Some of you have probably noticed that the Broadband Bytes feature hasn’t been appearing on the website since March 17. There’s two reasons for this: it takes a large chunk of my Saturday to put it together (thus why it was frequently published late) and I haven’t been getting paid for it. My personal financial situation now demands that more of my time be spent earning a living, so free time is at a premium. All the same, I run into stories worth sharing on a regular basis. So do Mike and Jonathan.
To that end, I setup a Twitter account, @FreeUTOPIA, to publish those articles as we find them. It’s going to be powered by Phil Windley’s code used by the most excellent @utahpolitics. If you’re not using Twitter, that’s okay; I’m going to setup the Twitter Tools plugin to publish those tweets on a daily basis. It should be ready to go by tomorrow.
If you have any questions, comments, or rude noises, sound off in the comments.
Some universities seem to be cutting back on POTS (plain old telephone) offerings to dorms because of lack of use.
Cox and Time Warner were fined for implementing SDV and knocking CableCARD customers offline without proper notification.
It also looks like BPL (Broadband over Power Lines) is dead. Manassas, Virginia where the flagship BPL network was deployed has been turned over to the city who will keep it around until about 2010. For all you amateur radio (PDF) operators out there this is good news.
Apple is rumored to be working on a networked TV. That’s going to require a lot of bandwidth. In addition to normal TV functions, you could stream any content from iTunes like downloaded movie rentals, TV episodes on demand, etc.
Business Week recently did an excellent piece called “The Digital Divide” that talks about just how important broadband is becoming in spurring business in areas that have it, and leaving those that don’t in the dust.
President Bush signed the Broadband Data Improvement Act into law on Oct. 10. The bill will provide for improved data on the status of broadband deployment in the United States by forcing the FCC to make a couple of major changes to the way it puts together broadband information. This includes yearly metrics for “second-generation” broadband that can support full motion HD video and more granularity to for reporting of broadband broken down by ZIP+4 instead of just ZIP (as it is now). The bill also authorizes a program of grants to support public/private public partnerships to stimulate broadband deployment and adoption at the state level. I’m interested to know what this would mean for projects like UTOPIA. Thoughts?
With all the talk about city wifi networks becoming ubiquitous there are some downsides…scalability. Networkworld has an interesting article about the the technical problems with scaling WiFi to meet today’s bandwidth hungry users. As a side note, some users ask the network engineers at my place of employment (higher ed) when wifi will become our primary means of connecting desktops to the network. The answer is always the same: never. They say: “What do you mean I can’t use this new 2.4Ghz phone I just purchased?” Some departments decide to go wireless anyway (usually to avoid the cost of wiring) but later end up having to convert to physical connections anyway.
It looks like Comcast’s new caps are around thanks to Florida consumer protection laws. It seems that prior to the 250Gig caps there was no cap. They just cut off the top 1000 users every month. Because consumers were unable to find out how to avoid this in the future the Florida AG became involved.
Along those lines I dug up these oldarticles about Utah getting a jump start on converting the state-wide network of TV translators to digital signals. One interesting tidbit from the article: “It is widely believed that Utah has the largest terrestrial-analog translator network in the world. The system provides rural viewers with over-the-air television in approximately 80 percent of the state.”
Could things get ugly at Qwest? They still have not reached a labor agreement with the Communications Workers of America. Those 20,000 workers could begin a strike as early as Sunday (tomorrow), the day their existing contract expires.
“The U.S. may be winning world speed records in swimming at the Olympics, but not in average Internet speeds. According to a new report, the country that invented the Internet has now sunk to 15th worldwide in the percentage of the population subscribing to broadband.” This is a great AP News article that summarizes the state of broadband today in America and compares it with other countries. In other parts of the country, like Oklahoma, they are significantly behind. According to this article, Oklahoma ranks below most other states in broadband, which is a worry for officials. “Infrastructure and connection is so important to economic development…Many future industries will be knowledge-based.”
The FCC has a proposal to build a national, free, wireless broadband network that nearly everyone could access. It is inching forward despite controversy and worries by T-Mobile and others about interference. They are seeking feedback on this plan. I would like to point out though that this will never replace the interference-free, low-latency, high-bandwidth connections that are possible with fiber optic networks.
In the presidential race, net neutrality and other broadband issues have become points of contrast:
John McCain’s position: “John McCain does not believe in prescriptive regulation like “net-neutrality,” but rather he believes that an open marketplace with a variety of consumer choices is the best deterrent against unfair practices. John McCain has always believed the government’s role must be rooted in protecting consumers.”
Barack Obama’s position: “So here’s my view. We can’t have a situation in which the corporate duopoly dictates the future of the internet and that’s why I’m supporting what is called net neutrality.”
John McCain has put forward an excellent bill in the Senate called the Community Broadband Act of 2005, which Barack Obama has not yet signed on to. Interestingly, this bill is supported by EDUCAUSE and more than 40 education and trade associations, public interest groups, etc. This bill would protect the ability of local governments to provide Internet services
to their communities. Jonathan Karras and I have talked about EDUCAUSE before. Though Obama hasn’t signed on to this bill, he has stated that “Every American should have the highest speed broadband access—no matter where you live, or how much money you have. We’ll connect schools, libraries, and hospitals. And we’ll take on special interests to unleash the power of wireless spectrum for our safety and connectivity.”
Many cities haven’t been as successful as they hoped in building various municipal broadband network, primary wireless networks. The first of these was Philidelphia. “Philadelphia’s goal to cover 135 square miles with a cloud of Internet connectivity was ambitious. But the need was undeniable. High-speed Internet access was fast becoming an economic, educational, and social necessity.” This article has an in-depth look at a lot of municipal networks around the country, but no mention of UTOPIA or IProvo.
I run into articles on telecommunications on a regular basis that I enjoy yet don’t seem to end up using in articles I publish. I got inspired by the Morning Edition posts at Utah Amicus and the Shortbread posts over at The Tech Report to find a good way to share them: a semi-regular “Broadband Bytes” feature.
To help with this effort, I’ve asked Mike Taylor and Jonathan Karras to help publish this feature at least twice a week to share interesting news articles, opinion pieces and blog posts on television, broadband, telephony or anything else related to telcom. Please join me in welcoming them to the team!