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Muni Broadband Fare Well in PCMag Study, CenturyLink Intercity Fiber, Facebook and Kids’ Privacy

Emily McPhie

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Locally-run internet service providers offer better broadband than their private sector counterparts, according to a recent study by PCMag. The data shows that six of America’s ten fastest ISPs either involve some form of public-private partnership or were run directly by a local community.

“Local networks are almost always competing against the established incumbents, which means they have multiple incentives to offer better service and lower prices,” said Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband networks for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit advocating for local solutions for sustainable development.

Mitchell continued to say that the local ISPs “are frequently headquartered in or very near the communities they serve, so they spend more time worrying about what their customers think—while the big monopolies are first serving shareholders and less interested in customer experience.”

CenturyLink plans to expand intercity fiber network

Internet service provider CenturyLink announced on Tuesday plans to expand its intercity network by 4.7 million miles of fiber throughout 50 major U.S. cities by early 2021.

"A lot of the big web scalers are building out pretty major data center infrastructure and a lot of the cloud infrastructure," CenturyLink CTO Andrew Dugan told Light Reading on Monday. "We're fortunate enough to be the supplier of the fiber for that, and it's really the increased demand for data center connectivity between cities that's driving the dark fiber demand that initiated this."

The company plans to complete the buildout with a minimum cable size of 216 fiber count, and in some intercity areas, they may use double that or even more to handle the demand.

Facebook faces new attacks for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

As Facebook attempts to defend itself against attacks from all sides, a recently discovered design flaw has been allowing thousands of children to join chats with unauthorized users in the supposedly safe Messenger Kids app, The Verge reported.

The app is supposed to only allow children to talk to users who have been approved by their parents. However, these permissions became more complicated when applied to group chats, resulting in thousands of children participating in chats with unauthorized users.

Messenger Kids has already been accused by a coalition of 17 public health advocacy groups of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting user data from children under the age of 13.

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