Monday March 31, 2014
Sometimes we lose sight of what broadband means for so many different industries. As people become more and more immersed in their profession or hobby, broadband becomes a critical facilitator of that pursuit. The use of broadband is often compared to the introduction of electricity in the United States. Broadband is even being defined by policy makers as a necessity, in the same category as electricity, heat, and phone service.
United Nations: Broadband Access is a Basic Human Right: Disconnection from the Internet is Against International Law
We also understand the importance of broadband for public safety and telemedicine. An informed police officer can keep us safer, and electronic health records can help us stay healthier - by keeping the focus on prevention, and increasing the size of the medical team, by adding remote healthcare team members from virtually anywhere.
AT&T Announces Plan to Deploy FTTH in Additional Markets: Borrows page from Google playbook by requesting municipality concessions
However, is is more difficult to measure the overall economic impact of the Internet, and everything that broadband access facilitates. Cisco coined the phrase "Internet of Everything," to describe an era where almost everything is connected to a vast array of applications, services and devices.
ITU: National Broadband Strategies Significantly Improve Broadband Deployment: Broadband penetration rates 9% higher than countries without plans
Cisco's definition of the Internet of Everything is "bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before-turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries."
Google's Successful Broadband Deployment Strategy: Broadband competitors try using the same business model
While almost everyone agrees that an interconnected world world creates tremendous opportunities for innovation and economic development, there has been a wide range of estimates regarding the amount of economic development this would provide.
Broadband as an Economic Driver: What Are the Economic Benefits of Broadband?
In a keynote speech delivered by Cisco CEO John Chambers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early 2014, an estimate of $19 trillion would be realized by allowing devices and applications to communicate over the Internet."
Cisco: Internet of Everything Worth $19 Trillion
Monday March 31, 2014
In a recently released report enthusiastically embraced by the broadband provider community, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) concluded that the United States is leading the global broadband race. Specifically, the report counters previous assertions regarding European dominance in the broadband market.
AEI Report: Broadband in United States Stronger than European Counterparts: New report attempts to challenge New America's 2013 report
The AEI report emphasizes the following points:
- Contrary to popular opinion regarding European dominance in broadband deployment, Europe's broadband system is highly fragmented and is in need of overall improvement.
- The American market-led approach of facilities-based competition has resulted in greater investment in next-generation broadband technologies. In fact, many European leaders are increasingly abandoning their regulatory approach and looking to the US broadband model.
- The European Union should simplify and reduce regulation of broadband providers, remove barriers to consolidation, and embrace a market-led, technology-neutral approach to broadband.
Undoubtedly, not everyone would agree with the conclusions reached in the report. Several previously published reports highlight the position of the United States with regard to global broadband rankings, available speeds, broadband adoption, competition, and pricing. U.S. Telecom used the AEI report to counter a New America report released in 2013:
New America Report Criticizes U.S. Broadband Efforts: New America cites higher prices and lower speeds in American cities
More objective analysis of the broadband market has been previously reported by the FCC, NTIA, and the Pew Internet Research Center. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tracks various global broadband statistics and rankings.
Monday March 31, 2014
In 2005, the FCC adopted a policy ascribing to the four principles of network neutrality.
What is Net Neutrality?
This policy stated that consumers are entitled to:
- access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
- run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.
- connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.
- competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.
After the Courts dealt the FCC a number of setbacks challenging both the rules and the underlying authority to govern broadband providers as a telecommunication service, the federal agency had to regroup and analyze the impact of the rulings. In 2010 FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski hoped that Congress would tackle the issue of net neutrality. With the House firmly under Republican control and a public stance largely against the issue, this didn't happen.
Net Neutrality Continues to Dominate Internet Policy Debate: Further FCC action and intervention by Congress remain possible
Fast forward to 2014 - with a new FCC Chair taking control of the agency. In a statement released by the FCC, Tom Wheeler outlined a series of next steps he wanted his fellow commissioners to take.
FCC and Net Neutrality in 2014: Tom Wheeler weighs on position of agency in light of recent court decisions
Monday March 31, 2014
Not soon after Google announced that Austin, Texas would be the Internet giant's next metropolitan region to become a Google gigabit city, AT&T said it would also deploy an ultra-high speed broadband network. However, AT&T's offer came with a simple condition - that it would receive the same concessions and terms from local officials. Earlier this month a Google Fiber Project executive offered advice to municipalities seeking providers for gigabit networks:
Gigabit Cities: Google's Advice to Hopefuls: Google executive offers advice to municipalities
The AT&T announcement was significant not for being a double gigabit city, but because the company was trying to emphasize how regulations encountered by traditional phone companies are a significant barrier to broadband deployment.
Silencing some analysts who were questioning whether Google was getting into the broadband business to increase overall Internet consumption, and not necessarily trying to compete with other broadband providers, the Internet giant announced plans to expand into 34 new markets.
Google Eyes New Markets for Broadband Expansion: 34 cities mentioned as candidates for gigabit connectivity
Raleigh, North Carolina took Google's advice to become "fiber-ready" to heart - and even went a step further. In addition to courting Google to deploy a gigabit broadband network, Raleigh is also planning to build a fiber-optic broadband network for serving Triangle region schools and government institutions.
As Google Fiber Networks Expand, Raleigh Plans Their Own Network: North Carolina city announces plan to lay 125 miles of fiber
Gigabit Cities Growing in Popularity: Demand Increases After Google Fiber Projects and FCC Gigabit City Challenge
When Google announced the company's first Gigabit broadband network in Kansas City the benefits of ultra-fast Internet speeds were touted: "Over the past decade, the jump from dial-up to broadband has led to streaming online video, digital music sales, video conferencing over the web and countless other innovations that have transformed communication and commerce. We can't wait to see what new products and services will emerge as Kansas City moves from traditional broadband to ultra high-speed fiber optic connections."
Google Deploying Gigabit Broadband Networks in Three American Cities: Why are municipalities so anxious for gigabit broadband speeds?