Broadband

Forbes to rural communities: "Don't bother"

Connected Planet comments on a Forbes blogger has ignited a rich discussion online by saying that broadband in rural areas is a waste of time and money.

AT&T: DSL is "obsolete"

The CEO of AT&T has stated that DSL is "obsolete." In a speech on Tuesday in Los Angeles, Randall Stephenson said the telephone giant invested in DSL in the nineties to compete with the cable companies. AT&T is now concentrating on wireless and it's fiber to neighborhood offering called Uverse.

Technology News:

It's official: The DVD is dead

Apple released the latest version of its Macintosh operating system today (OS X Lion). The software is available only via a download right now, and you better have a good, high capacity broadband connection if you want it, as the download is four gigabytes. Apple also announced that it will sell a version of the software on a USB thumb drive next month. In other words, no DVD version, not now, not ever. Apple has consistently led the way in media, including the 3.5 inch floppy, the CD drive, the DVD drive, USB ports, and Firewire, among others.

Knowledge Democracy:

U.S.Broadband: Almost as good as Northern Balochistan!

Long time readers of this blog know that I have a running joke about comparing the state of U.S. broadband infrastructure to other countries. The latest insult is Northern Balochistan (part of Pakistan), which is getting a 1,100 kilometre fiber build. Meanwhile, our rather measly national goal is 4 meg down, 1 meg up, which won't support work and business from home applications and is barely adequate for Netflix.

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Danville: Open access quietly working, attracting jobs, lowering costs

Here is an article about the City of Danville open access network (called nDanville). nDanville started as an open access network in late 2007, so it is in its fourth year. It was the first municipal open access effort in the United States, and has been quietly cutting costs for Internet and VoIP phone service by as much 80% for businesses and institutions using providers on the nDanville fiber network. It has also been bringing jobs and businesses to the community.

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Broadband Information:

First NC, now Tennessee: Dumb Internet laws

Tennessee legislators just passed a law making it illegal to transmit an image that could "..frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress" to someone who sees it." And the person who suffers "emotional distress" does not have to be the person you sent it to. Suppose you send out a picture of a cat hanging desperately from the branch of tree to a friend. That friend forwards it on.

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Knowledge Democracy:

Cisco says data traffic continuing to double every two years

Cisco, the world's largest manufacturer of active Ethernet equipment, says that the historical trend of broadband data demand doubling every two years is continuing. The company expects the typical bandwidth need for fixed point broadband access (e.g. DSL, fiber, cable) to increase from 7 megabits now to 28 megabits by 2015.

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nDanville Medical Network wins ICF Founders Award

The nDanville Medical Network has won the Intelligent Community Forum Founders Award. The Medical Network is part of the larger nDanville fiber initiative, which was the first municipal open access network in the United States; the network began adding its first customers in 2007. Medical customers on the network have averaged 30% less cost for connections while being able to double the amount bandwidth, for a total overall cost reduction of more than 50%.

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Broadband Properties Conference: Worst practice in community broadband networks

Broadband Properties has published its March/April 2011 in parallel with the Broadband Properties 2011 conference in Dallas. My article on "worst practice" in community broadband networks can be found on page 122 of the magazine, and is available online in the electronic edition.

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Daily Yonder: The broadband speed divide

Here is another excellent piece from The Daily Yonder about the sad state of rural broadband. The article has a short, well illustrated analysis of the gap between rural broadband speeds and the rest of the country, taken from new data released by the federal government. Here is a summary of the very bad news:

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Broadband: It's crony capitalism, not free markets that are the problem

The usually excellent Stop the Cap! has a report on the truly awful anti-broadband bill making its way through the North Carolina legislature, but they lost me when they started blaming "free markets" as the problem. Uh, no, the problem is crony capitalism, where the incumbents spread campaign donations liberally to representatives of both parties, to obtain the best laws money can buy. That's not free markets.

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Google announces all 1,100 cities will get fiber

Mountain View, CA (4/1/11)
The head of Google's Fiber Initiative, Milo Medin, announced today that all 1,100 cities that applied for Google fiber will be included in a second round of fiber buildouts by the search giant. Unlike Kansas City, which is getting Google fiber on very favorable terms, the other 1,099 cities will be required to sign a more restrictive contract with Google before the company will start constructing fiber. Among the terms in the contract:

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Why Google picked Kansas City, Kansas

It was an easy decision. Kansas City is an electric city, so they own the poles. So no costly and long dragged out pole surveys, no make ready and no pole attachment fees, and the ability to take fiber anywhere in the electric service area at very low cost.

I'm sure that Kansas City also offered to hang all the fiber using their electric utility crews and buckets trucks.

No mystery here....it's a smart choice.

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Love the cloud...the Amazon cloud

I have always had the feeling that becoming an Amazon customer is a bit like joining the Borg: resistance is futile. But Amazon really does believe in customer service, and is particularly good at identifying trends and then developing services to meet the new market demand. Amazon is beginning a big push for their Cloud Drive service, which lets you upload files to an Amazon server and then access them from anywhere. In concept, it is no different that the file storage Apple has offered first via dotMac and now via MobileMe.

Technology News:

Doing the job that telecom incumbents won't do

Via Fred Pilot at Eldo Telecom, Geoff Daily makes the argument that "all broadband is fiber." Geoff has it exactly right. Just yesterday, I met with a community leader who asked, appropriately, "What if we spend all this money on fiber and wireless turns out to be cheaper and better?"

Technology News:

Death of TV, Part XXVII: ABC, NBC, CBS... and Netflix!

The old TV empires are crumbling fast, and Netflix is speeding their demise. It just outbid all the other networks for a new original, uh, "TV" series called , which will star Kevin Spacey. Since you can watch Netflix on just about any device on the planet, there is even less reason to keep around one of those old timey television doohickeys.

Knowledge Democracy:

iPad users crash cable TV system

Someone asked me just today if we really will need all the bandwidth that fiber offers, with the unspoken inference that DSL and cable modem service seems to be working just fine.

Uh-huh.

Knowledge Democracy:

Lessons in disaster recovery, tsunamis, and meltdowns

We will probably not know the full story of the nuclear reactor problems in Japan for many months, but one news story I read over the weekend suggests that the the Japanese are re-learning the lessons of the Katrina disaster. Apparently the Japanese reactors survived the initial earthquake and tsunami without much damage--but whatever was damaged caused the primary cooling pumps to fail. No big deal, as nuclear power plants have extensive back up and redundant secondary cooling systems designed to take over if the primary cooling system fails.

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Wired towns shove cities out of the way

Here is a study that indicates that smaller communities with the right broadband infrastructure are "...emerging as major economic centers." What about your community? Does it have the infrastructure to attract new businesses?

Broadband Information:

National Broadband Map now available

The first iteration of the National Broadband Map is now available. This effort has been part of the broadband stimulus effort, and it will be updated regularly over the next three to four years as individual states provide more data to NTIA. The map zooms nicely, so you can get a pretty good local picture of what technology is available, and you can select which technologies you want to look at (e.g. fiber to the home, cable modem, wireless, etc.). With the exception of mobile wireless (i.e.

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