I commend the FCC for its leadership on broadband adoption and for recognizing the role the Internet plays in the American job market. We no longer operate in a brick-and-mortar economy. Broadband increases opportunities for American businesses large and small to succeed and advance and enables new job creation as well.Investing in Internet technology and infrastructure benefits all business sectors, and at a time when economic recovery is at the top of our national agenda, broadband advancement has never been more critical.
— Bruce Mehlman
The new FCC study underscores the need to remain focused on closing the digital divide by addressing the American public’s attitudes about broadband and reinforces the IIA’s belief that digital literacy must be a key component of the National Broadband Strategy, due to Congress next month. In a 2009 survey of 900 African Americans and Hispanics by Obama pollster Cornell Belcher, 43 percent of respondents cited not knowing how to use the Internet or not seeing the need for the Internet as the reason why they are not online, and 44 percent of those same minorities polled said they would be more likely to subscribe to Internet services if they were provided free lessons on how to use the technology. Bridging the digital divide and getting every American online should be our top priority—broadband Internet is the great enabler and the great equalizer.
As proposed new regulations on the Internet continue to be debated, some of America’s major Internet providers — including Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner, among others — have sent a letter to the FCC arguing that the broadband industry should not be classified as a Title II telecommunications service. From the letter:
Some net neutrality proponents believe that economic growth is propelled primarily by investment at the “edge” if the Internet, and not by network providers who operate the Internet’s core and access networks, but that is a dangerously flawed vision. Continued investment and innovation by each group mutually expands opportunities for the other. The greater ability of network operators to offer innovative, revenue-generating enhanced capabilities and features to application and content providers, the greater the ability of the network operators to expand the potential reach and robustness of those networks for consumers. And the better the network capabilities available to “edge” providers, the greater the opportunity for them to develop innovative services that increase consumer demand for broadband. The current, stable Title I regulatory environment has facilitated this “virtuous cycle” of investment and innovation all levels of the Internet, just as the Commission expected.
This is certainly no time to retreat from those policies. Many of our nation’s core priorities in education, health care, energy conservation, environmental protection, technological innovation, job-producing investment, and economic growth depend on the continued flow of private capital for deploying and expanding broadband networks.
Yesterday, popular micro-blogging service Twitter had some information to share. From the company’s official blog:
Folks were tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007. By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day. Tweets grew 1,400% last year to 35 million per day. Today, we are seeing 50 million tweets per day—that’s an average of 600 tweets per second.
From 5,000 to 50 million in just three years. Wow.
In advance of its deadline to present a national broadband plan to Congress on March 17, the FCC conducted a consumer survey on Internet usage. The commission will be presenting the results at the Brookings Institute today, but via Multichannel News here are some highlights:
The survey, a random phone survey conducted in October and November, found that 80 million adults (and 13 million kids) do not have high-speed Internet at home.
More than one-third of the non-adopters (28 million adults) indicated that they don’t have broadband because either the price of service is too high (15%); they can’t afford a computer; installation costs are too high (10%); or they don’t want a long-term service contract (9%). According to the survey, the average monthly broadband bill is $41.
Via the New York Times, Tufts University has changed its admission policy to allow would-be students to include YouTube videos about themselves as part of their application:
Lee Coffin, the dean of undergraduate admissions, said the idea came to him last spring, when watching a YouTube video someone had sent him. “I thought, ‘If this kid applied to Tufts, I’d admit him in a minute, without anything else,’” Mr. Coffin said.
For their videos, some students sat in their bedroom and talked earnestly into the camera, while others made day-in-the-life montages, featuring buddies, burgers and lacrosse practice. A budding D.J. sent clips from one of his raves, with a suggestion that such parties might be welcome at Tufts.
Geoff Daily of App Rising, who has been keeping a watchful eye on how and when federal broadband grants are doled out, has handed out grades for the first year of the effort. The overall grade: D+.
Despite the bad grade, however, Daily is still hopeful:
Just because the stimulus is failing now on almost all fronts doesn’t mean that it can’t recover and post solid even spectacular marks. Ultimately the grade that matters most is that the best projects are funded and on that they’re not failing. They’re also learning from at least some of their mistakes. So I for one am still hopeful that the broadband stimulus will be more than just another government folly.
The Telegraph reports that Apple’s massively successful “App Store” appears to be getting more kid-friendly:
Apple has removed around 5,000 apps from its App Store, including some that it claims feature “overtly sexual” content.
Dozens of developers received a message from Apple stating that the company was refining the guidelines under which the App Store operates, and that content that it had “originally believed to be suitable for distribution” were now no longer deemed appropriate, following “numerous complaints from customers about this type of content”.
While “sexually explicit” apps require an age warning before they’re downloaded, Apple outright removing apps for sexual content is a change in direction. One theory: Apple’s new iPad, which is being heavily geared towards students and schools, is a reason for the change.
CNN looks at the role the U.S. government accidentally played in the recent Google hack from China:
The news here isn’t that Chinese hackers engage in these activities or that their attempts are technically sophisticated—we knew that already—it’s that the U.S. government inadvertently aided the hackers.
In order to comply with government search warrants on user data, Google created a backdoor access system into Gmail accounts. This feature is what the Chinese hackers exploited to gain access.
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