Friday, August 07
Officials in West Virginia—which ranks near the bottom of states with access to broadband—are expressing concerns that the state may be left out in the cold when it comes to stimulus dollars. Much like the concerns from urban area officials, West Virginia’s problems stem from a definition in the broadband stimulus guidelines. The Charleston Daily Mail reports:
Dave Armentrout, chief operating officer of telecommunications provider FiberNet, is concerned that West Virginia may miss out on the $7.2 billion in federal stimulus money aimed at deploying broadband in rural and remote areas across the nation.
The way “remote area” has been defined by the federal agencies overseeing the program has eliminated most of West Virginia, “which we all know is ridiculous because West Virginia ranks in the top 47 or 48 states un-served by broadband,” Armentrout said.
When it comes to broadband grants, words indeed matter. Hopefully the NTIA will address the issues soon.
That collective Internet freakout you heard yesterday was the sound of people worldwide realizing many of their favorite social networking sites were experiencing major technical difficulties—difficulties stemming from hackers targeting just one individual. CNet reports:
A Georgian blogger with accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, and Google’s Blogger and YouTube was targeted in a denial-of-service attack that led to the sitewide outage at Twitter and problems at the other sites on Thursday, according to a Facebook executive.
The blogger, who uses the account name “Cyxymu,” (the name of a town in the Republic of Georgia) had accounts on all of the different sites that were attacked at the same time, Max Kelly, chief security officer at Facebook, told CNET News.
Whether the attack had something to do with the long-brewing conflict between Georgia and Russia in unknown. But this certainly wouldn’t be the first time the conflict between the two nations spread online.
Given the current winterly economic climate, businesses looking to cut costs are turning to videoconferencing more than ever. Thankfully, the technology is making the switch from travel to monitors easier than ever:
Plagued by fuzzy images, out-of-sync lips and bulky equipment, videoconferencing has a spotty track record. But now, the technology has matured to the point where it’s often more practical—and affordable—to move digital bits instead of bodies.
Accenture figures it saved more than $25,000 in travel costs by holding just one recent virtual meeting. The firm has 36 videoconferencing rooms spread across its locations and plans to install 14 more this fall. The move will save millions of dollars and hours of tiring travel for its workers.
“It’s a big win for me at home,” said Borerro, a mother of two who lives in Leonia. “I’m definitely planning more telepresence meetings in the area I lead.”
You can learn more about the benefits of videoconferencing and telework in the IIA Broadband Fact Book.
Thursday, August 06
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has announced the senior staff members who will help craft America’s National Broadband Plan. From the FCC press release:
“A brilliant team of senior staff has been assembled who possess the deep and wide-ranging expertise necessary to assess the nation’s broadband needs and help bring high speed, affordable broadband to all Americans,” Chairman Genachowski said. “I am grateful that these individuals have already proven their commitment to this daunting task by agreeing to work under the pressing deadline of delivering a plan to Congress by Feb. 17, 2010. Developing the National Broadband Plan will require enormous effort on the part of dozens of current FCC staff who will be enlisted to contribute their talents, ideas, and insights for this initiative. And I am delighted by the decision of so manyof others to set aside their successful ventures in the private sector to also join in serving the public interest. Broadband is our generation’s major infrastructure challenge and it is a top priorityto craft a National Broadband Plan that will unlock opportunity, foster innovation and investment, and improve the lives of all Americans.”
Read the full FCC press release (PDF).
As traditional journalism models continue to crumble, giants in the industry are scrambling to make up lost revenue. Now one of the biggest giants of all, Rupert Murdoch—owner of the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications—is declaring the era of free online reading is coming to an end. Reports Business Spectator:
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch told analysts in a conference call after News Corp released its full-year results that the traditional newspaper business model has to change.
“The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution,” Mr Murdoch said.
“But it has not made content free. Accordingly we intend to charge for all our news websites,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal already charges users to read online content, but while the paper may seem like a good blueprint moving forward, there’s a catch. People are okay paying to read the WSJ online because it’s been that way since the beginning. Convincing readers to start paying for content they’ve traditionally received for free is a whole different ball game.
Internet Innovation Alliance Commends FCC Staff Workshops for National Broadband Plan
Encourages Focus on Adoption, Importance of Private Investment and Planning for Future Innovations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 6, 2009 – The Internet Innovation Alliance, a broad-based coalition that has long supported a comprehensive national broadband strategy to achieve universal broadband availability and adoption, today released the following statement on its support for the Federal Communications Commission’s staff workshops for the development of a National Broadband Plan, the first of which begins today:
“Setting a dialogue among key constituents in motion is an excellent step in the development of a comprehensive, effective national broadband plan. Mayors, Governors and community leaders, for example, have much to offer to the broadband discussion, and inviting insight from those on the ground who are closest to the challenges will bring the FCC closer to the best solutions.
“A successful National Broadband Strategy will pave the way for a partnership between the government and private sector to reach every American from coast to coast with broadband service, while promoting adoption to help households further tap the more than $30 billion in annual consumer benefits. The plan should start by applying lessons learned to craft sustainable solutions, but should evolve as technologies improve and as we learn more from broadband mapping.
“The Internet Innovation Alliance again applauds the FCC for hosting staff workshops throughout August and September to promote public participation in discussing critical elements of a National Broadband Plan. With informed policies and guidelines in place, public and private groups can work hand in hand to ensure the vast benefits of true broadband reach all Americans within the next ten years.”
Read the Internet Innovation Alliance’s response to the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI). You can also read our NOI Reply Comments.
Wednesday, August 05
When it comes to blocking websites and social networking applications from citizens, China is one of the leaders of the pack. But a new study from the group Netpop Research (via Read Write Web) finds that despite their government’s attempts at censorship, 92% of Chinese citizens use social media sites—a higher percentage than the U.S.
Starting tomorrow, the FCC will be hosting a series of workshops in Washington D.C. to educate and gather ideas on a national broadband plan. The first workshop will focus on civic engagement and e-government, and will feature speakers like United States Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, the American Enterprise Institute’s Norman Ornstein, and United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government Beth Noveck, among others.
Full information on the workshops can be found at the FCC’s national broadband plan site. And if you’re unable to make it in person, don’t worry—the workshop will also be available for viewing online.
A new study from the European Commission finds that while half of Europeans connect to the Internet every day, a full third haven’t been online at all.
Due to worries about the spread of malware and spam, the United States Marine Corps has blocked the use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The ban is for a year, allowing the Pentagon to research what, if any, steps can be taken to ensure online security for troops.