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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If your image of Eastern Europe leans toward Yugos and Soviet farm collectives, it’s sadly outdated.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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Africa – Connected Continent – At Last

If you haven’t looked at opportunities in Africa in the last couple of years, it’s time to take another look. A massive amount of new internet connectivity is creating new possibilities for the continent, changing the face of Africa forever.  The economic and social development opportunities created by high speed, stable and affordable internet access were something that the people of Africa could only dream of until relatively recently – now that dream is fast becoming a reality. Read More »

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Walk with Me into the Video Future

Profound changes are upon us – and especially how we consume television, use the Internet, and communicate with each other.

The entire video eco-system is in an extraordinary state of change – from the studios that create content, to the wired and wireless broadband networks that carry it, to the many types of Internet-connected screens that display it. Read More »

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The Future of Higher Learning: Classrooms Optional

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Reading David’s post on “TEDTalks” got me thinking about how we conceive of the classroom and what the future holds for higher learning. How important is the traditional college experience in a world where ubiquitous broadband networks let us see and interact with teachers virtually, from anywhere in the world?

In his 1854 essay “The Idea of a University,” John Henry Newman argued why, even in an age when knowledge was widely accessible in books, the college experience was still vital:

“The general principles of any study you may learn by books at home; but the detail, the colour, the tone, the air, the life which makes it live in us, you must catch all these from those in whom it lives already. You must imitate the student in French or German, who is not content with his grammar, but goes to Paris or Dresden: you must take example from the young artist, who aspires to visit the great Masters in Florence and in Rome. …we must come to the teachers of wisdom to learn wisdom.”

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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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