The Switchboard: Don’t call Google X a ‘research lab’


Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable lost 1.1 million video customers in 2013. "At the same time," reports Ars Technica, "Comcast added 1.3 million broadband Internet subscribers, to hit a total of 20.7 million. TWC gained 211,000 broadband subscribers, to bring its total to 11.6 million."

A look inside Globalstar’s plan to build an exclusive nationwide Wi-Fi network. "Globalstar may be known for satellite phones today," writes GigaOm, "but if it gets its way it could be supplying private Wi-Fi connections to consumers all over the country using its own boutique broadband spectrum."

Xbox leader Marc Whitten leaves Microsoft. "Xbox Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten has left Microsoft for a job as Chief Product Officer of Sonos, a home audio company," according to Joystiq. "Whitten had been with Microsoft since 2000 and helped launch the original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One."

FCC supremo angry that US classrooms are filled with unused RJ45 ports. "The head of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is calling on US lawmakers to change the way IT is funded and deployed in schools," reports the Register. "Tom Wheeler – chairman of the watchdog – said the E-Rate program that supplies communications gear to schools and libraries in America should focus on replacing wired Ethernet in classrooms with Wi-Fi setups."

Why Google doesn’t have a research lab. "Google’s research boss, Alfred Spector, has a small core team and no department or building to call his own," according to MIT Technology Review. "He spends most of his time roaming the open plan, novelty strewn offices of Google’s product divisions, where the vast majority of its fundamental research takes place."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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