Interoute Said to Hire Advisers to Explore $2 Billion Sale

(Bloomberg) — Interoute Communications Ltd, a pan-European fiber carrier and cloud-services operator controlled by the Sandoz Family Foundation, has hired financial advisers to evaluate a sale, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Interoute is working with Credit Suisse and Evercore Inc. to explore a deal dubbed “Project Nitro,” said the people, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. The London-based company could be valued in a range of seven to 10 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or as much as 1.65 billion euros ($1.95 billion), the people said.

The company owns and operates one of the largest independent European grids with 72,400 fiber-route kilometers spanning 29 countries, according to a document viewed by Bloomberg News.

Representatives for Interoute, Credit Suisse and Evercore declined to comment.

Interoute, whose clients include BT Group Plc, Vodafone Group Plc and AT&T Inc., reported 2016 revenue of 727 million euros and Ebitda of 147 million euros. The company had Ebitda of 165 million euros for the 12 months ending in the second quarter.

The Sandoz Family Foundation owns 70 percent of Interoute, while Aleph Capital and Crestview Partners together own 30 percent. In 2015 Interoute completed the acquisition of U.K. phone carrier Easynet Ltd, its largest purchase to date, adding revenue of about 240 million euros.

Yahoo Triples Likely Scope of ’13 Hack to 3 Billion Users

(Bloomberg) — Yahoo, the internet company acquired by Verizon Communications Inc. this year, now believes a 2013 security breach affected all 3 billion of its users at the time.

The assessment, based on new intelligence obtained after the $4.5 billion acquisition, compares with Yahoo’s initial estimate that 1 billion accounts were compromised. The information stolen didn’t include passwords in clear text, payment data or bank accounts. Yahoo is notifying users.

Verizon, which is combining Yahoo with its AOL business to attract more internet advertising, had negotiated a $350 million price cut on the deal after Yahoo disclosed the 2013 breach and a subsequent hack in 2014. The attacks exposed user accounts and threatened Yahoo’s trust with consumers.

Verizon, based in New York, was little changed in late trading.

Yahoo has said it wasn’t able to identify who was responsible for the 2013 breach, though the U.S. government has accused Russia of directing the 2014 hack. The 2013 intrusion was discovered by Andrew Komarov, chief intelligence officer for InfoArmor, who had been tracking a prolific Eastern European hacker group that he spotted offering 1 billion Yahoo accounts for $300,000 in a private sale.

By watching the group’s communications, he was able to determine that it sold the database three times. Two buyers were large spamming groups. The third buyer provided a list of 10 names of U.S. and foreign government officials and business executives to verify that their logins were part of the database, Komarov said. The unusual request, Komarov said, indicated that the buyer might be linked to a foreign intelligence agency.

Advocacy Groups Urge FCC to Release Net Neutrality Complaints

More than a dozen advocacy groups are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week to release the text of 47,000 net neutrality complaints, which were requested under the Freedom of Information Act in May.

A letter co-signed by 16 groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and OpenMedia, said that “every day of delay is one more day that the FCC shirks its duties.”

The letter, sent Monday and addressed to the five commissioners, claims that the FCC “has failed to make critical evidence available for public review and comment.”

“In the interest of proper rulemaking the FCC should immediately release the over 47,000 consumer complaints and the ombudsperson documents and allow the public sufficient time to review and comment on them,” the letter authors write. “This would allow the Commission and the public the ability to more adequately and fully assess the benefits to consumers and the behavior of ISPs since the 2015 Open Internet Order went into effect.”

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) filed the request in May, and so far it has yielded only a fraction of the complaints. The FCC released the text of 1,000 complaints, and said that redacting personally identifiable information from the remaining documents would be unreasonably burdensome. It counter-offered to provide an additional 2,000 complaints with accompanying documents.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argued in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that because there was only one official complaint filed against an ISP since 2015’s Open Internet Order, the rules may be unnecessary. The open letter suggests that the “evidence of actual harm to consumers” Pai asks about in the NPRM may have been collected through the informal complaint process, yet the FCC is proceeding “without looking at any of its own evidence.”

“Currently, commission staffers are in the process of reviewing these documents and redacting any personal information,” a spokesperson for Pai told Ars Technica on Tuesday. “We anticipate releasing another batch of documents by the end of the week and will release the remainder as soon as we can.”

The NHMC filed a motion in July for the FCC to extend the net neutrality comment deadline until 60 days after it finished providing the NHMC with the requested documents. The FCC rejected the extension request (PDF). It subsequently extended the deadline by two weeks (PDF) to Aug. 30 following a request for an 8 week extension by 10 groups, including several signatories to Monday’s letter.

Save Net Neutrality. Save the Internet We Love.

By Brett Dunst, VP of Corporate Communications, DreamHost

Hey reader of this online article, you ever use the internet? It’s good, right? It’s got Netflix, Instagram, a bunch of WordPress sites – the whole thing’s a lot of fun.

You may or may not know this about the internet, but it’s been free and open since the beginning, so much so that it’s hard not to take it for granted. This whole time, all internet traffic has been treated equally. Whether it’s the new season of Mozart in the Jungle, boring work emails, or the latest in meme technology, all content travels across the internet at the same speed and arrives at its destination as efficiently as possible. It’s a fair system and it works great. That open access is what we’re talking about when we talk about Net Neutrality: it’s a way of saying, “Listen internet, if perfect’s what you’re searching for then just stay the same, because you’re amazing just the way you are.”

Unfortunately there are some people who don’t want to be a part of the bright future where the internet remains as free and accessible as it’s always been. Unfortunately, this group includes the President himself and the FCC Chairman he appointed. Chairman Ajit Pai has already led the FCC in voting to rollback rules established in 2015 that previously protected the open internet.

Let’s say these people get their way.  What’s the worst that could happen?  With no regulations remaining to protect net neutrality, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) could make their own rules, creating and then charging a premium for the use of internet “fast lanes,” where some content providers pay to have their sites load more quickly.  On the other side of the coin, customers could also be invited to pay extra for faster access to certain sites – think of a world where Wikipedia could be flagged as a ‘premium’ service by your ISP.  Suddenly everyone’s being nickel-and-dimed for what used to be one low, flat rate.

Why would anyone be so darn wrong? It’s easy to paint the enemies of net neutrality as greedy monsters from a dystopian nightmare who would put a price tag on the air you’re breathing right now if they could, but let’s grant their argument a fair shake before we tear it apart. Some net neutrality opponents believe that the protections harm business and dampen ISP investment, innovation and flexibility. Many in Congress and the FCC itself claim that net neutrality is simply big government interfering with the free market.  Some claim that net neutrality will lead to excessive internet regulation and impede infrastructure developments, so who needs it?

Now that we set ‘em up, lets knock ‘em down. The truth is, net neutrality doesn’t stifle innovation. It drives it, while at the same time providing protections for both free speech and free enterprise. It doesn’t reduce ISP investments, as proven by telecom executives stating the fact that net neutrality hasn’t hurt them. Net neutrality is pro-business and pro-entrepreneurship by its nature – it defines a fair and open competitive playing field for market forces to operate upon. As is evidenced by the magnificent achievements of the internet we love which began as startups – Netflix, Google, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, I could go on – an open internet with low barriers of entry is an engine of unprecedented power when it comes to letting a new product, service, or idea find its audience and flourish.

This is why the potential end of net neutrality should terrify every one of us. Me. You. Everyone. Without it, none of those sites I just mentioned would exist. In a world where only massive and entrenched companies have sites that are easily accessible, I don’t know if you’d still be driving to Blockbuster for your videos, but maybe. Thankfully Netflix already innovated the crap out of that market, but in the future you might be paying an ISP extra for Netflix access, or have no real choice but to use your ISP’s own media service. Good luck getting a new competing business off the ground without equal internet speed and access, no matter how innovative it is.

These repercussions are scary enough, but it’s not just about the crushing effects it could have on small businesses.  Content creating individuals could also be at risk for marginalization.  Imagine finding your own website or blog stuck in a slow lane, while views more in line with the political and social preferences of ISPs and entrenched powers blaze by.  Bad stuff!

So here’s the call to arms: let’s all move to Canada! No, that’s a joke – we stay and we fight! (Props to Canada for committing to an open internet though.)

The most effective action we can take is to write to the FCC and members of Congress and voice our opinion on net neutrality, especially if you run a website –and you aren’t already the size of Amazon, although they’re on board too. Naturally the FCC has made it super-duperly hard to find the comment form on its site, but there’s an easy link for you to use at Battle for the Net, a coalition DreamHost supports along with just about every other woke internet-based company. The FCC’s site actually crashed the last time it called for public comments on net neutrality, thanks to the over 4 million people who took action. Now go slow down their site before they do it to yours!

About the Author

Brett Dunst is VP of Corporate Communications at DreamHost, a global web hosting, domain registrar and cloud services provider.

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Democrat Who Backed Net Neutrality Chosen by Trump for FCC

(Bloomberg) — Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel was chosen to return to the Federal Communications Commission, where she supported net neutrality rules and stricter media ownership limits that now may be undone under Republican leadership.

Rosenworcel, 45, an FCC commissioner from 2012 until January, will be nominated by President Donald Trump, the White House said in an emailed statement late Tuesday. She languished without a vote from the Republican-majority Senate for more than a year after her May 2015 renomination by President Barack Obama. She has the support of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Rosenworcel is a great pick for the FCC and I’m happy the administration accepted our recommendation,” Schumer said an emailed statement. He said policy priorities will include preserving net neutrality and expanding access to broadband.

Mozilla: Regardless of Party, Most Americans Support Net Neutrality

“Hallelujah, better late than never,” Senator Bill Nelson, of Florida, the top Democrat on the Commerce Committee that oversees the FCC, said in an emailed statement. “The Senate should now move quickly to confirm her and fulfill the promise that was made two years ago.”

The president’s party is entitled by law to a 3-2 majority at the agency. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was nominated in March to serve a second five-year term that would last until 2021, and awaits a vote. Another Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, is serving a term that expires at the end of this month, but can continue to serve for a time.

One seat is vacant following the resignation of the former Democratic chairman following the Republicans’ election victory last year.

FCC Vote First Step in Net Neutrality Repeal Process

Lawmakers want more information about efforts to fill the remaining vacancy, said Frederick Hill, a spokesman for Senator John Thune, the South Dakota Republican who is chairman of the Commerce Committee. Thune “is pleased to see Jessica Rosenworcel’s nomination moving forward,” Hill said.

Pai has led a 2-1 Republican majority that has moved to ease media ownership rules and roll back the net neutrality rule that bans blocking or slowing of web traffic by internet service providers such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. Policy advances by majority votes at the agency, and the power of minority members to stop changes they oppose is limited.

The FCC passed the net neutrality rule in 2015 on a 3-2 vote with only Democrats including Rosenworcel approving and Pai dissenting. Rosenworcel in a statement at the time cast her vote as part of “duty to protect what has made the internet the most dynamic platform for free speech ever invented.” In 2014, she joined a Democratic-only majority in a vote to tighten rules on broadcast owners controlling more than one TV station in a city.

Shaw Sells ViaWest Server Unit to Peak 10 for $1.7 Billion

(Bloomberg) — Shaw Communications Inc. sold its ViaWest data service business to Peak 10 Holding Corp. for C$2.3 billion ($1.7 billion), three years after the Canadian telecommunications company bought it for C$1.3 billion.

ViaWest and Peak 10 combined will be North America’s largest privately held data center company, Shaw said in a statement on Tuesday. The deal frees up cash for Shaw to focus more on expanding its wireless business and competing with Telus Corp., Rogers Communications Inc. and BCE Inc. Shaw rose 4 percent to C$29.80 at 9:43 a.m. in Toronto, its biggest intraday rise in two months.

Shaw, based in Calgary, has been re-adjusting its focus to providing home internet, TV and wireless services after selling its media division to Corus Entertainment Inc. and buying Wind Mobile to add wireless to its offerings. Shaw also said Tuesday it would spend C$430 million to buy wireless spectrum form Quebecor Inc., giving it the ability to offer better wireless service in Toronto and major western Canadian cities.

“This transaction should allow Shaw to redeploy cash where it is needed: wireless,” Mayer Yaghi, a Montreal-based analyst with Desjardins Securities Inc., said in a note to clients. The deal makes sense because more of ViaWest’s business was in the U.S. and therefore didn’t line up with the rest of Shaw’s operations, he said.

Peak 10 is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based cloud storage company. The data center and cloud storage market is growing rapidly, creating massive new revenue streams for the world’s dominant internet companies, including Microsoft Corp., Inc. and Alphabet Inc. Amazon in particular is expanding in Canada, putting pressure on local providers.

The deal follows other major recent data center sales. Digital Bridge Holdings LLC agreed to buy Vantage Data Centers from Silver Lake Partners for $1 billion in March and Verizon Communications Inc. agreed to sell its business to Equinix Inc. for $3.6 billion last year.

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