Newton's third law of motion states "to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," which might help explain why ISPs feel compelled to offer increasingly faster broadband, yet place bandwidth restrictions as low as 40GB/month. It hardly seems fair considering that streaming HD content is finally starting to take hold, along with downloadable games, an increased interest in Linux, and other ways to use up that monthly allotment. New York Congressman Eric Massa doesn't think it's fair either and has pledged to introduce a bill called the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act."
"I am taking a leadership position on this issue because of all the phone calls, emails, and faxes I've received from my district and all over the country," Massa said in a statement. "While I favor a businesses' right to maximize their profit potential, I believe safeguards must be put in place when a business has a monopoly on a specific region."
Massa was referring to Time Warner Cable (TWC), who said it plans to test tiered internet service in Rochester, New York, which resides in Massa's district. Even more startling is AT&T's plans to test its 20GB data cap in the same town where TWC began its pilot program.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, will come from Massa's proposed bill, but the lesson here is that if you take the time to write, email, or call your Congressman, someone just might listen.
Love it or hate it, there’s no looking over the big possibilities that the stimulus package holds for the future of our nation’s broadband infrastructure – and starting tomorrow the folks at the FCC are going to start discussing just how they’re doing to divvy the cash up.
With $7.2 billion of the total $787 billion allocated from the package, the FCC will begin looking for ways to outfit those living in rural areas with access to high speed Internet. They’ll also start looking at ways to improve the speeds of existing broadband infrastructure.
This is quite the undertaking, no doubt about it! Good thing they’ve got until next February.
Twenty years ago, Crocodile Dundee would have been the first thing we thought of when someone mentioned Australia. Eight years from now, we'll be thinking of crazy fast broadband when talking about our friends from down under. That's because Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced an ambitious $43 billion project to build a high-speed, fiber-optic broadband network that would bring up to 100Mbps to 90 percent of the country's population.
"It's time for us to bit the bullet on this," Rudd said when announcing the decision. "The initiative announced today is a historic nation-building investment focused on Australia's long-term national interest."
According to Rudd, the broadband proposal would provide 37,000 jobs at the peak of construction and help boost the economy. The Government would be responsible for an initial investment of $4.7 billion, and up to 49 percent of the funds to be from the private sector. Under the project, homes not benefiting from the fiber-optic rollout will still have access to 12Mbps via wireless and satellite.
According to a study conducted by the Leichtman Research Group (LRG), US broadband growth was down 40 percent in 2008. The study surveyed the top 20 US broadband providers -- Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, Charter, Verizon, and others -- and found that there were only 5.4 million new broadband customers last year, compared to 8.5 million new customers in 2007. But this was to be expected, said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG.
"The total number of broadband subscribers in the US doubled in the past four years, growing to nearly 68 million at the end of 2008," said Leichtman. "With increased market penetration, growth inevitably had to slow, but there was still room for 5.4 million more broadband subscribers in 2008."
Comcast claimed the most new subscribers in 2008, adding over 1.3 million, with Time Warner not terribly far behind by adding 847,000 new subscribers. The next closest competitor is Cox, who added just 275,000 subscribers.
Despite Leichtman's optimistic outlook, the last time that US broadband subscriber growth was on the rise was 2006, according to ArsTechnica. The average US broadband speed, which checks in at 2.3Mb/s down and 435Kb/s up, also lags behind other parts of the world, such as industrialized Asian nations averaging 63Mb/s down.
"We're number 1! We're number 1! We're number 1!" According to a new study, U.S. businesses can rightly chant being No. 1 when it comes to broadband integration. The ranking comes even after deducting numerous hours spent surfing on Facebook and YouTube.
Leonard Waverman, dean of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, developed the measure, which he refers to as the "Connectivity Scorecard." The scorecard compares countries and looks at how consumers, businesses, and government put communication technology to economically productive use. Out of 25 countries ranked, the U.S. came out on top, besting even South Korea where more homes are equipped with broadband than in the U.S.
"Korea has great broadband to the house, but businesses in Korea don't use the best networks and don't have the skills and computing assets they need to take advantage of them," Waverman explained.
Immediately behind the U.S. in Waverman's rankings were Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the Norway. Korea, meanwhile, ranked 18.
According to the Korea Communications Commission, there are currently plans in place that will enhance the country’s broadband speeds to 1Gbps by the year 2012. For a frame of reference, that’s 200 times as fast as the average 5Mbps DSL connection here in the United States.
In addition to the wired infrastructure, Korea is hoping to upgrade their wireless broadband to at least 10Mbps. The KCC is encouraging the WiBro standard as a way to boost their own speeds to ten times the current rate.
This growth comes as a big part of the Korean IT framework stimulus boost, which will cost a planned $24.6 billion and create 120,000 jobs. Let’s see if the planned upgrades here at home will allow us to keep up with such ambitious endeavors!
USNews's David LaGesse reports that Charter Communications is about to 10-up its high-speed rivals Verizon and Comcast by rolling out a 60Mbps broadband service (Verizon and Comcast currently offer 50Mbps in some markets).
Now that we’ve got Barack Obama in the White House, correct oath or not, the planned $6 billion stimulus package should finally be on its way. But, according to a recent study, most Americans that don’t already have broadband simply don’t want it.
Many Americans don’t see broadband as the saving grace that those that have it do. For example, 19 percent of dial-up users said that nothing would get them to upgrade, not even lowered prices. Of the 25 percent that don’t regularly use the Internet at all (too busy watching mid-day reruns of MacGyver), one third stated that they’re not even interested in going online, whereas an additional 10 percent claimed that they thought it was too difficult.
While many of these statements may hold water today, one can only hope to see what this planned broadband stimulus will bring to the table. Perhaps a healthy dose of cheap, fast broadband is just what the doctor ordered? Plus, it’s difficult to think about all of the modems still making that wretched screech after all these years.
President-elect Barack Obama will have his hands full trying to get the economy back on track once he officially takes office next month, and if the media reform group Free Press has any say in the matter, a major investment in the nation's broadband infrastructure should be high on the list.
In a 30-page reported titled "Down Payment on Our Digital Future: Stimulus Policies for the 21st-Century Economy", the Free Press proposes spending $44 billion in broadband stimulus funds over the next three years. The vast amount of funds would be used to build next-generation broadband networks, connecting rural areas without broadband service, making high speed connections more affordable, providing PCs and training to low income users, promoting children's access to technology at school and at home, and ensuring clear standards of quality, affordability, and competition.
"Promoting the deployment of a national, forward-looking broadband infrastructure will provide substantial short-term and long-term economic benefits," S. Derek Turner, study author and research director of Free Press, wrote in the report (PDF). "This deployment effort will immediately create tens of thousands of new jobs in the telecommunications, manufacturing, and high-tech sectors."
The United States ranks 22nd in the world in broadband adoption, with over 40 percent of all U.S. homes still without a high speed connection. Obama previously said that investing in computers and broadband for schools and hospitals would be part of his immediate economic recovery plans, but no specific amount was ever mentioned.
Would spending $44 billion be overboard? Hit the jump and sound off.
While it’s no secret that the Australian government is a fan of censoring and filtering the country’s Internet, they’re taking a bold new step this time. They’re planning to block BitTorrent completely.
The move comes from the Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy, who wrote in a blog post that he’s planning to oversee a trial if technology could filter data sent directly between computers as opposed to data downloaded from a central server. “Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial,” said Senator Conroy.
“I'm aware that this proposal has attracted significant debate and criticism – on this blog and at other places in the blogosphere,” Senator Conroy wrote. And how does he plan to follow that debate? “I'm following the debate at sites like Whirlpool and GetUp and on Twitter at #nocleanfeed.”