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Mobile Micro-Insurance within Developing Nations

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

When we think of cutting-edge technology, we tend to imagine likely applications in the most advanced markets. But today, mobile communication is leveling the playing field for innovation, to the point where we can find some of the most interesting technology innovations happening in the developing world.

The introduction of wireless connectivity into rural and low-income communities with unique needs is creating all sorts of fascinating new applications. Case in point: mobile micro-insurance.

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U.S. Broadband Deployment: Where the FCC Should Focus

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

At a time in the United States when political opinions seem to fly to the extremes, with no middle ground, it’s no surprise that the FCC’s recent report on broadband deployment evokes a similarly polarized reaction.

Of the five commissioners who authored the report, three (including chairman Julius Genachowski) seem to believe that 95% penetration of fixed broadband by any technology (see graphic) is cause for alarm, citing the lack of broadband in rural areas and tribal lands. Two of the three commissioners filed dissents to the conclusions of the report.

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Winners of the Cisco BIG Awards 2012

Seven months after launching the Cisco BIG Awards 2012: 300+ entries; 13 semi-finalists and 6 finalists later, we finally announced the winners at Cisco House last Wednesday.

A momentous occasion for our British Innovation Gateway initiative, the winners were announced following a live Dragon’s Den style pitch by all six BIG Award finalists.

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The Confessions of a Destruction Engineer

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

I sat on a plane the other day with Walter Axe, 99 years old and a happily-retired former telephone company engineer, on the way to see his newest great-granddaughter. During the three-hour flight, Walter regaled me with stories of his life in the Bell System.

He joined the company in 1931, fresh out of the Army. He dug ditches, put up poles (often using teams of horses), ran wire, worked in the switch room, and ultimately ended up in Illinois, where he found himself in, as he describes it, “the best job in the world.” Intrigued, I asked what the job was.

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Private or Public Sector: Who Should Deploy Broadband?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Google’s experiment in laying broadband fiber in Kansas City, Missouri revives the old question of who should deploy broadband technology: the public sector, the private sector, or an entity based on a public utility model?

Municipally deployed broadband (like its previous sibling, municipal Wi-Fi) continues to be somewhat problematic. A recent audit for the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, the optimistically named UTOPIA in the Salt Lake City suburbs, shows that the consortium is still waiting for broadband to catch on in order to pay back its bonds.

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