Multichannel News digs into a new report from the FCC on the state of high speed Internet in America and finds there’s clear evidence that despite gains, the digital divide is alive and well — especially in low-density areas:
For the fixed connections, like cable and DSL, the commission data found that in 200 counties (representing 1% of U.S. households), no more than 20% met that definition of high speed, while in about half as many counties (104) with eight times the population (8% of the households), 80% had at least those speeds.
Nielsen asked 27,000 worldwide consumers what they would be willing to pay for when it comes to online content. Not surprisingly, movies, music, and games topped the list.
For the beleaguered news industry, however, the numbers aren’t as encouraging. According to the report, 79% of respondents said they would no longer use a web site that charges them for content. Yet more evidence that ideas like paywalls to access newspaper face an uphill battle with the public.
Via the Washington Post, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has revealed some information about the commission’s upcoming national broadband plan:
In a speech Tuesday morning, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said faster speeds are important for small businesses to bring operations onto the Web and create more jobs. And he gave kudos to Google for its plan to test fiber networks with speeds of 1 gigabit per second.
“Our plan will set goals for the U.S. to have the world’s largest market of very high-speed broadband users . . . to unleash American ingenuity and ensure that businesses, large and small, are created here, move here, and stay here,” Genachowski said in a speech at conference for public utilities commissioners.
“And we should stretch beyond 100 megabits. The U.S. should lead the world in ultra-high-speed broadband testbeds as fast, or faster, than anywhere in the world,” he said.
The full FCC plan is scheduled to be presented to Congress on March 17.
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.
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 “facebook.com” 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.
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 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.
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