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Eastern Europe: the Next Broadband Boom?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

If your image of Eastern Europe leans toward Yugos and Soviet farm collectives, it’s sadly outdated. It’s entirely possible that, with new government programs stimulating Internet connectivity and new EU regulations benefiting less-developed members, Eastern Europe may be on the verge of its own broadband boom.

Eastern Europe already has a strong foundation from a broadband standpoint. When Jet-Stream, a Dutch content-delivery consulting firm, posted the results of Speedtest.net tests on broadband speeds last year, the results were more than a little surprising.

Download speeds in Latvia 18.86 Mbps, exceeded that of Japan, at 17.52 Mbps. Of the top 24 countries, half were in Eastern Europe (the other half was split among Scandinavia, Europe, and Asia). Of those 12, nine have joined the EU.

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Pathways to Prosperity and Sustainable Growth

Four months after launching the Connected Life Exchange, let’s reflect back on some of the key insights that we’ve shared thus far — about the evolving nature of the Global Networked Economy, how participation transforms the way we live, work, play and learn.

We’ve started to explore the user adoption trends that can be discovered as part of the Cisco CLUE initiative, and we will be sharing more details soon. We offered examples of progressive infrastructure investment plans that not only attempt to catch up with the global market leaders, but perhaps set a bold new benchmark for others to follow.

We outlined the mobile data traffic growth trends and reviewed the amazing forecast estimates that demonstrate how more and more people will have their first Internet access experience via a mobile broadband connection – most likely on a handheld device.

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Connected Life: Exploring User Adoption Trends

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

How much information can you get from a number? Turns out, quite a bit.

At least, that’s the theory behind the Cisco Connected Life User Experience (CLUE). The index, designed by Cisco’s SP Marketing team, shows you trends in the adoption of various advanced services in different parts of the world, just by glancing at a number.

If you’ve never explored CLUE, check it out. It’s an impressive instrument that manages to convey a vast amount of information in a succinct package. I spoke with Shruti Jain and Thomas Barnett, who developed the index for Cisco’s Service Provider Marketing team, about how people are using it.

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Transoceanic Fiber Cable: a Luminary Discovery

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

This story is a bit more technical that what I’ve previously shared. That said, I’ll link to some definitions for you non-technical readers — I promise, this one is going to be worth the extra effort. However, a bit of technology is required in the telling — so please bear with me.

Let’s step back in time. The first transoceanic cables used copper wire as the conductor that carried signals between continents. Unfortunately, the technology at the time was such that the cables were extremely bandwidth-limited and could therefore support a very small number of simultaneous conversations.

Furthermore, the physics of metallic transmission dictated that the transmitted signals would decay over distance, making it necessary to amplify and/or regenerate the transmitted signal periodically. This was costly, and required additional circuitry to filter electromagnetic interference and increase the signal level every few thousand feet.

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Broadband Enables Radical New Efficiencies

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

How many problems can broadband Internet access solve?

U.S. television news commentator Tom Brokaw, a native of South Dakota, wrote a compelling essay in the New York Times several years ago, asking why his home state and North Dakota, with a population of 1.5 million, maintained some 17 institutes of higher education. He noted that it was “a carry-over from the early 20th century when travel was more difficult and farm families wanted their children close by during harvest season.”

He posed a very rational question: “Couldn’t the two states get a bigger bang for their higher education buck if they consolidated their smaller institutions into, say, the Dakota Territory College System, with satellite campuses but a common administration and shared standards?”

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