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

Monday, August 17

Broadband Fact of the Week

By IIA

Fact of the Week

The number of U.S. subscribers with broadband access on their smartphones and other devices has grown from 3 million in 2006 to 73 million in 2008.

Grant Gross, “US Broadband Ranking: Does it Matter?” NYTimes.com. June 5, 2009.

More facts about mobile broadband.

Friday, August 14

More on the Grant Application Extension

By Brad

Even with the big carriers reportedly skipping the first round of stimulus grants, the flood of online applications for grants is still hammering NTIA’s and RUS’s servers.

Yesterday the deadline for online applications was extended by a week, and as IIA Broadband Ambassador Craig Settles, President of Successful.com, tells Telephony, the extension was a very necessary step:

“It’s been running slow all week,” Settles said in an interview. “People have been going to [the online application process] and having problems. There has also been an issue because everyone is super paranoid. It’s been clear from the beginning if there is a technical error, if you omit some data or it is not formatted correctly, your application will be rejected.”

As a result, Settles said, many of the applicants are actually submitting multiple applications to cover different parts of their broadband projects rather than putting all their eggs in one application basket and then seeing that application rejected on a technicality.

While the extension is a smart move, the question remains whether one week will be long enough.

More Carriers Bowing Out

By Brad

Yesterday, news broke that Qwest—the nation’s third-largest provider—would not be applying for the first rounds of federal stimulus grants. Now, the Washington Post reports, major providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast are planning on sitting out as well.

The Commerce and Agriculture departments say that the national broadband plan can still succeed without the big players, but some analysts aren’t so sure. From the Post:

“If you want to get broadband out, you have to do it with [those] who brought you to the dance in the first place, and in this case it is the incumbent cable and telephone carriers who have 85 percent of lines in the country,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington tech policy think tank. “This is not basket weaving. This is really complex and intensive technical stuff that takes a fair amount of sophistication and scale to be able to do right and to continue to upgrade.”

Thursday, August 13

Taking a Pass

By Bruce Mehlman

Qwest Communications has announced it will not be applying for the first round of federal stimulus grants. Reports Denver Business Journal:

Denver-based Qwest (NYSE: Q), the nation’s third-largest local phone company, sat out the first round and appears to have joined the ranks of telecoms that would like to see the rules changed for future rounds of the broadband stimulus program.

“We continue to support the use of program proceeds to facilitate the deployment of broadband services to unserved consumers,” said Steve Davis, Qwest’s senior VP for public policy, in a written statement. “However, upon evaluation of the funding opportunity and the various requirements for participation, we were unable to make the business case for filing an application for more rural opportunities.”

Today in History

By Brad

28 years ago today, a little gadget called the IBM 5150 PC made its debut. By the very next year, the personal computer had gone from a toy for hobbyists and geeks to the major force in business—so much so that in 1982, Time magazine declared the computer was “Man of the Year.”

Happy birthday, mighty 5150. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Pushing Deadlines

By Brad

Tomorrow was the deadline for sending proposals to the NTIA for the initial round of federal stimulus grants. But due to the sheer number of proposals—and the overwhelming strain they’re causing on NTIA/RUS servers—the deadline is being extended to Thursday, August 20 at 5 pm Eastern.

Wednesday, August 12

Workshopping a National Broadband Plan

By Brad

Here are the schedule and speakers for tomorrow’s national broadband plan workshop (all times Eastern):

TECHNOLOGY: FIXED BROADBAND
9:30 a.m.

FCC Participants

Julius Knapp, moderator
Walter Johnston
Stagg Newmann
Robert Curtis

Panel 1:  Mobile Broadband

Dr. Victor Frost, Program Director, Network Technologies, National Science Foundation
Bill St. Arnaud, CRO Canarie
Adam Drobot, CTO Telcordia
Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Google
John T. Chapman, Chief CMTS Architect, Cisco
Henning Schulzrinne, Professor, Columbia University
Paul Misener, VP Global Public Policy, Amazon

Panel 2:  Fixed Broadband Technologies

David Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime
Dr. Paul Henry, Broadband Wireless Systems Research Division, AT&T
Mark DePietro, VP Strategy/Business Development, Broadband Home Solutions, Motorola
Marc Goldburg, CTO, Assia (DSL)
Jason Livingood, Exec. Director ,Internet Engineering, Comcast
David Young, Vice President, Verizon
Geoff Burke, Senior Director, Corporate Marketing, Calix
Stuart Lipoff, President, IP Action Partners

TECHNOLOGY: WIRELESS BROADBAND
1:30 p.m.

FCC Participants:
Julius Knapp, moderator
Rashmi Doshi
Ron Repasi
Stagg Newmann
Robert Curtis
NTIA (Invited)

Panel 1: Mobile Broadband

Kristin Rinne, Senior VP Architecture and Planning, AT&T
Sten Andersson, Head of Wireless Networks Solutions, Ericsson
Barry West, President - International, Clearwire
Scott Corson, Vice President of Engineering, Qualcomm Flarion Technologies
Milo Medin, CTO, M2Z
Tom Anderson, Head of Architecture for Mobility, Office of CTO, Alcatel-Lucent

Panel 2: Rural Broadband

Mark D. Dankberg, CEO, ViaSat
Jim O’Connor, Director, CPE Engineering and Planning, Open Range Communications
Richard Keith, Senior Director of Strategy, Motorola
Vanu Bose, President and CEO, Vanu Inc.
P. Kelley Dunne, CEO, Digital Bridge
Mark A. McHenry, Ph.D, President and CTO, Shared Spectrum Company
Brett Glass, CEO, Lariat.net

More information on the workshop, including how to participate from afar, is available at the FCC’s national broadband plan site.

Roadblocks for National Broadband

By Brad

During today’s FCC broadband workshop, Craig Moffett — VP and Senior Analyst for Sanford Bernstein Research (and IIA Broadband Ambassador) — addressed some of the key roadblocks to making nationwide broadband a reality.

Regarding the issue of broadband adoption — and how to get people without broadband excited about having it — Moffett looked beyond geography and noted some key differences between the United States and Western Europe, including a wider income distribution, and the number of U.S. homes currently living below the poverty line. Often overlooked, according to Moffett, is the unfortunate number of people in the U.S. who are illiterate — higher than most other OECD countries — which is largely contributing to slower broadband adoption. The good news is that, although the Internet is still primarily an experience of the written word, Moffett believes that as it becomes more entertainment oriented, adoption rates may climb.

Another roadblock Moffett mentioned was the cost structure of the network — specifically related to high-bandwidth applications and the wireless web. Because carriers are unable to charge enough make up for the cost of their capital investments and a limited capacity on the wireless spectrum, Moffett expects usage caps to be coming to wireless networks, and that for the immediate future at least, wirelines will continue to be the Internet workhorses rather than wireless. This will in turn affect how app designers operate, as the market isn’t yet sufficient for deploying advanced, bandwidth-intensive apps.

We’ll soon have a video interview with Craig Moffett about his remarks to the FCC. And if you missed today’s national broadband workshop, a transcript and video archive of the meeting is available at the FCC’s national broadband plan site.

Tuesday, August 11

Workshopping a National Broadband Plan

By Brad

The FCC’s national broadband workshops continue to roll on.

This week’s workshop, focusing on wired deployment, unserved and underserved areas, and fixed broadband, is happening this Wednesday and Thursday in Washington D.C.

For a list of workshop participants and information on watching the event online, visit the FCC’s broadand plan site. We’ll also have reports from the workshop tomorrow and Thursday.

IIA Video: Broadband Usage and Distribution

By IIA

John Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, discusses Pew’s research on broadband usage and distribution in America. Broadband adoption has increased in 2009 because people now see broadband as a must have utility, a valuable healthcare tool, and a conduit for economic opportunity even in lean times.

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