FCC approves additional funding for Puerto Rico hurricane recovery

The FCC approved a measure today that will make additional funds immediately available for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico will receive $51.2 million for restoration efforts and the US Virgin Islands will have access to an additional $13 million. Additionally, the FCC is seeking comment on medium- and long-term funding proposals that will go towards improving broadband and 4G LTE access on the islands.

Through the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund, the FCC proposes making $444.5 million available over 10 years, which would go towards fixed voice and broadband expansion. That amount of funding would be $84 million over current levels. The FCC also proposes around $254 million for 4G LTE mobile voice and broadband expansion, which would be made available over three years. That would be about $16.8 million over current funding levels.

For the US Virgin Islands, the FCC proposes making $186.5 million available over 10 years for fixed broadband access (an increase of about $21 million). And the agency proposes an additional $4.4 million over three years for 4G LTE expansion — a $4.2 million increase.

Lastly, the FCC has also decided to not offset $65.8 million in emergency funding provided last year with reductions in future universal support payments, as was initially planned. “Although we had previously anticipated offsetting the advance payments against future support, we no longer believe that to be a prudent course,” the FCC said in its order. “The continuing difficulties in bringing service and power back to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have impeded and delayed restoration efforts so that conditions on the islands have not improved sufficiently to justify reducing future support payments.”

Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement, “The commission’s action today will not only help complete the recovery from last year’s devastating storms, but seeks comment on much-needed funding for long-term improvement and expansion of broadband throughout Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.”

Commissioner Rosenworcel issued her own statement in response to the order and notice of proposed rulemaking, noting that the FCC failed to make concerted efforts to understand the full impact of Hurricane Maria. “Despite the epic devastation from Hurricane Maria, the FCC failed to hold any public hearings to discuss this communications disaster in the affected area. The FCC refused to do even a basic report as we have done in the past. This is a shame,” she wrote. “Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands deserve the same treatment from this agency as communities on the mainland. Moreover, this was a lost opportunity because efforts like these could have informed our approach in this rulemaking. Our failure to do even a simple assessment on par with what has been done in the past through hearings and reports is an ugly mistake.”

via FCC approves additional funding for Puerto Rico hurricane recovery

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Microsoft’s Surface Hub 2 is a bold attempt at changing how we work

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Remember the Surface Hub? You probably don’t. Unlike Microsoft’s other PCs — the Surface Pro, Book, Laptop and Studio — the Hub was a giant and expensive device meant for workplace collaboration, not average consumers. It was never going to star in commercials or turn heads at Best Buy. And even Microsoft admits that it only sold to more than 5,000 customers. But its successor, the Surface Hub 2, is another matter entirely.

It’s a sleek 50.5-inch 4K+ display (the exact resolution is still being finalized) that can be rotated with a slight push, turning it into huge portrait screen. That makes it useful for both scribbling notes with colleagues, or video chatting with someone that’s almost life-sized. You can tile up to four together to create an even larger display, or spread multiple Hub 2s around the room, each serving different roles. It features rolling cases and mounts co-developed with Steelcase, which Microsoft partnered with last year to envision creative workspaces. Even its 3 x 2 aspect ratio is unique, since every other large screen these days is a wider 16 x 9.

The Surface Hub 2 isn’t just another connected display. It’s a bold attempt at transforming the way we work. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, describes it as more of a huddle board — something that’ll get people out of their seats and collaborating in entirely new ways. Naturally, there’s touchscreen support, but you can also throw documents to the Surface Hub 2 from your computer, or control presentations using your phone. And perhaps most importantly for Microsoft, it’s deeply connected to Teams, which could encourage more companies to move over to its Slack rival.

via Microsoft’s Surface Hub 2 is a bold attempt at changing how we work

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Waymo Announces ‘Fully Self-Driving Cars are Here,’ Taxi Service Coming

We are in the midst of a pretty historic moment. Leaping ahead of the competition, Waymo has announced that its self-driving cars will no longer use a human safety driver while they are tested on the roads of Phoenix. But the even bigger news is that the company is gearing up to launch the first commercial driverless taxi service. Yup, the time has come.
On Tuesday, Waymo, the driverless car unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet, released a video of its cars tooling around the Arizona suburbs without anyone behind the wheel. Typically, Waymo and other driverless car startups use a human who’s ready to take over driving duties in case of an emergency. In a blog post, the company announced that what you see in that video is what you’ll be seeing pull up next to you at a traffic light. Continue reading

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AT&T’s ‘Flying COW’ drone provides cell service to Puerto Rico

These days, it’s just as important to have communication up and running after a major disaster as it is to have power, food and drinkable water. The FCC approved $77 million to fix communications in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, while Project Loon (a collaboration with AT&T, Alphabet and T-Mobile) has found ways to get the internet up and running via LTE-providing balloons. Now, AT&T has deployed its helicopter Flying COW (Cell on Wings) to temporarily provide data, voice and text services to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

AT&T claims that this is the first time such a device has been deployed. The Flying COW hovers 200 to 400 feet above the ground and offers wireless connectivity in an up to 40-square-mile area, a distance that AT&T says is farther than other temporary cell sites. The drone is currently in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico and the company plans to relocate it to various other areas, including a military hospital at Manati Coliseum.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/06/att-flying-cow-drone-cell-service-puerto-rico/

 

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‘Unbelievable’: Heart Stents Fail to Ease Chest Pain – The New York Times

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Did Microsoft give us a glimpse of its Surface “phone” vision? | Windows Central

Microsoft’s future vision videos gave us previews of the Surface Hub, Studio, HoloLens and more. Are there hints of an ultra-mobile Surface (phone) as well?

Source: Did Microsoft give us a glimpse of its Surface “phone” vision? | Windows Central

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Heartbreaking Video Shows Island-Wide Damage to Puerto Rico From Hurricane Maria

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Source: Heartbreaking Video Shows Island-Wide Damage to Puerto Rico From Hurricane Maria

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