Friday, February 18, 2011

Commerce study says that rural broadband access is still lacking

The New York Times has a major front page story Friday, Feb. 18, by Kim Severson, “For much of rural America, broadband is a dividing line”, link here

The Department of Commerce released a study recently showing that only 60% of households use broadband service.  Adequate broadband is a transmission rate of greater than 3 megabits per second. More of the country is covered by wireless broadband that cable, since it is easier to build but slightly less effective (but it’s far more immune to disruption from severe weather).  In my own experience, Verizon MiFi is about 40% as fast as Comcast cable.  The lack of rural broadband may affect jobs and economic competitiveness, especially in southern and western states. 

The National Telecommunications and Information Association has the press release, dated 2/17, online here.  The visitor can study the broadband availability map here. It could be a useful resource before deciding to buy a home in a rural or remote area. (I’ve never heard real estate experts like Barbara Cochrane mention this issue on television when presenting homes.)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Next Digital Decade event interviews FCC Commissioner on net neutrality

The “Next Digital Decade and Tech Freedom Launch Event” in Washington DC Hyatt Regency Hotel Jan. 25 is available online, here.  The first interview (28 minutes) is a “Fireside Chat” with FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, interviewed by Declan McCullagh of CNET.

McDowell was asked why the FCC rules from December 2010 aren’t yet in the Federal Register. McDowell actually came out against much federal regulation, but was not specific as to the criticisms of the recent rules or of FCC’s legal authority.  Andrew Keen from the audience played some devil’s advocate.

The link is here, and the relevant video (not embeddable) is the first one.