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

Wednesday, December 23

Narrowing the Digital Divide

By David

A new report from Pew has some encouraging news about Internet use in the Hispanic community:

From 2006 to 2008, internet use among Latino adults rose by 10 percentage points, from 54% to 64%.  In comparison, the rates for whites rose four percentage points, and the rates for blacks rose only two percentage points during that time period.

Latinos still trail whites in Internet use, but the Pew report shows that the gap is diminishing. Unfortunately, when it comes to broadband adoption at home, the Hispanic community saw very little change — from 79% of Internet users in 2007, to 81% in 2008.

The full Pew report is available here (PDF)

Tuesday, December 22

A Happy Online Holidays

By Brad

How well is online retail doing this holiday season? The Wall Street Journal reports that while sales at traditional stores were flat compared to last year, online stores saw an increase in sales of 4%. In fact, on December 15 alone sales totaled $913 million — a new single day record.

A Questionable Report

By Bruce Mehlman

Writing for RealClearMarkets, Bret Swanson, president of Entropy Economics (and an IIA Broadband Ambassador) investigates the much-touted study on open networks produced by Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society and finds problems:

The 231-page report was an ode to foreign broadband success and especially to the regulatory model of “open access,” a euphemism for mandated sharing of network assets at government-set prices. Although U.S. Internet innovation is flourishing, the Berkman Center found the U.S. tragically lagging other nations in consumer broadband penetration, prices, and network speeds. In a perfect set-up for a dramatic re-regulation of U.S. communications networks, Berkman concluded that open access mandates have “a positive and significant effect” on broadband penetration and that the effect is “somewhat larger . . . and more robust than previously thought.”

Just one problem. Actually many problems. The report botched its chief statistical model in half a dozen ways. It used loads of questionable data. It didn’t account for the unique market structure of U.S. broadband. It reversed the arrow of time in its country case studies. It ignored the high-profile history of open access regulation in the U.S. It didn’t conduct the literature review the FCC asked for. It excommunicated Switzerland.

Read Swanson’s full report. The Berkman study is available here in PDF form.

New Czar in Town

By Brad

The Washington Post is reporting that President Obama will name Howard A. Schmidt, who worked as a cyber security expert at eBay and Microsoft, and served in the Bush administration, as the White House cybersecurity coordinator.

Monday, December 21

Defining Speed

By Bruce Mehlman

With 58 days to go before the FCC presents its national broadband plan, Rep. Rick Boucher [D-Va] has megabit speed on the mind. Reports Media Post:

As the Federal Communications Commission readies its national broadband plan, a leading lawmaker is urging the agency to aim to ensure that the vast majority of U.S. residents have speedy connections.

The commission should explicitly endorse a goal for minimum broadband speeds of at least 50 megabits downstream and 20 megabits upstream for 80 percent of the population by 2015,” Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) wrote last week in a letter to the FCC. “Without committing to such ambitious, but achievable, levels of speed and service, the promises of telemedicine, distance learning and telecommuting may remain a far-off dream rather than a near-term reality.”

Rep. Boucher’s full letter to the FCC is available here.

Hot Spot Wheels

By Brad

Ford has become the latest car company to dabble in broadband-enabled vehicles. From an official press release:

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) will turn vehicles into rolling WiFi hot spots when it introduces the second generation of its popular SYNC(®) in-car connectivity system next year.

Inserting an owner’s compatible USB mobile broadband modem - sometimes called an “air card” - into SYNC’s USB port will produce a secure wireless connection that will be broadcast throughout the vehicle, allowing passengers with WiFi-enabled mobile devices to access the Internet anywhere the broadband modem receives connectivity.

“While you’re driving to grandma’s house, your spouse can be finishing the holiday shopping and the kids can be chatting with friends and updating their Facebook profiles,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “And you’re not paying for yet another mobile subscription or piece of hardware because Ford will let you use technology you already have.”

Friday, December 18

IIA Video: Smart Grid Technology in New Mexico and California

By IIA

Tom Bowles and Phillip Mezey discuss smart grid technology in New Mexico and California at Gridweek.

Thursday, December 17

Big Report, Even Bigger Future for Mobile Internet

By Brad

Financial firm Morgan Stanley has released a mammoth 400 + page report on the future of smartphones and mobile Internet. Telephony digs through the numbers:

Among the highlights: Mobile IP traffic will grow 66 times by 2013, a 130% compound annual growth rate. The report also found that smartphones will out-ship the global netbook and notebook market by 2010 and the overall global PC market by 2013. Morgan Stanley said it expects Apple to continue to change how consumers use their devices, driving them toward data and away from voice. The iPhone and iPod Touch still only represent a small chunk of global smartphone use — about 17%, but they are already responsible for 65% of all mobile Internet use.

If you have some time on your hands, here’s a link to the full Morgan Stanley report.

Grants Beginning to Arrive

By Bruce Mehlman

Vice President Biden is in Georgia today, where he’s expected to announce that $182 million in broadband grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be awarded to 18 projects.

While this is a great step toward the goal of nationwide broadband access, much more needs to be done — and soon. As GigaOm points out, this latest batch of grants will mean only 3% of the broadband stimulus has been allocated, with less than a year to go until the process is scheduled to be completed.

The Cloud of Music

By Brad

Apple’s iTunes marketplace revolutionized the music industry. And now, as the New York Times reports, the company may be sparking another revolution:

With its deal this month to buy the Web music service Lala, Apple may be pointing the way to the future of music.

In this future, the digital music files on people’s computers could join vinyl records, cassette tapes and CDs in the dusty vault of fading music formats.

Instead, music fans will use their always-online computers and smartphones to visit a vast Internet jukebox, where Gregorian chants, Lady Gaga tracks and the several centuries of music in between are instantly available.

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