Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Friday, February 12

Broadband Expansion and Job Growth

By Bruce Mehlman

The Democratic Leadership Council has released a new report on job growth in America. Entitled “Where Jobs Come From: The Role of Innovation, Investment, and Infrastructure in Economic and Job Growth,” it helps shed light on the important role broadband expansion plays in creating new jobs. From page 11 of the report:

Job creation was also strongest in the industries that utilized information technology and had the most to gain from faster Internet connectivity. Industries such as Information; Finance and Insurance; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; and Utilities saw employment growth ranging from 12 to 16 percent. Given this evidence, there is enormous potential for job creation if we expand broadband deployment and upgrade existing infrastructure. A Brookings study found that for every 3 million new lines deployed, nearly 300,000 economy-wide jobs are created. Separate research has shown small businesses, the drivers of job creation and biggest beneficiaries of faster networks, hire 40 percent of the high tech workforce of scientists, engineers, and computer programmers.

Read the full DLC report (PDF).

How People Use the Internet

By Brad

On Wednesday, tech site ReadWriteWeb posted an article on Facebook’s recent partnering with AOL’s Instant Messenger. But when the article—which is titled “Facebook Wants To Be Your One True Login”—started ranking high in Google search results for the term “Facebook login,” something strange happened: Scores of people trying to log in to their Facebook page instead arrived at ReadWriteWeb and believed their favorite social networking site had received a major design overhaul.

The confusion from Facebook users got so bad that Read Write Web was forced to insert a note into the original article:

Dear visitors from Google. This site is not Facebook. This is a website called ReadWriteWeb that reports on news about Facebook and other Internet services… For future reference, type “” into your browser address bar or enter “facebook” into Google and click on the first result. We recommend that you then save Facebook as a bookmark in your browser.

Apparently, for many people Internet literacy starts and stops with search engines.

Wireless, Net Neutrality, and Innovation

By Brad

One of the major lightning rods in the FCC’s proposed net neutrality regulations is the idea new regulations should extend to wireless networks. Writing for Tech Liberation Front, Steven Titch explores what new regulations on wireless would mean for future innovations like Apple’s iPhone:

Much has been written about the deleterious effect that regulating network management would have on broadband investment and innovation, and when applied to wireless, which is what FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposes to do, problems would only get worse.

The non-discrimination principle that Genachowski seeks to mandate would prohibit service providers such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint from using their network resources to prioritize or partition data as it crosses their networks so as to improve the performance of specific applications, such as a movie or massive multiplayer game. Yet quality wireless service is predicated on such steps. The iPhone, for example, would not have been possible if AT&T and Apple did not work together to ensure AT&T’s wireless network could handle the increase in data traffic the iPhone would create.

The entire article, which delves into the history of the iPhone, is worth reading.

Surfing to School

By Brad

The New York Times examines an interesting school bus experiment in Arizona:

Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates).

But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops.

Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared.

The Internet bus is part of a larger movement endorsed by the Department of Education to extend learning beyond school walls.

Wednesday, February 10

Bringing Broadband to Low-Income Students

By Bruce Mehlman

Post Tech reports that Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill that will expand a program to bring e-book readers and broadband access to low-income students.

The bill is an expansion of the original program passed in 1996 along with the Telecom Act, which increased school connectivity from 12% to 95%.

Working Through the Blizzard

By Brad

Telecommuting has a number of benefits, from lower overhead costs for businesses to reduced energy consumption. But as an article in today’s USA Today points out, the ability to work from home via broadband also has its downside (for employees, that is). Namely, snow days are no longer days off.

Today in Ever-Expanding Google

By Brad

Not content with dominating search and online advertising (not to mention online video), Google has announced it is getting into the Internet Service Provider business. Details can be found on the official Google blog:

We’re planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

The announcement prompted this response from social networking guide Mashable:

Although it sounds like we’re still some time from seeing Google’s fiber service available on a massive scale, this could represent a massive shift in the Internet ecosystem. Keep in mind that Google has also recently launched its own Public DNS service, as well as an alternative to HTTP that it calls SPDY. The company clearly thinks it can build a better Internet than the one we have today.

If it’s successful, Google will not only know what we do on their plethora of services, but also just about everything else we do on the Web (especially if Google becomes our ISP). Now, perhaps more than ever, the question of whether or not that’s too much power for one company to have is at the forefront.

The Mobile Broadband Explosion

By Brad

Via BetaNews comes a new study from Allot Communications that finds mobile broadband increased a startling 72% worldwide in the second half of 2009 alone. Leading the charge was YouTube, which was responsible for 10% of worldwide mobile broadband use.

This rapid increase of mobile broadband traffic shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, as CNet reports, Cisco is predicting an outright landslide in mobile traffic:

By 2014, researchers predict, mobile data traffic throughout the world will reach 3.6 exabytes per month, or an annual run rate of 40 exabytes. This is a 39-fold increase from 2009 to 2014, or a compound annual growth rate of 108 percent.

Researchers believe that the amount of data traffic traversing the mobile network by 2014 will be equal about 1 billion DVDs. By comparison that is about the equivalent of 133 times all the data that has ever been transmitted across a mobile network since networks first were launched in the 1980s until today.

Tuesday, February 09

IIA Video: Marcia Thomas-Brown


Marcia Thomas-Brown, Program Manager for the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, discusses the economic benefits of broadband in the field of health care.

Monday, February 08

Net Neutrality & Investment

By Bruce Mehlman

Last week, Entropy Economics released a detailed report on the effects net neutrality would have on jobs. After examining the official comments submitted to the FCC, Entropy found that those who could be counted as “Net Neutrality Skeptics” directly employ 1,440,021 people. “Net Neutrality Supporters,” meanwhile, only employ 148,936 — a difference of 10 to 1.

The Entropy report also looked at the amount of Capital Expenditures for skeptics and supporters, and the result was even more startling. From an article at Digital Society by the report’s author, Bret Swanson (who is also an IIA Broadband Ambassador):

We have often noted the communications sector’s important capital investment role in the U.S. economy. In 2008, U.S. info-tech capital investment totaled $455 billion, or 43% of all U.S. non-structure investment. The communications service providers alone invest $65 billion or more annually. Among companies filing FCC comments, the Net Neutrality Skeptics invested $189 billion over the last three years, compared to $18 billion for the Net Neutrality Supporters. Two of the nation’s largest infrastructure investors, AT&T and Verizon, each have more employees than all the Net Neutrality Supporting companies combined.

Net neutrality supporters often dismiss the effect new regulations will have on private investment. But as the Entropy report makes clear, discouraging private investment from net neutrality skeptics would have a chilling effect on the U.S. economy. And with the FCC’s own estimates for the cost of a national broadband plan reaching as high as $350 billion, a reduction in private investment could put the goal of bringing broadband to everyone out of reach.

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