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After Broadband, Then What? The Real Work Begins

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

I find myself writing more often about the challenges of getting broadband installed – financing it, building consensus, partnering with the private sector. The goal, as has been written many times, is create a foundation for economic growth.

But even after broadband is installed, economic growth doesn’t just happen automatically. It has to be nurtured. That’s the challenge that cities, regions, and countries have to be aware of. The work doesn’t stop once broadband transmissions start.

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Top 3 Reasons Why Emerging Markets Will Adopt Mobile Broadband

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Changing global demographics are going to boost mobile broadband adoption significantly, according to a recent presentation by Wally Swain, senior vice president of the network research group at Yankee Group. Swain not only leads the emerging markets team, he has a front-row seat to emerging markets from his office in Bogotá, Colombia.

In his presentation, entitled “Fixed and Mobile Broadband Compete and Cooperate in Emerging Markets,” Swain revealed some intriguing insights about where mobile broadband is headed: nowhere but up.

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Empowering Rural Health Workers with Mobile Video

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

State-of-the-art broadband services still don’t reach many parts of the African continent, especially rural villages. But one consumer technology is pervasive: cell phones.

According to the Cisco VNI Service Adoption Forecast, there will be 1.3 billion consumer mobile devices across the Middle East and Africa by 2016 – a billion of them being basic feature phones, not smartphones. At the same time, mobile video is expected to be the fastest-growing service in the region, with 184 million users projected by 2016.

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Creative Financing for Broadband Infrastructure

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

One of the challenging issues about deploying broadband – so they say – is the cost. Access rights. Construction. Lawsuits. All have an effect on time and resources. That’s why it was particularly startling when I started finding references to communities that had found ways to deploy broadband using creative financing and cost structures.

For instance, as noted in Laying Fiber: Creative Broadband Installations, the city of Santa Monica used federal stimulus funds and then partnered with other telecommunications companies. As Broadband Communities’ article Santa Monica City Net: How to Grow a Network notes, the city leased a fiber network from a local cable TV operator.

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Of Dogs and Toilets: The Law of Unintended Consequences

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

Wikipedia defines it as “A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended.” It turns out that the law of unintended consequences is alive and well, and has been for years in the world of telecommunications.

Consider the story of the woman who called the telephone company back in the 1940s to report a problem. The problem, it seemed, was that every time the phone rang, her dog shrieked and barked and did the canine equivalent of St. Vitus’ dance.

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