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Status-Quo Disruption: What Constitutes Enough Competition?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Interesting news came out of Europe last month regarding upstart service providers’ potentially disruptive behavior, as well as the responses of established competitors. The news begs the question about telecommunications competition – when does more competition lead to lower prices, and when does it lead to overlapping investment that drives costs up?

In an area as cutting-edge as telecommunications, does increased competition drive R&D investment or decimate it?

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Outlining Blueprints for the ‘Digital City’ of the Future

What does the future hold for our cities?

Previous centuries saw industrial infrastructure (such as rail, highways, and telephone lines) paving the way for new cities – and for a host of new connections. Now, change is being driven by a global “network of networks” that is making it possible for everything to become connected to everything else. In 2001, about 300 million devices—computers, cell phones, PDAs—were connected. By 2010, this web of invisible connections had expanded to include everything from cars and lights to buildings and security cameras. Read More »

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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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More than Talk at Davos: A Deep Dive by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Infrastructure & Urban Development

In recognizing the need for new models for urban development, the World Economic Forum—which brings the world to Davos every January—has mobilized a multi-stakeholder team to find alternatives. Nic Villa, global director in the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group Public Sector practice, was recently named to this year’s Global Agenda Council for Infrastructure & Urban Development (GAC), a team of 15 experts and industry leaders drawn from around the world. This group is dedicated to exploring and identifying transformational models for infrastructure and urban development (I participated as a member in last year’s GAC).

By offering the case study of Shenzhen, Cisco IBSG contributed an outstanding example to the new “Urban Anthologies: Learning from our Cities” a user-friendly toolkit developed by the GAC to empower mayors, urban leaders, and private sector decision makers who are seeking to transform cities and communities. The tool highlights not only the physical outcomes of the projects but, most important, the catalytic and enabling factors that make these transformations possible (see chart below).

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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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