Monday, November 16, 2009

Xbox Live Players Set Record: 2M Simultaneous Users

Didn't I say last week that we should ALL start looking at videogames as a predictor of our future? The folks at PC World are confirming my prediction. Not only was Call of Duty the biggest entertainment launch in history, it created a record 2 million simultaneous connections at Xbox Live (biggest day in their history.) Who knows what could have happened if the Xbox Live folks had better connectivity?

YouTube at 1080p

Yup. Starting this week, YouTube is going to support 1080p High Definition videos (up from 720p.) Now, you can get your new holiday HD camera and hog up your measly broadband connection by uploading video. Send me a link to your video.

Check out the link above (especially if you like dogs) to find an interesting detailing of how size matters.

Networks & Their Fear and Loathing of Hulu

The folks at NewTeeVee report on the success of Hulu and how the parent companies are unhappy (sorta.) A fascincating read...

"TV advertising has (and continues to be) successful for mass marketing efforts, but even the idea of mass market is going through a big shift. The TV audiences will continue to get divided and subdivided into various niches. Furthermore, the rise of “TV Everywhere,” a way for you to watch cable company-provided video content on the web, is going to eat into the mass market. If the mass market continues to shrivel, then networks will be fighting to get a piece of the shrinking pie. It is no surprise then that the media companies are bickering with their own spawn."

Slower Broadband Could Hinder House Sales

Check out this article from the U.K. publication called ISP Review. They did a survey of 721 respondents that revealed "75% of readers would not buy a house, even a lovely one, if the best broadband ISP speed it could achieve was just 1Mbps. In addition, 51% would be willing to pay more for a house with "faster" broadband." Even more interesting is the comment section where folks complain about the U.K. goal of 2Mbps per home by 2012.

Makes you wonder what the kids at the FCC are doing right now on the U.S. national broadband plan. My advice: go big, go bold and start from a clean slate. Inspire us to build a great foundation for the future.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Internet's Next 40 Years

My alma mater recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Internet. They asked some of the "originals" where they see the next in another 40 years. Read the article. It's interesting.

"We'll have holograms. And we'll have microchip brain implants. Right now, I have to look something up on iPhone. In the future, I'll just think it."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Call of Duty' Game Sells $310M in 24 hours

Every under-30 male I know is busy playing this game (in online teams.) The article says it is "the biggest selling launch in the history of entertainment."

Methinks it is time for all of us to seriously look at video game architecture as a core driver of broadband and the Internet (and a good predictor of future trans-sector uses of network infrastructure.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Funeral Webcasting is Alive and Well

The Internet is for people-to-people communication and this application is proof. Affordable broadband is the tie that binds us.

The folks at IEEE report "If webcasting a funeral seems a little, well, ghoulish to you, you’re not alone. The decade-old service has been a hard sell to most funeral directors until recently. But the advent of cheaper broadband, the financial strain of travel, and deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have all contributed to increased use of the Web as a tool to connect loved ones during such times of need."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Only You Can Prevent a Lousy National Broadband Plan

Check out this picture of telecom lobbying from Jan through June 2009 courtesy of DSL Reports.

The battle of the corporate lobbyists is already taking place in our nation’s capitol and, most assuredly, is twisting the discussion on a national broadband plan to fit individual corporate goals. If we have learned ANYTHING from the recent recession and taxpayer bailout, we should recognize that businesses do what is right for them (and isn’t it nice if it actually aligns with what is good for the public.) (In 2003, I worked on the Gigabit or Bust report that noted this very thing was a major bottleneck for a real broadband agenda in this country.)

The national broadband strategy MUST be aligned with the public interest. The U.S. cannot afford to continue to be a goofy, denial-based, lobby-controlled, broadband-famine county. We are a nation of innovators and small businesses. We absolutely must balance lobbyists and their employer's self-interests and focus on a big broadband as an innovation platform for the public. As Paul Budde says, “I think it all depends on good leadership and understanding the social and economic benefits, not just the shareholders value.”

Learning to Surf the Internet Gives Brain a Boost

HealthNews reports that a "new study shows older adults who learn to search for information online experience a surge of activity in key decision-making and reasoning centers of the brain. The results suggest Internet training and searching online could potentially enhance brain function and cognition in older adults. “We found that for older people with minimal experience, performing Internet searches for even a relatively short period of time can change brain activity patterns and enhance function,” Dr. Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, said in a news release. Previous research by the UCLA team found that searching online resulted in a more than twofold increase in brain activation in older adults with prior experience, compared with those with little Internet experience."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

HOW TO: Copy the Entire iTunes Catalog in 25 Seconds

An interesting development from the French is touted at Those crafty French "researchers from the Bell Labs facility in Villarceaux, France have used 155 lasers, each operating at a different frequency and carrying 100 gigabits of data per second. Multiply the number of lasers with the transmission rate, and you get a crazy number of 15.5 terabits per second, over the distance of 7000 kilometers. Multiply those two numbers, and you get over 100 petabits per second.kilometers (a standard measure for high speed optical transmission)." Whiz-bang fast.

Applying a little math, the author estimates it would take 25 seconds to download about 10 million songs (50 million megabytes.) Cool.

The commenters were wondering how long for a "standard" broadband connection. MarkH said: About 1.5 years on an 8Mbps broadband connection. Or over 6 years if you're unlucky enough, like me, to only have 2Meg...

Oh to be so unlucky... how about all those poor folks who are about to get 768K down broadband courtesy of the ARRA and/or state-funded broadband programs?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

People want to connect

Well. I think we've all been predicting this (people want to communicate),but now there is proof.

Americans have nearly tripled the amount of time they spend at social networking and blog sites such as Facebook and MySpace from a year ago, according to a new report from The Nielsen Company. In August 2009, 17 percent of all time spent on the Internet was at social networking sites, up from 6 percent in August 2008.

“This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used,” said Jon Gibs, vice president, media and agency insights, Nielsen’s online division. “While video and text content remain central to the Web experience – the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium’s growth.”

Yo. Doctor. There's an app for that.

This week Webahn, a clinical documentation solutions company, announced the launch of two new iPhone apps for physicians: Capzule for its online EMR (electronic medical records) service and Accent, a voice recording application for its online transcription service

Capzule is a free, Web-based EMR app that enables physicians to access patient information instantly while away from the clinic. Specially designed for small practices, it has the capability to send messages, add notes, prescribe medications and write orders. Accent, which sells for $0.99, allows physicians to dictate patient notes and letters on iPhone and send them to for transcription. The app also lets users edit audio files and tag dictations with key information, and it features search capability and the ability to access dictations from desktop PCs over Wi-Fi.

Cyber Security Advice

Some interesting framing on cyber security. But, it's really hard to get people and businesses to spend money on security until they have an epiphany about their vulnerability.

The National Cyber Leap Year Summit Co-Chairs Report and Summit Participants’ Ideas Report are now available. The Summit gathered commercial and academic innovators for an unconventional exploration of five game-changing strategies in cyber security:
  • Basing trust decisions on verified assertions (Digital Provenance)
  • Attacks only work once if at all (Moving-target Defense)
  • Knowing when we have been had (Hardware-enabled Trust)
  • Move from forensics to real-time diagnosis (Nature-inspired Cyber Health)
  • Crime does not pay (Cyber Economics)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Japan Optic Fiber Internet

Cheap. Easy-to-install. Fast as heck. What's not to like?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Best NOFA Quote Ever

Vint Cerf on the BTOP/BIP broadband definition: "The definition of broadband sucks so badly we should use it to sequester carbon dioxide."

Made me laugh.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Broadband Stimulus: You so 2000 and late

As you probably know, the Notice of Funds Availability came out today for the BTOP and BIP (sounds like a kid's cartoon show...) billions. It was an interesting first read, mostly to figure out how they defined the key criteria.

Broadband is defined as 768 Kbps down and 200 Kbps up. The good news is that, with limited funds, this really keeps the focus on areas that really have crappy service, if any. The bad news is that providers can bid this unbelievably lousy service level and "comply" with criteria. The only hope we have is that there will be enough folks that bid higher speed levels than those who want to bid the slower ones and the slow ones won't get funded. Keep your fingers crossed.

The BIP has more definitive evaluation criteria than the BTOP. Kudos to the BIPpers.

Cost-effectiveness for the BTOP local loop projects is based on the ratio of the total cost of the project to households passed. That just seems dumb. Lots of cities with urban density will be very happy to see that.

The money chunks (available funds) are oddly constructed. It's not very clear why. The BIPpers have made all of their $2.4B available, chunked out as $1.2B for last mile projects -- remote or non-remote areas. Middle mile projects are alloted $.8B. The BTOPers set aside $1.6B in this round out of their $4.3B. $1.2B goes to infrastructure but only $50M to public computer centers and $150M to sustainable broadband adoption in this round. Kinda cheesy.

Underserved and unserved definitions require more study and a deep knowledge of Census blocks, last calculated in 2000. There is also a strange and weird condition of funding where after an organization has jumped through all the stage 1 and 2 hoops, the BIPpers and BTOPers will post their planned awards so the masses can object to funding if there is already service in the area awarded. This needs much further cogitation and I can see a potential of some very bad outcomes due to this rule.

It was good to see the 4 FCC principles and the rules for open networks. But, overall, it seems like a wimpy start to a national broadband plan. Seriously, 200 Kbps upload reminds me of some of the lyrics in Boom Boom Pow: "I'm so 3008,You so 2000 and late."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pew Home Broadband Adoption report released

The new Pew Internet report on home broadband adoption was released this week. Here's a few highlights:
  • Competition matters ( $12.60 per month savings with 4 or more providers)
  • 84% of home broadband users see their fast connection as “somewhat important” or “very important”
  • More homes are online - 63% of adult Americans as of April 2009, up from 55% in May, 2008 (but 85% of adults have cell phone service)
  • It doesn't appear that they counted cell phone services in their tally i.e. iPhone, although they did count 'Aircards'
As always, a fascinating read.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Aspiring to HARAKI-one: $100Mbps for US$50

Yes, you really can get 100 Mbps symmetric broadband connections in Japan for ~US $50 per month. If they can do it, so can we.

"Based on KDDI's reliable optical fiber network and advanced Content Delivery Network (CDN), in addition to a high-speed and high-capacity Internet connection service with a maximum downstream speed of 100 Mbps, "HIKARI-one" is an integrated broadband service that uses a single optical fiber providing a telephone service with quality, reliability and functions equivalent to those of NTT's subscription service, multichannel digital broadcasting full of exciting content, and Video On Demand (VOD) service. You can pick and choose the services you want."

Open Source Digital Textbooks Coming to California Schools

I guess going broke does have some upside.

ArsTechnica reports that the California guv announced that the state intends to develop open source digital textbooks for math and science. This is a nice way to overcome the 6 year approval cycle for paper textbooks. The article has more detail and a link to the announcement of the initiative.

"Once the program is in full swing, a school district with 10,000 high school students could end up with savings in the area of $2 million a year. For now, however, the certification of digital texts will focus on various areas of math and science: Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth Sciences."

Phone, Internet interventions can improve prognosis for cardiac disease, researchers say

In today's world where time is an issue, telehealth interventions are proven to work effectively.

Forbes reports on a study by Australian researchers who "reviewed published randomized trials evaluating the use of phone- or Internet-based interventions in cardiac rehabilitation programs. Two of the interventions were Internet-based; all others were by telephone."

"The researchers found that patients who took part in these telehealth interventions had a 30 percent lower death rate than patients without the interventions. The telehealth patients also had lower total cholesterol levels, lower levels of systolic blood pressure and lower rates of smoking."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FIrstMile.US Comments to FCC's NOI "A National Broadband Plan for Our Future"

These FirstMile.US comments were intended to be a start at framing a discussion that provides an avenue to fix things, separate carriage from content, and let the market provide people with the Internet they want.

We have an opportunity to start changing the language and creating the visual picture in people's minds of who's whoming who. In order to do that, we need to start at the beginning.

The FirstMile.US response is an attempt to bring us all back to the beginning of an understanding of how to look at the big picture. Until the powers that be start looking at the big picture in a stratified way, we have no hope that we can begin to even tackle some of the harder problems. We do not want this to be just-another-exercise-in-futility.

Clean slate thinking is needed. Thinking about the pipe separate from the applications and devices is needed.

So, we begin at the beginning.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Still in WIIFM mode on cloud computing?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has done us all a favor. They posted a working definition of cloud computing that serves as a foundation for its upcoming publication on the topic. Computer scientists at NIST developed this draft definition in collaboration with industry and government.

And, it's pretty good. If you were looking for a decent definition or to get a better grasp on what-the-cloud-will-mean-to-you, check it out.

WIIFM - what's in it for me

RT from @MikeNelson

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mobile Data Shootout

Those clever folks at Engadget Labs just released the results of a test of the major 3G providers in the US. If you are interested in how these stack up, you should really take the time to click the link above and read the complete article. It's good.

One thing that I noted, which made me sigh, was this statement: "In every scenario, it's drastically cheaper to head overseas and pick up a prepaid data card from a local carrier -- like O2 in Germany, for example, which offers a USB data stick with a month of unlimited usage in the country for just €69.99 ($96). " All of the U.S. carriers charge $60 per month with a 5GB cap. (5GB lasts me about a week of travel as long as I don't do anything exotic like Hulu or web-browsing at highly interactive sites.) As usual, the other countries are far ahead of us in pricing services. Sigh, again.

Here are the highlights of the report:
  • AT&T's download rates obliterate the other guys. Seriously, it's not even close.
  • AT&T's upload rates are the strongest, though T-Mobile and Verizon held pretty close here.
  • Each carrier's average latency was right around 150ms, which will undoubtedly make online gamers (snipers, in particular) weep.
  • Sprint and Verizon's WWAN management software was far superior than that of AT&T and T-Mobile, and considering that T-Mobile's app won't run on a Mac yet, it gets yet another strike against it.
  • As always, your miles (or data rates, as it were) may vary depending on location, network saturation, wind speed and amount of fairy dust in your pocket, but we're pretty confident these data are a solid guide.
  • If you're used to thinking of upload and download rates in terms of KBps (much like you see when downloading a file in Firefox), here's the breakdown of that.
    • AT&T: 239.01KBps down; 77.95KBps up
    • Sprint: 121.27KBps down; 36.94 KBps up
    • T-Mobile: 127.33KBps down; 54.05KBps up
    • Verizon: 102.9KBps down; 63.22KBps up

45M US women bought a digital lifestyle product in the last 6 months

The Solutions Research Group does an annual "Women and Digital Life" study and has issued its 2009 edition. A few of the highlights include the following:

Women are an increasingly important market for technology brands. One-in-three (~45 million U.S. women) bought a digital lifestyle product in the last six months. Among moms, 44% did and among women 25-39, 42% bought a digital product. Walmart and Best Buy are the top two destinations for purchases accounting for over 60% of women’s purchases. Target and Apple store are among the top five retailers for women.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Lousy Upload Speeds Forces Amazon to Connect The Cloud To The Postal Service

The folks at Techdirt report: "Amazon's done a lot with its Web Services offerings to advance the notion of cloud computing, and it's now realized that the state of broadband in the US could do a lot to hold it back. Slow upload speeds could hamper the growth of cloud computing: Amazon's CTO says that to upload a terabyte of data over a 10Mbps connection would take 13 days. So the company is working around that issue by letting people submit data to Amazon Web Services via US Mail."

There are a lot of people who don't have a 10 Mbps upload speed -- probably most Americans. Cloud computing could be a great panacea to those who fear computers and their associated software and hardware headaches, but not if it can't be utilized fully via broadband.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

10 Reasons Why the Internet is Great for Older People

The Times Online in the UK reports that May 15 is "Silver Surfers' Day" in the UK and the organizers of the day have come up with 10 reasons why older people should connect.

"The truth is that for older people, being online often makes more sense than it does for the young. Simple things such as online shopping can transform lives, while e-mail, messaging and chat can help maintain contact with friends and family all around the world."

Check out the 10 reasons and adapt them for your use. It would be great to see Silver Surfers' Day in the US, too.

UPDATE: Check out theses government policies on linking:

Send an email NOW to the and ask to have the Other Web Sites section REMOVED IMMEDIATELY.

I was looking through the FCC broadband.html page today and was dismayed to see a list of "other web sites." This list is wrong on many levels and should not be included in a federal government site.

If they wish to feature other federal government initiatives that are utilizing/promoting/funding broadband, they should include those. The list presented here of those institutions is horribly incomplete.

It should NOT include nonprofits or state information sources. They are tacitly endorsing practices and doing a grave disservice to the rest of us who are working hard to promote deployment and adoption of broadband.

What you'll find at ...


Many organizations have created Web sites that address various aspects of broadband services, including funding, technology, content, and the overall availability of broadband.

* Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
* U.S. Department of Education.
* U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service (RUS).
* U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
* Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
* ConnectKentucky.
* Arizona Telecommunications & Information Council (ATIC).
* Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, Health Resources and
Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
* American Telemedicine Association.
* Digital Divide Network.
* Pew Internet & American Life Project

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Rural Broadband Dilemma: Right of Way and Environmental Permits

At the August 2008 Broadband Forum in Humboldt County, California, agencies and providers discussed issues with right of way and environmental permitting.

Thanks to Access Humboldt for the raw video!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Rural Broadband Dilemma: Return on Investment

Check out our new video called "The Rural Broadband Dilemma: Return on Investment." Listen to providers tell you why rural broadband deployment doesn't fit their business model.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lower-Income Mobile Users Turn to iPhone for Internet, Entertainment

Marketing Charts reports: "Though 43% of US iPhone owners earn more than $100K per year, the strongest growth in users is coming from those with annual incomes between $25K and $75K, particularly since the launch of the iPhone 3G, according to new iPhone demographic and usage-behavior data from comScore."

“As an additional household budget item, a $200 device plus at least $70 per month for phone service seems a bit extravagant for those with lower disposable income,” said Jen Wu, senior analyst, comScore, the report’s author. “However, one actually realizes cost savings when the device is used in lieu of multiple digital devices and services, transforming the iPhone from a luxury item to a practical communication and entertainment tool.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

FirstMileUS Twibe

Are we there yet? Another social networking thingy. Not sure what you do in a Twibe, but let's figure it out together.

Just started a Twibe. Visit to join.

Ten Things You Need to Understand About Broadband

Just posted a four page piece called Ten Things You Need to Understand About Broadband. Read the whole thing at FirstMile.US or cheat with just reading the ten things here...
  1. Open infrastructure is an essential building block to universal broadband.
  2. Broadband Adoption = Access + Applications + Affordability + Accessibility + Assistance
  3. There are many different roadblocks to adoption in “underserved” communities.
  4. At least five factors must be measured to understand why an expensive-to-serve area has no or sparse broadband.
  5. Urban communities have the most nonadopters.
  6. Public-good “Grand Challenge” applications are the killer apps for government.
  7. Subsidized middle-mile fiber combined with community connection points will catalyze first mile deployments in expensive-to-serve areas.
  8. Successful programs that create new adoption must be feted and scientifically analyzed so we can replicate success.
  9. Mapping is a-good-thing, but empirical data is better.
  10. Sustained local leadership has the biggest and most dramatic effect on creating broadband demand, creating a community broadband spirit and attracting the attention of communications providers.

ARRA Broadband Game and the Players

I love this post. Truly. Lev does a great job at framing ARRA broadband game and its players. Read it.

First Public Library Internet-only Radio Station

Check out the first public library to offer an Internet-only radio station. Radio LPL is produced by Liverpool Public Library in Liverpool, New York. Tune in for selections from the library's collection of music recordings. They feature classical, jazz, popular, folk, musicals, new age, soundtracks, and local artists.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FirstMile.US Appoints National Broadband Leaders Lassner and Nelson to Board

FirstMile.US, a nonprofit focused on providing tools and training needed to drive broadband demand and increase broadband deployment, today announced the appointment of two new board members and the election of its first board chair. Steven Corbató, an existing board member, was elected as the Chairman of the Board. David Lassner and Michael Nelson were elected to the board. They join current board members Vinton Cerf, Susan Estrada, Dewayne Hendricks and Lynn St. Amour.

"These appointments exponentially increase FirstMile.US’s strength, brain-trust, and ability to deliver," said Susan Estrada, FirstMile.US president. “Under the leadership of Steve, the board members will help drive our strategic vision to increase the reach of our tools and training -- helping drive big broadband demand and deployment in the United States.”

"For the last four years, FirstMile.US’s grassroots efforts have been focused on tackling the persistent last mile problem,” said Steven Corbató, who directs cyberinfrastructure strategy at the University of Utah and is a former network and technology leader at Internet2. “FirstMile.US is a driving force in spotlighting and linking local initiatives with an eye towards the critical end goal of ubiquitous national broadband. I'm honored to be elected chair at this tipping point for our nation’s broadband strategy and implementation."

Lassner is the statewide University of Hawaii's first Chief Information Officer, past Chair of the Pacific Telecommunications Council and current Chair of the Hawaii Broadband Task Force. "As an island state, Hawaii presents some unique challenges in both first and middle mile connectivity,” commented David. “I look forward to learning and sharing more with FirstMile.US as we work to advance the broadband capabilities of communities throughout our nation to improve health care, education, public safety, civic engagement and economic development for all."

“In my twenty years in the Washington D.C. -- in the Senate, at the White House, at IBM, and now at Georgetown University -- I think we've never been at a more critical time in the evolution of America's Internet infrastructure,” said Michael Nelson. “I'm glad to be able to help FirstMile.US shape the debate at this inflection point in the development of ubiquitous, real broadband across the country.”

About FirstMile.US

FirstMile.US is a nationally-focused non-profit. Our goal: Big Broadband Everywhere. Our method: educating, advocating and focusing on the power and promise of big broadband until the FirstMile.US vision—that every member of the American public has access to affordable, big broadband—is achieved.

Implementing sustainable technology to monitor the integrity of the nation's bridges

An interesting broadband application where the University of Miami is using sensor networks to monitor the integrity of bridges.

"With the Federal Highway Administration estimating that more than 70,000 of the nation's bridges are structurally deficient, the system Nanni and his team develop could be used as a national model for monitoring the structural integrity of bridges nationwide and alerting bridge owners to potential dangers."

Jon Stewart, Muppet Scat and Broadband

In the April 14th, 2009 Daily Show, Jon Stewart suggests that watchers do a Google search for "Muppet scat" and see what comes up. The "Muppet scat" search was the top most searched term on April 14th and 5th most searched term on Google on April 15. (you can see the suggestion at 4:50 into the video.)

Maybe between Oprah and Jon Stewart, a broadband demand campaign can be devised for getting people online. After all, it's better than being left out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

FirstMile.US ARRA Comments Available

We filed our ARRA comments today at the NTIA. Phew! We've also put the comments on our own website in a downloadable PDF. Our specific recommendations include:
  1. Clarification of the nationwide definition for unserved and underserved is urgent.
  2. A definition for unserved and underserved definition for communities with no/low access to broadband is needed.
  3. A definition for unserved and underserved definition for high population urban communities with low adoption of broadband is needed.
  4. Definition and characterization of public-good “grand challenge” applications are required.
  5. Strong interagency coordination to support the nation’s grand challenges is required.
  6. NTIA and RUS should maximize the opportunity to create new broadband access through middle mile and community connection points
  7. Replicable programs that create new adoption, workforce development and new applications are necessary.
  8. Mapping
  • Verifiable, reliable data sources must be utilized
  • Grand challenge institutions should be mapped.
  • Standardized GIS schema must be created at a national level.
  • The mapping must include more data than the combined upload/download speeds.
  • Broadband services should be mapped.
  • The factors that affect adoption should be mapped.
  • The federal government, state institutions, tribal governments and local leaders should work together to determine the variety of geographical areas needed to understand the true nature of broadband deployment.
  • All federally-owned, state-owned and tribal-owned lands and buildings should be mapped.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Top 10 Community-based Organization Websites

Pew Internet and American Life Project

These guys have a lot of data. So, whilst we try to solve the problems of the US with broadband, we should probably put this link at the top of our list for grappling with many of the issues that face us. Why start from scratch when these guys have done a lot of the homework and prep for us?

Let's Just Copy the Aussies

You probably know the FCC had some sort of FCC-official-shindig today where they were talking about a national broadband plan. Here's the Word press release:

I say, why waste a whole lot of time on lobbyists trolling around the FCC. Let's just copy what the Aussies are doing and get on with deployment. I mean, don't we all know that Australia has a lot of the same issues we have here with deployment: geography, lots of rural areas, monopolistic incumbents, etc.? And, just look, they came up with a solution ahead of us.

Here's an analysis of the Aussie broadband plan from my friend, Paul Budde.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Social Networking Grows 93%; Communication Becomes Entertainment

The folks at Marketing Vox report:

Social networking among US broadband users has grown an impressive 93% since 2006, and has increased the amount of time people spend communicating online 18%, to 32% of total online time, according to a new report from Netpop Research, LLC that delves into social networking trends and habits, reports MarketingCharts.

The research estimates that 105 million American broadband users (76%) now contribute to social media. 92% of the 243 million broadband consumers in [China] (224 million) ages 13+ contribute to social media. This is compared with only 76% of the American broadband population.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Steven Levy's Interview with Vint Cerf

Audio of Tech Policy Central Meetup Featuring Dr. Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google and Steven Levy, Senior Writer at Wired Magazine. This was recorded on March 25, 2009 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View CA.

Check out the discussion between Dewayne Hendricks and Vint -- about 2/3 of the way in -- about the stimulus. We totally support the notion of middle mile and community connection points!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Community Assessment Guides

So you're busy trying to figure out how to get your hands on some of that $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus money. But, you know you're going to have to figure out where your community ranks and how to fit in with evaluation criteria the BTOP and RUS folks create.

Look no further -- we have a good start on what you need. At the link above, in item number 4, you'll find two different assessment guides. One's little bit smaller than the other but both can help you get a sense of the important communities -- -- education, government, healthcare, and public safety -- -- when you're trying to define where broadband services are needed in your community.

And don't forget, FirstMile.US's recently published report: A Comprehensive Determination of Broadband Deployment to Designate Unserved and Underserved Communities Using Fact-based Measurement Criteria.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Open Networks Key to Broadband Deployment in Underserved U.S.

[ I participated in this Big Think. Incredible experience.]

“Big Think” International Team Declares Open Networks Cost Less and Create Naturally Competitive Markets

March 27, 2009 Bucketty, Australia An international team of telecommunications experts has weighed in the current debates on US broadband policies. Their “big picture” idea -- open networks -- can, if brought into practice, bring positive and transformative change to America’s communications infrastructure, and, indeed, the large swaths of social and economic activity that rely on that infrastructure, particularly in the underserved rural areas.

“We are not suggesting some radical new experiment in regulatory philosophy,” said Paul Budde, leader of the Big Think team. “The idea of open networks is already deeply embedded in the U.S. communications regulatory framework. We are suggesting a return to traditional regulatory concepts and values that have served the U.S. well for many decades, both in communications regulation and elsewhere.”

The 19-page report outlines how open networks can:
  • Unlock the potential for economic growth
  • Operate with greater efficiency and permit higher levels of beneficial economic and technological activity
  • Encourage increased productive use of all infrastructures
  • Utilize principles that are simpler and more transparent and result in less regulatory requirements
  • Require significantly less public funding
  • Provide a cost effective means for building expensive rural infrastructure
The report has been produced by an international team of telecommunications experts from the following countries: America, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom. This group is composed of strategists, economists, attorneys, technologists, representatives of national and international telecommunication organisations and telecommunications company directors.

The full paper is available at URL here.

For more information and/or comments from experts:

75.5 percent of the total US internet audience viewed online video

The folks at Marketing Charts provided a nice summary of US Internet online video habits. Pretty amazing. Check out the full article for more.

"February online video statistics:

  • 75.5 percent of the total US internet audience viewed online video.
  • The average online video viewer watched 312 minutes of video (more than 5 hours)
  • 98.8 million viewers watched 5.3 billion videos on (53.8 videos per viewer).
  • 41.2 million viewers watched 384 million videos on (8.5 videos per viewer).
  • The duration of the average online video was 3.5 minutes."

Examining Broadband Demand and Access with GIS

Geospatial Solutions Magazine has an article this month on the GIS aspects of a Redwood Coast Connect broadband mapping project. The article discusses the complexities of broadband mapping for rural areas.

[I participated in this project and utilized the maps extensively for both analysis and for posting synthesized results.]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AT&T Breakup 25th Anniversary Event Videos Available for Viewing

The Internet Society New York's chapter has made available a fascinating set of videos of America and its broadband status from a historical perspective.

The videos are an archive of the March 2008 event: AT&T Breakup 25th Anniversary.

"The goal of this conference was to outline the history of the last 25 years, discuss the current market issues, then give a view of the future of broadband and telecom in the US that has been mostly untold in the media. It is a future that leads to ubiquitous, very high speed networks based on an infrastructure that is open to all competitors — giving customers choice, lower prices and new quality products and innovative services. And widely acknowledged as critical for long term economic growth."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hispanics 211% More Likely to Download Digital Content

The folks at Marketing Charts have provided a great summary of a report from Scarborough on The Power of the Hispanic Consumer Online.

"The study also found that Hispanic internet usage overall has reached a critical mass. The majority (54%) of Hispanics are now online, and internet access among Hispanic adults has increased 13% since 2004. In contrast, internet access by all consumers nationally grew only 8% during this time period."

Now that critical mass has been reached, perhaps we can see more Hispanic-focused Internet applications that will drive adoption and be attractive to Hispanics with lower income.

Full PDF report:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Underserved, Unserved - How to Measure

We at FirstMile.US just posted a new document called A Comprehensive Determination of Broadband Deployment to Designate Unserved and Underserved Communities Using Fact-based Measurement Criteria

This was a revamp of a set of criteria developed in 2008 for creating a regional ranking of unserved and underserved communities in California's rural north coast area. I encourage you to take a look at the 5 significant criteria we determined as useful in ranking:
  1. Number of service providers
  2. Price
  3. Coverage
  4. Upload and download speed
  5. Backhaul/Middle Mile availability
The report is intended to be a self-help document for regions trying to convey a deep understanding of their broadband situation.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home Access Internet Study Available at Nielsen

Marketing Charts reports the availability of a new study available from the Nielsen research folks. I recommend that you read the summary then the full report if you have the time.

“Our findings indicate that there remains opportunity for growth in internet access in the US. Indeed, President Obama stated during the campaign that we had to view broadband internet access the same way we did telephone service and electricity - an essential utility available to all regardless of economic status,” said Steve McGowan, SVP of insights and client research initiatives at Nielsen. “But part of the challenge in extending web access to all Americans is the fact that there are more homes without computers, than there are homes with computers but lacking internet access.”

Marketing Charts summary of the report is here:

The full report is available here:

Google Voice

MarketingVOX reports that Google Voice is opening to the public very soon. This is a revamp of a broadband unified messaging service called Grand Central. As a long-time user of Grand Central, I predict this new application will be a favorite of many and just might be a good tipping-point incentive application for people who haven't yet adopted broadband. Current Grand Central users can upgrade now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shopping for Broadband from Consumer Reports

A reprint from Consumer Reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is a nice "how-to-choose-services" article including broadband. Good, solid advice. Definitely worth sharing if you want to help your unconnected friends and relatives.

5.4 Million New Broadband Subscribers in 2008

Om Malik reports that broadband growth slowed in 2008 -- still grew, but much slower than previous years. While this is not a big shock considering the economy, it is worthy to look at the actual numbers -- total growth from the telephone companies and cable companies was 5.4M connections for the entire year. This does not include mobile wireless, WISPs or other "alternate" broadband connectivity.

In California, an aggressive in-state public awareness campaign will begin soon -- the goal is million new broadband connections by June 2010. I'll keep you posted of details in future postings.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Video Rules - YouTube tops 100M viewers

The folks at MarketingVOX sum up some interesting stats on who's watching online and where they are watching. Some factoids: length of videos is up; numbers of people watching are up; and my favorite stat - The average online video viewer watched 356 minutes of video (approximately 6 hours), up 15% vs. December.

And for YouTube:
More than 147 million US internet users watched an average of 101 videos per viewer in January.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Rise of Netbooks

Nice article on the rise of Netbooks from the folks at Wired. I've been thinking for months that Internet service providers in the US need to do a bundled deal, much like cellphones, for in-home fixed broadband access. Looks like the Brits beat us to it.

"Netbooks are so cheap, they're reshaping the fundamental economics of the PC business. Last October, British mobile-phone carrier Vodafone offered its customers a new deal: If they signed a two-year contract for high-speed wireless data, Vodafone would give them a Dell Mini 9 netbook. That isn't quite the same as getting a free computer; after all, Vodafone bills users $1,800 on that two-year contract, so it can afford to throw in the netbook. (In December, RadioShack offered a similar deal: a $99 Acer Aspire netbook for anyone who signed up for two years of AT&T's 3G service.)"

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Angel is in the Details

I just love this summary of the stimulus and the Free Press suggestions. Read the summary and then go get the PDF. Thanks to Eric Lee for forwarding.

Putting the Angels in the Details: A Roadmap for Broadband Stimulus Success

Putting the Angels in the Details: A Roadmap for Broadband Stimulus Success
Submitted by Benton Foundation on February 26, 2009 - 1:30pm
Originally published on: February 26, 2009


The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, signed into law last week by President Barack Obama, allocates $4.7 billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for broadband adoption and deployment in "unserved," "underserved" and low-income communities; $2.5 billion to the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for rural broadband; and directs the Federal Communications Commission to develop a national broadband strategy. To ensure that these stimulus programs are successfully implemented, Free Press recommends the following:

1) Protect the open Internet: The NTIA and FCC should prohibit grant recipients from selling any service that violates open Internet principles and should require recipients to offer interconnection on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis.

2) Promote speed: The NTIA should establish speed guidelines and benchmarks and require grant applicants to detail actual -- not advertised -- network speeds, with priority given to next-generation projects.

3) Provide clarity: The NTIA and FCC should adopt definitions of unserved and underserved areas that are based on U.S. Census Bureau geographic boundaries (either census blocks, block groups or tracts), and are informed by new FCC broadband data.

4) Prevent waste: The NTIA should require grant applicants to provide extensive documentation showing how their proposed project qualifies as a new investment.

5) Gather information: The FCC should immediately initiate proceedings to gather data and ideas to inform the national broadband strategy.

6) Focus resources: The NTIA should refocus the $350 million currently allocated for state broadband mapping toward projects that work to stimulate broadband demand, because the FCC is already collecting this data.

7) Remove roadblocks: The RUS should eliminate current regulations that restrict broadband upgrades, create barriers to new entrants and undermine competition.

8) Ensure transparency: The NTIA and RUS should create a single, publicly accessible online database that hosts all the information relevant to the broadband projects funded by the Stimulus Act.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Health IT and Web 2.0

The folks at Washington Technology have this interesting article on the marriage of health IT and Web 2.0. The Cleveland Clinic is doing a trial right now in partnership with Google and Microsoft.

My favorite quote: "The current health care model — calling for an appointment, waiting, driving to the facility, waiting some more — won’t survive the millennial generation, whose members are becoming consumers of health care." I think a lot of us feel the same.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

US Leads? Huh?

The folks at Tech Dirt did a great job of exposing the recent report that shows the US is #1 in broadband. My favorite quote is the title of the article --
"If You Stand On One Leg, Twist Yourself Around And Squint Into This Light... The US Is #1 In Broadband. Maybe."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Battle of the Wireless Allstars: LTE versus WIMAX

Whilst dusting off the crystal ball, I was intrigued by this article regarding the future mobile wireless vision -- LTE versus WIMAX.

So, you ask, what does this have to do with broadband demand? Mobility through simple useful devices. Useful technology for the 98% of us who just-want-it-to-work-already.

View of the Stimulus from Network World

The folks at Network World have put together a high level commentary on the broadband stimulus bill. My favorite quote: "Succeed or fail, the bill is destined to represent one of the networkiest moments in American politics."

Check it out at

Friday, February 13, 2009

Broadband Stimulus Info

The folks at Public Knowledge have graciously posted info on the broadband portion of the final stimulus bill. Note that it is a PDF.

VoIP and Your Broadband Selection

A nice little discussion about how to think about utilizing your broadband connection with voice [VoIP] and how to choose the proper type of broadband.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

Population density is like catnip to telecom providers.

Derek Kerton, Techdirt,

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Rural Broadband Challenge: Use It

The folks at the Daily Yonder are keeping it real. Here's a another set of very powerful stories of the power and promise of rural broadband, written by a guy whose been doing this kind of work FOREVER. Remember the Big Sky Telegraph and the great work they did with dialup back in the late 80s?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

FirstMile.US Broadband Bill of Rights

While some have argued that the title of this piece is weird [their logic is that broadband shouldn't be a right], it does give you a short primer the layers one might think about in an open network.

Open Networks. Pretty Please, with sugar on top.

Go get this PDF. Read it. Realize that these principles of open networking create a new and improved broadband situation for all Americans, in a very very good way. Check out my previous post about Amsterdam to see how one area is actually deploying open networks.

We need to get loud about the value of open networks in the US. Now.

Consumption-based Broadband

Interesting article on the neverending worry I have about capping broadband usage. Stacey includes some good comments that poke holes in provider rationale and a nice chart so you can see what a dismal mess we are wading into.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Amsterdam Phase Deux

An excellent model of FTTP that we should study carefully in the US. We should pay particular attention to the ownership of the fiber (public/private partnership) and the fact that the large communications company has embraced the open network model.

Broadband Bridge to Food, Water, Power

There was a recent article in the NYT talking about the broadband stimulus as the virtual bridge to nowhere. For those of us who actually work with rural areas and understand the depth of the dilemma in getting critical broadband services to residents and businesses, the article smacks of the elitism that one might expect from city dwellers (with a bit of help from companies who really really don't want to invest in rural America and are trying to twist the message through the media.)

The folks at the Daily Yonder did a nice article painting the other side of the picture. Rural America isn't nowhere: it is our food source; it is our water source; it is carbon-neutral power sources. We need to get over our prejudices and get serious about big broadband everywhere.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stop the Cap

Interesting site if you want to educate yourself on the potential affects of usage caps on your broadband connection. They will/do dampen demand for broadband services. I know this as my beloved spouse used our Verizon Wireless USB modem to watch a football game with DirecTV's broadband broadcast service. Didn't even last one quarter before he got to the 5 megabyte cap for the month. He was sad. I was sad. Caps make you sad.

YouTube Dwarfs Top Video Sites

I must be in a video stat mood today. This compilation of stats at is pretty interesting. Check it out if you, too, are feeling in a video stat mood today.

Approaching the Zettabyte Era

This is a pretty interesting paper by Cisco that is part of their"ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications." If you are curious to see how video uploads and downloads will potentially affect the Internet through 2012, take a look at this paper.

By the way, a Zettabyte is 1,000 exabytes. An exabyte is
1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes or 1,000,000,000 gigabytes. Let's just say it's lots of data. Lots.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

One Laptop Per Child Open Source Hardware

According to the Guardian, the OLPC folks are creating the next version of the OLPC computer. "The first generation is a laptop that can be a book; the next generation will a book that can be a laptop," he [negroponte] says. "That's the switch." The price point is aimed at $75.

Sounds bit like the Intel Classroom computer. But, at $75, it might be a huge driver of broadband adoption here in the US.

Let's stay tuned.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thinking Aloud

Are you shovel ready? Isn't everyone? Everyone I talk to sure thinks they are. I, alone, have about 12 shovels in my garage. (don't ask, they seem to multiply in weird ways I haven't begun to understand.)

Who should be the recipient of the newfound broadband largess in the US? With over $6B in the probable queue for distribution to the underserved, everybody and their brother seems to believe that their projects are worthy of funding.

The folks who really really deserve to benefit from this funding -- those in isolated or expensive-to-serve areas -- are not the ones who have high paid lobbyists scouring the influential in Washington, D.C. These folks may have some mom-and-pop-style Internet provider who could really benefit the local community.

Let's make sure the funds have the possibility to be awarded to the truly underserved. In my mind, it will be vitally important for those applying for the grants to PROVE, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they intend to really serve the underserved by providing factual data showing a) why the communities proposed are underserved and b) that the communities proposed to be served want their services.

Let's make sure that this doesn't end up as a "scrap heap of embarrassing government boondoggles." See an invigorating take on the stimulus at the Washington Post

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Using broadband for environmental sustainability

Award winning papers from our friends down under showing how broadband can be use to achieve environmental stability. Three papers are at this link and 5 more will be available in the Feb. Journal.

Here's a little taste for you: one paper did an analysis of the environmental impact of fibre-versus-copper access networks. It shows that in a year of usage, someone on an FTTN/DSL service costs the environment 190 kg CO2 emissions versus 109 kg for a user on a FTTH(PON) connection.

Measurement Lab

"Measurement Lab is a partnership of the Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, Google Inc., and academic researchers"

You can go there and figure out how your Internet connection is working, including if your provider is doing weird stuff in the background to mess with your packets. Goodness.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Broadband Fact Book

The folks at the Internet Innovation Alliance created a broadband fact book. It contains, according to them, "everything you ever needed to know about broadband." [I'm laughing out loud. What a claim. But, I suspect there is a fair amount of good stuff.]

Monday, January 26, 2009

Job Search Sites Flourish on American Soil

From MarketingVOX: The Voice of Online Marketing

"As job losses mount in the US economy, growth to online job search sites grew 51% to 18.8 million visitors. This makes job search the fastest-growing content site category in '08. "

Lack of Internet 'Costing Families £70 a Month'

In today's economy, pointing out that broadband allows people to be smarter shoppers and save more money is a good demand generator. I also like the like the term "non-liners" as a good description of those who want to get online but are held back by ICT literacy, fear or financial issues.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rural Broadband Musical Chairs

Watch as the cablecos dump the low revenue rural areas.

Economic Stimulus, HIT and Telemedicine: Infrastructure Build-out, Establishing a HIT Workforce, and Community Development” - Video

Video of Economic Stimulus, HIT and Telemedicine: Infrastructure Build-out, Establishing a HIT Workforce, and Community Development presentation. HIT = health information technology.

Broadband Stimulus Video

From New America Foundation

Building a 21st Century Broadband Superhighway

New America publication.

A Concrete Build-out Plan to Bring High-Speed Fiber to Every Community [utilizing the federal highway system]

Skype Phone

Skype phones let you use broadband with Skype, but you don't really need a computer.

Verizon Broadband Phone

Rumored for Feb. 2009

AT&T HomeManager

AT&T's wireline broadband telephone. $299

Needs both a landline and a broadband connection to work.

Features from their website.

Fully portable seven-inch color touch screen — use the provided "pen" stylus or your finger to navigate
Cordless handset with crisp two-inch color screen and speakerphone
Call log to view missed, dialed and received calls — just touch the number to place a call, and easily save names and numbers to your address book.
Your choice of either standard or visual voicemail. Visual voicemail conveniently displays a list of your voice messages so you can touch them and listen in the order you choose.
Up to five separate address books for storing and synching all your contact information with your wireless phone from AT&T. Assign a photograph to each entry, and the photo will appear when that person calls.
Display your favorite photos on the touch screen — it can act as a digital picture frame!
Easy access to Web-based information like:
Sports scores
Yellow Pages
Lottery number