Monday, December 07
A new report finds that U.S. broadband adoption may be better than previously thought. Via Broadband Breakfast:
The report was generated by comparing the Census blocks in which broadband is available with the number of subscribers that carriers report to the Federal Communications Commission.
By linking the number of subscribers in a particular state (from FCC data) to a data-set of Census block-by-Census block tabulations of broadband availability, consultant Brian Webster believes that he is able to peg the nation-wide broadband adoption rate for homes passed at 72.9 percent.
That’s roughly 10% higher than previously estimated.
According to Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet Project, 42% of all adults say they or someone they know has been helped by following medical advice or health information found on the internet.
John Horrigan, “Broadband Adoption Barriers,” Blogband [FCC Blog]. August 25, 2009.
More facts about broadband.
Friday, December 04
So far, the national broadband plan has faced its share of hurdles. But as Broadband Breakfast reports, the Obama administration is promising the money will start flowing soon:
Despite government delays in announcing the grant awards for the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus money Congress allocated in January, Vice President Joe Biden Thursday said that within the next month billions will be given to broadband and high-speed rail investments.
“And by design, the items in the act which have the biggest impact are yet to come. Within the next two weeks to a month, another roughly $13 billion is going to be announced rolling out in terms of both investments in broadband and high-speed rail, and competitive education and infrastructure,” said Biden in remarks he gave at the opening session of the White House Jobs and Economic Growth Forum.
Yesterday, Microsoft’s search engine Bing had a 30-minute outage. While that in itself is not good news, Larry Dignan of ZDNet believes it was a positive step for Bing. Why? Because people noticed — and when you’re trying to take on Google, every little bit helps.
Next Thursday, December 10, IIA will be holding its National Broadband Strategy Symposium at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Called “Universal Broadband: Access for All Americans,” the symposium will examine the opportunities and advantages broadband brings to everything from education to entertainment, address wireless Internet as a means to bridge the digital divide, and look at the future of broadband.
More information, along with a schedule of speakers, is available here. And for those unable to attend the event in person, we’ll be streaming it live here on the IIA website.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released an alert warning of email scams centered around the H1N1 (or “Swine Flu”) virus. From the alert:
CDC has received reports of fraudulent emails (phishing) referencing a CDC sponsored State Vaccination Program.
The messages request that users must create a personal H1N1 (swine flu) Vaccination Profile on the cdc.gov website. The message then states that anyone that has reached the age of 18 has to have his/her personal Vaccination Profile on the cdc.gov site.
Thursday, December 03
A new report from analyst firm IDC finds that mobile Internet use is poised to jump in the next year. How big of a jump? The firm estimates that users could reach one billion by the end of next year.
That’s a lot of people — and a lot of content being delivered wirelessly.
(Via Read Write Web.)
Yesterday, the American Library Association submitted comments to the FCC laying out the case that libraries not only can provide broadband access, but also can increase digital literacy. From the comments (available here in PDF):
There are currently 16,543 public library outlets in communities across the nation. Libraries are found in virtually every community in the United States. These libraries play a vital role in their communities in supporting workforce development, small business creation, education from the early years through higher and continuing education, and access to government resources through public access computer terminals. Nearly one hundred percent of libraries are able to provide their patrons with broadband access to this wealth of resources. The ability of public libraries to reach a large proportion of the nation’s population is commensurate with the goals of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) of maximizing the utilization of broadband infrastructure and service and increasing individual adoption rates.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is looking to change the Universal Service Fund. Reports cnet:
The Universal Service Fund is a $7 billion federal subsidy program that is funded by fees added to consumer phone bills. The USF was originally designed to provide subsidies to pay for phone service in rural communities and to low-income residents. But the FCC believes that the fund should also be used to help pay for universal broadband, a policy priority for President Obama’s administration.”
In other FCC news, the agency is now officially seeking comment on whether spectrum currently used by broadcasters should instead be used for wireless.
After months of flirting, Comcast and General Electric have officially announced a joint venture that gives Comcast control over NBC/Universal. But while papers have been signed and handshakes shared, hurdles for the merger still remain. From the LA Times:
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who chairs the powerful Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, promised that a hearing on the deal would be held.
“This acquisition will create waves throughout the media and entertainment marketplace and we don’t know where the ripples will end,” Kohl said in a statement. He added that a hearing was necessary so “consumers can get a better sense of how this deal could affect their access to diverse programming and information, especially as they more often look to the Internet for such services.”