERS/Chris HelgrenSupreme Court’s recent landmark verdict on the Amrapali case has brought the limelight back to the Indian realty sector and lakhs of home buyers as numbers of incomplete and stalled housing projects continue to be on the rise creating “ghost cities” by the day.The magnitude of the country’s real estate sector’s dark reality can be gauged from the fact that around 1.74 lakh homes in 220 projects across the top seven cities in the country are completely stalled, as per the data from Anarock Property Consultants.”Launched either in 2013 or before, these projects have absolutely no construction activity going on. The overall value of all stalled units is estimated to be more than Rs 1,774 billion (Rs 1.77 lakh crore). Most of these projects have been grounded due to either liquidity issues or litigations,” the Anarock report said.Around 1.15 lakh homes, which accounts for nearly 66 per cent of the total stalled units have already been sold to buyers who have been left in the lurch, at the mercy of either the concerned developers or the law of the land. The net estimated value of these sold units is around Rs 1.11 lakh crore.As per the data, the National Capital Region (NCR) has the largest pile-up of stalled units with 1.18 lakh homes spread over 67 projects with an overall value of Rs 82,200 crore. Of this, nearly 69 per cent or 83,470 units are already sold out.Further, around 98 per cent of the stuck projects in NCR are located in Noida and Greater Noida alone, while other cities like Gurugram, Ghaziabad have minimal inventory.The other major market of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) ranked second in terms of stalled projects with 38,060 units stalled across the city. The stalled units are spread across 89 projects, compared to 67 in NCR, the data showed.Pune comes next with nearly 28 stalled projects comprising 9,650 units, followed by Hyderabad with nearly 4,150 units. Bengaluru has 26 projects comprising 3,870 stuck units.The housing distress, although spread across the country, is mostly felt and witnessed in the NCR, with Noida and Greater Noida in the lead. The cases such as Jaypee Infratech, Amrapali Group and Unitech have been under the glare, with all them being dragged to the Supreme Court.The Supreme Court has cancelled Amrapali’s RERA licence, and ordered investigation on its key officials, and has asked the state-run construction major NBCC to take over its projects. NBCC has also submitted its proposal to work as a consultant for the completion of Unitech’s projects.Jaypee Infratech, on the other hand, is going through the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) and has surpassed the 270-day deadline of achieving a resolution. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) this week extended its resolution process by another 90 days.These legal issues have also hit the already-distressed homebuyers. Sanjeev Sahani, who bought a 2-BHK flat at one of Jaypee’s projects in Noida in 2011 still for the completion of his home and says that the total legal cost born by home buyers to get their rightful home has reached around Rs 2 crore by now.Sahani, who is also a member of a home buyer’s association told IANS: “The tower in which I bought the flat is not even 50 per cent built. Even if a third party takes it up, it would take another three years to complete.”last_img read more

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Quader finds BNP manifesto joke of the year

first_imgBangladesh Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader. File PhotoDescribing BNP’s election manifesto as a colourful balloon full of unrealistic pledges, Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said it will implode immediately if the party comes to power, reports UNB.”BNP has presented some unrealistic and weird promises which can’t be fulfilled,” he said, describing the election manifesto as the best joke of the year.The AL leader came up with the remarks while talking to reporters at a restaurant by the Dhaka-Chattogram highway in Chouddagram upazila of the district.BNP rolled out its manifesto for the 11th parliamentary elections on Tuesday with a set of promises, including making democracy an everyday practice, building a vengeance -free Bangladesh and raising GDP growth to 11 percent.last_img read more

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James Franco Denies Sexual Misconduct Claims Saying Theyre Not Accurate

first_imgCute #TIMESUP pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 8, 2018“A couple weeks ago, James offered me & a few other girls an overdue, annoyed, convenient phone ‘apology,’ ” Paley later tweeted, adding: “I don’t accept.”A couple weeks ago, James offered me & a few other girls an overdue, annoyed, convenient phone “apology”. I don’t accept, but maybe some other people’s lives would be made easier if he donated all of his earnings from “The Disaster Artist” to @RAINN01.— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 9, 2018Neither allegation has been independently confirmed by NPR.Still, the simmering controversy was enough to dissuade The New York Times from holding an event featuring Franco. The paper canceled that event, which had been scheduled for Wednesday.“The event was intended to be a discussion of the making of the film, ‘The Disaster Artist.’ Given the controversy surrounding recent allegations, we’re no longer comfortable proceeding in that vein,” the Times explained in a statement to The New York Daily News.Franco remains scheduled to make another late-night appearance Wednesday, on Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC.In Tuesday night’s conversation with Colbert, Franco reiterated his support for “Time’s Up,” saying he backs the drive for pay equity in the workplace, “which just means people that are underrepresented — women and people of color, people in the LGBT community — get leadership positions, that they fill all positions that they’ve been deprived of.”Then he spoke specifically of the claims against him.“The way I live my life, I can’t live — if there’s restitution to be made, I will make it. So, if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I think that’s how that works. I don’t know what else to do,” Franco told Colbert.“Look, I really don’t have the answers” on the larger issue of sexual harassment, Franco added. “I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. … I’m here to listen and learn, and change my perspective where it’s off. And I’m completely willing, and I want to.”Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for IFPJames Franco, seen at a film awards ceremony in November 2017.James Franco addressed the sexual misconduct claims circulating about him on social media Tuesday night, telling late-night host Stephen Colbert that “the things I heard on Twitter are not accurate.” Colbert had mentioned the criticisms raised Sunday by actress Ally Sheedy in a series of since-deleted tweets — claims that were then followed by separate allegations by multiple women.“I have no idea why [Sheedy] was upset. She took the tweet down. I don’t know, I can’t speak for her,” he told Colbert toward the end of their interview promoting Franco’s film The Disaster Artist. “The others — look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed.”“The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate,” he added, “but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice, because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So, I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”Franco’s comments come several days after the Golden Globes award ceremony, where he won for best actor in a comedy or musical. During the broadcast, his evident support for “Time’s Up,” an initiative seeking to end sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace, prompted disgust from Sheedy and others.“James Franco just won,” Sheedy, whom Franco directed in a 2014 off-Broadway show, said on Twitter. “Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.”In an earlier tweet, Sheedy had asked: “Why is James Franco allowed in?”Both tweets, which lodged no specific allegations, have since been deleted, but at least two other women posted claims against the actor and director.Filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan alleged a contract she signed with Franco regarding nudity in two of his films was exploitative, and actress Violet Paley addressed a tweet to Franco, saying, “Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17?”Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes , remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn’t exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!— Sarah Tither-Kaplan🌈 (@sarahtk) January 8, 2018last_img read more

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Shes a small wonder

first_imgShe is just 10. But by the touch of her hand she can spell magic on a lump of clay. And with fire and colour she adds expressions. Avani Singhania just wrapped up her exhibition of ceramic works at the second edition of the her show titled- Pots, Platter And Me Returns at the Experimental Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre.A student from Vasant Valley School, Avani followed her passion for pottery at the nascent age of 6- years under the guidance of Ela Mukherjee, a famous ceramic artist and a winner of Charles Wallace awards. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Enthusiastically explaining her works, Avani said, ‘I love experimenting with colours and shapes. I first got to know about pottery in a school exhibition and found it very fascinating. My parents were very supportive and sent me various workshops to learn more about pottery. During one of the workshops I met my teacher Ela Mukherjee and she has been my inspiration ever since.’At the exhibition she displayed an array of colourful tea pots, cups and saucers, decorative items shaped like hearts, ovals and pen-stands in ceramics. The collection also includes bowls, coffee mugs, diyas, candle stands in bright colours to go hand in hand with the festive season.Avani has been learning pottery since 2009 and has already put up one exhibition in 2011 in Mumbai and once in Delhi in 2012. She has been taking regular classes and wishes to explore more about the art.Age is just a number for Avani as she stunned visitors at her exhibition with her wonderful talent of shapes and colour.last_img read more

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Groups save more at Sandals Beaches with new ACV promo

first_imgTags: Air Canada Vacations, Sandals Resort Travelweek Group Share MONTREAL – Air Canada Vacations and its partner of over 30 years Sandals &Beaches have teamed up to offer an exclusive new group promotion, the likes ofwhich hasn’t been seen since 2013.Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, said that the company “has not put an offerlike this out since 2013” and that it’s a “great opportunity [for agents] to book theirgroup customers into one of Sandals or Beaches’ fabulous properties.”The promotion runs until June 7, 2018 for travel from May 14, 2018 through Dec.20, 2020. Passengers in ever sixth room will fly and stay free (restrictions apply).This offer is valid for all group types including incentive and wedding.In addition, groups booking with ACV and Sandals & Beaches will receive: unlimitedgolf at select resorts; $1,500 Premium wedding perks; $500 future travel credit fortheir next vacation; no deposit wedding for 90 days; free upgrade to Business Classfor the bride and groom; free Island Routes excursion; and the chance to earn10,000 ACV&Me Bonus points, a value of $100 (valid for the first 25 groups only).More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaSandals Resorts can be found in Antigua, Bahamas (two properties), Barbados,Jamaica (seven properties) and Saint Lucia (three properties). Each resort offersbeachfront locations, a choice of à la carte restaurants, premium brand wines andspirits, luxury accommodations, butler service in top-tier suites, water sports, andRed Lane Spas.Beaches Resorts are located in Jamaica (two properties) and Turks & Caicos. Eachresort features land and water sports, anytime gourmet dining and luxurious family-friendly suites. Children of all ages can participate in kids camps, while teens canenjoy video games, the Liquid nightclub and Scratch DJ Academy. Tuesday, May 15, 2018 center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Groups save more at Sandals & Beaches with new ACV promolast_img read more

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