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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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Candidates Starting To Turn SOPA Into A Campaign Issue: Karen Kwiatkowski Goes After Bob Goodlatte

Candidates Starting To Turn SOPA Into A Campaign Issue: Karen Kwiatkowski Goes After Bob Goodlatte | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We recently pointed out that it was likely that candidates running against SOPA supporters (especially in the House) would start using SOPA as a campaign issue -- which could draw the attention and support of the netroots community, like the folks at Reddit, who are just itching to support candidates who oppose SOPA supporters. Well, here's one they might want to check out. Karen Kwiatkowski is running against Rep. Bob Goodlatte in Virginia, and is using SOPA as a key campaign talking point, noting accurately that Goodlatte both was in charge of putting SOPA together for much of the year (though, towards the end, Lamar Smith took over) and that he's become Smith's go to guy in ushering the bill through the House. Karen sees this as a big problem:

 

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Renew Grid: Content / New & Noteworthy / DOE Awards Funds For Smart EV Charging Research

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $7 million in research and development funding that will help to reduce the current costs of electric-vehicle (EV) chargers by 50% over the next three years.

 

With support from the DOE, manufacturers in California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania will work to improve the development and design of charging equipment. The research will promote smart charging capabilities that can help ensure EVs enhance, rather than strain, existing electrical grid capacity, according to the DOE.

 

Two of the four selected projects will focus on improving EV chargers that attach to consumers' homes and are used by the owners to charge their vehicles while they are at home. The other two selected projects will focus on chargers used at commercial and public locations to charge large numbers of vehicles, including commercial fleets of delivery vehicles.

 

These research and development investments will leverage additional investments from the industry grantees. Final award amounts are subject to negotiation.

 

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EU: Hackers Eye Satellite Network to Combat Censorship - RedOrbit

EU: Hackers Eye Satellite Network to Combat Censorship - RedOrbit | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Citing the increasing threat of online censorship from governments internationally, computer hackers have announced plans to place their own communication satellites into orbit.

 

According to BBC News Technology Reporter David Meyer, the plan, which was detailed this week during the Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) in Berlin, is in response to proposed legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would allow the U.S. government to block websites believed to violate intellectual property law.

 

“The first goal is an uncensorable internet in space,” hacking activity Nick Farr, who initially began soliciting financial support for what has been dubbed the Hackerspace Global Grid, in August, told Meyer on Friday. “Let’s take the internet out of the control of terrestrial entities… [The hacker] community can put humanity back in space in a meaningful way.”

 

Meyer reports that while some hobbyists have managed to successfully place small satellites into orbit for short periods of time, but that tracking them have proved difficult due to budget constraints.

 

Those involved with the Hackerspace Global Grid believe that if they are able to raise enough capital in order to overcome those difficulties, and ultimately, they hope to be able to send an amateur astronaut to the moon — perhaps within the next quarter century, according to BBC News.

 

The Berlin conference was the latest meeting held by the Chaos Computer Club, a decades-old German hacker group that has proven influential not only for those interested in exploiting or improving computer security, but also for people who enjoy tinkering with hardware and software.

 

The report suggests that the individuals working on the satellite network are doing so in an “open-source spirit,” with 26-year-old Armin Bauer of Stuttgart and colleagues working on the communications infrastructure of the ambitious project.

 

With the assistance of German aerospace research initiative Constellation, they are working on what Bauer describes as a sort of “reverse GPS,” which would let them know the precise locations of the satellites in much the same way that GPS probes help customers pinpoint their location on Earth.

 

Bauer told Meyer that the team intents to have three prototype ground stations operational during the first half of next year, and is looking to sell them for approximately 100 Euros per unit.

 

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WI: 2012 could be year state trends come to fruition - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WI: 2012 could be year state trends come to fruition - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So long, 2011, a year in which the economy flirted with recovery, and welcome to 2012, a year that may spring out of the blocks but encounter hurdles down the track.

 

Here are some trends worth following.

 

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IL: ComEd upgrades  Oswego cables, expects Smart Grid work soon - Aurora Beacon News

ComEd has replaced 2,200 feet of underground cable in an infrastructure upgrade aimed at reducing the frequency and duration of outages around Oswego, the company said this week.

 

ComEd said it will begin additional work throughout northern Illinois in January as part of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act recently approved by the General Assembly.

 

Under the grid modernization program, the utility will invest $1.3 billion to strengthen the existing power grid by replacing thousands of miles of cable and poles and upgrading substations and equipment.

 

The company said it will spend another $1.3 billion to digitize the electric system, including installing distribution automation devices that will automatically reroute power around a problem, installing a smart meter in every home and utilizing other Smart Grid technologies.

 

The infrastructure upgrades are expected to significantly reduce outages and save customers money.

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Sri Lanka: Top scientists brainstorm on ways to propel Lanka into the future ...

Sri Lanka: Top scientists brainstorm on ways to propel Lanka into the future ... | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

More than 50 expatriate Sri Lankan scientists were in Sri Lanka last week to attend a forum to discuss ways to boost the country’s economic and social development. The arching theme of the event was “Empowering Sri Lanka through Networking and Sharing Scientific Knowledge.”

 

The three-day event, held at the Galadari Hotel, Colombo, between December 13 and 15, brought together 50 overseas-based Sri Lankan scientists and academics and 170 Sri Lanka-based scientists, industrialists, and science educators. The forum was organised by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United Nations Educational Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

 

The participants discussed nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, advanced design and manufacture, natural resources and food and water security, among other topics. The idea of the global forum of Sri Lankan scientists was first mooted by Professor Tissa Vitarana, when he was Minister of Science and Technology. Prof. Vitarana, who is now senior Minister of Scientific Affairs, said science and research should have high priority on the national development agenda, and that the technology gap was a reflection of the poverty gap in poor and developing countries.

 

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Energy Pricing Predictions for 2012 | The Energy Collective

The oil price has rarely fallen below $100 a barrel since the Arab Spring threatened supplies at the start of 2011.

 

Libya is now nearly back at full-scale production post-war, which some suggest could increase global supply and theoretically lead to price falls.

 

But other analysts believe other Opec powers such as Saudi Arabia will reduce their output in order to ensure prices don’t fall too low and may well remain above the $100 mark.

 

BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley forecast that prices would be unlikely to fall below $90 a barrel in 2012, with a warning that too-high prices could affect economic growth.

 

The market in 2011 has been characterised by volatility and there’s every chance of that continuing next year, with geopolitical scares risking sending prices sky-high.

 

Gary Hornby, energy market analyst at Inenco, said: “If something happens supply-side, especially with Iran, then obviously oil prices will go up. There is risk on that side and that’s what’s supporting prices at the moment.”

 

Both gas and oil prices will also be affected by wider macroeconomic conditions.

 

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MDF Winter Update: Lots to Celebrate! | Media Democracy Fund

MDF Winter Update: Lots to Celebrate! | Media Democracy Fund | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As 2011 roars to a close, I wanted to take a few minutes to recount the incredible year it’s been. There have been major victories and amazing stories—overall an excellent year in the world of media and democracy. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing the word victory so many times in a year-end review.

 

Here’s a quick look back on the top stories of 2011 and a look forward at the issues that will matter most to MDF in 2012:

 

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What Comes Next for the Keystone XL Pipeline?

What Comes Next for the Keystone XL Pipeline? | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Keystone XL Pipeline is probably one of the last great infrastructure projects of the petroleum era in the U.S., and it will face a pivotal moment some time before the end of February. President Obama is under a two-month deadline to approve or disapprove the massive pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada’s notorious Alberta Tar Sandsdown to the midwest and on through to refineries on the Gulf Coast. But heck, why wait two months? Given the conditions of the deadline, President Obama might as well go ahead and cancel the project tomorrow.

 

There has been some talk that President Obama could override the State Department and approve the project. But viewed through the lens of election year politics, the President has little to gain from taking extraordinary measures to push the project through. Sure, the pipeline would create jobs and pump money into the economy, but it does not boast monolithic support from organized labor, one of the President’s key constituencies. A recent post over at Rolling Stone conjectured that approval would pacify the oil industry in advance of the elections, but it’s more likely that the industry will continue bashing the President, directly or through lobbying groups, no matter how many pipelines he approves.

 

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12 smart grid startups to watch in 2012

12 smart grid startups to watch in 2012 | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We brought you some predictionsabout the smart grid market in 2012, but what are some of the startups you should be keeping an eye on next year? You know you were about to ask me that.

 

Here’s some of the ones that I think will be really interesting to watch in 2012. They might not be the biggest players, or the ones making the most money (some are), but these are companies that could be disruptive with their business models, concepts and leadership.

 

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The new digital divide: the confluence of broadband penetration, sustainable development, technology adoption and community participation

The new digital divide: the confluence of broadband penetration, sustainable development, technology adoption and community participation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There have been significant efforts during the last years to define indicators to estimate the digital divide among nations, regions and social groups. The first attempts considered are mainly parameters of technical nature related with access to computers and Internet connectivity. Though these technical parameters gave an initial indication of the magnitude of the digital divide, they did not provide a complete picture of its dimension and context. In this paper, we propose that grass roots participation and integrating socioeconomic development with human values and taking advantage of the advent of emerging mobile wireless and efficient broadband technologies play a significant role in redefining the nature of the digital divide. The understanding of the new paradigm of broadband penetration, sustainable development, technology adoption and community participation is fundamental to develop national plans and agendas for digital inclusion, particularly in rural and underserved populations contexts.

 

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Curating abundance

Curating abundance | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Back when the medium of ideas was physical, curators not only made choices about which items to include in the limited physical space afforded them, they created a culture based around works very purposefully shared. They thought through what was needed for a group, and what was worthy of that group. Thus did the limitation of the physical turn into a positive: Collections were shared in order to enable a group to have a common basis. This necessarily entailed choosing some works as more valuable than others, a decision that reinforced itself since the works chosen were then taken as a fundamental to the discipline or society itself.

 

The rise of the digital is changing just about everything about curation, mainly for the better but not entirely.

 

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State Action Can Make Lifeline Telephone Assistance Stronger, More Effective

State Action Can Make Lifeline Telephone Assistance Stronger, More Effective | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Have you ever thought about life without a phone? For most Americans—the 96 percent who have telephone service—it’s a crazy notion. They are unaware of the handicap of doing without. For families who can’t afford a phone, however, the handicap is real. They are isolated from each other in times of need, vulnerable when things go wrong and cut off from economic opportunities.

 

Lifeline, a program established by the Federal Communications Commission and administered by the states, provides small but critical assistance to our nation’s poorest families to help them establish this most basic of communications—telephone service—that the rest of America takes for granted.

 

The assistance is modest—$10 a month to help with the phone bill for landline or cellular service. A related program can contribute $30 to help cover any one-time connection fees.

 

Lifeline’s help is available only to families of limited incomes. In most states, families qualify if they receive food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Low Income Home Energy Assistance, or public housing. Families may also qualify based upon household incomes or if they have children in the free and reduced lunch program at school.

 

In all cases, families must provide documentation to show they qualify before receiving help from Lifeline. This system works well—as long as providers of phone service do their part by requiring documentation before signing up customers. Some cell-phone service companies, however, have neglected to do so. And it appears a few are actively abandoning these rules in order to boost their customer base.

 

This abuse must stop. Lifeline’s assistance is vital to the poor, and every time a cell-phone provider extends Lifeline assistance to an unqualified family, that company steals the opportunity from another family truly in need.

 

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Homeless get free chauffeur bus ride to individual services with computer use ... - allvoices

Homeless get free chauffeur bus ride to individual services with computer use ... - allvoices | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Driving to end homelessness? Sacramento now has a new, free of cost to riders bus just for the homeless to take them to places that help them get back to stability such as job interviews, the DVM, doctors, counselors, training, and services. Other cities need free bus service for homeless to take them to job interviews, training, or various services to help them reach stability.

 

The poorest of the poor now have their own chauffeur, a free bus ride to move them closer to stability. And the drivers may come from the homeless population. They know what it's like to be homeless in the past and then to have found stability. It shows how with some training formerly homeless people can become reliable, good employees.

 

The bus takes homeless people to various human assistance programs, and job interview-related places. It's an innovative new program designed to put homeless people on the road to finding jobs and more stable lives. Rides take people to various services. See, Paratransit.org: Wheels to Work. Check out Wheels to work, Paratransit, with offices at 2501 Florin Road, Sacramento, CA 9582.

 

Wheels to Work, is the result of a partnership among Paratransit, the state Department of Rehabilitation and Women's Empowerment. Paratransit has hired seven graduates of the nonprofit training program for full-time jobs transporting homeless people to appointments that may ultimately lead to employment. Wheels to Work is an innovative program dedicated to helping homeless and low income individuals in the Sacramento area.

 

The organization provides counselors and Internet enabled computer workstations which help people who don’t normally have access to the Internet find transportation and related services aimed at securing employment. Presently two Wheels to Work buses is equipped with a computer workstation that people living in shelters or on the streets can use to get job counseling, apply for work and prepare for interviews.

 

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Italian energy regulator raises investment-return rates - Reuters

Italian energy regulator raises investment-return rates - Reuters | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Italy's energy regulator has raised its return on investment rates for power transmission to between 7.4 and 10.6 percent for the next four years, which will boost the revenues of power grid operator Terna, a document published on Saturday showed.

 

State-controlled Terna is allowed to claim back a certain percentage of the amount it invests each year to develop the national power grid. That percentage is set by the regulator.

 

The previous rate was 6.9 percent. When the energy authority proposed lifting it to 7.2 percent earlier this month, Terna protested that this was too low. The rates will be reviewed again by Nov 30, 2013, according to a Dec. 29 ruling by the regulator that was posted on its Web site.

 

Terna's chief executive Flavio Cattaneo lobbied against the initial proposal on Dec 13.

 

In a statement distributed by the Italian exchange on Saturday, Terna said it was examining the authority's decisions and would announce the impact on the company later, adding it will discuss the new tariff regime in a conference call with investors and reporters on Jan 9.

 

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's has put Terna on CreditWatch negative due to Italy's sovereign debt crisis.

 

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E-Panorama | CIOPakistan.com - Business Technology Leadership

E-Panorama | CIOPakistan.com - Business Technology Leadership | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a meeting of the board of Universal Service Fund, USF, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, approved of two projects for Baluchistan and Interior Sind regions to provide basic telephony and data services in the two backwater regions. This will help initiate more telecom-related projects and improve telecom service provision. Also, using new technology and with proper training, the locals can get online direct or indirect employment opportunities and the digital divide between Baluchistan, Interior Sind and the rest of the country can be bridged. The basic telephony and data services will be provided to approximately 74,831 people in 102 ‘muzas’ while broadband services will be available in 73 towns providing 78,000 broadband connections. Further, 206 Educational Broadband Centers will be established in high schools and colleges, and 93 Community Broadband Centers will provide training to all interested.

 

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Top Stories of 2011 « ILC Cyber Report

Top Stories of 2011 « ILC Cyber Report | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Update on Developments in Cyber Law and Policy

 

#1 AMAZON WARS

 

2010 ended with the Amazon Tax in effect in three states totally approximately ten percent of the population and GDP. With the addition of Arkansas, Calfornia, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Vermont the tax has some applicability in states which comprise about 1/3 of the population and GDP the country.

 

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Obama has Nearly Quadrupled Renewable Energy on Public Lands

Obama has Nearly Quadrupled Renewable Energy on Public Lands | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With two years of the Obama administration, almost four times as much clean energy has been put on the grid on public lands as in all the previous 40 years.

 

All the renewable energy ever permitted on public lands totaled 1,800 MW by the end of 2008. In the last two years, the Department of the Interior has approved 6,600 MW of new projects.

 

Rapid and responsible fast track utility-scale production of clean energy is a solution to the climate destabilization caused by continuing the reliance on fossil energy.

 

These approvals for 25 utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands are enough to power 2.3 million out of the 102 million American households. Not all the renewable projects are on public land.

 

With two new approvals this week – in which just the transmission and roads associated with them is on public lands – the total DOI approvals cover 27 utility-scale renewable energy projects.

 

These include 16 solar projects, 4 wind farms and 7 geothermal plants. A boost in staff capable of reviewing renewable energy permits resulted in the much faster pace of approvals, according to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.

 

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BUSINESS » Blog Archive » Network Neutrality

Network Neutrality:

 

Definitions of community neutrality--

 

At its simplest community neutrality is the principle that each one Internet site visitors needs to be treated equally. Internet neutrality advocates have established three principal definitions of community neutrality:

 

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Welcome to the Year of the Lightbulb: Scientific American Podcast

Welcome to the Year of the Lightbulb: Scientific American Podcast | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Happy New Year! And welcome to the year of light…bulbs. Why you ask? Well, it's not just because LEDs lit up the iconic New Year's ball drop here in New York City again. No, it's because this is the year that lighting will finally become more efficient.

 

The old, incandescent lightbulb turns 90 percent of the electricity it uses into heat rather than light. And in 2012, it will be phased out in the U.S.—or at least radically upgraded. Lightbulbs will be required to meet new energy efficiency standards. So the old 100-watt lightbulb will have to produce the same light using just 72 watts.

 

Lighting is the original killer app of modern energy—and one that the world continues to embrace. By adopting lighting technologies that use less energy the nations of the world will cut down on the fossil fuels, often coal, burned to produce that light.

 

So whether it's new, long-lasting but expensive light-emitting diodes, the swirls of a compact fluorescent or just more efficient incandescents, 2012 will be the year that lighting's environmental impact gets lighter.

 

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Zain Bahrain ends 2011 on a high note - Gulf Daily News

Zain Bahrain ends 2011 on a high note - Gulf Daily News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Zain Bahrain has wrapped up 2011 on a high note, its general manager Mohammed Zainalabedin said yesterday. The dynamic telecom company closes 2011 as part of the Zain Group's winning circle which has been judged "Best Overall Middle East and Africa Mobile Operator" at the annual CommsMEA Awards 2011, organised by the region's foremost business-to-business telecom publication.

 

In 2011, Zain Bahrain introduced many new services, facilities, events and community service programmes which offer the people of Bahrain the best of telecom experiences.

Zain Bahrain's most ambitious telecom service project in 2011 was the recalibrating of its broadband service.

 

The restructuring has enabled Zain Bahrain to offer customers increased reliability, higher speeds, greater mobility and access to more innovative voice and data solutions at extremely attractive price.

 

In addition, the service is packed to the brim with special deals such as a BD1 add-on that allows free and discounted local and international calls, pay-as-you-go laptop deals and e-go family packages with separate devices for each family member.

 

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Smart grids: Making connections | EurActiv

Smart grids: Making connections | EurActiv | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Europe currently relies for the transmission of its electricity on a grid system that was substantially designed in the post-World War II period. Power grids in the 20th century were originally built as local grids which over time became augmented and inter-connected.

 

The largest and most “mature” of these divided and distributed electric power on a bulk basis from a relatively small number of central power stations, mostly fuelled by coal, oil and gas. As awareness of the dangers of climate change has grown, so has a conviction that this system is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ in the 21st century.

 

Today, grid systems transmission and distribution operators need to consider a bewilderingly complex range of demand and supply issues such as: the environmental impacts of fossil fuel use, the challenges of switching to cleaner but more ‘variable’ power sources such as wind and solar energy, security of supply in terms of diversified supply needs and protection from cyber-attack, and ‘smartmeters’ which can regulate electricity usage at the point of consumption, and could one day turn electricity consumers into producers.

 

According to the EU’s energy roadmap for 2050, cumulative grid investments between 2011 and 2050 will cost between €1.5 trillion and €2.2 trillion, depending on the amount of support provided to renewable energies.

 

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Samuel Morse, the Telegraph, and Government | community broadband networks

Samuel Morse, the Telegraph, and Government | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Smithsonian magazine provides some background on Samuel Morse, inventor of Morse Code and credited with inventing the telegraph.

 

It is interesting background, but not particularly relevant for community broadband until a paragraph toward the end:

 

"Four years later, in July of 1844, news reached Paris and the rest of Europe that Professor Morse had opened a telegraph line, built with Congressional appropriation, between Washington and Baltimore, and that the telegraph was in full operation between the two cities, a distance of 34 miles."

 

From the beginning of telecommunications, the government played an essential role.

 

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Exploring the Digital Nation - Computer and Internet Use at Home | NTIA

Exploring the Digital Nation - Computer and Internet Use at Home | NTIA | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Department of Commerce's Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report, “Exploring the Digital Nation,” that analyzes broadband Internet adoption in the United States. Overall, approximately seven out of ten households in the United States subscribe to broadband service. The report finds a strong correlation between broadband adoption and socio-economic factors, such as income and education, but says these differences do not explain the entire broadband adoption gap that exists along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines. Even after accounting for socio-economic differences, certain minority and rural households still lag in broadband adoption.

 

The report analyzes data collected through an Internet Use supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) of about 54,300 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2010. Earlier this year, NTIA released initial findings from the survey, showing that while virtually all demographic groups have increased adoption of broadband Internet at home since the prior year, historic disparities among demographic groups remain. This report presents broadband adoption statistics after adjusting for various socio-economic differences.

 

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Will subsidies go to the right companies to build and sustain broadband?

Thanks to Carol Walsh for sending me a recent article from The Economist (Sweet Land of Subsidy). It’s a look at changes in the USF, the need for subsidies to reach rural corners with broadband and chance that USF is going to help do that.

 

I think the final paragraph with be of greatest interest to readers here so are probably better well versed on the need for subsidies and broadband…

 

"So far, so promising, but the devil, as always, is in the detail—and many of the details are missing. Stuart Polikoff, vice-president of regulatory policy for OPASTCO, a trade group representing around 460 rural telecom companies, fears his clients will end up losing money when the FCC redirects intercarrier-compensation rates (fees one carrier pays to another on whose lines a portion of a call is carried). Dave Osborn, who heads the Valley Telephone Cooperative, which provides high-speed broadband to 4,600 people spread across 7,300 square miles of south Texas, predicts that change will deprive him of $1.5m a year. The large telecoms companies stand to gain: the FCC says they can reach 83% of the 18m Americans without service. Then there is the question of use: one survey found that nearly half of non-internet users in America saw no need for it. That is a problem that infrastructure alone cannot solve."

 

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