It’s a no-brainer, folks

If you listened to my podcast yesterday with Mark McElroy of Connected Nation about their study on the economic impact of pushing broadband into underserved areas of the U.S., you might have been impressed by a big number — $134 billion. That’s the potential economic impact of national deployment of what Connected Nation, a not-for-profit group, has done in Kentucky, with the ConnectKentucky project.

In talking with McElroy, however, I was even more impressed by two other numbers. more…

Correction: Rim Semiconductor

In my initial report on Rim Semiconductor, I wrote that Embarq was one of the few publicly named members of the IPSL SIG–the group convened by Rim to develop industry standards for its IP Subscriber Line technology. In fact, Embarq is not now and has never been a member of IPSL SIG. Rather, Embarq hosted the group’s first meeting last April, but a spokesman for the carrier assures me that their only contribution was the locale–Embarq’s Technology Center. The telco has not participated in the group’s standardization efforts, though Embarq has evaulated Rim’s gear and is “keeping an eye on the technology,” the spokesman said.

Qualcomm loses its FLO

Toward the end of last year, Qualcomm was full of promises for the burgeoning mobile TV market and its Media Forward Link Only (FLO) technology. Yet so far, the market has received less than positive reviews, and we have yet to see another MediaFLO handset be unveiled. more…

MWC: MSFT eyes mobile model for computing

BARCELONA–Microsoft has struck a deal with Russia’s MTS for the bundling of a laptop lease and wireless data subscription into one monthly bundle. Oddly enough that deal seems very similar to the way the cellular industry works: a cellphone is useless without a wireless connection and a wireless connection is pointless without a device to access it. That same logic now is starting to be applied to computing, an acknowledgement that the PC and the Internet are so closely tied together that they can’t be separated. So why not sell them together? more…

MWC: MEMS the word

BARCELONA–You never would have figured Qualcomm would have been so proud of a tiny one-inch black-and-white screen, but the that’s just what the chipset maker was showing off at the Mobile World Congress. The Hisense C108 is the first phone using display technoloy from Qualcomm’s MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) subsidiary, and while the phone may not be the most impressive looking handset at the Congress it probably has the best battery life. The MEMS display reflects ambiant light to render its images, unlike liquid crystal displays which depend on a power-draining backlight. The result is a phone that can go 20% to 40% longer without recharging than it peers. more…

MWC: New alliances, new enemies

BARCELONA–Are the technology wars over? Today at the Mobile World Congress (formerly 3GSM World) GSMA CEO Rob Conway officially welcomed CDMA operator Verizon Wireless into the fold. During his keynote today, Conway said the GSMA would “reach out to include the Verizons of world” because as operators we have so much in common, whether we run GSM or CDMA networks. Apparently the wireless world is now unified. CDMA and GSM have found a common cause. That cause is the fourth-generation technology Long Term Evolution. But like any cause, there has to be an enemy, and Conway made it pretty clear that enemy is no longer CDMA, but WiMAX. more…

Rim shot: Will shaky finances imperil 40 Mb/s DSL?

Our recent report on a new proposed alternative to DSL called IPSL drew a lot of interest this month, particularly because the technology’s inventor, Rim Semiconductor, has claimed to have achieved 40 Mb/s speeds over copper in rural telco networks.

But there’s much more to Rim than that report reveals.


700 MHz Auction: E block clears reserve

At the conclusion of today’s penultimate round, the total bids of the E-block economic area licenses hit the FCC reserve of $904 million. That’s important because now four of the five blocks have hit their reserves, meaning their ultimate winners are free and clear to claim their spectrum once the auction ends. The exception, of course, is the D-block public safety spectrum, which hasn’t garnered a bid since round one. So the fate of the auction depends ultimately on what the FCC decides to do with D block when the last bids come in. more…

700 MHz Auction: Bidding slows, prompting FCC to start poking participants

The 700 MHz auction has officially entered into Stage 2, which requires participants to bid each round. The FCC resorted to such tactics because bidding had slowed down to a sluggish pace yesterday, requiring it to prod the cash cow just a bit so it could spurt out a little more milk before retiring. This likely means the auction is coming to close soon. more…

Broadband everywhere?

According the Federal Communications Commission, there are 12 broadband service providers for my home zipcode.

I found that out from Broadband Census, a new Web site I wrote about today that is taking a grassroots look at where broadband services are available today in the U.S. and how much choice U.S. consumers really have.

 I know I’m fortunate enough to live in an area with more choice than most — in addition to AT&T, we have both Comcast and RCN in my little village, and all three have triple play bundles for sale.

But 12 service providers? I don’t think so.

In the pre-bubble days, there were DSL companies such as NorthPoint Communications and RhythmsNet Connections, who installed DSLAMs at the Central Office in downtown Skokie, where I live. Of that crowd, however, only Covad Communications still exists, and even they are dependent on leasing the last mile from AT&T. Qwest Communications once offered business service there, as did Verio, but those were pricey ($150 a month and up) and not aimed at consumers. They also depended on leasing the last line from AT&T.

Given the direction the FCC is moving on competition, will that kind of access be assured, or make economic sense?


March 2015
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