Regional Languages are the Lynchpin to India’s Internet Boom

“India is expected to see an unprecedented boom in the number of Internet users over the next few years but for a host of Internet companies it means a wholesale change in the language in which they engage with their potential new consumers.

According to a November report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), India is expected to have the second largest Internet user base in the world by the middle of next year with about 460 million users. The numbers have grown by 49 per cent over the past year and about three-quarter of these new users are accessing the net through mobile phones.

Behind these numbers though, is a more interesting trend, namely that the Indian Internet consumer is now a very different individual than he or she was a few years ago.

Smaller Towns
According to an earlier IMAI-BCG report, while 29 per cent of Internet users lived in rural areas; in 2018 approximately half the users will reside in smaller towns and villages and will access the Internet not in English but through local languages.

The anomaly here is that the Internet in India is predominantly English – the English language still accounts for 56 per cent of the content on the worldwide Web, while Indian languages account for less than 0.1 per cent. There is a dearth of good regional language content that the new Indian Internet user can engage with. However, over the next few years this could change rapidly as companies are investing heavily in building up the Indian language Internet.

Google Initiative
According to a spokesperson from Internet giant Google, the company is already looking ahead to the fact that the next 100 or 200 million Indians who come online won’t speak English. “In the last one year alone, Hindi content on the web has grown by about 94 per cent year on year, whereas English content is growing only at 19 per cent year on year,” he explains.

Last year, Google India initiated an Indian Language Internet Alliance, a group of companies who will help push regional language content online. The first set of partners in this alliance included media forms such as ABP News, Network 18 and Jagran Prakashan Ltd. The ILIA currently has 30 partner companies.

According to B.G. Mahesh, founder and MD of, one of the publishers on the ILIA platform, the focus on regional languages is also essential from a marketing perspective. “Once the user base increases it becomes easier for digital companies to convince brands to spend on their platform. Brands are now interested in reaching users across India, especially Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns. What can be a better platform than Internet to reach Tier-2 and Tier-3 users at a far lesser cost than traditional media which is print and TV?” he asks.

Research conducted by various digital companies also supports the view that the character of the Internet in India is rapidly changing. “One measure is how many Facebook shares of say Hindi stories. Our data shows that it is on the same scale as English. We see creating mobile first experience and shareworthy stories for languages as a big opportunity,” says Samir Patil, CEO of Scroll media which runs the website Scroll Media has already introduced, a Hindi site while others, like curated news aggregator InShorts, have also introduced Hindi versions.

Mr Mahesh also points out that it is not content companies alone that to stand to benefit. “All Internet companies stand to benefit by promoting regional languages. Users want to consume content / services in a language they are most comfortable with. Definitely services like railway booking, apparel, electronics can benefit a lot by having their sites in regional languages.” E-tailers like Snapdeal and Shopclues have already taken the lead, rolling out their sites in Hindi and Tamil versions while several others are expected to follow suit.”



Faster Wifi by way of Lightbulbs

BBC reports that Estonian start-up Velmenni recently completed the first real world test of visible light spectrum-based Wi-Fi, cleverly dubbed Li-Fi by Edinburgh University professor Harald Hass after first demonstrating the technology in a 2011 TED talk. After deploying a Li-Fi internet system in a working office, the Velmenni team was able to transmit data at 1 Gbps, roughly 100 times faster than the average Wi-Fi speed. In laboratory test, the Velmenni team says theoretical speeds of 224 Gbps are possible.

Li-Fi’s distribution across the visible light spectrum means that it can only work indoors. The powerful rays of the sun disrupt the signal, a security concern shared by sister light-based technology LiDAR. But within the confines of indoor spaces where the bleed from other light sources can be controlled, Li-Fi’s incredible strength can make it a powerful enhancement to existing Wi-Fi networks.

The technology is already being eyed by airlines for in-flight internet service, where a light-based streaming service would eliminate existing security risks posed by devices sharing the plane’s radio spectrum. The brightly lit, but predominantly interior spaces of airports are another obvious fit for the technology.

Velmenni CEO Deepak Solanki says if all goes according to plan, Li-Fi could very well be deployed across consumer products in just three to four years. Stay tuned!”


Why the Internet Governance Forum is Important to Us


Since the IGF’s inception at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, it has served as an invaluable space for governments, civil society, academia, the technical community, and the private sector to learn from one another, share best practices and policy recommendations, and collaborate with new partners. Over the years, Public Knowledge has welcomed this opportunity for stakeholders to come together and develop their vision for the future of the Information Society. However, the IGF’s mandate is set to expire at the end of this year and its course will be determined at the ten-year review of the WSIS (WSIS+10) on December 15-16. For this reason, Public Knowledge signed a joint statement on the final phase of the WSIS+10 negotiations to convey that it is time to do the following:

  • renew the IGF and implement recommendations for its improvement;
  • preserve the multistakeholder model of governance; and
  • promote access to an open and inclusive Internet.

Platforms like the IGF are a crucial venue for open and collaborative multistakeholder dialogue that will help shape the future of the Internet. Extending its mandate will be a step towards achieving a secure and open Internet. Over 100 organizations and individuals have already signed on to the joint statement, and we urge you to add your support as well.


Discussions about cybersecurity and human rights online were prevalent at this year’s IGF.  Public Knowledge contributed to these topics through various meetings, panels, and workshops. This included hosting a cybersecurity strategy meeting with Latin American digital rights advocates to identify venues and ways for Latin American civil society to engage in the cybersecurity debate. This effort is also tied to our forthcoming cybersecurity program to support civil society’s engagement in the development of their respective national cybersecurity agendas. To learn more about our work in this area, please see our Cybersecurity and Human Rights issue page

Additionally, Public Knowledge’s Vice President of International Policy, Carolina Rossini, co-organized and moderated a panel entitled “How Trade Agreements Shape the Future of Internet Governance.” The session included a diverse group of representatives from civil society, the European parliament, business, academia, and the U.S. government, and the discussion focused on the impact of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements on Internet governance.

This is a particularly important topic that we believe more digital rights activists need to follow. Trade negotiations are increasingly becoming the vehicles for norm setting on Internet policy issues, such as intellectual property, domain names, e-commerce, human rights, privacy, cybersecurity, spectrum, access to telecommunications, and the free flow of information. Many of these negotiations are being held in secrecy, among governments and few private sector lobbies. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the current negotiations of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are prime examples of this. The panel assessed how the inclusion of these Internet policy issues, in closed door, state-to-state agreements, impact the future of multistakeholder Internet governance and the digital rights at stake.

Finally, in an IGF pre-event, we joined the Association for Progressive Communications, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Coding Rights, and Global Partners Digital in a WSIS+10 strategy meeting to discuss the main issues at stake and coordinate with other organizations to ensure that civil society priorities are strongly reflected in the WSIS+10 review. Such priorities include aligning the WSIS+10 review with the Sustainable Development Goals, bridging the digital divide, and protecting human rights online, such as the right to privacy and access to information.

The Quantum Dawn Trilogy

A recent test of financial institutions’ ability to handle a series of cyberattacks identified a number of areas where improvement is needed. Companies need to get high-level executives more involved during a major attack, improve communication with government agencies and create response teams composed of representatives from various parts of an individual business, according to an after-action report released by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association on Monday. The report on “Quantum Dawn 3,” conducted by Deloitte Advisory Cyber Risk Services, offered praise for companies’ information sharing, use of established procedures for specific kinds of attacks and relations with organizations like the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Theorizing the Web: Call for Papers

Theorizing the Web 2016
April 15–16 in New York City
Venue: the Museum of the Moving Image, in Queens

Abstract submission deadline: 11:59 pm (EST), January 24, 2016

Theorizing the Web is an annual event featuring critical, conceptual discussions about technology and society. We began in 2011 to advance a different kind of conversation about the Web, one which recognizes that to theorize technology is also to theorize the self and the social world. Given that technology is inseparable from society, the ideas and approaches that have historically been used to describe social reality must not be abandoned. Instead, these historical approaches must be applied, reworked, and reassessed in light of the developing digitization of social life.

We are now seeking presentations for our sixth annual event, which will take place on April 15 and 16 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. We invite submissions that engage with issues of social power, inequality, vulnerability, and justice from a diverse range of perspectives. Theorizing the Web is not an event just for academics or “tech” thinkers: activists, journalists, technologists, writers, artists, and folks who don’t identify as any of the above are all encouraged to submit a presentation abstract.

We are looking for abstracts that feature clear conceptual arguments and that avoid jargon in favor of more broadly accessible critical insight. Submissions on any topic are welcome, but some specific topics we’d like to address this year include:

  • moving images, gifs, video, live streaming, copcams
  • social photography, filters, selfies, posing
  • race, racism, race posturing, ethnicity, #BlackLivesMatter
  • sex, gender, feminism, queer and trans* politics
  • sexuality, sexting, sex work, consent
  • mental health, illness, neurodiversity
  • (dis)ability and ableism
  • non-Western Web(s), language barriers, hegemony, globalization
  • social movements, protest, revolution, social control, censorship
  • hate, harassment, intimidation, trolling, bullying, resistance
  • pain, sickness, loss, death and dying
  • parenting, birth, life course
  • bodies, cyborgs, wearables, trans/post-humanism, bots
  • the self, identity, subjectivity, (in)authenticity, impression management
  • privacy, publicity, surveillance
  • encryption, anonymity, pseudonymity
  • presence, proximity, face-to-face, (dis)connection, loneliness
  • capitalism, Silicon Valley, venture capital
  • crowd funding, micro currencies, crypto currencies, blockchains
  • work, labor, “gig” or “sharing” economy, “Uber for”, exploitation
  • transportation, self-driving cars, drones, cities
  • code, affordances, infrastructure, critical design
  • knowledge, “big” data, data science, algorithms, positivism
  • memes, virality, metrics, (micro-)celebrity, fame, attention, click-baiting
  • underground markets, child porn, revenge porn, the extra-legal web
  • fiction, literature, visual narratives, storytelling, self-publishing, fandoms
  • time, (a)temporality, ephemerality, history, memory, right to forget
  • games, gaming, gamification, free-to-play, fantasy sports, gambling
  • elections, campaigns, presidential politics

More Information:

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The Islamic State Teaches Its Soldiers about Encryption

They remind their members to always check “location services” to make sure their phones won’t reveal where they are. They urge them not to use Instagram because it’s owned by Facebook, which “has a bad reputation in the protection of privacy.” And they ask that no one use Dropbox, because former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is part of its board of investors, and Edward “Snowden advised not to use the service.”

These are just a few of the extensive security tips from a 32-page Arabic document that analysts at the Combating Terrorism Center, an independent research group at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, have discovered after about a year of monitoring several known Islamic State online forums. The instructional guide was first published a year ago by a Kuwaiti security firm named Cyberkov to teach journalists and political activists how to protect their indentities and communications. Since then, it has been adopted by members of the Islamic State. The document includes a list of links and descriptions to over 40 consumer products that help secure written and spoken communications on almost every digital platform — the type of thing that would make online security advocates proud.

Militant Islamist fighter uses a mobile to film his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade along streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province

In the days following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 people, an act for which IS has taken credit, it became clear that U.S. intelligence agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to track communication among the terrorist organization’s members. As Yahoo News reported last week, many officials have blamed the group’s adoption of sophisticated encryption software, such as the web browser Tor or the messaging app Telegram, for the inability to identify potential threats. In an October congressional hearing, FBI Director James Comey characterized this concerning new development as the group’s ability to “go dark.”

“With every platform they’ve been using there has been some sort of scrutiny, you saw that very clearly with Twitter as the accounts are regularly suspended,” Laith Alkhouri, director of terrorist activity tracking at deep-Web research firm Flashpoint Partners, told Yahoo News. “Now they’ve shifted to encrypted chatting platforms.”

Since its launch in 2013, IS has been largely known for its gruesome, well-produced videos and pervasive social media presence — efforts that have helped brand it as both a terrifying and innovative terrorist group. But now that the Islamic State has caught the world’s attention, its Web-savvy media operatives have becoming increasingly careful to secure their communications. A member’s ability to encrypt, analysts tell Yahoo News, is an important factor in how the organization values him or her as an operative. As a result, members are learning these tools faster, creating a much bigger problem for intelligence agencies trying to track their communications.

IS’s school of encryption includes a metaphorical 24-hour Jihadi Help Desk, as NBC’s Josh Meyer reported on Monday. Headed by a group of at least five core members with extensive technical training, it acts as a support system for those interested in joining the jihadi movement. Day or night, interested members can connect with the group to ask for help with securing their communications — whether that means changing the location metadata on photos they’ve taken or finding the most secure way to store information in the cloud.

“If you’re planning on going to Iraq or Syria on a flight and you’re looking up plane tickets, it’s probably not a good idea to look it up in the clear,” Aaron F. Brantly, a counterterrorism analyst at the CTC, told Yahoo News. “So [the Help Desk] says, go through the Tor network, use a VPN. If you want to communicate with your brother or sister who is fighting at the front, root [or gain control over the software in] your Android phone.”

For a good number of people who use the hotline, that’s where the tutorial ends. But Brantly says that his team has also identified several high-level members of IS’s media wing, the Al-Hayat Media Center, using the information in these tutorials as a way to spread propaganda more securely. In some cases, Alkhouri reports, group chats on Telegram that are specifically dedicated to propaganda can have up to 16,000 members, and are growing by the thousands every day.

Members of IS also use these platforms while engaging in real-time operations in Iraq or Syria, according to Brantly. But the bar that members must clear to be included in these forums is much higher. After using a Tor Web browser, a fake phone number, a fake email address and fake identity to sign up for an encrypted messaging platform, one is invited into a group chat centered around a specific goal. (For instance, Brantly says he’s spent a year monitoring a Telegram group whose sole purpose is to plan out minor cyberattacks on websites.) But to be fully accepted requires participating in a series of discussions intended to vet your beliefs. These can range from discussion about various religious edicts to terrorist incidents to specific battles. Some of the mainstay moderators of these groups may, at times, ask to chat using Telegram’s one-on-one “secret chat” feature, which uses end-to-end encryption, a process that jumbles the content of a message from both the sending and receiving ends.

“They actually explicitly say these are non-trust-based groups in general, so you have to wait to build that trust up in a non-open-forum sort of situation,” Brantly said. “In a non-help-desky way, if you will.”

In a meta way, IS has employed these chatrooms for discussions about security itself. One Telegram-based forum, populated mostly by men from ages 18 to 35, has spearheaded the conversation on heightening security standards, discussing which consumer products are best for various types of phones or computers. Others discuss how extensive encryption precautions need to be taken for a given piece of information, using encryption rates as substantial as 128-bit or 256-bit — levels that require considerable computing power in order to decode. Brantly says that over time, members of this group distill the wisdom into long instructional packets (like the one included in this piece) or YouTube and Vimeo tutorials.

“I’m certainly seeing more messages from more tech-savvy jihadists urging others to use more secure messaging platforms and to avoid leveraging their information on social media,” Alkhouri said. “Some people are even saying avoid Twitter in general, because that could give out your location, especially for fighters on the ground.”

Though intelligence officials have yet to discover how the attack on France’s capital was organized, it’s clear they had no inkling it would take place. And along with this tragedy, a new revelation about IS has come to light: An organization that was once famous for being everywhere on the Internet has now learned to be in as few traceable places as possible.

“They essentially try to eliminate all the digital breadcrumbs along the way,” Brantly said.


Related link: IS encryption guide

New York Times claims NSA kept e-mail spying program

Charlie Savage at New York Times: When the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of records about Americans’ emails came to light in 2013, the government conceded the program’s existence but said it had shut down the effort in December 2011 for “operational and resource reasons.”

While that particular secret program stopped, newly disclosed documents show that the N.S.A. had found a way to create a functional equivalent. The shift has permitted the agency to continue analyzing social links revealed by Americans’ email patterns, but without collecting the data in bulk from American telecommunications companies — and with less oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.


The disclosure comes as a sister program that collects Americans’ phone records in bulk is set to end this month. Under a law enacted in June, known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, the program will be replaced with a system in which the N.S.A. can still gain access to the data to hunt for associates of terrorism suspects, but the bulk logs will stay in the hands of phone companies.

The newly disclosed information about the email records program is contained in a report by the N.S.A.’s inspector general that was obtained by The New York Times through a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. One passage lists four reasons that the N.S.A. decided to end the email program and purge previously collected data. Three were redacted, but the fourth was uncensored. It said that “other authorities can satisfy certain foreign intelligence requirements” that the bulk email records program “had been designed to meet.”

The report explained that there were two other legal ways to get such data. One was the collection of bulk data that had been gathered in other countries, where the N.S.A.’s activities are largely not subject to regulation by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and oversight by the intelligence court. Because of the way the Internet operates, domestic data is often found on fiber optic cables abroad.

The N.S.A. had long barred analysts from using Americans’ data that had been swept up abroad, but in November 2010 it changed that rule, documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden have shown. The inspector general report cited that change to the N.S.A.’s internal procedures.

The other replacement source for the data was collection under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which permits warrantless surveillance on domestic soil that targets specific noncitizens abroad, including their new or stored emails to or from Americans.

“Thus,” the report said, these two sources “assist in the identification of terrorists communicating with individuals in the United States, which addresses one of the original reasons for establishing” the bulk email records program.

Timothy Edgar, a privacy official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations who now teaches at Brown University, said the explanation filled an important gap in the still-emerging history of post-Sept. 11, 2001, surveillance.

“The document makes it clear that N.S.A. is able to get all the Internet metadata it needs through foreign collection,” he said. “The change it made to its procedures in 2010 allowed it to exploit metadata involving Americans. Once that change was made, it was no longer worth the effort to collect Internet metadata inside the United States, in part because doing so requires N.S.A. to deal with” restrictions by the intelligence court.

Observers have previously suggested that the N.S.A.’s November 2010 rules change on the use of Americans’ data gathered abroad might be connected to the December 2011 end of the bulk email records program. Marcy Wheeler of the national security blog Emptywheel, for example, has argued that this was probably what happened.

And officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive collection programs, have said the rules change and the FISA Amendments Act helped make the email records program less valuable relative to its expense and trouble. The newly disclosed documents amount to official confirmation.

The N.S.A. and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to a request for comment.


New York Times: File Says N.S.A. Found Way to Replace Email Program

New York Times: NSA Declassifies Inspector General Reports About Defunct Bulk E-mail Metadata Program

Charlie Savage: NYT/Savage Freedom of Information Act Litigation

WhatsApp accessed a user’s contacts 23,000 times in one week

Popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has been caught accessing one user’s contacts list over 23,000 times in one week. It remains unclear why the app made so many requests as it looked at the list over 3,300 times a day.

The Next Web’s Ben Woods noticed the hugely excessive number of access attempts this week. The reworked permissions model in Android M Marshmallow allow users to see exactly how many times an app accesses a specific hardware or software feature as part of its more detailed control set.

Most Android apps will request access to some extra permissions when they are installed. They could range from using the microphone and camera to being able to control system functions. More often than not, these permissions must be granted so all the app’s features can run but the prompt at install time provides an easy gate-keeper approach to security.

The system is implemented as an early warning system for anything that looks suspicious. If a simple clock or stopwatch app requests access to your messages and network then that may be a sign that in the background it is doing something rather more sinister than displaying the time.

WhatsApp’s extensive feature list means it requests a lot of Android permissions. They include Wi-Fi information, microphone, camera, media and storage access, the ability to monitor location, messages and phone calls and, importantly in this instance, the privilege to access a user’s contacts.

Most of those permissions are infrequently used. Woods’ screenshot shows location was accessed 26 times during the 7-day period, a reasonable-sounding figure that amounts to around three requests per day while using the app. However, 23,709 reads of his contact list is less explainable, even by WhatsApp itself.

The company didn’t respond to Woods’ “multiple” requests for comment in the past week when asked why its app looked at his contacts 3,387 times a day on average. That’s twice per minute every day, even when the app isn’t open.

It isn’t at all clear why WhatsApp is using the contacts list so frequently. Woods speculates it could be polling the entire list every time the app is opened or a message is received or sent. It could even take another look whenever a contact comes online to cross-reference them with your local list. Even with all of these factors considered, 23,700 requests in a week still seems to be an excessively large number.

The large number of reads are likely to impact on more than just privacy. Each time it takes another look, the phone is having to do work and use up battery power, even when it is locked. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be too great an issue but it all adds up when one app is using one feature 3,300 times a day. Woods notes that rival messaging app Facebook Messenger hasn’t used a single granted permission during the same seven-day period.

Because WhatsApp is a respectable app used by 900 million people worldwide, it can be assumed it isn’t intentionally acting maliciously here. The issue could be caused by a bug that is making it read the contacts list more often than it should but it’s hard to tell when the company has consistently refused to comment on what appears to be a very reasonable question.

Read more:

Comcast launches streaming TV service that doesn’t count against its data caps

John Brodkin at Ars Technica: Comcast’s live streaming TV service has launched in the Boston and Chicago areas, with plans to bring it to Comcast’s entire cable territory by early next year.


We asked Comcast today if Stream TV usage will count against the 300GB data plans imposed in certain parts of Comcast’s territory. “No, Stream is an IP cable service delivered over our managed network to the home,” a Comcast spokesperson replied.

Comcast also pointed Ars to an FAQ that says, “Stream TV is a cable streaming service delivered over Comcast’s cable system, not over the Internet. Therefore, Stream TV data usage will not be counted towards your Xfinity Internet monthly data usage.”

Stream TV also doesn’t use a customer’s allotted Internet bandwidth, as measured in bits per second, Comcast told Ars. For example, a Comcast customer who pays for 50Mbps Internet speed would still have a full 50Mbps for other online services while using Stream TV.

Stream TV is intended for Comcast’s Internet-only customers, offering live TV on computers, tablets, and phones. In-home streaming video is delivered as a managed service over the Comcast IP gateway in customers’ homes and works similarly to cable TV—despite not requiring a cable TV subscription or set-top box—potentially providing greater video quality than rival streaming services. Sling TV customers, for example, have experienced several outages.

Comcast has steadily introduced monthly data caps into new areas, testing customers’ responses before a potential nationwide rollout.

There is no specific rule preventing an Internet service provider from exempting its own streaming video from data caps, even though such a practice could disadvantage competing services that deliver video to customers over the Internet. However, the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules allow for complaints against so-called zero-rating schemes, with the commission judging on a case-by-case basis whether a practice “unreasonably interferes” with the ability of consumers to reach content or the ability of content providers to reach consumers.

The net neutrality rules also have an exemption for “non-broadband” services, or “IP-services that do not travel over broadband Internet access service.”

An FCC spokesperson declined comment on Comcast’s streaming video service not counting against Comcast data caps.

When Comcast bought NBCUniversal, it signed an agreement with the government that says if Comcast offers capped or metered Internet service, it can’t treat its own network traffic differently from rivals’ traffic. But that apparently doesn’t apply to Stream TV since the in-home streaming isn’t traveling over the public Internet.

Netflix, the biggest online video provider in the country, has previously criticized Comcast’s caps but declined comment when contacted by Ars today.

“Stream TV” costs $15 a month and lets customers watch live TV channels while on Comcast home Internet connections. It doesn’t provide the same flexibility as streaming services like Netflix or Sling TV, which work the same on any Internet connection. Outside of the home, Stream TV offers access to on-demand and recorded videos, and customers can use their Comcast username and password to sign into channel-specific applications like HBO Go.

The service launch comes as Comcast continues to add Internet subscribers while dropping TV subscriptions. In Q3 2015, Comcast gained 320,000 broadband subscriptions for a total of 22.87 million, while losing 48,000 cable TV subscribers, dropping to 22.26 million. The thirteen largest pay-TV providers overall lost 190,000 video subscribers in the quarter, up from a loss of 155,000 in the same period a year ago, according to Leichtman Research Group.


Ars Technica: Comcast launches streaming TV service that doesn’t count against data caps

Comcast: Stream TV

Internet Pioneer Wally Bowen Dies


In 1996 during a time when internet service was still very new and unknown to the world, Wally Bowen helped to bring Asheville into the internet age. He died on Tuesday at the age of 63 after a long battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Bowen “started the nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network and its sister operation, the low-powered Asheville FM radio station WPVM. He used the  services to connect the community through local voices. His work was known nationally, and he was recently given the Donald H. McGannon Award from the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. for his work in building MAIN.”

He wanted to keep the internet for the people and saw the possibilities and its potential before many could fully comprehend his ideas. He was relentless in his pursuit of media fairness and was probably very moved by the amount of people that have internet access and the movements to increase this even further.