Tuesday, September 08
This week’s national broadband plan workshop will cover “Broadband Consumer Context.” From broadband.gov:
This workshop will examine the broader context of the consumer experience from the perspective of the benefits it confers to consumers, the risks that may be associated with the benefits, and the obligations broadband connectivity may impose on consumers and institutions in an environment of pervasive data sharing and availability.
The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 at 1:30 pm EDT. As always, more information—including how to watch the workshop via streaming video—can be found on the national broadband plan website.
With the deadline for a final national broadband plan quickly approaching, the FCC continues to ask for public input. On Friday, the agency posted two public notices, one asking for ideas about smart grids, the other telework.
Today, there are 270 million mobile wireless customers — up from 100 million eight years ago. They used 2.2 trillion wireless minutes last year — 10 times as many as in 2000.
James K. Glassman, “Uncle Sam Should Leave Wireless Companies Alone,” Forbes.com. July 16, 2009.
More facts about mobile wireless.
Thursday, September 03
The FCC has announced it will be continuing its national broadband workshops through September and October. Among the topics to be discussed are online content, the need for robust wireless broadband, cybersecurity, the digital divide, and the economics of competition.
From LOL Cats to countless “Daily Kitteh” posts on blogs, there’s no denying that felis catus are a fixture of the Internet. In fact, it’s gotten so out of hand that the site Urlesque is calling for a worldwide day without cats on the Internet.
Spectrum is one of our country’s most vital natural resources — and right now, we’re running out of it.
With the popularity of mobile broadband rising, the major carriers are warning that unless more spectrum is freed up, they won’t be able to keep up with demand. And as Fierce Wireless reports, their carriers’ concerns have gotten the attention of the FCC.
With DVD sales falling, Hollywood studios are looking to make up revenue. Enter YouTube, which the Wall Street Journal reports, is floating the idea to Hollywood of streaming movie rentals.
Given the sheer number of people who regularly visit YouTube, the new service could prove to be massively popular. The question is, would there be enough bandwidth available to handle a potential barrage of data-intensive content?
Wednesday, September 02
Ars Technica reports on an interesting theory being floated by former Clinton economic advisor Robert J. Shapiro and Federal Reserve economist Kevin A. Hassett: Can flexible pricing of broadband based on usage actually break the digital divide?
From the story:
Shapiro/Hassett’s economic projections conclude that a “flat rate” pricing model gets the country 79.4% penetration for people under $30k by 2017, and 86.4% for people over $75,000 in the same year. But in a scenario in which “80 percent of the additional cost [is] allocated to the 20 percent of very high bandwidth users,” even lower income household broadband adoption will rise to 98.5 percent in 2017.
“To the extent that lower-income and middle-income consumers are required to pay a greater share of network upgrade costs, we should expect a substantial delay in achieving universal broadband access,” the study concludes. “Our simulations suggest that spreading the costs equally among all consumers—the minority who use large amounts of bandwidth and the majority who use very little—will significantly slow the rate of adoption at the lower end of the income scale and extend the life of the digital divide.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already planning to use everything from Facebook, Twitter, and email to keep people informed about the possible spread of the H1N1 (“Swine Flu”) virus. Now, cnet reports, a new iPhone application aims to give people the power to track the spread on their own.
The free app has a scary name — “Outbreaks Near Me” — and is a joint project of Children’s Hospital Boston and the MIT Media Lab. Hypochondriacs are not encouraged to use it.
If you’ve been following the FCC’s national broadband plan workshops either in person or online, the commission would like to hear from you. Specifically, they’d like to know your thoughts on how the workshops have been going, and how they can improve in the future.
Information on how to put in your two cents can be found at the FCC broadband blog.