Exploring the impact of broadband and technology on our lives, our businesses, and our communities.

Health applications are going to be the killer app

In the nineties, as the Internet became more popular, there was a long-running and often tedious discussion of what the "killer app" was going to be that would make everyone get Internet access. I always thought the whole discussion was a waste of time, because it was obvious to me that at that time, email WAS the killer app. People signed up for Internet access because they recognized the value of email for business use, personal use, or both.

Showdown and slowdown in Kansas over muni broadband

An old friend of mine once remarked, "In Texas, we have the best laws money can buy." Apparently, folks in Kansas can make the same statement, as a blatantly anti-muni broadband bill was introduced in the legislature last week. The bill was so stringent that it would have made the Kansas City/Google deal impossible, which is a good example of a public/private partnership that brings a lot of benefit to the residents and businesses of the city.

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Net Neutrality court decision: No telling how this will turn out

A couple of weeks ago, a U.S. Appeals Court told the FCC that their net neutrality rule was invalid. This has caused a huge debate among broadband industry folks about what comes next. The court ruling hinges on the way the FCC categorizes services like TV, phone, and Internet as either a "telecommunications service" or an "information service." To make things even more complicated, the FCC definition of "common carrier" also factors into the rules.

Knowledge Democracy:

Blackphone is a response to the NSA data capture

The Blackphone is a smartphone based on the Android OS, but with additional layers of security and encryption, giving Blackphone users secure use of email, messaging, and voice telephony.

It maybe that Snowden's leak of NSA data collection may turn out to have a silver lining, as we may see a market for these kinds of devices develop much faster than anyone would have thought.

Knowledge Democracy:

FCC net neutrality rules overturned....the Internet is not going to fill with tollgates

This CNet article is one of the best summaries of the foofaraw over the FCC net neutrality reversal.

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Google buys Nest for $3.2 billion

Google has purchased Nest, a maker of innovative thermostats and smoke detectors. The purchase is apparently for $3.2 billion.....which seems like an awful lot of money for a niche manufacturer of a niche product: "smart" thermostats. One has to wonder what Google has in mind for the technology it has just bought.

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WiFi sensors are tracking where you go

An article in the Wall Street Journal details a new business in Toronto that has placed WiFi sensors in major shopping and nightlife districts of the city. The sensors grab WiFi data from passing smartphones and builds profiles of what people are doing and where they are going.

The Internet is making us anxious

A new study suggests that being "connected" all the time takes a toll on our psyche. An experiment with hundreds of college students suggests that some cellphone users experience high levels of anxiety and lower academic performance because they cannot put the phone down.

Palm Coast FiberNET providing big benefits

MuniNetworks reports on the success of the City of Palm Coast's FiberNET project. The all fiber City-owned network is operated as a multi-service, multi-provider open network, and is delivering substantial savings to both public and private entities and businesses connected to the network. The project is in the black, and FiberNET is expected to pay back all of the initial City investment in less than six years.

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Microsoft moving agressively to encrypt customer data

My hat is off to Microsoft for their extremely aggressive efforts to encrypt customer data. In the wake of the Snowden leaks that revealed NSA collecting data from companies like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, and others, Microsoft has correctly recognized the serious impact that data collection could have on the company's bottom line, both in the U.S. and abroad.

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nDanville has a waiting list for fiber connections

nDanville, the first muni multi-service open network in the U.S., has waiting list for fiber connections, and a growing list of new jobs and businesses that are being drawn to the community because of the low cost, high performance fiber infrastructure. Design Nine helped the City plan and design the network, and the investment is beginning to pay off as manufacturers keep moving to the fiber-connected business parks.

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New Hampshire FastRoads adding customers

FastRoads is a Gigabit network designed and built by Design Nine for New Hampshire FastRoads LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation. One of the surprises, as we add more customers, is the unexpected demand for the 50 Meg Internet service, which is turning out to be higher than expected.

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The empire strikes back

The big players on the Internet--Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and others--are making changes in the way they push their data and services around the Internet. Stung by revelations that the NSA has been vacuuming up their customer data, these firms are adding new encryption to their data streams between data centers and between their data centers and customers. As they should.

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Death of TV: Part LXII: Video uses half of Internet bandwidth

A new report illustrates just how dire the situation is for the cable companies; Netflix and YouTube use half of all the bandwidth on the Internet. Cable TV is brain dead, but the body is still on life support. There is no future in cable, and satellite will be the next to go as more fiber is deployed into areas unserved by cable.

Knowledge Democracy:

Fiber makes neighborhoods business districts

I've been talking about this for fifteen years. New data, from an article at Forbes, suggests that demand for office space may have peaked in the U.S, and that what may be the trend in the future is work from home and business from home activities. According to the article, the number of people working from home as self-employed has risen 14% in the past decade.

Neighborhoods are business districts, and need to be treated as such by economic developers.

The Internet regards censorship (or snooping) as damage and routes around it

I'm not even going to try to link to them, but a flood of privacy-enabled apps and services are already beginning to appear.....heavily encrypted email apps, encrypted VPN apps, Web browsers that automatically route queries through proxy services that mask your IP address....the Internet was designed to survive a nuclear holocaust. Snooping by the NSA....anything the NSA can do, geeks can probably route around without a whole lot of effort.

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...because who needs fiber when wireless will handle everything?

The Wall Street Journal has a article on the shortage of wireless spectrum and the problems it is going to create. It's short--just click over and read it.

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Who needs a Gig at home? Half of U.S. businesses

This is 2007 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that half of U.S. businesses are located in the home. Half, as in 50%. Which validates what I began saying ten years ago: Neighborhoods are business districts.

Communities that ignore this data and continue to hope that marginal DSL, asymmetric cable, and too-expensive cellular data services are "good enough" are closing off their own economic future.

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Who cares about bandwidth?

On LinkedIn, the question was raised (yet again): "Does anyone really need a Gig of bandwidth?" Someone wrote, "Just remember, services have to be available to be adopted." Now we get to the meat of the issue. It's not about the number....i.e. 100 meg, 1 Gig, etc. The real question is, "Do you have enough bandwidth to do what you want to do?"

From an economic development perspective, the question is critical: "Does your community have the bandwidth needed to support your existing businesses and to attract new businesses?"

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Real estate market impacted by poor Internet access

Via Eldo Telecom, news that in England, people are moving from the country to larger towns because of bad Internet access. As Fred Pilot of Eldo points out (correctly, I believe), rural communities in the U.S. are also at risk. It's hard to imagine how anybody can manage with a dial up connection at home, which of course leads to people parking in the McDonald's parking lot so they can retrieve their email or so their kids can do their homework.

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