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

Tuesday, February 09

IIA Video: Marcia Thomas-Brown

By IIA

Marcia Thomas-Brown, Program Manager for the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, discusses the economic benefits of broadband in the field of health care.

Monday, February 08

Net Neutrality & Investment

By Bruce Mehlman

Last week, Entropy Economics released a detailed report on the effects net neutrality would have on jobs. After examining the official comments submitted to the FCC, Entropy found that those who could be counted as “Net Neutrality Skeptics” directly employ 1,440,021 people. “Net Neutrality Supporters,” meanwhile, only employ 148,936 — a difference of 10 to 1.

The Entropy report also looked at the amount of Capital Expenditures for skeptics and supporters, and the result was even more startling. From an article at Digital Society by the report’s author, Bret Swanson (who is also an IIA Broadband Ambassador):

We have often noted the communications sector’s important capital investment role in the U.S. economy. In 2008, U.S. info-tech capital investment totaled $455 billion, or 43% of all U.S. non-structure investment. The communications service providers alone invest $65 billion or more annually. Among companies filing FCC comments, the Net Neutrality Skeptics invested $189 billion over the last three years, compared to $18 billion for the Net Neutrality Supporters. Two of the nation’s largest infrastructure investors, AT&T and Verizon, each have more employees than all the Net Neutrality Supporting companies combined.

Net neutrality supporters often dismiss the effect new regulations will have on private investment. But as the Entropy report makes clear, discouraging private investment from net neutrality skeptics would have a chilling effect on the U.S. economy. And with the FCC’s own estimates for the cost of a national broadband plan reaching as high as $350 billion, a reduction in private investment could put the goal of bringing broadband to everyone out of reach.

Broadband Fact of the Week

By IIA

Fact of the Week

In the U.S., The Information Technology & 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, March 3, 2009.

More facts about broadband.

IIA in the News: David Sutphen in Ebony

By IIA

IIA Co-Chairman David Sutphen has penned a piece for Ebony magazine about why the FCC should direct its attention to the National Broadband Plan and closing the digital divide, as opposed to divisive new regulations. Check it out.

Up is Down

By Brad

A curious side note to yesterday’s Super Bowl extravaganza (congratulations New Orleans!) was the fact that for the first time in 20 years, Pepsi didn’t advertise during the game. As GigaOm reports:

In December, the company said that it had decided to forgo the advertising frenzy that is the Super Bowl for the first time in over two decades (although Doritos, which is owned by Pepsi, will air several ads during the game). Instead, Pepsi said it would spend $20 million funding community renewal events across the U.S. that would be selected through a “crowdsourcing” project similar to Dell’s Ideastorm, in which users get to vote on the various proposals submitted by other users.

Pepsi’s abandonment of the biggest advertising day of the year in favor of a major Internet push wasn’t the only surprise, though, since Google — which has long shied away from traditional TV advertising — did have an ad during the game.

Friday, February 05

Focusing on Health Care

By Brad

Via Government Health IT, the FCC is putting a lot of thought into health care applications as it develops a national broadband plan:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act called for the FCC to develop a plan for establishing broadband connections to the Internet as a way to spur business development, job creation and improvements in healthcare.

As part of the plan, the FCC will analyze health IT applications enabled by broadband, including electronic health record systems, video conferencing and remote monitoring, Kaushal said at a Feb. 3 conference sponsored by the mHealth Initiative, which advocates the use of cell phones and other mobile devices to improve healthcare.

Net Neutrality & Jobs

By Bruce Mehlman

Entropy Economics has published a new report examining the effect proposed net neutrality regulations would have on the U.S. job market. From the report (PDF):

Regardless of one’s view of long-term effects… 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, Alcatel-Lucent, and Qualcomm; then damaging the prospects of hundreds of smaller suppliers in the high-end semiconductor and software sectors.

Entropy also looked at the number of employees of both net neutrality skeptics and supporters, and finds that skeptics directly employ 1,440,021 people, while supporters employ just a fraction of that — 148,836.

Read the full report.

The Power of Social Networking

By Brad

When it comes to where people get their news online, a new report finds that Facebook is now fourth behind Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Thursday, February 04

Net Neutrality & the Digital Divide

By David

10 Reasons Why New Internet Regulations Impede Common Goals of Connecting All Americans and Closing Digital Divide

1. Considerable progress has been made in our first broadband decade – progress that has only been achieved because of the FCC’s longstanding, deregulatory approach to the Internet. In roughly ten years we have gone from practically zero broadband deployment to more than 95 percent availability and 63 percent adoption, according to the FCC and Pew.

2. The open Internet exists today. We have been living with ‘net neutrality’ since 2004, when it was established that companies cannot control the content and applications that people are able to access online.

3. The net neutrality debate, which only concerns those already online, is a distraction from creating an effective National Broadband Plan. The people who have the most to lose from this balancing act are the socially and economically disenfranchised – members of rural, low-income, urban, tribal, minority, non-English speaking, unserved and underserved populations.

4. The Commission’s recent request for an extension of time to deliver a National Broadband Plan underscores the need for the agency to devote more – not less – attention and resources to completing a national strategy.

5. Experts on the digital divide have not cited “lack of net neutrality regulations” as either a cause or a cure for race or income-based differences in broadband adoption. The current net neutrality war that has erupted in Washington, DC has very little to do with the interests of the unserved and underserved.

6. It is impossible to know for sure how new Internet regulations would impact private investment, and a decline in capital investments in broadband could have a harmful effect on jobs and the US economy. In fact, a reduction by five percent would reduce employment by 47,073 according to research from the ITIF or 78,455 according to former FCC commissioner and economist Harold Furchtgott-Roth.

7. Today’s open Internet is making possible huge innovation. We reduce the possibilities and raise barriers if we don’t give everyone access to smart networks.

8. Lack of net neutrality regulations cannot be reduced to “charging more fees and extracting more money from wealthier customers.” On the contrary, the FCC has laid out six principles of net neutrality, which have the potential to impact Americans at every level of income.

9. In a 2009 poll of 900 African Americans and Hispanics conducted by Brilliant Corners Research, led by Obama Presidential Campaign and Democratic Pollster Cornell Belcher, 43 percent of these minorities cited either not knowing how to use the Internet or not seeing the need for the Internet as the reason why they are not online; however, 44 percent of these same respondents said they would be more likely to subscribe to Internet services if they were provided free lessons on how to use the technology and 30 percent would be more likely to adopt if they had more information about how they could benefit from going online.

10. There are more significant policy challenges and opportunities demanding FCC attention and cooperation with industry, such as reforming the universal service fund, expanding spectrum availability for commercial use, and improving digital literacy.

Wednesday, February 03

More Minority Groups Warning Against Net Neutrality

By Bruce Mehlman

Via Broadband Breakfast, three minority business groups — the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce — held a conference call yesterday to express their concerns over the effect of proposed net neutrality regulations:

The business officials expressed concern over internet regulation, emphasizing their priority to bring broadband access to minority populations.

They said that broadband plays a role in job creation and as a vehicle for innovation, growth, and competition. This, they said, was a reason to avoid net neutrality regulations, as they could slow down the deployment of broadband networks in underserved areas.

With estimates for the final tab of a national broadband plan reaching as high as $350 billion, private investment will be critical for wiring America. Any new regulations that stall investment could put nationwide broadband out of reach.

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