Friday, November 06
Scientific America looks at what could quite possibly be the car of the future:
One idea is to turn the automobiles themselves into conduits for the Internet, giving drivers and passengers access to navigational help, streaming movies, video games and other online services via touch screens embedded into the dashboard and seats. The ng Connect Program (led by telecommunications provider Alcatel–Lucent) presented its vision of the so-called “connected car” on Tuesday in New York City—a white Toyota Prius hybrid tricked out with access to a 4G (“fourth generation”) broadband wireless network.
How much would legalizing Internet gambling contribute in revenue for the U.S. government? According to a Congressional study, the number would be somewhere $42 billion over the next 10 years.
Thursday, November 05
IIA Co-Chairman David Sutphen has penned a column for Fierce Telecom on reducing the “digital divide.” Using a recent FCC hearing and informal roundtable discussion as starting off points, Sutphen writes:
The disparity in broadband adoption rates between caucasians and people of color is well-documented. A panelist at the FCC hearing tagged adoption at about 60 percent for the general population, but only 43 percent for minorities. That 20 percent delta is a wide gap—too wide—aptly recognized by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps as the “digital divide.”’
None of the challenges presented in rural or urban America are unconquerable. Many will take time, money and understanding before 100 percent of all Americans enjoy the benefits of broadband.
Check out Sutphen’s entire column at Fierce Telecom.
Tuesday, November 03
Part of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s net neutrality proposal is the flexibility for Internet Service Providers to use “reasonable network management.” Just what counts as reasonable has yet to be decided, but the Motion Picture Association of America — which has long complained about the pirating of content over the Internet—believes policing for copyright infringement should absolutely fall under the definition. From PC Mag:
[F]reedom of flexibility, two MPAA executives wrote on Friday, should be interpreted to allow U.S. ISPs to take measures to prevent copyrighted data from being pirated and sent around the Internet. The letter was co-authored by Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s executive vice president of government relations and chief counsel, and Frank Cavaliere, vice president and senior counsel for government relations and policy for the MPAA.
Not only would the anti-piracy measures help promote the U.S. film economy, the two wrote, but eliminating the spread of copyrighted video files would also reduce the amount of traffic being passed over the nation’s networks, reducing the overall load. Both O’Leary and Cavaliere also tried to make clear that they were not pushing for specific solutions, but the latitude to allow the industry to develop and deploy its own measures.
GigaOm wonders if Apple is poised to turn the cable industry on its head:
For months now, Apple has been rumored to have its eyes on a new type of iTunes TV subscription offering — and we may be on the verge of seeing this potentially disruptive idea come to fruition. Multiple sources have confirmed that Apple has been pitching TV networks to support a monthly subscription service that would deliver television programs via iTunes for fees far lower than $85-plus monthly cable bills.
Meanwhile, all signs point to Comcast buying NBC/Universal from General Electric. Via the New York Times:
After a series of meetings last week, the two companies reached a tentative agreement on Friday over the main points of a deal, these people said. Comcast would own about 51 percent of NBC Universal, contributing several billions of dollars in cash and its own stable of cable networks to the new venture.
After years of talk and theorizing, the proliferation of broadband into homes is revolutionizing entertainment. Let’s hope networks can keep up with the coming surge in demand.
Via the BBC comes the strange story of a small town city council, a muckraking blogger, and the mass resignation due to criticism from that blogger.
In a surprise move, last week senior White House adviser Susan Crawford quietly resigned. And as the American Spectator reports, Crawford’s work on proposed net neutrality regulations may have played a part:
White House sources say that [Crawford] ran afoul of senior White House economics adviser Larry Summers, who claimed he and other senior Obama officials were unaware of how radical the draft Net Neutrality regulations were when they were initially internally circulated to Obama administration officials several weeks ago. “All of sudden Larry is getting calls from CEOs, Wall Street folks he talks to, Republicans and Democrats, asking him what the Administration is doing with the policies, and he isn’t sure what they’re talking about,” says one White House aide. “He felt blind-sided, and Susan was one of those people who heard about it.” In the end, the proposed regulations were slightly moderated from the original language FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, a Crawford ally, circulated.
Monday, November 02
Among households with an annual income of $50,000 or less—about half of the country—only 35% have broadband service. Households with annual incomes above $50,000 are more than twice as likely to have broadband service.
“Bringing Broadband to the Urban Poor,” BusinessWeek, December 31, 2008
More facts about broadband.
Friday, October 30
Via Ars Technica, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—also known as the keepers of Internet language—have approved international domains:
The Fast Track Process, which begins in November, will enable countries to apply for new domain name extensions (such as .com or .net) in their own national language. This means that full domains will soon be available in Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Hindu, and more. Previously, ICANN allowed the registration of domain names with non-Latin characters—so, for example, http://clintecker??????????.com—but the extension had to remain in Latin characters. Now, instead of being limited to the Latin alphabet, domain extensions will utilize some 100,000 new characters.
The new international system is expected to go into effect some time in 2010.
A recent study commissioned by the FCC found that allocating broadcast spectrum for use in the wireless industry could yield an estimated $1 trillion in benefits.
The findings of the study, coupled with the FCC’s repeated warnings that new spectrum must be allocated to keep up with increased demand, quickly served as warning flares from broadcast networks. And as Reuters reports, those networks are worried:
Broadcasters are gearing up to battle over a possible move by U.S. regulators that in several years might force them to relinquish some airwaves for broadband use.
The Federal Communications Commission, citing a gap between the availability and the need for more spectrum for burgeoning wireless products, is mulling options to free up broadband.
Broadcasters, meanwhile, are preparing to roll out mobile digital television programs by local stations that can be viewed on laptops and handheld devices among other projects.
“We don’t know all the specifics of the FCC proposal, but at this point, it’s not a very appealing proposition to most broadcasters” Dennis Wharton. spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, said on Thursday.