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Defining Broadband

The FCC is seeking public comments to help create a better definition of "broadband". The effort is in relation to its development of a National Broadband Plan by February 2010 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Accurately noting that "broadband can be defined in myriad ways" and "tends to center on download and upload throughput," the FCC seeks a more robust definition. The definition will be part of the governance over those receiving funding for broadband development as part of the Recovery Act. This could get interesting. more»

Broadband Giants Stay Neutral on Network Funding

It looks as if the big boys like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are passing on the stimulus money. The official reason is that they don't need it, that they enough cash on hand to build out their networks on their own. Fair enough. Perhaps the funding should be reserved for those more in need, those that just need a boost to fund a new business model or expand service. But there are probably other reasons. more»

FCC Requests Comments on Definition of "Broadband" - Comments Due Aug 31; Replies Due Sept 8

The FCC is engaged in researching and preparing a National Broadband Plan which is due to Congress in February 2010. The FCC has released a Notice of Inquiry soliciting comments for the plan and is currently actively holding a lengthy series of workshops exploring the different aspects of what might go into the plan. more»

National Telcos Can and Will Change Their Behaviour, Case in Point: Telstra

When discussions with overseas colleagues made it clear to me how fast things are changing here in Australia compared with the rest of the world, I was prompted to write this update about the developments in Australia, particularly in relation to its incumbent telco, Telstra. Most people overseas have not yet fully caught up with the fact that the destructive regime of Telstra's former CEO is well and truly over -- in the past there has been plenty of international reporting of the shocking behaviour of Telstra under Sol Trujillo (former US West) and his persistent attacks on the government included suing Ministers and abusing the Regulator. more»

Are the FCC Workshops Fair?

The FCC has run three days of workshops on the National Broadband Plan now, for the purpose of bringing a diverse set of perspectives on broadband technology and deployment issues to the attention of FCC staff. You can see the workshop agendas here. The collection of speakers is indeed very diverse. As you would expect, the session on eGov featured a number of government people and a larger collection of folks from the non-profit sector, all but one of whom has a distinctly left-of-center orientation. Grass-roots devolution arguments have a leftish and populist flavor, so who better to make the argument than people from left-of-center think tanks? more»

Google Voice Dispute Highlights an Opportunity for Mobile Network Operators

The recent row between Google, Apple and AT&T concerning the removal of Google Voice from the Apple iPhone store highlights the friction existing between network operators and so-called over the top (OTT) application providers. Most observers believe that AT&T initiated the blockade because Google Voice (which offers free or highly discounted calling rates) is a direct threat to AT&Ts call revenue (Google Voice users need only pay AT&T for access to the Internet). more»

Analysis of the US Broadband Stimulus Package

In January 2009 the US Congress began considering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill 2009 aimed at kick-starting an economy in deep recession. The package, passed into law on 17 February, comprised $787 billion of mainly tax cuts, unemployment benefits and spending in education, health care, infrastructure and energy. Included in the fiscal stimulus package was a relatively modest $7.2 billion for broadband and wireless in unserved and underserved areas... more»

Trans-Sector Thinking Spreading to the Highest Levels in Government

Australia, New Zealand and the USA have taken international leadership in relation to their approaches to the infrastructure investment their countries are committed to in relation to the multi-billion dollar investment in national broadband and smart grid infrastructure. This is based on open networks, which will allow multiple access to infrastructure that can be used for e-health, smart grids, tele-education, as well as, of course, to telecoms, Internet and entertainment services. more»

National Broadband Infrastructure: Global Regulatory Re-Think Required

Around the world governments, regulators and the industry are struggling with the old regulatory legacy systems. These have become a major stumbling block in the transition to a new environment. Increasingly countries are beginning to understand the social and economic benefits a national broadband infrastructure can offer, but it is impossible to bring that about while the systems are based on the present regulatory regimes. To take these broader benefits into account we will need to develop government policies to facilitate the digital economy... more»

The FttH Versus Cable Debate Misses the Point

I recently followed an interesting international discussion on FttH vs. cable. With the fiber to the home (FttH) debate hotting up, driven by the possibility of using FttH as the new infrastructure for the digital economy, the cable companies are putting up a stiff fight, both in Europe (Netherlands) and the USA, claiming FttH is not necessary, and that DOCSIS 3.0 can do the job just as well. In these debates the longer-term national interest is often disregarded. The debate is confined to the technology -- what it can and cannot do -- and it also concentrates on a rather short-term timeframe, say of the next five years. more»