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Broadband Pricing: Where it is Falling

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Two reports issued by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in the past few months reveal that concerted efforts of both governments and service providers are combining to make broadband more accessible and affordable, at least for developing countries.

Let’s look at the most recent report first.

According to the 2010 ICT Price Basket report, broadband costs around the world have dropped approximately 52 percent between 2008 and 2010 — compared to a 22 percent drop in prices for mobile cellular services.

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Creating a Digital Business Ecosystem

Most informed people tend to agree, broadband services can be applied as an enabler of socioeconomic advancement. However, while high-speed internet access is an important ingredient for gaining entry into the global networked economy, its application is most effective when used as part of a concerted effort to empower the members of a local community.

Howard’s recent story about the role of broadband in rural development attracted some interesting commentary — both on the blog post and within the LinkedIn groups where I shared a summary. Most of the comments were about infrastructure investment, but some of the other insights reminded me of the observations that I made during my recent trip to London, England.

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Can Broadband Reshape Rural Development?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

If you are a student of history and commerce, you recognize a clear pattern to the development of cities. In the beginning, most of them were founded on rivers — think Paris and the Seine, London and the Thames, New York and the Hudson.

Then railroads took over from rivers as a catalyst for development. In the United States, Chicago and Denver owe their existence to the proximity of tracks, rather than proximity to water. Thus began the transition from natural to industrial.

Today we are in the middle of the transition from the industrial to the digital, based on the rapid deployment of broadband technology. What will be the first major city based on digital technology? Is it Silicon Valley, in California? Is it Bombay? Is it Shanghai?

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Video Streaming: How it’s Transforming Entertainment

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

The ultimate cultural vision of video streaming was laid out in an iconic Qwest TV commercial from 1999. In it, a man wanders into a dusty, remote motel asking about room amenities. It’s not promising. The bored young lady behind the desk recites in an apathetic tone that the beds are all king-size, and the only breakfast offered is donuts and coffee.

But when the man asks about entertainment, that’s a little different. In the same monotone, the girl answers, “All rooms have every movie ever made in every language any time day or night.” It’s taken a while — probably longer than the technoptomists among us expected — but we’re getting closer to that vision.

For one thing, according to a survey recently conducted by Goldman Sachs and reported by HedgeFundLive, 27 percent of Americans now stream TV shows and movies, up from 16 percent in 2010.

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Closer Analysis of Service Penetration Trends

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

In my last post about exploring user adoption trends, I shared insights from the Cisco Connected Life User Experience (CLUE) — the unique Cisco tool that tracks worldwide service adoption trends in a weighted index. By comparing how the CLUE index has changed since 2008, we can see not just the rate at which a given service has been adopted, but how priorities have shifted over time.

Once again, Thomas Barnett of the Cisco Service Provider Marketing team:

“People often want to jump immediately to asking if this means that X percent of people in a region are using a particular service. We can get to that, but we’re trying to look at services more holistically. We want to be able to quickly grasp how people’s feelings about services are changing.”

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