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Eastern Europe: the Next Broadband Boom?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

If your image of Eastern Europe leans toward Yugos and Soviet farm collectives, it’s sadly outdated. It’s entirely possible that, with new government programs stimulating Internet connectivity and new EU regulations benefiting less-developed members, Eastern Europe may be on the verge of its own broadband boom.

Eastern Europe already has a strong foundation from a broadband standpoint. When Jet-Stream, a Dutch content-delivery consulting firm, posted the results of Speedtest.net tests on broadband speeds last year, the results were more than a little surprising.

Download speeds in Latvia 18.86 Mbps, exceeded that of Japan, at 17.52 Mbps. Of the top 24 countries, half were in Eastern Europe (the other half was split among Scandinavia, Europe, and Asia). Of those 12, nine have joined the EU.

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Pathways to Prosperity and Sustainable Growth

Four months after launching the Connected Life Exchange, let’s reflect back on some of the key insights that we’ve shared thus far — about the evolving nature of the Global Networked Economy, how participation transforms the way we live, work, play and learn.

We’ve started to explore the user adoption trends that can be discovered as part of the Cisco CLUE initiative, and we will be sharing more details soon. We offered examples of progressive infrastructure investment plans that not only attempt to catch up with the global market leaders, but perhaps set a bold new benchmark for others to follow.

We outlined the mobile data traffic growth trends and reviewed the amazing forecast estimates that demonstrate how more and more people will have their first Internet access experience via a mobile broadband connection – most likely on a handheld device.

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Broadband Enables Radical New Efficiencies

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

How many problems can broadband Internet access solve?

U.S. television news commentator Tom Brokaw, a native of South Dakota, wrote a compelling essay in the New York Times several years ago, asking why his home state and North Dakota, with a population of 1.5 million, maintained some 17 institutes of higher education. He noted that it was “a carry-over from the early 20th century when travel was more difficult and farm families wanted their children close by during harvest season.”

He posed a very rational question: “Couldn’t the two states get a bigger bang for their higher education buck if they consolidated their smaller institutions into, say, the Dakota Territory College System, with satellite campuses but a common administration and shared standards?”

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Broadband Leadership: the Quantum Leap Method

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

There is a country whose east and west coasts border on major oceans. Its major cities dot its coastline, while its internal areas, while populated, could accurately be described as “flyover” zones. It takes about six hours to fly coast-to-coast.

Its government is making the single largest infrastructure investment in the country’s history, investing $43 billion over eight years in order to connect 90+ percent of all its homes, schools and workplaces with broadband services over fiber-optic cable with speeds up to 100 megabits per second, 100 times faster than those currently used by many households and businesses.

Which forward-looking nation committed to this bold goal?

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National LambdaRail: the Advanced Optical Network

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

It began as a way to link academic and research institutions throughout the United States, so that they could more easily communicate and collaborate on projects. In the beginning, it was limited to a small number of entities, all of whom thrived on the cutting edge of networking technology.

If that sounds like the early days of the Internet, it is. But it’s also an equally apt description of National LambdaRail (NLR), a 12,000-mile, $70 million optical network established in 2003. It uses 10-gigabit (Gb) transponders (with 40Gb and 100Gb in the roadmap) that allows bandwidth on demand for its academic and research members, now numbering more than 280.

The name comes from the term lambda networking, which uses multiple optical wavelengths to provide independent communications channels along a strand of fiber optic cable.

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