Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Israel's 1Gbps fiber will show the world what superfast broadband can really do: Cisco CEO | ZDNet

The planned deployment of gigabit fiber to the premise (FTTP) infrastructure in Israel as described in this ZDNet article Israel's 1Gbps fiber will show the world what superfast broadband can really do: Cisco CEO | ZDNet illustrates a trend in much of the industrialized world.  As the Internet grows into an all purpose communications platform, it will overtake and obsolete telephone and cable companies that built their business models on a pre-Internet world.  Some excerpts:
 The network should be completely operational in five to seven years, giving Israelis the opportunity to surf the net with downlinks of 1Gbps, ten times faster than anything the local competition — chiefly the Bezeq phone company and HOT cable service provider — can provide with their FTTN (fiber to the node) network, which delivers a top speed of 100Mbps.

Chambers predicts the network will bring in major changes: healthcare where doctors are connected instantly to providers' and hospitals' databases, with all records kept electronically and updated constantly; an education-anywhere system, where students can learn at home, in class, or elsewhere, communicating with teachers and fellow students over the internet; safer roads and streets (a major issue in road accident-prone Israel), with traffic authorities able to keep better tabs on speeders and unsafe drivers; and a proliferation of "internet of things" technology, with sensors keeping air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, front doors, and more connected to systems than can enable better and more efficient allocation of electricity and other resources. In a few years, all of this should be in place, according to Chambers.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Google's Project Loon no cure for the common Internet not spot

Google's experimental Project Loon unveiled this week that envisions a fleet of high altitude balloons providing Internet connectivity is likely to benefit only the most remote and undeveloped areas of the globe.  Fittingly, remote New Zealand was the site of the first experimental deployment of these 'loons, mate.

The technology won't be a panacea for more populated parts of the globe in developed nations plagued by incomplete wireline Internet infrastructure that serves only some residences and businesses while others adjacent are left off the Internet grid.

Nor can it provide sufficient throughput to support the rapid growth in bandwidth demand driven by video and the use of multiple devices common nowadays in many households.  According to Google, the high altitude digital dirigibles will provide connectivity at speeds comparable to 3G, the legacy mobile wireless service now being superseded by higher bandwidth 4G mobile wireless.

NYT op-ed complaining of low Internet subscribership undermines author's credibility

No Country for Slow Broadband - NYTimes.com: The major causes for low subscribership, as extensive survey research shows, are low interest in the Internet and minimal digital literacy. And too many American households lack the money or interest to buy a computer. As a result, more Americans subscribe to cable TV and cellphones than to Internet service. Our broadband subscription rate is 70 percent, but could easily surpass 90 percent if computer ownership and digital literacy were widespread.
So argues Richard Bennett, senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.  There is a big hole in this argument.  Information and communications services are universally verging toward employing Internet Protocol (IP) to deliver them.  People are increasingly viewing video content delivered over the Internet to making voice calls using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). 

In segmenting discrete services and citing just one type of Internet-enabled service (personal computing), one has to question why someone with Bennett's level of knowledge would even make this point, undermining his credibility and suggesting a hidden agenda.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Obama administration's ConnectED program only half a solution

President Calls for High-Speed Broadband in 99% of Schools/Libraries - 2013-06-06 15:21:00 | Broadcasting & Cable: The White House Thursday announced a new initiative to get high-speed broadband to America's schools and libraries.

The so-called ConnectED program has a goal of connecting 99% of students to high-speed wired and wireless broadband (speeds of no less than 100 Mbps and preferably 1 Gbps) within five years. The president called on the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration to "modernize and leverage" its E-rate program to achieve that goal. The E-rate program provides discounted broadband service to schools and libraries through the Universal Service Fund.

The President's plan while laudable is only a partial solution.  Learning now takes place both at school and in the home -- what educators describe as "blended learning."  Jeremy Meyers, superintendent of the El Dorado County (California) Office of Education, wrote about the emerging educational method in which pupils do much of their learning and class projects outside of the classroom via the Internet – arguably the world’s biggest and best stocked library.  Back in the classroom, their teachers review their projects, answer questions and lead discussions.

As Meyers notes, blended learning requires good Internet connectivity both at schools and at students' homes.  However, too many homes in Meyers' district lack even basic Internet service.  "El Dorado County faces a special challenge that is assuming greater urgency each year: How to bring all our households into broadband Internet access in a cost-effective manner," Meyers wrote. "Having large Internet 'dead zones' is not acceptable in today’s world of connectivity. It limits us academically and hurts us economically."

Are you listening, Mr. President?
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