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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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Video Revolutions: Accidental and Intentional

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Walter Cronkite once said that it was no miracle that men walked on the moon. The actual miracle, the news anchor believed, was that millions of people sat in their living rooms and watched it happen. Perhaps the real miracle was that television became a success at all, given all the tribulations that accompanied its upbringing – and continue today. Compared to the computer industry, where standards reign, the television industry is a mass of confusion.

Since its earliest experiments, television has captured the imagination of the public. But before it became a success, it was a legal and technological battleground. There were patent infringement lawsuits over who actually invented television. A battle over color television technology went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the early 1950s. And even today, instead of one video format for traditional broadcast TV, the world uses three: NTSC, PAL, and SECAM.

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20 Billion Bits Under The Sea

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

In Jules Verne’s 1869 novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo’s Nautilus submarine cruises past the first transatlantic telegraph cable. The book was published only three years after the first successful attempt to lay the undersea cable and was as wondrous at the time as Verne’s story. It connected New York and London and transmitted eight words per minute.

Businessman Cyrus Field first attempted to connect the two continents in 1858. He made five more attempts before he was successful, though it almost bankrupted him in the process. As historian Gillian Cookson said in a PBS documentary, “It was really a tool of commerce and a tool of news agencies. But because information could be passed so quickly and news could travel between the continents, [it was] revolutionary.”

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The Anthology of Human Networks

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

My name is Steven Shepard, and I’m a writer, speaker, and industry analyst for the telecom, IT and media industries. The nature of my work is such that I visit about 70 countries every year, from wealthy First World countries with the most advanced telecom networks available to Third World countries that in many cases are building networks for the first time.

My plan is to take you on a journey through time and a voyage through space, showing you the best — and the worst — that telecom has to offer. For now, let’s go on a retrospective. Who would have thought that we would reach this point in our technological development?

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Get Ready for the Next-Generation Internet

Why it’s important for small businesses to prepare for IPv6 now

You know that nagging feeling when there’s something you need to do but you keep putting it off and putting it off. Well, an e-mail newsletter titled “No IPv6 plan? You’re behind schedule” landed in my inbox this morning. It’s a nudge for companies of all sizes; even small businesses, to prepare for the next-generation Internet.

Why should you care about IPv6 when you’re quite happy with the current Internet?

IPv4 exhaustion

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