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U.S. Broadband Deployment: Where the FCC Should Focus

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

At a time in the United States when political opinions seem to fly to the extremes, with no middle ground, it’s no surprise that the FCC’s recent report on broadband deployment evokes a similarly polarized reaction.

Of the five commissioners who authored the report, three (including chairman Julius Genachowski) seem to believe that 95% penetration of fixed broadband by any technology (see graphic) is cause for alarm, citing the lack of broadband in rural areas and tribal lands. Two of the three commissioners filed dissents to the conclusions of the report.

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Consumer Spending Priorities: Translating Consumers’ Broadband Addiction into Mobile Data Spending

By Gaetano Pellegrino, Senior Manager, IBSG Service Provider (Western Europe)

According to new research from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), fixed broadband Internet access is the highest priority service in consumers’ entertainment and communication portfolio. Despite the advent of smartphones, they view mobile data as more expendable.

Cisco IBSG regularly tracks such issues in its Connected Life Market Watch research platform. In the fall 2011 edition, it surveyed some 3,900 broadband consumers in North America (including Canada) and France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Consumers Love Their Smartphones—but Rely on Fixed Access

According to Read More »

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What We Can Learn from South Korea

I recently returned from Seoul, South Korea, where I gave the keynote address at the 2012 KISDI International Conference. My talk, “The Next Generation of the Internet—Revolutionizing the Way We Work, Live, Play, and Learn,” focused on the key trends shaping the next generation of the Internet and the implications for players in the ITC industry and government policy/regulation. However, based on what I observed in Seoul, much of the future has already arrived in South Korea.

Besides the ultra-modern skyscrapers of Seoul, South Korea has the highest domestic penetration rate of Read More »

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Private or Public Sector: Who Should Deploy Broadband?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Google’s experiment in laying broadband fiber in Kansas City, Missouri revives the old question of who should deploy broadband technology: the public sector, the private sector, or an entity based on a public utility model?

Municipally deployed broadband (like its previous sibling, municipal Wi-Fi) continues to be somewhat problematic. A recent audit for the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, the optimistically named UTOPIA in the Salt Lake City suburbs, shows that the consortium is still waiting for broadband to catch on in order to pay back its bonds.

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Broadband Infrastructure: Should Rural Investment Be a Priority?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Sometimes those promoting extensive infrastructure projects — broadband or otherwise — exhibit a Field of Dreams mentality: “If you build it, they will come.” My own state of California is currently wrestling with such a project, a $68 billion high-speed rail line that opponents claim is too expensive and will never pay for itself. My attitude: come the day we have to evacuate San Francisco or Los Angeles after a major earthquake, people are going to be grateful it was built.

As we recently discussed in Broadband Backlash: Where It Comes From and How to Fix It, broadband deployments also have their detractors. Currently, one of the biggest areas of contention swirls around the value of rural broadband. There are really two sides of the story.

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