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Cisco Supports Goals of Presidential Initiative to Connect More Schools and Libraries to the Internet

February 4, 2014 at 10:46 am PST

Cisco – with more than 15 years of experience in implementing technology solutions in K-12 schools — strongly supports the goals of President Obama’s initiative to connect more schools and libraries to the Internet, and at faster speeds.

We understand that technology is changing the world.  Our children aren’t just competing against the kids down the street for a spot in college or a job, but with children around the world.  So our children need to have cutting-edge technology in their hands and access to the vast amounts of information at their fingertips.

That’s where the federal “E-rate” program comes in.  E-rate provides discounts for Internet access and internal networking for schools and libraries across America.  Since its inception 15 years ago, E-rate has helped connect over 100,000 schools to the Internet in all 50 states.  Its impact on the education of our nation’s school children has been nothing short of incredible. Read More »

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How Access to Broadband Can Remove Barriers to Education and Empower Women

This blog was originally posted on the Huffington Post

Research resoundingly reveals that when girls and women are educated, the income they earn is primarily returned to their families, which in turn helps build stronger families and more stable communities. But can something as simple as a dirty bathroom break that positive cycle?

Unfortunately, in some countries it can, especially when adolescent girls reach puberty. UNICEF finds that 1 in 10 school-age African girls “do not attend … or drop out at puberty because of the lack of clean and private sanitation facilities in schools.” Girls’ attendance also drops dramatically if they are not well because of disease or poor nutrition, if the school is far away and parents are concerned for the child’s safety, or if families don’t see the value in spending limited funds on their daughter’s education.

To help more girls become educated, we must first remove these and other barriers that prevent them from attending and staying in school.

Many organizations are doing that — they are building schools in impoverished or politically and socially turbulent regions, establishing schools just for girls and women, and providing qualified female teachers to underserved communities, particularly in developing or underdeveloped countries.

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After Broadband, Then What? The Real Work Begins

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

I find myself writing more often about the challenges of getting broadband installed – financing it, building consensus, partnering with the private sector. The goal, as has been written many times, is create a foundation for economic growth.

But even after broadband is installed, economic growth doesn’t just happen automatically. It has to be nurtured. That’s the challenge that cities, regions, and countries have to be aware of. The work doesn’t stop once broadband transmissions start.

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Crowdsourcing Fiber Networks: Community Validated Investment in Action

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Fact: laying fiber communications infrastructure is expensive. Fantasy: the ability to know ahead of time how many property owners in a given neighborhood would pay for a new fiber infrastructure by subscribing to services or even – and here’s a real fantasy – paying more to get the fiber laid initially.

Except it’s not a fantasy. If you’re a telecom carrier, a cable company, a municipality, even a group of community activists, Greg Richardson is here to offer a compelling approach to capital investment in new infrastructure. And he’s done it with an idea that’s almost embarrassingly simple.

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If Broadband has a Sputnik Moment, What Will it Look Like?

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Those of us who cover broadband frequently bemoan its two steps forward, one step back progress, and the idealists among us yearn for a “Sputnik” moment that will galvanize regulators and carriers alike to leap forward into the future. Will broadband have such a moment, and if so, what will it look like?

Sputnik, of course, was the satellite the Soviet Union launched into orbit in early October of 1957. According to NASA, it was about the size of a beach ball and travelled at five miles per second 359 miles above the surface of the earth. It was a technological marvel that proved to be quite embarrassing to the United States, which at the time thought it was the leader of technological marvels.

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