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If Broadband has a Sputnik Moment, What Will it Look Like?

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Those of us who cover broadband frequently bemoan its two steps forward, one step back progress, and the idealists among us yearn for a “Sputnik” moment that will galvanize regulators and carriers alike to leap forward into the future. Will broadband have such a moment, and if so, what will it look like?

Sputnik, of course, was the satellite the Soviet Union launched into orbit in early October of 1957. According to NASA, it was about the size of a beach ball and travelled at five miles per second 359 miles above the surface of the earth. It was a technological marvel that proved to be quite embarrassing to the United States, which at the time thought it was the leader of technological marvels.

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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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Broadband Austerity: The Wrong Path at the Wrong Time

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Is broadband deployment progressing or regressing? Does it seem like broadband policy may be taking two steps forward and one step back? Most of the time we’re inundated in encouraging news, both forecasts about its economic potential and grounded-in-reality reports about new deployments, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Research firm Gartner has devised an unintentionally humorous curve that it applies to technology like broadband: its hype cycle. It has five data points, starting out like a waveform and then flattening out.

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Broadband Update: Progress and Prognostication

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

The beginning of a new year is always time for taking stock and looking forward. In an area as vibrant as broadband telecommunications, there’s plenty to recap from 2012 and look forward to in 2013 – both good and bad.

Similarly, as Broadband Breakfast’s Drew Clark noted in its top-ten-events roundup, the wireless standard LTE became available to some 400 million people between AT&T and Verizon, and Comcast completed the rollout of the next version of its cable modem technology, DOCSIS 3.0, bringing speeds of 100 megabits per second potentially to 52 million subscribers.

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Leadership and Vision – Two critical ingredients for achieving regional resiliency

On May 24, 2012, the non-profit Sustainable Silicon Valley and its partners gathered at West Summit 2012, with hundreds of others, to explore interlocking themes: Global Trade, Regional Resilience, and Climate Volatility. The Summit featured high-caliber speakers and sponsors from corporations, governmental agencies, NGOs and educational institutions.

I was part of a panel entitled, “Leadership and Vision to Achieve Regional Resiliency,” which focused on the twin challenges facing cities — sustainability and resiliency. We honed in on best practices gleaned to date and how leaders can catalyze the deep transformation necessary to build a sustainable future. Read More »

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