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

Thursday, January 28

Jobs and the Case Against More Regulation

By Bruce Mehlman

A new study from Larry F. Darby, Joseph P. Fuhr, and Stephen B. Pociask of the American Consumer Institute helps shed light on the effect the FCC’s proposed net neutrality regulations could have on investment and job creation. The study, titled “The Internet Ecosystem: Employment Impacts of National Broadband Policy,” calls for “regulatory forbearance toward broadband networks” in order to stimulate investment and the creation of new jobs. From the executive summary:

By eliminating business options successfully practiced by proponents of more regulation, the Commission’s proposal would dramatically increase market risk, lower expected growth, suppress network investment, and dampen opportunities for network providers to maintain and create jobs.

The proposed change from Ex Post to Ex Ante regulation would create lengthy regulatory delays and increase regulatory risk for investors, while dampening prospects for new job creation in the Internet sector and in others it supports.

These and other threats to investment incentives and job creation opportunities are out of line with both the emerging national broadband policy and the growing imperative to create more good, permanent jobs.

The study also warns that the proposed regulations would “shift risk, returns, growth and opportunity away from ‘core’ network providers and in favor of ‘edge’ applications and content providers.” Given that core companies (such as providers) historically invest more and create more jobs compared to “edge” companies (such as content providers), new regulation would have a chilling effect on both a national broadband plan and the creation of much-needed jobs.

The full study is available in a PDF on the American Consumer Institute website. It ends with an important message recently delivered from the Communications Workers of America to the FCC:

Put network investment and associated job creation at the center of the discussion, acknowledging that the telecommunications sector is essential to recovery in the current downturn and to our nation’s long-term economic competitiveness.

Wednesday, January 27

The Problem With Paywalls

By Brad

Recently, the New York Times announced it would experiment with charging for content online. Before they take the leap, however, they should check out what’s happened to their fellow New York paper Newsday. From the Observer:

In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site,, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect?

So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to

The answer: 35 people. As in fewer than three dozen. As in a decent-sized elementary-school class.

Grants From RUS

By Bruce Mehlman

The Rural Utilities Service has announced the latest round of broadband stimulus funds, with 11 states receiving grants this time around: Alaska, Alabama, California, Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon, and Virginia.

All told, 14 projects are receiving funding, totaling $310 million.

(Via Broadband Breakfast.)

Detecting Tsunamis

By Brad

Undersea Internet cables aren’t just for transferring data between continents, at least if researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are right. Reports Engadget:

While they haven’t moved beyond computer models just yet, the group has apparently found that voltmeters attached to the end of an undersea cable are able to detect the small electric field stirred up by tsunamis, which measure around 500 millivolts.

Now that’s cool.

Be Careful With Facebook

By Brad

GigaOm highlights a survey from Microsoft that finds when it comes to interviewing for a job, your Facebook page might pose a problem:

As part of Data Privacy Day on Thursday, Microsoft says it conducted a survey of 2,500 people that included, consumers, HR managers and recruitment professionals in the US, the UK, Germany and France, with the goal of learning more about attitudes toward online reputation and how this information can have real life consequences. The survey found that the top online factors for rejecting a job applicant are unsuitable photos/videos, concerns about a candidate’s lifestyle and inappropriate comments written by the candidate.

Social media has made our society more open, which is a good thing. But it’s always wise to remember that once something is on the Internet, it’s there to stay.

Tuesday, January 26

Online TV Takes a Leap Forward

By Brad

Variety is reporting that starting this fall, TV ratings guru Nielsen will begin reporting ratings for both traditional and online broadcasts.

As the popularity of sites like Hulu shows, there is an increasing demand for streaming TV. But even as it grows in popularity, advertisers have yet to crack the code on how to monetize all those viewers. Nielsen’s new system will likely go a long way toward remedying that.

Broadband as a Civil Right

By Brad

Broadband Breakfast has a good rundown of a Minority Media & Telecom Council event held yesterday at Howard University:

Blair Levin, an FCC alumni who has been tapped to oversee the current plans to get broadband throughout the nation, said he wants to ensure that the policies for the plan will not contribute to a second-class citizenship and digital literacy will not be denied to anyone.

Levin told attendees at the Broadband and Social Justice Summit that broadband to certain communities will not automatically remove the digital divide, but will remove the barrier to creating more equal opportunity.  He noted that connecting those previously excluded from the internet can bring real results in education, employment, the nation’s physical health, political participation and civic engagement.

The full article is worth checking out.

Net Neutrality and Unintended Consequences

By David

While the FCC sifts through comments from a reported 200,000 + people in response to its proposed net neutrality regulations, minority groups continue to voice concerns about the effect those regulations will have on the digital divide. Yesterday, groups of minority legislators circulated letters around Capitol Hill warning of unintended consequences from new regulations. Reports Multichannel News:

The Jan. 22 letters came from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Foundation for Women Legislators, National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Association of Black County Officials.

The groups called closing the digital divide “one of the most pressing social and civil rights issue of our day.”

They asked President Obama to intercede to keep the FCC focused on a broadband plan that closes that divide and does not include any new rules they say could threaten that end.

Divine Blogging

By Brad

Via Ars Technica, Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging priests to utilize blogging and Twitter to “proclaim the Gospel.”

Monday, January 25

IIA Video: Navarrow Wright


Navarrow Wright, President of Maximum Leverage Solutions, discusses broadband education and entrepreneurship.

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