Monday, November 30
In an effort to better understand broadband access in America, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has asked the FCC for access to the “Form 477 database,” which was assembled from information offered high-speed Internet providers on broadband deployment.
The FCC has stated that barring any objections, it will comply with the request by December 7.
Mega-retailers Amazon and Wal-Mart have been waging a pricing battle online for holiday shopping dollars, and as TechFlash reports, so far they both appear to be winning—at least on the traffic front:
The two retailers saw a big jump in unique visitors on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, with Amazon up 28 percent and Wal-Mart up 22 percent, according to internet measurement firm comScore.
TechFlash also notes that online spending for “Black Friday” (AKA the busiest shopping day of the year) took a 11% jump over last year. And as earth2tech reports, all that business online has very real — and positive — effects on the environment:
[T]he carbon reductive powers of broadband-enabled dematerialization, or reducing physical goods and transportation with virtual options, is very real. According to The Climate Group’s Smart 2020 report published back in 2008, information and communication technology (ICT) can reduce the world’s carbon emissions across sectors by 15 percent (about 5 times the amount of the ICT sector’s own added carbon footprint). Dematerialization — from reduced transportation from e-commerce and telepresence as well as virtual goods replacing physical goods — could prevent 500 million tons of CO2 by 2020 (which is a little less than Australia’s total emissions in 2005).
Multichannel News sat down with IIA Co-Chairman David Sutphen to talk about broadband adoption among America’s minority communities and the role of private investment in expanding broadband, among other things. Check it out.
Tuesday, November 24
The flood of applications for federal broadband grants continues to be a problem for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which has announced that the next round of grants now won’t be issued until December, and the actual funding of grants won’t start until next February.
The New York Times reports that, despite the chilly economy, online retail continues grow:
In its State Of Retailing Online 2009 report, Forrester Research reported that the vast majority of Web retailers were not only profitable in 2008 - in a recession - but also that their overall level of profitability grew.
The e-commerce market is expanding, due to a combination of factors. One is that consumers are no longer afraid to buy things online, as they once were. Also brick-and-mortar businesses are migrating more of their operations online. We also have technology advances to thank: better recommendations technology, social media, the emergence of mobile commerce.
Not surprisingly, as e-commerce grows, competition grows along with it:
Wal-Mart, the mightiest retail giant in history, may have met its own worthy adversary: Amazon.com.
In what is emerging as one of the main story lines of the 2009 post-recession shopping season, the two heavyweight retailers are waging an online price war that is spreading through product areas like books, movies, toys and electronics.
Monday, November 23
30 to 40 million households that have access to broadband connectivity have not taken advantage of it.
— BB4US.net, “Report of the US Broadband Coalition on a National Broadband Strategy,” US Broadband Coalition. September 24, 2009.
More facts about broadband.
Friday, November 20
Via Ars Technica comes the story of a St. Louis newspaper, a vulgar word posted by an anonymous commenter, and a school employee who resigned after being outed as said anonymous commenter.
So-called “bandwidth hogs”—people who use an inordinate amount of bandwidth each month—have a history of giving Internet service providers headaches. But as Todd Spangler of Multichannel News points out, thanks to the popularity of online video, it’s not just the hogs who are creating a bandwidth crunch:
[A]ccording to recent analysis of Internet usage patterns, there’s a “primetime” for broadband consumption, which a huge monthly cap won’t do anything to address. A monthly 250 GB cap only filters out the bit junkies who are literally sharing terabytes of stuff; granted, they unequivocally use more than their fair share but capping them doesn’t solve long-term congestion issues.
Network-management equipment vendor Sandvine says that between 7 and 10 p.m. in any given region around the world, the usage profile among all users was roughly equivalent, mainly thanks to the explosive popularity of Internet TV and online video. That means in that primetime window, you and I use the same amount of bandwidth as the overall heaviest users (”bandwidth hogs”) who use their connections 24 hours per day.
Thursday, November 19
As the FCC works toward a national broadband plan, it is also seeking to have an integral role in finding solutions for broadband deployment, lack of spectrum, and digital literacy. Reports the Wall Street Journal:
The FCC identified a number of issues the government should address, including the high cost of laying new broadband lines in rural areas, a lack of airwaves for wireless Web access and ill-informed consumers.
“This focus on broadband is a reflection of a recognition that the U.S. is lagging behind,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Wednesday at the agency’s monthly meeting.
Earlier this, the agency also passed a new rule that will help wireless companies speed up the process of installing new cell towers.