Digital Divide 2.0

CALinnovates and California-Based Tech Groups Ask FCC to Speed Modernization of Nation’s Communications Networks

CALinnovates and California-Based Tech Groups Ask FCC to Speed Modernization of Nation’s Communications NetworksComment supports petition seeking national conversation on speeding up transition to all-IP based networks with beta trials to measure consumer benefits
SAN FRANCISCO – CALinnovates, a tech advocacy organization, along with eight other California-based tech groups-Alphabird, Appallicious,At The Pool, Avetta, ,iSideWith, Lex Machina, MySocialCloud, and the Silicon Valley Italian Executive Council–have jointly filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressing support for a petition currently pending at the Commission.The petition, submitted last year by AT&T, asks the FCC to work with the private sector to begin geographically-limited beta tests to examine the complex technical and policy issues associated with the transition away from existing legacy voice networks to modern IP-based networks. The guidelines provided in the petition propose a framework that will allow the private sector and the government to address the operational, technical and policy issues related to the transition to new IP-based networks in an open and transparent process.“Startups in-and-around Silicon Valley need reliable, forward-looking high-speed networks to deliver for our customers,” said Chase Norlin, CEO of Alphabird. “Supporting the rapid development of communications infrastructure will allow us to maintain a free and open Internet, encourage private investment, and support innovation and free flowing ideas.”“Existing regulations mandate continued investment in outdated, 20th century networks that consumers are using less and less,” said CALinnovates Executive Director Mike Montgomery. “Old school networks can’t offer the infrastructure needed for seamless communication of voice, data, video, and Internet applications among various devices.”Montgomery continued, “This petition is a first step in determining how the FCC and the private sector can work together to upgrade the country’s communications infrastructure beyond the limited capabilities of networks designed for voice-only communication. The new communications ecosystem no longer operates solely through telephone companies. This filing is about updating a regulatory environment that promotes access to new technologies, protects consumers, and enhances our economic productivity.”“The beta trials deploying IP-enabled networks will help accelerate the evolution of technology and drive increased connectivity and innovation, while fostering immense capital investment,” said Montgomery. “Investing in stronger and faster IP networks will provide substantial benefits to consumers and businesses nationwide ranging from job creation to greater access to education, healthcare, training, and public safety.”

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Contact: Mike Montgomery
mike@calinnovates.org
415-494-8626

 

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$14 Billion Additional Investment in Broadband Networks Means Big Things for Consumers and Innovators

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Contact: Mike Montgomery
mike@calinnovates.org
415-494-8626

 

$14 Billion Additional Investment in Broadband Networks Means Big Things for Consumers and Innovators

CALinnovates’ new infographic says evolving consumer behavior demands private sector investment to expand communications infrastructure and support tech innovation

 

SAN FRANCISCO – California’s economic recovery will be bolstered by a recent announcement that AT&T plans to invest an additional $14 billion to expand and enhance its wired and wireless Internet Protocol (IP) broadband networks.  For Californians looking for expanded access to the benefits of the Internet, this development signals great optimism for the future of communications, according to CALinnovates, a San Francisco-based high-tech advocacy group.

According to their 3-year investment plan, 300 million people will be covered by AT&T 4G LTE by the end of 2014, and millions more will have access to next-generation wireline IP broadband networks.  CALinnovates Executive Director Mike Montgomery stated, “Connecting virtually everyone in the U.S. with high-speed Internet is a long stride in the right direction toward meeting the goal of President Obama’s National Broadband Plan.  And we know that high-speed Internet connections, both wired and wireless, create the kind of jobs we urgently need right now.”

“Consumers, entrepreneurs and people everywhere are clamoring for more connectivity and faster speeds.  It takes this kind of multi-billion dollar private sector investment to give people the high-speed connections they want and need,” said Montgomery.  “Investment is the linchpin to staying ahead of the massive growth in consumer demand for speed, data capacity and devices and apps that are now central to our lives.”

A new CALinnovates infographic on its website documents how consumers are driving the market that is revolutionizing communications and creating skyrocketing demand for new technology that can handle more data than ever before.  In describing the infographic, Montgomery said, “Consumers today want to be connected everywhere in every way possible.  But, we can’t take for granted the robust high-speed networks that are necessary to carry the innovations that are driving the economy and improving our lives.  Those networks require mega investments to keep them growing and improving.”

“Continued investment to build the communications infrastructure of the future is what will keep the U.S. and Silicon Valley ahead of the innovation curve,” he said.

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Why Public Policy is Critical to the Communications Revolution

In Silicon Valley local issues and global issues are often closely linked. It’s inevitable in a region where home grown high-tech is creating groundbreaking changes across the globe and supporting an entire region’s economic growth and job market.

With the introduction of the iPhone right here in the Valley and advent of mobile apps, the so-called “App Economy” is a huge local issue for Silicon Valley and the rest of California.  It contributes $8.2 billion a year and supports 152,000 jobs in California, according to CTIA and the Application Developers Alliance.

But, the most forceful demonstration of the global impact is the communications revolution taking place today.  “Smart networks,” such as wireless and wireline IP (Internet Protocol)-based networks, allow consumers to tap into super-fast Internet speeds so that they can better access video, voice and data services over the Internet.  With communications technology playing a leading role in daily life, it’s no surprise high-tech honchos are holding the Silicon Valley Wireless Symposium on November 2nd at Marvell headquarters in Santa Clara to discuss public policy that ensures a sound path forward for 21st Century communications infrastructure.

Read the Full post at The Daily Kos

Time to invest in much-needed mobile infrastructure

By Mike Montgomery

Isn’t life quite a bit easier with apps on your phone and fast Internet connections? Broadband-high-speed Internet-has become a crucial tool for rural and urban residents alike.

Turlock is no stranger to the benefits of increased access to high-speed Internet. In Stanislaus County, broadband lets people join meetings in Los Angeles, take online calculus classes through the University of California, and enables veterans to consult with specialists through telemedicine at the VA’s Modesto Clinic. Want to renew your library book at the Stanislaus County Library? No problem. There’s an app for that, too.

Seventy percent of Central Valley residents now report that they have broadband at home, compared to 53 percent in 2008, according to Public Policy Institute of California. While this percentage trails the rates of other metropolitan regions of the state such as San Francisco and San Diego, the Central Valley has made significant strides in broadband adoption.

Read the Full Article.

Towards Universal Broadband: Flexible Broadband Pricing and the Digital Divide

Reaching Universal Access through Affordability at All Income Levels1

Driven by the conviction that the widespread use of broadband can support economic recovery and help the United States achieve other important national goals, President Obama has proposed that every American should have the opportunity to connect to broadband service. On his campaign web site, the President declared: “America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access” and he promised to bring “true broadband to every community in America.”2 In enacting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Congress signaled its agreement by providing $7.2 billion in dedicated funding to advance broadband’s spread and by directing the Federal Communications Commission to develop a national strategy to achieve universal broadband.

Continue reading “Towards Universal Broadband: Flexible Broadband Pricing and the Digital Divide”

Wireless Overview

More than 95 percent of the U.S. population – those living in urban, suburban and rural America – are served by at least three competing carriers, and more than half live in areas served by at least five.  Eight years ago there were 100 million U.S. wireless customers. Today, there are more than 270 million, and in 2008 they used more than 2.2 trillion minutes – a tenfold increase since 2000.  At the same time, prices have declined precipitously.  Revenue per minute has fallen 89 percent since 1994, and U.S. wireless prices are much lower than in any other industrialized county.  And, while at&t and Verizon are currently the two largest wireless providers, the next two largest, Sprint and T-Mobile, have a combined 82 million customers, and the carriers that round out the top 10 have another nearly 20 million customers among them.

As wireless technology and services have grown exponentially in the last 25 years, California has been one of the prime engines of that growth.  Strategic partnerships between carriers and handset manufacturers, application developers and content providers, the private and public sector give consumers access to unparalleled innovation in the wireless space.

Today, more than 160 wireless service providers in the U.S. directly employ more than 257,000 workers who earn salaries totaling more than $12 billion each year.  This is in addition to the numerous early-stage companies, high-tech start-ups and small businesses in the wireless space that are also key contributors to the U.S. economy. California is home to one of the few areas where wireless start-ups cluster, Silicon Valley, where competition thrives, partnerships form and innovation flourishes.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, California serves the largest number of wireless users, 32,247,015, at the end of 2007.

The number of wireless users has more than doubled in California over the past 7 years.

Exaflood

In the digital world, data is measured in bytes. A single digital character, a letter or number, is a single byte. A typewritten page is about 2,000 bytes, or two kilobytes, and a small, low-resolution image is about 100,000 bytes, or 100 kilobytes. There are about 5 million bytes, or 5 megabytes, in the complete works of Shakespeare, and a pickup truck full of books might amount to one billion bytes, or a gigabyte. One billion of those book-filled pickup trucks, or one billion gigabytes, is an exabyte.

The term “exaflood,” coined by Bret Swanson of Progress & Freedom Foundation, refers to the growing torrent of data on the Internet. By 2010, Internet users worldwide could produce as much as 988 exabytes of data. The Internet was famously overbuilt during the 1990s, but much of that capacity is being used now or soon will be. A shortage of bandwidth will slow down service for everybody, possibly causing Internet brownouts or service interruptions.

The good news is that with investment and wise public policy, we can upgrade our broadband networks to meet the challenge of the coming “exaflood,” ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from everything the Internet has to offer.

Exaflood facts and figures:

  • Annual global IP traffic will exceed two-thirds of a zettabyte (667 exabytes) in four years. Last year’s forecast anticipated a run rate of 522 exabytes per year in 2012. The economic downturn has only slightly tempered traffic growth, and this year’s forecast predicts 510 exabytes per year in 2012, growing to 667 exabytes per year or 56 exabytes per month in 2013.
  • Global IP traffic will quintuple from 2008 to 2013. Overall, IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 percent.

Global Internet Highlights

  • In 2013, the Internet will be nearly four times larger than it is in 2009. By year-end 2013, the equivalent of 10 billion DVDs will cross the Internet each month.

Global Video Highlights

  • Internet video is now approximately one-third of all consumer Internet traffic, not including the amount of video exchanged through P2P file sharing.
  • The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand, Internet, and P2P) will account for over 91 percent of global consumer traffic by 2013. Internet video alone will account for over 60 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2013.
  • In 2013, Internet video will be nearly 700 times the U.S. Internet backbone in 2000. It would take well over half a million years to watch all the online video that will cross the network each month in 2013. Internet video will generate over 18 exabytes per month in 2013.
  • Video communications traffic growth is accelerating. Though still a small fraction of overall Internet traffic, video over instant messaging and video calling are experiencing high growth. Video communications traffic will increase tenfold from 2008 to 2013.
  • Real-time video is growing in importance. By 2013, Internet TV will be over 4 percent of consumer Internet traffic, and ambient video will be 8 percent of consumer Internet traffic. Live TV has gained substantial ground in the past few years: globally, P2P TV is now slightly over 7 percent of overall P2P traffic at over 200 petabytes per month.
  • Video-on-demand (VoD) traffic will double every two years through 2013. Consumer IPTV and CATV traffic will grow at a 53 percent CAGR between 2008 and 2013, compared to a CAGR of 40 percent for consumer Internet traffic.

Global Mobile Highlights

  • Globally, mobile data traffic will double every year through 2013, increasing 66x between 2008 and 2013. Mobile data traffic will grow at a CAGR of 131 percent between 2008 and 2013, reaching over 2 exabytes per month by 2013.
  • Almost 64 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2013. Mobile video will grow at a CAGR of 150 percent between 2008 and 2013.
  • Mobile broadband handsets with higher than 3G speeds and laptop aircards will drive over 80 percent of global mobile traffic by 2013. A single high-end phone (such as an iPhone or Blackberry) generates more data traffic than 30 basic-feature cell phones. A laptop aircard generates more data traffic than 450 basic-feature cell phones.

K-12 High Speed Network

California has a strong K-12 research and education network infrastructure for public and private educational institutions. The K-12 High Speed Network program governs participation in the network and is funded by the California Department of Education. This program provides the K-12 system with a dependable source of high-speed internet services, data reporting, teaching and learning tools, and videoconferencing capabilities, among other features – at no additional cost to participating districts. These programs provide valuable support for teachers and students and help improve performance.  Currently 79% of California schools are connected – a noteworthy achievement. However, plenty of work remains to bring the benefits of the network to all California students.

CALinnovates believes the state should make expanding access to the K-12 High Speed Network a high priority. This program can reduce the achievement gap by methods of learning to students who otherwise might be left behind.  It also provides professional development opportunities for teachers by giving them new tools to complement their lesson plans. Also, the data capabilities provided by the network will make it easier for administrators to evaluate their schools in a number of categories.

The technology industry values its partnership with the education community and believes the potential of this partnership remains untapped. With approximately 1/3 of California students failing to graduate from high school and achievement lagging behind other states, we must find better ways of engaging students academically. Technology like the K-12 High Speed Network is a key ingredient of this.

Broadband

The term “broadband” refers to the high-speed internet service which allows users to access a large volume of data very quickly. Think of it like a highway: the more lanes there are, the more traffic that can pass through efficiently. For instance, a very narrow road (or single-band signal) only has the capacity for light traffic, or Morse Code, for instance. Larger bandwidth can handle more types of data – such as telephone communication or music on the radio. A broadband “highway” has the capacity to move more complex and larger data vehicles very rapidly.

When you refer to cable, DSL, wireless modems, and satellite internet service, you’re talking about different types of broadband service.

Broadband is becoming accessible to more consumers across the country as private companies work to develop and deploy the networks needed to handle the internet traffic. The Brookings Institution found that in the year 2000, there were only 4.1 million broadland lines in the United States. Six years later, the number of lines had increased by 1500% with nearly 54 million broadband lines across the country. With a broadband connection, users no longer need to wait for Web sites to load. You can send e-mail, download and view files, and conduct business very quickly. The deployment of new broadband lines also spurs job creation and narrows the “digital divide” that can leave some regions offline. Policies that continue to promote competition encourage providers to expand and improve their services, and give consumers more choice and better offerings.

CALinnovates supports reasonable deployment of the California Broadband Initiative.  For more information on the initiative, please visit http://www.calink.ca.gov/

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