Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Monday, February 01

Dept. of Rejection

By Brad

Via Government Tech, last week the NTIA sent out 1,400 rejection letters to broadband grant hopefuls. Those who have been rejected are being encouraged to closely study the grant proposals that have been approved so far before re-applying.

Smart Phone Explosion

By Brad

The runaway success of Apple’s iPhone has not gone unnoticed by the other major tech players. First Palm released its own smartphone, the Pre. Then Google got in on the act with first its Android operating system, then its own smart phone the Nexus One. Now, Gizmodo reports, there are rumors that Microsoft is set to throw its considerable weight into the market with a Zune phone.

Friday, January 29

A Fractured Web?

By Brad

Investor’s Business Daily explores a possible effect the recent Google-China dispute could have on the Internet as a whole:

China, which has imposed censorship on its Internet users and used filtering software to block Web sites, is determined to have a role in shaping next-generation Internet standards, analysts say. China wants rules governing cyberspace to be compatible with its political aims. In any event, analysts say China probably has the tools to create and manage its own cyberspace, if it so chooses.

We are seeing the world moving away from the global Internet to a series of national networks,” warned Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu at the New America Foundation on Wednesday.

Interview with a Scammer

By Brad

The UK site Scam Detectives has a fascinating interview with a convicted Nigerian email scammer:

Scam-Detective: How did you find victims for your scams?

John: First you need to understand how the gangs work. At the bottom are the “foot soldiers”, kids who spend all of their time online to find email addresses and send out the first emails to get people interested. When they receive a reply, the victim is passed up the chain, to someone who has better English to get copies of ID from them like copies of their passport and driving licenses and build up trust. Then when they are ready to ask for money, they are passed further up again to someone who will pretend to be a barrister or shipping agent who will tell the victim that they need to pay charges or even a bribe to get the big cash amount out of the country. When they pay up, the gang master will collect the money from the Western Union office, using fake ID that they have taken from other scam victims.

The full interview is worth checking out.

Streaming the State of the Union

By Brad

How many people watched President Obama’s State of the Union address online? According to the official White House Blog, close to 1,300,000.

Thursday, January 28

Jobs and the Case Against More Regulation

By Bruce Mehlman

A new study from Larry F. Darby, Joseph P. Fuhr, and Stephen B. Pociask of the American Consumer Institute helps shed light on the effect the FCC’s proposed net neutrality regulations could have on investment and job creation. The study, titled “The Internet Ecosystem: Employment Impacts of National Broadband Policy,” calls for “regulatory forbearance toward broadband networks” in order to stimulate investment and the creation of new jobs. From the executive summary:

By eliminating business options successfully practiced by proponents of more regulation, the Commission’s proposal would dramatically increase market risk, lower expected growth, suppress network investment, and dampen opportunities for network providers to maintain and create jobs.

The proposed change from Ex Post to Ex Ante regulation would create lengthy regulatory delays and increase regulatory risk for investors, while dampening prospects for new job creation in the Internet sector and in others it supports.

These and other threats to investment incentives and job creation opportunities are out of line with both the emerging national broadband policy and the growing imperative to create more good, permanent jobs.

The study also warns that the proposed regulations would “shift risk, returns, growth and opportunity away from ‘core’ network providers and in favor of ‘edge’ applications and content providers.” Given that core companies (such as providers) historically invest more and create more jobs compared to “edge” companies (such as content providers), new regulation would have a chilling effect on both a national broadband plan and the creation of much-needed jobs.

The full study is available in a PDF on the American Consumer Institute website. It ends with an important message recently delivered from the Communications Workers of America to the FCC:

Put network investment and associated job creation at the center of the discussion, acknowledging that the telecommunications sector is essential to recovery in the current downturn and to our nation’s long-term economic competitiveness.

Wednesday, January 27

The Problem With Paywalls

By Brad

Recently, the New York Times announced it would experiment with charging for content online. Before they take the leap, however, they should check out what’s happened to their fellow New York paper Newsday. From the Observer:

In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site, newsday.com, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect?

So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to newsday.com?

The answer: 35 people. As in fewer than three dozen. As in a decent-sized elementary-school class.

Grants From RUS

By Bruce Mehlman

The Rural Utilities Service has announced the latest round of broadband stimulus funds, with 11 states receiving grants this time around: Alaska, Alabama, California, Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon, and Virginia.

All told, 14 projects are receiving funding, totaling $310 million.

(Via Broadband Breakfast.)

Detecting Tsunamis

By Brad

Undersea Internet cables aren’t just for transferring data between continents, at least if researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are right. Reports Engadget:

While they haven’t moved beyond computer models just yet, the group has apparently found that voltmeters attached to the end of an undersea cable are able to detect the small electric field stirred up by tsunamis, which measure around 500 millivolts.

Now that’s cool.

Be Careful With Facebook

By Brad

GigaOm highlights a survey from Microsoft that finds when it comes to interviewing for a job, your Facebook page might pose a problem:

As part of Data Privacy Day on Thursday, Microsoft says it conducted a survey of 2,500 people that included, consumers, HR managers and recruitment professionals in the US, the UK, Germany and France, with the goal of learning more about attitudes toward online reputation and how this information can have real life consequences. The survey found that the top online factors for rejecting a job applicant are unsuitable photos/videos, concerns about a candidate’s lifestyle and inappropriate comments written by the candidate.

Social media has made our society more open, which is a good thing. But it’s always wise to remember that once something is on the Internet, it’s there to stay.

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