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How Culture Affects Connectivity

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

As I wander through the world of broadband, I frequently worry that for every step forward, we take one step back. As I’ve written about previously, we seem to be at an inflection point where we see the potential value of broadband, but putting it into reality seems to be more ephemeral.

Especially here in the U.S., we seem to be “talking the talk” more than we’re “walking the walk.” The confluence of certain events recently has underscored my ongoing concern even more recently.

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Charting Broadband and Economic Growth in Brazil

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

With the news headlines lately about Brazil, it’s easy for those of us outside the region to get caught up in the image of a country going through a difficult, turbulent period. But it’s important to consider that what’s happening now in Brazil is ultimately a sign of positive change: an expanding middle class with higher expectations about the rewards they should reap from the country’s growing economy.

And in fact, that story—the tremendous economic growth happening in Brazil—is one of the more amazing pieces of good news from around the globe.

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Top 3 Reasons Why Emerging Markets Will Adopt Mobile Broadband

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Changing global demographics are going to boost mobile broadband adoption significantly, according to a recent presentation by Wally Swain, senior vice president of the network research group at Yankee Group. Swain not only leads the emerging markets team, he has a front-row seat to emerging markets from his office in Bogotá, Colombia.

In his presentation, entitled “Fixed and Mobile Broadband Compete and Cooperate in Emerging Markets,” Swain revealed some intriguing insights about where mobile broadband is headed: nowhere but up.

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Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series, Taichung Sets the Stage (Perspective from Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder of the Intelligent Communities Forum)

The Taiwan city of Taichung was in the spotlight twice this year.  Not bad for a place few had heard of in most parts of the Western world - at least until the Academy Awards broadcast in February.  During that event, Asian-born director Ang Lee, after being named the recipient of four Oscars for his film Life of Pi, thanked Taichung in his acceptance speech for its technical prowess.  Those bragging rights were celebrated.  Four months later the city had something else to claim.  In June, the city’s Secretary-General (the equivalent of City Manager in the United States), Ms Ching-Chih Liao, stood on the stage at Steiner Film Studios in New York to accept the Intelligent Community of the Year award on behalf of Taichung’s 2.7 million citizens and its charismatic mayor, Jason Hu. An international jury and a research company had ranked this city higher (by a few hundredths of a point) than the six other communities that had been invited to New York for their impressive achievement as innovative, job-creating places which used technology to enable growth.

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Madame Liao noted the hard work that her community has done to balance its rural and urban economies, and the role that both broadband and the cloud play to support an infrastructure upon which innovation and technology companies thrive and add value in a place once known as “The Mechanical Kingdom.”

To understand why Taichung went so far in the awards program, it is important to understand that it first grasped the basic importance of the layer of physical infrastructure (telecommunications) and how it would next lead to its ability to exceed at ICF’s other five criteria, including innovation and a knowledge workforce poised to grow its middle-class.

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Wireless Ubiquity: Connecting the Unconnected

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Every so often in covering the broadband and wireless industry, you run across a statistic that stops you cold. Here’s one: the Leichtman Research Group recently revealed that 1 percent of U.S. households canceled their home Internet service last year in favor of relying on wireless access provided via mobile networks or public Wi-Fi networks.

One percent. That is not a big number. Of course, it’s only a snapshot. The more intriguing question: What will next year’s number be? While the result in and of itself could be a statistical error, what’s more interesting is what it reveals: that it’s becoming easier than ever before to become untethered.

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