Monday, February 22
The Big Money examines the effect micro-blogging service Twitter has had on Toyota and the carmaker’s recent problems:
Toyota never had much of a chance of controlling this story. But what’s been truly disruptive about the recall controversy is that it happened in the new era of social media. Boilerplate crisis-management stipulates that the company execute a variety of strategies, ranging from laying low and handling the recall problems piecemeal, anticipating that public interest would wane, to offering a public mea culpa, which Toyota’s president did on Feb. 9 in the Washington Post. (A resignation could still be in the offing.)
None of this, though, can contend with the breakneck, crowdsourced, unmediated reputation-wrecker that is the 140 characters of a tweet. As the recall story exploded last week and I pondered the collapse of the vaunted Toyota Way, I checked the #Toyota Twitter tag frequently. The tweet-rate was blistering: Dozens of new tweets every 30 seconds. Give it half an hour and you had a thousand more. Even the most hardened PR warrior would have looked at that and wet his pants.
In the U.S., the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) projects that high-speed connections to the home would increase the number of telecommuters to 19 million by 2012. That would save 1.5 billion hours of commute time—and reduce gasoline consumption by 5 percent.
John T. Chambers, “Broadband Speeds Our Economy,” Gigaom [blog], March 3, 2009.
More facts about broadband.
Friday, February 19
Last month, Google announced it would be ending its business efforts in China following an apparent cyberattack on the company and others from the nation. Now, the New York Times reports, an investigation conducted in part by the National Security Agency has traced the attacks to two schools in China:
If supported by further investigation, the findings raise as many questions as they answer, including the possibility that some of the attacks came from China but not necessarily from the Chinese government, or even from Chinese sources.
Tracing the attacks further back, to an elite Chinese university and a vocational school, is a breakthrough in a difficult task. Evidence acquired by a United States military contractor that faced the same attacks as Google has even led investigators to suspect a link to a specific computer science class, taught by a Ukrainian professor at the vocational school.
From a Huffington Post op-ed by Julius H. Hollis of the Alliance for Digital Equality on the national broadband plan:
More than $100 billion has already been spent to deploy high-speed systems across America. But the FCC has estimated that $350 billion is necessary to achieve universal broadband access. As such, the focus of the FCC should be on speeding this process, either through federal programs or by incentivizing the investment of private companies.
Throughout this process, we must also strive to ensure that access remains affordable. To achieve this, I see one logical solution - to have the build-out in these communities financed in part by agreements between the companies paying to lay the wires and the companies that will use those links to sell services.
Largely missing the point, proposals for new “neutrality” rules do nothing to help us realize these important goals. Instead, it is widely thought that new net neutrality regulations will reduce much needed investment in infrastructure, thus causing broadband to become less affordable and accessible to underserved and un-served populations.
From Ars Technica comes the troubling story of a Pennsylvania high school, school-issued laptops, and school officials allegedly spying on kids at home via webcam.
Yesterday, the NTIA announced 10 new projects have received broadband grants. All told, $357 million in grants were promised to projects in eight states: California, Florida, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
(Via Multichannel News.)
Portada points to a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce that shows for Hispanic Americans the digital divide is still in place, despite some recent gains:
43,08% of Hispanics use a broadband (39.74%) or dial up connection (2.98%) at home, while 49.31% uses the internet either at home or anywhere. The percentage of Hispanics who do not have Internet access lies at 50.69% in comparison with a 25.68% ratio for White Non Hispanic.
Read the full report, “Digital Nation: 21st Century America’s Progress Toward Universal Broadband Internet Access.”
Thursday, February 18
Over at the FCC’s official broadband blog, Chairman Julius Genachowski has posted some tidbits from the commission’s upcoming national broadband plan. Writes Genachowski:
By setting ambitious goals and laying out proposals to connect all Americans to a world-class broadband infrastructure, we will help secure our country’s global competitiveness for generations to come.
The FCC’s National Broadband Plan will include the following key recommendations:
100 Squared Initiative: 100 million households at a minimum of 100 megabits per second (Mbs)—the world’s largest market of high-speed broadband users—to ensure that new businesses are created in America and stay in America.
Broadband Testbeds: Encourage the creation of ultra high-speed broadband testbeds as fast, or faster, than any Internet service in the world, so that America is hosting the experiments that produce tomorrow’s ideas and industries.
Digital Opportunities: Expand digital opportunities by moving our adoption rates from roughly 65 percent to more than 90 percent and making sure that every child in America is digitally literate by the time he or she leaves high school.
The full plan is scheduled to be presented to Congress on March 17.
Via CommsDay, the United Nations is getting into the Internet business by starting the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Among the new commission’s major tasks: an overhaul of worldwide spectrum allocation.
TechCrunch reports that the domain poker.org has been sold for a cool $1 million — the largest price for a .org domain to date.
The most expensive domain name ever? That would be Sex.com (of course), which sold for a whopping $14 million.