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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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Why is U.S. Broadband Adoption Stagnating?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Two reports issued recently  on global broadband adoption reveal a dim outlook for the United States when it comes to competitive parity. This is merely the latest assessment that raises the question — when will America attain parity within the key economic centers of the nation?

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Broadband Down Under: Isolation Breeds Innovation

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

One of the plum assignments of my journalism career was co-authoring a report for CIO about IT in Australia. Ten days in Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne (with a weekend jaunt to Tasmania) brought out one key aspect of the Australian attitude toward technology: being isolated from most of the world, they have to be twice as creative.

At that time, in the late 90s, Australia had already deregulated its telecommunications industry (just a year after the U.S.) and developed a state-of-the-art $3 billion national fiber-optic network.

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Innovation in the 21st Century City

As a global director of the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group’s Urban Innovation team, I’ve seen how broadband connectivity can radically transform urban life, while forcing us to rethink our entire approach to designing and managing cities. I recently had the opportunity to share some of my ideas on the subject at the 2011 World Council of UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) in Florence, Italy.

The Council represents nearly half the world’s population, from 36 countries and more than 1,000 cities—everywhere from Istanbul and Dakar to Helsinki and New York. In Florence, more than 400 mayors, along with municipal ministers, directors, innovators and other experts, met to discuss the daunting challenges facing today’s cities, while offering solutions in a creative and interactive forum. Topics ranged from transportation, utilities, and infrastructure to tourism and environmental sustainability.

Mayor Matteo Renzi of Florence, the host of the event, has worked with Cisco on innovation initiatives in his city. In addition to helping him plan the conference, I was granted the opportunity to moderate some sessions on urban innovation. Read More »

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