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

Friday, February 26

The Chilling Effect of Net Neutrality

By Bruce Mehlman

At the Huffington Post, Digital Society Fellow (and IIA Broadband Ambassador) Bret Swanson writes about the negative effect proposed net neutrality regulations would have on jobs and the economy:

Supporters might argue Net Neutrality will protect consumer access to the Internet and promote long-term innovation. These are crucially important goals. But I think they are wrong on these policy virtues as well. I’ve made the case elsewhere that Net Neutrality could have prohibited important business and technical innovations, from the exclusive handset arrangement that spawned the iPhone to the content delivery networks (CDNs) that enabled YouTube.

Regardless of one?s view of long-term effects, however, there is little chance Net Neutrality regulations could improve the near-term jobs picture. There is, on the other hand, a substantial possibility for harm. Net Neutrality could substantially reduce the willingness of service providers to invest in new wired and wireless networks. And it could do so immediately. Any capital expenditure reductions would directly affect tens of thousands of workers who build and maintain these networks. Capex reductions would also ripple through the whole network equipment and software value chain, starting with large companies like Cisco, Juniper, Corning, and Qualcomm; then damaging the prospects of hundreds of smaller suppliers in the high-end semiconductor and software sectors.

For more, check out Swanson’s report for Entropy Economics on net neutrality and jobs.

Winning a Cyberwar

By Brad

Today’s Washington Post has an interesting read on how the U.S. can win — or at least better defend itself during — a “cyberwar.”

What is the right strategy for this most modern of wars? Look to history. During the Cold War, when the United States faced an existential threat from the Soviet Union, we relied on deterrence to protect ourselves from nuclear attack. Later, as the East-West stalemate ended and nuclear weapons proliferated, some argued that preemption made more sense in an age of global terrorism.

The cyber-war mirrors the nuclear challenge in terms of the potential economic and psychological effects. So, should our strategy be deterrence or preemption? The answer: both. Depending on the nature of the threat, we can deploy aspects of either approach to defend America in cyberspace.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

Public Safety

By Brad

As part of its presentation to Congress of a national broadband plan, the FCC has announced it will recommend a federal grant program of $6 billion to build a wireless public safety network. An addition $6-$10 billion will also be proposed in order to operate it.

Thursday, February 25

A Matter of Spectrum

By Bruce Mehlman

Yesterday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski revealed that as part of its impending national broadband plan, television broadcasters would be asked to volunteer some of their spectrum. From Ars Technica:

The FCC’s boss has to maneuver somewhat gingerly around this issue. The broadcasting industry has given a distinctly cold reception to wireless and consumer device maker proposals for ways that television license holders could dramatically reconfigure their high altitude, high power transmission systems to free up as much as 180 MHz of spectrum. Now the FCC and NTIA are talking about 500 MHz.

So Genachowski emphasized that this would be a “voluntary program.”

With the unprecedented adoption of mobile Internet in recent years, America is facing what Genachowski himself has called a “looming spectrum crisis.” Wireless carriers agree. Which means if broadcasters refuse to volunteer spectrum for wireless use, the fight could quickly turn heated. Stay tuned…

World Wide Watercooler

By Brad

The New York Times looks at the positive effect the Internet is having on television:

The Nielsen Company, which measures television viewership and Web traffic, noticed this month that one in seven people who were watching the Super Bowl and the Olympics opening ceremony were surfing the Web at the same time.

“The Internet is our friend, not our enemy,” said Leslie Moonves, chief executive of the CBS Corporation, which broadcast both the Super Bowl and the Grammy Awards this year. “People want to be attached to each other.”

Seeking to capitalize on the online water-cooler effect, NBC showed the Golden Globes live on both coasts for the first time this year, and the network reportedly wants to do the same for the Emmy Awards this fall, so the entire country can watch (and chat online) simultaneously.

King of the Hill

By Brad

Earlier in the week, word surfaced that the European Union would be conducting an antitrust investigation into Google. While it turns out the investigation talk was premature — the EU has released a statement clarifying no investigation is happening yet — GigaOm believes that trouble could be coming soon for Google:

The bigger question, of course, is whether Google deserves to be the subject of an antitrust investigation — whether in the European Union or anywhere else — and the uncomfortable answer is that it probably does (Google has also been more than happy to egg regulators on when Microsoft was the target). That’s not to say the company should be subjected to a five-year-long saga of drawn-out court challenges and posturing by federal authorities and regulators, the way Microsoft was. It’s simply a recognition of the fact that Google is a very different company now than it was even three or four years ago. Its market power is almost unparalleled, particularly in search-related advertising, which is to the web economy what steam power was to the industrial revolution.

The Great Firewall

By Brad

China, already one of the most restrictive nations when it comes to the Internet, is now forcing anyone who wants to create a website to meet with regulators and show proof of ID.

Today in Milestones

By Brad

Apple has announced that customers have now downloaded 10 billion — yes, billion — songs from the company’s iTunes service. Even more staggering: It took just seven years.

Wednesday, February 24

IIA Video: Brian Foley


Brian Foley, Provost of North Virginia Community College Medical Education Campus, discusses workforce development for the use of broadband.

Tuesday, February 23

Statement From IIA


IIA Co-Chairmen Bruce Mehlman and David Sutphen respond to the FCC’s new study “Broadband Adoption and Use in America.”

I commend the FCC for its leadership on broadband adoption and for recognizing the role the Internet plays in the American job market. We no longer operate in a brick-and-mortar economy. Broadband increases opportunities for American businesses large and small to succeed and advance and enables new job creation as well.Investing in Internet technology and infrastructure benefits all business sectors, and at a time when economic recovery is at the top of our national agenda, broadband advancement has never been more critical.

— Bruce Mehlman

The new FCC study underscores the need to remain focused on closing the digital divide by addressing the American public’s attitudes about broadband and reinforces the IIA’s belief that digital literacy must be a key component of the National Broadband Strategy, due to Congress next month. In a 2009 survey of 900 African Americans and Hispanics by Obama pollster Cornell Belcher, 43 percent of respondents cited not knowing how to use the Internet or not seeing the need for the Internet as the reason why they are not online, and 44 percent of those same minorities polled said they would be more likely to subscribe to Internet services if they were provided free lessons on how to use the technology. Bridging the digital divide and getting every American online should be our top priority—broadband Internet is the great enabler and the great equalizer.

— David Sutphen

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