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Getting to the UN Broadband Commission’s 2015 Goals

Earlier this week, I attended the UN’s Broadband Commission meeting in Ohrid, Macedonia, where we discussed initiatives to reach the Commission’s goals by 2015:

1) All countries have national broadband plans;

2) Broadband is affordable in developing countries so that entry-level broadband services cost less than 5% of average month income;

3) Broadband is adopted by 40% of households in developing countries; and that

4) Broadband penetration reaches 60% of the worldwide population and 50% in developing countries

To support this vision of an ever expanding Internet that people see as essential, Cisco sponsored the 83rd Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting last week in Paris. At the IETF, more than 1,400 of the leading Internet engineers and technologists from around the world gathered to further develop the standards which provide the foundation for Internet services such as domain names, email, the Web, and instant messaging.

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Broadband ROI: Calculating the Payback in Sweden

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

When most of us were in school, our teachers instructed us to “show our work.” It wasn’t enough that we came to a conclusion; we had to demonstrate how we had arrived at that conclusion.

That’s why this October 2011 report on the socioeconomic effect of fiber to the home (FTTH), sponsored by the Swedish government’s broadband council, Bredbandsforum, is so interesting: the authors, Marco Forzati and Crister Mattsson, show exactly how they arrived at their numbers — achieving a positive payback of 1.5:1 in five years.

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Broadband Down Under: Isolation Breeds Innovation

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

One of the plum assignments of my journalism career was co-authoring a report for CIO about IT in Australia. Ten days in Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne (with a weekend jaunt to Tasmania) brought out one key aspect of the Australian attitude toward technology: being isolated from most of the world, they have to be twice as creative.

At that time, in the late 90s, Australia had already deregulated its telecommunications industry (just a year after the U.S.) and developed a state-of-the-art $3 billion national fiber-optic network.

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The Case for Cable in the Tablet Era

By Roland Klemann, Director of Service Provider Practice, Western Europe, Internet Business Solutions Group

Although the coaxial cable may have been born in 1929, predictions of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

While traditional models for consuming television are indeed under siege—from time-shift TV, over-the-top video, and an ever-expanding array of new devices—cable remains highly relevant, even in an age of exploding data traffic. In fact, with savvy deployment of Wi-Fi services, cable providers can seize an opportunity—not in spite of the mobile data deluge, but because of it.

After all, that sleek new iPad—introduced last week while I was attending the Cable Congress in Brussels—boasts dazzling video resolution. But for network operators, it only adds to a growing problem. They are already reeling under the burden of a massive upsurge in traffic, from tablets and IP-enabled devices of all kinds. What’s worse, they are still at the low end of an ongoing mobile data explosion. Cisco’s Virtual Networking Index predicts an eighteen-fold increase in mobile traffic from 2011 to 2016.

As a result, two things are breaking down: 1) the physical capacity of the networks, and 2) their economics. Theoretically, mobile carriers can build enough macro cells to carry all the traffic in the world, but in reality, that gets prohibitively expensive—fast. No wonder some are feeling an encroaching sense of doom.

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Will Wi-Fi Begin a New Chapter for Mobile?

In 97 countries around the world, there are now more mobile devices than people. No wonder mobile networks are clogged with massive amounts of new traffic! Mobile operators are struggling with how to provide the mobile broadband experience customers expect, in a cost-effective, scalable, and profitable manner. I believe that Wi-Fi, the “silent sleeper” of wireless access networks, may hold the answer.

The mobile industry is on the brink of a fundamental change. Just think of some recent key developments:

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