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How to Solve the Wireless Spectrum Puzzle

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

An interesting battle over unlicensed wireless communication spectrum has been brewing in the U.S. over the last few weeks, one that pits advocates of open public access against advocates of licensing and private control.

Here are the highlights of the ongoing debate. In September, the FCC approved a spectrum test that could ultimately promulgate access using the white space between television channels. This method, known as “super Wi-Fi,” is said to allow the signal to travel further and still accommodate structural barriers. The test ran in Lake Mary, Fla., and concluded early in November. However, the FCC has not yet released results.

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Why Rural Broadband Access Matters

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Countries blessed and cursed with wide-open spaces continue to wrestle with the question of how to serve rural areas with broadband infrastructure. In Australia, naysayers question the viability of its National Broadband Network.

In the United States, the stimulus package included some $3.5 billion for rural development, but based on progress reports from officials at the Department of Agriculture, the broadband deployment only addressed a small portion of the demand.

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A Vision of Interconnected Knowledge Societies

If you want to motivate people to break free from the current status-quo, then raising the bar of expectations — with a compelling vision, plus some bold goals and objectives — is certainly one approach to consider. The Broadband Commission for Digital Development has issued a challenge to world leaders, their top policymakers and other key stakeholders.

The following is their list of raised expectations:

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A Plea for Investment, Not Spending

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

As economic confusion roils the world, it’s disconcerting that no one seems to know which path to take to solve the problem.

Governments in economic turmoil, such as those in Greece and Italy, consider austerity. Other governments, such as the United States, consider even more spending.

I would argue for a different mindset, one that favors the concept of investing instead of spending. Certainly government must address present concerns, but it’s even more important that it lays the foundation to help its citizens prepare for and thrive in the future. (Would World War II have lasted as long, if the United States had been less isolationist during the preceding years?)

Rather than budgeting money for jobs, I’d prefer to see government budget money for infrastructure that will establish a foundation for the ongoing creation of new jobs.

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The Network Week in Review and Look Ahead: October 17-21

It was another busy week here at Cisco! Check out the top news stories of the week.

1.) The Broadband Debate

This new feature addresses the issue of broadband as a basic right. Country by country issues vary, but how can access be achieved? Do you think countries should make broadband access a basic right?

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