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.”