The FCC’s other big vote: small cities await their broadband fate

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

The big battle over net neutrality will go to a vote on Thursday but, for many people in small cities, it’s the other item on the agenda that matters most: whether the agency will allow two towns to build their own broadband infrastructure.

“It’s a way of letting local communities control their own fate. I don’t see a difference between broadband and gas or electricity,” said Harold DePriest, who is the CEO of EBP, a city-run fiber network in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

His city, along with Wilson, North Carolina (population 49,000), will soon find out if the FCC will grant their request to pre-empt state laws that restrict municipalities’ ability to offer broadband.

Those state laws are necessary, according to their supporters, to protect taxpayers from profligate city governments. Critics claim, however, that the laws are the result of undue influence exercised in state capitals by big telecom companies seeking to preserve their monopolies.

For places like Chattanooga, a lot rides on the outcome. The town’s fiber…

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Net Neutrality day is here: a guide to today’s vote

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

What is the right way to run the internet? After months of pitched debate over so-called net neutrality, the FCC will finally vote on a proposal that will prevent broadband providers from slowing down or speeding up certain websites.

While there’s little doubt about the outcome of the vote, Thursday’s FCC hearing could still bring some surprises. Here’s an overview of how the process will unfold, key issues to watch, and what will happen next.

When is the vote taking place?

The hearing begins at 10:30am ET at the FCC in Washington, where the five Commissioners will vote on two items. The net neutrality proposal is the second item (the first is about municipal broadband), and a vote is expected to occur in the early afternoon.

What are they voting on?

The crux of the proposal is new regulations that will replace the net neutrality rules that a court struck down in early 2013. The new…

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TGI Fridays partners with Microsoft on tablets

Tablets to streamline orders, improve customers’ visits.

tgifGood“We’ve always prided ourselves on giving our guests the best experience possible, particularly in their interactions with our people,” said TGI Fridays Vice President and CIO Tripp Sessions. “Windows 8 gave us a platform that allowed us to develop a new user interface, which gives our servers even better tools to delight our guests and make their experience even more enjoyable.”

“TGI Fridays is rethinking how technology can lead to restaurant innovation,” said Tracy Issel, general manager of Worldwide Retail, Consumer Goods, Hospitality and Travel for Microsoft. “We are helping it change the way food orders are processed and wait staff and managers do their jobs, reinventing the customer experience, one restaurant at a time.”

The devices use Windows 8.1, running Oracle’s MICROS Restaurant Enterprise Solution (RES) 5.4 on Oracle’s MICROS mTablet E-Series mobile point of sale devices. Many restaurant technology solutions rely on proprietary hardware or custom ruggedized devices, built to withstand the abuse of a kitchen environment. Such solutions can be expensive and take a long time to develop and deploy. Oracle’s MICROS RES 5.4 allows TGI Fridays to manage the various aspects of running a restaurant, from tableside ordering to traffic and queue management, all from one solution and in a much more cost-effective way. It also puts the technology in the hands of the Fridays people, preserving the experience they can offer guests, rather than using tabletop technology that would reduce their interactions. The device also improves the table wait time and helps regulate the pace of orders sent to the kitchen.

TGI Fridays has completed a six-city pilot in Texas and Minnesota, and it will deploy the tablets in 80 additional restaurants, with more than 2,000 tablets by March.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Quote of the Day, “Change is really hard but it’s going to be required for survival.”

“Change is really hard but it’s going to be required for survival. There’s a lot of very high rewards and clearly a lot of challenges, but the digitization of every company is going to require that change… You watch a great company like Walmart have to reinvent itself virtually and physically to survive – their CEO knows they have to move dramatically or even the most powerful company in the world will get left behind.” – Cisco CEO John Chambers in his keynote session at the Consumer Electronics Show “Fast Innovation – Disrupt or be Disrupted.”

Uber’s Latest Experiment Is Uber Cargo, A Logistics Service In Hong Kong

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Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Uber is often talked about for its potential to develop into a global logistics service, and customers in Hong Kong are getting a glimpse at what that might look like after a new service called Uber Cargo launched in the city-state.

The U.S. company often trials new project in single cities. It launched bike couriers in New York last year, for example, and Uber Cargo looks to be another experiment that is telling of what the company is planning to offer beyond just taxis.

The Cargo service has actually been in quiet beta in Hong Kong, according to an Uber blog post. Uber said that the service is ideal for ferrying any kind of item around:

With UberCARGO, a van arrives wherever you want it to be in minutes. You can load your items in the back of the van yourself or request the driver’s assistance if you need an extra hand. Deliveries can…

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