Catalyst House

Finally, Net Neutrality is Within Sight

net 1Today, we celebrated. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has signaled that the Commission is finally making real progress on net neutrality. But the fight isn’t over by a long shot.

Proponents of net neutrality claim that big telecom companies seek to impose a tiered service model in order to control the pipeline and thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity, and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise uncompetitive services. Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms. Prominent supporters of net neutrality include Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, and Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web.

See also: Secret Multi-Billion Dollar Wireless Scam, Reed Hundt’s True Legacy

Until recently “net neutrality” was little more than a buzzword to most Americans, an arcane concept within an equally arcane sector of telecommunications law. But fierce resistance to a plan proposed last spring by Chairman Wheeler that Internet advocates said would have undermined net neutrality — the concept that all data on the Net must be treated equally by Internet service providers (ISPs) — has pushed this once obscure idea into the DC limelight.

Joshua Kopstein at Al Jazeera America

“The plan Wheeler announced last May would have permitted ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner to give faster, priority access to sites and services able to pay for it as long as those deals were deemed commercially reasonable. But in a surprising about-face, he is now proposing rules that ban that practice by treating wired and wireless broadband Internet as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — much like the telephone system.”

But Wheeler has changed his tune for the better –

“The Internet must be fast, fair and open. That is the message I’ve heard from consumers and innovators across this nation,” Wheeler wrote today in an article for Wired. “That is the principle that has enabled the Internet to become an unprecedented platform for innovation and human expression … The proposal I present to the commission will ensure the Internet remains open, now and in the future, for all Americans.”

This sudden turnabout of recent months has shocked the big telecoms and even net neutrality advocates, who until recently had relatively few powerful allies in their corner. Read more

Stop Watching Us!

NSA spying on Americans - Stop Watching Us!

News reports in December 2005 first revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications. Those news reports, combined with a USA Today story in May 2006 and the statements of several members of Congress, revealed that the NSA is also receiving wholesale copies of American’s telephone and other communications records.

All of these surveillance activities are in violation of the privacy safeguards established by Congress and the US Constitution.*

*Source: Electronic Freedom Foundation

Total information Awareness Sptying on All Americans All the Time

A new organization formed to oppose the broad surveillance activities of the NSA’s PRISM program is calling on Congress to stop spying on Americans and reveal the full truth. Already the petition circulated by the Stop Watching Us! group has exceeded 485,000 signatures. (read the letter)

“Democracy requires an informed citizenry in order to function properly, and transparency and accountability are essential parts of that. That means knowing what our government is doing to us, in our name.” – Bruce Schneier at The Atlantic

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Founding father Benjamin Franklin

“The revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights,” the organization’s open letter reads. “We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs.”

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Cloud Computing’s Increasing Value

Cloud Computing CatalystA recent study from IDG Enterprise conducted a study among 1,600 IT and business leaders. It revealed that majority of these companies have spent more than a third of their IT budget to Cloud Computing. Further, almost two thirds of the respondents said they will continue to increase their spending in Cloud Computing in the next couple of years.

 – See also – ‘Together in the Cloud’ being released

They believe their investments now will eventually pay off either by providing the company a more efficient work system or by replacing other hardware and software recurring costs.

cloud-computing-futureThere is an onslaught of literature on the potential of Cloud Computing. It is also this very rich literature that makes it confusing for people to determine which is reliable and which is a baseless claim.

Robert J. Chandler, president of San Diego-based Cloud9 Real Time and author of the newly released ‘Together in the Cloud’ observes:

“I see the disconnect that business owners and accounting professionals experience trying to understand how the cloud will work for them. The advancements that this industry has made in recent years are astounding, and I truly believe that education is the first step to success in the cloud.”

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Catalyst House: A Bit of History!

CES cat26 (1)

July 16, 2011: With the release of the Summer 2011 newsletter The Catalyst!, CAT turned 12 years old – July 16th 1999 was the official launch of Catalyst House, when a small eclectic (and eccentric) group of visionaries and innovators decided to engage in a new business model that emphasized philanthropic entrepreneurship, social justice, and a bit of radical chic.

For the past 3-years, our CAT eNEWS has emphasized ‘small business intel’ – but our 12th birthday marks the return of our traditional editorial bent – mid market service and integration, strategic alliances, and more!  

No, we certainly haven’t abandoned our small business guidance role – Small Business Intelligence and Updates are alive and well at our Catalyst House Blog, the ADMAX Marketing Blog and the www.CatalystHouse.BIZ Blog.  

A bit of history –

The name “Catalyst House” was bestowed upon our firm by that marvelous name-smith and CAT Advisor Fred Lehrman

In nostalgia of the day, the very first issue of what would later become the SBIU, the first issue of Catalyst eNews –

Volume-1 Issue-1 September 1999  may be found here.

Lynnea Bylund initially started Catalyst House, Inc., summer of 1999, while she lived in Cambridge, Mass. shortly after she returned from Brazil, working on a very special project with the First Lady of Brazil and her senior staff.
Lynnea received a call from a White House laiaison as a result of my wireless trade association background, and the PCS license win, and relationship I created with her, to put together a Hi-Tech business delegation for a Presidential Trade Mission between the Asia/Pacific region.
When she got the Trade Mission she was told that she needed to be a US based company in order to be on the Trade Mission. So Catalyst House was born.
The vision broadened as the idea formed to assist small and medium sized companies towards entering into the global market place and assist them in the process of accessing capital.
11 Year Highlights of Catalyst

We initially started Catalyst House, Inc. in the summer of 1999 while I lived in Cambridge, Mass. shortly after I returned from Brazil, working on a very special project with officials of that country and the founder of AOL.

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Secret Multi-Billion Dollar Wireless Scam
Reed Hundt’s True Legacy

Last month we politely called it a “Great Airwaves Giveaway” – how major telecoms had ripped off the system by gaming billions in airwave licenses without proper compensation, with a little help from the FCC dating all the way back to the early 90s FCC of then Chairman Reed Hundt.

The Secret $8 Billion Wireless Scam

Well, it gets worse, so now the gloves are off: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon gamed the regulatory system and were able to garner over $8 billion worth of discounted spectrum by posing as “very small businesses.” It was a massive rip-off of wireless spectrum that blocked legitimate small competitors from offering services, as they were “out-bid” by deep-pocketed impostors.

Is this the legacy that past FCC Chairman Reed Hundt is so proud of? (see Reed Hundt’s latest and The Great Airwaves Robbery)

On May 11, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing astutely titled, “The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is Humpty Dumpty Being Put Back Together Again?”

At the hearing, Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, raised a fundamental challenge: “At present, four companies control nearly 90 percent of the national wireless market. The proposed acquisition would further consolidate an already concentrated market for wireless communication.”

SOURCE:  David Rosen and Bruce Kushnick | AlterNet

The four companies that control the market (and their estimated market share) are: AT&T (26.8%), Verizon (26.0%), Sprint (22.9%) and T-Mobile (11.0%). With the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, AT&T (44.0%) and Verizon (30.5%) will control nearly three-fourths of the market; Sprint’s share will increase to 16 percent; and the rest of the providers will drop to 6.3 percent.

If history is our guide, the FCC will approve the merger and come up with loosey-goosey voluntary commitments. And Verizon will most likely seek to acquire Sprint. This will return the U.S. to a wireless duopoly.

In 1984, when AT&T was broken up, only two wireless licenses were allowed per market. The local Bell Operating phone companies received one of the licenses for their entire territories and the second license was put up for bid.

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The Great Airwaves… Giveaway?

FCC Airwaves Giveaway

In the early 90s, we fought hard against the advent of high bid auction of commercial airwaves. (See USIMTA/USIPCA Lobbying History & Airwaves Auction Winner) We argued at the FCC and before Congress repeatedly, until we were hoarse and blue in the face, that auctions of communications spectrum, like cellular phone and wireless broadband frequencies would stiffle competition and freeze out the several thousand small independent “wildcatters,” whom we represented … and who we were, as well.

But we always assumed that once an auction mechanism replaced the lotteries of construction permits (ie, FCC licenses) that the airwaves would in fact be sold to the big players.

But alas, since 1993 when spectrum auctions were mandated by Congress, the US Govt. has quietly given away well over a half trillion dollars in spectrum (90% of all licensing, in fact!) that was supposed to be auctioned to the highest bidder. A 2007 study demonstrates that the lotteries that were occuring prior to 1993 were much more honest and transparent.   Well duuhh.

“The third rail of spectrum policy is the rotten, special interest politics that has driven lawmakers to give away the public’s airwaves to private interests without public compensation. In the vast stream of government reports seeking to reform spectrum policy since 1993, one looks in vain for more than a token acknowledgement, let alone a serious and sustained discussion, of this giveaway.”

The Art of Spectrum Lobbying

America’s $480 Billion Spectrum Giveaway:

How it Happened, and How to Prevent it from Recurring

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World’s Biggest Auction Winner

In 1995 Lynnea Bylund became the first female in the world to be awarded a Broadband PCS operating permit – she was one of only 17 winners, along with Sprint, AT&T, Pacific Bell, etc., in the biggest cash auction in world history raising a whopping $8 billion – her company was awarded licenses to operate wireless systems in Hawaii and American Samoa – South Seas Satellite Communications Corporation and Proteus, Inc.

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Broadband Services, Inc.

Broadband Services, Inc., is a facilities-based provide of fixed-wireless broadband Internet protocol access services, primarily to businesses in key Pennsylvania markets starting with Harrisburg. The Company’s wireless technology eliminates the substantial local-loop charges levied by the incumbent local telephone companies. By replacing the wired local-loop with a two-way wireless connection, the Company is able to offer similar bandwidth at prices averaging 40% lower than comparable service offered by either the local telco or cableco. More over, the Company is primarily targeting small and medium sized markets that lack the built-in wired or fiber infrastructures that would otherwise be necessary for equivalent broadband service.

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