Monday, January 28, 2013

NYTimes follows up on story of high speed in KC area, with op-ed on high speed for everyone in US

Susan Crawford has an important op-ed in the New York Times on Thursday January 24, 2013, “How to get America Online” (pun), called also “How to get high-speed Internet access to all Americans”, link here

The story follow an important report on Google Fiber in the Kansas City area.

Crawford reports that US law allows cable and telecommunications policies to remain monopolistic many areas, and that FCC regulation (under Genachowski) has not done enough to encourage competition.  

Telecommunications companies are sometimes able to lobby effectively to reduce competition.
It seems inexcusable that we would not have high-speed access comparable to that of other countries, like South Korea.
In the northern Virginia suburbs, most customers can choose between Verizon Fios and either Comcast or Cox.  While Internet access speeds are adequate for most video, they would not support the higher volume uploading that some filmmakers would need (and that Google’s YouTube allows for users with “good reputations” (not causing copyright complaints)).  .  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

In Kansas City, Google Fiber dazzles with highest connection speeds ever; an opportunity for filmmakers (and me)?

The Kansas City area (first, Hanover Heights in Kansas and soon across the stateline in Missouri) is getting a huge boost from Google Fiber, a prototype for broadband service that could be the fastest in the world (even by South Korean standards) and become a new standard everywhere.

The Washington Post on Saturday January 26, 2013 has a front page story by Cecilia Kang.
Google Fiber optic runs at 1000 MPS; Verizon Fios runs at 300 MPS; Comcast Xfinity Cable (which I have) is “only” 50 Mbps.  MPS means “Megabits per second”.

Comcast is still adequate for most purposes – including Netflix movies on Instant play.  Where I think I could have a problem is when I make my own documentary video soon, and want to upload it to YouTube.  I am authorized to load segments over 15 minutes, but in practice it takes too long.

That means I could have to rethink my own arrangement this spring.

Maybe XFinity speeds will increase.
The Washington Post offers this chart here and has another lnk for testing connection speeds.
Higher speeds  will enable some new security systems, like Eye Verify (a retinal system, link ), to work more easily.  It seems as though this sort of system would appeal to the TSA.

Here’s a video (by Ramsey Mohsen) on testing connection speed.

I wonder if Google Fiber will come to Lawrence, Kansas, at KU, where I went to graduate school in the 1960s.   

Picture: University of Kansas campus, 2006.  Is it next?

Second picture:  I could have trouble uploading a lengthy lecture or "narrated hike" like this (from iMovie):

Sunday, January 20, 2013

SafeLink (under LifeLine) is still a resource for low-income consumers

This Sunday morning, CNN carried an ad for the Federally backed Lifeline service, for income-eligible consumers.  It is described on the Federal Communications Communication website here

Curiously, Lifeline was instituted during the Reagan administration.

Lifeline is now available on wireless phones, through a facility called SafeLink, with a discussion here

According to the description. TracFone wireless pays for the phones. 

In 2009, SafeLink had 2 million customers in 36 states.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

2013: Is net neutrality still an issue?

Visitors may enjoy a post by Daniel Brenner, “Net Neutrality: A Solution in Search of a Problem”, in Forbes, in September, 2012, link (website url) here

Brenner, like many other commentators recently, warns against allowing the ITU to regulate Internet access protocols (this has been discussed on the International Issues blog and on my main blog Dec. 3).

But Brenner notices that there seems to be very little attempt on the part of service providers to manipulate speed of access to content by ordinary home or mobile users, since the FCC rules of 2010.  There has been controversy over manipulation of access speeds related to bandwidth use.  And very large outfits can pay for faster bandwidth.

There does seem to be a question of infrastructure investment.  Why are our access speeds less than those of, say, South Korea?

USA Today on Jan. 3 published the top ranking five countries in citizen Internet use as Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Lyxembourg.  The US is not in the top 5, at least.