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How Leading Nations Reach ICT Supremacy

What separates the technology-advanced nations from all others, and how is that supremacy being applied most effectively for social and economic advantage? This is a question that I’ve asked myself repeatedly over the last decade.

Clearly, I’m not alone in my quest for insights that help our understanding of why some nations have excelled at enacting meaningful Information and Communication Technology (ICT) market development.

What I’ve learned to date: the nations that were able to make a quantum leap in progress did so only after they completed a candid assessment of their current status – essentially, a detailed situation analysis that ranked their relative position in the global networked economy.

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Broadband and the Global Networked Economy

Ongoing investment in essential telecommunications infrastructure matters to everyone, whether they know it or not. This fundamental assertion will be a reoccurring theme in my commentary. My belief is deep-rooted, and it goes back to the beginning of my work experience. As a young man, my first job in the telecom industry was at The Commercial Cable Company, a subsidiary of ITT Worldcom in London, England.

Back in the 1970s, I had the opportunity to join what was then a leading international record carrier, that was also an early pioneer of unique data services. I was schooled in the application of electronic teleprinters, private line services and store-and-forward message switching systems. I quickly learned about the socioeconomic benefits gained from deploying telecom facilities, while assigned to support the communication needs of numerous private and public institutions.

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Introducing the Connected Life Exchange

Hello, my name is David. I want to tell you a story. It’s a story about the people who imagined that there might be a way to enable humans to communicate across time and space. It’s about their passion and determination to pursue that dream, to boldly explore all the possibilities.

It’s also about a series of events that led us to the invention of new technologies, to the development of new systems and the ongoing investment in essential network infrastructure that enabled a bounty of telecommunication innovations that would ultimately benefit all humanity.

This story began to unfold more than 150 years ago. Since then, there’s been rapid progress. In fact, people are now accessing many types of multimedia content on a multitude of connected devices. The “connected life” reflects our desire to have many  integrated services and experiences that are available anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Today we’re launching a new project.

Welcome to the Connected Life Exchange – an evolving narrative about how people connect, communicate, and collaborate.

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The Broadband Consumer Dilemma

I’m writing this en route back to Austin, flying at over 500 miles per hour at an altitude of 35,000 feet. And I’m really frustrated that the in-flight internet isn’t working.

It is truly absurd.

Not that it’s not working but that I “expect” to maintain constant connectivity while being in a flying can more than 6 miles up in the sky.

But I do.

I’m not proud of it…and even wince a bit because I recall a comedian who in a skit made fun of reactions like this…of people like me. [Editor’s note:  here’s a video clip of Louis C.K.’s comedy clip that Doug references.]

The challenge for providers is that I believe there are a lot of people like me.  Our level of expectation is pretty outrageous and only getting higher.  In a stadium with 100,000 other smartphone carrying people, the air is filled with complaints about mobile connectivity, with the complainers not giving thought to the fact that they are in the midst of effectively 1/7th the population of my city packed into a single square block and seemingly all of them are tweeting, foursquaring, or facebooking about that last great play (which, for the Longhorns, was last year, btw).  Trying to download a video around 9pm - the start of the Internet’s prime time as we covered last week -- we complain about how “slow” the internet is, not giving any thought to the fact that the rest of the neighborhood is downloading a high-def movie too, or playing Halo, or having a video call.

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A Mobile Broadband Day in Washington

Significant news today from the federal agencies whose job it is to find 500 MHz of radio spectrum needed for the booming mobile broadband market, 300 MHz of that needed in the next five years.

First, the National Information and Telecommunications Administration in the Department of Commerce announced that it would soon be releasing a report that will identify 115 MHz of spectrum available for commercial broadband in the next 5 years:  1675-1710 MHz and 3550-3650 MHz.   NTIA also said it would continue to examine 20 MHz of spectrum on both ends of the 4200-4400 MHz band for possible use, as well as potentially relocating federal users at 1755-1780 MHz.

Meanwhile, across town, the Federal Communications Commission hosted a day-long Spectrum Summit.  At that Summit, the FCC released the results of a new study:  “Mobile Broadband:  The Benefits of Additional Spectrum.”  I’m pleased that Cisco figures prominently in that study since the FCC used Cisco’s own Visual Networking Index demand data in evaluating the future demand curve for mobile broadband. The FCC’s study concludes that the demand growth will outpace both technology’s ability to become more efficient, and carriers’ ability to add more cell sites, so that by 2015, we’ll need 300 MHz of new spectrum to meet demand.   If anything, the FCC’s prediction may be very conservative.

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