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Bringing Wired and Wireless Broadband Together

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Wireless bandwidth has been on my mind a lot recently. Computerworld recently published my article, Wireless Bandwidth: Are We Running Out of Room?, which led to a stint on NPR’s “To The Point” on the topic. But until I tuned into one of the latest Broadband Breakfast presentations, The Wired Home and Wireless Policy – Convergence Legislation and Consumer Adoption, I didn’t realize that I’d been thinking about wireless in a way that technology people are supposed to avoid: in a silo.

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Usage-Based Billing by Service Providers?

In the past five years, consumer monthly Internet usage has grown nearly three-fold, but users spend little more than in 2006. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Global Forecast 2011, consumption per U.S. user grew 278 percent. In that same time frame, according to published research, the monthly U.S. cable broadband ARPU remained virtually flat.

As consumers increasingly rely on their broadband access for more of the basic everyday needs, broadband has become the most important core service provider service when compared to pay TV, mobile voice, landline phone and mobile data. But these broadband service providers are struggling to get consumers to equate the value of their online experiences with the value of their broadband service. To that end, SPs are actively considering usage-based billing strategies as a tool to align consumer value perceptions with their underlying networks. Anecdotal evidence from non-U.S. SPs that have introduced usage-based billing indicates that it can drive new value creation.

To help explore consumers’ perspectives, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) conducted a survey of broadband users in the United States, Canada, France, and Italy to determine current views on usage-based billing policies and approaches.

This particular document is titled “Usage-Based Billing Strategies Can Enable SPs to Align Customer Value Perception with Network Investments”.   It can be found on the Service Provider Thought Leadership section of the website of Cisco IBSG.  At this site, you will find many interesting, provocative papers on various subjects relating to the service provider segment.  

Check this and others out . . .

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Innovation in the 21st Century City

As a global director of the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group’s Urban Innovation team, I’ve seen how broadband connectivity can radically transform urban life, while forcing us to rethink our entire approach to designing and managing cities. I recently had the opportunity to share some of my ideas on the subject at the 2011 World Council of UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) in Florence, Italy.

The Council represents nearly half the world’s population, from 36 countries and more than 1,000 cities—everywhere from Istanbul and Dakar to Helsinki and New York. In Florence, more than 400 mayors, along with municipal ministers, directors, innovators and other experts, met to discuss the daunting challenges facing today’s cities, while offering solutions in a creative and interactive forum. Topics ranged from transportation, utilities, and infrastructure to tourism and environmental sustainability.

Mayor Matteo Renzi of Florence, the host of the event, has worked with Cisco on innovation initiatives in his city. In addition to helping him plan the conference, I was granted the opportunity to moderate some sessions on urban innovation. Read More »

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Broadband and Commerce are Booming in South America

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

While the European and United States economies struggle with mounting debt, there’s an encouraging success story south of the equator; one that combines infrastructure improvement, broadband deployment, and thriving commerce.

According to the findings in a white paper entitled Latin American Economic Outlook 2012 — jointly produced by the Economic Commission for Latin America and The Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) — between 2000 and 2007, public debt in Latin America

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How Smart Grid and Broadband Work Together

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Energy policy is a topic that is on the minds of government and business leaders the world over. According to The Climate Group, an independent not-for-profit organization, our global economy is still driven by energy needs, and the vast majority of that energy comes from a finite supply of fossil fuels. According to their assessment, unless we rethink the way we produce and consume energy, eventually there won’t be enough to go around.

They believe that we need to cut our emissions by two thirds by 2050. But we need to do it in a way that protects our livelihoods, creates jobs and supports economic growth around the globe.

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