The Yankee Group says ADSL2+ and VDSL2 are poised to change the broadband landscape?? if telcos get around to adopting them as a supplement to fiber. ADSL2+ can offer download speeds of 15mbps to 20mbps, while VDSL2, an as-yet-incomplete standard, is expected to provide more than 100mbps.
The NYT has a story on Philadelphia's two year plan to create a 135 square mile free Wi-Fi network (registration required). Although there are big technical and financial hurdles, the city sees it as a potential boon for education and economic development. Close to 70 percent of students in the city qualify for economic assistance, and may not otherwise have Internet access, officials say.
According to the article, the city isn't planning on managing the network itself, and will likely outsource that piece to the private sector. But the local cable and phone companies can't be that … Read more
Internet calling service Skype has been around for a year now, drawing 750,000 users. Free, high-quality connections are playing well with the early adopter audience, but the company isn't setting its eyes on overthrowing the old phone order.
The trouble with Skype today is that it requires both parties to have the service, and works mainly on the PC. Most people still aren't ready to leave what feels like traditional calling, which is why Vonage, in which subscribers use what feels like a regular phone, is likely more of a threat. For the mainstream, look to AT&… Read more
California state regulators gave SBC Communications the right to raise the amount they charge rivals to use their networks by more than 20 percent. This is a state issue, but the Baby Bells are also renegotiating with rivals based on the collapse of federal guidelines, and local rivals are hurting. AT&T has already largely pulled out of the competitive phone business.
The San Francisco Chronicle quotes Bruce Fein, a former Federal Communications Commission general counsel: "Choosing a telephone company soon will be like voting in a Soviet election," Fein said.
There's not much question that … Read more
Network World Fusion has a piece detailing how the state of Virginia is using much of the funds from its $500 million plus settlement with the tobacco industry to help wire the state with fiber optics. They've already spent more than $20 million on the projects, with another $10 million plus on the way, the article says.
We wrote a little about one of the projects, which ends up in Big Stone Gap, a small Appalachian town that's pretty literally in the middle of nowhere. The fiber has already helped keep jobs in town, we found.
Israeli company Alvarion will help build a nationwide WiMax network for Altitude Telecom in France. The local provider, which already offers wireless services, will use the system to offer Net connections and voice over IP for businesses.
Qualcomm said today it would add support for Microsoft's Windows Media technology in its cell phone chips. It's a key mobile deal for Microsoft, which has been trying for some time to get its multimedia technology supported in cell phones. RealNetworks has made substantial strides in this area, and Apple Computer recently announced a few cell phone deals too.
The idea behind this is that people might start listening to music and watching video on their cell phones. I'm honestly a little skeptical about this. Cell phone companies have spent billions of dollars on third-generation spectrum in … Read more
TechConnect interviewed Microsoft's Ed Grazcyk about the company's Internet Protocol TV effort. This is the technology that Verizon is likely to use for its fiber optics service ?? although Grazcyk notes that an ordinary 1.2mbps connection is fast enough to support the TV broadcasts.
One interesting point: He says that the service supports either Windows Media 9 or the MPEG-4 format. Microsoft has increasingly been talking about those two formats co-existing comfortably, and appears to be accepting that the standards-based MPEG-4 AVC video codec will be many network companies' first choice.
USA Today has an extensive piece on municipal broadband projects, outlining the risks and potential benefits to small towns that build their own networks. It goes into detail on how the telecommunications giants like SBC Communications and Comcast have lobbied hard at the local level to kill projects, sometimes successfully.
Danville, Va. Mayor John Hamlin sums up the rationale for these small-town fiber projects well: "This was never a case of 'Build it and they will come,' " Hamlin said. "This was a case of, 'If you don't build it, you know they won't come.'" … Read more
According to a University of Michigan study, broadband users know a lot more celebrity gossip than dial-up users. But their grasp of the really critical topics, like policy and international affairs, isn't any higher.
Is this because broadband subscribers are younger on average than dial-up users? Do we all have our home pages set to People magazine? Or is it because we get our news from Net news sites, which focus on high-click stories like scandals and Britney Spears weddings?
Tough to say. Anyway, I have to go and read about Madonna's visit to Israel.