America’s National Broadband plan seems predicated on the idea that smartphones can serve poor people. The cellcos are telling Wall Street’s financial analysts and the policy makers in Washington that there are more cell phone-based internet connections in the world than fixed wireless or wireline connections. But skeptics are starting to show that those cellphones may be underused, overpriced, and come with caps. Meanwhile, cellcos’ core businesses are threatened. Prices will rise and service caps will fall. Washington — and policymakers around the world — should allocate more resources and spectrum to services that deliver true internet, not the restricted walled garden of the cellcos.
This debate was central to the fascinating discussion at the State of Telecom event at Columbia’s Instititue of Tele-Information, held in mid-October. I attended the afternoon sessions.
Continue reading ‘Smart Phone Skeptic’ »
One of my fears regarding the stimulus is that small applicants will be left out of the process. This appears to have happened in Ohio, which is one of the largest states and also one of the most demographically and geographically diverse.
Ohio’s governor faced Alaska’s dilemma in miniature: a large number of worthy projects over a large land area with not enough cash to fund them all. Continue reading ‘Ohio Recommends Large Applications’ »
States have to make some tough decisions. The top recommended project on the Colorado governor’s list (h/t Baller Herbst Law Firm’s stimulus resources), the Colorado Community Anchor Broadband Consortium (CCABC) asks for $175 million in grants and also $175 million in loans. That’s a lot, even if it connects every educational institution and public library in the state.
It will be a tough decision for the federal government, which may not have $350 million for Colorado and may have to fund only part of the project.
The next project on the list, Brainstorm Internet, was one of the best-written applications I saw. It uses DragonWave for backhaul and Redline’s WiMAX equipment and promises to reach a large number of businesses and residences, relative to cost. It looks like a very solid project, exactly what the stimulus was designed for, and asks for only about $6 million, half grant and half loans.
Continue reading ‘Colorado Recommends Some Expensive Projects’ »
One of the many difficult choices facing those allocating the stimulus funds is choosing between fixed wireless, which deploys faster and to more people, and fiber, which deploys a higher quality service but takes much longer to build and is a great deal more expensive.
In Missouri, governor Jay Nixon (D) has chosen, in his letter to the federal government, one project, Show-Me Technologies, which will partner with the state to deliver fiber to areas that will lower broadband costs for state institutions.
That angers Victoria Proffer. She suspects that the state pretended to have an open request for information process but that Show-Me Technologies had in fact won the race before it was run.
Continue reading ‘Should Missouri’s Jay Nixon Pick Show-Me?’ »
Brough’s slashdotted analysis of the issues in the AT&T Wireless network, built on a mailing list and the work of David Reed, makes interesting reading.
Some applicants filed so many applications I have to wonder why. Were the grant writers paid per application? There seems to be no reason.
Wireless equipment maker DigitalBridge Communications Corp of Ashburn, VA filed 64 applications across several midwestern and southern states.
New EA Inc, which as Flow Mobile filed 112 applications, plus one application as New EA, also submitted 19 pages of comments to the FCC concerning the broadband stimulus. A key request was that fixed and mobile wireless be considered separate services. Many will disagree.
Tower maker GlenMartin of Boonville, MO filed 14 applications.
Continue reading ‘Some Filed Too Many Stimulus Grant Applications’ »
The first white spaces network will be deployed in Virginia with an experimental license. To the extent that this gives ISPs additional options, it is very good news.