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Happy Bastille Day: Vive La France

PARIS, FRANCE – (In spirit) – France is in the news quite a bit these days. All the world is talking about the famous French World Cup headbutt heard around the world. Lip-readers have been hired to determine was was said* and apologies have been issued, however the World Cup still resides in Rome. Also in the news today is Bastille Day. On this same day in 1789 a movement for freedom was started when the famous prison was stormed by the French citizenry. It was an attack to the core of French royalty. The French Revolution had begun and now we have the French Republic.This blog entry is clearly about broadband. Why? Because broadband is also a revolution. It is a revolution from static, cookie-cutter information. Broadband is about anytime, anywhere information. Broadband is a personalized communication revolution. With broadband, you can have your information how you want it, when you want, where you want it and in what form you want it. Traditional, royal information fed to us via print is slowly fading away. Broadband is managing businesses, managing supply chains and managing financial markets. It is a management tool and a time-saving tool, as well as a consumer information tool. Just as the French royalty could not stop the French Revolution, so too will traditional communications not be able to stop the steady onslaught of the Broadband Revolution.As it is Bastille Day and we’re talking about broadband, I would encourage you to read a previous blog entry from my colleague in Paris, Olivier Esper. He writes about how France is also a leader in the broadband revolution.So, Happy Bastille Day and Happy Communications Revolution.*Lip readers have conjectured that Italian defender Marco Materazzi said something along the lines of “your mother and sister wear Army boots” (or some such). My thesis is that Materazzi actually said, “Italian broadband via FastWeb and Italtel is better than French broadband.” Those indeed could be head-butting words. : )

Net Neutrality: “What it is REALLY All About”

SAN JOSE – CA – So, after the 11-11 vote in the Senate Commerce Committee recently I had intended to lay low on this issue for awhile, but I am compelled to draw your attention to an article entitled “Tangled Net” by Drew Clark in the July 8th edition of the National Journal. If you are not a subscriber to the magazine (you should be) you can access his in depth article on net neutrality here.Two points about the article:1) The quote that really crystallizes the whole issue for me quite succinctly is from my colleague in DC, Jeff Campbell. Jeff blogs from time to time on this site as well and directs our telecom policy efforts in Washington. The great quote is this: “The Bells ‘want the freedom to be able to negotiate commercial deals,’ said Jeff Campbell, director of technology and communications policy for Cisco. ‘It is called capitalism, it has been very good to this country, and we would like to continue it.'” (This is what the title of this blog alludes to…)and, (minor point)2) He characterizes our CEO, John Chambers, as having strong opposition to Technet’s net neutrality position (TechNet is the high-tech trade association founded by Chambers, John Doerr and Jim Barksdale – In fact, he did write early letters to Congressional leadership stating our position, but did not weigh into the TechNet position.Regardless, it is a good piece and you should check it out if you are interested in this issue.

Email Anywhere (kind of)

LONDON – The British love mobile messaging, sending 3.3 billion mobile messages a month, or nearly two messages per person per day, according to this article in The Register. The particular form of mobile messaging used is, of course, SMS, and it can cost around 10 pence (nearly 20 US cents) per message, though is now often sold in bundled packages that work out much cheaper.There are clearly some very attractive features to this form of messaging. It is expected to be instant, the format necessarily keeps messages short enough to read quickly, the cost creates some form of barrier to inappropriate use, and it has great authentication as you see exactly which number a message is from when you receive it. On the down side, it generally has to be sent on fiddly keys (though T9 is a really interesting way to help with this), and there is the cost again which can be an extraordinary sum to pay to send a very small amount of data.As we see fixed/mobile convergence gathering pace, it will be interesting to see what happens with email/SMS convergence. The mobile messaging solutions that appeal to a mass SMS-using community, such as we have in the UK, will have to take into account existing habits and experiences.

World Cup: Congratulations Italy!!

SAN JOSE, CA – You’ve all heard the World Cup anecdotes: when asked if he was following the World Cup, a US soccer fan asked, “which U.S. teams are playing?” An editorial cartoon depicts the globe as a soccer ball and says, “how the world views the World Cup,” next to a small soccer ball that says, “how the US views the World Cup.”This truly is a world tournament only rivaled, in my mind, by the Olympics. The finals between Italy and France were broadcast nationally on regular TV yesterday in the U.S., but otherwise, you had to rely on cable or satellite for other tournament games. I was in Brussels a few weeks ago and the games were broadcast in nearly as many languages as you could name, all on the public television infrastructure, and the bars and sidewalks cafes were packed to capacity watching the games.So, what gives? Why does the world stop everything to watch the Cup, while the U.S. is barely aware that it is going on? To be sure, U.S. football, baseball and basketball were all invented in the U.S., so we might have a nationalistic bent to those sports, but the World Series in baseball doesn’t really have the world participating, does it, other than a handful of Canadians, Koreans and Japanese? The last non-US citizen to play a role in the Super Bowl? I have no idea…maybe a kicker? The National Basetball Association is getting a little more global with prominent players from Argentina, Canada, France, Spain, Germany and China…and the U.S. hasn’t fared as well in international touraments (see, Olympics), so perhaps the popularity of basketball is catching on. Read More »

Wi-Fi: “Do you know the way…to Anaheim?”

LAKE TAHOE, CA – Last week I spoke to Mayor Curt Pringle of Anaheim, CA. I thought I would pass along how one city is looking for a new way to provide citywide wireless coverage.On June 28, Anaheim officials claimed they”turned on” the first broadband wireless network to cover an entire American city -over 50 square miles in all. Full build out of the system is expected by the end of the year. Offering no judgment on Anaheim’s technology choices, I do want to draw attention to one American city’s approach to funding vital local government services in the Interactions Economy. What’s new? Anaheim has agreed to give up the revenue stream from cable franchise and local telephone fees. Yes, you read that correctly. The City recognized that consumers bear the cost of these fees, so, Curt argues, doing away with them lowers the cost of service while encouraging more competition. Out with old! In with the NewInstead of a franchise fee, the City will charge the WiFi provider a pole attachment fee for placement of antennas, the cost of electricity for the network, and a lease payment for using fiber cable connections owned by the City. The City gets access to the network at a discounted price, and consumers get one-megabit-per-second service for $22 a month anywhere in the coverage area. Read More »