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On Friday, July 11, the FCC held its Open Meeting which included the Rural Broadband Trials initiative on the agenda. Following that meeting, the FCC shared key points in a press release:

Up to $100 million will be available for the experiments, which will be divided into three groups as follows:

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Americans have been “cutting the cord” on their wireline telephone service and going wholly wireless, but growth in wireless-only U.S. households slowed last year. Some 41 percent of U.S. households were wireless-only in 2013. Just over 39 percent of U.S. adults and 47.1 percent of children lived in wireless-only households as of end of last year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the research arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The percentage of wireless-only U.S. households was 2.8 points higher in 2013 than it was in 2012, a slowdown in growth from prior years , the Pew Research Center notes in a blog report. The share of wireless-only U.S. households grew 4.3 percentage points in 2011 and 4.2 in 2012, according to the CDC.

Among age groups in 2013, young adults are most likely to be living in wireless-only households: 65.7 percent of 25-29 year olds; 59.7 percent of 30-34 year olds; and 53 percent of 18-24 year olds live in wireless-only households. Those figures are “little changed – and in some cases even below – those recorded in the first half of 2013,” Pew points out.

The demographics of wireless-only households are shifting as well, as older Americans choose to go wireless-only. Over half (52.5 percent) of Americans living in wireless-only households in 2010 were between the ages of 18 and 34. Just 45.5 percent were in CDC's most recent survey, Pew highlights.

Turning to income, CDC found that most poor households do not have landline telephone service – the only demographic for which this is true. Among ethnicities, Hispanics were the most likely to live in wireless-only households.

Regionally, those living in the Northeast were least likely to be living in wireless-only households (24.9 percent). Corresponding figures were over 40 percent in the Midwest, West and South. According to one analysis of first-half 2013 data from last year found that Idaho had the highest percentage of wireless-only households – 52.3 percent – while New Jersey had the lowest – 19.4 percent.


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Tagged in: Wireless

Many Finley clients have looked towards cloud and enterprise services for revenue growth opportunities. Recent research from Infonetics confirms why. Enterprises and smaller businesses are investing heavily in cloud infrastructure, so the service providers they engage, need to be equipped to meet this growing demand.

North American enterprise-scale businesses expect their network spending will increase at double-digit rates in 2014, though there's a shift in where the money will be spent, according to a new report from Infonetics Research.

Spending on wireless LAN, network monitoring and switches is growing, as is that for branch office infrastructure – a sign of confidence that the economy will continue to grow, according to Infonetics' “Network Equipment Spending and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey .”

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Tagged in: cloud enterprise SMB

In January we shared news of the FCC Rural Broadband Trials initiative to gather Expressions of Interest. We know that somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 EOI’s were submitted.

What’s next? The FCC’s Open Meeting is scheduled for July 11 and it appears that the Rural Trial application information will be made available at this time. 

Finley Engineering has experience working with FCC programs and we are offering our assistance with the Connect America Fund Rural Trial application process, mapping, modeling and more. We are committed to being an expert resource in this process for our industry partners. 

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Congratulations to Finley’s Jeff Swan who was recently promoted to the position of Vice President of the Kentucky office, replacing Ann Keller who retired the first of July. Swan joined Finley in December of 2010 bringing significant experience, expertise and leadership to the company while managing the company’s Springfield, Illinois office.

“Jeff has proven himself a genuine and innovative leader and we congratulate him on accepting this key position within Finley,” said Boehne. “We are confident the exceptional work we do for our clients out of our Kentucky location will continue and that Jeff and his team will build upon our success in this part of the country

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YouTube has seen a meteoric rise in its short life from a repository of “cat tricks videos” to the third most trafficked site on the web, behind only Google and Facebook, according to YouTube Downloader. They published the below infographic which highlights what happens on the video-centric website every 60 seconds.

Here are some interesting findings:

  • Close to 2.8 million videos are viewed in a minute’s time on YouTube
  • 100 Hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • YouTube generates $10,654 in revenue every minute, mostly from advertising

Learn more about YouTube, including its top earners from the below infographic.




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Tagged in: OTT Video YouTube

The 2014 World Cup now underway in Brazil is the most accessible in the tournament's 75-year history, and alternative second and third screens are a big part of that, according to market research from Ovum. World Cup 2014 broadcast and streaming services are available on as many as 5.9 billion screens worldwide. By Ovum's count, PCs, tablets and smartphones account for 57 percent of them.

Noting the importance of crisp, clear images and preferably larger screen formats when viewing live sports events, Ovum “stresses the importance of traditional broadcasting – via terrestrial, cable, satellite, or IPTV – for attracting the largest audiences and the most value for World Cup rights holders.”

That said, the market research and consulting company continues, “Connected devices are playing a crucial role in evolving viewing habits for big-event TV.

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Tagged in: Devices OTT Tablets

Going direct to consumers, Netflix launched its over-the-top (OTT), browser-based streaming video service in 2007. Today, Netflix delivers more than 1 billion hours of streaming video per month to 48 million subscribers in over 40 countries.

In the U.S., Netflix streaming alone accounts for more than one-third of peak Internet traffic. That's a huge amount of data, and Netflix, like a growing number of businesses in similar situations, has been developing its “Big Data” analytic skills and expertise. As the Netflix's Nirmal Govind explains in a post on “The Netflix Tech Blog,” it's using them to perform deep data analysis and craft predictive algorithms that enhance user experience.  

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Tagged in: Netflix OTT Video

Revenue in the worldwide market for broadband aggregation equipment showed strong annual growth in 1Q 2014, rising 23 percent year-over-year to $1.9 billion, according to a new report from Infonetics Research 

Sales of Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) equipment fueled overall growth in the telecom equipment market segment, rising 44 percent year-over-year in 1Q. Continued spending on fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in China; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as seasonally strong spending in North America in turn helped drive GPON revenues higher.

“While the first quarter is typically the slowest of the year in North America, and this one was no different, it's a good sign that the 10 percent revenue boost we saw in 2013 is carrying over into this year,” commented Infonetics' principal analyst for broadband and pay-TV Jeff Heynen.

“AT&T, CenturyLink, Windstream, and tier-3 operators all have dedicated plans in place to expand VDSL and GPON deployments in an effort to keep pace with cable DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts and fiber offerings from upstarts like Google.”

Among the key takeaways in Infonetics' latest quarterly broadband aggregation equipment report:

  • The global broadband aggregation equipment market (DSL, PON, and Ethernet FTTH) is down 5% in 1Q14 from 4Q13, but up a healthy 23% year-over-year, totaling $1.89 billion
  • The only equipment category that grew sequentially in 1Q14 is PON (+0.1%)
  • #2 Alcatel-Lucent finished 1Q14 only around $1 million behind top dog Huawei
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Congratulations to Finley Engineering’s Vice President of our Wisconsin operations, Dean Mischke, who recently accepted the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association (WSTA) President’s Award during the WSTA Annual Convention. 

In her award presentation, out-going WSTA President Cheryl Rue said, “Dean has been a steadfast member of the Associate Member Group Committee, and for years has offered invaluable program suggestions to the Convention, Fall Conference and Broadband Forum Committees.”

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Finley clients have been working hard to get broadband access to some of the most remote and rural parts of the country. But if you think your job has been hard bringing broadband to rural America, how about taking it to the Moon?

According to a Discover online magazine report, “researchers from NASA and MIT for the first time recently demonstrated that it's possible to beam a wireless Internet signal across the 239,800 miles separating Earth from the moon,” Discover reports.

Not only that, but future lunar explorers “could theoretically check in at Mare Imbrium and post lunar 'selfies' with greater speed than you do from your home network,” Discover's Carl Engelking writes.

As Engelking explains, the researchers employed four different telescopes in New Mexico to beam uplink signals through four different columns of air to a satellite in lunar orbit. 

Each column of infrared light is bent at different angles, so sending four increased the chances of one of them actually interacting with the lunar satellite receiver and establishing a connection with the lunar surface. About six inches in diameter, each of the four telescopes is powered by a laser transmitter that transmits information in the form of pulses of infrared light.

The scientists were able to send data to the moon at 19.44 Mbps, about that of a good Earth based broadband connection. Downloading information was much, much faster, taking place at 622 Mbps, “over 4,000 times faster than current radio transmission speeds,” Engelking noted.


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Tagged in: Broadband wifi Wireless

The rapidly emerging Internet of Things (IoT) trend is prompting information and communications technology (ICT) industry participants to band together and develop common, open standards that facilitate development of applications and platforms for the fully automated digital home.

For example, the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Home Networks Committee on May 21 announced the formation of “a new working group to develop an industry technical standard to improve interoperability among home automation devices.”

Announced at the CEA Technology & Standards Forum in Seattle, the new working group, dubbed the Device Interoperability Working Group, or R7 WG17, aims to reduce the money, time and effort required to develop software applications for consumers to access and control home automation devices and systems.

Looking to cover the spectrum of digital home automation devices and systems from end to end, the CEA is looking to recruit so-called “users” – companies who acquire home automation products from their creators – as new committee members.

Building the application programmer interfaces (APIs) that enable cross-device and platform interoperability “requires the developer to work closely with each manufacturer to develop an API or gain access to the manufacturer’s API, followed by extensive testing to ensure compatibility,” Bill Rose, president of WJR Consulting and chair of CEA’s new working group, elaborated.

“Some developers simply forego this and attempt to develop APIs on their own or use open source APIs, resulting in interoperability problems and service calls to the manufacturer for problems over which the manufacturer has no control.”

The new CEA working group hopes to avoid such problems and confusion. It intends to define XML schema templates that will lay out everything necessary for home automation application developers to build applications that monitor and control home automation devices, “including non-standard features that may not be included in standard device profiles defined elsewhere.”

Aiming to ensure backward-compatibility with legacy devices, the XML schemas will not require additional firmware.

Home automation XML schemas that comply with the CEA working group's standards “will ultimately be posted on a secure server hosted by the manufacturer or a third-party for use by application developers and others for interoperability testing,” CEA explains. “Each manufacturer will have control over who can access its schema to ensure that only developers that meet a manufacturer's approval criteria may download the schema.”


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Tagged in: Devices Smart Home

Finley clients have long recognized the growing number of devices in the home and its lead to a new business opportunity in home networking support.  New research from NPD highlights this trend, outlining that Internet connected TVs in the home continue to gain popularity. Newly connected “smart” TVs and streaming media players fueled a 6-million year-over-year increase in the number of U.S. households with TVs connected to the Internet in 1Q 2014, according to NPD’s latest, “Connected Home Report.”   

In total as of the end of the first quarter 2014, NPD puts the number of U.S. households using either a video-game console, Blu-ray disc player, streaming media player or the TV itself to connect to the Internet at 42 million

According to NPD, there are now more U.S. households with streaming media players than Blu-ray disc players connected to the Internet. “As a result, the streaming media player platform now reaches a larger digital audience than the app-related content on Blu-ray disc players,” NPD notes in a news release.

Commented John Buffone, NPD Connected Intelligence executive director, “Consumers want devices that can deliver high-quality content to their TVs. The increase in Connected TV and streaming media player penetration is proof that consumers are investing in solutions that can provide app-related content in the simplest, most effective way.”

Wireless connectivity, is in turn the most salient feature for consumers, NPD continues. Sixty-seven percent of Connected TV users said that Wi-Fi connectivity “influenced their decision regarding the device they preferred to use for apps on TV,” according to the results of the NPD Connected Intelligence “TV User Experience Report.”

More broadly, ease-of-use features, whether search-related or centered on the device, represented four of the Top 10 Connected TV features consumers highlighted in NPD's market research. Included among them were an easy-to-use remote, easy-to-use home screen, the ease with viewers could find apps or channels, and the ease with which they could find new apps.


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Tagged in: Devices Smart Home

Finley Engineering recently announced that Ann Keller, Vice President of our Kentucky office, has made the decision to transition into retirement the first part of July. It is with extreme gratitude and heavy hearts that we are accepting Ann Keller’s plan to retire and wish her all the best.

Ann’s career began 26 years ago as a staff engineer. She advanced to Vice President in 2005, and joined Finley in 2007 when Finley Engineering acquired the Lexington, Kentucky business. Finley has prospered under her direction and her team’s efforts as they’ve worked hard to not only grow Finley’s business in this part of the country, but to also deliver such exceptional results that Finley Engineering consistently receives stellar satisfaction ratings from Ann’s clients.

CEO Mike Boehne also announced the promotion of Jeff Swan to the position of Vice President of the Kentucky office, replacing Keller in July. Swan joined Finley in December of 2010 bringing significant experience, expertise and leadership to the company while managing the company’s Springfield, Illinois office.

Jeff has proven himself a genuine and innovative leader and we congratulate him on accepting this key position within Finley. Ann and Jeff have been working toward making this a smooth transition for our clients and our Finley associates. We are confident the exceptional work we do for our clients out of our Kentucky location will continue and that Jeff and his team will build upon our success in this part of the country.

Congratulations to both Ann Keller and Jeff Swan.




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Tagged in: Finley News Thank You

The penetration rate for 3G and 4G mobile broadband modems embedded in tablets reached a level not seen since late 2011 in 1Q 2014 even as 1Q remained a seasonal low point for tablet shipments overall, according to the latest global tablet market report from ABI Research.

Just over 1-in-5 (22 percent) of tablets shipped in 1Q came with an embedded 3G or 4G mobile broadband modem. That's the highest penetration rate since the September quarter of 2011, according to ABI's early vendor shipment share estimates for 1Q

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Tagged in: tablet Wireless

Finley Engineering continues to grow our Professional Engineering staff with the addition of John Ham, P.E. Ham brings over 15 years of experience to the Finley Energy Division, and will be based out of the Kansas City location.

“John is an excellent addition to the Finley Energy team,” said Vice President Phil Carroll. “His experience and skills are impressive and position us to continue to support our clients as their needs grow.”

Ham’s key focus is to provide advanced services and work with smart grid technologies for Finley clients. He has specialized in electrical engineering, substation automation, distribution automation, and SCADA Systems.   

Additional experience includes design management and functional design testing of substations, engineering service and proposal project management, program and construction management, NERC transmission and distribution, substation compliance and overall project management and supervision of professional staff.

Prior to joining Finley, Ham worked as a project manager, engineering manager and project engineer for Black and Veatch.

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Finley Engineering, a leader in professional engineering services for the telecom, broadband and energy industries, announced the promotion of Mark Mrla, P.E. to Manager – Drive, the company’s group focused on Tier 1 and 2 carriers as well as national accounts.

“As our business is realizing growth with Tier 1 and 2 carriers, we are structuring ourselves to better serve that market while continuing to deliver exceptional results to our existing clients,” said Finley CEO Michael Boehne. “Mark has repeatedly proven his ability to be a leader in our company and we are pleased he has accepted this new opportunity.”

Prior to accepting his promotion, Mrla was an engineering manager for Finley responsible for designing, budgeting, scheduling and implementing power, telecommunications and technology projects. In addition, Mrla coordinated teams and processes for client loan and grant applications for various government programs. Before joining Finley, Mark served in various management and technical positions at MidAmerican Energy Company, Gateway, Inc., and owned and operated a private technology consulting company.

Mrla holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and has served in numerous leadership positions on various community and professional boards of directors and committees. Mark is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in several states.

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Finley clients are hard at work building broadband networks that not only serve their communities, but interconnect them to the world. At times, it’s good to take a step back and put the global telecommunications market into perspective, and for that, we turn to the latest data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which is an international telecommunications agency based at The United Nations.

Their latest market research report reveals the impact that broadband is having on markets and industry worldwide. For example, nearly 3 billion people worldwide will use the Internet by year-end 2014, with two-thirds of them living in the developing world, according to ITU's latest statistics.

ITU market researchers forecast that mobile broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion worldwide by the end of the year, with 55 percent of them connecting in developing-world countries. Globally, mobile-broadband penetration will reach 32 percent, with penetration among developed countries reaching 84 percent, four-times greater as that for developing countries (21%).

Regionally, the highest mobile-broadband penetration rates are to be found in Europe (64%) and the Americas (59%), followed by the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS (49%), the Arab States (25%), Asia-Pacific (23%), and Africa (19%).

Fixed-line telephone penetration will continue to decline as that for mobile-cellular continues to increase. Declining for the past five years, ITU forecasts there will be about 100 million fewer fixed-line telephone subscriptions by the end of 2014 than there were in 2009.

In contrast, mobile-cellular subscriptions will reach nearly 7 billion, 3.6 billion of them in the Asia-Pacific region. Mobile-cellular subscriptions in the developing world will represent 78 percent of the global total, ITU points out.

Nonetheless, growth in mobile-cellular subscriptions is showing signs of reaching saturation, registering its lowest growth rate ever this year at 2.6 percent globally.

Mobile-cellular penetration in the two fastest growing and lowest-penetration regions – Africa and Asia-Pacific – will reach 69 percent and 89 percent, respectively, by year-end, according to ITU. Penetration rates in Arab countries, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), as well as in the Americas and Europe, are already above 100 percent. ITU forecasts mobile penetration in these regions collectively will grow at less than a 2 percent rate in 2014, with CIS countries registering the highest rate of growth.

Turning to Internet penetration, ITU's market research revealed Internet-user penetration stands at 40 percent globally, 78 percent in developed countries and 32 percent in the developing world. Internet penetration in Africa will double from 10 percent in 2010 to 20 percent by year-end 2014.

 Nearly two of three people across the Americas – nearly 3 billion people – will be Internet users by the end of the year, according to ITU, the second highest penetration rate after Europe, where Internet penetration will reach 75 percent. One-third of those living in the Asia-Pacific region will be Internet users come year-end, accounting for around 45 percent of Internet users globally.

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Finley Engineering, a leader in professional engineering services for the telecom, broadband and energy industries, has released the results of its 2014 Client Satisfaction Survey which revealed satisfaction ratings continue to climb, reaching an overall satisfaction rating of 95%.

“We could not achieve these results without the dedication of our Finley employees and the trusting relationships we have with our clients,” said CEO Michael Boehne. “We hire the best in the business at Finley, and we are proud that our clients are receiving ethical, knowledgeable, responsive, and professional service.”

The research also revealed the evaluation of Finley employees who work with clients was high. All attributes measured (ethical, knowledgeable, responsive, and professional) were strong – generally above 90%. We have extended our thanks internally to our associates and we will remain focused on these behaviors.

Finley Engineering believes that client satisfaction is one of the key factors for the success of the company, as the information obtained from measuring client satisfaction can help identify opportunities for improvement of the firm’s strategies, services, processes and characteristics that are valued by clients.

We see areas of opportunity to keep clients up to date on technology and industry developments such are working on plans to further develop our blog, “Communique” and “Grid” newsletters and white papers. Please watch for more invites to access this information. We will also continue to bring forward information at industry events and sponsored webinars.

The independent research was conducted by Diedrich RPM of Minneapolis. 

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Another huge spurt in the amount of electronic data produced worldwide is expected over the course of this decade, fueled by “the emergence of wireless technologies, smart products and software-defined businesses,” according to the latest annual report from EMC Corp. The “digital universe,” as measured by EMC, is doubling in size every two years and will expand 10-fold between 2013 and 2020, increasing from 4.4 trillion gigabytes (GB) to 44 trillion.

 Providing some perspective as to the enormity of this volume of data, data storage supplier EMC calculates that “the amount of information in the digital universe today would fill a stack of iPad Air tablets reaching 2/3 of the way to the moon. That's some 157,674 miles (253,704 kilometers). That will grow to be 6.6 iPad stacks of data by the end of the decade.

In addition, according to EMC's latest annual research report, entitled “The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things”:

  • Today, the average household creates enough data to fill 65 iPhones (32GB) per year. In 2020, this will grow to 318 iPhones
  • Today, if a byte of data were a gallon of water, in only 10 seconds there would be enough data to fill an average house. In 2020, it will only take 2 seconds.

A lot of growth will be driven by automated, machine-to-machine (M2M) data gathering, now called “The Internet of Things,” EMC highlights. Referring to IDC data, there are almost 200 billion devices that can be connected to the Internet today, and 7 percent of them (14 billion) are now connected and communicating via the Internet, EMC notes. That's about 2 percent of all the data being communicated via the Internet. IDC forecasts that number will grow to 32 billion, 10 percent of worldwide data, by 2020. 

If there were ever any more indication that Finley clients are moving well beyond traditional telecommunications clients to data network providers, this would be it. Much of this data usage and consumption traverses the broadband networks that our clients have been busily building and upgrading. That upgrade cycle will continue unabated for years to come, as this flood of data continues.

Big Data
Ever greater amounts of M2M, or “Internet of Things,” data will also raise the percentage of so-called “useful data,” data that can be analyzed, according to EMC. Useful data made up only 22 percent of all Internet data in 2013, and less than 5 percent of that was actually analyzed. Growth in “Internet of Things” data will result in over 35 percent of all Internet data being considered “useful data,” though “it will be up to businesses to put this data to use,” EMC says.

The burgeoning amount of data and the application of “Big Data” analytics could radically change the way businesses operate, “stimulating billions of dollars in opportunity for businesses,” EMC continues. Along with these opportunities come challenges, including gaining the ability to manage, store and protect “the sheer volume and diversity of this data,” however. IDC notes that while 40 percent of data in the digital universe requires some level of protection, only 20 percent is actually protected.

Other key takeaways in EMC's “Digital Universe” report include:

  • Emerging markets are producing more data: Currently, 60% of data in the digital universe is attributed to mature markets such as Germany, Japan, and the United States, but by 2020, the percentage will flip, and emerging markets including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia will account for the majority of data.
  • Data is outpacing storage: The world’s amount of available storage capacity (i.e., unused bytes) across all media types is growing slower than the digital universe. In 2013, the available storage capacity could hold just 33% of the digital universe. By 2020, it will be able to store less than 15%. Fortunately, most of the world’s data is transient (e.g. Netflix or Hulu stream, Xbox ONE game interactions, Digital TV.) and requires no storage.
  • Data touched by the cloud will double: In 2013, less than 20% of the data in the digital universe was “touched” by the cloud. By 2020, that percentage will double to 40%.
  • Consumers create data but enterprises are responsible for it: Two-thirds of the digital universe bits are created or captured by consumers and workers, yet enterprises have liability or responsibility for 85% of the digital universe.


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Tagged in: Big Data Broadband