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 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.

Today in Online TV

By Brad

Today’s Wall Street Journal profiles start-up Move Networks Inc., which is hoping to create a full-on television network online:

If the company is able to launch the service it is now pitching to broadcasters—tentatively dubbed Move TV—viewers could watch programs in one of three ways: via a computer’s Web browser; on a television that is either equipped with a built-in Internet jack or connected to a set-top converter box; or on a wireless, Internet-connected device like an iPhone or iPad.

Because Move isn’t laying cable or launching satellites, the company’s executives argue they can charge consumers far less than traditional pay-television operators for a comparable suite of channels. Move hopes to undercut those operators further by offering a pared-down lineup—perhaps as few as 80 to 100 channels.

So far Move Networks has received funding from the likes of Microsoft, Comcast, and Disney. But whether consumers — not to mention America’s broadband infrastructure — are ready for a fully online TV network remains to be seen.

Elsewhere in the online TV landscape, USA Today reports that popular video site Hulu is flirting with the idea of charging for some content.

Social Networking Security

By Brad

Post Tech looks at a new survey from computer security company Sophos on social networking sites and cyber attacks:

Sophos said that reports by companies of spam and malware derived from social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter were up 70 percent from a year earlier. And of the 500 companies surveyed, 60 percent said Facebook—by far the largest social network internationally—posed the biggest security risk.

“2009 saw Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites solidify their position at the heart of many users’ daily internet activities, and saw these websites become a primary target for hackers,” according to the report. “Because of this, social networks have become one of the most significant vectors for data loss and identity theft.”

Tuesday, February 02

Someone is Always Watching

By Brad

Via Wired comes the story of a Canadian property owner, the illegal removal of trees, and the Google Street View camera that caught the remover in the act.

Against Anonymity

By Brad

In a move that has immediately sparked concerns over free speech, the South Australian government has taken the bold step of censoring Internet speech. The new law, which had the support from both major parties, forces anyone commenting on an upcoming election online to do so under their real name and postcode.

Re-Committing to Net Neutrality

By Bruce Mehlman

During a special YouTube event yesterday, President Obama re-declared his commitment to proposed net neutrality regulations. Via Multichannel News:

“I’m a big believer in net neutrality,” he said. “I campaigned on this. I continue to be a strong supporter of it. My FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has indicated that he shares the view that we’ve got to keep the Internet open, that we don’t want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn’t have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet.”

The president went on to say that the administration was getting “pushback, obviously, from some of the bigger carries who would like to be able to charge more fees and extract more money from wealthier customers.” Not addressed, however, were the concerns from many of the people against new regulations that imposing net neutrality could hurt private investment in the Internet and further exacerbate the digital divide.

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