Monday, January 04
This Wednesday, over 100,000 techies will be descending upon Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. Among the hot topics for the event, MarketWatch reports, will be mobile devices and people always being connected to the Internet.
In other CES news, our very own co-chairman David Sutphen will be participating in a session titled “Mobile & Broadband Music: New Platforms + New Technology + More Music + Dynamic Marketplace,” alongside heavy hitters like Brad Duea, the president of Napster, and Rob Lewis, the CEO of Omnifone.
Broadband Breakfast reports on a recent FCC field hearing at the University of Chicago. The topic: How broadband can affect small businesses:
“When discussing the digital divide, small businesses are often overlooked,” said Norma Reyes, commissioner of the department of business affairs and consumer protection for the city of Chicago.
“Small businesses are really the engine of job creation in the U.S., and they have been for a long time,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski explained at the hearing.
“The statistics are really amazing. Small businesses inject about a trillion into the American economy. Small businesses have created on a net basis, over 93% of new jobs over the past 15 years.”
Now that 2010 — or, “The Year We Make Contact” — is officially here, Network World has some predictions for what the Internet will look like in ten year’s time.
Via the New York Times, even someone as tech savvy as FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is not immune to the occasional Facebook scammer:
On Thursday at around 10:30 a.m., Mr. Genachowski sent his Facebook friends this puzzling message: “Adam got me started making money with this.” It was followed by a link to a Web page that is no longer active. The message blitz indicated that Mr. Genachowski’s account had been taken over by a malicious program that was using it to send out spam.
As of Thursday afternoon, Mr. Genachowski’s Facebook profile was no longer visible on the site. A Facebook spokesman, Larry Yu, said the company learned of the problem this morning and suspended the account, as it routinely does in such cases. An F.C.C. spokeswoman declined to comment.
Wednesday, December 23
Now this is a good use of technology. Government agency NORAD, which has long tracked Santa’s flight for children, is teaming up with Google to keep tabs on St. Nick online. The site, Santa Tracker, will go live on Christmas Eve.
Speaking of the holidays, next week the Podium will be on a break. We’ll return Monday, January 4.
Not content with dominating the downloadable music market, Apple is rumored to be exploring a subscription-based service for TV content. From the New York Times:
Apple is eliciting tentative interest from some networks in its proposal to offer a TV subscription package via the Internet.
Theoretically, customers would be able to tune in online, allowing them to cancel their cable or satellite subscriptions.
ABC and CBS are among the networks that are considering joining the Apple venture, people close to the talks said Monday night. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized by their companies to comment on confidential talks. They said that the talks were at a very early stage.
According to Harris Interactive, the average adult Internet user now spends 13 hours a week online. In 2006, the average time spent online was nine hours.
The age group that spends the most time online? 30-39 year olds.
A new report from Pew has some encouraging news about Internet use in the Hispanic community:
From 2006 to 2008, internet use among Latino adults rose by 10 percentage points, from 54% to 64%. In comparison, the rates for whites rose four percentage points, and the rates for blacks rose only two percentage points during that time period.
Latinos still trail whites in Internet use, but the Pew report shows that the gap is diminishing. Unfortunately, when it comes to broadband adoption at home, the Hispanic community saw very little change — from 79% of Internet users in 2007, to 81% in 2008.
The full Pew report is available here (PDF)
Tuesday, December 22
How well is online retail doing this holiday season? The Wall Street Journal reports that while sales at traditional stores were flat compared to last year, online stores saw an increase in sales of 4%. In fact, on December 15 alone sales totaled $913 million — a new single day record.
Writing for RealClearMarkets, Bret Swanson, president of Entropy Economics (and an IIA Broadband Ambassador) investigates the much-touted study on open networks produced by Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society and finds problems:
The 231-page report was an ode to foreign broadband success and especially to the regulatory model of “open access,” a euphemism for mandated sharing of network assets at government-set prices. Although U.S. Internet innovation is flourishing, the Berkman Center found the U.S. tragically lagging other nations in consumer broadband penetration, prices, and network speeds. In a perfect set-up for a dramatic re-regulation of U.S. communications networks, Berkman concluded that open access mandates have “a positive and significant effect” on broadband penetration and that the effect is “somewhat larger . . . and more robust than previously thought.”
Just one problem. Actually many problems. The report botched its chief statistical model in half a dozen ways. It used loads of questionable data. It didn’t account for the unique market structure of U.S. broadband. It reversed the arrow of time in its country case studies. It ignored the high-profile history of open access regulation in the U.S. It didn’t conduct the literature review the FCC asked for. It excommunicated Switzerland.
Read Swanson’s full report. The Berkman study is available here in PDF form.