Broadband

Digital City Expo goes online

In a break with the past, Benjamin Media's Digital City Expo is going online. The entire two day conference will be conducted via the Web, using webinars, chat, and live two way audio to put speakers and the audience in direct contact. It is a bold and interesting experiment, and potentially will give a much broader audience access to the conference and the information provided by presenters.

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Broadband Properties Conference in April

The annual Broadband Properties Summit will be held on April 27-29 in Dallas-Fort Worth (at the airport). More information is available here. If you are interested in broadband technologies, this is an excellent conference. Design Nine will be there as an exhibitor.

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Skype on iPhone

Skype is now available for the iPhone. Sound quality for iPhone to iPhone connections on WiFi networks is excellent, and if you leave the Skype app running (in the foreground) you can turn the phone off and still get calls. However, if Skype is not the main app, you cannot receive calls, so there are still some limitations on the usefulness of it on the iPhone.

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Southeast Broadband Conference

Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina has announced it's third Broadband in Cities and Towns conference on April 16th. The one day meeting will focus on the connection between broadband and community/economic development, and there will be a special focus on the potential for broadband stimulus funding to help smaller communities and Main Street economic renewal efforts. I'll be one of the speakers and am part of the Advisory Committee.

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Community broadband disinformation

This misleading article suggests an astroturf effort to discredit community broadband projects.

Some incumbents may be fearful of the stimulus funding because it will enable many community projects to meet build out goals much more quickly than originally planned, and to show that they can be financially viable.

There is a mixture of disinformation and truth in the short article, combined skillfully to paint with a very broad brush.

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Webinar on Open Networks

I will be conducting a webinar tomorrow on open networks. The sponsor is the Fiber To The Home Council, and the link to the program and additional information is here.

If you have been interested in open access and open service networks, I'll be providing a half hour overview of the business, financial, and technical issues related to making these a success, and there will be a thirty minute question and answer session.

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Blacksburg Electronic Village: "Most Wired Town in America"

The folks at Handshake 2.0 have reminded me that it was exactly thirteen years ago that Blacksburg made the cover of USA Weekend, a widely circulated Sunday supplement. The Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV) project was just a little more than two years old. We had turned on Internet access in October, 1993, and became the first general purpose ISP in the world. Long lines at the BEV office were common for the next several years as people eagerly registered to get Internet access.

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Broadband For All: Sensible Policy Goals for Broadband

This handout summarizes some basic policy principles that ought to guide local, state, and national broadband policy.

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Rural Wyoming business creates 700 home-based jobs with fiber

Via Broadband_Report's Twitter feed, here is an NPR story that shows the impact fiber can have in rural areas. An entrepreneurial start up business in tiny Ten Sleep, Wyoming (pop. 350) is on track to employ 700 home-based workers by the end of this year. The business? Teaching English to Koreans. Oh, and the 15,000 students are in Korea.

100 meg fiber connections are $11/month in Japan

Danny Choo guestblogs at BoingBoing about getting a SECOND 100 megabit fiber connection at his home in Japan. Why get a second connection? He's using it run a server, and the cost is only $11/month for the first year of service. The second year, the price goes up to a whopping $52 per month.

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Lafayette's Third Pipe goes live

Lafayette, Louisiana's "third pipe" community broadband network has started signing up customers. Lafayette fought and won a difficult battle against an incumbent lawsuit that tried to stop the community broadband effort, but the city ultimately prevailed in court.

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10 meg for a deli

In one of our planning efforts in a small city of 75,000, I met with a deli/restaurant owner about his broadband needs. He currently has a 3 meg connection and four phone lines, and he complained bitterly about the lack of broadband options and the slow speed. He processes all his credit card transactions over his Internet connection (less expensive than maintaining a separate phone line, and faster).

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Broadband does not take "years"

Senator John McCain, on Fox News Sunday, said, "...some of the projects and others that you just mentioned, $6 billion for broadband and internet access. That will take years." He was being interviewed about the stimulus package. Given careful oversight and a sharp focus on communities that have already done planning work, a lot of homes could get high performance wireless and fiber connections in 2009 and 2010. Most of the work would be done by private sector firms, which would create jobs.

Copps named Acting FCC Chairman

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has been named Acting Chairman of the FCC. This is good news for communities; Copps supports competition and is likely to help communities do more by shifting FCC attention away from favoring incumbent carriers and more towards creating a level playing field for all public and private networks.

Ireland plans 100% broadband

Ireland plans to spend hundreds of millions on 100% broadband access for the country. An extensive wireless network will be deployed to reach rural towns and homes that currently lack any broadband options.

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Wales follows Nigerian broadband model

Wales has apparently been following what Nigeria has been doing with broadband--using post offices as anchor tenants to bring "big broadband" connections into small towns.

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Ontario: Turning miles into milliseconds

The provincial government of Ontario is spending millions to help rural communities get high speed broadband. They have a nice slogan: "Turning miles into milliseconds." And that is really what it is about; rural communities have traditionally been isolated because of distance--many miles to major population centers and jobs. Broadband is the 21st century equivalent of the interstate highway, getting people closer to jobs, businesses, and economic development opportunities.

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Reports from the road: "You've got to be kidding"

Design Nine has been working on broadband planning with several communities recently, and during our meetings, some interesting stories have emerged.

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UK: Only fiber will meet bandwidth needs

This article warns that usable bandwidth in the UK will actually decline in the next several years without a major push to get homes and businesses connected with fiber. As more and more business and residential activities rely on broadband delivery (e.g. telepresence, gaming, movie and TV downloads), current copper-based and wireless systems will not be able to meet demand.

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Full length movies will further clog the InterTubes

According to this news report, Google's YouTube subsidiary has reached a deal to make full length movies available online. The deal proves that competition works. When YouTube refused to work with the movie studios a couple of years back, that gave rise to Hulu, a competing video site designed specifically to support full length movie and TV show downloads.

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