Policymakers around the world are questioning what is the minimum speed for a connection to be considered broadband. While speed is important, it is only one more element of many others that need to be considered such as, latency, bursting jitter, and symmetry. Read More »
Washington, D.C. — During the years that we all have been debating whether we have enough broadband or fast enough broadband, one interesting little detail has always been true — we really don’t know where broadband is available nor do we know what speeds are available. Remarkably, we’ve been flying blind in analyzing broadband policy in the absence of this basic data. Although the FCC provides some data on broadband availability, it is universally recognized — even by the FCC itself — that the data is inadequate. The FCC data does not specifically indentify locations where broadband is not available, nor does it differentiate based on the speed of services.Where the federal government has failed, states often fill the void. And that is partially the case with broadband maps. States like Kentucky have used detailed broadband maps to identify unserved areas, resulting in dramatic improvements in broadband availability. California is currently in the process of developing a detailed broadband map, using data at the address level and identifying service speed tiers as well. Only with data like this will it be possible to scope the problem and design effective programs to lead to ubiquitous broadband availability.The Congress is moving its attention to broadband mapping this year. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is scheduled to mark up a bill on broadband mapping this week. Hopefully, the final product that comes out of Congress will produce the very detailed maps that states are finding effective in working to bridge the digital divide.
Last week Al Gore won the Nobel prize for his work on the science of global climate change. Of course, before his passion for ecology, he was also a leading advocate for the Internet-and it’s interesting to consider how these two issues can go hand in hand. Today a growing proportion of business is e-business. How many transactions happen in the virtual world today that are no longer copied, faxed, or shipped? The nature of the Internet in itself is green and Web 2.0 is fueling more opportunities to go green. We believe that new innovations in technology will have the power to achieve a climate positive effect- that technology can help reduce carbon emissions globally more than the technology industry itself emits. Read More »
LONDON, UK -- While policy makers spend a great deal of time on issues related to copyright in the digital age, some of those with copyrighted material to distribute are testing novel business models. The latest, and perhaps one of the most significant, of these experiments is Radiohead‘s offer of their new album as a digital download on a ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ basis. All forms of attempting to protect the digital material are set aside and, instead, the band plays to their fans’ sense of fair play. The band themselves say that they don’t know how this will work out but there is certainly massive interest in it and their website has had some technical problems as a result. It will take some time for all the lessons from the many models being tried to be worked out. What will be interesting to see is the extent to which these will continue to rely on legal measures such as copyright law or technical measures such as digital rights management.In the meantime, enjoy the music, which should be good, and which you can legally download from here.
LONDON, UK -- Recent public statements by UK Minister Stephen Timms MP and telecoms company BT herald a significant shift in the debate on next generation access networks in the UK.In the past discussion has focussed on the technical and cost reasons that make rolling out a new fibre-based access network in the UK very difficult. Now there is a sense that it is in the national interest to move from this position of ‘too difficult/expensive to do’ to one of ‘this must be done -- how do we make it happen?’.The difficulties remain but the call is now for all stakeholders collectively to work out how to address them. This is being led by Stephen Timms MP, a Minister well known for both his expertise in and passion for ICT, who is to organise a Summit on Next Generation Access.A key milestone in the discussion was the publication of the Broadband Stakeholders’ Group report ‘Pipe Dreams‘. The next stage is a formal consultation that is about to begin on regulation of new network infrastructure by the UK communications regulator Ofcom.For anyone interested in the new services that a faster access infrastructure will enable, this is an exciting time in the UK, as we see signs that there is now the will to keep up with other countries who are making the same transition.