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Tag Archives: nyc

NYC blasts broadband competition shortage as it pursues suit against Verizon

Enlarge / New York, USA - January 14, 2016: A Verizon worker on Worth Street in Lower Manhattan. (credit: Getty Images | 400tmax) More than two-thirds of New York City's 3.1 million households have just one or two broadband providers offering service to their homes, according to a new "Truth in Broadband " report issued by the city government. The report comes as NYC pursues a lawsuit against Verizon alleging that it hasn't met its broadband deployment obligations. There's only one ISP offering home broadband service at 13.54 percent of the city's 3,114,826 households, meaning that nearly 422,000 households have just one "choice." Another 55.44 percent of NYC households—nearly 1.73 million in all—have two broadband providers. The remaining 31.02 percent (more than 966,000 households) have at least three broadband providers. The report defines broadband as Internet service with at least 25Mbps download speeds and 3Mbps upload speeds, the same standard the Federal Communications Commission uses to evaluate broadband deployment progress nationwide. DSL offers some more choice, but the network technology "is not generally capable of delivering a 25Mbps download speed," the report said. The report's broadband deployment statistics are based on federal data as of December 2016. Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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NYC paves the way for pedal-assist bike-sharing

While dockless, electric bike-sharing programs have taken off in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area , the same can’t be said for New York City, yet. Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio effectively paved the way for bike-sharing startups with pedal-assist functionality to hit the streets in a legal way. “As cycling continues to grow in popularity for commuting, deliveries and tourism, we are seeing the demand for pedal-assist bicycles that can help cyclists travel longer distances and more easily climb steep hills,” Mayor de Blasio said in a press release . “With new and clear guidelines, cyclists, delivery workers and businesses alike will now understand exactly what devices are allowed.” This framework comes several months after Mayor de Blasio cracked down on e-bikes, which led to the NYPD confiscating 923 e-bikes and issuing about 1,800 citations to people who were caught riding them. Before today, it was legal to own an e-bike, but it was technically illegal to operate them. Now, the Department of Transportation is working on rules and regulations to make pedal-assist bikes legal to ride in the city. The new framework legalizes pedal-assist bikes while keeping in tact regulations that make throttle e-bikes that go above 20MPH illegal. “Cycling, including on pedal-assist bikes, is not only fun, it’s a fast, affordable, healthy and sustainable way of getting around,” NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. “With challenges like the L train tunnel closure on the horizon, our aim is to balance moving even more New Yorkers on two wheels with the need to manage that growth safely.” The DOT is also exploring opportunities for dockless bike-sharing in the city. In December, the DOT requested “expressions of interest” from companies looking to launch some pilots in the city. “Dockless bike share holds the potential to bring meaningful and affordable transportation services to wide areas of the City, and the City wishes to evaluate, in a careful and controlled fashion, whether Dockless vendors can operate safely and successfully in the City’s environment,” the memo stated . JUMP, the NYC-based bike-sharing startup that scored an exclusive contract with San Francisco to operate its pedal-assist bikes, is obviously happy about this. In addition to San Francisco, JUMP operates its dockless pedal-assist bikes in Washington D.C. and Sacramento

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UberRUSH is shutting down

Uber is closing the doors on its on-demand package delivery service for merchants, RUSH, in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago, TechCrunch has learned. In an email to users, Uber said it plans to close RUSH operations June 30, 2018. “At Uber, we believe in making big bold bets, and while ending UberRUSH comes with some sadness, we will continue our mission of building reliable technology that serves people and cities all over the world,” Uber’s NYC RUSH team wrote to customers. Uber has since confirmed the wind-down. “We’re winding down UberRUSH deliveries and ending services by the end of June,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’re thankful for our partners and hope the next three months will allow them to make arrangements for their delivery needs. We’re already applying a lot of the lessons we learned together to our UberEats food delivery business in over 200 global markets across more than 100,000 restaurants.” With UberRUSH, which I forgot still existed, people can request deliveries for items no more than 30 pounds in size, except animals, alcohol, illegal items, stolen goods and dangerous items like guns and explosives. Last April, Uber stopped providing courier services to restaurants , encouraging them to instead use UberEATS, the company’s food delivery service. The shutdown of UberRUSH comes shortly after Shyp, an on-demand shipping company, announced its last day of operations.

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Apple doesn’t understand what makes Chromebooks great – TNW

TNW Apple doesn't understand what makes Chromebooks great TNW Apple announced a new iPad earlier this week at an education-focused event. Though it's rare for the company to directly acknowledge its competition during presentations, it made no secret the new iPad was aimed at one rival in particular: Chromebooks ... and more »

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New York City is launching public cybersecurity tools to keep residents from getting hacked

In a week of harrowing city-level cyber attacks , New York is taking some precautions. While the timing is coincidental, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced that the city will introduce the first tools in its suite of cybersecurity offerings to protect residents against malicious online activity, particularly on mobile devices. When it launches this summer, New York residents will be able to download a free app called NYC Secure . The app will alert smartphone users to potential threats on their devices and offer tips for how to stay secure, “such as disconnecting from a malicious Wi-Fi network, navigating away from a compromised website, or uninstalling a malicious app.” Because the app will take no active steps on its own, it’ll be up to users to heed the advice presented to them. NYC Secure will not collect or transmit any personal identifying information or private data. The city will also beef up security over its public Wi-Fi networks, a notorious target for malicious actors looking to snoop on private information as it passes by unencrypted. The city will implement DNS protection through a service called Quad9 , a free public cybersecurity product out of the partnership between Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), IBM and Packet Clearing House. “In order to stay a step ahead of cyber criminals that are continuously finding new ways to hack devices, we must invest in the safety of the digital lives of our residents,” said Geoff Brown, Citywide Chief Information Security Officer. “While no individual is immune to cybersecurity threats, this program will add an extra layer of security to personal devices that often house a huge amount of sensitive data.” New York’s NYC Cyber Command (NYC3), a city-level cyber defense organization established by mayoral executive order in July 2017, will introduce the new public security tools and oversee their implementation. “Initiatives like this one in New York City will help grow awareness of the increasing cyberattack problem and may urge citizens to take more action to protect themselves,” McAfee CEO Christopher Young said of the city’s cyber plan. Because New York faces so many unique cybersecurity threats as an international business hub and a dense cultural epicenter, the city could provide a compelling model for other metropolitan areas looking to take their cyber problems into their own hands.

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Waymo teams up with Jaguar to intro a new, premium self-driving car

This morning at Chelsea Piers in NYC, Waymo CEO John Krafcik announced a new model of car powered by Waymo’s self-driving technology. Dubbed the world’s first premium fully self-driving car, Waymo has partnered with Jaguar Land Rover to bring the Waymo-outfitted Jaguar I-PACE to the public. Waymo plans to outfit 20,000 units to be used for Waymo’s public self-driving service over the next few years, which will allow the service to offer 1 million rides per day. This is the sixth model in Waymo’s lineup, including a small car, an SUV, a firefly prototype, a minivan (the Pacifica we’re all familiar with) and a semi-truck for operations. “We want to build a self-driving car for every passenger and every trip,” said John Krafcik at the reveal. He also said that the Jaguar Land Rover model also has a bigger battery, allowing the car to drive all day. Moreover, this partnership signals a move across the Atlantic for Waymo, expressing interest in bringing self-driving cars over to Europe. Waymo has already announced that Waymo would bring self-driving service to the public in 2018. As part of the deal with Jaguar, Waymo plans to have 20,000 units on the streets, starting in Phoenix with about 100 square mile area, roughly one-sixth of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Krafcik was extremely vague at the event when asked how many cities he’d like to see Waymo in in the next two years. “More,” he said simply. This comes at a time when self-driving tech is having a bit of a publicity crisis. One of Uber’s self-driving cars was recently involved in a fatal collision with a pedestrian , which may slow public adoption of the technology.

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Village Global raises $100M seed scout fund from Zuck, Bezos…

It takes a village to grow a startup, so Village Global is offering access to a deep network of top tech execs to lure founders to its seed fund. Today, Village Global announced it’s raised $100 million for that fund that was first unveiled in September. In exchange for equity, portfolio companies get investment plus mentorship from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s BIll Gates, Google’s Eric Schmidt, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Disney’s Bob Iger, VMWare’s Diane Green, NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, and more. Village Global also announced its 90-day intensive Network Catalyst program that sees the fund get more involved in developing a startup’s product and connections. It takes 7 percent for an $120,000 investment plus admission to the program. Erik Torenberg, Product Hunt’s first employee and a founding partner of Village Global tells me that with the program “Founders get a ‘brain trust’ assembled to fit their needs and to introduce talent, customers and investors.” “I really think of Village Global as a co-founder at Keyo” says actual Keyo co-founder Kiran Bellubbi whose real estate startup we wrote about last week . “We’ve ideated, strategized and built this business from the ground up together in under 3 months. Couldn’t have done it without this team. The pace of play is astonishing.” Newly announced LPs and mentors for Village Global include Fidelity’s Abby Johnson, Activision’s Bobby Kotick, 23andme’s Anne Wojcicki, and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. The question is how much these mentors will actually engage with the portfolio companies instead of just being figureheads. The program reminds me of Jay-Z’s Tidal, which signed artists like Daft Punk and Jack White as owners, but only a few like Kanye have actually done much for the company. Reid Hoffman did recently sit down with Village Global companies, though, as seen above. Village Global’s other partners like LinkedIn’s Ben Casnocha, 500 Startups’ Adam Corey, Chegg’s Anne Dwane, and SuccessFactors’ Ross Fubini will have to keep the big-wigs present. Most venture funds today have a slew of general partners searching for and leading deals

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FitHouse aims to make fancy fitness classes more affordable

Fitness-oriented New Yorkers aren’t facing a shortage of classes that they can sign up for, but the prices can add up — Clément Benoit, founder of a new startup called FitHouse , said boutique classes cost an average of $35 per session. FitHouse, on the other hand, is charging $99 per month for unlimited classes. Contrast that not just with a traditional studio, but also with ClassPass, where  pricing  in NYC ranges from $45 (for two to four classes) to $135 (for eight to 12 classes) per month. In many ways, FitHouse offers a more traditional model than ClassPass — instead of giving subscribers access to a classes run by other studios and instructors, it’s building a studio of its own. Benoit said this gives the company more control over the experience, and a bigger piece of the revenue, which he said “we redistribute to both the user and the instructors.” Beyond the pricing, Benoit said FitHouse also stands out because of its approach to real estate. It’s looking to take over empty spaces that require a minimum amount of investment to make them ready for classes. And it’s signing six-month leases with the possibility of a longer-term extension, so that it can quickly spin up new locations in new neighborhoods, with a minimum of risk. FitHouse has already opened its first location in New York’s Bowery neighborhood, with plans to launch 12 locations across the city over the next year. Clément Benoit Benoit also said he’s attracting the best instructors by putting them front-and-center in FitHouse’s marketing and scheduling , and by paying them 10 to 25 percent more than they’d normally make to teach a class. (Though to be clear, these instructors aren’t working with FitHouse exclusively.) Benoit, by the way, is a tech entrepreneur who  sold his last-mile delivery startup Stuart to GeoPost last year. (And he’s already raised a $3 million round from Global Founders Capital, Xavier Niel and Fabrice Grinda.) He admitted that FitHouse’s technology isn’t the most flashy part of the offering, but he said it’s still important that the startup created its own frontend and backend infrastructure. “Just the fact that we have information on the user, we can deliver a personalized check in: You came last week, you had a great class with this instructor, how did you like it?” he said. “No studio does that

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TypingDNA launches Chrome extension that verifies your identity based on typing

TypingDNA has a new approach to verifying your identity based on how you type. The startup, which is part of the current class at Techstars NYC , is pitching this as an alternative to two-factor authentication — namely, the security feature that sends unique codes to a separate device (usually your phone) to make sure someone else isn’t logging in with your password. The problem with two factor? TypingDNA Raul Popa put it simply: “It’s a bad user experience … Nobody wants to use a different device.” (I know that TechCrunch writers have had two-factor issues of their own, like when they’re trying to log in on an airplane and can’t connect their phone.) So TypingDNA allows users to verify their identity without having to whip out their phone. Instead, they just enter their name and password into a window, then TypingDNA will analyze their typing and confirm that it’s really them. The startup’s business model revolves around working with partners to incorporate the technology, but it’s also launching a free Chrome extension that works as an alternative to two-factor authentication on a wide range of services, including Amazon Web Services, Coinbase and Gmail. Popa said TypingDNA measures two key aspects of your typing: How long it takes you to reach a key and how long you keep the key pressed down. Apparently these patterns are unique; Popa showed me that the system could tell the difference between his typing and mine, and you can test it out for yourself on the TypingDNA website . He also said that the company can adjust the strictness of the system, getting the rate of false positives as low as 0.1 percent. In the case of the Chrome authenticator, Popa said, “We minimize the false acceptance rate” — so you might get rejected if you’re typing in an unusual position, or if there’s some other reason you’re typing slower or faster than usual. But in that case, the authenticator will just ask you to try again. And again, you can use the Chrome extension on a variety of sites. Most two-factor options include confirming a device using a QR code, which TypingDNA can grab. The two-factor codes are then sent to the TypingDNA extension (they codes are stored locally on your computer, not the company’s servers), and they’re revealed once you’ve verified your identity with the aforementioned typing. You can visit TypingDNA to learn more and download the extension

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