Broadband is everywhere; at least the talk of broadband is everywhere with the long-anticipated release of the FCC’s broadband plan. Ahead of schedule by a day and 367 pages in length, it will take awhile to consume this telecom best seller. It is definitely comprehensive, spanning different disciplines including the smart grid to economic development to increased civic engagement. One thing that does not appear to be in the plan is how broadband could make the U.S. Postal Service more efficient.
As Robert Eddy points out in this video interview at the Minnesota Telecom Alliance, the FCC Broadband report has been a lead agenda item for the numerous boards in which he sits. Robert Eddy, an industry icon and chair of NECA and, at the time of this video interview chairman of MTA, suggests the importance of a level regulatory playing field.
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The smart grid has a prominent place in the FCC's broadband plan. Understanding needs of utilities will be critical in order for telecom companies to be able to serve utilities in developing the smart-grid. In this video interview, Randy Young, the Minnesota Telecom Alliance president, suggests that it is incumbent on telephone companies and their associations to proactively open discussions with electric utilities and make the case that it is more efficient for utilities to collaborate with telecom providers.
Given all of the hype and expectations surrounding the FCC broadband plan and talk of 100 Mb/s to 100 million households by 2015, it delightful to catch up with someone who has brought fiber to the home to everyone of the residences his companies serves. Kevin Beyer wears two hats as General Manager of Federated Telephone Cooperative and Farmers Mutual Telephone Company in West Central Minnesota.
Clearwire briefed potential application developers at a well attended CLEAR Developer workshop in Santa Clara, CA on March 2, 2010. we noticed a lot of keen interest amongst developers who were accessing Clearwire's Silicon Valley 4G Innovation Network using 4G USB sticks (AKA dongles) attached to their notebook PCs. It seems indoor coverage worked fine in the Santa Clara Convention Center, where the workshop was held. However, we were quite disappointed that neither Comcast or Time Warner Cable had any new services (other than high speed Internet) to tell us about.
[Editor's Note: Given that wireless is integral to the FCC's Broadband Plan, this article is an important as it points to the way open access networks evolve. There has been some some very interesting commentary from readers on this post.]
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If my brief look at just of one section is an indicator, then politicians, pundits and consultants will be discussing the content of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan for many years. Section 15.2 (page 302), Building a Robust Digital Media Ecosystem,starts by pointing out the significant challenges and declines faced by traditional journalism outlets, such as local newspapers and television news stations.
If Congress converts the FCC recommendations, contained in this section, into law, we will see increased funding for “public media”, the sale of some of the spectrum currently given to public broadcast, the creation of a national digital video archive and changes to copyright law. The 2+ pages in this section of the report will undoubtedly sustain a mini-lobbying industry for months and maybe years into the future. If the FCC’s recommendations occur, it could be that our friends with the purple dinosaur will be a beneficiary of the broadband plan.