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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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Hollywood’s Wireless Communication Pioneer

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

As we contemplate the arrival of 4th-Generation mobile wireless capabilities in the form of the LTE standard, I’m going to take us back in time to reflect on an unlikely and intriguing true story from the archives of radio communication history.

Most of us in the telecom industry know that there has been something of a spirited competition that’s been going on for some time between two very capable wireless technologies — CDMA and GSM.

GSM is far more widely deployed than CDMA – the former is widely considered to be a de facto global standard. Whereas CDMA is mostly limited to the U.S. and Canada, along with a few deployments in Asia. Both mobile radio standards are used to establish and manage the wireless connection between a mobile device and the nearest cell tower.

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The Internet: Built with Human Imagination

The public Internet is pervasive. It’s an essential ingredient to the way many of us choose to live, work, play and learn. When this amazing resource is viewed through the perspective of mainstream users, the path that led us here may seem unimaginable.

It’s an example of open innovation and creative collaboration, with a common cause that was shared by determined pioneers. The Internet Society has published a brief history that starts with the following story introduction:

“The Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world like nothing before. The invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio, and computer set the stage for this unprecedented integration of capabilities. The Internet is at once a world-wide broadcasting capability, a mechanism for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location.”

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